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(EngUsIj liffl^0rka of loijn (Boiatx. 





VOL. I. 

(CoMFEBsio Amantis, Prol. — Lib. V. 1970.) 

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Cxtra &txit%, No. lxxxi. 



No apology is needed for a new edition of the Confessio 
AmantiSy which has long been among the desiderata of 
the Early English Text Society. The work of the present 
editor dates from the discovery, made some six years 
ago, that the best authorities for the text were to be 
found in the Bodleian Library, and consequently that the 
main part of the work ought to be done at Oxford. At 
the same time all due attention has been paid to the 
manuscripts which arc to be found elsewhere, and thanks 
are due to many Librarians and private owners for the 
help which they have given. 

It may be added here that the editor has become more 
and more convinced, as his work went on, of the value and 
authentic character of the text given by the Fairfax MS. 
of the Confessio Amantis^ which as proceeding directly from 
the author, though not written by his hand, may claim the 
highest rank as an authority for his language. 

It is hoped that the list of errata, the result chiefly of 
a revision made during the formation of the Glossary, may 
be taken to indicate not so much the carelessness of the 
editor, as his desire to be absolutely accurate in the 
reproduction of this interesting text. 

The analysis of the Confessio Amaniis which is printed 
in the Introduction, was undertaken chiefly at the sugges- 
tion of Dr. Furnivall. With reference to this it may be 
observed that in places where the author is following well- 
known sources, the summaries are intentionally briefer, and 
in the case of some of the Biblical stories a reference to the 
original has been thought sufficient. 

G. C. M. 



Introduction vii 

CoNFESsio Amantis: — 

Prologus I 

Liber I 35 

Liber II 130 

LiBBR III 226 

Liber IV - 301 

LiBEK V 402 

Notes 457 


The Con/essio Amantis has been the subject both of exaggerated 
praise and of undue depreciation. It was the fashion of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries to set Gower side by side with Chaucer^ 
and to represent them as the twin stars of the new English poetry, 
a view which, however it may be justified by consideration of their 
language and literary tendencies, seems to imply a very uncritical 
estimate of their comparative importance. Some of these refer- 
ences are collected below, and they serve to indicate in a general 
way that the author had a great literary reputation and that his 
book was very popular, the latter being a conclusion which is 
sufficiently vouched for also by the large number of manuscripts 
which existed, and by the three printed editions. We shall confine 
ourselves here to drawing attention to a few facts of special 

In the first place the Con/essio Amantis is the earliest English 
book which made its way beyond the limits of its own language. 
There exists a Spanish translation, dating apparently from the very 
beginning of the fifteenth century, in which reference is made also 
to a Portuguese version, not known to be now in existence, on which 
perhaps the Castilian was based. This double translation into con- 
temporary languages of the Continent must denote that the writer's 
fame was not merely insular in his life-time. 

Secondly, with regard to the position of this book in the 
sixteenth century, the expressions used by Berthelette seem to 
me to imply something more than a mere formal tribute. This 
printer, who is especially distinguished by his interest in language, 
in the preface to his edition of the Con/essio Amantis most warmly 
sets forth his author as a model of pure English, contrasting his 
native simplicity with the extravagant affectations of style and 


language which were then in fashion. In fact, when we compare 
the style of Gower in writing of love with that which we find in 
some of the books which were at that time issuing from the press, 
we cannot help feeling that the recommendation was justified. 

Again, nearly a century later a somewhat striking testimony to 
the position of Gower as a standard author is afforded by Ben 
Jonson's English Grammar, The syntax contains about a hundred 
and thirty illustrative quotations, and of these about thirty are 
from Gower. Chaucer is cited twenty-five times, Lydgate and 
Sir Thomas More each about fourteen, the other chief authorities 
being Norton, Jewel, Fox, Sir John Cheke and the English 

Finally, our author's popularity and established position as 
a story-teller is decisively vouched for ^y the partly Shakesperian 
play of Pericles, Plots of plays were usually borrowed without 
acknowledgement ; but here, a plot being taken from the Confessio 
Amantis^ the opportunity is seized of bringing Gower himself on 
the stage to act as Prologue to four out of the five acts, speaking 
in the measure of his own octosyllabic couplet, 

'To sing a song that old was sung 
From ashes ancient Gower is come,* &c. 

The book was so well known and the author so well established 
in reputation, that a play evidently gained credit by connecting 
itself with his name. 

The following'are the principal references to Gower in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries. The author of Tht Kin^^t Qurn'r dedicates his poem to the 
memory (or rather to the poems) of his masters Gower and Chaucer. Hoccleve 
calls him ' my maister Gower,* 

'Whos vertu I am insufficient 
For to descrive.' 

John Walton of Osney, the metrical translator of Boethius, writes, 

*To Chaucer, that is flour of rhethorique 
In english tonge and excellent poete, 
This wot I wel, no thing may I do like. 
Though so that I of makinge entermete ; 
And Gower, that so craftely doth trete 
As in his book(es) of moralite, 
Though 1 to hem in makinge am unmete, 
Yit moste I schewe it forth that is in me.' 

Bokenham in his Livts of ilu Saints repeatedly speaks of Gower, Chaucer 
and Lydgate, the last of whom was then still living, as the three great lights 


of English literature. Caxton printed the Con/gssio AntanHs in 1483, and it 
seems to have been one of the most popular productions of his press. 

In the sixteenth century Gower appears by the side of Chaucer in Dunbar's 
Lmmna for th$ Makaris and in Lindsay's poems. Hawes in the Pastinu of 
PUasun classes him with Chaucer and his beloved Lydgate, and Skelton 
introduces him as first in order of time among the English poets who are 
mentioned in the Gariand of Laurtl, 

'I saw Gower that first gamysshed our Englysshe rude. 
And maister Chaucer,' &c., 

a testimony which is not quite consistent with that in the Lamtnt for Philip 

'Gower's Englysh is old 
And of no value is tcdd, 
• His mater is worth gold 

And worthy to be enrold.* 

Barclay in the Preface of his MirourofGood Manners (printed 15 16) states 
that he has been desired by his < Master/ Sir Giles Alington, to abridge and 
amend the Confessio AmanHSf but has declined the task, chiefly on moral 
grounds. The work he says would not be suitable to his age and order (he 
was a priest and monk of Ely), 

'And though many passages therin be commendable, 
Some processes appeare replete with wantonnes: 

For age it is a folly and jeopardie doubtlease, 
And able for to reyse bad name contagious, 
To write, reade or commen of thing venerious.' 

Leland had some glimmering perception of the difference between Chaucer 
and Gower in literary merit ; but Bale suggests that our author was * alter 
Dantes ac Petrarcha' (no less), adding the remark, taken perhaps from 
Berthelette's preface, * sui -temporis lucema habebatur ad docte scribendum 
in lingua vulgari ^* In BuUein's Dialogue against the Fever Pestilence (1564) 
Gower is represented as sitting next to the Classical poets. Homer, Hesiod, 
Ennius and Lucan. Puttenham in the Art of English Poesie (1589), and 
Sidney in the Defence of Poesie (1595), equally class Gower and Chaucer 
together. The latter, illustrating his thesis that the first writers of each 
country were the poets, says, * So among the Romans were Livius Andro- 
nicus and Ennius, so in the Italian language . . . the poets Dante, Boccace 
and Petrarch, so in our English, Gower and Chaucer, after whom, encouraged 
and delighted with their excellent foregoing, others have followed to beautify 
our mother tongue, as well in the same kind as in other arts.' 

In Robert Greene's Vision, printed about 159a, Chaucer and Gower appear 
as the accepted representatives of the pleasant and the sententious styles in 
story- telling, and compete with one another in tales upon a given subject, 
the cure of jealousy. The introduction of Gower into the play of Pericles^ 
Prince of Tyre has already been referred to. 

The uncritical exaggeration of Gower's literary merits, which 
formerly prevailed, has been of some disadvantage to him in 
'In some unpublbhed papers kindly communicated to me by Miss Bateson. 


modem times. The comparison with Chaucer, which was so 
repeatedly suggested, could not but be unfavourable to him ; and 
modern critics, instead of endeavouring to appreciate £urly such 
merits as he has, have often felt called upon to offer him up as 
a sacrifice to the honour of Chaucer, who assuredly needs no such 
addition to his glory. The true critical procedure is rather the 
opposite of this. Gower's early popularity and reputation are- 
facts to be reckoned with, in addition to the literary merit which 
we in our generation may find in his work, and neither students 
of Middle English, nor those who aim at tracing the influences 
under which the English language and literature developed during 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, can afford to leave Grower's 
English work out of their account. 


i. Literary Characteristics. — The reason of the success of 
the Con/essioAmanftsw2isn2itur2il\yihe fact that it supplied a popular 
need. After endeavouring to ' give an account of his stewardship ' 
in various ways as a moralist, the author at length found his true 
vocation, and this time happily in his native tongue, as a teller of 
stories. The rest is all machinery, sometimes poetical and inter- 
esting, sometimes tiresome and clumsy, but the stories are the. 
main thing. The perception of the popular taste may have come 
to him partly through the success of Chaucer in the Legend of Good 
Women^ and the simple»but excellent narrative style which he 
thereupon developed must have been a new revelation of his 
powers to himself as well as to others. It is true that he does not 
altogether drop the character of the moralist, but he has definitely 
and publicly resigned the task of setting society generally to 

'It stant noght in my sufficance 
So grete thinges to compasse, 

Forthi the Stile of my writinges 

Fro this day forth 1 thenke change 

And speke of thing is noght so strange,' &c. (L 4 ff.) 

He covers his retreat indeed by dwelling upon the all-pervading 
influence of Love in the world and the fact that all the evils of 
society may be said to spring from the want of it ; but this is little 
more than a pretext Love is the them^ partly because it supplies . 


a convenient framework for the design, and partly perhaps out of 
. deference to a royal command. There is no reason to doubt the 
statement in the first version of the Prologue about the meeting of 
the author with Richard II on the river, and that he then received 
suggestions for a book, which the king promised to accept and read. 
It may easily be supposed that Richard himself suggested love as 
the subject, being a matter in which, as we know from Froissart, 
he was apt to take delight. ' Adont me demanda le roy de quoy 
il traittoit. Je luy dis, " D'amours." De ceste response fut-il tous 
resjouys, et regarda dedens le livre en plusieurs lieux et y lisy \' 
It was certainly to the credit of the young king that he should have 
discerned literary merit in the work of the grave monitor who had 
so lectured him upon his duties in the Vox ClamantiSy and should 
have had some part in encouraging him to set his hand to a more 
promising task ; and if it be the fact that he suggested love as the 
subject, we cannot but admire both the sense of humour displayed 
by the prince and the address with which our author acquitted 
himself of the task proposed. 

The idea of the Confession was no doubt taken from the . 
Roman de la Rose, where the priest of Nature, whose name is 
Genius, hears her confession ; but it must be allowed that Gower 
has made much better use of it. Nature occupies herself in ex- 
pounding the system of the universe generally, and in confessing 
at great length not her own faults but those of Man, whom she 
repents of having made. Her tone is not at all that of a penitent, 
though she may be on her knees, and Genius does little or nothing 
for her in reply except to agree rather elaborately with her view 
that, if proper precautions had been taken, Mars and Venus might 
easily have outwitted Vulcan. Gower on the other hand has made 
the Confession into a framework which will conveniently hold any 
number of stories upon every possible subject, and at the same time 
he has preserved for the most part the due propriety of character 
and situation in the two actors. By giving the scheme an apparent 
limitation to the subject of love he has not in fact necessarily 
limited the range of narrative, for there is no impropriety in 
illustrating by a tale the general nature of a vice or virtue 
before making the special application to cases which concern 
lovers, and this special application, made with all due solemnity, 
has often a character of piquancy in which the moral tale 

* Froissart, Chrou., ed. K. de Lettenhove, vol. xv. p. 167. 


pure and simple would be wanting. Add to this that the fonii 
adopted tends itself to a kind of quasi-religious treatment of the . 
subject, which was fully in accordance with the taste of the day, 
and produces much of that impression of quaintness and charm 
with which we most of us associ§Lte our first acquaintance with 
the Confessio Amantis, 

The success of the work — for a success it is in spite of its faults 
— is due to several merits. The first of these is the author's un- / 
questionable talent for story-telling. He has little of the dramatic 
power or the humour which distinguish Chaucer, but he tells his 
tales in a well-ordered and interesting manner, does not break the 
thread by digressions, never tires of the story before it is finished, 
as Chaucer does so obviously and so often, and carries his reader 
through with him successfully to the end in almost every case. 
His narrative is a clear, if shallow, stream, rippling pleasantly 
over the stones and unbroken either by dams or cataracts. The 
materials of course are not original, but Cower is by no means 
a slavish follower in detail of his authorities ; the proportions and 
arrangement of the stories are usually his own and often show 
good judgement. Moreover he not seldom gives a fresh turn to 
a well-known story, as in the instances of Jephthah and Saul, or 
makes a pretty addition to it, as is the case in some of the tales 
from Ovid. Almost the only story in which the interest really 
flags is the longest, the tale of ApoUonius of Tyre, which fills up 
so much of the eighth book and was taken as the basis of the plot 
of Pericles ; and this was in its original form so loose and rambling 
a series of incidents, that hardly any skill could have completely 
redeemed it. There is no doubt that this gift of clear and inter- 
esting narrative was the merit which ntost appealed to the popular 
taste, the wholesome appetite for stories being at that time not 
too well catered for, and that the plainness of the style was an 
advantage rather than a drawback. 

Tastes will differ of course as to the merits of the particular 
stories, but some may be selected as incontestably good. The 
tale of Mundus and Paulina in the first book is excellently told, 
and so is that of Alboin and Rosemund. The best of the second 
book are perhaps the False Bachelor and the legend of Constantine 
and Silvester, in the latter of which the author has greatly im- 
proved upon his materials. In the third book the tale of Canace 
is most pathetically rendered, far better than in Ovid, so that in 


spite of Chaucer's denunciation his devoted follower Lydgate could 
not resist the temptation of borrowing it. The fourth book, 
which altogether is of special excelfence, gives us Rosiphelee, 
Phyllis, and the very poetically told tale of Ceix and Alceone. 
The 6fth has Jason and Medea, a most admirable example of 
sustained narrative, simple and yet effective and poetical, per- 
haps on the whole Gower's best performance: also the 'oriental 
tale of Adrian and Bardus, and the well told story of Tereus 
and Philomela. In the seventh we shall find the Biblical story of 
Gideon excellently rendered, the Rape of Lucrece, and the tale of 
Virginia. These may be taken as specimens of Gower's narrative 
power at its best, and by the degree of effectiveness which he 
attains in them and the manner in which he has used his mate- 
rials, he may fairly be judged as a story-teller. 

As regards style and poetical qualities we find much that is good 
in the narratives. Force and ptcturesqueness certainly cannot be 
denied to the tale of Medea, with its description of the summer 
sea glistening in the sun, which blazes down upon the returning 
hero, and from the golden fleece by his side flashes a signal of 
success to Medea in her watch-tower, as she prays for her chosen 
knight. Still less can we refuse to recognize the poetical power 
of the later phases of the same story, first the midnight rovings of 
Medea in search of enchantments, 

* The world was stillc on every side ; 
With open hed and fot al bare, 
Hir her tosprad sche gan to fare, 
Upon hir clothes gert sche was, 
Al specheles and on the gras 
Sche glod forth as an Add re doth : 
Non otherwise sche ne goth, 
Til sche cam to the freisshe flod, 
And there a while sche withstod. 
Thries sche torned hire aboute, 
And thries ek sche gan doun loutc 
And in the flod sche wette hir her, 
And thries on the water ther 
Sche gaspeth with a drecchinge ondc, 
And tho sche tok hir speche on honde.' (v. 396a ff.)» 

and again later, when the charms are set in action, 4059 ff., 
a passage of extraordinary picturesqueness, but too long to be 
quoted here. We do not forget the debt to Ovid, but these 
descriptions are far more detailed and forcible than the original. 


For a picture of a different kind, also based upon Ovid, we 
may take the description of the tears of Lucrece for her husband, 
and the reviving beauty in her face when he appears, 

'With that the water in hire yhe 
Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe, 
And as men sen the dew bedroppe 
The leves and the floures eke, 
Riht so upon hire whyte cheke 
The wofuU salte teres felle. 
Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle 
The menynge of hire trewe herte, 
Anon with that to hire he sterte, 
And seide, " Lo, mi goode diere, 
Nou is he come to you hiere, 
That ye most loven, as ye sein." 
And sche with goodly chiere ajrein 
Beclipte him in hire amies smale, 
And the colour, which erst was pale, 
To Beaute thanne was restored, 
So that it myhte noght be mored * (viL 4830 ff.), 

a passage in which Gower, with his natural taste for simplicity, 
has again improved upon his classical authority, and may safely 
challenge comparison with Chaucer, who has followed Ovid more 

It is worth mention that Gower's descriptions of storms at sea 
are especially vivid and true, so that we are led to suppose that 
he had had more than a mere literary acquaintance with such 
things. Such for instance is the account of the shipwreck of 
the Greek fleet, iii. 981 fT., and of the tempests of which ApoUo- 
nius is more than once the victim, as viii. 604 ff., and in general 
nautical terms and metaphors, of some of which the meaning is 
not quite clear, seem to come readily from his pen. 

Next to the simple directness of narrative style which distin- 
guishes the stories themselves, we must acknowledge a certain 
V attractiveness in the setting of them. The Lover decidedly 
engages our interest: we can understand his sorrows and his 
joys, his depression when his mistress will not listen to the verses 
which he has written for her, and his delight when he hears men 
speak her praises. We can excuse his frankly confessed envy, 
malice and hatred in all matters which concern his rivals in her 
love. His feelings are described in a very natural manner, the 
hesitation and foigetfulness in her presence, and the self-reproach 


afterwards, the eagerness to do her small services, to accompany 
her to mass, to lift her into her saddle, to ride by her carriage, 
the delight of being present in her chamber, of singing to her 
or reading her the tale of Troilus, or if no better may be, of 
watching her long and slender fingei^ at work on her weaving 
or embroidery. Sometimes she will not stay with him, and then 
he plays with the dog or with the birds in the cage, and converses 
with the page of her chamber — anything as an excuse to s^y ; 
and when it grows late and he must perforce depart, he goes 
indeed, but returns with the pretence of having forgotten some- 
thing, in order that he may bid her good-night once more. He 
rises in the night and looks out of his window over the houses 
towards the chamber where she sleeps, and loses himself in 
imagination of the love-thefts which he would commit if by 
any necromancy he had the power. Yet he is not extravagantly 
romantic : he will go wherever his lady bids him, but he will 
not range the world in arms merely in order to gain renown, 
losing his lady perhaps in the meantime at home. We take his 
side when he complains of the Confessor's want of feeling for 
a pain which he does not himself experience, and his readiness to 
prescribe for a wound of the heart as if it were a sore of the heel 
Even while we smile, we compassionate the lover who is at last 
disqualified on account of age, and recommended to make 
a * beau retret ' while there is yet time. 

But there is also another character in whom we are interested, 
and that is the lady herself. Gower certainly appreciated some- 
thing of the delicacy and poetical refinement which ideal love 
requires, and this appreciation he shows also in his Balades \ but 
here we have something more than this. The figure of the lady, 
which we see constantly in the background of the dialogue, is both 
attractive and human. We recognize in her a creature of flesh 
and blood, no goddess indeed, as her lover himself observes, but 
a charming embodiment of womanly grace and refinement. She 
is surrounded by lovers, but she is wise and wary. She is cour- 
teous and gentle, but at the same time firm : she will not gladly 
swear, and therefore says nay without an oath, but it is a decisive 
nay to any who are disposed to presume. She does not neglect 
her household duties merely because a lover insists upon hanging 
about her, but leaves him to amuse himself how he may, while 
she busies herself elsewhere. If she has leisure and can sit 


down to her embroidery, he may read to her if he will, but it 
must be some sound romance, and not his own rondels, balades, 
and virelays in praise of her. Custom allows him to kiss her 
when he takes his leave, but if he comes back on any pretext 
and takes his leave again, there is not often a second kiss per- 
mitted. She lets him lead her up to the offering in church, and 
ride by her side when she drives out, but she will take no presents 
frotfi him, though with some of her younger admirers, whose 
passion she knows is a less serious matter, she is not so strict, 
but takes and gives freely. Even the description of her person 
is not offensive, as such descriptions almost always are. Her 
lover suspects that her soul may be in a perilous state, seeing 
that she has the power of saving a man's life and yet suffers him 
to die, but he admits there is no more violence in her than in 
a child of three years old, and her words are as pleasant to him 
as the winds of the South. Usurious dealing is a vice of which 
he ventures to accuse her, seeing that he has given her his whole 
heart in return for a single glance of her eye, and she holds 
to the bargain and will not give heart for heart; but then, as 
the Confessor very justly replies, * she may be such that her one 
glance is worth thy whole heart many times over,' and so he has 
sold his heart profitably, having in return much more than it 
is worth. 

However, the literary characteristic which is perhaps most 
remarkable in the Con/essio AmanHs is connected rather with 
the form of expression than with the subject-matter. No justice 
is done to Gower unless it is acknowledged that the technical 
skill which he displays in his verse and the command which 
he has over the language for his own purposes is very remarkable. 
In the ease and naturalness of his movement within the fetters 
of the octosyllabic couplet he far surpasses his contemporaries, 
including Chaucer himself. Certain inversions of order and 
irregularities of construction he allows himself, and there are 
many stop-gaps of the conventional kind in the ordinary flow 
of his narrative; but in places where the matter requires it, 
his admirable management of the verse paragraph, the metrical 
smoothness of his lines, attained without unnatural accent or 
forced order of words, and the neatness with which he expresses 
exactly what he has to say within the precise limits which he lays 
down for himself, show a finished mastery of expression which 


is surpnsing in that age of half-developed English style, and 
in a man who had trained himself rather in French and Latin 
than in English composition. Such a sentence as the following, 
for example, seems to flow from him with perfect ease, there 
is no halting in the metre, no hesitation or inversion for the sake 
of the rhyme, it expresses just what it has to express, no more 
and no less : 

'Til that the hihe king of kinges, 
Which seth and knoweth alle thinges, 
Whos yfae mai nothing asterte, — 
The privetes of mannes herte 
Thei speke and sounen in his Ere 
As thogh thei lowde wyndes were,— • 
He tok vengance upon this pride/ (i. 2803 ft) 

Or again, as an example of a more colloquial kind, 

' And if thei techen to restreigae 
Mi love, it were an ydel peine 
To lerne a thing which mai noght be. 
For lich unto the greene tree. 
If that men toke his rote aweie, 
Riht so myn herte scholde deie, 
If that mi love be withdrawe/ (iv.. 9677 flf.) 

There is nothing remarkable about the sentiment or expression 
in these passages, but they are perfectly simple and natural, and 
run into rhyming verse without disturbance of sense or accent; but 
such technical skill as we have here is extremely rare among the 
writers of the time. Chaucer had wider aims, and being an artist 
of an altogether superior kind, he attains, when at his best, to 
a higher level of achievement in versification as in other things ; 
but he is continually attempting more than he can perform, he 
often aims at the million and misses the unit. His command over 
his materials is evidently incomplete, and he has not troubled 
himself to acquire perfection of craftsmanship, knowing that other 
things are more important, 

'And that I do no diligence 
To ^ewe craft but o sentence.' 

The result is that the most experienced reader often hesitates in 
his metre and is obliged to read lines over twice or even thrice, 
before he can satisfy himself how the poet meant his words to be 
accented and what exactly was the rhythm he intended. In feet, 
instead of smoothing the way for his reader, he often deliberately 


chooses to spare himself labour by taking every advantage, fair 
or unfair, of those licences of accent and syllable suppression for 
which the unstable condition of the literary language afforded 
scope. The reader of Gower's verse is never interrupted in this 
manner except by the fault of a copyist or an editor ; and when 
we come to examine the means by which the smoothness is 
attained, we feel that we have to do with a literary craftsman 
who by laborious training has acquired an almost perfect mastery 
over his tools. The qualities of which we are speaking are 
especially visible in the more formal style of utterance which 
belongs to the speeches, letters and epitaphs in our author's tales. 
The reply of Constance to her questioner (ii. 1148 ff.) is a good 
example of the first : 

* Quod sche, ** I am 
A womman wofully bestad. 
I haddc a lord, and thus he bad, 
That I forth with my litel Sone 
Upon the wawes scholden wone, 
Bot what the cause was, I not: 
Bot he which alle thinges wot 
Yit hath, I thonke him, of his miht 
Mi child and me so kept upriht, 
That we be save bo the tuo.*" 

And as longer instances we may point to the reflexions of the 
Emperor Constantine near the end of the same book (ii. 3243 ff.), 
and the prayer of Cephalus (iv. 3197-3252). The letters of 
Canace and of Penelope are excellent, each in its own way, and 
the epitaphs of Iphis (iv. 3674 ff.) and of Thaise (viii. 1533 ff.) are 
both good examples of the simple yet finished style, e. g. 

' Hier lith, which slowh himself, Iphis, 
For love of Araxarathen : 
And in ensample of tho wommen. 
That soffren men to deie so, 
Hire forme a man mai sen also, 
Hou it is torned fleissh and bon 
Into the figure of a Ston : 
He was to neysshe and sche to hard. 
Be war forthi hicrafterward ; 
Ye men and wommen bothe tuo, 
Ensampleth you of that was tho.' (iv. 3674 ff.) 

In a word, the author's literary sphere may be a limited one, 
and his conception of excellence within that sphere may fall 


very far short of the highest standard, but such as his ideals 
are, he is able very completely to realize them. The French 
and English elements of the language, instead of still maintaining 
a wilful strife, as is so often the case in Chaucer's metre, are here 
combined in harmonious alliance. More especially we must 
recognize the fact that in Grower's English verse we have a 
consistent and for the moment a successful attempt to combine 
the French syllabic with the English accentual system of metre, 
and this without sacrificing the purity of the language as regards 
forms of words and grammatical inflexion. We shall see in our 
subsequent investigations how careful and ingenious he is in 
providing by means of elision and otherwise for the legitimate 
suppression of those weak terminations which could not find 
a place as syUables in the verse without disturbing its accentual 
flow, while at the same time the sense of their existence was not 
to be allowed to disappear. The system was too difficult and 
complicated to be possible except for a specially trained hand, 
and Gower found no successor in his enterprise ; but the fact that 
the attempt was made is at least worthy of note. 

With considerable merits both of plan and execution the Con- 
fessio Amantis has also no doubt most serious faults. The scheme 
itself, with its conception of a Confessor who as priest has to 
expound a system of morality, while as a devotee of Venus he 
is concerned only with the aflfairs of love (i. 237-280), can hardly 
be called altogether a consistent or happy one. The application 
of morality to matters of love and of love to questions of morality 
is often very forced, though it may sometimes be amusing in its 
gravity. The Confessor is continually forgetting one or the other 
of his two characters, and the moralist is found justifying unlawful 
love or the servant of Venus singing the praises of virginity. 
Moreover the author did not resist the temptation to express 
his views on society in a Prologue which is by no means 
sufficiently connected with the general scheme of the poem, 
though it is in part a protest against division and discord, that 
is to say, lack of love. Still worse is the deliberate departure 
from the general plan which we find in the seventh book, where 
on pretence of affording relief and recreation to the wearied 
penitent, the Confessor, who says that he has little or no under- 
standing except of love, is allowed to make a digression which 
embraces the whole field of human knowledge, but more 



especially deals with the duties of a king, a second political 
pamphlet in fact, in which the stories of kings ruined by lust 
or insolence, of Sardanapalus, Rehoboam, Tarquin, and the rest, 
are certainly intended to some extent as an admonition of the 
author's royal patron. The petition addressed to Rehoboam 
by his people against excessive taxation reads exactly like one 
of the English parliamentary protests of the period against the 
extravagant demands of the crown. Again, the fifth book, which 
even without this would be disproportionately long, contains an 
absolutely unnecessary account of the various religions of the 
world, standing there apparently for no reason except to show 
the author's learning, and reaching the highest pitch of grotesque 
absurdity when the Confessor occupies himself in demolishing 
the claim of Venus to be accounted a goddess, and that too 
without even the excuse of having forgotten for the moment 
that he is supposed to be her priest. Minor excrescences of the 
same kind are to be found in the third book, where the law- 
fulness of war is discussed, and in the fourth, where there is 
a dissertation on the rise of the Arts, and especially of Alchemy. 
All that can be said is that these digressions were very common 
in the books of the age — the Roman de la Rose, at least in the part 
written by Jean de Meun, is one of the worst offenders. 

Faults of detail it would be easy enough to point out The 
style is at times prosaic and the matter uninteresting, the verse 
is often eked out with such commonplace expressions and helps 
to rhyme as were used by the writers of the time, both French or 
English. Sometimes the sentences are unduly spun out or the 
words and clauses are awkwardly transposed for the sake of the 
uninterrupted smoothness of the verse. The attainment of this 
object moreover is not always an advantage, and sometimes the 
regularity of the metre and the inevitable recurrence of the rhyme 
produces a tiresome result. On the whole however the effect is 
not unpleasing, ' the ease and regularity with which the verse flows 
breathes a peaceful contentment, which communicates itself to 
the reader, and produces the same effect upon the ear as the 
monotonous but not wearisome splashing of a fountain \' More- 
over, as has already been pointed out, when the writer is at his 
best, the rhyme is kept duly in the background, and the paragraph 
is constructed quite independently of the couplet, so that this 

* B. ten Brink, G$sckithtt <i$r Engt. Litt, ii. 141. 


form of metre proves often to be a far better vehicle for the 
narrative than might have been at first supposed. 

ii. Date and Circumstances. — The Confessio Amantis in its 
earliest form bears upon the face of it the date 1390 (Prol. 331 
margin) \ and we have no reason to doubt that this was the year 
in which it was first completed. The author tells us that it was 
written at the command of King Richard II, whom he met while 
rowing on the Thames at London, and who invited him to come 
into his barge to speak with him. It is noticeable, however, that 
even this first edition has a dedication to Henry earl of Derby, 
contained in the Latin lines at the end of the poem ^ so that it 
is not quite accurate to say that the dedication was afterwards 
changed, but rather that this dedication was made more prominent 
and introduced into the text of the poem, while at the same time 
the personal reference to the king in the Prologue was suppressed. 
If the date referred to above had been observed by former editors, 
the speculations first of Pauli and then of Professor Hales, tending 
to throw back the completion of the first recension of the Confessio 
Amantis to the year 1386, or even 1383, would have been spared, 
llieir conclusions rest, moreover, on the purest guess-work. The 
former argues that the preface and the epilogue' in their first 
form date from the year 1386, because from that year the king 
(who was then nineteen years old) * developed those dangerous 
qualities which estranged from him, amongst others, the poet ' ; 
and Professor Hales {AtJunceum, Dec. 1881) contends that the 
references to the young king's qualities as a ruler, * Justice 
medled with pite,' &c. certainly point to the years immediately 
succeeding the Peasants' revolt (a time when Gower did not 
regard him as a responsible ruler at all, but excuses him for the 
evil proceedings of the government on account of his tender age) ^ 

* This date has hitherto been omitted from the text of the printed editions. 
' The last two lines, which contain the mention of the earl of Derby, are 

omitted in some MSS, of the first recension, and this may be an indication 
that the author circulated some copies without them. A full account of the 
various recensions of the poem is given later, under the head of ' Text.* 

' The term * epilogue * is used for convenience to designate the conclusion 
of the poem after viii. 2940, but no such designation is used by the author : 
similarly ' preface * means here the opening passage of the Prologue 
(II. 1-93). 

* ' Minoris etatis causa inde excusabilem pronuncians.' 


that the reference to Richard's desire to estaWish peace (viii. 
3014* fT.) must belong to the period of the negotiations with the 
French and the subsequent truce, 1383-84, though Professor 
Hales is himself quite aware that negotiations for peace were 
proceeding also in 1389, and finally that the mention of *the 
newe guise of Beawme' must indicate the very year succeeding 
the king's marriage to Anne of Bohemia in 1382, whereas in fact 
the Bohemian fashions would no doubt continue to prevail at 
court, and still be accounted new, throughout the queen's lifetime. 
It is on such grounds as these that we are told that the Ctmfessio 
Amantis in its first form cannot have been written later than the 
year 1385 and was probably as early as 1383. 

All such conjectures are destroyed by the fact that the manu- 
scripts of the first recension bear the date 1390 &t the place cited, 
and though this does not absolutely exclude a later date for the 
completion of the book, it is decisive against an earlier one. 
Moreover, the fact that in the final recension this date is omitted 
(and deliberately omitted, as we know from the erasure in the 
Fairfax MS.) points to the conclusion that it is to be regarded 
definitely as a date of publication, and therefore was inappropriate 
for a later edition. . 

This conclusion agrees entirely with the other indications, and 
they are sufficiently precise, though the fact that one of these also 
has unluckily escaped the notice of the editors has caused it to 
be generally overlooked '. 

The form of epilogue which was substituted for that of the first 
recension, and in which the over-sanguine praise of Richard as 
a ruler is cancelled, bears in the margin the date of the fourteenth 
year of his reign j[viii. 2973 margin), * Hie in anno quarto decimo 
Regis Ricardi orat pro statu regni,' &c. Now the fourteenth year 
of King Richard II was from June 21, 1390, to the same day of 
1 39 1. We must therefore suppose that the change in this part of 
the book took place, in some copies at least, within a few months 
of its first completion. 

Thirdly, we have an equally precise date for the alteration in the 
Prologue, by which all except a formal mention of Richard II is 

* Dr. Karl Meyer, in his dissertation John Gowtt^s BeMtehungen gu Chaucer 
und Kdnig Richard II (1889), takes account of these various notes of time, 
having made himself to some extent acquainted with the MSS., but his 
conclusions are in my opinion untenable. 


excluded, while the dedication to Henry of Lancaster is introduced 
into the text of the poem ; and here the time indicated is the 
sixteenth year of King Richard (Prol. 25), a date which appears 
also in the margin of some copies here and at L 97, so that we 
may assume that this final change of form took place in the year 
1392-93, that is, not later than June 1393. 

Having thus every step dated for us by the author, we may, 
if we think it worth while, proceed to conjecture what were the 
political events which suggested his action ; but in such a case as 
this it is evidently preposterous to argue first from the political 
conditions, of which as they personally affected our author and 
his friends we can only be very imperfectly informed, and then to 
endeavour to force the given dates into accordance with our own 
conclusions \ 

It will be observed from the above dates that we are led to 
infer two stages of alteration, and the expectation is raised of 
finding the poem in some copies with the epilogue rewritten but 
the preface left in its original state. This expectation is fulfilled. 
The Bodley MS. 294 gives a text of this kind, and it is certain 
that there were others of the same form, for Berthelette used for 
his edition a manuscript of this kind, which was not identical 
with that which we have. 

In discussing the import of the various changes introduced by 
the author it is of some importance to bear in mind the fact 
already mentioned that even the first issue of the Confessio 
Amaniis had a kind of dedication to Henry of Lancaster in the 
I-atin lines with which it concluded, 

* Derbcie comiti, recolunt quern laude periti, 
Vade liber purus sub eo requicsce futurus.' 

This seems rather to dispose of the idea that a dedication to Henry 
would be inconsistent with loyalty to Richard, a suggestion which 
would hardly have been made in the year 1390, or even 1393. 

* This has been equally the procedure of Prof. Hales on the one hand, 
who endeavours to throw back the composition of the first recension to an 
extravagantly early period, and of Dr. Karl Meyer on the other, who wishes 
to bring down the final form of the book to a time later than the deposition 
of Richard II. The theory of the latter, that the sixteenth year of 
King Richard is given as the date of the original completion of the poem, 
and not of the revised preface, is suflBciently refuted by the date ' fourteenth 
year * attached to the rewritten epilogue. 


No doubt those copies which contained in the preface the state- 
ment that the book was written at the command of the king and 
for his sake, and in the epilogue the presentation of the completed 
book to him (3050* ff.), if they had also appended to them the 
Latin lines which commend the work to the earl of Derby, may 
be said to have contained in a certain sense a double dedication, 
the compliment being divided between the king and his brilliant 
cousin, and very probably a copy which was intended for the 
court would be without the concluding lines, as we find to be 
the case with some manuscripts ; but the suggestion that the ex- 
pressions of loyalty and the praises of Richard as a ruler which we 
find in the first qjilogue are properly to be called inconsistent with 
a dedication of the poem to Henry of Lancaster, his cousin and 
counsellor, is plausible only in the light of later events, which could 
not be foreseen by the poet, in the course of which Henry 
became definitely the opponent of Richard and finally took the 
lead in deposing him. It is true that the earl of Derby had been 
one of the lords appellant in 1387, but after the king's favourites 
had been set aside, he was for the time reconciled to Richard, 
and he could not in any sense be regarded as the leader of an 
opposition party. That Cower, when he became disgusted with 
Richard II, should have set Henry's name in the Prologue in 
place of that of the king, as representing his ideal of knighthood 
and statesmanship, may be regarded either as a coincidence 
with the future events, or as indicating that Gower had some 
discrimination in selecting a possible saviour of society; but it is 
certain that at this time the poet can have had no definite idea 
that his hero would become a candidate for the throne. 

The political circumstances of the period during which the 
Confessio Amantis was written and revised are not very easy to 
disentangle. We may take it as probable that the plan of its 
composition, under the combined influence of Chaucer's Legend of 
Good Women^ and of the royal command, may have been laid 
about the year 1386. Before this time Richard would scarcely 
have been regarded by Cower as responsible for the government, 
and he would naturally look hopefully upon the young sovereign, 
then just entering upon his duties, as one who with proper admo- 
nition and due choice of advisers might turn out to be a good 

^ For the connexion between this and the Conftsao Amaniis see L. Bech 
in Anglia, v. 313 ff. 


ruler. During the succeeding years the evil counsellors of the 
king were removed by the action of the lords appellant and the 
Parliament, and in the year 1389 a moderate and national policy 
seemed to have been finally adopted by the king, with William of 
Wykeham as Chancellor and the young earl of Derby, who had 
been one of the appellants but had quarrelled with his uncle 
Gloucester, among the king's trusted advisers. By the light of 
subsequent events Gower condemned the whole behaviour of the 
king during this period as malicious and treacherous, but this 
could hardly have been his judgement of it at the time, for 
Richard's dissimulation, if dissimulation it were, was deep enough 
to deceive all parties. Consequently, up to the year 1390 at 
least, he may have continued, though with some misgivings, to 
trust in the king's good intentions and to regard him as a ruler who 
might effectually heal the divisions of the land, as he had already 
taken steps to restore peace to it outwardly. It is quite possible 
also that something may have come to his knowledge in the course 
of the year 1390-91 which shook his faith. It was at this time, in 
July 1390, just at the beginning of the fourteenth year of King 
Richard, that his hero the earl of Derby left the court and the 
kingdom to exercise his chivalry in Prussia, and for this there may 
have been a good reason. We know too little in detail of the 
events of the year to be able to say exactly what causes of jealousy 
may have arisen between the king and his cousin, who was nearly 
exactly of an age with him and seems to have attracted much 
more attention than Richard himself at the jousts of St. Ingle- 
vert in May of this year. Whatever feeling there may have been 
on the side of the earl of Derby would doubtless reflect itself in 
the minds of his friends and supporters, and something of this 
kind may have deepened into certitude the suspicions which 
Gower no doubt already had in his heart of the ultimate inten- 
tions of Richard II. The result was that in some copies at least 
of the Con/essio Amaniis the concluding praises of the king as 
a ruler were removed and lines of a more general character on the 
state of the kingdom and the duties of a king were substituted, 
but still there was no mention of the earl of Derby except as 
before in the final I^tin lines. Two years later, 1392-93, when 
the earl of Derby had fairly won his spurs and at the age of 
twenty-five might be regarded as a model of chivalry, the 
mention of Richard as the suggester of the work was removed. 


and the name of Henry set in the text as the sole object of the 

The date sixteenth year must certainly be that of this last 
change, but the occasion doubtless was the sending of a pre- 
sentation copy to Henry, and this would hardly amount to 
publication. The author probably did not feel called upon 
publicly to affront the king by removing his name and praises, 
either at the beginning or the end, from the copies generally 
issued during his reign. Whether or not this conduct justifies 
the charge of time-serving timidity, which has been made against 
Gower, I cannot undertake to decide. He was, however, in fact 
rather of an opposite character, even pedantically stiff in passing 
judgement severely on those in high places, and not bating 
a syllable of what he thought proper for himself to say or for 
a king to hear, though while the king was young and might yet 
shake himself free from evil influences he was willing to take 
as favourable a view of his character as possible. Probably he 
was for some time rather in two minds about the matter, but in 
any case 'timid and obsequious' are hardly the right epithets 
for the author of the Vox Clamantis, 

Before leaving this subject something should perhaps be said 
upon a matter which has attracted no little attention, namely the 
supposed quarrel between the author of the Confessio Amantis and 
Chaucer. It is well known that the first recension of our poem has 
a passage referring to Chaucer in terms of eulogy (viii. 294i*-S7*), 
and that this was omitted when the epilogue was rewritten. This 
fact has been brought into connexion with the apparent reference 
to Gower in the Canterbury Tales ^ where the Man of Law in the 
preamble to his tale disclaims on Chaucer's behalf such * cursed 
stories ' as those of Canace and ApoUonius, because they treat of 
incest. It has been thought that this was meant for a serious 
attack on Gower, and that he took offence at it and erased the 
praise of Chaucer from the Confessio Amantis. 

It is known of course that the two poets were on personally 
friendly terms, not only from the dedication of Troilus^ but from 
the fact that when Chaucer was sent on a mission to the Continent 
i" ^378, he appointed Gower one of his attorneys in his absence. 
It is possible that their friendship was interrupted by a misunder- 
standing, but it may be doubted whether there is sufficient proof 
of this in the facts which have been brought forward. 


In the first place I question whether Chaucer's censure is to be 
taken very seriously. That it refers to Gower I have little doubt, 
but that the attack was a humorous one is almost equally clear. 
Chaucer was aware that some of his own tales were open to 
objection on the score of morality, and when he saw a chance of 
scoring a point on the very ground where his friend thought him- 
self strongest, he seized it with readiness. Some degree of serious- 
ness there probably is, for Chaucer's sound and healthy view 
of life instinctively rejected the rather morbid horrors to which he 
refers ; but it may easily be suspected that he was chiefly amused 
by the opportunity of publicly lecturing the moralist, who perhaps 
had privately remonstrated with him '. As to the notion that 
Chaucer had been seriously offended by the occasional and very 
trifling resemblances of phrase in Gower's tale of Constance with 
his own version of the same original, it is hardly worth discussion. 

There is of course the possibility that Gower may have taken 
it more seriously than it was meant, and though he was not quite 
so devoid of a sense of humour as it has been the fashion to 
suppose ', yet he may well have failed to enjoy a public attack, 
however humorous, upon two of his tales. It must be observed, 
however, that if we suppose the passage in question to have been 
the cause of the excision of Gower's lines about Chaucer, we must 
assume that the publication of it took place precisely within this 
period of a few months which elapsed between the first and the 
second versions of Gower's epilogue. 

Before further considering the question as to what was actually 
our author's motive in omitting the tribute to his brother poet, 
we should do well to observe that this tribute was apparently 
allowed to stand in some copies of the rewritten epilogue. There 
is one good manuscript, that in the possession of Lord Middleton, 

' Lydgate apparently did not take Chaucer's censure very seriously, for 
he quite needlessly introduced the tale of Canace into his Falls of Princes, 
following Gower's rendering of it. 

' See for example the picture of Nebuchadnezzar transformed into an ox, 
* Tho thoghte him colde grases goode/ «&c. (i. 3976 ff.), the account of the 
jealous husband, who after charging his wife quite unreasonably with 
wishing she had another there in his stead, turns away from her in bed and 
leaves her to weep all the night, while he sleeps (v. 545 ff.)» and the 
description of the man who entertains his wife so cheerfully on his return 
home with tales of the good sport that he has had, but carefully avoids 
all reference to the occurrence which would have interested her most 
>. 6ii9ff.). 


in which the verses about Chaucer not only stand in combination 
with the new form of epilogue, but in a text which has also the 
revised preface, dated two years later \ Hence it seems possible 
that the exclusion of the Chaucer verses was rather accidental 
than deliberate, and from this and other considerations an explana- 
tion may be derived which will probably seem too trivial, but 
nevertheless is perhaps the true one. We know from the Fairfax 
MS. of the Confessio Amaniis and from several original copies 
of the Vox Clamantis that the author's method of rewriting his 
text was usually to erase a certain portion, sometimes a whole 
column or page, and substitute a similar number of hnes of other 
matter. It will be observed here that for the thirty lines 2941*- 
2970*, including the reference to Chaucer, are substituted thirty 
Hnes from which that reference is excluded. After this come four 
I^tin lines replacing an equal number in the original recension, 
and then follow fifteen lines, 2971-2985, which are the same 
except a single line in the two editions. It may be that the 
author, wishing to mention the departure of the Confessor and 
the thoughts which he had upon his homeward way, sacrificed 
the Chaucer verses as an irrelevance, in order to find room 
for this matter between the Adieu of Venus and the lines 
beginning *He which wilhinne daies sevene,' which he did 
not intend to alter, and that this proceeding, carried out upon 
a copy of the first recension which has not come down to us, 
determined the general form of the text for the copies with 
epilogue rewritten, though in a few instances care was taken 
to combine the allusion to Chaucer with the other alterations. 
Such an explanation as this would be in accord with the methods 
of the author in some other respects ; for, as we shall see later on, 
the most probable explanation of the omission in the third 
recension of the additional passages in the fifth and seventh 
books, is that a first recension copy was used in a material 
sense as a basis for the third recension text, and it was therefore 
not convenient to introduce alterations which increased the 
number of lines in the body of the work. 

* The reading in the Latin note at the beginning of 'quarto (dccimo)* for 
' sexto decimo * is probably due to a mistake, for we find < sextenthe ' in the 
text of 1. 95. It may be noted that the MS. mentioned by Pauli as con- 
taining the rewritten preface and also the Chaucer verses (New Coll. 326) 
is a hybrid, copied from two different manuscripts. 


iii. Analysis. 


1-92. Preface. By the books of those that were before us we are 
instructed, and therefore it is good that we also should write something 
which may remain after our days. But to write of wisdom only is not 
good. I would rather go by the middle path and make a book of 
pleasure and profit both : and since few write in English, my meaning 
is to make a book * for England's sake now in the sixteenth year of 
King Richard. Things have changed and books are less beloved than 
in former days, but without them the fame and the example of the 
virtuous would be lost. Thus I, simple scholar as I am, purpose to 
write a book touching both upon the past and the present, and though 
I have long been sick, yet I will endeavour as I may to provide wisdom 
for the wise. For this prologue belongs all to wisdom, and by it the 
wise may recall to their memory the fortunes of the world ; but after 
the prologue the book shall be of Love, which does great wonders 
among men. Also I shall speak of the vices and virtues of rulers. 
But as my wit is too small to admonish every man, I submit my work 
for correction to my own lord Henry of Lancaster, with whom my heart 
is in accord, and whom God has proclaimed the model of knighthood. 
God grant I may well achieve the work which I have taken in hand. 

93-192. Temporal Rulers. In the time past things went well : 
there was plenty and riches, with honour for noble deeds, and each 
estate kept its due place. Justice was upheld and the people obeyed 
their rulers. . Man's heart was then shown in his face and his thought 
expressed by his words, virtue was exalted and vice abased. Now all 
is changed, and above all discord and hatred have taken the place 
of love, there is no stable peace, no justice and righteousness. All 

• for King Richard's sake, to whom my allegiance belongs and for 
whom I pray. It chanced that as I rowed in a boat on the flowing 
Thames under the town of New Troy, I met my liege lord, and he bad 
me come from my boat into his barge, and there he laid upon me a 
charge to write some new thing which h^ himself might read. Thus I 
am the more glad to write, and I have the less fear of envious blame. 
A gentle heart praises without malice, but the world is full of evil 
tongues and my king's command shall nevertheless be fulfilled. 
Though I have long been sick, yet I will endeavour to write a 
book which may be wisdom to the wise and play to those who 
desire to play. But the proverb says that a good beginning makes 
a good end : therefore I will here begin the prologue of my book, 
speaking partly of the former state of the world and partly of the 


kingdoms are alike in this, and heaven alone knows what is to be done. 
The sole remedy is that those who are the world's guides should follow 
good counsel and should be obeyed by their people ; and if king and 
council were at one, it might be hoped that the war would be brought 
to an end, which is so much against the peace of Christ's religion and 
from which no land gets any good. May God, who is above all things, 
give that peace of which the lands have need. 

193-498. The Church. Formerly the life of the clergy was an 
example to all, there was no simony, no disputes in the Church, no 
ambition for worldly honour. Pride was held a vice and humility 
a virtue. Alms were given to the poor and the clergy gave themselves 
to preaching and to prayer. Thus Christ's faith was first taught, but 
now it is otherwise. Simony and worldly strife prevail ; and if priests 
take part in wars, I know not who shall make the peace. But heaven 
is far and the world is near, and they regard nothing but vainglory 
and covetousness, so that the tithe goes at once to the war, as though 
Christ could not do them right by other ways. That which should 
bring salvation to the world is now the cause of evil : the prelates are 
such as Gregory wrote of, who desire a charge in order that they may 
grow rich and great, and the faith is hindered thereby. Ambition and 
avarice have destroyed charity ; Sloth is their librarian and delicacy has 
put away their abstinence. Moreover Envy everywhere bums in the 
clergy like the fire of Etna, as we may see now [in this year of grace 
1 390] at Avignon. To see the Church thus fall between two stools is 
a cause of sorrow to us all : God grant that it may go well at last with 
him who has the truth. But as a fire spreads while men are slothfully 
drinking, so this schism causes the new sect of Lollardy to spring up, 
and many another heresy among the clergy themselves. It were better 
to dike and delve and have the true faith, than to know all that the 
Bible says and err as sgme of these do. If men had before their eyes 
the virtues which Christ taught, they would not thus dispute about the 
Papacy. Each one attends to his own profit, but none to the general 
cause of the Church, and thus Christ's fold is broken and the flock 
is devoured. The shepherds, intent upon worldly good, wound instead 
of healing, and rob the sheep unjustly of their wool Nay, they drive 
them among the brambles, so that they may have the wool which the 
thorns tear off. If the wolf comes in the way, their staff is not at hand 
to defend the sheep, but they are ready enough to smite the sheep with 
it, if they offend ever so little. There are some indeed in whom virtue 
dwells, whom God has called as Aaron was called, but most follow 
Simon at the heels, whose chariot rolls upon wheels of covetousness 
and pride. They teach how good it is to clothe and feed the poor, yet 
of their own goods they do not distribute. They say that chastity 
should be preserved by abstinence, but they eat daintily and lie softly, 
and whether they preserve their chastity thereby, I dare not say : 


I hear tales, but I will not understand. Yet the vice of the evil-doers 
is no reproof to the good, for every man shall bear his own works. 

499-584. The Commons. As for the people, it is to be feared that 
that may happen which has already come to pass in sundry lands, that 
they may break the bounds and overflow in a ruinous flood. Everywhere 
there is lack of law and growth of error ; all say that this world has 
gone wrong, and every one gives his judgement as to the cause ; but he 
who looks inwards upon himself will be ready to excuse his God, in 
whom there is no default. The cause of evil is in ourselves. Some 
say it is fortune and some the planets, but in truth all depends upon 
man. No estate is secure, the fortune of it goes now up, now down, 
and all this is in consequence of man's doings. In the Bible I And 
a tale which teaches that division is the chief cause why things may 
not endure, and that man himself is to blame for the changes which 
have overthrown kingdoms. 

585-662. Nabugodonosor in a dream saw an image with the head 
and neck of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of 
brass, the legs of steel, and the feet of mixed steel and clay. On the 
feet of this image fell a great stone which rolled down from a hill, and 
the image was destroyed. Daniel expounded this of the successive 
kingdoms of the world. 

663-880. These were the Four Monarchies, of Babylon, of Persia, 
of the Greeks, and of the Romans. We are now in the last age, that 
of dissension and division, as shown by the state of the Empire and 
the Papacy. This is that which was designated by the feet of the 

881-1088. We are near to the end of the world, as the apostle tells us. 
The world stands now divided like the feet of the image. Wars are 
general, and yet the clergy preach that charity is the foundation of all 
good deeds. Man is the cause of all the evil, and therefore the image 
bore the likeness of a man. The heavenly bodies, the air and the 
earth sufler change and corruption through the sin of man, who is in 
himself a little world. When he is disordered in himself, the elements 
are all at strife with him and with each other. Division is the cause of 
destruction. So it is with man, who has within him diverse principles 
which are at strife with one another, and in whom also there is a fatal 
division between the body and the soul, which led to the fall from 
a state of innocence. The confusion of tongues at the building of the 
tower of Babel was a further cause of division, and at last all peace 
and charity shall depart, and the stone shall fall. Thenceforward 
every man shall dwell either in heaven, where all is peace, or in hell, 
which is full of discord. 

Would God that there were in these days any who could set peace 
on the earth, as Arion once by harping brought beasts and men into 
accord. But this is a matter which only God can direct. 


Lib. I. 

1-92. I cannot stretch my hand to heaven and set in order the 
world : so great a task is more than I am able to compass : I must let 
that alone and treat of other things. Therefore I think to change 
from this time forth the style of my writings, and to speak of a matter 
with which all the world has to do, and that is Love ; wherein almost all 
are out of rule and measure, for no man is able to resist it or to find 
a remedy for it. If there be anything in this world which is governed 
blindly by fortune, it is love : this is a game in which no man knows 
whether he shall win or lose. I am myself one who belongs to this 
school, and I will tell what befel me not long since in regard to love, 
that others may take example thereby. 

93-202. I fared forth to walk in the month of May, when every bird 
has chosen his mate and rejoices over the love which he has achieved ; 
but I was further off from mine than earth is from heaven. So to the 
wood I went, not to sing with the birds, but to weep and lament ; and 
after a time I fell to the ground and wished for death. Then I looked up 
to the heaven and prayed the god and the goddess of love to show me 
some grace. Anon I saw them ; and he, the king of love, passed me 
by with angry look and cast at me a fiery lance, which pierced through 
my heart. But the queen remained, and asked me who I was, and 
bade me make known my malady. I told her that I had served her 
long and asked only my due wage, but she frowned and said that 
there were many pretenders, who in truth had done no service, and 
bade me tell the truth and show forth all my sickness. 'That can 
I well do,' I replied, *if my life may last long enough.' Then she 
looked upon me and said, * My will is first that thou confess thyself to 
my priest.' And with that she called Genius, her priest, and he came 
forth and sat down to hear my shrift. 

203-288. This worthy priest bade me tell what I had felt for love's 
sake, both the joy and the sorrow ; and I fell down devoutly on my 
knees and prayed him to question me from point to point, lest I should 
forget thingfs which concerned my shrift, for my heart was disturbed so 
that I could not myself direct my wits. He replied that he was there 
to hear my confession and to question me: but he would not only 
speak of love ; for by his office of priest he was bound to set forth the 
moral vices. Yet he would show also the properties of Love, for he 
was retained in the service of Venus and knew little of other things. 
His purpose was to expound the nature of every vice, as it became 
a priest to do, and so to apply his teaching to the matter of love that 
I should plainly understand his lore. 

289-574. Sins of Seeing and Hearing. I prayed him to say 
his will, and I would obey, and he bade me confess as touching my five 
senses, which are the gates through which things come into the heart, 


and first of the principal and most perilous, the sense of sight. Many 
a man has done mischief to love through seeing, and often the fiery 
dart of love pierces the heart through the eye. (289-332.) 

Ovid tells a tale of the evils of 'mislook/ how Acteon when hunting 
came upon Diana and her nymphs bathing, and because he did not 
turn away his eyes, he was changed into a hart and torn to pieces by 
his own hounds. (333-378.) 

Again, the Gorgons were three sisters, who had but one eye between 
them, which they passed one to another, and if any man looked upon 
them he was straightway turned into a stone. These were all killed 
by Perseus, to whom Pallas lent a shield with which he covered his 
face, and Mercury a sword with which he slew the monsters. (389- 


My priest therefore bade me beware of misusing my sight, lest 

I also should be turned to stone ; and further he warned me to take 

good heed of my hearing, for many a vanity comes to man's heart 

through the ears. (436-462.) 

There is a serpent called Asfndis^ which has a precious stone in his 
head, but when a man tries to overcome him by charms in order to win 
this stone, he refuses to hear the enchantment, laying one car close to 
the earth and stopping the other with his tail.. (463-480.) 

Moreover, in the tale of Troy we read of Sirens , who are in the form 
of women above and of fishes below, and these sing so sweetly, that the 
sailors who pass are enchanted by it and cannot steer their ships : so 
they are wrecked and torn to pieces by the monsters. U luxes, however, 
escaped this peril by stopping the ears of his company, and then they 
slew many of them. (481-529.) 

From these examples (he said) I might learn how to keep the eye 
and the ear from folly, and if I could control these two, the rest of the 
senses were easy to rule. (530-549.) 

I made my confession then, and said that as for my eyes 1 had 
indeed cast them upon the Gorgon Medusa, and my heart had been 
changed into stone, upon which my lady had graven an eternal mark 
of love. Moreover, I was guilty also as regards my ear ; for when 
I heard my lady speak, my reason lost all rule, and I did not do as 
U luxes did, but fell at once in the place where she was, and was tora 
to pieces in my thought. (550-567.) 

God amend thee, my son, he said. I will ask now no more of thy 
senses, but of other things. (568-574.) 

The Seven deadly Vices.— Pride. 

575-1234. Hypocrisy. Pride, the first of the seven deadly Vices, 
has five ministers, of whom the first is called Hypocrisy. Hast thou 
been of his company, my son ? 

I know not, father, what hypocrisy means. I beseech you to teach 
me and I will confess. (575-593.) 


A hypocrite is one who feigns innocence without, but is not so 
within. Such are many of those who belong to the religious orders, with 
some of those who occupy the high places of the Church, and others 
also who pretend to piety, while all their design is to increase their 
worldly wealth. (594-672.) 

There are lovers also of this kind, who deceive by flattery and 
soft speech, and who pretend to be suffering sickness for love, but are 
ready always to beguile the woman who trusts them. Art thou one of 
these, my son ? 

Nay, father, for I have no need to feign : my heart is always more 
sick than my visage, and I am more humble towards my lady within 
than any outward sig^n can show. I will not say but that I may have 
been guilty towards others in my youth ; but there is one towards whom 
my word has ever been sincere. 

It is well, my son, to tell the truth always towards love ; for if thou 
deceive and win thereby, thou wilt surely repent it afterwards, as a tale 
whicli I will tell may show. (672-760.) 

Mundus and Paulina, At Rome, in the time of Tiberius, a worthy 
lady Pauline was deceived by Mundus, who bribed the priests of Isis 
and induced them to bring her to the temple at night on pretence of 
meeting the god Anubus. Mundus concealed himself in the temple 
and personated the god. Meeting her on her way home he let her 
understand the case, and she, overcome with grief and shame, reported 
the matter to her husband. The priests were put to death, Mundus 
was sent into exile, and the image of Isis was thrown into the Tiber. 

The Trojan Horse, Again, to take a case of the evil wrought by 
Hypocrisy in other matters, we read how, when the Greeks could not 
capture Troy, they made a horse of brass and secretly agreeing with 
Antenor and Eneas they concluded a feigned peace with the Trojans 
and desired to bring this horse as an offering to Minerva into the city. 
The gates were too small to admit it, and so the wall was broken 
down, and the horse being brought in was offered as an evidence of 
everlasting peace with Troy. The Greeks then departed to their ships, 
as if to set sail, but landed again in the night on a signal from Sinon. 
They came up through the broken gate, and slew those within, and 
burnt the city. ( 1060-1 1 89.) 

Thus often in love, when a man seems most true, he is most false, 
and for a time such lovers speed, but afterwards they suffer punishment. 
Therefore eschew Hypocrisy in love, (i 190-1234.) 

1235-1875. Inobedience. The second point of Pride is Inobe- 
dicnce, which bows before no law, whether of God or man. Art thou, 
my son, disobedient to love ? 

Nay, father, except when my lady bids me forbear to speak of my 
love, or again when she bids me choose a new mistress. She might 


as well say, * Go, take the Moon down from its place in heaven,' as bid 
me remove her love out of my breast. Thus far I disobey, but in no 
other thing. (1235-1342.) 

There are two attendants, my son, on this \nce, called Murmur and 
Comflatntf which grudge at all the fortune that betides, be it good or 
bad. And so among lovers there are those who will not faithfully 
submit to love, but complain of their fortune, if they fail of anything 
that they desire. 

My father, I confess that at times I am guilty of this, when my lady 
frowns upon me, but 1 dare not say a word to her which might displease 
her. I murmur and am disobedient in my heart, and so far I confess 
that I am * unbuxom.' 

I counsel thee, my son, to be obedient always to love's best, for 
obedience often avails where strength may do nothing; and of this 
I remember an example written in a chronicle. (1343- 1406.) 

There was a knight, nephew to the emperor, by name Florent^ 
chivalrous and amorous, who seeking adventures was taken prisoner 
by enemies. He had slain the son of the captain of the castle to 
which he was led ; and they desired to take vengeance on him, but feared 
the emperor. An old and cunning dame, grandmother ta the slain 
man, proposed a condition. He should be allowed to go, on promise 
of returning within a certain time, and then he should suffer death 
unless he could answer rightly the question, ' What do all women most 
desire?' He gave his pledge, and sought everywhere an answer to 
the question, but without success. When the day approached, he set 
out ; and as he passed through a forest, he saw a loathly hag sitting 
under a tree. She offered to save him if he would take her as his wife. 
He refused at first, but then seeing no other way, he accepted, on the 
condition that he should try all other answers first, and if they might 
save him he should be free. She told him that what all women most 
desire is to be sovereign of man's love. He saved himself by this 
answer, and returned to find her, being above all things ashamed to 
break his troth. Foul as she was, he respected her womanhood, and 
set her upon his horse before him. He reached home, journeying by 
night and hiding himself by day, and they were wedded in the night, 
she in her fine clothes looking fouler than before. When they were in 
bed, he turned away from her, but she claimed his bond; and he 
turning towards her saw a young lady of matchless beauty by his side. 
She stayed him till he should make his choice, whether he would have 
her thus by night or by day ; and he, despairing of an answer, left it to 
her to decide. By thus making her his sovereign, he had broken the 
charm which bound her. She was the king*s daughter of Sicily, and 
had been transformed by her stepmother, till she should win the love 
and sovereignty of a peerless knight. Thus obedience may give a man 
good fortune in love. (1407-1 861.) 

c 2 


Know then, my son, that thou musi ever obey thy love and follow 
her will. 

By this example, my father, I shall the better keep my observance in 
love. Tell me now if there be any other point of Pride. (1862-1882,! 

1883-3383. SURQUIDBY or PRESUMPTION holds the third place id 
the court of Pride. He does everything by guess and often repenu 
afterwards : he will follow no counsel but his own, depends only on hit 
own wit, and will not even return thanks to God. 

When he is a lover, he thinks himself worthy to love any queen, and 
he often imagines that he is loved when he is not. Tell me, what of 
this, my son ! 

I trow there is no man less guilty here than I, or who thinks himself 
less worthy. Love is free to aJl men and hides in the heart unseen, 
but I shall not for that imagine that I am worthy to love. I confess, 
however, that 1 have allowed myself to think that I was beloved when 
I was not, and thus 1 have been guilty. But if ye would tell me a. tale 
against this vice, I should fare the belter. (1883-1976.) 

My son, the proud knight Capaiieiis trusted so in himself that he 
would not pray to the gods, and said that prayer was begottea only of 
cowardice. But on a day, when he assailed the city of Thebes, Cod 
took arms against his pride and smot 
Thus when a man thinks himself moi 
lion. (i97?-zoo9.) 

Again, when a man thinks that he 
forgets his own, evil often comes to him, as in the tale which follows. 

The Trump pf Death. There was a king of Hungary, who went forth 
with his court in the month of May, and meeting two pilgrims of greai 
age, alighted from his car and kissed their hands and feet, giving them 
alms also. The lords of the land were displeased that the king should 
thus abase his royalty, and among them chiefly the king's brother, 
who said that he would rebuke the king for his deed. When they 
were relumed, the brother spoke to ihe king, and said he must excuse 
himself to his lords. He answered courteously and they went to 

Now there was ordained by Ihe law a certain trumpet of brass, which 
was called the Trump of Death: and when any lord should be put to 
death, this was sounded before his gale. The king then on that Dight 
sent Ihe man who had this office, to blow the trumpet at his brother's 
gate. Hearing the sound he knew that he must die, and called his 
friends together, who advised that he with his wife and his five 
children should go in all humility to entreat the king's pardon. So 
they went lamenting through ihe ciiy and came to the court. Men 
told the king how it whs, and he coming forth blamed his brother 
because he had been so moved by a mere human sentence of death, 
which might be revoked. ' Thou canst not now marvel,' he said, ' at 

o dust with a thunderbolt, 
it strong, he is nearest to destnic- 

n judge the faults of others and 


that which I did: for I saw in the pilgrims the image of my own 
death, as appointed by God's ordinance, and to this law I did 
obeisance ; for compared to this all other laws are as nothing. There- 
fore, my brother, fear God with all thine heart, for all shall die and be 
equal in his sight.' Thus the king admonished his brother and forgave 
him. (2010-2253.) 

I beseech you, father, to tell me some example of this in the cause of 

My son, in love as well as in other things this vice should be eschewed, 
as a tale shows which Ovid told. 

There was one Narcissus^ who had such pride that he thought no 
woman worthy of him. On a day he went to hunt in the forest, and 
being hot and thirsty lay down to drink from a spring. There he saw 
the image of his face in the water and thought it was a nymph. Love 
for her came upon him and he in vain entreated her to come out to 
him : at length in despair he smote himself against a rock till he was 
dead. The nymphs of the springs and of the woods in pity buried his 
body, and from it there sprang flowers which bloom in the winter, 
against the course of nature, as his folly was. (2254-2366.) 

My father, 1 shall ever avoid this vice. I would my lady were as 
humble towards me as I am towards her. Ask me therefore further, 
if there be ought else. 

God forgive thee, my son, if thou have sinned in this : but there is 
moreover another vice of Pride which cannot rule his tongue, and tJiis 
also is an evil. (2367-2398.) 

2399-2680. AVANTANCE. This vice turns praise into blame by loud 
proclaiming of his own merit ; and so some lovers do. Tell me then if 
thou hast ever received a favour in love and boasted of it afterwards. 

Nay, father, for I never received any favour of which I could boast. 
Ask further then, for here I am not guilty. 

That is well, my son, but know that love hates this vice above all 
others, as thou mayest learn by an example. (2399-2458.) 

Alboin and Rosemund. Albinus was king of the Lombards, and he 
in war with the Geptes killed their king Gurmond in battle, and made 
a cup of his skull. Also he took Gurmond*s daughter Rosemund as 
his wife. When the wars were over, he made a great feast, that his 
queen might make acquaintance with the lords of his kingdom ; and at 
the banquet his pride arose, and he sent for this cup, which was richly set 
in gold and gems, and bade his wife drink of it, saying, * Drink with 
thy fiather.* She, not knowing what cup it was, took it and drank ; and 
then the king told how he had won it by his victory, and had won also 
his wife's love, who had thus drunk of the skull. She said nothing, but 
thought of the unkindness of her lord in thus boasting, as he sat by 
her side, that he had killed her father and made a cup of his skull. 
Then after the feast she planned vengeance with Glodeside her maid. 


A knight named Helmege, the king's butler, loved Glodesidc To 
him the queen gave herself in place of her maid, and then making 
herself known, she compelled him to help her. They slew Albinus, but 
were themselves compelled to flee, taking refuge with the Duke of 
Ravenna, who afterwards caused them to be put to death by poison. 

It is good therefore that a man hide his own praise, both in other 
things and also in love, or else he may fail of his purpose. 

2681-3066. Vain Glory thinks of this world only and delights m 
new things. He will change his guise like a chameleon. He will 
make carols, balades, roundels and virelays, and if he gets any advan- 
tage in love, he rejoices over it so that he forgets all thought of death. 
Tell me if thou hast done so. 

My father, I may not wholly excuse myself, in that I have been for 
love the better arrayed, and have attempted rondels, balades, virelays 
and carols for her whom I love, and sung them moreover, and made 
myself merry in chamber and in hall. But I fared none the better : 
my glory was in vain. She would not hear my songs, and my fine 
array brought me no reason to be glad. And yet I have had gladness 
at times in hearing how men praised her, and also when I have tidings 
that she is well. Tell me if I am to blame for this. 

I acquit thee, my son, and on this matter I think to tell a tale how 
God does vengeance on this vice. Listen now to a tale that is true, 
though it be not of love. (2681-2784.) 

There was a king of whom I spoke before, Nabugodonosor by name. 
None was so mighty in his days, and in his Pride he ruled the earth as 
a god. This king in his sleep saw a tree which overshadowed the whole 
earth, and all birds and beasts had lodging in it or fed beneath it. 
Then he heard a voice bidding to hew down the tree and destroy it ; 
but the root (it said) should remain, and bear no man*s heart, but feed 
on grass like an ox, till the water of the heaven should have washed 
him seven times and he should be made humble to the will of God. 
The King could find none to interpret this dream, and sent therefore 
for Daniel. He said that the tree betokened the king, and that as the 
tree was hewn down, so his kingdom should be overthrown, and he 
should pasture like an ox and be rained upon and afflicted, until he 
acknowledged the greatness of God. The punishment was ordained, 
he said, for his vain glory, and if he would leave this and entreat for 
grace, he might perchance escape the evil. 

But Pride will not suffer humility to stand with him. Neither for his 
dream nor yet for Daniel's word did this king leave his vain glory, 
and so that which had been foretold came upon him. 

Then after seven years he remembered his former state and wept ; 
and though he might not find words, he prayed within his heart to 
God and vowed to leave his vain glory, reaching up his feet towards 


the heaven, kneeling and braying for mercy. Suddenly he was 
changed again into a man and received his power as before, and 
the pride of vain glory passed for ever from his heart. (2785- 

Be not thou, my son, like a beast, but take humility in hand, for 
a proud man cannot win love. I think now again to tell thee a tale 
which may teach thee to follow Humility and eschew Pride. 

3067-3425. Humility. The Three Questions, There was once a 
young and wise king, who delighted in propounding difficult questions, 
and one knight of his court was so ready in answering them that the 
king conceived jealousy and resolved to put him to confusion. He 
bade him therefore answer these three questions on pain of death : 
(i) What is it that has least need and yet men help it most ? (2) What 
is worth most and yet costs least 1 (3) What costs most and is worth 
least ? The knight went home to consider, but the more he beat his 
brains, the more he was perplexed. He had two daughters, the younger 
fourteen years of age, who, perceiving his grief, entreated him to tell her 
the cause. At length he did so, and she asked to be allowed to answer 
for him to the king. When the day came, they went together to the 
court, and the knight left the answers to the maiden, at which all won- 
dered. She replied to the first question that it was the Eaith, upon 
which men laboured all the year round, and yet it had no need of help, 
being itself the source of all life. As to the second, it was Humility, 
through which God sent down his Son, and chose Mary above all 
others ; and yet this costs least to maintain, for it brings about no wars 
among men. The third question, she said, referred to Pride, which 
cost Lucifer and the rebel angels the loss of heaven, and Adam the loss 
of paradise, and was the cause also of so many evils in the world. 

The king was satisfied, and looking on the maiden he said, * I like 
thine answer well, and thee also, and if thou wert of lineage equal to 
these lords, I would take thee for my wife. Ask what thou wilt of me 
and thou shalt have it.' She asked an earldom for her father, and this 
granted, she thanked the king upon her knees, and claimed fulfilment 
of his former word. Whatever she may have been once, she was now 
an earl's daughter, and he had promised to take her as his wife. The 
king, moved by love, gave his assent, and thus it was. This king 
ruled Spain in old days and his name was Alphonse : the knight was 
called Don Petro, and the daughter wise Peroncile. (3067-3402.) 

Thus, my son, thou mayest know the evil of Pride, which fell from 
his place in heaven and in paradise ; but Humility is gentle and debon- 
naire. Therefore leave Pride and take Humility. 

My father, I will not forget : but now seek further of my shrift. 

My son, I have spoken enough of Pride, and I think now to tell of 
Envy, which is a hellish vice, in that it does evil without any cause. 


Lib. II. 

1-220. Sorrow for another's Joy. The next after Pride is Envy, 
who bums ever in his thought, if he sees another preferred to himself 
or more worthy. Hast thou, my son, in love been sick of another 
man's wel£Eu:e? 

Yea, father, a thousand times, when I have seen another blithe 
of love. I am then like Etna, which bums ever within, or like 
a ship driven about by the winds and waves. But this is only as 
regards my lady, when I see lovers approach her and whisper in 
her ear. Not that I mistrust her wisdom, for none can keep her 
honour better ; yet when I see her make good cheer to any man, I am 
full of Envy to see him glad. 

My son, the hound which cannot eat chaff, will yet drive away the 
oxen who come to the bam ; and so it is often with love. If a man is 
out of grace himself, he desires that another should fail. (1-96.) 

Acts and Galatea, Ovid tells a tale how Poliphemus loved Galathea, 
and she, who loved another, rejected him. He waited then for a chance 
to grieve her in her love, and he saw her one day in speech with young 
Acis under a cliff by the sea. His heart was all afire with Envy, 
and he fled away like an arrow from a bow, and ran roaring as a wild 
beast round Etna. Then returning he pushed down a part of the diif 
upon Acis and slew him. She fled to the sea, where Neptune took 
her in his charge, and the gods transformed Acis into a spring w^yth 
fresh streams, as he had been fresh in love, and were wroth with 
Polipheme for his Envy. (97-200.) 

Thus, my son, thou mayest understand that thou must let others be. 

My father, the example is good, and I will work no evil in love for 
Envy. (200-220.) 

221-382. Joy for another's Grief. This vice rejoices when he 
sees other men sad, and thinks that he rises by another's fall, as in 
other things, so also in love. Hast thou done so, my son ? 

Yes, father, I confess that when I see the lovers of my lady get 
a fall, I rejoice at it ; and the more they lose, the more I think that 
I shall win : and if I am none the better for it, yet it is a pleasure to 
me to see another suffer the same pains as I. Tell me if this be 

This kind of Envy, my son, can never be right. It will sometimes 
be willing to suffer loss, in order that another may also suffer, as a tale 
will show. (221-290.) 

The Travellers ami the Angel, Jupiter sent down an angel to report 
of the condition of mankind. He joined himself to two travellers, and 
he found by their talk that one was covetous and the other envious. On 
parting he told them that he came from God, and in return for their 
kindness he would grant them a boon : one should choose a gift and 


the other should have the double of what his fellow asked. The 
covetous man desired the other to ask, and the other, unwilling that 
his fellow should have more good than he, desired to be deprived of 
the sight of one eye, in order that his fellow might lose both. This 
was done, and the envious man rejoiced. (291-364.) 

This is a thing contrary to nature, to seek one's own harm in order 
to grieve another. 

My father, I never did so but in the way that I have said : tell me if 
there be more. 

383-1871. Detraction. There is one of the brood of Envy called 
Detraction. He has Malebouche in his service, who cannot praise 
any without finding fault. He is like the beetle which flies over the 
fields, and cares nothing for the spring flowers, but makes his feast of 
such filth as he may find. So this envious jangler makes no mention 
of a man's virtue, but if he find a fault he will proclaim it openly. So 
also in Love's court many envious tales are told. If thou hast made 
such janglery, my son, shrive thee thereof. (383-454.) 

Yes, father, but not openly. When I meet my dear lady and think 
of those who come about her with false tales, all to deceive an innocent 
(though she is wary enough and can well keep herself), my heart is 
envious and I tell the worst I know against them ; and so I would 
against the truest and best of men, if he loved my lady ; for I cannot 
endure that any should win there but I. This I do only in my lady's 
ear, and above all I never tell any tale which touches her good name. 
Tell me then what penance I shall endure for this, for I have told you 
the whole truth. 

My son, do so no more. Thy lady, as thou sayest, is wise and 
wary, and there is no need to tell her these tales. Moreover she will 
like thee the less for being envious, and often the evil which men plan 
towards others falls on themselves. Listen to a tale on this matter. 

Tale of Constance, The Roman Emperor Tiberius Constantinus 
had a daughter Constance, beautiful, wise, and full of faith. She 
converted to Christianity certain merchants of Barbary, who came to 
Rome to sell their wares, and they, being questioned by the Soldan 
when they returned, so reported of Constance that he resolved to ask 
for her in marriage. He sent to Rome and agreed to be converted, 
and Constance was sent with two cardinals and many other lords, to be 
his bride. But the mother of the Soldan was moved by jealousy. She 
invited the whole company to a feast, and there slew her own son and 
all who had had to do with the marriage except Constance herself, 
whom she ordered to be placed alone in a rudderless ship with victuals 
for five years, and so to be committed to the winds and waves. 

For three years she drifted under God*s guidance, and at last came 


to land in Northumberland, near a castle on the bank of Humber, 
which was kept by one Elda for the king of that land Allee, a Saxon 
and a worthy knight. Elda found her in the ship and committed her 
to the care of Hermyngheld his wife, who loved her and was converted 
by her. Hermyngheld in the name of Christ restored sight to a blind 
man, at which all wondered, and Elda was converted to the faith. On 
the morrow he rode to the king, and thinking to please him, who was 
then un wedded, told him of Constance. The king said he would come 
and see her. Elda sent before him a knight whom he trusted, and this 
knight had loved Constance, but she had rejected him, so that his love 
was turned to hate. When he came to the castle he delivered the 
message, and they prepared to receive the king ; but in the night he cut 
the throat of Hermyngheld and placed the bloody knife under the bed 
where Constance lay. Elda came the same night and found his wife 
lying dead and Constance sleeping by her. The false knight accused 
Constance and discovered the knife where he had placed it. Elda was 
not convinced, and the knight swore to her guilt upon a book. Suddenly 
the hand of heaven smote him and his eyes fell out of his head, and 
a voice bade him confess the truth, which he did, and thereupon died. 

After this the king came, and desiring to wed Constance, agreed to 

receive baptism. So a bishop came from Bangor in Wales and 
christened him and many more, and married Constance to the king. 
She would not tell who she was, but the king perceived that she was a 
noble creature. God visited her and she was with child, but the king was 
compelled to go out on a war, and left his wife with Elda and the bishop. 
A son was born and baptized by the name of Moris, and letters were 
written to the king, and the bearer of them, who had to pass by Knares- 
borough, stayed there to tell the news to the king's mother Domilde. 
She in the night changed the letters for others, which said, as from the 
keepers of the queen, that she had been delivered of a monster. The 
messenger carried the letters to the king, who wrote back that they 
should keep his wife carefully till he came again. On his return the mes- 
senger stayed again at Knaresborough, and Domilde substituted a letter 
bidding them on pain of death place Constance and her child in the 
same ship in which she had come, and commit them to the sea. They 
grieved bitterly, but obeyed. She prayed to heaven for help and devoted 
herself to the care of the child (886-1083). After the end of that year 
the ship came to land near a castle in Spain, where a heathen admiral 
was lord, who had a steward named Thelous, a false renegade. He 
came to see the ship and found Constance, but he let none else see her ; 
and at night he returned, thinking to have her at his will. He swore 
to kill her if she resisted him, and she bade him look out at the port to 
see if any man was near : then on the prayer of Constance he was 
thrown out of the ship and drowned. A wind arose which took her 


from the land, and after three years she came to a place where a great 
navy lay. The lord of these ships questioned her, but she told him 
little, giving her name as Couste. He said that he came from taking 
vengeance on the Saracens for their treachery, but could hear no news 
of Constance. He was the Senator of Rome and was married to a 
niece of the Emperor named Heleine. She came to Rome with her 
child and dwelt with his wife till twelve years were gone, and none 
knew what she was, but all loved her well. (1084-1225.) 

In the meantime king Allee discovered the treachery and took ven- 
geance on his mother, who was burnt to death after confession of 
her guilt ; and all said that she had well deserved her punishment and 
lamented for Constance. Having finished his wars, the king resolved 
to go to Rome for absolution, and leaving Edwyn his heir to rule the 
land, he set forth with Elda. Arcennus reported to his wife and to 
Couste the coming of king Allee, and Couste swooned for joy. The 
king, after seeing the Pope and relieving his conscience, made a feast, 
to which he invited the Senator and others. Moris went also, and his 
mother bade him stand at the feast in sight of the king. The king 
seeing him thought him like his wife Constance, and loved him without 
knowing why. He asked Arcennus if the child were his son, and from 
him he heard his story and the name of his mother. The king smiled at 
the name * Couste,' knowing that it was Saxon for Constance, and was 
eager to ascertain the truth. After the feast he besought the Senator to 
bring him home to see this Couste, and never man was more joyful 
than he was when he saw his wife, (i 226-1445.) 

The king remained at Rome for a time with Constance, but still she 
did not tell him who she was. After a while she prayed him to make 
an honourable feast before he left the city and to invite the Emperor, 
who was at a place a few miles away from the city. Moris was sent 
to beseech him to come and eat with them, which request he granted ; 
and at the time appointed they all went forth to meet the Emperor. 
Constance, riding forward to welcome him, made herself known to 
him as his daughter. His heart was overcome, as if he had seen the dead 
come to life again, and all present shed tears. So a parliament was 
held and Moris was named heir to the Emperor. King Allee and 
Constance returned home to the great joy of their land ; but soon after 
this the king died, and Constance came again to Rome. After a short 
time the Emperor also died in her arms, and she herself in the next 
year following. Moris was crowned Emperor and known as * the most 
Christian.* ( 1 446-1 598.) 

Thus love at last prevailed and the false tongues were silenced. 

Beware then thou of envious backbiting and lying, and if thou wouldest 

know further what mischief is done by backbiting, hear now another 

tale. (1599-1612.) 

Demetrius and Perseus, Philip king of Maccdoine had two sons, 


Demetrius and Perseus. Demetrius the elder was the better knight, and 
he was heir to the kingdom; but Perseus hadenvy of him and slandered 
him to his father behind his back, saying that he had sold ihem to the 
Romans. Demetrius was condemned on suborned evidence and by a 
corrupt Judge, and so put to death. Perseus then grew so proud tha.1 
he disdained his father and usurped his power, so that the (atber 
perceived the wrong which had been done ; but the other party was so 
strong that he could not execute justice, and thus he died of grief. 

Then Perseus look the government and made war on Rome, gather- 
ing a great host. The Romans had a Consul named Paul Emilius, who 
took this war in hand. His little daughter wept when she parted from 
him, because her little dog named Perse was, and this seemed lo 
hira a prognostic of success, for Perseus had spoken against his brother 
like a dog barking behind a man's back. Perseus rode with his host, 
not foreseeing the mischief, and he lost a large part of his army by the 
breaking of the iceofthe IJanube. Paul us attacked him and conquered 
both him and his land, so that Perseus himself died like a dog in prison, 
and his heir, who was exiled from his land, gained his bread by working 
at a craft in Rome. (1613-1861.) 

Lo, my son, what evil is done by the Envy which endeavours 10 
hinder another. 

] will avoid it, my father ; but say on, if there be more. 

My son, there is a fourth, as deceptive as the guiles of a juggler. 
and this is called False Semblant. (1S62-167S.) 

i8?9-23i9. Fai,se Semblant. This is above all the spring from 
which deceit flows. It seems fair weather on that Hood ; but it is not 
so in truth. False Semblant is allied with Hypocrisy, and Envy steers 
their boat. Therefore tlee this vice and let thy semblant always be 
true. When Envy desires to deceive, it is False Semblant who is hit 
messenger; and as the mirror shows what was never within it, so he 
shows in his countenance that which is not in his heart. Dost thou 
follow this \'ice, my son ? 

Nay, father, for ought I know ; but question me, I pray you. 

Tell me then, my son, if ever thou hast gained the confidence of any 
man in order to tell out his secrets and hinder him in his love. Dost 
thou practise such devices ! 

For the most part I say nay ; but in some measure 1 confess I may 
be reckoned with those that use false colours. I feign to my fellow at 
times, until 1 know his counsels in love, and if they concern my lady, 
1 endeavour to overthrow them. If they have to do with others than she, 
1 break no covenant with him nor try lo hinder him in his love ; but 
with regard to her my ears and my heart are open to hear all that any 
man will say,— first that I may excuse her if ihey speak ill of her, and 
secondly that 1 may know who her lovers are. Then 1 tell tfiles of 
Ibem lo my lady, to hinder their suit and further mine. And though 


I myself have no help from it, I can conceal nothing from her which it 
concems her to know. To him who loves not my lady, let him love 
as many others as he will, I feign no semblant, and his tales sink no 
deeper than my ears. Now, father, what is your doom and what pain 
must I suffer? (1879-2076.) 

My son, all virtue should be praised and all vice blamed : therefore 
put no visor on thy face. Yet many men do so nowadays, and 
especially I hear how False Semblant goes with those whom we call 
Lombards, men who are cunning to feign that which is not, and who 
take from us the profit of our own land, while we bear the burdens. They 
have a craft called Fa crere^ and against this no usher can bar the 
door. This craft discovers everything and makes it known in foreign 
lands to our grievous loss. Those who read in books the examples of 
this vice of False Semblant, will be the more on their guard against it 

Hercules and Detanira, I will tell thee a tale of False Semblant, 
and how Deianira and Hercules suffered by it. Hercules had cast his 
heart only upon this fair Deianira, and once he desired to pass over a 
river with her, but he knew not the ford. There was there a giant called 
Nessus, who envying Hercules thought to do him harm by treachery, 
since he dared not fight against him openly. Therefore, pretending 
friendship, he offered to carry the lady across and set her safe on the 
other shore. Hercules was well pleased, and Nessus took her upon his 
shoulder ; but when he was on the further side, he attempted to carry 
her away with him. Hercules came after them and shot him with 
a poisoned arrow, but before he died he gave Deianira his shirt stained 
with his heart's blood, telling her that if her lord were untrue, this shirt 
would make his love return to her. She kept it well in coffer and said 
no word. The years passed, and Hercules set his heart upon Eole, 
the king's daughter of Eurice, so that he dressed himself in her clothes 
and she was clothed in his, and no remedy could be found for his folly. 
Deianira knew no other help, but took this shirt and sent it to him. 
The shirt set his body on fire, and clove to it so that it could not be 
torn away. He ran to the high wood and tore down trees and made 
a huge fire, into which he leapt and was burnt both flesh and bones. 
And all this came of the False Semblant which Nessus made. There- 
fore, my son, beware, since so great a man was thus lost. (2145- 

Father, I will no more have acquaintance with False Semblant, 
and I will do penance for my former feigning. Ask more now, if more 
there be. 

My son, there is yet the fifth which is conceived of Envy, and that 
is Supplantation, by means of which many have lost their labour in love 
as in other things. (2313-2326.) 
2327-31 10. Supplantation. This vice has often overthrown men 


and deprived them of their dignities. Supplantation obtains for himself 
the profit of other men*s loss, and raises himself upon their falL In 
the same way there are lovers who supplant others and deprive them 
of what is theirs by right, reaping what others have sown. If thou 
hast done so, my son, confess. 

For ought I know, father, I am guiltless in deed, but not so in 
thought. If I had had the power, I would long ago have made appro- 
priation of other men's love. But this only as regards one, for whom 
I let all others go. If I could, I would turn away her heart from her 
other lovers and supplant them, no matter by what device : but force 
I dare not use for fear of scandal. If this be sin, my father, I am 
ready to redress my guilt. (2327-2428.) 

My son, God beholds a man*s thought, and if thou knewest what it 
were to be a supplanter in love, thou wouldest for thine own sake take 
heed. At Troy Agamenon supplanted Achilles, and Diomede Troilus. 
Geta and Amphitrion too were friends, and Geta was the lover of 
Almena : but whep he was absent, Amphitrion made his way to her 
chamber and counterfeited his voice, whereby he obtained admittance to 
her bed. Geta came afterwards, but she refused to let him in, think- 
ing that her lover already lay in her arms. (2429-2500.) 

The False Bachelor, There was an Emperor of Rome who ruled in 
peace and had no wars. His son was chivalrous and desirous of fame, 
so he besought leave to go forth and seek adventures, but his fether 
refused to grant it. At length he stole away with a knight whom he 
trusted, an:i they took service with the Soldan of Persia, who had war 
with the Caliph of Egypt. There this prince did valiantly and gained 
renown ; moreover, he was overtaken by love of the Soldan's fair 
daughter, so that his prowess grew more and more, and none could 
stand against him. At length the Soldan and the Caliph drew to a 
battle, and the Soldan took a gold ring of his daughter and commanded 
her, if he should fall in the fight, to marry the man who should produce 
this ring. In the battle this Roman did great deeds, and Egypt fled in 
his presence. As they of Persia pursued, an arrow struck the Soldan 
and he was borne wounded to a tent Dying he gave his daughter's 
ring to this knight of Rome. After his burial a parliament was 
appointed, and on the night before it met, this young lord told his secret 
to his bachelor and showed him the ring. The bachelor feigned glad- 
ness, but when his lord was asleep, he stole the ring from his purse 
and put another in its stead. When the court was set, the young lady 
was brought forth. The bachelor drew forth the ring and claimed her 
hand, which was allowed him in spite of protest, and so he was crowned 
ruler of the empire. His lord fell sick of sorrow, caring only for the 
loss of his love ; and before his death he called the lords to him and 
sent a message to his lady, and wrote also a letter to his father the 
Emperor. Thus he died, and the treason was known. The false 


bachelor was sent to Rome on demand of the Emperor, to receive 
punishment there, and the dead body also was taken thither for burial. 

Thus thou mayest be well advised, my son, not to do so ; and above 
all, when Pride and Envy are joined together, no man can find a remedy 
for the evil. Of this I find a true example in a chronicle of old time, 
showing how Supplant worked once in Holy Church. I know not if it 
be so now. (2782-2802.) 

Pope Boniface, At Rome Pope Nicholas died, and the cardinals 
met in conclave to choose another Pope. They agreed upon a holy 
recluse full of ghostly virtues, and he was made Pope and called 
Celestin. There was a cardinal, however, who had long desired the 
papacy, and he was seized with such envy that he thought to supplant 
the Pope by artifice. He caused a young priest of his family to be 
appointed to the Pope's chamber, and he told this man to take 
a trumpet of brass and by means of it speak to the Pope at midnight 
through the wall, bidding him renounce his dignity. This he did 
thrice ; and the Pope, conceiving it to be a voice from heaven, asked the 
cardinals in consistory whether a Pope might resign his place. All 
sat silent except this cardinal of whom we have spoken, and he gave 
his opinion that the Pope could make a decree by which this might 
be done. He did so, and the cardinal was elected in his stead wider 
the name of Boniface. But such treason cannot be hid ; it is like the 
spark of fire in the roof, which when blown by the wind blazes forth. 
Boniface openly boasted of his device ; and such was his pride that he 
took quarrel with Louis, King of France, and laid his kingdom under 
interdict. The king was counselled by his barons, and he sent Sir 
William de Langharet, with a company of men-at-arms, who captured 
the Pope at Pontsorge near Avignon and took him into France, where 
be was put in bonds emd died of hunger, eating off both his hands. 
Of him it was said that he came in like a fox, reigned like a lion, and 
died hke a dog. By his example let all men beware of gaining office 
in the Church by wrongful means. God forbid that it should be of 
our days that the Abbot Joachim spake, when he prophesied of the 
shameful traffic which should dishonour the Church of God. (2803- 


Envy it was that moved Joab to slay Abner treacherously; and 
for Envy Achitophel hanged himself when his counsel was not preferred. 
Seneca says that Envy is the common wench who keeps tavern for 
the Court, and sells liquour which makes men drunk with desire to 
surpass their fellows. (3085-31 10.) 

Envy is in all ways unpleasant in love ; the fire within dries up the 
blood which should flow kindly through his veins. He alone is moved 
by pure malice in that which he does. Therefore, my son, if thou 
wouldest find a way to love, put away Envy. 


Reason would that I do so, father ; but in order that I may flee fitom 
this vice, I pray you to tell me a remedy. 

My son, as there is physic for the sick, so there are virtues for the 
vices, which quench them as water does a fire. Against Envy is set 
Charity, the mother of Pity, which causes a man to be willing to bear 
evil himself rather than that another should suffer. Hear from me 
a tale about this, and mark it well (31 1 1-3 1 86.) 

Constantine and Silvester, In Latin books I find how Constantine, 
the Emperor of Rome, had a leprosy which could not be cured, and 
wise men ordered for his healing a bath of the blood of children under 
seven years old. Orders were sent forth, and mothers brought their 
children from all parts to the palace. The Emperor, hearing the 
noise of lamentation, looked forth in the morning and was struck with 
pity. He thought to himself that rich and poor were all alike in God's 
sight, and that a man should do to others as he would that others 
should do to him. He resolved rather to suffer his malady than that 
so much innocent blood should be shed, and he sent the mothers and 
children away happy to their homes. In the night he had a vision of 
Saint Peter and Saint Paul, saying to him, that as he had shown mercy, 
mercy should be shown to him, and bidding him send to fetch Silvester 
from Mount Celion, where he was hiding for fear of the Emperor, who 
had been a foe to Christ's faith. They told him their names and 
departed, and he did as they commanded. Silvester came and 
preached to the Emperor of the redemption of mankind and the last 
judgement, and said that God had accepted the charity and pity which 
he had shown. Constantine received baptism in the same vessel 
which had been prepared for the blood ; and as he was being baptized, 
a light from heaven shone in the place and the leprosy fell from him 
as it were fishes' scales. Thus body and soul both were cleansed. 
The Emperor sent forth letters bidding all receive baptism on pain of 
death, and founded two churches in Rome for Peter and Paul, to which 
he gave great worldly possessions. His will was good, but the working 
of his deed was bad. As he made the gift, a voice was heard from 
heaven saying that the poison of temporal things was this day mingled 
with the spiritual. All may see the evil now, and may God amend it 


I have said, my son, how Charity may help a man in both worlds ; 
therefore, if thou wouldest avoid Envy, acquaint thyself with Charity, 
which is the sovereign virtue. 

My father, I shall ever eschew Envy the more for this tale which 
ye have told, and I pray you to give me my penance for that which 
I have done amiss, and to ask me further. 

I will tell thee, my son, of the vice which stands next after this. 



Lib. III. 

There is a vice which is the enemy to Patience and doth no pleasure 
to nature. This is one of the fatal Seven and is called Ire, which in 
English is Wrath. 

25-416. He has five servants to help him, of whom the first is 
Melancholy, which lours like an angry beast and none knows the 
reason why. Hast thou been so, my son ? 

Yea, father, I may not excuse myself therof, and love is the cause of 
it. My heart is ever hot and I bum with wrath, angered with myself 
because I cannot speed. Waking I dream that I meet with my lady 
and pray her for an answer to my suit, and she, who will not gladly 
swear, saith me nay without an oath, wherewith I am so distempered 
that I almost lose my wits ; and when I think how long I have served 
and how I am refused, I am angry for the smallest thing, and every 
servant in my house is afraid of me until the fit passes. If I approach 
my lady and she speaks a fair word to me, all my anger is gone ; but 
if she will not look upon me, I return again to my former state. Thus 
I hurt my hand against the prick and make a whip for my own self; 
and all this springs from Melancholy. I pray you, my father, teach 
me some example whereby I may appease myself. 

My son, I will fulfil thy prayer. (25-142.) 

Canace and Machatre, There was a king called Eolus, and he had 
two children, a son Machaire and a daughter Canace. These two 
^ew up together in one chamber, and love made them blind, so that 
they followed only the law of nature and saw not that of reason. As 
the bird which sees the food but not the net, so they saw not the peril. 
At length Canace was with child and her brother fled. The child was 
bom and the truth could not be hid. The father came into her 
chamber in a frenzy of wrath, and she in vain entreated for mercy. 
He sent a knight to her with a sword, that she might slay herself; 
but first she wrote a letter to her brother, while her child lay weepinj:: 
in her breast. Then she set the pommel of the sword to ground and 
pierced her heart with the point. The king bade them take the child 
and cast it out for wild beasts to devour. Little did he know of love 
who wrought such a cruel deed. (143-336.) 

Therefore, my son, have regard to love, and remember that no man's 
might can resist what Nature has ordained. Otherwise vengeance 
may fall, as in a tale that I will tell. (337-360.) 

Tiresias saw two snakes coupled together and smote them with his 
staff. Thereupon, as he had disturbed nature, so he was transformed 
against nature into a woman. (361-380.) 

Thus wrote Ovid, and thus we see that we ought not to be wroth 
against the law of nature in men. There may be vice in love, but 
there is no malice. 



My father, all this is true. Let every man love whom he will ; I shall 
not be wroth, if it be not my lady. I am angry only with myself 
because I can find no remedy for my evils. (381-416.) 

417-842. Cheste. The second kind of Wrath is Cheste, which has 
his mouth ever unlocked and utters evil sayings of every one. Men 
are more afraid of him than of thunder and exclaim against his evil 
tongue. Tell me, my son, if thou hast ever chid toward thy love. 

Nay, father, never : I call my lady herself to witness. I never dared 
speak to her any but good words. I may have said at times more than 
I ought, the best plowman balks sometimes, and I have often spoken 
contrary to her command ; but she knows well that I do not chide. 
Men may pray to God, and he will not be wroth ; and my lady, being 
but a woman, ought not to be angry if I tell her of my griefs. Often 
indeed I chide with myself^ because I have not said that which I ought, 
but this avails me nothing. Now ye have heard all, therefore give me 

My son, if thou knewest all the evils of Cheste in love, thou wouldest 
learn to avoid it. Fair speech b most accordant to love ; therefore 
keep thy tongue carefully and practise Patience. 

My father, tell me some example of this. (417-638.) 

Patience of Socrates, A man should endure as Socrates did, who 
to try his own patience married a scolding wife. She came in on 
a winter day from the well and saw her husband reading by the fire. 
Not being able to draw an answer to her reproaches, she emptied the 
water-pot over his head : but he said only that rain in the course of 
nature followed wind, and diew nearer to the fire to dry his clothes. 

I know not if this be reasonable, but such a man ought truly to be 
called patient by judgement of Love's Court. 

Here again is a tale by which thou mayest learn to restrain thy 
tongue. (699-730.) 

Jupiter y Juno and Tiresias, Jupiter and Juno fell out upon the 
question whether man or wife is the more ardent in love, and they 
made Tiresias judge. He speaking unadvisedly gave judgement 
against Juno, who deprived him of his sight. Jupiter in compensation 
gave him the gift of prophecy, but he would rather have had the 
sight of his eyes. Therefore beware, and keep thy tongue dose. 

Phebus and Comide, Phebus loved Comide, but a young knight 
visited her in her chamber. This was told to Phebus by a bird 
which she kept, and he in anger slew Comide. Then he repented, 
and as a punishment he changed the bird's feathers from white to 
black. (783-817.) 

Jupiter and Laar, The njrmph Laar told talcs of Jupiter to Juno, 
and he cut off her tongue and sent her down to hell. There are many 


such now in Love's Court, who let their tongues go loose. Be not 
thou one of these, my son, and above all avoid Cheste. 

My father, I will do so : but now tell me more of Wrath. (818-842.) 

843-1088. Hate is the next, own brother to Cheste. Art thou guilty 
of this ? 

I know not as yet what it is, except ye teach me. 

Listen then : Hate is a secret Wrath, gathering sh>wly and dwelling 
in the heart, till he see time to break forth. 

Father, I will not swear that I have been guiltless of this ; for though 
I never hated my lady, I have hated her words. Moreover I hate 
those envious janglers who hinder me with their lies, and* I pray that 
they may find themselves in the same condition as I am. Then 
1 would stand in their way, as they stand in mine, and they would 
know how grievous a thing it is to be hindered in love. 

My son, I cannot be content that thou shouldest hate any man, even 
though he have hindered thee. But I counsel thee to beware of other 
men's hate, for it is often disguised under a fair appearance, as the 
Greeks found to their cost. (843-972.) 

King Namfilus and the Greeks, After the fall of Troy the Greeks, 
voyaging home, were overtaken by a storm and knew not how to save 
their ships. Now there was a king, Namplus, who hated the Greeks 
because of his son Palamades, whom they had done to death, and he 
lighted fires to lure their ships towards his rocky coast They supposed 
that the fires were beacons to guide them into haven, and many of 
their ships ran on the rocks. The rest, warned by the cry of those 
that perished, put forth again to sea. 

By this, my son, thou mayest know how Fraud joins with Hate to 
overthrow men. (973-1088.) 

1089-262 1. CoNTEK and Homicide. Two more remain, namely 
Contek, who has Foolhaste for his chamberlain, and Homicide. These 
always in their wrath desire to shed blood, and they will not hear of pity. 
Art thou guilty of this, my son ? 

Nay, my father, Christ forbid. Yet as regards love, about which is 
our shrift, I confess that I have Contek in my heart. Wit and Reason 
opposing Will and Hope. Reason says that I ought to cease from my 
love, but Will encourages me in it, and he it is who rules me. 

Thou dost wrong, my son, for Will should ever be ruled by Reason, 
whereof I find a tale written. (1089-1200.) 

Diogenes and Alexander, There was a philosopher named Diogenes, 
who in his old age devised a tun, in which he sat and observed the 
heavens. King Alexander rode by with his company and sent a knight 
to find out what this might be. The knight questioned Diogenes, but 
he could get no answer. * It is thy king who asks,* said the knight in 
anger. * No, not my king/ said the philosopher. * What then, is he 
thy man?' * Nay, but rather my man's man.' The knight told the 



king, who rode himself to see. ' Father,' he said, ' tell me how I am 
thy man's man.' Diogenes replied, ' Because I have always kept Will 
in subjection to me, but with thee Will is master and causes thee to 
sin.' The king offered to give him whatsoever he should ask. He 
replied, * Stand thou out of my sunshine : I need no other gift finom 

From this thou mayest learn, my son ; for thou hast said that thy 
will is thy master, and hence thou hast Contek in thine heart, and this, 
since love is blind, may even breed Homicide. (I20i-i33a) 

Pyramus ami Thisbe. In the city of Semiramis there dwelt two 
lords in neighbouring houses, and the one had a son named Piraraus, 
and the other a daughter, Tisbee. These loved each other, and when 
two are of one accord in love, no man can hinder their purpose. They 
made a hole in the wall between them and conversed through this, till 
at length they planned to meet near a spring without the town. The 
maiden was there first ; but a lion came to drink at the spring with 
snout all bloody from a slain beast, and she fled away, leaving her 
wimple on the ground. This the lion tore and stained with blood, 
while she lay hid in a bush, not daring to move. Piramus came 
soon and supposed she had been slain. Reproaching himself as the 
cause of her death, he slew himself with his sword in his foolhaste. 
Tisbee came then and found him dead, and she called upon the god 
and goddess of love, who had so cruelly served those who were 
obedient to their law. At last her sorrow overcame her, so that she 
knew not what she did. She set the sword*s point to her heart and 
fell upon it, and thus both were found lying. (1331-1494.) 

Beware by this tale that thou bring not evil on thyself by foolhaste. 

My father, I will not hide from you that I have often wished to die, 
though I have not been guilty of the deed. But I know by whose 
counsel it is that my lady rejects me, and him I would slay if I had 
him in my power. 

Who is this mortal enemy, my son ? 

His name is Danger^ and he may well be called ' sanz pite.' It is he 
who hinders me in all things and will not let my lady receive my suit. 
He is ever with her and gives an evil answer to all my prayers. Thus 
I hate him and desire that he should be slain. But as to my lady, I 
muse at times whether she will be acquitted of homicide, if I die for 
her love, when with one word she might have saved me. 

My son, refrain thine heart from Wrath, for Wrath causes a man to 
fail of love. Men must go slowly on rough roads and consider before 
they climb : * rape reweth,* as the proverb says, and it is better to cast 
water on the fire than bum up the house. Be patient, my son : the 
mouse cannot fight with the cat, and whoso makes war on love will 
have the worse. Love demands peace, and he who fights most will 
conquer least. Hasten not to thy sorrow : he has not lost who waits. 


Thou mayest take example by Piramus, who slew himself so foolishly. 
Do nothing in such haste, for sulBfrance is the well of peace. Hasten 
not the Court of Love, in which thou hast thy suit. Foolhaste often 
sets a man behind, and of this I have an example. (1495- 1684.) 

Phebus and Daphne, Phebus laid his love on Daphne and followed 
his suit with foolish haste. She ever said him nay, and at leng^th 
Cupid, seeing the haste of Phebus, said that he should hasten more 
and yet not speed. He pierced his heart therefore with a golden dart 
of fire, and that of Daphne with a dart of lead. Thus the more Phebus 
pursued, the more she fled away, and at length she was changed into 
a laurel tree, which is ever green, in token that she remained ever a 
maid. Thus thou mayest understand that it is vain to hasten love, 
when fortune is against it. 

Thanks, father, for this : but so long as I see that my lady is no 
tree, I will serve her, however fortune may turn. 

I say no more, my son, but think how it was with Phebus and 
beware. A man should take good counsel always, for counsel puts 
foolhaste away. 

Tell me an example, I pray you. (1685-17 56.) 

Athemas and Demephon. When Troy was taken and the Greeks 
retomed home, many kings found their people unwilling to receive 
them. Among these were Athemas and Demephon, who gathered 
a host to avenge themselves and said they would spare neither man, 
woman, nor child. Nestor however, who was old and wise, asked 
them to what purpose they would reign as kings, if their people should 
be destroyed, and bade them rather win by fair speech than by threats. 
Thus the war was turned to peace : for the nations, seeing the power 
which the kings had gathered, sent and entreated them to lay aside 
their wrath. (1757-1856.) 

By this example refrain thine heart, my son, and do nothing by 
violence which may be done by love. As touching Homicide, it often 
happens unadvisedly through Will, when Reason is away, and great 
vengeance has sometimes followed. Whereof 1 shall tell a tale which 
it is pity to hear. (1857-1884.) 

Orestes, Agamenon, having returned from Troy, was slain by his 
wife Climestre and her lover Egistus. Horestes, his infant son, was 
saved and delivered into the keeping of the king of Crete. When he 
grew up, he resolved to avenge his father, and coming to Athens 
gathered a power there with the help of the duke. When he offered 
sacrifice in a temple for his success, the god gave him command to slay 
his mother, tearing away her breasts with his own hands and giving her 
body to be devoured. He rode to Micene and took the city by siege : 
then he sent for his mother and did as the oracle had commanded. 
Egistus, coming to the rescue of Micene, was caught in an ambush 
and hanged as a traitor. 


Fame spread these deeds abroad, and many blamed Horestes for 
slaying his mother. The lords met at Athens and sent for him to 
come and answer for his deed. He told how the gods had laid a 
charge upon him to execute judgement, as he had done, and Menesteus, 
a duke and worthy knight, spoke for him and championed his cause. 
They concluded upon this that since she had committed so foul an 
adultery and murder, she had deserved the punishment, and Horestes 
was crowned king of Micene. Egiona, daughter of Egistus and 
Climestre, who had consented to the murder of Agamenon, hanged 
herself for sorrow that her brother had been acquitted. Such is the 
vengeance for murder. (1885-2 195.) 

My father, I pray you tell me if it is possible without sin to slay 
a man. 

Yea, my son, in sundry wise. The judge commits sin if he spares 
to slay those who deserve death by the law. Moreover a man may 
defend his house and his land in war, and slay if no better may be. 

I beseech you, father, to tell me whether those that seek war in 
a worldly cause, and shed blood, do well. (2196-2250.) 

Wa?', God has forbidden homicide, and when God's Son was bom, 
his angels proclaimed peace to the men of good will. Therefore by 
the law of charity there should be no war, and nature also commends 
peace. War consorts with pestilence and famine and brings every 
kind of evil upon the earth. I know not what reward he deserves who 
brings in such things ; and if he do it to gain heaven's grace, he shall 
surely fail. Since wars are so evil in God's sight, it is a marvel what 
ails men that they cannot establish peace. Sin, I trow, is the cause, 
and the wages of sin is death. Covetousness first brought in war, and 
among the Greeks Arcadia alone was free from war, because it was 
barren and poor. Yet it is a wonder that a worthy king or lord will 
claim that to which he has no right. Nature and law both are against 
it, but Wit is here oppressed by Will, and some cause is feigned to 
deceive the world. Thou mayest take an example of this, how men 
excuse their wrong-doing, and how the poor and the rich are alike in 
the lust for gain. (2251-2362.) 

Alexander and the Pirate, A sea-rover was brought before Alex- 
ander and accused of his misdeeds. He replied, ' I have a heart like 
thine, and if I had the power, I would do as thou dost. But since I 
am the leader of a few men only, I am called a thief, while thou with 
thy great armies art called an Emperor. Rich and poor are not 
weighed evenly in the balance.' The king approved his boldness and 
retained him in his service. (2363-2417.) 

Thus they who are set on destruction are all of one accord, captain 
and company alike. When reason is put aside, man follows rapine 
like a bird of prey, and all the world may not suffice for his desires. 
Alexander overran the whole earth and died miserably, when he 


thought himself most secure. Lo, what profit it is to slay men for covet- 
ousness, as if they were beasts. Beware, my son, of slaying. (2418-2484.) 

Is it lawful, my father, to pass over the sea to war against the 
Saracen ? 

My son, Christ bade men preach and sulBfer for the faith. He made 
all men free by his own death, and his apostles after him preached and 
suffered death : but if they had wished to spread the faith by the sword, 
it would never have prevailed. We see that since the time when the 
Church took the sword in hand, a great part of that which was won has 
been lost to Christ's faith. Be well advised then always ere thou slay. 
Homicide stands now even in the Church itself; and when the well 
of pity is thus defouled with blood, others do not hesitate to make war 
and to slay. We see murder now upon the earth as in the days when 
men bought and sold sins. 

In Greece before Christ's faith men were dispensed of the guilt of 
murder by paying gold : so it was with Peleus, Medea, Almeus, and so 
it is stilL But after this life it shall be known how it fares with those 
who do such things. Beasts do not prey upon their own kind, and it 
is not reasonable that num should be worse than a beast. 

Solinus tells a tale of a bird with man's face, which dies of sorrow 
when it has slain a man. By this example men should eschew homi- 
cide and follow mercy. (2485-2621.) 

I have heard examples of this virtue of Mercy among those who 
followed the wars. Remember, my son, that this virtue brings grace, 
and that they who are most mighty to hurt should be the most ready 
to relieve. (2622-2638.) 

Telaphus and Theucer, Achilles and his son Telaphus made war 
on Theucer, king of Mese. Achilles was about to slay the king in the 
batde, but Telaphus interceded for him, saying that Theucer once did 
him good service. Thus the king's life was spared but the Greeks 
won the victory. Theucer, grateful for this and for other service before 
rendered by Achilles, made Telaphus heir to all his land, and thus was 
mercy rewarded. (2639-27 1 7.) 

Take pity therefore, my son, of other men's suflfering, and let nothing 
be a pleasure to thee which is grief to another. Stand against Ire by 
the counsel of Patience and take Mercy to be the governor of thy con- 
science : so shalt thou put away all homicide and hate, and so shalt 
thou the sooner have thy will of love. 

Father, I will do your bests; and now give me my penance for 
Wrath, and ask further of my life. 

My son, I will do so. Art thou then guilty of Sloth ? 

My father, I would know first the points which belong to it. 

Hearken then, and I will set them forth : and bear well in mind that 
shrift is of no value to him that will not endeavour to leave his vice. 



Lib. IV. 


1-312. Lachesce is the first point of Sloth, and his nature is to 
put off till to-morrow what he ought to do to-day. Hast thou done so 
in love ? 

Yes, my father, I confess I am guilty. When I have set a time to 
speak to that sweet maid, Lachesce has often told me that another 
time is better, or has bidden me write instead of speaking by mouth. 
Thus I have let the time slide for Sloth, until it was too late. But my 
love is always the same, and though my tongue be slow to ask, my 
heart is ever entreating favour. I pray you tell me some tale to teach 
me how to put away Lachesce. (1-76.) 

Eneas and Dido, When Eneas came with his navy to Carthage, 
he won the love of the queen Dido, who laid all her heart on him. 
Thence he went away toward Ytaile ; and she, unable to endure the 
pain of love, wrote him a letter saying that if he came not again, it 
would be with her as with the swan that lost her mate, she should die 
for his sake. But he, being slothful in love, tarried still away, and she 
bitterly complaining of his delay, thrust a sword through her heart 
and thus got rest for herself. (77-146.) 

Ulysses and Penelope, Again, when Ulixes stayed away so long at 
Troy, his true wife Penolope wrote him a letter complaining of his 
Lachesce. So he set himself to return home with all speed as soon as 
Troy was taken. (147-233.) 

Grossteste, The great clerk Grossteste laboured for seven years to 
make a speaking head of brass, and then by one half-minute of 
Lachesce he lost all his labour. (234-243.) 

It fares so sometimes with the lover who does not keep his time. 
Let him think of the five maidens whose lamps were not lit when the 
bridegroom came forth, and how they were shut out. 

My father, I never had any time or place appointed me to get any 
grace : otherwise I would have kept my hour. But she will not alight on 
any lure that I may cast, and the louder 1 cry, the less she hears. 

Go on so, my son, and let no Lachesce be found in thee. (244-312.) 

313-538. Pusillanimity means in our language the lack of heart to 
undertake man's work. This vice is ever afraid when there is no cause 
of dread. So as regards love there are truants that dare not speak, 
who are like bells without clappers and do not ask anything. 

1 am one of those, my father, in the presence of my lady. 

Do no more so, my son, for fortune comes to him who makes 
continuance in his prayers. (313-370.) 

Pygmaleon, There was one named Pymaleon, a sculptor of great 
skill, who made an image of a woman in ivory, fairer than any living 
creature. On this he set his love and prayed her ever for a return, as 
though she understood what he said. At length Venus had pity on him 


and transformed the image into a woman of flesh and blood. Thus he 
won his wife ; but if he had not spoken, he would have failed. By 
this example thou mayest learn that word may work above nature, 
and that the god of love is favourable to those who are steadfast 
in love. About which also I read a strange tale. (371-450.) 

ipkis. King Ligdus told his wife that if her child about to be bom 
should be a daughter, it must be put to death. A daughter was bom, 
whom Isis the goddess of childbirth bade bring up as a boy. So they 
named him Iphis, and when he was ten years old he was betrothed 
to lante. Cupid took pity on them at last for the love that they had 
to one another, and changed Iphis into a man. (451-505.) 

Thus love has goodwill towards those who pursue steadfastly that 
which to love is due. 

My father, I have not failed for lack of prayer, except so far as 
I said above. 1 beseech Love day and night to work his miracle for 

mc- (50^538-) 

539-886. FORGBTFULNESS. There is yet another who serves Acci- 
die, and that is Foryetelness. He forgets always more than the half 
of that which he has to say to his love. 

So it has often been with me, father : I am so sore afraid in her 
presence that I am as one who has seen a ghost, and I cannot get my 
wits for fear, but stand, as it were, dumb and deaf. Then afterwards 
I lament and ask myself why I was afraid, for there is no more 
violence in her than in a child of three years old. Thus I complain to 
myself of my forgetfulness ; but 1 never forget the thought of her, nor 
should do, though I had the Ring of Oblivion, which Moses made for 
Tharbis. She is near my heart always, and when I am with her, I am 
so ravished with the sight of her, that I forget all the words that 
1 ought to speak. Thus it is with me as regards forgetfulness and lack 
of heart. 

My son, love will not send his grace unless we ask it. God knows 
a man's thought and yet he wills that we should pray. Therefore 
pull up a busy heart and let no chance escape thee ; and as touching 
Foryetelness 1 find a tale written. (539-730.) 

Demophon and Phyllis, King Demephon, as he sailed to Troy, came 
to Rhodopeie, of which land Phillis was queen. He plighted his troth 
to her, and she granted him all that he would have. Then came the 
time that he should sail on to Troy, but he vowed to return to her 
within a month. The month passed and he forgot his time. She sent 
him a letter, setting him a day, and saying that if he came not, his 
sloth would cause her death. She watched and waited, putting up 
a lantern in a tower by night, but he did not return. Then when the 
day came and no sail appeared, she ran down from the tower to an 
arbour where she was alone, and hanged herself upon a bough with 
a girdle of silk. The gods shaped her into a tree, which men called 


after her Philliberd, and this name it has still to the shame of Deme- 
phon, who repented, but ail too late. Thus none can guess the evil 
that comes through Foryetelness. (731-886.) 

887-1082. Negligence is he who will not be wise beforehand, 
and afterwards exclaims, ' Would God I had known I ' He makes 
the stable-door fast after the steed is stolen. If thou art so in love, 
thou wilt not achieve success. 

My father, I may with good conscience excuse myself of this. 
I labour to learn love's craft, but I cannot find any security therein. 
My will is not at fault, for I am busy night and day to find out how 
love may be won. 

I am glad, my son, that thou canst acquit thyself of this, for there is 
no science and no virtue that may not be lost by Negligence. (887-978.) 

Phaeton, Phebus had a son named Pheton, who, conspiring with 
his mother Clemenee, got leave to drive the chariot of the Sun. Phebus 
advised him how he should do, and that he should drive neither too 
low nor too high. But he through Negligence let the horses draw the 
car where they would, and at last the world was set on fire. Phebus 
then caused him to fall from the car, and he was drowned in a river. 

Icarus, As in high estate it is a vice to go too low, so in low estate 
it does harm to go too high. Dedalus had a son named Icharus, and 
they were in prison with Minotaurus and could not escape. This 
Dedalus then fashioned wings for himself and his son, and he warned 
his son not to fly too high, lest the wax with which his wings were set 
on should melt with the sun. Icharus neglected his father's warning 
and fell to his destruction : and so do some others. (1035-1082.) 

1083-2700. Idleness is another of the brood of Sloth and is the 
nurse of every vice. In summer he will not work for the heat and in 
winter for the cold. He will take no travail for his lady's sake, but is 
as a cat that would eat fish and yet not wet his claws. Art thou of 
such a mould ? Tell me plainly. 

Nay, father, towards love I was ne%'er idle. 

What hast thou done then, my son ? 

In every place where my lady is, I have been ready to serve her, 
whether in chamber or in hall. When she goes to mass, I lead her up 
to the offering ; when she works at her weaving or embroidery, I stand 
by, and sometimes I tell tales or sing. When she will not stay with 
me, but busies herself elsewhere, I play with the dog or the birds and 
talk to the page or the waiting-maid, to make an excuse for my 
lingering. If she will ride, 1 lift her into the saddle and go by her side, 
and at other times I ride by her carriage and speak with her, or sing. 
Tell me then if I have any guilt of Idleness. 

Thou shalt have no penance here, my son ; but nevertheless there 
are many who will not trouble themselves to know what love is, until 


he overcome them by force. Thus a king's daughter once was idle, 
until the god of love chastised her, as thou shalt hear. (1083-1244.) 

Rosipheleey daughter of Herupus, king of Armenie, was wise and 
fair, but she had one great fault of sloth, desiring neither marriage nor 
the love of paramours. Therefore Venus and Cupid made a rod for 
her chastising, so that her mood at length was changed. She walked 
forth once in the month of May, and staying alone under the trees near 
a lawn, she heard the birds sing and saw the hart and the hind go 
together, and a debate arose within her as to love. Then casting her eyes 
about, she saw a company of ladies riding upon white horses. They 
had saddles richly adorned and were clothed in the fairest copes and 
kirtles, all alike of white and blue. Their beauly was beyond that 
of earthly things, and they wore crowns upon their heads such that ail 
the gold of Cresus could not have purchased the least of them. 

The king's daughter drew back abashed and hid herself to let them 
pass, not daring to ask who they were. Then after them she saw 
a woman on a black horse, lean, galled and limping, yet with a richly 
jewelled bridle. The woman, though fair and young, had her clothing 
torn and many score of halters hanging about her middle. The 
princess came forth and asked her what this company might be, and 
she said these were they who had been true servants to love, but she 
herself had been slow and unwilling ; and therefore each year in the 
month of May she must needs ride in this manner and bear halters 
for .the rest. Her jewelled bridle was granted her because at last she 
had yielded to love, but death came upon her too suddenly. * I com- 
mend you to God, lady,' she said, * and bid you warn all others for my 
sake not to be idle in love, but to think upon my bridle.* Thus she 
passed out of sight like a cloud, and the lady was moved with fear and 
amended her ways, swearing within her heart that she would bear no 
halters. (1245-1446.) 

Understand then, my son, that as this lady was chastised, so should 
those knights take heed who are idle towards love, lest they deserve 
even a greater punishment. Maidens too must follow the law of love 
and not waste that time during which they might be bearing the 
charge of children for the service of the world. And about this 
I think to tell them a tale. (1447-1504.) 

Jephthak's daughter. Among the Jews there was a duke named 
Jepte, who going to war against Amon, made a vow that if victory 
were granted to him, he would sacrifice to God the first who should 
meet him on his return. He overcame his foes and returning met his 
daughter, who came forth to welcome him with songs and dances. 
When she saw his sorrow and heard the vow that he had made, she 
bade him keep his covenant, and asked only for a respite of forty days 
to bewail her maidenhead, in that she had brought forth no children 
for the increase of her people. So with other maidens she went 


weeping over the downs and the dales, and mourned for the lost lime 
which she never could now redeem. (1505-1595-) 

Father, ye have done well 10 rebuke maidens for this vice of SI 
but as to Ihe travail which ye say men ought lo take for love, what 
mean ye by this ? 

I was thinking, my son, of the deeds of arms that men did in former 
times fur love's sake. He who seeks grace in love must not spare his 
travail. He must ride sometimes in Pnice and sometimes in Tarlary, 
so thai the heralds may ciy after him, 'Valiant. Valiant 1' and his fame 
may come to his lady's ear. This is the thing I mean. Confess, if 
thou hast been idle in this. (1596-1647.) 

Yea, my father, and ever was. I know not what good may come of 
slaying the heathen, and 1 should have little gain from passing a 
the sea, if in the meantime I lost my lady at home. Let them pass 
Ihe sea uhom Christ commanded to preach his faith to all the wodd ; 
but now they sit at ease and bid us slay those whom they should 
convert If 1 slay a Saracen, 1 slay body and soul both, and that was 
never Christ's lore. 

As for me, 1 will serve love, and go or stay as love bids mc 
1 have heatd that Achilles left his arms at Troy for love of Polijicnen, 
and so may 1 do : but if my lady bade me labour for her, I would pass 
through sky or sea at her command. Nevertheless I see that those 
who labour most for love, win often the least reward, and though 
I have never been idle in deed, yet the effect is always idleness, for 
my business avails me nothing. Therefore idle I will call myself. 

My son, be patient. Thou knowesl not what chance may fall. It 
is better to wait on the tide than to row against the siream. Per- 
chance the revolution of the heavens is not yet in accord with thy 
condition. I can bear witness to Venus that thou hast not been idle 
in love ; but since thou art slow 10 travail in arms and makesi an argu- 
ment of Achilles, I will tell thee a Eale to the contrary. (1648-1814.) 

Nauplus and Ulysses. King Nauplus, father of Palamades, came to 
persuade Ulixes to go with the Greeks to Troy. He, however, desired 
to stay at home with his wife, and feigning madness he yoked foxes to 
his plough and sowed the land with salt. Nauplus saw the cause and 
laid the infant son of Uhxes before his plough. The father turned the 
plough aside, and Nauplus rebuked him for thus miworlhily forsalcing 
the honour of arms and for setting love before knighthood. He 
repented of his folly and went forth with them lo Troy. (1S15-J891.) 

Thus a knight must prefer honour to worldly ease and put away all 
dread, as did ProlhesUai, whose wife wrote to him that he should lose 
his life if he landed at Troy; and he took no heed of her womanish 
fears, but was the 6ist to land, choosing rather to die with honour than 
to live reproved. (1892-1934.) 

Saul too, when the spirit of Samuel told him that he should be slain 


in battle, would not draw back from the danger, but with Jonathas his 
son he met his enemies on the mountains of Gelboe, and won eternal 
fiunc. (1935-1962.) 

EdttaUion of Achilles, Prowess is founded upon hardihood, and 
we know how Achilles was brought up to this by Chiro, called 
Centaurus. He was taught not to make his chase after the beasts 
that fled from him, but to fight with such as would withstand him. 
Moreover a covenant was set that every day he should slay, or at least 
wound, some savage beast, as a lion or a tiger, and bring home with 
him a token of blood upon his weapon. Thus he came to surpass all 
other knights. (1963-201 3.) 

Other examples there are, as of Lancelot and many more, which 
show how Prowess in arms has led to success in love. Let this tale 
be witness of it. (2014-2044.) 

