Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
The Romaunt of the Rose
Fragment B
WHAN I had smelled the savour swote,
No wille hadde I fro thens yit go,
But somdel neer it wente I tho,
To take it; but myn hond, for drede,
Ne dorste I to the rose bede,        5
For thistels sharpe, of many maneres,
Netles, thornes, and hoked breres;
[Ful] muche they distourbled me,
For sore I dradde to harmed be.
  The God of Love, with bowe bent,        10
That al day set hadde his talent
To pursuen and to spyen me,
Was stonding by a fige-tree.
And whan he sawe how that I
Had chosen so ententifly        15
The botoun, more unto my pay
Than any other that I say,
He took an arowe ful sharply whet,
And in his bowe whan it was set,
He streight up to his ere drough        20
The stronge bowe, that was so tough,
And shet at me so wonder smerte,
That through myn eye unto myn herte
The takel smoot, and depe it wente.
And ther-with-al such cold me hente,        25
That, under clothes warme and softe,
Sith that day I have chevered ofte.
  Whan I was hurt thus in [that] stounde,
I fel doun plat unto the grounde.
Myn herte failed and feynted ay,        30
And long tyme [ther] a-swone I lay.
But whan I com out of swoning,
And hadde wit, and my feling,
I was al maat, and wende ful wel
Of blood have loren a ful gret del.        35
But certes, the arowe that in me stood
Of me ne drew no drope of blood,
For-why I found my wounde al dreye.
Than took I with myn hondis tweye
The arowe, and ful fast out it plight,        40
And in the pulling sore I sight.
So at the last the shaft of tree
I drough out, with the fethers three.
But yet the hoked heed, y-wis,
The whiche Beautee callid is,        45
Gan so depe in myn herte passe,
That I it mighte nought arace;
But in myn herte stille it stood,
Al bledde I not a drope of blood.
I was bothe anguissous and trouble        50
For the peril that I saw double;
I niste what to seye or do,
Ne gete a leche my woundis to;
For neithir thurgh gras ne rote,
Ne hadde I help of hope ne bote.        55
But to the botoun ever-mo
Myn herte drew; for al my wo,
My thought was in non other thing.
For hadde it been in my keping,
It wolde have brought my lyf agayn.        60
For certeinly, I dar wel seyn,
The sight only, and the savour,
Alegged muche of my langour.
  Than gan I for to drawe me
Toward the botoun fair to see;        65
And Love hadde gete him, in [a] throwe,
Another arowe into his bowe,
And for to shete gan him dresse;
The arowis name was Simplesse.
And whan that Love gan nyghe me nere,        70
He drow it up, withouten were,
And shet at me with al his might,
So that this arowe anon-right
Thourghout [myn] eigh, as it was founde,
Into myn herte hath maad a wounde.        75
Thanne I anoon dide al my crafte
For to drawen out the shafte,
And ther-with-al I sighed eft.
But in myn herte the heed was left,
Which ay encresid my desyre,        80
Unto the botoun drawe nere;
And ever, mo that me was wo,
The more desyr hadde I to go
Unto the roser, where that grew
The fresshe botoun so bright of hewe.        85
Betir me were have leten be;
But it bihoved nedes me
To don right as myn herte bad.
For ever the body must be lad
Aftir the herte; in wele and wo,        90
Of force togidre they must go.
But never this archer wolde fyne
To shete at me with alle his pyne,
And for to make me to him mete.
  The thridde arowe he gan to shete,        95
Whan best his tyme he mighte espye,
The which was named Curtesye;
Into myn herte it dide avale.
A-swone I fel, bothe deed and pale;
Long tyme I lay, and stired nought,        100
Til I abraid out of my thought.
And faste than I avysed me
To drawen out the shafte of tree;
But ever the heed was left bihinde
For ought I couthe pulle or winde.        105
So sore it stikid whan I was hit,
That by no craft I might it flit;
But anguissous and ful of thought,
I felte such wo, my wounde ay wrought,
That somoned me alway to go        110
Toward the rose, that plesed me so;
But I ne durste in no manere,
Bicause the archer was so nere.
For evermore gladly, as I rede,
Brent child of fyr hath muche drede.        115
And, certis yit, for al my peyne,
Though that I sigh yit arwis reyne,
And grounde quarels sharpe of stele,
Ne for no payne that I might fele,
Yit might I not my-silf withholde        120
The faire roser to biholde;
For Love me yaf sich hardement
For to fulfille his comaundement.
Upon my feet I roos up than
Feble, as a forwoundid man;        125
And forth to gon [my] might I sette,
And for the archer nolde I lette.
Toward the roser fast I drow;
But thornes sharpe mo than y-now
Ther were, and also thistels thikke,        130
And breres, brimme for to prikke,
That I ne mighte gete grace
The rowe thornes for to passe,
To sene the roses fresshe of hewe.
I must abide, though it me rewe,        135
The hegge aboute so thikke was,
That closid the roses in compas.
  But o thing lyked me right wele;
I was so nygh, I mighte fele
Of the botoun the swote odour,        140
And also see the fresshe colour;
And that right gretly lyked me,
That I so neer it mighte see.
Sich Ioye anoon therof hadde I,
That I forgat my malady.        145
To sene [it] hadde I sich delyt,
Of sorwe and angre I was al quit,
And of my woundes that I had thar;
For no-thing lyken me might mar
Than dwellen by the roser ay,        150
And thennes never to passe away.
  But whan a whyle I had be thar,
The God of Love, which al to-shar
Myn herte with his arwis kene,
Caste him to yeve me woundis grene.        155
He shet at me ful hastily
An arwe named Company,
The whiche takel is ful able
To make these ladies merciable.
Than I anoon gan chaungen hewe        160
For grevaunce of my wounde newe,
That I agayn fel in swoning,
And sighed sore in compleyning.
Sore I compleyned that my sore
On me gan greven more and more.        165
I had non hope of allegeaunce;
So nigh I drow to desperaunce,
I rought of dethe ne of lyf,
Whither that love wolde me dryf.
If me a martir wolde he make,        170
I might his power nought forsake.
And whyl for anger thus I wook,
The God of Love an arowe took;
Ful sharp it was and [ful] pugnaunt,
And it was callid Fair-Semblaunt,        175
The which in no wys wol consente,
That any lover him repente
To serve his love with herte and alle,
For any peril that may bifalle.
But though this arwe was kene grounde        180
As any rasour that is founde,
To cutte and kerve, at the poynt,
The God of Love it hadde anoynt
With a precious oynement,
Somdel to yeve aleggement        185
Upon the woundes that he had
Through the body in my herte maad,
To helpe hir sores, and to cure,
And that they may the bet endure.
But yit this arwe, withoute more,        190
Made in myn herte a large sore,
That in ful gret peyne I abood.
But ay the oynement wente abrood;
Throughout my woundes large and wyde
It spredde aboute in every syde;        195
Through whos vertu and whos might
Myn herte Ioyful was and light.
I had ben deed and al to-shent
But for the precious oynement.
The shaft I drow out of the arwe,        200
Roking for wo right wondir narwe;
But the heed, which made me smerte,
Lefte bihinde in myn herte
With other foure, I dar wel say,
That never wol be take away;        205
But the oynement halp me wele.
And yit sich sorwe dide I fele,
That al-day I chaunged hewe,
Of my woundes fresshe and newe,
As men might see in my visage.        210
The arwis were so fulle of rage,
So variaunt of diversitee,
That men in everich mighte see
Bothe gret anoy and eek swetnesse,
And Ioye meynt with bittirnesse.        215
Now were they esy, now were they wood,
In hem I felte bothe harm and good;
Now sore without aleggement,
Now softening with oynement;
It softned here, and prikked there,        220
Thus ese and anger togider were.
  The God of Love deliverly
Com lepand to me hastily,
And seide to me, in gret rape,
‘Yeld thee, for thou may not escape!        225
May no defence availe thee here;
Therfore I rede mak no daungere.
If thou wolt yelde thee hastily,
Thou shalt [the] rather have mercy.
He is a fool in sikernesse,        230
That with daunger or stoutnesse
Rebellith ther that he shulde plese;
In such folye is litel ese.
Be meek, wher thou must nedis bowe;
To stryve ageyn is nought thy prowe.        235
Come at ones, and have y-do,
For I wol that it be so.
Than yeld thee here debonairly.’
And I answerid ful humbly,
‘Gladly, sir; at your bidding,        240
I wol me yelde in alle thing.
To your servyse I wol me take;
For god defende that I shulde make
Ageyn your bidding resistence;
I wol not doon so gret offence;        245
For if I dide, it were no skile.
Ye may do with me what ye wile,
Save or spille, and also sloo;
Fro you in no wyse may I go.
My lyf, my deth, is in your honde,        250
I may not laste out of your bonde.
Pleyn at your list I yelde me,
Hoping in herte, that sumtyme ye
Comfort and ese shulle me sende;
Or ellis shortly, this is the ende,        255
Withouten helthe I moot ay dure,
But-if ye take me to your cure.
Comfort or helthe how shuld I have,
Sith ye me hurte, but ye me save?
The helthe of lovers moot be founde        260
Wher-as they token firste hir wounde.
And if ye list of me to make
Your prisoner, I wol it take
Of herte and wil, fully at gree.
Hoolly and pleyn I yelde me,        265
Withoute feyning or feyntyse,
To be governed by your empryse.
Of you I here so much prys,
I wol ben hool at your devys
For to fulfille your lyking        270
And repente for no-thing,
Hoping to have yit in som tyde
Mercy, of that [that] I abyde.’
And with that covenaunt yeld I me,
Anoon doun kneling upon my knee,        275
Profering for to kisse his feet;
But for no-thing he wolde me lete,
And seide, ‘I love thee bothe and preyse,
Sen that thyn answer doth me ese,
For thou answerid so curteisly.        280
For now I wot wel uttirly,
That thou art gentil, by thy speche.
For though a man fer wolde seche,
He shulde not finden, in certeyn,
No sich answer of no vileyn;        285
For sich a word ne mighte nought
Isse out of a vilayns thought.
Thou shalt not lesen of thy speche,
For [to] thy helping wol I eche,
And eek encresen that I may.        290
But first I wol that thou obay
Fully, for thyn avauntage,
Anon to do me here homage.
And sithen kisse thou shalt my mouth,
Which to no vilayn was never couth        295
For to aproche it, ne for to touche;
For sauf of cherlis I ne vouche
That they shulle never neigh it nere.
For curteys, and of fair manere,
Wel taught, and ful of gentilnesse        300
He muste ben, that shal me kisse,
And also of ful high fraunchyse,
That shal atteyne to that empryse.
  And first of o thing warne I thee,
That peyne and gret adversitee        305
He mot endure, and eek travaile,
That shal me serve, withoute faile.
But ther-ageyns, thee to comforte,
And with thy servise to desporte,
Thou mayst ful glad and Ioyful be        310
So good a maister to have as me,
And lord of so high renoun.
I bere of Love the gonfanoun,
Of Curtesye the banere;
For I am of the silf manere,        315
Gentil, curteys, meek and free;
That who [so] ever ententif be
Me to honoure, doute, and serve,
And also that he him observe
Fro trespas and fro vilanye,        320
And him governe in curtesye
With wil and with entencioun;
For whan he first in my prisoun
Is caught, than muste he uttirly,
Fro thennes-forth ful bisily,        325
Caste him gentil for to be,
If he desyre helpe of me.’
  Anoon withouten more delay,
Withouten daunger or affray,
I bicom his man anoon,        330
And gave him thankes many a oon,
And kneled doun with hondis Ioynt,
And made it in my port ful queynt;
The Ioye wente to myn herte rote.
Whan I had kissed his mouth so swote,        335
I had sich mirthe and sich lyking,
It cured me of languisshing.
He askid of me than hostages:—
‘I have,’ he seide, ‘taken fele homages
Of oon and other, where I have been        340
Disceyved ofte, withouten wene.
These felouns, fulle of falsitee,
Have many sythes bigyled me,
And through falshede hir lust acheved,
Wherof I repente and am agreved.        345
And I hem gete in my daungere,
Hir falshed shulle they bye ful dere.
But for I love thee, I seye thee pleyn,
I wol of thee be more certeyn;
For thee so sore I wol now binde,        350
That thou away ne shalt not winde
For to denyen the covenaunt,
Or doon that is not avenaunt.
That thou were fals it were gret reuthe,
Sith thou semest so ful of treuthe.’        355
  ‘Sire, if thee list to undirstande,
I merveile thee asking this demande.
For-why or wherfore shulde ye
O stages or borwis aske of me,
Or any other sikirnesse,        360
Sith ye wote, in sothfastnesse,
That ye have me surprysed so,
And hool myn herte taken me fro,
That it wol do for me no-thing
But-if it be at your bidding?        365
Myn herte is yours, and myn right nought,
As it bihoveth, in dede and thought,
Redy in alle to worche your wille,
Whether so [it] turne to good or ille.
So sore it lustith you to plese,        370
No man therof may you disseise.
Ye have theron set sich Iustise,
That it is werreyd in many wise.
And if ye doute it nolde obeye,
Ye may therof do make a keye,        375
And holde it with you for ostage.’
‘Now certis, this is noon outrage,’
Quoth Love, ‘and fully I accord;
For of the body he is ful lord
That hath the herte in his tresor;        380
Outrage it were to asken more.’
  Than of his aumener he drough
A litel keye, fetys y-nough,
Which was of gold polisshed clere,
And seide to me, ‘With this keye here        385
Thyn herte to me now wol I shette;
For al my Iowellis loke and knette
I binde under this litel keye,
That no wight may carye aweye;
This keye is ful of gret poeste.’        390
With which anoon he touchid me
Undir the syde ful softely,
That he myn herte sodeynly
Without [al] anoy had spered,
That yit right nought it hath me dered.        395
Whan he had doon his wil al-out,
And I had put him out of dout,
‘Sire,’ I seide, ‘I have right gret wille
Your lust and plesaunce to fulfille.
Loke ye my servise take at gree,        400
By thilke feith ye owe to me.
I seye nought for recreaundyse,
For I nought doute of your servyse.
But the servaunt traveileth in vayne,
That for to serven doth his payne        405
Unto that lord, which in no wyse
Can him no thank for his servyse.’
  Love seide, ‘Dismaye thee nought,
Sin thou for sucour hast me sought,
In thank thy servise wol I take,        410
And high of degree I wol thee make,
If wikkidnesse ne hindre thee;
But, as I hope, it shal nought be.
To worship no wight by aventure
May come, but-if he peyne endure.        415
Abyde and suffre thy distresse;
That hurtith now, it shal be lesse;
I wot my-silf what may thee save,
What medicyne thou woldist have.
And if thy trouthe to me thou kepe,        420
I shal unto thyn helping eke,
To cure thy woundes and make hem clene,
Wher-so they be olde or grene;
Thou shalt be holpen, at wordis fewe.
For certeynly thou shalt wel shewe        425
Wher that thou servest with good wille,
For to complisshen and fulfille
My comaundementis, day and night,
Whiche I to lovers yeve of right.’
  ‘Ah, sire, for goddis love,’ seide I,        430
‘Er ye passe hens, ententifly
Your comaundementis to me ye say,
And I shal kepe hem, if I may;
For hem to kepen is al my thought.
And if so be I wot hem nought,        435
Than may I [sinne] unwitingly.
Wherfore I pray you enterely,
With al myn herte, me to lere,
That I trespasse in no manere.’
  The god of love than chargid me        440
Anoon, as ye shal here and see,
Word by word, by right empryse,
So as the Romance shal devyse.
  The maister lesith his tyme to lere,
Whan the disciple wol not here.        445
It is but veyn on him to swinke,
That on his lerning wol not thinke.
Who-so lust love, let him entende,
For now the Romance ginneth amende.
Now is good to here, in fay,        450
If any be that can it say,
And poynte it as the resoun is
Set; for other-gate, y-wis,
It shal nought wel in alle thing
Be brought to good undirstonding:        455
For a reder that poyntith ille
A good sentence may ofte spille.
The book is good at the ending,
Maad of newe and lusty thing;
For who-so wol the ending here,        460
The crafte of love he shal now lere,
If that he wol so long abyde,
Til I this Romance may unhyde,
And undo the signifiaunce
Of this dreme into Romaunce.        465
The sothfastnesse that now is hid,
Without coverture shal be kid,
Whan I undon have this dreming,
Wherin no word is of lesing.
  ‘Vilany, at the biginning,        470
I wol,’ sayd Love, ‘over alle thing,
Thou leve, if thou wolt [not] be
Fals, and trespasse ageynes me.
I curse and blame generally
Alle hem that loven vilany;        475
For vilany makith vilayn,
And by his dedis a cherle is seyn.
Thise vilayns arn without pitee,
Frendshipe, love, and al bounte.
I nil receyve to my servyse        480
Hem that ben vilayns of empryse.
  ‘But undirstonde in thyn entent,
That this is not myn entendement,
To clepe no wight in no ages
Only gentil for his linages.        485
But who-so [that] is vertuous,
And in his port nought outrageous,
Whan sich oon thou seest thee biforn,
Though he be not gentil born,
Thou mayst wel seyn, this is a soth,        490
That he is gentil, bicause he doth
As longeth to a gentilman;
Of hem non other deme I can.
For certeynly, withouten drede,
A cherl is demed by his dede,        495
Of hye or lowe, as ye may see,
Or of what kinrede that he be.
Ne say nought, for noon yvel wille,
Thing that is to holden stille;
It is no worship to misseye.        500
Thou mayst ensample take of Keye,
That was somtyme, for misseying,
Hated bothe of olde and ying;
As fer as Gaweyn, the worthy,
Was preysed for his curtesy,        505
Keye was hated, for he was fel,
Of word dispitous and cruel.
Wherfore be wyse and aqueyntable,
Goodly of word, and resonable
Bothe to lesse and eek to mar.        510
And whan thou comest ther men ar,
Loke that thou have in custom ay
First to salue hem, if thou may:
And if it falle, that of hem som
Salue thee first, be not dom,        515
But quyte him curteisly anoon
Without abiding, er they goon.
  ‘For no-thing eek thy tunge applye
To speke wordis of ribaudye.
To vilayn speche in no degree        520
Lat never thy lippe unbounden be.
For I nought holde him, in good feith,
Curteys, that foule wordis seith.
And alle wimmen serve and preyse,
And to thy power hir honour reyse.        525
And if that any missayere
Dispyse wimmen, that thou mayst here,
Blame him, and bidde him holde him stille.
And set thy might and al thy wille
Wimmen and ladies for to plese,        530
And to do thing that may hem ese,
That they ever speke good of thee,
For so thou mayst best preysed be.
  ‘Loke fro pryde thou kepe thee wele;
For thou mayst bothe perceyve and fele,        535
That pryde is bothe foly and sinne;
And he that pryde hath, him withinne,
Ne may his herte, in no wyse,
Meken ne souplen to servyse.
For pryde is founde, in every part,        540
Contrarie unto Loves art.
And he that loveth trewely
Shulde him contene Iolily,
Withouten pryde in sondry wyse,
And him disgysen in queyntyse.        545
For queynt array, withouten drede,
Is no-thing proud, who takith hede;
For fresh array, as men may see,
Withouten pryde may ofte be.
  ‘Mayntene thy-silf aftir thy rent,        550
Of robe and eek of garnement;
For many sythe fair clothing
A man amendith in mich thing.
And loke alwey that they be shape,
What garnement that thou shalt make,        555
Of him that can [hem] beste do,
With al that perteyneth therto.
Poyntis and sleves be wel sittand,
Right and streight upon the hand.
Of shoon and botes, newe and faire,        560
Loke at the leest thou have a paire;
And that they sitte so fetisly,
That these rude may uttirly
Merveyle, sith that they sitte so pleyn,
How they come on or of ageyn.        565
Were streite gloves, with aumenere
Of silk; and alwey with good chere
Thou yeve, if thou have richesse;
And if thou have nought, spend the lesse.
Alwey be mery, if thou may,        570
But waste not thy good alway.
Have hat of floures fresh as May,
Chapelet of roses of Whitsonday;
For sich array ne cost but lyte.
Thyn hondis wasshe, thy teeth make whyte,        575
And let no filthe upon thee be.
Thy nailes blak if thou mayst see,
Voide it awey deliverly,
And kembe thyn heed right Iolily.
[Fard] not thy visage in no wyse,        580
For that of love is not thempryse;
For love doth haten, as I finde,
A beaute that cometh not of kinde.
Alwey in herte I rede thee
Glad and mery for to be,        585
And be as Ioyful as thou can;
Love hath no Ioye of sorowful man.
That yvel is ful of curtesye
That [lauhwith] in his maladye;
For ever of love the siknesse        590
Is meynd with swete and bitternesse.
The sore of love is merveilous;
For now the lover [is] Ioyous,
Now can he pleyne, now can he grone,
Now can he singen, now maken mone.        595
To-day he pleyneth for hevinesse,
To-morowe he pleyeth for Iolynesse.
The lyf of love is ful contrarie,
Which stoundemele can ofte varie.
But if thou canst [som] mirthis make,        600
That men in gree wole gladly take,
Do it goodly, I comaunde thee;
For men sholde, wher-so-ever they be,
Do thing that hem [best] sitting is,
For therof cometh good loos and pris.        605
Wher-of that thou be vertuous,
Ne be not straunge ne daungerous.
For if that thou good rider be,
Prike gladly, that men may se.
In armes also if thou conne,        610
Pursue, til thou a name hast wonne.
And if thy voice be fair and clere,
Thou shalt maken no gret daungere
Whan to singe they goodly preye;
It is thy worship for to obeye.        615
Also to you it longith ay
To harpe and giterne, daunce and play;
For if he can wel foote and daunce,
It may him greetly do avaunce.
Among eek, for thy lady sake,        620
Songes and complayntes that thou make;
For that wol meve [hem] in hir herte,
Whan they reden of thy smerte.
Loke that no man for scarce thee holde,
For that may greve thee manyfolde.        625
Resoun wol that a lover be
In his yiftes more large and free
Than cherles that been not of loving.
For who ther-of can any thing,
He shal be leef ay for to yeve,        630
In [Loves] lore who so wolde leve;
For he that, through a sodeyn sight,
Or for a kissing, anon-right
Yaf hool his herte in wille and thought,
And to him-silf kepith right nought,        635
Aftir [swich yift], is good resoun,
He yeve his good in abandoun.
  ‘Now wol I shortly here reherce,
Of that [that] I have seid in verse,
Al the sentence by and by,        640
In wordis fewe compendiously,
That thou the bet mayst on hem thinke,
Whether-so it be thou wake or winke;
For [that] the wordis litel greve
A man to kepe, whanne it is breve.        645
  ‘Who-so with Love wol goon or ryde
He mot be curteys, and void of pryde,
Mery and fulle of Iolite,
And of largesse alosed be.
  ‘First I Ioyne thee, here in penaunce,        650
That ever, withoute repentaunce,
Thou set thy thought in thy loving,
To laste withoute repenting;
And thenke upon thy mirthis swete,
That shal folowe aftir whan ye mete.        655
  ‘And for thou trewe to love shalt be,
I wol, and [eek] comaunde thee,
That in oo place thou sette, al hool,
Thyn herte, withouten halfen dool,
For trecherie, [in] sikernesse;        660
For I lovede never doublenesse.
To many his herte that wol depart,
Everiche shal have but litel part.
But of him drede I me right nought,
That in oo place settith his thought.        665
Therfore in oo place it sette,
And lat it never thennes flette.
For if thou yevest it in lening,
I holde it but a wrecchid thing:
Therfore yeve it hool and quyte,        670
And thou shalt have the more merite.
If it be lent, than aftir soon,
The bountee and the thank is doon;
But, in love, free yeven thing
Requyrith a gret guerdoning.        675
Yeve it in yift al quit fully,
And make thy yift debonairly;
For men that yift [wol] holde more dere
That yeven is with gladsome chere.
That yift nought to preisen is        680
That man yeveth, maugre his.
Whan thou hast yeven thyn herte, as I
Have seid thee here [al] openly,
Than aventures shulle thee falle,
Which harde and hevy been withalle.        685
For ofte whan thou bithenkist thee
Of thy loving, wher-so thou be,
Fro folk thou must depart in hy,
That noon perceyve thy malady,
But hyde thyn harm thou must alone,        690
And go forth sole, and make thy mone.
Thou shalt no whyl be in oo stat,
But whylom cold and whylom hat;
Now reed as rose, now yelowe and fade.
Such sorowe, I trowe, thou never hade;        695
Cotidien, ne [yit] quarteyne,
It is nat so ful of peyne.
For ofte tymes it shal falle
In love, among thy peynes alle,
That thou thy-self, al hoolly,        700
Foryeten shalt so utterly,
That many tymes thou shalt be
Stille as an image of tree,
Dom as a stoon, without stering
Of foot or hond, without speking.        705
Than, sone after al thy peyne,
To memorie shalt thou come ageyn,
As man abasshed wondre sore,
And after sighen more and more.
For wit thou wel, withouten wene,        710
In swich astat ful oft have been
That have the yvel of love assayd,
Wher-through thou art so dismayd.
  ‘After, a thought shal take thee so,
That thy love is to fer thee fro:        715
Thou shalt say, “God, what may this be,
That I ne may my lady see?
Myne herte aloon is to her go,
And I abyde al sole in wo,
Departed fro myn owne thought,        720
And with myne eyen see right nought.
  ‘“Alas, myn eyen sende I ne may,
My careful herte to convay!
Myn hertes gyde but they be,
I praise no-thing what ever they see.        725
Shul they abyde thanne? nay;
But goon visyte without delay
That myn herte desyreth so.
For certeynly, but-if they go,
A fool my-self I may wel holde,        730
Whan I ne see what myn herte wolde.
Wherfore I wol gon her to seen,
Or esed shal I never been,
But I have som tokening.”
Then gost thou forth without dwelling;        735
But ofte thou faylest of thy desyre,
Er thou mayst come hir any nere,
And wastest in vayn thy passage.
Than fallest thou in a newe rage;
For want of sight thou ginnest morne,        740
And homward pensif dost retorne.
In greet mischeef than shalt thou be,
For than agayn shal come to thee
Sighes and pleyntes, with newe wo,
That no icching prikketh so.        745
Who wot it nought, he may go lere
Of hem that byen love so dere.
  ‘No-thing thyn herte appesen may,
That oft thou wolt goon and assay,
If thou mayst seen, by aventure,        750
Thy lyves joy, thyn hertis cure;
So that, by grace if thou might
Atteyne of hir to have a sight,
Than shalt thou doon non other dede
But with that sight thyn eyen fede.        755
That faire fresh whan thou mayst see,
Thyn herte shal so ravisshed be,
That never thou woldest, thy thankis, lete,
Ne remove, for to see that swete.
The more thou seest in sothfastnesse,        760
The more thou coveytest of that swetnesse;
The more thyn herte brenneth in fyr,
The more thyn herte is in desyr.
For who considreth every del,
It may be lykned wondir wel,        765
The peyne of love, unto a fere;
For ever [the] more thou neighest nere
Thought, or who-so that it be,
For verray sothe I telle it thee,
The hatter ever shal thou brenne,        770
As experience shal thee kenne.
Wher-so [thou] comest in any cost,
Who is next fyr, he brenneth most.
And yit forsothe, for al thyn hete,
Though thou for love swelte and swete,        775
Ne for no-thing thou felen may,
Thou shalt not willen to passe away.
And though thou go, yet must thee nede
Thenke al-day on hir fairhede,
Whom thou bihelde with so good wille;        780
And holde thysilf bigyled ille,
That thou ne haddest non hardement
To shewe hir ought of thyn entent.
Thyn herte ful sore thou wolt dispyse,
And eek repreve of cowardyse,        785
That thou, so dulle in every thing,
Were dom for drede, without speking.
Thou shalt eek thenke thou didest foly,
That thou were hir so faste by,
And durst not auntre thee to say        790
Som-thing, er thou cam away;
For thou haddist no more wonne,
To speke of hir whan thou bigonne:
But yif she wolde, for thy sake,
In armes goodly thee have take,        795
It shulde have be more worth to thee
Than of tresour greet plentee.
  ‘Thus shalt thou morne and eek compleyn,
And gete enchesoun to goon ageyn
Unto thy walk, or to thy place,        800
Where thou biheld hir fleshly face.
And never, for fals suspeccioun,
Thou woldest finde occasioun
For to gon unto hir hous.
So art thou thanne desirous        805
A sight of hir for to have,
If thou thine honour mightest save,
Or any erand mightist make
Thider, for thy loves sake;
Ful fayn thou woldist, but for drede        810
Thou gost not, lest that men take hede.
Wherfore I rede, in thy going,
And also in thyn ageyn-coming,
Thou be wel war that men ne wit;
Feyne thee other cause than it        815
To go that weye, or faste by;
To hele wel is no folye.
And if so be it happe thee
That thou thy love ther mayst see,
In siker wyse thou hir salewe,        820
Wherwith thy colour wol transmewe,
And eke thy blood shal al to-quake,
Thyn hewe eek chaungen for hir sake.
But word and wit, with chere ful pale,
Shul wante for to telle thy tale.        825
And if thou mayst so fer-forth winne,
That thou [thy] resoun durst biginne,
And woldist seyn three thingis or mo,
Thou shalt ful scarsly seyn the two.
Though thou bithenke thee never so wel,        830
Thou shalt foryete yit somdel,
But-if thou dele with trecherye.
For fals lovers mowe al folye
Seyn, what hem lust, withouten drede,
They be so double in hir falshede;        835
For they in herte cunne thenke a thing
And seyn another, in hir speking.
And whan thy speche is endid al,
Right thus to thee it shal bifal;
If any word than come to minde,        840
That thou to seye hast left bihinde,
Than thou shalt brenne in greet martyr;
For thou shalt brenne as any fyr.
This is the stryf and eke the affray,
And the batail that lastith ay.        845
This bargeyn ende may never take,
But-if that she thy pees wil make.
  ‘And whan the night is comen, anon
A thousand angres shal come upon.
To bedde as fast thou wolt thee dight,        850
Where thou shalt have but smal delyt;
For whan thou wenest for to slepe,
So ful of peyne shalt thou crepe,
Sterte in thy bedde aboute ful wyde,
And turne ful ofte on every syde;        855
Now dounward groffe, and now upright,
And walowe in wo the longe night,
Thyne armis shalt thou sprede abrede,
As man in werre were forwerreyd.
Than shal thee come a remembraunce        860
Of hir shape and hir semblaunce,
Wherto non other may be pere.
And wite thou wel, withoute were,
That thee shal [seme], somtyme that night,
That thou hast hir, that is so bright,        865
Naked bitwene thyn armes there,
Al sothfastnesse as though it were.
Thou shalt make castels than in Spayne,
And dreme of Ioye, al but in vayne,
And thee delyten of right nought,        870
Whyl thou so slomrest in that thought,
That is so swete and delitable,
The which, in soth, nis but a fable,
For it ne shal no whyle laste.
Than shalt thou sighe and wepe faste,        875
And say, “Dere god, what thing is this?
My dreme is turned al amis,
Which was ful swete and apparent,
But now I wake, it is al shent!
Now yede this mery thought away!        880
Twenty tymes upon a day
I wolde this thought wolde come ageyn,
For it alleggith wel my peyn.
It makith me ful of Ioyful thought,
It sleeth me, that it lastith noght.        885
A, lord! why nil ye me socoure,
The Ioye, I trowe, that I langoure?
The deth I wolde me shulde slo
Whyl I lye in hir armes two.
Myn harm is hard, withouten wene,        890
My greet unese ful ofte I mene.
But wolde Love do so I might
Have fully Ioye of hir so bright,
My peyne were quit me richely.
Allas, to greet a thing aske I!        895
It is but foly, and wrong wening,
To aske so outrageous a thing.
And who-so askith folily,
He moot be warned hastily;
And I ne wot what I may say,        900
I am so fer out of the way;
For I wolde have ful gret lyking
And ful gret Ioye of lasse thing.
For wolde she, of hir gentilnesse,
Withouten more, me onis kesse,        905
It were to me a greet guerdoun,
Relees of al my passioun.
But it is hard to come therto;
Al is but foly that I do,
So high I have myn herte set,        910
Where I may no comfort get.
I noot wher I sey wel or nought;
But this I wot wel in my thought,
That it were bet of hir aloon,
For to stinte my wo and moon,        915
A loke on [me] y-cast goodly,
[Than] for to have, al utterly,
Of another al hool the pley.
A! lord! wher I shal byde the day
That ever she shal my lady be?        920
He is ful cured that may hir see.
A! god! whan shal the dawning spring?
To ly thus is an angry thing;
I have no Ioye thus here to ly
Whan that my love is not me by.        925
A man to lyen hath gret disese,
Which may not slepe ne reste in ese.
I wolde it dawed, and were now day,
And that the night were went away;
For were it day, I wolde upryse.        930
A! slowe sonne, shew thyn enpryse!
Speed thee to sprede thy bemis bright,
And chace the derknesse of the night,
To putte away the stoundes stronge,
Which in me lasten al to longe.”        935
  ‘The night shalt thou contene so,
Withoute rest, in peyne and wo;
If ever thou knewe of love distresse,
Thou shalt mowe lerne in that siknesse.
And thus enduring shalt thou ly,        940
And ryse on morwe up erly
Out of thy bedde, and harneys thee
Er ever dawning thou mayst see.
Al privily than shalt thou goon,
What [weder] it be, thy-silf aloon,        945
For reyn, or hayl, for snow, for slete,
Thider she dwellith that is so swete,
The which may falle aslepe be,
And thenkith but litel upon thee.
Than shalt thou goon, ful foule aferd;        950
Loke if the gate be unsperd,
And waite without in wo and peyn,
Ful yvel a-cold in winde and reyn.
Than shal thou go the dore bifore,
If thou maist fynde any score,        955
Or hole, or reft, what ever it were;
Than shalt thou stoupe, and lay to ere,
If they within a-slepe be;
I mene, alle save thy lady free.
Whom waking if thou mayst aspye,        960
Go put thy-silf in Iupartye,
To aske grace, and thee bimene,
That she may wite, withouten wene,
That thou [a]night no rest hast had,
So sore for hir thou were bistad.        965
Wommen wel ought pite to take
Of hem that sorwen for hir sake.