Hercules and Achelons. King Oenes of Calidoyne had a daughter 
Deianire, who was promised in marriage to Achelons, a giant and a 
magician. Hercules, that worthy knight who set up the two pillars of 
brass in the desert of India, sought her love, and the king dared- not 
refuse him. It was ordained then that combat should decide between 
them. Achelons, stirred up to prowess by love, fought boldly, but Her- 
cules seized him with irresistible strength. Then Achelons tried his 
craft, changing himself into a snake first and then a bull. Hercules, 
however, held him by the horns and forced him down, till at length he 
was overcome. Thus Hercules won his wife by prowess. (2045-2134.) 

So Pantasilee^ queen of Feminee, for love of Hector did deeds of 
prowess at Troy ; and Philemenis^ because he brought home the body 
of Pantasilee and saved some of her maidens, had a tribute granted to 
him of three maidens yearly from the land of Amazoine. Eneas also 
won Lavine in battle against king Turnus. By these examples thou 
mayest see how love*s grace may be gained, for worthy women love 
manhood and gentilesse. (21 35-2 199.) 

What is Gentilesse^ my father .? 

Some set that name upon riches coming down from old time, but there is 
no true merit in riches ; and as for lineage, all are descended from Adam 
and Eve. Rich and poor are alike in their birth and in their death ; the 
true gentilesse depends upon virtue, and for virtue love may profit much. 
Especially love is opposed to Sloth, and Sloth is most of all contrary to 
the nature of man, for by it all knowledge is lost. (2200-2362.) 

By Labour it was that all useful arts were found out, and the names 
of many inventors have been handed down by fame, as Cham, Cadmus, 
Theges, Termegis, Josephus, Heredot, Jubal, Zenzis, Promotheus, 
Tubal, Jadahel, Verconius, and among women Minerve and DeJbora. 
Satumus found out agriculture and trade, and he first coined money. 

Many philosophers have contrived the getting and refining of 


metals and the science of Alconomie^ by which gold and silver are 
multiplied, with the working of the seven bodies and the four spirits 
for the finding of the perfect Elixir. 

The philosophers of old made three Stones : the Vegetable, by which 
life and health are preserved, the Animal, by which the five senses are 
helped in their working, and the Mineral, by which metals are trans- 
formed. This science is a true one, but men know not how to follow it 
rightly, so that it brings in only poverty and debt. They who first 
founded it have great names, as Hermes, Geber, Ortolan and others. 
(245 1-2632.) 

With regard to Language^ Carmente was the first who invented the 
Latin letters, and then came those who laid down the rules of rhetoric, 
as Aristarchus, Dindimus, Tullius and Cithero. Jerome translated 
the Bible from Hebrew, and others also translated books into Latin 
from Arabic and Greek. In poetry Ovid wrote for lovers, and taught 
how love should be cooled, if it were too hot. 

My father, I would read his books, if they might avail me ; but as 
a tree would perish if its roots were cut away, so if my love were with- 
drawn, my heart would die. 

That is well said, my son, if there be any way by which love may 
be achieved ; and assuredly he who will not labour and dares not 
venture will attain to nothing. (2633-2700.) 

2701-3388. Somnolence. The chamberlain of Sloth is Somnolence, 
who sleeps when he should be awake. When knights and ladies revel 
in company, he skulks away like a bare and lays himself down to rest ; 
and there he dreams and snores, and when he wakes, he expounds his 
dreams. If thou wilt serve love, my son, do not thou so. 

Surely not, father ; it were better for me to die than to have such 
sluggardy, or rather it were better I had never been bom. I have 
never been sleepy in the place where my lady was, whether I should 
dance with her, or cast the dice, or read of Troilus. WTien it is late 
and I must needs go, I look piteously upon her and take leave upon 
my knee, or kiss her if I may; and then before I depart from the 
house, I feign some cause to return and take leave of her again. Then 
afterwards I curse the night for driving me away from her company, 
and I sigh and wish for day, or think of the happiness of those who 
have their love by their side all the long night through. At last I go 
to bed, but my heart remains still with her: no lock may shut him out, 
and he passes through the strongest wall. He goes into her bed and 
takes her softly in his arms, and wishes that his body also were there. 
In my dreams again I suffer the torments of love, or if I dream some- 
times that I meet her alone and that Danger has been left behind, 
I wake only to find all in vain. 

My son, in past times many dreams have told of truth, as thou 
mayest know by a tale. (2701-2926.) 


Ceix and Alceone. Ceix, king of Trocinie, went on a pilgrimage for 
the sake of his brother Dedalion, and left at home Alceone his wife. 
She besought him to fix the time of his return, and he said * Within two 
months.' The time passed and she heard no tidings, and Juno, to 
whom she prayed, sent Yris to the house of Sleep, bidding him show 
this lady by dream how the matter was. 

Yris bent the heaven like a bow and came down, and she went to 
the place where Sleep had his dwelling, in a cave where no sun ever 
shone and no sound could be heard but the murmur of the river 
Lethes, which ran hard by. He himself was sleeping in a chamber 
strewn up and down with dreams, and long it was ere her words could 
pierce his ears. When he at length understood the message, he chose 
out three, Morpheus, Ithecus and Panthasas, to do this deed. Morpheus 
appeared to Alceone in the form of her husband lying dead upon the 
shore^ while the other two showed her in action the scene of the tem- 
pest and the wreck. She cried out in terror and awoke, and on the 
morrow, going down to the sea, she saw his body floating on the waves. 
Careless of death she leapt into the deep, and would have caught him 
in her arms ; but the gods pitied them and changed them into birds 
of the sea, and so they dwelt together lovingly. (2927-3123.) 

Thus dreams prove sometimes true. 

Father, I have said that when 1 am in my lady's company, I do not 
desire to sleep. But at other times I care little to wake, for I cannot 
endure to be in company without her. I know not if this be Somnolence. 

I acquit thee, my son, and I will tell a tale to show how little love 
and sleep arc in accord. (3124-3186.) 

Prayer of Cephalus, He who will wake by night for love may take 
example by Cephalus, who when he lay with Aurora prayed to the Sun 
and to the Moon that the night might be made longer and the day 
delayed, in order that he might follow only the law of love. Sloth cares 
nothing for the night except that he may sleep, but Cephalus did other- 
wise. (3187-3275.) 

My father, that is no wonder, since he had his love by his side. 
But this is never my case, so I have never need to entreat the Sun 
to stay his chariot, or the Moon to lengthen her course. Sometimes 
I have a dream that makes me glad, but afterwards 1 find it untrue : 
so that I know not of what use sleep is to man. 

True, my son, except that it helps nature, when it is taken in due 
measure. But he who sleeps unduly may come by misfortune, as I can 
show by a tale. (3276-3316.) 

Argus and Mercury . Jupiter lay by lo, wherefore Juno changed her 
into a cow and gave her into the keeping of Argus, who had a hundred 
eyes. Mercury came to steal the cow, and he piped so cunningly that 
Argus fell asleep. So Mercury smote off his head and took away lo. 
Therefore, my son, beware thou sleep not overmuch. (3317-3364.) 


Love will not let me do so, father : but ask further, if there be more. 

Yea, my son, one there is to tell of still. (3365-3388.) 

3389-3692. Tristesce. When Sloth has done all that he may, he 
conceives Tristesce, which drives him to utter wretchedness. With 
Tristesce is Obstinacy, and despair follows them. So it is with some 
lovers, who lose all hope. 

I am one of these, father, except that I do not cease to pray. 

My son, do not despair ; for when the heart fails, all is lost. Listen 
to a tale about this. (3389-3514.) 

iphis and Araxarathen. I phis, son of king Theucer, loved a maid 
of low estate. Though a prince, he was subject to love, but she would 
not listen to his suit At length being brought to despair, he came 
before her house in the night, and having bewailed his case and 
lamented her hardness of heart, he hanged himself upon the post of 
the gate. On the morrow the maiden took the guilt upon herself^ and 
prayed that no pity might be shown to her, as she had shown no pity 
to him. The gods took away her life and changed her into stone; and 
men carried the body of Iphis to the city and set up the stone image 
of the maiden above his tomb, with an epitaph telling of their fate. 

Thus, my son, despair, as I say, is a grievous thing. 
Father, I understand now the nature of Sloth, and I will take heed. 

Lib. V. 

Avarice is the root of all strife among men. He ever gets more 
and more and lets nothing go, and yet he has never enough. He has 
no profit from his riches any more than an ox from his ploughing or 
a sheep from his wool : instead of being master of his wealth, he serves 
it as a slave. Dost thou fare so in love, my son ? 

No, my father, for I was never in possession ; but I cannot here 
excuse my will, for if I had my lady, I would never let her go ; and 
herein I am like the avaricious man. Moreover, though I have not 
the wealth, yet I have the care, and am like that ox of which ye told 
before. Judge if this be Avarice. 

My son, it is no wonder if thou art a slave to love ; but to be a slave 
to gold is against nature and reason. (1-140.) 

Midas. Bacchus had a priest named Cillenus, and he being dnmk 
and wandering in Frige was brought in bonds before Mide, the king of 
that land. This king dealt with him courteously, and Bacchus in 
reward of this bade him ask what worldly thing he would. He debated 
long within himself between three things, pleasure, power and wealth ; 
and at length he asked that all things might be turned by his touch 
to gold. The boon granted, he tried his power on stone and leaf, but 
when he at length sat down to meat, then he saw the folly of Avarice, 


and prayed Bacchus to take back his gift. The god took pity and 
bade him bathe in Paceole, and so he recovered his first estate ; but 
the stones in the bed of the river were changed to gold. He went 
home and put away his Avarice, and taught his people to till the land 
and breed cattle rather than seek increase of gold. (141-332.) 

Before gold was coined, war and usury were unknown, but now 
through Avarice all the world is out of joint. When thou seest a man 
have need, give him of thy substance, for the pain of Tantalus awaits 
those who will not give : they stand in a river up to their chin and yet 
cannot drink, and fruit hangs over and touches their lips, of which they 
cannot eat Thus Avarice hungers ever after more, though he has 
enough, and gets no good from that which he has. If thou desirest to 
be beloved, thou must use largess and give for thy love's sake : if thou 
wilt have grace, be gracious, and eschew the disease of Avarice. Some 
men have no rest for fear their gold should be stolen, and so some 
lovers cannot be at peace for Jealousy. (333-444O 

What is this Jealousy ^ my father ? 

It is like a fever, my son, which returns every day. It makes a man 
look after his lady wherever she goes, and if she make the least sign 
of countenance to another man, he turns it to a cause of quarrel. 
Nothing can please him that she does. If he goes from home, he 
leaves some one to report her doings, and finds fault where there is 
none. The wife who is married to such a man may well curse the day 
when the gold was laid upon the book. As the sick man has no appetite 
for food, so the jealous man has no appetite for love, and yet like the 
avaricious he is tormented with the fear of losing his treasure. Love 
hates nothing more than this fever of which I speak, and to show 
how grievous it is, I will tell thee an example. (445-634.) 

Vulcan and Venus, Vulcan the smith had the fair Venus for his 
wife, whom Mars loved and was beloved again. Jealousy caused 
Vulcan to spy upon them, and he devised so by his craft that 
they were caught as they lay together and bound with chains. He 
called the gods to see, but was only rebuked for his pains. Hence 
earthly husbands may learn that by Jealousy they bring shame upon 
themselves. (635-725.) 

This example, my father, is hard to understand. How can such 
things happen among the gods, when there is but one God who is Lord 
of all ? How come such gods as these to have a place ? 

My son, such gods are received by the unwise in sundry places : 
1 will tell thee how. (726-747.) 

747-1970. The Religions of the World. There were four 
forms of belief before Christ was bom. 

The Chaldees worshipped the Sun, Moon and Stars and the Ele- 
ments, which cannot be gods because they suffer change. (747-786.) 

The Egyptians worshipped beasts, and also three gods and a goddess, 


of whom the goddess, Ysis, came from Greece and taught them tillage. 


The Greeks deified the men who were their rulers or who became 
famous, as Satumus king of Crete and Jupiter his son, — such was thdr 
folly. Of gods they had besides these Mars, Apollo, Mercury, Vulcan, 
Eolus, Neptune, Pan, Bacchus, Esculapius, Hercules, Pluto, and of 
goddesses Sibeles, Jino, Minerva, Pallas, Ceres, Diana, Proserpine; 
also Satyrs, Nymphs and Manes, — it would be too long to tell the whole. 

Yes, father, but why have ye said nothing of the god and the goddess 

of love ? 

1 have left it for shame, my son, because I am their priest, but since 
thou desirest it, I will tell thee. Venus was the daughter of Saturn, 
and she first taught that love should be common. She had children 
both by gods and men : she lay with her brother Jupiter and her son 
Cupid, and she first told women to sell their bodies. Therefore they 
called her the goddess of love and her son the god. (1374-1443.) 

The Greeks took a god to help in whatsoever they had to da 
Dindimus, king of the Bragmans, wrote to Alexander, blaming the 
Greek faith, and saying that they had a god for every member of their 
body, Minerva for the head. Mercury for the tongue, and so on. (1444- 

Idol-worship came first through Cirophanes, who set up an image of 
his son, and after that Ninus made a statue of his father Belus, which 
he caused to be worshipped, and third came the statue of Apis or Sera- 
pis, who spoke to Alexander in the cave, when he came riding with 
Candalus. ( 1 497-1 590. ) 

Thus went the misbeliefs of Grece, of Egypt and of Chaldee. Then, 
as the book says, God chose a people for himself. Habraham taught 
his lineage to worship only the one true God, and after they had 
multiplied in Egypt, God delivered them wondrously by Moises and 
brought them into the land of promise. But when Christ was bora, 
they failed and fell away ; so that they now live out of God's grace, 
dispersed in si\pdry lands. (1591-1736.) 

God sent his Son down from heaven to restore the loss which we 
suffered in Adam : so that original sin was the cause of man's honour 
at the last. By this faith only we can attain to Paradise once more, 
but faith is not enough without good deeds. Therefore be not deceived 
by Lollardy, which sets the true faith of Christ in doubt, (i 737-1824.) 

Christ wrought first and then taught, so that his words explained his 
deeds, but we in these days have the words alone. Our prelates are 
like that priest who turned away his eyes and let Anthenor steal the 
Palladion of Troy. Christ died for the faith, but they say that life is 
sweet, and they follow only their own ease. Therefore the ship of Peter 
is almost lost in the waves, and tares are sown among the com. Gregory 


complains of the sloth of the prelacy, and asks how we shall appear 
beside the Apostles in the day of Judgement We shall be like the 
man who hid his lord's besant and got no increase upon it. We are 
slow towards our spiritual work, but swift to Avarice, which, as the 
apostle says, is idolatry. 

My feuher, for this which ye have said I shall take the better heed : 
but now tell me the branches of Avarice as well in love as otherwise. 

197 1-2858. COVEITISE. Avarice has many servants, and one of 
these is Coveitise, who is her principal purveyor and makes his gain 
in every place. He is as the pike who devours the smaller fishes : for 
him might is always right. I will tell thee a tale of the punishment of 
this vice. (1971-2030.) 

VirgiFs Mirror, Virgil made a mirror at Rome, wherein the 
motions of all enemies for thirty miles round might be seen. They 
of Carthage had war with Rome, and took counsel with the king of 
Puile how they might destroy this mirror. Crassus, the Roman 
Emperor, was above all things covetous. They sent therefore three 
philosophers to Rome with a great treasure of gold, which they buried 
in two places secretly. These men professed to the Emperor that by 
dreams they could discover ancient hoards of gold, and first one and 
then the other of these buried treasures was found. Then the third 
master announced a yet greater treasure, to be found by mining under 
the magic mirror. As they mined, they underset the supports of the 
mirror with timber, and on a certain night these three set fire to the 
timber and fled out of the city. So the mirror fell and was destroyed, 
and Hanybal slew so many of the Romans in a day, that he filled three 
bushels with their gold rings. The Romans punished their Emperor 
by pouring molten gold down his throat, so that his thirst for gold 
might be quenched. (2031-2224.) 

Coveitise in a king or in those of his court is an evil thing, my son ; 
but he who most covets often gains least, and Fortune stands for much 
as well in courts as elsewhere. (2225-2272.) 

The Two Coffers, A king heard that his courtiers complained of 
unequal rewards for their service. He resolved to show them that the 
fault lay not with him, and he caused two coflfers to be made in all 
respects alike, the one of which he filled with gold and jewels, and the 
other with straw and stones. He called before him those who had 
complained, and bade them choose. They chose the worthless coffer, 
and he proved to them by this, that if they were not advanced, their 
fortune only was to blame. (2273-2390.) 

Like this is the story of the Two Beggars whom the Emperor 
Frederick heard disputing about riches, and for whom he prepared 
two pasties, one containing a capon and the other full of florins. 

e 2 


Thus it is often with love : chougli thou covet, yet shalt thou tiol 
obtain more than fortune has allotted thee. Vet there are those that 
covet every woman whom they see, finding something to their liking 
in each. They can no more judge in matters of lore than a blind man 
can judge of colours. 

My lather, I had rather be as poor as Job than covet in such a 
manner. There is one whom I would have, and no more. (2443-3JIJ.I 

There are some also who choose a womaji not for her face not ytt 
for her virtue, but only for her riches. 

Such am not I, father. 1 could love my bdy no more than I do, tT 
she were as rich as Candace or Pantasilee ; and 1 think no man is so 
covetous that he would not set his heart upon her more than upon 
gold. To one who knows what love is, my lady seems to have alt the 
graces of nature, and she is also the mirror and example of gxjodnesi. 
It were better to love her than to love one who has a million of goli 
I say not that she is poor, for she has enough of worldly goods ; yet 
my heart has never been drawn to her but for pure love's sake. ' 

It is well, my son, for no other love will last. Hear now an example 
of how coveitise prevailed over love. (25 14-2642.) 

The King and his Steward's Wife. There was a king of Puite, 
whom his physicians counselled to take a fair young woman to ha 
bed, and he bade his steward provide. The steward had a wife whom 
he had married for lucre and not for love, and he set his coveitise 
before his honour. Having received a hundred pounds fi:om the king 
10 procure him the woman, he brought at night hia own wife, against 
her will. Before the morning he came and desired to take her away, 
but the king refused to let her go, and at length the steward was 
compelled to tell him who she was. The king threatened him with 
death if he remained one day longer in the land, and afterwards be 
look the woman for his wife. (3643-2825.) 

Beware, my son, of this, for it is a great evil when marriage is made 
for lucre. 

Father, so think I, and yet riches may sometimes be a help to love. 
Now ask me more, if more there be. (2826-2858.) 

^859-4382. Fai^e Witness and Perjury. Coveitise has two 
counsellors, False Witness and Perjury, who make gain for their 
master by lying. So lovers often swear faithful service to a woman, 
and it is all treachery. 

1 am not one of these, father : my thought is not discordant to my 
word, I may safely swear that 1 love my lady, and if other men 
should bear witness of it for me, there would be no false swearing. 

My son, I will tell thee a talc to show that False Witness is at last 
found out, (2859-2960.) 

AcMllti and Deidamia. Thetis, in order that her son Achilles 
mig;ht not go to Troy, disguised him as a girl and put him to dwell 


with the daughters of king Lichomede. There he was the bedfellow 
of Deidaroie, and so her maidenhead was lost The Greeks in the 
meantime assailed Troy in vain, and it was told them by divination 
that unless they had Achilles, their war would be endless. Ulixes 
therefore was sent with Diomede to bring him, and coming to the 
kingdom of Lichomede he could not distinguish Achilles from the rest. 
Then he set forth the gifts which he had brought for the women, and 
among them a knight's harness brightly burnished. Achilles left all 
the rest and chose this, and then he came forth armed in it before 
them. He was glad enough, but not so Lichomede, who had been so 
overseen. Thus came out the treachery of False Witness; and if 
Thetis, who was a goddess, thus deceived Deidamie, what security have 
women against the untruth of lovers ? (2961-3218.) 
My father, tell me some tale about Perjury. 

I will tell thee, my son, how Jason did to Medea, as it is written in 
the book of Troy. (32 1 9-3246.) 

Jason and Medea, Jason was the nephew of king Peleus ; and 
desiring to achieve adventures and see strange lands, he took a company 
of knights, and among them Hercules, and sailed to the isle of Colchos 
to win the fleece of gold. On the way they touched at Troy, where 
the king Lamedon treated them discourteously, and then they came to 
Colchos. O^tes, who was king there, endeavoured to persuade Jason 
to leave his adventure, but without success; and then the princess 
Medea entertained him with welcome. Moved by love of him she 
offered him her help to win the fleece, and he plighted his troth to her 
and swore that he would never part from her. She taught him what 
to do, and gave him a magic ring and an ointment, telling him also 
what charms and prayers to use, so that he might slay the serpent 
which guarded the fleece, yoke the fire-breathing oxen to the plough, 
sow the teeth of the serpent and slay the knights who should spring up. 
He took his leave of her, and passing over the water in a boat did 
as Medea bade him. Returning with the fleece he was welcomed 
back by Medea and the rest, and that night he took Medea and 
her treasure on board his ship and they sailed away to Greece. It 
was vain to pursue : they were gone. 

When they came to Greece, all received them with joy, and these 
lovers lived together, till they had two sons. Medea with her charms 
renewed the youth of Eson, Jason's father, and brought him back to 
the likeness of a young man of twenty years. No woman could have 
shown more love to a man than she did to Jason ; and yet, when he 
bare the crown after his uncle Peleus was dead, he broke the oath 
which he had sworn and took Creusa, daughter of king Creon, to wife. 
Medea sent her the gift of a mantle, from which fire sprang out and 
consumed her ; then in the presence of Jason she killed his two sons, 
and was gone to the court of Pallas above before he could draw his 



sword to slay her. Thus tnayest thou see what sorrow it brings w 
swear an oath in love which is not sooth. (3247-4229.) 

I have heard before this how Jason won the fleece, but tell me now 
who brought that fleece first to Cokhos. 

PhrixHs and Htlte. King Athemas by his first wife had Iwo 
children, Frixus and Hellen ; but his second wife Yno haled them and 
contrived a device against them. She so«-ed the land wiih sodden 
wheat ; and when no harvest came, she caused the priests of Ceres to 
say that the land must be delivered of these children. The queeo 
iiade men throw the children into the sea ; but Juno saved them, and 
provided a sheep with golden fleece, which swam with them over the 
waves. Helleo for dread fell off his back and so was lost, but ber 
brother was borne over to the isle of Cokhos, and there the fleece WJ« 
set, which was the cause why Jason was so forsworn. 

My father, he who breaks his troth thus \% worthy neither to love 
nor to be beloved. (4330-4383.) 

4383-4670. Usury. Another of the brood of Avarice is Usury, 
whose brokers run aboul like hounds, hunting after gain. He has 
unequal weights and measures, and he takes back a bean where he 
has lent a pea. So there are many lovers, who though the love they 
gave will hardly weigh a mile, yet ask a pound again ; and often bjT 
the help of their brokers these buy love for little. 

My father, I am not guilty of this. That which I give is far mors, 
than ever 1 take again. Usury will have double, but 1 would be 
content with half. If my lady reward me not the better, I can nevW 
recover my cost. Nor yet have I ever used brokers in love. But' 
thought is free, my father, and to me it seems that my lady herself 
cannot be excused of this that ye call Usury. For one glance of her 
eye she has my whole heart, and she will render me nothing again. 
She has all my love and 1 go loveless ; she says not so much as 
' Thanks." Myself I can acquit, and if she be to blame in this, I pr»y 
God to give her grace to amend. 

My son. ihou speakest ill in that thou accusesl thy lady. She may 
be such that her one glance is wonh thy heart many times reckoned.! 
Moreover in love the balance is not even : though thy love weight 
s a debt thai is due ; for Love 
Be patient, and perchance all may* 
I love no 

more, thou must not ask for n 

lord and does after his own wi 

turn to good. I am well pleased that thou hast used i 

brokerage to deceive. (4383-4572.) 

Echo. Brokers of love receive at last that which they have deserved. 
Juno had Echo among her maidens, and she was of accord with Jupite 
to get him new loves and to blind her lady's eyes. When Junft 
understood this, she reproved her and took vengeance, sending her to 
dwell in the woods and hills and repeat always (he sound of the v 
that came to her ears. (4S73-46Sa.) 


U ever thou be wedded man, my son, use no such means as this. 

4671-48^4. Parsimony or Scarceness. Another there is whom 
Avarice has for the keeper of his house, and his name is Scarceness. 
It is easier to flay the flint than to get from him the value of a rush to 
hdp another. How is it with thee, my son ? Hast thou been scarce or 
free towards thy love ? 

My father, if I had all the treasure of Cresus or the gold of Octovien, 
I would give it all to her, if I might But indeed I* never gave her any 
gifty for from me she will not take any, lest I should have some small 
cause of hope. Yet she takes from others and gives again, so that 
all speak weD of her. As for me, she knows that my heart and all 
that I have is at her command and will be while I live. (4671-4780.) 

£a^ and Croceus. Scarceness accords not with love, and often 
a man has lost the coat for the hood. With g^ift a man may do much, 
and meed keeps love in house. Babio had a love named Viola, who 
was both fair and free ; but he was a niggard, and so she was ill served. 
Croceos, liberal and amorous, came in her way, and she left Babio 
loveless. (4781-4862.) 

My father, if there be anything amiss in me toward my love in this 
matter, I will amend it. 

Thou sayest well, and I will pass on. (4863-4884.) 

4885-5504. Ingratitude or Unkindness. This is a vice which 
xepays no service, and when he has received a bamful, grudges to 
give a grain in return. God and Nature both condemn this vice, and 
even a beast loves the creature who does him kindness, as this tale 
will show by example. (4885-4936.) 

Adrian and Bardus, Adrian, a great lord of Rome, while hunting 
in a forest, fell into a pit. He cried for help all day, but none heard 
till evening, when one Bardus, a woodcutter, came by with his ass, and 
heard Adrian promise to give half his goods to him who should help 
him. He let down a rope, and first an ape and then a serpent was 
drawn up by it. Bardus was terrified, but still the voice implored help, 
and at length Adrian was drawn up. At once this lord departed with- 
out thanks, and threatened Bardus with vengeance if ever he should 
claim the promise. The poor man went home, not daring to speak 
more, and on the next day, going to get wood, he found that the ape 
had requited his kindness by gathering for him a great heap of sticks, 
and so continued to do day by day ; and the serpent brought him a 
precious stone in her mouth. This last he sold to a jeweller and after- 
wards found it again in his purse, and as often as he sold it, the same 
thing followed. At length this came to be known, and the Emperor 
heard of it. Calling Bardus before him he listened to his tale, and 
gave judgement that Adrian should fulfil his promise. (4937-5162.) 

Flee this vice, my son, for many lovers are thus unkind. 

Alas, father, that such a man should be, who when he has had what 


he would of love, can find it in his heart to be false. As forme,! dare 
not say that my lady is guilty of this Unkindness, but 1 for my pari am 

Thou must not complain of thy lady, my son. Perchance thy desii* 
is not such as she in hoaour can grant. It is well that thou art not 
guilty of Unkindness, and I will tell thee a tale to keep thee in that 
course. (5163-5230.) 

Thestus and Ariadne. Minos, king of Crete, having war with those 
of Athens, compelled them as a tribute to send nine men yearly, whom 
he gave 10 be devoured by Minolaurus. The lot fell at last upon 
Theseus, son of the king of Athens, and he went with the rest to Crete. 
Adriagne, daughter of Minos, loved him, and she gave him help to slay 
the monster. Then he look her away with him by ship, and her sister 
Fedra weni in their company. They rested in the isle of Chio, and 
there he left Adriagne sleeping, and sailed away with Fedra. Thus by 
his ingratitude and falsehood he broke the law of love, and evil came 
of it afterwards. (5231-5495-) 

5505-6074. Ravine. Ravine, in whose service is extortion, seites 
other men's goods without right and without payment. Sotheieaie 
lovers who will lake possession by force. (5505-5550.) 

Tereus. Pandion, king of Athens, had two daughters, Progneand 
Philomene. Progne was married to Tereus.king of Thrace, and desiring 
to see her sister, she sent Tereus to Athens to bring her. Coming 
back in company with Philomene he ravished her, and then maddened 
by her reproaches cut out her tongue, so that she could speak no arti- 
culate words. Then he shut her up in prison, and coming home to his 
wife, he told her that her sister was dead. Philomene in her prison 
prayed for deli\erance, and at length weaving her story with letters and 
imagery in a cloth of silk, she sent it by a privy messenger to Progne. 
Progne delivered her sister, and together they concerted vengeance, 
with prayers to Venus, Cupid and Apollo, Progne slew the son which 
she had by Tereus and served up his flesh to him for meat, and when 
he would have pursued the sisters to take vengeance, the gods trans- 
formed them all three, Philomene to a nightingale, which complains 
ever for her lost maidenhead, Progne to a swallow, which twitters round 
houses and warns wives of the falsehood of their husbands, and Tereus 
to a lapwing, the falsest of birds, with a crest upon his head in token 
that he was a knight. (5551-6047.) 

Father, I would choose rather 10 be trodden to death by wild- 
horses or torn in pieces, than do such a thing as this against 
love's law. (604B-6074.) 

6075-6492. ROBBERV. The vice of Robbery gets his sustenance by 
that which he can take on the high-roads, in woods and in fields. So 
there are lovers, who, If they find a woman in a lonely place, will take 
a part of her wares, no matter who slie may be ; and the wife who 


sits at home waiting for her husband's return from hunting will hear 
from him nothing of this, but only how his hounds have run or his 
hawks have flown. (6075-6144.) 

Neptune and Comix. Comix was a maid attendant on Pallas, and 
as she went upon the shore, Neptune thought to rob her of the treasure 
which passes all others and is called the maidenhead. She prayed 
to Pallas, and by her help escaped from him in the form of a crow, 
rejoicing more to keep her maidenhead white under the blackness 
of the feathers than to lose it and be adorned with the fairest pearls. 


Calistona. King Lichaon had a daughter Calistona, who desired 
ever to be a maiden and dwelt with the nymphs of Diane. Jupiter by 
craft stole her maidenhead, and Diane discovering it reproached her, 
so that she fled away. She was delivered of a son, Archas, but Juno in 
vengeance transformed her into a bear. In that likeness she met her 
son in the forest, and he bent his bow against her, but Jupiter ordained 
for them both so that they were saved from misfortune. (6225-6337.) 

Such Robbery, my son, is ever to be avoided, and I will tell thee how 
in old days Virginity was held in esteem. 

Valerius teDs how the Emperor did honour to the virgin, when he 
met her in the way, and we hear also of Phirinus, who thrust out his 
eyes in order that he might the better keep his virginity. 

Valentinian moreover, the Emperor, in his old age rejoiced more 
that he had overcome his flesh, than that he had conquered his 
enemies in battle. (6338-6428.) 

Evil follows when Virginity is taken away in lawless manner, as when 
Agamenon took Criseide from the city of Lesbon, and plague came 
upon the host, so that they sent her back with prayer and sacrifice. 

Therefore do no Robbery in love's cause, my son. (6429-6492.) 

6493-6960. Stealth. Coveitise has also a servant called Stealth, 
who takes his prey in secret, coming into houses at night, or cutting 
purses by day. Like the dog that comes back from worrying sheep, he 
looks all innocent, so that no man knows what he has done. There 
are lovers also who take by stealth, either kisses or other things. 
Hast thou done so ? (6493-6561.) 

I dare not, father, for my heart is hers and will not do anything 
against her. Moreover Danger is so watchful a warden that none can 
steal anything from her. Strong locks make thieves into honest men, 
and by no lying in wait can I slip through his guard. Yet at night 1 
often wake when others sleep, and I look out from my window upon 
the houses round, and mark the chamber where she lies. I stand there 
long in the cold and wish for some device of sorcery, whereby 1 might 
enter that chamber and steal. It brings me ease for the time to think 
of these things, but it profits me nothing in the end. It is for you to 
judge if I deserve penance for this or no. 


Stealth does little good, my son, in the end. 1 will lell thee a lale 
from Ovid of stealth which was done by day. (6562-6713.) 

Leucothoc. Thebus loved Leuchotoe, whom her mother kept close 
in chamber and seldom allowed to go forth. On a day he came in 
suddenly through her chamber wall and stole her maidenhead. Her 
father, when he knew, dared not take quarrel with Phebus, but without 
pity he caused her to be buried alive ; and Phebus wrought so thai 
she sprang up aa a golden flower, which ever follows the sun. (6713- 

No wonder thai this came to evil, my father, because it was done in 
broad day, but lovers sometimes have kept their thefts more secret. 
Tell me of something done by night. (6784-6806.) 

Hercules and Faunus. Hercules and Eolen, going together on a 
pilgrimage towards Rome, rested in a cave. Faunus, with Saba and 
her nymphs, were in a wood hard by, and Faunus, having had a sight 
of Eolen, thought to come by night and steal. Hercules and Eolen 
went to rest on separate beds, having to offer sacrifice on the morrow, 
and as they had exchanged clothes with one another in sporl, she had 
his mace by her and his clothes upon her bed, and he her wimple round 
his face and her mantle over him. The servants slept like drunken 
swine. Faiinns came into the cave, and feeling the mace and lion's skiO) 
he left her bed alone and went over to the other. Hercules seized him 
and threw him on the floor, where be still lay helpless on the morrowi 
A laughing- Stock to Saba and the nymphs. 

I have too faint a heart, father, for any such michery. (6807-6960LJ 

6961-7609. Sacrilege. Cod has laid down a law that men shall not 
steal, but work for their sustenance, and yet there are those who will 
even take the goods of holy Church, and this is called Sacrilege. 
[There are three kinds of Sacrilege, namely, theft of holy thing from 
holy place, of common thing from holy place, or of holy thing from 
common place. (7ois*-702g'.)] Three princes especially in old dayi 
were guilty of this, Antiochus, Nabuiardan and Nabugodonosor. 
This last wrought sacrilege in the temple at Jerusalem, and Baltaiai 
his heir paid ihe penalty. (6961-7031.) [A tale is told oi aoA Lucius 
at Rome, who robbed the statue of Apollo of a ring, a golden maolle 
and a golden beard, and excused himself, saying that he took the ring 
because it was held out towards him and offered, the mantle because 
it was 100 heavy for summer and too cold for winter, and the beard 
because it was not fit that Apollo should have a beard, when his father, 
who stood near him, was beardless. Thus can men feign and excuaft 
themselves. (7 105 •-7209'.)] 

There are lovers who at mass will whisper in their lady's ear or taka 
from her hand a ring or glove. Some go to churclies to seek out 
women and to show Ihemsclvcs there in fresh array, looking round upon 
them all and sighing, so that each thinks it is for her ; and yet such 


a man loves none of them, but goes there only to steal their hearts. 
All this is Sacrilege. 

My £ather, I do not so : but when my lady goes to»matins or to mass, 
thither I go also ; and then my looks are for her alone^ and my prayers 
are that God may change her heart. I watch and wait to steal from 
her a word or look, and when I lead her up to the offering with my 
hand about her waist, I win a touch as well. Except in sudi things 
I have done no Sacrilege, but it is my power and not my will that fails. 

Thy will is to blame, my son ; the rest that thou hast said is of little 
account. Yet all things have their time and place : the church is for 
prayer and the chamber for other things. That thou mayest know how 
Sacrilege is punished, I will spend on thee a tale. (7032-7194.) 

Parts and Helen, Lamedon was king of Troy, and against him the 
Greeks made war, and they slew him and destroyed his city. With other 
prisoners they took the fiur Esiona his daughter, and she was given to 
Thelamon. Priamus, son of Lamedon, built up Troy again, and with 
advice of his parliament he sent Antenor to demand back Esiona. The 
Greeks and Thelamon stoutly refused his request, and Priamus called 
his parliament again to debate of war or peace. H ector spoke for peace, 
all^^g grounds of prudence, though he was ever the first in war ; 
but his brother Paris gave his voice for avenging the wrong. He told 
how, as he slept beside a well, three goddesses came before him in 
a vision, and Venus, to whom he assigned the golden apple which was 
the prize of beauty, had promised to give him in Greece the fairest 
woman of all the earth. Paris then went forth to Greece, though 
Cassandra and Heleniis lamented for the evil that was to come. 
Landed in an isle he met the queen Heleine, who came to do sacrifice 
there to Venus, and he stole her heart. Heleine was in the temple all 
the night, offering prayer to Venus, and Paris came all suddenly and 
bore her to his ship. This Sacrilege was the cause why the Greeks 
laid siege about Troy, and at last burnt and slew all that was within 

it. (7195-7590-) 

Note also how Achilles saw Polixena in the temple of Apollo, and 
how Troilus first laid his love on Criseide in a holy place. Take heed 
therefore to thyself. 

Thus Avarice has more branches than any other vice, and the work- 
ing of it is everywhere seen ; but if a man would live rightly, he must 
do Largess. (7591-7640.) 

7641-7844. Prodigauty and Largess. Virtue lies between two 
extremes : here we see Avarice and Prodigality, and between them 
Liberality or Largess, which holds the middle path between too much 
and too little. Where Largess guides a man, he does what is right 
both to God and the world, and God rewards him with the gift of 
heaven. The world gives ever to him who hath ; but it is better to 
give than to receive, to have thine own good than to crave that of 



others. ' If thy good suffice thee not, then refrain thy desires uid 
suffice to Ihy good.' Charily begins with itself: if thou enrich others 
making thyself poor, thou wilt have little thanks. 'Jack is a good 
fellow,' they say while his money lasts, but when thai is gone, then 
'Jack wajagood fellow,' and they leave him to starve, (7641-7760.I 

There are lovers who spend and waste their love with Prodigality, 
setting their heart upon many. Dut he who makes himself thus 
common, loses the special love of one, if she be wise. Hast thou thus 
wasted thy love f 

Nay, father : I have tasted here and there, but never truly loved any 
excepting one. Ou her indeed my love is wasted, for it brings no 
rctui-n ; 1 know not whether this is what ye mean by Prodigality. 

My son, perchance thy love is not lost nor wasted. None can say 
how such a thing will end ; therefore 1 know not whether thou hast 
lost or won. As summer returns after winter, so perchance thou 
mayest yet recover thy grace of love, (7761-7834.) 

Da vr. 

1-14, Cluttonv. The great original sin which brought death on 
all mankind was Gule, that is. Gluttony. The branches of it are 
many, but I shall speak of two only. 

15-616. UkUNKENNEss makes a wise man foolish and a fool think 
himself wise. The drunken man thinks that there is nothing that he 
does not know and nothing that he cannot do, yet he is withal so help- 
less that he can neither stand nor go ; he knows not what he is, nor 
whether it is day or night. In the morning he calls again for the cup 
which made him lose his wits at night. The wine binds him fast and 
makes him a subject and a slave. (5-75.) 

There are lovers so besotted with love, that they know no more than 
drunken men what reason is. The greatest men have been thus over- 
come : Salomon, Sampson, David, Virgil and Arisiolle. Confess if 
Ihou art thus drunken, for I think by thy countenance thou art sehapen 
to this malady. 

It is true, my father: 1 confess that I am drunk with love, and often 
1 know not what I do, so that men marvel at me. When 1 am absent 
from my lady I am drunk with the thoughts of her, and when I am 
present, with looking upon her. At times I am in Paradise, and then 
I wake and my Joy is turned to woe. I suffer then the fever of hot and 
cold, and the evil is that the more 1 drink, the more I am athirst. 
Yet I think if I had truly a draught of the drink that 1 desire, I should 
be sobered and do well; but tasiing of this is forbidden me. (76-305.) 

Love- drunkenness, my son, is a grievous thing, and yet none can 
withstand it. It is not all of one kind, for Jupiter has two tuns full of 
love-drink in his cellar, the one sweet and tlie other bitter. Cupid 


is butler of both, and being blind he gives men to drink of them by 
chance, now of this and now of that, so that some laugh and others 
lower, I know by thy tale that thou hast drunk of the potion that is 
bitter. (306-390.) 

Bacchus in the Desert, But thou must ever pray to attain to the 
other, whexeby thy thirst may be allayed, as Bacchus prayed in the 
desert, when he and all his host were in danger of perishing by thirst. 
Jupiter sent a ram, which spumed the ground, and there sprang up 
a fountain of water. (391-439.) 

Pray thou thus in thy need: a dumb man seldom gets land. 
Remember moreover that the butler is blind, and he may by chance 
give thee a drink of the sweet, which shall cause thee to grow sober. 

Of love-drunkenness an example is Tristram, who drank with Bele 
Ysolde o{ the drink which Brangwein gave them : and that thou may 
the more eschew the company of drunken men, hear this tale. (440^ 


Marriage ofPirithous, The fair Ipotacie was wedded to Pirotoiis, 
and he invited his friends to the feast. They became drunk both with 
wine and with desire, and so they carried away the bride by violence 
from her husband. (485-529.) 

Galba and Vitellus were rulers of Spain, and so drunken were they 
both that the land cried out against them. They ravished both wife 
and maid, but at length they were brought under the law and con- 
demned to die. Then they filled full a great vessel of wine and drank 
until their senses left them, and so they were slain, being already half 

dead. (537-595-) 

617-1260. Delicacy. The vice of Delicacy will not lack any 
pleasure which meat or drink can give, and desires always something 

So he who is delicate in love cannot content himself with what he 
has ; but though he have a fair wife, yet he will set his heart on others, 
and though his lady make him cheer, he must have more than she can 
with honour give. 

I am not guilty of this, father : I would be satisfied if I could be fed 
at all, except with woe. Yet some dainties I pick which please me for 
the time. (617-752.) 

My sight is fed with dainties when I look upon her face and form, yet 
it may never be fed to the full, but always longs for more. (753-826.) 

My hearing has a dainty feast when men commend her worthiness 
and grace, and above all when I hear her speak, for her words are to 
me like the winds of the South. Or again, I feed my ears with tales 
of those who loved before I was bom, of Ydoine and Amadas and of 
many more, and I think how sorrow endures but for a time. (827-898.) 

Finally, I have a cook whose name is Thought, who keeps his pots 
ever boiling with fancy and desire, and sets before me on the table all 

,t ihe choicest food, yet he must 
s soul while feeding his 

a regard to Delicacy be 


the pleasant sights tliat I have seen and words tliat 1 have heard. Yet 
it is no fuli meal, but one of woulds and wishes, so that the food 1 have 
does me liille good, and serves only lo keep off starvation, till 1 have 
the feast which shall satisfy my hunger. (899-938.) 

Such are my three delights, and 1 take my food thus of thinking, 
hearing and seeing, as a plover does of air. By Delicacy such aa this 
I hope that I do no Gluttony. 

It is in small things only that thou hast thy delight, my son ; but 
remember always that the delights of the body do grievance to the 
soul. (939-974-) 

Di-v(s and Lasarus. Christ lells a tale against this vice, which is 
read in Latin, but for the better knowledge of the truth I will declare 
it in English. Christ saith, &c. (975-1109.) 

Thus, my son, he who follows Delicacy and gives no alms shall &11 
into distress. He who has power over the good things of this worid 
may wear the richest ornaments a 
put away Delicacy, if he would i 
body. (1110-1150.) 

Nero followed his lusts against 
wrought a subtle thing lo know how his stomach fared. He chose 
three men to eat and drink at his table. On a certain day after meat 
he caused one to ride, another to walk, and the third to sleep, and after 
this he killed them, in order that he might see which had best digesred 
his food. 

He refrained from nothing that was pleasant to him, and above all he 
set his heart on women, so that he spared neither wife nor maid. So 
drunk was he with his lusts. (1151-1336.) 

Delicacy and Drunkenness go together and pass all bounds of 
reason. Thus too Love is at times so unrestrained that he takes no 
heed of God's law, but calls in the powers of heaven and earth and heU 
to achieve his purpose. (1337-1260.) 

1261-3407. SoRCEKY. There is nothing that love will not dare. 
He follows no law but his own, and goes forth like Dayard the blind 
horse, till he fall into Ihe ditch. Tlius at times he follows Sorcery, 
whether Geomance, Ydromance, Piromance or Nigromance, with all 
the craft boih of invocation of spirits and of natural magic. 

I know nothing of this, father ; but to win my lady I would once 
have done all that might be done, whether in hell or heaven. 

That goes very near, ray son : but I wam thee that he who does so 
is beguiled at last, and that Sorcery has no good end. (1:61-1390.) 

Ulysses an4 T*ieganut. Of those that were at Troy Uluxes had 
a name above all for craft and magic arts. This king was vexed by 
storms as he returned, and in spite of needle and stone his ship was 
driven upon the strand of Cilly, where he found two queens, Calipsa 
and Circes. These were sorceresses and they changed many of his 


men to the form of beasts, bat he overcame them with his sorceries, 
and at length he took his course for home, leaving Circes with child. 
His wife and all his people rejoiced at his home-coming, but when 
a man is most in his prosperity, then fortune makes him soonest fall. 
He had a dream, as he lay upon his bed, and he seemed to see a form 
of heavenly beauty. He embraced that image and it embraced him 
again, and it said to him : ' Our acquaintance shall be hereafter to our 
sorrow : one of us two shall take his death from this love in which we 
now rejoice.' It showed him then a sign, three fishes wrought upon 
a pennon, and so all suddenly went forth from him. 

Uluxes started from sleep, and making his calculations upon this, he 
judged that the danger was to be feared from his son Thelamachus. 
Him therefore he shut up within castle wall, and he made for himself 
a stronghold and set his servants to keep guard. But none can make 
resistance against his fsite : Thelogonus, his son by Circes, came to find 
his father, bearing as his ensign a pennon with three fishes upon his 
spear, and he came to this stronghold of Uluxes. The guards denied 
him entrance and an aiihty arose at the gate. The king came forth, 
and Thelogonus cast his spear at him, not knowing who he was. 
Uluxes was wounded to death, but he recognized the figure of his 
dream and the sign upon the pennon, and embraced his son, com- 
mending him to the care of Thelamachus before he died. 

Lo, what evil came to him of Sorcery : by Sorcery he begat his son, 
and that which was done against nature was against nature avenged. 

NectcLfiabus, The king of Egypt, Nectanabus, a great magician, fled 
from his enemies to Macedoine. In the chief city there the queen 
Olimpias kept the feast of her nativity and rode forth to be seen by 
the people. Nectanabus stood with the others, and gazed upon her so 
steadfastly, that the queen sent for him and asked him who he was. 
He replied that he was one who had a message for her, which must 
be said in private. She appointed a time, and he told her how the god 
Amos of Lybia desired to be her bedfellow and would beget a child of 
her who should subdue the whole earth. To prove his words he caused 
her by his magic to have a vision, which she took for prophecy ; and 
so at length, coming in the person of the god and transforming himself 
into various shapes, he had his will of her and begat a son. Nectana- 
bus caused Philip the king, being from home, to have a vision whereby 
he supposed that a god had lain with his wife, and returning he found 
her with child. Still he doubted, but by further signs and wonders 
Nectanabus caused him to forget his jealousy. Amid portents of 
earthquake and of tempest the child was bom, and his name was 
called Alexander. He grew up, and Aristotle taught him philosophy, 
while Nectanabus instructed him in astronomy. On a certain night, 
when they were upon a tower observing the stars, Nectanabus pro- 


phesied by them that his own death should be by the hands of his 
son. Alexander, lo prove thai he lied, threw him from the tower to 
the ground, asking what was the use of his art if he could not prophesy 
his own fate rightly. Nectanabus made known the truth, and Alexander 
was sorry, and told his mother how it was. Thus he died and was 
buried, and this was the reward of Sorcery. ( 1 789-2366.) 

Zoroaster too and Saul came to evil hy Sorcery. I couDSel thee 
never to use this, my son. (2367-2400.) 

I will not, father. But I beseech you tell me something of that 
Philosophy which, as ye said, Aristotle taught to Alexander: for to 
hear of something new might ease my pain. 

Thou sayest well ; but I, who am of the school of Venus, know not 
much of this high lore. Yet, as it is comprehended in a book, I can in 
part show forth 10 thee how it is. (2401-3440.) 

Lib. VII. 

1-60. Thou hast prayed mc to declare to thee the school of Aris- 
totle, and how Alexander was Caught. This is not the mailer on which 
we were set to speak ; yet since wisdom is to be desired above all things, 
I will tell thee of that which Calistre and Aristotle wrote to Alexander. 

There are three principal points of Philosophy : Theoric, Rhetoric, 

61-1506. Theoric. The parts of Theoric are three; Theology, 
Physics and Mathematics. The first Ireals of God and things spiritual ; 
the second ol bodily things, such as man, beast, herb and stone ; and 
the third has four divisions, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry and Astro- 
nomy. {61-302.) 

Aristotle taught this young king of the four elements and the four 
complexions of man, of the principal divisions of the earth, and of the 
fifth element, Orbis, which contains the whole. (203-631.) 

To speak next of Astronomy, this Orbis is that which we call ihe 
firmament, and in it are first the seven Planets, and then the twelve 
Signs of the Zodiac, about each of which Alexander was taught in turn. 

Nectanabus, teaching him natural magic, informed him of the Fifteen 
Stars and of the stone and herb appropriate to each, by itKans of 
which wonders may be worked. (1281-1438.) 

The authors who taught this science of Astronomy were first Noe, 
then Nembrot, nnd after them many others, but principally Tholomee, 
who wrote the book of Almagest, and Hermes. (1439-1492.) 

Thus these Philosophers taught Alexander in regard to that which 
is called Theoric. (1493-1506.) 

1 507-1640- Rhetoric Speech is given 10 man alone and he must 
take heed that he turn it to no evil use. There is virtue in stones and 
in herbs, but word hu virtue more than any earthly thing. But the 


word mast not be discordant with the thought, as when Uluxes by his 
eloquence persuaded Anthenor to betray to him the city of Troy. 
Words are both evil and good, they make friend of foe and foe of friend. 
For a true example of Rhetoric read how Julius and the consul Cithero 
pleaded against one another when the treason of Catiline was discovered. 

1 641-5397. Practic. This has three divisions, Ethics, Economics 
and Politics. A king must learn the first in order that he may rule 
himsdf in the way of good living, the second teaches him how to order 
his household, and the third how to govern hi s kingdom. (1641-1710.) 

1711-1984. The first point of Policy is TRUTH, which above all 
things ought to be found in a king ; and this is in part signified by the 
jewels of his crown. 

To show thee that Truth is the sovereign virtue of all, I will tell thee 
a tale. (1711-1782.) 

King^ Wine^ IVtmum and Truth, Daires, Soldan of Perce, had 
three wise men about his chamber, Arpaghes, Manachaz and Zoro- 
babeL To them he put the question, which is strongest, wine, 
woman, or a king. Of this they disputed in turn, and Arpaghes said, 
* A king is the strongest, for he has power over men and can raise them 
up and cast them down : also he alone stands free from the law.' 
Manachaz said, 'Wine is the strongest, for this takes reason away from 
the wise and makes the fool seem learned, this turns cowardice to 
courage and avarice to largess.' Zorobabel said, 'Women are the 
strongest, for the king and all other men come of women and bow to 
the love of women,' and be told how he had seen Cirus upon his 
throne overcome by the love of Apemen, daughter of Besazis, so that 
she did with him what she would. Women too make men desire 
honour, and woman is next to God the greatest help of man, as Aicesie^ 
wife of Ametus, gave her life to save her husband. Thus Zorobabel 
told his opinion, but nevertheless he said that above all these the 
mightiest of all earthly things is Truth: and so the question was 
concluded, and Zorobabel was most commended for his judgement. 

(1 783-1984.) 

1985-2694. Largess is the second point of Policy. A king must 
be free from the vices both of Avarice and of Prodigality. As Aris- 
totle taught by the ill example of the king of Chaldee, he must spend 
his own substance and not that of his people, he must do justice before 
he makes gifts, and his gifts must be to those who have deserved 
them. (1985-2060.) 

Julius and the poor Knight. A knight came to plead his cause at 
Rome, where the Emperor Julius was in presence ; but he could get 
no advocate, because he was poor. He prayed for justice to the 
Emperor, and Julius assigned him an advocate. The knight was 
angry, and said, * When I was with thee in Afric, I fought myself and 
put no man in my stead ; and so thou here shouldest speak for me 

♦♦ f 


thyself.' Julius took his cause in hand ; and thus every worrty king 
should help his servants when in need. (3061-2114.) 

Antigonus and Cinkhus. A king should know how much to give 
A poor knight asked King Antigonus for a great sum, and he replied, 
' That is too much for ihec to ask ' : then when the knight osted 
a very small gift, he said, ' That is too little for me to give.' 

Kings must not exceed the due measure in giving, and especially they 
ought not to give to flatterers, who offend against God, against the 
prince and against the people. Yet flattery is always found in the 
courts of kings, (ai 15-2216.) 

Diogfties and Arislippus. Two Philosophers went from Carthage 
to Athens to learn, and thence returned again. The one, Diogenes, 
was content to dwell apart and study, the other, Arisippus, went to 
court and got honour and wealth by flattery. Diogenes was gathering 
herbs in his garden and washing them in the river, when Arisippus 
passed by with a company, and said, ' If thou hadst known how to 
make thyself pleasing to thy prince, there would have been no need 
for thee to pick herbs.' The other replied, ' If thou hadst known how 
to pick herbs, there would have been no need for thee to make thyself 
pleasing by thy flatteries.' (2217-2317.) 

But the example of Arisippus is chiefly followed, and flattery is that 
which makes men beloved. [Dante the poet said once to a flatterer, 
■Thou hast many more servants than I, for a poet cannot find how to 
feed and clothe himself, but a flatterer may rule and lead a king and 
all his land.'] There was a custom among the Ramans, which was 
established against flattery, as follows. (2318-2354.) 

Roman Triumph. When an Emperor had a triumph after victory, 
he went in pomp with four white horses and the nobles of the land 
before and behind him : but one sat with him in his car, who said con- 
tinually, ' Know thyself, and remember that good fortune is only for 
a lime.' Moreover he and every other man might speak whatever truth 
he knew to the Emperor, whether good or bad. (1355-3411.) 

Tht Emprror and his Masons. Again, when an Emperor was 
enthroned, his masons came to ask him how be would have the stone 
made for his tomb. There was no flattery then, to deceive princes. 

Caesar's Answer, One came and did reverence to Cesar, as if he 
were a god : then he oime and sat down by his side as an equal. ' If 
thou art a god,' he said, ' 1 have done well in worshipping thee, but if 
a man, in sitting by thy side.' Cesar answered that he was a fool, 
and had done ill in one of two things, either in sitting by the side of 
his god or in worshipping a mere man, They that heard this took it 
' as a lesson against flattery. (2449-2490.) 

The king who bestows his goods upon flatterers docs harm to 
himself and his land. There is an example in the Bible, (2491-2516.) 


Afutb and Aftcaitih, i Kings xxii. (2527-2694.) 

2695-3102. JUSTICE' is the third point of Policy. A land is nothing 
without men, and men cannot be without law. It is for the king above 
all others to guide the law, and though he is above the law, yet he 
must not do things which are against it He must make his own life 
right towards God, and then endeavour to rule his people rightly, and 
he must see that his judges are both wise and true. - (2695-2764.) 

Maximin^ when he appointed a judge, inquired carefully whether he 
were virtuous or no. Thus the course of law was not hindered by 
coveitise. (2765-2782.) 

Gaius FabriciuSy consul of Rome, when the Samnites brought him 
gold, tried it with taste and smell, and said he knew not for what it 
would serve. It was better, he said, to rule the men who had the gold, 
than to possess gold and lose the liberty to be just. (2783-2817.) 

In those times none was preferred to the office of judge unless he 
were a friend to the common right. (2818-2832.) 

Conrad ordered matters so that in his time no man durst set aside 
the law for gold. (2833-2844.) 

Carmidoioire the consul slew himself rather than allow his own law to 
be broken, when by inadvertence he had come armed to the Senate- 
house. (2845-2888.) 

Cambyses flayed a corrupt judge, and nailed his skin upon the chair 
where his son was set to judge in his place. (2889-2904.) 

Ligurgius^ prince of Athens, having established good laws in his 
city, took an oath from the citizens that they would change nothing 
during his absence ; and so he departed, never to return, desiring that 
Athens might still enjoy good laws. (2917-3028.) 

The first Lawgivers. The names of those who first made laws 
ought to be handed down to fame. They are Moses, Mercurius, 
Neuma Pompilius, Ligurgius, Foroneas, Romulus. Kings ought to be 
led by law, and it is a scandal to a king if the law be not executed. 

3 1 03-42 1 4. The fourth point of Policy is Pity. This is the virtue 
by which the King of kings was moved when he sent his Son down to 
this earth. Every subject should fear his king, and every king should 
have mercy on his people. [The apostle James says that he who 
shows no pity shall find none. Cassodre says that the kingdom is safe 
where pity dwells. Tullius that the king who is overcome by pity 
bears a shield of victory. We read how a knight appealed from the 
wrath of Alexander to his pity and so obtained grace. (3i49*-3i79*0] 
Constantine said, * He who is a servant to pity, is worthy to rule all 
else.* Troian said that he desired his people to obey him rather from 
love than fear. (3 103-3 162.) 

[ The Pagan and the Jew. Two travellers went through the desert 
together, and each asked the other of his belief. The one said, ' I am 

f 2 



a Pagaji, and by my failh 1 ought to love all men alike and do to 
others as I wnuld Ihey should do to me.' The other, ' I am a Jew, 
and by my faith 1 ought to be true lo no man, except he be a Jew, as 
I am.' The day was hot and the Pagan rode on an ass with his 
baggage, while the Jew went on foot. The Jew asked the Pagan lo 
let him t^se his weariness by riding, and the other assented. So they 
went on, but when the Pagan desired his ass back, the Jew rode on, 
saying that thus he did his duly by his law. The Pagan prayed to 
God to judge his quarrel, and going on further he found the Jew slain 
by a lion and tlie ass with the baggage standing by him. Thus a man 
may know how the pitiful man deserves pity, and that lack of pity is 
the cause of evil. (3207*-336o*.)] 

Codrvs, king of Athens, having a war, was informed by Apollo that 
either he must perish in the battle or his people be discomfited. He 
had pity upon his people and gave his life for them. Where have we 
such kings now ? (3163-3214.) 

Pompey had war against the king of Ermenie, and having taken bim 
captive, he gave him his crown again and restored htm to bis kingdom. 

Cruelty is the opposite of Pity. (3249-3266.) 

Leonaus the tyrant cruelly cut off the nose and Itps of the merciful 
Justinian : he was so served himself by Tiberius, and Justinian was 
restored to the empire. (3267-3294.) 

Sictilus the cruel king caused Bcrillus to make a bull of brass, 
within which men should be burnt to death. Benllus was himself the 
first who suffered this torture. (3S9S-3333-) 

JXonys fed his horses on man's flesh and was slain by Hercules. 

IJckanH devoured the bodies of his guests and was changed into 
a wolf. (33SS-3369-) 

Tyranny may not last. The Lion will not slay the man who fallK 
down before him to entreat mercy, and how then ought a Prince to 
destroy the man who asks his mercy ? Yet some tyrants have been so 
cruel that Pity cannot move them. (3370-3416.) 

Sfiertachus, a warrior and a cruel man, made war on the queen 
Thameris, and having taken her son prisoner, he slew him without 
mercy. The queen gathered a power and lotik the tyrant in an ambush. 
Then she tilled a vessel with the blood of his princes and cast hill) 
therein, bidding him drink his (ill of blood. (3417-3513-) 

A king, however, must not fail lo sL^iy in the cause of Justice, and he 
must be a champion of his people without any weak pity. If he fears 
without cause, he is like those in the fable who were in dread when 
the Mountain was in labour, and at length it brought forth a mouse. 

As there is a lime for peace, so there is also a time for war, and here 
too virtue stands between two CKtremes, between foolish pity and rub 


cnidty. Of men who have undertaken war for a righteous cause 
there are examples in the Bible, and of those I will tell thee one. 
(3S 14-3626.) 
Story of Gideon. Judges vii. (3627-3806.) 
Smul amd Agag. Saul failed to cbey God's command to slay Agag, 
showmg pity wrongfully : therefore he lost his life and his kingdom. 

On the other hand Salomon obeyed his fether David's command in 
slaying Joab, and yet he showed mercy in his reign and wrought no 
tyranny. Also he was wise and had worthy men about him, and there 
is nothing better for a ruler than Wisdom. Salomon asked for this 
gift from God, and this it is which a king chiefly needs in order to hold 
the balance even between Justice and Pity. (3846-3944.) 

Courtiers and Fool. Lucius, king of Rome, asked his steward and 
his chamberlain what men said about him. The steward merely 
flattered in his reply, but the chamberlain answered that people 
thought he would be a worthy king if he had good counsellors. The 
fboly who played with his bauble by the fire, laughed at both, and 
said, ' If the king were wise, the council would not be bad.' Thus the 
king was instructed and put away his bad counsellors. (3945-40ia) 

Folly ofRehoboam. i Kings xii. i-2a (4027-4129.) 

Counsel of young men thus leads to ruin. There is a question whether 
it is better that the king be wise or his council. The answer is that it 
is better to have wise counsellors. (41 30-41 80.) 

The Emperor Anthonius said he would rather have one of his 
subjects saved than a thousand of his enemies slain. Mercy mingled 
with justice is the foundation of every king's rule. Thus I have 
spoken of four points, Truth, Largess, Pity and Justice. There is yet 
a fifth. (4181-4214.) 

4215-5397. Chastity, the fifth point of Policy. The male is made 
for the female, but one must not desire many. A man must keep the 
troth he has plighted in marriage, and this all the more in the high 
and holy estate of a king. 

Aristotle advised Alexander to fi-equent the company of fair women, 
but not to beguile himself with them. For it is not they who beguile 
the men, but the men beguile themselves. The water is not to blame 
if a man drown himself in it, nor the gold if men covet it. It is by 
nature that a man loves, but not by nature that he loses his wits : that 
is like frost in July or hose worn ever the shoe. Yet great princes 
have been thus misled. (421 5-4312.) 

Sardanapalus lost his kingdom and his honour, because he became 
eflfeminate in his lusts. (4313-4343-) 

David^ however, though he loved many women, preserved the honour 
of knighthood. (4344-4360.) 

Cyrus had a war with the Lydians^ and he could not conquer them. 


Then, feigning, he made a perpetual peace wiih Ihem, and they (ell 
into idleness and fleshly Iu5t, so that he subdued Ihem easily. {4361- 

Balaatn advised king Amalech to send fair women among the 
Hebrews, and these led them into lust, so that they were discomfited 
in battJe, till Phinees caused them to amend their ways. (4406-4445.1 

This virtue of Chastity belongs especially to a king. 

Salomon took wives of sundry nations and did idolatry in his IbUy. 
Therefore after his death his kingdom was divided. 

Aniottie, son of Severus, gave an evil example of lust ; and the ia)e 
which here follows will show what is the end of tyranny and lechery. 

Tarquin the tyrant had many sons, and among them Arrons. He 
had a war with the Gabiens, and to their city Anons went, showing 
wounds which he said he had received from his father and brethren. 
They took him as their leader, and be by his father's advice cut off the 
heads of their chief men, and so the Romans conquered the city. They 
made a solemn sacritice in the temple of Phebus, and a serpent came 
and devoured the offerings and quenched the fires. Phebus said that 
this was for the sin and pride of Tarquin and his son, and that he who 
should first kiss his mother, shoald avenge the wrong. Brutus fell to 
the ground and kissed his mother Earth, (4 5 93-4? S3-) 

Tarquin had a war aderwards with Ardea, and they were long at 
the siege. A dispute arose between Arrons and Collatin as to the 
virtue of their wives, and they rode lo Rome to see how they wete 
employed. At the palace they found the wife of Arrons full of mirth 
and thinking nothing of her husband ; at the house of Collatin, Lucres 
was working with her women and praying for lier husband's return. 
Arrons was smitten with love of her, and returning again the next day 
he ravished her. .She on the morrow called her husband and her 
father, with whom came Drutus, and told them her tale. Refusing 
their forgiveness she slew herself, and they look the body into the 
market-place, where Brutus lold the tale to the people. They remem- 
bered also the former evil doings of Tarquin and hts son, and sent 
both into exile. (47S4-SI30-) 

Virgima. When Appius Claudius was governor of Rome, he set 
his desire upon a gentle maid, daughter of Livius Virginius, and he 
caused his brother Marcus to claim her unrightfully as his slave. Her 
father was with ihe host, but he rode hastily to Rome ; and when 
Appius adjudged her to his brother against the law, finding that he 
coiUd save her from dishonour in no other way, he thrust her through 
with his sword and made his way back to the hosL Thus the tyranny 
came to men's ears and the tmrighleous king was deposed by the 
common consent (5131-5306) 

As an example of chastity in marriage we read the story of Sarra the 


daughter of RagueL Seven men who married her were strangled by 
the fiend Asmod, because they took her only for lust ; but Thobie, 
taught by Raphael, had his will and yet kept the law of marriage. 
God has bound beasts by the law of nature only, but men must follow 
also the law of reason and do no lechery. Thus the philosopher 
taught to Alexander. (5307-5397.) 

I thank you, father. The tales sound in my ears, but my heart is 
elsewhere ; for nothing can make me foiget my love. Leave all else 
therefore, and let us return to our shrift 

Yes, my son, there is one point more, and this is the last. (539S- 

Lib. VIII. 

1-198. Laws of Marriage. God created Adam and Eve to repair 
the loss of Lucifer and his angels, and bade them increase and multi- 
ply. In the first generation by God's law brother and sister were joined 
in marriage, then afterwards cousin wedded cousin, as in the time of 
Habiaham and Jacob. At last under Christian law Marriage was 
forbidden also in the third degree. Yet some men take no heed to 
kinship or religion, but go as a cock among the hens and as a stallion 
among the mares. Such love may be sweet at first, but afterwards it 
is bitter. 

199-3008. Examples of Incest. Caligula the Roman Emperor 
bereft his three sisters of their virginity : therefore God bereft him of 
his life and of his empire. 

Anton lay with his sister Thamar, and Absolon his brother took 
vengeance upon him. 

Lot lay with his daughters, and the stocks which came from them 
were not good. 

Thus if a man so set his love, he will afterwards sorely repent it ; 
and of this I think to tell a tale which is long to hear. (199-270.) 

Apollonius of Tyre* In a Chronicle called Pantheon I read how king 
Antiochus ravished his daughter and lived with her in sin. To hinder 
her marriage, he proposed a problem to those who sought her love, 
and if a man failed to resolve it, he must lose his head. At length 
came the Prince Apollinus of Tyre, and the king proposed to him the 
question. He saw too clearly what the riddle meant, and Antiochus 
fearing shame put off the time of his reply for thirty days. (271-439.) 

The Prince feared his vengeance and fled home to Tyre, and thence 
he departed secretly in a ship laden with wheat. Antiochus sent one 
Taliart in all haste to Tyre, with command to make away with the 
Prince by poison. Finding that Apollinus had fled, he returned. 

In the meantime the Prince came to Tharsis, and took lodging 
there with one Strangulio and his wife Dionise. The city was suffer- 
ing famine, and Apollinus gave them his wheat as a free gift, in return 

£ of him in the common place. (440- 

for which ihey s 

A man came to him from Tyre and reported that king Antiochus 
desired to slay him. He was afraid and fled thence again by ship. 
A storm came upon him and the ship was wrecked : Apollinus alone 
came alive to land. A fisherman helped him and directed him to the 
town of Pentapolim, where lie found the people gathered to see games, 
and the king and queen of the country there present. 1571-695.) 

He surpassed all others in the games, and the king called him to 
ittpper in his hall. At supper he was sad and ate nothing, and the 
king sent to him his daughter to console him. To her he lold his name 
and country, and with that he lei the tears run down his cheeks. She 
fetched a harp and sang to it, and he took ii from her hand and played 
and sang divinely. They all saw that he was of gentle blood. (696- 

The king's daughter desired her father that he might be her teacher, 
and in the course of time she turned with all her heart to love of him. 
She so lost her appetite for meat and drink and sleep that she was in 
danger of her life. 

Three sons of princes demanded her in marriage, and she by letter 
informed her father how the matter stood : if she might not have 
Apollinus, she would have none other. (800-91 !■) 

The king sent for Apollinus and showed hicn his daughter's letter. 
He assented gladly, and the marriage took place with great festivity. 
Soon after this men came from Tyre reporting that Antiochus and his 
daughter were dead, having been both struck by lightning, and entreat- 
ing him to return to his own people. All were rejoiced to hear that 
the king's daughter had married so worthy a prince. (912-1019.) 

Apollinus sailed away with his wife, she being with child. A sto) 
arose and she began to be in travail. In anguish she was delivered of 
a maid child, but she herself lay dead, (ioao-1058,) 

Apollinus sorrowed as never man sorrowed before, but the n 
the ship required that the dead body be cast out of the ship, becaase 
the sea will not hold within itself any dead creature, and the ship 
would be driven on the shore if the body remained within her. They 
made therefore a coffer closely bound with iron and covered with pitch, 
in which they placed the corpse, with gold and jewels, and with a letter 
praying that she might receive burial ; and so they cast it overboard. 
Apollinus in the meantime sailed first to Tharsis. (1059-1150.) 

The coffer was cast up at Ephesim and was found by Cerymon, 
a great physician. He by his art restored the seeming corpse to life, 
and she took upon herself the rule of religion and dwelt with Other 
women in ihe temple of Diane. (1151-1371.) 

Apollinus coming to Tharsis entrusted his infant daughter Thaise ti; 
the care of Sirangulio and Dionise, and so he sailed on to Tyre. Thia 


daughter, until she was fourteen years old, grew up with the daughter 
of Strangulio, but Thaise was preferred to the other in all places 
where they went, and D ionise was therefore wroth. She bade her 
bondman Theophilus take Thaise down to the shore of the sea and 
there slay her. He brought her to the sea, but her cry called forth 
pirates from their hiding-place, who carried her with them away to 
Mitelene and sold her to Leonin, master of a brothel. (1272-1423.) 

The young men who came to her were moved by compassion and 
did her no wrong, so that Leonin sent his own servant in to her. 
She entreated to be permitted to make gain for him in some other way, 
and being taken from the brothel and placed in security, she taught 
such things as gentlewomen desire to learn, and her name went forth 
over all the land. (1424-1497.) 

Theophilus reported that he had slain Thaise, and Dionise, pretend- 
ing that she had died suddenly, made a great funeral and set up 
a tomb with an epitaph. After this, ApoUinus came to seek for his 
daughter at Tharsis, and hearing that she was dead, he put forth to sea 
again in grievous sorrow. He lay weeping alone in the darkness of the 
ship's hold, until under stress of storm they came to Mitelene. (1498- 

Hearing of his grief, the lord of the city, Athenagoras, sent Thaise to 
comfort him. He at first rejected all her consolation, but then to his 
joy discovered that she was the daughter for whom he mourned. 
Athenagoras asked for her in marriage and was wedded to her. (1618- 

They went forth all together with intent to avenge the treason at 
Tharsis, but Apollinus was warned in a dream to go to Ephesim, and 
there in the temple of Diane he found the wife whom he supposed to 
have been dead. Thence they voyaged to Tyre and were received 
with joy. Athenagoras and Thaise were there crowned king and 
queen, and ApoUinus sailed away and took due vengeance upon 
Strangulio and Dionise. (i 777-1962.) 

When this was done, a letter came to him from Pentapolim, praying 
him to come and receive that kingdom, since the king was dead. 
They had a good voyage thither, and he and his wife were crowned 
there and led their life happily. (1963-2008.) 

Thus, my son, thou mayest see how it is with those that love in 
a good manner, but it is not love when men take their lust like beasts. _ 

2029-3172. Conclusion. Father, I may acquit myself in this, 
but I entreat your counsel as to what way I shall follow in my love. 

I counsel thee, my son, to labour no more in things which bring thee 
no profit. The end of every pleasure is pain. Love is blind, and makes 
all his servants blind : thou mayest yet withdraw and set thyself under 
the law of reason. 

It is easy to say so, father. My woe is but a game to you, feeling 


nothing of thai which 1 feeL The hari that gtws free knows not the 
sorrows of the ox under the yoke. But I entreat you to present for me 
a Supplication to Venus and Cupid, aJid bring me a good answei bsdc 

Then arose a great debate between my Priest and me : my reason 
understood him well, but my will was against bim. At length he 
agreed to deliver my Supplication, and with tears instead of ink I wrote 
the letter thus ; ' The wofull peine of loves maladie,' &c (3189- J300.) 

The Priest went forth to present my petition, and I abode. Suddenly 
Venus stood by me, and 1 fell upon my knee and prayed her to do me 
grace. ' What is thy name ? ' she said, as if in game. ' John Gower,' 
1 replied. ' 1 have read thy bill/ she said, ' in which thou hast com- 
plained to Nature and to me. Nature is mistress where she will, and 
I excuse thee for following her law : but as for what thou sayest, that 
1 am bound to relieve thee, because thou hast served in my Court, I will 
give thee medicine that will heal thy heart, but perchance it will not 
be such as thou deslrest.' (2301-3376.) 

Half in scorn she spoke to me of my age and hoary locks, and 
counselled me to make a ' beau retret,' while there was yet time ; for 
even though 1 should attain to my desire, I could not hold covenant 
duly with love. 

I grew cold suddenly for sorrow of my heart, and lay swooning on 
the ground. Then methought 1 saw Cupid with his bow bent, and 
with him a great company, those gentle folk who once were lovers, 
arrayed in sundry bands. (a37?-2459.) 

Youth was the leader of one company, and these had garlands, some 
of the leaf and some of the dower. They went with piping and with 
song which resounded all about : they laughed and danced and played, 
and talked of knighthood and of ladies' love. There was Tristram with 
Vsoldc, Lancelot with Gunnore, Jason with Crcusa, Hercules with Hole, 
Troilus with Criseide, but in his mirth he was yet heavy of cheer 
becauseofDiomedc. Thosealsol saw who died for love, as Narcissus, 
Piramus, Achilles ; and the women who were forsaken. Dido, Phillis, 
Adriagne, Delanire and Medea. Many others too I saw, but four 
women especially who were most commended as examples in marriage, 
Penolope, Lucrece, Alccste and Alcione. Youth, which led this com- 
pany, took no heed of me. (2460-2665.) 

Then came Kid, leading a company not so great. Their music was 
low and their dancing soft : they smiled, but they did not laugh aloud. 
There was David with Bersabee, and Salomon with his wives and 
concubines, Sampson with Dalida, and Aristotle with the queen of 
Greece ; Virgil also and Plato and Ovid the poet. (2665-2735.) 

When this company was come to the place where I lay, they entreated 
Venus for me, and even some of the younger band said that it was 
great pity. Cupid came with Venus to me as 1 lay, and the lovers all 


pressed round to see. Some said that love was folly in the old, and 
others that no age could be free, and that while there was yet oil in the 
lamp, it might always be set alight. Cupid groped after me till he found 
roe, and then he drew forth that fiery lance which before he had cast 
through my heart, and Venus anointed my wound with a cooling oint- 
ment and gave me a mirror in which I might behold myself. I saw my 
£u3e wrinkled and my eyes dim, and I likened myself to that time of 
year when winter has despoiled the earth. Then Reason returned to 
me and I was made sober and sound. (2726-2869.) 

Venus beheld me, and laughing asked me what Love was. I an- 
swered with confusion that I knew him not, and prayed that I might be 
excused from my attendance on her Court. As touching my Confession 
too^ I asked an absolution, and the Priest gave it readily. Then the 
queen delivered to me a pair of beads to hang about my neck, and on 
them was written Par refioser in gold. ' Thus,' said she, ' have I provided 
for thine ease, and my will is that thou pray for peace. Stay no more in 
my Court, but go where moral virtue dwells, where are those books which 
men say that thou hast written : thou and I must commune together 
never again. *Adieu, for I must go from thee.' And so enveloped 
in a starry cloud, Venus was taken to her place above, and her Priest 
departed also at the same time. I stood for a while amazed ; and 
then I smiled, thinking of the beads that she had given me and of the 
prayers that I should say. And thus I took my way softly homeward. 

To God, the Creator of all things, I pray for the welfare of this land, 
and that it may have peace and unity, which every estate should 
desire. I pray that the clergy may work after the rule of charity, that 
the order of knighthood may cause extortion to cease and defend 
the right of the Church, that merchants may follow honesty, and above 
all that the king may keep himself and all the other estates of the 
kingdom in the right way. The king who humbly follows the law of 

* Adieu, for I must go from thee. And greet Chaucer well, as my 
disciple and my poet, who has filled the land with the songs which he 
made for my sake. And bid him in his later age make his testament 
of love, as thou hast made thy shrift.' 

And so enveloped in a starry cloud, Venus was taken to her place 
above, and I turned homeward with my beads in hand. (294o*-297o*.) 

To God, the Creator of all things, I pray for my worthy king Richard 
the Second, in whom has always been found Justice mingled with Pity. 
In his person it may be shown what a king should be, especially in that 
he sought no vengeance through cruelty. Though evil came upon the 
land, yet his estate was kept safe by the high God, as the sun is ever 
bright in himself, though the air be troubled. He sought love and 
peace and accord, not only here at home, but abroad also, following 


God shall be blessed, and his name shall be remembered for ever. 

I promised to make in English a book between play and earnest, and 
now I ask that I may be excused for lack of curious skill, I have written 
in rude plain words, as sickness and age would suffer me ; and I pray 
my lords that 1 may stand in their grace, for I desire to do pleasure 
to those under whose rule I am. (3106-3137.) 

And now my Muse bids me rest and write no more of love, which 
turns the heart away from reason. Of this love then I take my final 
leave. But that love which stands confinned by charity, which may 
save the body and amend the soul, such love may God send us, ihat in 
heaven our joy may be without end. (3138-3172.) 

Christ's way, and therefore are we bound to serve him, and his name 
shall be ever remembered. (2971 *-303S*.) 

1, his subject, helpless with old age and sickness, desire to do him 
some pleasure, and therefore 1 present to him this poor book, made 
both for profit and for sport, and I ask that I may be excused for lack 
of curious skill. I have written, as I best might, in rude plain wrorda. 

And now that I am feeble and old, my Muse bids me rest and write 
no more of love, He who has achieved what he desired may filly do 
his ser\'ice to love in songs and sayings ; but if a man fail, it is other- 
wise! therefore I take now my final leave of love. But that love 
which stands confirmed by charity, which brings no repentance and 
charges not the conscience, this may God send us, that in heaven our 
joy may be without end. (3036*-3ii4*.) 

iv. Orthography and Phonology. — In the remarks upon 
Gower's language which here follow there is no syslenialic com- 
pleteness. Attention is called to such points as seem to be 
important or interesting, reference being made especially to the 
language of Chaucer, as dealt witli in B.len Brink's ChaucersSfrae/u 
und yerskuiist (second edition, 1899). It is necessary perh&ps 
to remark here upon a difference of procedure which distinguishes 
this investigation from those which have for their object the text 
of Chaucer or of other writers whose work is handed down to us 
in manuscripts which do not proceed from the author himself. 
In such cases we have first to ascertain what the author actually 
wrote, before we can draw any valid conclusions about the laws 
of his language. It may even be necessary lo restrict the dis- 
cussion to such forms as are authenticated by rhyme ; but when 
we are compelled to do this, we must remember that we are 
accepting a rather dangerous limitation. The cotictusions drawn 


from the rhyme-words of a Middle Enghsh author will probably 
not be precisely applicable to his language in general. The 
sphere of our investigations will be that in which the licentious 
and exceptional is most likely to be found. If he has any ten- 
dency to borrow from other dialects than his own or to use 
irr^ular forms, this tendency will be most seen in his rhymes^ 
for it will probably be the exigencies of rhyme which suggest the 
variation. Chaucer repeatedly uses 'here/ in the sense of the 
modem ' her/ to rhyme with such words as * here,' * spere,' but 
we should certainly not be justified in concluding that this and 
not 'hire' was the normal form of his language. Similarly in 
the case of Gower by examination of his rhymes alone we might 
be led to many very doubtful results. For example, we should 
gather that he almost always used the form sinne rather than sennCj 
wile (verb) and not woU or woi^ axe and not aske, sek (adj.) and 
never sik^ hond and never hand^ couthe and never c<mde^ sente 
(pret.) rather than sende^ the adverb ending -ly in preference to 
'liche or -lick. In these cases and in many others we might easily 
be misled, the forms of these words as used in rhyme being 
determined chiefly by the comparative frequency of the various 
rhyme-syllables. Most of the conclusions above mentioned, and 
others like them, have in fact been arrived at in a paper by 
K. Fahrenberg, published in the Archiv fur die neueren Sprachen^ 
voL 89. The author of this paper, having only Pauli's text 
before him, very properly confines himself to an examination of 
the rhymes, and within these limits most of his results are sound 
enough ; but it would be very unsafe to treat them as generally 
applicable to the language of Gower. In our case it must be 
understood that the Fairfax manuscript is regarded (for reasons 
which will afterwards be stated) as a practically accurate repro- 
duction of the author's original text, and consequently the occur- 
rence of a particular form in rhyme is not held necessarily to be 
of any special significance. 

Orthography. — This being premised, we shall proceed to note 
first some points which call for attention in the orthography of 
the text 

In describing the British Museum MS. Harl. 3869, Pauli 
takes occasion to observe: *This copy is very remarkable 
on account of its orthography, which has been carried through 


almost rigorously according to simple and reasonable principles.' 
This system he appears to attribute to the copyist of the manu- 
script in question, but it is in fact that of the author, the lert 
being copied veiy faithfully from the Fairfax manuscript itself. 
Pauli appears to have been repelled by the outward appearance 
of this 'small stout folio' with its rather untidy writing. He did 
not take the trouble to examine the Oxford copies ; but he seems 
to have perceived that its orthography was the same as that 
of the Stafford manuscript, and this should have enlightened him. 
In fact, if instead of taking Berthelette as his basis, he had simply 
printed the text of the Harleian volume, there would hardly have 
been need of another edition. 

The orthography of ibe Fairfax text, first hand, confirmed as it 
is in almost every particular by that of the Stafford manuscript, 
and supported also by the testimony of others, more especially of 
MS. Bodley 902, may be assumed to be that of the author; and 
it is well worthy of our attention, for he evidently regarded exact- 
ness and consistency in spelling as a matter of some importance. 

We may observe in the first place that it was not Gower's 
practice lo mark vowel-length by doubling the vowel. Naturally 
there are some MSS. in which this is occasionally found, and in 
particular the third hand of A gives aias, paas, glaade, maade, 
saakf, waas, bee, breej), soo, aroos, moore, schoon, 00/er, toold, &.c 
with considerable frequency, while very many MSS. have deck, 
look, took, oon, keere, mattere, and some other forms of the same 
kind; but this is not in accordance with the author's rule. In 
the Fairfax MS. the cases of doubled vowel are only occasional, 
except in the instance oi good, which is thus regularly distinguished 
from god. 

Of 00 there are very few esses except good. We hnvc ooh about three 
limca ioT ott, and biooJ^ btvod, coostf, do ( = doc)H foodt, /tool, sckoo, IM 
( ••loei, wool, in isolated instances. The doubling of t is more frequent, tt 
bun, tkitlit. cittn; du [pi. dtts), dtgrti, tim. tir, fit, fitdi. fitr, fitrt, fiH, 
grwnit, mfttit, mtr/i, fiits, qurtHt, sclittit, sti (subst.), SMii, slit, spttidi, IMtif 
fnr, wtrr. Bum. wrrtctit, jn, jitr, and a few more. Host of Ihe at»vc 
words, however, knd in general all others, are written usually with a ' 
Mngic vowel, ind we have quite regularly (for example) dtd, dtdt. dmtt, tt, 
find, fir, grrt,Mfd,/itr{ ^hi\r). It/, nd, ilrp.boi, boH, brod, /ol. goH, hoi. lok, 
non, arhoH, sont isoon), lok, uioi, and so on. Where there is vsriation irf 
vpetling in this respect, it a not felt lo be > matter which concerns Iho 
rhyme ; for we have mttr : fourr, ptta x rtlta, am* : ntnni, Ihtri : fitn, 
good : tlod, /ait : goodt, do l leMao, &c., tbouch •omelimes the spelling of 


the rhyme-words is evidently brought into harmony, as mietie : Almeent^ ii. 
9465 f., betn : wetrt^ iv, 1333 f., brood : good^ v. 4375 £, goodi \foodiy vii. 519 f. 
In a few cases however a phonetic distinction seems to be intended, as when 
we find ui as preterite of r/r, and hurt (also bite) pret. plur. of beren, 

Mmi (the month) is regularly written with u, but rhjrmes with mai^ 

The doubling of final consonants, apparently to indicate vowel 
shortness, is more common, as in a//, bladd, charr^ hadd^ happ^ 
maddy beddy fedd^ fetty spedd^ bitt^ bridd^ chidd, godd^ rodd^ beside a/, 
char^ hady hap^ mad^ btd^fet^ &c. 

The doubling of s in a final tone syllable seems to have no such sig- 
nificance, as in AckUUs : ^ss, iv. 9x61 f., but Ulixes i pres, iv. 147 C, so 
naiheka : gncrtss, pes : encrtss^ in all of which the vowel must be long. 

One of the most noteworthy points of the orthography is the 
frequent use of iV in tonic syllables for close e. This appears in 
French words such as achieve^ apptere^ chiefs chiere^ dier^ grieve^ 
matiere^ messagter^ pier^ &c. (also in many of these cases e, as chere^ 
cler^ matere\ but it is very commonly used also in words of English 
origin and seems invariably to be associated with the close sound 
of the vowel. Thus we have hiede^ spriede^ lief (but Uvere\ 
sieke^ diely stiel^ whiel, dieme^ sieme^ diere^fiere (= company), hiere 
(adv.), kUre (verb), liere^ stiere, and others, which have in most 
cases the alternative spelling with ^, as hede, sprede^ seke, del, stel^ 
whel, deme^ seme, &c., but in all of which the vowel has the close 

It is impossible here to discuss the question how far this habit 
of spelling may have been introduced by analogy from French 
words with a similar sound of the vowel, and how far it may have 
grown out the Kentish use of /V, ye for O. E. eo, /, ie. Reference 
may be made to the remarks in the Introduction to the volume of 
Gower's French Works, p. xxi, where it is suggested that />, having 
lost its value as a diphthong in later Anglo-Norman, came to be 
regarded as a traditional symbol in many cases for close /, and 
hence such forms as clier, clief, pier, prophiete, &c., and as regards 
ie in the Kentish dialect there is a useful statement in the paper 
by W. Heuser, Zum Kentischen Dialekt im Mittelenglischen^ 
published in Anglia, xvii, 78 ff. 

In any case the fact is pretty clear that this variation was 
confined by Gower to words in which he gave to the vowel a close 
sound, and it is therefore useful as a distinguishing note, though 
there are few words in which this is the only form of spelling. 


Both in stems of words and in their terminations / is on the 
whole preferred to y^ so that we have crie^ hide, lif^ like^ miU^ rtde^ 
&C. more usually than crye, hyde, &c. (but perhaps y more often 
after m, n, as knyht, myhte, nyht\ and also arrai^ mai^ dot, hardi^ 
ladi, warpi, mi, thi, more often on the whole than array, may, 
&c, but -ly in adverbs more often than -//. 

In some few cases it seems that a distinction is pretty consis- 
tently made, as between ivryte (inf.) and write (past participle^ 
and perhaps between wite (know) and wyte (blame). 

Before gh followed by / we find a, o almost regularly in place 
of au, au. Thus we have aghte, straghte, taghte, boghte, brcgkU, 
doghter, noght, oghte, oght, soghte, wroghte, &c., but occasionally 
broughte, daughter, ought, &c. Beside some of these thare are 
forms in which au {aw), au {<nv) are written, but followed by 
simple h, as strawhte, tawhte, douhter (dawhter). 

There is no difference between -mm and -om as tenninitions of such 
French words as divisiouHy compUxtoun, 8lq^ but -ohm is much the more 
usual form \ Where they occur in rhyme, the rliyme-words are usually 
assimilated to one another in form of spelling, but sometimes -omm, -oh 
rhyme together, as division : doun, il 1743 f., ioun : cotuOchn, v. 9551, 
coHsUllaa'oMM : rdacion, vi. 3353 f. 

In the case of oh followed by a consonant in a tone-syllable the variatioa 
to auM seems to be merely a question of spelling, and we have such rhymes 
as chaunct : renumbraMct, ii. 893 f., dtmandi : comaundg, iv. 9794, s»^ 
planted : tnchauniid, ii. 9491, covenant : supplauntf ii, 9367. In the French 
terminations -ance, -ant, the simple form is decidedly preferred (but goner" 
naunce : por v eautue, Prol. 187 f, graunt : amblaunif ii. 1505 f.), and so alao in 
many other words, as change, strange, comande, demande, s^^latUe (also 
comaunde, supplaunte). In other cases au is either the usual or the only 
form, as daunce, daunte, encMaunte, haunte, sclaundre. 

With regard to the consonants, it should be observed that 
Gower consistently wrote sch for sh initially, so that we have 
regularly schal, schape, sche, schewe, schip, schrifte, and also lard- 
schipe, worschipe, &c.\ in other places usually ssh, as bisshop (also 
bisschop), buissh,fis5h,fleissh (pXso fleisch), freissh, reisshe, wisski. 

The almost regular use of h for gh in such words as hih, nyh, sik, 
kniht, lihi, mihi, niht, heihte, sleihte, &c. will be spoken of later. 

Gower did not use 3 for h or gh. Such forms as mijte, riji, 

» The difference in the MS. usually consists only in the line drawn over 
the final on. So also often in the case of the words discussed below, chaunce, 
daunce, enchaunte, &c. 

* Very seldom jA in F, as Prol. 938, i. 8x71, i. ^458. 


M^iSf, wrauji, are practically unknown in the best MSS. (F has 
nmjt once.) On the other hand initially in such words B^sje,jer, 
jhe (forjwe)^ )ang^ &c., } is regularly used. Only late and 
inferior MSS. have y. In r^[ard to this letter Gower's usage 
is exactly the reverse of that which we find in the Ayenbite of 
Inwyt We have/ for th regularly except in the case of a capital 
letter being required, as at the beginning of a line, or in con- 
nexion with some foreign words and names as iJiakmans^ thevangiie^ 
nthorique^ Athemas^ Anthencr^ Thebith, Cases of th for p in 
ordinary English words are very rare in F (but i. 2890, v. 2319, 
vii. 4203). 

In some words there is an interchange of c and s^ as tUarU, pounhact 
P<mrch€U€f urvks servisi, roMcoun, suffice sufise, sufficani, 8cc^ and the 
French termination -«ssr is also spelt -esctf as largtssi largesct, simpUsct 
umpUnt \ so also tncresn^ ttdrtact^ &c In such points the orthography of 
Romance words is usually in accordance with that which we find in 
the author's French writings, in which also are found such etymological 
forms as dwtipU^ double. 

Before quitting the general subject, we ought to note certain 
words of common occurrence which are spelt not quite in the 
usual way. The author regularly writes bot for but^ be for by^ 
when used as a preposition and unemphatic, ous for us (pers. 
pron.), noght for not (not being used for ne wot). Some forms of 
proper names, as Habraham^ Irahel^ are characteristic. In these 
points, as in many others, the writer evidently followed a definite 
system, and in spite of the variations recorded, the orthography 
of the Fairfax and Stafford MSS. certainly conveys to the reader 
the general impression of regularity and consistency. 

Phonology, (i) O. E. short vowels and diphthongs. 

O.E. a, SB, ea. In the case of a (o) before a lengthening nasal 
combination, Id, nd^ mb, ngy &c., we may note that though Aond, 
konde, hondes are preferred, as by Chaucer, yet hand^ handes 
pretty frequently occur, as i. 2, 1807, 2994, ii. 574, iii. 116, 
v. 1505, &C, (also handle^ iii. 1956, v. 1949)) and that without any 
necessity of rhyme. In fact hand seems to be rather preferred 
except in rhyme. Contrary to what is apparently Chaucer's usage 
we find thonk^ thonke as the regular forms in Gower, and only 
occasionally thank, as ii. 60, 2012. This may be due to the 
Kentish tendency to lengthen before nk, which perhaps was 
pronounced nearly as ng (see Morsbach, MitteUngL Gramm,^ 



p. 128), and in this connexion we may nole the fact that the 
Fairfax MS. twice has pong for Ponk. On the other hand there 
is no definite trace of the principle which has heen discovered 
in some of the Kentish texts of lengthening before these com- 
binations when a vowel follows, while preserving a when the 
consonant group ends ihe word, konde, stonde, Pankt, &c., but 
hand, itand, pank\ Gower uses handes as well as hand, and 
interchanges hange and hongi, sang and sctig, according to con- 

Note thai upon rhymes freely wilh on ( — one), atrow, gon, &c, bnt tba 
lupposed rhyme ox (in) : tnoHr, i. 0179, noted by Fahrenbcrg, is really 
(6h) : mont. In some cases of origiaal 3 shortened to a Gower prefen 
* to o, as tiiy, only occasionally any, tddrt beside aJdrt, but Iisst, liildt only ■ 
tor the sake of rhyme. 

ea before h becomes i in sth (from seah, smh, pret. of iran), 
which in Gower is the usual form of the word, ag forms at {ay)^ 
as in dai, lay, mat, fain, slain, and other ai forms, which are not 
interchangeable with ei (but said with variant seid by ii 
of seie). 

O. E. e. When we are dealing with so careful a rhymer 
Gower, we need hardly remark upon the absolute distinction 
made between / derived from 0- E. e and e of whatever origin. 
The case of skiereP i hterep, cited by Fahrenberg as an instance 
of the opposite, cannot be regarded as a real exception, in view of 
the uncertain derivation of skiere. His other cases of supposed 
I : ( are instances of the pret. pi. spieke {sptke), from spracon, 
spieke : beseke, ii. 959, iicke : spiekt, ii, 1455. One is doubtful, vi*. 
seke : mispeke, ii. 2007, where mispeke may be pret, subjunctive; 
and besides these, undergelt -.ftete, ii. ii33f., is irregular. 

There is, however, also a well-marked distinction between new- 
lengthened / in words like Irede, siede, here, spere, fiC, finjfit, 
gele, btgtie (inf. and partic), mete (subst,), &c., and / from le or a^ 
the distinction being due presumably to imperfect lengthening. 
With the first class tank also words in which e is derived from 
O. E. y in open syllables, as lere (loss) from O. E. lyre, siere (stir) 
from styrian, dede (pret.) from dydt, and also e in answtre. 

Thus we find Ihe fatlowing quite dislinci set 
(past participles', hiHi (subst.), dtdt ( prel. - 

or i^ymes : btd; fofhtil 
id), sltdi (stead), tn^ 

' «. Konrath in Archw/HrdU h,u< 

n SpraihtH, 89, p. 153 ff. 


forming one class and riiyming together, while they are kept entirely apart 
iinom thrtdi, drttU, dedt («=dead), nd€^ pL a4j. («red), which have ^from 
M or ^. On the other hand, h«d€ the pret. plur. of Hdde (from badon) 
ifaymes with tUd$ (dead), e. g. L 0047. 

So also €mswen, ben (subet.), bert (verb inC), Jwbert, dirt (destroy), Urg 
(loss), sUrt (stir), be^en, swert (verb), Urt (verb), wnt (wear), wert (defend^ 
form one class of rhyme-words as against ert, /ere (fear), ikere, were (from 
wSnm), &C. But eere (verb) from erian rhymes with there, v. 819 f., and 
$ekert8 with Icrss, v. 5691. The case of ber9 rhyming with were (from wSnm)j 
I fl795 1, viL 1795 C, is not an exception to the rule, being the preterite 
plural, from bSron, 

Another group is eheUj fde (many), A«£r (cover), steU, weU, as against 
hek (heiO), dUr, &c : but we find heU {hSh) : hele {kelan\ iii. 0755 f. 

Again we have ete, geU (int and partic.)> b^ete, for^ete, nute (meat), sete 
(past partic.)» kept apart fh>m greie (great), bete (beaten), sirete, ieU, Ute 
(iSUm), sweie (verb, » sweat), thnie, whete, &c It may be noted that bejeie 
(subst.) belongs to the dass greie, bete, &c« 

There is every reason to suppose that the same distinction would hold 
with other endings, in the case of which no sufficient rh3rme-te8t is forth- 
coming, as brebe, spehe (inC), wreke (inC and past partic), which have no 
other words with f with which they could be rhymed, eke, seke, meke, &c., 
all having f 

On the whole we may say that this distinction is very carefully 
kept in Gower's rhymes, and must certainly indicate a difference 
of pronunciation. 

The adverb riv/, also written wiei^ has a double sound, as in 
Chaucer, either / or f, rhyming with dei {die/), stiel, whiel, &c., 
and also with nature!^ Daniel, and the substantive wel for wele, 

eg forms ei, which is often interchangeable with at, as seie, ieie, 
Tveie^ ajein, 

O. E. L There is nothing in Gower's rhymes to lend support 
to the theory that 1 from O. E, / in open syllables (i. e. before 
a single consonant followed by a vowel), as in the past participles 
wri/e, drive, sckrive, and the infinitives ^ive, wife, is of doubtful 
quantity. The past participle and plural preterite write have 
/ and rhyme with wife (know), while the infinitive Tvryte rhymes 
with wyte (blame), verb and substantive : the infinitives live, pve, 
forgive and the participles drive, jive, schrive, &c. rhyme among 
themselves and not with schryve (inf.), alyve, fyve : the short 
vowel words wile (verb), skile, bile are separate from wyle (subst.), 
whyU, He, &c. This would not be worth mentioning but for 
ten Brink's argument {Chancers Sprache, §§ 35, 325), based on 
the very smallest positive evidence. 


hire {hir) is used r^ularly for the personal and possessive 
pronoun of the third person sing. fern. (= her), and never here^ as 
is Chaucer's usage in rhyme. 

cherche is Gower's r^ular form from cirice^ but chirche is 
common in the orthography of the Praise ofPeace^ e.g. 197, 210, 
225, &c., beside cherche^ 232, 254. 

O. E. o. wolde^ scholde^ golde, molde rhyme with tolde^ hoUe^ 
colde^ &C., but in open syllables a distinction is observed (as in the 
case of i) between new-lengthened g and ^ from O. E. a, so that 
tofore^ before^ therfore^ score and the participles bare^ forbore^ hre^ 
schare, swore are kept separate in rhyme from such words as hare^ 
more^ lore (subst), ore^ rore^ sore^ to which later group should be 
added More (Moor), and the Romance verb restore^. This 
distinction seems to be recognized by Chaucer, cp. Troilus^ v. 22- 
26, but with a good many exceptions, as Legend of Good WomeUy 
452 f, 550 £, 1516 f., Cant. Tales^ A 1541 fc, 3237 f., &c., chiefly, 
but not exclusively, in the case of more, Gower is very much 
stricter and allows very few exceptions {ouermore : tofore, L 3361 f., 
noMore : thetfore^ vii. 3279* f., more : therfore^ vii. 3869 f., more : 
forty viii. 991 f.), which must be regarded as imperfect rhymes. 
Considering the frequency with which words of these two classes 
occur in rhyme, it is remarkable that the distinction should be 
so well kept 

We may note that bowe (subst.) from boga rhymes with words 
like knowe^ in which ow is from dw. ^ 

O. E. u. In some words o and u interchange, as begonne be- 
gunncy conne cunne^ coppe cuppe^ dronkeschipe drunheschipe^ further 
forther, ronne {over)runney sonne sunne, thurgh thargh{soghi)^ 
tonge tunge^ tonne tunne^ &c., but we have without variation, bole^ 
hunger^ note (nut), some^ under^ wonder^ &c The r^ular rh3rme 
under : wonder is enough to show that the sound was the same. 

love^ above rhyme together and not with any other word. (For 
the rhyme at v. 7047 f., see under 6.) 

sone (from sunu)^ wone (custom), astone^ rhyme only with one 
another: in the rhyme wanes : ones^ which occurs iv. 2217 f., 
viii. 611 f., we have to do of course with a different word. 

* In other cases, as with the group hrokty lokt, spokt, wrolu (past parti- 
ciples), and )oh§ (^bet ), there are no rhyme- words with ^ from d by which 
a distinction can be established. 


dart {dooi) rhymes with spare and dare (subjunctive of dar\ 
bole with woU (verb). 

O. E. y. This is usually represented by e (except before h, gh), 
e. g. abegge, berie^ bertke, besy^ bregge, dede (did), evel, felU (also 
fiUe\ felthe, f erst Jest, Ml (also hill, hull), >^(also kin), kende 
(usually kinde), kesse (also kisse), knette, krepel, lere, lest (listen), 
lest (= pleases, also lisf), mende (also minde), merie, merthe, pet 
(also pitt, put), scherte, schetten, senne (also sinne), stere (stir), 
thenke (from pyncan), werche (also worche), werse (also worse) : 
to these must be added hedde, hed, pret. and past partic. of hyde, 
in which original J^ was shortened (also hidde, hid). On the other 
hand, we have gilt (z\sogult),gultif, lifte (sky), stinten (not stenten), 
tkinne (not thenne), tkurste, unerdes, Gower does not use the forms 
birthe, bisy, dide (did), mirie, mirthe, sHre, 

The results obtained for certain words from rhymes by Fahren- 
berg ^ are rather misleading. For example, he suggests the con- 
clusion i^XfiUe (subst.) and fulfille are used with i only, but of 
the nineteen instances which he quotes, all but two are in rhyme 
with wille, a natural combination (at least for fulfille), and one 
which has determined the form in most cases. Apart from this, 
hothfelle (subst.) 2indfulfelle are found {felle in rhyme, iii. 2609). 

Again, senne is much more common than would appear from 
the rhymes. Fahrenberg can quote only one instance in rhyme, 
as against twenty-nine of sinne, but this is certainly due to the 
greater frequency of the words (such as beginne, winne, &c.), 
which give rh)rmes to sinne. The word occurs seven times in 
the Prologue, once it is in rhyme, Sinne : inne, and of the other 
six instances five are of senne and one only of sinne. On the 
other hand, hell (from hyll) alone appears in rhyme, but hill or 
hull are commoner forms in use. 

The mistakes tell both ways, but on the whole the conclusion that 
/ is much commoner than e in these words is seriously incorrect. 

For the use in rhyme of the words of this class with open tone 
syllable, as stere, lere (from lyre), see under e, 


O. E. &. The ^ of horn rhymes, as in Chaucer, with the p of the 

* ArchivfRrn. Sprachen, 89, p. 39a. As I sometimes have occasion to criti- 
cize statements in this paper, I take the opportunity here.of acknowledging 
its merit, as the only careful study lately attempted of Gower's language* 


preterites com, nom, and also fom with nam, v. 4007. These 
must be regarded as imperfect rhymes, due to the want of strictly 
correct rhyme-words. Gower has regularly most {O. E. masl) and 
but once in rhyme mest(0. E. mcesi), Uit : althermest, i, 3101 f. 
also regularly (i^A/, niJg-/i/, and u^A/« (verb), but /awA/ : atcA/, 1,1770, 
and agkle : btiaghte, viii. 747. 

O. E, w. This, when representing West-Germanic a, Gothic ^ 
appeared as i in the Old Anglian and Kentish dialects, and might 
naturally be expected to be sometimes close « in the language rf 
Chaucer and Gower. It is well known that Chaucer uses many 
of the words which have this vowel in a variable manner. 

The same is true to some extent also in words where the 
original & corresponds to Germanic at, and in which we find Old 
Kentish e. Of these kden, ekne, menen, Ueren appear in Chaucei 
sometimes with i (and evere, nevere always). For these and some 
Other cases see ten Brink, Ckauurs Sprache, § 25. 

When we compare Chaucer's usage with that which we find in 
our author, we find what our former experience has prepared 
us to expect, viz. a greater strictness and regularity of usage 
in Gower. The examples of fluctuation between the two sounds 
are comparatively few. 

Taking first Ihe words in which i is from J corrcBpoadioe to West> 
Gennatiic a, we find the following with fx 

bnU (preL pi.), from bSdon, {dtdi ■ btdi, i, 3047 f.). 

bnlh (_; dilk, i. 119, 31S7, Six..). 

firt, ' fear,' (: trt, i. 46a, ii. 46). 

kir, ' h>ir,' (Arm : irrrs, i. 3999). 

UI4, from ISIan, (: grtli, i. 3365, &c.), 

Imud (; Ihtnud, i. 374, Ux/irewrd, iiL 479], 

*rf», preL pi., isilt -.grttt, iv. 1309), bat sit. 

sirtli (-.gnlt, i. 938, btU, i. 1156). 

Iktn (; trt, i. 499, 558, &c), but also thin : 
(•dv.) : thin, Praisi of Ptaet, 178. 

wtn, from tvSnm, (; "*, Prol. 335, i. aBoB, Ac.), but also / 
instances, as hitr* (verb) : ovrv, i. 3741 f., hun (adv.) : wtri, v. 747 C 

whtrt (e. g. ttltswktn : ttrt, Prol. 9), but hrrt (adv.) : tlUsmhtrt, v. 361 f. 

The substantive and vert) m/, rtdi rhyme about equally with f and (, tiM 
Utter cases being almost all with dtd, didt (dead, siog. and pi.), as i. 1446, 
iv. 1940, i960, &c On the other hand, rrdi : hitd*. i. 447 f., ridt : sfitdt, 
L 1093 r, ii. 103 f., &c,, r»rf: j^, iij. 1991 f. 

The following words of this class have as a rule f; 

thill* {tkkki) (: mitbt, v. B471. tkt, v. 3019). 

dtdt, ' deed,' (:>rff, Prol. 4^5>»u^, i. iS53.&c.,a/Air,i.a653,&c., jn^r 
8K,/QnMN^, Ui, lias), but didt (dead) : dtdc, i. 1037 f. 

it in rhyme), v. 3339. 
1 (neck), iv- 859, and kmm 
a ■ few 


dndt (: mtU, I 1987, 9940 \ : 8p«U, iv. 609, : kwU, iv. 1448, &c.), but lUtU 
(dead) : drnU, ii. 3405 f., dretU : rtde (from mii/), iv. iSsf. 

iM# (: s«A#, ii. 3920, besecht, iii. 413). 

nugtg, 'dream,* (: mMte, from mHan, iii. 51). 

iPMilr (Miim#^), adj. (: tfteie, from m/ton, ii. 458, iii. iioo). 

«&^, sltpf^ subst and verb, (Ai^ : sUpe, Prol.309f., 475f-> sUp:kep,l 155, 
&c.}, bat s^ : hep (heap), iv. 3007 £ 

speeke {spiedte) (: jmA#, Prol. 174, beseche, L 1986). 

^^^mAt {j^eke\ from aptiScon, pret pL (: 6«s)ri(y, ii. 959, «f>A», ii. 1456). 

tkrwd (: j;^, i. 1419). 

^, ^crv, (><»« : sHere, iu 9379, ^ : k$*r, iii. 199, ^r«s : pleiefieres, iv. 481), 
with no instances apparently of f. 

If we take now the words in which i is from H corresponding to Germanic 
Of, we obtain the following results. 


er (: ner, n, 9985). 

geik (: deik, ii. 1804, 96x6, &c.). 

ibM^ ' lend,' (: bene, v. 4407). 

lew, * remain/ (: berevef Prol. 4x9). 

sf (aur), < sea,' (: 5/r<f, iii. 86, iv. X715, sle, iv. X664), but be : sr, iv. 
1695 £,, Mte : aw, viii. X793 f. 

>r (^), 'yea,' (: alee, iii. 969, 9068, sine, iii. 668).. 

(s^, siee^ have no f rhymes, so we have no reason to suppose, as in the 
case of Chaucer, that final e has a close sound.) 

With f : 

arecke, from drgcoM, (: beseeke, ii. 666). 

dene (: sene, ii. 3461). 

<^/ (d;^), somdiel, &c (: a;Ai^/, Prol. 137, stiel, Prol 6x9, 898). 

tvere, netfere^ (: ^r»v, Prol. 38, ii. 5, ii. 9417, &c.). 

•hecU (-kiedi) as a suffix: hiede : godhiede, Prol 497 f., cp. L 191 1 f., 
I7i9£, V. 595 f., viii. 95 f., nude : toonimanhiede, iii. 1607 C, wommanktede : 
fiede, vi. 695 £, maidenhede : i^A/«, vii. 5145 f., viii. 1419 f., and so on, but once 
/, MaideMJiede : rtde (from r»ad), v. 5987. 

hete, subst. and verb, ' heat,' (: sweie, * sweet,' ii. 9740, vi. 949), but hete : 
iobete, iii. I9i f., hete : hete, viii. 1195 f. 

lede (: hiede^ v. 156, :/M/(r, vii. 9336 *), but dede (dead) : lede, ii. 9779 f. 

lere (litre), from Ueran, (: hiere, verb, i. 454, iiL 9204, v. 9029, cUere, viii. 
1469, hiere (adv.), viii. 1497, unliered : stUred, Prol. 233 f.). 

nuue (meene), verb, (: sene, ii. 9830, iv. 1645, uv^ >• 1937) &c.t ^''VM/, 
i- 777 » &c*» ^^^'^'y "i* 771* queene, iv. 786). 

sprede (sptiede) (i/ede, i. 9894, 5/)^, ii. 504, spredeth : nedeth, v. 7679 f., 
feedetk, vi. 895 f.), but 5/iv^ : A^^ (head), vii. 845 f. 

ieiche (: beseche, i. 590, 9960, iii. 139). 

The above are the results arrived at by examination of the 
rhymes with vowels of undoubted quality ; i. e. / from O. E. ea, 

^ According to ten Brink, nede ought to be regarded as an uncertain rhyme 
because of the O. £. neades beside niedes^ but Gower never rhymes it with 
open e. 


and f from O. £. /, a?, u. In addition to this, an investigation 
has been made of the rhyming of these words among themselves 
and with words of Romance origin, in the process of which some 
additional words with i from a, as dele, AeJe, stifeie, ' sweat,' wete, 
are brought in. This cannot here be given in full, but it may 
be said that in almost all points it confirms the results arrived at 
above. A few words, however, to which an open vowel is assigned 
above, rhyme with other words from a which almost certainly 
have f, and therefore must be set as having unstable pronuncia- 
tion. Thus, in spite of the rhyme iene (lend) : hene mentioned 
above, we have Iene : mene (both verb and subst) and iene : clene, 
and though fere rhymes more than once with ere, we have lered : 
afered and unlered : afered, which suggest that the close sound 
was possible. 

On the whole we may set down the following as the result of 
our examination. 

With open vowel : of the ct {e) class, hede, pret pL, breth^ her 
(pi. Aeres), lete, lewed, strete : of the a = ai class, er, geth^ ieve 
(remain), jee (yea). 

With close vowel : of the former class, leche, meete (dream), 
mete (fit), slepe, speche, speke, pret pi., tkred, wete^ wreche, )er, and 
with one exception only in each case dede, slep : of the latter class, 
areche^ ciene, del, evere, lere, mene, nevere, teche, and with one 
exception in each case, -hede {-hiede), lede, sprede. 

With unstable vowel : from ce {e), drede, eve, fere (fear), red 
(subst.), rede, there, were, where : from ct = ai, hete, Iene, see (sea). 

The conclusions to which we are led are, first that in Gower's 
usage there is less instability of vowel-sound in these words than 
in Chaucer, the number of words with unstable vowel being 
smaller and the variations even in their case more exceptional ; 
secondly that Gower's language has a strongly pronounced leaning 
towards f ; and finally that this tendency is quite as much visible 
in the words of the ^ = ai class as in the others. 

O. E. ea. The substantive believe has e by influence of the 

There is no use apparently of n^e from nead or of jlr from 

gear, and ek, eke, seems invariably to have e. 

From eageyfleah, heah, neah we haiVt yhe, flyh, hih, nyh. 
There seems no reason to suppose that stre, sle had /, as has 

been concluded for Chaucer's language because of such rhymes 


as sk : he^ sire : she^ stree : we^ see ten Brink, Chancers Sprache^ 

It has already been shown that see (sea), which we have 
supposed to have unstable vowel quality, very seldom rhymes 
with words having f, notwithstanding the frequent opportunity for 
such rhymes, and }ee^ * yea,' never. It may be questioned whether 
the rule laid down by ten Brink for Chaucer is a sound one, and 
whether Chaucer's practice does not really depend simply upon 
the larger supply of rhymes in /, such as he^ she^ me^ thee^ he, se 
(verb), /rr, three, &c. It is at least possible that the difference 
here between Gower and Chaucer arises from the fact that the 
latter was less strict in his rhymes, and certainly the later 
developments of sie, see, sire, }ee supply no confirmation of the 
idea that they had e regularly in Chaucer's language. 

O. K eo. By the side of sek {siek) there is occasionally sik. 
The ioTmfil,fiiie ioxfeU,felk, pret sing, and pL hom faile, are 

not used by Gower. He rhymes fell {feoll) : hell (hylt) zndfelle, 

pret pL : felle (fyllan). 
The personal pronoun jaw (jou) from emv rhymes with thou, 

now, &c. 

O. E. i. Fahrenberg*s instances of J : /, i. 177 f. and iii. 413 f., 
are both founded on mistakes. 

O. E. u. The personal pronoun from O. E. us is always written 
ous, but rhymes in some instances with -us in Latin names, e. g. 
Tricolonius : aus, Tereus : ous. 

butan is shortened to bot, not but. It occurs also as a dis- 
syllable in the form bote, 

O. E. y. The only example of J as ^ is fer from fir, which 
occurs in rhyme with }er, iii. 694, (elsewhere fyr\ Chaucer has 
fere, dat., rhyming with here, adv., Troilus, iii. 978, and also afere 
in rhyme with stere, *stir,' Troilus, \, 229. 

The cases of hedde, hed, pret. and past participle (from hydan), 
are examples of shortened y passing naturally to e, and so also 
fest ixGm fist, felthe ixomfilpe, threste iiova prysta. 

From yg in dryge we have dreie, but also drye, 

O. E. 6. Gower, like Chaucer, rhymes the word do (misdo, 
undo, &c.), and occasionally to in therto, with words that have ^ 
derived from a, not only so, also, two, wo, but also tho, adv. (i. 2609, 
iii, 683, V. 5331, &c.), go, ago (ii. 2483, 3513, iv. 1161, 3465, 


V. 5173, &c,), ovtrmo (i. 1385), no {v. 4776)- > ('V- 3407)- 
These words also rhyme with proper names, such as Juno, LUhao, 
Babio. The other forms of do, as doth, don, rhyme nearly always 
with 0, but once we have doth : golh, v, 3967 f., and once dan 1 
anon, v. 3677 f- The rhyme sotA : gvth also occurs, v. 1579 f. 
This latter class of rhyme, as don : anon, don : gon, sothe : bothe, 
soth : wroth, occurs frequently in Chaucer's earlier work, as the 
BooA cfthe Duduss, but much less so in the later. 

These rhymes, tike those of hem with com, &!c., noticed above 
under a, are to be explained as due to scarcity of exactly corre- 
sponding rhyme words. The only exact rhyme for do and to is in 
fact uh4X), which is found in Prol. 356, but obviously could not be 
of frequent occurrence. The explanation given by ten Brink, 
Chaucers Sprache, § 31, and repeated mechanically by others, is 
that certain words which have g from a, as wo, tivo, so {suid), may 
equally have upon occasion owing to the influence of v. This 
is shown to be wrong both by the fact that the rhymes in question 
are, as we have seen, by no means confined to these words, and 
by the absence of other evidence in the case of wo and so that 
ihey ever had a tendency to 0. The fact that the rhyme do : so 
is by far the commonest instance is due simply to the more 
frequent occasion for using the words. 

In the rhyme g/ove : /«v, v. 7047 f., we have to deal with ?, 
and there can be no question here of love from lufian. Both 
sense and rhyme point to a verb love corresponding to the 
substantive lof or Imx, mod. luff, and signifying the action of 
bringing a ship's head up nearer to the wind. The other rhymes 
used withj'/iwc are behove, Prol. 357,/»"(we, iii. ii.iJ3- 

We may note that wowe from wogian rhymes with Aw«(bOgan), 
which does not fit in with ten Brink's very questionable theory 
about the development of ou {ow), Chaucers Sprache, § 46, Anni. 

(3) Romance Vowels. A few notes only will be added here 
to what has already been said in the Introduction to Gower's 
French \\'orks. 

Words with -oun {-on) ending, as condkioun {-oh), opinioun {-on), 
&C., rhyme only among themselves or with ioun, doun, &c. There 
are no rhymes like Chaucer's proporcion : upon, and it is to be 
noted especially that the rhyming of proper names in -on, as Saia- 
mon, Action, &c., with this class of words, which is very common in 


Chaucer, does not occur in Gower's English, though we occasion- 
ally find it in his French. At the same time the possibility of 
such rhymes cannot be denied, for we have taun : Ylioun^ v. 7235 f., 
and Lamedon i/asaun^ v. 7197 f. 

Adjectives in -tms do not rhyme with -us^ as in Chaucer 
Aurdius : amorous^ Theseus : desirous. 

The terminations -arie^ -orie are not used at all, but instead of 
them the French forms -aire^ -oire^ as adversaire, contraire^ 
necessaire^ glotre^ JUstaire^ memoire^ purgatoire^ victoire, Latin 
proper names in o rhyme with g, as Cithero (: also\ Leo (: also\ Phito 
(: thd)^ Juno (: so^ tho\ &c, but also in several cases with do. Theie 
seems no sufficient reason to suppose, as ten Brink does, that 
they r^;u]arly had g. 

(4) Consonants. The termination -liche {-Itch) in adjectives 
and adverbs, which Fahrenberg judging by the rhymes sets down 
as very uncommon compared with -^, is by far the more usual of 
the two. It is true that -fy occurs more frequently in rhyme, but 
that is due chiefly to the greater abundance of rhyme words 
corresponding to it, e. g. forthi^ fy, cri^ merely enemy : we have, 
however, redely : properly y Prol. 947 f. The general rule of usage 
is this: -ly usually in rhyme (but besiliche : swiche, iv. 1235 f.), 
and before a consonant in cases where the metre requires a single 
syllable, as i. 2069, * Al prively behinde his bak ' (but frendlich^ 
viii. 2173), -liche or -lick before a vowel, as i. 373, *That ronne 
besiliche aboute,' cp. ii. 1695, v. 1247, and -liche of course where 
two syllables are required, as i. 1035, 'Was thanne al openliche 
schewed,' so ii. 918, iv. 57, and compare also iii. 2065 f., 

*■ Unkindely for thou hast wroght, 
Unkindeliche it schal be boght.' 

But in Prol. 719 we have only before a vowel, 

' Noght al only of thorient/ 
though onliche occurs in a similar position, i. 1948, and onlichy 
iii. 42. Again, 911, 

'And sodeinly, er sche it wiste/ 

but Prol. 503, 

'Al sodeinliche, er it be wist,' 

cp. iv. 921, compared with i. 1336. 

The treatment of the O.E. spirant ^ {=x) deserves some 
attention. This occurring before / is recognized as having in 
M. £. a palatal or a guttural sound, according to the nature of the 


preceding vowel, but the texts of our period usually give it as 
gh in both cases. Gower, however, makes a distinction, writing 
almost regularly alihte^ briht^ dihte^ fihte^ flihte^ kniht, iihtj miht^ 
mihte^ nihi^ rihiy sihte^ wiht^ heihte^ sieihte^ &c., but aghte^ cagkU^ 
straghie^ boghte^ broghtt^ noght^ oghiy oghte, soghte. Occasionally 
however in the first class we find g^ as rarely bryghte^ lighte^ more 
frequently heighte, sUighte^ and pretty regularly eighte ; and there 
are several words in the second which have variants with h^ but 
in these cases «/(») is inserted, as cawhte^ strawhte^ dawhier 
{d(mhtei)^ awhte\ otherwise u is generally absent, as we have 
already seen. The form referred to is commoner with the vowel 
a than with o. 

It is hardly necessary to repeat here that pHt is a word of 
Romance origin^ and rhymes properly with delit^ appetite not 
with liht^ niht^ &c, being separate in etymology from O. E. pliht. 

From the fact that there is no rhyming of -ihi with -it either in 
Gower or Chaucer, we may certainly gather that the sounds were 
somewhat different; but the £Eict that Gower does not usually 
write gk after i indicates, no doubt, that in this case the sound of 
the spirant was less marked than when preceded by broader vowels. 

Where 0.£. A is a final aspirate, g is not usually written, as sih^ 
kik^ nik^ hawh^ lawh^ plawh^ slowh^ ynawh^ except in the case of 
thoghy but very occasionally we find such forms as drogh^ plogh. 
In the words which have wifi) h is often dropped, as in bcwes^ 
icw^ slaw (preterites), ynow, 

V. Inflexion.— (i) SUBSTANTrvES. In a certain number of words 
there is variation in the matter of final € : thus we have drimk drinke^ 
fititntH feiawk (ftia\ Jiyki Jlykie, half kaivt^ kelp hdpe^ kep kept, 
iack lacke^ lyf lyve^ mjm wtyiu^ qiume qtutm^ s&r sane^ fvel wele, 
wll kvV/a mymdim vrmdawtf to which must be added many words 
with the suffixes -AA/4r, -^IaAt, -jrib/r, and the tenninatioa -imget e.g. 
fa/sA€d(e\ JtmxJUkAi\f\ mumJkid^A^ ftiascMip\€\ JkmMiimg{t)s km^m^ 
l4ckit^t\ trckiMg{(t\ wemYng{ey, In these latter cases the presence 
of the # ending is not wholly dependent on the accent, for we have 
kmrnli'^g, I 350^ but kdmfyt^^ iv. ^42% ieckjmg and teckimge both 
equally in rhyme, L 1592. v. ^lugCJUukipe^ L 312S, JbdtJUd, r. 2057. 
y^AiAvli/, ii« U17. Accent however has some infloence, and it b 
hanily iXknceiv;9ihKe that the final # ^loold ctKmt in the metre exocfit 
where the accent fiUb cm the preceding sylUble. so that wiiere tbe 
accent is thiown bad;* we find that the word b regnlariy followed hf 
a voweL In the oa»e of the lEni^lbh^ tttmination -^rt the final e h 


usually written : sach words are beggere^forthdrawere^ kindrere^ Udere, 
lavere^ maiere, repere, spekere^ writere. This -^, however, is eithex 
elided or passed over in the metre (as mihjanglere^ v. 526)1 unless an 
accent £dls on the termination, in which case it may be sounded, as 
vii. 2348, ' The Sothseiere tho was lief.' 

The forms game^ gamen appear side by side both in singular and 
plural, as i. 347, vi 1849, viii. 680. 

As regards the oblique cases we note the following genitive 

forms: cherche, kerte (also herte5\ hevene^ Ictdiy soule, sterre (pi.), 

wode (also wodes), to which add dowkier (also dawhtres)^ feuier (also 

fadres)^ mader. In the expressions horse side^ horse heved, &c., horse 

is genitive singular. 

The -€ termination of the dative appears in a good many pre- 
positional phrases : to {in) bedde^ in boke^ to borwe^ be (to) bote^ with 
(of) chtlde^ unto the ckinne (but unto the chin, i. 1682), be date, to (fro) 
dethe (2iSsa fro deth)^ of dome, on (under) fote (but upon the fot, at 
his fot)j on fyre, to (upon) grounde, fro (unto) the grounde (also 
fro the ground), on hede, at (fro) home (also at hom), in (on, upon) 
Monde, to (into) honde, (but ' bar on hond,* be the hond), on horse, 
to horse, to (in, of) house (but in myn hous), to (into) londe, be (in, 
ever) londe, of (out of) londe, fro the londe, (but of his lond, &c.), 
be lyhie^ to lyve, to manne, to mowthe, be mowthe, be nyhte (also be 
nyhi, and regularly at nyht, on nyht, a nyht, to nyht), to rede, be (to, 
into, out of) schipe (also to schip), to scome, to slepe (also to slep), 
to toune, to wedde, to wyve, to jere, be jere. 

In the plural we have hors, schep unchanged , and also with numerals, 
mile, numthe, pound, )er (beside $eres), wynter. The plural of thing 
is thinges, sometimes t hinge, not thing. Mutation plurals, feet, men, 
teeth, wommen. Plurals in ^en, brethren, children, oxen (also oxes), 
ton, yhen. 

The forms in -ere have plurals -ers, as janglerSj kepers, lovers. 
From maiden we have beside maidens also maidenes (three syllables), 
iv. 255, which is perhaps the true reading in Chaucer, Leg, of G, 
Women, 722. From angel we have plural anglis, iii. 2256, as well as 
angles, and Nimphis, v. 6932, but there are few examples of plural in -is. 

With regard to Romance substantives Gower appears to be stricter 
than Chaucer in preserving their form. He gives us regularly beste 
* hesLSX,* feste, requeste, tempeste. We have however baner (also banere), 
host, maner, matter (beside manere, matiere), press (beside presse), 
travaile, conseile (substantives) very occasionally for travail, conseil. 

Several distinctively feminine forms are used, as capiteine, cham- 
berere, citezeine, cousine, enemie. 

In some cases the Latin inflexion is introduced, as Tantaly, Apollinis, 
Centauri,in Cancro, Achillem, Esionam, Phebum, the two last apparently 
introduced after the first recension. 