And loke, for love of that relyke,
That thou thenke non other lyke,
For [whom] thou hast so greet annoy,        970
Shal kisse thee er thou go away,
And hold that in ful gret deyntee.
And, for that no man shal thee see
Bifore the hous, ne in the way,
Loke thou be goon ageyn er day.        975
Suche coming, and such going,
Such hevinesse, and such walking,
Makith lovers, withouten wene,
Under hir clothes pale and lene,
For Love leveth colour ne cleernesse;        980
Who loveth trewe hath no fatnesse.
Thou shalt wel by thy-selfe see
That thou must nedis assayed be.
For men that shape hem other wey
Falsly her ladies to bitray,        985
It is no wonder though they be fat;
With false othes hir loves they gat;
For oft I see suche losengeours
Fatter than abbatis or priours.
  ‘Yet with o thing I thee charge,        990
That is to seye, that thou be large
Unto the mayd that hir doth serve,
So best hir thank thou shalt deserve.
Yeve hir yiftes, and get hir grace,
For so thou may [hir] thank purchace,        995
That she thee worthy holde and free,
Thy lady, and alle that may thee see.
Also hir servauntes worshipe ay,
And plese as muche as thou may;
Gret good through hem may come to thee,        1000
Bicause with hir they been prive.
They shal hir telle how they thee fand
Curteis and wys, and wel doand,
And she shal preyse [thee] wel the mare.
Loke out of londe thou be not fare;        1005
And if such cause thou have, that thee
Bihoveth to gon out of contree,
Leve hool thyn herte in hostage,
Til thou ageyn make thy passage.
Thenk long to see the swete thing        1010
That hath thyn herte in hir keping.
  ‘Now have I told thee, in what wyse
A lover shal do me servyse.
Do it than, if thou wolt have
The mede that thou aftir crave.’        1015
  Whan Love al this had boden me,
I seide him:—‘Sire, how may it be
That lovers may in such manere
Endure the peyne ye have seid here?
I merveyle me wonder faste,        1020
How any man may live or laste
In such peyne, and such brenning,
In sorwe and thought, and such sighing,
Ay unrelesed wo to make,
Whether so it be they slepe or wake.        1025
In such annoy continuely,
As helpe me god, this merveile I,
How man, but he were maad of stele,
Might live a month, such peynes to fele.’
  The God of Love than seide me,        1030
‘Freend, by the feith I owe to thee,
May no man have good, but he it by.
A man loveth more tendirly
The thing that he hath bought most dere.
For wite thou wel, withouten were,        1035
In thank that thing is taken more,
For which a man hath suffred sore.
Certis, no wo ne may atteyne
Unto the sore of loves peyne.
Non yvel therto ne may amounte,        1040
No more than a man [may] counte
The dropes that of the water be.
For drye as wel the grete see
Thou mightist, as the harmes telle
Of hem that with Love dwelle        1045
In servyse; for peyne hem sleeth,
And that ech man wolde flee the deeth,
And trowe they shulde never escape,
Nere that hope couthe hem make
Glad as man in prisoun set,        1050
And may not geten for to et
But barly-breed, and watir pure,
And lyeth in vermin and in ordure;
With alle this, yit can he live,
Good hope such comfort hath him yive,        1055
Which maketh wene that he shal be
Delivered and come to liberte;
In fortune is [his] fulle trust.
Though he lye in strawe or dust,
In hope is al his susteyning.        1060
And so for lovers, in hir wening,
Whiche Love hath shit in his prisoun;
Good-Hope is hir salvacioun.
Good-Hope, how sore that they smerte,
Yeveth hem bothe wille and herte        1065
To profre hir body to martyre;
For Hope so sore doth hem desyre
To suffre ech harm that men devyse,
For Ioye that aftir shal aryse.
  Hope, in desire [to] cacche victorie;        1070
In Hope, of love is al the glorie,
For Hope is al that love may yive;
Nere Hope, ther shulde no lover live.
Blessid be Hope, which with desyre
Avaunceth lovers in such manere.        1075
Good-Hope is curteis for to plese,
To kepe lovers from al disese.
Hope kepith his lond, and wol abyde,
For any peril that may betyde;
For Hope to lovers, as most cheef,        1080
Doth hem enduren al mischeef;
Hope is her help, whan mister is.
And I shal yeve thee eek, y-wis,
Three other thingis, that greet solas
Doth to hem that be in my las.        1085
  ‘The firste good that may be founde,
To hem that in my lace be bounde,
Is Swete-Thought, for to recorde
Thing wherwith thou canst accorde
Best in thyn herte, wher she be;        1090
Thought in absence is good to thee.
Whan any lover doth compleyne,
And liveth in distresse and peyne,
Than Swete-Thought shal come, as blyve,
Awey his angre for to dryve.        1095
It makith lovers have remembraunce
Of comfort, and of high plesaunce,
That Hope hath hight him for to winne.
For Thought anoon than shal biginne,
As fer, god wot, as he can finde,        1100
To make a mirrour of his minde;
For to biholde he wol not lette.
Hir person he shal afore him sette,
Hir laughing eyen, persaunt and clere,
Hir shape, hir fourme, hir goodly chere,        1105
Hir mouth that is so gracious,
So swete, and eek so saverous;
Of alle hir fetures he shal take heede,
His eyen with alle hir limes fede.
  ‘Thus Swete-Thenking shal aswage        1110
The peyne of lovers, and hir rage.
Thy Ioye shal double, withoute gesse,
Whan thou thenkist on hir semlinesse,
Or of hir laughing, or of hir chere,
That to thee made thy lady dere.        1115
This comfort wol I that thou take;
And if the next thou wolt forsake
Which is not lesse saverous,
Thou shuldist been to daungerous.
  ‘The secounde shal be Swete-Speche,        1120
That hath to many oon be leche,
To bringe hem out of wo and were,
And helpe many a bachilere;
And many a lady sent socoure,
That have loved par-amour,        1125
Through speking, whan they mighten here
Of hir lovers, to hem so dere.
To [hem] it voidith al hir smerte,
The which is closed in hir herte.
In herte it makith hem glad and light,        1130
Speche, whan they mowe have sight.
And therfore now it cometh to minde,
In olde dawes, as I finde,
That clerkis writen that hir knewe,
Ther was a lady fresh of hewe,        1135
Which of hir love made a song
On him for to remembre among,
In which she seide, “Whan that I here
Speken of him that is so dere,
To me it voidith al [my] smerte,        1140
Y-wis, he sit so nere myn herte.
To speke of him, at eve or morwe,
It cureth me of al my sorwe.
To me is noon so high plesaunce
As of his persone daliaunce.”        1145
She wist ful wel that Swete-Speking
Comfortith in ful muche thing.
Hir love she had ful wel assayed,
Of him she was ful wel apayed;
To speke of him hir Ioye was set.        1150
Therfore I rede thee that thou get
A felowe that can wel concele
And kepe thy counsel, and wel hele,
To whom go shewe hoolly thyn herte,
Bothe wele and wo, Ioye and smerte:        1155
To gete comfort to him thou go,
And privily, bitween yow two,
Ye shal speke of that goodly thing,
That hath thyn herte in hir keping;
Of hir beaute and hir semblaunce,        1160
And of hir goodly countenaunce.
Of al thy state thou shalt him sey,
And aske him counseil how thou may
Do any thing that may hir plese;
For it to thee shal do gret ese,        1165
That he may wite thou trust him so,
Bothe of thy wele and of thy wo.
And if his herte to love be set,
His companye is muche the bet,
For resoun wol, he shewe to thee        1170
Al uttirly his privite;
And what she is he loveth so,
To thee pleynly he shal undo,
Withoute drede of any shame,
Bothe telle hir renoun and hir name.        1175
Than shal he forther, ferre and nere,
And namely to thy lady dere,
In siker wyse; ye, every other
Shal helpen as his owne brother,
In trouthe withoute doublenesse,        1180
And kepen cloos in sikernesse.
For it is noble thing, in fay,
To have a man thou darst say
Thy prive counsel every del;
For that wol comfort thee right wel,        1185
And thou shalt holde thee wel apayed,
Whan such a freend thou hast assayed.
  ‘The thridde good of greet comfort
That yeveth to lovers most disport,
Comith of sight and biholding,        1190
That clepid is Swete-Loking,
The whiche may noon ese do,
Whan thou art fer thy lady fro;
Wherfore thou prese alwey to be
In place, where thou mayst hir se.        1195
For it is thing most amerous,
Most delitable and saverous,
For to aswage a mannes sorowe,
To sene his lady by the morowe.
For it is a ful noble thing        1200
Whan thyn eyen have meting
With that relyke precious,
Wherof they be so desirous.
But al day after, soth it is,
They have no drede to faren amis,        1205
They dreden neither wind ne reyn,
Ne [yit] non other maner peyn.
For whan thyn eyen were thus in blis,
Yit of hir curtesye, y-wis,
Aloon they can not have hir Ioye,        1210
But to the herte they [it] convoye;
Part of hir blis to him [they] sende,
Of al this harm to make an ende.
The eye is a good messangere,
Which can to the herte in such manere        1215
Tidyngis sende, that [he] hath seen,
To voide him of his peynes cleen.
Wherof the herte reioyseth so
That a gret party of his wo
Is voided, and put awey to flight.        1220
Right as the derknesse of the night
Is chased with clerenesse of the mone,
Right so is al his wo ful sone
Devoided clene, whan that the sight
Biholden may that fresshe wight        1225
That the herte desyreth so,
That al his derknesse is ago;
For than the herte is al at ese,
Whan they seen that [that] may hem plese.
  ‘Now have I thee declared al-out,        1230
Of that thou were in drede and dout;
For I have told thee feithfully
What thee may curen utterly,
And alle lovers that wole be
Feithful, and ful of stabilite.        1235
Good-Hope alwey kepe by thy syde,
And Swete-Thought make eek abyde,
Swete-Loking and Swete-Speche;
Of alle thyn harmes they shal be leche.
Of every thou shalt have greet plesaunce;        1240
If thou canst byde in sufferaunce,
And serve wel without feyntyse,
Thou shalt be quit of thyn empryse,
With more guerdoun, if that thou live;
But al this tyme this I thee yive.’        1245
  The God of Love whan al the day
Had taught me, as ye have herd say,
And enfourmed compendiously,
He vanished awey al sodeynly,
And I alone lefte, al sole,        1250
So ful of compleynt and of dole,
For I saw no man ther me by.
My woundes me greved wondirly;
Me for to curen no-thing I knew,
Save the botoun bright of hew,        1255
Wheron was set hoolly my thought;
Of other comfort knew I nought,
But it were through the God of Love;
I knew nat elles to my bihove
That might me ese or comfort gete,        1260
But-if he wolde him entermete.
  The roser was, withoute doute,
Closed with an hegge withoute,
As ye to-forn have herd me seyn;
And fast I bisied, and wolde fayn        1265
Have passed the haye, if I might
Have geten in by any slight
Unto the botoun so fair to see.
But ever I dradde blamed to be,
If men wolde have suspeccioun        1270
That I wolde of entencioun
Have stole the roses that ther were;
Therfore to entre I was in fere.
But at the last, as I bithought
Whether I sholde passe or nought,        1275
I saw come with a gladde chere
To me, a lusty bachelere,
Of good stature, and of good hight,
And Bialacoil forsothe he hight.
Sone he was to Curtesy,        1280
And he me graunted ful gladly
The passage of the outer hay,
And seide:—‘Sir, how that ye may
Passe, if [it] your wille be,
The fresshe roser for to see,        1285
And ye the swete savour fele.
Your warrant may [I be] right wele;
So thou thee kepe fro folye,
Shal no man do thee vilanye.
If I may helpe you in ought,        1290
I shal not feyne, dredeth nought;
For I am bounde to your servyse,
Fully devoide of feyntyse.’
Than unto Bialacoil saide I,
‘I thank you, sir, ful hertely,        1295
And your biheest [I] take at gree,
That ye so goodly profer me;
To you it cometh of greet fraunchyse,
That ye me profer your servyse.’
Than aftir, ful deliverly,        1300
Through the breres anoon wente I,
Wherof encombred was the hay.
I was wel plesed, the soth to say,
To see the botoun fair and swote,
So fresshe spronge out of the rote.        1305
  And Bialacoil me served wel,
Whan I so nygh me mighte fele
Of the botoun the swete odour,
And so lusty hewed of colour.
But than a cherl (foule him bityde!)        1310
Bisyde the roses gan him hyde,
To kepe the roses of that roser,
Of whom the name was Daunger.
This cherl was hid there in the greves,
Covered with grasse and with leves,        1315
To spye and take whom that he fond
Unto that roser putte an hond.
He was not sole, for ther was mo;
For with him were other two
Of wikkid maners, and yvel fame.        1320
That oon was clepid, by his name,
Wikked-Tonge, god yeve him sorwe!
For neither at eve, ne at morwe,
He can of no man [no] good speke;
On many a Iust man doth he wreke.        1325
Ther was a womman eek, that hight
Shame, that, who can reken right,
Trespas was hir fadir name,
Hir moder Resoun; and thus was Shame
[On lyve] brought of these ilk two.        1330
And yit had Trespas never ado
With Resoun, ne never ley hir by,
He was so hidous and ugly,
I mene, this that Trespas hight;
But Resoun conceyveth, of a sight,        1335
Shame, of that I spak aforn.
And whan that Shame was thus born,
It was ordeyned, that Chastitee
Shulde of the roser lady be,
Which, of the botouns more and las,        1340
With sondry folk assailed was,
That she ne wiste what to do.
For Venus hir assailith so,
That night and day from hir she stal
Botouns and roses over-al.        1345
To Resoun than prayeth Chastitee,
Whom Venus flemed over the see,
That she hir doughter wolde hir lene,
To kepe the roser fresh and grene.
Anoon Resoun to Chastitee        1350
Is fully assented that it be,
And grauntid hir, at hir request,
That Shame, bicause she is honest,
Shal keper of the roser be.
And thus to kepe it ther were three,        1355
That noon shulde hardy be ne bold
(Were he yong, or were he old)
Ageyn hir wille awey to bere
Botouns ne roses, that ther were.
I had wel sped, had I not been        1360
Awayted with these three, and seen.
For Bialacoil, that was so fair,
So gracious and debonair,
Quitte him to me ful curteisly,
And, me to plese, bad that I        1365
Shuld drawe me to the botoun nere;
Prese in, to touche the rosere
Which bar the roses, he yaf me leve;
This graunt ne might but litel greve.
And for he saw it lyked me,        1370
Right nygh the botoun pullede he
A leef al grene, and yaf me that,
The which ful nygh the botoun sat;
I made [me] of that leef ful queynt.
And whan I felte I was aqueynt        1375
With Bialacoil, and so prive,
I wende al at my wille had be.
Than wex I hardy for to tel
To Bialacoil how me bifel
Of Love, that took and wounded me,        1380
And seide: ‘Sir, so mote I thee,
I may no Ioye have in no wyse,
Upon no syde, but it ryse;
For sithe (if I shal not feyne)
In herte I have had so gret peyne,        1385
So gret annoy, and such affray,
That I ne wot what I shal say;
I drede your wrath to disserve.
Lever me were, that knyves kerve
My body shulde in pecis smalle,        1390
Than in any wyse it shulde falle
That ye wratthed shulde been with me.’
‘Sey boldely thy wille,’ quod he,
‘I nil be wroth, if that I may,
For nought that thou shalt to me say.’        1395
  Thanne seide I, ‘Sir, not you displese
To knowen of my greet unese,
In which only love hath me brought;
For peynes greet, disese and thought,
Fro day to day he doth me drye;        1400
Supposeth not, sir, that I lye.
In me fyve woundes dide he make,
The sore of whiche shal never slake
But ye the botoun graunte me,
Which is most passaunt of beautee,        1405
My lyf, my deth, and my martyre,
And tresour that I most desyre.’
  Than Bialacoil, affrayed all,
Seyde, ‘Sir, it may not fall;
That ye desire, it may not ryse.        1410
What? wolde ye shende me in this wyse?
A mochel foole than I were,
If I suffrid you awey to bere
The fresh botoun, so fair of sight.
For it were neither skile ne right        1415
Of the roser ye broke the rind,
Or take the rose aforn his kind;
Ye ar not courteys to aske it.
Lat it stil on the roser sit,
And growe til it amended be,        1420
And parfitly come to beaute.
I nolde not that it pulled wer
Fro the roser that it ber,
To me it is so leef and dere.’
  With that sterte out anoon Daungere,        1425
Out of the place where he was hid.
His malice in his chere was kid;
Ful greet he was, and blak of hewe,
Sturdy and hidous, who-so him knewe;
Like sharp urchouns his here was growe,        1430
His eyes rede as the fire-glow;
His nose frounced ful kirked stood,
He com criand as he were wood,
And seide, ‘Bialacoil, tel me why
Thou bringest hider so boldly        1435
Him that so nygh [is] the roser?
Thou worchist in a wrong maner;
He thenkith to dishonour thee,
Thou art wel worthy to have maugree
To late him of the roser wit;        1440
Who serveth a feloun is yvel quit.
Thou woldist have doon greet bountee,
And he with shame wolde quyte thee.