(a) Adjectives and Adverbs, A few adjectives vaiy as regards 
final e in the iminllected fonn, for example ecA fche, lick Itcht, low 
lowe, many manye, moist moisU, old olde, other olhre, such suche[}), 
trewe treai, 'wommanyssk ivommannysike. 

In comparative fonns -e is often dropped, a.& fairer, Jurtker, longer, 
rather, ieiiger, but more often written, as furlhere, dcppere, ferre, 
gladitere, greltcre, iengerc, ratkere. This -e, however, is either elided 
or passed over in the metre (as ii, 503, iv, t459, vi. 1490, 1525, zoto). 
Where there is syncope of the penultimate, as after viu) in levere, the 
final e counts regularly as a syllable, so that in case of elision the word 
is reduced to a monosyllable, which never lakes place with rcUktrf, 
further e, ic. 

When adjectives or adverbs ending in weak e are combined with 
a suffix or another word, -e is often dropped ; thus we have everemere 
ei'ermore, furthermore, joieful joiful, hevenely hevenly, trcwely, Irevily 
(so also trewman), and so on. In such cases a previously syncopated 
penultimate ceases to be so on loss of the following e. 

A few cases occur of -id for -erf ia adjective endings, as natid (also 
naked), loiekidwikkid (usually wicked), also hundrid (usually A vnrfni^. 

The definite form is used pretty regularly in the case of English 
monosyllabic adjectives, and usually also in monosyllables of French 
origin. This rule applies (1) to adjectives used after the definite 
article, a demonstrative pronouci or a possessive ; (2) to those employed 
as vocatives in address ; (3) to adjectives in combination with proper 
names or words used as proper names'. Thus we have regularly (1) 
' the grete hert,' ' the strange coflre,' ' The g-wiie body with the dede,' 
'this proude vice,' 'this ionge lord,' 'my longe wo,' 'his lose tungc,' 
'iWtful/e mynde,' 'whos rihte name,' &c (2) 'O derke ypocrisie,' 
' O geode fader,' ' lieve Sone,' &c. (3) 'grete Rome," ' Blinde Avarice," 
'proude Envie' (but 'proud Envie,' Prol, 712), 'faire Eole,' 'ttronge 
Sampson,' '-wise Tolomefis,' &c 

We must note also the inflexions in the following expressions, ' so 
kike a love,' ii- 2435 (but kih, vii. 3413), 'so grete a wo,' v, 5737, so 
grete a lust,' v. 64S2, ' so sehorte a time,' vii. 5201 . 

With Romance adjectives we find ' \a^ false tunge,' '^^pleine cas,' 
'false Nessus,' &c., and so usually in monosyllables. 

In the case of English monosyllables the eiiAptions are few. ' His 
full answere,' i. i6ag, ' hire good astat,' i. 3764, ' here wrong condicion,' 
ii. 39s, ■ his slyh compas.' ii, 2341 (but 'his slyhe cast,' ii. 2374), 'the 
ferst of hem,' iii. 37, v. 3863, cp. 5944 (usually 'the/f^f/if,' as i. 580, &c.), 
* my riht hond,' iii. 300, ' the trew man,' iii, 2346, ' his kik lignage,' 
iv. 2064 (due perhaps to the usual phrase 'of hih lignage'), 'the hik 
prouesse,' v. 641B*, ■ hire hih astat,' v. 6597, 'the gret ouHragc,' vii. 

' This Utter rule eipluni Chaucer'a use of the inflected forms fmrt, 
frtiskt, Sec, in ' freaihe Beaulc,' ' gode, faire White,' ' fresahe Hay,* Ac 


3413, 'hire freissh aray,' vii. 5000, 'hire hoi entente/ viii. 1222, cp. 
viiL 1 7 10, 2968 (but ' ^ore hole conseil '). 

Among Romance adjectives the want of inflexion is more frequent 
in proportion to the whole number of instances, e. g. ' the vein honour,' 
ProL 221, * theySi/r emperour/ Prol. 739, * Hire clos Envie,' ii. 684, &c. 

In the case of adjectives of more than one syllable, whether English 
or French, the definite form is exceptional. The commonest case is 
that of superlatives, in which the definite form ^esie is regularly used 
when the accent falls on the termination, whether in rhyme or other- 
wise, as faireste^ i. 767, v. 7427, slyheste^ i. 1442, wisesie : myhtieste, 
L 1097 f., wofulUste^ vii. 5017. Even when the accent is thrown back, 
the definite inflexion is more usually given than not, as faireste, 
L 1804, hoteste^ i. 2492, treweste^ iL 1282, povereste^ iv. 2238, heyeste, 
vii* 935> but sometimes dropped, as 'the purest Eir,' Prol. 921, 'the 
iongest of hem,' i. 3133, ' the lowest of hem alle,' vii. 224 : in all cases, 
however, where the accent is thrown back, the adjective is followed 
by a word beginning with a vowel, so that the metre is not aflected. 

Other adjectives of which the termination is capable of accent may 
take the definite inflexion, when the accent is thrown on the termina- 
tion, as 'the covoitoHse flaterie,' 'this lecherouse pride,' this tyrannysshe 
knyhty' but on the other hand ' his fals pilous lokynge,' ' the pietous 
Justinian,' 'the proude tyrannyssh Romein,' and cases where the 
adjective is used as a substantive, 'the coveitousi 'This Envious^* 
Uhaverous^ Ac. We have 'the parfite medicine,' iv. 2624 (but 'the 
parfit Elixir,' iv. 2522, with accent thrown back), and ' O thou gentile 
Venus,' viii. 2294 ; but perhaps parfite^ gentile are to be regarded as 
feminine forms, as almost certainly devolte^ i. 636. 

Where the final syllable of the adjective is incapable of accent, 
there is ordinarily no question of a definite inflexion, except where 
there is syncope after v (u)^ as in evele. Such words are croked, 
wicked^ cruelj litely middely biter^ dedly, lustiy sinful(l)y wilful^ 
woful(l)y wrongful^ and we may note that comparatives in -ere and 
adjectives in -liche (with accent thrown back) sometimes appear in 
the truncated form of spelling even where a definite termination is 
suggested by their position, e.g. 'hire ganger Soster,' v. 5395, *hir 
goodlych yhe,' ii. 2026, ' Ha, thou ungoodlich ypocrite,' v. 6293, * hire 
dedlich yhe,' vii. 5089 (-lich in these latter cases to avoid the hiatus of 
* ungoodly ypocrite,' &c). As an exceptional instance the form nakede 
should be observed, ' his nakede arm,' iv. 421, given so both by F and S. 

The formation of plurals in adjectives and participles used attribu- 
tively is governed by the same principles. We have ^preciouse 
Stones,' iv. 1354, but 'the most principaV (pL), v. 1115. In the 
expression 'the chief flodes,* v. 11 12, chief m\x^\. be considered perhaps 
as a substantive, like hed in * the hed planete.' Naturally words like 
wicked^ wofuly lustiy &c., take no plural inflexion, but we have manye 


{tnanie) beside many apparently as a plural form, though manye also 
occurs in the singular, and ittye once as plural of ^ny. In the expres- 
sion 'som men' som is without inflexion in the plural, eg. ProL ;39, 
iit 31 13, but 'j-ommrt clerkes,' Prol. 355, 'w«i#ihlnge5," i. 1265. 

Adjectives used as predicates or in apposition are to some extent 
treated according 10 convenience of metre or rhyme, but in the case of 
monosyllables there is a decided preference for inflexion. The follow- 
ing are some of the instances : ' Whan we ben dtde,' Prol. a, ' hem that 
weren goods; 43, 'my wines ben to smale,' 81, 'Ther ben of suche 
mamtgldde,' 299, ' hscmaa grete,' 303, ' ben with mannes senne wrotJu^ 
920, so blinde, i. 774, smalt, U45, glads, iisif hyhe, smaU, i. 1678 f., 
hore and •mkyte, i. 2045. slronge, iii. iiu, dulU, iv. 947, ijohyte, fatte, 
greU, iv, 1310, &c. We have also 'hise ihoghies fiinlt^ iv. 118, 
' thinges . . . veins,' i. 2689, ' hise bcdes most dsvauU,' i. 669, ' in 
wordes so coiierls,' iv. 1606, wher the men ben coveitouss, v. 4800. 

On the other hand, ' Of hem that ben so derk withinne,' i. 1077, 
' Hire chekcs ben with teres iiigf,' 1. 1680, ' Thei wejten doumb,' iv. 345, 
' Here bodies weren long and smal,' iv. 1310, ' Thei weren gradoui 
and wysC vii. 1447, 'thei weren glad,' viii, 881, and so frequently. 

The participle used as predicate is ordinarily uninflected, but there 
are a few examples of a plural form adopted for the rhyme, as made, 
Prol. 300, amuerde, i. 3246, iv. 2343, hidds, v. 6789. 

The usage of al, alls as an adjective is in some ways peculiar, but 
tolerably consistent. In the singular before an article, a demonstrative 
pronoun or a possessive, the uninflecled form al (occasionally ait) is 
used, as 'al the baronie,' 'al the world,' 'al his welthe,' 'all his proude 
fare,* 'al a mannes strengthe' (also 'the Cite all,' ii. 3473), but before 
a substantive the form alls (dissyllable)', as 'alle grace," 'alle thing,' 
'alle untrouthe,' 'alle vertu,''in aile wise,' ' in alle haste,"al!e wel,' 
'alle charile,' but sometimes before vowels al, as 'al honour,' i. 879, 
'al Erthe,' i. 2825, 'al Envie,' ii. 168, ' al untrowthe,' ii. 1684. In the 
plural, 'al the,' 'all these,' 'alle the,' &c. ('alle" being counted as a 
monosyllable), and without the article, 'alle' (but 'al othre,' iv, 

Note also the adverbial expression ' in none wise,' cp. ' othre wise.' In 
cases of ihe combination of a French adjective with a feminine sub- 
stantive of the same origin the adjective occasionally takes the French 
feminine form, instances are as follows : 'n^<)/ft apparantie,' i. 636, 
' veine gloire," i. 2677 fT., ' verlu sovereine,' ii. 3507, ' seinte charite,' iv, 
964, 'herbe sovereins,' vii. 1392, ' joie sevsreiru,' viii. 2530, a 
predicate, 'Dame Avarice is noghi solsiiie,' v. 1971. Possibly also, 

' This 

' Dame Avarice i; 

k regular use in Chaucer sIm, e.g. Ca 
'Fullild of alle beaulec and pl< 
ot alWBjTB been clearly rccognjied. 


*0 thoa divine pourveance/ iL 3243, 'the parfite medicine/ iv. 2624, 
^2l gentile . . • on,' v. 2713, and ' O thou gentile Venus/ viii. 2294, may 
be examples of the same usage. 

There is one instance of the French plural adjective in -x, Prol. 738, 
evidently introduced for the sake of the rhyme. 

(3) Pronouns. The personal pronoun of the first person is regu- 
larly 7, not icK It is usually written j' by the copyist of the last 235 
lines oi the Fairfax MS. and in the Praise 0/ Peace, 

The third person sing. fem. is sclie (never written she), once scheo : 
the oblique case is hire, hir (never here), and hire, though usually 
equivalent to a monosyllable, sometimes has -e fully sounded, as i. 367, 
iv. 766, v. 1 1 78. 

The third person neuter is //, seldom hit. 

In the first person plural the oblique case is aus, not shortened to us 
in spelling. 

The possessives of the first and second persons sing., min, thin, 
have no plural inflexion, but the disjunctive form ihyne pi. occurs, 
i. 168. On the other hand his, originally an uninfiected form, has 
usually the plural ^^,*but sometimes his. The form hise is never 
a dissyllable. 

The feminine possessive, 3rd pers., is hire or hir, freely interchanged 
and metrically equivalent There is no question of a plural inflexion 
here, and we find * Hire Nase,' * hire browes,' * A/r lockes,* ' Hire Necke,' 
quite indifferently used, i. 1678 ff. The disjunctive is hire, v. 6581, and 
hires, v. 6857. The forms oure, )oure are usual for the possessives of 
the 1st and 2nd pers. plur., and these are commonly used as mono- 
syllables, e. g. i. 2062, 2768, and interchanged with our, )our ; but they 
are also capable of being reckoned as dissyllables, e.g. Prol. 5, iii. 
1087. Here again there is no plural inflexion (^ )our wordes,' iii. 627). 
The disjunctive )oures occurs in i. 1852. 

The possessive of the 3rd pers. plur. is here, her, which is practically 
never confused in good MSS. with hire, hir of the fem. sing. ^ We 
are fully justified in assuming that for Gower the distinction was 

The ordinary relatives are which and that-, who is little used as 
a relative except in the genitive case, whos. The plural whiche is 
usually pronounced as a monosyllable, as ii. 604, iv. 1496, v. 1320, and 
often loses -e in writing, as Prol. 1016, iv. 1367, 1872, v. 4041, but also 
sometimes counts as a dissyllable, e.g. i. 404, vii. 1256. 

In combination with the definite article the singular form is *the 
which,* not *the whiche,* as Prol. 71, 975. 

* In the Praise of Peace however the MS. has here for hire, 11. 108, 329, cp. 
954. F has hire for here once accidentally, iii. 901. 

•• h 


(4) Verbs. In the Infinitive and Gerund, apart from the 
do, go, se, sle, &c., few instances occur of ihe loss of final e. The verb 
sein {sain) has seie and aJso say, and beside the regular infinitive fiuU 
H-e have also fini in several instances, the next word beginning unth 
a vowel or mute h. The cases are as follows : ' And thoghte put hire 
in an He,' i. 1578, 'To put his lif," &c, i. 3213, 'put eny Ictle,' ii. 93, 
and so also li. 1021, iii. 1166, iv. 756, 2615, v. 273, viii. 893: but 
also, ' It oghic puti a man in fere,* i. 46a, ' To puUn Rome in full 
espeir," ii. 1551, * Theucer pute out of his regne,* iii. 2648, &.C. In 
addition to the above there are a few instances of the same in other 
verbs, as 'get hire a thank,' ii. 60, ' It schal noght wel mmv be forsake,' 
ii. 1670, 'Jfilf his herte aside,' iv. 214, 'let it passe,' viii. 2036. (In 
vi. 202, ' If that sche wolde J// me leve,' we ought perhaps to read tiv* 
with S : cp. i. 1648.] 

The gerund Mo done' is common, but we do not find either 'to 

Prea«nt Tense. In the ist pers. sing, of the present, apart from 
such forms as do, go, &c., and firai beside fireie praie, there are 
a few cases of apocope, as in the infinitive; 'Than cast I,' iv. 560, 'let 
it passe,' iv. 363, ' 1 put me Iherof in your graCe,' i. 732, ' I put it al,' v. 
2951, 'I red thee leve,' vi. 1359. 'Nou thenk I.' vii. 4212. In two oT 
these instances it will be noticed that the following word begins with 

In the 3rd pers. sing, the syncopated and contracted forms are very 
much used by Gower. He says regularly bit, til, get, put, scket, set, 
lit (and pers. lisl), unit, writ ; arist, tint, fint, Kelt {halt), lest, went, 
we3^\ berth, breklh, bringth, critk, dranvth, drinkth, faUh, forth, 
forsakth, leith, lylh, preilh, spekth, takth (or teUk\ thmkth, jiflM, 
and only occasionally drawethy drinketk,/areth, kepelh, sitltlh, waxel/i, 
&c. In vi. 59 the best MSS. agree in giving sierte for stert, and in 
viii. 2428 most have sitle lot sit, but these are probably accidental 
variations. For the 3rd pers. plural Fahrenberg (p. 404) quotes 
several supposed instances of M ending. Of these most are expressions 
like 'men aeith,' where 'men' is used as singular indefinite. One 
only is valid, viz. vii. 1107, 'Diverse sterres to him longeth': cp. vii. 536. 

Preterite, With regard lo the tense formation of Strong Verbs 
reference may be made to the Glossary, where all the characteristic 
forms are recorded. We confine ourselves here to a few remarks. 

The following instances may be noticed of gradation between the 
singular and the plural of the preterite : began, pi. begunne begenne, 
gdu, pi. goHnen, ran, pi. rtrnne, wan, pi. wonne, bond, pi. bounden, 
fond, pi. founden, song (sang), pi. lange sunge, sprang, pi. sprongt 
sprungen, drank {dronk), pL drunke, bar, pi. iere {beere), brat, pL 
briektn, spak, pi. spitkt, sat, pi. sett{n) siete{n) seete, bad, pi, btdf, 
lay (iih), pi, like leie{H), wax, pi. woxen, vrrot, pi. •write{n), rod. 


pi. ritUn, cheSy pL c^se, and among preterite-presents can^ pL conne, 
maij pL mawe, schaly pi. schulle schull schol, woty pi. wite. 

There are some few instances in F of strong preterites with irregular 
-e termination in the 1st or 3rd pers. singular, but in no case is this 
authenticated by metre or rhyme. The following are examples in 
which F and S are agreed,' j^A^ a wile,' v. 4278, * he dare him,' v. 5236, 
'which sihe his Soster,' v. 5810, ^ lete come,' vi. 1186, 'he tho take hire 
in his arm,' viii. 1732. These are perhaps mistakes, and they have some- 
times been corrected in the text on the authority of other MSS. 

The 2nd pers. sing, has the -e termination, as sth£ (syhe)^ iii. 2629, 
iv. 599, werey iv. 600, knewe^ vi. 2313, camgy viii. 2076, but tok^ i. 2421. 
The 2nd pers. sing, of the preterite-present mat is regularly mtht {myht)t 
never 'mayest.' Occasionally the best MSS. give it as mihtey e.g. 
i. 2457, vii. 2637, 3819, but there is no metrical confirmation of this 
form. The preterite plural is very rarely found without -^, as v. 3300, 
7534, vii. 3574. 

Among Weak Verbs those which have the short or syncopated form 
keep the -« termination almost regularly. Such preterites are, for 
example, asptde, cridey deidd^ leide, obeidcy payde^ preide, seide^ teidcy 
kaddey madty brendey sende, answerde, ferde^ herde^ solde^ spildcy 
toldey wetuky beHddey draddCyfedde^JUddey hedde^ graddCy ladde^ raddiy 
speddty sfraddcy crepte^ dueltCy feltty henUy kepte^ kiste^ leftey lefite^ 
lostCy mentey sleptCy wentey weptey cUihtey casUy dihtCy grettty knettCy 
kuttCy lastfy lisUy metUy piyhtey puttCy schetUy settCy sterte, triste^ 
arawhtey broghtey cawhte, oghtey roghtCy schryhtCy soghtCy strawhtCy 
tawhtey thoghtCy wroghtCy cowthCy dorsUy tnihtey mosUy scholdCy wistCy 

At the same time it must be noted (as in the case of the infinitive) 
that with some of these forms there is an occasional tendency to drop 
the '€ before a vowel at the beginning of the next word (that is, where 
elision would take place), and the agreement of the best MSS., 
especially F and S, makes it certain this was sometimes done by the 
author. It is impossible to trace any system, but the number of verbs 
affected is not large, and in nearly every case the instances of this kind 
of elision-apocope are largely outnumbered by the examples of normal 
inflexion in the same verb ^. 

The following is a tolerably full list of references for these preterite forms, 
which are given in alphabetical order : * Beraft hire,' v. 5647, * it httidd upon 
the cas,' vii. 4381, * Sche cast on me/ i. 15a, * cos/ up hire lok,* v. 5436, 
*hc cast his lok,' vi. 1035, ^ dorsi he,' ii. 1633, * drad him,' viii. 1368, 

' In a few cases, as Prol. 543, i. 183, ia8o, v. 3393, vi. 206a, the gram- 
matically correct form has been printed in the text from less good MSS. and 
against the combined authority of F and S. On a review of the whole 
subject this does not now seem to me satisfactory. 



'And ftlt it' (subj.), viii. 3165, 'so fird 1," viii, 3445, 'had herd hem," 
V- 5865, ' Hir bidi hint up,' v, 5703, ' hird he noght scin,' iii. aoSa, • And 
itpt hire," ii. 181, 'Sche btpl k1 dorni,' v. 1495, 'he btst 
"And kist him,* v. 3777, 5593, 'and knil it,' v. 6S66, 'he kni it,' vii, 4525, 
"what him ihl he tok,' iii. 9446, 'Sche lri$i at,' ii. 0390, cp. v. 3465, 'Thai 
mad hem." ii. 310, and 50 also v. 986, 3393, 3803, ' nt rnyhl I,' i. isSo, ' rtiiht 
eachuie," iii. 1356, and Sii also iii. 1440, vii, 4385, • Put under,* ProL 683, 
'Wan and put under,' Pro]. 718. 'He;m/hem into." i. 1013. 'Sche ^u/ hire 
hand,' i. i6g7. and so also ii. 3367, v. 3045, 408B, 5336, 6409. vi 
4403, viii. 3703, 'thci ptttt hem,' v. 7417. 'Of ous, that schold ous,' Prol. 543 
(so SF), 'schold evcnr wys men,' ii. 578, -And iiid hir,' i. 31B8, 'S«yek," v. 
4309, 'And Mi hire.' ii. 3330, 'He «/ him,' v. 3691, 'he srtan eswunplaii 
4363, 'And lawM hero so" ('tawhte' S), iii. 171*. ' '"W him," i. 3187, i 
3855('toldc"S), vii. 4688, '/oU hem," V. 3883, viii. 1555, 'he /o/rfout,' i 
' every man atnt on his syde,' v. 7403, ' And wcHt hem out ' (pi.), v. 7533, 
'ache viUI it,' ii. 3010, 'thanne vroUi I,' i. 183, 'and toAd have,' v. 4317, 
'I ivo/i/stHe,' V. 7137, 'wald I," viii. 0398, to which wc may add 'myAr obeie,' 
and 'behighl him ' from the Piaist of Pract, 39, 41. 

Of these examples it is to be remembered, tint that in only one case, 
•I wold stele,' V. 7137, does this apocope take place before a consonant, 
though in one other instance, v. 5B65, the following word begins with an 
aspirated h ; and secondly, that with all these, except perhaps pul, Ibc full 
form of the preterite is that which usually occurs before a vowel as well aa 
elsewhere. Even in the ease of pul we have the form pulU frequently when 
it is subject to elision, as Prol. 1069, ' And pulle awey ma 
ii. 713, 3684, iv. 399, 136B, &c., as well as regularly before 
'With strengthc he putle kinges under,' i. 3797. The form putt 01 
V. 7417, and in this ease the verb is plural. The only ol 
plurals in the list are Prol. 543 and v. 7533. 

With reg.ird to the weak verbs which form preterites with ending 
'fd^, the loss of the final e is somewhat more common, but it is usually 
retained, and sometimes it counts as a syllable in the verse. Where 
this is not the case, it is either elided in the usual v 
dropped in writing, this is only under the conditions which apply to 
the verbs mentioned above, namely, before a vowel at the beginning 
of the succeeding word. 

It is, however, noteworthy that the use of these forms, whether ic 
-e{{e or -tii, is decidedly rare, and was avoided by our author even it 
cases where the -e would have been subject to elision. It is evident 
that he was always conscious of this ending, even if he did not always 
write it, and yet he fell that the two weak syllables ought not to have 
full value in the metre. The resuh was that he avoided the use of the 
form generally, so far as it was reasonably possible to do so. The 
wholenumberofthescpreleritesin-A/^, -ft/tobefoundin theCon/irjj' 
Amanlis is surprisingly small, both actually and relatively, that is, 
taking account of the extent to which the verbs in question ar 
employed in their other lenses. The method pursued is chiefly t 


substitute in narrative the present tense, or the perfect formed with 

* hath/ for the 3rd person singular of the preterite, ' Conforteth ' for 

• Confortede,' * Hath axed ' for * axede/ * feigneth ' for * feignede/ and 
this apparently as a matter of habit and even in cases where a vowel 
foUows. No doubt the use of the present tense in narrative is quite 
usual apart from this, but the extremely frequent combination of strong 
or syncopated preterites with the present tenses of verbs of this class 
seems to me to indicate clearly how the matter stood. 

The following are a few of the examples of this : ' For sche ioh thanne 
chiere on honde And clepeth him/ i. 1767 f., 'The king comandtth ben in 
pes, And . . . casU,* 3240 f , ' Comende/h, and snde overmore,' 3361, ' he him 
beikogkie, • . . And tometh to the banke ayein/ ii. 167 ff., * for hem senie And 
axftk hem,' 613 {., *iay , . . dtpeth oute . . . sttrtt' 848 ff., *Sche loktth and 
hire yhen caste,* 1066, ' This child he loveth kindely . . . Bot wel he sih , , , 
mxgtk . . . seidt,* 1381 ff., ' Sche ptmU him and consiiUth bothe,' 1457, * Which 
settutk outward profitable And urns,* aaoz f., 'And he himself that ilke 
throwe Abod, and hoviih there stille,' iii. 1939 f., and so on. 

These examples will serve to illustrate a tendency which every 
reader will observe, when once his attention has been called to it. 
There are indeed many narrative passages in which nearly all the strong 
or syncopated verbs are used in the preterite, and all the others in the 
present, and it is evident that this cannot be accidental \ 

There are, however, a certain number of instances of the use of weak 
preterites, indicative or subjunctive, and a few in which the final e 
(or '^en) is sounded in the metre. 

The following are examples of 'ede preterites (in one instance -icU) : ' I 
wisskide afler deth,' i. i9o, *he passed* ate laste,' 149, ' he hem stopped* alle 
faste,' 599, ^And wamede alle his officiers,' 9506, *Mi ladi lovede^ and I it wiste,' 
ii. 509, 'he cucede hem anon,' 1948, 'he rounede in thin Ere,' 1944, 'Bot he hire 
lovede, er he wente,' 9097, 'Thogh that he lovede ten or tuelve,' 9063, 
^Supplantede the worthi knyht,* 9453, 'Sche pourede oute,' iii. 679, so also 
ill 1631, 9556, iv. 468, 895, 849, 934, 1340, 1345, 1444, *Lo, thus sche deiede 
a wofull Maide,* iv. 1593, 'it likede ek to wende,' 9150, ^ CoHtroevtden be sondri 
wise,' 9454, ' Translateden. And otherwise,' 9660, * And /oundeden the grete 
Rome/ v. 904, * He ftignede him/ 998, * And clepede him,' 951, * He percede 
the harde roche,' 1678, ^Thei faileden^ whan Crist was bore/ 1697, 'Thei 
passeden the toun/ 9189, ' Alle othre passede of his bond,' 3958, ' Welcomede 
him/ 3373, *walkede up and doun' (pi.), 3833, * axede him/ 5199, so also 
5774, 6139, 6791, 6887, ^oppressede al the nacion' (pi.), vi. 568, 'That 
laveden longe er I was bore,' 889, ' he usede ay,' 1907, * fjnlede out of londe/ 
a^^S, * Efi/omtiden,' vii. 1495, * Devoureden,' 3346, * Ensamplede hem* (pi.), 

* Prof. Lounsbury's criticism on the rhyme of vii. 5103 f., as given in 
Pauli's edition, is quite sound, and ProC Skeat's defence of it will not do. 
Gower never rhymes a past participle in W with a weak preterite, though he 
sometimes drops the -e of the preterite before a vowel. The rhyme was good 
enough for Chaucer, however, as Prof. Lounsbury'sexamples abundantly prove. 


4441, ' Rislortdi \\era,' 4445, so also 4633,4986, 4993, 4998, &c., ' Esthuiidin 
10 tn»ke assay," viii. 373, ' Wilh love tvrasllrtli and was overcome,' 3040, 

This list of examples, which is fairly complete up to v. 1970, will suffi- 
cieDily show the manner in which -eiU preterites are used. In more 
iha.n three-fourths of the instances quoted the -c is subject to elision, 
and of those that remain nine are examples of the plural with -eden 
termination, and three only of the ending -ede, vi«. ii. 1063, ' Thogh 
that he lovede Icn or luelve,' ii. 3453, ' Supplanlede the wotthi knyht,' 
and V, 1678, ' He percede the harde roche,' of which the first is really 
a case of syncope, 'lov'de,' as also ii. 501 (cp. vi. 883) and iv. 1593, 
whereas in ii. 3037 'lovede' occurs unsyncopatcd but with -e elided. 
It will be noted that in the plural the form -eden is used regularly when 
the syllables are to be fully pronounced, though -edt can be used for 
the sake of elision. 

The -ed form of preterite is less frequent than the other, and I t 
not aware of any clear example of its employment before a consona 
or in rhyme. We have, for example, 'And used it." i. i^i,' SAk clfprd 
him,' i. 153s (' Aumd/rd him,' i. 3065, is probably a particnple, 'to have 
bumbled himself), 'pryded I me,' i. 3373, 'nefiigned I,' ii. ao6i, 
' the goddcs . . . Comanded him,' iii. 3140 f., 'Thei defied Yitra^ v. 876, 
cp, IOJ7, &c. In iii. I7S9) 'The Gregois tornedUa the siege," we have 
most probably a participle, 'were tomed.' We may observe that the 
-ed form stands also in the plural. 

Among weak preterites from originally strong verbs we may notice 
abreide, crefi/e [but past participle crgfie), Jagkte, ftedde, sckotte, slepte 
(also slep, with past participle skpe), sintile (beside imol), mefilt. The 
pret. satle in vii. 3382, ' He salte him thanne doun,' seems to arise 
from confusion of sjt and selU, 

Imperattvo. The Confessio Amaniis is peculiarly rich in impera- 
tives. Beside the regular imperative singular forms, e.g. aitd, ietetk, 
behold, cket, com, do,for5nk, grief, kelp, hter, kyd,kep, tef, ly,lei, Ust, Irfi, 
prei.put, say, schrif, sfiek, tak, tell, Ihenk, understand, iif, &c., the MSS. 
give us also Ayde, iii. 1 503, seie, vii. 4084, speJte, vii. 5433, tate, iv. 2674, 
V, 6439, tkenie, iii, 1083, but not in such positions as to affect the 
metre. The forms axe, herktte, hit, wile are regular, but Uk also 
occurs (i. 1703, V. II30). 

In some instances the short form of imperative seems to be used as 
3rd pers., e.g. ' hold clos the ston,' v. 3573, for ' let him hold," ' lak in 
his minde," viii. i [18, for 'let him take,' cp. viii, 1410. The singular 
and plural forms are often used without distinction, as v. 3333 ff,. 
' Ckes . . . and ■aiileth . . . ekes and tak . . . goth . . . latctk,' v, 3986, 'So 
kelp me nou, I you beseche,' with ^Nflpelk,' just above, several persons 
being addressed, and so ^ taketk hiede And kep conseil,' viii, 1509 f,. 
to one person. In the interchange of speech between the Confessor 
and the Lover, while sometimes the distinction is preserved, the . 


Confessor saying tak^ UU^ wtdersUmdy and the Lover telUth^ axetk 
(eg. i. 1395, 1875), at other times the Lover says lest, xay, tell^ lef, 
&c (i. 1943, 1972, ii. 2074, iii. 841, &c) \ 

PNMnt Partieiple. The form of the present participle is the 
most characteristic part of Gower's verb inflexion as compared (for 
example) with Chaucer's. Chaucer seems regularly to have used 
the form in "inge (often with apocope -ing) : Cower uses ordin- 
arily the form •ende, and normally with the accent thrown on the 
termination, as i. 204, 'To me spekende thus began/ 236, 'Whos Prest 
I am tauckende oli love,' ^%^ Stondende as Stones hiere and there/ 633, 
*So that semende of liht thei werke/ 1379 f., 'That for I se no sped 
comende, . . . compieignendey 1682, ' Hangende doun unto the chin.' 

Sometimes the same form .is used with accent on the preceding 
syUable, and in this case the -e is systematically elided, e. g. ProL 11, 
' In tyme comende after this,' 259, ' Belongende unto the presthode,' 
i. 296, 'As touchende of my wittes fyve' (cp. 334, 742), 3025, 'And 
waiUnde in his bestly stevene.' 

In a relatively small number of instances the form -inge occurs either 
in rhyme, as i. 524, ' So whan thei comen forth seilinge,' in rhyme with 
'singe,' i. 17 10, 'And liveth, as who seith, deyinge* in rhyme with 
' likynge ' (subst), or with the accent thrown back, as i. 1 15, ' Wisskinge 
and wefinge al myn one,' v. 518, ^Abidinge in hir compaignie,' 
vi. 7I7» 'I mai ^ fastinge everemo'; rarely out of rhyme and with 
accent, as i. 2721, ' Mi fader, as ttmchinge of al.' 

The final e is never lost in writing, but when the accent is thrown 
back it is always elided. 

Past Participle. The -id termination of weak past participles is 
very rarely found in the Fairfax MS., except in the concluding passage, 
which is copied in a different hand from the rest. It occurs commonly 
in the Praise of Peace, Examples found elsewhere in F are weddid^ 
iv. 650, medlid, iv. 1475. 

From setten besides the regular past participle set there appears the 
form sete twice in rhyme, vii. 22t6^, /or)ete : sete^ and viii. 244, tnisgete 
(past partic.) : upsete. This seems to be formed after the analogy of 
gete. On the other hand we have ferd^ i. 445, &c., but also fare(n), 
iii. 2692, V. 3797, &c. The past participle of se is sen^ sein^ sete, but 
most commonly sene. In a few instances a final e is given by the 
MSS. in weak past participles, e.g. herde for herd, v. 4231* schope 
for schvPy V. 4278, sette for set, vi. 10, wiste for wist, viii. 37. 

The cases of weak past participles with plural inflexion (e. g. Prol. 
300, L 3246, iv. 2343, V. 6789) have already been mentioned in dealing 
with adjectives. 

* Except in the case of these imperative forms the and pers. plur. is quite 
consistently used by the Lover in his shrift, and the and pers. sing, by the 
Confessor in reply. 

There is hardly any use of the prelix y- (»'-), but we have ybore, 
ii- 499- 

vi. Dialect. Goner's language is undoubtedly xa the main the 
English of the Court, and not a provincial dialect. Making 

allowance for the influences of literary culture and for a rather 
marked conservatism in orthography and grammatical inflexions, 
we can see that it agrees on the whole with the London speech 
of the time, as evidenced by the contemporary documents referred 
to by Prof. Morsbach. At the same time its tendencies are 
Southern rather than Midland, and he seems to have used 
Kentish forms rather more freely than Chaucet. This is shown 
especially (i) in the more extensive use of the forms in which 
t stands for O. E. j-, as mtne, kesse, pet, lull, &c.; (i) in the 
frequent employment of /V, both in French and English words, 
to represent e, a practice which can hardly be without connexion 
with the Kentish c/iene, diept, dure, hier, hkid, nitdt, &c. ; (3) in 
the use of -ende as the normal termination of the present participle. 
{The Ayenbite regularly has -inde.) Probably also the preference 
shown by Gower for the close sound of e, from O. E. ic, may be 
to some extent due to Kentish influence. Other points of 
resemblance between the language of Gower and that of the 
Ayenbite (for example) are the free use of syncopated forms 
in the 3rd pers. sing, of verbs and the regular employment of 

vii. Metre, &c. The smoothness and regularity of Gower's 
metre has been to some extent recognized. Dr. Schipper in 
Englischt Mtirik, vol, 1. p. 279, remarks upon the skill with which 
the writer, while preserving the syllabic rule, makes his verse flow 
always so smoothly without doing violence to the natural accen- 
tuation of the words, and giving throughout the effect of an 
accent verse, not one which is formed by counting syllables, 
Judging by the extracts printed in Morris and Skeat's Specimens 
(which are taken from MS, Harl. 3869, and therefore give 
practically the text of Fairfax 3), he observes that the five 
principal licences which he has noted generally in the English 
verse of the period are almost entirely absent from Gower's 
octosyllabics, and in particular that he neither omits the fir^t 
unaccented syllable, as Chaucer so often does (e. g. ' Be it rouned, 
red or songe,' J/eus of Fatrn, ii. ai4, 'Any lettrcs for to rede,* 

METRE, ETC. cxxi 

Hi. $1, 'Of this hill that northward lay/ iii. 62), nor displaces the 
natural accent (as 'Of Decembre the tenthe day/ Hous o/jFame, 
i. Illy 'Jupiter considereth wel this, iL 134, 'Rounede everych 
in otheres ere/ iii. 954), nor slurs over syllables. 

To say that Gower never indulges in any of these licences 
would be an exaggeration. Some displacement of the natural 
accent may be found occasionally, even apart from the case of 
those French words whose accent was unsettled, but it is present 
in a very sh'ght degree, and the rhythm produced does not at all 
resemble that of the lines cited above from Chaucer : e. g. i. 2296, 
•Wber that he wolde make his chace/ 2348, 'Under the grene thei 
begrave/ 2551, '"Drink with thi fader. Dame," he seide.' Such 
as it is, this licence is nearly confined to the first foot of the 
verse, and is not so much a displacement of the natural accent 
of the words as a trochaic commencement, after the fashion 
which has established itself as an admitted variety in the English 
iambic We may, however, read long passages of the Canfessio 
Amantis without finding any line in which the accent is displaced 
even to this extent. 

Again, as to slurring of syllables, this no doubt takes place, but 
on regular principles and with certain words or combinations 
only. There are hardly more than three or four lines in the whole 
of the Confissio Amantis where a superfluous syllable stands 
unaccounted for in the body of the verse, as for example, 

iv. 1 131, * Som time in chambre, som time in halle/ 

V. 447, * Of Jelousie, bot what it is/ 
V. 9914, 'And thus fill oUc aboute the hals/ 
V. 501 1, 'It was fantosme, bot yit he herde.' 

The writer seems to have no need of any licences. The narrative 
flows on in natural language, and in sentences and periods which 
are apparently not much affected by the exigencies of metre or 
rhyme, and yet the verse is always smooth and the rhyme never 
fails to be correct. If this is not evidence of the highest style 
of art, it shows at least very considerable skill. 

In Gower's five-accent line, as exhibited in the Supplication of 
viii. 2217-2300 and in the poem In Praise of Peace ^ Schipper finds 
less smoothness of metre, * owing perhaps to the greater unfami- 
liarity and difficulty of the stanza and verse ' {Englische Metrik^ 
i. 483 ff.). His examples, however, are not conclusive on this 
point Some of the lines cited owe their irregularity to corrup- 



tions of text, and others prove lo be quite regularly in accordance 
with Gower's usual metrical principles. 
For instance, in viii. 2220 the true text is 

'That wher so that I resle or I travaile.' 
which is a metrically perfect line. Again, in the Praise of Peate, 

'■ 79. 'And to the heven it ledeth ek the weic,' 

it is impossible, according to Gower's usage, that 'heven' should 
stand as a dissyllable. He wrote always 'hevene,' and the 
penultimate was syncopated. So also ' levere ' in 1. 340, ' evere,' 
1. 376. Hence there is no 'epic caesura' in any of these cases. 
Nor again in 1. 164, 'Crist is the heved,' can 'heved' be taken as 
a dissyllable in the verse : it is always metrically equivalent to 
'hed,' The only fair instance of a superfluous syllable at the 
caesura is in 1. 66, 

' For of batailc the final code is peea.' 
It seems that the trochee occurs more commonly here than in 
the short line. Such examples as Schipper quotes, occurring 
at the beginning of the line, 

'Aie of thi god, 90 schalt thou noght be werned,' 
' Pes is (he chief of al the worldes welthe,' 
are of the same character as those which we find in the octo- 
syllabics. Perhaps, however, a difference is afforded by the more 
frequent occurrence of the same licence in other parts of the 

verse, as, 

' So that undi 

The rhyming on words 

accordance with the poet's general usage. 

On the whole, the combination of the syllabic and the accentual 
system is effected in the five-accent line of these stanaas almost 
as completely as in the short couplet ; and in his command of the 
measure, in the variety of his caesura, and the ease with which 
he passes without [>ause from line to line and rounds off the 
stanza with the matter, the author shows himself to be as fully 
master of his craft upon this ground as in the more familiar 
measure of the Con/essio Aman/is. 

As regards the treatment of weak syllables in [he metre, Gower's 
practice, in accordance with the strict syllabic system which he 
adopted, is very different from Chaucer's. The rules laid down 
by ten Brink, Chancers Sprache, % »6o, as to the cases in which 

r hia swerd it tnyht obcie," 39. 

. like 'manhode,' 'axinge,' 

&C., is in 

METRE, ETC cxxiii 

weak final e is never counted as a syllable in the verse, except 
in rhyme, require some qualification even when applied to Chaucer 
(for example, 'sone' is certainly a dissyllable in CantTa/es, A 1963, 
Ifous o/jFame, i. 218), and they are almost wholly inapplicable to 
Gower, as we shall see if we examine them, (a) Gower has the 
forms htre, oure, joure^ all occasionally as dissyllables apart from 
special emphasis or rhyme, (fi) these^ some, whiche are all some- 
times dissyllables, (y) The strong participles with short stems as 
come, drive, write as a rule have the final e sounded. (S) The 
-e of the 2nd pers. sing, of the strong preterite may be sounded, 
e. g. iii. 2629 (but • Were thou,' iv. 600). (c) The form made, both 
singular and plural, regularly has -e sounded, were (pret.) usually, 
and wife sometimes. (() sone, wane, schipe (dat.), and the French 
words in -ie{ye\ &c., have -e regularly counted in the metre : so also 
beste, entente, tempeste, (17) before, to/ore, there are used in both ways. 

Gower's naage with reference to this matter is as foUows : 
The personal and possessive pronouns hire, oun, ^ourtf here and hise (as 
plural of A»), written also hir, our, Sec, are as a rule treated as monosyllables. 
We have however ' Fro hire, which was naked al/ i. 367, < And thenke 
untoward hire drawe,' iv. 559, so v. 1x78, 9757 » vii. 1899, Sec, 'In oure tyme 
among ous hiere/ Prol. 5 (but * Oure king hath do this thing amis/ i. 9o6a), 
* As je be ^ure bokes knowe,* iii. 1087, cp. v. 3951 (but *Bot, fader, of joure 
lores wise,* i. 3768). Add to these alle (pi.) before definite article. 

In the following words also the final e is sometimes suppressed for 
the verse : these (also thes\ Prol. 900, 1037, i. 435, ii. 237, &c. (but thesi, 
v. 813, 1137, vii. 1005, &c.) : whiche plur. (also which), ii. 604, iv. 1496, &c. 
(but which/j i. 404, v. 1269, vii. 82a, 1256, &c.) : eche {also ech), v. 6883, accord- 
ing to F,cp.ProL 516: there (usually /A^), viii, 2311, 2689 (but there, iii. 1233, 
&c., and often in rhyme) : were pret. ind. or subj. (also wer), iii. 1600, iv. 
^00. i657» 1689 (but more usually were^ as Prol. 1072, iii. 762, v. 2569, viu 
4458) : where (usually wher), v. 4355 (but where^ v. 2720) : more (also tnor), 
ii. 26, V. 2239, 6207, vii. 3237 (but more^ Prol. 55*, 640, iv. 2446, vii. 3287, 
&c.) : before, to/ore (also be/or, to/or), i. 2054, 3864, iii. 2052 (but befori, 
Prol. 848, and often in rhyme) : foure, vii. 2371 (but foure, ii. 1037, iv. 
9464) : fare (wel), iii. 305, iv. 1378 (but fariwel, v. 4218) : sire, i. 0878, ii. 
2995 (but aire, v. 3547, 5593) : wiU, ii. 455 (but wite, v. 3150, 3445) : wole 
(also »o/), V. 2891, 2911, &c. : bothe^ ii. 1966, 2154, iv. 2138, &c. (but bothe, 
Prol. 1068, i. 851, &c.) : wolde (also wold), v. 4413 (usually wolde) : come, 
ii. 789, iv. 2826 (but come, pp. iv. 1283, vi. 1493, vii. 4840, inf. viii. 1362) : 
some, pL subst., iii. 21 12, v. 2252 (but some, i. 2034 ff.) : have, Prol. 708, 
i. 169, 2724, ii. 550, iv. 1600 (but have, ii. 332, iv. 1598) : love, subst iv. 
930, vi. 1261 (but love much more often, e.g. i. 103, 251, 760, &c.): tuelve 
(also tuelf), iv. 1983 (but tuelve, vii. 1005) : trewe (also /rrw), v. 2877 (*>"t 
trewe, pi., Prol. 184, def., iii. 2228) : mowe, inf. <also mow), iv. 38 : seie, inf. 
and ist s. prcs. iii, 17371 iv. 672, v. 2616, 6428, &c. (but 5«!f often) : preie, 


1st *. pres. (also /*raO, v. 4531 (but pnir, v. 3330) ; fiirlkm, forthirt I'slio 
fiir1htT,fiiTilttr), iii. 81, B85 : Ungirt {aXso ItHgtr), i. 1516, ii. 3603; mMo*(alao 
ralAtr), ii. 503, vii. 4161, viii. 9141 : janglcn, v. sa6 : also some isolated cases, 
as aioHlt, V. S914, Tail, v. ^l6^, Mmotaun, v. 3337 ^but Minolautf, 5391, 
&c), rAmj^Atlf, viii. 1500. 

In iv. 1131, V. 447, 5011, whicli we faave quoted above, tbe superfluous 
syllnble in cacti case may be connected with Ibe pause in the sentence, as in 
Afirour dt Votttme, 10693, ' I-'i"> "1 francbise, 1' autre ad servage.' 

Syncope (so far as regards the metre) regularly takes place in 
the following : covert {dhcoven, &c), delivert (but not deliverance, 
i. 1584, V. 1657), roene, evere, fievere, havene, hevene, levere, tuixrt, 
pover(, sevene (also sefne), swevene (also swefne), and some other 
words of a similar kind, to which add heved, evei, devtl. In these 
cases a final e is always pronoiinced unless elided, and in case of 
elision a word like hevene, nevere is reduced to a monosyllable, as 

'I'his world which evere is in balance.' 
The following also are sometimes syncopated : Im'cdc, loveden. 
ii. soa, vi. 882, but without syncope ii, 2017, beloved, i. 1938, 
beloved, i. 1930 f., behevety, behovelich, iii. 1330, v, 4011, vii. 1949 
(but unbthovefy, viri. 2884), leveful, v. 7053, Avert!, vii. loag, 
soverein, vii, 1776 (but usually three syllables, as Prol. 186, L 
1609, and iovereinete, five syllables, i. 1847), amorous, iii. 745 (but 
usually three syllables, as i. 1^1^, fader, ii. 3387, cp. fadrt, ii- 
2519 (but ordinarily a dissyllable), unkenieli, ii. 3114 (but 
unkindely, iii. 2065), comeliesU, comelihiede, v. 3048, 6734 (but 
comely, ii. 441), namely, viii. 3041, also namly, ii. 47 (but usually 
three syllables, as Prol. 144, iii. 63), Termegis, iv. 2408. We may 
note, however, that this kind of syncope is less used by Gower 
than by Chaucer, and that chivalerisy chivaltrous, fore%vard, fore- 
tokne, loveday, pilegrin, surguiderie, &c., are fully pronounced. 

Unaccented i before weak t cither Una! or in inflexions has Ibe force of 
a lemi-vowel, and forms no syllabic of itself: so sluJit, atrit, latit, chirii. 
mrrit, manyt, gic. arc equivalent to dissyllables, and are reduced by elision 
lo the value of monosyllables, as Prol, 333, 'To slHdii upon the worldes 
lore,' L 453, ' To tarii with a mannes thoght,' i. 3338, ' And manyt it hielden 
for folic," ii. 4648, ■ Thei can/ III thei come al Kaire ' ; and so also in the 
other parts of the same words, e.g. i. 1645, 'And thus he (ariilA long and 
late,' and in plurals like &odus, iv. 3463. Similarly Mncurii is made into > 
dissylUble by elision, 'And ek the god Mercuric also,' i. 43a. Akin lo this 
in treatment is ihe frequent combination many a, many an, counting as two 
syllables (so ' ful many untrewe,* v. s886}, but many on, manion as three. 
We may note also Ihe case of slatm, Prol. 891, 'As 1 tolde of Ibc Statue 
above,' which is reduced by eljsioa to a monosyllable. 

METRE, ETC. cxxv 

Elision of weak final e takes place regularly before a vowel 
or an unaspirated h. We must observe that several classical 
proper names ending originally in /, as Alceone^ Daphne, Progne, 
Phebe, have weak e and are subject to elision, and under this head 
it may be noted that Canace rhymes to place, whereas Chaucer 
(referring to Gower*s story) gives the name as Canacee, in rhyme 
with he. Also the combinations byme, tome, tothe, &c., have weak 
-e and are elided before a vowel. 

An aspirated h prevents elision as effectively as any other 
consonant. We have *min hole herte/ 'grete homes/ • Cadme 
hyhte,* * Mi Sone, herkne,' * propre hous,' * faste holde ' (and even 
'othre herbes,* iv. 3008); but there are some words in which 
h is aspirated only when they are emphatic in sense or position, 
as have, hath, he, him, hire, fum*, &c. For example, elision takes 
place usually before have, he, how, but not so as a rule in cases 
where they are used in rhyme or with special emphasis, e. g. 
L 2542, * Of such werkas it scholde have,* ii. 2479, cp. v. 7766, 
* Wenende that it were he,' iv. 3604, * And al the cause hou it 
wente.' On the other hand, the preterite hadde seems to have an 
aspirated h even in unemphatic position, as ii. 589, 'The Sceptre 
hadde fortorihte*: compare vii. 2364, 'Victoire hadde upon his 
fo,' with vii. 2392, *Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde.' 
Elision also takes place before hierafter^ though not before hiere. 

There is one instance of hiatus, viii. no, *That he his Sone 
Isaac,' and it may be noted that the same thing occurs with the 
same name in the Mirour^ 12241, 'De Isaak auci je lis.' 

The article the regularly coalesces with a succeeding word beginning with 
a vowel or mute A, as thaffecdoun^ ihalemans^ thamende, thapostely thastat^ 
iheffedy theniperour^ thenvious, iherbagij therihe, thexperience, thonoury thother, 
thunsemlUstiy thyU, &c. The exceptions, which are very few, are cases of 
special emphasis, as i. 3351 , ' The Erthe it is/ Similarly the negative 
particle ne with a succeeding verb beginning with a vowel, as nam^ naproche, 
Mts (but He have), and also occasionally with some words beginning with 
Wf forming nere, nost, not, nyle, itysie, &c. In some few instances to coalesces 
with the gerund, as iacompte, teschuie. 

There is diaeresis regularly in such proper names as Theseus, 
Peieus, Tereiis, and also in Saiil, Isaac, We have Mdises usually, 
but Moises (dissyllable), iv. 648, Tfuxise usually, but Thdisis in the 
epitaph, viii. 1536. One example occurs affecting the -ee termina- 
tion, viz. Caldee, v. 781 (usually a dissyllable), sojudee, Galilee in 
Miraur, 20067, 29239. This is an essentially different case from 


that of degrees, which is found in Chaucer. The termination -iui 
is usually dissyllabiq but vii. 2967, 'The god Mercurius and no 
man.' The endings -ieun, -I'ous, -ien, &c., are always fully pro- 

As regards accent, it has been already observed that the natural 
accent of words is preserved far better in Gower's verse than in 
Chaucer's. There are, however, a number of words of French 
origin, of which the accent was unsettled, and also some instances 
of English words in which a secondary syllable was capable of 
receiving the principal accent, either in case of composition, as 
in kingdom, knihthodt, Ireutlicht, or with a formative termination, 
as thai of the su[:erlative, fairiste, fiic, or the present participle, 
as ivepinde. In such cases the accent was often determined by 
the metre. Many Romance words are quite freely treated in the 
matter of accent, as for example folit, fortune, mercy, mirour, 
nature, parfit, preiere, resoun, science, sentence, tempeste. The 
terminations -hode, -htde, -ingt, -Hehe, -ly, -nesse, -schipe are all 
capable of accent, and also the penultimate syllables of answer* 
3i.nA felawe. 

Nearly all that is important about rhyme has already been 
said under the head of Phonology. We may here remark on 
some of the instances in which the form of words is accom- 
modated to the rhyme, these being sometimes cases where variants 
are supplied by neighbouring dialects. Thus we have aise for 
ese, ar for er, hair for Aeir, naght once for noght, fer once for fyr. 
Hade, with the original long vowel, for hadde, gtih (the originally 
correct form) iai golk, fore fox for ; and alternatives such as moneie 
monoie, aivtie awey away, seide saide, soverein soverain, are used 
in accordance with the rhyme, though it is difficult to say for 
certain in all cases whether there was difference of sound. Thus, 
while we have away as rhyme to day, awey is found rhyming to 
O'l i- '545i 'ii''^! soide rhyming with/aii/, Maide, while seide rhymes 
with alleide, o/ieide; we find soverein : ajein, but irayn : soverain. 
The iormy/u often varies to ^^ when in rhyme with -« termina- 
tion, as dergie ; ye, Prol. jagf., ye : agonie, i, 967 f. (but also 
_Vife : poiirpartie, i. 405 f-, yhe : specefie, i. 571 f.). Sometimes 
however the other rhyme-word is modified to correspond to it, 
as pryhe : yhe, v. 469 f., and there was probably no perceptible 
difiference of pronunciation in this case. So also the preterite 
lowh is written Itrw when in rhyme with new, Prol. 1071, and 


similarly thou : ynou^ vii. 2099^ (but batve : ynawhe^ ii. 3225 f.). 
We have already seen that the use of such alternative forms 
as sinne senne^ wile wole^ lasse iesse^ heddc hidde^ -ende -inge is 
sometimes determined by the rhyme. 

Alliteration is used by Gower in a manner which is especially 
characteristic of the new artistic style of poetry. It is sufficiently 
frequent, both in formal combinations, such as 'cares colde,' 
Musty lif,' 'park and plowh/ 'swerd or spere,' *lief and loth,* 
*wel or wo,' 'dike and delve,' 'slepe softe,' 'spille . . . spede,' 
and as an element of the versification : 

i 886 f. ' For so, thei seide, al stille and softe 

God Anabus hire wolde awake/ 
iv. 9590 ' The lost is had, the lucre is lore.' 
iv. 3384 f. < Which many a man hath mad to falle, 

Wher that he mihte nevere arise/ 
▼. 3G70 £ ' And thanne he gan to sighe sore, 

And sodeinliche abreide of slep/ 
viL 3468 £ ' Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned, 

For feere as thogh sche wolde flee.' 

But it is not introduced in accordance with any fixed rules, and it 
often assists the flow of the verse without in the least attracting 
the attention of the reader. We do not find any examples of the 
rather exaggerated popular style which Chaucer sometimes adopts 
in passages of violent action, e. g. Cant Tales, A 2604 fil The 
whole subject of alliteration in Gower has been carefully dealt with 
by P. Hofer in his dissertation, Alliteration bei Gower, 1890, where 
a very large number of examples are cited and classified ; and to 
this the reader may be referred. 

viii. Text and Manuscripts. About forty manuscript copies 
of the Confessio Amantis are known to exist in public or private 
libraries or in the hands of booksellers, and probably there may be 
a few more in private possession, the existence of which has not 
yet been recorded. As the broad lines for their classification are 
necessarily laid down by the fact that the book was put forth 
by the author in several different forms, it is necessary, before 
proceeding further, to say something about this matter. 

That the poem exists in at least two distinct forms, character- 
ized by obvious differences near the beginning and at the end, 
has been matter of common knowledge. Even in Berthelette's 
edition of 1532 the difference at the beginning was noted, and 


though the printer did not venture to deviate from the form of text 
which had been made current by Caxton, yet he gave in his preface 
the beginning of die poem as he found it in his manuscript 
Dr. Pauli accordingly proceeded on the assumption that there 
were two normal forms, one having a dedication to Richard II 
at the beginning and a form of conclusion in which mention is 
made of Chaucer, and the other with a dedication to Henry of 
Lancaster and a conclusion in which Chaucer is not mentioned. 
Copies which do not conform to these standards are for him 
simply irregular. He is aware of the additional passages in 
Berlhelette's edition and in the Stafford MS., and in one place he 
speaks of three classes of MSS., but he does not know that there 
are any written copies except the Stafford MS, which contain the 
additional passages. If he had had personal knowledge of the 
manuscripts at Oxford and at Cambridge, instead of being satisfied 
to gather scraps of information about the former from Bodley'a 
Librarian and about the latter from Todd, he would have found 
the passages in question also in MS. Bodley 294 at Oxford and in 
the Trinity and Sidney MSS, at Cambridge. 

There are then at least these three classes of manuscripts to 
be recognized even by a superficial observer, and we shall find 
that the more obvious differences which have been mentioned are 
accompanied by a number of others of less importance. The 
first recension according to our classification is that in which 
the conclusion of the poem contains praises of Kichard II as 
a just and beneficent ruler and a presentation of the book for 
his acceptance '. The second has the additional passages of the 
fifth and seventh books, with a rearrangement of the sixth book 
which has not hitherto been noticed, while the conclusion of the 
poem has been rewritten so as to exclude the praises of the king, 
and in some copies there is also a new preface with dedication 
to Henry of Lancaster. The third exhibits a return to the form 
of the first as regards the additional passages, but has the re- 
written preface and epilogue. Against this merely threefold 
division some objections might fairly be made. It might be 
pointed out that the so-called second recension includes at least 
two distinct forms, and moreover that upon further examination 

' The copies which have this conclusion have »lso Uic prefuce in wfiich 
Ricbant is mentioned as the occasion of the author's undertaking, but Ihii 
preface is found alao in combinalioa with the other concluiion. 


we see reason to divide the manuscripts of our first recension 
into two main groups, one exhibiting an earlier and the other 
a later text, this last being more in accordance generally with that 
of what we call the second and third recensions than with the 
earlier form of the first. For practical purposes, however, the 
division which has been laid down above may fairly be adopted. 
As r^ards the order of time, from the political tendency of the 
differences between them it is clear that what we call the first 
recension logically precedes the third. The intermediate positiog 
of the second is given chiefly by the fact that one of the seven 
existing manuscripts gives the earlier form of preface, and this 
may also have been the case with two others, which are defective 
at the beginning \ However, as has been said, the name is used 
for convenience to cover a class of copies which, as regards the 
character of their text, do not all belong to the same period, and 
they must be looked upon as representing rather a concurrent 
vanety of the first or the third recension ' than as a type which 
is distinctly intermediate in order of time. At the same time 
the smaller variations of text exhibited by these seven MSS. in 
combination, as against all others ', mark them as really a family 
apart, more closely related to one another than to those that lie 
outside the group. 

For the sake of clearness the manuscripts are in this edition 
regularly grouped according to this classification, and in the 
critical notes each class is cited by itself. At the same time 
it must not be assumed that the manuscripts of each recension 
stand necessarily by themselves, and that no connexion is trace- 
able between one class and another. On the contrary, we shall 

' Berthelette used a manuscript (not now existing) which in this respect, 
as in many others, resembled B. 

' It may be noted that the four second recension MSS. which contain the 
author's Latin note about his books (' Quia vnusquisque,' Sec), viz. BTAPs, 
agree in a form of it which is different both from that which is given by first 
recension copies and that which we find in F, and is clearly intermediate 
between the other two, the first form fully excusing Richard II for the 
troubles of his reign and the third entirely condemning him, while this 
makes no mention of his merits or demerits, but simply prays for the state 
of the kingdom. It is noticeable that the second recension form definitely 
substitutes Henry for Richard as the patron of the Confessio Amantisy 
though in one at least of the copies to which it is attached this substitution 
has not been made in the text of the poem. 

* e. g. ii. 193, 365 ff., iii. 168, 1241, iv. 283, 1321, v. 1^52, 5cc 


find that many errors in the text of the first recension appear also 
in some copies of the second, and even of the third. The process 
by which this was brought about is made clearer to us by the 
fact that we have an example of a manuscript which has passed 
from one group into another partly by erasure and partly by 
substitution of leaves, apparently made under the direction of 
the author. This is MS. Fairfax 3, which forms the basis of our 
text, and the handwriting of some of the substituted pages is one 
which may be recognized as belonging to the ' scriptorium ' of the 

The example is a suggestive one and serves to explain several 
things. It makes it easy to understand, for example, how the 
additional matter introduced into the second recension came 
to be omitted in the third. The author in this insftance had 
before him a very fully revised and corrected copy of his first 
edition, and this by a certain amount of rewriting over erasure 
and by a substitution of leaves at the beginning and end of 
the poem was converted into a copy of what we call the third 
recension, which his scribes could use at once as an authoritative 
exemplar. The introduction of the additional passages in the 
fifth and seventh books could not have been effected without 
a process of recopying the whole book, which would have called 
for much additional labour of the nature of proof-reading on the 
part of the author, in order to secure its correctness. This 
argument would apply to a book which was intended to remain 
in the hands of the author, or rather of the scribes whom he 
employed, and to be used as an archetype from which copies 
were to be made. If a new book had to be specially prepared 
for presentation, the case would be different, and it might then 
be worth while to incorporate the additional passages with the 
fully revised and re-dedicated text, as we find was done in the 
case of the so-called Stafford MS. 

Another matter which can evidently be explained in the same 
way is the reappearance in some copies of the second recension 
of errors which belong to the first. In producing the originals of 
such manuscripts as these, partially revised copies of the first 
recension must have been used as the basis, and such errors as 
had not yet received correction appear in the new edition. 

The assumption that a certain number of errors are original, 
that is to say, go back either to the author's own autograph or 


to the transcript first made from it, is in itself probable : we 
know in fact that some which appear in every copy, without 
exception, of the first and second recensions at length receive 
correction by erasure in Fairfax 3. So far as we can judge, 
the text of the Confessio Amantis during its first years exhibited 
a steady tendency to rid itself of error, and the process of corrup- 
tion in the ordinary sense can hardly be said to have set in until 
after the death of the author. There are a large number of various 
readings in the case of which we find on the one side the great 
majority of first recension MSS., and on the other a small number 
of this same type together with practically the whole of the second 
and third recensions, as, for example ^ : 

i. 9636 to HiXERCLBi do AJMG, SAdBAA, FWHt 
21847 be am, HiXGERCLBf ms. AJM, SAdBA, FWHt 
9953 wele H . . . Ba weie AJM, SAd Ba, FWHs 
3097 preietb Hi . . . Bs, W braieth, AJM, S . . . AA, FHs 
3374 an Erl hier Hi ... Ba, A mad a Pier AJM, SAdBA, FW (Hs def.) 
3381 place Hi . . . Ba, Ba maide AJM, SAdA, FW (Hs defective) 
ii. 833 that diere Hi • . . Bi, B that other AJ(M), SAdAA, FWHs 
. iii. 19 eueroiore Hi . . • Ba enemy AJM, SAdBTA, FWHs 
354 I may Hi . . . Ba he may AJM, SAdBTA, FWHs 
iv. 109 day Hi . . . Ba, Hs lay AJM, SBTa, FW (Ad def.) 
V. 316 thanne (than) Hi ... Ba, A horn AJM, SAdBTA, FWHa 

368 And for no drede now wol I wonde Hi . . . Ba, A In helle 

thou scbalt understonde AJM, S ... A, FWHs cp. 394, 424, 786, &c. 
3694 Whan that sche was hot of ^ong age For good ERCLBa That 

only for thilke avantage Of good AJMHiXG, S . .' . AA, FWHs 
9771 nyh om. ERCLBa ins. AJMHiXG, S . . . A, FWHs 
31 10 burned as the silver ERCLBa burned was as selver AJMHiXG, 
S . . . AA, FWHs cp. 3032, 3946, &c. 

We see in these examples, selected as fairly typical, that some 
of the variants have evidently the character of errors, while in 
other cases the difference of reading is due to an alternative 
version. The circumstances, however, of these two cases are 
not distinguishable, the errors are supported by as much authority 
as the rest, and it must be supposed that both have the same 

* For the explanation of the use of letters to designate MSS. the reader 
is referred to the list of MSS. given later. It should be noted that AJM and 
FWHs represent in each case a group of about seven MSS., and Hi . . . Ba 
one of nearly twenty. We observe in the examples given that B and A are 
sometimes found either separately or together on the side of the Hi . . . Ba 
group, and that the same is true occasionally of W, while on the other hand 
some MSS. of the Hi . . ! Ba group are apt to pass over to the other side in 
a certain part of the text and support what we call the revised reading. 

i 2 


origin. If then we assume that such variations as we find (for 
example) in i. 3396, 3416, v. 30, 47, 82, 368, 2694, &c., are due to 
the author, as is almost certain, there can be no doubt that the 
form of text which is given by the group AJM in combination 
with the second and third recensions is the later of the two : 
and if the group Hi . . . B2 represents an earlier type as regards 
this class of variation, it must surely do so also as regards the 
errors, which, as we have seen, stand upon the same ground in 
respect of manuscript authority. As we cannot help believing 
that the author wrote originally * To holde hir whil my lif may 
laste,' V. 82, and *The more he hath the more he greedeth,' 
v. 394, so we may reasonably suppose that errors such as *it' 
for *hid,' i. 1755, 'that diere' for *that other,' ii. 833, 'what* for 
'war,' iii. 1065, existed in the copy which first served as an 

It may be observed here that in cases where revision seems 
to have taken place, we can frequently see a definite reason 
for the change; either the metre is made more smooth, as 
i. 1770, 2622, 3374, ii. 671, 751, 1763, iii. 765, 2042, 2556, 
iv. 234, V. 368, 1678, &c., or some name is altered into a more 
correct form, as where 'Element' is changed to 'Clemenee,' 
i^- 9^5) ^it^ ^ corresponding alteration of the rhyme, or the 
expression and run of the sentence is improved, as i. 368, 3416, 
V. 30, 1906, 6756, &c. In particular we note the tendency towards 
increased smoothness of metre which is shown in dealing with 
weak e terminations. 

It is to be assumed on the principles which have been stated 
that the group ERCLBs and the other manuscripts which agree 
with them represent with more or less accuracy the first form 
of the author's text, that HiYXG and a few more form a class 
in which correction and revision has taken place to some extent, 
but partially and unsystematically, and that AJM &c. give us the 
first recension text in a much more fully revised and corrected 

It has been already said that F was originally a manuscript of 
the first recension. We shall find however that it did not exactly 
correspond to any existing first recension manuscript. Setting 
aside the small number of individual mistakes to be found in it, 
there are perhaps about eighty instances (many of a very trifling 
character) in which its text apparently differed originally froiQ 


that of any first recension copy which we have, and in about half 
of these the text of F agrees with that of the second recension. 
The manuscript which comes nearest to F in most respects 
is J (St. John's Coll., Camb.), and there is a considerable number 
of instances in which this MS. stands alone among first recension 
copies in agreement with the Fairfax text. In the sixth book, for 
example, if J be set aside, there are at least twenty-three passages 
in which F gives an apparently genuine reading unsupported 
by the first recension ; but in sixteen of these cases J is in agree- 
ment with F. It must be noted, however, that this state of 
things is not equally observable in the earlier part of the poem, 
and indeed does not become at all marked until the fifth book. 

Besides variations of reading, there are in the Fairfax MS. 
a few additions to the text which are not found in any first 
recension copy. These are Prol. 495-49S, 579-584 and i. 1403- 
1406, two passages of four lines each and one of six, as well as 
some additions to the Latin notes in the margin (at Prol. 195, 
i. 2705, and v. 7725), of which the first two were evidently put in 
later than the accompanying text. Finally, there are three other 
additions to the text which are found in a single copy of the first 
recension, MS. Harl. 3490 (Hi). These are i. 2267-2274, where 
four lines have been expanded into eight, i. 2343-2358, an inter- 
esting addition of sixteen lines to the tale of Narcissus, and 
i. 2369-2372. Thus in the matter of additions to the text Hi 
stands nearer to F than AJM &c., and in a few other passages 
also it is found standing alone of its recension in company with 
F, e.g. i. 2043, 2398, ii. 2247. This manuscript does not belong 
to the * fully revised ' group, but it gives the revised readings more 
frequently perhaps than any other outside that group. 

Thus notwithstanding the differences between the first recension 
copies, as we have them, and the Fairfax MS. as it originally 
stood, we shall have no difficulty in regarding the latter as having 
been originally a revised and corrected copy of that recension, 
exhibiting a text to which tolerably near approaches are made 
by A, J, and Hi, each in its own way, though no copy precisely 
corresponding to it is known to exist. 

Passing to the second recension, we must first repeat what has 
already been said, that it did not supersede the first, but existed 
and developed by its side, having its origin probably in the very 
same year, or at latest in the next. Its characteristic point is the 


presence of considerable additions in the fifth and seventh books, 
together with a rearrangement of part of the sixth. There are 
seven manuscripts known to me, of which three are defective 
at the beginning. All these (except one, which is also defective 
at the end) have the rewritten epilogue, one in combination with 
the Chaucer verses and the others without them.' Of the four 
which are perfect at the beginning, one, namely B, has the 
earlier form of preface, and the other three, APs and S, the later. 
Of the others it is probable, but by no means certain, that 
T agreed with B in this respect, and practically certain that 
A agreed with S. A more satisfactory line of distinction, which 
divides the manuscripts of this class into two groups, is given 
by the general character of the text which they exhibit, and 
by the insertion or omission of certain of the additional passages 
of which we have spoken. While some of the passages, viz. 
V. 639S*-6438*, 7o86*-72io*, vii. 3207*-336o*, are common to 
all the copies, as are also the transposition of vi. 665-964 and 
(except in case of A) the omission of v. 7701-7746, three of 
them are found in AdBTAPs only, and are omitted in SA \ viz. 
V. 7oi5*-7036*, vii. 2329*-234o* and 3i49*-3i8o*. Then, as 
regards the text generally, the five MSS. first mentioned all have 
connexions of various kinds with the unrevised form of the first 
recension, while the last two represent a type which, except as 
regards variants specially characteristic of the second recension, 
of which there may be about sixty in all, nearly corresponds with 
that of the Fairfax MS.' 

The relations of the group AdBTAPs with the first recension and 
with one another are difficult to clear up satisfactorily. Broadly, 
it may be said that of these B represents an earlier type than the 
rest in regard to correction and A in regard to revision : that is to 
say, B retains a large number of first recension errors which do 
not appear in the rest (sharing some, however, with A), while at 
the same time, in cases where a line has been rewritten B almost 
regularly has tlie altered form, though with some exceptions in 
the first two books. On the other hand, though it often happens 

* S is defective in one of these places and Ad in anothbr, but a reckoning 
of the lines contained in the missing leaves proves that the facts were 
as stated. 

* They do not, however, contain the additions above mentioned, at Prol 
495> 579. >. 1403, aa67, &c 


that A is free from original enors which appear in B, yet in 
many places where B has the revised form of text A gives us the 
original, in agreement with the earUer first recension type, while 
in others A agrees with B in giving the revised reading. Then 
again, there can be no doubt of the dose connexion between 
B and T, but the agreement between them is not usually on 
those points in which B follows the first recension in error. It 
is as if they had been derived from the same archetype, but T (or 
a manuscript from which T was copied) sprang from it at a later 
stage than the original of B, when many of the errors noted in the 
first recension had been corrected, while the text of the book 
generally was allowed to remain as it was \ Finally, the text of Ad 
approaches very near to a fully revised and corrected type. It very 
occasionally reproduces the earlier first recension, as if by accident, 
but seems never deliberately to give an ' unrevised ' reading. It 
should be observed that from a point towards the end of the 
fifth book (about v. 6280) AdBT is a group which is very fre- 
quently found in special agreement, whereas before that point we 
usually find BT (or BTA) with Ad on the other side. 

Passing now to the third recension, which has the preface and 
epilogue as in A and S, but excludes the additional passages, we 
find it represented by eight manuscripts, with Fairfax 3 at their 
head. We have already seen that this manuscript was originally 
one of the first recension, and was altered by the author so as 
to substitute the new epilogue and the new preface. Besides 
these changes, fresh lines are in several places written over 
erasures, as i. 2713 f., iv. 132 1 f., 136 1 f., &c., the marginal date 
is erased at Prol. 331, and additions have been made to the 
marginal notes. All these alterations, as well as the points 
previously noted, in which F originally differed from the other 
copies of the first recension, are reproduced in the other MSS. 
of the third recension. 

Mt is doubtful, however, whether the special connexion between B and 
T extended over the whole book. It seems rather to begin about iii. 
1500. The question about the relative position of these two MSS. would 
be easier of solution if it were not that T is defective up to ii. 2687, that is 
as regards the part where the connexion of B with the first recension 
is most apparent. The fact is that until about the middle of the third book B 
is found usually in accord with the ERCLBs group, and though it sometimes 
in these first books presents the characteristic second recension reading, as 
ii. I93i 365 tf,, iii 168, at other times it departs from it, as i. i88z, 3017. 


Of these remaining MSS. one is directly copied from F, and 
another seems to be certainly derived from tlie same source, 
though perhaps not immediately. In tlie case of H» (MS. Harh 
7184) the question of origin is not quite so simple. Its text 
generally seems to suggest ultimate dependence on F, but it is 
very unequal as regards accuracy, and in one part it regularly 
follows the early first recension readings and seems to belong for 
the time to the ERCLBi group. In addition to this il lias a Latin 
marginal note at the beginning of the Prologue, which is wanting 
in F. The problem is |>erhaps to be solved by means of the 
Keswick MS. This is written in several hands, varying greatly 
in accuracy, and exactly in that place where Hi seems lo follow 
a first recension copy the Keswick MS. is defective, having lost 
several leaves. It also contains the marginal note referred lo 
above, and on examination we find that n whole series of corrup- 
tions are common to the two MSS. There seems to be very 
little doubt that K is the source of Hi, the inequahty of the 
latter MS. being to a great extent in accordance with the 
change of hands in K, and the variation of Hi in a portion 
of the third book to a different type of text being exactly co- 
incident with the gap left in K by loss of leaves, a loss which 
must apparently have taken place in the first forty or fifty years 
of its existence ', As to the text of K itself, in the parts which 
are most carefully written it reproduces thai of F with scrupulous 
exactness, giving every detail of orthography and punctuation, 
and for the most part following it in such small errors as it has. 
It Is impossible for one who places these MSS. side by side, 
as I have been able to do, to avoid the conviction that in some 
parts at least the exemplar for K was the Fairfax MS. itself. On 
tlie other hand, the I.atin marginal note at the beginning was 
derived from some other copy, and setting aside the many 
mistakes, which possibly are due to mere carelessness on the 
part of some of the scribes, the Keswick MS. does undoubtedly 
contain some readings which seem to be derived from a different 
source. In form of text generally it corresponds exactly with 
F, reproducing all the additions and corrections made by erasure 
or otherwise, and containing the same Latin and French pieces 
in the same order at the end, so far at least as it is perfect. The 
Magdalen College MS. must be derived ultimately from the same 
■ K tielongs to the beeinning and Hi Id ihe middle of the Bftcenth century. 


source as Hs, and it has the same lapse from the third recension 
to the first, coinciding with the gap in the Keswick book. On 
the other hand W, though in form of text it corresponds with 
these and with F, is quite independent of the group above men- 
tioned, and probably also of the Fairfax MS. It is late and full of 
corruptions, but in several instances it assists in the correction of 
errors which appear in F, and it is apparently based on a copy which 
retained some of the variants of the earlier text still uncorrected. 

As for the remaining manuscript, which was formerly in the 
Phillipps collection, but is now in the hands of a bookseller, 
I have had so little opportunity for examining it that I ought 
not to attempt a classification. 

Reviewing the whole body of authorities, we can recognize 
readily that two are pre-eminent as witnesses for the author's final 
text, that is to say, S and F, the Stafford and the Fairfax MSS. 
These are practically identical in orthography, and, except as 
regards the characteristic differences, which sufficiently guarantee 
their independence, exhibit essentially the same text, and one 
which bears the strongest marks of authenticity. Both are con- 
temporary with the author, and it is perhaps difficult to say which 
best represents his final judgement as to the form of his work. 

The Stafford MS. seems to be the earlier in time, that is to say, 
it probably precedes the final conversion of the Fairfax copy. It 
was evidently written for presentation to a member of the house 
of Lancaster, perhaps to Henry himself before his accession to 
the throne. It was doubtless for some such presentation copy 
that the preface was rewritten in 1392-3, with the dedication to 
Henry introduced into the English text, while most of the other 
copies issued during Richard's reign probably retained their 
original form. If we suppose that the new forms of preface 
and epilogue were at first intended only for private circulation, 
we can account for the very considerable preponderance of the 
first recension in regard to the number of copies by which it is 
represented, and also allow sufficient time for the gradual de- 
velopment of the text, first into the type which we find in A or J, 
and finally into that of F, as it originally stood, a process which 
can hardly be satisfactorily understood if we suppose that from 
1393 onwards the Lancastrian dedication had its place in all 
copies put forth by the author. It seems on the whole probable, 
for reasons to be stated afterwards, that the final conversion of 


F (that is as regards the preface) did not take place until after 
the deposition of Richard, and it is reasonable enough to suppose 
that copies were usually issued in the original form, until after 
that event occurred. 

Manuscripts. The following account of the MSS. is given 
on my own authority in every detail. I have been able to see 
them all, and I wish here to express my thanks to the possessors 
of them, and to the librarians who have them in their charge, for 
the readiness with which they have given me the use of them. 
I am indebted especially to the Councils of Trinity College and 
St. John's College, Cambridge, and to Corpus Christi, Wadham, 
Magdalen, and New College, Oxford, for allowing their MSST to 
be sent to the Bodleian Library for my use, and to remain there 
for considerable periods. Except in the case of one or two, to 
which my access was limited, I have examined every one carefully, 
so that I am able to say (for example) to what extent, if at all, they 
are imperfect They are arranged as far as possible in accordance 
with the classes and groups to which they belong, as follows : 

ist Recension (a) AJMPiChNjEa {d) HiYXGOAdiCathQ 
{c) ECRLBsSnDArHdAsh 2nd Recension {a) SA {d) AdTBAPi 
3rd Recension FHaNKHsMagdWPs Hn 

First Recension. 

(a) Revised, 

A. BODLEV 902, Bodleian Library (formerly Arch. D. 33, not in 
Bernard's Catalogue, 1697). Contains Con/essio Amantis followed 
by * Explicit iste liber * (four lines), * Quam cinxere freta,' and * Quia 
vnusquisque.' Parchment, if. 184, measuring 13I x 9} in., in quires 
of 8 with catchwords. Well written in double column of 46 lines in 
three different hands of early fifteenth cent., of which the first extends 
to the end of the second quire (ff. 2-16), the second from thence to the 
end of the tenth quire (ff. 17-80), and the third from f.8i to the end. 
The columns nearly correspond with those of the Fairfax MS. up to 
f. 81, after which point some attempt is made to save space by writing 
the Latin verses in the margin. Latin summaries in the margin, 
except very occasionally, as on ff. 10 and 11 v°. Floreated half 
border in fairly good style at the beginning of each book except the 
fifth, and one miniature on f. 8, of the Confession, remarkable for the 
fact that the figure of the Lover is evidently intended as a portrait of 
the author, being that of an old man and with some resemblance in 
features to the effigy on Gower's tomb. The Confessor has a red stolci 


which with his right hand he is laying on the penitent's head, much as 
in the miniatures which we have in C and L. The note for the minia- 
turist still stands in the margin, ' Hie fiat confessor sedens et confesffij 
coraj» se genufiectendo.' 

The first leaf of the book is lost, and has been supplied in the 
sixteenth cent, from Berthelette's second edition* It should be noted 
that this is not the form of commencement which belongs properly to 
the MS., being that of the third recension, taken by Berthelette from 
Carton. The first line of f. 2 is Prol. 144. 

As to former possessors, we find written on the last leaf ' Anniballis 
Admiralis dominicalis,' on f. 80 ' Be me Anne Russell ' (?), and on 
f. 115 ' Elyzebeth Gardnar my troust ys in god,' all apparently sixteenth 
cent The first name is evidently that of Claude d*Annebaut (also 
called d'Hannybal), who was Admiral of France, and died in 1 552. He 
was in England about the year 1 547. The book came to the Bodleian 
from Gilbert Dolben, Esq., of Finedon, in Northamptonshire, in the year 
1697, and not being in the Catalogue of 1697, it has to some extent 
escaped notice. 

The text is a very good one of the revised type. It should be noted, how- 
ever, that while in the earlier books AJM &c. stand very frequently together 
on the side of F as against the rest of the first recension, in the later, and 
especially in the seventh and eighth, AM &c. have an increasing tendency to 
stand with the first recension generally, leaving J alone in support of the cor- 
rected text In the earlier books A sometimes stands alone in this manner, 
as i. i960, ii. 961, 1356. 

The orthography (especially that of the second hand) is nearly that of F. 
As regards final ^ , the tendency is rather to insert wrongly than to omit. 
Punctuation agrees generally with that of F. 

J. St. John's Coll., Camb. B 12. Contains the same as A. Parch- 
ment, fif. 214, 12x9} in., in quires of 8 with catchwords : double column 
of 39 lines, written in a very neat hand of the first quarter of fifteenth 
century. Latin summaries usually omitted, but most of them inserted 
up to f. 5 (Prol. 606), and a few here and there in the fifth and seventh 

The first page has a complete border, but there are no other decora- 
tions except red and blue capitals. Old wooden binding. 

The seventh leaf of quire 12 (v. 57-213) and the first of quire 14 (v, 
161 5-1770) are cut out, and a passage of 184 lines is omitted in the 
first book (i. 631-814) without loss of leaf, which shows that the manu- 
script from which it was copied, and which here must have lost a leaf, 
had the normal number of 46 lines to the column. 

Various names, as Thomas Browne, Nicolas Helifax, J. Baynorde, 
are written in the book, and also * John Nicholas oweth this book,' with 
the date 1 576. At the beginning we find * Tho. C. S.', which stands 
for ' Thomas Comes Southampton.' The book was in fact bought with 


others by Thomas Wrioiheslcy, Earl of Southampton, from Williuin 
Ctashaw, Fellow of St. John's College, and presented by him to the 
College Library in the year 1635. 

This MS. givea a teit which is nearer lo Ihc type of F than th«t of any 
cither fir^t recension copy. In the later books especially it secmB often to 
stand alone of its class in a(;rcernent with F,as v. 649, ma, 1339. 1578,3340, 
435'. 4643. 524a, 6059.6461, 6t)i, vi, i6a, 443, 784, 973, ao8g, vii. 445, 
1037, 1666, 3434, 3335, 4336, 5348, viii. '3i 839, 747, 845. 1076,1415. USSfT, 
3195, 32ao, aaaS, 3443, 3670 ff., and it is notewortliy that this is the only first 
recension copy which aupplies the accidental omission ofeorum discipUna— 
materia ' in the author's Latin account of the Conf. Amanlis at the end. As 
regards individual correctness it is rather unequal. In some places it has many 
mistakes, as vi. 1509 fT., while in others it is very correct. The spelling is in 
most points like that of F, and il is usually good as regards terminations; but 
the scrihe has some peculiarities of his own, which he introduces more or 
less freely, as ' ho' for ■ who,' ' heo ' for ' sche ' (pretty regularly), ' heor ' 
for 'her,' ' whech ' for ' which.' It must also he an individual fancy which 
leads him regularly to substitute ' som lyme' for 'whilom' wherever il 
occurs. Punctuation usually agrees with that of F. 

M. Cams. Univ. Mm. 3. 21 (Bern. Cat. ii. 9648). Contains CohJ. 
Amantis only, without ' Explicit,' &c. (the last lca.r being lost). Parch- 
ment, fT. 163, 14 M 9^ in. Quires of eight with catchwords and signa- 
tures : double columns of 46 lines : Latin summaries usually in margin, 
but occasionally in the text, as in A. Several hands, as follows, 
(i) if. 1-32, 41-64, 73-88, 9?-i36- HS-'S^. 161-176; (2) ff. 33-40, 
89-96, i37-'44; (3)ff-65-72; (4) f- iS3-i6o; (5) fF. 177-183. Finally 
another, difTerent from all the above, adds sotnetimes a marginal note 
which has been dropped, as on fT. 4, 32 v", 65, 7s v". The first hand, 
in which more than two-thirds of the book is written, is fairly neat ; 
the third much rougher than the rest, and also more inaccurate. 

Floreated half border in fairly good style at the beginning of each 
book, except the third, fifth, and seventh, and two raiher rudely painted 
miniatures, \\i. f. 4 V'', NebuchadneKar's dream (the king in bed, 
crowned), and f. 8, the Confession, a curious little picture in the margin. 
The priest is laying his stole on the head of the penitent, whose features 
are evidently meant for a portrait. It is quite difTerent however from 
that which we have in A. Below this picture we find the note, ' Hie 
fiat Gd.Tnimcnlum.' 

The last leaf is lost, containing no doubt the ' Explicit,' ' Quam 
cinxcre,' and ' Quia vnusquisque,' as in A 

The names Stanhope and Yelverton are written on f. 39 (sixteenth 
cent.), and ' Margareta Stiaunge " on the first leaf (seventeenth cent.). 
Later the book belonged to Bishop Moore of Norwich (No. 46a in 
his library), and it passed with the rest of his books to the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge in 1715, as a gift from the king. 

M is veiy closely connected with A, as is shown by very many ii 


of special agreement, and some considerations suggest that it may be actually 
derived from it, as for example the writing of the Latin verses in the margin 
after f. 80^ which in A seems to be connected with a change of hand, 
whereas in M it begins at the same point without any such reason. On the 
other hand M has a good many readings which are clearly independent, 
either correcting mistakes and omissions in A, as Prol. 195 marg,, 937, 
i. 673 marg., 924, 1336, 3445, ii. 951, iii. 3539, vi. 630, or giving an early read- 
ing where A has a later, e.g. Prol. 869, i. 1 118, 1755, ii. 961, 3516, iii. 1939, v. 
39'4f 55^» &c. In correctness of text and of spelling M is much inferior 
to A, especially as regards final g : for example, on f. 53 v**. 
Came neu^r pt to mannes ere Cam A 

Tiding | ne to mannes sist Tidinge . . . sihte A 

Menieil whiche so sore aflihte Mcrueile which A 

Amannes hcrte as it )>e dede ]>o A 

To hym whoche in >e same stede him which A 

Pi, formerly Phillipps 2298, bought in June, 1 899, by Mr. B. Quaritch, 
who kindly allowed me to see it. Parchment, leaf measuring about 
9 X 6| in., double column of 39 lines, in a fairly neat running hand, 
with many contractions because of the small size of the leaf. Latin 
summaries omitted. No decoration. Text agrees with AJM group, 
so far as I have examined it. 

Ch. Chetham's Libr., Manchester, A. 6. i i (Bern. Cat. ii. 71 5 1). 
Contains Con/, Amantis with ' Explicit ' (4 lines) and * Quam cinxere.' 
Parchment, ff. 126, about 15} x io| in., quires usually of 12 or 14 leaves. 
Rather irregularly written in double column of 47-61 lines, late fifteenth 
century. No ornament. Marginal Latin almost entirely omitted, but 
some English notes by way of summary occasionally in margin, perhaps 
by later hand. 

The first leaf is lost, the MS. beginning Prol. 193, and also two leaves 
in the second quire (i. 1092-1491) and one in the tenth (viii. 211 1-2343) ; 
but besides these imperfections there are many omissions, apparently 
because the copyist got tired of his work, e.g. ii. 3155-3184, iii. 41-126, 
817-842, 877-930, I I 19-1 196, iv. 17-72, 261-370, 569-704, 710-722, 
915-968, II 17-1236, V. 72-1 12. There is also a good deal of omission 
and confusion in v. 61 01-7082. At the end in a scroll is written * Note- 
hurste,' which indicates probably that the book was copied for one of 
the Chethams of Nuthurst, perhaps Thomas Chetham, who died 1504. 
The word * Notehurst* also occurs at the end of the Glasgow MS. of the 
* Destruction of Troy,' which has in another place the names of John 
and Thomas Chetham of *Notehurst' as the owners of it. 

In text it belongs to the AJM group, and sometimes, as iv. 208, stands 
alone with J. There are many corruptions, however, and the spelling is 
late and bad. 

Na. New College, Oxford, 326. Contains Conf, Amantis only 
(no * Explicit % Parchment, if. 207 + 4 blanks, about 13 J x 9J in., in 
quires of 8 with catchwords ; neatly written in double column of 40 lines 


(or 39). No Latin summaries or verses. The handwriting changes 
after f. 62 (at iii. 2164) and becomes rather larger and more ornamental. 

Two leaves lost after f. 35, containing ii. 1066-1377, and some of the 
leaves of the MS. from which it was copied had been displaced, so that 
iv. 2501-2684 comes after 2864, then follows 3049-3232, then 2865- 
3048, and after these 3233 if. (two leaves displaced in the original). 
Lines omitted sometimes with blanks left, as i. 1044, 2527. 

From the coats of arms which it contains the book would seem to 
have been written for Thomas Mompesson of Bathampton, sheriff of 
Wilts in 1478 (K. Meyer, John Gower's Beziehungen^ &c). It was 
given to John Mompesson by Sir Giles Mompesson in 1650, and to 
New College by Thomas Mompesson, Fellow, in 1705. 

The text is a combination of two types. It has the Lancaster dedication 
at the beginning, but the conclusion which belongs to the first recension. 
On examination it proves that the scribe who wrote the first eight quires 
followed a manuscript not of the F, but of the SA class (agreeing for 
example with S ili i. 188 1 f., 90i7ff., ii. 3387, iii. 168, 194Z, and differing 
from F in regard to i. 2367 fi"., 93430'., &c.), while the copyist of the 
remainder followed one of the revised first recension. The spelling is poor. 

£2. BiBL. Egerton 913, Brit. Museum. A fragment, containing 
Conf. Amaniis from the beginning to i. 1701. Paper, ff. 47, 1 1^ x 8 in., 
in quires of 16 with catchwords : single column, 30-37 lines on page : 
Latin summaries in margin. Three hands, (i) f. 1-26, 31-36; (2) 

27-30 ; (3) 37-47. 
On f. 26 v^. there is an omission of i. 387-570 (one leaf of 184 lines 

lost in the copy). This is supplied by the insertion of four leaves after 

f. 26, containing i. 375-580. 

The text belongs to the revised group, as shown by Pro]. 6, 7, 115^ 659, 
869, i. i6a, 978, 368, 1969, &c. 

{b) Intermediate. 

Hi. Harleian 3490, Brit. Museum. Contains, if. 1-6 St Edmund's 
Speculum Religiosorumy fF. 8-215 Con/essio Amantis^ left unfinished on 
f. 215 v<>. Parchment, 215 leaves, 14^x10 in., in quires of 8 with 
catchwords : double column of 34-5 1 lines, small neat hand of middle 
fifteenth cent., with some corrections, perhaps in the same hand. 
Latin summaries in the text, underlined with red. Blank leaf cut out 
after f.6, and f.7 left blank, so that Gower begins on the first leaf 
of the second quire. The text is left unfinished at viii. 3062*, part 
of the last page remaining blank. 

Floreated pages at the beginning of the books and also at f. li, with 
various coats of arms painted. 

The text given by this MS. is of an intermediate type. Occasionally 
throughout it is found in agreement with AJM &c. rather than with ERC 
&c., as Prol. 6, 7, i. 169, 630, 1755, 17680'., 1934, &c, and in a large portion 


of the fifth book it passes over definitely in company with XG &c to the 
revised class, but it does not contain the distinctive readings of XG. Some- 
times it stands alone of the first recension in company with F &c., as iv. 
3414, vii. 1749, viii 9098, and especially in regard to the three passages, i. 
2267 fT., 9343 ff.f 33690. In individual correctness of text and spelling the 
MS. does not rank high, and it is especially bad as regards insertion and 
omission of final t, as 'Wherof him ouht welle to drede,' 'Ayenste the 
poyntes of the beleue/ *Of whome that he taketh eny hede.' It has ih 
regularly for p andy for 3. 

Y. In the possession of the Marquess of Bute, by whose kindness 
I have been allowed to examine it. Contains Confessio Amantis^ 
imperfect at beginning and end. Parchment, iS^x 10} in., in quires 
of 8 with catchwords on scrolls. Very well written in double column of 
50 lines, early fifteenth cent. Latin summaries in text (red). Floreated 
page finely illuminated at the beginning of each book, with good 
painting of lai^ge initials, some with figures of animals, in a style that 
looks earlier than the fifteenth cent. Spaces left on f. 2, apparently 
for two miniatures, before and after the Latin lines following i. 202. 

Begins in the last Latin summary of the Prologue, 'Arion nuper 
citharista," followed by Prol. 1053, < Bot wolde god,' &c., having lost six 
leaves. Again, after iv. 819 nine leaves are lost, up to iv. 2490, and one 
leaf also which contained vi. 2367- vii. 88 : the book ends with viii. 2799, 
two or three leaves being lost here. The book belonged to the first 
Marquess of Bute, who had his library at Luton. At present it is at 
St. John's Lodge, Regent's Park. 

This is a good manuscript, carefully written and finely decorated. There 
are very few contractions, and in particular the termination -oun is 
generally written in full, as ' confessioun,' i. aoa, *resoun/ iii. iiii, 'de- 
vocioun,' ' contemplacioun/ v. 7125 f. &c., and ih is written regularly for )>. 
As regards individual accuracy and spelling it is very fair, but the scribe adds 
't very freely at the end of words. The type of text represented is evidently 
intermediate to some extent, but I have not been able to examine it suf- 
ficiently to determine its exact character. It supports the revised group in 
a certain number of passages, e.g. i. 264, 630, 3374, 3396, 3416, ii. 31, 1328, 
1758, &c., sometimes in company with Hi and sometimes not. In particular 
we may note the passage i. 3374 fi*., where in some lines it is revised as 
above mentioned, and in others, as 3381, 3414, 3443, it keeps the earlier 
text. Occasionally Y seems to have a tendency to group itself with B, as 
i. 208, 604, ^d in other places we find YE or Y£C forming a group in 
agreement with B, as i. 161, iii. 633, v. 1946, 3879. 

X. Society of Antiquaries, 134. Contains, ff. 1-30 Lydgate's 
Life of the Virgin (imperfect at beginning), f. i begins in cap. xiii. 
* Therefore quod pees,' ff. 30-249 Confessio Amantis with * Explicit ' 
(six lines), * Quam cinxere,' and * Quia vnusquisque,' ff. 250-283, Hoc- 
cleve's Regement of Princes^ with * Explicit Thomas Occlcf,' ff. 283 v®, 
metrical version of Boethius [by John Walton of Osney] with leaves 


lost at the end, ends 'Amonges hem )mi/ dweller ny^e present/ 
Parchment, ff. 297, about 15x11 in., in quires of 8 without catchwords, 
in a good and regular hand. The Conf, A mantis is in double 
column of 41 lines. Latin summaries in text (red). Ornamental 
borders at the beginning of books and space for miniature of Nebu- 
chadnezzar's Dream on f. 34 v^ One leaf lost between ff. 134 and 135, 
containing V. 1159-1318. 

The book belonged formerly to the Rev. Charles Lyttdton, LL.D., 
who notes that it came originally from the Abbey of Hales Owen. 

I owe thanks to the librarian of the Society of Antiquaries for 
courteously giving me access to the manuscript. 

The text is of the intermediate type, passing over in a part of the fifth 
book with Hi &c. to the revised group, but not giving the revised readings 
much support on other occasions. It forms however a distinct sub-group 
with GOAd?, these manuscripts having readings apparently peculiar to 
themselves in several passages, e. g. v. 3688 and after v. 6848. 

The spelling is not very good, and in particular final e is thrown in very 
freely without justification : there are also many -is, -id, -ir terminations, 
as *servantis,' * goodis,' * nedis,' *ellis,* *crokid,' * clepid,' ' vsid,' 'chambir/ 
* aftir,' and 5 usually for gh {h\ as * hyje,' * nyje,* * oujt,* Mawje,' 'sleyjtis,' 
&c. The text however is a fair one, and the use of it by Halliwell in his 
Dictionary preserved him from some of the errors of the printed editions. 
The scribe was apt to drop lines occasionally and insert them at the bottom 
of the column, and some, as iii. 3343, are dropped without being supplied. 

G. Glasgow, Hunterian Museum, S. i. 7. Contains Confessio 
AmaniiSy imperfect at the end. Parchment, fF. 181 (numbered 179 by 
doubling 94 and 106) with two blanks at the beginning, 16^ x 10} in., 
in quires of 8 with catchwords : well and regularly written in double 
column of 46 lines, early fifteenth century. Latin summaries in the 
text (red). Floreated page at the beginning of each book, so far as they 
remain, and illuminated capitals. Many catchwords lost by cutting of 
the margin : it must once have been a very large book. 

The manuscript has lost about sixteen leaves at the end, and eight 
altogether in various other places. In every case except one, however, 
the place of the lost leaf is supplied by a new leaf inserted, one of 
which has the missing portion of the text copied out from an early 
edition, while the rest are blank. The leaves lost are mostly such as 
would probably have had miniatures or illuminations, including the 
beginning of the first, second, sixth, seventh, and eighth books. The 
losses are as follows: f. 4 (containing Prol. 504-657, probably with 
a miniature), text supplied by later hand, i,y (Prol. 984-i. 30), f.9 
(i. 199-336, probably with a miniature), f. 28 (i. 3402-ii. 108), f. 129 (131) 
(V. 7718-vi. 40), f. 143 (145) (vi. 2343-vii. 60), a leaf after f. 175 (177) 
(vii. 5399-viii. 126), f. 177 (179) (viii. 271-441), and all after f. 179 (181), 
that is from viii. 783 to the end. 


A former owner (seventeenth cent.) says, *This Book, as I was told by 
the Gent: who presented it to me, did originally belong to the Abbey 
of Bury in Suffolk.' If so, the Confessio Amaniis was probably read 
in this copy by Lydgate. 

I am under great obligations to Dr. Young, Librarian of the 
Hunterian Museum, for the trouble he has taken to give me access 
to this excellent manuscript. 

The Glasgow MS. is especially related to X (iv. 2773, v. i486, 3582, 3688, 
4110, 6848 ff., vi. loi, vii. 769, &c.), and belongs more generally to the 
group HiX &c., which passes over to the revised class almost completely 
in a considerable part of the fifth book. The text, however, is on the 
whole much better than that of X, being both individually more correct 
and more frequently found on the side of the corrected readings, e.g. 
i. 2836, ii. 1441, 1867, V. 781, 1203, 2996. 4425, 5966, 6839, 7223, 7630, 
vi. 86, 746 (corrected), 1437, vii. 510, 1361, 1574, 2337, 3902, viii. 568. 
In at least one place, vii. 1574, it stands alone of the first recension, 
while in others, as v. 4425, 5966, 7630, vi. 746, 1437, &c, it is accompanied 
only by J. On the other hand in some passages, as v. 5802, 6019, 6257, 
vii. 1 172 ntarg, &c., G has an earlier reading and X the later, while there is 
also a whole series of passages where G, sometimes in company with X, 
seems to show a special connexion of some kind with B (BT), as ii. 1923, 
lit 733, iv. 2295, 2508, V. 4, 536, 2508, 3964, 4072. 7048, vi. 1267, 1733, vii. 

3748, 41^, &c. 

The book is carefully written, and corrected in the same hand, e. g. 
▼• 3'4S, son, vi. 430, 746, vii. 4233. The spelling is pretty good, and in 
particular it is a contrast to X in the matter of final e. This is seldom 
wrongly inserted, and when it is omitted it is usually in places where the 
metre is not affected by it. Punctuation often in the course of jthe line, but 
not at the end. 

O. Stowe 950, Brit. Museum. Confessio Amantisy imperfect at 
beginning and end. Parchment, ff. 175 (177 by numbering leaves of 
another book pasted to binding), 14J x 10 in., in eights with catchwords 
and signatures, double column of 44-46 lines ; written in a small, neat 
hand. Latin summaries in text (red). No decorated pages. 

Has lost seven leaves of the first quire, to i. 1.65 (incl.), and also 
after f. 16 one leaf (i. 2641-2991), after f. 35 one (ii. 2486-2645), after 
f. 44 two (iii. 673-998), after f.97 one (v. 3714-3898), after f. 108 two 
(v. 5832-6184), after f. 136 two (vii. 771-1111), and at least four leaves 
at the end (after viii. 2549). 

Formerly belonged to Lord Ashbumham. 

In text this belongs to the XG g^rpup, agreeing with them, for example, at 
V. 3688, 6848, and in general with HiXG, wfacrjC they go together (so far as 
I have examined the book), e. g. in the Latin verses after v. 2858 (* Vltra 
testes falsos,' * penitus') and in the readings of v. 1893, 1906, 2694, 31 10, &c. 

The handwriting is somewhat like that of Hi : the spelling sometimes 
fairly good, but unequal; bad especially at the beginning. The metre 
generally good. 

♦* k 


Ads. Additional 22139, Brit. Museum. Confessio Amantis^ 
imperfect, with the author's account of his books, ' Quia vnusquisque,' 
at the end, followed by Chaucer's poems, *To you my purse,* *The 
firste stok,' * Some time this worlde,* * Fie fro the pres.* Parchment^ 
fil 138, 13} X 10} in., in quires of 8 with catchwords: regularly and 
closely written in double column of 53 lines by two hands, the 
first (ff. 1-7 1 ) somewhat pointed, the second rounder and smaller. 
Date 1432 on a shield, f. i. Latin summaries in text (red). Illu- 
minated borders at beginning of books (except the eighth) and many 
gilt capitals : a miniature cut out on f. 4 (before Prol. 595). 

The first leaves are much damaged, f. i having only two lines left 
(f. 2 begins Prol. 177), f. 3 has lost Prol. 455-478 and 505-527, &c., 
f. 4 has a miniature cut out, with Prol. 716-726 on the other side, 
f. 6 has lost Prol. 979-1061. After f. 7 there is a loss of seventeen 
leaves (i. 199-ii. 56), after f. 31 (originally 48) two quires (sixteen 
leaves) are lost and f.32 is damaged (iii. 1150-iv. 15 17), after f. 81 one 
leaf lost (v. 7807-vi. 154). 

Bought by Brit. Museum from Thos. Kerslake of Bristol, 1857. 

The text is closely connected with that of X, but not copied from that 
manuscript itself (see ii. 1711, vii. 9a, viii. 9650). There are corrections 
here and there in a somewhat later hand, e. g. ii. 671, 1045, 1457, iii. 1052, 
iv. 3922, several of which are cases of lines supplied, which had been 
dropped. In v. 3688 the ordinary reading has been substituted doubtless 
for that of X, and in some cases the alterations are wrong, as viL 9639, viii. 
51. The manuscript has a good many individual errors and the spelling 
is rather poor. 

Cath. St. Catharine's Coll., Camb. Confessio Amantis with 
'Explicit' (six lines), *Quam cinxere' and *Quia vnusquisque.' 
Parchment, ff. 188, 172x12^ in., in quires of 8 with catchwords: 
well written in double column of 47 lines, afterwards 40, before the 
middle of fifteenth cent. Latin summaries in text (red/. Floreated 
whole border at the beginning of each book : miniature on L 4 v® of 
Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, and f. 8 v® the Confession (Priest on stool to 
left of picture, laying hand but not stole on penitent's head), fairly 
well painted. 

Leaves are missing which contained i. 3089-3276, ii. 333^-35 18, 
V. 1 182-1363, 6225-6388, vi. 107-460, vii. 984-1155, and viii. 2941- 
31 14*, and the last leaf containing * Explicit,' &c., is placed now at the 
beginning of the volume. There is a confusion of the text in the third 
book, iii. 236-329 being repeated after 678 and 679-766 left out, also 
a considerable omission in the fourth (iv. 2033-3148) without loss of 
leaves in this MS. (The statement in the MS. that seven leaves are 
here lost is a mistake.) In the passage vii. 1486-2678 several leaves 
have been disarranged in the quire. 

Given to the College in 1740 by Wm. Bohun of fieccles (Suffolk), to 


whose great-grandfather, Baxter Bohun, it was given in 1652 by his 
* grandmother Lany.' 

The text is of a rather irregular type, but often agrees with the XGO 
group. It has many mistakes and the spelling is poor. 

Q. Belonged to the late Mr. B. Quaritch, who kindly allowed me to 
examine it slightly. Parchment, leaves measuring about 14 x 8f in., in 
double column of 49 lines, well written, early fifteenth cent. Ends 
with the account of the author's books, ' Quia vnusquisque.' Floreated 
pages at the beginning of books and a good miniature of the Con- 
fession on f. 3, of a rather unusual type— the priest seated to the left 
of the picture and the penitent at a little distance. Latin summaries 
in text (red). Begins with Prol. 342, having lost two leaves here, and 
has lost also Prol. 529-688, Prol. 842-i. 85, and perhaps more. 

The book formerly belonged to a Marquess of Hastings. 

This is a good manuscript, and the spelling is fairly correct. I place 
it provisionally here, because its readings seem to show a tendency towards 
the XG group. 

(c) Unrevised, 

£. Egbrton 1991, Brit. Museum. Con/essio Amantis with 'Ex- 
plicit' (six lines), 'Quam cinxere,' and 'Quia vnusquisque,' after 
which *Deo Gracias. And )>anne ho no more.' Parchment, ff.214, 
iSjxio in., in quires of 8 with catchwords: regularly written in 
a very good large hand in double column of 42 lines, early fifteenth 
cent. Latin summaries in text (red). Floreated pages at beginning of 
books, and a finely painted miniature of the Confession on f. 7 v®. 

Two leaves lost, originally fF. i and 3, containing Prol. I-134 and 
454-594. The book has also suffered from damp, and parts of the 
first and last leaves are so discoloured as to be illegible. 

A seventeenth cent, note on f. i v<* tells us that the book was given on 
April 5, 1609, *at Skarborough Castle ' to the lady Eliz. Dymoke by 
her aunt the lady Catherine Burghe, daughter of Lord Clynton, who 
was afterwards earl of Lincoln and Lord High Admiral, to whom it 
came by her mother, the lady Eliz. Talboys. On f. 2 we find the 
register of the birth of Master Harry Clinton, son and heir of Lord 
Clinton, born at Canbery, June 6, 1542. The name Willoughby 
occurs also in the book (sixteenth cent.), and on a flyleaf inserted at the 
beginning we find * John Brograve, 1682,' with Latin lines in the form 
of an acrostic about his family, signed * Thomas Tragiscus, Bohemus.' 
Bought by the Brit. Mus. August 6, 1865, at Lord Charlemont's 

The text of this fine MS. belongs clearly to the unrevised group. At the 
same time its original must have had some corrections, and some also 
appear on the face of this MS. It stands alone of the first recension in 



■Brecncnt witb S, F in a Tew passages, as v. 543B, vi. t954, vii. 431S marg., 
and with J in ii. 3576, iii. 176, v. 4989 f., 7337, vii. 3484, It has also some 
conne»ion with B (BTa). standing in this matter either with C (or YC), u 
iii. 633- V. 3688, 3814, sM7i 6318. OT by itself, as Prol. 169, i, aiaa, U. 
1353. 'v. 3401, V. 3992, 6336, vii. 333, 978, viii. 1761, 3706. 

The scribe seems to have had a good ear for metre, and seldom goes 
wrong in any point of spelling which affects the verse, though apt to omit 
final f in case of elision. Sometimes, however, he drops words, as ' swerd,' 
i. 433, 'so,' V. 139, 'chaste,' v. 6277. On the whole llie text of E is 
probably the best of its class. 

C. Corpus Christi Coll., Oxr. 67 (Bern. Cat. i. 2. 1534). Chh- 
/«i-/u Amaulii with 'Explicit' (four lines}, 'Quam cinxere,' and 'Quia 
vnusquisque,' afier which ' Deo Gracias.' Parchment, large folio, 
ff. 2og, of which three blank, in quires of 8 with catchwords: written 
in double column in a good hand of first quarter fifteenth cent. Latin 
summaries in text (red). Pages with complete borders at beginning of 
books (except Lib. i), and two very fair miniatures, f. 4v° Nebucbad' 
nersar's Image, f. gv" the Confession (priest laying stole on youthful 
penitent's head). The book has lost four leaves, the second of the 
first quire (Prol. J44-301), the last of the 22nd and first of the 33rd 
(vii. 3137-3416), and the first of the 36th (viii. 1569-1737). 

^^'e find on the last leaf in a hand perhaps as early as the fifteenth 
cent.' Liber partinclThomain CrispeCiuemet Mercerium Londinianim,' 
and on the flyleaf at the beginning a device containing the same name, 
and also A. Crispe, F. Crispe, W. Rawson, Anne Rawson. ' Augosten 
Crispe me lure tenet ' is written on the first leaf of the text, and also 
' Liber Wiilelmi Rawson A°. Dni 1580.' Finally, ' Liber C. C. C. Oxon. 
1676.' The device referred to above appears also in the decoration of 
the book both at the beginning and the end, but the manuscript must 
have been written much earlier than the time of Thomas Crispe. 

This is a good copy of the unrevised group, having some connexion, as 
we have seen above, with E, but less good in spelling, eapecjatly as regards 
final t. For special connexion with B, see i. 3334, iv. 359, &c. CL go 
specially together apparently in some places, as Prol. 937 f^ i. 94, 161, 165, 
433, 916, but not throughout. There are some corrections by erasure of final 
t, and a tine supplied by a dilTerent hand, vi. 1038. No punctuation. 

P. Reg. 18. C. xxii, Brit. Museum. Confessio Amantis with 'Ex- 
plicit' (six lines), 'Quam ciniere' and 'Quia vnusquisque.' Parchment, 
ff. 306, i4t >t 3^ ia., in eights with catchwords : double column of 44 lines, 
well written, first quarter fifteenth cent. Latin in text (red). Floreated 
herder of first page with miniature of the Confession in the initial 0; 
also a miniature on f. 4V'' of the Image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream 
(hill with stone to left of picture), and half borders at beginning of 
books, except Lib. i. 

Two blanks cut away at the end, from one of which is set off ' This 


boke appertayneth vnto the Right Honorable the Ladie Margaret 
Strange' (presumably the same whose name appears in M). The 
binding has ' Lady Mary Strainge.' 

A very fair MS. of its class and almost absolutely typical, but gives 
distinctively revised readings in a few passages, as ii. 925, iv. 134a, v. 3145, 
viii. i6az. Omits vii. 2889-2916 and some of the Latin summaries. The 
words 'pope' and ^papacie' are regularly erased, see especially f. 47. 
Spelling and metre fairly good : no punctuation. 

L. Laud 609, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 754). Confessio 
Amaniis with 'Explicit* (four lines), 'Quam cinxere' and 'Quia 
vnusquisque.' Parchment, ff. 170, 16 x lof in., in quires of 8 with 
catchwords : double column, first of 40 lines, then about 44, and 
after L 16 of 51 : well written, first quarter fifteenth cent. Latin in 
the text (red). Floreated border of first page and half borders at the 
beginning of books, well executed. Two miniatures, on f. 5 v° the 
Image of the dream, and on f. 10 the Confession, both much like 
those in C and Bs, but damaged. 

After f. 109 one leaf is lost (v. 5550-5739), one after f. 1 11 (v. 6140- 
6325), and eight (quire 16) after f. 118 (v. 7676-vi. 1373). 

The names Symon and Thomas Elrington (sixteenth cent.) occur in 
the book, fT. 89, 170, and 'Liber Guilielmi Laud Archiepiscopi Cantuar. 
et Cancellarii Vniuersitatis Oxon. 1633 ' on f . i. 

In correctness of text and spelling the text is decidedly inferior to the 
foregoing MSS. We may note apparently good readings in the following 
passages, Prol. 159, i. 3023, v. 1072, vii. 374, 3040, 3639, viii. 358, 483. 

Bj. Bodley 693, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 2875). Confessio 
Amantis with * Explicit * (six lines), * Quam cinxere' and * Quia vnus- 
quisque.* Parchment (gilt edged), fF. 196, 15 x 10 in., in eights 
with catchwords. Well written, first quarter fifteenth cent., in double 
column of 46 lines. Latin in text (red). Floreated border of first 
page and half borders at beginning of books (also on f. 8v<*), 
weU executed : two small miniatures, f. 4v® the Image of the dream, 
f. 8 v<> (within an initial T) the Confession, like those in C and L, but 

At the end we have * ffrauncois Halle A® Mvovi* (le. 1506), * Garde 
le ffine.' In the initial on f. i a coat of arms is painted surrounded by 
the Garter and its motto. The arms are those of Charles Brandon duke 
of Suffolk (Brandon with quartering of Bruyn and Rokeley, see Doyle, 
Official Baronage ^\\\, 443), and on the same page is painted the Brandon 
crest (lion's head erased, crowned per pale gules and arg., langued az.j. 
These must have been painted in later than the date of the MS. The 
binding is deeply stamped with the arms of Great Britain and Ireland 
in colours, and the letters I. R., showing that the book belonged to 
James I. It was presented to the Bodleian by Dr. John King, who 

wa.G Dean of Ch. Ch. 1605-161 1. We must suppose that James gave it 
IQ Dr. King. 

The fineness of the vellum and the general style of the book leems 
10 indicate (hst it was written for some distinguished person. The text is 
very typical of its class. In correctness and spelling it is less good than L, 
oflener dropping final t and having less regard Tor the metre. 

Sn. Arch. Sei.d. B. 11, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 3357). Coti- 
fissio Amantis with ' Explicit ' (four lines), ' Quam cinxere ' and ' Quia 
vnusquiaque.' P<iper (with some leaves of parchment), ff. 169, 14J x lof 
in. Quires with varying number of leaves, usually 12 or 16, signatures 
and catchwords. {No written leaves lost, but blanks cut away in 
quires nine and ten.) Written in double column of 44-^5 lines (no 
ruling), in a small hand, middle fifteenth cent. Latin in text. Red 
and blue initials, but no other decoration. 

The book has the name 'Edwarde Smythe' (sixteenth cent.) as the 
owner. It came into the Bodleian among John Selden's books. 

The text is a poor one with a good many corruptions, from the firal line 
of the Prologue (,' To hem ' for ' Of hem ') onwards, many of them absurd. 
as ' who thoghte ' for ' wo the while ' (t, 675a;, ' homicides * for ' houndes ' 
(vii. 5356). and some arising from confusion between p. j, and^. Thus the 
scribe (.who usually has M for/ and jy for j) is capable of writing' afren" or 
' alhen ' for ' ajein,' 'yer of for ' t«r of,' 'yeff' for ' ^ef,' ' bijiete ' for 
' bi}ele.' There ire many mistakes in the coloured initials, e g. ii, 3501, jii. 
ao33, 3439. Some northern forms, as ' gude,' iiL 1073, ' Qwhat.' iii, 9439. 
Note agreement with B in some places, as i. 365, 1479, iiL laaa, v. b^ 1 7, 
6396, and a few more. 

D. Camb. Univ. Dd. viii. 19 (Beni. Cat. iL 9653). Canftssio Amantis 
(imperfect). Parchment, If. 137, quires of 8 with catchwords : double 
column of 48 (sometimes 50) lines, regularly written in a hand 
using very thick strokes. Latin in text (red). Spaces left for minia- 
tures, f. 4V", f. 8v° (the latter marked 'hie Imago'), and perhaps also 
f. I. Many spaces left for illuminated capitals. 

After f. 83 follows a quire of six with 5 v" blank (after end of 
Lib. iv.) and 6 lost : then a quire of eight with 5 and 6 (also pan 
of 4) blank, and 7, 8 lost : then, f. 94, ' Incipit liber Sexlus.' So 
that of Lib. v. we have only about four leaves (v. 1444-3149). The 
leaves numbered 16, 17, 15 should stand last (in that order), and the 
text ends (on f. 15) with vii. 3683, the line unfinished and the rest of 
the page blank. 

Successive owners in sixteenth cent., MagisterAsshe, Thorn. Carson 
(or Cur^sonl, Ambr. Bclson, J. Barton. It was one of Bishop Moore's 
l>ooks (No. 467), and came to tlie University in 1715. 

The text shows no leaning, so far as I know, to the revised group. Per> 
hapi somewhat akin to the MSS. which precede and follow : see Prol. 331 
matg., i. 110,370. 


At. Arundel 45, College of Arms (Bern. Cat. ii. 5547). Confessio 
Amaniis (imperfect). Paper, 168 leaves (numbered 167, but one 
dropped in numbering after f. 42) + two parchment blank at beginning, 
11^x8} in. Quires of 8 (usually), with catchwords, double column 
of 46-51 lines, small neat writing, middle fifteenth cent. Latin in 
text (red) : no illumination, but spaces left for initials. 

One leaf lost after f. 7 (i. 63-216), two after f. 1 16 (v. 5229-5594), and 
all after viii. 1 102 (about twelve leaves gone at the end). 

Former possessors, * Thomas Goodenston, Gerdeler of London,' and 
(before him probably) ' Jhon Barthylmewe, Gerdyllarr and Marchant' 

Hd. At Castle Howard, the property of the Earl of Carlisle, who 
most kindly sent it for my use. Confessio A mantis with ' Explicit ' (four 
lines), 'Quam cinxere' and ' Quia vnusquisque.' Parchment, ff. 1 1 1 (num- 
bered as no) 14 X II in., in quires of 8 (usually), marked iiii, v, vi, ^c. 
In double column of 60-74 lines, rather irregularly written in a small, 
fairly dear hand, later fifteenth cent Latin in text. Some red and 
blue initials ; no other decoration. 

Seventeen leaves lost at the beginning, f. i begins at i. 3305, and f. 8 
is the first leaf of quire iiii : after f. 73 four leaves lost, containing vi. 
264-1306, and in the last quire one, containing viii. 2566-2833. The 
leaves in the latter half of the boolc; from f. 66, have been much 
disarranged in the binding. 

The name ' Tho. Martin ' is written at the beginning, in the hand- 
writing of the well-known Thomas Martin of Palgrave. This of course 
is not the book mentioned in Bern. Cat. ii. 611 as among the books 
collected by Lord William Howard at Naworth Castle. There seems 
to be at present no Gower MS. at Naworth. 

S<mie readings seem to show a connexion of Hd with L, as iii. 1885, 2763, 
' Now herkne and I )>e ))o,* iv. 134 1, 3086, 3449^ 3535, but it is not derived 
from it. Note also the readings of ii. 1577 * Ne/ 2825 * by,* iii. 1173 
*Iupartie,'v.33o6 'Oute.' There are many corruptions in the text 9& well as 
some deliberate alterations, as ' cleped ' regularly to 'called/ and words 
are often dropped or inserted to the injury of the metre. 

Ash. ASHMOLE 35, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 6916). Confessio 
Amaniis (imperfect). Paper, ff. 182, I3tx9| in. Quires of 12 
(usually), with catchwords, double column of 42-48 lines, fairly well 
written : no Latin verses or summaries, but summaries in English 
written in the text (red), mostly omitted in the last thirty leaves. 
Some initials in red, spaces left for larger capitals. 

Begins with Prol. 170, having lost two leaves (one blank) at the 
beginning. After f. 2 one leaf is lost (Prol. 541-725), one after f. 4 
(i. 1-169), one after f. 32 (ii. 1 749-1927), one after f. 91 (v. 2199-2366), 
three after f. 181 (viii. 2505-2893), one after f. 182, which ends with 
viii. 3082*. Half of f. 182 is torn away, but the beginning of the 



Chaucer verses remain, as well as a whole column of the early form of 
conclusion, in spite of the statement in the Ashmole Catalogue. Even 
if the conclusion were really wanting, there would be no difficulty in 
assigning the MS. to its proper class. 

Second Recension. 

(o) S. The Stafford MS., now in the possession of the Earl of 
Ellesme re, by whose kind permission I have been allowed to make use of 
it. Contains Cen/fssio Aman/is wilh 'Explicit' (six lines) and 'Quarn 
cinxere.' Parchment, fT. 17a (the last three blank), 14 x 9f in., quires of 8 
wilh catchwords and signatures {34 in all, the last of five leaves) : written 
in double column of 46 lines in a good square hand of late fourteenth 
century t)-pe. Latin summaries in the margin. The first page has a well- 
executed border of geometrical pattern and a rather rudely painted 
miniature of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in style resembling that of F. 
This page has also three heraldic shields and a crest, of which more 
hereafter. Floreated half borders ai the beginning of books and illu- 
minated capitals throughout, well executed and wilh an unusual amount 
of gold. On f. 56 a well painted grotesque figure of a man with legs 
and tail of some animal, wearing a pointed headpiece and armed with 
an axe. This is pari of the initial decoration of Lib. iv, 

The book has unfortunately lost in all seventeen leaves, as follows : 
one after f.t (Prol, 147-330), one after f . 7 (Pro!. io5S-i. 106), three 
after f. 46 (iii. 573-1112), one after f. 68 (iv. 2351-2530), two after f.69 
(iv. 2711-3078), one after f. 70 (iv. 3162-3442), two after f. 71 (iv. 3627- 
V. 274), one after f. 107 (v. 6821-7000), one after f. 125 (vi. 2357-vii. 88), 
two after f. 139 {vii. 2641-3004), two after f. 153 (vii. 5417-viii. 336), 
In addition to this, one leaf, f. 50 (iii. 1665-1848), is written in a 
different and probably rather later hand, and seems to have been inserted 
to supply the place of a leaf lost in quite early times. 

The question about the former owners of this line manuscript is an 
interesting one. As to the devices on the first page, the first shield 
(within the initial 0| is sable and gules per pale, a swan argent, the 
second (in the lower margin) sable, three ostrich feathers (argent?) set 
in three scicdls or, while in the right margin there is a crest of a lion, 
collared with label of three points, standing on a chapeau, and below is 
suspended a shield quajtered at. and gules, with no device. The crest is 
evidently meant forthat of John of Gaunt, though it is not quite correct, 
and the three ostrich feathers (properly ermine) were used by him as 
A recognisance (see Sandford's CenealogUal Hist, p, 249), while the 
swan is the well-known badge of Henry his son, to be seen suspended 
from Gower's own collar of SS on his tomb and in the miniature of 
the Fairfax MS. It seems probable then that the book was prepared 
for presentation 10 a member of the house of Lancaster, probably either 
John of Gaunt or Henry. If it be the fact that the swan badge was 


not adopted by Hefiry until 1397, this would not be the actual copy 
sent on the occasion of the dedication to him in 1392-93. On the other 
hand the absence of all royal emblems indicates that the book was 
prepared before Henry's accession to the throne. 

In the sixteenth cent. (Queen Elizabeth's reign) the book belonged 
to one William Downes, whose name is written more than once on 
f. 170. The ornamental letters W. D. on f. 21 are probably his initials, 
and on f. 76 we have Phillipp Downes in a fifteenth-cent. hand. On 
f. 171 v^ there is a note about * the parsonages of G wend . . . and Stythians 
in the county of Comewell, percell of the possessions of the late 
monastary of Rewley/ and also about the ' personage of Croppreadin 
in the county of Oxforde/ granted for xxi years by Edward VI and pay- 
ing Ivi pounds a year. * T. P. Goodwyn ' is another name (seventeenth 
cent). When Todd saw the MS. at the beginning of this century, it 
belonged to the Marquess of Stafford, 

S has the Lancaster dedication and the rewritten epilogue, and with these 
the three additional passages, v. 6395*-6438*, 7086 •-7a 10*, vii, 3ao7*-336o*, 
omitting v. 7701-7746, and transposing vi. 665-964. In correctness it is 
inferior only to F, and these two stand far above all others as primary 
authorities. Their independence of one another is certain, and the general 
agreement of their text gives it the highest guarantee of authenticity. The 
spelling is practically the same, as will be seen in those passages which are 
printed from S in this edition, e. g. vii. 3907^-3360*, indeed in most places 
the two texts are absolutely the same, letter for letter. As regards f. 50, 
which is in a different hand, it should be noted not only that it is far less 
correct than the rest, but also that it is copied from a different original, a 
MS. of the unrevised first recension, distinctive readings of which are given 
in iii. 1686, 1763, 1800, 1806, while no trace of such resKiings appears in 
any other part of S. 

A. Sidney Sussex Coll., Camb. a. 4. i (Bern. Cat. i. 3. 726). 
Contains Confessio Amantis^ with 'Explicit* (six lines) and *Quam 
cinxere,' (ff. 2-202 v^), and then an English version of Cato's Disticha, 
Paper, ff. 211 (of which four blank), 11 J x 8^ in., in quires of 12 with 
catchwords and signatures. Written in double column of 41-48 lines in 
a fairly good hand, middle fifteenth century, with a good many con- 
tractions. Latin summaries usually in text, sometimes in margin. No 
decoration. The first leaf is lost, containing Prol. 1-140. 

The book was left to the College by Samuel Ward, Master, 1643. 
One of the blank leaves has the word * temsdytton ' (i. e. Thames 
Dytton) in an early hand. 

In regard to form of text this MS. agrees throughout with S, and it must 
no doubt have had the Lancaster preface. It is remarkable as containing 
the additional lines printed by Caxton at the end of the Prologue (which 
may have been also in S), and it has eleven Latin hexameters substituted 
for the prose summaries at Prol. 591 and 617, beginning, 

* Dormitans statuam snblimem rex babilonis,' 


Gotm^'s 'trreti^'^'w^t s 

■ afler the Lalin prose at vii. 3891, bcEinning, 
' Sede st^dens isia iudex inlleiibilis sU.' 
The text has many corruptions and the spelling; is not very good. A clo«s 
not give [he firs! recension readings on f. 50 of S, which of itself is sufficient 
proof thai it is not derived from that manuscript, for the inaertion of this 
leaf must be much earJter than the date of A. 