Flee hennes, felowe! I rede thee go!
It wanteth litel I wol thee slo;        1445
For Bialacoil ne knew thee nought,
Whan thee to serve he sette his thought;
For thou wolt shame him, if thou might,
Bothe ageyn resoun and right.
I wol no more in thee affye,        1450
That comest so slyghly for tespye;
For it preveth wonder wel,
Thy slight and tresoun every del.’
  I durst no more ther make abode,
For the cherl, he was so wode;        1455
So gan he threten and manace,
And thurgh the haye he did me chace.
For feer of him I tremblid and quook,
So cherlishly his heed he shook;
And seide, if eft he might me take,        1460
I shulde not from his hondis scape.
  Than Bialacoil is fled and mate,
And I al sole, disconsolate,
Was left aloon in peyne and thought;
For shame, to deth I was nygh brought.        1465
Than thought I on myn high foly,
How that my body, utterly,
Was yeve to peyne and to martyre;
And therto hadde I so gret yre,
That I ne durst the hayes passe;        1470
There was non hope, there was no grace.
I trowe never man wiste of peyne,
But he were laced in Loves cheyne;
Ne no man [wot], and sooth it is,
But-if he love, what anger is.        1475
Love holdith his heest to me right wele,
Whan peyne he seide I shulde fele.
Non herte may thenke, ne tunge seyne,
A quarter of my wo and peyne.
I might not with the anger laste;        1480
Myn herte in poynt was for to braste,
Whan I thought on the rose, that so
Was through Daunger cast me froo.
  A long whyl stood I in that state,
Til that me saugh so mad and mate        1485
The lady of the highe ward,
Which from hir tour lokid thiderward.
Resoun men clepe that lady,
Which from hir tour deliverly
Come doun to me withouten more.        1490
But she was neither yong, ne hore,
Ne high ne low, ne fat ne lene,
But best, as it were in a mene.
Hir eyen two were cleer and light
As any candel that brenneth bright;        1495
And on hir heed she hadde a crown.
Hir semede wel an high persoun;
For rounde enviroun, hir crownet
Was ful of riche stonis fret.
Hir goodly semblaunt, by devys,        1500
I trowe were maad in paradys;
Nature had never such a grace,
To forge a werk of such compace.
For certeyn, but the letter lye,
God him-silf, that is so high,        1505
Made hir aftir his image,
And yaf hir sith sich avauntage,
That she hath might and seignorye
To kepe men from al folye;
Who-so wole trowe hir lore,        1510
Ne may offenden nevermore.
  And whyl I stood thus derk and pale,
Resoun bigan to me hir tale;
She seide: ‘Al hayl, my swete frend!
Foly and childhood wol thee shend,        1515
Which thee have put in greet affray;
Thou hast bought dere the tyme of May,
That made thyn herte mery to be.
In yvel tyme thou wentist to see
The gardin, wherof Ydilnesse        1520
Bar the keye, and was maistresse
Whan thou yedest in the daunce
With hir, and haddest aqueyntaunce:
Hir aqueyntaunce is perilous,
First softe, and aftir[ward] noyous;        1525
She hath [thee] trasshed, withoute ween;
The God of Love had thee not seen,
Ne hadde Ydilnesse thee conveyed
In the verger where Mirthe him pleyed.
If Foly have supprised thee,        1530
Do so that it recovered be;
And be wel war to take no more
Counsel, that greveth aftir sore;
He is wys that wol himsilf chastyse.
And though a young man in any wyse        1535
Trespace among, and do foly,
Lat him not tarye, but hastily
Lat him amende what so be mis.
And eek I counseile thee, y-wis,
The God of Love hoolly for-yet,        1540
That hath thee in sich peyne set,
And thee in herte tormented so.
I can nat seen how thou mayst go
Other weyes to garisoun;
For Daunger, that is so feloun,        1545
Felly purposith thee to werrey,
Which is ful cruel, the soth to sey.
  ‘And yit of Daunger cometh no blame,
In reward of my doughter Shame,
Which hath the roses in hir warde,        1550
As she that may be no musarde.
And Wikked-Tunge is with these two,
That suffrith no man thider go;
For er a thing be do, he shal,
Where that he cometh, over-al,        1555
In fourty places, if it be sought,
Seye thing that never was doon ne wrought;
So moche tresoun is in his male,
Of falsnesse for to [feyne] a tale.
Thou delest with angry folk, y-wis;        1560
Wherfor to thee [it] bettir is
From these folk awey to fare,
For they wol make thee live in care.
This is the yvel that Love they calle,
Wherin ther is but foly alle,        1565
For love is foly everydel;
Who loveth, in no wyse may do wel,
Ne sette his thought on no good werk.
His scole he lesith, if he be clerk;
Of other craft eek if he be,        1570
He shal not thryve therin; for he
In love shal have more passioun
Than monke, hermyte, or chanoun.
The peyne is hard, out of mesure,
The Ioye may eek no whyl endure;        1575
And in the possessioun
Is muche tribulacioun;
The Ioye it is so short-lasting,
And but in happe is the geting;
For I see ther many in travaille,        1580
That atte laste foule fayle.
I was no-thing thy counseler,
Whan thou were maad the homager
Of God of Love to hastily;
Ther was no wisdom, but foly.        1585
Thyn herte was Ioly, but not sage,
Whan thou were brought in sich a rage,
To yelde thee so redily,
And to Love, of his gret maistry.
  ‘I rede thee Love awey to dryve,        1590
That makith thee recche not of thy lyve.
The foly more fro day to day
Shal growe, but thou it putte away.
Take with thy teeth the bridel faste,
To daunte thyn herte; and eek thee caste,        1595
If that thou mayst, to gete defence
For to redresse thy first offence.
Who-so his herte alwey wol leve,
Shal finde among that shal him greve.’
  Whan I hir herd thus me chastyse,        1600
I answerd in ful angry wyse.
I prayed hir cessen of hir speche,
Outher to chastyse me or teche,
To bidde me my thought refreyne,
Which Love hath caught in his demeyne:—        1605
‘What? wene ye Love wol consent,
That me assailith with bowe bent,
To draw myn herte out of his honde,
Which is so quikly in his bonde?
That ye counsayle, may never be;        1610
For whan he first arested me,
He took myn herte so hool him til,
That it is no-thing at my wil;
He [taughte] it so him for to obey,
That he it sparred with a key.        1615
I pray yow lat me be al stille.
For ye may wel, if that ye wille,
Your wordis waste in idilnesse;
For utterly, withouten gesse,
Al that ye seyn is but in veyne.        1620
Me were lever dye in the peyne,
Than Love to me-ward shulde arette
Falsheed, or tresoun on me sette.
I wol me gete prys or blame,
And love trewe, to save my name;        1625
Who me chastysith, I him hate.’
  With that word Resoun wente hir gate,
Whan she saugh for no sermoning
She might me fro my foly bring.
Than dismayed, I lefte al sool,        1630
Forwery, forwandred as a fool,
For I ne knew no chevisaunce.
Than fel into my remembraunce,
How Love bade me to purveye
A felowe, to whom I mighte seye        1635
My counsel and my privete,
For that shulde muche availe me.
With that bithought I me, that I
Hadde a felowe faste by,
Trewe and siker, curteys, and hend,        1640
And he was called by name a Freend;
A trewer felowe was no-wher noon.
In haste to him I wente anoon,
And to him al my wo I tolde,
Fro him right nought I wold withholde.        1645
I tolde him al withoute were,
And made my compleynt on Daungere,
How for to see he was hidous,
And to-me-ward contrarious;
The whiche through his cruelte        1650
Was in poynt to have meygned me;
With Bialacoil whan he me sey
Within the gardyn walke and pley,
Fro me he made him for to go,
And I bilefte aloon in wo;        1655
I durst no lenger with him speke,
For Daunger seide he wolde be wreke,
Whan that he sawe how I wente
The fresshe botoun for to hente,
If I were hardy to come neer        1660
Bitwene the hay and the roser.
  This Freend, whan he wiste of my thought,
He discomforted me right nought,
But seide, ‘Felowe, be not so mad,
Ne so abaysshed nor bistad.        1665
My-silf I knowe ful wel Daungere,
And how he is feers of his chere,
At prime temps, Love to manace;
Ful ofte I have ben in his caas.
A feloun first though that he be,        1670
Aftir thou shalt him souple see.
Of long passed I knew him wele;
Ungoodly first though men him fele,
He wol meek aftir, in his bering,
Been, for service and obeysshing.        1675
I shal thee telle what thou shalt do:—
Mekely I rede thou go him to,
Of herte pray him specialy
Of thy trespace to have mercy,
And hote him wel, [him] here to plese,        1680
That thou shalt nevermore him displese.
Who can best serve of flatery,
Shal plese Daunger most uttirly.’
  My Freend hath seid to me so wel,
That he me esid hath somdel,        1685
And eek allegged of my torment;
For through him had I hardement
Agayn to Daunger for to go,
To preve if I might meke him so.
  To Daunger cam I, al ashamed,        1690
The which aforn me hadde blamed,
Desyring for to pese my wo;
But over hegge durst I not go,
For he forbad me the passage.
I fond him cruel in his rage,        1695
And in his hond a gret burdoun.
To him I knelid lowe adoun,
Ful meke of port, and simple of chere,
And seide, ‘Sir, I am comen here
Only to aske of you mercy.        1700
That greveth me, [sir], ful gretly
That ever my lyf I wratthed you,
But for to amende I am come now,
With al my might, bothe loude and stille,
To doon right at your owne wille;        1705
For Love made me for to do
That I have trespassed hidirto;
Fro whom I ne may withdrawe myn herte;
Yit shal I never, for Ioy ne smerte,
What so bifalle, good or ille,        1710
Offende more ageyn your wille.
Lever I have endure disese
Than do that shulde you displese.
  ‘I you require and pray, that ye
Of me have mercy and pitee,        1715
To stinte your yre that greveth so,
That I wol swere for evermo
To be redressid at your lyking,
If I trespasse in any thing;
Save that I pray thee graunte me        1720
A thing that may nat warned be,
That I may love, al only;
Non other thing of you aske I.
I shal doon elles wel, y-wis,
If of your grace ye graunte me this.        1725
And ye [ne] may not letten me,
For wel wot ye that love is free,
And I shal loven, [sith] that I wil,
Who-ever lyke it wel or il;
And yit ne wold I, for al Fraunce,        1730
Do thing to do you displesaunce.’
  Than Daunger fil in his entent
For to foryeve his maltalent;
But al his wratthe yit at laste
He hath relesed, I preyde so faste:        1735
Shortly he seide, ‘Thy request
Is not to mochel dishonest;
Ne I wol not werne it thee,
For yit no-thing engreveth me.
For though thou love thus evermore,        1740
To me is neither softe ne sore.
Love wher thee list; what recchith me,
So [thou] fer fro my roses be?
Trust not on me, for noon assay,
In any tyme to passe the hay.’        1745
Thus hath he graunted my prayere.
  Than wente I forth, withouten were,
Unto my Freend, and tolde him al,
Which was right Ioyful of my tale.
He seide, ‘Now goth wel thyn affaire,        1750
He shal to thee be debonaire.
Though he aforn was dispitous,
He shal heeraftir be gracious.
If he were touchid on som good veyne,
He shuld yit rewen on thy peyne.        1755
Suffre, I rede, and no boost make,
Til thou at good mes mayst him take.
By suffraunce, and [by] wordis softe,
A man may overcomen ofte
Him that aforn he hadde in drede,        1760
In bookis sothly as I rede.’
  Thus hath my Freend with gret comfort
Avaunced me with high disport,
Which wolde me good as mich as I.
And thanne anoon ful sodeynly        1765
I took my leve, and streight I went
Unto the hay; for gret talent
I had to seen the fresh botoun,
Wherin lay my salvacioun;
And Daunger took kepe, if that I        1770
Kepe him covenaunt trewly.
So sore I dradde his manasing,
I durst not breke[n] his bidding;
For, lest that I were of him shent,
I brak not his comaundement,        1775
For to purchase his good wil.
It was [hard] for to come ther-til,
His mercy was to fer bihinde;
I wepte, for I ne might it finde.
I compleyned and sighed sore,        1780
And languisshed evermore,
For I durst not over go
Unto the rose I loved so.
Thurghout my deming outerly,
[Than] had he knowlege certeinly,        1785
[That] Love me ladde in sich a wyse,
That in me ther was no feyntyse,
Falsheed, ne no trecherye.
And yit he, ful of vilanye,
Of disdeyne, and cruelte,        1790
On me ne wolde have pite,
His cruel wil for to refreyne,
Though I wepe alwey, and compleyne.
  And while I was in this torment,
Were come of grace, by god sent,        1795
Fraunchyse, and with hir Pite
Fulfild the botoun of bountee.
They go to Daunger anon-right
To forther me with al hir might,
And helpe in worde and in dede,        1800
For wel they saugh that it was nede.
First, of hir grace, dame Fraunchyse
Hath taken [word] of this empryse:
She seide, ‘Daunger, gret wrong ye do
To worche this man so muche wo,        1805
Or pynen him so angerly;
It is to you gret vilany.
I can not see why, ne how,
That he hath trespassed ageyn you,
Save that he loveth; wherfore ye shulde        1810
The more in cherete of him holde.
The force of love makith him do this;
Who wolde him blame he dide amis?
He leseth more than ye may do;
His peyne is hard, ye may see, lo!        1815
And Love in no wyse wolde consente
That [he] have power to repente;
For though that quik ye wolde him sloo,
Fro Love his herte may not go.
Now, swete sir, is it your ese        1820
Him for to angre or disese?
Allas, what may it you avaunce
To doon to him so greet grevaunce?
What worship is it agayn him take,
Or on your man a werre make,        1825
Sith he so lowly every wyse
Is redy, as ye lust devyse?
If Love hath caught him in his lace,
You for tobeye in every caas,
And been your suget at your wille,        1830
Shulde ye therfore willen him ille?
Ye shulde him spare more, al-out,
Than him that is bothe proud and stout.
Curtesye wol that ye socour
Hem that ben meke undir your cure.        1835
His herte is hard, that wole not meke,
Whan men of mekenesse him biseke.’
  ‘That is certeyn,’ seide Pite;
‘We see ofte that humilitee
Bothe ire, and also felonye        1840
Venquissheth, and also melancolye;
To stonde forth in such duresse,
This crueltee and wikkednesse.
Wherfore I pray you, sir Daungere,
For to mayntene no lenger here        1845
Such cruel werre agayn your man,
As hoolly youres as ever he can;
Nor that ye worchen no more wo
On this caytif that languisshith so,
Which wol no more to you trespasse,        1850
But put him hoolly in your grace.
His offense ne was but lyte;
The God of Love it was to wyte,
That he your thral so gretly is,
And if ye harm him, ye doon amis;        1855
For he hath had ful hard penaunce,
Sith that ye refte him thaqueyntaunce
Of Bialacoil, his moste Ioye,
Which alle his peynes might acoye.
He was biforn anoyed sore,        1860
But than ye doubled him wel more;
For he of blis hath ben ful bare,
Sith Bialacoil was fro him fare.
Love hath to him do greet distresse,
He hath no nede of more duresse.        1865
Voideth from him your ire, I rede;
Ye may not winnen in this dede.
Makith Bialacoil repeire ageyn,
And haveth pite upon his peyn;
For Fraunchise wol, and I, Pite,        1870
That merciful to him ye be;
And sith that she and I accorde,
Have upon him misericorde;
For I you pray, and eek moneste,
Nought to refusen our requeste;        1875
For he is hard and fel of thought,
That for us two wol do right nought.’
  Daunger ne might no more endure,
He meked him unto mesure.
  ‘I wol in no wyse,’ seith Daungere,        1880
‘Denye that ye have asked here;
It were to greet uncurtesye.
I wol ye have the companye
Of Bialacoil, as ye devyse;
I wol him letten in no wyse.’        1885
  To Bialacoil than wente in hy
Fraunchyse, and seide ful curteisly:—
‘Ye have to longe be deignous
Unto this lover, and daungerous,
Fro him to withdrawe your presence,        1890
Which hath do to him grete offence,
That ye not wolde upon him see;
Wherfore a sorowful man is he.
Shape ye to paye him, and to plese,
Of my love if ye wol have ese.        1895
Fulfil his wil, sith that ye knowe
Daunger is daunted and brought lowe
Thurgh help of me and of Pite;
You [thar] no more afered be.’
  ‘I shal do right as ye wil,’        1900
Saith Bialacoil, ‘for it is skil,
Sith Daunger wol that it so be.’
Than Fraunchise hath him sent to me.
  Bialacoil at the biginning
Salued me in his coming.        1905
No straungenes was in him seen,
No more than he ne had wrathed been.
As faire semblaunt than shewed he me,
And goodly, as aforn did he;
And by the honde, withouten doute,        1910
Within the haye, right al aboute
He ladde me, with right good chere,
Al environ the vergere,
That Daunger had me chased fro.
Now have I leve over-al to go;        1915
Now am I raised, at my devys,
Fro helle unto paradys.
Thus Bialacoil, of gentilnesse,
With alle his peyne and besinesse,
Hath shewed me, only of grace,        1920
The estres of the swote place.
  I saw the rose, whan I was nigh,
Was gretter woxen, and more high,
Fresh, rody, and fair of hewe,
Of colour ever yliche newe.        1925
And whan I had it longe seen,
I saugh that through the leves grene
The rose spredde to spanishing;
To sene it was a goodly thing.
But it ne was so spred on brede,        1930
That men within might knowe the sede;
For it covert was and [en]close
Bothe with the leves and with the rose.
The stalk was even and grene upright,
It was theron a goodly sight;        1935
And wel the better, withouten wene,
For the seed was not [y]-sene.
Ful faire it spradde, [god it blesse!
For suche another, as I gesse,
Aforn ne was, ne more vermayle.        1940
I was abawed for merveyle,
For ever, the fairer that it was,
The more I am bounden in Loves laas.
  Longe I abood there, soth to saye,
Til Bialacoil I gan to praye,        1945
Whan that I saw him in no wyse
To me warnen his servyse,
That he me wolde graunte a thing,
Which to remembre is wel sitting;
This is to sayne, that of his grace        1950
He wolde me yeve leyser and space
To me that was so desirous
To have a kissing precious
Of the goodly freshe rose,
That swetely smelleth in my nose;        1955
‘For if it you displesed nought,
I wolde gladly, as I have sought,
Have a cos therof freely
Of your yeft; for certainly
I wol non have but by your leve,        1960
So loth me were you for to greve.’
  He sayde, ‘Frend, so god me spede,
Of Chastite I have suche drede,
Thou shuldest not warned be for me,
But I dar not, for Chastite.        1965
Agayn hir dar I not misdo,
For alwey biddeth she me so
To yeve no lover leve to kisse;
For who therto may winnen, y-wis,
He of the surplus of the pray        1970
May live in hope to get som day.
For who so kissing may attayne,
Of loves peyne hath, soth to sayne,
The beste and most avenaunt,
And ernest of the remenaunt.’        1975
  Of his answere I syghed sore;
I durst assaye him tho no more,
I had such drede to greve him ay.
A man shulde not to muche assaye
To chafe his frend out of mesure,        1980
Nor put his lyf in aventure;
For no man at the firste stroke
Ne may nat felle doun an oke;
Nor of the reisins have the wyne,
Til grapes rype and wel afyne        1985
Be sore empressid, I you ensure,
And drawen out of the pressure.
But I, forpeyned wonder stronge,
[Thought] that I abood right longe
Aftir the kis, in peyne and wo,        1990
Sith I to kis desyred so:
Til that, [rewing] on my distresse,
Ther [to me] Venus the goddesse,
Which ay werreyeth Chastite,
Came of hir grace, to socoure me,        1995
Whos might is knowe fer and wyde,
For she is modir of Cupyde,
The God of Love, blinde as stoon,
That helpith lovers many oon.
This lady brought in hir right hond        2000
Of brenning fyr a blasing brond;
Wherof the flawme and hote fyr
Hath many a lady in desyr
Of love brought, and sore het,
And in hir servise hir hertes set.        2005
This lady was of good entayle,
Right wondirful of apparayle;
By hir atyre so bright and shene,
Men might perceyve wel, and seen,
She was not of religioun.        2010
Nor I nil make mencioun
Nor of [hir] robe, nor of tresour,
Of broche, [nor] of hir riche attour;
Ne of hir girdil aboute hir syde,
For that I nil not long abyde.        2015
But knowith wel, that certeynly
She was arayed richely.
Devoyd of pryde certeyn she was;
To Bialacoil she wente a pas,
And to him shortly, in a clause,        2020
She seide: ‘Sir, what is the cause
Ye been of port so daungerous
Unto this lover, and deynous,
To graunte him no-thing but a kis?
To werne it him ye doon amis;        2025
Sith wel ye wote, how that he
Is Loves servaunt, as ye may see,
And hath beaute, wher-through [he] is
Worthy of love to have the blis.
How he is semely, biholde and see,        2030
How he is fair, how he is free,
How he is swote and debonair,
Of age yong, lusty, and fair.
Ther is no lady so hauteyne,
Duchesse, countesse, ne chasteleyne,        2035
That I nolde holde hir ungoodly
For to refuse him outerly.
His breeth is also good and swete,
And eke his lippis rody, and mete
Only to pleyen, and to kisse.        2040
Graunte him a kis, of gentilnesse!
His teeth arn also whyte and clene;
Me thinkith wrong, withouten wene,
If ye now werne him, trustith me,
To graunte that a kis have he;        2045
The lasse [to] helpe him that ye haste,
The more tyme shul ye waste.’
  Whan the flawme of the verry brond,
That Venus brought in hir right hond,
Had Bialacoil with hete smete,        2050
Anoon he bad, withouten lette,
Graunte to me the rose kisse.
Than of my peyne I gan to lisse,
And to the rose anoon wente I,
And kissid it ful feithfully.        2055
Thar no man aske if I was blythe,
Whan the savour soft and lythe
Strook to myn herte withoute more,
And me alegged of my sore,
So was I ful of Ioye and blisse.        2060
It is fair sich a flour to kisse,
It was so swote and saverous.
I might not be so anguisshous,
That I mote glad and Ioly be,
Whan that I remembre me.        2065
Yit ever among, sothly to seyn,
I suffre noye and moche peyn.
  The see may never be so stil,
That with a litel winde it [nil]
Overwhelme and turne also,        2070
As it were wood, in wawis go.
Aftir the calm the trouble sone
Mot folowe, and chaunge as the mone.
Right so farith Love, that selde in oon
Holdith his anker; for right anoon        2075
Whan they in ese wene best to live,
They been with tempest al fordrive.
Who serveth Love, can telle of wo;
The stoundemele Ioye mot overgo.
Now he hurteth, and now he cureth,        2080
For selde in oo poynt Love endureth.
  Now is it right me to procede,
How Shame gan medle and take hede,
Thurgh whom felle angres I have had;
And how the stronge wal was maad,        2085
And the castell of brede and lengthe,
That God of Love wan with his strengthe.
Al this in romance wil I sette,
And for no-thing ne wil I lette,
So that it lyking to hir be,        2090
That is the flour of beaute;
For she may best my labour quyte,
That I for hir love shal endyte.
  Wikkid-Tunge, that the covyne
Of every lover can devyne        2095
Worst, and addith more somdel,
(For Wikkid-Tunge seith never wel),
To me-ward bar he right gret hate,
Espying me erly and late,
Til he hath seen the grete chere        2100
Of Bialacoil and me y-fere.
He mighte not his tunge withstonde
Worse to reporte than he fonde,
He was so ful of cursed rage;
It sat him wel of his linage,        2105
For him an Irish womman bar.
His tunge was fyled sharp, and squar,
Poignaunt and right kerving,
And wonder bitter in speking.
For whan that he me gan espye,        2110
He swoor, afferming sikirly,
Bitwene Bialacoil and me
Was yvel aquayntaunce and privee.
He spak therof so folily,
That he awakid Ielousy;        2115
Which, al afrayed in his rysing,
Whan that he herde [him] Iangling,
He ran anoon, as he were wood,
To Bialacoil ther that he stood;
Which hadde lever in this caas        2120
Have been at Reynes or Amyas;
For foot-hoot, in his felonye
To him thus seide Ielousye:—
‘Why hast thou been so necligent,
To kepen, whan I was absent,        2125
This verger here left in thy ward?
To me thou haddist no reward,
To truste (to thy confusioun)
Him thus, to whom suspeccioun
I have right greet, for it is nede;        2130
It is wel shewed by the dede.
Greet faute in thee now have I founde;
By god, anoon thou shalt be bounde,
And faste loken in a tour,
Withoute refuyt or socour.        2135
For Shame to long hath be thee fro;
Over sone she was agoo.
Whan thou hast lost bothe drede and fere,
It semed wel she was not here.
She was [not] bisy, in no wyse,        2140
To kepe thee and [to] chastyse,
And for to helpen Chastitee
To kepe the roser, as thinkith me.
For than this boy-knave so boldely
Ne sholde not have be hardy,        2145
[Ne] in this verger had such game,
Which now me turneth to gret shame.’
  Bialacoil nist what to sey;
Ful fayn he wolde have fled awey,
For fere han hid, nere that he        2150
Al sodeynly took him with me.
And whan I saugh he hadde so,
This Ielousye, take us two,
I was astoned, and knew no rede,
But fledde awey for verrey drede.        2155
  Than Shame cam forth ful simply;
She wende have trespaced ful gretly;
Humble of hir port, and made it simple,
Wering a vayle in stede of wimple,
As nonnis doon in hir abbey.        2160
Bicause hir herte was in affray,
She gan to speke, within a throwe,
To Ielousye, right wonder lowe.
First of his grace she bisought,
And seide:—‘Sire, ne leveth nought        2165
Wikkid-Tunge, that fals espye,
Which is so glad to feyne and lye.
He hath you maad, thurgh flatering,
On Bialacoil a fals lesing.
His falsnesse is not now anew,        2170
It is to long that he him knew.
This is not the firste day;
For Wikkid-Tunge hath custom ay
Yongé folkis to bewreye,
And false lesinges on hem leye.        2175
  ‘Yit nevertheles I see among,
That the loigne it is so longe
Of Bialacoil, hertis to lure,
In Loves servise for to endure,
Drawing suche folk him to,        2180
That he had no-thing with to do;
But in sothnesse I trowe nought,
That Bialacoil hadde ever in thought
To do trespace or vilanye;
But, for his modir Curtesye        2185
Hath taught him ever [for] to be
Good of aqueyntaunce and privee;
For he loveth non hevinesse,
But mirthe and pley, and al gladnesse;
He hateth alle [trecherous],        2190
Soleyn folk and envious;
For [wel] ye witen how that he
Wol ever glad and Ioyful be
Honestly with folk to pley.
I have be negligent, in good fey,        2195
To chastise him; therfore now I
Of herte crye you here mercy,
That I have been so recheles
To tamen him, withouten lees.
Of my foly I me repente;        2200
Now wol I hool sette myn entente
To kepe, bothe [loude] and stille,
Bialacoil to do your wille.’
  ‘Shame, Shame,’ seyde Ielousy,
‘To be bitrasshed gret drede have I.        2205
Lecherye hath clombe so hye,
That almost blered is myn ye;
No wonder is, if that drede have I.
Over-al regnith Lechery,
Whos might [yit] growith night and day.        2210
Bothe in cloistre and in abbey
Chastite is werreyed over-al.
Therfore I wol with siker wal
Close bothe roses and roser.
I have to longe in this maner        2215
Left hem unclosid wilfully;
Wherfore I am right inwardly
Sorowful and repente me.
But now they shal no lenger be
Unclosid; and yit I drede sore,        2220
I shal repente ferthermore,
For the game goth al amis.
Counsel I [mot take] newe, y-wis.
I have to longe tristed thee,
But now it shal no lenger be;        2225
For he may best, in every cost,
Disceyve, that men tristen most.
I see wel that I am nygh shent,
But-if I sette my ful entent
Remedye to purveye.        2230
Therfore close I shal the weye
Fro hem that wol the rose espye,
And come to wayte me vilanye,
For, in good feith and in trouthe,
I wol not lette, for no slouthe,        2235
To live the more in sikirnesse,
[To] make anoon a forteresse,
[To enclose] the roses of good savour.
In middis shal I make a tour
To putte Bialacoil in prisoun,        2240
For ever I drede me of tresoun.
I trowe I shal him kepe so,
That he shal have no might to go
Aboute to make companye
To hem that thenke of vilanye;        2245
Ne to no such as hath ben here
Aforn, and founde in him good chere,
Which han assailed him to shende,
And with hir trowandyse to blende.
A fool is eyth [for] to bigyle;        2250
But may I lyve a litel while,
He shal forthenke his fair semblaunt.’
  And with that word cam Drede avaunt,
Which was abasshed, and in gret fere,
Whan he wiste Ielousye was there.        2255
He was for drede in such affray,
That not a word durste he say,
But quaking stood ful stille aloon,
Til Ielousye his wey was goon,
Save Shame, that him not forsook;        2260
Bothe Drede and she ful sore quook;
[Til] that at laste Drede abreyde,
And to his cosin Shame seyde:
‘Shame,’ he seide, ‘in sothfastnesse,
To me it is gret hevinesse,        2265
That the noyse so fer is go,
And the sclaundre of us two.
But sith that it is [so] bifalle,
We may it not ageyn [do] calle,
Whan onis sprongen is a fame.        2270
For many a yeer withouten blame
We han been, and many a day;
For many an April and many a May
We han [y]-passed, not [a]shamed,
Til Ielousye hath us blamed        2275
Of mistrust and suspecioun
Causeles, withouten enchesoun.
Go we to Daunger hastily,
And late us shewe him openly,
That he hath not aright [y]-wrought,        2280
Whan that he sette nought his thought
To kepe better the purpryse;
In his doing he is not wyse.
He hath to us [y]-do gret wrong,
That hath suffred now so long        2285
Bialacoil to have his wille,
Alle his lustes to fulfille.
He must amende it utterly,
Or ellis shal he vilaynsly
Exyled be out of this londe;        2290
For he the werre may not withstonde
Of Ielousye, nor the greef,
Sith Bialacoil is at mischeef.’
  To Daunger, Shame and Drede anoon
The righte wey ben [bothe a]-goon.        2295
The cherl they founden hem aforn
Ligging undir an hawethorn.
Undir his heed no pilowe was,
But in the stede a trusse of gras.
He slombred, and a nappe he took,        2300
Til Shame pitously him shook,
And greet manace on him gan make.
‘Why slepist thou whan thou shulde wake?’
Quod Shame; ‘thou dost us vilanye!
Who tristith thee, he doth folye,        2305
To kepe roses or botouns,
Whan they ben faire in hir sesouns.
Thou art woxe to familiere
Where thou shulde be straunge of chere,
Stout of thy port, redy to greve.        2310
Thou dost gret foly for to leve
Bialacoil here-in, to calle
The yonder man to shenden us alle.
Though that thou slepe, we may here
Of Ielousie gret noyse here.        2315
Art thou now late? ryse up [in hy],
And stoppe sone and deliverly
Alle the gappis of the hay;
Do no favour, I thee pray.
It fallith no-thing to thy name        2320
Make fair semblaunt, where thou maist blame.
  ‘If Bialacoil be swete and free,
Dogged and fel thou shuldist be;
Froward and outrageous, y-wis;
A cherl chaungeth that curteis is.        2325
This have I herd ofte in seying,
That man [ne] may, for no daunting,
Make a sperhauke of a bosarde.
Alle men wole holde thee for musarde,
That debonair have founden thee,        2330
It sit thee nought curteis to be;
To do men plesaunce or servyse,
In thee it is recreaundyse.
Let thy werkis, fer and nere,
Be lyke thy name, which is Daungere.’        2335
  Than, al abawid in shewing,
Anoon spak Dreed, right thus seying,
And seide, ‘Daunger, I drede me
That thou ne wolt [not] bisy be
To kepe that thou hast to kepe;        2340
Whan thou shuldist wake, thou art aslepe.
Thou shalt be greved certeynly,
If thee aspye Ielousy,
Or if he finde thee in blame.
He hath to-day assailed Shame,        2345
And chased awey, with gret manace,
Bialacoil out of this place,
And swereth shortly that he shal
Enclose him in a sturdy wal;
And al is for thy wikkednesse,        2350
For that thee faileth straungenesse.
Thyn herte, I trowe, be failed al;
Thou shalt repente in special,
If Ielousye the sothe knewe;
Thou shalt forthenke, and sore rewe.’        2355
  With that the cherl his clubbe gan shake,
Frouning his eyen gan to make,
And hidous chere; as man in rage,
For ire he brente in his visage.
Whan that he herde him blamed so,        2360
He seide, ‘Out of my wit I go;
To be discomfit I have gret wrong.
Certis, I have now lived to long,
Sith I may not this closer kepe;
Al quik I wolde be dolven depe,        2365
If any man shal more repeire
Into this garden, for foule or faire.
Myn herte for ire goth a-fere,
That I lete any entre here.
I have do foly, now I see,        2370
But now it shal amended bee.
Who settith foot here any more,
Truly, he shal repente it sore;
For no man mo into this place
Of me to entre shal have grace.        2375
Lever I hadde, with swerdis tweyne
Thurgh-out myn herte, in every veyne
Perced to be, with many a wounde,
Than slouthe shulde in me be founde.
From hennesforth, by night or day,        2380
I shal defende it, if I may,
Withouten any excepcioun
Of ech maner condicioun;
And if I any man it graunte,
Holdeth me for recreaunte.’        2385
  Than Daunger on his feet gan stonde,
And hente a burdoun in his honde.
Wroth in his ire, ne lefte he nought,
But thurgh the verger he hath sought.
If he might finde hole or trace,        2390
Wher-thurgh that men mot forthby pace,
Or any gappe, he dide it close,
That no man mighte touche a rose
Of the roser al aboute;
He shitteth every man withoute.        2395
  Thus day by day Daunger is wers,
More wondirful and more divers,
And feller eek than ever he was;
For him ful oft I singe ‘allas!’
For I ne may nought, thurgh his ire,        2400
Recover that I most desire.
Myn herte, allas, wol brest a-two,
For Bialacoil I wratthed so.