(A) Ad. Additional 12043, British Museum. Confestio Amanlis, 
imperfect ai beginning and end. Parchment, fT. 156 (the last blank), 
13 X 9j in., in quires of 8 with catchwords: well written in double 
column of 45-50 lines, beginning of fifteenth century, Latin sum- 
maries in the margin iip to f. 16 (ii, 382), after which they are omitted. 
Floreated pages in good style at the beginning of each book. 

More than twenty leaves are lost, viz. ten at the beginning, up to and 
including i. 786, one after f. 45 (i^' i-'9o). 'wo after f. 47 (iv. 559- 
93a), two afier f. 66 (v. 4605-4983), one after f. 131 (viL 3071-3169*), 
(ine after f. 151 (viii. 1440-1632!, and live or more at the end, after 
viii. 2403. There is also omitted without loss of leaf iii. i665-iS48,no 
doubt owing to loss of leaf in the copy ; see below, 

' Eli;abeth Vernon ' (fifteenth century ?) on blank leaf at the end. 
The book belonged in (he present century to Bp. Butler of Lichfield. 

This MS. heads the group AdBTA, being nearer to the fuily revised type 
than any of ihe rest, and showing only very occasional traces of the earlier 
readings (but iii. 354, 941, v. 641B, vii. 3998, viii. 656. 1076, &c.). Il agrees 
with the rest, as against SA, in giving v, 70i5*-7034', vii. a3a9*-a34o", ind 
3I49*-3i8d», but does not seero fully to Join the group until the latter pari of 
the fifth book. In connexion with Ibis we may note the curious fact that 
Ihe omitted passage, iii. 1665-1848, is precisely that contained in f. 50 of 
S, which apparently was supplied in place of a lost leaf. In correctness 
and spelling Ihe MS. is very fair, but not good in regard to final t. Punctua- 
tion often where there is a pause in the line. 

T. Trin, Coll., Camb. R. iii. i (Bern. Cat. i. 3. 335). Contains, 
ff. 1-147, Confessio Amnnlh, imperfect at the beginning, with 'Explicit' 
(six lines) and 'Quam cinxere,' ff. 148-153 Vthe French rr/HVi"/, with 
the Latin pieces ' Quis sit vel qualis,''Est amor in glosa,' and ' Lex 
docet,' f, i52'Quia vnusquisque,' f. I52v"-i54v'' the Latin Carmen 
supermulliplici inciorum peslileitda, KadXn,^ with (he ten lines ' Hoc 
ego bis dcno.' Parchment, IT. 1 54, 14J x 10 in,, quires of 8 with catch' 
words, double column of 46 lines, Latin summaries in margin, but 
in some parts omitted. Well written in several hands, early fifteenth 
century, of which the first wrote ff. 1-8, 50-57, 74-81, 84 ¥"-89, 
98-1131*', the second IT. 9-32, the third ff. 33-49, 58-65, 82. 83, 84r'. 
90-97, the fourth ff. 66-73, ' '3-i 54- No decoration except coloured or 
gilt capitals. 

The book has lost five whole quires at the beginning, and begins at 


present with iL 2687. Also the second col. of f. 84 r^ is left blank with 
omission of v. 7499-7544- A large part of f. 33 is blank, but there is 
no omission. 

Presented to the College by Thomas Nevile, Master. 

A good MS., with form of text in v, vi, vii, like that of AdB, and obviously 
having a special connexion in its readings with B. T, however, is of a more 
fully corrected type than B, and it must remain doubtful whether the preface 
of the poem in T was of the earlier or the later form. In any case the 
original of the two, if (as it seems) they had a common original, was not 
made up earlier than 1397, for the resemblance of the manuscripts extends 
to the French and Latin poems ^hich follow the Conf, A mantis^ and the 
last of these is dated the aoth year of king Richard. 

The third and fourth hands are neater and better than the other two. 
The first is rather less correct and less good in spelling than the others, and 
also it omits the Latin marginal notes. The parts written in this hand are 
ii. a687-iii. 608, v. 1415-8874, 5805-7082, v. 7545-vi. 1040, vi. aaoi-vii. 

With regard to the connexions within the group AdBTA, attention may 
be drawn especially to v. 659, where Ad has the usual reading, T omits the 
line, leaving a blank, while B and A have bad lines made up for the occasion, 
to ▼. 4000, where Ad again has the usual text, Ta omit, and B has a made- 
up line, and to v. 7303, where AdBT omit two lines necessary to the sense 
which' A inserts. We may note the alteration by erasure in T of v. 5936, 
apparently from the reading of the unrevised text. 

B. BODLEY 294, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 2449). Contents, 
as in T, ff. 1-197 Conf, Amantis^ &c., AT. 197-199 v® TraiiU^ f. 199VO 
' Quia vnusquisque,' ff. I99v**-20i Carmen supermuiiipiici,8iC.jGr\d\ng 
with the lines * Hoc ego bis deno.* Parchment, ff. 201, 15J x loj in., 
quires of 8 with catchwords. Well written in double column of 42-47 
lines, first quarter of fifteenth cent. Latin summaries in text (red) : 
' Confessor,' * Amans,' usually omitted. Complete border of first page 
and at the beginning of each book except i and ii, painted in good 
style. Two miniatures, f. 4v** Nebuchadnezzar's dream (the king in 
bed crowned), f. 9 the Confession, nearly as in £. No leaves lost. 

The name ' Edwarde Fletewoode ' appears on f. i, and the book was 
probably given by him to the University in 1601. 

Form of text in v, vi, vii the same as AdT. We have in this MS. a 
combination of the early preface with the rewritten conclusion, a form which 
we might reasonably expect to find, and which may have been that of T, 
as it certainly was of the MS. used by Berthelette. Something has already 
been said of the text of this MS., and for the rest sufficient information will 
be found in the critical apparatus. The spelling of B is exemplified in the 
passages printed from it, Prol. a4*-9a*, v. 70i5*-7036*, vii. a3a9*-a340*, 
3i49*-3i8o*. As in the case of £, the copyist is careful of metre, and while 
omitting final e freely before a vowel, rarely does so where it affects the 
metre, and seldom adds -€ unduly. There is hardly any punctuation. 


A. WOLLATON Hall, in the possession of Lord Middleton, who 
kindly aUowed me to examine it. Contents as B. Parchment, ff. 197, 
15 J X io| in., in quires of 8 with catchwords and signatures. Well and 
regularly written in double column of 46 lines, early fifteenth century. 
Latin summaries in text (red) as a rule, sometimes in margin. Spaces 
left for miniatures at the beginning and for initials throughout, not 
painted. No leaves lost. 

The text of this MS. is in many ways interesting. It has Lancaster dedi- 
cation, but in text it often seems to belong to the unrevised first recension ; 
for though many of the errors of this group are found to be corrected in A, 
even in cases where B retains them, as Prol. 7, 219, Lot. Verses after 584, 
812, 844, 937 f., i. 8, 54, 264, 278, &c., ii. 671, 833, &c., and though there are 
also many of the revised readings, as i. 368, ii. 1758 fT. (in both of which B 
is unrevised), iv. 517, 766, 985 f., 2954, 3153, v. 30, 47 f., 82, 2694 C, 31 10, 
&c, yet in many other places the original readings stand in A, as i. 3374 ff., 
iv. 2407, 2556, V. 274, 316, 394, 1893, 1906 f., &c., where BT are revised. 
The characteristic second recension readings are almost regularly given by 
A, which agrees with AdBT against Sa in regard to the passages inserted ; 
but there are some important differences between this MS. and all others of 
its class, viz. (i) after v. 6430* it has a combination of first and second 
recensions. (2) v. 7701-7746 is inserted as in the first and third re- 
censions. (3) viii. 294T-2959 is inserted as in the first recension (with 
the curious corruption 'Cuther* for * Chaucer'), the rewritten epUogue 
being carried on from the line * Enclosed in a sterred skye.' 

It will be observed that BTA often form a distinct group, as (to take only 
a few examples) iv. 1567, 1996, 2034, 3132, 3138, v. 654 ff., 4138, &c. We 
may note, however, v. 7303 f. which are inserted by A, though omitted in 
AdBT, and the reading * she ' in iv. 2973. 

Ps. Phillipps 8192, at Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. Same 
contents as BTA, Parchment, ff, 193, large fol. Well written in 
double col. of 46 lines, early fifteenth cent. Latin summaries in margin. 
Illumination on the first page and at the beginning of books, except 
i. and iii. On the first page a miniature of Nebuchadnezzar's Image, 
with a small figure in the border, and also a figure painted in the 
initial O. Two leaves missing and supplied in blank after f. i (Prol. 
154-509)* and one later (vii. 3199-3382). On f. i v® 'Job: Finch 
Comitis Winchilsea filius 1700.* 

A fine MS. of an early type. It has the Lancaster dedication in the Pro- 
logue and the later form of epilogue, and as regards the additional passages 
it agrees with AdBTA. In text Pa is closely related to A, but it docs not 
include v. 7701-7746 or viii. 2941-2960, nor does it agree with A in v. 6431* ff. 
As instances of their agreement we may cite Prol. 14, * It dwellcth oft in,' 
115, ' vneuened,* 127, *ben nought diuided,' &c. In the marginal note of 
Prol. 22 Pi has 'sextodecimo,' but the first three letters are over an 


Third Recension. 

F. Fairfax 3, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 3883). Contains, 
ff. 2-186, Confessio Amaniis^ with 'Explicit' and *Quam cinxere/ 
ff. 186VO-190VO Traiiiiy &c., if. 190 v®- 194 Carmen de tnuliiplici 
viciorum pestiUnda^ ending with the lines * Hoc ego bis deno,' &c., 
f. 194 'Quia vnusquisque/ f. 194VO sixteen Latin lines by *a certain 
philosopher * in praise of the author, beginning ' Eneidos Bucolis que 
Georgica/ f. 195 a leaf of a Latin moral treatise from the old binding. 
Parchment, ff. 195 (including one blank flyleaf at the beginning and 
one of another book at the end), I3:}x9} in., in quires of 8 with 
catchwords ; the first quire begins at f. 2, the twenty-fourth quire has 
six leaves and the twenty-fifth (last) three. The leaves of the seventh 
quire are disarranged and should be read in the following order, 50, 
52, S3» 5i» 56, 54> 55> 57' The Confessio Amantis is written in double 
column of 46 lines, in a very good hand of the end of the fourteenth 
cent. Latin summaries in the margin. Half borders, some with animal 
figures, at the beginning of each book, and two miniatures, one at the 
beginning, rather large, of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and the other on 
f. 8 of the Confession, ia which the priest is dressed in green and has 
a wreath of roses on his head, while the penitent, whose features are 
damaged, wears a hood and a collar of SS with a badge, probably a 
swan, dependent from it. This was no doubt intended as a portrait 
of the author : the collar and badge have somewhat the appearance of 
having been added after the original painting was made. The size of 
the illuminated capitals indicates precisely the nature of the various 
divisions of the work. 

On f. 2 is written * The Ladie Isabell Fairfax daughter and hare of 
Thwats hir bouk,' on f. 8 * This boke belongeth to my lady farfax off 
Steton,' and on f. i * S' Thomas fayrfax of Denton Knighte true 
owner of this booke, 1588.* This Lady Isabell Fairfax was the grand- 
daughter and heiress of John Thwaites of Denton, who died in 151 1, 
and was married to Sir William Fairfax of Steeton. Sir Thomas 
Fairfax of Denton, whose name appears in the book, was her grandson. 
The book no doubt came from the Thwaites family, and we are thus 
able to trace it back as far as John Thwaites of Denton, who died in 
old age not much more than a hundred years after the death of the 
author. It was bequeathed with other MSS. to the University of 
Oxford by Sir Thomas Fairfax the parliamentary general, grandson of 
the above Sir Thomas Fairfax of Denton, and was placed in the 
Bodleian Library in 1675. 

The first leaf of the text, up to Prol. 146, is written in a second hand 
which has also written ff. 186-194, including the last lines of the Conf, 
Amantis from viii. 3147. A third hand (with very different orthography) 
has written viii. 2938-3146, being the last 29 lines of L 41 v« (^over an 



n the pUc 

eraaurO snd the whole of t. 185, which Is a leaf in 
cut away (Ihe last of quire 33). At viii. 8938 there is visible 
haue, etc ,' for the guidsncc of the scribe after the erasure bad been made. 
From the fact that two han<ls have been employed in the transfomiBtian of 
the MS. at the beginning and end it aeems probable that the changes were 
made at two separate times < as we also know by the dates that the rewritten 
epilogue preceded the rewritten preface), and that what I have called the 
third hand was really the second in orderof time, being employed tosubsUtule 
the later epilogue for the former, while the other band, doing its work 
probably after the accession of Henry IV, replaced the first leaf by one 
containing the Lancaster dedication, which had been in existence since 
1399-3, but perhaps only in private circulation, and added also the TraUU 
and the Latin poems, with the account of the author's books. ' Quia vnus- 
quisque,' in iti revised form. I say after the accession of Henry IV, because 
the reference in the third recension account of the books to Richard's fall, 
*ab alto corruens in fi^ueam quam fecit tinalller proiectus est,' seems to 
require as late a date as this. It should be noted that this hand is the same 
as that which has made somewhat similar additions to the All Souls and 
Glasgow MSS. of the Kw Clamaii/is. Other examples of alteration of first 
recension readings by erasure in F are Prol, 331 marg., 336, i. 2713 f., jv. 
i3Bt f., 1361 f., Lai. Virsis aflit- vii. 1640, Lai. Virsts ajlrr sIL 1984. 

As this edition prints the text of the Fairfax US. and its relations have 
already been discussed, little more need be said here except as to the 
manner in which the text is dealt with in the printing. It should be noted 
then that 1 andy, u and v are used in accordance with modem practice, that 
no distinction is made between the two forms of 5, that Ih is used for/, and 
V for j in ii. jil, jiui, ajtin, btjtir, &c. f this last rather against my judgement, 
for no good MS. has it). It should be observed also that the Fairfax scribe 
frequently uses » for H at the end of a Word, as 'nov,' ' hov' (often ' hou '). 
'>ov ' (usually ' tou '1, ' )ov ' talso ' 30U '),' auov,' ' windov," ' blev," ' knev,' 
Sic, and sometimes in other positions, either for the sake of distinction from 
)i or merely for ornament, as ' comvne,' ' retenve,' ' rvnne,' ' jivrgh,' ■ havk,' 
' fovl,* ' hovndea,' ' movfi,' ' rovnede," ■ slovh," ' trov[>e,' ' J-novh,' See,, beside 
' comunc.' ' runne,' ' Jiurgh,' * hauk,* ' foul,' Sec, In all these cases v is given 
in the text as h. The termination '-oii' is regularly printed as ■ -oun.' 
French words with this ending appear in F with -ou or -5ii, usually the 
latter (but ' resoun ' in full, Prol. 151), and sometimes we have ' loii ' for 
•loun,' as vii. 5313, viii. as»3. So also ' atoiidc : wounde," i. ifisf., 
' groiide ' for ' grounde,' i. 3051, ' expoiide : fotinde,' i. 3867 f., ' brinche : 
stBunche,' i. 0837 f., 'chance.' i. 3*03, ' griiilef,' ii. 1463, ■supplante,' ii. 
3369, ■ sklaiidre,' V. 5536 ("sclaundre,' v. 713), 'comaiide : launde,' vii. 3159. 
The contraction p as a separate word is in this edition almost regularly 
given as ' per.' It is hardly ever written fully in F, but we have ' Per 
aunter,' v. 3351, ' Per chaHnce,' v. 7B16. and J regularly gives ' per chance,' 
■ per cas,' ate, without contraction. Other MSS., as A and B, incline rather 
to ' par." F has ' perceive," • aperceive,' but ' parfit.' 

With regard to the use of capitals, this edition in the main follows the 
MS. Some letters, however, as *, v, a, y, can hardly be said to have any 
difference of form, and others are used rather rarely as capitals, while in 
the case of same, and especially s, the capital fon 


freedom. It has seemed desirable therefore to introduce a greater degree 
of consbtency, while preserving the general usage of the MS. Proper 
names are regularly given in this edition with capitals (usually so in the 
MS., but not always), and sentences are begun with capital letters after 
a full stop. On the other hand the / (or J\ which is often used as an 
initial, has frequently been suppressed, and occasionally this has been done 
in the case of other letters. It may be observed, however, that capital 
letters are on the whole used very systematically in the MS., and other 
good MSS., especially S, agree with F in the main principles. Certain 
substantives as * Ere,' * Erthe,* * Schip/ * Sone,' * Ston,' are almost invariably 
used with capitab, and names of animals, as *Cat,* 'Hare,' 'Hound/ 

* Leoun,' * Mous,* * Oxe,' * Pie,* • Ro,' * Schep/ * Tigre,' of some parts of 
the body, as *Arm,' * Hiele,' 'Lippes,' *Nase,' * Pappcs,' *SkuUe,' and 
many other concrete substantives, are apt to be written with capitals, 
sometimes apparently in order to give them more importance. Capitals 
are seldom thus used except in the case of substantives and some numerals, 
as ' Nyne,' ' Seconde/ ' Sexte,' ' Tenthe,' and in many cases it is pretty 
evident that a distinction is intended, e. g. between * Sone ' and < sone ' 
(adv.), *Se' (« sea) and 'se' (verb), *Dore* and 'dore' (verb), see iv. 
3835 f., * More ' and * more,' * Pype' and * pipe ' (verb), iv. 334a f., • Myn ' 
and 'myn' (poss. pron.), 'Mone' and 'mone' (verb), but see v. 5804, 5808, 

* In' and Mn,' vii. 4921 f., viii. 1169 f., 1985 f. That some importance was 
attached to the matter is shown by the cases where careful alterations of 
small letters into capitals have been made in the MS., as Prol. 949, i. 1687, 
V. 1435, 3206, 4019, viL 3785, &c 

Many corrections were made by the first hand, and some of these arc 
noteworthy, especially the cases where a final e seems to be deliberately 
erased for the sake of the metre or before a vowel, as i. 60 * get ' for * gete,* 
iii. 2346 'trew* for *trewe/ vi. 1359 * I red ' for * I rede,' vii. 1706 * ffyf* for 
' ffyue,' or where an e has been added afterwards, as ii. 3399 ' de))c/ iii. 449 
*bowe,* V. 1269, 3726, 5265, 'whiche.* 

It remains only to speak of the punctuation of the MS., which is evidently 
carried out carefully. The frequent stops at the ends of lines are for the 
most part meaningless, but those elsewhere are of importance and usually 
may be taken as a guide to the sense. They arc sometimes certainly wrong 
(e. g. i. 1102 Togedre. 1284 will- 2965 fro- ii. 1104 wille. 1397 name- 
2354 astat* iii. 2638 be • iv. 497 grace* 1751 besinesse • 1985 hardi • 
250a alle. 335^ Slep. 3635 lif. v. 4 good- 231 herte- 444 wynd • 1342 
See* 1630 only- 2318 bord> &c}, but the proportion of error is small, and 
the punctuation of F generally must be treated with respect. There is 
usually a stop wherever a marked pause comes in the line, and this punctua- 
tion occurs on an average about once in ten lines. The following record of 
the punctuation of iv. 1301 -1600 will serve as an illustration of its nature 
and extent: 1303 loue • 1307 ladis* 1316 clo]?ed . 1369 seidc • 1374 sei]) • 
1376 loue* 1388 slow* 1409 wepe • 1412 Dame* 1415 loue* 1439 hirself* 
1457 is* 1459 peine • 1461 haltres • 1466 told • 1470 paramours* 1471 lawe • 
1474 ianglinge* I489take* i49oloue* 1491 herte * i492mariage* i496chil- 
dren* 1497 mai * 1499 tarie • 1501 let* i5i2god* seide* 1532 ojire * 1534 
ferste* 1535 dovht^r* 1536 clo])es • 1547 Tohewe • 1560 seijj • 1561 point- 
1566 maidenhod* 1567 had* 1 591 come* 1592 de]>. 


Hi. Harleian 3869, Brit. Museum, Contains the same as F, 
with some religious poems in a difTerent hand on blanks at the 
begioning and end. Paper, except outer leaves of each quire, 
ff. 368 (including four leaves at the beginning and two ai the end 
with religious poems as above mentioned), iil''7i in., in quires 
of 16 |usua!ly), with signatures, first quire beginning f. 5 and having 
14 leaves. Written in single column of 38-50 lines, rather irregularly. 
Latin summaries in margin (red). On f. 5 at the beginning of the 
Cott/essiti Amantis a lar^e picture of Nebuchadncxzar's dicam, like 
that in F, on f. 8 an ill-painted picture of the Confessicm. 

On f. 1 we find written ' London y" 38 Jan^. 1628, George Cogiluy," 
and on f . 3 'Jan, 32. 1731 Oxford' (i.e. Harley). On the same page is 
the date, ' 1445 y" 33 of May." 

This MS. sppcare to be copied directly from F, and gives an excellent 
te:it, reproducing that of tbe FairlBx MS. with conaidenble accuracy, and 
for the most part copying also its mistakes and peculiarities, as Prol. Bo 
oCEcic, 349 wich. 4:9 com, 588 sende, 593 bcfallc, 668 marg. diminuntur, 
733 chiualrie, 1076 waxed, i. lao wisshide. l6a scheo, 397 belefl, 1134 sone 
sonc, 335 whiloii, 1636 vnsemylieste, 9511 Euibroudred, ii. 353 Eon vie, £.11/. 
aftfr 38a infamen. 710 hiere, 949 Jiong, 1169 no, 1441 keste, 1539 ont. the, 
and so on. Some obvioua mbtakcs are corrected, however, as Pro). 370, 
i. 1357, aro5, 3357, ii. 117. 

N. NEW College, Oxf. 266 (Bern. Cat. i. 3. 1130). Cnn/essio 
Amantis with 'Explicit' (six lines) and 'Quam tinxere.' Parchment, 
ff. 183 (originally 187), i3i » 9 in., quires of 8 (one of 10 and ihe last 
9J with catchwords. Well written in double column of 46 hnes 
usually, sometimes more, first quarter fifteenth cent. Latin sum- 
maries in margin. Many Horealed pages (half borders) and illuminated 
capitals, well executed. Also a large number of miniatures, of which 
some have been cut out and others much damaged. 

The first two leaves are damaged, and four leaves have been cut 
out, vii, the original f.7 [Prol. io66-i. 106), f, 35 ("■ ■53I-17°4*t f-74 
(iv. 2129-3397) and f 1 13 (v. 5505-5662), also the outer half of f. 171 
(viii. 271-3181 and several miniatures with text at Ihe back. 

The name of John Cutt of Schenley, Hertfordshire, appears in the 
book (late fifteenth cent), and on the first leaf 'TbomiB Martin Liber,' 
perhaps the Thomas Martin who was Fellow of New College 1538- 
1553, and died in 1584. The binding of old black leather has stamped 
upon it the letters W. D., with a double-headed eagle crowned. 

This book seems to be derived from F, though perliaps not immediately. 
The orthography a like that of F. but differs in some poinU, as ' shal," ' «he." 
&c , for ' schal,' ' ache,' ' nohl ' for ■ noghl,' besides being very uncertain about 
llnal '. ollen to the destruction of the metre. As examples of particular 
correspondence with F we may note Prol. 370 argumcten, 588 send, 59a 
befalle, 733 diiualric, 957 mistormeth, i. iso wiashide, 337 bcleft, 334 sone 


sone, 1036 be shrewed, 3357 seled, ii. 318 ff. fela, felaw, felawh (varying as 
F), a/2rr 38a iniamen, &c, but sometimes F is corrected in small matters, as 
ProL aoi erthly, 949 which, 280 pacience, i. 1 10 to fare, &c 

The feature of the book is the series of miniatures, illustrating it through- 
out. In this respect it is unique, so far as I know, though other copies 
similarly illustrated must once have existed. The following is a complete 
list of die subjects (leaves cited by original number) : f. 15 (i. 14 17) Florent 
and the old woman, f. 18 (i. aoai) man blowing trumpet, lord, wife, and 
five children looking out of a castle, f. 93 (i. 9785) cui out, t 94 (L 3067) 
cut out and sewn in, much damagidf f. 30 (ii. 587) cut out, f. 44 (ii. 3x87) 
mothers bringing babies to Constantine, f. 56 (iii. 1885) Clytemnestra torn by 
horses, two crowned persons conversing in the foreground, f. 59 (iii. 9363) 
Pirate brought before Alexander, f. 61 (iv. z) Dido killing herself, Eneas 
riding away, f. 68 (iv. 1945) lady with halters and red bridle questioned by 
Rosiphelee, f. 71 (iv. 1815) cut out, f. 79 (iv. 9045) fight between Hercules 
and Achelous, f. 77 (iv. 9997) Alceone in bed dreaming, body of king in the 
water, t 83 (v. 141) Midas at table, f. 93 (v. 9031) Crassus having gold 
poured down his throat, f. 94 (v. 9973) king opening coffers, f. 95 (v. 9391) 
cut outy f. 96 (v. 9643) cut out, f. 98 (v. 9961) almost defaced, f. 100 (v. 3947) 
cutout, f. 109 (v. 4937) Bardus pulling Adrian out of the pit, t xix (v. 593X) 
Ariadne leit sleeping, ship sailing away, f. 1 17 (v. 6995) a procession of naked 
njrmphs to bathe, t i9o (v. 6807) cut out, f. X33 (vi. 1391) Telegonus sup- 
porting his father's head, guards lying dead, f. 136 (vi. X789) cut out, f. X50 
(vii. Z783) cut out, f. 158 (viL 34x7) cut out, f. X59 (vii. 3697) Gideon and his 
men blowing trumpets, &c., enemy asleep in a tent, f. X65 (vii. 4593) cut out, 
f. 171 (viii. 97 X ff.) half the page cut away, with probably three miniatures, 
for only 59 lines are gone, whereas there was space for 99. 

K. Keswick Hall, near Norwich, in the possession of J. H. Gumey, 
Esq., who most kindly sent it to Oxford for my use. Contains the 
same as F, but is slightly imperfect at the end. Parchment, ff. 189, 
13 X 9J in., quires of 8 with catchwords. Well written in double 
column of 46 lines (corresponding column for column with F through- 
out), apparently in six different hands, of which the first wrote quires 
I, 2, 6, 8-1 1, 21, the second 3 and perhaps 7, the third 4, 5, 16, 17, 
the fourth 12-15, 19, the fifth 18, and the sixth 20, 22-24. Latin 
summaries in the margin (sometimes omitted). Three leaves are lost 
in the seventh quire (iiL 1087-1632), and one at the end, containing 
the last thirteen lines of the Latin Carmen de multipiici, &c., with 
probably the account of the books and the piece ' Eneidos, Bucolis.' 
A floreated initial to each book, and space left for miniatures on 
ff. I and 7. Old stamped leather binding. 

Former possessors, Thomas Stone * of Bromsberrowe in the County 
of Glouc.', Henry Harman, William Mallowes (Q. Elizabeth's reign ?), 
John Feynton. 

The various hands differ very much from one another in correctness. The 
first and the fourth give a text so closely corresponding to that of F, that it 
is almost impossible not to believe that it is copied from it In the case of 



some of the other hands ihia exact corrcsponrfenee in details or spelling 
and punctuation disappears, and a much less correct text is given, but 
■his aecma chiefly due to carelessness (the third hand, for eiample, is 
evidently inaccurate and much neglects the metre). At the same time it 
must be noted that K ha? the marginal note ot the beginning of the Prologue, 
which is wanting in F, ' Hie in principio.' &c.. and there are some readings 
which seem to be derived from another source, as iii. 778, 906, gai , 1733, 183a 
(■11 in the seventh quire\ where there is agreement with AM. On the whole 
the question of the dependence of K upon F must be leh doubtful. 

Wecan trace to thisMS, a gcod many of the mistakes which appear in Hiand 
the Magdalen MS,, and found ihcir way sometimes thus into printed editiona, 
e.g. Prol. 160 bothe, a6o to mate raanhode, i. 3170 am. his, ii, 78 fader, 1 
hem wolde, 103 all hys cause, 136 he, 135 pore, 138 wich, 169 In {originally 
The). The cause of the great increase of error about the beginning of (he 
second book is the appearance on the scene of the careless third hand, which 
on f. 40 (for eiample) in its last ten lines has al least twenty variations In 
spelling, &c., from the text of F, while the first hand resuming has nota^ngle 
one in its CrsI eighteen lines. Indeed, whole columns may be found in the 
parts copied by the first or the fourth hand which do not differ from T in 
the smallest particular, either of spelling or punctuation. 

Hi. HaRLEIAN 7184, Brit. Museiitti. Con/essio AmatiHs, imperfect. 
Parchment, ff.134, 31JK14J in., in quires of la with catchwords: 
regularly written in double column of 49 lines, in a large pointed hand 
ol the middle fifteenth cent. Latin summaries in the text (red). 
Large capitals finely illuminated and pages bordered At the beginning 
of the books (the first page especially is richly decorated, but has 
suffered damage), also Ulumlnated titles, 'Liber Primus,' &c., at 
head of each page. 

The book has lost more than fifty leaves, vii. one leaf after each of 
the following, f. 15 (i. 3323-11. 46), f. 55 (iii. 1908-2103), f. 61 (iv. 400- 
576), f.78(iv, 3701-v. 161), f. no (v. 6183-6360), and f. 118 {v\. Latin 
Verses u 4-182), twelve leaves after f. 126 (vi. 1571-vii. 1405), four afier 
f. 131 (vii. 1354-3088), and thirty or more after f. 134, from vii. 3594 
to the end of the book. 

On the first page ' Oxford D. H." 

ten on fine parchment, 
., however, is late and 
not very good. It is almost certain that it is derived ultimately from the 
Keswick MS. The evidence of this is as follows : (t) Mistakes made i 
that MS. arc nearly regularly reproduced in Hi. Some instances have been 
referred to in the account of K : we may add here that where K oraita 
Latin summaries in > part of the seventh book, e.g. vii. 1641-1884, 1917- 
8765, Ht does the same, and where variants apparently from the AM group 
appear in K, as iii. 778, 906, 931, 1733, they are found also in Hi. (a) The 
inequality which is to be observed in the text of Hi. some parts being much 
less correct llian others, corresponds in the main with the difference of hands 
In K. Thus we find that a great crop of error springs up in Hi from the 


point where the third hand of K begins, the preceding portion of the text 
being very fidrly correct, and so to some extent elsewhere. For example, in 
V. 917-1017 (a part written in K by the first hand) there are about eight 
metrical fiuilts in a hundred lines, while in vi. 183-283 (written in K by the 
third hand), there are at least twenty-five. (3) In a certain part of the third 
book Hs suddenly ceases to follow the third recension text, and almost 
regularly gives the readings of the ERCLBt group. This appears first in iii. 
X088 and ceases to be the case after iii. 1686, thus remarkably corresponding 
with the gap caused in K by the loss of three leaves after iii. 1086. It is 
diflScuIt not to believe that this very marked change was caused by the 
following of another MS. in a place where K was defective. 
- The spelling of Hs is rather late : there is no use of/, and y is used for ^ in 
'ye/ 'yiue,' &c 

Magd« Magdalen College, Oxf. 213 (Bern. Cat. i. 2. 2354). Con- 
fessio Amaniis with ' Explicit ' (six lines) and Table of Contents in English 
(on two fly-leaves at the beginning and one at the end). Parchment, 
01 180 + 3 (as above), i8f x 13 J in., in quires of 8 with catchwords : 
written in double column of 48 lines in a large hand of the middle 
fifteenth cent something like that of Hs. Table of contents and 
columns 2, 3, 4 of f. 2 in a different hand. Latin summaries in text 
(red). Fine coloured letters with floreated half borders at the beginning 
of each book, and some neat drawing in connexion with the scrolls of 
the catchwords. 

The book has lost one leaf after f. 22 (ii. 409-586) and eight after 
f. ZZ (v. 701-2163). On f. 155 y^ the MS. omits vii. 2519-2695 without 
loss of leaf or blank. 

Presented to the College by Marchadin Hunnis in 1620. A note by 
the present Librarian states that he was elected a demy of the College 
in 1606, appointed second master of the College Grammar School in 
1610, and dismissed from that office as ' insufiiciens ' in Dec. 1611. 
The book is reported missing in Coxe*s catalogue. 

This MS. is in many points like Hs in its text, and must certainly have 
the same origin, both being perhaps derived from a MS. dependent on 
K. It reproduces most of the corruptions which we find in Hs, adding 
many others of its own, and it has the same readings in the third book 
which we have already noted in Hs. 

A point of interest about this MS. is its apparent connexion with Caxton's 
edition. It seems evident that among the MSS. from which Caxton worked 
(and he had three at least) was either this very copy or one so like it as to 
be practically undistinguishable. Of this we shall say more when we speak 
of Caxton's edition. 

W. Wadham Coll., Oxf. 13. Confessio Amantis with * Explicit ' 
(six lines) and * Quam cinxere,' then the Traitii^ slightly imperfect at 
the end, ending * un amie soulain,' xvii. 9. Paper, ff. 450, including 
two original blanks at the beginning, 1 1} x 8^ in., in quires of 8 with 



catchwords : wrilten in column of 30-48 lines (without ruling) in two 
hands, of which the first wrote up to iv. 2132, and the other from 
thence to Ihe end. Latin summaries in margin, but sometimes 
omitted or cut short. Some decoration of the first page of the text 
in black and red ; capitals, titles, &c. in red. 

Three leaves are lost in the Conf. Amaniis, containing Prol. 72B- 
794, IV, 2386-2473, and v. 1-78, and several also at the end of Ihe 
volume. There is great confusion in the text of the Prologue, which 
goes as follows : 1-92, 499-860 (with loss as above), 93-1441 B61-1044, 
145-498, and then 1045 ff. Tbis is not produced by any disarrange- 
ment of leaves in the present MS., but a considerable dislocation 
of quires has taken place in a later part of the volume, seven quires 
of the fourth and fifth books having been taken out of their proper 
place and bound up between vi, 2132 and 2133. 

This book was evidenily written for one John Dedwood, since his 
name and device, a piece of the trunk of a dead tree, occur as part of 
the decorations of the first page. The two blanks at the beginning 
are written over with a list of Mayors and Sheriffs for a series of years, 
and these prove to be those of the city of Chester from the year 
1469-1499 (see Orraerod's Hist. 0/ Cheshire, \. ml). The name of 
John Dedwood occurs among these as Sheriff in the year 14B1 and as 
Mayor in 1483 (but the record in the MS. is here damaged). He 
had also been Mayor in 1468. We may therefore suppose thai the 
MS. dates from about 1470. The name Troutbecke occurs several 
times (with other names) in the book, and later (1765) it belonged to 
Rich. Warner of Woodford Row, Essex. 

The first hand of this MS. is cramped and ugly, varying ■ good deal In 
tize, the second is neat and uniform. The text is late and full of mistakes, 
and the spelling bad, even such forms as ' loves,' 'beres,' 'gos" being quite 
common far ' lovelh,' &c., and often -(( or -Hi as a participle lermination, 
' despeyret,' ' resignel,' ' weddul,' ' deput,' &c. A certain interest attaches 
10 the MS. however from the fact that it seems to be clearly iodependcnl 
of F as well as of the KHj group. While agreeing with F completely in 
form of text, and supporting it also as a rule against the miftalies of 
KH), it has a considerable number of readings which belong to Ihe 
first recension uncorrected type, and in other cases it agrees specially 
with B. Instances of the former are to be found in Prol. 159, L 8, 
1839, 3433, aSoi. 3037, ii. g6i, laoo. 1441, 3306, 3516, iii. 68, bad, B056, 
v. 1698, ajoo, 3376, vi, 543, 1151, 1631, vii. 1490, Laiin vtrsts afltr 1C4O 
and 1984, 5104, viii. 510, 3340, 3935, &c. These, with others of a Hmilar 
kind, scattered through Ihe whole book, seem to be of the nature of acci- 
dental survivals, a first recension copy (the remote ancestor of W) having 
Leen allered by collation with one resembling F. W agrees with apparent 
mistakes of F and the rest of (he third recension in some passages, as iii. 
446, iv. aK^, 0973, vii. 5135, viil. 1069, 1999, but supports what is appar- 
ently the true reading againit them in Prol. 1078, i. 106B, ii. 9899, *S37, 


lU. 1605, V. 0906, &c. In most of these last instances W merely remains in 
agreement with the first recension, where F, &c depart from it, therefore 
its testimony may be of an accidental character. 

The list of Mayors and Sheriffs of Chester on the first pages has perhaps 
some local interest, as it is contemporary and probably made by a responsible 
person. Compaiing it with that given in Ormerod's Hist ofCkgshirt, we 
find several difierences, as < Ric Sadler ' for ' Rich. Smith ' as one of the 
Sherifils of 1475, 'John Monkesfelde, Rob. Pleche,' Sheriffs for 1478, 
'Mathewe Hewse' for 'Mathew Johnson/ 1479, 'Rychard Kir e' for 
'Rich. Baiter,* 1499. The same pages have some notes about current 
historical events, as (under 1469), ' The which yere were hedet the lorde 
Wellybe and the lorde Well, his son for the grete insurreccion and rysing 
of the Comyns of the Counte of Lyncolne. Also the same yere entred our 
Souereyne and moste noble Prince Kynge Edward now reynynge/ 8lc, 
Under 1470 is a note of the battles of Bamet and Tewkesbury, and at 1476 
the record of a visit to Chester of 'our Souereigne lorde Prince,' who stayed 
there from Christmas to Easter. 

Pt. Formerly Phillipps 8942, bought in March, 1895, by Messrs. 
H. S. Nichols ft Co., and afterwards in the possession of Messrs. 
Maggs, Booksellers. Canfessio Amantis^ imperfect, ending viii. 31 19, 
' As Tullius som tyme wrot' Parchment, rather roughly written, middle 
of fifteenth century. From the Towneley Collection. 

Hn. Hatton 51, Bodleian Library (Bern. Cat. 4099). Canfessio 
Amantis^ imperfect. Parchment, fT. 206, 12x9 in., in quires first of 6 
and then usually of 8 (lettered) ; double column of 42-48 lines, untidy 
writing. Has lost ^4 (iii. 13 1 4-1 475), « 2 (iv. 21 18-2268), s 2 (v. 5169- 
5333), /2 (v. 6774-6914), and five or six at the end (after viii, 2408). 
Copied from Caxton's edition, including the Table of Contents and 
the confusion in leaf numbering. 

Besides these, there are several MSS. which contain selections 
from the Confessio Amantis^ as 

Harl. 7333» Brit. Museum, which, besides the Canterbury Tales 
and other things, has seven stories from the Con/» Amantis, viz. f. 120 
Tereus (v. 5551 ff.), f. 122 Constance (ii. 587 ff.), f. 126 The Three 
Questions (i. 3067 ff.), f. 127 v^ The Travellers and the Angel (ii. 291 ff.), 
f. 127 \^ Virgil's Mirror, f. 128 v^ The Two Coffers, f. 129 The Beggars 
and the Pasties, &c. (v. 2031-2498). Parchment, large folio, column 
of 66 lines, no Latin. These stories are in the same hand as the Cant, 
Tales^ which go before, and the Parletnent of Faules^ which follows 
them. The text is that of the first recension unrevised : a very poor 

Camb. Univ. Ee. ii. 15. Paper, ff. 95, end of fifteenth or beginning 



ontains ff. 30-32, a fragment of 
ind S. 33-35, a fragment of the 

of sixteentL cent., much niuiilaied, C 
The Three Questions {i, 3124-3315), 
Trump of Deaih (i. 2083 (T.). 

Camb. Univ. Ff. i. 6. Paper, fif. 159, 8} x 6 in., written in various 
hands, Contains, ff. 3-5. part of llie tale of Tereus (v. 5920-6052), 
ff. 5-10, iv. 1114-1466 including the tale of Rosiphelee, fT 45-51, The 
Three Questions |i. 3067-3425), fF.81-84, iv. 2746-3926, ff.84V°-9S, 
viii. 271-846, The text of iv. 1321 agrees with that of the second 

Ball. Coll., "Oxf. 354. Paper, ff. 353, 11^x4} in. Contaios 
a miscellaneous collection of verse and prose, with memoranda Sic, 
all, or nearly all, apparently in the hand of the owner of the book, one 
Richard Hillof Langley, Herts, who has registered on f. 21 (25) the birth 
of his seven children, from the year 151E to 1526, and has kept a short 
journal of public events which ends with the year 1536. Among the 
extracts are several stories from the Confcssio Amantis, neatly written, 
about 54-60 lines to the page, with no Latin. These extend oi-er 
about 46 leaves of the book and are as follows (leaves by old number- 
ing) r ff. 55-70 V Tale of Appolinus, viii. 271-2028, ff. 70 v"-8t V 
Tales of Constance and of Perseus, ii, 587-1 865, ff. Si v''-83 V Adrian 
and Bardus, V. 4937-5162, ff. 83 v"-84 v", vi. 485-595, ff.84v"-86v" 
Dives and Lazarus lic, vi. 975-1238, ff. 86 v''-89 s° Constantine, ii. 
3187-3507, ff- 89 v°-9t v" Nebuchadneiiar, i, 3785-3066, ff.91 v''-94 
v" Tales of Diogenes and of Pyramus, iii. 1201-1502 and 1655-1672, 
ff. 94 v^-gS Midas (unfinished), v. 141-312, ff. 171 ¥"-175, The Three 
Questions, i. 3067-3402. The text is copied not from Caxton's editbn 
but from a MS. of the first recension (b) or {c). It is not very correct, 
and short passages or couplets are omitted here and there, as i. 3051- 
3054, viii. 1763-1766, i945f., &c. 

RawlInson D. B2, Bodleian Library. Contains on f[. 25-33 Conf. 
Amantis, viii. 2377-2970. Paper, written in single column of 33 lines, 
no Latin. Copied from a MS. resembling B, but not apparently either 
from B itself or from Bertheletle's MS. 

PKILLIPPS 22914 is repotted as a fragment (four leaves) containing 
Cimfasio Amantis, v. 775-1542. 

Nine good miniatures cut out of B MS. of the Cenf. Amanth are 
in the possession of Mr. A. H. Frere, who kindly allowed me to 
bee them. They are as follows, (i) Tereus, (2) Codrus, (3) Socrates 
and his wife, (4) Dives and Laiarus, (5) Roman Triumph. (6) Ulysses 
;.nd Telegonus, (7) The Three Questions, (8) Lycurgus taking an oath 
from the Athenians (!), (9) King on a. quay with bales and gold vessels, 
apparently landed from a ship near, perhaps Apollonius landing at 
Tarsis. Several of the pictures represent more than one scene of the 


story, as that of Tereus, in which we have the king at meat presented 
with the head of his son, while there are three birds in the background 
and the scene of the outrage on Philomene on the left ; and again in 
(4), where the rich man and his wife are sitting at table and refusing 
food to the beggar, while in the background on the right an angel is 
receiving the soul of the dying Lazarus. 

These miniatures are supposed to have belonged to Sir John Fenn, 
editor of the Paston Letters. The MS. from which they were cut 
seems to have been of the middle of the fifteenth cent. 

Evidence is afforded of one other large and well written MS. of the 
Conf. Amantis by a fragment of parchment in the Shrewsbury School 
Library, of which a photograph has most kindly been sent to me by 
Dr. Calvert of Shrewsbury. It contains about 70 lines of the Prologue, 
vii. 189-195 (with the Latin), 224-244, 274-294, 323-343. The leaf 
to which it belonged must have measured at least I5}x ii| in., and 
was written in double column of 50 lines. 

Three other MSS. are mentioned in the Catalogue of 1697 (vol. ii. 
pt. i), viz. 611 'John Gower*s Old English Poems' with 'S. Anselmi 
Speculum Religiosorum,' at Naworth Castle, which I strongly suspect 
is identical with Harl. 3490 (Hi), 4035, 'Goweri Confessio Amantis, 
Fol. magn.,' belonging to Ric. Brideoake, Esq., of Ledwell, Oxon., and 
6974, * Jo. Gower's Poems, fol.,' belonging to Sir Henry Langley of the 
County of Salop (i.e. of the Abbey, Shrewsbury). 

The average excellence of the Gower MSS. stands high, and there 
is a surprisingly large proportion of well written and finely decorated 
copies, which attain to more than a respectable tandard of correct- 
ness. Manuscripts such as L or 61, which stand in the third rank 
among copies of the Confessio Amantis ^ would take a very different place 
among the authorities for any of Chaucer's works, second only to the 
EUesmere MS. if they were copies of the Canterbury Tales ^ and easily 
in the first place if it were a question of the Legend of Good Women or 
the Hous of Fame, It is evident not only that Gower was careful about 
the text of his writings, but also that there was some organized system 
of reproduction, which was wanting in the case of Chaucer. 

Version. It remains to say something of the Spanish prose version 
of the Confessio Amantis^ which exists in manuscript in the Library 
of the Escorial (g. ii. 19). Information about this was first given me 
by Mr. J. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, and since then by the learned Librarian 
of the Escorial, Fr. Guillermo Antolin, O.S.A., who most obligingly sent 
me an account of it. The Catalogue (1858) thus describes the book : 
* Confision del amante, libro asf intitulado compuesto por Juan Goer 
natural del Reyno de Englaterra, e tornado en lengua Portuguesa por 
Roberto Payn 6 Payna can6nigo de la ciudad de Lisboa, e despues 
fu^ puesto en lenguaje castellano por Juan de Cuenca natural de Huete. 


Cod, escrilo en papel el ano de T400, fol. menor. pasta.' The state- 
nient about the author and the translators is taken from the beginning of 
the translation itself. It seems to be rather implied that ihe Castilian 
version made by Juan de Cuenca was based upon the Portuguese of 
Robert Payn, no doubl an Englishman. The present Librarian adds 
that it is a book of 41 1 leaves, and of the end of the fourteenth or 
beginning of the lifteenih cent. 

The translation was made from a copy of the first recension. So 
far as 1 can jud^ by the extracts with which the Librarian has 
furnished me, it is a tolerably close version. For example. Pro!, aa ff. 
' e por que pocos escriven en lenguaje yngles yo entiendo de componer 
en el un lybro a onrra del Rey rricardo cuyo sugebto yo so en todo 
obedescimiento de mi cora^on, como dicho sugeblo puede y deue a sa 
dicho seiior, . . . asy fue que un tiempo acaescio como avla de ser que 
yo yendo en un batel a rremos por el rrio de atenas que va 3 la cibdad 
de noua troya . . . y yo eslonces falle por ventura a este mi seiior e luego 
como me vido mando que fuese a una barca en que el venia, y entrc 
olras cosas que me dixo,' &c. And again viii. 2941 ff. (the Chaucer 
greeting), ' Saluda de mi parte a caucer mi discipio e mi poela, quaodo 
con el topares, el qual por mi en la su mancibia fiso toda su diligencia 
para componer y escreuir desyres e cantares de diversas maneras de 
los quales loda la tierra es liena, por la qual cosa en especial le soy 
mucho tenido mas que a ninguno de los otros. Por endc dile que le 
enbio desir que tal esta en su postrimera hedad por dar fyn a lodas 
sus obras se iravaje de faser su lestaracnlo de amor, asi como tu has 
fecho agora en lu confision.' 

Editions. The Cenfessio Amanlis has been already six times 

printed, viz. by Caxton, by Berthelette {twice), in Chalmers" English 
Poets, by Paul!, and by Prof. Henry Morley. All the later editions 
are dependent, directly or indirectly, on Berthelette. 

Caxton printed \)\e. Con/. Amanlis m 1483. His text is a composite 
one, taken from at least three MSS. At first he follows a copy of the third 
recension, either the Magdalen M.S. itself or one remarkably like It, 
and he continues [his for more than half the book, up 10 about v. 4500. 
Then for a time he seems to follow a second recension copy, either alone 
or in combination with the other, but fiom about v. 6400 to the end he 
prints from a manuscript of the unrevised first recension, inseriing 
however the additional passages in the seventh book and the conclusion 
(after the Chaucer greeting) from one of his other MSS. The account 
of the books ' Quia vnusquisque ' at the end is from a first recension 
MS. The principle, no doubt, was to include as much as possible, bat 
two of the additional passages, v. 7ois*-7o36* and 7o86"-72io', were 
omitted, probably by oversight, while a first recension copy was being 


followed. The later fonn of epilogue was perhaps printed rather than 
the other because it is longer. Caxton prints the lines at the end 
of the Prologue, which are given only by A, and there are some other 
indications that he had a MS. of this type ; but he had also one of 
the AdBT group, which alone contain vii. 2329*-2340* and 3149*- 

On f. cxvi v« Caxton still agrees with Magd. almost regularly, e.g. v. 4450 
And myn hap 4454 is not trouble 4465 But for that 4467 

ne shall yeue and lene 4484 doo 4503 A good word, whereas on 
f. cxvii he differs repeatedly, e.g. 45*8, 453a, 4543, 4555, 4560, 457a, and 
seems never to be in full agreement after this. That he is following a first 
recension copy after about v. 6400 is clear from the unbroken series of 
readings belonging to this class which he exhibits. The text generally is 
very poor and the metre extremely bad. 

Berthelette in 1532 printed the Conf, Amanftsfrom a MS. very 
closely resembling B. He did not venture, however, to substitute the 
preface which he found in his copy for that to which Caxton had given 
currency, bat merely expressed surprise that the printed copies should 
deviate so much from the MSS., and printed separately that which his 
mianuscript gave. He also takes from Caxton the lines at the end of the 
Prologue, the additional third recension passages, Prol. 495-498, 579-584, 
i. 1403-1406, 2267-2274, 2343-2358, 2369-2372 S and also the Chaucer 
greeting, viii. 2941-2960*, but he has overlooked v. 7701-7746. He 
inserts of course all the additional passages in v. and vii, as he found 
them in his MS., loudly protesting against Caxton for omitting ' lynes 
and columnes, ye and sometyme hoUe padges.' 

Berthelette's text is better than Caxton*s, but his manuscript must 
have been decidedly inferior in correctness to B. 

The second edition, 1554, is a reprint of the first, column for 
column, in different type. A few mistakes are corrected, and the 
spelling is somewhat changed, especially by substitution in many 
cases of 1 for y, 

Chalmers published the Con/. A mantis in vol. ii. of the collection 
of British Poets, 18 10, taking the text from Berthelette's edition of 1554. 

Pauli professed to follow Berthelette's first edition with collation 
throughout of MSS. Harl. 7184 and 3869, and occasional reference to 
Harl. 3490 and the Stafford MS. It is almost impossible that this full 
collation can really have been made, for by it nearly all Berthelette's 
errors might have been corrected, whereas we find them as a matter 

^ In the case of most of these passages the text proves them to be taken 
from Caxton's edition. Thus in Prol. 497 both editions omit ' to/ Prol. 5B3 
both omit * propre,' i. 2948 both have * Vnder graue ' for * Vnder the grene/ 
in 9354 ' other * for * thilke,* and in 937a Mn me ' for < I me.' 



of feci on every page of Pauli's edition. As lo tlie critical judgemeni 
of the editor, it is enough to say thai he regarded Harl. 71^4 as a belter 
authority for the text and spelling than either Harl. 3869 or the Stafford 
MS, (being attracted apparently by the external magnificence of the 
volume), and that he actually pronounced it to be of the fourteenth cent. 
His diligence may be measured by the fact that because Harl. 3490 
stops short at viii. 3062* (in the middle of a sentence), being left 
unfinished by the scribe, therefore Pauli's edition omits the remainder 
of this conclusion, 3o63*-3! 14", though he had the MS. in the Royal 
Library (R) within his reach, by means of which he might have com- 
pleted his copy. He ia also seriously inaccurate in the statements 
which he makes about the Stafibtd MS. as regards the additional 

A certain number of the errors in Berthelette's edition are corrected, 
but very many remain, and in some cases further corruption has been 
introduced by the editor, either from Harl. 7184 or otherwise. The 
orthography has been ' restored,' but hardly with success. 

MORLEY (i8Bg) followed Pauli's text, with conjectural alterations of his 
own, and a few corrections from Berthelelte, as i. 773. Often the 
changes are quite wrong, e.g. Prol. 85,608, i. 777. 1675 f, 2957 f-i 'he 
most ejclraordinary perhaps being iv. 3408 f. The editor professes 10 
omit iii. 142-338 and a few lines here and there in other places. The 
omissions, however, are much more extensive than this seems to imply. 
In the fourth book alone they are as follows, 401-408, 428-436, 
443-506. 516-523- 1467-1475. 1490-1594. 2131-2183, 2754-3770, 
3858-2862, 2883-2888, 3181-3302, and in some cases it is impossible 
even to conjecture on what principle they are made. 

The Present Edition. The text follows the Bodleian 
Fairfax MS. and every deviation from this is noted. The critical 
apparatus is constructed upon the following principles. 

Three manuscripts have been collated throughout with the text 
of F, viz. Bodley 901 (A), Corpus Christi Coll. 67 (C), and Bodley 
294 (B). These are selected lo represent respectively the first 
recension revised, ihe first recension unrevised, and the second 
recension texts. A is an excellent copy, the best of its class, C is a 
carefully written MS., the best of the group to which it belongs, with 
ihe exception of Egerlon 1991, and B, besides being a good copy 

' These line* have never been printed in any edition before the present, 
though published separalslj'by K. Meyer in his yoAnCoiwf's£Mi>Ai(«5m,&c., 
1889, and by Prol. E^ston of the University of Pennsylvania in h'ls Rradi'Hgs 
in Goutr, 1695. "I'herc ate ■ large number of sound cmcndationa frow the 
Brit. Museum MSS. suggested in this Utter book, but the author h«d no 
cleir idea of the principles on which the text aliould be constructed. 


and almost the only second recension MS. which is not imperfect, 
has perhaps a special claim to attention because its text is of the 
type which all the editions except that of Caxton have followed. 
In all cases where variation has been found, except where it is 
merely of form and spelling or of a very trifling and accidental 
kind, the readings of at least fourteen other selected copies have been 
ascertained, and by this procedure those variations which are merely 
individual have been distinguished from those which are shared 
by a class or a group. The result is given in the critical notes, all 
the variations of A and B being there cited except those that are 
very trifling \ while the readings of C are usually given only when 
shared by some other manuscript. 

It is important that it should be observed which the manuscripts 
are which have thus been referred to and how their evidence is 
cited. They are divided always according to their recension, 
first, second or third, and they are cited in an unvarying order, as 
follows : AJMHi X(G)ERCLB., SAdBTA, FWH, (or K), so that 
A . . . Bi means the whole series of the first class, and S . . . A 
that of the second, while Hi . . . Bi stands for HiX(G)ERCLBf, 
and £ ... Bi for ERCLBt. These nineteen (or eighteen) 
manuscripts are present as witnesses throughout, whether named 
or not ; for when the manuscripts are named which give a varia- 
tion, it is to be assumed that the remainder have the reading of 
the text. Thus the note 

* 1295 wisdom] wordes Hi . . . B2, Hs* 
must be taken to imply that 'wisdom' is the reading of AJM, 
SAdBTA, FW and * wordes' of H1XGERCLB2, Hs : 

*i296gostly B' 
means that the reading of the text, * goodly,' is given by every one 
of the nineteen except B : 

* 1318 How |)er(e) HiG . . . B2 ' 
means that the reading of the text is that of AJMX, SAdBTA, 
FWHs and that of the note belongs to H1GERCLB2 : 

' 1330 for to] fat fou SAdBTA ' 
indicates a reading of the second recension only : 

^ The following will serve as examples of those omitted : ili. 367 tawh B 
433 vDgood lieste A 618 is {/or it) A 65a sofle sofle B 658 sely 
scly B 739 marg. litigabant B 864 artow B 923 he (Jbr 

hem) B iv. 635 f. betake . . . ])urghsott A 650 wedde A 1105 no 
wol no B 1999 herte B 1939 ])o (Jbr pou) A, dec 



' 3340 tho] 1)6 AM . . . Bi ' 
stands for tlie fact that all the first recension copies except J vary 
from F, while the rest agree. Occasionally readings of other MSS. 
are cited besides those mentioned above, as Y, A or Magd., but the 
absence of such citation must not be taken to imply anything. 

It must be observed, however, that in some cases a more limited 
reference seemed desirable, especially on matters of form and 
spelling, points about which it would be idle to adduce any 
evidence but that of a few copies. Where selection of this kind 
is employed, the manuscripts on both sides are cited : thus such 

' 3691 set AJ, S. F sette C, B,' 

• 4307 all S,F alleAJ.B' 
must not be taken to imply the reading of any copy except those 
mentioned. In a few cases this form is used to avoid misunder- 
standing in passages where the record of readings is for some 
reason incomplete, as i. 2300, viii. 566, 1713, 1927. 

In citing a variation as given by a class or group of MSS, no 
attempt is made to give the spelling of each one separately. The 
form cited is that given either by the majority or by a leading MS. 
with variations sometimes added in jiarentheses. 

Attention should be paid also to the following points: (i) It was not 
found possible to complete the collation of the Glasgow MS. (G) before 
the text was printed, and consequently its readings must not be taken 
as implied, when nut mentioned, any further than v. 1970. The colla- 
tion has since been completed and some ofthe results are noted in the 
account of the MS. (3) K takes the place of Ha in vi. 1671-vii. 1405, 
and vii. 3594 to the end, where H" is defective. (3) Before assuming 
the evidence of any MS. ex siltntio it is necessary that the reader 
should assure himself that it is not defective in the part concerned. 
The means of doing this are fully afforded by the accounts given ofthe 
separate MSS^ where their imperfections are noted, and it must be 
remembered that ] and Ad are for the most part defective as regards 
the Latin summaries, and that this is the case with T also in certain 
parts. The readings of S on f. 50 arc for the most part passed over, 
as not originally belonging to that MS. (4I A few abbreviated Latin 
terms are used in the critical notes, as in rai, to indicate that the text 
is written over an erasure, or fi. m. to denote the reading of the first 

The lines are numbered in each book (for the first time), and 
the numbers with an asterisk attached are those ofthe lines in 
other recensions than that of the text. In addition to this it 


should be observed that as nearly all references to Gower for the 
last forty years have been made by Pauli's edition, it has been 
thought advisable to place in the margin of this text indications 
of the volumes and pages of that edition : thus P. i. 153 stands 
for 'Pauli, vol. i. p. 153.' 

Setting aside matters of spelling, punctuation and grammatical 
form, we may note that the material differences of reading between 
the text of this edition and that of Pauli are in number about 
two thousand. 

Other English Works. With regard to the text of the poem 
In Praise of Peace all that need be said will be found in the notes 
upon it. The Trentham MS., which contains it, has already 
been fully described in the volume of * French Works.' 

A poem in five seven-line stanzas, beginning ' Passe forthe ]70U 
pilgryme and bridel wele Jjy beste,* occurs in (Shirley's) MS. Ash- 
mole 59, f. 17 vo (Bodl. Libr.), with the title 'Balade moral of gode 
counseyle made by Gower.' The same without the final stanza 
(owing to loss of a leaf) occurs in MS. Kawlinson C. 86, but with 
no title or ascription of authorship, and both texts have been 
printed (not quite correctly) by Dr. Karl Meyer in h\^fohn Gowet^s 
Beziehungen^ &c., 1889. In addition to these copies there is one 
in the British Museum MS. Addit. 29729, which has been published 
by Dr. Max Forster in the Archiv fur das Studium der neueren 
Sprachen^ vol. 102, p. 50. In this MS. the piece is ascribed to 
Benedict Burgh, and it is called ' A leson to kepe well the tonge.' 

It is almost impossible that these verses can have been written 
by Gower, but out of deference to Shirley's authority (which is 
not very weighty however), and in order that the reader may 
judge, it is printed here, all deviations from the Ashmole text 
being noted, except in the case of 'th' for 'j?,' and some 
readings of the Rawlinson copy (R) being added in parentheses. 

Balade moral of gode counseyle made by Gower. 

Passe forth, thou pilgryme, and bridel wel thy beeste; 

Loke not agein for thing that may betyde ; 

Thenke what thou wilt, but speke ay with the leeste; 

Avyse thee wel who stondeth thee besyde ; 

Let not thyne herte beo with thy tonge bewryde ; 

Trust not to muche in fayre visayginge, 

For peynted cheere shapeth efft to stynge. 

I for^e wele a ageine 4 weele 8tonde]>e 7 8hape)>e (efift] her R) 


Byholde thy selff, or that thou other deme; 

Ne beo not glad whane other done amyss ; 

Sey never al that which wolde the sothe seme, lo 

Thou maist not wite what thy fortune is: 

For there is no wight on lyve iwyss 

That stondeth sure, ther fore I rede beware, 

And looke aboute for stumbling in the snare. 

Reporte not muche on other mennes sawe ; 

Be ay adrad to here a wicked fame; 

For man shal dye by dome of goddes lawe. 

That here enpeyreth any roannes name. 

Avyse thee wel ther fore or thow attame 

Suche as thou mayst never revoke ageyn ; ao 

A good name leste is leste for ay certain. 

Pley not with pecus ne ffawvel to thy feere ; 

Chese thou hem never, yif thou do afiler me; 

The hande is hurt that bourdeth with the here; 

Fawvel fareth even right as doth a bee ; 

Hony mowthed, ful of swetnesse is she. 

But loke behinde and ware thee from hir stonge, 

Thow shalt have hurt yf thou play with hir longe. 

Dispreyse no wight but if efi^e thou may him preyse, 

Ne preyse no firre but thou may discomende : 30 

Weyghe thy wordes and hem by mesure peyse ; 

Thenke that the gilty may by grace amende, 

And eke the gode may happen to offende: 

Remember eke that what man doth amiss, 

Thou hast or art or may be suche as he is. 

This is full of lines that Cower would not have written, with 
superfluous syllables in the metre, as 11. 1, 5, 10, 17, 29, 33, 
35 (omitting those that might pass with amended spelling), accent 
on weak syllables, as 11. 20, 25, 26, 31, defective rhyme, as *besyde' : 

* bewryde ' (participle), and * feere ' (companion) : * bere,' or sup- 
pression of syllable at the beginning, as in 1. 12. The form 

* mayst * (maist) for ' miht ' is not found in any respectable Gower 
MS. Moreover the style is not that of Gower, but evidently 
imitated from Chaucer's poem ' Fie from the pres.' 

9 gladde (glad R) amysse 10 ))ee xi wit (witte R) xa ewysse 
X3 stonde))e 15 mens (mennys R) 16 adradde 18 enpeyre)>e mans 
(mannes R) 19 wele ]>owe ao ageyne ai gode (good R) 

certaine aa (Playe not pecus R) a4 hurte bourde]>e 

(a brere R) as fare^e do>e a6 right ful (full R) a^ frome a8 )K>we 
shalt kache hareme to pley w* )>eos beestis longe (Thow shalt haue hurt yf 
pou play with her longe R) 34 Remembre dojie amisse 35 haste arte 


p. a, note on 04-99, for A, rtad APt, and for Ofthest Hi Magd. havi read Of 

thtst Magd. has 
p. 13, note on 331, >br RSnDAr rtad RSnDAr, A 
p. I4| 1. 349»y&r new rtad newe 
p. 19, note on 543, read scholA^ A, B, K schold S, F 
p. a3, note on 668, for hoi] hole AC read hoi B, F hole AC 

note on 683^ ybr A read AM 
p. 35, 1. 747, ybr for read forto 
p. 99, 1. S'ji,/or form read forme 
p. 33, 1. 1024, y&r wist read v/iste 
P* 57» ^ 78a, ybr There read Ther 
p. 60, 1. gi4, for She nra</ Sche so also p. 944, L 679 
p. 64, 1. io5a,ybr righte read rihie 
p. 70, 1. ia75,}&r Commandeth rM</ Comandeth 
p. 7a, note on 1338, /or SA read SAdA, Hs 
p. 88, 1. I946,ybr wenyinge read vrenynge 
p. 96, 1. aa48,ybr well readv/d 

p. 100, 1. 3365, ybr myght read myht 50 a/so p. 117, 1. 3990 
p. 107, 1. a6^o,/or discoevered read descoevered 

p. 109, 1. Q^lo,/ors^\ readal so also p. 156, 1. 966, p. 338, 1. 447, p.346, 1. 1668 
p. iia, 1. a8aa,ybrbare read bar 
p. 113, 1. 3838, /or But read Bot 
P> '33» below 1. 96, a small space should be left 
p. 138, 1. a74,/)rgreveth rva</ grieveth 
p. 150, 1. 750, ybr her read hire 
p. 170, 1. i49iB,y&rTill read T'i\ 

p. i8a, note on 1916, /or RCLBa, Hs read RCLBs, A, Hs 
p. aoo, note on 3593, for AdB read SAdB A 
p. 234, note on 313, j'&r Hi . . . Bs read Hi ... Bs, A 
p. 959, note on 983, add pater A 
p. 357, note on ii64,/)r XRCLBa nfa</ HiXRCLBj 
p. a6o, note on 1358, /or AdT read AdTA 
p. 269, note on 1336 {margin) , add om. A 

p. 265, note on 1448, for X . . . Ba, WHs read X . . . Bs, A, WHs 
p. 266, note on i473,/?r AdBT read SAdBT A 

p. 969, note on 1605, /or SBA read BA and /or AdTA read SAdTA 
p. 980, note on 9093, /or Phoreus T read Phoreus TA 
p. 282, 1. 9077, /or hounde read hound 
p. 284, note on 2166, /jrW read Ay W 
p. 289, 1. 2357, />r pouere read povere 
p. 292, note on 2444, />r Hi . . . Bs read Hi . . . Bs, SA 
p. 307, 1. 225, /?r distruid >ra</destruid 
p. 314, 1. 498, /7r accordant rra^acordant 
P- 334 » J« '994 {margin)^ add Confessor 
p. 346, 1. i653,/)raccompte r^a</acompte 
p. 351, note on 1872, /)r AC read AC, S 
p. 387, 1. 3 1 88, /or By read Be 
p. 396, 1. 3507,ybr thinge read thing 
p. 491, I. 7i6,ybr harme readharva. 
p. 464, note on 745 ff., add The authority here followed is the Tre'sor of 

Brunetto Latini, pp. 84-88 (ed. 1863). 
p. 468, note on 463 ff. , add The authority for this is perhaps the Tresor^ p. 191. 
p. 473, 1. II, /or 7101), Spertachus for Cyrus (vii. 3418), &c. read 7101). 
p. 489, note on 2459 ff, /or ^ &™ unable — form of it. read The name Geta 

was taken by Gower from the Geta of Vitalis Blesensis, a dramatic piece 

in Latin elegiacs founded on Plautus, in which Geta takes the place of 

Sosia : see Wright's Early Mysteries, &c., pp. 79-90. 
P- 509* note on 9606, for on the /erst, read on the/erste. 


P.i. I 

i. Torpor^ ebes sensus, scola parua labor minimusque 
Causant quo minimus ifse minora canam: 

Qua tamen Engisti lingua ccmit Insula Bruti 
Anglica Carmente metra iuuante loquar, 

Ossibus ergo carens que conterit ossa loquelis 
Absit, et interpres stet procul oro malus, 

Incipit Prologus 

Of hem that writen ous tofore 
The bokes duelle, and we therfore 
Ben tawht of that was write tho : 
Forthi good is that we also 
In oure tyme among ous hiere 
Do wryte of newe som matiere, 
Essampled of these olde wyse 
So that it myhte in such a wyse, 

The text is that of F {Fairfax 3). The MSS. most commonly cited 
are the following: — 

Of the first recension ^ A {Bodley 90a), J {St, John's Coll. Camb. B 12), 
M {Camb, Univ. Mm. a. ai), Ea {Egerton 913), Hi {Harleian 3490), 
Y {Marquess of Bute's), X {Soc. of Antiquaries 134), G {Glasgow^ 
Hunterian Afus. S i. 7), E {Egerton 1991), R {Beg. 18 C xxii.), 
C (Corpus Christi Coll, Oxf 67), L {Laud 609), Ba {Bodley 693). 

Of the second^ S {Stafford), Ad. {Brit. Mus. Addit. iao43), B {Bodley 
394), T {Trin. Coll. Camb. R 3. a), A {Sidney Coll, Camb, A 4. i). 

Of the third. F {Fairfax 3% W {Wadham Coll. 13), K {Keswick 
Halt), Hs {HaH, 7184), Magd. {Magdalen Coll. Oxf, ai3). 

5 ff. time, write, wise, &c., S 6 Do MEaHi, SA, FWKHa 

So JXGRBa, B To CL 7 Essampled (Ensampled) JMEaHi, SA, 
FWKHs Ensamples X . . . Ba &c., B 8 awyse F a wise S 

•♦ B 


[Design of the 

Hie in principle 
declarat qualiter in 
anno Regis Ricardi 
secundi sexto decimo 
lohannes Gower pre- 
sentem libellum com- 
posuitet finaliter com- 
pleuit, quem strenu- 
issimo domino suo 
domino Henrico de 
Lancastria tunc Der- 
beie Comiti cum omni 
reuerencia specialiter 

Whan we ben dede and elleswhere, 
Beleve to the worldes eere 
In tyme comende after this. 
Bot for men ^ein, and soth it is, 
That who that al of wisdom writ 
It dulleth ofte a mannes wit 
To him that schal it aldai rede, 
For thilke cause, if that ye rede, 

f I wolde go the middel weie 
And wryte a bok betwen the tweie, 
Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore, 
That of the lasse or of the more 
Som man mai lyke of that I wryte : 
And for that fewe men endite 
In oure englissh, I thenke make 

; *A bok for Engelondes sake. 

The yer sextenthe of kyng Richard. 
What schal befalle hierafterward 
God wot, for now upon this tyde 
Men se the world on every syde 
In sondry wyse so diversed. 
That it welnyh stant al reversed, 
As forto speke of tyme ago. 


P. 1.2 


P. 13 


*A bok for king Richardes sake. 
To whom belongeth my ligeance 
With al myn hertes obeissance 
In al that evere a liege man 
Unto his king may doon or can : 
So ferforth I me recomande 
To him which al me may comande, 30* 

Preyende unto the hihe regne 

15 rede om B 93 Englisch S 24-93 These lines art found in 
copiesofihe third recension (FHaNKHsMagd.W&c) andakoinSA, The 
rest have a4*^a\ The marginal note, * Hie in principio — destinauit,' is 
/bund only in A, KHsMagd. Of these, HsMagd. have in principio 
libri for in principio, and A gives quarto for sexto. 98 on] in S 
99, 30 Two lines omitted in S 

94^-99* All variations from B are noted, 94* book B 

95* bilonge)) B a^* euer B 99* f. recomaunde . . . comaunde B 
gi^ Prayend B 


The cause whi it changeth so 
It needeth nought to specifie, 
The thing so open is at ye 
That every man it mai beholde : 
And natheles be daies olde, 
Whan that the bokes weren levere, 
Wrytinge was beloved evere 
Of hem that weren vertuous ; 
For hier in erthe amonges ous, 
If noman write hou that it stode, 
The pris of hem that weren goode 
Scholde, as who seith, a gret partie 
Be lost: so for to magnifie 
The worthi princes that tho were, 
The bokes schewen hiere and there, 
Wherof the world ensampled is; 

[Design of the 

P. i.4 


Which causeth every king to regne, 

That his corone longe stonde. 

I thenke and have it understonde, 

As it bifel upon a tyde, 

As thing which scholde tho betyde,- 

Under the toun of newe Troye, 

Which tok of Brut his ferste joye, 

In Temse whan it was flowende 

As I be bote cam rowende, 

So as fortune hir tyme sette, 

My liege lord par chaunce I mette; 

And so befel, as I cam nyh, 

Out of my bot, whan he me syh, 

He bad me come in to his barge. 

And whan I was with him at large, 

Amonges othre thinges seid 


Hie declarat in pri- 
mis qualiter ob reue- 
renciam serenissimi 
principis domini sui 
Regis Anglie Ricardi 
secundi totus suus bu- 
rn ilis lohannesGower, 
licet graui infirmitatc 
a diu multipliciter fati- 
gatus, buius opusculi 
labores suscipere non 
recusauit, set tan- 
quam fauum ex variis 
floribus recollectum, 
presentem libellum ex 
variis cronicis, bis- 
toriis, poetanim pbi- 

33 nou3t S, F 
46 scbiewe S 
36* bityde B 

38 Writing . . . belouyd S 41 no man S 

47 essampled S 

37* margin Regis Anglie Ricardi secundi 

erased in B leaving blank 
Therose R 40* by B 

43* f. neigh . . . seigh B 
47* seyde B 

38* took B 39* Themese G 

4a* margin sed B 43* bifel B 

45* ntargin Cronicanim bistoriis XG 

B 2 


[Design op the 

losophorumque dictis, 
quatenus sibi infirm- 
itas permisit, studiosis- 
sime compilauit. 

And tho that deden thanne amis 

Thurgh tirannie and crualte, 

Right as thei stoden in degre, 

So was the wrytinge of here werk. 

Thus I, which am a burel clerk, 

Purpose forto wryte a bok 

After the world that whilom tok 

Long tyme in olde daies passed: 

Bot for men sein it is now lassed^ 

In worse plit than it was tho, 

I thenke forto touche also 

The world which neweth every dai, 

So as I can, so as I mai. 

Thogh I seknesse have upon honde 

And longe have had, yit woll I fonde 

To wryte and do my bisinesse, 

That in som part, so as I gesse, 

He hath this charge upon me leid. 
And bad me doo my besynesse 
That to his hihe worthinesse 
Som newe thing I scholde boke. 
That he himself it mihte loke 
After the forme of my writynge. 
And thus upon his comandynge 
Myn herte is wel the more glad 
To write so as he me bad; 
And eek my fere is wel the lasse 
That non envye schal compasse 
Withoute a resonable wite 
To feyne and blame that I write. 
A gentil herte his tunge stilleth, 
That it malice non distilleth. 
But preyseth that is to be preised; 
But he that hath his word unpeysed 

P. is 





49 tirantie S 51 is )>e writing S 

63 Tho write S 

48* leyde B 49* busynesse B 51* booke B 
looke B 53* f. writyng . . . comaundyng B 

59* Wi>out B 6a* noon B 

59 bural S 

59* mighte 
55» hcrt B 


The wyse man mai ben avised. [Design of the 

For this prologe is so assised ^^'^ 

That it to wisdom al belongeth: 

What wysman that it underfongeth, 

He schal drawe into remembrance 

The fortune of this worldes chance, 70 

The which noman in his persone 

Mai knowe, bot the god al one. 
r Whan the prologe is so despended, 

This bok schal afterward ben ended 

Of love, which doth many a wonder 
L And many a wys man hath put under. 

And in this wyse I thenke trete 

Towardes hem that now be grete, 

Betwen the vertu and the vice P. i. 6 

Which longeth unto this office. 80 

And handleth (onwrong) every thing, 

I preye un to the hevene king 

Fro suche tunges he me schilde. 

And natheles this world is wilde 

Of such jangling, and what befalle, 

My kinges heste schal nought falle, 70* 

That I, in hope to deserve 

His thonk, ne schal his wil observe; 

And elles were I nought excused, 

For that thing may nought be refused 

Which that a king himselve bit 

Forthi the symplesce of my wit 

I thenke if that it myhte avayle 

In his service to travaile: 

Though I seknesse have upon honde, 

And longe have had, yit wol I fonde, 80* 

68 wise man S 71 no man S 7a allone S 75 awonder F 
76 aw3rs man F a wise man S 80 officie F 

65* handele)) B onkrong euery Hi outkrong euery JMEaXGR 

CL outkroud euery Ba outtrong euery Ar outkrong eny B out 
wronge ony Cath. 66* pray B heuene GR heuen B 

69* bifalle B 75* Which JMEaXGCL What HiRBa, B byt B 
76* ffor py B 77* it might (it myht) JMEaCL it may GRB2, B 

I may Hi Sn it XCath. 78* to do trauayle G 8o* long B 


[Dedication.] Bot for my wittes ben to smale 

To tellen every man his tale, 
This bok, upon amendment 
To stonde at his commandement. 
With whom myn herte is of accord, 
I sende unto myn oghne lord, 
Which of Lancastre is Henri named : 
The hyhe god him hath proclamed 
Ful of knyhthode and alle grace. 
So woll I now this werk embrace 90 

With hoi trust and with hoi believe ; 
God grante I mot it wel achieve. 


[The former Time "• Tempus preteritum presins fortuna beatum 

BETTER THAN THIS.] LlnquU^ ct anttquos vertit in orbe vias, 

Progenuit veterem cancors dileccio pacem^ 

Dum facies homitUs nuncia mentis erat : 
Legibus vnicdor tunc temporis aura re/ulsity 

lusticie plane tuncque fuere vie, 
Nuncque latens odium vultum depingit amariSy 

Paceque sub ficta tempus ad arma tegit; 
Instar et ex variis mutabile Cawuliontis 

Lex gerity et regnis sunt noua iura nouis : (10) 

So as I made my beheste. 

To make a bok after his heste. 

And write in such a maner wise, 

Which may be wisdom to the wise 

And pley to hem that lust to pleye. 

But in proverbe I have herd seye 

That who that wel his werk begynneth 

The rather a good ende he wynneth; 

And thus the prologe of my bok 

After the world that whilom tok, 90* 

And eek somdel after the newe, 

I wol begynne for to newe. 

Latin Verses ii. a antOnas . . . vrbe S 6 ff. tunc que . . . Nunc 

que . . . Pace que ... sic que F 8 subficta S 

81* byheste B 89* book B 87* bygynMe> B 

89* f. book . . . took B 99* bygynne B for to newe 

JMEtHiXGR, B for the newe D Ar. for to schewe CLBs 


ClimcUa que fuerant solidissima sicque per orbem 
Soluuniur, nee eo centra quietis hadent. 

If I schal drawe in to my mynde 
The tyme passed, thanne I fynde 
The world stod thanne in al his welthe : 
Tho was the lif of man in helthe, 
Tho was plente, tho was richesse, 
Tho was the fortune of prouesse, 
Tho was knyhthode in pris be name, 
Wherof the wyde worldes fame loo 

Write in Cronique is yit withholde ; P. i. 7 

Justice of lawe tho was holde. 
The privilege of regalie 
Was sauf, and al the baronie 
Worschiped was in his astat; 
The citees knewen no debat. 
The poeple stod in obeissance 
Under the reule of governance. 
And pes, which ryhtwisnesse keste. 
With charite tho stod in reste : 1 10 

Of mannes herte the corage 
Was schewed thanne in the visage ; 
The word was lich to the conceite 
Withoute semblant of deceite : 
Tho was ther unenvied love, 
Tho was the vertu sett above 
And vice was put under fote. 
Now stant the crop under the rote, 
The world is changed overal, 
And therof most in special 120 

That love is falle into discord. 

[Temporal Rulers.] 

De statu regnonim, 
vt dicunt, secundum 
temporalia, videlicet 
tempore regis Ricardi 
secundi anno regni 
sui sexto decimo. 

96 margin videlicet — sexto decimo inserfed only in MSS. 0/ the third 
rgeensionf FWKHi &c. S has instead of it {after space of one line)y Nota 
quod tempore creacionis huius libri fuerunt guerre et opinioncs guer- 
rarum tam in sancta Cristi ecclesia quam per singula mundi regna 
quasi vniuersaliter diuulgate. Quapropter in hoc presenti prologo 
euentus tam graue^scriptor per singulos gradus specialiter deplangit 
So A without space and with dci for Cristi 109 which 

JMEiCL, FKHs wi)) H1XGRB2, SBA, W 113 word JMEaBa, A, 
FWK i&c. world HiXGRCL &c., SB 115 vnenuied JME2, S, 

FWK &c. vncuened A noon enuyed (non enuied) Hi . . . Ba, B 



[Temporal Rulers.] 

Apostolus. Regem 

Salomon. Omnia 
fac cum consilio. 

And that I take to record 

Of every lond for his partie 

The comun vois, which mai noght lie; 

Noght upon on, hot upon alle 

It is that men now clepe and calle, 

And sein the regnes ben divided, 

In stede of love is hate guided, 

The werre wol no pes purchace, 

And lawe hath take hire double face, 

So that justice out of the weie 

With ryhtwisnesse is gon aweie: 

And thus to loke on every halve, 

Men sen the sor withoute salve, 

Which al the world hath overtake. 

Ther is no regne of alle outtake. 

For every climat hath his diel 

After the tomynge of the whiel. 

Which blinde fortune overthroweth ; 

Wherof the certain noman knoweth : 

The hevene wot what is to done, 

Bot we that duelle under the mone 

Stonde in this world upon a weer. 

And namely bot the pouer 

Of hem that ben the worldes guides 

With good consail on alle sides 

Be kept upriht in such a wyse, 

That^hate breke noght thassise 

Of love, which is al the chief 

To kepe a regne out of meschief. 

For alle resoun wolde this. 

That unto him which the heved is 

The membres buxom scholden bowe. 

And he scholde ek her trowthe allowe, 

With al his herte and make hem chiere. 

For good consail is good to hiere. 

Althogh a man be wys himselve. 




194 comun GC, S comune B, F 
143 a weer S a wer B aweer F 
147 S hcu lost a Uafy 11. 147-390 
155 his om, B 157 aman F 

197 the] >at HiRBt, B 

144 A begins hire 

149 which A, B whiche F 


Yit is the wisdom more of tuelve; [Temporal Rulers.] 

And if thei stoden bothe in on, 

To hope it were thanne anon i6o 

That god his grace wolde sende P. i. 9 

To make of thilke werre an ende, 

Which every day now groweth newe: 

And that is gretly forto rewe 

In special for Cristes sake, 

Which wolde his oghne lif forsake 

Among the men to yeve pes. 

But now men tellen natheles 

That love is fro the world departed, 

So stant the pes unevene parted 170 

With hem that liven now adaies. 

Bot forto loke at alle assaies. 

To him that wolde resoun seche 

After the comun worldes speche 

It is to wondre of thilke werre, 

In which non wot who hath the werre; 

For every lond himself deceyveth 

And of desese his part receyveth. 

And yet ne take men no kepe. 

Bot thilke lord which al may kepe, 180 

To whom no consail may ben hid, 

Upon the world which is betid, 

Amende that wherof men pleigne 

With trewe hertes and with pleine, 

And reconcile love ayeyn, 

As he which is king sovereign 

Of al the worldes governaunce. 

And of his hyhe porveaunce 

Afferme pes betwen the londes 

And take her cause into hise hondes, 190 

So that the world may stonde appesed P. i. 10 

And his godhede also be plesed. 

iii. Quas coluit Moises vetus aut nouus ipse Johannes ^ 
Hesternas leges vix colli ista dies. 

159 stoden AJMEaL, A, FKHs stonden Hi . . . RBa &c., BA, W 
169 loue AJMEaXL, FWKHs it E, B om, HiRBaSn 



[The Church.] 

De statu cleri, vt 
dicunt, secundum spi- 
ritualia, videlicet tem- 
pore Roberti Gibbon- 
ensis^quinomen dem- 
entis sibi sortitus est, 
tunc antipape. 

Sic prius ecclesia bina virtute folita 

Nunc magis inculta pallet vtraque via, 
Pacificam Petri vaginam mucro resumens 

Horruit ad Cristi verba cruoris iter; 
Nunc tamen assiduo gladium de sanguine tinctum 

Vibrat auaricia^ lege tefente sacra. 
Sic lupus est pastor y pater hostis, mors miserator^ 

Predoque largitor, pax et in orbe timor, (lo) 

To thenke upon the daies olde, 
The lif of clerkes to beholde, 
Men sein how that thei weren tho 
Ensample and reule of alle tho 
Whiche of wisdom the vertu soughten. 
Unto the god ferst thei besoughten 
As to the substaunce of her Scole, 
That thei ne scholden noght befole 200 

Her wit upon none erthly werkes, 
Which were ayein thestat of clerkes, 
And that thei myhten fle the vice 
Which Simon hath in his office, 
Wherof he takth the gold in honde. 
For thilke tyme I understonde 
The Lumbard made non eschange 
The bisschopriches forto change, 
Ne yet a lettre for to sende 
For dignite ne for Provende, 210 

Or cured or withoute cure. 
The cherche keye in aventure 
Of armes and of brygantaille P. i. 11 

Stod nothing thanne upon bataille; 
To fyhte or for to make cheste 
It thoghte hem thanne noght honeste; 
Bot of simplesce and pacience 
Thei maden thanne no defence : 
The Court of worldly regalie 

LaHn Verses iii. 8 tepentc JEa, AA, FWKHs repcnte AMHi . . . B« 
B, Magd. 10 Predo que F 

194 ff. margin De statu— antipape om. AEa videlicet — antipape 
inserted in third recension only {different hand in F) aoi ertly F 

ao5 an honde R, B anhonde HiBa aio prebende A, A 215 for 
om, XGLBa, WH« 219 worJ»y(-i) HiERLBa, B worlde W 


To hem was thanne no baillie; 220 [The Church.] 

The vein honour was noght desired, 

Which hath the proude herte fyred; 

Humilite was tho withholde, 

And Pride was a vice holde. 

Of holy cherche the largesse 

Yaf thanne and dede gret almesse 

To povere men that hadden nede : 

Thei were ek chaste in word and dede, 

Wherof the poeple ensample tok; 

Her lust was al upon the bok, 230 

Or forto preche or forto preie, 

To wisse men the ryhte weie 

Of suche as stode of trowthe unliered. 

Lo, thus was Petres barge stiered 

Of hem that thilke tyme were, 

And thus cam ferst to mannes Ere 

The feith of Crist and alle goode 

Thurgh hem that thanne weren goode 

And sobre and chaste and large and wyse. 

Bot now men sein is otherwise, 240 

Simon the cause hath undertake, 

The worldes swerd on honde is take ; 

And that is wonder natheles, P. i. 12 

Whan Crist him self hath bode pes 

And set it in his testament, 

How now that holy cherche is went, 

Of that here lawe positif 

Hath set to make werre and strif 

For worldes good, which may noght laste. 

God wot the cause to the laste 250 

Of every right and wrong also ; 

But whil the lawe is reuled so 

That clerkes to the werre entende, 

I not how that thei scholde amende 

The woful world in othre thinges. 

To make pes betwen the kynges 

After the lawe of charite. 

Which is the propre duete 

234 Petrus HiE . . . B», W Petris XG 249 wich F 


[The Church.] Belongende unto the presthode. 

Bot as it thenkth to the roanhode, 260 

The hevene is ferr, the world is nyh, 

And veine gloire is ek so slyh, 

Which coveitise hath now withholde, 

That thei non other thing beholde, 

Bot only that thei myhten winne. 

And thus the werres thei beginne, 

Wherof the holi cherche is taxed, 

That in the point as it is axed 

The disroe goth to the bataille, 

As thogh Crist myhte noght availe 270 

To don hem riht be other weie. 

In to the swerd the cherche keie 

Is torned, and the holy bede P. i. 13 

Into cursinge, and every stede 

Which scholde stonde upon the feith 

And to this cause an Ere leyth, 

Astoned is of the querele. 

That scholde be the worldes hele 

Is now, men sein, the pestilence 

Which hath exiled pacience 280 

Fro the clergie in special : 

And that is schewed overal, 

In eny thing whan thei ben grieved. 

Bot if Gregoire be believed, 

As it is in the bokes write, 

He doth ous somdel forto wite 

The cause of thilke prelacie, 

Wher god is noght of compaignie : 

For every werk as it is founded 

Schal stonde or elles be confounded ; 2^ 

Who that only for Cristes sake 

Desireth cure forto take. 

And noght for pride of thilke astat. 

To here a name of a prelat, 

He schal be resoun do profit 

a6o to ))e manhod(e) AJME«, AA, FW to m. Hi . . . Ba, B to make 
m. KHs 367 )>e FKHsMagd. fat A . . . Bt &c., BAA om. W 

280 paciencie F 



P. i. 14 


In holy cherche upon the plit 
That he hath set his conscience ; 
Bot in the worldes reverence 
Ther ben of suche roanie glade, 
Whan thei to thilke astat ben made, 
Noght for the merite of the charge, 
Bot for thei wolde hemself descharge 
Of poverte and become grete; 
And thus for Pompe and for beyete 
The Scribe and ek the Pharisee 
Of Moises upon the See 
In the chaiere on hyh ben set; 
Wherof the feith is ofte let, 
Which is betaken hem to kepe. 
In Cristes cause alday thei slepe, 
Bot of the world is noght foryete ; 
For wel is him that now may gete 
Office in Court to ben honoured. 
The stronge coffire hath al devoured 
Under the keye of avarice 
The tresor of the benefice, 
Wherof the povere schulden clothe 
And ete and drinke and house bothe ; 
The charite goth al unknowe, 
For thei no grein of Pite sowe : 
And slouthe kepeth the libraire 
Which longeth to the Saintuaire; 
To studie upon the worldes lore 
Sufficeth now withoute more; 
Delicacie his swete toth 
Hath fostred so that it fordoth 
Of abstinence al that ther is. 
And forto loken over this, 
If Ethna brenne in the clergie, 
Al openly to mannes ye 
At Avynoun thexperience 

317 povere] pore \>e\ (J)ai) CL, W (pou^re J)ey) 321 S resumes 

331 Copies of first and second recensions have here in margin Anno 
domini Millesimo CCC° Nonagesimo. S gives this with the addition quia 
tunc erat ecclesia diuisa and so also RSnDAr F has an erasure in 
thr margin. 

[The Church.] 

Gregorius. Terrenis 
lucris inhiant, honore 
prelacie gaudent, et 
300 non vt prosint, set vt 
presint, episcopatum 




[The Church.] Therof hath yove an evidence, 

Of that men sen hem so divided. P. i. 15 

And yit the cause is noght decided ; 

Bot it is seid and evere schal, 

Betwen tuo Stoles lyth the fal, 

Whan that men wenen best to sitte : 

In holy cherche of such a slitte 

Is for to rewe un to ous alle; 

God grante it mote wel befalle 340 

Towardes him which hath the trowthe. 

Bot ofte is sen that mochel slowthe, 

Whan men ben drunken of the cuppe, 

Doth mochel harm, whan fyr is uppe, 

Bot if somwho the fiamme stanche ; 

And so to speke upon this branche, 

Which proud Envie hath mad to springe, 

Of Scisme, causeth forto bringe 

This new Secte of Lollardie, 

And also many an heresie 3<;o 

Among the clerkes in hemselve. 

It were betre dike and delve 

And stonde upon the ryhte feith, 

Than knowe al that the bible seith 

And erre as somme clerkes do. 

Upon the bond to were a Schoo 

And sette upon the fot a Glove 

Acordeth noght to the behove 

Of resonable mannes us : 

If men behielden the vertus 360 

That Crist in Erthe taghte here, 

Thei scholden noght in such manere, 

Among hem that ben holden wise, P. i. 16 

The Papacie so desguise 

Upon diverse eleccioun. 

Which stant after thaffeccioun 

Of sondry londes al aboute : 

Bot whan god wole, it schal were oute, 

336 ly|> F {in ras, ) KHsMagd. is A . . . Bs &c. , SB AA 338 flitte 
AXGCL 341 whiche F 347 proud A, SB proude C, F 

354 that] what £Bs, B 


For trowthe mot stonde ate laste. [The Church.] 

'Bot yet thei argumenten faste 370 

Upon the Pope and his astat, 
Wherof thei falle in gret debat ; 
This clerk seith yee, that other nay, 
And thus thei dryve forth the day, 
And ech of hem himself amendeth 
Of worldes good, bot non entendeth 
To that which comun profit were. 
Thei sein that god is myhti there, 
And schal ordeine what he wile, 
Ther make thei non other skile 380 

Where is the peril of the feith, 
Bot every clerk his herte leith 
To kepe his world in special. 
And of the cause general, 
' Which unto holy cherche longeth, 
Is non of hem that underfongeth 
To schapen eny resistence : 
And thus the riht hath no defence, 
Bot ther I love, ther I holde. 
Lo, thus tobroke is Cristes folde, 390 

Wherof the flock withoute guide 
Devoured is on every side, 
In lacke of hem that ben unware P. i. 17 

Schepherdes, whiche her wit beware 
Upon the world in other halve. 
The scharpe pricke in stede of salve 
Thei usen now, wherof the hele 
Thei hurte of that thei scholden hele ; 
And what Schep that is full of wulle 
Upon his back, thei toose and pulle, 400 

Whil ther is eny thing to pile : 
And thogh ther be non other skile 
Bot only for thei wolden wynne, 
Thei leve noght, whan thei begynne. 
Upon her acte to procede. 
Which is no good schepherdes dede. 

370 argumeten F 373 This . . . pat AJM, SA, F &c. This. . . 

]ns EsX . . . Bs, B The . . . this Hi 396 pricke om, A 


[The Church.] And upon this also men sein, 

That fro the leese which is plein 
Into the breres thei forcacche 
Her Orf, for that thei wolden lacche 410 

With such duresce, and so bereve 
That schal upon the thomes leve 
Of wulle, which the brere hath tore ; 
Wherof the Schep ben al totore 
Of that the hierdes make hem lese. 
\ Lo, how thei feignen chalk for chese, 
f For though thei speke and teche wel, 
Thei don hemself therof no del : 
For if the wolf come in the weie, 
Her gostly Staf is thanne aweie, 420 

Wherof thei scholde her flock defende ; 
Bot if the povere Schep offende 
In eny thing, thogh it be lyte, P. i. 18 

They ben al redy forto smyte; 
And thus, how evere that thei tale, 
The strokes falle upon the smale, 
And upon othre that ben grete 
Hem lacketh herte forto bete. 
So that under the clerkes lawe 
Men sen the Merel al mysdrawe, 430 

I wol noght seie in general, 
For ther ben somme in special 
In whom that alle vertu duelleth, 
Qui vocatur a deo And tho ben, as thapostel telleth, 

tanquam Aaron. ^j^^ ^^^ ^^ j^.^ deccioun 

Hath cleped to perfeccioun 

In the manere as Aaron was : 

Thei ben nothing in thilke cas 

Of Simon, which the foldes gate 

Hath lete, and goth in otheigate, 440 

Bot thei gon in the rihte weie. 

Ther ben also somme, as men seie, 

That folwen Simon ate hieles, 

409 forcacche AME«, SAA, FWKHs for)) cacche Hi . . . Bi, B 
for tacche (?) J 410 Her Orf] Herof (Here of) RCSn, A 

Wheorof Hi Therof A 4x9 com FK 491 folk £C^ W 


Whos carte goth upon the whieles [The Church.] 

Of coveitise and worldes Pride, 

And holy cherche goth beside, 

Which scheweth outward a visage 

Of that is noght in the corage. 

For if men loke in holy cherche, 

Betwen the word and that thei werche 450 

Ther is a full gret difference : 

Thei prechen ous in audience 

That noman schal his soule empeire, P. i. 19 

For al is hot a chirie feire 

This worldes good, so as thei telle; 

Also thei sein ther is an helle. 

Which unto mannes sinne is due. 

And bidden ous therfore eschue 

That wikkid is, and do the goode. 

Who that here wordes understode, 460 

It thenkth thei wolden do the same ; 

Bot yet betwen emest and game 

Ful ofte it tometh other wise. 

With holy tales thei devise 

How meritoire is thilke dede 

Of charite, to clothe and fede 

The povere folk and forto parte 

The worldes good, bot thei departe 

Ne thenken noght fro that thei have. 

Also thei sein, good is to save 470 

With penance and with abstinence 

Of chastite the continence ; 

Bot pleinly forto speke of that, 

I not how thilke body fat, 

Which thei with deynte metes kepe 

And leyn it softe forto slepe. 

Whan it hath elles al his wille. 

With chastite schal stonde stille: 

And natheles I can noght seie. 

In aunter if that I misseye. 480 

Touchende of this, how evere it stonde, 

450 thei] men B 453 apeyre AM 457 vnto mannes soule is 
AMEa is to mannes synne B 



[Ti:s Church.] 

{Jam Commons.] 

De statu plebis, vt 
dicunt, secundum ac* 
cidencium mutabilia. 

I here and wol noght understonde, 

For therof have I noght to done : P. i. 20 

Bot he that made ferst the Mone, 

The hyhe g*d, of his goodnesse, 

If ther be cause, he it redresce. 

Bot what as eny man accuse, 

This mai reson of trowthe excuse; 

The vice of hem that ben ungoode 

Is no reproef unto the goode : 490 

For every man hise oghne werkes 

Schal here, and thus as of the clerkes 

The goode men ben to comende, 

And alle these othre god amende: 

For thei ben to the wbrldes ye 

The Mirour of ensamplerie. 

To reulen and to taken hiede 

Betwen the men and the godhiede. 

iv. Vulgaris populus regali lege subactus 
Dum tacet^ vt mitis agna subibit onus. 
Si caput extollat et lex sua frena relaxety 
Vt sibi velle iubet^ Tigridis instar kabet, 
Ignis^ aqua dominans duo sunt pietate carentes, 
Ira tatnen plebis est violenta magis. 

Now forto speke of the comune, 
It is to drede of that fortune 500 

Which hath befalle in sondri londes : 
Bot often for defalte of bondes 
Al sodeinh'che, er it be wist, 
A Tonne, whanne his lye arist, 
Tobrekih and renneth al aboute, 
Which elles scholde noght gon oute ; 
And ek fulofte a litel Skar 
Upon a Banke, er men be war. 
Let in the Strem, which with gret peine, P. i. ai 
If evere man it schal restreigne. 510 

486 he am, AM 487 as AJM£«, SA, FKHa )«tHi . . . Bi, B 

is W 495-498 Four lines found only in third recension ropies 

FWKHs &c. 501 margin mutabilia accidcncium HiRBs, B 

accidencia mutabilia X 510 euere ^euer) AMEaX, SAA, FKHs 

cueryJHiRBa,W enyCL, B 



Wher lawe lacketh, errour groweth, 
He is noght wys who that ne troweth, 
For it hath proeved ofte er this; 
And thus the comun clamour is 
In every lond wher poeple dwelleth, 
And eche in his compleignte telleth 
How that the world is al miswent, 
And ther upon his jugement 
Yifth every man in sondry wise, 
Bot what man wolde himself avise, 
His conscience and noght misuse, 
He may wel ate ferste excuse 
His god, which evere stant in on: 
In him ther is defalte non, 
So moste it stonde upon ousselve 
Nought only upon ten ne twelve, 
Bot plenerliche upon ous alle. 
For man is cause of that schal falle. 
And natheles yet som men wryte 
And sein that fortune is to wyte. 
And som men holde oppinion 
That it is constellacion, 
AVTiich causeth al that a man doth : 
God wot of bothe which is soth. 
The world as of his propre kynde 
Was evere unlrewe, and as the blynde 
Improprelich he demeth fame, 
He blameth that is noght to blame 
And preiseth that is noght to preise : 
Thus whan he schal the thinges peise, 
Ther is deceipte in his balance, 
And al is that the variance 
Of ous, that scholde ous betre avise ; 
For after that we falle and rise. 
The world arist and faith withal, 
So that the man is overal 
His oghne cause of wel and wo. 
That we fortune clepe so 

[The Commohs.] 


[Man the Cause of 


P. i. 22 


Nota contra hoc, 
quodaliquisortem for- 
tune, aliqui influen- 
ciam planetanim po- 
nunt, per quod, vt 
dicitur,rerum euentus 
necessario contingit. 
Set pocius dicendum 
est, quod ea que nos 
prospera et aduersa 
in hoc mundo voca- 
mus, secundum merita 
et demerita hominum 
digno dei iudicio pro- 

518 argument B 

543 schold S, F 

C 2 



[Man the Cause of 

Boicius. O quam 
dulcedo hunume vite 
multa amaritudine a- 
spersa est ! 


Out of the man himself it groweth ; 

And who that other wise troweth, 

Behold the poeple of Irael : 

For evere whil thei deden wel, 

Fortune was hem debonaire, 

And whan thei deden the contraire, 

Fortune was contrariende. 

So that it proeveth wel at ende 

Why that the world is wonderfull 

And may no while stonde full, 

Though that it seme wel besein; 

For every worldes thing is vein, 

And evere goth the whiel aboute, 

And evere stant a man in doute. 

Fortune stant no while stille, 

So hath ther noman al his wille. 

Als fer as evere a man may knowe, 

Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe; 

The world stant evere upon debate 

So may be seker non astat, 

Now hier now ther, now to now fro, P. i. 23 

Now up now down, this world goth so, 

And evere hath don and evere schal : 

Wherof I finde in special 

A tale writen in the Bible, 

Which moste nedes be credible; 

And that as in conclusioun 

Seith that upon divisioun 

Stant, why no worldes thing mai laste, 

Til it be drive to the laste. 

And fro the ferste regne of alle 

Into this day, hou so befalle. 

Of that the regnes be muable 

The man himself hath be coupable. 

Which of his propre governance 

Fortuneth al the worldes chance. 



551 Irael JM, S,.FH*N : (Mt rest Israel 565 aman F 579-584 
Six lints found ottfy in third rtcmsion : cp. 495 



V. Prosper et aduersus obliquo tramite versus 
Immundus mundus decipit omne genus, 

Mundus in euentu versatur vt alea casu^ 
Quam celer in ludis iactat auara fnanus, 

Sicut ymago viri variantur tempora mundij 
Statque nichil firmum prefer amare deum. 

The hyhe almyhti pourveance, 
In whos eterne remembrance 
Fro ferst was every thing present, 
He hath his prophecie sent, 
In such a wise as thou schalt htere, 
To Daniel of this matiere, 590 

Hou that this world schal tome and wende, 
Till it be falle to his ende ; 
Wherof the tale telle I schal. 
In which it is betokned aL 

As Nabugodonosor slepte, P. i. 24 

A swevene him tok, the which he kepte 
Til on the morwe he was arise, 
For he therof was sore agrise. 
To Daniel his drem he tolde. 
And preide him faire that he wolde 600 

Arede what it tokne may; 
And seide : * Abedde wher I lay, 
Me thoghte I syh upon a Stage 
Wher stod a wonder strange ymage. 
His hed with al the necke also 
Thei were of fin gold bothe tuo; 
His brest, his schuldres and his armes 
Were al of selver, bot the th armes, 
The wombe and al doun to the kne, 
Of bras thei were upon to se; 610 

The legges were al mad of Stiel, 
So were his feet also somdiel. 
And somdiel part to hem was take 
Of Erthe which men Pottes make ; 

Latin Verses v. 3 vesatur vt H1RB2, B vesatur et CL 4 ictat 

HiR, B 6 line om. HiRBaSn, B 

588 send F 59a befalle F 608 the tharmes] )>e armes M, A 

thannes B2, HsMagd. 610 weren on AX 611 made al AMHi 

[ Nebuchadnezzar's 

Hie in prologo 
tractat de Statua ilia, 
quam Rex Nabugodo* 
nosor viderat in somp- 
nis, cuius caput au- 
reum, pectus argen- 
teum, venter eneus, ti- 
bie ferree, pedum vero 
quedam pars ferrea, 
quedam fictilis videba- 
tur, sub qua membror- 
um diuersitate secun- 
dum Danielis exposi- 
cionem huius mundi 
variacio figurabalur. 


[ Nsbuchadmezzar's 

Hie narrat vlteriiis 
de quodam lapide 
grandi, qui, vt in 
dicto sompnio vide- 
batur, ab excelso 
monte super statuam 
eorruens ipsam quasi 
in niehilum penitus 

Hie loquitur dc 
mterpretacione aom- 
pnii, et primo dicit de 
significacione capitis 

De pectore ar- 

De ventre eneo. 

De tibets ferreis. 

De significacione 
pedum, qui ex duabus 
materiis discordanti- 
bus adinuicem diuisi 

De lapidis statuam 
confringentis signifi- 



The fieble meynd was with the stronge, 
So myhte it wel npght stonde longe. 
And tho me thoghte that I sih 
A gret ston from an hull on hyh 
Fel doun of sodein aventure 
Upon the feet of this figure, 
With which Ston a) tobroke was 
Gold, Selver, Erthe, Stiel and Bras, 
That al was in to pouldre broght. 
And so forth torned into noght.' 

This was the swevene which he hadde, P. i. 25 
That Daniel anon aradde, 
And seide him that figure strange 
Betokneth how the world schal change 
And waxe lasse worth and lasse, 
Til it to noght a) overpasse. 
The necke and hed, that weren gdde, 
He seide how that betokne scholde 
A worthi world, a noble, a riche, 
To which non after schal be liche. 
Of Selver that was overforth 
Schal ben a world of lasse worth ; 
And after that the wombe of Bras 
Tokne of a werse world it was. 
The Stiel which he syh afterward 
A world betokneth more hard: 
Bot yet the werste of everydel 
Is last, whan that of Erthe and Stiel 
He syh the feet departed so, 
For that betokneth mochel wo. 
Whan that the world divided is, 
It moste algate fare amis, 
For Erthe which is meynd with Stiel 
Togedre may noght laste wiel, 
Bot if that on that other waste; 
So mot it nedes faile in haste. 
The Ston, which fro the hully Stage 



616 nought wel KHs nought {om, wel; AM, W (nat) 618 on] 

an B 618 margin grandij gracia dci (grA d1) RBzSn 

697 margin dicit om, B 



He syh doun falle on that ymage, 

And hath it into pouldre broke, 

That swevene hath Daniel unloke, 

And seide how that is goddes myht, P. i. a6 

Which whan men wene most upryht 

To stonde, schal hem overcaste. 

And that is of this world the laste. 

And thanne a newe schal beginne, 

Fro which a man schal nevere twinne; 

Or al to peine or al to pes 

That world schal lasten endeles. 

Lo thus expondeth Daniel 
The kynges swevene faire and wel 
In Babiloyne the Cite, 
Wher that the wiseste of Caldee 
Ne cowthen wite what it mente; 
Bot he tolde al the hoi entente, 
As in partie it is befalle. 
Of gold the ferste regne of alle 
Was in that kinges time tho, 
And laste manye daies so, 
Thenvhiles that the Monarchic 
Of al the world in that partie 
To Babiloyne was soubgit ; 
And hield him stille in such a plit, 
Til that the world began diverse : 
And that was whan the king of Perse, 
Which Cirus hyhte, ayein the pes 
Forth with his Sone Cambises 
Of Babiloine al that Empire, 
Ryht as thei wolde hemself desire, 
Put under in subjeccioun 
And tok it in possessioun, 
And slayn was Baltazar the king, 
Which loste his regne and al his thing. 
And thus whan thei it hadde wonne, 
The world of Selver was begonne 

659 schal a ncwe Hi . . . Ba, B 663 expondej) S, FK al. 

cxpoundej) 668 al om. HiRBa, B hoi] ho'e AC margin 

diminuntur F 68r al] of AMERBa, B om. Hi 683 in om. A 

[ Nebuchadnezzar's 


[The Empires or 
THE World.] 

Hie consequenter 
scribit qualiter huius 
seculi regna variis mu* 
tacionibus,prout in dic- 
ta statua figurabatur, 
secundum temportim 
distincciones sencibil- 
iter hactenus diminu- 

670 De seculo aureo, 
quod in capite statue 
designatum est, a 
tempore ipsius Nabu- 
godonosor Regis Cal- 
dee vsque in regnum 
Ciri Regis Persarum. 


P. i. 27 

De seculo argenteo, 
quod in pectore desig- 



[The Empires of 
THE World.] 

natum est, a tempore 
ipsius Regis Ciri 
vsquein regnum Alex- 
andri Regis Mace- 

De seculo enco, 
quod in venire desig- 
natum est, a tempore 
ipsius Alexandri vs- 
que in regnum lulii 
Romanorum Impara- 

And that of gold was passed oute : 

And in this wise it goth aboute 690 

In to the Regne of Darius; 

And thanne it fell to Perse thus, 

That Alisaundre put hem under, 

Which wroghte of armes many a wonder, 

So that the Monarchie lefte 

With Grecs, and here astat upjefte, 

And Persiens gon under fote, 

So soffre thei that nedes mote. 

And tho the world began of Bras, 

And that of selver ended was ; 700 

Bot for the time thus it laste, 

Til it befell that ate laste 

This king, whan that his day was come, 

With strengthe of deth was overcome. 

And natheles yet er he dyde, 

He schop his Regnes to divide 

To knyhtes whiche him hadde served, 

And after that thei have deserved 

Yaf the conquestes that he wan ; 

Wherof gret werre tho began 710 

Among hem that the Regnes hadde^ 

Thurgh proud Envie which hem ladde, 

Til it befell ayein hem thus : 

The noble Cesar Julius, 

Which tho was king of Rome lond, P. i. 28 

^Vith gret bataille and with strong bond 

Al Grece, Perse and ek Caldee 

Wan and put under, so that he 

Noght al only of thorient 

Bot al the Marche of thoccident 720 

Governeth under his empire. 

As he that was hoi lord and Sire, 

And hield thurgh his chivalerie 

Of al this world the Monarchie, 

And was the ferste of that honour 

Which tok the name of Emperour. 

698 nedes] soffre (auffre) ME, B 705 or B 718 putte A 

720 of Occident XE, B 723 chiualric F 724 this] >c HiXGCL, W 



Wher Rome thanne wolde assaille, 
Ther myhte nothing contrevaille, 
Bot every contre moste obeie: 
Tho goth the Regne of Bras aweie, 
And comen is the world of Stiel, 
And stod above upon the whiel. 
As Stiel is hardest in his kynde 
Above alle othre that men finde 
Of Metals, such was Rome tho 
The myhtieste, and laste so 
Long time amonges the Romeins 
Til thei become so vileins, 
That the fals Emperour Leo 
With Constantin his Sone also 
The patrimoine and the richesse, 
Which to Silvestre in pure almesse 
The ferste Constantinus lefte, 
Fro holy cherche thei berefte. 
Bot Adrian, which Pope was, 
And syh the meschief of this cas, 
Goth in to France for pleigne, 
And preith the grete Charlemeine, 
For Cristes sake and Soule hele 
That he wol take the querele 
Of holy cherche in his defence. 
And Charles for the reverence 
Of god the cause hath undertake, 
And with his host the weie take 
Over the Montz of Lombardie ; 
Of Rome and al the tirandie 
With blodi swerd he overcom, 
And the Cite with strengthe nom; 
In such a wise and there he wroghte, 
That holy cherche ayein he broghte 
Into franchise, and doth restore 
The Popes lost, and yaf him more : 

[The Empires of 
THE World.] 

De se'culo ferreo, 
quod in tibeis desig- 
hyi natum est, a tempore 
lulii vsque in regnum 
Karoli magni Regis 


P. i. 29 



730 margin vsque ad Hi . . . Ba, B 73a stant Hi . . . Ba, B 

fttargin Francie Hi . . . B2, B 739 |)e fals Emperour AJMXGCL, SA, 
FKHs J)e Emp. fals HiERBa \e emperour B 745 Bot] Good (God) 
GCLAndHi 75owoldeMHiXGCL, A 754ha)>takeB didtakeA 



[The Empires of 
THE World. 1 

Oe seculo nouissi- 
mis iam temporibus 
ad similitudinem pe- 
dum in discordiam 
lapso et diuiso, quod 
post decessum ipsius 
Karoli, cum imperium 
Romanorum in manus 
Longobardonim pcr- 
uenerat> tempore Al- 
berti et Berengarii 
incepit: namobcorum 
diuisionem contigit, 
vt Almanni impera- 
toriam adepti sunt 
maiestatem. In cuius 
solium quendam prin- 
cipem theotonicum 
Othonem nomine sub- 
limari primitus con- 
stituenint. Et ab illo 
regno incipicnte di- 
uisio per vniuersum 
orbem in posteros 
concreuit, vnde nos 
ad alterutrum diuisi 
huius seculi consum- 
macionem iam vltimi 

And thus whan he his god hath served, 
He tok, as he wel hath deserved, 
The Diadenne and was coroned. 
Of Rome and thus was abandoned 
Thempire, which cam nevere ayein 
Into the hond of no Romein ; 
Bot a long time it stod so stille 
Under the Frensche kynges wille, 
Til that fortune hir whiel so ladde, 
That afterward Lombardz it hadde, 
Noght be the swerd, bot be soffrance 
Of him that tho was kyng of France, 
Which Karle Calvus cleped was; 
And he resigneth in this cas 
Thempire of Rome unto Lowis 
His Cousin, which a Lombard is. 
And so hit laste into the yeer 
Of iVlbert and of Berenger; 
Bot thanne upon dissencioun 
Thei felle, and in divisioun 
Among hemself that were grete. 
So that thei loste the beyete 
Of worschipe and of worldes pes. 
Bot in proverbe natheles 
Men sein, ful selden is that welthe 
Can soffre his oghne astat in helthe; 
And that was on the Lombardz sene. 
Such comun strif was hem betwene 
Thurgh coveitise and thurgh Envie, 
That every man drowh his partie, 
Which myhte leden eny route, 
Withinne Burgh and ek withoute: 
The comun ryht hath no felawe. 
So that the governance of lawe 
Was lost, and for necessite, 
Of that thei stode in such degre 
Al only thurgh divisioun, 

i t 

P. i. 30 



764 as he ha|> wel ERBt, SBAA wel as he hath Hi 768 the 

om. B 785 margin peruenerit Hi . . . RLBa, B pcruenit C 



Hem nedeth in conclusioun 
Of strange londes help beside. 

And thus for thei hemself divide 
And stonden out of reule unevene, 
Of Alemaine Princes sevene 
Thei chose in this condicioun, 
That upon here eleccioun 
Thempire of Rome scholde stonde. 
And thus thei lefte it out of honde 
For lacke of grace, and it forsoke, 
That Alemans upon hem toke : 
And to confermen here astat, 
Of that thei founden in debat 
Thei token the possessioun 
After the composicioun 
Among hemself, and therupon 
Thei made an Emperour anon, 
Whos name as the Cronique telleth 
Was Othes; and so forth it duelleth, 
Fro thilke day yit unto this 
Thempire of Rome hath ben and is 
To thalemans. And in this wise, 
As ye tofore have herd divise 
How Daniel the swevene expondeth 
Of that ymage, on whom he foundeth 
The world which after scholde falle, 
Come is the laste tokne of alle; 
Upon the feet of Erthe and Stiel 
So stant this world now everydiel 
Departed; which began riht tho. 
Whan Rome was divided so : 
And that is forto rewe sore, 
For alway siththe more and more 
The world empeireth every day. 
Wherof the sothe schewe may. 
At Rome ferst if we beginne : 

800 [The Empires of 
THE World.) 

P. i. 31 



[The latest Time.] 


P. i. 32 

804 Almanie A 8ia founden AJMEs, SAA, FWHs stonden 

X . . . R, B stoden HiCLBa 8ai To \>e almains X . . . Bs, Ba 

To Almayns Hi 823 exponde}) S, FKHs al. expounde)* 



[The latest Time.] 

[Division the Cause 
OF Evil.] 



The wall and al the Cit withinne 

Stant in mine and in decas, 

The feld is wher the Paleis was, 

The toun is wast; and overthat, 

If we beholde thilke astat 

Which whilom was of the Romeins, 

Of knyhthode and of Citezeins, 

To peise now with that beforn, 

The chaf is take for the corn, 

As forto speke of Romes myht : 

Unethes stant ther oght upryht 

Of worschipe or of worldes good, 

As it before tyme stod. 

And why the worschipe is aweie, 

If that a man the sothe seie. 

The cause hath ben divisioun, 

Which moder of confusioun 

Is wher sche cometh overal, 

Noght only of the temporal 

Bot of the spirital also. 

The dede proeveth it is so, 

And hath do many day er this, 

Thurgh venym which that medled is 

In holy cherche of erthly thing : 

For Crist himself makth knowleching 

That noman may togedre serve 

God and the world, bot if he swerve 

Froward that on and stonde unstable ; 

And Cristes word may noght be fable. 

The thing so open is at ye. 

It nedeth noght to specefie 

Or speke oght more in this matiere ; 

Bot in this wise a man mai lere 

Hou that the world is gon aboute, 

836 al pc Cit S, F al )>e cite (citee) A . . . B., BAA, KHs the cite W 
Magd. al the toune Hi 837 f. deces . . . wes £CL, B deues . . . 

was HiSn deues . . . wes RBi 838 wher] ))cr AMEsHi 

844 fro (from) HiERB«, B, WMagd. 845 And for to A, Magd. 

And so to HiEBs, B And so R As to L 850 so)>e XGSn, 

FWKH3 so)> schal AJMHiERCLBa, SBAA 865 ling om. R 

869 )iis world MHi . . . Bs, B 


P. i. 33 




The which welnyh is wered oute, 

After the form of that figure 

Which Daniel in his scripture 

Expondeth, as tofore is told. 

Of Bras, of Selver and of Gold 

The world is passed and agon, 

And now upon his olde ton 

It stant of brutel Erthe and Stiel, 

The whiche acorden nevere a diel ; 

So mot it nedes swerve aside 

As thing the which men sen divide. 

Thapostel writ unto ous alle 
And seith that upon ous is falle 
Thende of the world ; so may we knowe. 
This ymage is nyh overthrowe, 
Be which this world was signified. 
That whilom was so magnefied, 
And now is old and fieble and vil, 
Full of meschief and of peril. 
And stant divided ek also 
Lich to the feet that were so, 
As I tolde of the Statue above. 
And this men sen, thurgh lacke of love 
Where as the lond divided is, 
It mot algate fare amis : 
And now to loke on every side, 
A man may se the world divide. 
The werres ben so general 
Among the cristene overal, 
That every man now secheth wreche, 
And yet these clerkes alday preche 
And sein, good dede may non be 
Which stant noght upon charite : 
I not hou charite may stonde, 
Wher dedly werre is take on honde. 
Bot al this wo is cause of man. 
The which that wit and reson can, 
And that in tokne and in witnesse 

873 £xponde> S, FK 89a this] ]nis AMHiX, H9 900 these] 
)>is AM . . . E, B, W 

870 [Division the Cause 
or Evil.] 

Hie dicit secundum 
apostolura, quod nos 
suinus in quos fines 
seculi deuenerunt. 


P. i. 34 




[Division the Cause 
OK Evil.] 

Hie scribit quod ex 
diuisionis passione 
singula creata detri- 
mentum corruptibile 

That ilke ytnage bar liknesse 
Of man and of non other beste. 
For ferst unto the mannes heste 
Was every creature ordeined, 
Bot afterward it was restreigned: 
\\Tian that he fell, thei fellen eke, 
Whan he wax sek, thei woxen seke; 
For as the man hath passioun 
Of seknesse, in comparisoun 
So soffren othre creatures. 
Lo, ferst the hevenly figures. 
The Sonne and Mone eclipsen bothe, 
And ben with mannes senne wrothe; 
The purest Eir for Senne alofte 
Hath ben and is corrupt fulofte. 
Right now the hyhe wyndes blowe. 
And anon after thei ben lowe. 
Now clowdy and now clier it is : 
So may it proeven wel be this, 
A mannes Senne is forto hate, 
Which makth the welkne to debate. 
And forto se the proprete 
Of every thyng in his degree, 
Benethe forth among ous hiere 
Al stant aliche in this matiere : 
The See now ebbeth, now it floweth, 
The lond now welketh, now it groweth, 
Now be the Trees with leves grene, 
Now thei be bare and nothing sene, 
Now be the lusti somer floures, 
Now be the stormy wynter shoures, 
Now be the daies, now the nyhtes, 
So stant ther nothing al upryhtes, 
Now it is lyht, now it is derk; 
And thus stant al the worldes werk 



P. i. 35 



91a Hot] ffor HiERBj, B 923 hyhe] while HiERBi, B 

934 welwe)) AJM, W (wcloweth) 937 f. the . . . the] ^i . . . ))ei 

(J)ay . . . ))ay) AH1ERB2, B )jer . . . J)cr CL ))ese . . . \)ey X ))C . . . 
\>ey G 939 I'ei (J^ay) daies Hi . . . R, B now the nyhtes] 

now be |>e n. MCBs, A now be ]>ey (thei) n. HiXG 



P. i. 36 

After the disposicioun 
Of man and his condicioun. 
Forthi Gregoire in his Moral 
Seith that a man in special 
The lasse world is properly: 
And that he proeveth redely; 
For man of Soule resonable 
Is to an Angel resemblable, 950 

And lich to beste he hath fielinge, 
And lich to Trees he hath growinge; 
The Stones ben and so is he : 
Thus of his propre qualite 
The man, as telleth the clergie, 
Is as a world in his partie, 
And whan this litel world mistorneth, 
The grete world al overtometh. 
The Lond, the See, the firmament, 
Thei axen alle jugement 960 

Ayein the man and make him werre : 
Therwhile himself stant out of herre. 
The remenant wol noght acorde : 
And in this wise, as I recorde, 
The man is cause of alle wo, 
Why this world is divided so. 
Division, the gospell seith. 
On hous upon another leith. 
Til that the Regne al overthrowe : 
And thus may every man wel knowe, 970 

Division aboven alle 

Is thing which makth the world to falle, 
And evere hath do sith it began. 
It may ferst proeve upon a man ; 
The which, for his complexioun 
Is mad upon divisioun 
Of cold, of hot, of moist, of drye, 
He mot be verray kynde dye : 
For the contraire of his astat 

946 aman F 950 Is to an] It is an HiERBa, B 957 

mistormej) FKHs 963 stant out of acord(e) HiERBi, B 966 

Why] Wi]) RCLBa 967 as ]>e g. s. AG, W 976 margin existit A 

[Division the Cause 
or Eviu] 

Hie dicit secundum 
euangelium, quod om- 
ne regnum in se diui- 
sum desolabitur. 

Quod ex sue com- 
plexionis materia di- 
uisus homo mortalis 



[Division thc Causc 
or Evil.] 

Quod homo ex cor- 
poris et anime condi- 
cione diuisus, sicut 
saluacionis ita et 
dampnacionis aptitu- 
dinem ' ingreditur. 

Qualiter Adam a 
statu innocencie diui- 
sus a paradiso volup- 
tatis in terram laboris 
peccator proiectus 

Qualiter populi per 
vniuersum orbem a 
cultura dei diuisi, Noe 
cum sua sequela dum- 
taxat exceptis, diluuio 

Stant evermore in such debat, 
Til that o part be overcome, 
Ther may no final pes be nome. 
Bot other wise, if a man were 
Mad al togedre of o matiere 
Withouten interrupcioun, 
Ther scholde no corrupcioun 
Engendre upon that unite: 
Bot for ther is diversite 
Withinne himself, he may noght laste, 
That he ne deieth ate laste. 
Bot in a man yit over this 
Full gret divisioun ther is, 
Thurgh which that he is evere in strif, 
Whil that him lasteth eny lif : 
The bodi and the Soule also 
Among hem ben divided so, 
That what thing that the body hateth 
The soule loveth and debateth; 
Bot natheles fulofte is sene 
Of werre which is hem betwene 
The fieble hath wonne the victoire. 
And who so drawth into memoire 
What hath befalle of old and newe, 
He may that werre sore rewe, 
Which ferst began in Paradis: 
For ther was proeved what it is, 
And what desese there it ¥n'oghte ; 
For thilke werre tho forth broghte 
The vice of alle dedly Sinne, 
Thurgh which division cam inne 
Among the men in erthe hiere, 
And was the cause and the matiere 
Why god the grete fiodes sende, 
Of al the world and made an ende 
Bot Noe with his felaschipe, 
Which only weren saulf be Schipe. 
And over that thurgh Senne it com 


P. i. 37 




P. i. 38 

989 be nome] benomc FKH9 



That Nembrot such emprise nom, 

Whan he the Tour Babel on heihte 

Let make, as he that wolde feihte loso 

Ayein the hihe goddes myht, 

Wherof divided anon ryht 

Was the langage in such entente, 

Ther wist non what other mente. 

So that thei myhten noght procede. 

And thus it stant of every dede, 

Wher Senne takth the cause on honde, 

It may upriht noght longe stonde ; 

For Senne of his condicioun 

Is moder of divisioun 1030 

And tokne whan the world schal faile. 

For so seith Crist withoute faile, 

That nyh upon the worldes ende 

Pes and acord awey schol wende 

And alle charite schal cesse, 

Among the men and hate encresce ; 

And whan these toknes ben befalle, 

Al sodeinly the Ston schal faile. 

As Daniel it hath beknowe, 

Which al this world schal overthrowe, 1040 

And every man schal thanne arise 

To Joie or elles to Juise, 

Wher that he schal for evere dwelle, 

Or straght to hevene or straght to helle. 

In hevene is pes and al acord, P. i. 39 

Bot helle is full of such descord 

That ther may be no loveday : 

Forthi good is, whil a man may, 

Echon to sette pes with other 

And loven as his oghne brother; 1050 

So may he winne worldes welthe 

And afterward his soule helthe. 

Bot wolde god that now were on 
An other such as Arion, 

1018 suche prise HiERBa, B 1019 he ow. RLBa, B, W that Hi 
1039 condicion F 1033 margt'n vexat HiERBj, B 1038 And A 
1055 S has lost a Ua/{io^^—i, 106) 

[Division thc Cause 
or Evil.] 