For certeynly, in every membre
I quake, whan I me remembre        2405
Of the botoun, which [that] I wolde
Fulle ofte a day seen and biholde.
And whan I thenke upon the kisse,
And how muche Ioye and blisse
I hadde thurgh the savour swete,        2410
For wante of it I grone and grete.
Me thenkith I fele yit in my nose
The swete savour of the rose.
And now I woot that I mot go
So fer the fresshe floures fro,        2415
To me ful welcome were the deeth;
Absens therof, allas, me sleeth!
For whylom with this rose, allas,
I touched nose, mouth, and face;
But now the deeth I must abyde.        2420
But Love consente, another tyde,
That onis I touche may and kisse,
I trowe my peyne shal never lisse.
Theron is al my coveityse,
Which brent myn herte in many wyse.        2425
Now shal repaire agayn sighinge,
Long wacche on nightis, and no slepinge;
Thought in wisshing, torment, and wo,
With many a turning to and fro,
That half my peyne I can not telle.        2430
For I am fallen into helle
From paradys and welthe, the more
My turment greveth; more and more
Anoyeth now the bittirnesse,
That I toforn have felt swetnesse.        2435
And Wikkid-Tunge, thurgh his falshede,
Causeth al my wo and drede.
On me he leyeth a pitous charge,
Bicause his tunge was to large.
  Now it is tyme, shortly that I        2440
Telle you som-thing of Ielousy,
That was in gret suspecioun.
Aboute him lefte he no masoun,
That stoon coude leye, ne querrour;
He hired hem to make a tour.        2445
And first, the roses for to kepe,
Aboute hem made he a diche depe,
Right wondir large, and also brood;
Upon the whiche also stood
Of squared stoon a sturdy wal,        2450
Which on a cragge was founded al,
And right gret thikkenesse eek it bar.
Abouten, it was founded squar,
An hundred fadome on every syde,
It was al liche longe and wyde.        2455
Lest any tyme it were assayled,
Ful wel aboute it was batayled;
And rounde enviroun eek were set
Ful many a riche and fair touret.
At every corner of this wal        2460
Was set a tour ful principal;
And everich hadde, withoute fable,
A porte-colys defensable
To kepe of enemies, and to greve,
That there hir force wolde preve.        2465
And eek amidde this purpryse
Was maad a tour of gret maistryse;
A fairer saugh no man with sight,
Large and wyde, and of gret might.
They [ne] dredde noon assaut        2470
Of ginne, gunne, nor skaffaut.
[For] the temprure of the mortere
Was maad of licour wonder dere;
Of quikke lyme persant and egre,
The which was tempred with vinegre.        2475
The stoon was hard [as] ademant,
Wherof they made the foundement.
The tour was rounde, maad in compas;
In al this world no richer was,
Ne better ordeigned therwithal.        2480
Aboute the tour was maad a wal,
So that, bitwixt that and the tour,
Rosers were set of swete savour,
With many roses that they bere.
And eek within the castel were        2485
Springoldes, gunnes, bows, archers;
And eek above, atte corners,
Men seyn over the walle stonde
Grete engynes, [whiche] were nigh honde;
And in the kernels, here and there,        2490
Of arblasters gret plentee were.
Noon armure might hir stroke withstonde,
It were foly to prece to honde.
Without the diche were listes made,
With walles batayled large and brade,        2495
For men and hors shulde not atteyne
To neigh the diche over the pleyne.
Thus Ielousye hath enviroun
Set aboute his garnisoun
With walles rounde, and diche depe,        2500
Only the roser for to kepe.
And Daunger [eek], erly and late
The keyes kepte of the utter gate,
The which openeth toward the eest.
And he hadde with him atte leest        2505
Thritty servauntes, echon by name.
  That other gate kepte Shame,
Which openede, as it was couth,
Toward the parte of the south.
Sergeauntes assigned were hir to        2510
Ful many, hir wille for to do.
  Than Drede hadde in hir baillye
The keping of the conestablerye,
Toward the north, I undirstonde,
That opened upon the left honde,        2515
The which for no-thing may be sure,
But-if she do [hir] bisy cure
Erly on morowe and also late,
Strongly to shette and barre the gate.
Of every thing that she may see        2520
Drede is aferd, wher-so she be;
For with a puff of litel winde
Drede is astonied in hir minde.
Therfore, for stelinge of the rose,
I rede hir nought the yate unclose.        2525
A foulis flight wol make hir flee,
And eek a shadowe, if she it see.
  Thanne Wikked-Tunge, ful of envye,
With soudiours of Normandye,
As he that causeth al the bate,        2530
Was keper of the fourthe gate,
And also to the tother three
He went ful ofte, for to see.
Whan his lot was to wake a-night,
His instrumentis wolde he dight,        2535
For to blowe and make soun,
Ofter than he hath enchesoun;
And walken oft upon the wal,
Corners and wikettis over-al
Ful narwe serchen and espye;        2540
Though he nought fond, yit wolde he lye.
Discordaunt ever fro armonye,
And distoned from melodye,
Controve he wolde, and foule fayle,
With hornpypes of Cornewayle.        2545
In floytes made he discordaunce,
And in his musik, with mischaunce,
He wolde seyn, with notes newe,
That he [ne] fond no womman trewe,
Ne that he saugh never, in his lyf,        2550
Unto hir husbonde a trewe wyf;
Ne noon so ful of honestee,
That she nil laughe and mery be
Whan that she hereth, or may espye,
A man speken of lecherye.        2555
Everich of hem hath somme vyce;
Oon is dishonest, another is nyce;
If oon be ful of vilanye,
Another hath a likerous ye;
If oon be ful of wantonesse,        2560
Another is a chideresse.
  Thus Wikked-Tunge (god yeve him shame!)
Can putte hem everichone in blame
Withoute desert and causeles;
He lyeth, though they been giltles.        2565
I have pite to seen the sorwe,
That waketh bothe eve and morwe,
To innocents doth such grevaunce;
I pray god yeve him evel chaunce,
That he ever so bisy is        2570
Of any womman to seyn amis!
  Eek Ielousye god confounde,
That hath [y]-maad a tour so rounde,
And made aboute a garisoun
To sette Bialacoil in prisoun;        2575
The which is shet there in the tour,
Ful longe to holde there soiour,
There for to liven in penaunce.
And for to do him more grevaunce,
[Ther] hath ordeyned Ielousye        2580
An olde vekke, for to espye
The maner of his governaunce;
The whiche devel, in hir enfaunce,
Had lerned [muche] of Loves art,
And of his pleyes took hir part;        2585
She was [expert] in his servyse.
She knew ech wrenche and every gyse
Of love, and every [loveres] wyle,
It was [the] harder hir to gyle.
Of Bialacoil she took ay hede,        2590
That ever he liveth in wo and drede.
He kepte him coy and eek privee,
Lest in him she hadde see
Any foly countenaunce,
For she knew al the olde daunce.        2595
And aftir this, whan Ielousye
Had Bialacoil in his baillye,
And shette him up that was so free,
For seure of him he wolde be,
He trusteth sore in his castel;        2600
The stronge werk him lyketh wel.
He dradde nat that no glotouns
Shulde stele his roses or botouns.
The roses weren assured alle,
Defenced with the stronge walle.        2605
Now Ielousye ful wel may be
Of drede devoid, in libertee,
Whether that he slepe or wake;
For of his roses may noon be take.
  But I, allas, now morne shal;        2610
Bicause I was without the wal,
Ful moche dole and mone I made.
Who hadde wist what wo I hadde,
I trowe he wolde have had pitee.
Love to deere had sold to me        2615
The good that of his love hadde I.
I [wende a bought] it al queyntly;
But now, thurgh doubling of my peyn,
I see he wolde it selle ageyn,
And me a newe bargeyn lere,        2620
The which al-out the more is dere,
For the solace that I have lorn,
Than I hadde it never aforn.
Certayn I am ful lyk, indeed,
To him that cast in erthe his seed;        2625
And hath Ioie of the newe spring,
Whan it greneth in the ginning,
And is also fair and fresh of flour,
Lusty to seen, swote of odour;
But er he it in sheves shere,        2630
May falle a weder that shal it dere,
And maken it to fade and falle,
The stalk, the greyn, and floures alle;
That to the tilier is fordone
The hope that he hadde to sone.        2635
I drede, certeyn, that so fare I;
For hope and travaile sikerly
Ben me biraft al with a storm;
The floure nil seden of my corn.
For Love hath so avaunced me,        2640
Whan I bigan my privitee
To Bialacoil al for to telle,
Whom I ne fond froward ne felle,
But took a-gree al hool my play.
But Love is of so hard assay,        2645
That al at onis he reved me,
Whan I wend best aboven have be.
It is of Love, as of Fortune,
That chaungeth ofte, and nil contune;
Which whylom wol on folke smyle,        2650
And gloumbe on hem another whyle;
Now freend, now foo, [thou] shalt hir fele,
For [in] a twinkling tourneth hir wheel.
She can wrythe hir heed awey,
This is the concours of hir pley;        2655
She can areyse that doth morne,
And whirle adown, and overturne
Who sittith hieghst, [al] as hir list;
A fool is he that wol hir trist.
For it [am] I that am com doun        2660
Thurgh change and revolucioun!
Sith Bialacoil mot fro me twinne,
Shet in the prisoun yond withinne,
His absence at myn herte I fele;
For al my Ioye and al myn hele        2665
Was in him and in the rose,
That but yon [wal], which him doth close,
Open, that I may him see,
Love nil not that I cured be
Of the peynes that I endure,        2670
Nor of my cruel aventure.
  A, Bialacoil, myn owne dere!
Though thou be now a prisonere,
Kepe atte leste thyn herte to me,
And suffre not that it daunted be;        2675
Ne lat not Ielousye, in his rage,
Putten thyn herte in no servage.
Although he chastice thee withoute,
And make thy body unto him loute,
Have herte as hard as dyamaunt,        2680
Stedefast, and nought pliaunt;
In prisoun though thy body be,
At large kepe thyn herte free.
A trewe herte wol not plye
For no manace that it may drye.        2685
If Ielousye doth thee payne,
Quyte him his whyle thus agayne,
To venge thee, atte leest in thought,
If other way thou mayest nought;
And in this wyse sotilly        2690
Worche, and winne the maistry.
But yit I am in gret affray
Lest thou do not as I say;
I drede thou canst me greet maugree,
That thou emprisoned art for me;        2695
But that [is] not for my trespas,
For thurgh me never discovered was
Yit thing that oughte be secree.
Wel more anoy [ther] is in me,
Than is in thee, of this mischaunce;        2700
For I endure more hard penaunce
Than any [man] can seyn or thinke,
That for the sorwe almost I sinke.
Whan I remembre me of my wo,
Ful nygh out of my wit I go.        2705
Inward myn herte I fele blede,
For comfortles the deeth I drede.
Ow I not wel to have distresse,
Whan false, thurgh hir wikkednesse,
And traitours, that arn envyous,        2710
To noyen me be so coragious?
  A, Bialacoil! ful wel I see,
That they hem shape to disceyve thee,
To make thee buxom to hir lawe,
And with hir corde thee to drawe        2715
Wher-so hem lust, right at hir wil;
I drede they have thee brought thertil.
Withoute comfort, thought me sleeth;
This game wol bringe me to my deeth.
For if your gode wille I lese,        2720
I mote be deed; I may not chese.
And if that thou foryete me,
Myn herte shal never in lyking be;
Nor elles-where finde solace,
If I be put out of your grace,        2725
As it shal never been, I hope;
Than shulde I fallen in wanhope.
  Allas, in wanhope?—nay, pardee!
For I wol never dispeired be.
If Hope me faile, than am I        2730
Ungracious and unworthy;
In Hope I wol comforted be,
For Love, whan he bitaught hir me,
Seide, that Hope, wher-so I go,
Shulde ay be relees to my wo.        2735
  But what and she my balis bete,
And be to me curteis and swete?
She is in no-thing ful certeyn.
Lovers she put in ful gret peyn,
And makith hem with wo to dele.        2740
Hir fair biheest disceyveth fele,
For she wol bihote, sikirly,
And failen aftir outrely.
A! that is a ful noyous thing!
For many a lover, in loving,        2745
Hangeth upon hir, and trusteth fast,
Whiche lese hir travel at the last.
Of thing to comen she woot right nought;
Therfore, if it be wysly sought,
Hir counseille, foly is to take.        2750
For many tymes, whan she wol make
A ful good silogisme, I drede
That aftirward ther shal in dede
Folwe an evel conclusioun;
This put me in confusioun.        2755
For many tymes I have it seen,
That many have bigyled been,
For trust that they have set in Hope,
Which fel hem aftirward a-slope.
  But natheles yit, gladly she wolde,        2760
That he, that wol him with hir holde,
Hadde alle tymes [his] purpos clere,
Withoute deceyte, or any were.
That she desireth sikirly;
Whan I hir blamed, I did foly.        2765
But what avayleth hir good wille,
Whan she ne may staunche my stounde ille?
That helpith litel, that she may do,
Outake biheest unto my wo.
And heeste certeyn, in no wyse,        2770
Withoute yift, is not to pryse.
  Whan heest and deed a-sundir varie,
They doon [me have] a gret contrarie.
Thus am I possed up and doun
With dool, thought, and confusioun;        2775
Of my disese ther is no noumbre.
Daunger and Shame me encumbre,
Drede also, and Ielousye,
And Wikked-Tunge, ful of envye,
Of whiche the sharpe and cruel ire        2780
Ful oft me put in gret martire.
They han my Ioye fully let,
Sith Bialacoil they have bishet
Fro me in prisoun wikkidly,
Whom I love so entierly,        2785
That it wol my bane be,
But I the soner may him see.
And yit moreover, wurst of alle,
Ther is set to kepe, foule hir bifalle!
A rimpled vekke, fer ronne in age,        2790
Frowning and yelowe in hir visage,
Which in awayte lyth day and night,
That noon of hem may have a sight.
Now moot my sorwe enforced be;
Ful soth it is, that Love yaf me        2795
Three wonder yiftes of his grace,
Which I have lorn now in this place,
Sith they ne may, withoute drede,
Helpen but litel, who taketh hede.
For here availeth no Swete-Thought,        2800
And Swete-Speche helpith right nought.
The thridde was called Swete-Loking,
That now is lorn, without lesing.
[The] yiftes were fair, but not forthy
They helpe me but simply,        2805
But Bialacoil [may] loosed be,
To gon at large and to be free.
For him my lyf lyth al in dout,
But-if he come the rather out.
Allas! I trowe it wol not been!        2810
For how shuld I evermore him seen?
He may not out, and that is wrong,
Bicause the tour is so strong.
How shulde he out? by whos prowesse,
Out of so strong a forteresse?        2815
By me, certeyn, it nil be do;
God woot, I have no wit therto!
But wel I woot I was in rage,
Whan I to Love dide homage.
Who was in cause, in sothfastnesse,        2820
But hir-silf, dame Idelnesse,
Which me conveyed, thurgh fair prayere,
To entre into that fair vergere?
She was to blame me to leve,
The which now doth me sore greve.        2825
A foolis word is nought to trowe,
Ne worth an appel for to lowe;
Men shulde him snibbe bittirly,
At pryme temps of his foly.
I was a fool, and she me leved,        2830
Thurgh whom I am right nought releved.
She accomplisshed al my wil,
That now me greveth wondir il.
Resoun me seide what shulde falle.
A fool my-silf I may wel calle,        2835
That love asyde I had not leyde,
And trowed that dame Resoun seyde.
Resoun had bothe skile and right,
Whan she me blamed, with al hir might,
To medle of love, that hath me shent;        2840
But certeyn now I wol repent.
  ‘And shulde I repent? Nay parde!
A fals traitour than shulde I be.
The develles engins wolde me take,
If I my [lorde] wolde forsake,        2845
Or Bialacoil falsly bitraye.
Shulde I at mischeef hate him? nay,
Sith he now, for his curtesye,
Is in prisoun of Ielousye.
Curtesye certeyn dide he me,        2850
So muche, it may not yolden be,
Whan he the hay passen me lete,
To kisse the rose, faire and swete;
Shulde I therfore cunne him maugree?
Nay, certeynly, it shal not be;        2855
For Love shal never, [if god wil],
Here of me, thurgh word or wil,
Offence or complaynt, more or lesse,
Neither of Hope nor Idilnesse;
For certis, it were wrong that I        2860
Hated hem for hir curtesye.
Ther is not ellis, but suffre and thinke,
And waken whan I shulde winke;
Abyde in hope, til Love, thurgh chaunce,
Sende me socour or allegeaunce,        2865
Expectant ay til I may mete
To geten mercy of that swete.
  ‘Whylom I thinke how Love to me
Seyde he wolde taken atte gree
My servise, if unpacience        2870
Caused me to doon offence.
He seyde, “In thank I shal it take,
And high maister eek thee make,
If wikkednesse ne reve it thee;
But sone, I trowe, that shal not be.”        2875
These were his wordis by and by;
It semed he loved me trewly.
Now is ther not but serve him wele,
If that I thinke his thank to fele.
My good, myn harm, lyth hool in me;        2880
In Love may no defaute be;
For trewe Love ne failid never man.