Qualiter in edifica- 
cione turris Babel, 
quam in dei contemp- 
turn Nembrot erexit, 
lingua prius hebnuca 
in varias linguas ce- 
lica vindicta diuide- 

Qualiter mundus, 
qui in statu diuisionis 
quasi cotidianis pre- 
sent! tempore vexatur 
flagellis^ lapide super- 
ueniente, id est a di- 
uina potendavsquead 
resoludonem onmis 
carnis subito conter- 

Hie narrat exem- 
plum de eoncordia et 
vnitate inter homines 



[Division the Cause 
OF Evil.] 

prouocanda ; et dicit 
qualiter quidam Anon 
nuper Citharista ex 
sui cantus cithareque 
consona melodia tante 
virtutis extiterat, vt 
ipss non solum virum 
cum viro, set eciam 
um cum agna, can em 
cum lepore, ipsum 
audientes vnanimiter 
absque vUa discordia 
adinuicem pacificauit. 


Which hadde an harpe of such temprure, 

And therto of so good mesure 

He song, that he the bestes wilde 

Made of his note tame and milde, 

The Hinde in pes with the Leoun, 

The Wolf in pes with the Moltoun, 1060 

The Hare in pees stod with the Hound; 

And every man upon this ground 

Which Arion that time herde, 

Als wel the lord as the schepherde, 

He broghte hem alle in good acord; 

So that the comun with the lord, 

And lord with the comun also, 

He sette in love bothe tuo 

And putte awey malencolie. 

That was a lusti melodie. 

Whan every man with other low; 

And if ther were such on now, 

Which cowthe harpe as he tho dede, 

He myhte availe in many a stede 

To make pes wher now is hate; 

For whan men thenken to debate, 

I not what other thing is good. 

Bot wher that wisdom waxeth wod. 

And reson torneth into rage, 

So that mesure upon oultrage 

Hath set his world, it is to drede; 

For that bringth in the comun drede. 

Which stant at every mannes Dore : 

Bot whan the scharpnesse of the spore 

The horse side smit to sore, 

It grieveth ofte. And now nomore, 

As forto speke of this matiere. 

Which non bot only god may stiere. 

P. i. 40 


Explicit Prologus 

1078 waxed FK 1087 As] And YERSn, B om, Bs 1088 god 
only may HiER, B god may only Bs 


[Love hulks thc 

P. i. 41 

Incipit Liber Primus 

i. Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem 

Suhdit^ et vnanimes concitai esse f eras: 
Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur^ 

Cuius eget diueSy pauper et omnis ope. 
Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna^ que cecas 

Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas. 
Est amor egra salus^ vexaia quies^ plus error ^ 

Bellica pax^ vulnus dulce, suaue malum. 

I may noght strecche up to the hevene 
Min hand, ne setten al in evene 
This world, which evere is in balance: 
It stant noght in my sufficance 
So grete thinges to compasse, 
Bot I mot lete it overpasse 
And treten upon othre thinges. 
Forthi the Stile of my writinges 

Fro this day forth I thenke change Postquam in Pro- 

And speke of thing is noght so strange, ,o i°f„^ S|;!;jJl?:; 

Which every kinde hath upon honde, P. i. 4a hodieme condicionis 

And wherupon the world mot stonde, ,ecrnem"",S'rauU: 

And hath don sithen it began, intendit auctor ad 

And srhal whil ther is anv man • presens suum libel- 

Ana scnai wnu tner is any man, lum, cuius nomenCon- 

And that is love, of which I mene fessio Amantis nun- 

To trete, as after schal be sene. 'XT,l:^Tr^TJ^r. 

' lUo amore, a quo non 

In which ther can noman him reule, solum humanum ge- 

For loves lawe is out of reule, nus,sed eciam cuncu 

' animancia naturahter 

That of tomoche or of tolite subiciuntur. Et quia 

Welnyh is every man to wyte, 20 nonnulliamantes ultra 

1 strecchen vp to h. EC, A strecche vp to h. XBj (vt) 8 fibr]>i 
(ffor))y)AJMEaE, AA,FKH3 ffor HiYXR . . . B«, B, W lo thing is] 
)>inges El:tHiY . . . Bi, B noght so] more YX 13 margin 

intendit] intendit eciam ERCL intendit et HiBs 

D 2 



[ Love rules the 
World. ] 

quam expedit desi- 
derii passionibus cre- 
bro stimulantur, ma- 
teria libri p«r totum 
^upe^ hiis specialius 

And natheles ther is noman 

In al this world so wys, that can 

Of love tempre the mesure, 

Bot as it faith in aventiire : 

For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe, 

And he which elles wolde him yelpe 

Is rathest throwen under fote, 

Ther can no wiht therof do bote. 

For yet was nevere such covine, 

That couthe ordeine a medicine 30 

To thing which god in lawe of kinde 

Hath set, for ther may noman finde 

The rihte salve of such a Sor. 

It hath and schal ben everemor 

That love is maister wher he wile, 

Ther can no lif make other skile ; 

For wher as evere him lest to sette, 

Ther is no myht which him may lette. 

Bot what schal fallen ate laste, 

The sothe can no wisdom caste, 40 

Bot as it falleth upon chance ; P. i. 43 

For if ther evere was balance 

Which of fortune stant governed, 

I may wel lieve as I am lerned 

That love hath that balance on honde, 

Which wol no reson understonde. 

For love is blind and may noght se, 

Forthi may no certeinete 

Be set upon his jugement, 

Bot as the whiel aboute went 50 

He yifth his graces undeserved, 

And fro that man which hath him served 

Fulofte he takth aweye his fees, 

As he that pleieth ate Dees, 

And therupon what schal befalle 

He not, til that the chance falle, 

Wher he schal lese or he schal winne. 

33 margin crebre HiE . . . B« 96 margin diffundetur B 37 evere 
him lest] himself lest (list) Hi YERBa, B lust) 50 aboute is went ACL 
is aboute went A 51 grace HiXGERBi, BA 54 And HiY£RBs, B 



And thus fulofte men beginne, 
That if thei wisten what it mente, 
Thei wolde change al here entente. 
And forto proven it is so, 

I am miselven on of tho, o^tctp\cJ^ 

Which to this Scole am underfonge. 

For it is siththe go noght longe, 

As forto speke of this matiere, 

I may you telle, if ye woll hiere, 

A wonder hap which me befell, 

That was to me bothe hard and fell, 

Touchende of love and his fortune. 

The which me liketh to comune 

And pleinly forto telle it oute. P. i. 

To hem that ben lovers aboute 

Fro point to point I wol declare 

And wryten of my woful care. 

Mi wofuU day, my wofull chance. 

That men mowe take remembrance 

Of that thei schall hierafter rede : 

For in good feith this wolde I rede. 

That every man ensample take 

Of wisdom which him is betake, 

And that he wot of good aprise 

To teche it forth, for such emprise 

Is forto preise ; and therfore I 

Woll wryte and schewe al openly 

How love and I togedre mette, 

Wherof the world ensample fette 

Mai after this, whan I am go. 

Of thilke unsely jolif wo, 

Whos reule stant out of the weie, 

Nou glad and nou gladnesse aweie. 

And yet it may noght be withstonde 

For oght that men may understonde. 

ii. Non ego Sampsonis vires ^ non Herculis anna 
VincOy sum sed vt hii victus amore pari, 
Vt discant aliiy docet experiencia faciiy 
Rebus in ambiguis que sit kabenda via, 

76 now B. 80 is him AG 

[Example of the 

Hie quasi in persona 
^^ aliorum, quos amor 
alligat, fingens se auc- 
tor esse Amantem, va- 
rias eonim passion es 
variis huius libri dis- 
tinccionibus per sing- 
ula scribere proponit. 








[His woful case.] 

Hie declarat mate- 
riam, dicens qualiter 
Cupido quodain ignito 
iaculosui cordis mem- 
oriamgrauivlcere per- 
forauit, quod Venus 
perdpiens ipsum, vt 
dicity quasi in mortis 
articulo spasmatum, 
ad confitendum se 
Genio sacerdoti super 
amoris causa sic semi- 
uiuum specialitercom- 

Deuius ordo ducts temptata pericla sequentem 
Instruit a tergo, ne simul tile cadcU, 

Me quibus ergo Venus, casus, laqueauit amantefftj 
Orbis in exempium scribere iendo palam. 

Upon the point that is be£alle 
Of love, in which that I am falle, 
I thenke telle my matiere: 
Now herkne, who that wol it hiere, 
Of my fortune how that it ferde. 
This enderday, as I forthferde 
To walke, as I yow telle may, — 
And that was in the Monthe of Maii, 
Whan every brid hath chose his make 
And thenkth his merthes f<nto make 
Of love that he hath achieved ; 
Bot so was I nothing retieved. 
For I was further fro my love 
Than Erthe is fro the hevene above, 
As forto speke of eny sped : 
So wiste I me non other red, 
Bot as it were a man forfare 
Unto the wode I gan to fare, 
Noght forto singe with the briddes, 
For whanne I was the wode amiddes, 
I fond a swote grene pleine. 
And ther I gan my wo compleigne 
Wisshinge and wepinge al myn one, 
For other merthes made I none. 
So hard me was that ilke throwe. 
That ofte sithes overthrowe 
To grounde I was withoute breth; 
And evere I wisshide after deth, 
Whanne I out of my peine awok. 

P. i. 45 



1 20 

Latin Versus ii. 5 Deuius AJME«, AA, FKHs Denuus (?) H.Y 
Demum XGEC, B Deinqti/ L Deui BsSn Veni R 7 Me] Aere 
HiYAm.ERB», B 

loa take CL, B 107 S rtsumis 109 forsake B no Vnto . . . 
I gan tofare F And to . . . forth is he fare CL And to ... gan I to 
fare Y To ... I gan fare R To ... I made me jare Bj Vnto . . . 
my way gan take B Ktu om. SnD 116 o)>ere A lao wisshide 
FK wisschide S wisshid Hi al, wissched 



And caste up many a pitous lok 

Unto the hevene, and seide thus: 

'O thou Cupide, O thou Venus, 

Thou god of love and thou goddesse, P. i. 46 

Wher is pite? wher is meknesse? 

Now doth me pleinly live or dye, 

For certes such a maladie 

As I now have and longe have hadd, 

It myhte make a wisman madd, 130 

If that it scholde longe endure. 

O Venus, queene of loves cure, 

Thou lif, thou lust, thou mannes hele, 

Behold my cause and my querele, 

And yif me som part of thi grace, 

So that I may finde in this place 

If thou be gracious or non/ 

And with that word I sawh anon 

The kyng of love and qweene bothe; 

Bot he that kyng with yhen wrothe 140 

His chiere aweiward fro me caste, 

And forth he passede ate lajste. 

Bot natheles er he forth wente 

A firy Dart me thoghte he hente 

And threw it thurgh myn herte rote : 

In him fond I non other bote. 

For lenger list him noght to duelle. 

Bot sche that is the Source and Welle 

Of wel or wo, that schal betide 

To hem that loven, at that tide 150 

Abod, bot forto tellen hiere 

Sche cast on me no goodly chiere: 

Thus natheles to me sche seide, 

*What art thou, Sone?' and I abreide 

Riht as a man doth out of slep, P. i. 47 

And therof tok sche riht good kep 

And bad me nothing ben adrad : 

Bot for al that I was noght glad. 

For I ne sawh no cause why. 

And eft scheo asketh, what was 1 : 160 

130 wismam FK 160 scheo FK al. sche 

[His complaint to 
Cupid and Venus.] 

[The FfERY Dart.] 

[Venus Queen of 



[Venus Queen ok 

[Genius, the Priest 
OF Love.] 

I seide, * A Caitif that lith hiere : 

What wolde ye, my Ladi diere? 

Schal I ben hoi or elles dye?' 

Sche seide, 'Tell thi maladie: 

What is thi Sor of which thou pleignest? 

Ne hyd it noght, for if thou feignest, 

I can do the no medicine.' 

* Ma dame, I am a man of thyne, 
That in thi Court have longe served. 

And aske that I have deserved, 170 

Som wele after my longe wo.' 

And sche began to loure tho, 

And seide, *Ther is manye of yow 

Faitours, and so may be that thow 

Art riht such on, and be feintise 

Seist that thou hast me do servise.' 

And natheles sche wiste wel. 

Mi world stod on an other whiel 

Withouten eny faiterie: 

Bot algate of my maladie 180 

Sche bad me telle and seie hir trowthe. 

* Ma dame, if ye wolde have rowthe,' 
Quod I, 'than wolde I telle yow.' 

*Sey forth,' quod sche, 'and tell me how; 

Schew me thi seknesse everydiel.' P. i. 48 

' Ma dame, that can I do wel. 

Be so my lif therto wol laste.' 

With that hir lok on me sche caste. 

And seide : * In aunter if thou live. 

Mi will is ferst that thou be schrive; 190 

And natheles how that it is 

I wot miself, bot for al this 

Unto my prest, which comth anon, 

I woll thou telle it on and on, 

Bothe all thi thoght and al thi werk. 

161 Ma dame I sayde lohn Gowere £, B And I answerde wi)? drery 
chiere C And I answerd wi]> ful myld chere L ItMgom. RBiSnD 
162 What wolde je wi> me my 1. d. ERLBi What wolde je wi)> 
me 1. d. XGC, B 163 or elles] or schal I C or L 164 tell 

(telle) me Hi YE . . . Bi, BA, W 165 of which] which ]>at CL 

where of W 183 J>an wolde C )>an wold A, B ]>anne wold S, FK 



Genius myn oghne Clerk, 
Com forth and hier this mannes schrifte,' 
Quod Venus tho; and I uplifte 

Min hefd with that, and gan beholde 

The selve Prest, which as sche wolde aco 

Was redy there and sette him doun 

To hiere my confessioun. 

iii. Confessus Genio si sit medibina salutis 
Experiar morbiSy quos tulit ipsa Venus. 
Lesa quidem ferro medicantur membra saluti, 
Raro tamen medicum vuinus amoris habet 

This worthi Prest, this holy man 
To me spekende thus began, 
And seide: 'Benedicite, 
Mi Sone, of the felicite 
Of love and ek of all the wo 
Thou schalt thee schrive of bothe tuo. 
What thou er this for loves sake 
Hast felt, let nothing be forsake, a 10 

Tell pleinliche as it is befalle.' P. i. 49 

And with that word I gan doun falle 
On knees, and with devocioun 
And with full gret contricioun 

1 seide thanne : * Dominus, 
Min holi fader Genius, 

So as thou hast experience 

Of love, for whos reverence 

Thou schalt me schriven at this time, 

I prai the let me noght mistime 220 

Mi schrifte, for I am destourbed 

In al myn herte, and so contourbed. 

That I ne may my wittes gete, 

So schal I moche thing foryete : 

Bot if thou wolt my schrifte oppose 

Fro point to point, thanne I suppose, 

Ther schal nothing be left behinde. 

Bot now my wittes ben so blinde. 

That I ne can miselven teche/ 

aoo Prest om, B 908 thee] be Y, B, Magd. 213 and with] 
wi> good B wi> XC as wi]) A 224 schal] )>at A 227 beleft FK 

[Genius, the Priest 
or Love.] 

[The Lover*s 

Hie dicit qualiter 
Genio pro Confessore 
sedenti prouolutus 
Amans ad confiten- 
dum se flexis gehibus 
incuruatur, supplicans 
tamen, vt ad sui sen- 
sus informacionem 
confessor ille in dicen- 
dis opponere sibi be- 
nignius dignaretur. 



[The Lover's 

Senno Genii sacer- 
dotis super confes- 
sione ad Amantem. 

Tho he began anon to preche, 230 

And with his wordes debonaire 

He seide tome softe and faire: 

*Thi schrifte to oppose and hiere, 

My Sone, I am assigned hiere 

Be Venus the godesse above, 

Whos Prest I am touchende of love. 

Bot natheles for certein skile 

I mot algate and nedes wile 

Noght only make my spekynges 

Of love, bot of othre thinges, 240 

That touchen to the cause of vice. P. i. 50 

For that belongeth to thoffice 

Of Prest, whos ordre that I here, 

So that I wol nothing forbere, 

That I the vices on and on 

Ne schal thee schewen everychon; 

Wherof thou myht take evidence 

To reule with thi conscience. 

Bot of conclusion final 

Conclude I wol in special • 250 

For love, whos servant I am, 

And why the cause is that I cam. 

So thenke I to don bothe tuo, 

Ferst that myn ordre longeth to. 

The vices forto telle arewe, 

Bot next above alle othre schewe 

Of love I wol the propretes. 

How that thei stonde be degrees 

After the disposicioun 

Of Venus, whos condicioun 260 

I moste folwe, as I am holde. 

For I with love am al withholde, 

So that the lasse I am to wyte, 

Thogh I ne conne bot a lyte 

Of othre thinges that ben wise : 

I am noght tawht in such a wise; 

932 tome F al. to me 234 sone sone F am om. B 964 I ne 
conne] I now can (conne) ECLBs, B I ne now can XR nc can 
nowe Hi a66 awise FK 



For it is noght my comun us 

To speke of vices and vertus, 

Bot al of love and of his lore, 

For Venus bokes of nomore 270 

Me techen nowther text ne glose. P. i. 51 

Bot for als moche as I suppose 

It sit a prest to be wel thewed, 

And schame it is if he be lewed, 

Of roy Presthode after the forme 

I wol thi schrifte so enforme, 

That ate leste thou schalt hiere 

The vices, and to thi matiere 

Of love I schal hem so reroene, 

That thou schalt knowe what thei mene. 280 

For what a man schal axe or sein 

Touchende of schrifte, it mot be plein, 

It nedeth noght to make it queinte. 

For trowthe hise wordes wol noght peinte : 

That I wole axe of the forthi, 

My Sone, it schal be so pleinly. 

That thou schalt knowe and understonde 

The pointz of schrifte how that thei stonde.' 

iv. Visus ei auditus fragilis sunt ostia mentis^ 

Que viciosa manus claudere nulla potest. 
Est ibi larga via, graditur qua cordis ad antrum 

Hostt's, et ingrediens fossa talenta rapit, 
Hec 7nichi confessor Genius primordia profert, 

Dum sit in extremis vita remorsa malis. 
Nunc tamen vt poterit semiviua loquela fcUeri, 

Verba per os timide conscia mentis agam. 

Betwen the lif and deth I herde 
This Prestes tale er I answerde, 290 

And thanne I preide him forto seie 
His will, and I it wolde obeie 
After the forme of his apprise. 
Tho spak he tome in such a wise. 
And bad me that I scholde schrive 

[The Lover's 

[The Five Senses.] 

Hie incipit confes- 
P. i ^2 ^'° Ainantis, cui de 

277 laste (last) J YRCL, BAA 378 vice Hi . . . Ba, B 281 aman F 
288 The] \o B 293 the] l^er F 294 tome FK «/. to me 

awise F wise AEC, B 295 scholde (schuld) me Hi . . . Ba, B 



[The Five Senses.] 

duobus precipue quin- 
que sensuum, hoc est 
de visu etauditu, con- 
fessor pre ceteris op- 


As touchende of my wittes fyve, 
And schape that thei were amended 
Of that I hadde hem misdispended. 
For tho be proprely the gates, . 
Thurgh whiche as to the herte algates 
Comth alle thing unto the feire, 
Which may the mannes Soule empeire. 
And now this matiere is broght inne, 
Mi Bone, I thenke ferst beginne 
To wite how that thin yhe hath stonde, 
The which is, as I understonde, 
The moste principal of alle, 
Thurgh whom that peril mai befalle. 

And forto speke in loves kinde, 
Ful manye suche a man mai finde, 
Whiche evere caste aboute here yhe, 
To loke if that thei myhte aspie 
Fulofte thing which hem ne toucheth, 
Bot only that here herte soucheth 
In hindringe of an other wiht ; 
And thus ful many a worthi knyht 
And many a lusti lady bothe 
Have be fulofte sythe wrothe. 
So that an yhe is as a thief 
To love, and doth ful gret meschief ; 
And also for his oghne part 
Fulofte thilke firy Dart 
Of love, which that evere brenneth, 
Thurgh him into the herte renneth: 
And thus a mannes yhe ferst 
Himselve grieveth alther werst, 
And many a time that he knoweth 
Unto his oghne harm it groweth. 
Mi Sone, herkne now forthi 
A tale, to be war therby 
Thin yhe forto kepe and warde, 
So that it passe noght his warde. 

998 mispended XR, FWKHs so myspended Bs 
manye suche S manye such F many suche AC 
M • . • RUn, B 




P. i. 53 


3x8 Ha> 



Ovide telleth in his bok 
Ensample touchende of mislok, 
And seith hou whilom ther was on, 
A worthi lord, which Acteon 
Was hote, and he was cousin nyh 
To him that Thebes ferst on hyh 
Up sette, which king Cadme hyhte. 
This Acteon, as he wel myhte. 
Above alle othre caste his chiere, 
And used it fro yer to yere, 
With Houndes and with grete Homes 
Among the wodes and the thomes 
To make his hunting and his chace: 
Where him best thoghte in every place 
To finde gamen in his weie, 
Ther rod he forto hunte and pleie. 
So him befell upon a tide 
On his hunting as he cam ride, 
In a Forest al one he was : 
He syh upon the grene gras 
The faire freisshe floures springe, 
He herde among the leves singe 
The Throstle with the nyhtingale: 
Thus er he wiste into a Dale 
He cam, wher was a litel plain, 
All round aboute wel besein 
With buisshes grene and Cedres hyhe; 
And ther withinne he caste his yhe. 
Amidd the plein he syh a welle, 
So fair ther myhte noman telle. 
In which Diana naked stod 
To bathe and pleie hire in the flod 
With many a Nimphe, which hire serveth. 
Bot he his yhe awey ne swerveth 
Fro hire, which was naked al, 

[Tal£ op Acteon.] 

Hie narnit Confes- 
sor exemplum de visu 
ab iUicitis presenian- 
do, dicensqualiter Ac- 
teon Cadmi Regis The- 
barum nepos, dum in 
quadam Foresta vena- 
cionis causa spadare- 
tur, accidit vt ipse 

340 quendam fontem ne- 
morosa arborum pul- 
critudine circumuen- 
turn superueniens, vi- 
dit ibi Dianam cum 
suis Nimphis nudam 
in flumine balnean- 
tem ; quam diligen- 
cius intuens oculos 
suos a muliebri nudi- 
tate nullatenus auer- 
terevolebat Vndein- 
dignata Diana ipsum 
in cerui figuram trans- 
formauit; quern canes 

350 proprii apprehenden- 
tes mortiferisdentibus 
penitus dilaniarunt 

P. i. 54 


334 margin exemplum om. AM 335 whilon FK 339 Vp sette 
S, F Vpsette AC, B margin spaciaret B 349 atide FK 

353 floures freische Hi . . . Ba, B 355 Trestle FK 357 wher was] 
in to (into) Hi . . . Bi, B 365 many nimphes Sn, B many Nimphe 
YEC many simphe RLBa mani a maiden A 



[Tale of Acteon.] 


[Tale of Medusa.] 

Hie ponit aliud ex- 
emplum de eodem, 
vbi dicit quod quidam 
princeps nominePhor- 
ceus tres progenuit 
filias, Gorgones a vul- 
go nuncupatas, que 
uno partu exorte de- 
formitatem Monstro- 
rum serpentinam ob- 
tinuerunt; quibus,cuin 
in etatemperuenerant, 
talis destinata fuerat 
natura, quod quicum- 
que in eas aspiceret 
in lapidem subito mu- 
tabatur. £t sic quam 
plures incaute respi- 

And sche was wonder wroth withal, 

And him, as sche which was godesse, 

Forschop anon, and the Hknesse 370 

Sche made him taken of an Hert, 

Which was tofore hise houndes stert, 

That ronne besih'che aboute 

With many an horn and many a route, 

That maden mochel noise and cry : 

And ate laste unhappely 

This Hert his oghne houndes slowhe 

And him for vengance al todrowhe. 

Lo now, my Sone, what it is 
A man to caste his yhe amis, 380 

Which Acteon hath dere aboght; 
Be war forthi and do it noght. 
For ofte, who that hiede toke, 
Betre is to winke than to loke. 
And forto proven it is so, P. i. 55 

Ovide the Poete also 
A tale which to this matiare 
Acordeth seith, as thou schalt hiere. 

In Metamor it telleth thus. 
How that a lord which Phorceiis 390 

Was bote, hadde dowhtres thre. 
Bot upon here nativite 
Such was the constellacion, 
That out of mannes nacion 
Fro kynde thei be so miswent. 
That to the liknesse of Serpent 
Thei were bore, and so that on 
Of hem was cleped Stellibon, 
That other soster Suriale, 
The thridde, as telleth in the tale, 400 

Medusa hihte, and natheles 
Of comun name Gorgones 

368 for anger ))crof 8Wal(l) HiEXG, B for anger )»erfor swal YR 
for anger )>erof schall CLBa therefore for anger schall DAr 370 and 
the] in to CL in ]>e Bt 371 taken] in fourme L om, Bs 

374 aroute F 377 hondes FK 388 and seij» RCLB« and says W 
391 and hadde CLBi, W 397 bore] bo>e FWKHsMagd. 



In every centre ther aboute, 
As Monstres whiche that men doute, 
Men clepen hem; and hot on yhe 
Among hem thre in pourpartie 
Thei hadde, of which thei myhte se, 
Now hath it this, now hath it sche; 
After that cause and nede it ladde, 
Be throwes ech of hem it hadde. 
A wonder thing yet more amis 
Ther was, wherof I telle al this : 
What man on hem his chiere caste 
And hem behield, he was als faste 
Out of a man into a Ston 
Forschape, and thus ful manyon 
Deceived were, of that thei wolde 
Misloke, wher that thei ne scholde. 
Bot Perseus that worthi knyht, 
Whom Pallas of hir grete myht 
Halp, and tok him a Schield therto, 
And ek the god Mercurie also 
Lente him a swerd, he, as it fell, 
Beyende Athlans the hihe hell 
These Monstres soghte, and there he fond 
Diverse men of thilke lond 
Thurgh sihte of hem mistorned were, 
Stondende as Stones hiere and there. 
Bot he, which wisdom and prouesse 
Hadde of the god and the godesse, 
The Schield of Pallas gan enbrace, 
With which he covereth sauf his face. 
Mercuries Swerd and out he drowh, 
And so he bar him that he slowh 
These dredful Monstres alle thre. 

Lo now, my Sone, avise the. 
That thou thi sihte noght misuse : 
Cast noght thin yhe upon Meduse, 
That thou be torned into Ston : 
For so wys man was nevere non, 

423 he, as it fell] as it befel (om. he) C as it fel L, W 
)>is A 430 Ha> B, W 

[Tale of Medusa.] 

cientes visis illis peri- 
em nt. Set Perseus 
miles clipeo Palladis 
gladioque Mercurii 
munitus eas extra 
montem Athlantis co* 
habitantes animo au- 
daci absque sui peri- 
culo interfecit. 


P. i. 56 




435 These] 




[The Prudence of 
THE Serpent.] 

Hie narrat Confes- 
sor exemplum, vt non 
ab auris exaudicione 
fatua animus deceptus 
inuoluatur. £t dicit 
qualiter ille serpens, 
qui aspis vocatur, 
quendam preciosissi- 
mum lapidem nomine 
Carbunculum in sue 
frontis medio gestans, 
contra verba incan- 
tantis aurem vnam 
terre aflSgendo premit, 
et aliam sue caude 
stimulo firmissime ob- 

Bot if he wel his yhe kepe 

And take of fol delit no kepe, 

That he with lust nys ofte nome, 

Thurgh strengthe of love and overcome. 

Of mislokynge how it hath ferd, P. i 57 

As I have told, now hast thou herd, 

My goode Sone, and tak good hiede. 

And overthis yet I thee rede 

That thou be war of thin heringe, 

Which to the Herte the tidinge 450 

Of many a vanite hath broght, 

To tarie with a mannes thoght. 

And natheles good is to hiere 

Such thing wherof a man may lere 

That to vertu is acordant, 

And toward al the remenant 

Good is to tome his Ere fro; 

For elles, bot a man do so, 

Him may fulofte mysbefalle. 

I rede ensample amonges alle, 460 

Wherof to kepe wel an Ere 

It oghte pute a man in fere. 

A Serpent, which that Aspidis 
Is cleped, of his kynde hath this. 
That he the Ston noblest of alle, 
The which that men Carbuncle calle. 
Berth in his hed above on heihte. 
For which whan that a man be sleyhte. 
The Ston to winne and him to daunte. 
With his carecte him wolde enchaunte, 470 

Anon as he perceiveth that, 
He leith doun his on Ere al plat 
Unto the ground, and halt it faste. 
And ek that other Ere als faste 
He stoppeth with his tail so sore, P. i. 58 

That he the wordes lasse or more 

441 wel AJEiC, S, FKHs wil (wille) YXGERLBi, Ba, W wol(e) 
MHi, Magd. 447 and om. B. 454, 458 aman FK 470 mmrgim 
aspidis B 476 margm finnissimo HiGRCLBa 



Of his enchantement ne hiereth; 
And in this wise himself he skiereth, 
So that he hath the wordes "weyved 
And thurgh his Ere is noght deceived. 

An othre thing, who that recordeth, 
I^ich unto this ensample acordeth, 
Which in the tale of Troie I finde. 
Sirenes of a wonder kynde 
Ben Monstres, as the bokes tellen, 
And in the grete Se thei duellen : 
Of body bothe and of visage 
Lik unto wommen of yong age 
Up fro the Navele on hih thei be, 
And doun benethe, as men mai se, 
Thei here of fisshes the figure. 
And overthis of such nature 
Thei ben, that with so swete a stevene 
Lik to the melodie of hevene 
In wommanysshe vois thei singe, 
With notes of so gret likinge, 
Of such mesure, of such musike, 
Wherof the Schipes thei beswike 
That passen be the costes there. 
For whan the Schipmen leie an Ere 
Unto the vois, in here avys 
Thei wene it be a Paradys, 
Which after is to hem an helle. 
For reson may noght with hem duelle, 
Whan thei tho grete lustes hiere; 
Thei conne noght here Schipes stiere. 
So besiliche upon the note 
Thei herkne, and in such wise assote, 
That thei here rihte cours and weie 
Foryete, and to here Ere obeie, 
And seilen til it so befalle 
That thei into the peril falle, 



[Tale or the 

Aliud exemplum 
super eodem, qualiter 
rex Vluxes cum a 
bello Troiano versus 
Greciam nauigio re- 
mearet, et prope ilia 
Monstra marina, Si- 
renes nuncupata, an- 
gelica voce canoras, 
ipsum ventorum ad- 
uersitate nauigare o- 
porteret, omnium nau- 
tarum suonim aures 
obturari coegit Etsic 
salutari prouidencia 
prefultus absque peri- 
culo saluus cum sua 
classe Vluxes per- 


p. i. 59 



481 oJ)re SB, F rest o\)er 488 womman A a womman 

MXGCLBi 491 bere> XRCLBa, B 505 tho] )>e JEaHi . . . Ba, 
B, W HaMagd. so AA 



[Tale of the 


[The Sins of the 
Eye and the Ear.] 


Where as the Schipes be todrawe, 
And thei ben with the Monstres slawe. 
Bot fro this peril natheles 
With his wisdom king Uluxes 
Ascapeth and it overpasseth; 
For he tofor the bond compasseth 
That noman of his compaignie 
Hath pouer unto that folie 
His Ere for no lust to caste; 
For he hem stoppede alle faste, 
That non of hem mai hiere hem singe. 
So whan they comen forth seilinge, 
Ther was such governance on honde, 
That thei the Monstres have withstonde 
And slain of hem a gret partie. 
Thus was he sauf with his navie, 
This wise king, thurgh governance. 

Wherof, my Sone, in remembrance 
Thou myht ensample taken hiere, 
As I have told, and what thou hiere 
Be wel war, and yif no credence, 
Bot if thou se more evidence. 
For if thou woldest take fcepe 
And wisly cowthest warde and kepe 
Thin yhe and Ere, as I have spoke. 
Than haddest thou the gates stoke 
Fro such Sotie as comth to winne 
Thin hertes wit, which is withinne, 
Wherof that now thi love excedeth 
Mesure, and many a peine bredeth. 
Bot if thou cowthest sette in reule 
Tho tuo, the thre were eth to reule : 
Forthi as of thi wittes five 
I wole as now nomore schryve, 
Bot only of these ilke tuo. 
Tell me therfore if it be so, 
Hast thou thin yhen oght misthrowe? 

Mi fader, ye, I am beknowe. 



P. i. 60 



592 atte (at) laste XEC, B 
myhte F 549 yhe B 

531 myht S might AC, B 



I have hem cast upon Meduse, 
Therof I may me noght excuse : 
Min herte is growen into Ston, 
So that my lady therupon 
Hath such a priente of love grave, 
That I can noght miselve save. 

What seist thou, Sone, as of thin Ere ? 

Mi fader, I am gultyf there ; 
For whanne I may my lady hiere, 
Mi wit with that hath lost his Stiere: 
I do noght as Uluxes dede, 
Bot falle anon upon the stede, 
Wher as I se my lady stonde ; 
And there, I do yow understonde, 
I am topuUed in my thoght. 
So that of reson leveth noght, 
Wherof that I me mai defende. 

My goode Sone, god thamende: 
For as me ihenketh be thi speche 
Thi wittes ben riht feer to seche. 
As of thin Ere and of thin yhe 
I woll nomore specefie, 
Bot I woll axen overthis 
Of othre thing how that it is. 

V. Celsior est Aquila que Leone ferocior ille^ 

Quern tumor elati cordis ad alta mouet. 
Sunt species quinque, quibus esse Superbia ductrix 

Clamat, et in multis mundus adheret eis. 
Laruando faciem Jicio pallore subornat 

Fraudibus Ypocrisis mellea verba suis, 
Sicque pios animos quamsepe ruit muliebres 

Ex humili verbo sub latitante dolo. 

Mi Sone, as I thee schal enforme, 
Ther ben yet of an other forme 
Of dedly vices sevene applied, 
Wherof the herte is ofte plied 
To thing which after schal him grieve. 
The ferste of hem thou schalt believe 

Opponit Confessor. 
Kespondet Amaiis. 


P. i. 61 



[The Seven deadly 
Sins. Pride. ] 

Hie loquitur quod 
scptem sunt peccata 
mortalia, quorum ca- 
put Superbia varias 
species habet,eteanim 
^ prima Ypocrisis dici- 
^* tur, cuius propricta- 

Latin Verses v. 1 AquilaqM^ F 8 sub latitante J, S. F sublatitantc 

AC, B 

580 ferste C, S ferst A, F first B 

£ 2 



tcm secundum \nciuni 
simpliciter Confessor 
Amanti declarat. 

[Five Ministers •¥ 


i. Hypocrisy.] 

A man 9. 


Ipocrisis Religiosa. 

Is Pride, which is principal, 

And hath with him in special 

Ministres five ful diverse, 

Of whiche, as I the schal reherse, 

The ferste is seid Ypocrisie. 

If thou art of his compaignie, 

Tell forth, my Sone, and schrif the clene. 

I wot noght, fader, what ye mene: 
Bot this I wolde you beseche, P. i. 6a 

That ye me be som weie teche 590 

What is to ben an ypocrite; 
And thanne if I be forto wyte, 
I wol beknowen, as it is. 

Mi Sone, an ypocrite is this, — 
A man which feigneth conscience. 
As thogh it were al innocence, 
Withoute, and is noght so withinne; 
And doth so for he wolde winne 
Of his desir the vein astat. 
And whanne he comth anon therat, 600 

He scheweth thanne what he was, 
The com is torned into gras. 
That was a Rose is thanne a thorn, 
And he that was a Lomb befom 
Is thanne a Wolf, and thus malice 
Under the colour of justice 
Is hid; and as the poeple telleth. 
These ordres witen where he duelleth, 
As he that of here conseil is, 
And thilke world which thei er this 610 

Forsoken, he drawth in ayein: 
He clotheth richesse, as men sein, 
Under the simplesce of poverte, 
And doth to seme of gret decerte 
Thing which is litel worth withinne: 
He seith in open, fy! to Sinne, 
And in secre ther is no vice 

58a margtM primitus declarat A . . . Bt, S . . . A 
593 b« knowen FK 604 toforn Y. B, W 

Ipocnats Relig. om. AM, B 610 word L, B 

58410m. FKH3 
608 ntargin 





Of which that he nis a Norrice : 

And evere his chiere is sobre and softe, P. i. 63 

And where he goth he blesseth ofte, 

Wherof the blinde world he drdfefefeij^t ^ 

Bot yet al only he ne streocheth 

His reule upon religioun, 

Bot next to that condicioun 

In suche as clepe hem holy cherche 

It scheweth ek how he can werche 

Among tho wyde furred hodes. 

To geten hem the worldes goodes. 

And thei hemself ben thilke same 

That setten most the world in blame, 

Bot yet in contraire of her lore' 

Ther is nothing thei loven more; 

So that seroende of liht thei werke 

The dedes whiche are inward derke. 

And thus this double Ypocrisie 

With his devolte appdi^ntie 

A viser set upon his face, 

VVherof toward this worldes grace 

He semeth to be riht wel thewed, 

And yit his herte is al beschrewed. 

Bot natheles he stant believed, 

And hath his pourpos ofte achieved 

Of worschipe and of worldes welthe, 

And takth it, as who seith, be stelthe 

Thurgh coverture of his fallas. 

And riht so in semblable cas 

This vice hath ek his officers 

Among these othre seculers 

Of grete men, for of the smale 

As for tacompte he set no tale, 

Bot thei that passen the comune 

With suche him liketh to comune. 

And where he seith he wol socoure 

The poeple, there he woll devoure; 

For now aday is many on 


Ipocrisis ccclesiastica. 


Ipocrisis sccularis. 

P. i. 64 


6a6 gan AM schal R 
JE^Hi. ..Ba, B, W 

margin Ipocr. eccles. om. A 
630 That] J)ay (]>ai) X . . . Bj, B 

627 ]ye 




[Hypocrisy of 

Hie tractal Confes- 
sor cum Amante su< 
per ilia presertim Ipo- 
crisia. que sub amoris 
facie fraudulenter la- 
titandomulieres ipsius 
ficticiis credulas se- 
pissime decipit inno- 

Which spekth of Peter and of John 
And thenketh Judas in his herte. 
Ther schal no worldes good asterte 
His hond, and yit he yifth almesse 
And &steth ofte and hiereth Messe : 
With tnea culpa^ which he seith, 
Upon his brest fullofle he leith 
His hond, and cast upward his yhe, 
As thogh he Cristes face syhe; 
So that it seemeth ate syhte, 
As he al one alle othre myhte 
Rescoue with his holy bede. 
Bot yet his herte in other stede 
Among hise bedes most devoute 
Goth in the worldes cause aboute, 
How that he myhte his warisoun 

And in comparisoun 
'i'her ben lovers of such a sort, 
I'hat feignen hem an humble port, 
And al is bot Ypocrisie, 
Which with deceipte and flaterie 
Hath many a worthi wif beguiled. 
For whanne he hath his tunge. affiled. 
With softe speche and with lesing^ 
Forth with his fals pitous lokjmge, 
He wolde make a womman wene 
To gon upon the faire grene, 
Whan that sche falleth in the Mir. 
For if he may have his desir, 
How so falle of the remenant, 
He halt no word of covenant; 
hot er the time that he spede, 
Ther is no sleihte at thilke nede, 
Which eny loves faitour mai, 
That he ne put it in assai, 
As him belongeth forto done. 
The colour of the reyni Mone 



p. i. 65 



656 und of] and AM and seynt Hi 
— innocentes otn, A. 

674 margin Hie tractat 



With medicine upon his face 

He set, and fhanne he axeth grace, 

As he which hath sieknesse feigned. 

Whan his visage is so desteigned, 

With yhe upcast on hire he siketh, 

And many a contenance he piketh, 

To bringen hire in to believe 

Of thing which that he wolde achieve, 

Wherof he berth the pale hewe ; 

And for he wolde seme trewe, 

He makth him siek, whan he is heil. 

Bot whanne he berth lowest the Seil, 

Thanne is he swiftest to beguile 

The womman, which that ilke while 

Set upon him feith or credence. 

Mi S<Mie, if thou thi conscience 
Entamed hast in such a wise, 
In schrifte thou thee myht avise 
And telle it me, if it be so. 

Min holy fader, certes no. 
As forto feigne such sieknesse 
It nedeth noght, for this witnesse 
I take of god, that my corage 
Hath ben mor siek than my visage. 
And ek this mai I wel avowe. 
So lowe cowthe I nevere bowe 
To feigne humilite withoute. 
That me ne leste betre loute 
With alle the thoghtes of myn herte ; 
For that thing schal me nevere asterte, 
I speke as to my lady diere. 
To make hire eny feigned chiere. 
God wot wel there I lye noght, 
Mi chiere hath be such as my thoght ; 
For in good feith, this lieveth wel, 
Mi will was betre a thousendel 
Than eny chiere that I cowthe. 
Bot, Sire, if I have in my yowthe 
Don other wise in other place, 

704 bere)> (ber)>) lowest seil AHi . . . Ba, B, Magd. 

[Hypocrisy of 


Opponit Confessor. 

P. i, 66 


Respondet Amans. 



723 tomy F 



[Hypocrisy of 


[Tale of Mundus 
AND Paulina.] 

Quod Ipocrisia sit 
in amore periculosa, 
narrat exemplum qua- 
liter sub regno Tiberii 
Imperatoris quidam 
miles nomine Mundus, 
qui Romanorum dux 
milicie tunc prefuit, 
dominam Paul ir am 

I put me therof in your grace : 
For this excusen I ne schal^ 
That I have elles overal 
To love and to his compaignie 
Be plein withoute Ypocrisie; 
Bot ther is on the which I serve, 
Althogh I may no thonk deserve, 
To whom yet nevere into this day 
I seide onlyche or ye or nay, 
Bot if it so were in my thoght. 
As touchende othre seie I noght 
That I nam somdel forto wyte 
Of that ye clepe an ypocrite. 

Mi Sone, it sit wel every wiht 
To kepe his word in trowthe upryht 
Towardes love in alle wise. 
For who that wolde him wel avise 
What hath befalle in this matiere, 
He scholde noght with feigned chiere 
Deceive Love in no degre. 
To love is every herte fre, 
Bot in deceipte if that thou feignest 
And therupon thi lust atteignest, 
That thow hast wonne with thi wyle, 
Thogh it thee like for a whyle, 
Thou schalt it afterward repente. 
And forto prove myn entente, 
I finde ensample in a Croniqe 
Of hem that love so beswike. 

It fell be olde daies thus, 
Whil themperour Tiberius 
The Monarchic of Rome ladde, 
Ther was a worthi Romein hadde 
A wif, and sche Pauline hihte, 
Which was to every mannes sihte 
Of al the Cite the faireste, 
And as men seiden, ek the beste. 

P. i. 67 




73a put A, SB, F putte C 
it be liking C 

756 the hit like W it be like HiL 



It is and hath ben evere yit, ] 

That so strong is no mannes wit, 
Which thurgh beaute ne mai be drawe 
To love, and stonde under the lawe 
Of thilke bore frele kinde, 
Which makth the hertes yhen blinde, 
Wher no reson mai be comuned : 
And in this wise stod fortuned 
This tale, of which I wojde mene; 
This wif, which in hire lustes grene 
Was fair and freissh and tendre of age, 
Sche may noght lette the corage 
Of him that wole on hire assote. 

There was a Duck, and he was bote 
Mimdus, which hadde in his baillie 
To lede the chivalerie 
Of Rome, and was a worthi knyht ; 
Bot yet he was noght of such myht 
The strengthe of love to withstonde. 
That he ne was so broght tp honde, 
That malgre wher he wole or no, 
This yonge wif he loveth so, 790 

That he hath put al his assay 
To Wynne thing which he ne may 
Gete of hire graunt in no manere. 
Be yifte of gold ne be preiere. 
And whanne he syh that be no mede 
Toward hir love he myhte spede. 
Be sleyhte feigned thanne he wroghte; 
And therupon he him bethoghte 
How that ther was in the Cite P. i. 69 

A temple of such auctorite, 800 

To which with gret Devocioun 
The noble wommen of the toun 
Most comunliche a pelrinage 
Gon forto preie thilke ymage 
Which the godesse of childinge is, 

773 margin domim se esse fingens MEa domini se esse fingentes A 
775 Ther(e) AM 776 stonde RCLBa sUnl HiGE 78a Duck 

A, F Duk (duk) SB Duke C 

i. 68 [Tale of Mundus 
AND Paulina.] 

pulcherrimam castita- 
tisque famosissimam 
mediantibus duobus 
falsis presbiteris in 
templo Ysis deum se 
esse fingens sub iicte 
sanctitatis ypocrisi 
nocturao tempore vi- 
ciauit. Vnde idem dux 
in exilium, presbiteri 
in mortem ob sui cri- 
minis enormitatem 
dampnati extiterant, 
ymagoque dee Ysis a 
780 templo euulsa vniuer- 
so conclamante populo 
in flumen Tiberiadis 
proiecta mergebatur. 


[Tale or Mundus And cleped was be name Ysis : 

AND PAtxLiNA.] j^^^ j^^ j^jj.^ templc thanne were, 

To reule and to ministre there 
After the lawe which was tho, 
Above alle othre Prestes tuo. Sio 

This Duck, which thoghte his love gete. 
Upon a day hem tuo to mete 
Hath bede, and thei come at his heste; 
Wher that thei hadde a riche feste, 
And after mete in prive place 
This lord, which wolde his thonk pourchace, 
To ech of hem yaf thanne a yifte, 
And spak so that be weie of schrifte 
He drowh hem unto his covine, 
To helpe and schape how he Pauline S20 

After his lust deceive myhte. 
And thei here trowthes bothe plyhte, 
That thei be nyhte hire scholden wynne 
Into the temple, and he therinne 
Schal have of hire al his entente : 
And thus acorded forth thei wente. 
Now lest thurgh which ypocrisie 
Ordeigned was the tricherie, 
Wherof this ladi was deceived. P. i. 70 

These Prestes hadden wel conceived S;.o 

That sche was of gret holinesse ; 
And with a contrefet simplesse, 
Which hid was in a fals corage, 
Feignende an hevenely message 
Thei come and seide unto hir thus : 
* Pauline, the god Anubus 
Hath sent ous bothe Prestes hiere. 
And seith he woll to thee appiere 
Be nyhtes time himself alone. 
For love he hath to thi persone: S40 

And therupon he hath ous bede. 
That we in Ysis temple a st6de 

Sao he] the B, W that Hi 834 ffeigned AMHiXLB>, W 

vflTeigrnefi >cy feigned C 837 seyt \-s B p.m. Prestes! 

present B 


Honestely for thee pourveie, [Talk op Mundus 

Wher thou b6 nyhte, as we thee seie, ^^^ Paulina.] 

Of him schalt take avisioun. 
For upon thi condicioun, 
The which is chaste and ful of feith, 
Such pris, as he ous tolde, he leith, 
That he wol stonde of thin acord ; 
And forto here hierof record S50 

He sende ous hider bothe tuo.' 
Glad was hire innocence tho 
Of suche wordes as sche herde, 
With humble chiere and thus answerde, 
And seide that the goddes wille 
Sche was al redy to fulfille, 
That be hire housebondes leve 
Sche wolde in Ysis temple at eve 
Upon hire goddes grace abide, P. i. 71 

To serven him the nyhtes tide. s6o 

The Prestes tho gon hom ayein. 
And sche goth to hire sovereign, 
Of goddes wille and as it was 
Sche tolde him al the pleine cas, 
Wherof he was deceived eke, 
And bad that sche hire scholde meke 
Al hoi unto the goddes heste. 
And thus sche, which was al honeste 
To godward after hire entente. 
At nyht unto the temple wente, S70 

Wher that the false Prestes were ; 
And thei receiven hire there 
With such a tokne of holinesse, 
As thogh thei syhen a godesse, 
And al withinne in prive place 
A softe bedd of large space 
Thei hadde mad and encourtined, 
Wher sche was afterward engined. 
Bot sche, which al honour supposeth, 
The false Prestes thanne opposeth, 880 

And axeth be what observance 
876 lofte Hi . . . Bt 


I Talk of Mundus Sche myhte most to the plesance 

^^^ Of godd that nyhtes reule kepe : 

And thei hire bidden forto slepe 
Liggende upon the bedd alofte, 
For so, thei seide, al stille and softe 
God Anubus hire wolde awake. 
The conseil in this wise take, 
The Prestes fro this lady gon ; P. i. 7a 

And sche, that wiste of guile non, 890 

In the manere as it was seid 
To slepe upon the bedd is leid, 
In hope that sche scholde achieve 
Thing which stod thanne upon bilieve, 
Fulfild of alle holinesse. 
Bot sche hath failed, as I gesse, 
For in a closet faste by 
The Duck was hid so prively 
That sche him myhte noght perceive ; 
And he, that thoghte to deceive, 900 

Hath such arrai upon him nome, 
That whanne he wolde unto hir come. 
It scholde semen at hire yhe 
As thogh sche verrailiche syhe 
God Anubus, and in such wise 
This ypocrite of his queintise 
Awaiteth evere til sche slepte. 
And thanne out of his place he crepte 
So stille that sche nothing herde, 
And to the bedd stalkende he ferde, 910 

And sodeinly, er sche it wiste, 
Beclipt in armes he hire kiste : 
Wherof in wommanysshe drede 
She wok and nyste what to rede; 
Bot he with softe wordes milde 
Conforteth hire and seith, with childe 
He wolde hire make in such a kynde 
That al the world schal have in mynde 
The worschipe of that ilke Sone ; P. i. 73 

884 bidde> B 886 al om. B 893 wolde AM 896 hath] 
>at B 903 to Hi ... L vnto Bt 


For he schal with the gcxides wone, 920 [Tale or Mundus 

And ben himself a godd also. ^''^ Paulina.] 

With suche wordes and with mo, 

The whiche he feigneth in his speche, 

This lady wit was al to seche, 

As sche which alle trowthe weneth : 

Bot he, that alle untrowthe meneth. 

With blinde tales so hire ladde, 

That all his wille of hire he hadde. 

And whan him thoghte it was ynowh, 

Ayein the day he him withdrowh 930 

So prively that sche ne wiste 

Wher he becom, bot as him liste 

Out of the temple he goth his weie. 

And sche began to bidde and preie 

Upon the bare ground knelende. 

And after that made hire ofTrende, 

And to the Prestes yiftes grete 

Sche yaf, and homward be the Strete. 

The Duck hire mette and seide thus : 

'The myhti godd which Anubus 940 

Is bote, he save the, Pauline, 

For thou art of his discipline 

So holy, that no mannes myht 

Mai do that he hath do to nyht 

Of thing which thou hast evere eschuied. 

Bot I his grace have so poursuied, 

That I was mad his lieutenant : 

Forthi be weie of covenant 

Fro this day forth I am al thin, P. i. 74 

And if thee like to be myn, 950 

That stant upon thin oghne wille/ 

Sche herde his tale and bar it stille, 
And hom sche wente, as it befell. 
Into hir chambre, and ther sche fell 
Upon hire bedd to wepe and crie, 
And seide : * O derke ypocrisie, 
Thurgh whos dissimilacion 
Of fals ymaginacion 

924 al to] for to A 


[Tale op Mundus I am thus wickedly deceived ! 

AND Paulina.] g^^ ^j^^^ j j^^^ j^ aperceived 960 

I thonke unto the goddes alle ; 

For thogh it ones be befalle, 

It schal nevere eft whil that I live. 

And thilke avou to godd I yive.' 

And thus wepende sche compleigneth, 

Hire faire face and al desteigneth 

With wofull teres of hire ye, 

So that upon this agonie 

Hire housebonde is inne come, 

And syh how sche was overcome 970 

With sorwe, and axeth what hire eileth. 

And sche with that hirself beweileth 

Welmore than sche dede afore, 

And seide, *Helas, wifhode is lore 

In me, which whilom was honeste, 

I am non other than a beste, 

Now I defouled am of tuo.' 

And as sche myhte speke tho, 

Aschamed with a pitous onde ' P. i. 75 

Sche tolde unto hir housebonde ySo 

The sothe of al the hole tale, 

And in hire speche ded and pale 

Sche swouneth welnyh to the laste. 

And he hire in hise armes faste 

Uphield, and ofte swor his oth 

That he with hire is nothing wroth, 

For wel he wot sche may ther noght : 

Bot natheles withinne his thoght 

His herte stod in sori plit, 

And seide he wolde of that despit 990 

Be venged, how so evere it falle, 

And sende unto hise frendes alle. 

And whan thei weren come in fere, 

He tolde hem upon this matiere. 

And axeth hem what was to done : 

And thei avised were sone, 

And seide it thoghte hem for the beste 

975 me om, B 



To sette ferst his wif in reste, 
And after pleigne to the king 
Upon the matiere of this thing. 
Tho was this wofull wif conforted 
Be alle weies and desported, 
Til that sche was somdiel amended ; 
And thus a day or tuo despended, 
The thridde day sche goth to pleigne 
With many a worthi Citezeine, 
And he with many a Citezein. 

Whan themperour it herde sein, 
And knew the falshed of the vice, 
He seide he wolde do justice : 
And ferst he let the Prestes take, 
And for thei scholde it noght forsake, 
He put hem into questioun; 
Bot thei of the suggestioun 
Ne couthen noght a word refuse, 
Bot for thei wolde hemself excuse, 
The blame upon the Duck thei leide. 
Bot therayein the conseil seide 
That thei be noght excused so, 
For he is on and thei ben tuo, 
And tuo han more wit then on. 
So thilke excusement was non. 
And over that was seid hem eke. 
That whan men wolden vertu seke, 
Men scholde it in the Prestes finde; 
Here ordre is of ^o , hvh a kinde. 
That thei be Duistres of the weie : 
Forthi, if eny man forsueie 
Thurgh hem, thei be noght excusable. 
And thus be lawe resonable 
Among the wise jugges there 
The Prestes bothe dampned were, 
So that the prive tricherie 
Hid under fals Ipocrisie 
Was thanne al openliche sche wed, 

1013 put SB, F putte AC 1015 a] o C, B 

A, S scyd B seide F 1027 diustres A 

[Tale of Mundus 
AND Paulina.] 


P. i. 76 




1023 seid 

I'vAtf^. P''^^' 


[Tale of Mundus That many a man hem hath beschrewed. 

AMD Pauuma,] ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ Prestes weren dede, 

The temple of thilke horrible dede 

Thei thoghten purge, and thilke ymage, P. i- 77 

Whos cause was the pelrinage, 1040 

Thei drowen out and als so faste 

Fer into Tibre thei it caste, 

Wher the Rivere it hath defied : 

And thus the temj)le purified 

Thei have of thilke horrible Sinne, 

Which was that time do therinne. 

Of this point such was the juiafe, ^ 

Bot of the Duck was other wise : 

For he with love was bes^^ 

His dom was noght so harde lad ; 1050 

For Love put reson aweie 

And can noght se the righte weie. 

And be this cause he was respited, 

So that the deth him was acquited, 

Bot for al that he was exiled, 

For he his love hath so beguiled, 

That he schal nevere come ayein: 

For who that is to trowthe unplein, 

He may noght failen of vengance. 

And ek to take remembrance lofio 

Of that Ypocrisie hath wroght 
On other half, men scholde noght 
To lihtly lieve al that thei hiere, 
Bot thanne scholde a wisman stiere 
The Schip, whan suche wyndes blowe : 
For ferst thogh thei beginne lowe. 
At ende thei be noght menable, 
Bot al tobreken Mast and Cable, 
So that the Schip with sodein blast, P. i. 78 
Whan men lest wene, is overcast; 1070 

1036 ha)» hem AMEsHiL, W (has hem) be schrewed FK 

1059 veniance XRCLBa 1067 menable AJ YXG, SAdA, F meuable 
(moeuable) ELBs, B, WH3 doubtful MHiRC, Magd. 1068 al 

tobroken (al to broke &c.) AMERCBs, Ad, FHsMagd. alto 
brosten EaL 



As now fulofte a man mai se : 
And of old time how it hath be 
I finde a gret experience, 
Wherof to take an evidence 
Good is, and to be war also 
Of the peril, er him be wo. 

Of hem that ben so derk withinne, 
At Troie also if we beginne, 
Ipocrisie it hath betraied : 
For whan the Greks hadde al assaied, 1080 

And founde that be no bataille 
Ne be no Siege it myhte availe 
The toun to winne thurgh prouesse, 
This vice feigned of simplesce 
Thurgh sleyhte of Calcas and of Crise 
It wan be such a maner wise. 
An Hors of Bras thei let do forge 
Of such entaile, of such a forge, 
That in this world was nevere man 
That such an other werk began. 1090 

The crafti werkman Epius 
It made, and forto telle thus, 
The Greks, that thoghten to beguile 
The kyng of Troie, in thilke while 
With Anthenor and with Enee, 
That were bothe of the Cite 
And of the conseil the wiseste. 
The richeste and the myhtieste, 
In prive place so thei trete P. i. 79 

With fair beheste and yiftes grete iioo 

Of gold, that thei hem have engined ; 
Togedre and whan thei be covined, 
Thei feignen forto make a pes. 
And under that yit natheles 
Thei schopen the destruccioun 
Bothe of the kyng and of the toun. 

1079 it] hem Hi . . . ECLB2, B he R 1083 margin inter virum 
et virum] inter virum HiE . . , Ba inter viros XG 1090 margin hoc 
am. AM 1093 margin in tempio om, Ht . . . Ba 1099 margin 

deuastarunt] demonstrarunt A 

[The Trojan Horse.] 

Hie vlterius ponit 
exemplum de ilia 
eciam Ypocrisia, que 
inter virum et virum 
decipiens periculosis- 
sima consistit. £t 
narrat, qualiter Greci 
in obsidione ciuitatis 
Troie, cum ipsam vi 
comprehendere nulla- 
tenus potuerunt, fal- 
lad animo cum Troi- 
anis pacem vt dicunt 
pro perpetuo statue- 
bant: et super hoc 
quendam ecuum mire 
grossitudinis de ere 
fabricatum ad sacrifi- 
candum in tempio Mi- 
nerue confingentes, 
sub tali sanctitatis 
ypocrisi dictam Ciui- 
tatem intrarunt, et 
ipsam cum inhabi- 
tantibus gladio et 
ignc comminuentes 
pro perpetuo penitus 


[Thi Trojan Horse.] And thus the false pees was take 

Of hem of Grece and undertake, 
And therupon thei founde a weie, 
Wher strengthe myhte noght aweie, mo 

That sleihte scholde helpe thanne; 
And of an ynche a large spanne 
Be colour of the pees thei made, 
And tolden how thei weren glade 
Of that thei stoden in acord; 
And for it schal ben of record, 
Unto the kyng the Gregois seiden. 
Be weie of love and this thei preiden, 
As thei that wolde his thonk deserve, 
A Sacrifice unto Minerve, 1120 

The pes to kepe in good entente, 
Thei mosten offre er that thei wente. 
The kyng conseiled in this cas 
Be Anthenor and Eneas 
Therto hath yoven his assent: 
So was the pleine trowthe blent 
Thurgh contrefet Ipocrisie 
Of that thei scholden sacrifie. 

The Greks under the holinesse P. i. 80 

Anon with alle besinesse 1130 

Here Hors of Bras let faire dihte, 
Which was to sen a wonder sihte; 
For it was trapped of himselve, 
And hadde of smale whieles twelve, 
Upon the whiche men ynowe 
With craft toward the toun it drowe. 
And goth glistrende ayein the Sunne. 
Tho was ther joie ynowh begunne, 
For Troie in gret devocioun 
Cam also with processioun 11 40 

Ayein this noble Sacrifise 
With gret honour, and in this wise 
Unto the gates thei it broghte. 
Bot of here entre whan thei soghte, 

II 15 stood in a cord B izz8 ]>us M . . . R, BAd, WHsMagd. 

II 35 )iueii A 


The gates weren al to smale; [TheTrojan Horse.] 

And therupon was many a tale, 

Bot for the worschipe of Minerve, 

To whom thei comen forto serve, 

Thei of the toun, whiche understode 

That al this thing was do for goode, 1150 

For pes, wherof that thei ben glade. 

The gates that Neptunus made 

A thousend wynter ther tofore, 

Thei have anon tobroke and tore; 

The stronge walles doun thei bete, 

So that in to the large strete 

This Hors with gret solempnite 

Was broght withinne the Cite, 

And offred with gret reverence, P. i. 81 

Which was to Troie an evidence 1160 

Of love and pes for everemo. 

The Gregois token leve tho 

With al the hole felaschipe, 

And forth thei wenten into Schipe 

And crossen seil and made hem yare, 

Anon as thogh thei wolden fare : 

Bot whan the blake wynter nyht 

Withoute Mone or Sterre lyht 

Bederked hath the water Stronde, 

Al prively thei gon to londe 1170 

Ful armed out of the navie. 

Synon, which mad was here aspie 

Withinne Troie, as was conspired, 

Whan time was a tokne hath fired; 

And thei with that here weie holden. 

And comen in riht as thei wolden, 

Ther as the gate was tobroke. 

The pourpos was full take and spoke : 

Er eny man may take kepe, 

Whil that the Cite was aslepe, 1180 

Thei slowen al that was withinne, 

1 145 tosmale F i x6a token] toke(n) her(e) CLBa 1 165 trossen 
£CL trussen HiR tuossenBa 1172 SymonHiCLBa, FWHsMagd. 
mad om. AM 

F 2 



[The Trojan Horse.] 

[Hypocrisy in Love.] 


And token what thei myhten wynne 

Of such good as was sufficant, 

And brenden up the remenant. 

And thus cam out the tricherie, 

Which under fals Ypocrisie 

Was hid, and thei that wende pees 

Tho myhten finde no reles 

Of thilke swerd which al devoureth. P. i. 8a 

Fulofte and thus the swete soureth, 1190 

Whan it is knowe to the tast : 
He spilleth many a word in wast 
That schal with such a poeple trete; 
For whan he weneth most beyete, 
Thanne is he schape most to lese. 
And riht so if a womman chese 
Upon the wordes that sche hiereth 
Som man, whan he most trewe appiereth, 
Thanne is he forthest fro the trowthe : 
Bot yit fulofte, and that is rowthe, laoo 

Thei speden that ben most untrewe 
And loven every day a newe, 
Wherof the lief is after loth 
And love hath cause to be wroth. 
Bot what man that his lust desireth 
Of love, and therupon conspireth 
With wordes feigned to deceive, 
He schal nogbt faile to receive 
His peine, as it is ofte sene. 

Forthi, my Sone, as I thee mene, 12 10 

It sit the wel to taken hiede 
That thou eschuie of thi manhiede 
Ipocrisie and his semblant, 
That thou ne be noght deceivant. 
To make a womman to believe 
Thing which is noght in thi bilieve: 
For in such feint Ipocrisie 
Of love is al the tricherie, 
Thurgh which love is deceived ofte; 

1x97 the wordes that] )>e which B 
om. A iax6 thi] ):e XR, B 

P. i- 83 

12 10 margin Confessor 


For feigned semblant is so softe, 1220 [Hypocrisy in Love.] 

Unethes love may be war. 

Forthi, my Sone, as I wel dar, 

I charge thee to fle that vice, 

That many a womman hath mad nice; 

Bot lok thou dele noght withal 

Iwiss, fader, nomor I schal. Amans. 

Now, Sone, kep that thou hast swore: Confessor. 

For this that thou hast herd before 
Is seid the ferste point of Pride: 
And next upon that other side, 1230 

To schryve and speken overthis 
Touchende of Pride, jrit ther is 
The point seconde, I thee behote. 
Which Inobedience is hote. 

vi. Flectere quam frangi melius reputatur^ et olle [ii. Inobsdience.] 

Fictilis ad cacabum pugna valere nequit. 
Quern neque lex hominum^ neque lex diuina valehit 

Flectere^ multociens corde reflectit amor, 
Quem non flectit amor, non est flectendus ab vllo^ 

Set rigor illius plus Elephante rtget. 
Dedignatur amor poterit quos scire rebelles, 

Et rudibus sort em prestat habere rudem; 
Set qui sponte sui subicit se cordis amore, 

Frangit in aduersis omnia fata plus, (10) 

Thi^ vice of Inobedience 
Ayein the reule of conscience 
Al that is humble he desalloweth, 
That he toward his god ne boweth 
After the lawes of his heste. 
Noght as a man bot as a beste, 1240 Hie loquitur dc sc- 

-,,-., , ... ... n • o cunda specie Superbie, 

Which gOth upon his lustes Wllde, P. l- 84 que Inobediencia dici- 

So goth this proude vice unmylde, tVM ^^ primo illius 

vicii naturam simpli- 

That he desdeigneth alle lawe : citer dcclarat, et trac- 

He not what is to be felawe, tat consequenter su- 

. _ - 1 r • J P^r ilia precipue Ino- 

And serve may he noght for pride; bediencia,que in curia 

So is he badde on every side, Cupidinis exosa amo- 

.,.,--, , ris causam ex sua im- 

And is that selve of whom men spake, becillitate scpissimc 

Which wol noght bowe er that he breke. reurdat. In cuius 

Latin Verses vi. 4 reflectat Hi . . . CBa ne ilectat L 



materia Confessor A- 
manti specialiusoppo- 



Opponit Confessor. 
Respondet Amans. 

I not if love him myhte plie, 

For elles forto justefie 1250 

His herte, I not what mihte availe. 

Forth i, my Sone, of such entaile 
If that thin herte be disposed, 
Tell out and let it noght be glosed : 
For if that thou unbuxom be 
To love, I not in what degree 
Thou schalt thi goode world achieve. 

Mi fader, ye schul wel believe, . 
The yonge whelp which is a&ited 
Hath noght his Maister betre awaited, 1260 

To couche, whan he seith *Go lowe,' 
That I, anon as I may knowe 
Mi ladi will, ne bowe more. 
Bot other while I grucche sore 
Of some thinges that sche doth, 
Wherof that I woU telle soth : 
For of tuo pointz I am bethoght, 
That, thogh I wolde, I myhte noght 
Obeie unto my ladi heste; 
Bot I dar make this beheste, 1270 

Save only of that ilke tuo P. i. 85 

I am unbuxom of no mo. 

What ben tho tuo? tell on, quod he. 

Mi fader, this is on, that sche 
Commandeth me my mowth to close, 
And that I scholde hir noght oppose 
In love, of which I ofte preche, 
Bot plenerliche of such a speche 
Forbere, and soffren hire in pes. 
Bot that ne myhte I natheles 1280 

For al this world obeie ywiss; 
For whanne I am ther as sche is. 
Though sche my tales noght alowe, 
Ayein hir will yit mot I bowe, 
To seche if that I myhte have grace : 

1253 tnargin Confessor om, S, F 1257 schat F 1263 nc| 

me Hi . . . B«, BA (1. 1263 om. Ad) 1273 f. ntargin Opp. Conf. 

Resp. Am. om, A xa8o myhte A myht S, F 


Bot that thing may I noght enbrace [U. Inobbdience.] 

For ought that I can speke or do ; 

And yit fulofte I speke so, 

That sche is wroth and seith, *Be stille.' 

If I that heste schal fulfille 1290 

And therto ben obedient, 

Thanne is my cause fully schent, 

For specheles may noman spede. 

So wot I noght what is to rede; 

Bot certes I may noght obeie, 

That I ne mot algate seie 

Somwhat of that I wolde mene ; 

For evere it is aliche grene, 

The grete love which I have, 

Wherof I can noght bothe save 1300 

My speche and this obedience : P. i. 86 

And thus fulofte my silence 

I breke, and is the ferste point 

Wherof that I am out of point 

In this, and yit it is no pride. 

Now thanne upon that other side 
To telle my desobeissance, 
Ful sore it stant to my grevance 
And may noght sinke into my wit ; 
For ofte time sche me bit 13 10 

To leven hire and chese a newe, 
And seith, if I the sothe knewe 
How ferr I stonde from hir grace, 
I scholde love in other place. 
Bot therof woll I desobeie ; 
P'or also wel sche myhte seie, 
*Go tak the Mone ther it sit,' 
As bringe that into my wit : 
For ther was nevere rooted tre, 
That stod so faste in his degre, 1320 

That I ne stonde more faste 
Upon hire love, and mai noght caste 

1286 pourchaceA 1303 is] ]7is AM£3,)>isis A, W 1304 point] 
ioint GCLBa, W 1310 For ofte] fful ofte (ffulofte) Hi . . . Ba, B 

13 14 other] ano)>er (an o]>er) HiXRLBa, BA 


[ii. Inobedibnce.] Min herte awey, althogh I wolde. 

For god wot, thogh I nevere scholde 

Sen hir with yhe after this day, 

Yit stant it so that I ne may 

Hir love out of my brest remue. 

This is a wonder retenue, 

That malgre wher sche wole or non 

Min herte is everemore in on, 1330 

So that I can non other chese, P. 1 87 

Bot whether that I winne or lese, 

I moste hire loven til I deie; 

And thus I breke as be that weie 

Hire hestes and hir comandinges, 

Bot trewliche in non othre thinges. 

Forthi, my fader, what is more 

Touchende to this ilke lore 

I you beseche, after the forme 

That ye pleinly me wolde enforme, 1340 

So that I may myn herte reule 

In loves cause after the reule. 

[Murmur and vii. Murmur in aduersis ita concipit tile sufierbus, 

Complaint.] Pena quod ex bina sorte perurget eum. 

Obuia fortune cum spes in amore resistit, 
Non sine mentali murmure plangit anions. 

Toward this vice of which we trete 
Hie loquitur de Ther ben yit tweie of thilke estrete, 

Murmure et Planctu, jjere name is Murmur and Compleignte : 

qui super omnes alios _, i . . . 

Inobediencie secre- Ther can noman here chiere pemte, 

ciores vt ministri illi To sette a glad semblant therinne, 

^™^""^- For thogh fortune make hem wynne, 

Yit grucchen thei, and if thei lese, 
Ther is no weie forto chese, 1350 

Wherof thei myhten stonde appesed. 
So ben thei comunly desesed; 
Ther may no welthe ne poverte 
Attempren hem to the decerte 

1336 treweliche in o)>rc A 1338 Touchend vnto Hi . . . Bs, B 

Touchende of (Touchand of) Sa 
Latin Verses vii. 4 munere B 
1345 compleingte F 1347 margin deseniiunt A, SB deseruiant FK 



Of buxomnesse be no wise : 

For ofte time thei despise 

The goode fortune as the badde, P. i. 88 

As thei no mannes reson hadde, 

Thuigh pride, wherof thei be blinde. 

And ryht of such a maner kinde 1360 

Ther be lovers, that thogh thei have 
Of love al that thei wolde crave, 
Yit wol thei grucche be som weie. 
That thei wol noght to love obeie 
Upon the trowthe, as thei do scholde; 
And if hem lacketh that thei wolde, 
Anon thei falle in such a peine. 
That evere unbuxomly thei pleigne 
Upon fortune, and curse and crie, 
That thei wol noght here hertes plie 1370 

To soffre til it betre falle. 
Forthi if thou amonges alle 
Hast used this condicioun, 
Mi Sone, in thi Confessioun 
Now tell me plainly what thou art. 

Mi fader, I beknowe a part, 
So as ye tolden hier above 
Of Murmur and Compleignte of love, 
That for I se no sped comende, 
Ayein fortune compleignende 1380 

I am, as who seith, everemo : 
And ek fulofte tyme also. 
Whan so is that I se and hiere 
Or hevy word or bevy chiere 
Of my lady, I grucche anon ; 
Bot wordes dar I speke non, 
Wherof sche myhte be desplesed, P. i. 89 

Bot in myn herte I am desesed : 
With many a Murmur, god it wot. 
Thus drinke I in myn oghne swot, 1390 

And thogh I make no semblant, 
Min herte is al desobeissant ; 

1376 fnargin Amans ow. A 1378 Compleingte F 1384 Of 
. . of YXE . . . L, B Of . . . or GBa ... and (ow. Or) Hi 

[Murmur and 




[MuRHint AND 



[Tali or Florent.] 

Hie contra amori 
inobedientes ad cora- 
mendacionem Obedi- 
encie Confessor super 
eodem exemplum po- 
nit ; vbi dicit quod, 
cum quedam Regis Ci- 
ziHe filia in sue iuuen- 
tutis floribus pulcher- 
rima ex eius Nouerce 
incantacionibus in ve- 
tulam turpissimam 
transformata extitit, 
Florencius tunc Im- 
paratoris Claudi Ne- 
poSy miles in armis 
strenuissimus amoro- 
sisque legibus inten- 
dens, ipsam ex sua 
obediencia in pulcri- 
tudinem pristinam mi- 
rabiliter reformauit. 

And in this wise I me confesse 
Of that ye clepe unbuxomnesse. 
Now telleth what youre conseil is. 
Mi Sone, and I thee rede this, 
What so befalle of other weie, 
That thou to loves heste obeie 
Als ferr as thou it myht sufiise : 
For ofte sithe in such a wise 
Obedience in love availeth, 
Wher al a mannes strengthe faileth; 
Wherof, if that the list to wite 
In a Cronique as it is write, 
A gret ensample thou myht fynde, 
Which now is come to my mynde. 

Ther was whilom be daies olde 
A worthi knyht, and as men tolde 
He was Nevoeu to themperour 
And of his Court a Courteour : 
Wifles he was, Florent he hihte, 
He was a man that mochel myhte, 
Of armes he was desirous, 
Chivalerous and amorous. 
And for the fame of worldes speche, 
Strange aventures forto seche, 
He rod the Marches al aboute. 
And fell a time, as he was oute. 
Fortune, which may every thred 
Tobreke and knette of mannes sped, 
Schop, as this knyht rod in a pas, 
That he be strengthe take was, 
And to a Castell thei him ladde, 
Wher that he fewe frendes hadde: 
For so it fell that ilke stounde 



P. i. 90 


1396 and] as B 1396 margin Confessor om. A 1403-6 Thrsg 
four lines in third recension only : ike others have iwOy given thus in A, 

And in ensample of ))is matiere 
A tale I fynde, as );ou schalt hiere. 
Beiotv this in A, Exemplum super eodem. 

1408 knyht om. A 14 16 for to] wold he B 1417 margin 

amoris qne A . . . Ba, A 1490 margin tmnsformauit A 


That he hath with a dedly wounde [Tale or Florent.] 

Feihttnde his oghne hondes slain 

Branciius, which to the Capitain 

Was Sone and Heir, wherof ben wrothe 

The fader and the moder bothe. 1430 

That knyht Branchus was of his hond 

The worthieste of al his lond, 

And fain thei wolden do vengance 

Upon Florent, bot remembrance 

That thei toke of his worthinesse 

Of knyhthod and of gentilesse. 

And how he stod of cousinage 

To theroperour, made hem assuage. 

And dorsten noght slen him for fere: 

In gret desputeisoun thei were 1440 

Among hemself, what was the beste. 

Ther was a lady, the slyheste 

Of alle that men knewe tho, 

So old sche myhte unethes go. 

And was grantdame unto the dede: 

And sche with that began to rede. 

And seide how sche wol bringe him inne, P. i. 91 

That sche schal him to dethe winne 

Al only of his oghne grant, 

Thurgh strengthe of verray covenant 1450 

Withoute blame of eny wiht. 

Anon sche sende for this kniht, 

And of hire Sone sche alleide 

The deth, and thus to him sche seide: 

'Florent, how so thou be to wyte 

Of Branchus deth, men schal respite 

As now to take vengement, 

Be so thou stonde in juggement 

Upon certein condicioun, 

That thou unto a questioun 1460 

Which I schal axe schalt ansuere; 

And over this thou schalt ek swere, 

That if thou of the sothe faile, 

Ther schal non other thing availe, 

1440 despitesoun A 1464 line ont. B 


[Tale of Florent.] That thou ne schalt thi deth receive. 

And for men schal thee noght deceive, 
That thou therof myht ben avised. 
Thou schalt have day and tyme assised 
And leve saufly forto wende, 
Be so that at thi daies ende 1470 

Thou come ayein with thin avys. 

This knyht, which worthi was and wys, 
This lady preith that he may vrite, 
And have it under Seales write, 
AVhat questioun it scholde be 
For which he schal in that degree 
Stonde of his lif in jeupartie. P. i. 92 

With that sche feigneth compaignie, 
And seith : * Florent, on love it hongeth 
Al that to myn axinge longeth: 1480 

What alle wommen most desire 
This wole I axe, and in thempire 
Wher as thou hast most knowlechinge 
Tak conseil upon this axinge.' 

Florent this thing hath undertake, 
The day was set, the time take, 
Under his seal he wrot his oth, 
In such a wise and forth he goth 
Hom to his Emes court ayein; 
To whom his aventure plein i4<>o 

He tolde, of that him is befalle. 
And upon that thei weren alle 
The wiseste of the lond asent, 
Bot natheles of on assent 
Thei myhte noght acorde plat. 
On seide this, an othre that 
After the disposicioun 
Of naturel complexioun 
To som womman it is plesance, 
That to an other is gre\*ance; 1500 

Bot such a thing in special. 
Which to hem alle in general 

1479 in l*>«« Sn, B of loue W 1483 Whcr as^ Jcr as AMEsXG 
149J thei OM. AM 1500 an o) re S, F 


Is most plesant, and most desired [Tale of Florent.] 

Above alle othre and most conspired, 

Such o thing conne thei noght finde 

Be Constellacion ne kinde: 

And thus Florent withoute cure P. i. 93 

Mot stonde upon his aventure, 

And is al schape unto the lere, 

As in defalte of his answere. 1510 

This knyht hath levere forto dye 

Than breke his trowthe and forto lye 

In place ther as he was swore, 

And schapth him gon ayein therfore. 

Whan time cam he tok his leve, 

That lengere wolde he noght beleve, 

And preith his Em he be noght wroth, 

For that is a point of his oth. 

He seith, that noman schal him wreke, 

Thogh afterward men hiere speke 15^0 

That he par aventure deie. 

And thus he wente forth his weie 

Alone as knyht aventurous, 

And in his thoght was curious 

To wite what was best to do : 

And as he rod al one so. 

And cam nyh ther he wolde be, 

In a forest under a tre 

He syh wher sat a creature, 

A lothly wommannysch figure, 1530 

That forto speke of fleisch and bon 

So foul yit syh he nevere non. 

This knyht behield hir redely. 

And as he wolde have passed by, 

Sche cleped him and bad abide ; ^ 

And he his horse heved aside 

Tho torneth, and to hire he rod, P. i. 94 

And there he hoveth and abod, 

To wite what sche wolde mene. 

And sche began him to bemene, 1540 

1505 Such o )>ing MEa, S, FHs Suiche one ))i«g A Such a j)ing 
AJHi . . . Ba, BAd, W 1509 in to E . . . Ba, B to Ha 


[Tale of Florknt.] And seide : * Florent be thi name, 

Thou hast on honde such a game, 
That hot thou be the betre avised, 
Thi deth is schapen and devised, 
That al the world ne mai the save, 
Bot if that thou my conseil have.' 
Florent, whan he this tale herde, 
Unto this olde wyht answerde 
And of hir conseil he hir preide. 
And sche ayein to him thus seide : 1550 

* Florent, if I for the so schape. 
That thou thurgh me thi deth ascape 
And take worschipe of thi dede. 
What schal I have to my mede?* 
'What thing,' quod he, *that thou wolt axe.' 
*I bidde nevere a betre taxe,' 
Quod sche, *bot ferst, er thou be sped, 
Thou schalt me leve such a wedd, 
That I wol have thi trowthe in honde 
That thou schalt be myn housebonde.' ^ 1560 
*Nay,' seith Florent, *that may noght be.* 
*Ryd thanne forth thi wey,' quod sche, 
'And if thou go withoute red. 
Thou schalt be sekerliche ded.' 
Florent behihte hire good ynowh 
Of lond, of rente, of park, of plowh, 
Bot al that compteth sche at noght. P*i*95 
Tho fell this knyht in mochel thoght, 
Now goth he forth, now comth ayein, 
He wot noght what is best to sein, 1570 

And thoghte, as he rod to and fro, 
That chese he mot on of the tuo, 
Or forto take hire to his wif 
Or elles forto lese his lif. 
And thanne he caste his avantage, 
That sche was of so gret an age, 
That sche mai live bot a while, 
And thoghte put hire in an He, 

1555 That AM 1573 haue A 1578 put SB, F 

putte AC 


Wher that noman hire scholde knowe, [Talk of Florxnt.] 

Til sche with deth were overthrowe. 1580 

And thus this yonge lusti knyht 

Unto this olde lothly wiht 

Tho seide : * If that non other chance 

Mai make my deliverance, 

Bot only thilke same speche 

Which, as thou seist, thou schalt me teche, 

Have hier myn hond, I schal thee wedde.' 

And thus his trowthe he leith to wedde. 

With that sche frounceth up the browe : 

'This covenant I wol allowe,' 1590 

Sche seith : * if eny other thing 

Bot that thou hast of my techyng 

Fro deth thi body mai respite, 

I woU thee of thi trowthe acquite, 

And elles be non other weie. 

Now herkne me what I schal seie. 

Whan thou art come into the place, P. i 96 

Wher now thei maken gret manace 

And upon thi comynge abyde, 

Thei wole anon the same tide 1600 

Oppose thee of thin answere. 

I wot thou wolt nothing forbere 

Of that thou wenest be thi beste, 

And if thou myht so finde reste, 

Wei is, for thanne is ther nomore. 

And elles this schal be my lore, 

That thou schalt seie, upon this Molde 
[ That alle wommen lievest wolde 
' Be soverein of mannes love : 

For what womman is so above, 1610 

Sche hath, as who seith, al hire wille ; 

And elles may sche noght fulfille 

What thing hir were lievest have. 

With this answere thou schalt save 

Thiself, and other wise noght. 

And whan thou hast thin ende wroght, 

Com hier ayein, thou schalt me finde, 

And let nothing out of thi minde.' 


[Tale or Florent.] He goth him forth with hevy chiere, 

As he that not in what manere 1620 

He mai this worldes joie atteigne: 

For if he deie, he hath a peine, 

And if he live, he mot him binde 

To such on which of alle kinde 

Of wommen is thunsemlieste : 

Thus wot he noght what is the beste: 

Bot be him lief or be him loth, P. i. 97 

Unto the Castell forth he goth 

His full answere forto yive, 

Or forto deie or forto live. 1630 

Forth ¥rith his conseil cam the lord. 

The thinges stoden of record, 

He sende up for the lady sone, 

And forth sche cam, that olde Mone. 

In presence of the remenant 

The strengthe of al the covenant 

Tho was reherced openly, 

And to Florent sche bad forthi 

That he schal tellen his avis, 

As he that woot what is the pris. 1640 

Florent seith al that evere he couthe, 

Bot such word cam ther non to mowthe, 

That he for yifte or for beheste 

Mihte eny wise his deth areste. 

And thus he tarieth longe and late. 

Til that this lady bad algate 

That he schal for the dom final 

Yive his answere in special 

Of that sche hadde him ferst opposed : 

And thanne he hath trewly supposed 1650 

That he him may of nothing yelpe, 

Bot if so be tho wordes helpe, 

Whiche as the womman hath him tawht ; 

Wherof he hath an hope cawht 

That he schal ben excused so. 

And tolde out plein his wille tho. 

i6a6 ^nsemylicste FK ^unsemelieste B 163a acord B 

1648 3iue AC, B 3if F 1652 Jw AMHi, Ad, Hs 


And whan that this Matrone herde P. i. 98 [Tale op Floesnt.] 

The manere how this knyht ansuerde, 

Sche seide : * Ha treson, wo thee be, 

That hast thus told the privite, 1660 

Which alle wommen most desire! 

I wolde that thou were afire.* 

Bot natheles in such a plit 

Florent of his answere is quit : 

And tho began his sorwe newe, 

For he mot gon, or ben untrewe, 

To hire which his trowthe hadde. 

Bot he, which alle schame dradde, 

Goth forth in stede of his penance, 

And takth the fortune of his chance, , 1670 

As he that was with trowthe afifaited. 

This olde wyht him hath awaited 
In place wher as he hire lefte : 
Florent his wofuU heved uplefte 
And syh this vecke wher sche sat, 
Which was the lothlieste what 
That evere man caste on his yhe : 
Hire Nase bass, hire browes hyhe. 

Hire yhen smale and depe set, ^%f» ' 

Hire chekes ben with teres wet, 1680 *^ 

And rivelen as an emty skyn 
Hangende doun unto the chin, 
Hire Lippes schrunken ben for age, 
Ther was no grace in the visage, 
Hir front was nargh, hir lockes hore, 
Sche loketh forth as doth a More, 
Hire Necke is schort, hir schuldres courbe, P. i. 99 
That myhte a mannes lust destourbe, 
Hire body gret and nothing smal, 
And schortly to descrive hire al, 1690 

Sche hath no lith withoute a lak ; 
Bot lich unto the wollesak 
Sche proferth hire unto this knyht, 
And bad him, as he hath behyht, 
So as sche hath ben his warant, 

1693 profcr]> Hi, Ad, F profurt W rtst profrej), proferep 


[Tale of Florent.] That he hire holde covenant, 

And be the bridel sche him seseth. 

Bot godd wot how that sche him pleseth 

Of suche wordes as sche spekth : 

Him thenkth welnyh his herte brekth 1700 

For sorwe that he may noght fle, 

Bot if he wolde untrewe be. 

Loke, how^^ sek man for his hele 
ikth balcremoine* with Canele,' 


And with the Mirre takth the Sucre, 

Ryht upon such a maner lucre 

Stant Florent, as in this diete : 

He drinkth the bitre with the swete. 

He medleth sorwe with likynge, 

And liveth, as who seith, deyinge; 17 10 

His youthe schal be cast aweie 

Upon such on which as the weie 

Is old and lothly overal. ^^^\ 

Bot nede he mot that nlffe^cKal: 

He wolde algate his trowthe holde, 

As every knyht therto is holde, 

What happ so evere him is befalle : P. i. 100 

Thogh sche be the fouleste of alle. 

Yet to thonour of wommanhiede 

Him thoghte he scholde taken hiede; 1720 

So that for pure gentilesse, 

As he hire couthe best adresce, 

In ragges, as sche was totore, 

He set hire on his hors tofore 

And forth he takth his weie softe ; 

No wonder thogh he siketh ofte. 

Bot as an oule fleth be nyhte 

Out of alle othre briddes syhte, 

Riht so this knyht on daies brode 

In clos him hield, and schop his rode 1730 

On nyhtes time, til the tyde 

That he cam there he wolde abide ; 

And prively withoute noise 

He bringth this foule grete Coise 

1704 Cande] )>e Canele YG . • . Bs, B 


To his Castell in such a wise [Talk of Florent.] 

That noman myhte hire schappe avise, 

Til sche into the chambre cam: 

Wher he his prive conseil nam 

Of suche men as he most troste, 

And tolde hem that he nedes moste 1740 

This beste wedde to his wif, 

For elles hadde he lost his lif. 

The prive wommen were asent, 
That scholden ben of his assent : 
Hire ragges thei anon of drawe, 
And, as it was that time lawe, 
She hadde bath, sche hadde reste, P. i. loi 
And was arraied to the beste. 
Bot with no craft of combes brode . 
Thei myhte hire hore lockes scho^e, 1750 

And sche ne wolde noght be schore 
For no conseil, and thei therfore. 
With such atyr as tho was used, 
Ordeinen that it was excused. 
And hid so crafteliche aboute. 
That noman myhte sen hem oute. 
Bot when sche was fulliche arraied 
And hire atyr was al assaied, 
Tho was sche foulere on to se: 
Bot yit it may non other be, 1760 

Thei were wedded in the nyht; 
So wo begon was nevere knyht 
As he was thanne of mariage. 
And sche began to pleie and rage, 
As who seith, I am wel ynowh ; 
Bot he therof nothing ne lowh, 
For sche tok thanne chiere on honde 
And clepeth him hire housebonde. 
And seith, *My lord, go we to bedde, 
For I to that entente wedde, 1770 

That thou schalt be my worldes bUsse : ' 

1755 hid] it MYX...CBa, B dijt L 1768 cleped X . .. B3, B 

cleput W 1770 entent(e) ]>e wedde X . . . CB2, EA entent was 

wedde l, A, W 

G 2 


lTale of Florent.] And profreth him with that to kisse. 

As sche a lusti Lady were. 
His body myhte wel be there, 
Bot as of thoght and of memoire 
His herte was in purgatoire. 
Bot yit for strengthe of matrimoine P. i. 102 
He myhte make non essoine, 
That he ne root algates plie 
To gon to bedde of compaignie : 1 780 

And whan thei were abedde naked, 
Withoute slep he was awaked ; 
He torneth on that other side. 
For that he wolde hise yhen hyde 
Fro lokynge on that foule wyht. 
The chambre was al full of lyht, 
The courtins were of cendal thinne, 
This newe bryd which lay withinne, 
Thogh it be noght with his acord, 
In armes sche beclipte hire lord, 1790 

And preide, as he was tomed fro. 
He wolde him torne ayeinward tho ; 
'For now,' sche seith, *we ben bothe on/ 
And he lay stille as eny ston, 
Bot evere in on sche spak and preide, 
And bad him thenke on that he seide, 
Whan that he tok hire be the bond. 
He herde and understod the bond, 
How he was set to his penance, 
And as it were a man in trance ^ 1800 

He torneth him al sodeinly, 
And syh a lady lay him by 
Of eyhtetiene wynter age. 
Which was the faireste of visage 
That evere in al this world he syh : 
And as he wolde have take hire nyh, 
Sche put hire hand and be his leve P. i. 103 
Besoghte him that he wolde leve. 
And seith that forto wynne or lese 

1785 on] of X . . . Bs, Ba fole F 1793 ben] be)> RCLBt 

but> AM 1809 seide (sayde) for to X ... Ba, B saide JNit for to W 


He mot on of tuo thinges chese, 1810 [Tale of Floremt.] 

Wher he wol have hire such on nyht, \ 1 t%eoLjlMrtLO ^ 

Or dies upon dales lyht, ^ ^ Vy^ 1^ 

For he schal noght have bothe tuo. aaV<J^ C«s^ 

And he began to sorwe tho, 

In many a wise and caste his thoght, 

Bot for al that yit cowthe he noght 

Devise himself which was the beste. 

And sche, that wolde his hertes reste, 

Preith that he scholde chese algate. 

Til ate laste longe and late 1820 

He seide: *0 ye, my lyves hele, 

Sey what you list in my querele, 

I not what ansuere I schal yive: 

Bot evere whil that I may live, 

I wol that ye be my maistresse, 

For I can noght miselve gesse 

Which is the beste unto my chois. 

Thus grante I yow myn hole vois, 

Ches for ous bothen, I you preie; 

And what as evere that ye seie, ^830 

Riht as ye wole so wol I.' 

*Mi lord,' sche seide, 'grant merci, 
For of this word that ye now sein, 
That ye have mad me sovereiiL 
Mi destine is overpassed, 
That nevere hierafter schal be lassed 
Mi beaute, which that I now have, P. L 104 
Til I be take into my graven 
Bot nyht and day as I am now 
I schal alwey be such to yow. ^ 1840 

The kinges dowhter of Cizile 
I am, and fell bot siththe awhile, 
As I was with my fader late. 
That my Stepmoder for an hate, 
Which toward me sche hath begonne, 
Forschop me, til I hadde wonne 
The love and sovereinete 

I Baa se lust AM thu liste Hi ]k)u list A je wyl Sn, W (wille) 
1839 Bot] BoKe) Hi . . . Ba, BAA, W 




I J AMc or J*mm*:nt.j 



\» ',>^i.<JM.V 


()( wiiat knyht that in his degre 
Aile othre passeth of good name : 
And| as men sein, ye ben the same, 
Tiie dede proeveth it is so; 
Thus am I youres evermo/ 
Tho was plesance and joye ynowh, 
Kchon witli other pleide and lowh ; 
'I'hei live longe and wel thei ferde, 
And clerkes that this chance herde 
'I'hei writen it in evidence, 
'I'o teche how that obedience 
Mai wel fortune a man to love 
And sette him in his lust above, 
As it l)efell unto this knyht 

Forthi, my Sone, if thou do r)'*^^ 

i'hou si'halt unto thi k>\*e obeie, 
And folwe hir will be alle weie. 

Min holy fader, so I wile: 
bivr ve ha\*e told roe stidi a skOe 
i>l this ei^sample now toloie; 

That 1 schal evenuo tberfoi^ 
Hieiaftenrafd rovn obeserrmnoe 

IV K^ve and h> his obefessaunDe' 

The betie kepe: and o%"^fr tbus 
t.V j«i»ic if ;hec v-^b* eiie* iiv 

M; S3b^« x\ecu 1 >cu yone. 

W!ixa >canc ^'.cii t>!ce ji compaiCTie 
V^licrcc :hdC UK>u >ci2uit iittre anoa. 
i'j 'i'wwc i :h%m jj^e iuit jr 3%jn 
'^'ivti :ii«; ibnnc js- uxju ^tdsLit !i.esK 



P. i 105 


%> <N/<.a .<.:f-c fUk^u^ ex .< .^*rja«l^*\ ir-KJi. 

litti . jiML S.Wa^ 



P. i. 106 

Qui magis astutus reputcU se vincere bellum, 
In laqueos Veneris forcius ipse cadit, 

Sepe Cupido virum sibi qui presumit amaniem 
Fallit^ et in vacuus spes redit ipsa vias, 

Surquiderie is thilke vice 
Of Pride, which the thridde office 
Hath in his Court, and wol noght knowe 
The trowthe til it overthrowe. 
Upon his fortune and his grace 
Comth *Hadde I wist' fulofte aplace; 
For he doth al his thing be gesse, 
And voideth alle sikernesse/- 
Non other conseil good him siemeth 
Bot such as he himselve diemeth; 
For in such wise as he compasseth. 
His wit al one alle othre passeth; 
And is with pride so thurghsoght. 
That he alle othre set at noght, 
And weneth of himselven so. 
That such as he ther be nomo, 
So fair, so semly, ne so wis; 
And thus he wolde here a pris 1900 

Above alle othre, and noght forthi 
He seith noght ones 'grant mercy' 
To godd, which alle grace sendeth, 
So that his wittes he despendeth 
Upon himself, as thogh ther were 
No godd which myhte availe there : 
Bot al upon his oghne witt 
He stant, til he falle in the pitt 
So ferr that he mai noght arise. 

And riht thus in the same wise 1910 

This vice upon the cause of love 
So proudly set the herte above, 
And doth him pleinly forto wene 
That he to loven eny qwene 
Hath worthinesse and sufficance; 
And so withoute. pourveance 

1889 alle ]>ing B, W al )>is }>ing M 1891 him] it AM 

1895 ))urghsoght S J)urgh-soght F 1906 good YXERCB2, H^ 



Hie loquitur de ter- 
cia specie Superbte, 
que Presumpcio dici- 
tur, cuius natunun 

1800 P"™° secundum vi- 
^ cium Confessor sinu 
pliciter declarat 

Hie tractat Confes- 
sor cum Amantesuper 
ilia saltern presump- 
cione, ex cuius super- 
bia quam plures fatui 
amantes, cum maioris 
certitudinis in amore 
spem sibi promittunt. 





inezpediti cicius desti- 

A mans. 


Fulofte he heweth up so hihe, 
That chippes fallen in his yhe; 
And ek ful ofte he weneth this, 
Ther as he noght beloved is, 
To be beloved alther best. 
Now, Sone, tell what so thee lest 
Of this that I have told thee hier. 

Ha, fader, be noght in a Arer: 
I trowe ther be noman lesse, 
Of eny maner worth inesse, 
That halt him lasse worth thanne I 
To be beloved; and noght forthi 
I seie in excusinge of me, 
To alle men that love is fre. 
And certes that mai noman weme; 
For love is of himself so deme. 
It luteth in a mannes herte : 
Bot that ne schal me noght asterte, 
To wene forto be worthi 
To loven, bot in hir mercy. 
Bot, Sire, of that ye wolden mene, 
That I scholde otherwise wene 
To be beloved thanne I was, 
I am beknowe as in that cas. 

Mi goode Sone, tell mc how. 

Now lest, and I wol telle yow. 
Mi goode fader, how it is. 
Fulofte it hath befalle or this 
Thurgh hope that was noght certein. 
Mi wenyinge hath be set in vein 
To triste in thing that halp me noght, 
Bot onliche of myn oughne thoght. 
For as it semeth that a belle 
Lik to the wordes that men telle 
Answerth, riht so ne mor ne lesse, 
To yow, my fader, I confesse. 
Such will my wit hath overset. 
That what so hope me behet. 


P. i. 107 




P. i. 108 

1931 noman] no womman YXGERBa, B 
(DOU)t) me X ... Ba, BA 1940 ^is cas B 

Z934 me noght] not 



Ful many a time I wene it soth, 
Bot finali no spied it doth. 
Thus may I tellen, as I can, 
Wenyng beguileth many a man; 
So hath it me, riht wel I wot: 
For if a man wole in a Bot 
Which is withoute botme rowe. 
He moste nedes overthrowe. 
Riht so wenyng hath ferd be me: 
For whanne I wende next have be. 
As I be my wenynge caste, 
Thanne was I furthest ate laste. 
And as a foil my bowe unbende, 
Whan al was failed that I wende. 
Forthi, my fader, as of this, 
That my wenynge hath gon amis 
Touchende to Surquiderie, 
Yif me my penance er I die. 
Bot if ye wolde in eny forme 
Of this matiere a tale enforme, 
Which were ayein this vice set, 
I scholde fare wel the bet. 

Mi Sone, in alle maner wise 
Surquiderie is to despise, 
Wherof I finde write thus. 
The proude knyht Capaneiis 
He was of such Surquiderie, 
That he thurgh his chivalerie 
Upon himself so mochel triste, 
That to the goddes him ne liste 
In no querele to beseche, 
Bot seide it was an ydel speche, 
Which caused was of pure drede, 
For lack of herte and for no nede. 
And upon such presumpcioun 
He hield this proude opinioun, 
Til ate laste upon a dai, 

1958 a om. MGERCB3, B i960 For] But B 

JX . . . Ba, B 1966 Thanwe F Than AC, B 




[Tale of Capankus.] 

Hie ponit Confes- 
sor exemplum contra 
illos, qui de suis viri- 
T980 bus presumentes de- 
bilioresefficiuntur. Et 
narrat qualiter ille 
Capaneus, miles in ar- 

P i lOQ '"'^ probatissimus, de 
sua presumens auda- 
cia inuocacionem ad 
superos tempore ne- 
cessitatis ex vecordia 
txmtum et non aliter 
primitus prouenisse 
asseruit. Vnde in ob- 
sidione Ciuitatis The- 
barum, cum ipse quo- 
dam die coram suis 
1990 hostibus ad debellan- 
dum se obtulit, ignis 




[Tale of Capaneus.] 

de celo subito super- 
veniens ipsum arma- 
tum totaliter in cine- 
res combussit 


Aboute Thebes wher he lay, 

Whan it of Siege was belein, 

This knyht, as the Croniqes sein, 

In alle mennes sihte there, 

Whan he was proudest in his gere, 

And thoghte how nothing myhte him dere, 

Ful armed with his schield and spere 

As he the Cite wolde assaile, 

Godd tok himselve the bataille 

Ayein his Pride, and fro the sky 

A firy thonder sodeinly 

He sende, and him to pouldre smot. 

And thus the Pride which was hot. 

Whan he most in his strengthe wende, 

Was brent and lost withouten ende : 

So that it proeveth wel therfore, 

The strengthe of man is sone lore, 

Bot if that he it wel governe. 

And over this a man mai lerne 

That ek fulofte time it grieveth, 

Whan that a man himself believeth, 

As thogh it scholde him wel beseme P. i. no 

That he alle othre men can deme. 

And hath foryete his oghne vice. 

A tale of hem that ben so nyce, 

And feigne hemself to be so wise, 

I schal thee telle in such a wise, 

Wherof thou schalt ensample take 

That thou no such thing undertake. 



I finde upon Surquiderie, 
How that whilom of Hungarie 
Be olde daies was a King 
Wys and honeste in alle thing: 
And so befell upon a dai, 
And that was in the Monthe of Maii, 

aoo5 strengthe] triste (tniste) X . . . Bs, B 
so 17-30 For these four lines SAdA have two^ — 

Wherof )>ou miht )>iselue lere, 
I ])enke telle, as )k>u schalt hiere. 
9oa6 moone (mone) XGR, B 

2009 wil B 



As thilke time it was usance, 
This kyng with noble pourveance 
Hath for himself his Charr araied, 
Wher inne he wolde ride amaiefa ^^ 
Out of the Cite forto pleie, 
With lordes and with gret nobleie 
Of lusti folk that were yonge : 
Wher some pleide and some songe, 
And some gon and some ryde, 
And some prike here hors aside 
And bridlen hem now in now oute. 
The kyng his yhe caste aboute, 
Til he was ate laste war 
And syh comende ayein his char 
Two pilegrins of so gret age, 
That lich unto a dreie ymage 
Thei weren pale and fade hewed. 
And as a bussh which is besnewed. 
Here berdes weren hore and whyte ; 
Ther was of kinde bot a lite. 
That thei ne semen fulli dede. 
Thei comen to the kyng and bede 
Som of his good par charite ; 
And he with gret humilite 
Out of his Char to grounde lepte, 
And hem in bothe hise armes kepte 
And keste hem bothe fot and bond 
Before the lordes of his lend, 
And yaf hem of his good therto : 
And whanne he hath this dede do, 
He goth into his char ayein. 
Tho was Murmur, tho was desdeign, 
Tho was compleignte on every side, 
Thei seiden of here oghne Pride 
Eche until othre: *What is this? 
Oure king hath do this thing amis, 
So to abesse his realte 

2041 pilgrimis (pilgrims &c.) AJMXRLBj peregrins B pilgrins Hi 
2043 Thei] That Hi, FWKHsMagd. 3049 pur charite MX . . . 

Bi, Ba, W 2054 his lordes XGECBa, B 

[The Trump or 

2030 Hie loquitur Con- 
fessor contra iUos, qui 
de sua sciencia presu- 
mentes aliorum con- 
diciones diiudicantes 
indiscrete redarguunt. 
£t narrat exemplum 
de quodam principe 
Regis Hungarie ger- 
manoy qui cum fratrem 
suum pauperibus in 
publico vidit humilia- 
tum, ipsum redargu- 
endo in contrarium 
edocere presumebat : 

2040 set Rex omni sapien- 
cia prepoUens ipsum 
sic incaute presumen- 
tem ad humilitatis me- 
P. i. Ill nioriam terribilt pro- 
uidencia micius casti- 




[The Tuvur or That every man it myhte se, 

And humbled him in such a wise 

To hem that were of non emprise.* 

Thus was it spoken to and fro 

Of hem that were with him tho 

Al priveiy behinde his bak; 

Bot to himselven noman spak. 2070 

The kinges brother in presence 

Was thilke time, and gret oflfence 

He tok therof, and was the same P. i. na 

Above alle othre which most blame 

Upon his liege lord hath leid. 

And hath unto the lordes seid. 

Anon as he mai time finde, 

Ther schal nothing be left behinde, 

That he wol speke unto the king. 

Now lest what fell upon this thing. 20S0 

The day was merie and (air ynowh, 
Echon with othre pldde and lowh. 
And fellen into tales newe. 
How that the freisshe floures grewe. 
And how the grene leves ^vonge. 
And how that love among the yonge 
Began the hertes thanne awake, 
And every bridd hath chose hire make : 
And thus the Maies day to thende 
Thet lede, and hom ayein thei wende. ^e>;o 

The king was noght so sone come. 
That whanne he hadde his chambre nome. 
His brother ne was redi there. 
And brc^hte a tale unto his Ere 
Of that he dede such a schame 
In hindringe of his oghne name, 
\Mian he himself so wolde 

That to so vil a po^-ere wrecche 

Him deigneth schewe such simplesce 

Ayein thastat of his noblesce: 2100 

And seith he schal it nomor use. 

And that he mot himself excuse 

QsrrB beleft FK briefte A ao88 kire' bis Hi . . . &. B. W 


Toward hise lordes everychon. P. i, 113 [Thb Trctmp of 

The king stod stille as eny ston, Death.] 

And to his tale an Ere he leide, 

And thoghte more than he seide: 

Bot natheles to that he herde 

Wei cortaisly the king answerde, 

And tolde it scholde be amended. 

And thus whan that her tale is ended, a no 

Al redy was the bord and cloth, 

The king unto his Souper goth 

Among the lordes to the halle; 

And whan thei hadden souped alle, 

Thei token leve and forth thei go. 

The king bethoghte himselve tho 

How he his brother mai chastie, 

That he thurgh his Surquiderie 

Tok upon honde to despreise 

Humilite, which is to preise, 3130 

And therupon yaf such conseil 

Toward his king that was noght heil ; 

Wherof to be the betre lered, 

He thenkth to maken him afered. 

It fell so that in thilke dawe 
Ther was ordeined be the lawe 
A trompe with a sterna breth, 
Which cleped was the Trompe of deth : 
And in the Court wher the king was 
A certain man this Trompe of bras 2130 

Hath in kepinge, and therof serveth, 
That whan a lord his deth deserveth, 
He schal this dredful trompe blowe P. i. 114 
Tofore his gate, and make it knowe 
How that the jugement is yove 
Of deth, which schal noght be foryove. 
The king, whan it was nyht, anon 
This man asente and bad him gon 
To trompeii at his brother gate ; 
And he, which mot so don algate, 2140 

Goth forth and doth the kynges heste. 

aio5 An F aiaa which was £, B which is G and was L 


[The Trump of This lord, which herde of this tempeste 

'^^'™-l That he tofore his gate blew, 

Tho wiste he be the lawe and knew 

That he was sikerliche ded: 

And as of help he wot no red, 

Bot sende for hise frendes alle 

And tolde hem how it is befalle. 

And thei him axe cause why; 

Bot he the sothe noght forthi 2150 

Ne wiste, and ther was sorwe tho: 

For it stod thilke tyme so, 

This trompe was of such sentence, 

That therayein no resistence 

Thei cputhe ordeine be no weie, 

That he ne mot algate deie, 

Bot if so that he may pourchace 

To gete his liege lordes grace. 

Here wittes therupon thei caste, 

And ben apointed ate laste. 2160 

This lord a worthi ladi hadde 
Unto his wif, which also dradde 
Hire lordes deth, and children five P. i. 115 
Betwen hem two thei hadde alyve, 
That weren yonge and tendre of age, 
And of stature and of visage 
Riht faire and lusty on to se. 
Tho casten thei that he and sche 
Forth with here children on the morwe, 
As thei that were full of sorwe, 2170 

Al naked bot of smok and scherte, 
To tendre with the kynges herte, 
His grace scholden go to seche 
And pardoun of the deth beseche. 
Thus passen thei that wofuU nyht. 
And erly, whan thei sihe it lyht, 
Thei gon hem forth in such a wise 
As thou tofore hast herd devise, 
Al naked bot here schortes one. 

2159 Hire FK 2171 Sherte F 9173 go bisecbe B 

3179 schortes M, FK trsi schertes (shirtes &c.) 


Thei wepte and made mochel mone, ai8o [The Trump of 

Here Her hangende aboute here Eres ; ■' 

With sobbinge and with sory teres 

This lord goth thanne an humble pas, 

That whilom proud and noble was ; 

Wherof the Cite sore afflyhte, 

Of hem that sihen thilke syhte: 

And natheles al openly 

With such wepinge and with such cri 

Forth with hise children and his wif 

He goth to preie for his lif. 2190 

Unto the court whan thei be come, 

And men therinne have hiede nome, 

Ther was no wiht, if he hem syhe, P. i. 116 

Fro water mihte kepe his yhe 

For sorwe which thei maden tho. 

The king supposeth of this wo, 

And feigneth as he noght ne wiste; 

Bot natheles at his upriste 

Men tolden him how that it ferde: 

And whan that he this wonder herde, 2200 

In haste he goth into the halle. 

And alle at ones doun thei falle. 

If eny pita may be founde. 

The king, which seth hem go to grounde, 

Hath axed hem what is the fere. 

Why thei be so despuiled there. 

His brother seide : ' Ha lord, mercy ! 

I wot non other cause why, 

Bot only that this nyht ful late 

The trompe of deth was at my gate 2210 

In tokne that I scholde deie; 

Thus be we come forto preie 

That ye mi worldes deth respite/ 

*Ha fol, how thou art forto wyte,' 
The king unto his brother seith, 
' That thou art of so litel feith, 
That only for a trompes soun 

ai8i hanged(e) AMHi, A, W (honget) 2191 become FK 

aao8 wot] not AM 



[The Trump or 





Hast gon despuiled thurgh the toun, 

Thou and thi wif in such manere 

Forth with thi children that ben here, 

In sihte of alle men aboute, 

For that thou seist thou art in doute 

Of deth, which stant under the lawe P. i. 117 

Of man, and man it mai withdrawe, 

So that it mai par chance faile. 

Now schalt thou noght forthi mervaile 

That I doun fro my Charr alihte, 

Whanne I behieid tofore my sihte 

In hem that were of so gret age 

Min oghne deth thurgh here ymage, 

Which god hath set be lawe of kynde, 

Wherof I mai no bote dnde: 

For wel I wot, such as thei be, 

Riht such am I in my d^ee. 

Of fleissh and blod, and so schal deie. 

And thus, thogh I that lawe obeie 

Of which the kinges ben put under, 

It oghte ben wel lasse wonder 

Than thou, which art withoute nede 

For lawe of londe in such a drede, 

Which for tacompte is bot a jape, 

As thing which thou miht overscape. 

Forthi, mi brother, after this 

I rede, sithen that so is 

That thou canst drede a man so sore, 

£>red god with al thin herte more: 

For al schal deie and al schal passe, 

Als well a Leoun as an asse, 

Als wel a beggere as a lord, 

Towardes deth in on acord 

Thei schuUen stonde.' And in this wise 

The king hath with hise wordes wise 

His brother tawht and al foryive. P. L u8 

Forthi, mi Sone, if thou wolt live 
In vertu, thou most vice eschuie. 



3824 >nai] h*^ B fl934 am I] a man C, B 3951 And] as B 



And with low herte humblesce suie, 
So that thou be noght surquidous. 

Mi fader, I am amorous, 
Wherof I wolde you beseche 
That ye me som ensample teche, 
Which mihte in loves cause stonde. 

Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde^ 
In love and othre thinges alle 
If that Surquiderie falle, 
It may to him noght wel betide 
Which useth thilke vice of Pride, 
Which tometh wisdom to wenynge 
And Sothfastnesse into lesynge 
Thurgh fol ymaginacion. 
And for thin enformacion, 
That thou this vice as I the rede 
Eschuie schalt, a tale I rede, 
Which fell whilom be daies olde, 
So as the clerk Ovide tolde. 

Ther was whilom a lordes Sone, 
Which of his Pride a nyce wone 
Hath cawht, that worth i to his liche. 
To sechen al the worldes riche, 
Ther was no worn man forto love. 
So hihe he sette himselve above 
Of stature and of beaute bothe. 
That him thoghte alle wommen lothe : 
So was ther no comparisoun 
As toward his condicioun. 

[The Trump of 





[Tale of Narcissus.] 

Hie in special! trac- 

2280 ^^ Confessor cum A- 

mante contra illos, qui 

de propria formositate 

presumentes amorem 

. mulieris dedignantur. 

F. 1. 119 Et narrat exemplum, 

qualitercuiusdam Prin- 

2260 som ensample] by som weie B 2261 in am. X£ . . . Bj 

2265 f. To man in any maner side 

He may wel nowher )>an abide R 
To man in eny maner side 
It may to him nou^t wel betide Ba 
CL contbine the above with the reading of the text, 

2267-74 Eight lines found thus in copies of the third recension ^ 
FWKHs &c., and also in Hi. The rest have four ^ given as follows by S, 

fforjji eschuie it I J>e rede 
fibr in Ouide a tale I rede 
How l^at a man was ouertake 
Wherof ])ou myht ensample take. 

•♦ H 



[Tale of Narcbsus.] 

dzus estiuo tempore, 
cum ipse venacionis 
cmiisaquendam cerumn 
solus cum suis canibus 
ezagitaret, in grauem 
sitim incurrens neces- 
sitate compulsus ad 
bibendum de quodam 
fonte pronus se indi- 
nauit ; vbi ipse faciem 
suam pulcherrimam in 
aqua perdpiens, puta- 
bat se per hoc illam 
Nimphun^quam Poete 
£kko vocanty in flu- 
mine coram suis ocu- 
lispocius conspexisse; 
de cuius amore con- 
festim laqueatus, vtip- 
sam ad se de fonte ex- 
traheretypluribus blan- 
didis adulabatur. Set 
cum illud perficere nul- 
latenus potuit.pre nim- 
io languore deficiens 
contra lapides ibidem 
adiacentes caput ex- 
uerberanscerebmm ef- 
fudit £t sic de propria 
pulcritudine qui fiierat 
pre8umptuosus,de pro- 
pria pulcritudine fat- 
uatus interiit. 

This yonge lord Narcizus hihte: 

No strengthe of love bowe mihte 

His herte, which is unaffiled; 

Bot ate laste he was b^uiled : 

For of the goddes pourveance 

It fell him on a dai par chance, 2290 

That he in all his proude fare 

Unto the forest gan to fare, 

Amonges othre that ther were 

To hunte and to desporte him there. 

And whanne he cam into the place 

Wher that he wolde make his chace, 

The houndes weren in a throwe 

Uncoupled and the homes blowe: 

The grete hert anon was founde, 

Which swifte feet sette upon grounde, 2300 

And he with spore in horse side 

Him hasteth faste forto ride, 

Til alle men be left behinde. 

And as he rod, under a linde 

Beside a roche, as I thee telle. 

He syh wher sprong a lusty welle: 

The day was wonder hot withalle, 

And such a thurst was on him falle. 

That he moste owther deie or drinke; 

And doun he lihte and be the brinke 2310 

He teide his Hors unto a braunche. 

And leide him lowe forto staunche 

His thurst : and as he caste his lok P. i. 120 

Into the welle and hiede tok, 

He sih the like of his visage, 

And wende ther were an ymage 

Of such a Nimphe as tho was faie, 

Wherof that love his herte assaie 

Began, as it was after sene, 

Of his sotie and made him wene 2330 

It were a womman that he syh. 

3993 margin pronus] proulis XE . . . Bt 3994 to 

om. B, W 9999 The grete] A grete AM, W 9300 vpon AJ, Ad, 
FHs on ))€ XERC, B vpon the Hi 9309 margin poterat B 


The more he cam the welle nyh, [Tale or Narossus.] 

The nerr cam sche to him ayein; 

So wiste he nevere what to sein; 

For whanne he wepte, he sih hice wepe, 

And Whanne he cride, he tok good kepe/ 

The same word sche crid6 also : 

And thus began the newe wo, 

That whilom was to him so strange; 

Tho made him love an hard eschange, 2330 

To sette his herte and to beginne 

Thing which he mihte nevere winne. 

And evere among he gan to loute. 

And preith that sche to him come oute; 

And otherwhile he goth a ferr, 

And otherwhile he draweth nerr, 

And evere he fond hire in o place. 

He wepth, he crith, he axeth grace, 

There as he mihte gete non; 

So that ayein a Roche of Ston, 3340 

As he that knew non other red, 

He smot himself til he was ded. 

Wherof the Nimphes of the welles, P. i. isi 

And othre that ther weren elles 

Unto the wodes beiongende, 

The body, which was ded ligende. 

For pure pite that thai have 

Under the grene thei begrave. 

And thanne out of his sepulture 

Ther sprong anon par aventure 2350 

Of floures such a wonder syhte, 

That men ensample take myhte 

Upon the dedes whiche he dede. 

As tho was sene in thilke stede; 

For in the wynter freysshe and faire 

The floures ben, which is contraire 

To kynde, and so was the folie 

Which fell of his Surquiderie. 

Thus he, which love hadde in desdeign, Confessor. 

3332 neuermighteB 2335 a ferr J, SB, F aferrA 2343-58 
Sixteen lines found only in third recension copies^ FWKH3 &c., and in Hi 

H 2 



[Prssumption or 



P. i. 132 

Worste of all othre was besein, 2360 

And as he sette his pris most hyhe, 

He was lest worth in loves yhe 

And most bejaped in his wit: 

Wherof the remembrance is yit, 

So that thou myght ensample take. 

And ek alle othre for his sake. 

Mi fader, as touchende of me, 
This vice I thenke forto fle, 
Which of his wenynge overtroweth ; 
And nameliche of thing which groweth 2370 
In loves cause or wel or wo 
Yit pryded I me nevere so. 
Bot wolde god that grace sende, 
That toward me my lady wende 
As I towardes hire wene! 
Mi love scholde so be sene, 
Ther scholde go no pride a place, 
Bot I am ferr fro thilke grace, 
As forto speke of tyme now ; 
So mot I soffre, and preie yow 2380 

That ye wole axe on other side 
If ther be eny point of Pride, 
Wherof it nedeth to be schrive. 

Mi Sone, godd it thee foryive. 
If thou have eny thing misdo 
Touchende of this, bot overmo 
Ther is an other yit of Pride, 
Which nevere cowthe hise wordes hide, 
That he ne wole himself avaunte ; 
Ther mai nothing his tunge daunte, 2390 

That he ne clappeth as a Belle: 
Wherof if thou wolt that I telle, 
It is behovely forto hiere, 
So that thou myht thi tunge stiere, 
Toward the world and stonde in grace. 
Which lacketh ofte in many place 

9369-79 third rtctnsum and Hi only ^379 And X . . . Bi, B 

9380 and preie]! preie (prey) XGECLBa, B I seigh R 9386 

coenno JMHiXGRLBs, B^ W 9396 aplace AM 



To him that can noght sitte stille, 
Which elles scholde have al his wille. 

ix. Magniloque propriam minuit iactancia lingue 
Famatn^ quam siabiUm firmat honore cilens, 

ipse sui laudem meriti non percipiiy vnde 
Se sua per verba iactat in orbe palam, 

Estque viri culpa iactancia, que rubefactas 
In muliere reas causcU habere gencu. 



P, i. 133 


The vice cleped Avantance 
With Pride hath take his aqueintance, 
So that his oghne pris he lasseth, 
When he such mesure overpasseth 
That he his oghne Herald is. 
That ferst was wel is thanne mis, 
That was thankworth is thanne blame, 
And thus the worschipe of his name 
Thurgh pride of his avantarie 
He tometh into vilenie, 
I rede how that this proude vice 
Hath thilke wynd in his office, 2410 

Which thurgh the blastes that he bloweth 
The mannes fame he overthroweth 
Of vertu, which scholde elles springe 
Into the worldes knowlechinge ; 
Bot he fordoth it alto sore. 
And riht of such a maner lore 
Ther ben lovers : forthi if thow 
Art on of hem, tell and sei how. 
AVhan thou hast taken epy thing 
Of loves yifte, or Nouche or ring, 2430 

Or tok upon thee for the cold 
Som goodly word that thee was told, 
Or frendly chiere or tokne or lettre, 
Wherof thin herte was the bettre, 
Or that sche sende the grietinge, 
Hast thou for Pride of thi likinge 
Mad thin avant wher as the liste? 

2398 al om. Hi, FHs 2410 wynd] hunt(e) HiYX . . . L, B 

haunt Ba 2416 margin verecundia M . . • Bi, Ad vecundia W 
2421 tok (took) J, B, F tokc AC 2423 Of JX . . . Ba, B, W 

Hie loquitur dequar- 
ta specie Superbie,que 
Iactancia dicitur, ex 
cuius natura causatur, 
vt homo de seipso tes- 
timonium perfaibenssu- 
arum virtutum merita 
de laude in culpam 
transfert, et soam fa- 
mam cum ipse extol- 
lere vellet, illam pro- 
priooresubvertit. Set 
et Venus in amoris cau* 
sa de isto vicio macu- 
latos a sua Curia super 
omnes alios abhorrens 
expellit, eteorum mul- 
tiloquium verecunda 
detestatur. Vnde Con- 
fessor Amanti oppo- 
nensmateriam plenius 





[Tale of Albinus 
and rosemund.] 

Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra is- 
tos, qui vel de sua in 
armis probitate, vel de 
suo in amoris causa 

P. i. 1214 



I wolde, fader, that ye wiste, 
Mi conscience lith noght hiere: 
Yit hadde I nevere such matiere, 
Wherof min herte myhte amende, 
Noght of so mochel that sche sende 
Be mowthe and seide, *Griet him wel:' 
And thus for that ther is no die! 
Wherof to make myn avant, 
It is to reson acordant 
That I mai nevere, hot I lye. 
Of love make avanterie. 
I wot noght what I scholde have do, 
If that I hadde encneson so, 
As ye have seid hier manyon; 
Bot I fond cause nevere non: 
Bot daunger, which welnyh me slowh, 
Therof I cowthe telle ynowh, 
And of non other Avantance : 
Thus nedeth me no repentance. 
Now axeth furthere of my lif, 
For hierof am I noght gultif. 

Mi Sone, I am wel paid withal; 
For wite it wel in special 
That love of his verrai justice 
Above alle othre ayein this vice 
At alie times most debateth, 
With al his herte and most it hateth. 
And ek in alle maner wise 
Avantarie is to despise. 
As be ensample thou myht wite, 
Which I finde in the bokes write. 

Of hem that we Lombars now calle P. i. 125 
Albinus was the ferste of alle 2^^ 

Which bar corone of Lombardie, 
And was of gret chivalerie 
In werre ayein diverse kinges. 
So fell amonges othre thinges. 
That he that time a werre hadde 


3457 myht (might) JC,B myhteA,S,F 0460 ferste S ferst A, B, F 



With Gunnond, which the Geptes ladde, 

And was a myhti k3rng also: 

Bot natheles it fell him so, 

Albinus slowh him in the feld, 

Ther halp him nowther swerd ne scheld, 

That he ne smot his hed of thanne, 

Wherof he tok awey the Panne, 

Of which he seide he wolde make 

A Cuppe for Gurmoundes sake, 

To kepe and drawe into memoire 

Of his bataille the victoire. 

And thus whan he the feld hath wonne, 

The lond anon was overronne 

And sesed in his oghne hond, 

Wher he Gurmondes dowhter fond, 

Which Maide Rosemounde hihte. 

And was in every mannes sihte 

A fair, a freissh, a lusti on. 

His herte fell to hire anon. 

And such a love on hire he caste, 

That he hire weddeth ate laste; 

And after that long time in reste 

With hire he duelte, and to the beste 

Thei love ech other wonder wel. P. 

Bot sche which kepth the blinde whel, 

Venus, whan thei be most above. 

In al the hoteste of here love. 

Hire whiel sche torneth, and thei felle 

In the manere as I schal telle. 

This king, which stod in al his welthe 
Of pes, of worschipe and of helthe, 
And felte him on no side grieved, 
As he that hath his world achieved, 
Tho thoghte he wolde a feste make ; 
And that was for his wyves sake. 
That sche the lordes ate feste. 
That were obeissant to his heste, 

[Tale of Albinus 
and r08kmund.] 

desiderio completo se 
iactant. £t narratqual- 
iter Albinus primus 
Rex LongolMirdonim, 

^470 cum ipse quendam a- 
lium Regem nomine 
Gurmundum in bello 
morientem triumphas- 
set, testam capitis de- 
functi auferens ci- 
phum ex ea gemmis et 
auro circumUgatum in 
sue victorie memoriam 
fabricariconstituit : in- 
super et ipsius Gur^ 
mundi filiam Rose- 
mundam rapiens, mar- 
itali thoro inconiugem 
g sibi copulauit Vnde 
"^ ipsoAlbinoposteacor- 
am sui Regni nobili- 
bus in suo regali con- 
uiuio sedente, dicti 
Gurmundi dphum in- 
fuso vino ad se inter 
epulas afferri iussit; 
quem sumptum vxori 
sue Regine porrexit 
dicens,*Bibecum patre 
tuc' Quod et ipsa hu- 
iusmodi opens ignara 
fecit. Quo facto Rex 
1. 126 statim super hiis que 

2 ,QQ per prius gesta fue- 
rant cunctis audienti- 
bus per singula se iac- 
tauit. Regina vero cum 
talia audisset, celato 
aninio factum abhor- 
rens in mortem domini 
sui Regis circumspec- 
ta industria conspira- 
uit; ipsumqueauxiliant- 
ibusGlodesidaet Hel- 
mege breui subsecuto 
tempore interfecit: cu- 
ius mortem Dux Ra- 
uennensis tarn in cor- 

2^00 pus dicte Regine quam 
suorum fautorum post • 
ea vindicauit Set et 
huius tocius infortunii 

2473 **targin testum Hi . . . Ba (E corr. testam) 9488 dwelled 

JMEBi, A, W (dwellet) duelle)) XGRCL 9489 ntargin statim] 

statum G statutum X£ . . . Hi 9497 agrieued B 9501 ate] of ]>e B 



[Tale of Albinus 
and rossmund.] 

sola Buperbie iactancia 
fomitem ministrabat. 

Mai knowe: and so forth thenipon 
He let ordeine, and sende anon 
Be lettres and be messagiers, 
And wamede alle hise officiers 
That every thing be wel arraied : 
The grete Stiedes were assaied 
For joustinge and for tornement. 
And many a perled gamement 
Embroudred was ayein the dai. 
The lordes in here beste arrai 
Be comen ate time set, 
On jousteth wel, an other bet, 
And otherwhile thei tomeie, 
And thus thei casten care aweie 
And token lustes upon honde. 
And after, thou schalt understonde, 
To mete into the kinges halle 
Thei come, as thei be beden alle: 
And whan thei were set and served, 
Thanne after, as it was deserved, 
To hem that worthi knyhtes were, 
So as thei seten hiere and there. 
The pris was yove and spoken oute 
Among the heraldz al aboute. 
And thus benethe and ek above 
Al was of armes and of love, 
Wherof abouten ate hordes 
Men hadde manye sondri wordes. 
That of the merthe which thei made 
The king himself began to glade 
Withinne his herte and tok a pride, 
And sih the Cuppe stonde aside. 
Which mad was of Gurmoundes hed. 
As ye have herd, whan he was ded. 
And was with gold and riche Stones 
Beset and bounde for the nones, 
And stod upon a fot on heihte 
Of burned gold, and with gret sleihte 
Of werkmanschipe it was begrave 

3511 Embroudred F rtsi Embrowded (Embroudid &c.) 

2f 10 

P. i. 137 





Of such werk as .it scholde have, [Talk op Albinus 

And was Vl^ceS ek so clene ^"^ Roseiiuni>.] 

no signe of the^SkuIle is sene, 
LS It were a Ghpes Ey.-*^ 


Bot as it were a GHpSs'E)^; 
The king bad here his Cuppe awey, 
Which stod tofore him on the bord, 
And fettelhilke. Upon his word 
This SkuUe is fet and wyn therinne, P. i. ia8 
Wherof he bad his wif beginne : 2550 

'Drink with thi fader, Dame,* he seide. 
And sche to his biddinge obeide, 
And tok the Skulle, and what hire liste 
Sche drank, as sche which nothing wiste 
What Cuppe it was: and thanne al oute 
The kyng in audience aboute 
Hath told it was hire fader Skulle, 
So that the lordes knowe schulle 
Of his bataille a soth witnesse, 
And made avant thurgh what prouesse 2560 
He hath his wyves love wonne, 
Which of the Skulle hath so begonne. 
Tho was ther mochel Pride alofte, 
Thei speken alle, and sche was softe, 
Thenkende on thilke unkynde Pride, 
Of that hire lord so nyh hire side 
Avanteth him that he hath slain 
And piked out hire fader brain, 
And of the Skulle had mad a Cuppe. 
Sche soffreth al til thei were uppe, 3570 

And tho sche hath seknesse feigned. 
And goth to chambre and hath compleigned 
Unto a Maide which sche triste, 
So that non other wyht it wiste. 
This Mayde Glodeside is bote, 
To whom this lady hath behote 
Of ladischipe al that sche can, 
To vengen hire upon this man. 
Which dede hire drinke in such a plit P. i. 129 
Among hem alle for despit 2580 

2544 is] was Hi . . . B2, B 2569 had C, SB, F hadde A ha)) J 


[Tale of Albinus Of hire and of hire fader bothe ; 

AND RosiMUND.] Whcrof hire thoghtes ben so wrothe, 

Sche seith, that sche schal noght be glad, 

Til that sche se him so bestad 

That he nomore make Ivant. 

And thus thei felle in covenant, 

That thei acorden ate laste, 

With suche wiles as thei caste 

That thei wol gete of here acord 

Som or^ci' knyht to sle this lord : 2590 

And with this sleihte thei beginne, 

How thei Helmege myhten winne, 

Which was the kinges Boteler, 

A proud a lusti Bacheler, 

And Glodeside he loveth hote. 

And sche, to make him more assot^ 

Hire love granteth, and be nyhte 

Thei schape how thei togedre myhte 

Abedde meete: and don it was 

This same nyht; and in this cas a 600 

The qwene hirself the nyht secounde 

Wente in hire stede, and there hath founde 

A chambre derk withoute liht, 

And goth to bedde to this knyht 

And he, to kepe his observance. 

To love doth his obeissance. 

And weneth it be Glodeside; 

And sche thanne after lay aside, 

And axeth him what he hath do, P. i. 130 

And who sche was sche tolde him tho, a6io 

And seide: 'Helmege, I am thi qwene, 

Now schal thi love wel be sene 

Of that thou hast thi wille wroght : 

Or it schal sore ben aboght. 

Or thou schalt worche as I thee seie. 

And if thou wolt be such a weie 

Do my plesance and holde it stille. 

For evere I schal ben at thi wille, 

Bothe I and al myn heritage/ 

fl6ii thi] ])e JHi . . . Bs, BA 



Anon the wylde loves rage. 

In which noman him can goverae. 

Hath mad him that he can noght weme, 

Bot fell al hoi to hire assent: 

And thus the whiel is al miswent, 

The which fortune hath upon honde; 

For how that evere it after stonde, 

Thei schope among hem such a wyle, 

The king was ded withinne a whyle. 

So slihly cam it noght aboute 

That thei ne ben discoevered oute, 

So that it thoghte hem for the beste 

To fle, for there was no reste: 

And thus the tresor of the king 

Thei trusse and mochel other thing, 

And with a certein felaschipe 

Thei fledde and wente awey be schipe, 

And hielde here rihte cours fro thenne, 

Til that thei come to Ravenne, 

Wher thei the Dukes helpe soghte. 

And he, so as thei him besoghte, 

A place granteth forto duelle; 

Bot after, whan he herde telle 

Of the manere how thei have do. 

This Duk let schape for hem so, 

That of a puison which thei dfunke 

Thei hadden that thei have beswiinlce. 

And al this made avant of Pride: 
Good is therfore a man to hide 
His oghne pris, for if he speke. 
He mai lihtliche his thonk tobreke. 
In armes lith non avantance 
To him which thenkth his name avance 
And be renomed of his dede : 
And also who that thenkth to spede 
Of love, he mai him noght avauntej 
For what man thilke vice haunte, 
His pourpos schal fulofte faile. 
In armes he that wol travaile 
26aa Hath mad] Made Hi . . . Ba, B 2658 he] who AM 

2620 [Tale of Albinus 
and rosbmund.] 


p. i. 131 









Or elles loves grace atteigne, 

His lose tunge he mot restreigne, 2660 

Which berth of his honour the keie. 

Forthi, my Sone, in alle weie 
Tak riht good hiede of this matiere. 

I thonke you, my fader diere, 
This scole is of a gentil lore ; 
And if ther be oght elles more 
Of Pride, which I schal eschuie, 
Now axeth forth, and I wol suie 
What thing that ye me wole enforme P. i. 132 

Mi Sone, yit in other forme 2670 

Ther is a vice of Prides lore. 
Which lich an hauk whan he wol sore, 
Fleith upon heihte in his delices 
After the likynge of his vices, 
And wol no mannes resoun knowe, 
Till he doun falle and overthrowe. 
This vice veine gloire is hote, 
Wherof, my Sone, I thee behote 
To trete and speke in such a wise, 
That thou thee myht the betre avise. 2680 

[v. Vain-Glory.] 

Hie loquitur dc 
quinta specie superbie, 
que Inanis gloria vo 
catur, et eiusdem vicii 
naturam primo descri- 
bens super eodem in 
amoris causa Confes- 

X. Gloria perpetuus pregnat mundana dolores^ 

Qui tamen est vanus gaudia vana cupit. 
Eius amidcianiy quern gloria tollit inanis^ 

Non sine blandiciis planus habebit homo: 
Verbis compost lis qui scit strigilare fauellum^ 

Scandere sellaia iura valebit eques. 
Sic in amore magis qui blanda subomat in ore 

Verba, per hoc brauium quod nequit alter habet. 
Et tamen omatos cantus variosque paratus 

Letaque corda suis legibus optat amor. (10) 

The proude vice of veine gloire 
Remembreth noght of purgatoire, 
Hise worldes joyes ben so grete. , 
Him thenkth of hevene no beyete; 
This lives Pompe is al his pes: 
Yit schal he deie natheles, 

2669 )e me wole] )e wol (wil) me L, A je wol(e) AM me wol Hs 


And therof thenkth he bot a lite, [v. Vain-Glory.] 

For al his lust is to delite sorAmandconsequen. 

In newe thinges, proude and veine, eroppomt. 

Als ferforth as he mai atteigne. 2690 

I trowe, if that he myhte make P. i. 133 

His body newe, he wolde take 

A newe forme and leve his olde: 

For what thing that he mai beholde, 

The which to comun us is strange, 

Anon his olde guise change 

He wole and falle therupon, 

Lich unto the Camelion, 

Which upon every sondri hewe 

That he beholt he moste newe 2700 

His colour, and thus unavised 

Fulofte time he stant desguised. 

Mor jolif than the brid in Maii 

He makth him evere freissh and gay, 

And doth al his array desguise, Salomon. Amictuseius 

So that of him the newe guise annunciat de eo. 

Of lusti folk alle othre take ; 

And ek he can caroUes make, 

Rondeal, balade and virelai. 

And with all this, if that he may 2710 

Of love gete him avantage. 

Anon he wext of his corage 

So overglad, that of his ende 

Him thenkth ther is no deth comende: 

For he hath thanne at alle tide 

Of love such a maner pride. 

Him thenkth his joie is endeles. 

Now schrif thee, Sone, in godes pes, Confessor. 

And of thi love tell me plein 
If that thi gloire hath be so vein. 2720 

Mi fader, as touchinge of al P. i. 134 Amans. 

3687 |:erforAM, W J)eron Ad alite A, SB, F, &c. 2705 margin 
Salomon. Amictus — eo in third recension only, 3713 f. This text 

only in copies 0/ third recension^ T{in ni5.)WKH3 &c. The rest have. 

So ouerglad ]>at purgatoire 

Ne myhte abregge his veine gloire 


[The Lover's Con- I may noght wel ne noght ne schal 

FESSION.] ^f I . 

-' Of veme gloire excuse me, 

That I ne have for love be 
The betre adresced and arraied; 
And also I have ofte assaied 
Rondeal, balade and virelai 
For hire on whom myn herte lai 
To make, and also forto peinte 
Caroles with my wordes qweinte, 2730 

To sette my pourpos alofte; 
And thus I sang hem forth fulofte 
In halle and ek in chambre aboute, 
And made merie among the route, 
Bot yit ne ferde I noght the bet 
Thus was my gloire in vein beset 
Of al the joie that I made ; 
For whanne I wolde with hire glade. 
And of hire love songes make, 
Sche saide it was noght for hir sake, 2740 

And liste noght my songes hiere 
Ne witen what the wordes were. 
So forto speke of myn arrai, 
Yit couthe I nevere be so gay 
Ne so wel make a songe of love, 
Wherof I myhte ben above 
And have encheson to be glad; 
Bot rathere I am ofte adrad 
For sorwe that sche seith me nay. 
And natheles I wol noght say, 2750 

That I nam glad on other side ; P. i. 135 

For fame, that can nothing hide, 
Alday wol bringe unto myn Ere 
Of that men speken hier and there, 
How that my ladi berth the pris. 
How sche is fair, how sche is wis, 
How sche is wommanlich of chiere; 
Of al this thing whanne I mai hiere. 
What wonder is thogh I be fain? 
And ek whanne I may hiere sain 3760 

9751 nam] am Hi . • . B«, W on] an AJ 



Tidinges of my ladi hele, 
Althogh I may noght with hir dele, 
Yit am I wonder glad of that ; 
For whanne I wot hire good astat, 
As for that time I dar wel swere, 
Non other sorwe mai me dere, 
Thus am I gladed in this wise. 
Bot, fader, of youre lores wise, 
Of whiche ye be fully tawht, 
Now tell me if yow thenketh awht 
That I therof am forto wyte. 

Of that ther is I thee acquite, 
Mi sone, he seide, and for thi goode 
I wolde that thou understode: 
For I thenke upon this matiere 
To telle a tale, as thou schalt hiere. 
How that ayein this proude vice 
The hihe god of his justice 
Is wroth and gret vengance doth« 
Now herkne a tale that is soth: 
Thogh it be noght of loves kinde, 
A gret ensample thou schalt finde 
This veine gloire forto fle, 
Which is so full of vanite. 

xi. Humani generis cum sit sibi gloria motor ^ 
Sepe subesse solet proximus ille dolor : 

Mens elata graues descensus sepe subibity 
Mens humilis stabile molleque firmcU iter. 

Motibus innumeris volutat for tuna per orbemj 
Cum magis alta petisy inferiora time, 

Ther was a king that mochel myhte, 
Which Nabugodonosor hihte. 
Of whom that I spak hier tofore. 
Yit in the bible his name is bore, 
For al the world in Orient 
Was hoi at his comandement : 

2770 )>ou )>enke)) (]>enk]>) AXRCLBa )>ou ))enke M ;e 
(Hnke) HiSn, A 5© thenketh (ye pinketh) Ad, W 
Latin Verses xi. 5 immunis HiXGECLBa, B 
3789 in the orient A, WHs 

[The Lover's Con- 



P. i. 136 


Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra vi- 
cium inanis glorie^ 
narrans qualiter Na- 
bugodonosor Rex Cal- 
2790 deorum, cum ipse in 





omni sue maiestatis 
gloria celsior extitis- 
set, deus eius super- 
biam castigare volens 
ipsum extra formam 
hominis in bestiam 
fenum comedentem 
tninsmiitauit £t sic 
per septennium peni- 
tenSy cum ipse po- 
tenciorem se agnouit, 
misertusdeus ipsum in 
sui regni solium resti- 
tuta sanitate emenda- 
tum gradosius collo- 

P. i. 137 

As thanne of kinges to his liche 

Was non so myhty ne so riche; 

To his Empire and to his lawes, 

As who seith, alle in thilke dawes 

Were obeissant and tribut bere, 

As thogh he godd of Erthe were. 

With strengthe he putte kinges under, 

And wroghte of Pride many a wonder; 

He was so full of veine gloire, 

That he ne hadde no memoire 2800 

That ther was eny good bot he, 

For pride of his prosperite; 

Til that the hihe king of kinges, 

Which seth and knoweth alle thinges, 

Whos yhe mai nothing asterte, — 

The privetes of mannes herte 

Thei speke and sounen in his Ere 

As thogh thei lowde wyndes were, — 

He tok vengance upon this pride. 

Bot for he wolde awhile abide 2810 

To loke if he him wolde amende, 

To him a foretokne he sende, 

And that was in his slep be nyhte. 

This proude kyng a wonder syhte 

Hadde in his swevene, ther he lay: 

Him thogh te, upon a merie day 

As he behield the world aboute, 

A tree fulgrowe he syh theroute, 

Which stod the world amiddes evene, 

Whos heihte straghte up to the hevene ; 2820 

The leves weren faire and large, 

Of fruit it bare so ripe a charge, 

That alle men it myhte fede: 

He sih also the bowes spriede 

Above al Erthe, in whiche were 

The kinde of alle briddes there ; 

2796 margin subito transmutauit A . . . Ba, S . . . A 9801 good 
FKH3 godd (god^ A . . . Ba, S . . . A, W aSia a foretokene K 

afortokenW aforetokne S, F afortokene R a fore tokne (token) 
JXEC, Hs afore tokne (en) AMHiGLBa, BAdA 


And eke him thoghte he syh also [Nebuchadnezzar's 

The kinde of alle bestes go Puhishmeiit.] 

Under this tre aboute round 

And fedden hem upon the ground. 3830 

As he this wonder stod and syh, 

Him thoghte he herde a vois on hih 

Criende, and seide aboven alle: 

' Hew doun this tree and lett it falle, 

The leves let defoule in haste 

And do the fruit destruie and waste, 

And let of schreden every braunche, P. i. 138 

But ate Rote let it staunche. 

Whan al his Pride is cast to grounde, 

The rote schal be faste bounde, 2840 

And schal no mannes herte here, 

Bot every lust he schal forbere 

Of man, and lich an Oxe his mete 

Of gras he schal pourchace and ete, 

Til that the water of the hevene 

Have waisshen him be times sevene, 

So that he be thurghknowe ariht 

What is the heveneliche myht. 

And be mad humble to the wille 

Of him which al mai save and spille.' 3850 

This king out of his swefne abreide, 
And he upon the morwe it seide 
Unto the clerkes whiche he hadde: 
Bot non of hem the sothe aradde, 
Was non his swevene cowthe undo. 
And it stod thilke time so, 
This king hadde in subjeccioun 
Judee, and of affeccioun 
Above alle othre on Daniel 
He loveth, for he cowthe wel 2860 

Divine that non other cowthe: 
To him were alle thinges cowthe, 

2835 defoule] do foule X . . . Ba doune falle Hi 9836 do] 

to HiXE . . . Ba 2839 his Pride] ]>is pride Hi . . . CBa 

^is tre L 9847 be om. Hi . . . Ba, Hs |mrghknowe A, F )>urgh 
knowe J, SB 


I Nebuchadnezzar's As he it hadde of goddes grace. 

Punishment.] jj^ ^^ before the kinges face 

Asent, and bode that he scholde 

Upon the point the king of tolde 

The fortune of his swevene expounde, P. i. 139 

As it scholde afterward be founde. 

Whan Daniel this swevene herde, 

He stod long time er he ansuerde, 2870 

And made a wonder hevy chiere. 

The king tok hiede of his manere, 

And bad him telle that he wiste, 

As he to whom he mochel triste, 

And seide he wolde noght be wroth. 

Bot Daniel was wonder loth, 

And seide: 'Upon thi fomen alle, 

Sire king, thi swevene mote falle; 

And natheles touchende of this 

I wol the tellen how it is, 2880 

And what desese is to thee schape : 

God wot if thou it schalt ascape. 

The hihe tree, which thou hast sein 
With lef and fruit so wel besein, 
The which stod in the world amiddes, 
So that the bestes and the briddes 
Governed were of him al one, 
Sire king, betokneth thi persone. 
Which stant above all erthli thinges. 
Thus regnen under the the kinges, 2890 

And al the poeple unto thee louteth, 
And al the world thi pouer doubteth, 
So that with vein honour deceived 
Thou hast the reverence weyved 
Fro him which is thi king above, 
That thou for drede ne for love 
Wolt nothing knowen of thi godd; P. i. 140 
Which now for thee hath mad a rodd, 
Thi veine gloire and thi folie 

28^ it om. HiXERCBi that L, W 2869 his B J>e MX 

2874 As] And Hi ... L 9885 wode B 9891 al] of 

Hi . . . Ba (ofte R) 0898 a rodd AJ, B arodd S, FK 


With grete peines to chastie. 2900 [Nebuchadnezzar's 

And of the vols thou herdest speke, Punishment.] 

Which bad the bowes forto breke 

And hewe and fella doun the tree, 

That word bdongeth unto thee; 

Thi regne schal ben overthrowe, 

And thou despuiled for a throwe: 

Bot that the Rote scholde stonde, 

Be that thou schalt wel understonde, 

Ther schal abyden of thi regne 

A time ayein whan thou schalt regne. 2910 

And ek of that thou herdest seie, 

To take a mannes herte aweie 

And sette there a bestial, 

So that he lich an Oxe schal 

Pasture, and that he be bereined 

Be times sefne and sore peined, 

Til that he knowe his goddes mihtes, 

Than scholde he stonde ayein uprihtes, — 

Al this betokneth thin astat, 

Which now with god is in debat: 2920 

Thi mannes forme schal be lassed, 

Til sevene yer ben overpassed, 

And in the liknesse of a baste 

Of gras schal be thi real faste, 

The weder schal upon thee reine. 

And undarstond that al this peine, 

Which thou schalt soffre thilke tide, P. i. 141 

Is schape al only for thi pride 

Of vaine gloire, and of the sinne 

Which thou hast longe stondan inne. 2930 

So upon this condicioun 
Thi swavane hath exposicioun. 
Bot er this thing befalle in dede, 
Amanda thee, this wolde I rede: 
Yif and daparta thin almesse. 
Do marcy forth with rihtwisnesse, 
Besach and prai the hiha grace. 
For so thou myht thi pes pourchace 

2903 falle Hi . . . Ba, W 8905 The A 

I 2 


[Nebuchadnezzar's With godd, and stonde in good acord/ 

Punishment.] g^^ p^^^ -^ j^^j^ ^^ j^^^ j^jg j^^^^ ^^^ 

And wol npght sofire humilite 
With him to stonde in no degree; 
And whan a schip hath lost his stiere, 
Is non so wys that mai him stiere 
Ayein the wawes in a rage. 
This proude king in his corage 
Humilite hath so forlore, 
That for no swevene he sih tofore, 
Ne yit for al that Daniel 
Him hath conaeiled everydel, 3950 

He let it passe out of his mynde, 
Thurgh veine gloire, and as the blinde, 
He seth no weie, er him be wo. 
And fell withinne a time so. 
As he in Babiloine wente, 
The vanite of Pride him hente; 
His herte aros of veine gloire, P. i. 142 

So that he drowh into memoire 
His lordschipe and his regalie 
With wordes of Surquiderie. 3960 

And whan that he him most avaunteth, 
That lord which veine gloire daunteth, 
Al sodeinliche, as who seith treis, 
Wher that he stod in his Paleis, 
He tok him fro the mennes sihte: 
Was non of hem so war that mihte 
Sette yhe wher that he becom. 
And thus was he from his kingdom 
Into the wilde Forest drawe, 
Wher that the myhti goddes lawe 3970 

Thurgh his pouer dede him transforme 
Fro man into a bestes forme; 
And lich an Oxe under the fot 
He graseth, as he nedes mot. 
To geten him his lives fode. 
Tho thoghte him colde grases goode, 
That whilom eet the bote spices, 
9953 weie] wele Hi • . • Bi 


Thus was he toraed fro delices: [Nebuchadnezzar's 

The wyn which he was wont to drinke Punishment] 

He tok thanne of the welles brinke 3980 

Or of the ^t or of the slowh, 

It thoghte him thanne good ynowh : 

In stede of chambres wel arraied 

He was thanne of a buissh wel paied, 

The harde ground he lay upon, 

For othre pilwes hath he non; 

The stormes and the Reines falle, P. i. 143 

The wyndes blowe upon him alle, 

He was tormented day and nyht, 

Such was the hihe goddes myght, 2990 

Til sevene yer an ende toke. 

Upon himself tho gan he loke; 

In stede of mete gras and stres, 

In stede of handes lohge cles, 

In stede of man a bestes lyke 

He syh: and thanne he gan to syke 

For cloth of gold and for perrie, 

Which him was wont to magnefie. 

Whan he behield his Cote of heres, 

He wepte and with fulwoful teres 3000 

Up to the hevene he caste his chiere 

Wepende, and thoghte in this manere ; 

Thogh he no wordes myhte winne, 

Thus seide his herte and spak withinne: 

'O mihti godd, that al hast wroght 

And al myht bringe ayein to noght, 

Now knowe I wel, bot al of thee, 

This world hath no prosperite : 

In thin aspect ben alle liche, 

The povere man and ek the riche, 3010 

Withqute thee ther mai no wight, 

And thou above alle othre miht 

O mihti lord, toward my vice 

Thi merci medle with justice; 

2988 blew(e) M, B 2990 Such] Which Hi . . . Bi 2997 for] 

l:eHi...Ba of KHs ow.W 3000 fulwoful A, F ful woful J, B 
3010 the riche ont. B 3011 wight B, F wiht AJ, S 



[ Nebuchadnezzar's 


P. i. 144 



And I woll make a covenant, 

That of my lif the remenant 

I schal it be thi grace amende. 

And in thi lawe so despende 

That veine gloire I schal eschuie, 

And bowe unto thin heste and suie 

Humilite, and that I vowe.' 

And so thenkende he gan doun bowe, 

And thogh him lacke vois and speche, 

He gan up with his feet areche, 

And wailende in his bestly stevene 

He made his pleignte unto the hevene. 

He kneleth in his wise and braieth, 

To seche merci and assaieth 

His god, which made him nothing strange, 

Whan that he sih his pride change. 

Anon as he was humble and tame. 

He fond toward his god the same. 

And in a twinklinge of a lok 

His mannes forme ayein he tok. 

And was reformed to the regne 

In which that he was wont to regne; 

So that the Pride of veine gloire 

Evere afterward out of memoire 

He let it passe. And thus is schewed 

What is to ben of Pride unthewed 

Ayein the hihe goddes lawe, 

To whom noman mai be felawe. 

Forthi, my Sone, tak good hiede 
So forto lede thi manhiede. 
That thou ne be noght lich a beste. 
Bot if thi lif schal ben honeste. 
Thou most humblesce take on honde, P. i. 145 
For thanne myht thou siker stonde: 
And forto speke it otherwise, 
A proud man can no love assise; 3050 

For thogh a womman wolde him plese, 
His Pride can noght ben at ese. 

3023 and speche JHiL, FWHs of speche AM . . . CBa, S . . . A 
3027 braieth] preic)^ (praycj>) Hi . . . Ba, W 



Ther mai noman to mochel blame 
A vice which is forto blame; 
Forthi men scholde nothing. hide 
That mihte falle in blame of Pride, 
Which is the werste vice of alle : 
Wherof, so as it was befalle, 
The tale I thenke of a Cronique 
To telle, if that it mai thee like. 
So that thou myht humblesce suie 
And ek the vice of Pride eschuie, 
Wherof the gloire is fals and vein ; 
Which god himself hath in desdeign, 
That thogh it mounte for a throwe, 
It schal doun falle and overthrowe. 




xii. Est virtus humiiis, per quam deus altus ad yma 
Se tulit et nostre viscera camis habet. 

Sic humilis superest^ et amor sibi subditur omnis, 
Cuius habet nulla sorte superbus opem : 

Odit eum terra, celum deiecit et ipsum, 
Sedibus infemi statque receptus ibi. 

A king whilom was yong and wys, 
The which sette of his wit gret pris. 
Of depe ymaginaciouns 
And strange interpretaciouns, 
Problemes and demandes eke, 
His wisdom was to finde and seke; 
Wherof he wolde in sondri wise 
Opposen hem that weren wise. 
Bot non of hem it myhte here 
Upon his word to yeve answere, 
Outaken on, which was a knyht ; 
To him was every thing so liht, 
That also sone as he hem herde. 
The kinges wordes he answerde; 
What thing the king him axe wolde, 
Therof anon the trowthe he tolde. 

Latin Vetses xii. 5 eum] eniw B 
3078 margin habitantibus Hi . . . Ba, BA 
meritiim] meriti Hi . . . Ba, BA 

[Tale of the Three 

Hie narrat Confes- 
sor exemplum simpli- 

^ '® citer contra Superbi- 
P. i. 146 am; etdicitquod nup- 
erquidamRex famose 
prudencie cuidam mil- 
iti suo super tribus 
questionibus, vt inde 
certitudinis responsio- 
nem daret, sub pena 
capitalissentencie ter- 
minum prefixit. Pri- 
mOy quid minoris in- 
digencie ab inhabi- 
tantibus orbem auxi- 
lium maius obtinuit. 
80 Secundo, quid maioris 

^ valencie meritum con- 
tinens minoris expen- 
se reprisas exiguit. 

3080 margin valencie 



[Tale op the Three 

Tercio, quid omnia 
bona diminuens ex sui 
proprietate nichil pe- 
nitus valuit. Quarum 
vero questionum que- 
dam vii^ dicti mili- 
tia iUia sapientissima 
nomine patris sui so- 
ludonem aggrediens 
taliter Regi respondit 
Adprimam dixit, quod 
terra nullius indiget, 
quam tamen adiuuare 
cotidianis laboribus 
omnes intendunt. Ad 
secundam dixit, quod 
huiAilitas omnibus vir- 
tutibus prevalet, que 
tamen nuUius prode- 
galitatis expensis men- 
suramexcciidit Ad ter- 
ciam dixit, quod su- 
perbia omnia tam cor- 
poris quam animebona 
deuastans maiores ex - 
pensarum excessus in- 
ducit. £t tamen nul- 
lius valoris, ymmo to- 
cius perdicionis, caus- 
am sua culpa minis- 


The king somdiel hadde an Envie, 
And thoghte he wolde his wittes plie 
To sette som conclusioun, 
Which scholde be confusioun 
Unto this knyht, so that the name 
And of wisdom the hihe fame 
Toward himself he wolde winne. 
And thus of al his wit withinne 
This king began to studie and muse, 
What strange matiere he myhte use 
The knyhtes wittes to confounde; 
And ate laste he hath it founde, 
And for the knyht anon he sente, 
That he schal telle what he mente. 
Upon thre pointz stod the matiere 
Of questions, as thou schalt hiere. 

The ferste point of alle thre 
Was this: *What thing in his degre 
Of al this world hath nede lest, 
And yet men helpe it althermest?' 

The secounde is : * What most is worth, ii' questio. 
And of costage is lest put forth?' 

The thridde is : * Which is of most cost, iii' questio. 
And lest is worth and goth to lost?' 

The king thes thre demandes axeth. 
And to the knyht this lawe he taxeth, 
That he schal gon and come ayein 
The thridde weke, and telle him plein 31 10 

To every point, what it amonteth. 
And if so be that he misconteth. 
To make in his answere a faile, 
Ther schal non other thing availe. 
The king seith, bot he schal be ded 
And lese hise goodes and his hed. 
The knyht was sori of this thing 
And wolde excuse him to the king, 
Bot he ne wolde him noght forbere. 
And thus the knyht of his ansuere 3120 

i* questio. 


P. i. 147 

3108 he om, KHs 

3190 his] I'is X • . . Ba 


Goth hom to take avisement : [Tale of the Three 

Bot after his entendement Questions.] 

The more he caste his wit aboute, 
The more he stant therof in doute. 
Tho wiste he wel the kinges herte, 
That he the deth ne scholde asterte, 
And such a sorwe hath to him take, 
That gladschipe he hath al forsake. 
He thoghte ferst upon his lif, 
And after that upon his wi^ 3130 

Upon his children ek also, P. i. 148 

Of whiche he hadde dowhtres tuo ; 
The yongest of hem hadde of age 
Fourtiene yer, and of visage 
Sche was riht fair^ and of stature 
Lich to an hevenely figure, 
And of manere and goodli speche, 
Thogh men wolde alle Londes seche, 
Thei scholden noght have founde hir like. 
Sche sih hire fader sorwe and sike, 3140 

And wiste noght the cause why; 
So cam sche to him prively, 
And that was where he made his mone 
Withinne a Gardin al him one; 
Upon hire knes sche gan doun falle 
With humble herte and to him calle, 
And seide : * O goode fader diere, 
Why make ye thus hevy chiere, 
And I wot nothing how it is? 
And wel ye knowen, fader, this, 3150 

What a venture that you felle 
Ye myhte it saufly to me telle, 
For I have ofte herd you seid. 
That ye such trust have on me leid. 
That to my soster ne my brother, 
. In al this world ne to non other, 
Ye dorste telle a privite 
So wel, my fader, as to me. 

3126 schal AM 3155 ne my] ne to my GRB2, Ad^A, 

W (nor to my) and my Hi 


[Tale or the Three Forthi, my fader, I you preie, 

Questions.] j^^ casteth noght that herte aweie, 3163 

For I am sche that wolde kepe P. i. 149 

Youre honour.' And with that to wepe 
Hire yhe mai noght be forbore, 
Sche wissheth forto ben unbore, 
£r that hire fader so mistriste 
To tellen hire of that he wiste : 
And evere among merci sche cride, 
That he ne scholde his conseil hide 
From hire that so wolde him good 
And was so nyh his fleissh and blod. 3170 

So that with wepinge ate laste 
His chiere upon his child he caste. 
And sorwfulli to that sche preide 
He tolde his tale and thus he seide : 
*The sorwe, dowhter, which I make 
Is noght al only for my sake, 
Bot for thee bothe and for you alle : 
For such a chance is me befalle, 
That I schal er this thridde day 
Lese al that evere I lese may, 3180 

Mi lif and al my good therto : 
Therfore it is I sorwe so.' 
*What is the cause, helas!' quod sche, 
*Mi fader, that ye scholden be 
Ded and destruid in such a wise?' 
And he began the pointz devise, 
Whiche as the king told him be mowthe, 
And seid hir pleinly that he cowthe 
Ansuere unto no point of this. 
And sche, that hiereth how it is, 3i9<> 

Hire conseil yaf and seide tho : P. i. 150 

*Mi fader, sithen it is so. 
That ye can se non other weie, 
Bot that ye moste nedes deie, 
I wolde preie of you a thing : 

3183 helas A, S, F A las J alias B &c 3»85 a om. E, R 

3187 told SB, F tolde AJ 3188 seid (seyd) B, F seide AJ 

he ne cow)>e HiXGRCLBs 3195 pray yow of BA o Jnng B 


Let me go with you to the king, [Tale of the Three 

And ye schuU make him understonde Questions.] 

How ye, my wittes forto fonde, 

Have leid your ansuere upon me; 

And telleth him, in such degre 3200 

Upon my word ye wole abide 

To lif or deth, what so betide. 

For yit par chaunce I may pourchace 

With som good word the kinges grace, 

Your lif and ek your good to save ; 

For ofte schal a womman have 

Thing which a man mai noght areche.' 

The fader herde his dowhter speche, 

And thoghte ther was resoun inne, 

And sih his oghne lif to winne 3210 

He cowthe don himself no cure ; 

So betre him thoghte in aventure 

To put his lif and al his good, 

Than in the maner as it stod 

His lif in certein forto lese. 

And thus thenkende he gan to chese 

To do the conseil of this Maide, 

And tok the pourpos which sche saide. 

The dai was come and forth thei gon, 
Unto the Court thei come anon, 3220 

Wher as the king in juggement P. i. 151 

Was set and hath this knyht assent. 
Arraied in hire beste wise 
This Maiden with hire wordes wise 
Hire fader ladde be the bond 
Into the place, wher he fond 
The king with othre whiche he wolde, 
And to the king knelende he tolde 
As he enformed was tofore. 
And preith the king that he therfore 3230 

His dowhtres wordes wolde take. 
And seith that he wol undertake 
Upon hire wordes forto stonde. 
Tho was ther gret merveile on honde, 

3201 I wole XERCBa 3209 J^ought fat J)er was XGRCLBj 


[Tale of the Three That he, which was SO wys a knyht, 

Questions.] jjjg ^^ ^^^ ^ ^^^ ^ ^y^^ 

Besette wolde in jeupartie, 
And manye it hielden for folie: 
£ot ate laste natheles 

The king comandeth ben in pes, 3240 

And to this Maide he caste his chiere, 
And seide he wolde hire tale hiere, 
He bad hire speke, and sche began : 
'Mi liege lord, so as I can,' 
Quod sche, * the pointz of whiche I herde, 
Thei schul of reson ben ansuerde. 
The ferste I understonde is this. 
What thing of al the world it is, 
Which men most helpe and hath lest nede. 
Mi liege lord, this wolde I rede: 3250 

The Erthe it is, which everemo P. i. 152 

With mannes labour is bego; 
Als wel in wynter as in Maii 
The mannes bond doth what he mai 
To helpe it forth and make it riche, 
And forthi men it delve and dyche 
And eren it with strengthe of plowh, 
Wher it hath of himself ynowh, 
So that his nede is ate leste. 
For every man and bridd and beste, 3260 

And flour and gras and rote and rinde, 
And every thing be weie of kynde 
Schal sterve, and Erthe it schal become ; 
As it was out of Erthe nome. 
It schal to therthe tome ayein : 
And thus I mai be resoun sein 
That Erthe is the most nedeles. 
And most men helpe it natheles. 
So that, my lord, touchende of this 
I have ansuerd hou that it is. 3370 

3245 pointes (pointz) which(e) Hi . . . B«, B, WKHs (pointes 
which as L) 3349 hath lest nede] ha)? most nede R han most 

nede XEC han lest nede Bs 3361 And] Of Hi . . . Ba, B 3364 of 
^ er])e AMBa, A 


That other point I understod, [Tale of thk Three 

Which most is worth and most is good, Questions.] 

And costeth lest a man to kepe : 
Mi lord, if ye woU take kepe, 
I seie it is Humilite, 
Thurgh which the hihe trinite 
As for decerte of pure love 
Unto Marie from above, 
Of that he knew hire humble entente, 
His oghne Sone adoun he sente, 3280 

Above alle othre and hire he ches P. i. 153 
For that vertu which bodeth pes: 
So that I may be resoun caUe 
Humilite most worth of alle. 
And lest it costeth to maintiene, 
In al the world as it is sene; 
For who that hath humblesce on honde, 
He bringth no werres into londe, 
For he desireth for the beste 
To setten every man in reste. 3290 

Thus with your hihe reverence 
Me thenketh that this evidence 
As to this point is sufficant. 

And touchende of the remenant, 
Which is the thridde of youre axinges, 
What leste is worth of alle thinges, 
And costeth most, I telle it, Pride; 
Which mai noght in the hevene abide, 
For Lucifer with hem that felle 
Bar Pride with him into helle. 3300 

Ther was Pride of to gret a cost, 
Whan he for Pride hath hevene lost; 
And after that in Paradis 
Adam for Pride loste his pris : 
In Midelerthe and ek also 
Pride is the cause of alle wo, 
That al the world ne may suffise 
To stanche of Pride the reprise : 

3285 to] in AM 3300 into] to AM 3301 grete (gret) cost 

MHxG, B 


[Tale or the Three Pride is the heved of alle Sinne, 

Questions.] Which wasteth al and mai noght winne: 3310 

Pride is of every mi»' the pricke, P. i 154 

Pride is the werste of alle wicke, 
And costneth most and lest is worth 
In place where he hath his forth. 
Thus have I seid that I wol seie 
Of myn answere, and to you preie, 
Mi liege lord, of youre office 
That ye such grace and such justice 
Ordeigne for mi fader hiere, 
That after this, whan men it hiere, 3320 

The world therofmai speke good.* 
The king, which reson understod 
And hath al herd how sche hath said, 
Was inly glad and so wel paid 
That al his wraththe is overgo: 
And he began to loke tho 
Upon this Maiden in the face, 
In which he fond so mochel grace, 
That al his pris on hire he leide, 
In audience and thus he seide : 3330 

'Mi faire Maide, wel thee be! 
Of thin ansuere and ek of thee 
Me liketh wel, and as thou wilt, 
Foryive be thi fader gilt. 
And if thou were of such lignage. 
That thou to me were offjiarag^ 
And that thi fader were a Pier, 
As he is now a Bachilier, 
So seker as I have a lif. 

Thou scholdest thanne be my wif. 3340 

Bot this I seie natheles, P. i 155 

That I wol schape thin enaress; 
What worldes good that thou wolt crave, 
Axe of my yifte and thou schalt have.' 
And sche the king with wordes wise 
Knclende thonketh in this wise: 
*Mi liege lord, god mot you quite! 
3313 coste]» HiXLBs, B^ Hs costs W 


Mi fader hier hath hot a lite [Tale of the Three 

Of ¥aiS^n;^ and that he wende Questions.] 

Hadde al be lost; hot now amende 3350 

He mai wel thurgh your noble grace.' 

With that the king riht in his place 

Anon forth in that freisshe hete 

An Erldom, which thanne of eschete 

Was late falle into his hond, 

Unto this knyht with rente and lond 

Hath yove and with his chartre sesed ; 

And thus was all the noise appesed. 

This Maiden, which sat on hire knes 
Tofore the king, hise charitees 3360 

Comendeth, and seide overmore ; 
'Mi liege lord, riht now tofore 
Ye seide, as it is of record. 
That if my fader were a lord 
And Pier unto these othre grete, 
Ye wolden for noght elles lete. 
That I ne scholde be your wif; 
And this wot every worthi lif, 
A kinges word it mot ben holde. 
Forthi, my lord, if that ye wolde 3370 

So gret a charite fulfiUe, P. i. 156 

God wot it were wel my wille: 
For he which was a Bacheler, 
Mi fader, is now mad a Pier; 
So whenne as evere that I cam. 
An Erles dowhter now I am.' 

This yonge king, which peised al, 
Hire beaute and hir wit withal. 
As he that was with love hent, 
Anon therto yaf his assent. 3380 

He myhte noght the maide asterte, 
That sche nis ladi of his herte; 

3357 seled F 3361 euermore MX . . . Ba, B, W 3363 as] 

and Hi . . . B2, B 33^9 it mot ben] mot (mote) nede be 

Hi . . . Ba, BA 3374 road a Pier] an Erl(e) hier Hi . . . 

B2, A 3379 that] which Hi . . . Ba, B 3381 maide] place 

Hi . . . Ba, BA 



[Tale of the Three 



So that he tok hire to his wif, 
To holde whyl that he hath lif: 
And thus the king toward his knyht 
Acordeth him, as it is riht. 

And over this good is to wite, 
In the Cronique as it is write, 
This noble king of whom I tolde 
Of Spaine be tho daies olde 3390 

The kingdom hadde in governance, 
And as the bok makth remembrance, 
Alphonse was his propre name: 
The knyht also, if I schal name, 
Danz Petro hihte, and as men telle. 
His dowhter wyse Peronelle 
Was cleped, which was full of grace : 
And that was sene in thilke place^ 
Wher sche hir fader out of teene 
Hath broght and mad hirself a qweene, 3400 
Of that sehe hath so wel desclosed P. i. 157 
The pointz wherof sche was opposed. 

Lo now, my Sone, as thou myht hiere, 
Of al this thing to my matiere 
Bot on I take, and that is Pride, 
To whom no grace mai betide: 
In hevene he fell out of his stede, 
And Paradis him was forbede. 
The goode men in Erthe him hate. 
So that to helle he mot algate, 3410 

Where every vertu schal be weyved 
And every vice be received. 
Bot Humblesce is al otherwise. 
Which most is worth, and no reprise 
It takth ayein, bot softe and faire, 
If eny thing stond in contraire, 

3396 His doughtres (doghter) name Peronelle Hi ... B*, A 
3398 sene (seene) A, B scene S, F schene (pm. was) J 3403 

myht] may Hi . . . Bs 3419 be] schal be Hi . . . Bs 34'4 

wor])y and no prise X . . . CBs worth and no prise Hi wor]>y 
and of no prise LSn, A worth and of no reprise W 3416 And 

it is alway debonaire Hi ... Ba, A stond J, S, F stonde A, B 

P. i. 158 


With humble speche it is redresced: 

Thus was this yonge Maiden blessed, 

The which I spak of now tofore, 

Hire fader lif sche gat therfore, 3420 

And wan with al the kinges love. 

Forth i, my Sone, if thou wolt love, 

It sit thee wel to leve Pride 

And take Humblesce upon thi side; 

The more of grace thou schalt gete. 

Mi fader, I woll noght foryete 
Of this that ye have told me hiere, 
And if that eny such manere 
Of humble port mai love appaie, 
Hierafterward I thenke assaie: 
Bot now forth over I beseche 
That ye more of my schrifte seche. 

Mi goode Sone, it schal be do: 
Now herkne and ley an Ere to; 
For as touchende of Prides fare, 
Als ferforth as I can declare 
In cause of vice, in cause of love, 
That hast thou pleinly herd above, 
So that ther is nomor to seie 
Touchende of that ; bot other weie 3440 

Touchende Envie I thenke telle. 
Which hath the propre kinde of helle, 
Withoute cause to misdo 
Toward himself and othre also, 
Hierafterward as understonde 
Thou schalt the spieces, as thei stonde. 

Explicit Liber Primus. 

3443 to misdo] of )>ing misdo Hi . . . CBj of nothing mysdo L 
3445 as] as I AJL, A, W 








Incipit Liber Secundus. 

P. i- 159 


Hie in secundo li- 
bro tractat de Inuidia 
et eius speciebus, qua- 
mm dolor alterius 
gaudii primanuncupa- 
tur, cuius condicionem 
secundumvicium Con- 
fessor primitusdescri- 
bens, Amanti. quatenus 
amorem concemit, su- 
pei eodem consequen- 
ter opponit 

[i. Sorrow for an- 
other man's Joy.] 

i. Inuidie culpa magis est aitrita dolare^ 

Nam sua mens nulla tempore leta manet : 
Quo gaudent alii^ dolet ille^ nee vnus amicus 

Est, cut de puro comoda velle facit, 
Proximitatis honor sua corda veretur, et omnis 

Est sibi leticia sic aliena dolor. 
Hoc etenim vicium quam sepe repugnat cnnanti, 

Non sibi, set reliquis, dum fauet ipsa Venus, 
Est amor ex profrio motu fcmtasticus, et que 

Gaudia fert alius, credit obesse sibi. (10) 

Now after Pride the secounde 
Ther is, which many a woful stounde 
Towardes othre berth aboute 
Withinne himself and noght withoute ; 
For in his tboght he brenneth evere, 
\Vhan that he wot an other levere 
Or more vertuous than he, 
Which passeth him in his degre ; 
Therof he takth his maladie : 
That vice is cleped hot Envie. 

Forthi, my Sone, if it be so 
Thou art or hast ben on of tho, 
As forto speke in loves cas, 
If evere yit thin herte was 
Sek of an other mannes hele? 

So god avance my querele, 
Mi fader, ye, a thousend sithe: 
Whanne I have sen an other blithe 
Of love, and hadde a goodly chiere, 


P. i 160 

Latin Vents i. 10 aliis Hi . . . Bs, BA, W 


Ethna, which brenneth yer be yere, 20 [Sorrow for an- 

Was thanne noght so hot as I '^''* man's Joy.] 

Of thilke Sor which prively 

Min hertes thoght withinne brenneth. 

The Schip which on the wawes renneth. 

And is forstormed and forblowe, 

Is noght more peined for a throwe 

Than I am thanne, whanne I se 

An other which that passeth me 

In that fortune of loves yifte. 

Bot, fader, this I telle in schrifte, 30 

That is nowher bot in o place; 

For who that lese or finde grace 

-In other stede, it mai noght grieve: 

Bot this ye mai riht wel believe. 

Toward mi ladi that I serve, 

Thogh that I wiste forto sterve, 

Min herte is full of such sotie, 

That I myself mai noght chastie. 

Whan I the Court se of Cupide 

Aproche unto my ladi side 40 

Of hem that lusti ben and freisshe, — 

Thogh it availe hem noght a reisshe, 

Bot only that thei ben in speche, — 

My sorwe is thanne noght to seche : 

Bot whan thei rounen in hire Ere, P. i. 161 

Than groweth al my moste fere, 

And namly whan thei talen longe; 

My sorwes thanne be so stronge 

Of that I se hem wel at ese, 

I can noght telle my desese. 50 

Bot, Sire, as of my ladi salve, 

Thogh sche have powers ten or twelve, 

For no mistrust I have of hire 

Me grieveth noght, for certes. Sire, 

I trowe, in al this world to seche, 

Nis womman that in dede and speche 

Well betre avise hire what sche doth, 

31 nowher] now heer (here) MX . . . Bj 

K 2 



[Sorrow for ax- 
other man's Joy.] 


Ne betre, forto seie a soth, 
Kepe hire honour ate alle tide, 
And yit get hire a thank beside. (*o 

Bot natheles I am beknowe, 
That whanne I se at eny throwe, 
Or elles if I mai it hiere, 
That sche make eny man good chiere, 
Thogh I therof have noght to done. 
Mi thought wol entermette him sone. 
For thogh I be miselve strange, 
Envie makth niyn herte change^ 
That I am sorghfuUy bestad 
Of that I se an other glad 70 

With hire ; bot of other alle, 
Of love what so mai befalle. 
Or that he faile or that he spede, 
Therof take I bot litel heede. 
Now have I seid, my fader, al P. i. 162 

As of this point in special, 
Als ferforthli as I have wist 
Now axeth further what you list. 
Mi Sone, er I axe eny more, 
I thenke somdiel for thi lore 80 

Telle an ensample of this matiere 
Touchende Envie, as thou schalt hiere. 
Write in Civile this I finde: 
Thogh it be noght the houndes kinde 
To ete chaf, yit wol he weme 
An Oxe which comth to the berne, 
Therof to taken eny fode. 
And thus, who that it understode. 
It stant of love in many place: 
Who that is out of loves grace 90 

And mai himselven noght availe, 
He wolde an other scholde faile; 
And if he may put eny lette. 
He doth al that he mai to lette. 

59ateA, S, F atJ.B 60 get J, S, F gete AC, B 71 o|»er 
rothir) MHi, AdA, Hs o[)re AJEC, SB, F 78 further] fader KHs 

9a wolde] )K>ught(e) XEC )K>ugh HiRLBi 



Wherof I finde, as thou schalt wite, 
To this pourpos a tale write. 

Ther ben of suche mo than twelve, 
That ben noght able as of hemselve 
To gete love, and for Envie 
Upon alle othre thei aspie; 
And for hem lacketh that thei wolde, 
Thei kepte that non other scholde 
Touchende of love his cause spede : 
Wherof a gret ensample I rede. 
Which unto this matiere acordeth, P. i. 

As Ovide in his bok recordeth. 
How Poliphemus whilom wroghte, 
Whan that he Galathee besoghte 
Of love, which he mai noght lacche. 
That made him forto waite and wacche 
Be alle weies how it ferde, 
Til ate laste he knew and herde 
How that an other hadde leve 
To love there as he mot leve. 
As forto speke of eny sped : 
So that he knew non other red, 
Bot forto wayten upon alle, 
Til he may se the chance falle 
That he hire love myhte grieve. 
Which he himself mai noght achieve. 
This Galathee, seith the Poete, 
Above alle othre was unmete 
Of beaute, that men thanne knewe, 
And hadde a lusti love and trewe, 
A Bacheler in his degree, 
Riht such an other as was sche, 
On whom sche hath hire herte set, 
So that it myhte noght be let 
For yifte ne for no beheste, 
That sche ne was al at his heste. 

[Tale of Acis anl» 

1 10 


Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum saltern con- 
tra istos qui in amoris 
causa aliorum gaudiis 
inuidentes nequaquam 
per hoc sibi ipsis pro* 

163 ficiunt £t narrat, 
qualiter quidam iuue- 
nis miles nomine Acis, 
quern Galathea Nim- 
pha pulcherrima toto 
corde peramauit, cum 
ipsi sub quadam rupe 
iuxta litus maris col- 
loquium adinuicem 
habuerunt, Poliphe- 
mus Gigas concussa 
rupe magnam inde 
partem super caput 
Acis ab alto proiciens 
ipsum per inuidiam 
interfecit. Etcumi(>se 
super hoc dictam Gala- 
theam rapere voluis- 
set, Ncptunus Giganti 
obsistens ipsam inuio- 
latam salua custodia 
preseruauit. Set et 

,2Q dii miserti corpus Acis 
defuncti in fontem 
aque dulcissime subito 


96 write] I write AM 116 margin capere Hi . . . Ba, B 

117 Bot] Bo F 119 fnargin et om. B 123 that men thanne 

knewe] )>at men ])at {ont. knewe) A )>at men \sX knew M that than 
men knewe Ad of men that knewe Ha 129 no om. AM 


[Tale of Acts and This yonge knyht Acis was bote, 

Galatea.] ^r^j^j^ hire ayeinward als so bote 

Al only lovetb and nomo. 
Hierof was Polipbemus wo 
Tburgb pure Envie, and evere aspide, P. i. 164 
And waitetb upon every side, 
Wban he togedre mybte se 
This yonge Acis with Galatbe. 

So longe be waitetb to and fro, 
Til ate laste he fond hem tuo, 140 

In prive place wher thei stode 
To speke and have here wordes goode. 
The place wher as be hem syh, 
It was under a banke nyb 
The grete See, and be above 
Stod and behield the lusti love 
Which ech of hem to other made 
With goodly chiere and wordes glade, 
That al his herte hath set afyre 
Of pure Envie : and as a fyre 1 50 

Which fleth out of a mybti bowe, 
Aweie he iledde for a throwe, 
As he that was for love wod, 
^Vhan that he sib how that it stod. 
This Polipheme a Geant was; 
And wban be sib the sothe cas, 
How Galatbee him hath forsake 
And Acis to hire love take, 
His herte mai it noght forbere 
That he ne roreth licb a Bere; 160 

And as it were a wilde beste, 
The whom no reson mibte areste, 
He ran Ethna the hell aboute, 
Wher nevere yit the fyr was oute, 
1 ulBld of sorghe and gret desese, P. i. 165 

That he syb Acis wel at ese. 

136 tyde B 149 set J, SB sette A, F 150 vyre (vire) Hi . . . L. 
B, W 160 lich] as B, KHs i6a The whom AX, SAd, F Tho 
whome M To whom J HiG . . . Bt, A In whom K m ras. Ha The 
which B, W Horn ^om. The) A areste] haue reste J 


Til ate laste he him bethoghte, [Tale of Acis and 

As he which al Envie soghte, Galatea.] 

And tometh to the banke ayein, 

VVher he with Galathee hath seyn 170 

Acis, whom that he thoghte grieve, 

Thogh he himself mai noght relieve. 

This Geant with his ruide myht 

Part of the banke he schof doim riht, 

The which evene upon Acis fell, 

So that with £adlinge of this hell 

This Poliphemus Acis slowh, 

Wlierof sche made sorwe ynowh. 

And as sche fledde fro the londe, 

Neptunus tok hire into honde 180 

And kept hire in so sauf a place 

Fro Polipheme and his manace. 

That he with al his false Envie 

Ne mihte atteigne hir compaignie. 

This Galathee of whom I speke, 

That of hirself mai noght be wreke, 

Withouten eny semblant feigned 

Sche hath hire loves deth compleigned, 

And with hire sorwe and with hire wo 

Sche hath the goddes moeved so, 190 

That thei of pite and of grace 

Have Acis in the same place, 

Ther he lai ded, into a welle 

Transformed, as the bokes telle. 

With freisshe stremes and with cliere, P. i. 166 

As he whilom with lusti chiere 

Was freissh his love forto qWeme. 

And with this ruide Polipheme 

For his Envie and for his hate 

Thei were wrothe. 

And thus algate, 300 Confessor. 

Mi Sone, thou myht understonde. 
That if thou wolt in grace stonde 
With love, thou most leve Envie : 
And as thou wolt for thi partie 

i76J)ehelIeAM(,haie) i8i kept J, SB, F kepte A 193 Wher SAdBA 



[Tale of Acis and 


Toward thi love stonde fre, 
So most thou sof&e an other be, 
What so befalle upon the chaunce: 
For it is an unwys vengance, 
Which to non other man is lief, 
And is unto himselve grief. 

Mi fader, this ensample is good; 
Bot how so evere that it stod 
With Poliphemes love as tho> 
It schal noght stonde with me so, 
To worchen eny felonie 
In love for no such Envie. 
Forthi if ther oght elles be, 
Now axeth forth, in what degre 
It is, and I me schal confesse 
With schrifte unto youre holinesse. 



[ii. Joy for another 
man's Grief.] 

sor de secunda specie 
Inuidie, que gaudium 
alteriusdoloris dicitur, 
ct primo eiusdem vicii 
roateriam tractans am- 
antis conscienciam 
super eodem vlterius 

ii. Orta sibi solito mentalia gaudia Uuor 

Dum videt alteriusy dampna doloris agih 
Inuidus obridet hodie fletus aliorum^ 

Fletus cut froprios crastina fata parant. 
Sic in amare pari stat sorte iocosus^ amantes P. i, 167 

Cum videt iilusosy inuidus ille quasi. 
Sit licet in vacuum^ sperat tamen ipse leuofnen 

Alterius casu^ lapsus et ipse sitnuL 

Mi goode Sone, yit ther is 
A vice revers unto this, 
Which envious takth his gladnesse 
Of that he seth the hevinesse 
Of othre men : for his welfare 
Is whanne he wot an other care: 
Of that an other hath a fall. 
He thenkth himself arist withal. 
Such is the gladschipe of Envie 
In worldes thing, and in partie 2:^0 

Fulofte times ek also 
In loves cause it stant riht so. 

Latin Vtrses ii. i Orta] Vite Hi . . . Bt, B 
328 He] Him £, KHt 

5 sorte] forte 



If thou, my Sone, hast joie had, 
Whan thou an other sihe unglad, 
Schrif the therof. 

Mi fader, yis: 
I am beknowe unto you this. 
Of these lovers that loven streyte, 
And for that point .which thei coveite 
Ben poursuiantz fro yeer to yere 
In loves Court, whan I may hiere 
How that thei clymbe upon the whel, 
And whan thei wene al schal be wel, 
Thei ben doun throwen ate laste, 
Thanne am I fedd of that thei faste, 
And lawhe of that I se hem loure; 
And thus of that thei brewe soure 
I drinke swete, and am wel esed 
Of that I wot thei ben desesed. 
Bot this which I you telle hiere 
Is only for my lady diere; 
That for non other that I knowe 
Me reccheth noght who overthrowe, 
Ne who that stonde in love upriht : 
Bot be he squier, be he knyht, 
Which to my ladiward poursuieth, 
The more he lest of that he suieth, 
The mor me thenketh that I winne, 
And am the more glad withinne 
Of that I wot him sorwe endure. 
For evere upon such aventure 
It is a confort, as men sein, 
To him the which is wo besein 
To sen an other in his peine, 
So that thei bothe mai compleigne. 
Wher I miself mai noght availe 
To sen an other man travaile, 
I am riht glad if he be let; 
And thogh I fare noght the bet, . 
His sorwe is to myn herte a game: 
Whan that I knowe it is the same 
Which to mi ladi stant enclined. 

[Joy for another 
MAN 8 Grief.] 



P. i. 168 



Boicius. Consola- 
cio miseronim est 
habere consortem in 




[Jot for anotrer 
mam's Gmibp.] 




Hie ponitConfessor 
ezemplum presertim 
contra ilium, qui spon- 
te sui ipsius detrimen- 
tum in alterius penam 
maiorem patitur. £t 
narrat quod, cum lupi- 
ter angelum suum in 
forma hominis, vt ho- 
minum condiciones 
exploraret, ab excelso 
in terram misit, conti- 
git quod ipse angelus 
duos homines, quorum 
vnus cupidus, alter in- 
uidus erat, itinerando 
spado quasi vnius diei 
comitabatur. £t cum 
sero factum esset, an- 
gelus eonim noticie 
seipsum tunc manifes- 
tans dixit, quod quic- 
quid alter eorum ab 
ipso donari sibi pecie- 
rit, illud statim obtine- 

And hath his love noght termined, 
I am hht joifull in my thoght. 
If such Envie greveth oght, 
As I beknowe me coupable, 
Ye that be wys and resonable, 
Mi fader, telleth youre avis. 

Mi Sone, Envie into no pris 
Of such a forme, I understonde, 
Ne mihte be no resoun stonde. 
For this Envie hath such a kinde. 
That he wole sette himself bdiinde 
To hindre with an othre wyht, 
And gladly lese his oghne riht 
To make an other lesen his. 
And forto knowe how it so is, 
A tale lich to this matiere 
I thenke telle, if thou wolt hiere. 
To schewe proprely the vice 
Of this Envie and the malice. 

Of Jupiter this finde I write. 
How whilom that he wolde wite 
Upon the pleigntes whiche he herde. 
Among the men how that it ferde, 
As of here wrong condicion 
To do justificacion : 
And for that cause doun he sente 
An Angel, which aboute wente. 
That he the sothe knowe mau 
So it befell upon a dai 
This Angel, which him scholde enforme, 
Was clothed in a mannes forme. 
And overtok, I understonde, 
Tuo men that wenten over londe, 
Thurgh whiche he thoghte to aspie 
His cause, and goth in compaignie. 
ITiis Angel with hise wordes wise 
Opposeth hem in sondri wise. 
Now lowde wordes and now softe, 

298 which <mu B 

P. i. 169 




P. I. 170 




That mad hem to desputen ofte, 

And ech of hem his reson hadde. 

And thus with tales he hem kdde 

With good examinacioun. 

Til he knew the condicioun, 

What men thei were bothe tuo; 

And sih wel ate laste tho, 

That on of hem was coveitous, 

And his fela was envious. 

And thus, whan he hath knowlechinge, 

Anon he feigneth departinge, 

And seide he mot algate wende. 

Bot herkne now what fell at ende: 

For thanne he made hem understonde 

That he was there of goddes sonde, 

And seide hem, for the kindeschipe 

That thei have don him felaschipe, 

He wole hem do som grace ayein. 

And bad that on of hem schal sein 

What thing him is lievest to crave, 

And he it schal of yifte have; 330 

And over that ek forth withal 

He seith that other have schal 

The double of that his felaw axeth ; 

And thus to hem his grace he taxeth. 

The coveitous was wonder glad, 
And to that other man he bad 
And seith that he ferst axe scholde : P. i. 171 
For he supposeth that he wolde 
Make his axinge of worldes good ; 
For thanne he knew wel how it stod, 340 

That he himself be double weyhte 
Schal after take, and thus be sleyhte, 
Be cause that he wolde winne, 
He bad his fela ferst beginne. 
This Envious, thogh it be late, 
^Vhan that he syh he mot algate 

310 mad S, F made AJ, B 315 margin igitur (g") diuicias 

carpere XER, B sibi diuicias capere MHi, W igitur diuicias capere 
CL 346 What Jat B What Ad 

310 [Thk Travellers AND 
THE Angel.] 

bit, quod et socio suo 
secum comitanti affir- 
matduplicandum. Su- 
per quo cupidus im- 
peditus auaricia, sper- 
ans sibi diuicias car- 
pere duplicatas, pri- 
mo petere recusauit 
Quod cum inuidus an- 
imaduerteret, naturam 
sui vicii concemens, 
ita vt socius suusvtro- 
quelumine priuaretur, 
seipsura monoculum 
fieri constanter pri- 
mus ab angelo postu- 
labat. Et sic vnius 
inuidia alterius auari- 
ciam maculauit 



lie Travel LCRs AN D 

THE AnueL,] 



Make his axinge ferst, he thoghte, 
If he worschipe or profit soghte, 
It schal be doubled to his fiere: 
That wolde he chese in no manere. 
Bot thanne he scheweth what he was 
Toward Envie, and in this cas 
Unto this Angel thus he seide 
And for his yifte this he preide, 
To make him bhnd of his on ybe, 
So that his feh nothing syhe. 
This word was noght so sone spoke, 
That his on yhe anon was loke, 
And his felawh forthwith also 
Was l^ind of bothe his yhen tuo. 
Tho was that other glad jmowh, ^ 
That OQ wepie. and that other lowh! 
He sctte his on yhe at no cost, 
NXlieiof that other two haxh \osL 

Of tbiike ensample whSch fell tha 
Men tellen now fuk>ftc sc^ 
Tbe world empeiieih comimhr: 
And >it wot non ibe caose whj ; 
For it acofdetb ao^t to kinde 
Min ocbce hxra ^.> secbe aad feroe 
Of titti I sdn! =T brother iirx^R? , 

Wb*: seJsc :b.>::. Sooe. cif dta 5:oi ? 
M; tider, Sx 1 scbcuie be. 

htx :2 tibe i> I tcc ::u5£. 
BiX «<ns3aec?. :£ :hi: v« wvcu5e 

Xc^ *tfrkzie jcc lev r^:r Ers 3?» 



P. Li7a 

j^a iJAT-c s 


. . 81. K^ 



iii. Inuidie pars est deiraccio pessimoy pestem 

Que magi's infamem flcUibus oris agit. 
Lingua venenato semtone repercutit auras, 

Sic ut in alterius scandala fama volat. 
Morsibus a tergo quos inficit ipsa fideles^ 

Vulneris ignoti sepe salute carent. 
Set generosus amor linguam conseruat, vt eius 

Verbum quod loquitur nulla sinistra gerat, 

Touchende as of Envious brod 
I wot noght on of alle good ; 
Bot natheles, suche as thei be, 
Yit is ther on, and that is he 
Which cleped is Detraccioun. 
And to conferme his accioun, 
He hath withholde Malebouche, 

[iii. Detraction.] 

■ 5 

Whos tunge neither pyl ne crouche 

Mai hyre, so that he pronounce 

A plein good word withoute frounce 

Awher behinde a mannes bak. 

For thogh he preise, he fint som lak, 

Which of his tale is ay the laste. 

That al the pris schal overcaste : 

And thogh ther be no cause why, 

Yit wole he jangle noght forthi, 

As he which hath the heraldie 

Of hem that usen forto lye. 

For as the Netle which up renneth 

The freisshe rede Roses brenneth 

And makth hem fade and pale of hewe, 

Riht so this fals Envious hewe, 

In every place wher he duelleth, 

With false wordes whiche he telleth 

He torneth preisinge into blame 

And worschipe into worldes schame. 

Of such lesinge as he compasseth, 

Is non so good that he ne passeth 

Betwen his teeth and is bacbited, 

And thurgh his false tunge endited : 

Latin Verses iii. 2 infamen F 

401 the om. AM 409 suche F 

Hie tractat Confes- 
sor de tercia specie 
Inuidie, que Detrac- 
cio dicitur, cuius mor- 
sus vipereos lesa 
/ quamsepe fama de- 
390 plangit. 

P i. 173 

cr '" 




[Detraction op 


Lich to the Scharnebudes kinde, 
Of whos nature this I finde, 
That in the hoteste of the dai, 
Whan comen is the merie Maii, 
He ^rat nis wynge and up he fleth: 
And under al aboute he seth 
• The faire lusti floures springe, 
Bot therof hath he no likinge ; 
Bot where he seth of eny beste 
The felthe, ther he makth his feste, 
And therupon he wole alyhte, 
Ther liketh him non other sihte. 
Riht so this janglere Envious, 
Thogh he a man se vertuous 
And full of good condicioun, 
Therof makth he no mencioun : 
Bot elles, be it noght so lyte, 
Wherof that he mai sette a wyte, 
Ther renneth he with open mouth, 
Behinde a man and makth it couth. 
Bot al the vertu which he can, 
That wole he hide of every man. 
And openly the vice telle. 
As he which of the Scole of helle 
Is tawht, and fostred with Envie 
Of houshold and of compaignie, 
^Vher that he hath his propre office 
To sette on every man a vice. 
How so his mouth be comely, 
His word sit evermore awry 
And seith the worste that he may. 

And in this wise now a day 
In loves Court a man mai hiere 
Fulofte pleigne of this matiere. 
That many envious tale is stered, 
Wher that it mai noght ben ansuered; 
Bot yit fulofte it is believed. 
And many a worthi love is grieved 
Thurgh bacbitinge of fals Envie. 
If thou have mad such janglerie 

P. i. 174 



P. i 175 



In loves Court, mi Sone, er this, 
Schrif thee therof. 

Mi fader, yis: 
Bot wite ye how? noght openly, 
Bot otherwhile prively, 
Whan I my diere kdi mete, 
And thenke how that I am noght mete 
Unto hire hihe worthinesse, 
And ek I se the besinesse 
Of al this yonge lusty route, 
Whiche alday pressen hire aboute. 
And ech of hem his time awaiteth, 
And ech of hem his tale af&iteth, 
Al to deceive an innocent. 
Which woll noght ben of here assent ; 
And for men sein unknowe unkest. 
Hire thombe sche holt in hire fest 
So clos withinne hire oghne bond, 
That there winneth noman lond ; 
Sche lieveth noght al that sche hiereth, 
And thus fulofte hirself sche skiereth 
And is al war of *hadde I wist*: — 
Bot for al that myn herte arist, 
Whanne I thes comun lovers se. 
That woll noght holden hem to thre, 
Bot welnyh loven overal, 
Min herte is Envious withal, 
And evere I am adrad of guile, 
In aunter if with eny wyle 
Thei mihte hire innocence enchaunte. 
Forthi my wordes ofte I haunte 
Behynden hem, so as I dar, 
Wherof my ladi may be war : 
I sai what evere comth to mowthe, 
And worse I wolde, if that I cowthe ; 
For whanne I come unto hir speche, 
Al that I may enquere and seche 



Hie in amoris causa 
huius vicii crimen ad 
memoriam reducens 
Confessor Amanti su- 
per eodem plenius op- 



P. i. 176 

467 vnknowen vnkost R vnknowen gest AM 
1 wist] hadde (had) wist XRC haddy wist(e) HiELB.' 
M, H3 haddy I wist Ad 

473 hadde 


[DcTRAcnoK OF Of such deceipte, I telle it al, 

^^^'i And ay the werste in special. 490 

So fayn I wolde that sche wiste 
How litel thei ben forto triste, 
And what thei wolde and what thei mente, 
So as thei be of double entente : 
Thus toward hem that wicke mene 
My wicked word was evere grene. 
And natheles, the soth to telle, 
In certain if it so befelle 
That althertrewest man ybore, 
To chese among a thousend score, 500 

Which were alfulli forto triste, 
Mi ladi lovede, and I it wiste, 
Yit rathere thanne he scholde spede, 
I wolde swiche tales sprede 
To my ladi, if that I myhte, 
That I scholde al his love unrihte. 
And therto wolde I do mi peine. 
For certes thogh I scholde feigne. 
And telle that was nevere thoght, 
For al this world I myhte noght 510 

To soffre an othre fully winne, P. i. 177 

Ther as I am yit to beginne. 
For be thei goode, or be thei badde, 
I wolde non my ladi hadde; 
And that me makth fulofte aspie 
And usen wordes of Envie, 
Al forto make hem bere a blame. 
And that is bot of thilke same. 
The whiche unto my ladi drawe. 
For evere on hem I rounge and gknawe 520 
And hindre hem al that evere I mai ; 
And that is, sothly forto say, 
Bot only to my lady selve: 
I telle it noght to ten ne tuelve, 
Therof I wol me wel avise, 
To speke or jangle in eny wise 
That toucheth to my ladi name, 

517 Al] And Hi . . . Bt, Hs 



» » 

The which in eraest and in game 

I wolde save into my deth ; 

For me were levere lacke breth 

Than speken of hire name amis. 

Now have ye herd touchende of this, 

Mi fader, in confessioun : 

And therfor of Detraccioun 

In love^ of that I have mispoke, 

Tel how ye wole it schal be wroke. 

I am al redy forto here 

Mi peine, and also to forbere 

What thing that ye wol noght allowe; 

For who is bounden, he mot bowe. 

So wol I bowe unto youre heste, 

For I dar make this beheste. 

That I to yow have nothing hid, 

Bot told riht as it is betid ; 

And otherwise of no mispeche. 

Mi conscience forto seche, 

I can noght of Envie finde, 

That I mispoke have oght behinde 

Wherof love owhte be mispaid. 

Now have ye herd and I have said; 

What wol ye, fader, that I do? 

Mi Sone, do nomore so, 
Bot evere kep thi tunge stille. 
Thou miht the more have of thi wille. 
For as thou saist thiselven here, 
Thi ladi is of such manere. 
So wys, so war in alle thinge, 
It nedeth of no bakbitinge 
That thou thi ladi mis enforme : 
For whan sche knoweth al the forme, 
How that thiself art envious. 
Thou schalt noght be so gracious 
As thou peraunter scholdest elles. 
Ther wol noman drinke of tho welles 
Whiche as he wot is puyson inne ; 
And ofte swich as men beginne 
554 of ofM. J . . . Bj, B, W 






P. i. 178 






[Detraction of 

[Talb ofConstance .] 

Hie loquitur Con- 
fessor contra istos in 
amoris causa detra- 
hentes, qui suis oblo- 
quiis aliena solacia 
perturbant. £t narrat 
exemplum de Constan- 
cia Tiberii Rome Im- 
paratoris filia,omnium 
virtutum fiunosissima, 
ob cuius amorem Sol- 
danus tunc Persie, vt 
earn in vxorem ducere 
posset, Cristianum se 
fieri promisit; cuius 
accepta caucione con- 
silio Pelagii tunc pape 
dicta filia vna cum 
duobus Cardinalibus 
aliisque Rome proceri- 
bus in Persiam mari- 
tagii causa nauigio 

Towardes othre, swich thei finde, 
That set hem ofte fer behinde, 
Whan that thei wene be before. 
Mi goode Sone, and thou therfore 
Bewar and lef thi wicke speche, 
Wherof hath fallen ofte wreche 
To many a man befor this time. 
For who so wole his handes lime, 
Thei mosten be the more unclene; 
For many a mote schal' be sene, 
That wolde noght cleve elles there; 
And that schold every wys man fere: 
For who so vroi an other blame, 
He secheth ofte his oghne schame, 
Which elles myhte be riht stille. 
Forthi if that it be thi wille 
To stonde upon amendement^ 
A tale of gret entendement 
r thenke telle for thi sake, 
Wherof thou miht ensample take. 

A worthi kniht in Cristes lawe 
Of grete Rome, as is the sawe, 
The Sceptre hadde forXo rihte; 
Tiberie Constantin he hihte, 
Whos wif was cleped Ytalie : 
Bot thei togedre of progenie 
No children hadde bot a Maide; 
And sche the god so wel apaide, 
That al the wide worldes fame 
Spak worschipe of hire goode name. 
Constance, as the Cronique seith, 
Sche hihte, and was so ful of feith. 
That the greteste of Barbarie, 
Of hem whiche usen marchandie, 
Sche hath converted, as thei come 
To hire upon a time in Rome, 
To schewen such thing as thei broghte; 
Whiche worthili of hem sche boghte. 

P. i. 179 



P. L 180 

571 Bewar F Be war AJ, B 

578 schold BS, F scholde AJ 



And over that in such a wise 

Sche hath hem with hire wordes wise 

Of Cristes feith so full enformed^ 

That thei therto ben all conformed, 

So that baptesme thei receiven 

And alle here false goddes weyven. 

Whan thei ben of the feith certein, 

Thei gon to Barbarie ayein, 

And ther the Souldan for hem sente 

And axeth hem to what entente 

Thei have here ferste feith forsake. 

And thei, whiche hadden undertake 

The rihte feith to kepe and holde, 

The matiere of here tale tolde 

With al the hole circumstance. 

And whan the Souldan of Constance 

Upon the point that thei ansuerde 

The beaute and the grace herde, 

As he which thanne was to wedde, 

In alle haste his cause spedde 

To sende for the mariage. 

And furthermor with good corage 

He seith, be so he mai hire have, 

That Crist, which cam this world to save, 

He woll believe : and this recorded, 

Thei ben on either side acorded, 

And therupon to make an ende P. i. 

The Souldan hise hostages seiide 

To Rome, of Princes Sones tuelve: 

Wherof the fader in himselve 

Was glad, and with the Pope avised 

Tuo Cardinals he hath assissed 

With othre lordes many mo. 

That with his doghter scholden go. 

To se the Souldan be converted. 

Bot that which nevere was wel herted, 
Envie, tho began travaile 
In destourbance of this spousaile 
So prively that non was war. 

606 margin fuitj fiunt XERCL, B fumt B2 

L 2 

[Talb of Constance.] 

honorifice destinata 
fuit : que tamen oblo- 
qnencium postea de- 
traccionibus variismo- 
dis, prout inferius ar- 
ticulatur, absque sui 
610 culpa ~ 'dolorosa fata 
multipliciter passa est. 




Qualiter adueniente 
Constancia in Barba- 
nam Mater Soldani, 
huiusmodi nupcias 



[Tali of Constanck.] 

perturbare volens, fi- 
Ifum suum vna cum 
dicta Constancui Car- 
dinalibusque et aliis 
Romanis primo die ad 
conuiuium inuitauit ; 
et conuescentibus illis 
in mensa ipsum Sol- 
danum omnesque ibi- 
dem preter Cons tan - 
ciam Romanos ab in- 
sidiis latitantibus sub- 
doladetraccione inter- 
ficiprocurauit Ipsam- 
que Constanciam in 
quadam naui absque 
gubemaculo positam 
per altum mare vento- 
rum flatibus agitan- 
dam in exilium dirigi 
5M)lam constituit. 

The Moder which this Souldan bar 
Was thanne alyve, and thoghte this 
Unto hirself : * If it so is 
Mi Sone him wedde in this manere, 
Than have I lost my joies hiere, 
For myn astat schal so be lassed.' 
Thenkende thus sche hath compassed 
Be sleihte how that sche may beguile 
Hire Sone; and fell withinne a while, 
Betwen hem two whan that thei were, 
Sche feigneth wordes in his Ere, 
And in this wise gan to seie : 
* Mi Sone, I am be double weie * 
With al myn herte glad and blithe. 
For that miself have ofle sithe 
Desired thou wolt, as men seith. 
Receive and take a newe feith, 
Which schal be forthringe of thi lif : 
And ek so worschipful a wif. 
The doughter of an Emperour, 
To wedde it schal be gret honour. 
Forthi, mi Sone, I you beseche 
That I such grace mihte areche. 
Whan that my doughter come schal. 
That I mai thanne in special, 
So as me thenkth it is honeste, 
Be thilke which the ferste feste 
Schal make unto hire welcominge.' 
The Souldan granteth hire axinge. 
And sche therof was glad ynowh: 
For under that anon she drowh 
^With false wordes that sche spak 
Covine of deth behinde his bak. 
And therupon hire ordinance 
She made so, that whan Constance 
Was come forth with the Romeins, 
Of clerkes and of Citezeins, 


P. i. i8a 



649 be so AM sone be X 658 margin in exilium] et in 

exilium X, B et exilium HiERLBs 671 welcominge] comyng(e) 
Hi . . . Bf , B 



A riche feste sche hem made: 

And most whan that thei weren glade, 

With fals covine which sche hadde 

Hire clos Envie tho sche spradde, 

And alle tho that hadden be 

Or in apert or in prive 

Of conseil to the mariage, 

Sche slowh hem in a sodein rage 

Endlong the bord as thei be set, 

So that it myhte noght be let; 

Hire oghne Sone was noght quit, P. i. 

Bot deide upon the same plit. 

Bot what the hihe god wol spare 

It mai for no peril misfare: 

This worthi Maiden which was there 

Stod thanne, as who seith, ded for feere, 

To se the feste how that it stod. 

Which al was torned into blod : 

The Dissh forthwith the Coppe and al 

Bebled thei weren overal; 

Sche sih hem deie on every side; 

No wonder thogh sche wepte and cride 

Makende many a wofull mone. 

Whan al was slain bot sche al one, 

This olde fend, this Sarazine, 

Let take anon this Constantine 

With al the good sche thider broghte, 

And hath ordeined, as sche thoghte, 

A nakid Schip withoute stiere. 

In which the goo4/and hire m fiere, 

Vitailed full for yeres fyve, 

Wher that the wynd it wolde dryve, 

Sche putte upon the wawes wilde. 

Bot he which alle thing mai schilde, 
Thre yer, til that sche cam to londe, 
Hire Schip to stiere hath take in honde, 
And in Northumberlond aryveth ; 
And happeth thanne that sche dryveth 
Under a Castel with the flod, 

710 hierc F 716 margin ad partes Hi . . . RLBa, B 

[Tale of Constance.] 





Qualiter nauis cum 
Constancia in partes 
Anglie, que tunc pa- 
gana fuit, prope Hum- 
ber sub quodam cas- 
tello Regis, qui tunc 
Allee vocabatur, post 



[Tale of Constance.] 

triennium applicuit, 
quam quidain miles 
nomine Elda, dicti 
castelli tunc costos, e 
naui lete siiscipiens 
vxori sue Hennyng« 
heldein custodiam ho- 
norifice commendauit 


P. i. 184 

Eldam cum vxore sua 
Herm3mghelda, qui 
anteaCristiani non ex- 
titerant,adfidem Cristi 
miraculose conuertit. 

Which upon Humber banke stod 

And was the kynges oghne also, 

The which Allee was cleped tho, 

A Saxon and a worthi knybt, 

Bot he believeth noght ariht. 

Of this Castell was Chastellein 

£lda the kinges Chamberlein, 

A knyhtly man after his lawe; 

And whan he sih upon the wawe 

The Schip drivende al one so, 

He bad anon men scholden go 

To se what it betokne mai. 

This was upon a Somer dai, 

The Schip was loked and sche founde; 

Elda withinne a litel stounde 

It wiste, and with his wif anon 

Toward this yonge ladi gon, 

Wher that thei founden gret richesse; 

Bot sche hire wolde noght confesse, 

Whan thei hire axen what sche was. 

And natheles upon the cas 

Out of the Schip with gret worschipe 

Thei toke hire into felaschipe, 

As thei that weren of hir glade : 

Bot sche no maner joie made, 

Bot sorweth sore of that sche fond 

No cristendom in thilke lond; 

Bot elles sche hath al hire wille, 

And thus with hem sche duelleth stille. 

Dame Hermyngheld, which was the wif 
Of Elda, lich her oghne lif 
Constance loveth; and fell so, 
Spekende alday betwen hem two, 
Thurgh grace of goddes pourveance 
This maiden tawhte the creance 
Unto this wif so parfilly. 
Upon a dai that faste by 
In presence of hire housebonde, 
Wher thei go walkende on the Stronde, 

751 and] and it Hi . . . Bf, B margin Elda HiG . . . B^ B 




P. i. 185 


A blind man, which cam there lad, [Tale or Constance.] 

Unto this wif criende he bad, 760 

With bothe hise hondes up and preide 

To hire, and in this wise he seide: 

*0 Hermyngeld, which Cristes feith, 

Enformed as Constance seith, 

Received hast, yif me ray sihte.* 

Upon his word hire herte afflihte 
Thenkende what was best to done, 
Bot natheles sche herde his bone 
And seide, *In trust of Cristes lawe, 
Which don was on the crois and slawe, 770 
Thou bysne man, behold and se.' 
With that to god upon his kne 
Thonkende he tok his sihte anon, 
Wherof thei merveile everychon, 
Bot Elda wondreth most of alle : 
This open thing which is befalle 
Concludeth him be such a weie. 
That he the feith mot nede obeie. 

Now lest what fell upon this thing. 

This Elda ^orth unto the king 780 Qualiterquidam mi- 

A morwe tok his weie and rod, P. i. i86 ^'^ ■3r„de '"e^Hc" 

And Hermyngeld at home abod cens, pro co quod ipsa 

Forth with Constance wel at ese. ar^ortet^l^yT- 

Elda, which thoghte his king to plese, helde, quam ipscmet 

As he that thanne unwedded was. vc^bTsTtracStc': 

Of Constance al the pleine cas cusauit Set Angelus 

Als goodliche as he cowthe tolde. ?° hl"^^ "n ZJL 

The king was glad and seide he wolde subito percuciens non 

Come thider upon such a wise ^liJpXuit.TcMc?: 

That he him mihte of hire avise, 790 mortali post ipsius 

The time apointed forth withal. i^tcH'^ir''"' ^"""'^"^ 

This Elda triste in special 

Upon a knyht, whom fro childhode 

He hadde updrawe into manhode : 

To him he tolde al that he thoghte, 

Wherof that after him forthoghte; 

And natheles at thilke tide 

78a margin ipsa sibi A . . . Ba, Ba 


[Tale OF Constance.] Unto his wif he bad him ride 

To make redi alle thing 

Ayein the cominge of the king, Soo 

And seith that he himself tofore 
Thenkth forto come, and bad therfore 
That he him kepe, and told him whanne. 
This knyht rod forth his weie thanne; 
^ And soth was that of time passed 

He hadde in al his wit compassed 
How he Constance myhte winne; 
Bot he sih tho no sped therinne, 
Wherof his lust began tabate, 
And that was love is thanne hate; 8io 

Of hire honour he hadde Envie, P. i. 187 

So that upon his tricherie 
A lesinge in his herte he caste. 
Til he cam home he hieth faste, 
And doth his ladi tunderstonde 
The Message of hire housebonde : 
And therupon the longe dai 
Thei setten thinges in arrai, 
That al was as it scholde be 
Of every thing in his degree ; 820 

And whan it cam into the nyht, 
This wif hire hath to bedde dyht, 
Wher that this Maiden with hire lay. 
This false knyht upon delay 
Hath taried til thei were aslepe. 
As he that wolde his time kepe 
His dedly werkes to fulfiUe; 
And to the bed he stalketh stille, 
Wher that he wiste was the wif. 
And in his bond a rasour knif 830 

He bar, with which hire throte he cutte. 
And prively the knif he putte 
Under that other beddes side, 

803 told A, SB, F tolde C 815 his I. to vnderstondc AJMHiX 
GRLBi, Ba )>is 1. tunderstonde Ad \tis 1. to vnderstonde C, Ha 
his 1. vnderstonde E, W 833 that other] )>e oJ>cr M Jiat dier(e) 

Hi . . . Ba, B 


Wher that Constance lai beside. [Tale of Constance.] 

Elda cam horn the same nyht, 

And stille with a prive lyht, 

As he that wolde noght awake 

His wif, he hath his weie take 

Into the chambre, and ther liggende 

He fond his dede wif bledende, 840 

Wher that Constance faste by P. i. 188 

Was falle aslepe; and sodeinly 

He cride alowd^ and sche awok, 

And forth withal sche caste a lok 

And sih this ladi blede there, 

Wherof swounende ded for fere 

Sche was, and stille as eny Ston 

She lay, and Elda therupon 

Into the Castell clepeth oute. 

And up sterte every man aboute, 850 

Into the chambre and forth thei wente. 

Bot he, which alle untrouthe mente, 

This false knyht, among hem alle 

Upon this thing which is befalle 

Seith that Constance hath don this dede; 

And to the bed with that he yede 

After the falshed of his speche, 

And made him there forto seche, 

And fond the knif, wher he it leide. 

And thanne he cride and thanne he seide, 860 

* I^, seth the knif al blody hiere ! 

What nedeth more in this matiere 

To axe?' And thus hire innocence 

He sclaundreth there in audience 

With false wordes whiche he feigneth. 

Bot yit for al that evere he pleigneth, 

Elda no full credence tok : 

And happeth that ther lay a bok, 

Upon the which, whan he it sih, 

This knyht hath swore and seid on hih, 870 

1'hat alle men it mihte wite, P. i. 189 

844 caste AC, S cast J, B, F 860 thanne . . . thanne] ]>anne 

. . ).us LB2, B, W 



[Tale of Constance.] 

Qoiliter Rex Alice 
ad fidemCristi conuer« 
sus baptismum recepit 
et Constanciam super 
hoc leto animo despon- 
sauit; quetamenqua- 
lis vel vnde fuit alicui 
nullo modo fatebatur. 
£t cum infra breue pos- 
tea a domino suo im- 
pregnata fiiissct, ipse 
ad debellandum cum 
Scotis iter arripuit, et 
ibidem super guerras 
aliquamdiu permansit. 

*Now be this bok, which hier is write, 

Constance is gultif, wel I wot/ 

With that the bond of hevene him smot 

In tokne of that he was forswore, 

That he hath bothe hise yhen lore, 

Out of his bed the same stounde 

Thei sterte, and so thei weren founde. 

A vois was herd, whan that they felle, 

Which seide, *0 dampned man to belle, sso 

Lo, thus hath god the sclaundre wroke 

That thou ayein Constance hast spoke : 

Beknow the sothe er that thou dye/ 

And he told out his felonie, 

And starf forth with his tale anon. 

Into the ground, wher alle gon. 

This dede lady was begrave: 

Elda, which thoghte his honour save, 

Al that he mai restreigneth sorwe. 

For the seconde day a morwe 890 

The king cam, as thei were acorded; 
And whan it was to him recorded 
What god hath wroght upon this chaunce, 
He tok it into remembrance 
And thoghte more than he seide. 
For al his hole herte he leide 
Upon Constance, and seide he scholde 
For love of hire, if that sche wolde, 
Baptesme take and Cristes feith 
Believe, and over that he seith 
He wol hire wedde, and upon this 
Asseured ech til other is. 
And forto make schorte tales, 
Ther cam a Bisschop out of Wales 
Fro Bangor, an<J Lucie he hihte, 
Which thurgh the grace of god almihte 
The king with many an other mo 
Hath cristned, and betwen hem tuo 
He hath fulfild the mariage. 
Bot for no lust ne for no rage 910 

882 liast J has C, A hap RLBs, AdB, W 884 told J, SB, F toldeAC 

P. i. 190 



Sche tolde hem nevere what sche was; 
And natheles upon the cas 
The king was glad, how so it stod, 
For wel he wiste and understod 
Sche was a noble creature. 
The hihe makere of nature 
Hire hath visited in a throwe, 
That it was openliche knowe 
Sche was with childe be the king, 
Wherof above al other thing 920 

He thonketh god and was riht glad. 
And fell that time he was bestad 
Upon a werre and moste ride; 
And whil he scholde there abide. 
He lefte at horn to kepe his wif 
Suche as he knew of holi lif, 
Elda forth with the Bisschop eke; 
And he with pouer goth to seke 
Ayein the Scottes forto fonde 
The werre which he tok on honde. 930 

The time set of kinde is come, P. i. 191 

This lady hath hire chambre nome, 
And of a Sone bore full, 
Wherof that sche was joiefull, 
Sche was delivered sauf and sone. 
The bisshop, as it was to done, 
Yaf him baptesme and Moris calleth ; 
And therupon, as it befalleth. 
With lettres wrilen of record 
Thei sende unto here liege lord, 940 

That kepers weren of the qweene : 
And he that scholde go betwene, 
The Messager, to Knaresburgh, 
Which toun he scholde passe thurgh, 
Ridende cam the ferste day. 
The kinges Moder there lay, 
Whos rihte name was Domilde, 

91a the] J)is Hi . . . Ba, B, Hs 925 He] And HiYXGECLBt, B 
938 margin quod] quia Hi . . . Ba, B 939 margin non om, B 

947 margin desolabitur YRCL, B, W 

[Talc of Constanck.] 

Qualiter ReginaCon- 
stancia infantem mas- 
culum, quern in bap- 
tismo Mauricium vo- 
cant, Rege absente 
enixa est. Set inuida 
Regis mater Domilda 
super isto facto condo- 
lens litteris mendaci- 
bus Regi certificauit 
quod vxor sua demo- 
niaci et non humani 
generis quoddam mon- 
strosum fantasma loco 
genituread ortum pro- 
duxit ; huiusmodique 
detraccionibus aduer- 
sus Constanciam in 
tanto procurauit, quod 
ipsa in nauim, qua 
prius veneraty iterum 
ad exilium vna cum 
suo partu remissa de- 



[Tale of Constance.] 

Prima littera in com- 
mendacionem Con- 
stancie ab Episcopo 
Regi missa per Do- 
mildam in contrarium 


P. i. 19a 

Which after al the cause spilde: 

For he, which thonk deserve wolde, 

Unto this ladi goth and tolde 950 

Of his Message al how it ferde. 

And sche with feigned joie it herde 

And yaf him yiftes largely, 

Bot in the nyht al prively 

Sche tok the lettres whiche he hadde, 

Fro point to point and overradde, 

As sche that was thurghout untrewe. 

And let do wryten othre newe 

In stede of hem, and thus thei spieke : 

*Oure liege lord, we thee beseke 
That thou with ous ne be noght wroth. 
Though we such thing as is thee loth 
Upon oure trowthe certefie. 
Thi wif, which is of faierie, 
Of such a child delivered is 
Fro kinde which stant all amis : 
Bot for it scholde no^ht be seie, 
We have it kept out of the weie 
For drede of pure worldes schame, 
A povere child and in the name 970 

Of thilke which is so misbore 
We toke, and therto we be swore. 
That non bot only thou and we 
Schal knowen of this privete : 
Moris it hatte, and thus men wene 
That it was boren of the qweene 
And of thin oghne bodi gete. 
Bot this thing mai noght be foryete, 
That thou ne sende ous word anon 
What is thi wille therupon/ 980 

This lettre, as thou hast herd devise, 
Was contrefet in such a wise 
That noman scholde it aperceive : 
And sche, which thoghte to deceive, 
It leilh wher sche that other tok. 

949 )K)ng F 951 his] })is ABa 957 As^ And C, Hs 

961 ne om. J . . . Ba, B, W 96a as] )>at ERCBx 


This Messager, whan he awok, [Tale or Comstakce.] 

And wiste nothing how it was, 

Aros and rod the grete pas 

And tok this lettre to the king. 

And whan he sih this wonder thing, 990 

He makth the Messager no chiere, P. i. 193 

Bot natheles in wys manere 

He wrot ayein, and yaf hem charge 

That thai ne soffre noght at large 

His wif to go, bot kepe hire stille, 

Til thei have herd mor of his wille. 

This Messager was yifteles, 

Bot with this lettre natheles, 

Or be him lief or be him loth, 

In alle haste ayein he goth loco 

Be Knaresburgh, and as he wente, 

Unto the Moder his entente 

Of that he fond toward the king 

He tolde ; and sche upon this thing 

Seith that he scholde abide al nyht 

And made him feste and chiere ariht, 

Feignende as thogh sche cowthe him thonk. 

Bot he with strong wyn which he dronk 

Forth with the travail of the day 

Was drunke, aslepe and while he lay, loio 

Sche hath hise lettres overseie 

And formed in an other weie. 

Ther was a newe lettre write, 
Which seith : * I do you forto wite, Secunda littera per 

That thurgh the conseil of you tuo Regem Episcopo re- 

_ , . . , , missa a Domilda ite- 

I stonde m point to ben undo, rum falsata. 

As he which is a king deposed. 

For every man it hath supposed. 

How that my wif Constance is faie ; 

And if that I, thei sein, delaie 1020 

To put hire out of compaignie, P. i. 194 

The worschipe of my Regalie 

993 him Hi . . . CB3, B 1009 ffor wi]> RLBa 1020 I, thei 

sciiir delaie] I seie (se) eny delaie Hi . . . Bs, B thei seine d. 
(om. I) H3 loai put AJ, S, F putte C, B 


[Tale OF Constance.] Is lore; and over this thei telle, 

Hire child schal noght among hem duelle, 
To cleymen eny heritage. 
So can I se non avantage, 
Bot al is lost, if sche abide : 
Forthi to loke on every side 
Toward the meschief as it is, 
r charge you and bidde this, 1030 

That ye the same Schip vitaile. 
In which that sche tok arivaile, 
Therinne and putteth bothe tuo, 
Hireself forthwith hire child also, 
And so forth broght unto the depe 
Betaketh hire the See to kepe. 
Of foure daies time I sette, 
That ye this thing no longer lette, 
So that your lif be noght forsfet.' 
And thus this lettre contrefet 1040 

The Messager, ^hich w^s unwar, 
Upon the kingesliaive Bar, 
And where he scholde it hath betake. 
Bot whan that thei have hiede take, 
And rad that writen is withinne, 
So gret a sorwe thei beginne, 
As thei here oghne Moder sihen 
Brent in a fyr before here yhen : 
Ther was wepinge and ther was wo, 
Bot finaly the thing is do. 1050 

Upon the See thei have hire broght, P. i. 195 
Bot sche the cause wiste noght. 
And thus upon the flod thei wone, 
This ladi with- hire yonge Sone : 
And thanne hire handes to the hevene 
Sche strawhte, and with a milde stevene 
Knelende upon hire bare kne 
Sche seide, *0 hihe mageste, 
Which sest the point of every trowthe, 
Tak of thi wofuU womman rowthe 1060 

1045 that writen is] )>e writen is AM )>at wTiten was Bs, B, W 
)>at wryten {om. is) X 1048 tofore B» W 



And of this child that I schal kepe/ 

And with that word sche gan to wepe, 

Swounende as ded, and ther sche lay; 

Bot he which alle thinges may^ 

Conforteth hire, and ate laste 

Sche loketh and hire yhen caste 

Upon hire child and seide this : 

*0f me no maner charge it is 

What sorwe I soffre, bot of lAiee 

Me thenkth it is a gret pite, 1070 

For if I sterve thou schalt deie: 

So mot I nedes be that weie 

For Moderhed and for tendresse 

With al myn hole besinesse 

Ordeigne me for thilke office, 

As sche which schal be thi Norrice.' 

Thus was sche strengthed forto stonde ; 

And tho sche tok hire child in honde 

And yaf it sowke, and evere among 

Sche wepte, and otherwhile song 

To rocke with hire child aslepe : 

And thus hire oghne child to kepe 

Sche hath under the goddes cure. 

And so fell upon aventure. 
Whan thilke yer hath mad his ende, 
Hire Schip, so as it moste wende 
Thurgh strengthe of wynd which god hath yive, 
Estward was into Spaigne drive 
Riht faste under a Castell wall, 
Wher that an hethen Amirall 1090 

Was lord, and he a Stieward hadde, 
Oon Theloiis, which al was badde, 
A fals knyht and a renegat. 
He goth to loke in what astat 
The Schip was come, and there he fond 
Forth with a child upon hire hond 
This lady, wher sche was al one. 

1063 Sownend(e) A, B 1066 yhe A . . . Bt, SAdB 1070 )>enke]> 
it is gret £, B, Hs 1071 schalt] most B 1085 ff. ntar^gin 

Qualiter — liberauit om. AM(^.m.) 

[Tale of Constance.] 

P. 1. 196 

Qualiter Nauis Con- 
stancie post biennium 
in partes Hispanie su- 
perioris inter Saraze- 
nos iactabatur, a quo- 
rum manibus deus ip- 
sam conseruans gra- 
ciosissime liberauit 



[Tale of Comstance.] 

QualHer ntuicula 
CoosUncte quodam 
die per alttmi marc 
x'agmns inter copiosam 
Nauium multitudin^m 
dilapsa est. quanim 
Arcennos Romano- 

iioi at 

(,saw\ F 

He tok good hiede of the persone, 

And sih sche was a worth! wiht, 

And thoghte he wolde upon the nyht noo 

Demene hire at his oghne wille, 

And let hire be therinne stille, 

That mo men sih sche noght that dai. 

At goddes wille and thus sche lai, 

Unknowe what hire schal betide ; 

And fell so that be nyhtes tide 

This knyht withoute felaschipe 

Hath take a bot and cam to Schipe, 

And thoghte of hire his lust to take, 

And swor, if sche him daunger make, mo 

That certeinly sche scholde deie. P. i. 197 

Sche sih ther was non other weie, 

And seide he scholde hire wel conforte, 

That he ferst loke out ate porte, 

That noman were nyh the stede. 

Which myhte knowe what thei dede. 

And thaime he mai do what he wolde. 

He was riht glad that sche so tolde, 

And to the porte anon he ferde : 

Sche preide god^ and he hire herde, mo 

And sodeinliche he was out throwe 

And dreynt, and tho b^an to blowe 

A wynd menable fro the lond. 

And thus the myhti goddes bond 

Hire hath conveied and defended. 

And whan thre yer be full despended. 
Hire Schip was drive upon a dai, 
\VhtT that a gret Xavye lay 
Of SchipeSy al the world at ones : 
And as god wolde for the nones, 1130 

Hire Schip goth in among hem alle, 

a:» AM 1103 mo men sib sche] AM ^st$fae\ SAdA 

no men scth ^sigh' sche G . . . Be B« Hs 
DO men s:e hire J no^t one W 

no man s^ she 
iiao preide] 

preide to L preie^ to C praieth «& preith Hs x x^ menaUe 

M, A, F meuable GRCLBi. B dmiifml AJH.YXE. SAd, H.* 
meveftble W 1 1^7 tL m ms ^im Quahter— edacauit cam, AM ^.m.^ 

1129 mtMMgim ragans^ nauigatts B 


And stinte noght, er it be falle [TauofConstahcs.] 

And hath the vessell undergete, "»™. Consul, Dux et 

,,,,.,,-.. /. 1 , -r^, Capitancus ipsam ig- 

Which Maister was of al the Flete, notem suscipiens vs- 

Bot there it resteth and abod. que ad Romam secum 

^, . ^ c u- A 1 J perduxit;vbiequalem 

This grete Schip on Anker rod ; vxori sue Helene pcr- 

The Lord cam forth, and whan he sih mansuram reuerenter 

rr.! ^ .L !• i_ J 1 associauit, necnon ct 

That Other hgge abord so nyh, eiusdcm filium Mauri- 

He wondreth what it myhte be, ciu™ »» omni habun- 

. , , J ^ J dancia quasi proprium 

And bad men to gon m and se. 1140 educauit 

This ladi tho was crope aside^ P. i. 198 

As sche that wolde hireselven hide, 

For sche ne wiste what thei were : 

Thei soghte aboute and founde hir there 

And broghten up hire child and hire; 

And therupon this lord to spire 

Began, fro whenne that sche cam, 

And what sche was. Quod sche, 'I am 

A womman wofully bestad. 

I hadde a lord, and thus he bad, 1150 

That I forth with my litel Sone 

Upon the wawes scholden wone, 

Bot why the cause was, I not: 

Bot he which alle thinges wot 

Yit hath, I thonke him, of his miht 

Mi child and me so kept upriht, 

That we be save bothe tuo.' 

This lord hire axeth overmo 

How sche believeth, and sche seith, 

*I lieve and triste in Cristes feith, 1160 

Which deide upon the Rode tree.' 

*What is thi name?' tho quod he. 

* Mi name is Couste,' sche him seide : 

Bot forthermor for noght he preide 

Of hire astat to knowe plein, 

Sche wolde him nothing elles sein 

Bot of hir name, which sche feigneth ; 

Alle othre thinges sche restreigneth, 

113a be falle J, S,F befalleAC,B 1133 the]])at A.. . Bs, SAdBA 
1 140 to go in] go in AM, A to gon L to go doun G gone (to se) W 
1 151 for> wi> J, SB for])wi> A, F 1158 euermo Hi . . . CBa, W 

♦* M 


[Taleop Constance.] That a word more sche ne tolde. 

This lord thanne axeth if sche wolde 1170 

With him abide in compaignie, P. i. 199 

And seide he cam fro Barbarie 

To Romeward, and hom he wente. 

Tho sche supposeth what it mente, 

And seith sche wolde with him wende 

And duelle unto hire lyves ende, 

Be so it be to his plesance. 

And thus upon here aqueintance 

He tolde hire pleinly as it stod, 

Of Rome how that the gentil blod' 1180 

In Barbarie was betraied, 

And therupon he hath assaied 

Be werre, and taken such vengance, 

That non of al thilke alliance, 

Be whom the tresoun was compassed^ 

Is from the swerd al3rve passed; 

Bot of Constance hou it was, 

That cowthe he knowe be no cas, 

Wher sche becam, so as he seide. 

Hire Ere unto his word sche leide^ 11 90 

Bot forther made sche no chiere: 
And natheles in this matiere 
It happeth thilke time so: 
This Lord, with whom sche scholde go. 
Of Rome was the Senatour, 
And of hir fader themperour 
His brother doughter hath to W3rve, 
Which hath hir fader ek alyve. 
And was Salustes cleped tho; 
This wif Heleine hihte also, laoo 

To whom Constance was Cousine. P. i. 200 
Thus to the sike a medicine 
Hath god ordeined of his grace. 
That forthwith in the same place 

1169 o word H1ECB2, B ne] no F 1178 hire (hir) J MX . . . 
Ba,AdB hysW 1184 alow. Hi Sn, Hi 1 189 becam GEC, AdB, 
W be cam (bi cam &c.) A . . . XRLBa, F 1191 forther] for )>at Hi . . . 
B2, B 1193 happed Hi . . . RLBa, B laoo This] His Hi . . . B«, B, W 



This Senatour his trowthe plihte, 

For evere, whil he live mihte, 

To kepe in worschipe and in welthe, 

Be so that god wol yive hire helthe, 

This ladi, which fortune him sende. 

And thus be Schipe forth sailende 1210 

Hire and hir child to Rome he broghte, 

And to his wif tho he besoghte 

To take hire into compaignie: 

And sche, which cowthe of courtesie 

Al that a good wif scholde konne, 

Was inly glad that sche hath wonne 

The felaschip of so good on. 

Til tuelve yeres were agon, 

This Emperoures dowhter Custe 

Forth with the dowhter of Saluste 1220 

Was kept, bot noman redily 

Knew what sche was, and noght forthi 

Thei thoghten wel sche hadde be 

In hire ast^t of hih degre, 

And every lif hire loveth wel. 

Now herke how thilke unstable whel, 
Which evere torneth, wente aboute. 
The king Allee, whil he was oute, 
As thou tofore hast herd this cas, 
Deceived thurgh his Moder was : 
Bot whan that he cam horn ayein, 
He axeth of his Chamberlein 
And of the Bisschop ek also, ] 

Wher thei the qweene hadden do. 
And thei answerde, there he bad, 
And have him thilke lettre rad. 
Which he hem sende for warant, 
And tolde him pleinli as it stant, 
And sein, it thoghte hem gret pite 
To se so worthi on as sche, 1240 

With such a child as ther was bore, 
So sodeinly to be forlore. 

1217 felaschip J, S, F felaschipe A I226herkne SAdA herkene 
X, \\i herken Ba, W 1237 he ow. B 

M 2 

[Tale of Constancc] 

Qualiter Rex Allee 
inita pace cum Scotis 
a guerris rediens et 
non inuenta vxore sua 
causam exilii dilig^n- 
cius perscrutans, cum 
Matrem suam Domil- 
dam inde culpabilem 
sciuissety ipsam in igne 
i. 201 proicicns comburi fe- 



[Tale OF Constance.] He axeth hem what child that ^ere; 

And thei him seiden, that naghef^ 
In al the world thogh men it soghte, 
Was nevere womman that forth broghte 
A fairer child than it was on. 
And thanne he axede hem anon, 
Whi thei ne hadden write so: 
Thei tolden, so thei hadden do. 1250 

He seide, *Nay.' Thei seiden, *Yis.' 
The lettre schewed rad it is, 
Which thei forsoken everidel. 
Tho was it understonde wel 
That ther is tresoun in the thing: 
The Messager tofore the king 
Was broght and sodeinliche opposed; 
And he, which nothing hath supposed 
Bot alle wel, began to seie 
That he nagher upon the weie ia6o 

Abod, bot only in a stede; 
And cause why that he so/lede 
Was, as he wente to and fro, P. i. 20a 

At Knaresburgh be nyhtes tuo 
The kinges Moder made him duelle. 
And whan the king it herde telle, 
Withinne his herte he wiste als faste 
The treson which his Moder caste; 
And thoghte he wolde noght abide, 
Bot forth riht in the same tide 1270 

He tok his hors and rod anon. 
With him ther riden manion, 
To Knaresburgh and forth thei wente, 
And lich the fyr which tunder hente, 
In such a rage, as seith the bok. 
His Moder sodeinliche he tok 
And seide unto hir in this wise: 
*0 beste of helle, in what juise 
Hast thou deserved forto deie, 

1245 it] him YX . . . Bs, B om, HiSn 1258 And he which 

no)>ing ha)> supposed AJM, SAdA As he wh. n. ha]> supposed FWKHs 
And he no]>ing ha]> jit supposed Hi . . . Bt, B 



That hast so falsly put aweie 
With tresoun of thi bacbitinge 
The treweste at my knowlechinge 
Of wyves and the most honeste? 
Bot I wol make this beheste, 
I schal be venged er I go.' 
And let a fyr do make tho, 
And bad men forto caste hire inne: 
Bot ferst sche tolde out al the sinne, 
And dede hem alle forto wite 
How sche the lettres hadde write, 
Fro point to point as it was wroght. 
And tho sche was to dethe broght 
And brent tofore hire Sones yhe: 
Wherof these othre, whiche it sihe 
And herden how the cause stod, 
Sein that the juggement is good, 
Of that hir Sone hire hath so served ; 
For sche it hadde wel deserved 
Thurgh tresoun of hire false tunge, 
Which thurgh the lond was after sunge, 
Constance and every wiht compleigneth. 
Bot he, whom alle wo distreigneth, 
This sorghfull king, was so bestad, 
That he schal nevermor be glad, 
He seith, eftsone forto wedde, 
Til that he wiste how that sche spedde, 
Which hadde ben his ferste wif: 
And thus his yonge unlusti lif 
He dryveth forth so as he mai. 

Til it befell upon a dai. 
Whan he hise werres hadde achieved, 
And thoghte he wolde be relieved 
Of Soule hele upon the feith 
Which he hath take, thanne he seith 
That he to Rome in pelrinage 
Wol go, wher Pope was Pelage, 
To take his absolucioun. 

1285 I schal FWKH» It schal A . . . Ba, SAdBA 
\fO AM wo Ad 

1280 [Tale OF C0N8TANCK.I 


P. i. ao3 



Qualiter post lap- 
sum xii. annorum Rex 
Allee absolucionis 
causa Romam profi- 
ciscens vxorem suam 
Constanciam vna cum 
filio suo diuina proui- 
dencia ibidem letus 

1303 so] 


[Tale OF Constance.] And upon this condicioun 

He made Edwyn his lieutenant, 

Which heir to him was apparant, 1320 

That he the lond in his absence 

Schal reule: and thus be providence 

Of alle thinges wel begon P. i. 204 

He tok his leve and forth is gon. 

Elda, which tho was with him there, 

Er thei fulliche at Rome were, 

Was sent tofore to pourveie; 

And he his guide upon the weie, 

In help to ben his herbergour, 

Hath axed who was Senatour, 1330 

That he his name myhte kenne. 

Of Capadoce, he seide, Arcenne 

He hihte, and was a worthi kniht. 

To him goth Elda tho forth riht 

And tolde him of his lord tidinge, 

And preide that for his comynge 

He wolde assigne him herbergage; 

And he so dede of good corage. 

Whan al is do that was to done, 
The king himself cam after sone. 13 4c 

This Senatour, whan that he com, 
To Couste and to his wif at horn 
Hath told how such a king Allee 
Of gret array to the Citee 
Was come, and Couste upon his tale 
^ With herte clos and colour pale 
4 Aswoune fell, and he merveileth 
So sodeinly what thing hire eyleth, 
And cawhte hire up, and whan sche wok, 
Sche syketh with a pitous lok 1350 

And feigneth seknesse of the See ; 
Bot it was for the king Allee, 
For joie which fell in hire thoght P. i. 205 

That god him hath to toune broght. 

1328 his guide] is guide HiXGECLBs, B 1343 how] how ]>at AM 
1353 fell] was £, B is G om. XRCLBi (that she hadde in here 
thouht Hi) 



This king hath spoke with the Pope 

And told al that he cowthe agrope, 

What grieveth in his conscience; 

And thanne he thoghte in reverence 

Of his astat, er that he wente, 

To make a feste, and thus he sente 1360 

Unto the Senatour to come 

Upon the morwe and othre some, 

To sitte with him at the mete. 

This tale hath Couste noght foryete, 

Bot to Moris hire Sone tolde 

That he upon the morwe scholde 

In al that evere he cowthe and mihte 

Be present in the kinges sihte, 

So that the king him ofte sihe. 

Moris tofore the kinges yhe 1370 

Upon the morwe, wher he sat, 

Fulofte stod, and upon that 

The king his chiere upon him caste, 

And in his face him thoghte als faste 

He sih his oghne wif Constance ; 

For nature as in resemblance 

Of face hem liketh so to clothe, 

That thei were of a suite bothe. 

The king was moeved in his thoght 

Of that he seth, and knoweth it noght ; 1380 

This child he loveth kindely, 

And yit he wot no cause why. 

Bot wel he sih and understod P. i. 3o6 

That he toward Arcenne stod, 

And axeth him anon riht there, 

If that this child his Sone were. 

He seide, *Yee, so I him calle, 

And wolde it were so befalle, 

Bot it is al in other wise.' 

And tho began he to devise 1390 

How he the childes Moder fond 
Upon the See from every lond 

1356 agrope A, SAd, F grope J . . . B«, BA, WHs 1363 at 

] e J, S, F atte A, B 1378 a suite] o suite AM 

[Tal£ of Constamci.] 


[TalxofConstancs.] Withinne a Schip was stiereles, 

And how this ladi helpeles 
Forth with hir child he hath forthdrawe. 
The king hath understonde his sawe, 
The childes name and axeth tho, 
And what the Moder hihte also 
That he him wolde telle he preide. 

* Moris this child is hote,' he seide, 1400 

* His Moder hatte Couste, and this 
I not what maner name it is.' 

But Allee wiste wel ynowh, 

Wherof somdiel smylende he lowh ; 

For Couste in Saxoun is to sein 

Constance upon the word Romein. 

Bot who that cowthe specefie 

What tho fell in his fantasie, 

And how his wit aboute renneth 

Upon the love in which he brenneth, 1410 

It were a wonder forto hiere : 

For he was nouther ther ne hiere, 

Bot clene out of himself aweie, P. i. 207 

That he not what to thenke or seie, 

So fiain he wolde it were sche. 

Wherof his hertes privete 

B^an the werre of yee and nay, 

The which in such balance lay, 

That contenance for a throwe 

He loste, til he mihte knowe 1420 

The sothe: bot in his memoire 

The man which lith in purgatoire 

Desireth noght the hevene more. 

That he ne longeth al so sore 

To wite what him schal betide. 

And whan the hordes were aside 

And every man was rise aboute, 

The king hath weyved al the route. 

And with the Senatour al one 

He spak and preide him of a bone, 1430 

To se this Couste, wher sche duelleth 

141a nouther] nowher LSn neuer Hs (now l^ernovf here X) 


At hom with him, so as he telleth. [TaleofConstamci.] 

The Senatour was wel appaied, 
This thing no lengere is delaied, 
To se this Couste goth the king; 
And sche was warned of the thing, 
4 And with Heleine forth sche cam 

Ayein the king, and he tho nam 
Good hiede, and whan he sih his wif, 
Anon with al his hertes lif 1440 

He cawhte hire in his arm and kiste. 
Was nevere wiht that sih ne wiste 
A man that more joie made, P. i. ao8 

Wherof thei weren alle glade 
Whiche herde tellen of this chance. 

This king tho with his wif Constance, 
Which hadde a gret part of his wille, 
In Rome for a time stille 
Abod and made him wel at ese: 
Bot so yit cowthe he nevere plese 1450 

His wif, that sche him wolde sein 
Of hire astat the trowthe plein, 
Of what centre that sche was bore, 
Ne what sche was, and yit therfore 
With al his wit he hath don sieke. 
Thus as they lihe abedde and spieke, 
Sche preide him and conseileth bothe, 
That for the worschipe of hem bothe. 
So as hire thoghte it were honeste. 
He wolde an honourable feste 1460 

Make, er he wente, in the Cite, 
Wher themperour himself schal be : 
H« graunteth al that sche him preide. 
Bot as men in that time seide, 
This Emperour fro thilke day 
That ferst his dowhter wente away 
He was thanne after nevere glad; 

1434 is] was G, B 1441 armes HiXRCLBi, AdA, W 

kiste] keste F 1445 this] his AM the W 1447 agret F 

'457 prei); him AM preith (pm. him) Hi 1458 worshipe F 

1 461 the] ]>at B 



[TaLc of Constance.] 

Qualiter Constan- 
cia, que antea per to- 
tum tempus exilii sui 
penes omnes incogni- 
tam se celauit, tunc 
demum patri sue Im- 
peratori seipsam per 
omnia manifestauit : 
quod cum Rex Allee 
sciuisset,vna cum vni- 
uersa Roman cm m 
multitudine inestima- 
bili gaudio admirantes 
cunctipotentem lau- 

Bot what that eny man him bad 
Of grace for his dowhter sake, 
That grace wolde he noght forsake ; 
And thus ful gret almesse he dede, 
Wherof sche hadde many a bede. 
This Emperour out of the toun 
Withinne a ten mile enviroun, 
Where as it thoghte him for the beste. 
Hath sondry places forto reste; 
And as fortune wolde tho, 
He was duellende at on of tho. 
The king Allee forth with thassent 
Of Couste his wif hath thider sent 
Moris his Sone, as he was taght, 
To themperour and he goth straght, 
And in his fader half besoghte, 
As he which his lordschipe soghte, 
That of his hihe worthinesse 
He wolde do so gret meknesse, 
His oghne toun to come and se, 
And yive a time in the cite, 
So that his fader mihte him gete 
That he wolde ones with him ete. 
This lord hath granted his requeste; 
And whan the dai was of the feste, 
In worschipe of here Emperour 
The king and ek the Senatour 
Forth with here wyves bothe tuo, 
With many a lord and lady mo. 
On horse riden him ayein ; 
Till it befell, upon a plein 
Thei sihen wher he was comende. 
With that Constance anon preiende 
Spak to hir lord that he abyde, 
So that sche mai tofore ryde, 
To ben upon his bienvenue 


P. i.3oa 




P. i. 210 

1468 eny] euery Hi . . . L, B eurr eny Ba 147a he Hi, B 

1479 for|>wiJ>AJ, SB forJ>wi)> F 1483 fader half J, B, F faderhalf 
A. S 1484 Wi)> due reuerence as he oughte Hi . . . Bs 1495 ^or^ 
wi^ J, SB ffor})wi)) A, F 


The ferste which schal him salue; [Tale of Constance.] 

And thus after hire lordes graunt 

Upon a Mule whyt amblaunt 

Forth with a fewe rod this qweene. 

Thei wondren what sche wolde mene, 

And riden after softe pas ; 

Bot whan this ladi come was 15 10 

To themperour, in his presence 

Sche seide alowd in audience, 

* Mi lord, mi fader, wel you be ! 

And of this time that I se 

Youre honour and your goode hele, 

Which is the helpe of my querele, 

I thonke unto the goddes myht.' 

For joie his herte was affliht 

Of that sche tolde in remembrance; 

And whanne he wiste it was Constance, 1520 

Was nevere fader half so blithe. 

Wepende he keste hire ofte sithe, 

So was his herte al overcome; 

For thogh his Moder were come 

Fro deth to Ijrve out of the grave, 

He mihte nomor wonder have 

Than he hath whan that he hire sih. 

With that hire oghne lord cam nyh 

And is to themperour obeied ; 

Bot whan the fortune is bewreied, 1530 

How that Constance is come aboute, 

So hard an herte was non oute, 

That he for pite tho ne wepte. P. i. 211 

Arcennus, which hire fond and kepte, 
Was thanne glad of that is falle, 
So that with joie among hem alle 
Thei riden in at Rome gate. 
This Emperour thoghte al to late. 
Til that the Pope were come, 
And of the lordes sende some 1540 

To preie him that he wolde haste : 
And he cam forth in alle haste, 

1539 the om, F 



[Tale op Constance.] 

Qualiter Mauricius 
cum Imperatore vt 
heres Imperii reman- 
sit, et Rex Allee cum 
Constancia in Angli- 
am regressi sunt. 

Qualiter Rex Allee 
post biennium in 
Anglia humane carnis 
resolucionem subiens 
nature debitum per- 
soluit, post cuius obi- 
tum Constancia cum 
patre suo Rome se 
transtulit moraturam. 


And whan that he the tale herde, 

How wonderly this chance ferde, 

He thonketh god of his miracle, 

To whos miht mai be non obstacle : 

The king a noble feste hem made, 

And thus thei weren alle glade. 

A parlement, er that thei wente, 

Thei setten unto this entente, 1550 

To puten Rome in full espeir 

That Moris was apparant heir 

And scholde abide with hem stille, 

For such was al the londes wille. 

Whan every thing was fulli spoke. 
Of sorwe and queint was al the smoke, 
Tho tok his leve Allee the king. 
And with full many a riche thing. 
Which themperour him hadde jdve. 
He goth a glad lif forto live; 1560 

For he Constance hath in his hond, 
Which was the confort of his lond. 
For whan that he cam hom ayein, P. i. aia 

Ther is no tunge it mihte sein 
What joie was that ilke stounde 
Of that he hath his qweene founde, 
Which ferst was sent of goddes sonde, 
\Vhan sche was drive upon the Stronde, 
Be Whom the misbelieve of Sinne 
Was left, and Cristes feith cam inne 1570 

To hem that whilom were blinde. 

Bot he which hindreth every kinde 
And for no gold mai be forboght, 
The deth comende er he be soght, 
Tok with this king such aqueintance. 
That he with al his retenance 
Ne mihte noght defende his lif; 
And thus he parteth from his wif. 
Which thanne made sorwe ynowh. 
And therupon hire herte drowh 15 So 

the] >is Hi . . . Ba, B 1568 Stronde F 1574 he] 

1577 Ne] He YX : . . B«, B om. Hi 




P. i. 213 


To leven Engelond for evere 
And go wher that sche hadde levere, 
To Rome, whenne that sche cam : 
And thus of al the lond sche nam 
Hir leve, and goth to Rome ayein. 
And after that the bokes sein, 
She was noght there hot a throwe, 
Whan deth of kinde hath overthrowe 
Hir worth i fader, which men seide 
That he betwen hire armes deide. 
And afterward the yer suiende 
The god hath mad of hire an ende, 
And fro this worldes faierie 
Hath take hire into compaignie. 
Moris hir Sone was corouned, 
Which so ferforth was abandouned 
To Cristes feith, that men him calle 
Moris the cristeneste of alle. 

And thus the wel meninge of love 
Was ate laste set above; 
And so as thou hast herd tofore, 
The false tunges weren lore, 
Whiche upon love wolden lie. 
Forthi touchende of this Envie 
Which longeth unto bacbitinge, 
Be war thou make no lesinge 
In hindringe of an other wiht : 
And if thou wolt be tawht ariht 
What meschief bakbitinge doth 
Be other weie, a tale soth 
Now miht thou hiere next suiende. 
Which to this vice is acordende. 

In a Cronique, as thou schalt wite, 
A gret ensample I finde write. 
Which I schal telle upon this thing. 
Philippe of Macedoyne kyng 

1582 wher that] where (wher) Hi . . . Ba, Ba, W 1599 wel 

meninge (meuinge) AMRLBi, SAd, F welle menyng HiX whele 
meneng A whel meuynge J whele mevinge W whiel (whele) 
moeuyng YGEC, B, Hs 

[Tale of Constance.] 

De morte Impera- 

Do morte Constan- 

De coronacione 
Mauricii, qui adhuc 
in Cronicis Mauricius 
Imperator Cristianis- 
simus nuncuiMitus est 


[Demetrius and 

Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra istos 
detractores, qui in 


^M Perseus.] 

slteriua vituperium 
raendatia con fingc ri- 
tes diframacioncni fieri 

qua liter Perseus, Plii- 
lippi Regis Maredonie 
fiiius, Demctrio fratri 

inu ideas, composita 
ipsum apud pal rem 
suum mortaliler bccu- 
in solum pa 

1 Mac 
n RomaT 

hot in 
ducens, tcstibus que 
iudicibus Buro sulwr- 
natis, quamuis faUis- 
sime morle condcmp- 
nalum euicit : quo dc- 
fuaclo eciani et pater 
infra breue postea 
mortuus est. Et sic 
Perseosuccessiue rcg- 
nanlc deus buiusmodi 
detraccionis inuidiam 
abhorrcna ipsum cum 
vniuersa suonim pug- 
natorum mulliludine 
extra Danubii Duuium 
ab Em ilio tunc Roman - 
orum Consule euenlu 
bellico JnterGci fortu- 
nauit. Ita quod ab 
illo die Macedonie 
potestas penitus dc- 
slructa Romano Im- 
perio subiugala dcscr- 

quam contra alium 
conspirauerat. in lui 
ipsius diffamacionem 
pro perpetuo diuulga- 
la consiatil. 


Two Sones hadcle be his wif, 
Whos fame is yit in Grece rif; 
Demetrius the ferste brother 
Was hole, and Perseus that other. 
Demetrius men seiden tho 
The betre knyht was of the Hio, 
To whom the lond was entendant, 
As he which heir was apparant 
To regne after his fader dai : 
Hot that thing which no water mai 
Quenche in this world, hot evere breaneth. 
Into his brother lierte it renneth, 
The proude Envie of that he sih 
His brother scholde clymbe on hih, 
And he to him mot thanne obeie: 
That may he soBVe be no weie. 
With strengthe dorst he nothing fonde, 
So lok he lesinge upon honde, 
Whan he sih time and spak therto. 
For it befell that time so, 
His fader grete werres hadde 
With Rome, whiche he streite ladde 
Thurgh mihty bond of his manhode, 
As he which hath ynowh knihthode, 
And ofte hem hadde sore grieved, 
Bot er the wcrre were achieved, 
As he was upon ordinance 
.^t horn in Grece, it fell per chance, 
Demetrius, which ofle aboute 
Ridende was, stod that lime oute, 
So that this Perse in his absence. 
Which bar the tunge of pestilence, 
With false wordes whiche he feigneth 
Upon his ogline brother pleigneth 
In privcte behinde his bak. 
And to his fader thus he spak; 
'Mi diere fader, I am holde 
i6t8 Jit is in G. nf H.XGRCLBi jit in C 
1693 attendant B :63i lanuc mot e) AM ftn mot W 
ynowh} haji Inowb of LBi inow bad of A knihthode 

luiithode (knythode) A, F 1644 p chance A, B, F pcrchi 

P. i. ai5 

if E. R, H. 
1640 hatif . 

knihthode jj 



Be weie of kinde, as resoun wolde, 

That I fro yow schal nothing hide, 

Which mihte torne m eny side 

Of youre astat into grevance r 

Forthi myn hertes obeissance 

Towardes you I thenke kepe; 

For it is good ye take kepe 1660 

Upon a thing which is me told. 

Mi brother hath ous alle sold 

To hem of Rome, and you also; 

For thanne they behote him so, 

That he with hem schal regne in pes. 