Sothly, the faute mot nedis than
(As God forbede!) be founde in me,
And how it cometh, I can not see.        2885
Now lat it goon as it may go;
Whether Love wol socoure me or slo,
He may do hool on me his wil.
I am so sore bounde him til,
From his servyse I may not fleen;        2890
For lyf and deth, withouten wene,
Is in his hand; I may not chese;
He may me do bothe winne and lese.
And sith so sore he doth me greve,
Yit, if my lust he wolde acheve        2895
To Bialacoil goodly to be,
I yeve no force what felle on me.
For though I dye, as I mot nede,
I praye Love, of his goodlihede,
To Bialacoil do gentilnesse,        2900
For whom I live in such distresse,
That I mote deyen for penaunce.
But first, withoute repentaunce,
I wol me confesse in good entent,
And make in haste my testament,        2905
As lovers doon that felen smerte:—
To Bialacoil leve I myn herte
Al hool, withoute departing,
Or doublenesse of repenting.’

Coment Raisoun vient a L’amant.
  Thus as I made my passage        2910
In compleynt, and in cruel rage,
And I not wher to finde a leche
That couthe unto myn helping eche,
Sodeynly agayn comen doun
Out of hir tour I saugh Resoun,        2915
Discrete and wys, and ful plesaunt,
And of hir porte ful avenaunt.
The righte wey she took to me,
Which stood in greet perplexite,
That was posshed in every side,        2920
That I nist where I might abyde,
Til she, demurely sad of chere,
Seide to me as she com nere:—
  ‘Myn owne freend, art thou yit greved?
How is this quarel yit acheved        2925
Of Loves syde? Anoon me telle;
Hast thou not yit of love thy fille?
Art thou not wery of thy servyse
That thee hath [pyned] in sich wyse?
What Ioye hast thou in thy loving?        2930
Is it swete or bitter thing?
Canst thou yit chese, lat me see,
What best thy socour mighte be?
  ‘Thou servest a ful noble lord,
That maketh thee thral for thy reward,        2935
Which ay renewith thy turment,
With foly so he hath thee blent.
Thou felle in mischeef thilke day,
Whan thou didest, the sothe to say,
Obeysaunce and eek homage;        2940
Thou wroughtest no-thing as the sage.
Whan thou bicam his liege man,
Thou didist a gret foly than;
Thou wistest not what fel therto,
With what lord thou haddist to do.        2945
If thou haddist him wel knowe,
Thou haddist nought be brought so lowe;
For if thou wistest what it were,
Thou noldist serve him half a yeer,
Not a weke, nor half a day,        2950
Ne yit an hour withoute delay,
Ne never [han] loved paramours,
His lordship is so ful of shoures.
Knowest him ought?’
  L’Amaunt.  ‘Ye, dame, parde!’        2955
  Raisoun.  ‘Nay, nay.’
  L’Amaunt.  ‘Yes, I.’
  Raisoun.  ‘Wherof, lat see?’
  L’Amaunt.  ‘Of that he seyde I shulde be
Glad to have sich lord as he,        2960
And maister of sich seignory.’
  Raisoun.  ‘Knowist him no more?’
  L’Amaunt.  ‘Nay, certis, I,
Save that he yaf me rewles there,
And wente his wey, I niste where,        2965
And I abood bounde in balaunce.’
  Raisoun.  ‘Lo, there a noble conisaunce!
But I wil that thou knowe him now
Ginning and ende, sith that thou
Art so anguisshous and mate,        2970
Disfigured out of astate;
Ther may no wrecche have more of wo,
Ne caitif noon enduren so.
It were to every man sitting
Of his lord have knowleching.        2975
For if thou knewe him, out of dout,
Lightly thou shulde escapen out
Of the prisoun that marreth thee.’
  L’Amaunt.  ‘Ye, dame! sith my lord is he,
And I his man, maad with myn honde,        2980
I wolde right fayn undirstonde
To knowen of what kinde he be,
If any wolde enforme me.’
  Raisoun.  ‘I wolde,’ seid Resoun, ‘thee lere,
Sith thou to lerne hast sich desire,        2985
And shewe thee, withouten fable,
A thing that is not demonstrable.
Thou shalt [here lerne] without science,
And knowe, withoute experience,
The thing that may not knowen be,        2990
Ne wist ne shewid in no degree.
Thou mayst the sothe of it not witen,
Though in thee it were writen.
Thou shalt not knowe therof more
Whyle thou art reuled by his lore;        2995
But unto him that love wol flee,
The knotte may unclosed be,
Which hath to thee, as it is founde,
So long be knet and not unbounde.
Now sette wel thyn entencioun,        3000
To here of love discripcioun.
  ‘Love, it is an hateful pees,
A free acquitaunce, without relees,
[A trouthe], fret full of falshede,
A sikernesse, al set in drede;        3005
In herte is a dispeiring hope,
And fulle of hope, it is wanhope;
Wyse woodnesse, and wood resoun,
A swete peril, in to droune,
An hevy birthen, light to bere,        3010
A wikked wawe awey to were.
It is Caribdis perilous,
Disagreable and gracious.
It is discordaunce that can accorde,
And accordaunce to discorde.        3015
It is cunning withoute science,
Wisdom withoute sapience,
Wit withoute discrecioun,
Havoir, withoute possessioun.
It is sike hele and hool siknesse,        3020
A thrust drowned [in] dronkenesse,
An helthe ful of maladye,
And charitee ful of envye,
An [hunger] ful of habundaunce,
And a gredy suffisaunce;        3025
Delyt right ful of hevinesse,
And drerihed ful of gladnesse;
Bitter swetnesse and swete errour,
Right evel savoured good savour;
Sinne that pardoun hath withinne,        3030
And pardoun spotted without [with] sinne;
A peyne also it is, Ioyous,
And felonye right pitous;
Also pley that selde is stable,
And stedefast [stat], right mevable;        3035
A strengthe, weyked to stonde upright,
And feblenesse, ful of might;
Wit unavysed, sage folye,
And Ioye ful of turmentrye;
A laughter it is, weping ay,        3040
Rest, that traveyleth night and day;
Also a swete helle it is,
And a sorowful Paradys;
A plesaunt gayl and esy prisoun,
And, ful of froste, somer sesoun;        3045
Pryme temps, ful of frostes whyte,
And May, devoide of al delyte,
With seer braunches, blossoms ungrene;
And newe fruyt, fillid with winter tene.
It is a slowe, may not forbere        3050
Ragges, ribaned with gold, to were;
For al-so wel wol love be set
Under ragges as riche rochet;
And eek as wel be amourettes
In mourning blak, as bright burnettes.        3055
For noon is of so mochel prys,
Ne no man founden [is] so wys,
Ne noon so high is of parage,
Ne no man founde of wit so sage,
No man so hardy ne so wight,        3060
Ne no man of so mochel might,
Noon so fulfilled of bounte,
[But] he with love may daunted be.
Al the world holdith this way;
Love makith alle to goon miswey,        3065
But it be they of yvel lyf,
Whom Genius cursith, man and wyf,
That wrongly werke ageyn nature.
Noon suche I love, ne have no cure
Of suche as Loves servaunts been,        3070
And wol not by my counsel fleen.
For I ne preyse that loving,
Wher-thurgh man, at the laste ending,
Shal calle hem wrecchis fulle of wo,
Love greveth hem and shendith so.        3075
But if thou wolt wel Love eschewe,
For to escape out of his mewe,
And make al hool thy sorwe to slake,
No bettir counsel mayst thou take,
Than thinke to fleen wel, y-wis;        3080
May nought helpe elles; for wite thou this:—
If thou flee it, it shal flee thee;
Folowe it, and folowen shal it thee.’
  L’Amaunt.  Whan I hadde herd al Resoun seyn,
Which hadde spilt hir speche in veyn:        3085
‘Dame,’ seyde I, ‘I dar wel sey
Of this avaunt me wel I may
That from your scole so deviaunt
I am, that never the more avaunt
Right nought am I, thurgh your doctryne;        3090
I dulle under your disciplyne;
I wot no more than [I] wist [er],
To me so contrarie and so fer
Is every thing that ye me lere;
And yit I can it al parcuere.        3095
Myn herte foryetith therof right nought,
It is so writen in my thought;
And depe graven it is so tendir
That al by herte I can it rendre,
And rede it over comunely;        3100
But to my-silf lewedist am I.
  ‘But sith ye love discreven so,
And lakke and preise it, bothe two,
Defyneth it into this letter,
That I may thenke on it the better;        3105
For I herde never [diffyne it ere],
And wilfully I wolde it lere.’
  Raisoun.  ‘If love be serched wel and sought,
It is a sykenesse of the thought
Annexed and knet bitwixe tweyne,        3110
[Which] male and female, with oo cheyne,
So frely byndith, that they nil twinne,
Whether so therof they lese or winne.
The roote springith, thurgh hoot brenning,
Into disordinat desiring        3115
For to kissen and enbrace,
And at her lust them to solace.
Of other thing love recchith nought,
But setteth hir herte and al hir thought
More for delectacioun        3120
Than any procreacioun
Of other fruyt by engendring;
Which love to god is not plesing;
For of hir body fruyt to get
They yeve no force, they are so set        3125
Upon delyt, to pley in-fere.
And somme have also this manere,
To feynen hem for love seke;
Sich love I preise not at a leke.
For paramours they do but feyne;        3130
To love truly they disdeyne.
They falsen ladies traitoursly,
And sweren hem othes utterly,
With many a lesing, and many a fable,
And al they finden deceyvable.        3135
And, whan they her lust han geten,
The hoote ernes they al foryeten.
Wimmen, the harm they byen ful sore;
But men this thenken evermore,
That lasse harm is, so mote I thee,        3140
Disceyve them, than disceyved be;
And namely, wher they ne may
Finde non other mene wey.
For I wot wel, in sothfastnesse,
That [who] doth now his bisynesse        3145
With any womman for to dele,
For any lust that he may fele,
But-if it be for engendrure,
He doth trespasse, I you ensure.
For he shulde setten al his wil        3150
To geten a likly thing him til,
And to sustene[n], if he might,
And kepe forth, by kindes right,
His owne lyknesse and semblable,
For bicause al is corumpable,        3155
And faile shulde successioun,
Ne were ther generacioun
Our sectis strene for to save.
Whan fader or moder arn in grave,
Hir children shulde, whan they ben deede,        3160
Ful diligent ben, in hir steede,
To use that werke on such a wyse,
That oon may thurgh another ryse.
Therfore set Kinde therin delyt,
For men therin shulde hem delyte,        3165
And of that dede be not erke,
But ofte sythes haunt that werke.
For noon wolde drawe therof a draught
Ne were delyt, which hath him caught.
This hadde sotil dame Nature;        3170
For noon goth right, I thee ensure,
Ne hath entent hool ne parfyt;
For hir desir is for delyt,
The which fortened crece and eke
The pley of love for-ofte seke,        3175
And thralle hem-silf, they be so nyce,
Unto the prince of every vyce.
For of ech sinne it is the rote,
Unlefulle lust, though it be sote,
And of al yvel the racyne,        3180
As Tullius can determyne,
Which in his tyme was ful sage,
In a boke he made of Age,
Wher that more he preyseth Elde,
Though he be croked and unwelde,        3185
And more of commendacioun,
Than Youthe in his discripcioun.
For Youthe set bothe man and wyf
In al perel of soule and lyf;
And perel is, but men have grace,        3190
The [tyme] of youthe for to pace,
Withoute any deth or distresse,
It is so ful of wildenesse;
So ofte it doth shame or damage
To him or to his linage.        3195
It ledith man now up, now doun,
In mochel dissolucioun,
And makith him love yvel company,
And lede his lyf disrewlily,
And halt him payed with noon estate.        3200
Within him-silf is such debate,
He chaungith purpos and entent,
And yalt [him] into som covent,
To liven aftir her empryse,
And lesith fredom and fraunchyse,        3205
That Nature in him hadde set,
The which ageyn he may not get,
If he there make his mansioun
For to abyde professioun.
Though for a tyme his herte absente,        3210
It may not fayle, he shal repente,
And eke abyde thilke day
To leve his abit, and goon his way,
And lesith his worship and his name,
And dar not come ageyn for shame;        3215
But al his lyf he doth so mourne,
Bicause he dar not hoom retourne.
Fredom of kinde so lost hath he
That never may recured be,
But-if that god him graunte grace        3220
That he may, er he hennes pace,
Conteyne undir obedience
Thurgh the vertu of pacience.
For Youthe set man in al folye,
In unthrift and in ribaudye,        3225
In leccherye, and in outrage,
So ofte it chaungith of corage.
Youthe ginneth ofte sich bargeyn,
That may not ende withouten peyn.
In gret perel is set youth-hede,        3230
Delyt so doth his bridil lede.
Delyt thus hangith, drede thee nought,
Bothe mannis body and his thought,
Only thurgh Youthe, his chamberere,
That to don yvel is customere,        3235
And of nought elles taketh hede
But only folkes for to lede
Into disporte and wildenesse,
So is [she] froward from sadnesse.
  ‘But Elde drawith hem therfro;        3240
Who wot it nought, he may wel go
[Demand] of hem that now arn olde,
That whylom Youthe hadde in holde,
Which yit remembre of tendir age,
How it hem brought in many a rage,        3245
And many a foly therin wrought.
But now that Elde hath hem thurgh-sought,
They repente hem of her folye,
That Youthe hem putte in Iupardye,
In perel and in muche wo,        3250
And made hem ofte amis to do,
And suen yvel companye,
Riot and avouterye.
  ‘But Elde [can] ageyn restreyne
From suche foly, and refreyne,        3255
And set men, by hir ordinaunce,
In good reule and in governaunce.
But yvel she spendith hir servyse,
For no man wol hir love, ne pryse;
She is hated, this wot I wele.        3260
Hir acqueyntaunce wolde no man fele,
Ne han of Elde companye,
Men hate to be of hir alye.
For no man wolde bicomen olde,
Ne dye, whan he is yong and bolde.        3265
And Elde merveilith right gretly,
Whan they remembre hem inwardly
Of many a perelous empryse,
Whiche that they wrought in sondry wyse,
How ever they might, withoute blame,        3270
Escape awey withoute shame,
In youthe, withoute[n] damage
Or repreef of her linage,
Losse of membre, sheding of blode,
Perel of deth, or losse of good.        3275
  ‘Wost thou nought where Youthe abit,
That men so preisen in her wit?
With Delyt she halt soiour,
For bothe they dwellen in oo tour.
As longe as Youthe is in sesoun,        3280
They dwellen in oon mansioun.
Delyt of Youthe wol have servyse
To do what so he wol devyse;
And Youthe is redy evermore
For to obey, for smerte of sore,        3285
Unto Delyt, and him to yive
Hir servise, whyl that she may live.
  ‘Where Elde abit, I wol thee telle
Shortly, and no whyle dwelle,
For thider bihoveth thee to go.        3290
If Deth in youthe thee not slo,
Of this journey thou maist not faile.
With hir Labour and Travaile
Logged been, with Sorwe and Wo,
That never out of hir courte go.        3295
Peyne and Distresse, Syknesse and Ire,
And Malencoly, that angry sire,
Ben of hir paleys senatours;
Groning and Grucching, hir herbergeours,
The day and night, hir to turment,        3300
With cruel Deth they hir present,
And tellen hir, erliche and late,
That Deth stant armed at hir gate.
Than bringe they to hir remembraunce
The foly dedis of hir infaunce,        3305
Which causen hir to mourne in wo
That Youthe hath hir bigiled so,
Which sodeynly awey is hasted.
She wepeth the tyme that she hath wasted,
Compleyning of the preterit,        3310
And the present, that not abit,
And of hir olde vanitee,
That, but aforn hir she may see
In the future som socour,
To leggen hir of hir dolour,        3315
To graunt hir tyme of repentaunce,
For hir sinnes to do penaunce,
And at the laste so hir governe
To winne the Ioy that is eterne,
Fro which go bakward Youthe [hir] made,        3320
In vanitee to droune and wade.
For present tyme abidith nought,
It is more swift than any thought;
So litel whyle it doth endure
That ther nis compte ne mesure.        3325
  ‘But how that ever the game go,
Who list [have] Ioye and mirth also
Of love, be it he or she,
High or lowe, who[so] it be,
In fruyt they shulde hem delyte;        3330
Her part they may not elles quyte,
To save hem-silf in honestee.
And yit ful many oon I see
Of wimmen, sothly for to seyne,
That [ay] desire and wolde fayne        3335
The pley of love, they be so wilde,
And not coveite to go with childe.
And if with child they be perchaunce,
They wole it holde a gret mischaunce;
But what-som-ever wo they fele,        3340
They wol not pleyne, but concele;
But-if it be any fool or nyce,
In whom that shame hath no Iustyce.
For to delyt echon they drawe,
That haunte this werk, bothe high and lawe,        3345
Save sich that ar[e]n worth right nought,
That for money wol be bought.
Such love I preise in no wyse,
Whan it is given for coveitise.
I preise no womman, though [she] be wood,        3350
That yeveth hir-silf for any good.