Thus hath he cast for his encress: 

That youre astat schal go to noght; 

And this to proeve schal be broght 

So ferforth, that I undertake 

It schal noght wel mow be forsake.' 1670 

The king upon this tale ansuerde 
And seide, if this thing which he herde 
Be soth and mai be broght to prove, 
• *It schal noght be to his behove, 

Which so hath schapen ous the werste, 
For he himself schal be the ferste 
That schal be ded, if that I mai.' 

Thus afterward upon a dai. 
Whan that Demetrius was come. 
Anon his fader hath him nome, 1680 

And bad unto his brother Perse 
That he his tale schal reherse 
Of thilke tresoun which he tolde. P. i. ai6 

And he, which al untrowthe wolde, 
Conseileth that so hih a nede 
Be treted wher as it mai spede. 
In comun place of juggement. 
The king therto yaf his assent, 
Demetrius was put in hold, 
Wherof that Perseus was bold. 1690 

1669 Soferfor> F 1675 Which so ha> YGER, SAdAA Which 

so as AJMHiXCBj, B, F Whych so has W Which so L Which 
tho as Hs 1678 adai F 




[Demetrius and Thus stod the trowthe under the chaige, 

Perseus.] j^^^ ^^le falshede goth at large, 

Which thurgh beheste hath overcome 
The greteste of the lordes some, 
That privelich of his acord 
Thei stonde as witnesse of record: 
The jugge was mad favorable : 
Thus was the lawe deceivable 
So ferforth that the trowthe fond 
Rescousse non, and thus the lond 1700 

Forth with the king deceived were. 
The gulteles was dampned there 
And deide upon accusement: 
Bot such a fals conspirement, 
Thogh it be prive for a throwe, 
Godd wolde noght it were unknowe; 
And that was afterward wel proved 
In him which hath the deth controved. 
Of that his brother was so slain 
This Perseiis was wonder fain, 17 10 

As he that tho was apparant, 
Upon the Regne and expectant; 
Wherof he wax so proud and vein, P. i. 217 
That he his fader in desdeign 
Hath take and set of non acompte. 
As he which thoghte him to surmonte; 
That wher he was ferst debonaire. 
He was tho rebell and contraire, 
* And noght as heir bot as a king 

He tok upon him alle thing 1720 

Of malice and of tirannie 

In contempt of the Regalie, 

Livende his fader, and so wroghte, 

That whan the fader him bethoghte 

And sih to whether side it drowh. 

Anon he wiste well ynowh 

How Perse after his false tunge 

1706 it were noght AM 1707 that] >us Hi . . . L, B >is Bt 

171 1 that tho was] which )k> was SAdA ^t was heir HiYG . . . 
Bs, B which heyr was X 


Hath so thenvious belle ninge, [Demetrius and 

That he hath slain his oghne brother. Perseus.] 

Wherof as thanne he knew non other, 1730 

Bot sodeinly the jugge he nom, 

Which corrupt sat upon the dom, 

In such a wise and hath him pressed, 

That he the sothe him hath confessed 

Of al that hath be spoke and do. 

Mor sori than the king was tho 
Was nevere man upon this Molde, 
And thoghte in certein that he wolde 
Vengance take upon this wrong. 
Bot thother parti was so strong, 1740 

That for the lawe of no statut 
Ther mai no riht ben execut; 
And upon this division P. i. 218 

The lond was torned up so doun: 
Wherof his herte is so distraght, 
That he for pure sorwe hath caght 
The maladie of which nature 
Is queint in every creature. 

And whan this king was passed thus, 
This false tunged Perseus 1750 

The regiment hath underfonge. 
Bot ther mai nothing stonde longe 
Which is noght upon trowthe grounded; 
For god, which alle thing hath bounded 
And sih the falshod of his guile. 
Hath set him bot a litel while. 
That he schal regne upon depos; 
For sodeinliche as he aros 
So sodeinliche doun he fell. 

In thilke time it so befell, 1760 

This newe king of newe Pride 
With strengthe schop him forto ride, 
■ And seide he wolde Rome waste, 
Wherof he made a besi haste, 

1728 belles B 1743 diuision J, F diuisiouM A, B 1758 as he 
aros] right as he ros (aros) Hi . . . Ba, B 1763 woId(e) to Rome 

faste Hi . . . Ba, B 




[bEMETRius AND And hath assembled him an host 

Perseus.] j^^ ^j ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^le mihte most: 

What man that mihte wepne here 
Of alle he wolde non forbere ; 
So that it mihte noght be nombred, 
The folk which after was encombred 
Thurgh him, that god wolde overthrowe. 

Anon it was at Rome knowe. 
The pompe which that Perse ladde; P. i. 219 
And the Romeins that time hadde 
A Consul, which was cleped thus 
Be name, Paul Emilius, 
A noble, a worthi kniht withalle; 
And he, which chief was of hem alle, 
This werre on honde hath undertake. 
And whanne he scholde his leve take 17S0 

Of a yong dowhter which was his, 
Sche wepte, and he what cause it is 
Hire axeth, and sche him ansuerde 
That Perse is ded; and he it herde. 
And wondreth what sche meene wolde: 
And sche upon childhode him tolde 
That Perse hir litel hound is ded. 
With that he pulleth up his hed 
And made riht a glad visage. 
And seide how that was a presage 1790 

Touchende unto that other Perse, 
Of that fortune him scholde adverse. 
He seith, for such a prenostik 
Most of an hound was to him lik : 
For as it is an houndes kinde 
To berke upon a man behinde, 
Riht so behinde his brother bak 
With false wordes whiche he spak 
He hath do slain, and that is rowthe. 
*Bot he which hateth alle untrowthe, ' 1800 
The hihe god, it schal redresse; 
For so my dowhter prophetesse 

1 770 after were B was efler Hs afterward was A 1778 As he 
FWHs 1780 whanne ont, AM 1788 is hed F 


Forth with hir litel houndes deth P. i. 220 [Demetrius and 

Betokneth.' And thus forth he geth Perseus.] 

Conforted of this evidence, 
With the Romeins in his defence 
Ayein the Greks that ben comende. 

This Perseiis, as noght seende 
This meschief which that him abod, 
With al his multitude rod, 1810 

And (Hided him upon the thing. 
Of that he was become a king. 
And how he hadde his r^ne gete; 
Bot he hath al the riht foryete 
Which longeth unto governance. 
Wherof thurgh goddes ordinance 
It fell, upon the wynter tide 
That with his host he scholde ride 
Over Danubie thilke flod, 
Which al befrose thanne stod i8ao 

So harde, that he wende wel 
To passe: bot the blinde whiel, 
Which torneth ofte er men be war, 
Thilke ys which that the horsmen bar 
Tobrak, so that a gret partie 
Was dreint ; of the chi valeric 
The rerewarde it tok aweie, 
Cam non of hem to londe dreie. 

Paulus the worthi kniht Romein 
Be his aspie it herde sein, 1830 

And hasteth him al that he may, 
So that upon that other day 
He cam wher he this host beheld, P. i. 221 
And that was in a large feld, 
Wher the Baneres ben desplaied. 
He hath anon hise men arraied, 
And whan that he was embatailled, 
He goth and hath the feld assailed, ^ 
And slowh and tok al that he fond; 
Wherof the Macedoyne lond, 1840 

1803 ffor))wiJ)A,SB fforwi]) F 1804 go)) B 1808 sendeAJ 

1809 This) The A . . . B2, S . . . A 1811 the] ))is X . . . B2, IJ, W 

1829 the] J>isHi, B 

N 2 



[Demktrius and 





Which thurgh king Alisandre honoured 

Long time stod, was tho devoured. 

To Perse and al that infortune 

Thei wyte, so that the comune 

Of al the lond his heir exile ; 

And he despeired for the while 

Desguised in a povere wede 

To Rome goth, and ther for nede 

The craft which thilke time was, 

To worche in latoun and in bras, 1850 

He lerneth for his sustienance. 

Such was the Sones pourveance. 

And of his fader it is seid, 

In strong pn'soun that he was leid 

In Albe, wher that he was ded 

For hunger and defalte of bred. 

The hound was tokne and prophecie 

That lich an hound he scholde die^ 

Which lich was of condicioun, 

Whan he with his detraccioun i860 

Bark on his brother so behinde. 

Lo, what profit a man mai finde, 
Which hindre wole an other wiht P. i. 222 

Forthi with al thin hole miht, 
Mi Sone, eschuie thilke vice. 

Mi fader, elles were I nyce: 
For ye therof so wel have spoke, 
That it is in myn herte loke 
And evere schal : bot of Envie, 
If ther be more in his baillie 1870 

Towardes love, sai me what. 

Mi Sone, as guile under the hat 
With sleyhtes of a tregetour 
Is hidd, Envie of such colour 
Hath yit the ferthe deceivant. 
The which is cleped Falssemblant, 
WTierof the matiere and the forme 
Now herkne and I thee schal enforme. 

1856 hunger G, SB hungre AJE, F 1867 J)crfor(e) HiXE 

. . B«, B 1869 ofj if (jif; X . . . B« om. W 



iv. Nil biiinguis agei, nisi dupio concinat ore^ 

Dumque diem loquitur^ nox sua vota tegit, 
Vultus habet lucem^ tenebras mens, sermo saiutem, 

Actus set morhum dot suus esse grauem. 
Pax tibi quam spondet, magis est prenostica guerre; 

Comoda si dederit, disce subesse doium. 
Quod fiatet esse fides in eo fraus est, que politi 

Principium padi finis habere negat. 
O quam condicio talis de/ormat amantem, 

Qui magis apparens est in amore nichiL lo 

Of Falssemblant if I schal telle, 
Above alle othre it is the welle 1880 

Out of the which deceipte floweth. 
Ther is noman so wys that knoweth 
Of thilke flod which is the tyde, 
Ne how he scholde himselven guide 
To take sauf passage there. P. 

And yit the wynd to mannes Ere 
Is sofle, and as it semeth oute 
It makth clier weder al aboute; 
Bot thogh it seme, it is noght so. 
For Falssemblant hath everemo 
Of his conseil in compaignie 
The derke untrewe Ypocrisie, 
Whos word descordeth to his thoght : 
Forthi thei ben togedre broght 
Of o covine, of on houshold, 
As it schal after this be told. 
Of Falssemblant it nedeth noght 
To telle of olde ensamples oght ; 
For al dai in experience 

A man mai se thilke evidence 1900 

Of faire wordes whiche he hiereth; 
Bot yit the barge Envie stiereth 
And halt it evere fro the londe, 
Wher Falssemblant with Ore on honde 
It roweth, and wol noght arive, 
Bot let it on the wawes dryve 


Hie tractat Confes- 
i. 223 sor super quarta spe- 
cie Inuidie, que dis- 
similacio dicitur, cuius 
vultus quanto maioris 
amicicie apparendam 
ostendit, tanto subtil- 
ioris doli fallacias ad 
decipiendum mens 
'°9® ymaginatur. 

1895 a couine HiXRCLBs 
190a Envie] of Enuie LB», Hs 

1896 be told J, B betold A, S, F 




c in amoris causa 
essor super isto 
Amanti opponit. 

ifessio Amantis. 


In gret tempeste and gret debat, 

Wherof that love and his astat 

Empeireth. And therfore I rede, 

Mi Sone, that thou fie and drede 1910 

This vice, and what that othre sein, 

Let thi Semblant be trewe and plein. 

For Falssemblant is thilke vice. 

Which nevere was withoute office: 

Wher that Envie thenkth to guile, P. i 324 

He schal be for that ilke while 

Of prive conseil Messagier. 

For whan his semblant is most clier, 

Thanne is he most derk in his thoght, 

Thogh men him se, thei knowe him noght ; 1920 

Bot as it scheweth in the glas 

Thing which therinne nevere was. 

So scheweth it in his visage 

That nevere was in his corage: 

Thus doth he al his thing with sleyhte. 
Now ley thi conscience in weyhte. 

Mi goode Sone, and schrif the hier. 

If thou were evere Custummer 

To Falssemblant in eny wise. 

For ought I can me yit avise, 1930 

Mi goode fader, certes no. 

If I for love have oght do so, 

Now asketh, I wol praie yow: 

For elles I wot nevere how 

Of Falssemblant that I have gilt. 
Mi Sone, and sithen that thou wilt 

That I schal axe, gabbe noght, 

Bot tell if evere was thi thoght 

With Falssemblant and coverture 

To wite of eny creature 1940 

How that he was with love lad; 

So were he sori, were he glad. 

Whan that thou wistest how it were, 

Al that he rounede in thin Ere 

1907 and] and in AM in Hi 1916 be for] before RCLBa, Hs 

1935 with] by (be) XG, B 1944 rowneth B rownet L 


Thou toldest forth in other place, P. i. 225 [False-Semblant, 

To setten him fro loves grace 

Of what womman that thee best liste, 

Ther as noman his conseil wiste 

Bot thou, be whom he was deceived 

Of love, and from his pourpos weyved ; 1950 

And thoghtest that his destourbance 

Thin oghne cause scholde avance, 

As who saith, 'I am so celee, 

Ther mai no mannes privete 

Be heled half so wel as myn.' 

Art thou, mi Sone^ of such engin ? 

Tell on. 

Mi goode fader, nay Amans. 

As for the more part I say; 
Bot of somdiel I am beknowe, 
That I mai stonde in tliilke rowe i960 

Amonges hem that Saundres use. 
I wol me noght therof excuse, 
That I with such colour ne steyne, 
Whan I my beste Semblant feigne 
To my felawh, til that I wot 
Al his conseil bothe cold and hot: 
For be that cause I make him chiere, 
Til I his love knowe and hiere; 
And if so be myn herte soucheth 
That oght unto my ladi toucheth 1970 

Of love that he wol me telle. 
Anon I renne unto the welle 
And caste water in the fyr. 
So that his carte amidd the Myr, 
Be that I have his conseil knowe, P. i. 226 
Fulofte sithe I overthrowe. 
Whan that he weneth best to stonde. 
Bot this I do you understonde. 
If that a man love elles where, 
So that my ladi be noght there, 1980 

And he me telle, I wole it hide, 
Ther schal no word ascape aside, 
i960 in] on B 197 1 to me telle B 


Palse-Skmblant.] For with deceipte of no semblant 

To him breke I no covenant; 
Me liketh noght in other place 
To lette noman of his grace, 
Ne forto ben inquisitif 
To knowe an other mannes lif: 
Wher that he love or love noght, 
That toucheth nothing to my thoght, 1990 

Bot al it passeth thurgh myn Ere 
Riht as a thing that nevere weve. 
And is foryete and leid beside. 
Bot if it touche on eny side 
Mi ladi, as I have er spoken, 
Myn Eres ben noght thanne loken ; 
For certes, whanne that betitt, 
My will, myn herte and al my witt 
Ben fully set to herkne and spire 
What eny man wol speke of hire. 2000 

Thus have I feigned compaignie 
Fulofte, for I wolde aspie 
What thing it is that eny man 
Telle of mi worthi lady can : 
And for tuo causes I do this,. P. i. 227 

The ferste cause wherof is, — 
If that I myhte ofherkne and seke 
That eny man of hire mispeke, 
I wolde excuse hire so fully. 
That whan sche wist it inderly^ 2010 

Min hope scholde be the more 
To have hir thank for everemore. 
That other cause, I you assure. 
Is, why that I be coverture 
Have feigned semblant ofte time 
To hem that passen alday byme 
And ben lovers als wel as I, 
For this I weene trewely, 
That ther is of hem alle non, 
That thei ne loven everich on 2020 

1990 to] of AM aoo3 eny] euery Hi . . . Bi aoio wist 

SB, F wistc AJ 


Mi ladi: for sothliche I lieve [False-Sesiblant.] 

And durste setten it in prieve, 

Is non so wys that scholde asterte, 

£ot he were lustles in his herte, 

Forwhy and he my ladi sihe, 

Hir visage and hir goodlych yhe, 

Bot he hire lovede, er he wente. 

And for that such is mjrn entente, 

That is the cause of myn aspie, 

Why that I feigne compaignie 2030 

And make felawe overal; 

For gladly wolde I knowen al 

And holde me covert alway. 

That I fulofte ye or nay 

Ne liste ansuere in eny wise, P. i. 228 

Bot feigne semblant as the wise 

And herkne tales, til I knowe 

Mi ladi lovers al arowe. 

And whanne I hiere how thei have wroght, 

I fare as thogh I herde it noght 2040 

And as I no word understode; 

Bot that is nothing for here goode: 

For lieveth wel, the sothe is this, 

That whanne I knowe al how it is, 

I wol bot forthren hem a lite, 

Bot al the worste I can endite 

I telle it to my ladi plat 

In forthringe of myn oghne astat. 

And hindre hem al that evere I may. 

Bot for al that yit dar I say, 3050 

I finde unto miself no bote, 

Althogh myn herte nedes mote 

Thurgh strengthe of love al that I hiere 

Discovere unto my ladi diere : 

For in good feith I have no miht 

To hele fro that swete wiht, 

If that it touche hire eny thing. 

Bot this wot wel the hevene king, 

That sithen ferst this world began, 

2040 it ont. B 2043 the sothe] and so)) B 2045 ^^ite A, B, F, &c. 





Unto non other strange man 
Ne feigned I semblant ne chiere, 
To wite or axe of his matiere, 
Thogh that he lovede ten or tuelve, 
Whanne it was noght my ladi selve : 
Bot if he wolde axe eny red 
Al onlich of his oghne hed, 
How he with other love ferde, 
His tales with myn Ere I herde, 
Bot to myn herte cam it noght 
Ne sank no deppere in my thoght, 
Bot hield conseil, as I was bede. 
And tolde it nevere in other stede, 
Bot let it passen as it com. 
Now, fader, say what is thi dom, 
And hou thou wolt that I be peined 
For such Semblant as I have feigned. 

Mi Sone, if reson be wel peised, 
Ther mai no vertu ben unpreised 
Ne vice non be set in pris. 
Forthi, my Sone, if thou be wys, 
Do no viser upon thi face, 
Which as wol noght thin herte embrace : 
For if thou do, withinne a throwe 
To othre men it schal be knowe, 
So miht thou lihtli falle in blame 
And lese a gret part of thi name. 
And natheles in this degree 
Fulofte time thou myht se 
Of suche men that now aday 
This vice setten in a say : 
I speke it for no mannes blame, 
Bot forto warne thee the same. 
Mi Sone, as I mai hiere talke 
In every place where I walke, 
I not if it be so or non, 
Bot it is manye daies gon 
That I ferst herde telle this, 


P. i. 229 




P. i. 230 

3072 toldc AJ, S told B, F 
asay AJ assay(e) Hi . . . Bs, B, W 

3090 a say M, SAd, FHs 


How Falssemblant hath ben and is [False-Semblant.] 

Most comunly fro yer to yere 

With hem that duelle among ous here, 2100 

Of suche as we Lombardes calle. 

For thei ben the slyeste of alle, 

So as men sein in toune aboute, 

To feigne and schewe thing withoute 

Which is revers to that withinne: 

Wherof that thei fulofte winne, 

Whan thei be reson scholden lese; 

Thei ben the laste and yit thei chese, 

And we the ferste, and yit behinde 

We gon, there as we scholden finde 3 no 

The profit of oure oghne lond : 

Thus gon thei fre withoute bond 

To don her profit al at large, 

And othre men here al the charge. 

Of Lombardz unto this covine, 

Whiche alle londes conne engine^ 

Mai Falssemblant in special 

Be likned, for thei overal, 

Wher as they thenken forto duelle, 

Among hemself, so as thei telle, 2120 

Ferst ben enformed forto lere 

A craft which cleped is Fa crere : 

For if Fa crere come aboute, 

Thanne afterward hem stant no doute 

To voide with a soubtil bond P. i. 231 

The beste goodes of the lond 

And bringe chaf and take com. 

Where as Fa crere goth toforn, 

In all his weie he fynt no lette; 

That Dore can non huissher schette 2130 

In which him list to take entre: 

And thus the conseil most secre 

Of every thing Fa crere knoweth, 

Which into strange place he bloweth, 

Where as he wot it mai most grieve. 

am The profit] To profit XE . . . Bi ai2a fia crere AJ, S, F 

al. ffacrerc 2128 biforn (be forn) Bs, B 

r Hie ponit Confessor 

tos, qui sub dissimiJ- 
ale bencuolcncie spe- 
rulo alios in amorc 
defraudant. Et nar- 
ral qualiter Hercules, 
cum ipse quoddam 
fluuium, cuius vadanon 

Iransmearep roposuit , 

Gigns ob aruiciciam 
Heiculia.vt dixit, Dei- 
aniram in vloas suas 
suscipitnslrane ripam 
aalvo perduxit. El 

pcrucnissel, quamci- 

sam tanquam propri- 

Hcrculii asportare Tu- 
giens conabalur ; per 
quod non solum ipsi 
' eciamHetculimor- 
I Tortuna 


And thus Fa crere maklh believe. 
So that fulofte he hath deceived, 
Er that he mai ben aperceived. 
Thus is this vice forto drede ; 
For who these olde bokes rede 
Of suche ensamples as were ar, 
Him oghle be the more war 
or alle tho that feigiie chiere, 
■\Vherof thou schalt a Ule hiere. 

Of Falssemblant which is believed 
Ful many a worthi wiht is grieved. 
And was long time er we wer bore. 
To thee, my Sone, I wol therfore 
A tale telle of Falssemblant, 
\Vhich falseih many a covenant, 
And many a frauds of fals conseil 
Ther ben hangcnde upon his Seil : 
And that aboghten gulteles 
Bothe Deianire and Hercules, 
The whiche in gret desese felle P. 

Thurgh Falssemblant, as I schal telle. 
Whan Hercules withinne a Ihrowe 
Al only hath his herte throwe 
Upon this faire Deianire, 
It fell him on a dai desire, 
Upon a Rivere as he stod, 
That passe he woldc over the Hod 
Withoute bot, and with him lede 
His love, bot he was in drede 
For tendresce of that swete wiht, 
For he knew noght the forde ariht. 
Ther was a Geant thanne nyh, 
Which Nessus hihle, and whanne he sih 
This Hercules and Deianyre, 
Withinne his herte he gan conspire, 
As he which thurgh his tricherie 
Hath Hercules in gret enwe, 

3139 }e vice Hi . . , Bi hia v. Hi aiso margitt specula flj 

AM Ji.m.) aI^a conspire] spire XGRCLBt to spire (spere) Hi, j 


Which he bar in his herte loke, [Dei amir a and 

And thanne he thoghte it schal be wroke. kssus.] 

Bot he ne dorste natheles 

Ayein this worthi Hercules 

Falle in debat as forto feihte; 

Bot feigneth Semblant al be sleihte 

Of frendschipe and of alle goode, 

And comth where as thei bothe stode, a 180 

And makth hem al the chiere he can, 

And seith that as here oghne man 

He is al redy forto do 

What thing he mai; and it fell so 

That thei upon his Semblant triste, P. i. 233 

And axen him if that he wiste 

What thing hem were best to done, 

So that thei mihten sauf and sone 

The water passe, he and sche. 

And whan Nessus the privete 2190 

Knew of here herte what it mente, 

As he that was of double entente. 

He made hem riht a glad visage; 

And whanne he herde of the passage 

Of him and hire, he thoghte guile. 

And feigneth Semblant for a while 

To don hem plesance and servise, 

Bot he thoghte al an other wise. 

This Nessus with hise wordes slyhe 

Yaf such conseil tofore here yhe 2200 

Which semeth outward profitable 

And was withinne deceivable. 

He bad hem of the Stremes depe 

That thei be war and take kepe, 

So as thei knowe noght the pas; 

Bot forto helpe in such a cas. 

He seith himself that for here ese 

He wolde, if that it mihte hem plese, 

The passage of the water take, 

And for this ladi undertake 2210 

2178 al] as Hi . . Bs 2191 hire A 2198 line om. B 

on o)>er JCLBj, W 2207 seigh (seih) EG sih(e) LBa 


[Deianira and To here unto that other stronde 

Nessus.] ^^^ g^yf ^Q gg^^g Yiire up alonde, 

And Hercules may thanne also 

The weie knowe how he schal go: 

And herto thei acorden alle. P. L 234 

Bot what as after schal befalle, 

Wei payd was Hercules of this, 

And this Geant also glad is, 

And tok this ladi up alofte 

And set hire on his schuldre softe, 2220 

And in the flod began to wade, 

As he which no grucchinge made, 

And bar hire over sauf and sound. 

Bot whanne he stod on dreie ground 

And Hercules was fer behinde, 

He sette his trowthe al out of mynde, 

Who so therof be lief or loth, 

With Deianyre and forth he goth. 

As he that thoghte to dissevere 

The compaignie of hem for evere. 2230 

Whan Hercules therof tok hiede, 

Als faste as evere he mihte him spiede 

He hyeth after in a throwe; 

And hapneth that he hadde a bowe, 

The which in alle haste he bende. 

As he that wolde an Arwe sende, 

Which he tofore hadde envenimed. 

He hath so wel his schote timed, 

That he him thurgh the bodi smette, 

And thus the false wiht he lette. 2240 

Bot lest now such a felonie: 
Whan Nessus wiste he scholde die, 
He tok to Deianyre his scherte. 
Which with the blod was of his herte 
Thurghout desteigned overal, P. i. 335 

And tolde how sche it kepe schal 
Al prively to this entente, 

aai4 Thei F aai8 glad also Hi . . . Bs aaao set A, S, F 

sette JC, B aaai began] he gan GCL aaaS and] ^o HiXE 

. . . Ba om. YG, Hs 3347 Al] And Hi, FWHs 


That if hire lord his herte wente [Deianira and 

To love in eny other place, Nessus.] 

The scherte, he seith, hath such a grace, 2250 
That if sche mai so mochel make 
That he the scherte upon him take, 
He schal alle othre lete in vein 
And tome unto hire love ayein. 
Who was tho glad hot Deianyre? 
Hire thoghte hire herte was afyre 
Til it was in hire cofre loke, 
So that no word therof was spoke. 
The daies gon, the yeres passe, 
The hertes waxen lasse and lasse 2260 

Of hem that ben to love untrewe : 
This Hercules with herte newe 
His love hath set on Eolen, 
And therof spieken alle men. 
This Eolen, this faire maide. 
Was, as men thilke time saide. 
The kinges dowhter of Eurice; 
And sche made Hercules so nyce 
Upon hir Love and so assote, 
That he him clotheth in hire cote, 2270 

And* sche in his was clothed ofte; 
And thus fieblesce is set alofte. 
And strengthe was put under fote, 
Ther can noman therof do bote. 
Whan Deianyre hath herd this speche, P. i. 236 
Ther was no sorwe forto seche: 
Of other helpe wot sche non, 
Bot goth unto hire cofre anon; 
With wepende yhe and woful herte 
Sche tok out thilke unhappi scherte, 2280 

As sche that wende wel to do, 
And broghte hire werk aboute so 
That Hercules this scherte on dede. 
To such entente as she was bede 

2248 lord his] lordes Hi . . . B2, Ad 2251 mykel (mekyl &c.> 

HiG . . . Ba, W 2270 he ont. B sche Hi 2271 clad fulofte B 

2272 fieblest MX ... C ]>e iieblest LBs the feblestc Hi feblenes A 



[Deianira and 





Of Nessus, so as I seide er. 

Bot therof was sche noght the ner, 

As no fortune may be weyved; 

With Falssemblant sche was deceived. 

That whan sche wende best have woime, 

Sche lost al that sche hath begonne. 2290 

For thilke scherte unto the bon 

His body sette afyre anon, 

And cleveth so, it mai noght twinne, 

For the venym that was therinne. 

Ajid he thanne as a wilde man 

Unto the hihe wode he ran, 

And as the Clerk Ovide telleth. 

The grete tres to grounde he felleth 

With strengthe al of his oghne myght. 

And made an huge fyr upriht, 2300 

Ajid lepte himself therinne at ones 

And brende him bothe fleissh and bones. 

Which thing cam al thurgh Falssemblant, 

That false Nessus the Geant 

Made unto him and to his wif ; P. i. 237 

Wherof that he hath lost his lif, 

And sche sori for everemo. 

Forthi, my Sone, er thee be wo, 
I rede, be wel war therfore; 
For whan so gret a man was lore, 2310 

It oghte yive a gret conceipte 
To warne alle othre of such deceipte. 

Grant mercy, fader, I am war 
So fer that I nomore dar 
Of Falssemblant take aqueintance; 
Bot rathere I wol do penance 
That I have feigned chiere er this. 
Now axeth forth, what so ther is 
Of that belongeth to my schrifte. 

Mi Sone, yit ther is the fifte 2320 

Which is conceived of Envie, 
And cleped is Supplantarie, 
Thurgh whos compassement and guile 
2299 of al FHt of R, Magd 9316 wolde X . . . Bs 



Ful many a man hath lost his while 
In love als wel as otherwise, 
Hierafter as I schal devise. 

V. Inuidus cUterius est Suppianiaior honoris^ 

Ei tua quo vertcU culmina subtus arat. 
Est opus occultum^ quasi que IcUet anguis in herba, 

Quod facitj et subita sorte nociuus adest 
Sic subtilis amans alium sufpiantai anumtem^ 

Et capit occulte^ quod nequit ipse pcUamj 
Sepeque supplantans in plantam plantat amoris^ 

Quod putat in profriis alter habere bonis. 

The vice of Supplantacioun 
With many a fals collacioun, 
Which he conspireth al unknowe, P. i. 

Full ofte time hath overthrowe 
The worschipe of an other man. 
So wel no lif awayte can 
Ayein his sleyhte forto caste, 
That he his pourpos ate laste 
Ne hath, er that it be withset. 
Bot most of alle his herte is set 
In court upon these grete Offices 
Of dignitees and benefices : 
Thus goth he with his sleyhte aboute 
To hindre and schowve an other oute 
And stonden with his slyh compas 
In stede there an other was; 
And so to sette himselven inne. 
He reccheth noght, be so he winne. 
Of that an other man schal lese, 
And thus fulofte chalk for chese 
He changeth with ful litel cost, 
Wherof an other hath the lost 
And he the profit schal receive. 
For his fortune is to deceive 
And forto change upon the whel . 
His wo with othre mennes wel: 


Hie tractat Confes- 
A sor de quinta specie 
3** Inuidie, que Supplan- 
3330 tacio dicitur, cuius 
cultor, priusquam per- 
cipiatur, aliene digni- 
tatis et officii miSto- 
ciens intrusor existit 


3 Unguis 

Latin Verses v. i Supplantacio AM supplantare Hs 
AM ignis Hi 8 Quam B 

aaaS manye A, S, F 2337 >is AMG . . L, W the Hi, A 






Hie in amoris causa 
>ponit Confessor 
manti super eodem. 

3onfessio Amantis. 

Of that an other man avaleth, 
His oghne astat thus up he haleth, 
And takth the bridd to his beyete, 
Wher othre men the buisshes bete. 

Mi Sone, and in the same wise 
Ther ben lovers of such emprise, 
That schapen hem to be relieved 
Where it is wrong to ben achieved: 
For it is other mannes riht, 
Which he hath taken dai and niht 
To kepe for his oghne Stor 
Toward himself for everemor, 
And is his propre be the lawe, 
Which thing that axeth no felawe, 
If love holde his covenant 
Bot thei that worchen be supplaunt, 
Yit wolden thei a man supplaunte, 
And take a part of thilke plaunte 
^Vhich he hath for hiraselve set: 
And so fulofte is al unknet, 
That som man weneth be riht fast 
For Supplant with his slyhe cast 
Fulofte happneth forto mowe 
Thing which an other man hath sowe, 
And makth comun of proprete 
With sleihte and with soubtilite, 
As men mai se fro yer to yere. 
Thus cleymeth he the bot to stiere, 
Of which an other maister is. 

Forthi, my Sone, if thou er this 
Hast ben of such professioun, 
Discovere thi confessioun : 
Hast thou supplanted eny man? 

For oght that I you telle can, 
Min holi fader, as of the dede 
I am withouten eny drede 

Pi 239 



3354 vp lie hale> A, FWHsMagd he vp hale)) (vphale))) A . . . B«, 
SAdB 3369 thei] such(e) A . . . Ba, SAdBA titu om, WMagd 

2373 ™cn Hi . . . Bs 3382 margin Hie in amoris . . . eodem] 

Confessor B 9387 as of dede SAdBA 


Al gulteles ; bot of my thoght P. i. 240 [Supplantatiow.] 

Mi conscience excuse I noght. 2390 

For were it wrong or were it riht, 

Me lakketh nothing bote myht, 

That I ne wolde longe er this 

Of other mannes love ywiss 

Be weie of Supplantacioun 

Have mad apropriacioun 

And holde that I nevere boghte, 

Thogh it an other man forthoghte. 

And al this speke I bot of on, 

For whom I lete alle othre gon; 2400 

Bot hire I mai noght overpasse, 

That I ne mot alwey compasse, 

Me roghte noght be what queintise, 

So that I mihte in eny wise 

Fro suche that mi ladi serve 

Hire herte make forto swerve 

Withouten eny part of love. 

For be the goddes alle above 

I wolde it mihte so befalle, 

That I al one scholde hem alle 2410 

Supplante, and welde hire at mi wille. 

And that thing mai I noght fulfille, 

Bot if I scholde strengthe make ; 

And that I dar noght undertake, 

Thogh I were as was Alisaundre, 

For therof mihte arise sklaundre; 

And certes that schal I do nevere, 

For in good feith yit hadde I levere 

In my simplesce forto die, P. i. 241 

Than worche such Supplantarie. 2420 

Of otherwise I wol noght seie 

That if I founde a seker weie, 

I wolde as for conclusioun 

Worche after Supplantacioun, 

So hihe a love forto winne. 

2393 lakked(e) (lacked) X . . . L lakkct W bote J, S, F 

the rfst bot or but 2408 the") )k) B 2414 1 dar A, l^WH < 

dar I J ... B«, SAdBA 2425 hihe AC, S, F hih GE, B 

O 2 




Qua! iter Agamenon 
amorc Brexeide 

:hil]em,et Diomedes 
amore Criseide 

oilum supplantauit. 

5eta and Amphi- 


Qualiter Amphitri- 

socium suum Ge- 

n, qui Almeenam 


Now, fader, if that this be Sinne, 

I am al redy to redresce 

The gilt of which I me confesse. 

Mi goode Sone, as of Supplant 
Thee thar noght drede tant ne quant. 
As for nothing that I have herd, 
Bot only that thou hast misferd 
Thenkende, and that me liketh noght. 
For godd beholt a mannes thoght. 
And if thou understode in soth 
In loves cause what it doth, 
A man to ben a Supplantour, 
Thou woldest for thin oghne honour 
Be double weie take kepe : 
Ferst for thin oghne astat to kepe. 
To be thiself so wel bethoght 
That thou supplanted were noght, 
And ek for worschipe of thi name 
Towardes othre do the same, 
And soffren every man have his. 
Bot natheles it was and is, 
That in a wayt at alle assaies 
Supplant of love in oure daies 
The lief fulofte for the levere 
Forsakth, and so it hath don evere. 

Ensample I finde therupon. 
At Troie how that Agamenon 
Supplantede the worth i knyht 
Achilles of that swete wiht. 
Which named was Brexeida; 
And also of Criseida, 
Whom Troilus to love ches, 
Supplanted hath Diomedes. 

Of Geta and Amphitrion, 
That whilom weren bothe as on 
Of frendschipe and of compaignie, 
I rede how that Supplantarie 



P. i. 342 



2427 al om. B 3434 g;odd om, AM 2447 a wa3rt 

(a. wait) J, S, F awayt (await) AC, B 2461 mar^'n socnim 

Hi . . . Bt 


In love, as it betidde tho, [Geta ahd Amphi- 

Beguiled hath on of hem tuo. trion.] 

For this Geta that I of meene, iwj^teriuB cwtdoM 

To whom the lusti faire Almeene suppUntacione sub- 

Assured was be weie of love, 

Whan he best wende have ben above 

And sikerest of that he hadde, 

Cupido so the cause ladde, 2470 

That whil he was out of the weie, 

Amphitrion hire love aweie 

Hath take, and in this forme he wroghte. 

Be nyhte unto the chambre he soghte, 

Wher that sche lay, and with a wyle 

He contrefeteth for the whyle 

The vois of Gete in such a wise, 

That made hire of hire bedd arise, 

Wenende that it were he, P. L 243 

And let him in, and whan thei be 2480 

Togedre abedde in armes faste. 

This Geta cam thanne ate laste 

Unto the Dore and seide, 'Undo.' 

And sche ansuerde and bad him go, 

And seide how that abedde al warm 

Hir lief lay naked in hir arm ; 

Sche wende that it were soth. 

Lo, what Supplant of love doth : 

This Geta forth bejaped wente, 

And yit ne wiste he what it mente; 2490 

Amphitrion him hath supplanted 

With sleyhte of love and hire enchaunted : 

And thus put every man out other, 

The Schip of love hath lost his Rother, 

So that he can no reson stiere. 

And forto speke of this matiere 

Touchende love and his Supplant, 

A tale which is acordant 

Unto thin Ere I thenke enforme. 

3473 in this forme he] in thys forme W J)is infortune YGEC 
in >is fortune HjXRLBs 0477 a wise J, SB awise A, F 

9497 )>isAM 


Hie i n amoris causa 
contra fraudemdctrBc- 

cionU pnnil Confessor 

de quudHm Roman i 
Imparatoris filio. qui 
probitatn annorum 

in partem Peraie sd 

deseruiendam So I da- 
no super guciras cum 
solo milite tanquam 
•Micio suo ignotus se 
translulil. Etcumip- 
iiusmilicie funa super 
alios ibidem celsior 
■ccFcui3set,conligil ut 
in quodam bello contra 
CaliphuiD £gipli inito 
Sol daiiusasagitlamor- 
uiquam morerclur. 
qucndnm anulum Rlie 

noluli Romano Iradi- 
die, diccns qualiter 
filia IDS sob paterae 

benedicdnnis vinculo 
adiurata est. quod qui- 
CUmqiK dictum anu- 
coniugem pre omnibus 
aUKipcret. Defuncto 
autem So Idano, versus 
Ciuitatem que Kaire 

mini sui anulum furto 
surripiens, hec que 
kudiuit Usui proprio 
fnlsissima Supplanta- 
ctone applicauit. Kt 

deaponsata sibi Sol- 
dani lilia 



t herkne, for this is the forme. 

Of ihilke Cite chief of alle 
Which men the noble Rome calle, 
Er it was set to Cristes feilh, 
Ther was, as the Cronique seith, 
An Emperour, the which it ladde 
In pes, that he no wenes hadde: 
Ther was nothing desobeissani 
Which was to Rome appourtenani, 
Bot al was lorned inio reste. P. 

To some it thoghte for the beste, 
To some it thoghle nothing so, 
And that was only unto tho 
Whos herte stod upon knyhthode : 
Bot most of alle of his manhode 
The KOrthi Sone of themperour. 
Which wolde ben a werreiour, 
As he that was chivaleraus 
Of worldes fame and desirous, 
Began his fadre to beseche 
That he the werres mihle seche, 
In strange Marches forto ride. 
His fader seide he scholde abide, 
And wolde granten him no leve : 
Bot he, which wolde noght beleve, 
A kniht of his to whom he iriste, 
So that his fader nothing wiste, 
He tok and tolde him his corage, 
That he pourposeth a viage. 
If that fortune with him stonde. 
He seide how that he wolde fotide 
The grete See lo passe unknowe, 
And there abyde for a throwe 
Upon the werres to travaile. 
And to this point withoute faile 
This kniht, whan he hath herd his lord, 
Is swore, and slant of his acord, 

aught h' 


3519 for lo seche X . . . Bt asott ■ 

523 hem B 9530 how that] how Hi 


As thei that bothe yonge were ; [Talk of the false 

So that in prive conseil there Bachelor.] 

Thei ben assented forto wende. P. i. 245 

And therupon to make an ende, 2540 

Tresor ynowh with hem thei token, 

And whan the time is best thei loken, 

That sodeinliche in a Galeie 

Fro Romelond thei wente here weie 

And londe upon that other side. 

The world fell so that ilke tide, 

Which evere hise happes hath diverse, 

The grete Soldan thanne of Perse 

Ayein the Caliphe of Egipte 

A werre, which that him beclipte, 2550 

Hath in a Marche costeiant 

And he, which was a poursuiant 

Worschipe of armes to atteigne, 

This Romein, let anon ordeigne, 

That he was redi everydel: 

And whan he was arraied wel 

Of every thing which him belongeth, 

Straght unto Kaire his weie he fongeth, 

Wher he the Soldan thanne fond, 

And axeth that withinne his lond 2560 

He mihte him for the werre serve, 

As he which wolde his thonk deserve. 

The Soldan was riht glad with al, 
And wel the more in special 
Whan that he wiste he was Romein ; 
Bot what was elles in certein. 
That mihte he wite be no weie. 
And thus the kniht of whom I seie 
Toward the Soldan is beleft, P. i. 246 

And in the Marches now and eft, 2570 

Wher that the dedli werres were. 
He wroghte such knihthode there. 
That every man spak of him good. 
And thilke time so it stod, 

2537 As Hi, W And AJMYX . . . Ba, SAdBAA, FHsMagd 
2559 he om, AM 2562 ]>ong F 2573 That] And B 


[Talk of the false This mihti Soldan be his wif 

Bachelor.] ^ Dowhter hath, that in this lif 

Men seiden ther was non so fair. 

Sche scholde ben hir fader hair, 

And was of yeres ripe ynowh-: 

Hire beaute many an herte drowh 3580 

To bowe unto that ilke lawe 

Fro which no lif mai be withdrawe,. 

And that is love, whos nature 

Set lif and deth in aventure 

Of hem that knyhthode undertake. 

This lusti peine hadi overtake 
The herte of this Romein so sore,. 
That to knihthode more and more 
Prouesce avanceth his con^e; 
Lich to the Leoun in his rage, 2590 

Fro whom that alle bestes' fle. 
Such was the knyht in his degre : 
Wher he was armed in the feld, 
Ther dorste non abide his scheld; 
Gret pris upon the werre he hadde. 
Bot sche which al the chance ladde,. 
Fortune, schop the Marches so, 
That be thassent of bothe tuo. 
The Soldan and the Caliphe eke, P. L 247 

Bataille upon a dai thei seke, 2600 

Which was in such a wise set 
That lengere scholde it noght be let 
Thei made hem stronge on every side. 
And whan it drowh toward the tide 
That the bataille scholde be, 
The Soldan in gret privete 
A goldring of his dowhter tok. 
And made hire swere upon a bok 
And ek upon the goddes alle. 
That if fortune so befalle 3610 

In the bataille that he deie, 

3576 this] his AMXR . . . Ba, HsW hir# G here Hi 9581 that 
ilke] )>Uke AM 2586 Thus AM 2599 )>e Hi . . . Bt, FWH> 

}>is AJM, AdB 


That sche schal thilke man obeie [Tale of the false 

And take hint to hire housebonde, Bachelor.] 

Which thilke same Ring to honde 
Hire schofde bringe after his deth. 
This hath sche swore, and forth he geth 
With al the pouer of his lond 
Unto the Marche, where he fond 
His enemy full embatailled. 

The Soldan hath the feld assailed: 2630 

Thei that ben hardy sone assemblen, 
Wherof the dredfuU hertes tremblen : 
That on sleth, and that other sterveth, 
Bot above alle his pris deserveth 
This knihtly Romein; where he rod, 
His dedly swerd noman abod, 
Ayein the which was no defence; 
Egipte fledde in his presence, 
And thei of Perse upon the chace P. i. 248 
Poursuien: bot I not what grace 2630 

Befell, an Arwe out of a bowe 
Al sodeinly that ilke throwe 
The Soldan smot, and ther he lay: 
The chace is left for thilke day, 
And he was bore into a tente. 

The Soldan sih how that it wente, 
And that he scholde algate die; 
And to this knyht of Romanic, 
As unto him whom he most triste. 
His Dowhter Ring, that non it wiste, 2640 

He tok, and tolde him al the cas, 
Upon hire oth what tokne it was 
Of that sche scholde ben his wif. 
Whan this was seid, the hertes lif 
Of this Soldan departeth sone; 
And therupon, as was to done, 
The dede body wel and faire 
Thei carie til thei come at Kaire, 
Wher he was worthily begrave. 

The lordes, whiche as wolden save 3650 

2632 that like] wi>ijine a B 9649 Wher] Ther B 


Ls OF THE FAL3K The Rcgnc which was desolat, 

Bachelor.] rp^ ^^^^^ j^ into good astat 

A parlement thei sette anon. 

Now herkne what fell therupon: 

This yonge lord, this worthi kniht 

Of Rome, upon the same niht 

That thei amorwe trete scholde, 

Unto his Bacheler he tolde 

His conseil, and the Ring with al P. i. 249 

He scheweth, thurgh which that he schal, 2660 

He seith, the kinges Dowhter wedde, 

For so the Ring was leid to wedde, 

He tolde, into hir fader hond, 

That with what man that sche it fond 

She scholde him take to hire lord. 

And this, he seith, stant of record, 

Bot noman wot who hath this Ring. 

This Bacheler upon this thing 
His Ere and his entente leide, 
And thoghte more thanne he seide, 3670 

And feigneth with a fals visage 
That he was glad, bot his corage 
Was al set in an other wise. 
These olde Philosophres wise 
Thei writen upon thilke while. 
That he mai best a man b^uile 
In whom the man hath most credence; 
And this befell in evidence 
Toward this yonge lord of Rome. 
His Bacheler, which hadde tome, 2680 

Whan that his lord be nihte slepte. 
This Ring, the which his maister kepte, 
Out of his Pours awey he dede, 
And putte an other in the stede. 

Amorwe, whan the Court is set. 
The yonge ladi was forth fet, 
To whom the lordes don homage, 

2654 herkne^ X£ . . . B9 9661 kinges] soldans X ... & 

Souldan Hi 9678 )>us AM 9680 tome AJYGECBa, 

SAdB^A, FWKHs theme L come MHiXR 


And after that of Manage [Tali of the false 

Thei trete and axen of hir wiUe. P. i. 250 Bachelor.] 

Bot sche, which thoghte to fulfille 2690 

Hire fader heste in this matiere, 
Seide openly, that men mai hiere, 
The charge which hire fader bad. 

Tho was this Lord of Rome glad 
And drowh toward his Pours anon, 
Bot al for noght, it was agon : 
His Bacheler it hath forthdrawe, 
And axeth ther upon the lawe 
That sche him holde covenant. 
The tokne was so sufficant 2700 

That it ne mihte be forsake, 
And natheles his lord hath take 
Querelle ayein his oghne man ; 
Bot for nothing that evere he can 
He mihte as thanne noght ben herd, 
So that his cleym is unansuerd, 
And he hath of his pourpos failed. 

This Bacheler was tho consailed 
And wedded, and of thilke Empire 
He was coroned Lord and Sire, 3710 

And al the lond him hath received; 
Wherof his lord, which was deceived, 
A seknesse er the thridde morwe 
Conceived hath of dedly sorwe : 
And as he lay upon his deth, 
Therwhile him lasteth speche and breth. 
He sende for the worthieste 
Of al the lond and ek the beste, 
And tolde hem al the sothe tho, P. i. 251 

That he was Sone and Heir also 3720 

Of themperour of grete Rome, 
And how that thei togedre come, 
This kniht and he; riht as it was, 
He tolde hem al the pleine cas, 
And for that he his conseil tolde, 

3698 per vpon J, SB ])ervpon A, F 3708 Jk) was Hi . . . Ht 

was so Ht hath so T 


Tale of the false That Other hath al that he wolde, 

Bachelor.] ^^^ ^^ jj^^h failed of his mede : 

As for the good he takth non hiede, 

He seith, hot only of the love, 

Of which he wende have ben above. 2730 

And therupon be lettre write 

He doth his fader forto wite 

Of al this matiere as it stod ; 

And thanne with an hertly mod 

Unto the lordes he besoghte 

To telle his ladi how he boghte 

Hire love, of which an other gladeth ; 

And with that word his hewe fadeth, 

And seide, 'A dieu, my ladi swete.* 

The lif hath lost his kindly hete, 3740 

And he lay ded as eny ston; 

Wherof was sory manyon, 

Bot non of alle so as sche. 

This false knyht in his degree 
Arested was and put in hold: 
For openly whan it was told 
Of the tresoun which is befalle, 
Thurghout the lond thei seiden alle, 
If it be soth that men suppose, P. i. 952 

His oghne untrowthe him schal depose. 2750 
And forto seche an evidence, 
With honour and gret reverence, 
Wherof they mihten knowe an ende, 
To thcmperour anon thei sende 
The lettre which his Sone wrot 
And whan that he the sothe wot, 
To telle his sorwe is endeles, 
Bot yit in haste natheles 
Upon the tale which he herde 
His Stieward into Perse ferde 2760 

With many a worthi Romein eke, 
His liege tretour forto seke; 
And whan thei thider come were, 

9733 this] J>e A . . . Bs, SAdBTA 3741 ded] stilie B 3753 and 
gret] aud with gret LBs, W 


This kniht him hath confessed there [Tale of the false 

How falsly that he hath him bore, Bachelor.] 

Wherof his worthi lord was lore. 
Tho seiden some he scholde deie, 
Bot yit thei founden such a weie 
That he schal noght be ded in Perse; 
And thus the skiles ben diverse. 2770 

Be cause that he was coroned, 
And that the lond was abandoned 
To him, althogh it were unriht, 
Ther is no peine for him diht; 
Bot to this point and to this ende 
Thei granten wel that he schal wende 
With the Romeins to Rome ayein. 
And thus acorded ful and plein, 
The qwike body with the dede P. i. 253 

With leve take forth thei lede, 2780 

Wher that Supplant hath hisjuise. 
Wherof that thou thee miht avise 
Upon this enformacioun 
Touchende of Supplantacioun, 
That thou, my Sone, do noght so: 
And forto take hiede also 
What Supplant doth in other halve, 
Ther is noraan can finde a salve 
Plainly to helen such a Sor; 
It hath and schal ben everemor, 2790 

Whan Pride is with Envie joint. 
He soffreth noman in good point, 
Wher that he mai his honour lette. 
And therupon if I schal sette 
Ensaraple, in holy cherche I finde 
How that Supplant is noght behinde; 
God wot if that it now be so : 
For in Cronique of time ago 
I finde a tale concordable 
Of Supplant, which that is no fable, 2800 

In the manere as I schal telle, 
So as whilom the thinges felle. 
2775 ]>e point Hi . . . Bt 



[Pope Boniface.] 

H ic ponit Con fessor 
exemplum contra istos 
in causa dignitatis ad- 
quirende supplanta- 
tores. £t narrat qua- 
liter Papa Bonefacius 
predecessorem suum 
Celestinum a papatu 
coniectata circumuen- 
cione fraudulenter 
supplantauit Set qui 
potentes a sede de- 
ponit, huiusmodi sup- 
plantacionis fraudem 
non sustinens, ipsum 
sic in sublime exal- 
tatum postea in pro- 
fundi carceris mise- 
riam proici, fame que 
siti cruciari, necnon 
et ab huius vite gau- 
diis dolorosa morte 
explantari finali con- 
clusione permisit. 

At Rome, as it hath ofte falle, 
The vicair general of alle 
Of hem that lieven Cristes feith 
His laste day, which non withseith, 
Hath schet as to the worldes ye, 
Whos name if I schal specefie, 
He hihte Pope Nicolas. 
And thus whan that he passed was, 
The Cardinals, that wolden save 
The forme of lawe, in the conclave 
Gon forto chese a newe Pope, 
And after that thei cowthe agrope 
Hath ech of hem seid his entente : 
Til ate laste thei assente 
Upon an holy clerk reclus. 
Which full was of gostli vertus ; 
His pacience and his simplesse 
Hath set him into hih noblesse. 
Thus was he Pope canonized, 
With gret honour and intronized, 
And upon chance as it is falle, 
His name Celestin men calle; 
Which notefied was be bulle 
To holi cherche and to the fulle 
In alle londes magnified. 
Bot every worschipe is envied, 
And that was thilke time sene : 
For whan this Pope of whom I meene 
Was chose, and othre set beside, 
A Cardinal was thilke tide 
Which the papat longe hath desired 
And therupon gretli conspired; 
Bot whan he sih fortune is failed. 
For which long time he hath travailed, 
That ilke fyr which Ethna brenneth 
Thurghout his wofuU herte renneth. 

P. i. 254 




a8o6 margin causa] casu Hi . . . Bi aSio margin coniecU 

A . . . Ba, B 2814 agrope J, SAdT, FHs grope AM . . . Bj, 

Ba, W 2817 margin fameqw* F 2821 he] \>c ERL, BTA 

2822 Wit F 2825 be] J)c X . . . B« 


Which is resembled to Envie, P. i. 255 [Pope Boniface.] 

Wherof Supplant and tricherie 2840 

Engendred is; and natheles 

He feigneth love, he feigneth pes, 

Outward he doth the reverence, 

Bot al withinne his conscience 

Thurgh fals ymaginacioun 

He thoghte Supplantacioun. 

And thenipon a wonder wyle 

He wroghte : for at thilke whyle 

It fell so that of his lignage 

He hadde a clergoun of yong age, 3850 

Whom he hath in his chambre afifaited. 

This Cardinal his time hath waited. 

And with his wordes slyhe and queinte, 

The whiche he cowthe wysly peinte, 

He schop this clerk of which I telle 

Toward the Pope forto duelle, 

So that withinne his chambre anyht 

He lai, and was a prive wyht 

Toward the Pope on nyhtes tide. 

Mai noman fle that schal betide. 3860 

This Cardinal, which thoghte guile, 
Upon a day whan he hath while 
This yonge clerc unto him tok, 
And made him swere upon a bok, 
And told him what his wille was. 
And forth withal a Trompe of bras 
He hath him take, and bad him this : 
*Thou schalt,* he seide, 'whan time is 
Awaite, and take riht good kepe, P. i. 256 

Whan that the Pope is fast aslepe 2870 

And that non other man be nyh; 
And thanne that thou be so slyh 
Thurghout the Trompe into his Ere, 
Fro hevene as thogh a vois it were, 
To soune of such prolacioun 
That he his meditacioun 

285a J is tyme B 2865 told A, B, F tolde J 2870 on slepe 

HiXGRCL . . . Ba, Ad, W 2875 Tbe sone AM 


[Pope Boniface.] Therof mai take and understonde, 

As thogh it were of goddes sonde. 
And in this wise thou schalt seie, 
That he do thilke astat aweie a88o 

Of Pope, in which he stant honoured. 
So schal his Soule be socoured 
Of thilke worschipe ate laste 
In hevene which schal evere laste.* 

This clerc, whan he hath herd the forme 
How he the Pope scholde enforme, 
Tok of the Cardinal his leve, 
And goth him hom, til it was Eve, 
And prively the trompe he hedde, 
Til that the Pope was abedde. 3890 

And at the Midnyht, whan he knewh 
The Pope slepte, thanne he blewh 
Withinne his trompe thurgh the wal, 
And tolde in what manere he schal 
His Papacie leve, and take 
His ferste astat : and thus awake 
This holi Pope he made thries, 
Wherof diverse fantasies 

Upon his grete hoUnesse P. i. 257 

Withinne his herte he gan impresse. 29C0 

The Pope ful of innocence 
Conceiveth in his conscience 
That it is goddes wille he cesse ; 
Bot in what wise he may relesse 
His hihe astat, that wot he noght 
And thus withinne himself bethoght, 
He bar it stille in his memoire, 
Til he cam to the Consistoire; 
And there in presence of hem alle 
He axeth, if it so befalle 2910 

That eny Pope cesse wolde, 
How that the lawe it soffre scholde. 
Thei seten alle stille and herde, 
Was non which to the point ansuerde, 

a88i of which M, B which £ {p. m,) 9903 is om, F 

9906 bethoght] he (ought Hi ^ . • Bs, B, W 



For to what pourpos that it mente [Pope Bonifaci.] 

Ther was noman knew his entente, 

Bot only he which schop the guile. 
This Cardinal the same while 

Al openly with wordes pleine 

Seith, if the Pope wolde ordeigne 3920 

That ther be such a lawe wroght, 

Than mihte he cesse, and elles noght. 

And as he seide, don it was; 

The Pope anon upon the cas 

Of his Papal Autorite 

Hath mad and yove the decre: 

And whan that lawe was confermed 

In due forme and al affermed, 

This innocent, which was deceived, P. L 258 

His Papacie anon hath weyved, 3930 

Renounced and resigned eke. 

That other was nothing to seke, 

Bot undemethe such a jape 

He hath so for himselve schape^ 

That how as evere it him beseme, 

The Mitre with the Diademe 

He hath thurgh Supplantacion : 

And in his confirmacion 

Upon the fortune of his grace 

His name is cleped Boneface. 2940 

Under the viser of Envie, 
Lo, thus was hid the tricherie, 
Which hath beguiled manyon. 
Bot such conseil ther mai be non, 
With treson whan it is conspired. 
That it nys lich the Sparke fyred 
Up in the Rof, which for a throwe 
Lith hidd, til whan the wyndes blowe 
It blaseth out on every side. 
This Bonefas, which can noght hyde 2950 

The tricherie of his Supplant, 
Hath openly mad his avant 
How he the Papacie hath wonne. 
Bot thing which is with wrong begonne 



pE BoNiFACB.] Mai nevere stonde wel at ende ; 

Wher Pride schal the bowe bende, 

He schet fulofte out of the weie : 

And thus the Pope of whom I seie, 

Whan that he stod on hih the whiel, P. i. 259 

He can noght soffre himself be wel. 2960 

Envie, which is loveles, 

And Pride, which is laweles, 

With such tempeste made him erre. 

That charite goth out of herre : 

So that upon misgovemance 

Ayein Lowyz the king of France 

He tok querelle of his oultrage, 

And seide he scholde don hommage 

Unto the cherche bodily. 

Bot he, that wiste nothing why 2970 

He scholde do so gret servise 

After the world in such a wise, 

Withstod the wrong of that demande ; 

For noght the Pope mai comande 

The king wol noght the Pope obeie. 

This Pope tho be alle weie 

That he mai worche of violence 

Hath sent the bulle of his sentence 

With cursinge and with enterdit. 

The king upon this wrongful plyt, 2980 

To kepe his regne fro servage, 
Conseiled was of his Barnage 
That miht with miht sclial be withstonde. 
Thus was the cause take on honde, 
And seiden that the Papacie 
Thei wolde honoure and magnefie 
In al that evere is spirital; 
Bot thilke Pride temporal 
Of Boneface in his persone, P. i. a6o 

Ayein that ilke wrong al one 2990 

Thei wolde stonden in debat : 
And thus the man and noght the stat 

2959 on ]>e hih(e) whiel LBs opon the whele W 9964 out of 

fc herre AM out of herte J 


The Frensche schopen be her miht [Pope Boniface.] 

To grieve. And fell ther was a kniht, 

Sire Guilliam de Langharet, 

Which was upon this cause set; 

And therupoh he tok a route 

Of men of Armes and rod oute, 

So longe and in a wayt he lay, 

That he aspide upon a day 3000 

The Pope was at Avinoun, 

And scholde ryde out of the toun 

Unto Pontsorge, the which is 

A Castell in Provence of his. 

Upon the weie and as he rod, 

This kniht, which hoved and abod 


Embuisshed upon horse bak, 

Al sodeinliche upon him brak 

And hath him be the bridel sesed, 

And seide: 'O thou, which hast desesed 3010 

The Court of France be thi wrong, 

Now schalt thou singe an other song: 

Thin enterdit and thi sentence 

Ayein thin oghne conscience 

Hierafter thou schalt fiele and grope. 

We pleigne noght ayein the Pope, 

For thilke name is honourable, 

Bot thou, which hast be deceivable 

And tricherous in al thi werk, P. i. 261 

Thou Bonefas, thou proude clerk, 3020 

Misledere of the Papacie, 

Thi false bodi schal abye 

And soffre that it hath deserved.' 

Lo, thus the Supplantour was served; 
For thei him ladden into France 
And setten him to his penance 
Withinne a tour in harde bondes, 
Wher he for hunger bothe hise hondes 
Eet of and deide, god wot how : 

2993 schapen Hi . . . B-i, BTA 2999 a wayt F a wait J awayt 
AC, B 3003 Poursorge Hi . . . B«, B 30x2 an other] a 

newe Hi, B 3021 the] ))i Hi . . . Bs, B, Magd 

P 2 



[Pope Boniface.] 

Cronica Bonefacii. 
Iritrasti ut vulp's, reg- 
nasti ut Ico, et mor- 
tiius es ut canis. 

Nota de prophecia 
loachim Abbatis. 

Quanti Mercenarii 
enuit in ouile dei, tuas 
aures meis narracion- 
ibus fedare nolo. 

Of whom the wrytinge is yit now 3030 

Registred, as a man mai hiere, 

Which spekth and seith in this manere: 

Thin entre hch the fox was sljh, 
Thi regne also with pride on hih 
Was lich the Leon in his rage; 
Bot ate laste of thi passage 
Thi deth was to the houndes like. 

Such is the lettre of his Cronique 
Proclamed in the Court of Rome, 
Wherof the wise ensample nome. 3040 

And yit, als ferforth as I dar, 
I rede alle othre men be war, 
And that thei loke wel algate 
That non his oghne astat translate 
Of holi cherche in no degree 
Be fraude ne soubtilite: 
For thilke honour which Aaron tok 
Schal non receive, as seith the bok, 
Bot he be cleped as he was. 
What I schal thenken in this cas 
Of that I hiere now aday, 
I not: bot he which can and may. 
Be reson bothe and be nature 
The help of every mannes cure. 
He kepe Simon fro the folde. 
For Joachim thilke Abbot tolde 
How suche daies scholden falle, 
That comunliche in places alle 
The Chapmen of such mercerie 
With fraude and with Supplantarie 3060 

So manye scholden beie and selle, 
That he ne may for schame telle 
So foul a Senne in mannes Ere. 
Bot god forbiede that it were 
In oure daies that he seith : 
For if the Clerc beware his feith 

3055 He kepe] He helpe Hi . . . Bs, B He kepte T To kcpe 
SAdA 3058 ff margin Quanti . . . nolo SA, FHsMagd om, A . . . 

Bs, B (S has qui sic ait Quanti Mercenarii tunc erunt &c) 

P. i. 262 




P. I 263 


In chapmanhod at such a feire, 

The remenant mot nede empeire 

Of al that to the world belongeth ; 

For whan that hoh* cherche wrongeth, 3070 

I not what other thing schal rihte. 

And natheles at mannes sihte 

Envie forto be preferred 

Hath conscience so differred, 

That noman loketh to the vice 

Which is the Moder of malice, 

And that is thilke false Envie, 

Which causeth many a tricherie; 

For wher he may an other se 

That is mor gracious than he, 

It schal noght stonden in his miht 

Bot if he hindre such a wiht : 

And that is welnyh overal, 

This vice is now 50 general. 

Envie thilke unhapp indrowh, 
Whan Joab be deceipte slowh 
Abner, for drede he scholde be 
With king David such as was he. 
And thurgh Envie also it fell 
Of thilke false Achitofell, 
For his conseil was noght achieved, 
Bot that he sih Cusy believed 
With Absolon and him forsake. 
He heng himself upon a stake. 

Senec witnesseth openly 
How that Envie proprely 
Is of the Court the comun wenche, 
And halt taverne forto schenche 
That drink which makth the herte brenne, 
And doth the wit aboute renne, 3100 

Be every weie to compasse 
How that he mihte alle othre passe, 
As he which thurgh unkindeschipe 
Envieth every felaschipe; 
So that thou miht wel knowe and se, 
3085 indrowh AJ, F in drowh ^n drough) C, SB 

[Pope Boniface.] 

[Joab. Ahitophel.] 

Qualiter loab prin- 
ceps milicie Dauid 
inuidie causa Abner 
subdole interfecit. Et 
qualiter eciam Achito- 
fell ob hoc quod Cusy 
3090 *^ consilio Absolon 
preferebatur, accen- 
BUS inuidia laqueo se 
suspend it. 

[Nature of Envy.] 




iic describit Con- 
K>r natuniin Inut- 
tarn in amorequam 
er secundum pro- 
statem vicii sub 

Ther is no vice such as he, 
Ferst toward godd abhominable, 
And to mankinde unprofitable: 
And that be wordes bot a fewe 
I schal be reson prove and schewe. 

P. i.a94 


vi. Inuidie stimulus sine causa ledit abortus^ 
Nam sine temptante crimine crimen habet. 
Non est huius opus temptare Cupidinis archum, 
Dumque faces Veneris ethnica flamma variU, 
Absque rudore gene^ paliar quas fuscus obumbrat, 
Frigida nature cetera membra decent. 

Envie if that I schal descrive, 
He is noght schaply forto wyve 
In Erthe among the wommen hiere; 
For ther is in him no matiere 
Wherof he mihte do plesance. 
Ferst for his hevy continance 
Of that he semeth evere unglad, 
He is noght able to ben had; 
And ek he brenneth so withinne, 
That Icinde mai no profit winne, 3130 

Wherof he scholde his love plese : 
For thilke blod which scholde have ese 
To regne among the moiste veines, 
Is drye of thilke unkendeli peines 
Thurgh whiche Envie is fyred ay. 
And thus be reson prove I may 
That toward love Envie is noght ; . 
And otherwise if it be soght, 
Upon what side as evere it falle, 
It is the werste vice of alle, 3130 

Which of himself hath most malice. 
For understond that every vice 
Som cause hath, wherof it groweth, 
Bot of Envie noman knoweth 
Fro whenne he cam bot out of helle. P. i. 265 
For thus the wise clerkes telle, 
That no spirit bot of malice 

311a schapli noght AM 

3x19 An F 



Be weie of kinde upon a vice 
Is tempted, and be such a weie 
Envie hath kinde put aweie 
And of malice hath his steringe, 
Wherof he makth his bakbitinge, 
And is himself therof desesed. 
So mai ther be no kinde plesed; 
For ay the mor that he envieth, 
The more ayein himself he plieth. 
Thus stant Envie in good espeir 
To ben himself the develes heir, 
As he which is his nexte liche 
And forthest fro the heveneriche, 
For there mai he nevere wone. 

Forthi, my goode diere Sone, 
If thou wolt finde a siker weie 
To love, put Envie aweie. 

Min holy fader, reson wolde 
That I this vice eschuie scholde : 
Bot yit to strengthe mi corage, 
If that ye wolde in avantage 
Therof sette a recoverir. 
It were tome a gret desir, 
That I this vice mihte flee. 

Nou understond, my Sone, and se, 
Ther is phisique for the seke, 
And vertus for the vices eke. 
Who that the vices wolde eschuie, 
He mot be resoun thanne suie 
The vertus; for be thilke weie 
He mai the vices don aweie, 
For thei togedre mai noght duelle : 
For as the water of a welle 
Of f5rr abateth the malice, 
Riht so vertu fordoth the vice. 
Ayein Envie is Charite, 
Which is the Moder of Pite, 
That makth a mannes herte tendre, 

[Nature op £nv 







P. i. 266 


3160 tome A, F to me JC, SB 
Bt, B 

3170 "pe welle Hi . . . 





That it niai no malice engendre 
In him that is enclin therto. 
For his corage is tetnpred so, 
Thai thogh he mihte himself relieve, 

Yit wolde he iioehl an other grieve. 



Bol rather forto do plesance 


He berth himselven the grevance, 


So fain he woide an other ese. 


Wherof, mi Sone, for thin ese 


Now herkne a tale which I rede, 


And understond it wel, I rede. 

[Tau of Constak- 

Among the bokes of latin 


I finde write of Conslantin 

Hie ponit Confes- 

The worthi Emperour of Rome, 

sor exemplum de vir- 

Suche infortunes to him come. 


Inuidiao. Etnarratde 

Whan he was in his Itisti age, 

Constantino Heleni.- 

The lepre cawhte in his visage 

Roiflni dignitatem 

And so forth overal alx>ute, 

optinueroL a marbo 
lepre infeclus, tnedici 

Thai he ne mihte ryden oute : 

pro sanitate reeupe- 

So lefle he bothe Schield and spere, P 

i. ad 

cujnc pu^rorum mas- 

As he that mihte him noghl bestere, 


And hield him in his chambre clos. 

posuerunt Set cutn 

Thurgh al the world the fame arcs, 

malram cum filiis hu- 

The grete clerlscs ben asent 

iuamodi medic inecflu- 
^ in drcuitu patHcii 
■fimsset, Imparator- 

And come at his comandement 


To trete upon this lordes hele. 

clamorea percepissel. 
cariuie molus ingc- 

So longe thei togedre dele, 

That thei upon this medicine 

rJre!^ Ml dominii^ 

Apoinlen hem, and determine 

qui se facit senium 

That in the raaner as it stod 

pielalis.' Ethiisdiclis 
s latum su urn cunctipo- 

Thei wolde him bathe in childes blod 

Withinne sevene R7nter age ; 

bum pocius quam in- 
Tancium mortem bc- 

For, as thei sein, that scholde assuage 

The lepre and al the violence. 

oignus elegit. Vnde 

ipse, qui antea Paga- 

^m« =t [eprosus exli- 

Which that ihei knewe of Accidence 


And noght be weie of kinde is falle. 

And therto ihei acorden alle 




1 were B 3304 wor^n est ipse A ... B., SB* 




As for final conclusioun, [Tale or Constan- 

And tolden here opinioun "•« *•"> Silvester.] 

rr. ^i_ J I. terat, ex vnda baptis- 

To themperour : and he anon „^ti^ renatus vtrius- 

His conseil tok, and thenipon que materic, tam cor- 

With lettres and with scales oute STn? Sulo'*^';^: 

Thei sende in every lond aboute cutus est salutem. 

The yonge children forto seche, 

Whos blod, thei seiden, schal be leche 3320 

For themperoures maladie. 

Ther was ynowh to wepe and crie 

Among the Modres, whan thei herde 

Hou wofully this cause ferde, 

Bot natheles thei moten bowe ; P. i. 268 

And thus wommen ther come ynowhe 

With children soukende on the Tete. 

Tho was ther manye teres lete, 

Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe, 

The wommen and the children bothe 3330 

Into the Paleis forth be broght 

With many a sory hertes thoght 

Of hem whiche of here bodi bore 

The children hadde, and so forlore 

Withinne a while scholden se. 

The Modres wepe in here degre, 

And manye of hem aswoune falle, 

The yonge babes criden alle: 

This noyse aros, the lord it herde, 

And loked out, and how it ferde 3240 

He sih, and as who seith abreide 

Out of his slep, and thus he seide : 

* O thou divine pourveance, 
\\'hich every man in the balance 
Of kinde hast formed to be liche, 
I'he povere is bore as is the riche 
And deieth in the same wise, 
Upon the fol, upon the wise 
Siknesse and hele entrecomune; 
Mai non eschuie that fortune 3350 

3a 14 margin ex vnda baptismatis om. Hi . . . Ba, BA ^aao scholde 
AM, Ta, W 3231 be] he AM 3337 on swowne Hi . . . Ba, B 


[Tali or Constan- Which kinde hath in hire lawe set; 

TIN. AND Silvester.] jjj^ strengthe and beaute ben beset 

To every man aliche fre, 
That sche preferreth no degre 
As in the disposicioun P. i 969 

Of bodili complexioun : 
And ek of Soule resonaUe 
The povere child is bore als able 
To vertu as the kinges Sone; 
For every man his oghne wone 3260 

After the lust of his assay 
The vice or vertu chese may. 
Thus stonden alle men franchised, 
Bot in astat thei ben divised; 
N®^ To some worschipe and richesse. 

To some poverte and distresse, 
On lordeth and an other serveth ; 
Bot yit as every man deserveth 
The world yifth noght his yiftes hiere. 
Bot certes he hath gret matiere 3270 

To ben of good condicioun. 
Which hath in his subjecdoun 
The men that ben of his semblance.' 
And ek he tok a remembrance 
How he that made lawe of kinde 
Wolde every man to lawe binde, 
And bad a man, such as he wolde 
Toward himself, riht such he scholde 
Toward an other don also. 
And thus this worthi lord as tho 32S0 

Sette in balance his oghne astat 
And with himself stod in debat, 
And thc^hte hou that it was noght good 
To se so mochel mannes blod 
Be spilt for cause of him alone. P. i. 970 

He sih also the grete mone. 
Of that the Modres were unglade. 
And of the wo the children made. 

Note AJ, F om, C,B 33^3 hou thmt; how ML. 

A. W 3^ for] by ;be) Hi . . . Bi» Hs 


Wherof that al his herte tendreth, [Tale of Constan- 

And such pite withinne engendreth, 3390 '^''^ ^''^ Silvester.] 

That him was levere forto chese 

His oghne bodi forto lese, 

Than se so gret a moerdre wroght 

Upon the blod which gulteth noght. 

Thus for the pite which he tok 

AUe othre leches he forsok, 

And put him out of aventure 

Al only into goddes cure; 

And seith, *Who that woU maister be, 

He mot be servant to pite.' 3300 

So ferforth he was overcome 

With charite, that he hath nome 

His conseil and hise officers, 

And bad unto hise tresorers 

That thei his tresour al aboute 

Departe among that povere route 

Of wommen and of children bothe, 

Wherof thei mihte hem fede and clothe 

And saufli tornen hom ayein 

Withoute lost of eny grein. 3310 

Thurgh charite thus he despendeth 

His good, wherof that he amendeth 

The povere poeple, and contrevaileth 

The harm, that he hem so travaileth ; 

And thus the woful nyhtes sorwe P. i. 271 

To joie is tomed on the morwe; 

Al was thonkinge, al was blessinge, 

Which erst was wepinge and cursinge; 

Thes wommen gon hom glade ynowh, 

Echon for joie on other lowh, 3320 

And preiden for this lordes hele, 

Which hath relessed the querele, 

And hath his oghne will forsake 

In charite for goddes sake. 

Bot now hierafter thou schalt hiere 
What god hath wroght in this matiere, 

31190 gendrej) AM, W 3306 that] >e M . . . Bs, SAdBA, W 

3314 so om. Hi . . . Ba 


[Tale of Constan- As he which doth al equite. 

TINE AND Silvester. 1 t* u* *u ^ u* u '^.^ 

^ To him that wroghte chante 

He was ayeinward charitous, 
And to pite he was pitous: 3330 

For it was nevere knowe yit 
That charite goth unaquit 
The nyht, whan he was leid to slepe, 
The hihe god, which wolde him kepe, 
Seint Peter and seint Poul him sende, 
Be whom he wolde his lepre amende. 
Thei tuo to him slepende appiere 
Fro god, and seide in this manere: 
'O Constantin, for thou hast served 
Pite, thou hast pite deserved : 3340 

Forthi thou schalt such pite have 
That god thurgh pite woU thee save. 
So schalt thou double hele finde, 
Ferst for thi bodiliche kinde, 
And for thi wofull Soule also, P. i 272 

Thou schalt ben hoi of bothe tuo. 
And for thou schalt thee noght despeire, 
Thi lepre schal nomore empeire 
Til thou wolt sende therupon 
Unto the Mont of Celion, 3350 

Wher that Silvestre and his clergie 
Togedre duelle in compaignie 
For drede of thee, which many day 
Hast ben a fo to Cristes lay, 
And hast destruid to mochel schame 
The prechours of his holy name. 
Bot now thou hast somdiel appesed 
Thi god, and with good dede plesed. 
That thou thi pite hast bewared 
Upon the blod which thou hast spared. 3360 
Forthi to thi salvacion 
Thou schalt have enformacioun. 
Such as Silvestre schal the teche : 
The nedeth of non other leche.' 

This Emperour, which al this herde, 
'Grant merci lordes,' he ansuerde, 


* I wol do so as ye me seie. [Tale of Constak- 

Bot of o thing I wolde^ preie : tine and Silvester.] 

What schal I telle unto Silvestre 

Or of youre name or of youre estre ? ' 3370 

And thei him tolden what thei hihte, 

And forth withal out of his sihte 

Thei passen up into the hevene. 

And he awok out of his swevene, 

And clepeth, and men come anon : P. i. 273 

He tolde his drem, and therupon 

In such a wise as he hem telleth 

The Mont wher that Silvestre duelleth 

Thei have in alle haste soght, 

And founde he was and with hem broght 3380 

To themperour, which to him tolde 

His swevene and elles what he wolde. 

And whan Silvestre hath herd the king, 

He was riht joiful of this thing, 

And him began with al his wit 

To techen upon holi writ 

Ferst how mankinde was forlore, 

And how the hihe god 'therfore 

His Sone sende from above, 

AVhich bore was for mannes love, " 3390 

And after of his oghne chois 

He tok his deth upon the crois; 

And how in grave he was beloke. 

And how that he hath helle broke. 

And tok hem out that were him lieve; 

And forto make ous full believe 

That he was verrai goddes Sone, 

Ayein the kinde of mannes wone 

Fro dethe he ros the thridde day, 

And whanne he wolde, as he wel may, 3400 

He styh up to his fader evene 

With fleissh and blod into the hevene ; 

And riht so in the same forme 

In fleissh and blod he schal reforme. 

Whan time comth, the qwike and dede P. i. 274 

3395 were hem B 3409 into heuene AMR, A, W 


LE OF CoNSTAN- At thlllce woful dai of drede, 

: AND Silvester.] y^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ j^jg ^^^^ 

Als wel the Maister as the grom. 

The mihti kinges retenue 

That dai may stonde of no value 3410 

With worldes strengthe to defende; 

For every man mot thanne entende 

To stonde upon his oghne dedes 

And leve alle othre mennes nedes. 

That dai mai no consail availe, 

The pledour and the plee schal faile, 

The sentence of that ilke day 

Mai non appell sette in delay; 

Ther mai no gold the Jugge plie, 

That he ne schal the sothe trie 3420 

And setten every man upriht, 

Als wel the plowman as the kniht : 

The lewed man, the grete clerk 

Schal stonde upon his oghne werk, 

And such as he is founde tho, 

Such schal he be for everemo. 

Ther mai no peine be relessed, 

Ther mai no joie ben encressed, 

Bot endeles, as thai have do, 

He schal receive on of the tuo. 3430 

And thus Silvestre with his sawe 

The ground of al the newe lawe 

With gret devocion he precheth, 

Fro point to point and pleinly techeth 

Unto this hethen Emperour ; P. i. 275 

And seith, the hihe creatour 

Hath underfonge his charite. 

Of that he wroghte such pite, 

Whan he the children hadde on honde. 

Thus whan this lord hath understonde 3440 

Of al this thing how that it ferde, 

Unto Silvestre he thanne ansuerde, 

With al his hole herte and seith 

3406 On Hi ... B« And Hs (That ilke W) 3430 He schal] Thci 
schul (schal) Hi . . . Bi 3431 And J^is HiERC, W And >us >is L 



That he is redi to the feith. 

And so the vessel which for blod 

Was mad, Silvestre, ther it stod, 

With clene water of the welle 

In alle haste he let do felle, 

And sette Constantin therinne 

Al naked up unto the chinne. 5450 

And in the while it was begunne, 

A liht, as thogh it were a Sunne, 

Fro hevene into the place com 

Wher that he tok his cristendom; 

And evere among the holi tales 

Lich as thei weren fisshes skales 

Ther fellen from him now and eft, 

Til that ther was nothing beleft 

Of al his grete maladie. 

For he that wolde him purefie, 3460 

The hihe god hath mad him clene, , 

So that ther lefte nothing sene; 

He hath him clensed bothe tuo, 

The bodi and the Soule also. 

Tho knew this Emperour in dede P. i. 276 
That Cristes feith was forto drede, 
And sende anon hise lettres oute 
And let do crien al aboute, 
Up peine of deth that noman weyve 
That he baptesme ne receive: 3470 

After his Moder qweene Heleine 
He sende, and so betwen hem tweine 
Thei treten, that the Cite all 
Was cristned, and sche forth withall. 
This Emperour, which hele hath founde, 
Withinne Rome anon let founde 
Tuo cherches, whiche he dede make 
For Peter and for Poules sake, 
Of whom he hadde avisioun ; 
And yaf therto possessioun 3480 

Of lordschipe and of worldes good. 

3458 Til that . . . beleft] Til . . . him beleft (be lefte &c.) Hi . . . B« 
3470 ne ofn. AM 3476 he Iet(e) founde AM 3479 Of hem B 

[Tale op Constan- 
TiNE AND Silvester.] 



[Tale of Constan- 
TiNK AND Silvester.] 




Bot how so that his will was good 
Toward the Pope and his Franchise, 
Yit hath it proved other wise, 
To se the worchinge of the dede : 
For in Cronique this I rede; 
Anon as he hath mad the yifte, 
A vois was herd on hih the lifte, 
Of which al Rome was adrad, 
And seith: *To day is venym schad 
In holi cherche of temporal, 
Which medleth with the spirital.' 
And hou it stant of that degree 
Yit mai a man the sothe se : 
God mai amende it, whan he wile, 
I can ther to non other skile. 

Bot forto go ther I began. 
How charite mai helpe a man 
To bothe worldes, I have seid : 
And if thou have an Ere leid. 
Mi Sone, thou miht understonde. 
If charite be take on honde, 
Ther folweth after mochel grace. 
Forthi, if that thou wolt pourchace 
How that thou miht Envie flee, 
Aqueinte thee with charite. 
Which is the vertu sovereine. 

Mi fader, I schal do my peine: 
For this ensample which ye tolde 
With al myn herte I have withholde, 
So that I schal for everemore 
Eschuie Envie wel the more: 
And that I have er this misdo, 
Yif me my penance er I go. 
And over that to mi matiere 
Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere 
In privete betwen ous tweie, 
Now axeth what ther is, I preie. 

Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore 


P. La77 



3486 For] iTro F 3487 so as AM 

3516 why] whU(e) M . . . B., W 

349a Wich F 


I woll thee telle what is more, 3520 

So that thou schalt the vices knowe: 

For whan thei be to thee full knowe, 

Thou miht hem wel the betre eschuie. 

And for this cause I thenke suie 

The forme bothe and the matiere, P. i. 278 

As now suiende thou schalt hiere 

Which vice stant next after this: 

And whan thou wost how that it is, 

As thou schalt hiere me devise, 

Thow miht thiself the betre avise. 3530 

Explicit Liber Secundus. 

• » 


Indpit Liber Tardus. 

[Ire or Wra;ih.] 

Hie in tercio libro 
tractat super quinque 
spedebus Ire, qua- 
rum prima Malencolia 
dicitur, cuius vicium 
Confessor primo de- 
scribens Amanti super 
codem consequenter 

i. Jra suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis, P. i, 279 

Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet 
Ira malencolicos animos periurbat, vt equo 

lure sui pondus nulla statera tenet. 
Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes^ 

nia magis faciU sorte grauamen agU: 
Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amari, 

Sepe loco ludi fletus ad or a venit. 

If thou the vices lest to knowe, 
Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe. 
Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde, 
That ther nis on upon this grounde, 
A vice forein fro the lawe, 
Wherof that many a good felawe 
Hath be distraght be sodein chance; 
And yit to kinde no plesance 
It doth, bot wher he most achieveth 
His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth, 10 

As he which out of conscience 
Is enemy to pacience: 
A.nd is be name on of the Sevene, 
Which ofte hath set this world unevene, 
And cleped is the cruel Ire, P. i. 280 

Whos herte is everemore on fyre 
To speke amis and to do bothe, 
For his servantz ben evere wrothe. 

Mi goode fader, tell me this: 
What thing is Ire? 

Sone, it is 
That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote, 

7 margin primo] prima HiXERCL primum Bj om. G 
... he] it ... it XRC. W it ... he HiGELBi 
euermore (euer more) Hi . . . Bs 


9f. he 
I a enemy] 



Which hath hise wordes ay so hote, 
That all a mannes pacience 
Is fyred of the violence. 
For he with him hath evere fyve 
Servantz that helpen him to stryve : 
The ferst of hem Malencolie 
Is cleped, which in compaignie 
An hundred times in an houre 
Wol as an angri beste loure, 30 

And noman wot the cause why. 
Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi : 
Hast thou be Malencolien? 
Ye, fader, be seint Julien, 
Bot I untrewe wordes use, 
I mai me noght therof excuse : 
And al makth love, wel I wot, 
Of which myn herte is evere hot, 
So that I brenne as doth a glede 
For Wrathe that I mai noght spede. 40 

And thus fulofte a day for noght 
Save onlich of myn oghne thoght 
I am so with miselven wroth, 
That how so that the game goth 
With othre men, I am noght glad ; P. i. 281 
Bot I am wel the more unglad. 
For that is othre mennes game 
It tometh me to pure grame. 
Thus am I with miself oppressed 
Of thoght, the which I have impressed, 50 

That al wakende I dreme and meete 
That I with hire al one meete 
And preie hire of som good ansuere : 
Bot for sche wol noght gladly swere, 
Sche seith me nay withouten oth ; 
And thus wexe I withinne wroth. 
That outward I am al affraied, 
And so distempred and esmaied. 
A thousand times on a day 
Ther souneth in myn Eres nay, 60 

49 mi seluen A 51 walkend(e) Hi . . . CBa, B wavvende L 

Q 2 

[i. Melancholy.] 

Confessio Amantis. 


[Melancholy.] The which sche seide me tofore: 

Thus be my wittes as foriore; 
And namely whan I beginne 
To rekne with miself withinne 
How many yeres ben agon, 
Siththe I have trewly loved on 
And nevere tok of other hede, 
And evere aliche fer to spede 
I am, the more I with hir dele, 
So that myn happ and al myn hele 70 

Me thenkth is ay the leng the ferre, 
That bringth my gladschip out of herre, 
Wherof my wittes ben empeired, 
And I, as who seith, al despeired. 
For finaly, whan that I muse P. i. S82 

And thenke how sche me wol refuse, 
I am with anger so bestad, 
For al this world mihte I be glad : 
And for the while that it lasteth 
Al up so doun my joie it casteth, 80 

And ay the furthere that I be, 
Whan I ne may my ladi se. 
The more I am redy to wraththe. 
That for the touchinge of a laththe 
Or for the torninge of a stree 
I wode as doth the wylde Se, 
And am so malencolious. 
That ther nys servant in myn hous 
Ne non of tho that ben aboute, 
That ech of hem ne stant in doute, 90 

And wenen that I scholde rave 
For Anger that thei se me have ; 
And so thei wondre more and lasse, 
Til that thei sen it overpasse. 
Bot, fader, if it so betide. 
That I aproche at eny tide 
The place wher my ladi is, 
And thanne that hire like ywiss 

6a al foriore (alle for lore) Hi, B, Hj 68 fer AJ, STaA, FH* 

for M . . . Bs, AdB, W 86 wolde AM 


To speke a goodli word untome, [Melancholy.] 

For al the gold that is in Rome 100 

Ne cowthe I after that be wroth, 

Bot al myn Anger overgoth ; 

So glad I am of the presence 

Of hire, that I all offence 

Foryete, as thogh it were noght, P. i. 283 

So overgladed is my thoght. 

And natheles, the soth to telle, 

Ayeinward if it so befelle 

That I at thilke time sihe 

On me that sche miscaste hire yhe, no 

Or that sche liste noght to loke, 

And I therof good hiede toke, 

Anon into my ferste astat 

I tome, and am with al so mat, 

That evere it is aliche wicke. 

And thus myn hand ayein the pricke 

I hurte and have do many day, 

And go so forth as I go may, 

Fulofte bitinge on my lippe. 

And make unto miself a whippe, 120 

With which in many a chele and hete 

Mi wofull herte is so tobete, 

That all my wittes ben unsofte 

And I am wroth, I not how ofte ; 

And al it is Malencolie, 

Which groweth of the fantasie 

Of love, that me wol noght loute : 

So here I forth an angri snoute 

Ful manye times in a yer. 

Bot, fader, now ye sitten hier 130 

In loves stede, I yow beseche. 

That som ensample ye me teche, 

Wherof I mai miself appese. 

Mi Sone, for thin hertes ese Confessor. 

I schal fulfille thi preiere, P. i. 284 

So that thou miht the betre lere 
, What mischief that this vice stereth, 

"^ 109 pat )»ilke AM 



[Tale op Canace 


Hie ponit Confes- 
sor exemplum contra 
istos, qui cum vires 
amoris non sunt reali- 
ter experti, contra 
alios amantes malen- 
colica seueritate ad 
iracundiam vindicte 
prouocantur. £t nar- 
rat qualiterRex Eolus 
liliuin nomine Macha- 
rium et fiiiam nomine 
Canacem babuit, qui 
cum ab infancia vsque 
ad pubertatera inui- 
cem educati fuerant, 
Cupido tandem ignito 
iaculo amborum cordb 
desideria amorose 
penetraoit, ita quod 
Canacis natnra coope> 
rante a fratre suo 
inpregnata partorit : 
super quo pater, intol- 
lerabilem iuuentutis 
concupiscenciam ig- 
norans nimiaque furo- 
ris malencolia preuen- 
tuSy dictam fiiiam cum 
partu dolorosissimo 
casu interfid adiudi- 

Which in his Anger noght forberethy 

Wherof that after him forthenketh. 

Whan he is sobre and that he thenketh 140 

Upon the folie of his dede ; 

And of this point a tale I rede. 

Ther was a king which £oliis 
Was hote, and it befell him thus. 
That he tuo children hadde faire, 
The Sone cleped was Machaiie, 
The dowhter ek Canace hihte. 
Be daie bothe and ek be nyhte, 
Whil thei be yonge, of comun wone 
In chambre thei togedre wone, 150 

And as thei scholden pleide hem ofte, 
Til thei be growen up alofte 
Into the youthe of lusti age, 
Wlian kinde assaileth the corage 
With love and doth him forto bowe. 
That he no reson can allowe, 
Bot halt the lawes of nature : 
For whom that love hath under cure, 
As he is blind himself, riht so 
He makth his client blind also. 160 

In such manqre as I you telle 
As thei al day togedre duelle, 
This brother mihte it noght asterte 
That he with al his hole herte 
His love upon his Soster caste : P. i. 285 

And so it fell hem ate laste, 
That this Machaire with Canace 
Whan thei were in a prive place, 
Cupide bad hem ferst to kesse, 
And after sche which is Maistresse 170 

In kinde and techeth every lif 
Withoute la we positif. 
Of which sche takth nomaner charge, 

148 margin malencolia Hi . . . Bs 169 margin concupiscencia 

HiXR . . . Bt 168 Whan ... in a] Whan >at . . . in SAdBTA 

Whcnnc ... in W 


Bot kepth hire lawes al at large, [Tale of Canace 

Nature, tok hem into lore ^'*'' Machairb.] 

And tawht hem so, that overmore 
Sche hath hem in such wise daunted, 
That thei were, as who seith, enchaunted. 
And as the blinde an other ledeth 
And til thei falle nothing dredeth, 180 

Riht so thei hadde non insihte; 
Bot as the bridd which wole alihte 
And seth the mete and noght the net, 
Which in deceipte of him is set. 
This yonge folk no peril sihe, 
Bot that was likinge in here yhe, 
So that thei felle upon the chanc? 
Where witt hath lore his remembrance.^ 
So longe thei togedre assemble. 
The wombe aros, and sche gan tremble, 190 
And hield hire in hire chambre clos 
For drede it scholde be disclos 
And come to hire fader Ere: 
Wherof the Sone hadde also fere. 
And feigneth cause forto ryde ; P. i. 286 

For longe dorste he noght abyde, 
In aunter if men wolde sein 
That he his Soster hath forlein : 
For yit sche hadde it noght beknowe 
Whos was the child at thilke throwe. 200 

Machaire goth, Canace abit. 
The which was noght delivered yit, 
, Bot riht sone after that sche was. 
Now lest and herkne a woful cas. 
'I'he sothe, which mai noght ben hid. 
Was ate laste knowe and kid 
Unto the king, how that it stod. 
And whan that he it understod, 
Anon into Malencolie, 
As thogh it were a frenesie, a 10 

176 tawht (taught) AJ, B, F tawhte S overmore] euermore 

AMHiXGRCLBa, Ta, W i8i in sihte (in siht) AJM i86 

that] al B aoo drowe AM 


LE OF Canace He fell, as he which nothing cowthe 

. Machatre.] I^q^ maistrefuU love is in yowthe : 

And for he was to love strange, 

He wolde noght his herte change 

To be benigne and favorable 

To love, bot unmerciable 

Betwen the wawe of wod and wroth 

Into his dowhtres chambre he goth. 

And sih the child was late bore, 

Wherof he hath hise othes swore 220 

That sche it schal ful sore abye. 

And sche began merci to crie. 

Upon hire bare knes and preide. 

And to hire fader thus sche seide: 

' Ha mercy ! fader, thenk I am P. L 287 

Thi child, and of thi blod I cam. 

That I misdede yowthe it made, 

And in the flodes bad me wade, 

Wher that I sih no peril tho: 

Bot now it is befalle so, 230 

Merci, my fader, do no wreche ! ' 

And with that word sche loste speche 

And fell doun swounende at his fot. 

As sche for sorwe nedes mot. 

Bot his horrible crualte 

Ther mihte attempre no pite: 

Out of hire chambre forth he wente 

Al full of wraththe in his entente. 

And tok the conseil in his herte 

That sche schal noght the deth asterte, 240 

As he which Malencolien 

Of pacience hath no lien, 

Wherof his wraththe he mai restreigne. 

And in this wilde wode peine, 

Whanne al his resoun was untame, 

A kniht he clepeth be his name, 

And tok him as be weie of sonde 

A naked swerd to here on honde, 

And seide him that he scholde go 

And telle unto his dowhter so 250 


In the manere as he him bad, [Tale or Canac 

How sche that scharpe swerdes blad ^'*"' Machair«. 

Receive scholde and do withal 
So as sche wot wherto it schal. 
Forth in message goth this kniht P. i. 288 

Unto this wofuU yonge wiht, 
This scharpe swerd to hire he tok: 
Wherof that al hire bodi qwok, 
For wel sche wiste what it mente, 
And that it was to thilke entente 260 

That sche hireselven scholde slee. 
And to the kniht sche seide: *Yee, 
Now that I wot my fadres wille, 
That I schal in this wise spille, 
I wole obeie me therto, 
And as he wole it schal be do. 
Bot now this thing mai be non other, 
I wole a lettre unto mi brother, 
So as my fieble hand may wryte. 
With al my wofull herte endite.' 270 

Sche tok a Penne on honde tho, 
Fro point to point and al the wo, 
Als ferforth as hireself it wot. 
Unto hire dedly frend sche wrot. 
And tolde how that hire fader grace 
Sche mihte for nothing pourchace; 
And overthat, as thou schalt hiere, 
Sche wrot and seide in this manere: 
*0 thou my sorwe and my gladnesse, 
O thou myn hele and my siknesse, 280 

O my wanhope and al my trust, 
O my desese and al my lust, 
O thou my wele, o thou my wo, 
O thou my frend, o thou my fo, 
O thou my love, o thou myn hate, P. i. 289 
For thee mot I be ded algate. 
Thilke ende may I noght asterte, 
And yit with al myn hole herte, 
Whil that me lasteth eny breth, 
354 it schal] sche schal Hi . . . Bs, Ad aB6 For thee] ffor )»i B 


[Tale or Camace I wol the love into my deth. 190 

AND MaCHAIRB.] Bq^ Qf Q ^.jjg J 5^j^ ^^ p^gj^^ 

If that my litel Sone deie, 

Let him be beried in my grave 

Beside me, so schalt thou have 

Upon ous bothe remembrance. 

For thus it stant of my grevance; 

Now at this time, as thou schalt wite. 

With teres and with enke write 

This lettre I have in cares colde: 

In my riht bond my Penne I holde, 300 

And in my left the swerd I kepe, 

And in my barm ther lith to wepe 

I'hi child and myn, which sobbeth fiaste. 

Now am I come unto my laste: 

Fare wel, for I schal sone deie, 

And thenk how I thi love abeie.' 

The pomel of the swerd to grounde 

Sche sette, and with the point a wounde 

Thurghout hire herte anon sche made. 

And forth with that al pale and fade 310 

Sche fell doun ded fro ther sche stod. 

The child lay bathende in hire blod 

Out rolled fro the moder barm, 

And for the blod was hot and warm, 

He basketh him aboute thrinne. P. i. 090 

Ther was no bote forto winne, 

For he, which can no pite knowe, 

The king cam in the same throwe. 

And sih how that his dowhter dieth 

And how this Babe al blody crieth; 320 

Bot al that mihte him noght suffise. 

That he ne bad to do juise 

Upon the child, and here him oute. 

And seche in the Forest aboute 

Som wilde place, what it were. 

To caste him out of honde there. 

So that som beste him mai devoure, 

apo vnto Hi . . . Bt 313 modres (moderis, moders) Hi . . . Bj 

315 baskle]> AMHiSn, Saa basked C 


Where as noman him schal socoure. [Talk or Canack 

Al that he bad was don in dede : ^'*'' Macha«e.] 

Ha, who herde evere singe or rede 330 

Of such a thing as that was do? 

Bot he which ladde his wraththe so 

Hath knowe of love bot a lite; 

Bot for al that he was to wyte, 

Thurgh his sodein Malencolie 

To do so gret a felonie. 

Forthi, my Sone, how so it stonde, Confessor. 

Be this cas thou miht understonde 
That if thou evere in cause of love 
Schalt deme, and thou be so above 340 

That thou miht lede it at thi wille, 
Let nevere thurgh thi Wraththe spille 
Which every kinde scholde save. 
For it sit every man to have 
Reward to love and to his miht, P. i. 291 

Ayein whos strengthe mai no wiht : 
And siththe an herte is so constreigned, 
The reddour oghte be restreigned 
To him that mai no bet aweie, 
Whan he mot to nature obeie. 350 

For it is seid thus overal, 
That nedes mot that nede schal 
Of that a lif doth after kinde, 
Wherof he mai no bote finde. 
What nature hath set in hir lawe 
Ther mai no mannes miht withdrawe, 
And who that worcheth therayein, 
Fulofte time it hath be sein, 
Ther hath befalle gret vengance, 
Wherof I finde a remembrance. 360 

Ovide after the time tho [TiRtsiAs and the 

Tolde an ensample and seide so, Snakes] 

How that whilom Tiresias, 
As he walkende goth per cas. 

331 that] Jk) AM, Ad, Magd hyt W 354 I may Hi . . . Bs 
355 What )>ing nature ha)> set in lawe A . . . Bs, S . . . A 





Hie narrat qualiter 
resias in quodam 
onte duos serpentes 
uenit pariter com- 
iscentes, quos cum 
rga percussit. I rati 
i ob hoc quod natu- 
m impediuit, ipsum 
ntra naturam a for- 
K virili in muliebrem 





Upon an hih Montaine he sih 

Tuo Serpentz in his weie nyh, 

And thei, so as nature hem tawhte, 

Assembled were, and he tho cawhte 

A yerde which he bar on honde, 

And thoghte that he wolde fonde 

To letten hem, and smot hem bothe : 

Wherof the goddes weren wrothe ; 

And for he hath destourbed kinde 

And was so to nature unkinde, 

Unkindeliche he was transformed, P. i. ag» 

That he which erst a man was formed 

Into a woroman was forschape. 

That was to him an angri jape; 

Bot for that he with Angre wroghte, 

Hise Angres angreliche he boghte. 

Lo thus, my Sone, Ovide hath write, 
Wherof thou miht be reson wite, 
More is a man than such a beste: 
So mihte it nevere ben honeste 
A man to wraththen him to sore 
Of that an other doth the lore 
Of kinde, in which is no malice, 
Bot only that it is a vice: 
And thogh a man be resonable, 
Yit after kinde he is menable 
To love, wher he wole or non. 
Thenk thou, my Sone, therupon 
And do Malencolie aweie; 
For love hath evere his lust to pleie, 
As he which wolde no lif grieve. 

Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve; 
Al that ye tellen it is skile : 
Let every man love as he wile, 
Be so it be noght my ladi. 
For I schal noght be wroth therby. 
Bot that I wraththe and fare amis, 



390 menable HiXG, AdA, F 
AMBa, ST, Hs mevable R. 

movable) L, W 

menabe J raeuable (?) 

moeuable EC, B mouable 



P. i. 293 

Al one upon miself it is, 

That I with bothe love and kinde 

Am so bestad, that I can finde 

No weie how I it mai asterte: 

Which stant upon m3rn oghne herte 

And toucheth to non other lif, 

Save only to that swete wif 

For whom, hot if it be amended, 

Mi glade daies ben despended, 410 

That I miself schal noght forbere 

The Wraththe which that I now bere, 

For therof is non other leche. 

Now axeth forth, I yow beseche, 

Of Wraththe if ther oght elles is, 

Wherof to schryve. 

Sone, yis. 

ii. Ira mouet litem^ que lingue frena resoluens 
Laxa per infames currit vbique vias. 
Rixarum nutrix quos educat ista loqtuuesy 
Hos Venus a latere linquit habere vagos. 
Set pacienter agens tacitumo qui celet ore, 
Vtncity et optati carfiit amoris iter. 

Of Wraththe the secounde is Cheste, 
\Vhich hath the wyndes of tempeste 
To kepe, and many a sodein blast 
He bloweth, wherof ben agast 420 

Thei that desiren pes and reste. 
He is that ilke ungoodlieste 
Which many a lusti love hath twinned; 
For he berth evere his mowth unpinned, 
So that his lippes ben unloke 
And his corage is al tobroke, 
That every thing which he can telle. 
It springeth up as doth a welle, 
Which mai non of his stremes hyde, 
Bot renneth out on every syde. 430 

So buillen up the foule sawes P. i. 294 

40a Al one] Along(e) HiG . . . Bs All longe X 408 Save] Saufly B 
Laiin Verses ii. 6 Vincit] Viuat Hi . . . CB» Viuit L 


[ii. Chistk.] 

Hie tractat Confes- 
sor super secunda 
specie Ire, que Lis 
dicitur, ex cuius con- 
tumeliis innumerosa 
dolorum occasio tarn 
in amoris causa quam 
aliter in quampluribus 
sepissime exorta est. 


[Cheste.'] That Cheste wot of his felawes : 

For as a Sive kepeth Ale, 
Riht so can Cheste kepe a tale ; 
Al that he wot he wol desclose, 
And speke er eny man oppose. 
As a Cite withoute wal, 
Wher men mai gon out overal 
Withouten eny resistence, 

So with his croked eloquence 440 

He spekth al that he wot withinne: 
Wherof men lese mor than winne, 
For ofte time of his chidinge 
He bringth to house such tidinge, 
That makth werre ate beddeshed. 
He is the levein of the bred, 
Which soureth all the past aboute: 
Men oghte wel such on to doute, 
For evere his bowe is redi bent, 
And whom he hit I telle him schent, 450 

If he mai perce him with his tunge. 
And ek so lowde his belle is runge, 
That of the noise and of the soun 
Men feeren hem in al the toun 
Welmore than thei don of thonder. 
For that is cause of more wonder; 
For with the wyndes whiche he bloweth 
Fulofte sythe he overthroweth 
The Cites and the policie, 
That I have herd the poeple crie, 460 

And echon seide in his degre, P. i. 295 

*Ha wicke tunge, wo thee be I' 
For men sein that the harde bon, 
Althogh himselven have non, 
A tunge brekth it al to pieces. 
He hath so manye sondri spieces 
Of vice, that I mai noght wel 
Descrive hem be a thousendel : 
Bot whan that he to Cheste falleth, 

445 makep . . . at Hi . . . B<, BA 446 He] His FWKHs 

It Magd 



Ful many a wonder thing be^eth, 470 

For he ne can nothing forbere. 

Now tell me, Sone, thin ansuere, 
If it hath evere so betidd, 
That thou at eny time hast chidd 
Toward thi love. 

Fader, nay; 
Such Cheste yit unto this day 
Ne made I nevere, god forbede : 
For er I sunge such a crede, 
I hadde levere to be lewed; 
For thanne were I al beschrewed 480 

And worthi to be put abak 
With al the sorwe upon my bale 
That eny man ordeigne cowthe. 
Bot I spak nevere yit be mowthe 
That unto Cheste mihte touche. 
And that I durste riht wel vouche 
Upon hirself as for witnesse ; 
For I wot, of hir gentilesse 
That sche me wolde wel excuse, 
That I no suche thinges use. 
And if it scholde so betide 
That I algates moste chide. 
It myhte noght be to my love: 
For so yit was I nevere above, 
For al this wyde world to winne 
That I dorste eny word beginne. 
Be which sche mihte have ben amoeved 
And I of Cheste also reproeved, 
Bot rathere, if it mihte hir Hke, 
The beste wordes wolde I pike 500 

Whiche I cowthe in myn herte chese, 
And serve hem forth in stede of chese, 
For that is helplich to defie; 
And so wolde I my wordes plie. 
That mihten Wraththe and Cheste avale 


Opponit Confessor. 

Confessio Amantis. 


P. i. 296 

476 yit ow. AM 478 synge (sing) HiXECBi, AdBA, Hs 

480 be schrewed FK 490 no ))inges suche HiXGRCBt no thynge 
suche W 504 wolde I] wolde (ow. I) FKHs wolle I W 


[Chestk.] With tellinge of my softe tale. 

Thus dar I make a foreward, 
That nevere unto my ladiward 
Yit spak I word in such a wise, 
Wherof that Cheste scholde arise. 510 

This seie I noght, that I fulofte 
Ne have, whanne I spak most softe, 
Per cas seid more thanne ynowh ; 
Bot so wel halt noman the plowh 
That he ne balketh otherwhile, 
Ne so wel can noman affile 
His tunge, that som time in rape 
Him mai som liht word overscape, 
And yit ne meneth he no Cheste. 
Bot that I have ayein hir heste 520 

Fulofte spoke, I am beknowe ; P. i. 297 

AnH how my will is, that ye knowe: 
For whan my time comth aboute, 
That I dar speke and seie al oute 
Mi longe love, of which sche wot 
That evere in on aliche hot 
Me grieveth, thanne al my desese 
I telle, and though it hir desplese, 
I speke it forth and noght ne leve: 
And thogh it be beside hire leve, 530 

I hope and trowe natheles 
That I do noght ayein the pes ; 
For thogh I telle hire al my thoght, 
Sche wot wel that I chyde noght. 
Men mai the hihe god beseche. 
And he wol hiere a mannes speche 
And be noght wroth of that he seith ; 
So yifth it me the more feith 
And makth me hardi, soth to seie. 
That I dar wel the betre preie 540 

Mi ladi, which a womman is. 
For thogh I telle hire that or this 
Of love, which me grieveth sore, 

519 mcue)» (?) JMXELBi, W mocue]> GC 53a the] hir (hire) Hi 
. ' . Bi 536 hire B 


Hire oghte noght be wroth the more, [Chestk.] 

For I withoute noise or cri 
Mi pleignte make al buxomly 
To puten alle wraththe away. 
Thus dar I seie unto this day 
Of Cheste in emest or in game 
Mi ladi schal me nothing blame. 550 

Bot ofte time it hath betidd P. i. 298 

That with miselven I have chidd, 
That noman couthe betre chide: 
And that hath ben at every tide, 
Whanne I cam to miself al one ; 
For thanne I made a prive mone. 
And every tale by and by. 
Which as I spak to my ladi, 
I thenke and peise in my balance 
And drawe into my remembrance; 560 

And thanne, if that I finde a lak 
Of eny word that I mispak, 
Which was to moche in eny wise, 
Anon my wittes I despise 
And make a chidinge in myn herte. 
That eny word me scholde asterte 
Which as I scholde have holden inne. 
And so forth after I beginne 
And loke if ther was elles oght 
To speke, and I ne spak it noght: 570 

And thanne, if I mai seche and finde 
That eny word be left behinde. 
Which as I scholde more have spoke, 
I wolde upon miself be wroke, 
And chyde with miselven so 
That al my wit is overgo. 
For noman mai his time lore 
Recovere, and thus I am therfore 
So overwroth in al my thoght, 
That I myself chide al to noght : 580 

Thus for to moche or for to lite P. i. 299 

Fulofte I am miself to wyte. 

573 S has lost ihrte leaves (11. 573-1 iia) 581 Thus] That B 






Seneca. Paciencia 
est vindicta omnium 



Bot al that mai me noght availe, 

With cheste thogh I me travaile : 

Bot Oule on Stock and Stock on Oule; 

The more that a man defoule, 

Men witen wel which hath the werse ; 

And so to me nys worth a kerse, 

Bot tometh on myn oghne hed, 

Thogh I, til that I were ded, 

Wolde evere chyde in such a wise 

Of love as I to you devise. 

Bot, fader, now ye have al herd 

In this manere how I have ferd 

Of Cheste and of dissencioun, 

Yif me youre absolucioun. 

Mi Sone, if that thou wistest al, 
What Cheste doth in special 
To love and to his welwillinge, 
Thou woldest ilen his knowlechinge 
And lerne to be debonaire. 
For who that most can speke faire 
Is most acordende unto love: 
Fair speche hath ofte brought above 
Ful many a man, as it is knowe. 
Which elles scholde have be riht lowe 
And failed mochel of his wille. 
Forthi hold thou thi tunge stille 
And let thi witt thi wille areste. 
So that thou falle noght in Cheste, 
Which is the source of gret destance : P. L 300 
And tak into thi remembrance 
If thou miht gete pacience. 
Which is the leche of alle offence, 
As tellen ous these olde wise : 
For whan noght elles mai suffise 
Be strengthe ne be mannes wit, 
Than pacience it oversit 
And overcomth it ate laste ; 
Bot he mai nevere longe laste, 

61 r destrance AM 6ia vnto Hi . . . B« 

t] ouercome)» C 


6x9 overcomth 


Which wol noght bowe er that he breke. 
Tak hiede, Sone, of that I speke. 
Mi fader, of your goodli speche 
And of the witt which ye me teche 
I thonke you with al myn herte : 
For that world schal me nevere asterte, 
That I ne schal your wordes holde, 
Of Pacience as ye me tolde, 
Als ferforth as myn herte thenketh; 
And of my wraththe it me forthenketh. 
Bot, fader, if ye forth withal 
Som good ensample in special 
Me wolden telle of som Cronique, 
It scholde wel myn herte like 
Of pacience forto hiere, 
So that I mihte in mi matiere 
The more unto my love obeie 
And puten mi desese aweie. 





P. i. 301 

Mi Sone, a man to beie him pes 
Behoveth sofTre as Socrates 
Ensample lefte, which is write: 
And for thou schalt the sothe wite, 
Of this ensample what I mene, 
Althogh it be now litel sene 
Among the men thilke evidence, 
Yit he was upon pacience 
So sett, that he himself assaie 
In thing which mihte him most mispaie 
Desireth, and a wickid wif 
He weddeth, which in sorwe and strif 
Ayein his ese was contraire. 
Bot he spak evere softe and faire, 
Til it befell, as it is told^ 
In wynter, whan the dai is cold. 
This wif was fro the welle come, 
Wher that a pot with water nome 

624 wich F 6a6 world (worlde) AM, AdTA, FHs word J Hi 

. . . Bi, BA, W 633 teche YEC, B of] in AM, Ha 639 

a man to] for to B 647 assaie ont, A (p, m.) to assaie M, Hs 

assayed X did assai A 

R 2 

[Patiencb op 


Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum de pacien- 
cia in amore contra 
liteshabenda. Etnar- 
rat qualiter vxor So- 
cratis ipsum quodam 
die multis sermonibus 
litigauit ; set cum ipse 
absque vlla respon- 
sione omnia probra 
pacienter sustiUit, in- 
dignata vxor quan- 
dam ydriam plenam 
aque, quam in manu 
tenebat, super caput 
viri sui subito effudit, 
dicens, *Euigila et lo- 
quere ' : qui respon- 
dens tunc ait, ' O vere 
iam scio et expertus 



'atience of 


[uia post vento- 
rabiem sequun- 
nbres ' : et isto 
litis contume- 
ua paciencia de- 

Sche hath, and broghte it into house. 

And sih how that hire seli spouse 

Was sett and loked on a bok 

Nyh to the fyr, as he which tok 660 

His ese for a man of age. 

And sche b^an the wode rage, 

And axeth him what devel he thoghte. 

And bar on bond that him ne roghte 

What labour that sche toke on honde. 

And seith that such an Housebonde 

Was to a wif noght worth a Stre. 

He seide nowther nay ne ye, 

Bot hield him stille and let hire chyde; 

And sche, which mai hirself noght hyde, 670 

Began withinne forto swelle, P. i. 302 

And that sche broghte in fro the welle. 

The waterpot sche hente alofte 

And bad him speke, and he al softe 

Sat stille and noght a word ansuerde; 

And sche was wroth that he so ferde, 

And axeth him if he be ded; 

And al the water on his hed 

She pourede oute and bad awake. 

Bot he, which wolde noght forsake 680 

His Pacience, thanne spak. 

And seide how that he fond no lak 

In nothing which sche hadde do: 

For it was wynter time tho, 

And wynter, as be weie of kinde 

Which stormy is, as men it finde, 

Ferst makth the wyndes forto blowe. 

And after that withinne a throwe 

He reyneth and the watergates 

Undoth ; ' and thus my wif algates, 690 

Which is with reson wel besein. 

Hath mad me bothe wynd and rein 

After the Sesoun of the yen' 

And thanne he sette him nerr the fer. 

663 axex F 

679 bad] bad him AM, Hs 



And as he mihte hise clothes dreide, 
That he nomore o word ne seide; 
Wherof he gat him somdel reste, 
For that him thoghte was the beste. 

I not if thilke ensample yit 
Acordeth with a mannes wit, 
To soffre as Socrates tho dede: 
And if it falle in eny stede 
A man to lese so his galle, 
Him oghte among the wommen alle 
In loves Court be juggement 
The name here of Pacient, 
To yive ensample to the goode 
Of pacience how that it stode, 
That othre men it mihte knowe. 
And, Sone, if thou at eny throwe 
Be tempted ayein Pacience, 
Tak hiede upon this evidence; 
It schal per cas the lasse grieve. 

Mi fader, so as I believe, 
Of that schal be no maner nede. 
For I wol take so good hiede, 
That er I falle in such assai, 
I thenke eschuie it, if I mai. 
Bot if ther be oght elles more 
Wherof I mihte take lore, 
I preie you, so as I dar, 
Now telleth, that I mai be war, 
Som other tale in this matiere. 

Sone, it is evere good to lere, 
Wherof thou miht thi word restreigne, 
£r that thou falle in eny peine. 
For who that can no conseil hyde, 
He mai noght faile of wo beside, 
Which schal befalle er he it wite. 
As I finde in the bokes write. 

[Patibnce op 


P. i. 303 






Yit cam ther nevere good of strif, P. i. 304 
To seche in all a mannes lif: 

704 Him] He Hi . . . Bi 

739 teche XERCBa 



[JuKTER, Juno and 


Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum, quod de 
alterius lite intromit- 
tere cauendum est 
£t narrat qualiter 
lupiier cum lunone 
super quadam que- 
stione litigabat, vide- 
licet vtrum vir an 
mulier in amoris con- 
cupiscenda feruen- 
cius ardebat; super 
quo Tiresiam eonim 
iudicem constituebant. 
£t quia ille contra lu- 
nonem in dicte litis 
causa sentenciam dif- 
finiuit, irata dea ipsum 
amborum oculorum 
lumine claritatis abs- 
que remissione priua- 




Thogh it b^nne on pure game, 
Fulofte it tometh into grame 
And doth grevance upon som side. 
Wherof the grate Clerk Ovide 
After the lawe which was tho 
Of Jupiter and of Juno 
Makth in his bokes mencioun 
How thei felle at dissencioun 
In manere as it were a horde, 
As thei b^unne forto worde 
Among hemself in privete : 
And that was upon this degree, 
Which of the tuo more amorous is, 
Or man or wif. And upon this 
Thei mihten noght acorde in on, 
And toke a jugge therupon, 
AVhich cleped is Tiresias, 
And bede him demen in the cas; 
And he withoute avisement 
Ayein Juno yaf juggement. 
This goddesse upon his ansuere 
Was wroth and wolde noght forbere, 
Bot tok awey for everemo 
The liht fro bothe hise yhen tuo. 
Whan Jupiter this harm hath sein, 
An other bienfait therayein 
He yaf, and such a grace him doth, 
That for he wiste he seide soth, 
A Sothseiere he was for evere : 
Bot yit that other were levere. 
Have had the lokinge of his yhe, 
Than of his word the prophecie ; 
Bot how so that the sothe wente, 
Strif was the cause of that he hente 
So gret a peine bodily. 

Mi Sone, be thou war ther by. 

733 on] in HiXE . . . Bs, Ad A, W of G, B 741 aborde A, FK 
743 »PtargiM constituebat Hi • • . Bs 750 the cas] fa cas BA, W 

756 hise] her B 769 were him leuere Hi . . . Bt hadde leu#r W 
765 Bot] Lo Hi . . . Bfl 


P. i. 305 



And hold thi tunge stille clos: 

For who that hath his word desclos 770 

Er that he wite what he mene, 

He is fulofte nyh his tene 

And lest ful many time grace, 

Wher that he wolde his thonk pourchace. 

And over this, my Sone diere, 

Of othre men, if thou miht hiere 

In privete what thei have wroght. 

Hold conseil and descoevere it noght, 

For Cheste can no conseil hele, 

Or be it wo or be it wele: 780 

And tak a tale into thi mynde, 

The which of olde ensample I finde. 

Phebus, which makth the daies lihte, 
A love he hadde, which tho hihte 
Cornide, whom aboven alle 
He pleseth: bot what schal befalle 
Of love ther is noman knoweth, 
Bot as fortune hire happes throweth. 
So it befell upon a chaunce, 
A yong kniht tok hire aqueintance 
And hadde of hire al that he wolde : P. i. 
Bot a fals bridd, which sche hath holde 
And kept in chambre of pure yowthe, 
Discoevereth all that evere he cowthe. 
This briddes name was as tho 
Corvus, the which was thanne also 
Welmore whyt than eny Swan, 
And he that schrewe al that he can 
Of his ladi to Phebus seide; 
And he for wraththe his swerd outbreide, 800 
With which Cornide anon he slowh. 
Bot after him was wo ynowh, 
And tok a full gret repentance, 
Wherof in tokne and remembrance 

773 many a time CL, B, W 778 it om. AJM, KHs hem A 

784 margin Quia] Qualiter Hi . . . Bs 788 happe (hap) Hi . . . 

CBs, W happe)) L 795 margin fiierit HiXRCLBi fuerat G£ 

798 that] >e Hi . . . Bs, B 


[Phebcts and 


Quia litigantea ora 
sua cohiberenequiunt, 
hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra Ulos 
qui in amoris causa 
alterius consilium re« 
uelare presumunt £t 
narrat qualiter que- 
790 dam auis tunc albis- 
nf%^ sima nomine coruus 
^ consilium domine sue 
Cornide Phebo denu- 
dauit; vnde contigitnon 
solum ipsam Comidem 
interfici, set et coruum, 
qui antea tanquam nix 
albus fuit, in piceum 
colorem pro peq>etuo 



[Phebus and 


[Jupiter and Laar.] 

Hie loquitur super 
eodem : Et narrat qua- 
liter Laar Nimpha de 
eo quod lupiter lutur- 
nam adulterauit,Iuno- 
ni louis vxori secret- 
um reuelauitQuaprop- 
ter lupiter ira commo- 
tus lingua Laaris prius 
abscisa ipsam postea 
in profundum Ache- 
rontis exulem pro 
perpetuo mancipauit. 


Of hem whiche usen wicke speche. 
Upon this bridd he tok this wreche. 
That ther he was snow whyt tofore, 
Evere afterward colblak therfore 
He was transformed, as it scheweth. 
And many a man yit him beschreweth, 
And clepen him into this day 
A Raven, be whom yit men mai 
Take evidence, whan he crieth, 
That som mishapp it signefieth. 
Be war therfore and sei the beste, 
If thou wolt be thiself in reste, 
Mi goode Sone, as I the rede. 

For in an other place I rede 
Of thilke Nimphe which Laar hihte : 
For sche the privete be nyhte, 
How Jupiter lay be Jutome, 
Hath told, god made hire overtome : 
Hire tunge he kutte, and into helle 
For evere he sende hir forto duelle. 
As sche that was noght worthi hiere 
To ben of love a Chamberere, 
For sche no conseil cowthe hele. 
And suche adaies be now fele 
In loves Court, as it is seid, 
That lete here tunges gon unteid. 

Mi Sone, be thou non of tho. 
To jangle and telle tales so. 
And namely that thou ne chyde, 
For Cheste can no conseil hide, 
For Wraththe seide nevere wel. 

Mi fader, soth is everydel 
That ye me teche, and I wol holde 
The reule to which I am holde. 
To fle the Cheste, as ye me bidde, 
For wel is him that nevere chidde. 


P. i. 307 



807 snow whyt J, B, F snowwhyt A 808 colblak A, F col 

blak J, B 817 the om, B 818 For] Lo Hi . . . Bt, B More W 
8a9 god] and B margin secretam AMHiXRCLBs, Hs 831 

margin Amans A 



Now tell me forth if ther be more 
As touchende unto Wraththes lore. 

iii. Demanis est odium quasi Scriba^ cui dabit Ira 
Afateriam scripti cordis ad antra sui, 
Non laxabit amor odii quern frena restringunt^ 
Nee seer eta sui iuris adire sinit. 

Of Wraththe yit ther is an other, 
Which is to Cheste his oghne brother, 
And is be name cleped Hate, 
That sofTreth noght withinne his gate 
That ther come owther love or pes, P. i. 308 
For he wol make no reles 
Of no debat which is befalle. 

Now spek, if thou art on of alle, 850 

That with this vice hast ben withholde. 

As yit for oght that ye me tolde. 
Mi fader, I not what it is. 

In good feith, Sone, I trowe yis. 

Mi fader, nay, bot ye me lere. 

Now lest, my Sone, and thou schalt here. 
Hate is a wraththe noght schewende, 
Bot of long time gaderende, 
And duelleth in the herte loken. 
Til he se time to be wroken ; 860 

And thanne he scheweth his tempeste 
Mor sodein than the wilde beste. 
Which wot nothing what merci is. 
Mi Sone, art thou knowende of this ? 

My goode fader, as I wene, 
Now wot I somdel what ye mene ; 
Bot I dar sauily make an oth. 
Mi ladi was me nevere loth. 
I wol noght swere natheles 
That I of hate am gulteles ; 870 

For whanne I to my ladi plie 
Fro dai to dai and merci crie. 
And sche no merci on me leith 
Bot schorte wordes to me seith, 
Thogh I my ladi love algate, 
848 margin velud B, F 858 gadarende F 868 me] mo AM 

[iii. Hats.] 

Hie tractat Confes- 
sor de tercia specie 
Ire, que Odium dicitur, 
cuius naturaomnes Ire 
inimicicias ad mentem 
reducens, illas vsque 
ad tempus vindicte ve- 
lut Scriba demonis in 
cordis papiro com- 
memorandas inserit. 

Confessio Amantis. 


[Hati.] Tho wordes moste I nedes hate; 

And wolde thei were al despent, P. L 309 

Or so ferr oute of londe went 

That I nevere after scholde hem hiere; 

And yit love I my ladi diere. 880 

Thus is ther Hate, as ye mai se, 

Betwen my ladi word and me; 

The word I hate and hire I love, 

What so me schal betide of love. 

Bot forthere mor I wol me schryve, 
That I have hated al my lyve 
These janglers, whiche of here Envie 
Ben evere redi forto lie; 
For with here fals compassement 
Fuloften thei have mad me schent 890 

And hindred me fulofte time, 
Whan thei no cause wisten bime, 
Bot onliche of here oghne thoght : 
And thus fuloften have I boght 
The lie, and drank noght of the wyn. 
I wolde here happ were such as myn : 
For how so that I be now schrive, 
To hem ne mai I noght foryive, 
Til that I se hem at debat 
With love^ and thanne myn astat 900 

Thei mihten be here oghne deme, 
And loke how wel it scholde hem qweme 
To hindre a man that loveth sore. 
And thus I hate hem everemore, 
Til love on hem wol don his wreche: 
For that schal I alway beseche 
Unto the mihti Cupido, P. L 310 

That he so mochel wolde do, 
So as he is of love a godd, 
To smyte hem with the same rodd 910 

With which I am of love smite ; 
So that thei mihten knowe and wite 
How hindringe is a wofull peine 

900 thanne] )>an wi> HiXGECLBa, B >an in R 90Z hire F 
906 I schal AM, KHsMagd 


To him that love wolde atteigne. [Hate.] 

Thus evere on hem I wayte and hope, 

Til I mai sen hem lepe a lope, 

And halten on the same Sor 

Which I do now: for overmor 

I wolde thanne do my myht 

So forto stonden in here lyht, 920 

That thei ne scholden finde a weie 

To that thei wolde, hot aweie 

I wolde hem putte out of the stede 

Fro love, riht as thei me dede 

With that thei speke of me be mowthe. 

So wolde I do, if that I cowthe. 

Of hem, and this, so god me save. 

Is al the hate that I have, 

Toward these janglers everydid ; 

I wolde alle othre ferde wel. 930 

Thus have I, fader, said mi wille; 

Say ye now forth, for I am stille. 

Mi Sone, of that thou hast me said Confessor. 

I holde me noght fuUi paid: 
That thou wolt haten eny man, 
To that acorden I ne can, 
Thogh he have hindred thee tofore. P. i. 311 
Bot this I telle thee therfore. 
Thou miht upon my beneicoun 
Wel haten the condicioun 940 

Of tho janglers, as thou me toldest, 
Bot furthermor, of that thou woldest 
Hem hindre in eny other wise. 
Such Hate is evere to despise. 
Forthi, mi Sone, I wol thee rede. 
That thou drawe in be frendlihede 
That thou ne miht noght do be hate; 
So miht thou gete love algate 
And sette thee, my Sone, in reste, 
For thou schalt finde it for the beste. 950 

918 ouermor F eueremore (euer mor etc.) A . . . Bs, AdBTA, 
WKHs 921 finde] haue AM, KHsMagd be put L 941 tho] )>e 
Hi . . . Ba, AdB, W 



[King Namplus and 
THX Greeks.] 

Hicponit Confessor 
exemplum contra illos 
qui, cum Ire sue odium 
aperte vindicare non 
possint, ficta dissimi- 
lacione vindictam sub- 
dole assequuntur. £t 
narratquod cum Pala- 
mades princeps Gre- 
corum in obsidione 
Troie a quibusdam suis 
emulis proditorie in- 
terfectus fuisset, pa- 
fterque suus Rex Nam- 
plus in patria sua tunc 
existeos huiusmodi 
euentus certitudinem 

P. i 31a 


And over this, so as I dar, 

I rede that thou be riht war 

Of othre mennes hate aboute, 

Which every wysman scholde doute : 

For Hate is evere upon await^ 

And as the fisshere on his bait 

Sleth, whan he seth the fisshes faste, 

So, whan he seth time ate laste, 

That he mai worche an other wo, 

Schal noman tomen him therfro, 960 

That Hate nyle his felonie 

Fulfille and feigne compaignie 

Yit natheles, for fals Semblant 

Is toward him of covenant 

Withholde, so that under bothe 

The prive wraththe can him clothe, 

That he schal seme of gret believe. 

Bot war thee wel that thou ne lieve 

Al that thou sest tofore thin yhe, 

So as the Gregois whilom syhe: 970 

The bok of Troie who so rede, 

Ther mai he finde ensample in dede. 

Sone after the destruccioun, 
Whan Troie was al bete doun 
And slain was Priamus the king, 
The Gregois, whiche of al this thing 
Ben cause, tomen hom ayein. 
Ther mai noman his happ withsein; 
It hath be sen and felt fulofte. 
The harde time after the softe: 980 

Be See as thei forth homward wente, 
A rage of gret tempeste hem hente ; 
Juno let bende hire parti bowe, 
The Sky wax derk, the wynd gan blowe, 
The firy welkne gan to thondre. 
As thogh the world scholde al to sondre ; 

970 >e whilom HiXGCL 973 destrucciouM AJ, B destniccion 

F 979 fftargtM assequentur A 989 margin proditonun 

HiXRCLBi 983 margin patroque X . . . Ba 



Fro hevene out of the watergates 
The reyni Storm fell doun algates 
And al here takel made unwelde, 
That noman mihte himself bewelde. 
Ther mai men hiere Schipmen crie, 
That stode in aunter forto die: 
He that behinde sat to stiere 
Mai noght the forestempne hiere; 
The Schip aros ayein the wawes, 
The lodesman hath lost his lawes, 
The See bet in on every side: P. 

Thei nysten what fortune abide, 
Bot sette hem al in goddes wille, 
Wher he hem wolde save or spille. 

And it fell thilke time thus: 
Ther was a king, the which Namplus 
Was bote, and he a Sone hadde, 
At Troie which the Gregois ladde, 
As he that was mad Prince of alle, 
Til that fortune let him falle: 
His name was Palamades. 
Bot thurgh an hate natheles 
Of some of hem his deth was cast 
And he be tresoun overcast. 
His fader, whan he herde it telle, 
He swor, if evere his time felle. 
He wolde him venge, if that he mihte. 
And therto his avou behihte: 
And thus this king thurgh prive hate 
Abod upon await algate. 
For he was noght of such emprise 
To vengen him in open Vise. 
The fame, which goth wyde where, 
Makth knowe how that the Gregois were 
Homward with al the felaschipe 
Fro Troie upon the See be Schipe. 
Namplus, whan he this understod, 
And knew the tydes of the flod, 

1000 wolde hem AM , A, WHs 1005 margin £t sic quoquf Hi . . . B« 
1007 margin latitantem B Z014 behihte] he hight(e) GCL, W 

[King Namplus and 
THE Greeks.] 

sciuissetjGrecos insui 
cordis odium super cm* 
990 nia recollegit. Vnde 
contigit quod, cum 
Greci deuicta Troia 
per altum mare versus 
Greciam nauigio re- 
meantes obscurissimo 
noctis tempore nimia 
ventorum tempestate 
iactabantur, Rex Nam- 
plus in terra sua con- 
1^ ^j^ tra litus maris, vbi ma- 
• «*« iora saxorum emine- 
bant pericula, super 
cacumina mo'ntium 
grandissimos noctan- 
1000 ter fecit ignes : quos 
Greci aspicientes sal- 
uum portum ibidem 
inuenire certissime 
putabant, et terram ap- 
proximantes diruptis 
nauibus magna pars 
Grecorum periclitaba- 
tur. £tsic,quod Nam- 
plus viribus nequiit, 
odio latitante per dis- 
similacionis fraudem 




CxHc Namplus and And sih the wynd blew to the lond, 

TH« Greeks.] ^ ^^^ deceipte anon he fond 

Of prive hate, as thou schalt hiere, P. L 314 

Wherof I telle al this matiere. 

This king the weder gan beholde, 

And wiste wel thei moten holde lo^o 

Here cours endlong his marche riht, 

And made upon the derke nyht 

Of grete Schydes and of blockes 

Gret fyr ayein the grete rockes. 

To schewe upon the helles hihe, 

So that the Flete of Grece it sihe. 

And so it fell riht as he thoghte: 

This Flete, which an havene soghte. 

The bryghte fyres sih a ferr, 

And thei hem drowen nerr and nerr, 1040 

And wende wel and understode 

How al that fyr was mad for goode, 

To schewe wher men scholde aryve, 

And thiderward thei hasten blyve. 

In Semblant, as men sein, is guile, 

And that was proved thilke while; 

The Schip, which wende his helpe acroche, 

Drof al to pieces on the roche, 

And so ther deden ten or twelve; 

Ther mihte noman helpe himselve, 1050 

For ther thei wenden deth ascape, 

Withouten help here deth was schape. 

Thus thei that comen ferst tofore 

Upon the Rockes be forlore, 

Bot thurgh the noise and thurgh the cri 

These othre were al war therby; 

And whan the dai began to rowe, P. L 315 

Tho mihten thei the sothe knowe. 

That wher they wenden frendes finde^ 

Thei founden frenschipe al behinde. 1060 

The lond was thanne sone weyved, 

Z098 this] my B X099 The king B 1031 Here] His 

AM, Hs Hir(e) J, T 1044 afterward B 1047 This achip 

Hi . . . Bi, B Z060 frenschipe A, F frenschip J finendschip B 



Wher that thei hadden be deceived. 
And toke hem to the hihe See ; 
Therto thei seiden alle yee. 
Fro that dai forth and war thei were 
Of that thei hadde assaied there. 

Mi Sone, hierof thou miht avise 
How fraude stant in many wise 
Amonges hem that guile thenke; 
Ther is no Scrivein with his enke 
Which half the fraude wryte can 
That stant in such a maner man : 
Forthi the wise men ne demen 
The thinges after that thei semen, 
Bot after that thei knowe and finde. 
The Mirour scheweth in his kinde 
As he hadde al the world withinne. 
And is in soth nothing therinne; 
And so farth Hate for a throwe: 
Til he a man hath overthrowe, 
Schal noman knowe be his chere 
Which is avant, ne which arere. 
Forthi, mi Sone, thenke on this. 

Mi fader, so I wole ywiss; 
And if ther more of Wraththe be, 
Now axeth forth per charite. 
As ye be youre bokes knowe, 
And I the sothe schal beknowe. 

[King Namplus and 
THE Greeks.] 





P. I 316 


Qui cohibere tnanum nequit^ et sit spiritus eius 
Naribus, hie populo sepe timendus erit, 

Sepius in luctum Venus et sua gaudia transfert^ 
Cumque suis thalamis talis amicus adest. 

Est amor ampiexu non ictibus allicienduSy 
Frangit amicicias impetuosa manus. 

Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde 
That yit towardes Wraththe stonde 
Of dedly vices othre tuo : 




Z065 dai] tyme Hi . . . Bs, B 
that Hi 

Latin Verses iv. z sit] sic Hi . . . Bs, B, WHs 

war] what X . . . Bt, B what 



[Comtek and Homi- 

Hie tractat Confes- 
sor super quarta et 
quinta specie Ire, que 
impetuositas et homi- 
cidium dicuntur. Set 
primo de impetuosi- 
tate specialius tractare 
intendit, cuius natura 
spiritum in naribus 
gestandoad omnesire 
mociones in vindictam 
parata pacienciam nul- 
iatenus obseruat. 

Opponit Confessor. 

Confessio Amantis. 

And forto telle here names so, 

It is Contek and Homicide, 

That ben to drede on every side. 

Contek, so as the bokes sein, 

Folhast hath to his Chamberlein, 

Be whos conseil al unavised 

Is Pacience most despised. 

Til Homicide with hem meete. 

Fro merci thei ben al unmeete, noo 

And thus ben thei the worste of alle 

Of hem whiche unto wraththe falle, 

In dede bothe and ek in thoght : 

For thei acompte here wraththe at noght, 

Bot if ther be schedinge of blod; 

And thus lich to a beste wod 

Thei knowe noght the god of lif. 

Be so thei have or swerd or knif 

Here dedly wraththe forto wreke, 

Of Pite list hem noght to speke; mo 

Non other reson thei ne fonge, 

Bot that thei ben of mihtes stronge. 

Bot war hem wel in other place, 

Where every man behoveth grace, 

Bot ther I trowe it schal hem faile, 

To whom no merci mihte availe, 

Bot wroghten upon tiraundie. 

That no pite ne mihte hem plie. 

Now tell, my Sone. 

Fader, what? 
If thou hast be coupable of that. 11 ao 

Mi fader, nay, Crist me forbiede: 

I speke onliche as of the dede, 

Of which I nevere was coupable 

Withoute cause resonable. 

Bot this is noght to mi matiere 

Of schrifle, why we sitten hiere ; 

1094 to drede] togidre B to geder Ht 1108 thei] pc F 

III9 Bot that] But (Bot) at H1XCLB9 1113 S rtsumts 1x18 

ne om, MHiL, A, WHs X119 my] me £L, W me my Hi 

ixaa as of] as for M, Ad of L xxa3 was neuer(e) Hi, Ad, WHs 

P. i. 317 


For we ben sett to schiyve of love, [Contek within thi 

As we begunne ferst above: eart.j 

And natheles I am beknowe 
That as touchende of loves throwe, 1130 

Whan I my wittes overwende, 
Min hertes contek hath non ende, 
Bot evere it stant upon debat 
To gret desese of myn astat 
As for the time that it lasteth. 
For whan mi fortune overcasteth 
Hire whiel and is to me so strange, 
And that I se sche wol noght change, 
Than caste I al the world aboute, 
And thenke hou I at home and oute 1140 

Have al my time in vein despended, 
And se noght how to ben amended, 
Bot rathere forto be empeired, P. i. 318 

As he that is welnyh despeired: 
For I ne mai no thonk deserve, 
And evere I love and evere I serve, 
And evere I am aliche nerr. 
Thus, for I stonde in such a wer, 
I am, as who seith, out of herre ; 
And thus upon miself the werre 1150 

I bringe, and putte out alle pes. 
That I fulofte in such a res 
Am wery of myn oghne lif. 
So that of Contek and of strif 
I am beknowe and have ansuerd, 
As ye, my fader, now have herd. 
Min herte is wonderly begon 
With conseil, wherof witt is on, 
Which hath resoun in compaignie; 
Ayein the whiche stant partie 11 60 

Will, which hath hope of his acord. 
And thus thei bringen up descord. 
Witt and resoun conseilen ofte 
That I myn herte scholde softe, 
And that I scholde will remue 
1 145 >ong J, F ))ing BA, W 1164 I om, XRCLB«, H» 



[Comtek within the 


And put him out of retenue, 

Or elles holde him under fote: 

For as thei sein, if that he mote 

His oghne rewle have upon honde, 

Ther schal no witt ben understonde. 

Of hope also thei tellen this. 

That overal, wher that he is, 

He set the herte in jeupartie 

With wihssinge and with fantasie, 

And is noght trewe of that he seith, 

So that in him ther is no feith : 

Thus with reson and wit avised 

Is will and hope aldai despised. - 

Reson seith that I scholde leve 

To love, wher ther is no leve 

To spede, and will seith therayein 

That such an herte is to vilein. 

Which dar noght lovciand til he spede; 

Let hope serve at such a nede : 

He seith ek, where an herte sit 

Al hoi governed upon wit, 

He hath this lyves lust forlore. 

And thus myn herte is al totore 

Of such a Contek as thei make : 

Bot yit I mai noght will forsake, 

That he nys Maister of my thoght. 

Or that I spede, or spede noght. 

Thou dost, my Sone, ayein the riht; 
Bot love is of so gret a miht. 
His lawe mai noman refuse, 
So miht thou thee the betre excuse. 
And natheles thou schalt be lerned 
That will scholde evere be governed 
Of reson more than of kinde, 
Wherof a tale write I finde. 

A Philosophre of which men tolde 


P. i. 819 




1x66 put AJ, F putte C, B 1171 thei tellen] to telle B 1173 
jeupartie] champartie Hi . . . Bt 1x74 wihssinge AJ, F wissching 
(wisshing) C, B 1 179 I] it AM 1187 this] his Hi . . . Bt, WHs 
1190 will] wel Hi . . . Bi, WHs XX98 evere om. Ht . . . Bf, Ha 



P. I 320 


Ther was whilom be dales olde, 
And Diogenes thanne he hihte. 
So old he was that he ne mihte 
The world travaile, and for the beste 
He schop him forto take his reste, 
And duelte at horn in such a wise, 
That nyh his hous he let devise 
Endlong upon an Axeltre 
To sette a tonne in such degre, 
That he it mihte tome aboute; 
Wherof on hed was taken oute, 
For he therinne sitte scholde 
And tome himself so as he wolde, 
To take their and se the hevene 
And deme of the planetes sevene, 
As he which cowthe mochel what. 
And thus fulofte there he sat 
To muse in his philosophie 
Solein withoute compaigm'e : 
So that upon a morwetyde, 
As thing which scholde so betyde, 
Whan he was set ther as him liste 
To loke upon the Sonne ariste, 
Wherof the propretes he sih, 
It fell ther cam ridende nyh 
King Alisandre with a route ; 
And as he caste his yhe aboute, 
He sih this Tonne, and what it mente 
He wolde wite, and thider sente 
A knyht, be whom he mihte it knowe, 
And he himself that ilke throwe 
Abod, and hoveth there stille. 
This kniht after the kinges wille 
With spore made his hors to gon 
And to the tonne he cam anon, 
Wher that he fond a man of Age, 
And he him tolde the message. 
Such as the king him hadde bede, 

iao8 That] But B laii Margin opponente Hi . . . Bs, Hs 

I2ia Wherof J Wher(e) H1XRCB2, Hs 122a so] J)0 L, B 

S 2 

[Tale of Diogknis 
amd aucxandbr.] 

Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum, quod ho- 
minis impetuosa vo- 
luntas sit discrecionis 
moderamine guber- 
nanda. Etnarrat qua- 
liter Diogenes, qui 
motus animi sui ra- 
cioni subiugarat, Re- 
laio gem Alexandrum su- 
per isto facto sibi op- 
ponentem plenius in- 


P. i. 331 


Pali of Diogenes And axeth why in thilke Stede 1140 

MD Alexander.] rj.y^^ ^j.^^^^ 5^^^^ ^^^ ^^lat it was. 

And he, which understod the cas, 

Sat stille and spak no word ayein. 

The kniht bad speke and seith, * Vilein, 

Thou schalt me telle, er that I go; 

It is thi king which axeth so/ 

*Mi king,' quod he, 'that were unriht/ 

'What is he thanne?' seith the kniht, 

*Is he thi man?' *That seie I noght,' 

Quod he, *bot this I am bethoght, 1250 

Mi mannes man hou that he is.' 

*Thou lyest, false cherl, ywiss,' 

The kniht him seith, and was riht wroth, 

And to the king ayein he goth 

And tolde him how this man ansuerde. 

The king, whan he this tale herde, 

Bad that thei scholden alle abyde, 

For he himself wol thider ryde. 

And whan he cam tofore the tonne, 

He hath his tale thus begonne : 1 260 

* Alheil,' he seith, * vhat man art thou ? ' 

Quod he, 'Such on as thou sest now.* 

The king, which hadde wordes wise, P. i. 322 

His age wolde noght despise, 

Bot seith, * Mi fader, I thee preie 

That thou me wolt the cause seie, 

How that I am thi mannes man.' 

*Sire king,' quod he, *and that I can. 

If that thou wolt.' *Yis,' seith the king. 

Quod he, 'This is the sothe thing: 1270 

Sith I ferst resoun understod, 

And knew what thing was evel and good. 

The will which of my bodi moeveth, 

Whos werkes that the god reproeveth, 

I have restreigned everemore. 

As him which stant under the lore 

Of reson, whos soubgit he is, 

1 241 he was SAdBTA 1253 king B 1258 wold(e) 

M . . . CBa, AdT, WH« 1276 As] Of B And W 


So that he mai noght don amis : [Talk of Dxoge 

And thus be weie of covenant """^ Alexand. 

Will is my man and my servant, 1280 

And evere hath ben and evere schal. 

And thi will is thi principal. 

And hath the lordschipe of thi witt, 

So that thou cowthest nevere yit 

Take o dai reste of thi labour ; 

Bot forto ben a conquerour 

Of worldes good, which mai noght laste, 

Thou hiest evere aliche faste, 

Wher thou no reson hast to winne : 

And thus thi will is cause of Sinne, 1290 

And is thi lord, to whom thou servest, 

Wherof thou litel thonk deservest/ 

The king of that he thus answerde P. i. 323 

Was nothing wroth, bot whanne he herde 

The hihe wisdom which he seide. 

With goodly wordes this he preide, 

That he him wolde telle his name. 

*I am,' quod he, 'that ilke same, 

The which men Diogenes calle.' 

Tho was the king riht glad withalle, 1300 

For he hadde often herd tofore 

What man he was, so that therfore 

He seide, *0 wise Diogene, 

Now schal thi grete witt be sene; 

For thou schait of my yifte have 

What worldes thing that thou wolt crave.' 

Quod he, *Thanne hove out of mi Sonne, 

And let it schyne into mi Tonne; 

For thou benymst me thilke yifte. 

Which lith noght in thi miht to schifte : 13 10 

Non other good of thee me nedeth.' 

This king, whom every centre dredeth, 
Lo, thus he was enformed there : 
Wherof, my Sone, thou miht lere 
How that thi will schal noght be lieved, 

1395 wisdom] wordes Hi . . . Ba, Hs 1296 gostly B 1307 mi] 
)c A 1312 This] The B 




[Ptramus and 

Hie in unoris causa 
ponit Confessor exem- 
plum contra illos qui 
in sua dampna nimis 
accelerantes ex impe- 
tuositate seipsos mul- 
todens ofiendunt. £t 
namt qualiter Pira- 
muSy cum ipse Tisbee 
amicam suam in loco 
inter eosdem deputato 
tempore aduentus sui 
promptaro non inue- 
nit, animo impetuoso 
aeipsum pre dolore 
extracto gladio mor- 
taliter transfodit : que 
postea infra breue ve- 
niens cum ipsuro sic 
mortuum inuenisset, 
eciam et ilia in sui 
ipsius mortem impe- 
tuose festinans eius- 
dem gladii cuspide 
sui cordis intima per 
medium penetrauit. 

Where it is noght of wit relieved. 

And thou hast seid thiself er this 

How that thi will thi maister is; 

Thurgh which thin hertes thoght withinne 

Is evere of Contek to beginne, 1310 

So that it is gretli to drede 

That it non homicide brede. 

For love is of a wonder kinde, P, L 324 

And hath hise wittes ofte blinde, 

That thei fro mannes reson falle; 

Bot whan that it is so befalle 

That will schal the corage lede, 

In loves cause it is to drede: 

Wherof I finde ensample write, 

Which is behovely forto wite. 1330 

I rede a tale, and telleth this : 
The Cite which Semiramis 
Enclosed hath with wall aboute, 
Of worthi folk with many a route 
Was enhabited here and there; 
Among the whiche tuo ther were 
Above alle othre noble and grete, 
Dwellende tho withinne a Strete 
So nyh togedre, as it was sene. 
That ther was nothing hem betwene, 1340 

Bot wow to wow and wall to wall. 
This o lord hadde in special 
A Sone, a lusti Bacheler, 
In al the toun was non his pier: 
That other hadde a dowhter eke, 
In al the lond that forto seke 
Men wisten non so faire as sche. 
And fell so, as it scholde be, 
This faire dowhter nyh this Sone 
As thei togedre thanne wone, 1350 

Cupide hath so the thinges schape, 
That thei ne mihte his hand ascape, 

1318 How )«r(e) HiG . . . B», Hs 1330 forto] >at Jk)u SAdBTA 
1 331 this] }>us HiE . . . B«, Hs 133a Scmiranus £ . . . Bi, Hs 1336 
margin ipsos Hi . • . Bs, Hs 


That he his fyr on hem ne caste : P. i. 325 [Pyramus and 

Wherof her herte he overcaste Thisbb.] 

To folwe thilke lore and suie 

Which nevere man yit miht eschuie; 

And that was love, as it is happed, 

Which hath here hertes so betrapped, 

That thei be alle weies seche 

How that thei mihten winne a speche, 1360 

Here wofull peine forto lisse. 

Who loveth wel, it mai noght misse, 
And namely whan ther be tuo 
Of on acord, how so it go, 
Bot if that thei som weie finde; 
For love is evere of such a kinde 
And hath his folk so wel afiaited, 
That howso that it be awaited, 
Ther mai noman the pourpos lette: 
And thus betwen hem tuo thei sette 1370 

An hole upon a wall to make, 
Thurgh which thei have her conseil take 
At alle times, whan thei myhte. 
This faire Maiden Tisbee hihte. 
And he whom that sche loveth bote 
Was Piramus be name bote. 
So longe here lecoun thei recorden, 
Til ate laste thei acorden 
Be nihtes time forto wende 
Al one out fro the tounes ende, 1380 

Wher was a welle under a Tree; 
And who cam ferst, or sche or he, 
He scholde stille there abide. P. i. 326 

So it befell the nyhtes tide 
This maiden, which desguised was, 
Al prively the softe pas 
Goth thurgh the large toun unknowe, 
Til that sche cam withinne a throwe 
Wher that sche liketh forto duelle, 
At thilke unhappi freisshe welle, 1390 

Which was also the Forest nyh. 
1358 so om, AM 1384 the] by (be) Hi ... Ba, Hi a W 


[Pyramus and Wher sche comende a Leoun syh 

ThISBE.] j^^q ^Jj^ fgj^ ^^ ^^^^ jjjg p^gjg^ 

In haste and sche tho fledde aweie. 

So as fortune scholde falle, 

For feere and let hire wympel fSadle 

Nyh to the welle upon therbage. 

This Leoun in his wilde rage 

A beste, which that he fond oute, 

Hath slain, and with his blodi snoute, 1400 

Whan he hath eten what he wolde, 

To drynke of thilke stremes colde 

Cam to the welle, where he fond 

The wympel, which out of hire bond 

Was falle, and he it hath todrawe, 

Bebled aboute and al forgnawe; 

And thanne he strawhte him forto drinke 

Upon the freisshe welles brinke. 

And after that out of the plein 

He torneth to the wode ayein. 1410 

And Tisbee dorste noght remue, 

Bot as a bridd which were in Mue 

Withinne a buissh sche kepte hire clos P. i. 327 

So stille that sche noght aros; 

Unto hirself and pleigneth ay. 

And fell, whil that sche there lay, 
This Piramus cam after sone 
Unto the welle, and be the Mone 
He fond hire wimpel blodi there. 
Cam nevere yit to mannes Ere i4io 

Tidinge, ne to mannes sihte 
Merveile, which so sore aflihte 
A mannes herte, as it tho dede 
To him, which in the same stede 
With many a wofull compleignynge 
Began his handes forto wringe, 
As he which demeth sikerly 
That sche be ded: and sodeinly 

1394 flcigh (fleih &c.) HiG . . . Ba, Hs flew X 1406 al fordrawe 
(al for drawe) HiXRCBa, Hs alto gnawe L i^a afrighlc 

(^afriht &c.) HiG . . . B«, Ha 


His swerd al nakid out he breide [Pyramus and 

In his folhaste, and thus he seide: .1430 Thisbb.] 

^ I am cause of this felonie, 

So it is resoun that I die, 

As sche is ded be cause of me.* 

And with that word upon his kne 

He fell, and to the goddes alle 

Up to the hevene he gan to calle, 

And preide, sithen it was so 

That he may noght his love as tho 

Have in this world, that of her grace 

He miht hire have in other place, 1440 

For hiere wolde he noght abide. 

He seith: bot as it schal betide. 

The Pomel of his swerd to grounde P. i. 328 

He sette, and thurgh his herte a wounde 

He made up to the bare hilte : 

And in this wise himself he spilte 

With his folhaste and deth he nam; 

For sche withinne a while cam, 

Wher he lai ded upon his knif. 

So wofull yit was nevere lif 1450 

As Tisbee was, whan sche him sih : 

Sche mihte noght o word on hih 

Speke oute, for hire herte schette. 

That of hir lif no pris sche sette, 

Bot ded swounende doun sche fell. 

Til after, whanne it so befell 

That sche out of hire traunce awok, 

With many a wofull pitous lok 

Hire yhe alwei among sche caste 

Upon hir love, and ate laste 1460 

Sche cawhte breth and seide thus : 

*0 thou which cleped art Venus, 

Goddesse of love, and thou, Cupide, 

Which loves cause hast forto guide, 

I wot now wel that ye be blinde, 

1430 fulhast (fulle haste &c) AMHiXCLBa, Ad, W foule haste A 
433 As] And Hi ...Ba, Hs 1440 miht (might) J, B, F mihte A 1448 
ror> sche X . . . Ba, WHs And sche T 1469 art cleped L, AdBTA 



[Pyramus and 


Of thilke unhapp which I now finde 

Only betwen my love and me. 

This Piramus, which hiere I se 

Bledende, what hath he deserved? 

For he youre heste hath kept and served, 1470 

And was yong and I bothe also : 

Helas, why do ye with ous so? 

Ye sette oure herte bothe afyre, P. L 399 

And maden ous such thing desire 

Wherof that we no skile cowthe ; 

Bot thus oure freisshe lusti yowthe 

Withoute joie is al despended, 

Which thing mai nevere ben amended: 

For as of me this wol I seie, 

That me is levere. forto deie 1480 

Than live after this sorghful day.' 

And with this word, where as he lay, 

Hire love in armes sche embraseth. 

Hire oghne deth and so pourchaseth 

That now sche wepte and nou sche kiste, 

Til ate laste, er sche it wiste, 

So gret a sorwe is to hire falle, 

Which overgoth hire wittes alle. 

As sche which mihte it noght asterte, 

The swerdes point ayein hire herte 1490 

Sche sette, and fell doun therupon, 

Wherof that sche was ded anon : 

And thus bothe on o swerd bledende 

Thei weren founde ded liggende. 

Now thou, mi Sone, hast herd this tale, 
Bewar that of thin oghne bale 
Thou be noght cause in thi folhaste, 
And kep that thou thi witt ne waste 
Upon thi thoght in aventure, 
Wherof thi lyves forfeture 1500 

Mai falle : and if thou have so thoght 
£r this, tell on and hyde it noght 

1473 hertes Ht . . . Ba, AdBT, WHs 1479 as forme Hi . . . Bs, 

H» 1487 gret EC, SB gretc AJ, F 1489 And ache Hi . . . Bt, Hs 
1496 that of] of jttt HiX£ . . . Bs 



Mi fader, upon loves side 
Mi conscience I woll noght hyde, 
How that for love of pure wo 
I have ben ofte moeved so, 
That with my wisshes if I myhte, 
A thousand times, I yow plyhte, 
I hadde storven in a day; 
And therof I me schryve may. 
Though love fully me ne slowh. 
Mi will to deie was ynowh, 
So am I of my will coupable : 
And yit is sche noght merciable, 
Which mai me yive lif and hele. 
Bot that hir list noght with me dele, 
I wot be whos conseil it is, 
And him wolde I long time er this, 
And yit I wolde and evere schal, 
Slen and destruie in special 
The gold of nyne kinges londes 
Ne scholde him save fro myn hondes. 
In my j)ouer if that he were ; 
Bot yit him stant of me no fere 
For noght that evere I can manace. 
He is the hindrere of mi grace, 
Til he be ded I mai noght spede; 
So mot I nedes taken hiede 
And schape how that he were aweie, 
If I therto mai finde a weie. 

Mi Sone, tell me now forthi. 
Which is that mortiel enemy 
That thou manacest to be ded. 

Mi fader, it is such a qwed. 
That wher I come, he is tofore, 
And doth so, that mi cause is lore. 

What is his name? 

It is Daunger, 
Which is mi ladi consailer : 
For I was nevere yit so slyh, 
To come in eny place nyh 

1503 loue F 151a was] is BT 

P. i. 330 [The Lovsr's Com- 
FE8S10N. Danger.] 

Confessio Amantb. 




P. i. 331 


Confessio Amantis. 



[Danger.] Wher as sche was be nyht or day. 

That Danger ne was redy ay, 
With whom for speche ne for made 
Yit mihte I nevere of love spede ; 
For evere this I finde soth, 
Al that my ladi seith or doth 
To me, Daunger schal make an ende, 
And that makth al mi world miswende : 
And evere I axe his help, hot he 
Mai wel be cleped sanz pite; 1550 

For ay the more I to him bowe, 
The lasse he wol my tale alowe. 
He hath mi ladi so englued, 
Sche wol noght that he be remued; 
For evere he hangeth on hire Seil, 
And is so prive of conseil, 
That evere whanne I have oght bede, 
I finde Danger in hire stede 
And myji ansuere of him I have; 
Bot for no merci that I crave, 1560 

Of merci nevere a point I hadde. 
I finde his ansuere ay so badde, 
That werse mihte it nevere be : P. i. 33a 

And thus betwen Danger and me 
Is evere werre til he dye. 
Bot mihte I ben of such maistrie, 
That I Danger hadde overcome, 
With that were al my joie come. 
Thus wolde I wonde for no Sinne, 
Ne yit for al this world to winne; 1570 

If that I mihte finde a sleyhte, 
To leie al myn astat in weyhte, 
I wolde him fro the Court dissevere, 
So that he come ayeinward nevere. 
Therfore I wisshe and wolde fain 
That he were in som wise slain ; 
For while he stant in thilke place, 
Ne gete I noght my ladi grace. 

156a And ))us daunger my fortune ladde Hi . . . Bi, Hs (chaunce 
for fortune E) 


Thus hate I dedly thilke vice, [Danger.] 

And wolde he stode in non office 1580 

In place wher mi ladi is ; 

For if he do, I wot wel this, 

That owther schal he deie or I 

Withinne a while; and noght forthi 

On my ladi fulofte I muse, 

How that sche mai hirself excuse. 

If that I deie in such a plit 

Me thenkth sche mihte noght be qwyt 

That sche ne were an homicide: 

And if it scholde so betide, 1590 

As god forbiede it scholde be, 

Be double weie it is pite. 

For I, which al my will and witt P. i. 333 

Have yove and served evere yit, 

And thanne I scholde iii such a wise 

In rewardinge of my servise 

Be ded, me thenkth it were a rowthe : 

And furthermor, to telle trowthe, 

Sche, that hath evere be wel named, 

Were worthi thanne to be blamed 1600 

And of reson to ben appeled. 

Whan with o word sche mihte have heled 

A man, and soffreth him so deie. 

Ha, who sawh evere such a weie? 

Ha, who sawh evere such destresse? 

Withoute pite gentilesse, 

Withoute mercy wommanhede, 

That wol so quyte a man his mede, 

Which evere hath be to love trewe. 

Mi goode fader, if ye re we 16 10 

Upon mi tale, tell me now. 

And I wol stinte and herkne yow. 

Mi Sone, attempre thi corage Confessor. 

Fro Wraththe, and let thin herte assuage: 
For who so wole him underfonge, 

1597 tkom. Hi . . . Ba, BA, Hs 1603 so deie] to deie JHiGE, BT, 
/Hs fortodeieL 1605 such (suche) YXGECLBa,SBA, W in such 
JM, AdTA, F such a HiR, HiMagd 1611 tell me] telle je AM 


doRs RASTt i^oRSE He moi his grace abide longe, 

*"^1 Er he of love be received ; 

And ek also, bot it be weyved, 

Ther mihte mochel thing befisdle, 

That scholde make a man to fisdle 1610 

Fro love, that nevere afterward 

Ne durste he loke thiderward. 

In harde weies men gon softe, P. i. 334 

And er thei clymbe avise hem ofte : 

Men sen alday that rape reweth; 

And who so wicked Ale breweth, 

Fulofte he mot the werse drinke : 

Betre is to flete than to sincke; 

Betre is upon the bridel chiewe 

Thanne if he felle and overthrewcy 1630 

The hors and stikede in the Myr : 

To caste water in the fyr 

Betre is than brenne up al the hous : 

The man which is malicious 

And folhastif, fulofte he £Uleth, 

And selden is whan love him ealleth. 

Forthi betre is to sofire a throwe 

Than be to wilde and overthrowe; 

Sufirance hath evere be the beste 

To wissen him that secheth reste: 1640 

And thus, if thou wolt love and spedCj 

Mi Sone, sofifre, as I the rede. 

What mai the Mous ayein the Cat? 

And for this cause I axe that, 

Wlio mai to love make a wene, 

That he ne hath himself the werre ? 

Love axeth pes and evere scbal. 

And who that fihteth most withal 

Schal lest conquere of his emprise : 

For this thd tellen that ben wise» 1650 

Wicke is to stryve and have the werae ; 

To hasten is noght worth a kerse; 

Thing that a man mai noght achieve, P. L 3^ 

1641 and OML Hi, B 1649 Scbd best B Lest ackal 

Hi . . . Ba, H> 


That mai noght wel be don at Eve, [More haste ivorw 

It mot abide til the morwe. speed.) 

Ne haste noght thin oghne sorwe, 
Mi Sone, and tak this in thi witt, 
He hath noght lost that wel abitt. 

Ensample that it falleth thus, 
Thou miht wel take of Piramus, 1660 

Whan he in haste his swerd outdrowh 
And on the point himselve slowh 
For love of Tisbee pitously, 
For he hire wympel fond blody 
And wende a beste hire hadde slain; 
Wher as him oghte have be riht fain, 
For sche was there al sauf beside : 
Bot for he wolde noght abide, 
This meschief fell. Forthi be war, 
Mi Sone, as I the wame dar, 1670 

Do thou nothing in such a res. 
For sufTrance is the welle of Pes. 
Thogh thou to loves Court poursuie, 
Yit sit it wel that thou eschuie 
That thou the Court noght overhaste, 
For so miht thou thi time waste; 
Bot if thin happ therto be schape, 
It mai noght helpe forto rape, 
Therfore attempre thi corage; 
Folhaste doth non avantage, 1680 

Bot ofte it set a man behinde 
In cause of love, and that I finde 
Be olde ensample, as thou schalt hiere, P. i. 336 
Touchende of love in this matiere. 

A Maiden whilom ther was on, [Tale or Phbbus and 

Which Daphne hihte, and such was non Daphne.] 
Of beaute thanne, as it was seid. 

Phebus his love hath on hire leid, Hie ponit Confessor 

And therupon to hire he soghte exemplum contra il- 

JOS qui in amons causa 
In his folhaste, and so besoghte, 1690 nimiafestinacionecon- 

1661 outdrowh F out drowh (drough) AJ, B 1671 a res 

EC, B ares AJ, S, F 1686 such was] ^r was Hi . . . Ba, Hs 


cupiscentes tardius ex- 
pediunt Et narnil 
qiialiter pro eo quod 

; Daphnem ni- 

cione Lnsequebatur, ira- 
tus Cupldo cor Phebi 
mgitta aurea igtiita ar- 
dencius vulnerauit ; el 
ccontra cor Daphn<^ 
quadam sagilta plum- 
bea, que frigidissima 
fuil, SObrius peribra- 

gis Pheb us ardencjor 
in amore DaphnEin 
prwecutus eat, lanio 
magis ipsa frigidior 
Phebi concupiEcen- 
cism tata corde fugl- 
tiua dedignabatur. 


That sche with him no reste hadde ; 

For evere upon hire love he gradde. 

And sche seide evere unto him nay. 

So it ttefell upon a dai, 

Cupjde, which hath every chance 

Of love under his governance, 

Syh Phebus hasten him so sore : 

And for he scholde him haste more, 

And yit noght speden ate laste, 

A dart thurghout his herte he caste. 

Which was of gold and al afyre, 

Thai made him manyfold desire 

Of love more thanne he dede. 

To Daphne ek in the same stede 

A dart of Led he caste and smot, 

Which was al cold and nothing hot. 

And thus Phebus in love brenneth. 

And in his haste aboute renneth, 

To loke if that he mihte winne ; 

Bot he was evere to begin ne, 

For evere awei fro him sche tledde, 

So that he n evere his love spedde. 

And forto make him full believe F 

That no Folhaste mihte achieve 

To gete love in such degree, 

This Daphne into a lorer tre 

Was torned, which is evere grene, 

In tokne, as yit it mai be sene, 

That sche schal duelle a maiden stille. 

And Phebus fatten of his wille. 

Be suche en samples, as thei stotide, 
Mi Sone, thou miht understonde. 
To hasten love is thing in vein, 
Whan that fortune is therayein. 

To take where i 

I hath I eve 

Good is, and elles he mol leve ; 
For whan a niannes happes fallen, ^ 
Ther ts non hasle mai avail en. 

Mi fader. 

grant merci < 
pnisecutus T, F po 



Bot while I se mi ladi is 

No tre, but halt hire oghne fonne, 

Ther mai me noman so enforme, 

To whether part fortune wende, 

That I unto mi lyves ende 

Ne wol hire serven everemo. 

Mi Sone, sithen it is soj^ — • 
I seie nomor; bot in this cas 
Bewar how it with Phebus was. 
Noght only upon loves chance, 
Bot upon every governance 
Which falleth unto mannes dede, 
Folhaste is evere forto drede, 
And that a man good consail take, 
Er he his pourpos undertake, 
For consail put Folhaste aweie. 

Now goode fader, I you preie. 
That forto wisse me the more, 
Som good ensample upon this lore 
Ye wolden telle of that is write. 
That I the betre mihte wite 
How I Folhaste scholde eschuie, 
And the wisdom of conseil suie. 

Mi Sone, that thou miht enforme 
Thi pacience upon the forme 
Of olde essamples, as thei felle, 
Now understond what I schal telle. 

1730 [FOOL-H ASTl.] 



P. i. 338 




Whan noble Troie was belein 
And overcome, and hom ayein 
The Gregois torned fro the siege. 
The kinges founde here oghne liege 
In manye places, as men seide. 
That hem forsoke and desobeide. 
Among the whiche fell this cas 
To Demephon and Athemas, 
That weren kinges bothe tuo. 
And bothe weren served so: 

[Athemas and 

1760 Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra il- 
los qui nimio furore 
accensi vindictam Ire 
sue vltra quam decet 
consequiafiectant. £t 
narrat qua! iter Athe- 
mas et Demephon Re- 
ges, cum ipsi de bello 
Trolano ad propria 

1732 me om. AML, KHsMagd (no man so me W) 
cas Hi . . . Ba 

1763 l>e 


^^" CONFESSIO AMmi^^^^B 


Here lieges wolde hem noght receive, H 

^^^ Dehephon.] 

So that thei mote algates weyve ■ 

ibidem pacific^ recep- 

To seche lond in other place, fl 

ti non fuissent, con- 

For there founde thei no grace. 'Itfl 

gregato aliunde pug- 
nfitoruincxccrcitu re- 

Wherof they token hem lo rede, ^ 


And soghten frendes ate nede, 

incendio vaslare set 

And ech of hem asseureth other P. i. 339 

To heipe as to his oghne brother. 

perpctuam vindicle 

To vengen hem of thilke oullrage 

memoriam gladio in- 

And winne ayein here heritage. 

lerficerc feniorc ira- 
cundie proposuerunt. 

And thus thei ryde abonte faste 

Set RcJ! Nestor, qui 

To gele hem help, and ate laste 

inter ipsos Reges el 

Thei hadden pouer sufficant. 

And maden thanne a covenant, 1) 

eorum Regna inita 

That thei ne scholden no lif save. 

Ne prest, ne clerc, ne lord, ne knave. 

Ij^ """'"""■ 

Ne wif, ne child, of that thei finde. 

Which berth visage of mannes kinde, 

So that no lif schal be socoured. 


Bot with the dedly swerd devoured : 


In such Folhaste here ordinance 


Thei schapen forto do vengance. 


Whan this pourpos was wist and knowe 


Among here host, tho was ther blowe ij 


Of wordes many a speche abonte : 


Of yonge men the Justi route 


Were of this tale glad ynowh, 


Ther was no care for the plowh ; 


As thei that weren Folhastif, 


Thei ben acorded to the strif, 


And sein it mai noght be to gret 


To vengen hem of such forfet : 


Thus seith the wi)de unwise tonge 


Of hem that there weren yonge. iSoM 


Bot Nestor, which was old and hor, ^ 


The salve sih tofore the sor, H 


As he that was of conseil wys : P. i. a^| 


So that anon be his avis IH 



iciua H,GECL iBoo weren ^t(e) HiXE . . . B, weren )«anc G 


Ther was a prive conseil nome. [Athemas and 

The lordes ben togedre come ; Demephon.] 


This Demephon and Athemas 

Here pourpos tolden, as it was ; 

Thei sieten alle stille and herde, 

Was non hot Nestor hem ansuerde. 18 10 

He bad hem, if thei wolde winne, 

They scholden se, er thei beginne, 

Here ende, and sette here ferste entente, 

That thei hem after ne repente : 

And axeth hem this questioun, 

To what final conclusioun 

Thei wolde regne Kinges there. 

If that no poeple in londe were; 

And seith, it were a wonder wierde 

To sen a king become an hierde, 1830 

Wher no lif is hot only beste 

Under the li^ance of his heste ; 

For who that is of man no king, 

The remenant is as no thing. 

He seith ek, if the pourpos holde 

To sle the poeple, as thei tuo wolde, 

Whan thei it mihte noght restore, 

Al Grece it scholde abegge sore. 

To se the wilde beste wone 

Wher whilom duelte a mannes Sone: 1830 

And for that cause he bad hem trete. 

And stinte of the manaces grete. 

Betre is to winne be fair speche, P. i. 341 

He seith, than such vengance seche; 

For whanne a man is most above, Nota. 

Him nedeth most to gete him love. 

Whan Nestor hath his tale seid, 

Ayein him was no word withseid; 

It thoghte hem alle he seide wel: 

And thus fortune hire dedly whiel 1840 

Fro werre torneth into pes. 

Bot forth thei wenten natheles; 

1806 come] nome XCLBa 1830 a om. HiGECL, B 1833 the] 
\o AJM, SETA, K om, R 1835 margin No/a F om. A, B 

T 2 



[Athemas and 



And whan the Centres herde sein 

How that here kinges be besein 

Of such a pouer as thei ladde, 

Was non so bold that hem ne dradde. 

And forto seche pes and grith 

Thei sende and preide anon forthwith, 

So that the kinges ben appesed, 

And every mannes herte is esed; 1850 

Al was foryete and noght recorded. 

And thus thei ben togedre acorded ; 

The kinges were ayein received, 

And pes was take and wraththe waived. 

And al thurgh conseil which was good 

Of him that reson understod. 

Be this ensample, Sone, attempre 
Thin herte and let no will distempre 
Thi wit, and do nothing be myht 
Which mai be do be love and riht i8fo 

Folhaste is cause of mochel wo ; 
Forthi, mi Sone, do noght so. 
And as touchende of Homicide P. I 34a 

Which toucheth unto loves side, 
Fulofte it falleth unavised 
Thurgh will, which is noght wel assised. 
Whan wit and reson ben aweie 
And that Folhaste is in the weie, 
Wherof hath falle gret vengance. 
Forthi tak into remembrance 1870 

To love in such a maner wise 
That thou deserve no juise : 
For wel I wot, thou miht noght lette. 
That thou ne schalt thin herte sette 
To love, wher thou wolt or non; 
Bot if thi wit be overgon, 
So that it tome into malice, 
Ther wot noman of thilke vice. 
What peril that ther mai befalle: 
Wherof a tale amonges alle, 1880 

Which is gret pite forto hiere, 

1859 margin Nota F om. A, B x866 Thourgh F 



I thenke forto tellen hiere, 

That thou such moerdre miht withstonde, 

Whan thou the tale hast understonde. 


Of Troie at thilke noble toun, 
Whos fame stant yit of renoun 
And evere schal to mannes Ere, 
The Siege laste longe there, 
Er that the Greks it mihten winne, 
Whil Priamus was king therinne; 
Bot of the Greks that lyhe aboute 
Agamenon ladde al the route. 
This thing is knowen overal, 
Bot yit I thenke in special 
To my matiere therupon 
Telle in what wise Agamenon, 
Thurgh chance which mai noght be 
Of love untrewe was deceived. 
An old sawe is, *Who that is slyh 
In place where he mai be nyh. 
He makth the ferre Lieve loth': 
Of love and thus fulofte it goth. 
Ther while Agamenon batailleth 
To winne Troie, and it assailleth, 
Fro home and was long time ferr, 
Egistus drowh his qweene nerr, 
And with the leiser which he hadde 
This ladi at his wille he ladde : 
Climestre was hire rihte name, 
Sche was therof gretli to blame, 
To love there it mai noght laste. 
Bot fell to meschief ate laste ; 
For whan this noble worthi kniht 
Fro Troie cam, the ferste nyht 
That he at home abedde lay, 
Egistus, longe er it was day. 

1885 at thilke] l^ilke B, Hs >at Uke W of )>akc L 1893 thing] 
:ing ERL, BT 1899 margin crudelissima seueritate A . . . Ba, BT &c. 
908 hadde B 1913 wor]>i noble AM 1914 ferste (firste) AJ, B 

erst F 

[Tale or Orestes.] 

Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra il- 
los qui ob sue concu- 
piscencie desiderium 
homicide efficiuntur. 
^890 Et narrat qualiter 
Climestra vxor Regis 
Agamenontis, cum 
ipse a bello Troiano 
P. i. 343 ^'omi redissct, consilio 
Egisti, quem adultera 
peramauit, sponsum 
suum in cubili dormi- 
entem sub noctis si- 
lencio trucidabat ; cu- 
ius mortem filius eius 
Horestes tunc minoris 
etatis postea diis ad- 
monitus seueritate cru- 
delissima vindicauit. 



As this Climestre him hadde asent. 

And weren bothe of on assent. 

Be treson slowh him in his bedtL 

Bot moerdre, which mai noght ben bedd, 1919 

Sprong out to every mannes Ere, 

Wherof the lond was full of fere, 

Agamenon hath be this qweene P. i, 

A Sone, and that was after sene; 
Bot yit as thanne he was of yawthe, 
A babe, which no reson cowthe. 
And as godd wolde, it fell him thus. 
A worthi kniht Taltabius 
This yonge child hath in kejMnge, 
And whan he herde of this lidinge. 
Of this treson, of this misdede, 
He gan withinne himself to dcede. 
In aunter if this false Egiste 
Upon him come, er he it wiste, 
To lake and moerdre of his mdice 
This child, which he hath to norrice : 
And for that cause in aile haste 
Out of the lond he gan him haste 
And lo the king of Crete he strawhte 
And him this yonge lord betawhte, 
And preide him for his fader sake 
That he this child wolde undertake 
And kepe hini til he be of Age, 
So as he was of his lignage ; 
And lolde him over al the cas, 
How that his fadre moerdred was. 
And hou Egistus, as men seide. 
Was king, to whom the lond obeide. 
And whanne Ydomeneux the king 
Hath underslondinge of this thing, 
Which thai this knihl him hadde told. 
He made sorwe manyfold, 
And tok this child into his warde, P. L 34^ 
And seide he wolde him kepe and warde. 

1994 and om. BT 
AM oil. WH>ed 


Til that he were of such a myht [Talk of Oristes.] 

To handle a swerd and ben a knyht, 
To venge him at his oghne wille. 
And thus Horestes duelleth stille, 
Such was the childes rihte name, 
Which after wroghte mochel schame i960 

In vengance of his fader deth. 
The time of yeres overgeth, 
That he was man of brede and lengthe, 
Of wit, of manhod and of strengthe, 
A fair persone amonges alle. 
And he began to clepe and calle, 
As he which come was to manne, 
Unto the King of Crete thanne, 
Preiende that he wolde him make 
A kniht and pouer with him take, 1970 

For lengere wolde he noght beleve, 
He seith, bot preith the king of leve 
To gon and cleyme his heritage 
And vengen him of thilke oultrage 
Which was unto his fader do. 
The king assenteth wel therto, 
With gret honour and knyht him makth, 
And gret pouer to him betakth, 
And gan his joume forto caste : 
So that Horestes ate laste 1980 

His leve tok and forth he goth. 
As he that was in herte wroth, 
His ferste pleinte to bemene, P. i. 346 

Unto the Cite of Athene 
He goth him forth and was received, 
So there was he noght deceived. 
The Due and tho that weren wise 
Thei profren hem to his servise; 
And he hem thonketh of here profre 
And seith himself he wol gon offre 1990 

Unto the goddes for his sped, 

1968 Unto] Vnto to F Grece M . . . Bi {except EC; 1979 gan 
his journe] gan his money XG£ gaue his money HiRCLBs 1989 
he ont. B 


[Tale of Orestes.] As alle men him yeven red. 

So goth he to the temple forth : 

Of yiftes that be mochel worth 

His sacrifice and his offringe 

He made; and after his axinge 

He was ansuerd, if that he wolde 

His Stat recovere, thanne he scholde 

Upon his Moder do vengance 

So cruel, that the remembrance aooo 

Therof mihte everemore abide. 

As sche that was an homicide 

And of hire oghne lord Moerdrice. 

Horestes, which of thilke office 

Was nothing glad, as thanne he preide 

Unto the goddes there and seide 

That thei the juggement devise, 

How sche schal take the juise. 

And therupon he hadde ansuere, 

That he hire Pappes scholde of tare 2010 

Out of hire brest his oghne hondes, 

And for ensample of alle londes 

With hors sche scholde be todrawe, P. L 347 

Til houndes hadde hire bones gnawe 

Withouten eny sepulture: 

This was a wofull aventure. 

And whan Horestes hath al herd, 

How that the goddes have ansuerd, 

Forth with the strengthe which he ladde 

The Due and his pouer he hadde, 2020 

And to a Cite forth thei gon, 

The which was cleped Cropheon, 

Where as Phoieus was lord and Sire, 

Which profreth him withouten hyre 

His help and al that he mai do. 

As he that was riht glad therto. 

To grieve his mortiel enemy : 

And tolde hem certein cause why. 

How that Egiste in Mariage 

aoo3 of J |)U8 B 2005 and )>an (]>anne) GL, BT 0023 Phogeus 
Hi . . . Ba Phorcus T Plorence W 


His dowhter whilom of full Age 2030 [Tale of Orestes.] 

Forlai, and afterward forsok, 
Whan he Horestes Moder tok. 

Men sein, * Old Senne newe schame ' : 
Thus more and more aros the blame 
Ayein Egiste on every side. 
Horestes with his host to ride 
Began, and Phoieus with hem wente; 
I trowe Egiste him schal repente. 
Thei riden forth unto Micene, 
Wher lay Climestre thilke qweene, 2040 

The which Horestes moder is: 
And whan sche herde telle of this, 
The gates weren faste schet, P. i. 348 

And thei were of here entre let 
Anon this Cite was withoute 
Belein and sieged al aboute, 
And evere among thei it assaile^ 
Fro day to nyht and so travaile, 
Til ate laste thei it wonne; 
Tho was ther sorwe ynowh begonne. 2050 

Horestes dede his moder calle 
Anon tofore the lordes alle 
And ek tofor the poeple also. 
To hire and tolde his tale tho, 
And seide, *0 cruel beste unkinde, 
How mihtest thou thin herte finde, 
For eny lust of loves drawhte. 
That thou acordest to the slawhte 
Of him which was thin oghne lord? 
Thi treson stant of such record, 2060 

Thou miht thi werkes noght forsake; 
So mot I for mi fader sake 
Vengance upon thi bodi do. 
As I comanded am therto. 
Unkindely for thou hast wroght, 
Unkindeliche it schal be boght, 

ao4i is] was Hi . . . Ba 2043 herd telle of Jns cas Hi . . . Bs 

9044 entre] purpos Hi . . . Ba 2046 lieged AM 9056 )k>u l>in 
(>i) AJ M , SAdA, F ]?ou in J)in 0)i) Hi . . . Bi , BA, W in thyn T 


[Tale or Orestes.] The Sone schal the Moder sle, 

For that whilom thou seidest yee 
To that thou scholdest nay have seid.' 
And he with that his hond hath leid~ 2070 

Upon his Moder brest anon, 
And rente out fro the bare bon 
Hire Pappes bothe and caste aweie P. L 349 
Amiddes in the carte weie, 
And after tok the dede cors 
And let it drawe awey with hors 
Unto the hounde and to the raven ; 
Sche was non other wise graven. 
Egistus, which was elles where, 
Tidinges comen to his Ere 3080 

How that Micenes was belein, 
Bot what was more herd he noght sein ; 
With gret manace and mochel bost 
He drowh pouer and made an host 
And cam in rescousse of the toun. 
Bot al the sleyhte of his tresoun 
Horestes wiste it be aspie, 
And of his men a gret partie 
He made in buisshement abide, 
To waite on him in such a tide 2090 

That he ne mihte here hond ascape : 
And in this wise as he hath schape 
The thing befell, so that Egiste 
Was take, er he himself it wiste. 
And was forth broght hise hondes bounde. 
As whan men han a tretour founde. 
And tho that weren with him take, 
Whiche of tresoun were overtake, 
Togedre in o sentence falle; 
Bot false Egiste above hem alle a 100 

Was demed to diverse peine. 
The worste that men cowthe ordeigne, 
And so forth after be the lawe P. i. 350 

He was unto the gibet drawe, 

ao77 and to] vnto BaA 908a herd J, SB, F herde A aioo false 
AJ, S, F falsC, B 


Where he above alle othre hongeth, [Talk or Orestes.] 

As to a tretour it belongeth. 

Tho fame with hire swifte wynges 
Aboute flyh and bar tidinges, 
And made it cowth in alle londes 
How that Horestes with hise hondes a no 

Climestre his oghne Moder slowh. 
Some sein he dede wel ynowh, 
And som men sein he dede amis, 
Diverse opinion ther is : 
That sche is ded thei speken alle, 
Bot pleinli hou it is befalle, 
The matiere in so litel throwe 
In soth ther mihte noman knowe 
Bot thei that weren ate dede : 
And comunliche in every nede aiao 

The worste speche is rathest herd 
And lieved, til it be ansuerd. 
The kinges and the lordes grete 
Begonne Horestes forto threte 
To puten him out of his regne : 
*He is noght worthi forto regne, 
The child which slowh his moder so,' 
Thei saide; and therupon also 
The lordes of comun assent 
A time sette of parlement, 2130 

And to Athenes king and lord 
Togedre come of on acord. 
To knowe hou that the sothe was : P. i. 351 
So that Horestes in this cas 
Thei senden after, and he com. 
King Menelay the wordes nom 
And axeth him of this matiere : 
And he, that alle it mihten hiere, 
Ansuerde and tolde his tale alarge, 
And hou the goddes in his charge 2140 

Comanded him in such a wise 
His oghne bond to do juise. 

a 107 The AJM, ST, F The Hi ... B«, AdBAA, WHs hire] 
his C the Hi om, AM 2139 at large HiXGECL, B, W 


dt£s tale a Due aros, 

V!ttdt was 1 worthi kniht of los, 
was Menesteiis, 
unto the lordes thus : 
wreeche which Horestes dede, 
thing of the goddes bede, 

AcKi acching of his crualte ; 

Vic 'i^ ther were of mi degree 3150 

l3 4k this pbce such a kniht 

r\ic wolde sein it was no riht, 
" fwjie it with my bodi prove.' 

Vki riierupon he caste his glove, 

Vhi ek this noble Due alleide 
>ai many an other skile, and seide 
><-3%; hadde wel deserved wreche, 
><f:$t k>r the cause of Spousebreche, 
\*mI after wroghte in such a wise 
*"*idi: al the world it oghte agrise, a 160 

"iVhaa that sche for so foul a vice 
'siias^ of hire oghne lord moerdrice. 
»>ci $eten alle stille and herde, P. i. 352 

^JOi therto was noman ansuerde, 
tt thoghte hem alle he seide skile, 
fhv^i »!> noman withseie it wile; 
^1/tVJUl thci upon the reson musen, 
Hv^Ks^'s alle thei excusen : 
S;,*^ that with gret solempnete 
H^^ >iw;:!i unto his dignete 21^0 

XvNVtvcvl and coroned king. 
VfcJ tiw befell a wonder thing : 
\4;;h^uw whan sche this wiste, 
^•Kc^ waj^ the dowhter of Egiste 
U^ii Softer on the moder side 
•c»> .rt*s. Koreste, at thilke tide, 
%.%a M;hc herde how hir brother spedde, 
v> "^v 55*>rwe, which hire ledde, 

X** K **^ hadde ben exiled, 

,v V .**i** ^^ ^**^ X . . . Ba withsit hit wille Hi with seith 
^ ^ *^ .4*j4 f*ci alle X . . . B2 2177 herde AJ, B 



P. i. 353 

Sche hath hire oghne lif beguiled 
Anon and hyng hireselve tho. 
It hath and schal ben everemo, 
To moerdre who that wole assente. 
He mai noght faille to repente : 
This false Egiona was on, 
Which forto moerdre Agamenon 
Yaf hire acord and hire assent, 
So that be goddes juggement, 
Thogh that non other man it wolde, 
Sche tok hire juise as sche scholde; 
And as sche to an other wroghte, 
Vengance upon hireself sche soghte, 
And hath of hire unhappi wit 
A moerdre with a moerdre quit. 
Such is of moerdre the vengance. 

Forthi, mi Sone, in remembrance 
Of this ensample tak good hiede : 
For who that thenkth his love spiede 
With moerdre, he schal with worldes schame 
Himself and ek his love schame. 

Mi fader, of this aventure 
Which ye have told, I you assure 
Min herte is sory forto hiere, 
Bot only for I wolde lere 
What is to done, and what to leve. 

And over this now be your leve, 
That ye me wolden telle I preie, 
If ther be liefTull eny weie 
Withoute Senne a man to sle. 

Mi Sone, in sondri wise ye. 
What man that is of traiterie. 
Of moerdre or elles robberie 
Atteint, the jugge schal noght lette, 
Bot he schal slen of pure dette. 
And doth gret Senne, if that he wonde. 
For who that lawe hath upon honde, 

3180 [Tale or Orestes.] 





Hie queritur qui- 
bus de causis licet 
hominem occidere. 



aso6f. margin Hie queritur — oecidere otn, B 
hominem FWHs homini hominem A . . . Bt, STAA 
may B ont, AM 

aao7 *9targipt 
9209 to] 


lUwrt'L HouiClDF.] 

Seneca, ludexqiii 
parcn vicisci, multos 

gladium portBL 

And spareth fono do justice 

For merci, dolh noght his office, 

That he his mercy so bewaretb, 

Whan for o schrcwe which he spareth 

A thousand goode men he grieveth ; 

With such merci who that believeth 

To piese god, he is deceived, 1 

Or elles resoun mot be weyved. 

The lawe slod er we were bore, 

How that a kinges swerd is bore 

In signe that he schal defende 

His trewe poeple and make an ende 

Of suche as wolden hem devoure. 

Lo thus, my Sone, to socoure 

The lawe and comun riht to winne, 

A man mai sle withoute Sinne, 

And do therof a gret almesse. 

So forlo kepe riht wis nesse. 

And over this for his contre 

In time of werre a man is fre 

Himself, his hous and elc his lond 

Defende with his oghne bond, 

And slen, if that he mai no bet. 

After the lawe which is set. 

Now, fader, thanne I you beseche 
Of hem that dedly werres seehe 
In worldes cause and scheden blod, 
If such an homicide is good. 

Mi Sone, upon thi question 
The trowthe of myn opinion, 
Als ferforth as my wit arecheth 
And as the pleine lawe techeth, 
I woU thee telle in evidence. 
To rewle with thi conscience. 

aaao ttiargin Seneca om. B aa 

HiG . . . Bi aaas margin Apostolus 

3335 '"afiiB Pugna pro patria] Pugna pro 
vi rcpellcre 5BT Pro palria pugna &c. i 
such bh bomicide good Hi . . . Bi (In fiir Is R) 
FWHiMagd it te<:be> A . . . B^ S . . . dlA 




V. Quod creat ipse deus^ meat hoc hamidda creatum^ 
Vlior et humano sanguine spargit humum, 
Vtpecoris sic est kominis cruor^ heUy modofusuSy P. i. 355 

Victa iacet pietasy et furor vrget opus, 
Angelus *In terra pax^ dixit ^ et vltima Cristi 
Verba sonant fiacem, quam modo guerra fugat. 

The hihe god of his justice 
That ilke foule horrible vice 
Of homicide he hath forbede, 
Be Moises as it was bede. 
Whan goddes Sone also was bore, 
He sende hise anglis doun therfore, 
Whom the Schepherdes herden singe, 
Pes to the men of welwillinge 
In erthe be among ous here. 
So forto speke in this matiere 
After the lawe of charite, 
Ther schal no dedly werre be : 
And ek nature it hath defended 
And in hir lawe pes comended. 
Which is the chief of mannes welthe, 
Of mannes lif, of mannes helthe. 
Bot dedly werre hath his covine 
Of pestilence and of famine, 
Of poverte and of alle wo, 
Wherof this world we blamen so. 
Which now the werre hath under fote, 
Til god himself therof do bote. 
For alle thing which god hath wroght 
In Erthe, werre it bringth to noght : 
The cherche is brent, the priest is slain, 
The wif, the maide is ek forlain. 
The lawe is lore and god unserved: 
I not what mede he hath deserved 
That suche werres ledeth inne. 
If that he do it forto winne, 
Ferst to acompte his grete cost 
Forth with the folk that he hath lost, 
As to the worldes rekeninge 

[Evil or War.] 

Hie loquitur con- 
tra motores guerre, 
que non solum ho- 
micidii set vniversi 
mundi desolacionis 
mater existit 


P. L 356 


2256 anglis C, F angelis A J aungels B S959 ^ om. AM 



[Evil or War. J 

Apostolus. Stipen- 
dium peccati mors est. 

Nota, quod Greci 
omnem terrain fer- 
tilem debellabant, set 
tantum Archadiam, 
pro CO quod pauper et 

Ther schal he finde no winnynge; 
And if he do it to pourchace 
The hevene mede, of such a grace 
I can noght speke, and natheles 
Crist hath comanded love and pes. 
And who that worcheth the revere, 
I trowe his mede is ful divers. 
And sithen thanne that we finde 
That werres in here oghne kinde 
Ben toward god of no decerte, 
And ek thei bringen in poverte 
Of worldes good, it is merveile 
Among the men what it mai eyle, 
That thei a pes ne conne sette. 
I trowe Senne be the lette, 
And every mede of Senne is deth ; 
So wot I nevere hou that it geth : 
Bot we that ben of o believe 
Among ousself, this wolde I lieve, 
That betre it were pes to chese, 
Than so be double weie lese. 

I not if that it now so stonde, 
Bot this a man mai understonde, 
Who that these olde bokes redeth, 
That coveitise is on which ledeth, 
And broghte ferst the werres inne. 
At Grece if that I schal beginne, 
Ther was it proved hou it stod: 
To Perce, which was ful of good, 
Thei maden werre in special, 
And so thei deden overal, 
Wher gret richesse was in londe, 
So that thei leften nothing stonde 
Unwerred, bot onliche Archade. 
For there thei no werres made, 
Be cause it was bareigne and povere, 
Wherof thei mihten noght recovere; 
And thus poverte was forbore, 



Pi- 357 



3387 and om. B 
— mors est om, B 

3393 of] in AM 3399 worgtM Apostolus 

3318 werre Hi . . . Bi, T 


He that noght hadde noght hath lore. [Evil of War.] 

Bot yit it is a wonder thing, sterilis fuit, pacifice 

Whan that a riche worthi king, dimisenmt 

Or other lord, what so he be, 

Wol axe and cleyme proprete 

In thing to which he hath no riht, 

Bot onliche of his grete miht : 

For this mai every man wel wite, 

That bothe kinde and lawe write 3330 

Expressly stonden therayein. 

Bot he mot nedes somwhat sein, 

Althogh ther be no reson inne, 

Which secheth cause forto winne : 

For wit that is with will oppressed, 

Whan coveitise him hath adressed, 

And alle resoun put aweie, 

He can wel finde such a weie 

To werre, where as evere him liketh, P. i. 358 

Wherof that he the world entriketh, 3340 

That many a man of him compleigneth : 

Bot yit alwei som cause he feigneth. 

And of his wrongful herte he demeth 

That al is wel, what evere him semeth. 

Be so that he mai winne ynowh. 

For as the trew man to the plowh 

Only to the gaignage entendeth, 

Riht so the werreiour despendeth 

His time and hath no conscience. 

And in this point for evidence 2350 

Of hem that suche werres make, 

Thou miht a gret ensample take, 

How thei her tirannie excusen 

Of that thei wrongfull werres usen. 

And how thei stonde of on acord. 

The Souldeour forth with the lord. 

The pouere man forth with the riche. 

As of corage thei ben liche, 

To make werres and to pile 

2343 hcrte] cause Hi . . . Ba {line om, X) 3346 trew S, F 

re we AJ, B 




[Alexander and 
THE Pirate.] 

Hie declarat per ex- 
empliun contra istos 
Prindpes seu alios 
quoscumque illicite 
guerre motores. £t 
narrat de quodam pi- 
rata in partibus mari- 
nis spoliatore notissi- 
mo, qui cum captus 
fuisset, et in iudicium 
coram Rege Alezan- 
dro productus et de 
Utrocinio accusatus, 
dixit, 'O Alexander, 
vere quia cum paucis 
sodis spoliorum causa 
naues tantum exploro, 
ego latrunculus vo- 
cor; tu autem, quia 
cum infinita bellato- 
rum multitudine vni- 
uersam terram subiu- 
gandospoliasti, Impe- 
ratoVdiceris. Itaquod 
status tuus a statu meo 
differt, set eodem 
animo condicionem 
parilem habemus. ' 
Alexander vero eius 
audaciam in respon- 
sione comprobans, ip- 
sum penes se familia- 
rem retinuit; et sic 
bellicosus bellatori 

For lucre and for non other skyle : 
Wherof a propre tale I rede, 
As it whilom befell in dede. 



Of him whom al this Erthe dradde, 
Whan he the world so overladde 
Thurgh werre, as it fortuned is, 
King Alisandre, I rede this; 
How in a Marche, where he lay. 
It fell per chance upon a day 
A Rovere of the See was nome, P. i 35! 

Which many a man hadde overcome 
And slain and take here good aweie: 
This JPilour, as the bokes seie, 
A famous man in sondri stede 
Was of the werkes whiche he dede. 
This Prisoner tofor the king 
Was broght, and there upon this thing 
In audience he was accused : 
And he his dede hath noght excused, 
Bot preith the king to don him riht. 
And seith, 'Sire, if I were of miht, 
I have an herte lich to thin; 
For if the pouer were myn, 
Mi will is most in special 
To rifle and geten overal 
The large worldes good aboute. 
Bot for I lede a povere route 
And am, as who seith, at meschief, 
The name of Pilour and of thief 
I here; and thou, which routes grete 
Miht lede and take thi beyete. 
And dost riht as I wolde do, 
Thi name is nothing cleped so, 
Bot thou art named Emperour. 
Oure dedes ben of o colour 
And in effect of o decerte, 
Bot thi nchesse and my poverte 
Tho ben noght taken evene liche. 



3379 margin cum om. Hi . . . B«, B 

3383 the] fy (thi) XL 


And natheles he that is riche [Alexander ami 

This dai, tomorwe he mai be povere ; P. i. 360 ™* Pirati.] 
And in contraire also recovere 2400 

A povere man to gret richesse 
Men sen : forthi let rihtwisnesse 
Be peised evene in the balance. 

The king his hardi contienance 
Behield, and herde hise wordes wise, 
And seide unto him in this wise : 
*Thin ansuere I have understonde, 
Wherof my will is, that thou stonde 
In mi service and stille abide.' 
And forth withal the same tide 2410 

He hath him terme of lif withholde, ^ 

The mor and for he schal ben holde, 
He made him kniht and yaf him lond, 
Which afterward was of his bond 
An orped kniht in many a stede, 
And gret prouesce of armes dede, 
As the Croniqes it recorden. 

And in this wise thei acorden, 
The whiche of o condicioun 
Be set upon destruccioun : 2420 

Such Capitein such retenue. 
Bot forto se to what issue 
The thing befalleth ate laste, 
It is gret wonder that men caste 
Here herte upon such wrong to winne, 
Wher no beyete mai ben inne, 
And doth desese on every side : 
Bot whan reson is put aside 
And will govemeth the corage, P. L 361 

The faucon which that fleth ramage 2430 

And soefTreth nothing in the weie, 
Wherof that he mai take his preie, 
Is noght mor set upon ravine, 
Than thilke man which his covine 
Hath set in such a maner wise: 

3402 rihtwisne F 2406 to him J Hi ... Bi 2419 schulde 

(sbolde) BT 2434 is couine JMCLBs, Ad 

U 2 


[Wars and Death 
OF Alexander.] 

Hie secnndum ges- 
ta Regis Alexandri de 
guerris illicitis ponit 
Confessor exemplum, 
dicens quod quamuis 
Alexander sua poten- 
cia tocius mundi victor 
sibi subiugarat im- 
perium, ipse tandem 
mortis victoria subiu- 
gatus cunctipotentis 
sentenciam euadere 
non potuit. 

For al the world ne mai suflfise 
To will which is noght resonable. 

Wherof ensample concordable 
Lich to this point of which I meene, 
Was upon Alisandre sene, 2440 

Which hadde set al his entente, 
So as fortune with him wente, 
That reson mihte him non goveme, 
Bot of his will he was so steme, 
That al the world he overran 
And what him list he tok and wan. 
In Ynde the superiour 
Whan that he was ful conquerour, 
And hadde his wilful pourpos wonne 
Of al this Erthe under the Sonne, 3450 

This king homward to Macedoine, 
Whan that he cam to Babiloine, 
And wende most in his Empire, 
As he which was hoi lord and Sire, 
In honour forto be received, 
Most sodeinliche he was deceived, 
And with strong puison envenimed. 
And as he hath the world mistimed 
Noght as he scholde with his wit, 
Noght as he wolde it was aquit. 

Thus was he slain that whilom slowh. 
And he which riche was ynowh 
This dai, tomorwe he hadde noght: 
And in such wise as he hath wroght 
In destorbance of worldes pes, 
His werre he fond thanne endeles, 
In which for evere desconfit 
He was. Lo now, for what profit 
Of werre it helpeth forto ryde. 
For coveitise and worldes pride 2470 

To sle the worldes men aboute, 

2436 ne mai] may nought (not &c) A. . . Ba, S . . . A 2437 To 
will] To him Hi . . . B2 2443 non] nought (not) JMCBs, B, W 

SM44 margin subiugauerat Hi . . . Ba 2449 wilsfiil F S460 it was 
quit (quite &c) Hi . . . Bs, TA was hyt quyt W he was aquit M 

P. i. 36a 




As bestes whiche gon theroute. 
For every lif which reson can 
Oghth wel to knowe that a man 
Ne scholde thurgh no tirannie 
Lich to these othre bestes die, 
Til kinde wolde for him sende. 
I not hou he it mihte amende, 
Which takth awei for everemore 
The lif that he mai noght restore. 

Forthi, mi Sone, in alle weie 
Be wel avised, I thee preie, 
Of slawhte er that thou be coupable 
Withoute cause resonable. 

Mi fader, understonde it is, 
That ye have seid; bot over this 
I prei you tell me nay or yee, 
To passe over the grete See 
To werre and sle the Sarazin, 
Is that the lawe? 

Sone myn, 
To preche and sofTre for the feith, 
That have I herd the gospell seith ; 
Bot forto slee, that hiere I noght 
Crist with his oghne deth hath boght 
Alle othre men, and made hem fre. 
In tokne of parfit charite ; 
And after that he tawhte himselve, 
Whan he was ded, these othre tuelve 
Of hise Apostles wente aboute 
The holi feith to prechen oute, 
Wherof the deth in sondri place 
Thei soffre, and so god of his grace 
The feith of Crist hath mad aryse: 
Bot if thei wolde in other wise 
Be werre have broght in the creance, 

[Wars and Deati 
OF Alexander.] 




[Are Crusades 


P. i. 363 





2474 OghJ) SAdT, F Oght (Ought &c.) AMGC, A, W 

)wej) JHiXERLBa, B, Hs 2476 othre] olde B fl478 mihte 

myght) FWH3 mai (may) A . . . B», S . . . A 2491 fei Sa 

2ie Ada49a sei Sa seie Ad 3505 margin No/a AJ, F 

m. B 



[Are Crusades 


[Guilt of Homi- 


It hadde yit stonde in balance. 

And that mai proven in the dede ; 

For what man the Croniqes rede. 

Fro ferst that holi cherche hath weyved 

To preche, and hath the swerd received, 2510 

AVherof the werres ben begonne, 

A gret partie of that was wonne 

To Cristes feith stant now miswent : 

Godd do therof amendement, 

So as he wot what is the beste. 

Bot, Sone, if thou wolt live in reste 

Of conscience wel assised, 

£r that thou sle, be wel avised: 

For man, as tellen ous the clerkes. 

Hath god above alle ertheli werkes 

Ordeined to be principal, 

And ek of Soule in special 

He is mad lich to the godhiede. 

So sit it wel to taken hiede 

And forto loke on every side, 

£r that thou falle in homicide, 

Whidi Senne is now so general, 

That it welnyh stant overal. 

In holi cherche and elles where. 

Bot al the while it stant so there. 

The world mot nede fare amis : 

For whan the welle of pite is 

Thurgh coveitise of worldes good 

Defouled with schedinge of blod. 

The remenant of folk aboute 

Unethe stonden eny doute 

To werre ech other and to slee. 

So is it all noght worth a Stree, 

The charite wherof we prechen. 

For we do nothing as we techen : 

And thus the blinde conscience 

Of pes hath lost thilke evidence 

Which Crist upon this Erthe tawhte. 

Now mai men se moerdre and manslawhte 

9529 and] as AJX . . . Ba, BT 9544 manslawte F 





Lich as it was be daies olde, 

Whan men the Sennes boghte and solde. 

In Grece afore Cristes feith, 
I rede, as the Cronique seith, 
Touchende of this matiere thus, 
In thilke time hou Peleiis 
His oghne brother Phocus slowh; 
Bot for he hadde gold ynowh 
To yive, his Senne was despensed 
With gold, wherof it was compensed: 
Achastus, which with Venus was 
Hire Priest, assoilede in that cas, 
Al were ther no repentance. 
And as the bok makth remembrance, 
It telleth of Medee also ; 
Of that sche slowh her Sones tuo, 
Egeiis in the same pUt 
Hath mad hire of hire Senne quit 
The Sone ek of Amphioras, 
Whos rihte name Almeiis was, 
His Moder slowh, Eriphile; 
Bot Achilo the Priest and he, 
So as the bokes it recorden, 
For certein Somme of gold acordea 
That thilke horrible sinfuU dede 
Assoiled was. And thus for mede 
Of worldes good it falleth ofte 
That homicide is set alofte 
Hiere in this lif ; bot after this 
Ther schal be knowe how that it is 
Of hem that suche thinges werche, 
And hou also that holi cherche 
Let suche Sennes passe quyte. 
And how thei wole hemself aquite 
Of dedly werres that thei make. 
For who that wolde ensample take, 
The lawe which is naturel 
Be weie of kinde scheweth wel 

P. i. 365 


[Guilt or Homi- 

Facilitas venie oc 
casionem prebet delin 



P. i. 366 


S556 assoiled him HiXE . . . Ba assoile)) him G 9568 For] 

>f A . . . Ba 2573 lif] world B 2578 wold M, B 



For ofte time I have herd sein 
Amonges hem that werres hadden, 
That thei som while here caus^ ladden 
Be merci, whan thei mihte have slain, 
Wherof that thei were after fain : 
And, Sone, if that thou wolt recorde 
The vertu of Misericorde, 
Thou sihe nevere thilke place. 
Where it was used, lacke grace. 
For every lawe and every kinde 
The mannes wit to merci binde; 
And namely the worthi knihtes, 
Whan that thei stonden most uprihtes 
And ben most mihti forto grieve, 
Thei scholden thanne most relieve 
Him whom thei mihten overthrowe, 
As be ensample a man mai knowe. 

He mai noght failen of his mede 
That hath merci : for this I rede. 
In a Cronique and finde thus. 
Whan Achilles with Telaphus 
His Sone toward Troie were. 
It fell hem, er thei comen there, 
Ayein Theucer the king of Mese 
To make werre and forto sese 
His lond, as thei that wolden regne 
And Theucer pute out of his regne. 
And thus the Marches thei assaile, 
Bot Theucer yaf to hem bataille ; 
Thei foghte on bothe sides faste, 
Bot so it hapneth ate laste. 
This worthi Grek, this Achilles, 
The king among alle othre ches : 
As he that was cruel and fell, 
With swerd in honde on him he fell, 
And smot him with a dethes wounde. 
That he unhorsed fell to grounde. 



P. i. 368 [Tale of Telaphus 


3640 -' 

Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum de pietate 
contra homicidium in 
guerris habenda. £t 
narrat qualiter Achil- 
les vna cum Thelapho 
filiosuo contra Regem 
Mesee,qui tunc Theu- 
cer vocabatur, hel- 
ium inierunt ; et cum 
Achilles dictum Re- 
gem in hello prostra- 
3650 tum occidere voluis- 
set, Thelaphus pietate 
raotus ipsum clipeo 
suo cooperiens veniam 
pro Rege a patre pos* 
tulauit : pro quo facto 
ipse Rexadhuc viuens 
Thephalum Regni sui 
heredem libera volun- 
tate constituit 

3624 That] But BT 0638 And BT 9649 Telaphus J, F 

Thelaphus A, SB 2650 Bot] That Hi . . . Ba 


^LE or Telaphus Achilles upon him alyhte, 

AND Teucer,] j^^^ ^qJ^^ ^^^^ ^5 Yie wel mihte, j66o 

Have slain him fuUich in the place; 

Bot Thelaphus his fader grace 

For him besoghte, and for pite 

Preith that he wolde lete him be, 

And caste his Schield betwen hem tuo. 

Achilles axeth him why so, 

And Thelaphus his cause tolde, 

And seith that he is mochel holde, 

For whilon^ Theucer in a stede P. i. 369 

Gret grace and socour to him dede, 2670 

And seith that he him wolde aquite. 

And preith his fader to respite. 

Achilles tho withdrowh his hoDid; 

Bot al the pouer of the lend. 

Whan that thei sihe here king thus take, 

Thei fledde and han the feld forsake : 

The Grecs unto the chace falle, 

And for the moste part of alle 

Of that contre the lordes grete 

Thei toke, and wonne a gret beyete. 2680 

And anon after this victoire 

The king, which hadde good memoire, 

Upon the grete merci thoghte. 

Which Telaphus toward him wroghte. 

And in presence of al the lond 

He tok him faire be the bond. 

And in this wise he gan to seie : 

*Mi Sone, I mot be double weie 

Love and desire thin encress; 

Ferst for thi fader Achilles 3690 

Whilom ful many dai er this, 

Whan that I scholde have fare amis, 

Rescousse dede in mi querele 

And kepte al myn astat in hele : 

How so ther falle now distance 

Amonges ous, yit remembrance 

3671 wol B 3684 Telaphus F Thelaphus AJ, SB 

3696 remembrance] in remembrance AM 


I have of merci which he dede [Tale or Telaphus 

As thanne : and thou now in this stede ^^^ Teucer.] 

Of gentilesce and of franchise P. i. 370 

Hast do mercy the same wise. 2700 

So wol I noght that eny time 

Be lost of that thou hast do bjme ; 

For hou so this fortune falle, 

Yit stant mi trust aboven alle, 

For the mercy which I now finde, 

That thou wolt after this be kinde : 

And for that such is myn espeir, 

As for my Sone and for myn Eir 

I thee receive, and al my lond 

I yive and sese into thin bond.' 2710 

And in this wise thei acorde, 

The cause was Misericorde : 

The lordes dede here obeissance 

To Thelaphus, and pourveance 

Was mad so that he was coroned: 

And thus was merci reguerdoned, 

Which he to Theucer dede afore. 

Lo, this ensample is mad therfore, Confessor. 

That thou miht take remembrance, 
Mi Sone; and whan thou sest a chaunce, 2720 
Of other mennes passioun 
Tak pite and compassioun. 
And let nothing to thee be lief, 
Which to an other man is grief. 
And after this if thou desire 
To stonde ayein the vice of Ire, 
Consaile thee with Pacience, 
And tak into thi conscience 
Merci to be thi govemour. P. i. 371 

So schalt thou fiele no rancour, 2730 

Wherof thin herte schal debate 
With homicide ne with hate 
For Cheste or for Malencolie: 
Thou schalt be soft in compaignie 
Withoute Contek or Folhaste: 
For elles miht thou longe waste 

9793 belief FK 










Thi time, er that thou have thi wille 

Of love; for the weder stille 

Men preise, and blame the temp>estes. 

Mi fader, I wol do youre hestes, 
And of this point ye have me tawht. 
Toward miself the betre sawht 
I thenke be, whil that I live. 
Bot for als moche as I am schrive 
Of Wraththe and al his circumstance, 
Yif what you list to my penance, 
And asketh forthere of my lif. 
If otherwise I be gultif 
Of eny thing that toucheth Sinne. 

Mi Sone, er we departe atwinne, 
I schal behinde nothing leve/ 

Mi goode fader, be your leve 
Thanne axeth forth what so you list. 
For I have in you such a trist. 
As ye that be my Soule hele. 
That ye fro me wol nothing hele. 
For I schal telle you the trowthe. 

Mi Sone, art thou coupable of Slowthe 
In eny point which to him longeth ? P. i 37a 

My fader, of tho pointz me longeth 2760 

To wite pleinly what thei meene, 
So that I mai me schrive cleene. 

Now herkne, I schal the pointz devise ; 
And understond wel myn aprise : 
For schrifte stant of no value 
To him that wol him noght vertue 
To leve of vice the folie : 
For word is wynd, bot the maistrie 
Is that a man himself defende 
Of thing which is noght to comende, 
Wherof ben fewe now aday. 
And natheles, so as I may 
Make unto thi memoire knowe. 
The pointz of Slowthe thou schalt knowe. 

Explicit Liber Tercius. 


2763 the] JH) AJG . . . B», SBTA 3764 myn] J>is B 



Incipit Liber Quartus. 

i. Dicunt accidiant fore nutricem viciorum^ P. ii. i 
Torpet et in cunctis tarda que Unta bonis: 
Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in eras, 

Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo* 
Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido, 
Set Venus in celeri ludit amore mri. 

Upon the vices to procede 
After the cause of mannes dede, 
The ferste point of Slowthe I calle 
Lachesce, and is the chief of alle, 
And hath this propreliche of kinde, 
To leven alle thing behinde. 
Of that he mihte do now hier 
He tarieth al the longe yer, 
And everemore he seith, *Tomorwe'; 
And so he wol his time borwe, 10 

And wissheth after ' God me sende,' P. ii. 2 
That whan he weneth have an ende, 
Thanne is he ferthest to beginne. 
Thus bringth he many a meschief inne 
Unwar, til that he be meschieved, 
And may noght thanne be relieved. 

And riht so nowther mor ne lesse 
It stant of love and of lachesce : 
Som time he slowtheth in a day ^ 

That he nevere after gete mai. ^_ 10 

Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing, 
If thou have eny knowleching. 
That thou to love hast don er this, 
Tell on. 

Mi goode fader, yis. 

Latin Verses i. 6 ludet Hi . . . Ba 
19 to haue HiXGRCLBt 


[i. Lachesse.] 

Hie in quarto libro 
loquitur Confessor de 
speciebus Accidie, qua- 
rum primam Tardacio- 
nem vocat, cuius con- 
dicionem pertractans 
Amanti super hoc con- 
sequenter opponit 

Confessio Amantis. 


[Lachesse.] As of lachesce I am beknowe 

That I mai stonde upon his rowe. 

As I that am clad of his suite : 

For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite 

To make, and therto sette a day 

To speke unto the swete May, 30 

Lachesce bad abide jrit, 

And bar on bond it was no wit 

Ne time forto speke as tho. 

Thus with his tales to and fro 

Mi time in tariinge he drowh: 

Whan ther was time good ynowh, 

He seide, 'An other time is bettre; 

Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre, 

And per cas wryte more plein 

Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein.' 40 

Thus have I lete time slyde P. ii 3 

For Slowthe, and kepte noght my tide. 

So that lachesce with his vice 

Fulofte hath mad my wit so nyce, 

That what I thoghte speke or do 

With tariinge he hield me so, 

Til whanne I wolde and mihte noght. 

I not what thing was in my thoght. 

Or it was drede, or it was schame; 

Bot evere in emest and in game 50 

I wot ther is long time passed. 

Bot yit is noght the love lassed, 

Which I unto mi ladi have; 

For thogh my tunge is slowh to crave 

At alle time, as I have bede, 

Min herte stant evere in o stede 

And axeth besiliche grace, 

The which I mai noght yit embrace. 

And god wot that is malgre myn; 

For this I wot riht wel a fin, 60 

Mi grace comth so selde aboute, 

That is the Slowthe of which I doute 

30 the] )>at A . . . Ba, S . . . AA 45 fought to speke BA, W 

46 hield me] hielde (held) AM 59 As AM 



Mor than of al the remenant 

Which is to love appourtenant. 

And thus as touchende of lachesce, 

As I have told, I me confesse 

To you, mi fader, and beseche 

That furthermor ye wol me teche; 

And }f ther be to this matiere 

Som goodly tale forto Here 70 

How I mai do lachesce aweie, ,P. ii. 4 

That ye it wolden telle I preie. ^^ 

To wisse thee, my Sone, and rede, 
Among the tales whiche I rede. 
An old ensample thenipon 
Now herkne, and I wol tellen on. 

Ayein Lachesce in loves cas 
I finde how whilom Eneas, 
Whom Anchises to Sone hadde. 
With gret navie, which he ladde 
Fro Troie, aryveth at Cartage, 
Wher for a while his herbergage 
He tok; and it betidde so. 
With hire which was qweene tho 
Of the Cite his aqueintance 
He wan, whos name in remembrance 
Is yit, and Dido sche was hote; 
W^hich loveth Eneas so hote 
Upon the wordes whiche he seide, 
That al hire herte on him sche leide 
And dede al holi what he wolde. 

Bot after that, as it be scholde, 

Fro thenne he goth toward Ytaile 

Be Schipe, and there his arivaile 

Hath take, and schop him forto ryde. 

Bot sche, which mai noght longe abide 

The hote peine of loves throwe, 

Anon withinne a litel throwe 

A lettre unto hir kniht hath write, 

And dede him pleinly forto wite, 100 

69 to this] to my B of this Hs 70 Here] hiere (here &c.) 

Hi . . . Ba, BTA 84 qweene] a queene BTA 



[Eneas and DiDa] 

80 Hie ponit Confessor 
exemplum contra istos 
qui in amoris causa 
tardantes delinquunt. 
£t narrat qualiter Di- 
do Regina Cartaginis 
Eneam ab incendiis 
Troie fugitiuum in 
amorem suum gauisa 
suscepit : qui cum post- 
ea in partes Ytalie a 
Cartagine bellaturum 
se transtulit, nimiam- 
que ibidem moram fa- 
ciens tempus reditus 

90 sui ad Didonem vltra 
modum tardauit, ipsa 
intollerabili dolore con- 
cussa sui cordis intima 
mortali gladio trans- 




[Enkas and Dido.] 


If he made eny tariinge, P. ii. 5 

To drecche of his ayeincomynge, 

That sche ne mihte him fiele and se, 

Sche scholde stonde in such degre 

As whilom stod a Swan tofore. 

Of that sche hadde hire make lore ; 

For sorwe a fethere into hire brain 

She schof and hath hireselve slain ; 

As king Menander in a lay 

The sothe hath founde, wher sche lay no 

Sprantlende with hire wynges tweie, 

As sche which scholde thanne deie 

For love of him which was hire make. 

*And so schal I do for thi sake,' 
This qweene seide, *wel I wot.' 
Lo, to Enee thus sche wrot 
With many an other word of pleinte : 
Bot he, which hadde hise thoghtes feinte 
Towardes love and full of Slowthe, 
His time lette, and that was rowthe : lao 

For sche, which loveth him tofore, 
Desireth evere more and more, 
And whan sche sih him tarie so, 
Hire herte was so full of wo, 
That compleignende manyfold 
Sche hath hire oghne tale told, 
Unto hirself and thus sche spak : 
* Ha, who fond evere such a lak 
Of Slowthe in eny worthi kniht? 
Now wot I wel my deth is diht 130 

Thurgh him which scholde have be mi lif.' P. ii. 6 
Bot forto stinten al this strif, 
Thus whan sche sih non other bote, 
Riht evene unto hire herte rote 
A naked swerd anon sche threste, 
And thus sche gat hireselve reste 
In remembrance of alle slowe. 

Wherof, my Sone, thou miht knowe 

109 day Hi . . . B2, Hs 11 1 Spraulende (Sprawland) M, WKHs 
138 miht (myht) J, S mihte A, F 



How tariinge upon the nede 
In loves cause is forto drede; 
And that hath Dido sore aboght, 
Whos deth schal evere be bethoght. 
And overmore if I schal seche 
In this matiere an other spieche, 
In a Cronique I finde write 
A tale which is good to wite. 

At Troie whan king Ulixes 
Upon the Siege among the pres 
Of hem that worthi knihtes were 
Abod long time stille there, 
In thilke time a man mai se 
How goodli that Penolope, 
Which was to him his trewe wif, 
Of his lachesce was pleintif ; 
Wherof to Troie sche him sende 
Hire will be lettre, thus spekende: 

* Mi worthi love and lord also, 
It is and hath ben evere so, 
That wher a womman is al one, 
It makth a man in his persone 
The more hardi forto wowe. 
In hope that sche wolde bowe 
To such thing as his wille were, 
Whil that hire lord were elleswhere. 
And of miself I telle this; 
For it so longe passed is, 
Sithe ferst than ye fro home wente, 
That welnyh every man his wente 
To there I am, whil ye ben oute, 
Hath mad, and ech of hem aboute, 
Which love can, my love secheth. 
With gret preiere and me besecheth: 
And some maken gret manace, 
That if thei mihten come in place, 
Wher that thei mihte here wille have, 

[Eneas and Dnx>.] 


[Ulyssks and 


Hie loquitur super 
eodem qualiter Peno- 
lope Vlixem maritum 
suum, in obsidione 
Troie diucius moran- 
tern, ob ipsius ibidem 
tardacionem Epistola 
sua redarguit. 




143 euermore AM, A, WHs 

♦ ♦ V 

168 is went(e) ML, AA, WHs 


[Ulyssis and Ther is nothing me scholde save, 

Penelope.] rj^^^ ^^^. ^^ ^^j^^ werche thinges ; 

And some tellen me tidynges 

That ye ben ded, and some sein 

That certeinly ye ben besein 180 

To love a newe and leve me. 

Bot hou as evere that it be, 

I thonke unto the goddes alle. 

As yit for oght that is befalle 

Mai noman do my chekes rede : 

Bot natheles it is to drede. 

That Lachesse in continuance 

Fortune mihte such a chance, 

Which noman after scholde amende.' 

Lo, thus this ladi compleignende 190 

A lettre unto hire lord hath write, P. il 8 

And preyde him that he wolde wite 

And thenke hou that sche was al his. 

And that he tarie noght in this, 

Bot tlutfhe wolde his love aquite. 

To hire ayeinward and noght wryte, 

Bpt come himself in alle haste, 

That he non other paper waste ; 

So that he kepe and holde his trowthe 

Withoute lette of eny Slowthe. ^ 200 

Unto hire lord and love liege 
To Troie, wher the grete Siege 
Was leid, this lettre was conveied. 
And he, which wisdom hath pourveied that to reson belongeth. 
With gentil herte it underfongeth : 
And whan he hath it overrad, 
In part he was riht inly glad. 
And ek in part he was desesed : 
Bot love his herte hath so thorghsesed 210 

With pure ymaginacioun, 

184 foroght A, F 189 after noman AM 205 resoun to 

Hi . . . Ba 208 In part he was inly glad AM In partie (party) 

he was inly glad Hi . . . Ba In parti he was riht inly glad J In parti 
was inli riht glad A 






That for non occupacioun 

Which he can take on other side, 

He mai noght flitt his herte aside 

Fro that his wif him hadde enformed ; 

Wherof he hath himself conformed 

With al the wille of his corage 

To schape and take the viage 

Homward, what time that he mai : 

So that him thenketh of a day 

A thousand yer, til he mai se 1 

The visage of Penolope, 

Which he desireth most of alle. 

And whan the time is so befalle 

That Troie was distruid and brent, 

He made non delaiement, 

Bot goth him home in alle hihe, 

Wher that he fond tofore his yhe 

His worthi wif in good astat : 

And thus was cessed the debat 

Of love, and Slowthe was excf^d, 

Which doth gret harm, where it is used. 

And hindreth many a cause honeste. 

For of the grete Clerc Grossteste 
I rede how besy that he was 
Upon clergie an Hed of bras 
To forge, and make it forto telle 
Of suche thinges as befelle. 
And sevene yeres besinesse 
He leyde, bot for the lachesse 
Of half a Minut of an houre, 
Fro ferst that he began laboure 
He loste all that he hadde do. 

And otherwhile it fareth so, 
In loves cause who is slow. 
That he withoute under the wow 
Be nyhte stant fulofte acold. 
Which mihte, if that he hadde wold 

214 flitt AJ, S, F flitte B 215 Fro] ffor L, BA, WHs hadde 
him Hi . . . Ba 226 no Hi . . . CBs, BTA, W 234 Lo of 

Hi . . . Ba (of om. R) 242 ffor ferst B 

X 2 

[Ulysses and 


Nota adhuc "super 
codem de quodam 
Astrologo, qui quod- 
dam opus ingeniosum 
quasi ad complemen- 
tum septennio perdu- 
cens, vnius moment! 
tardacione omnem sui 
^^^ opens diligenciam 
penitus frustrauit. 



[The Fooush 

Nota adhuc contra 
tardacionem de v. vir- 
ginibus fatuis, que 
nimiam moram facien- 
tes intrante spcnso ad 
nupcias cum ipso non 


Confessio Amantis 

His time kept, have be withinne. 

Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne, 250 

Bot he mai singe in his karole P. ILio 

How Latewar cam to the Dole, 
Wher he no good receive mihte. 
And that was proved wel be nyhte 
Whilom of the Maidenes fyve, 
Whan thilke lord cam forto wjrve: 
For that here oyle was aweie 
To lihte Jjere lampes in his weie, 
Here Slowthe broghte it so aboute, 
Fro him that thei ben schet withoute. 260 

Wherof, my Sone, be thou war, 
Als ferforth as I telle dar. 
For love moste ben awaited: 
And if thou be noght wel affaited 
In love to eschuie Slowthe, 
Mi Sone, forto telle trowthe, 
Thou miht noght of thiself ben able 
To winne love or make it stable, 
All thogh thou mihtest love achieve. 

Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve. 270 

Bot me was nevere assigned place, 
Wher yit to gelen eny grace, 
Ne me was non such time apointed ; 
For thanne I wolde I were unjoynted 
Of every lime that I have, 
If I ne scholde kepe and save 
Min houre bothe and ek my stede. 
If my ladi it hadde bede. 
Bot sche is otherwise avised 
Than grante such a time assised ; a8o 

And natheles of mi lachesse P. ii. u 

Ther hath be no defalte I gesse 
Of time lost, if that I mihte : 
Bot yit hire liketh noght alyhte 

354 that] it Hi ... Bs 955 the] )>o Hi . . . L, SETA no 

AM a6i Ther of B, WHs 963 love] sIou>e B 076 

If] And B 977 houre] honour MHiGEC, W 283 if] in 



Upon no lure which I caste; 
For ay the more I crie faste, 
The lasse hire liketh forto hiere. 
So forto speke of this matiere, 
I seche that I mai noght finde, 
I haste and evere I am behinde, 
And wot noght what it .mai amounte. 
Bot, fader, upon myn acompte^ 
Which ye be sett to examine 
Of Schrifte after the discipline, 
Sey what your beste conseil is. 
Mi Sone, my conseil is this: 
Hou so it stonde of time go, 
Do forth thi besinesse so, 
That no Lachesce in the be founde: 
For Slowthe is mihti to confounde 
The spied of every mannes werk* 
For many a vice, as seith the clerk, 
Ther hongen upon Slowthes lappe 
Of suche as make a man mishappe. 
To pleigne and telle of hadde I wist. 
And therupon if that thee list 
To knowe of Slowthes cause more, 
In special yit overmore 
Ther is a vice full grevable 
To him which is therof coupable, 
And stant of alle vertu bare, 
Hierafter as I schal declare. 






P. ii. 12 

ii. Qui nichil attemptat^ nichil expedite oreque muto 
Munus Amicicie vir sibi raro capit. 
Est modus in verbis^ set ei qui parcit amori 
Verba referre sua, non fauet vllus amor. 

Touchende of Slowthe in his degre, 
Ther is yit Pusillamite, 
Which is to seie in this langage, 
He that hath litel of corage 
And dar no mannes werk beginne : 

296 this om, AM 397 go AJ, S, F ago B 310 To] Of B 

Latin Verses ii. 3 parcat Hi . . . B2 parat Hs 4 refert Hi . . . Ba 

[ii. Pusillanimity.] 

Hie loquitur Con- 
fessor de quadam 
specie Accidie, que 




pusillanimitas dicta 
est, cuius ymaginatiua 
formido neque virtutes 
aggredi neque vicia 
fugere audet; sicque 
vtriusque vite, tarn ac- 
tiue quam contempla- 
tiue, premium non at- 




So mai he noght be resoun winne ; 
For who that noght dar undertake. 
Be riht he schal no profit take. jao 

Bot of this vice the nature 
Dar nothing sette in aventure, 
Him lacketh bothe word and dede, 
Wherof he scholde his cause spade : 
He woll no manhed understonde, 
For evere he hath drede upon honde: 
Al is peril that he schal seie, 
Him thenkth the wolf is in the weie, 
And of ymaginacioun 

He makth his excusacioun 330 

And feigneth cause of pure drede, 
And evere he faileth ate nede, 
Til al be spilt that he with deleth. 
He hath the sor which noman heleth, 
The which is cleped lack of herte; 
Thogh every grace aboute him sterte, 
. He wol noght ones stere his fot ; P. iL 13 

So that be resoun lese he mot, 
That wol noght auntre forto winne. 

And so forth, Sone, if we beginne 340 

To speke of love and his servise, 
Ther ben truantz in such a wise, 
That lacken herte, whan best were 
To speke of love, and riht for fere 
Thei wexen doumb and dar noght telle, 
Withoute soun as doth the belle. 
Which hath no claper forto chyme; 
And riht so thei as for the tyme 
Ben herteles withoute speche 
Of love, and dar nothing beseche; 350 

And thus thei lese and winne noght. 
■^ Forthi, my Sone, if thou art oght 

Coupable as touchende of this Slowthe, 
Schrif thee therof and tell me trowthe. 

Mi fader, I am al beknowe 

the] his Hi . . . B«, Ad 34a tyrauntz (tirauntis &c.) 




That I have ben on of tho slowe, 
As forto telle in loves cas. 
Min herte is yit and evere was, 
As thogh the world scholde al tobreke, 
So ferful, that I dar noght speke 
Of what pourpos that I have nome, 
Whan I toward mi ladi come, 
Bot let it passe and overgo. 
Mi Sone, do nomore so : 
For after that a man poursuieth 
To love, so fortune suieth, 
Fulofte and yifth hire happi chance 
To him which makth continuance 
To preie love and to beseche; 
As be ensample I schal thee teche. 

I finde hou whilom ther was on, 
Whos name was Pymaleon, 
Which was a lusti man of yowthe : 
The werkes of entaile he cowthe 
Above alle othre men as tho; 
And thurgh fortune it fell him so. 
As he whom love schal travaile, 
He made an ymage of entaile 
Lich to a womman in semblance 
Of feture and of contienance, 
So fair yit nevere was figure. 
Riht as a lyves creature 
Sche semeth, for of yvor whyt 
He hath hire wroght of such delit, 
That sche was rody on the cheke 
And red on bothe hire lippes eke; 
Wherof that he himself beguileth. 
For with a goodly lok sche smyleth, 
So that thurgh pure impression 
Of his ymaginacion 
With al the herte of his corage 




P. ii. 14 


[ Pygmaleon and th: 

Hie in amoris caus 
loquitur contra pusil 
lanimes, et dicit quo< 
Amans pre timor 
verbis obmutescen 
non debet, set contin 
uando preces su 
amoris expedicionen 
tucius prosequatur 
380 £t ponit Confesso; 
exemplum, qualitei 
Pigmaleon, pro e< 
quod preces continu 
auit, quandam ymagi 
iiem eburneam, cuiu: 
pulcritudinis concu 
piscencia illaqueatu: 
extitit, in camera ei 
sanguinem ad latuj 
suum transformatanr 


356 ]>o J, T, F >e AM . . . Ba, SAdBA, WHs 359 Al J)ough 

:, B 363 let AJ, S, F lete (lette) C, B 37a Pymaleon 

VJ, S, F Pigmaleon EC, B, Hs 384 hire] it B 


[Pygmaleon ANDTHE His lovc upoii this faire ymage 

Statue.] p^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ j^j^.^ ^^ 1^^^ preide ; 

Bot sche no word ayeinward seide. 

The longe day, what thing he dede. 

This ymage in the same stede 

Was evere bi, that ate mete P. iL 15 

He wolde hire serve and preide hire ete. 

And putte unto hire mowth the cuppe ; 

And whan the bord was taken uppe, 400 

He hath hire into chambre nome, 

And after, whan the nyht was come, 

He leide hire in his bed al nakid. 

He was forwept, he was forwakid. 

He keste hire colde lippes ofte. 

And wissheth that thei weren softe. 

And ofte he rouneth in hire Ere, 

And ofte his arm now hier now there 

He leide, as he hir wolde embrace, 

And evere among he axeth grace, 410 

As thogh sche wiste what he mente: 

And thus himself he gan tormente 

With such desese of loves peine. 

That noman mihte him more peine. 

Bot how it were, of his penance 

He made such continuance 

Fro dai to nyht, and preith so longe, 

That his preiere is underfonge. 

Which Venus of hire grace herde ; 

Be nyhte and whan that he worst ferde, 430 

And it lay in his nakede arm. 

The colde ymage he fieleth warm 

Of fleissh and bon and full of lif. 

Lo, thus he wan a lusti wif. 
Which obeissant was at his wille ; 
And if he wolde have holde him stille 
And nothing spoke, he scholde have failed : P. ii. 16 
Bot for he hath his word travailed 
And dorste speke, his love he spedde, 

401 into his chambre Hi .,. Bt {except E) 403 He] And AM 
411 he] it Hi, B 



And hadde al that he wolde abedde. 
For er thei wente thanne atwo, 
A knave child betwen hem two 
Thei gete, which was after hote 
Paphus, of whom yit hath the note 
A certein yle, which Paphos 
Men clepe, and of his name it ros. 
Be this ensample thou miht finde 
That word mai worche above kinde. 
Forthi, my Sone, if that thou spare 
To speke, lost is al thi fare, 
For Slowthe bringth in alle wo. 
And over this to loke also, 
The god of love is favorable 
To hem that ben of love stable. 
And many a wonder hath befalle: 
Wherof to speke amonges alle, 
If that thee list to taken hede, 
Therof a solein tale I rede. 
Which I schal telle in remembraunce 
Upon the sort of loves chaunce. 

The king Ligdus upon a strif 
Spak unto Thelacuse his wif, 
Which thanne was with childe grete; 
He swor it scholde noght be lete, 
That if sche have a dowhter bore, 
That it ne scholde be forlore 
And slain, wherof sche sory was. 
So it befell upon this cas. 
Whan sche delivered scholde be, 
Isis be nyhte in privete. 
Which of childinge is the goddesse. 
Cam forto helpe in that destresse. 
Til that this lady was al smal. 
And hadde a dowhter forth withal; 
Which the goddesse in alle weie 
Bad kepe, and that thei scholden seie 

430 [Pygmaleon and the 




[Tale of Iphis.] 

Hie ponit exem- 
plum super eodem, 

IT. 11. 17 yxori sue Thelacuse 
pregnant! minabatur, 
quod si filiam pareret, 
in fans occideretur : 
460 que tamen postea cum 
filiam ediderat, Isis 
dea partus tunc pre- 
sens filiam nomine 
filii Yphim appellari 
ipsamque more mas- 
culi educari admonuit : 
quam pater filium cre- 
dens, ipsam in mari- 
tagium filie cuiusdam 

453 f- grete : lete AJ, S, F gret : let B 

458 margin Isus HiG 



[Tale or Iphis.] 

principis etate solita 
copulauit Set cum 
Yphis debitum sue 
coniugi vnde soluere 
non habuit, deos in 
sui adiutorium inter- 
pellabat ; qui super hoc 
miserti femininum ge- 
nus in masculinum ob 
affectum nature in Y- 
phe per omnia trans- 

It were a Sone: and thus Iphis 

Thei namede him, and upon this 

The fader was mad so to wene. 

And thus in chambre with the qweene 470 

This Iphis was forthdrawe tho, 

And clothed and arraied so 

Riht as a kinges Sone scholde. 

Til after, as fortune it wolde, 

WTian it was of a ten yer age, 

Him was betake in mariage 

A Duckes dowhter forto wedde, 

Which lante hihte, and ofte abedde 

These children leien, sche and sche, 

Whiche of on age bothe be. 4*^0 

So that withinne time of yeeres, 

Togedre as thei ben pleiefieres, 

Liggende abedde upon a nyht, 

Nature, which doth every wiht 

Upon hire lawe forto muse, 

Constreigneth hem, so that thei use 

Thing which to hem was al unknowe; P. ii. 18 

Wherof Cupide thilke throwe 

Tok pite for the grete love. 

And let do sette kinde above, 490 

So that hir lawe mai ben used. 

And thei upon here lust excused. 

For love hateth nothing more 

Than thing which stant ayein the lore 

Of that nature in kinde hath sett : 

Forthi Cupide hath so besett 

His grace upon this aventure, 

That he accordant to nature. 

Whan that he syh the time best, 

That ech of hem hath other kest, 500 

Transformeth Iphe into a man, 

Wherof the kinde love he wan 

Of lusti yonge lante his wif ; 

470 line om. B 479 he and sche Hi . . . Bt sche and he B 

481 a tyme B 497 Hir B 498 he] be BT 499 the] 

his AdB om, L 



And tho thei ladde a merie lif, 
Which was to kinde non offence. 

And thus to take an evidence, 
It semeth love is welwillende 
To hem that ben continuende 
With besy herte to poursuie 
Thing which that is to love due. 
Wherof, my Sone, in this matiere 
Thou miht ensample taken hiere, 
That with thi grete besinesse 
Thou miht atteigne the richesse 
Of love, if that ther be no Slowthe. 

I dar wel seie be mi trowthe, 
Als fer as I my witt can seche, 
Mi fader, as for lacke of speche, 
Bot so as I me schrof tofore, 
Ther is non other time lore, 
Wherof ther mihte ben obstacle 
To lette love of his miracle, 
Which I beseche day and nyht. 
Bot, fader, so as it is riht 
In forme of schrifte to beknowe 
What thing belongeth to the slowe, 
Your faderhode I wolde preie, 
If ther be forthere eny weie 
Touchende unto this ilke vice. 

Mi Sone, ye, of this office 
Ther serveth on in special. 
Which lost hath his memorial, 
So that he can no wit withholde 
In thing which he to kepe is holde, 
Wherof fulofte himself he grieveth : 
And who that most upon him lieveth, 
Whan that hise wittes ben so weyved, 
He mai full lihtly be deceived. 

[Tale of I phis.] 




P. ii. 19 




514 myht (might) J, B mihte A, S, F the] >i Hi . . . Bj 

o T 515 that om. B 517 Abo fer as my E ... Bs As (Als) 

er as my HiXG 521 mihte ben] might(e) be non Hi . . . Ba 

•,35 himself fulofte A . . . B2 (fulle of M), W 



iii. FoRGETFULNESs.] iii. 

Hie tractat Confes- 
or de vicio Obliuio- 
lis. quam mater eius 
^cddia ad omnes vir- 
utum memorias nec- 
lon et in amoris causa 
mmemorem constit- 

Confessio Amantis. 

Mentibus oblitus alienis labitur ille^ 

Quern probat accidia non meminisse sui. 

Sic amor incauiuSy qui non memoratur ad horas, 
Perdit et offendit^ quod cuperare nequit. 

To serve Accidie in his office, 
Ther is of Slowthe an other vice, 540 

Which cleped is Foryetehiesse ; 
That noght mai in his herte impresse 
Of vertu which reson hath sett, P. ii so 

So clene his wittes he foryet. 
For in the tellinge of his tale 
Nomore his herte thanne his male 
Hath remembrance of thilke forme, 
Wherof he scholde his wit enforme 
As thanne, and yit ne wot he why. 
Thus is his pourpos noght forthi 550 

Forlore of that he wolde bidde. 
And skarsly if he seith the thridde 
To love of that he hadde ment : 
Thus many a lovere hath be schent 
Tell on therfore, hast thou be oon 
Of hem that Slowthe hath so b^on ? 

Ye, fader, ofte it hath be so. 
That whanne I am mi ladi fro 
And thenke untoward hire drawe. 
Than cast I many a newe lawe 560 

And al the world torne up so doun. 
And so recorde I mi lecoun 
And wryte in my memorial 
What I to hire telle schal, 
Riht al the matiere of mi tale : 
Bot al nys worth a note schale; 
For whanne I come ther sche is, 
I have it al foryete ywiss ; 
Of that I thoghte forto telle 
I can noght thanne unethes spelle 570 

That I wende altherbest have rad, 

Latin Verses iii. 3 morabatur AM 

546 margin se constituit B 548 wit] herte A . . . Bi 

thcrfore] forJ)er(c) BT 560 cast J, SB, F caste A 



So sore I am of hire adrad. [Forgetfulness.] 

For as a man that sodeinli P. ii. ai 

A gost behelde, so fare I; 

So that for feere I can noght gete 

Mi witt, bot I miself foryete, 

That I wot nevere what I am, 

Ne whider I schal, ne whenne I cam, 

Bot muse as he that were amased. 

Lich to the bok in which is rased 580 

The lettre, and mai nothing be rad, 

So ben my wittes overlad, 

That what as evere I thoghte have spoken, 

It is out fro myn herte stoken, 

And stonde, as who seith, doumb and def, 

That all nys worth an yvy lef, 

Of that I wende wel have seid. 

And ate laste I make abreid, 

Caste up myn hed and loke aboute, 

Riht as a man that were in doute 590 

And wot noght wher he schal become. 

Thus am I ofte al overcome, 

Ther as I wende best to stonde: 

Bot after, whanne I understonde, 

And am in other place al one, 

I make many a wofuU mone 

Unto miself, and speke so : 

*Ha fol, wher was thin herte tho, 

Whan thou thi worthi ladi syhe? 

Were thou afered of hire yhe? 600 

For of hire hand ther is no drede : 

So wel I knowe hir wommanhede. 

That in hire is nomore oultrage P. ii. aa 

Than in a child of thre yeer age. 

Whi hast thou drede of so good on, 

Whom alle vertu hath begon. 

That in hire is no violence 

Bot goodlihiede and innocence 

Withouten spot of eny blame? 

5')4 be holde R beholde)) BT, W 584 ouht fro F out of 

Hi . . . Bs, B 588 abreid (abreide) A, F a breid JEC, B 


[FoRGETTULNEss.] Ho, nycc hcrte, fy for schame ! 6io 

Ha, couard herte of love unlered, 
Wherof art thou so sore afered. 
That thou thi tunge soffrest frese, 
And wolt thi goode wordes lese, 
Whan thou hast founde time and space? 
How scholdest thou deserve grace. 
Whan thou thiself darst axe non, 
Bot al thou hast foryete anon?' 
And thus despute I loves lore, 
Bot help ne finde I noght the more, 6ao 

Bot stomble upon myn oghne treine 
And make an ekinge of my peine. 
For evere whan I thenke among 
How al is on miself along, 
I seie, * O fol of alle foles, 
Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles 
That wolde sitte and goth to grounde. 
It was ne nevere schal be founde, 
Betwen foryetelnesse and drede 
That man scholde any cause spede/ 630 

And thus, myn holi fader diere. 
Toward miself, as ye mai hiere, 
I pleigne of my foryetelnesse ; P. ii. 23 

Bot elles al the besinesse. 
That mai be take of mannes thoght, 
Min herte takth, and is thorghsoght 
To thenken evere upon that swete 
Withoute Slowthe, I you behete. 
For what so falle, or wel or wo. 
That thoght foryete I neveremo, 640 

Wher so I lawhe or so I loure : 
Noght half the Minut of an houre 
Ne mihte I lete out of my mende, 
Bot if I thoghte upon that hende. 
Therof me schal no Slowthe lette, 
Til deth out of this world me fette, 

618 And B 624 is] yis XCL 637 Thow (Jwu) AM 6a8 schal] 
it schal AJHi . . . CBa 641 or wher (whcj)er) I HiG . . . B» 

or where so I X or elles T or A 642 a mynut (minute) X, Ba, W 


Althogh I hadde on such a Ring, [Forgetfulness.] 

As Moises thurgh his enchanting 

Som time in Ethiope made, 

Whan that he Tharbis weddid hade. 650 

Which Ring bar of Oblivion 

The name, and that was be resoun 

That where it on a finger sat. 

Anon his love he so foryat, 

As thogh he hadde it nevere knowe : 

And so it fell that ilke throwe, 

Whan Tharbis hadde it on hire bond, 

No knowlechinge of him sche fond, 

Bot al was clene out of memoire. 

As men mai rede in his histoire ; 660 

And thus he wente quit away. 

That nevere after that ilke day 

Sche thoghte that ther was such on ; P. ii. 24 

Al was foryete and overgon. 

Bot in good feith so mai noght I : 

For sche is evere faste by, 

So nyh that sche myn herte toucheth, 

That for nothing that Slowthe voucheth 

I mai foryete hire, lief ne loth ; 

For overal, where as sche goth, 670 

Min herte folwith hire aboute. 

Thus mai I seie withoute doute, 

For bet, for wers, for oght, for noght, 

Sche passeth nevere fro my thoght; 

Bot whanne I am ther as sche is, 

Min herte, as I you saide er this, 

Som time of hire is sore adrad. 

And som time it is overglad, 

Al out of reule and out of space. 

For whan I se hir goodli face 680 

And thenke upon hire hihe pris, 

As thogh I were in Paradis, 

I am so ravisht of the syhte, 

That speke unto hire I ne myhte 

672 seie A, S, F scy (say) J, B 676 erpis F 684 That] 







As for the time, thogh I wolde : 

For I ne mai my wit unfolde 

To finde o word of that I mene, 

Bot al it is foryete clene; 

And thogh I stonde there a myle, 

Al is foryete for the while, 690 

A tunge I have and wordes none. 

And thus I stonde and thenke al one 

Of thing that helpeth ofte noght ; P. ii. 25 

Bot what I hadde afore thoght 

To speke, whanne I come there, 

It is foryete, as noght ne were, 

And stonde amased and assoted, 

That of nothing which I have noted 

I can noght thanne a note singe, 

Bot al is out of knowlechinge : 

Thus, what for joie and what for drede, 

Al is foryeten ate nede. 

So that, mi fader, of this Slowthe 

I have you said the pleine trowthe; 

Ye mai it as you list redresce: 

For thus stant my foryetelnesse 

And ek my pusillamite. 

Sey now forth what you list to me, 

For I wol only do be you. 

Mi Sone, I have wel herd how thou 
Hast seid^ and that thou most amende : 
For love his grace wol noght sende 
To that man which dar axe non. 
For this we knowen everichon, 
A mannes thoght withoute speche 
God wot, and yit that men beseche 
His will is; for withoute bedes 
He doth his grace in fewe stedes : 
And what man that foryet himselve, 
Among a thousand be noght tuelve, 710 

That wol him take in remembraunce, 
Bot lete him falle and take his chaunce. 


698-700 om, B 
om. T 

708 whatt F 

713 which] ysLt M, B, W 



Forthi pull up a besi herte, 

Mi Sone, and let nothing asterte 

Of love fro thi besinesse : -•— » 

For touchinge of foryetelnesse, 

Which many a love hath set behinde, 

A tale of gret ensample I finde, 

Wherof it is pite to wite 

In the manere as it is write. 730 

King Demephon, whan he be Schipe 
To Troieward with felaschipe 
Sailende goth, upon his weie 
It hapneth him at Rodopeie, 
As Eolus him hadde blowe, 
To londe, and rested for a throwe. 
And fell that ilke time thus, 
The dowhter of Ligurgius, 
Which qweene was of the contre, 
Was sojournende in that Cite 740 

Withinne a Castell nyh the stronde, 
Wher Demephon cam up to londe. 
Phillis sche hihte, and of yong age 
And of stature and of visage 
Sche hadde al that hire best besemeth. 
Of Demephon riht wel hire qwemeth, 
Whan he was come, and made him chiere ; 
And he, that was of his manere 
A lusti knyht, ne myhte asterte 
That he ne sette on hire his herte; 750 

So that withinne a day or tuo 
He thoghte, how evere that it go, 
He wolde assaie the fortune, P. ii. ay 

And gan his herte to commune 
With goodly wordes in hire Ere; 
And forto put hire out of fere. 
He swor and hath his trowthe pliht 
To be for evere hire oghne knyht. 
And thus with hire he stille abod, 
Ther while his Schip on Anker rod, 760 

740 margin ob ipsa HiXE . . . Ba 760 Ther while] The while 

BT, W )Mi/ while M Theke while J 


[Demiphon and 

Hie in amoris causa 
contra obliuiosos po- 
nit Confessor exem- 
plum, qualiter Deme- 
phon versus helium 
Troianum itinerando 
a Phillide Rodopeie 
Regina non tantum in 
hospicium, set eciam 
in amorem, gaudio 
magno susceptus est : 
qui postea ab ipsa 
Troie discedens redi- 
turum infra certum 
tempus fidelissime se 
compromisit. Set quia 
huiusmodi promissi- 
onis diem statutum 
postmodum oblitus 
est, Phillis obliuionem 
Deraephontis lacrimis 
primo deplangens.tan- 
dem cordula coUo suo 
circumligata in qua- 
dam corulo pre dolore 
semortuam suspendit. 


[Dbmbphon and And hadde ynowh of time and space 

Phillis.] rj.^ speke of love and seche grace. 

This ladi herde al that he seide, 
And hou he swor and hou he preide» 
Which was as an enchantement 
To hire, that was innocent: 
As thogh it were trowthe and feitb, 
Sche lieveth al that evere he seith. 
And as hire infortune scholde, 
Sche granteth him al that he wolde. 770 

Thus was he for the time in joie, 
Til that he scholde go to Troie; 
Bot tho sche made mochel sorwe, 
And he his trowthe leith to borwe 
To come, if that he live may, 
Ayein withinne a Monthe day, 
And thenipon thei kisten bothe: 
Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe, 
To Schipe he goth and forth he wente 
To Troie, as was his ferste entente. 780 

The daies gon, the Monthe passeth, 
Hire love encresceth and his lasseth, 
For him sche lefte slep and mete, P. ii. 28 

And he his time hath al foryete; 
So that this wofull yonge qweene, 
Which wot noght what it mihte meene, 
A lettre sende and preide him come. 
And seith how sche is overcome 
With strengthe of love in such a wise, 
That sche noght longe mai suffise 790 

To liven out of his presence ; 
And putte upon his conscience 
The trowthe which he hath behote, 
Wherof sche loveth him so bote, 
Sche seith, that if he lengere lette 
Of such a day as sche him sette, 
Sche scholde sterven in his Slowthe, 

766 al Innocent Hi . . . Ba an Innocent M 790 long^ may not 
(nought) X . . . Ba longe nouht may Hi 797 wold(e) AM 

wolde hym W 


Which were a schame unto his trowthe. [Demephon ahd 

This lettre is forth upon hire sonde, Pmillis.] 

Wherof somdiel confort on honde 800 

Sche tok, as sche that wolde abide 
And waite upon that ilke tyde 
Which sche hath in hire lettre write. 

Bot now is pite forto wite, 
As he dede erst, so he foryat 
His time eftsone and oversat. 
Bot sche, which mihte noght do so, 
The tyde awayteth everemo. 
And caste hire yhe upon the See : 
Somtime nay, somtime yee, 810 

Somtime he cam, somtime noght, 

Thus sche desputeth in hire thoght , 

And wot noght what sche thenke mai ; P. ii. 29 
Bot fastende al the longe day 
Sche was into the derke nyht, 
And tho sche hath do set up lyht 
In a lanterne on hih alofte 
Upon a Tour, wher sche goth ofte, 
In hope that in his cominge 
He scholde se the liht brenninge, 830 

Wherof he mihte his weies rihte 
To come wher sche was be nyhte. 
Bot al for noght, sche was deceived, 
For Venus hath hire hope weyved, 
And schewede hire upon the Sky 
How that the day was faste by. 
So that withinne a litel throwe 
The daies lyht sche mihte knowe. 
Tho sche behield the See at large; 
And whan sche sih ther was no barge 830 

Ne Schip, als ferr as sche may kenne, 
Doun fro the Tour sche gan to renne 
Into an Her bar all hire one, 
Wher many a wonder woful mone 
Sche made, that no lif it wiste, 
As sche which all hire joie miste^ 
That now sche swouneth, now sche pleigneth, 

Y 2 


[Demephon and And al hire face scbe desteigneth 

Phillis.] ^j^j^ ^gj.^g^ whiche, as of a welle 

The stremes, from hire yhen felle ; 840 

So as sche mihte and evere in on 

Sche clepede upon Demephon, 

And seide, * Helas, thou slowe wiht, P. iL 30 

Wher was ther evere such a knyht. 

That so thurgh his ungentilesce 

Of Slowthe and of foryetebiesse 

Ayein his trowthe brak his stevene?' 

And tho hire yhe up to the hevene 

Sche caste, and seide, *0 thou unkinde, 

Hier schalt thou thurgh thi Slowthe finde, 950 

If that thee list to come and se, 

A ladi ded for love of thee, 

So as I schal myselve spille; 

Whom, if it hadde be thi wille, 

Thou mihtest save wel ynowh.' 

With that upon a grene bowh 

A Ceinte of Selk, which sche ther had(}e, 

Sche knette, and so hireself sche ladde. 

That sche aboute hire whyte swere 

It dede, and hyng hirselven there. 860 

Wherof the goddes were amoeved, 

And Demephon was so reproeved, 

That of the goddes providence 

Was schape such an evidence 

Evere afterward ayein the slowe, 

That Phillis in the same throwe 

Was schape into a Notetre, 

That alle men it mihte se, 

And after Phillis Philliberd 

This tre was cleped in the yerd, 870 

And yit for Demephon to schame 

Into this dai it berth the name. 

This wofull chance how that it ferde P. ii. 31 

Anon as Demephon it herde. 

And every man it hadde in speche, 

His sorwe was noght tho to seche; 

He gan his Slowthe forto banne, 


Bot it was al to late thanne. 

Lo thus, my Sone, miht thou wite Confessor. 

Ayein this vice how it is write