For litel shulde a man telle
Of hir, that wol hir body selle,
Be she mayde, be she wyf,
That quik wol selle hir, by hir lyf.        3355
How faire chere that ever she make,
He is a wrecche, I undirtake,
That loveth such one, for swete or sour,
Though she him calle hir paramour,
And laugheth on him, and makith him feeste.        3360
For certeynly no suche [a] beeste
To be loved is not worthy,
Or bere the name of druery.
Noon shulde hir please, but he were wood,
That wol dispoile him of his good.        3365
Yit nevertheles, I wol not sey
[But] she, for solace and for pley,
May a Iewel or other thing
Take of her loves free yeving;
But that she aske it in no wyse,        3370
For drede of shame of coveityse.
And she of hirs may him, certeyn,
Withoute sclaundre, yeven ageyn,
And ioyne her hertes togidre so
In love, and take and yeve also.        3375
Trowe not that I wolde hem twinne,
Whan in her love ther is no sinne;
I wol that they togedre go,
And doon al that they han ado,
As curteis shulde and debonaire,        3380
And in her love beren hem faire,
Withoute vyce, bothe he and she;
So that alwey, in honestee,
Fro foly love [they] kepe hem clere
That brenneth hertis with his fere;        3385
And that her love, in any wyse,
Be devoid of coveityse.
Good love shulde engendrid be
Of trewe herte, iust, and secree,
And not of such as sette her thought        3390
To have her lust, and ellis nought,
So are they caught in Loves lace,
Truly, for bodily solace.
Fleshly delyt is so present
With thee, that sette al thyn entent,        3395
Withoute more (what shulde I glose?)
For to gete and have the Rose;
Which makith thee so mate and wood
That thou desirest noon other good.
But thou art not an inche the nerre,        3400
But ever abydest in sorwe and werre,
As in thy face it is sene;
It makith thee bothe pale and lene;
Thy might, thy vertu goth away.
A sory gest, in goode fay,        3405
Thou [herberedest than] in thyn inne,
The God of Love whan thou let inne!
Wherfore I rede, thou shette him out,
Or he shal greve thee, out of doute;
For to thy profit it wol turne,        3410
If he nomore with thee soiourne.
In gret mischeef and sorwe sonken
Ben hertis, that of love arn dronken,
As thou peraventure knowen shal,
Whan thou hast lost [thy] tyme al,        3415
And spent [thy youthe] in ydilnesse,
In waste, and woful lustinesse;
If thou maist live the tyme to see
Of love for to delivered be,
Thy tyme thou shalt biwepe sore        3420
The whiche never thou maist restore.
(For tyme lost, as men may see,
For no-thing may recured be).
And if thou scape yit, atte laste,
Fro Love, that hath thee so faste        3425
Knit and bounden in his lace,
Certeyn, I holde it but a grace.
For many oon, as it is seyn,
Have lost, and spent also in veyn,
In his servyse, withoute socour,        3430
Body and soule, good, and tresour,
Wit, and strengthe, and eek richesse,
Of which they hadde never redresse.’
  Thus taught and preched hath Resoun,
But Love spilte hir sermoun,        3435
That was so imped in my thought,
That hir doctrine I sette at nought.
And yit ne seide she never a dele,
That I ne understode it wele,
Word by word, the mater al.        3440
But unto Love I was so thral,
Which callith over-al his pray,
He chasith so my thought [alway],
And holdith myn herte undir his sele,
As trust and trew as any stele;        3445
So that no devocioun
Ne hadde I in the sermoun
Of dame Resoun, ne of hir rede;
It toke no soiour in myn hede.
For alle yede out at oon ere        3450
That in that other she dide lere;
Fully on me she lost hir lore,
Hir speche me greved wondir sore.
  [Than] unto hir for ire I seide,
For anger, as I dide abraide:        3455
‘Dame, and is it your wille algate,
That I not love, but that I hate
Alle men, as ye me teche?
For if I do aftir your speche,
Sith that ye seyn love is not good,        3460
Than must I nedis say with mood,
If I it leve, in hatrede ay
Liven, and voide love away
From me, [and been] a sinful wrecche,
Hated of all that [love that] tecche.        3465
I may not go noon other gate,
For either must I love or hate.
And if I hate men of-newe
More than love, it wol me rewe,
As by your preching semeth me,        3470
For Love no-thing ne preisith thee.
Ye yeve good counseil, sikirly,
That prechith me al-day, that I
Shulde not Loves lore alowe;
He were a fool, wolde you not trowe!        3475
In speche also ye han me taught
Another love, that knowen is naught,
Which I have herd you not repreve,
To love ech other; by your leve,
If ye wolde diffyne it me,        3480
I wolde gladly here, to see,
At the leest, if I may lere
Of sondry loves the manere.’
  Raison.  ‘Certis, freend, a fool art thou
Whan that thou no-thing wolt allowe        3485
That I [thee] for thy profit say.
Yit wol I sey thee more, in fay;
For I am redy, at the leste,
To accomplisshe thy requeste,
But I not wher it wol avayle;        3490
In veyne, perauntre, I shal travayle.
Love ther is in sondry wyse,
As I shal thee here devyse.
For som love leful is and good;
I mene not that which makith thee wood,        3495
And bringith thee in many a fit,
And ravisshith fro thee al thy wit,
It is so merveilous and queynt;
With such love be no more aqueynt.

Comment Raisoun diffinist Amistie.
  ‘Love of Frendshipe also ther is,        3500
Which makith no man doon amis,
Of wille knit bitwixe two,
That wol not breke for wele ne wo;
Which long is lykly to contune,
Whan wille and goodis ben in comune;        3505
Grounded by goddis ordinaunce,
Hool, withoute discordaunce;
With hem holding comuntee
Of al her goode in charitee,
That ther be noon excepcioun        3510
Thurgh chaunging of entencioun;
That ech helpe other at hir neede,
And wysly hele bothe word and dede;
Trewe of mening, devoid of slouthe,
For wit is nought withoute trouthe;        3515
So that the ton dar al his thought
Seyn to his freend, and spare nought,
As to him-silf, without dreding
To be discovered by wreying.
For glad is that coniunccioun,        3520
Whan ther is noon suspecioun
[Ne lak in hem], whom they wolde prove
That trew and parfit weren in love.
For no man may be amiable,
But-if he be so ferme and stable,        3525
That fortune chaunge him not, ne blinde,
But that his freend alwey him finde,
Bothe pore and riche, in oon [e]state.
For if his freend, thurgh any gate,
Wol compleyne of his povertee,        3530
He shulde not byde so long, til he
Of his helping him requere;
For good deed, done [but] thurgh prayere,
Is sold, and bought to dere, y-wis,
To hert that of gret valour is.        3535
For hert fulfilled of gentilnesse
Can yvel demene his distresse.
And man that worthy is of name
To asken often hath gret shame.
A good man brenneth in his thought        3540
For shame, whan he axeth ought.
He hath gret thought, and dredith ay
For his disese, whan he shal pray
His freend, lest that he warned be,
Til that he preve his stabiltee.        3545
But whan that he hath founden oon
That trusty is and trew as stone,
And [hath] assayed him at al,
And found him stedefast as a wal,
And of his freendship be certeyne,        3550
He shal him shewe bothe Ioye and peyne,
And al that [he] dar thinke or sey,
Withoute shame, as he wel may.
For how shulde he ashamed be
Of sich oon as I tolde thee?        3555
For whan he woot his secree thought,
The thridde shal knowe ther-of right nought;
For tweyn in nombre is bet than three
In every counsel and secree.
Repreve he dredeth never a del,        3560
Who that biset his wordis wel;
For every wys man, out of drede,
Can kepe his tunge til he see nede;
And fooles can not holde hir tunge;
A fooles belle is sone runge.        3565
Yit shal a trewe freend do more
To helpe his felowe of his sore,
And socoure him, whan he hath nede,
In al that he may doon in dede;
And gladder [be] that he him plesith        3570
Than [is] his felowe that he esith.
And if he do not his requeste,
He shal as mochel him moleste
As his felow, for that he
May not fulfille his voluntee        3575
[As] fully as he hath requered.
If bothe the hertis Love hath fered,
Joy and wo they shul depart,
And take evenly ech his part.
Half his anoy he shal have ay,        3580
And comfort [him] what that he may;
And of his blisse parte shal he,
If love wol departed be.
  ‘And whilom of this [amitee]
Spak Tullius in a ditee;        3585
[“A man] shulde maken his request
Unto his freend, that is honest;
And he goodly shulde it fulfille,
But it the more were out of skile,
And otherwise not graunt therto,        3590
Except only in [cases] two:
If men his freend to deth wolde dryve,
Lat him be bisy to save his lyve.
Also if men wolen him assayle,
Of his wurship to make him faile,        3595
And hindren him of his renoun,
Lat him, with ful entencioun,
His dever doon in ech degree
That his freend ne shamed be,
In this two [cases] with his might,        3600
Taking no kepe to skile nor right,
As ferre as love may him excuse;
This oughte no man to refuse.”
This love that I have told to thee
Is no-thing contrarie to me;        3605
This wol I that thou folowe wel,
And leve the tother everydel.
This love to vertu al attendith,
The tothir fooles blent and shendith.
  ‘Another love also there is,        3610
That is contrarie unto this,
Which desyre is so constreyned
That [it] is but wille feyned;
Awey fro trouthe it doth so varie,
That to good love it is contrarie;        3615
For it maymeth, in many wyse,
Syke hertis with coveityse;
Al in winning and in profyt
Sich love settith his delyt.
This love so hangeth in balaunce        3620
That, if it lese his hope, perchaunce,
Of lucre, that he is set upon,
It wol faile, and quenche anon;
For no man may be amorous,
Ne in his living vertuous,        3625
But-[if] he love more, in mood,
Men for hem-silf than for hir good.
For love that profit doth abyde
Is fals, and bit not in no tyde.
[This] love cometh of dame Fortune,        3630
That litel whyle wol contune;
For it shal chaungen wonder sone,
And take eclips right as the mone,
Whan she is from us [y]-let
Thurgh erthe, that bitwixe is set        3635
The sonne and hir, as it may falle,
Be it in party, or in alle;
The shadowe maketh her bemis merke,
And hir hornes to shewe derke,
That part where she hath lost hir lyght        3640
Of Phebus fully, and the sight;
Til, whan the shadowe is overpast,
She is enlumined ageyn as faste,
Thurgh brightnesse of the sonne bemes
That yeveth to hir ageyn hir lemes.        3645
That love is right of sich nature;
Now is [it] fair, and now obscure,
Now bright, now clipsy of manere,
And whylom dim, and whylom clere.
As sone as Poverte ginneth take,        3650
With mantel and [with] wedis blake
[It] hidith of Love the light awey,
That into night it turneth day;
It may not see Richesse shyne
Til the blakke shadowes fyne.        3655
For, whan Richesse shyneth bright,
Love recovereth ageyn his light;
And whan it failith, he wol flit,
And as she [groweth, so groweth] it.
  ‘Of this love, here what I sey:—        3660
The riche men are loved ay,
And namely tho that sparand bene,
That wol not wasshe hir hertes clene
Of the filthe, nor of the vyce
Of gredy brenning avaryce.        3665
The riche man ful fond is, y-wis,
That weneth that he loved is.
If that his herte it undirstood,
It is not he, it is his good;
He may wel witen in his thought,        3670
His good is loved, and he right nought.
For if he be a nigard eke,
Men wole not sette by him a leke,
But haten him; this is the soth.
Lo, what profit his catel doth!        3675
Of every man that may him see,
It geteth him nought but enmitee.
But he amende him of that vyce,
And knowe him-silf, he is not wys.
  ‘Certis, he shulde ay freendly be,        3680
To gete him love also ben free,
Or ellis he is not wyse ne sage
No more than is a gote ramage.
That he not loveth, his dede proveth,
Whan he his richesse so wel loveth,        3685
That he wol hyde it ay and spare,
His pore freendis seen forfare;
To kepe [it ay is] his purpose,
Til for drede his eyen close,
And til a wikked deth him take;        3690
Him hadde lever asondre shake,
And late his limes asondre ryve,
Than leve his richesse in his lyve.
He thenkith parte it with no man;
Certayn, no love is in him than.        3695
How shulde love within him be,
Whan in his herte is no pite?
That he trespasseth, wel I wat,
For ech man knowith his estat;
For wel him oughte be reproved        3700
That loveth nought, ne is not loved.
  ‘But sith we arn to Fortune comen,
And [han] our sermoun of hir nomen,
A wondir wil I telle thee now,
Thou herdist never sich oon, I trow.        3705
I not wher thou me leven shal,
Though sothfastnesse it be [in] al,
As it is writen, and is sooth,
That unto men more profit doth
The froward Fortune and contraire,        3710
Than the swote and debonaire:
And if thee thinke it is doutable,
It is thurgh argument provable.
For the debonaire and softe
Falsith and bigylith ofte;        3715
For liche a moder she can cherishe
And milken as doth a norys;
And of hir goode to hem deles,
And yeveth hem part of her Ioweles,
With grete richesse and dignitee;        3720
And hem she hoteth stabilitee
In a state that is not stable,
But chaunging ay and variable;
And fedith hem with glorie veyne,
And worldly blisse noncerteyne.        3725
Whan she hem settith on hir whele,
Than wene they to be right wele,
And in so stable state withalle,
That never they wene for to falle.
And whan they set so highe be,        3730
They wene to have in certeintee
Of hertly frendis [so] gret noumbre,
That no-thing mighte her stat encombre;
They truste hem so on every syde,
Wening with hem they wolde abyde        3735
In every perel and mischaunce,
Withoute chaunge or variaunce,
Bothe of catel and of good;
And also for to spende hir blood
And alle hir membris for to spille,        3740
Only to fulfille hir wille.
They maken it hole in many wyse,
And hoten hem hir ful servyse,
How sore that it do hem smerte,
Into hir very naked sherte!        3745
Herte and al, so hole they yeve,
For the tyme that they may live,
So that, with her flaterye,
They maken foolis glorifye
Of hir wordis [greet] speking,        3750
And han [there]-of a reioysing,
And trowe hem as the Evangyle;
And it is al falsheed and gyle,
As they shal afterwardes see,
Whan they arn falle in povertee,        3755
And been of good and catel bare;
Than shulde they seen who freendis ware.
For of an hundred, certeynly,
Nor of a thousand ful scarsly,
Ne shal they fynde unnethis oon,        3760
Whan povertee is comen upon.
For [this] Fortune that I of telle,
With men whan hir lust to dwelle,
Makith hem to lese hir conisaunce,
And nourishith hem in ignoraunce.        3765
  ‘But froward Fortune and perverse,
Whan high estatis she doth reverse,
And maketh hem to tumble doun
Of hir whele, with sodeyn tourn,
And from hir richesse doth hem flee,        3770
And plongeth hem in povertee,
As a stepmoder envyous,
And leyeth a plastre dolorous
Unto her hertis, wounded egre,
Which is not tempred with vinegre,        3775
But with poverte and indigence,
For to shewe, by experience,
That she is Fortune verely
In whom no man shulde affy,
Nor in hir yeftis have fiaunce,        3780
She is so ful of variaunce.
Thus can she maken high and lowe,
Whan they from richesse ar[e]n throwe,
Fully to knowen, withouten were,
Freend of effect, and freend of chere;        3785
And which in love weren trew and stable,
And whiche also weren variable,
After Fortune, hir goddesse,
In poverte, outher in richesse;
For al [she] yeveth, out of drede,        3790
Unhappe bereveth it in dede;
For Infortune lat not oon
Of freendis, whan Fortune is goon;
I mene tho freendis that wol flee
Anoon as entreth povertee.        3795
And yit they wol not leve hem so,
But in ech place where they go
They calle hem “wrecche,” scorne and blame,
And of hir mishappe hem diffame,
And, namely, siche as in richesse        3800
Pretendith most of stablenesse,
Whan that they sawe him set on-lofte,
And weren of him socoured ofte,
And most y-holpe in al hir nede:
But now they take no maner hede,        3805
But seyn, in voice of flaterye,
That now apperith hir folye,
Over-al where-so they fare,
And singe, “Go, farewel feldefare.”
Alle suche freendis I beshrewe,        3810
For of [the] trewe ther be to fewe;
But sothfast freendis, what so bityde,
In every fortune wolen abyde;
They han hir hertis in suche noblesse
That they nil love for no richesse;        3815
Nor, for that Fortune may hem sende,
They wolen hem socoure and defende;
And chaunge for softe ne for sore,
For who is freend, loveth evermore.
Though men drawe swerd his freend to slo,        3820
He may not hewe hir love a-two.
But, in [the] case that I shal sey,
For pride and ire lese it he may,
And for reprove by nycetee,
And discovering of privitee,        3825
With tonge wounding, as feloun,
Thurgh venemous detraccioun.
Frend in this case wol gon his way,
For no-thing greve him more ne may;
And for nought ellis wol he flee,        3830
If that he love in stabilitee.
And certeyn, he is wel bigoon
Among a thousand that fyndith oon.
For ther may be no richesse,
Ageyns frendship, of worthinesse;        3835
For it ne may so high atteigne
As may the valoure, sooth to seyne,
Of him that loveth trew and wel;
Frendship is more than is catel.
For freend in court ay better is        3840
Than peny in [his] purs, certis;
And Fortune, mishapping,
Whan upon men she is [falling],
Thurgh misturning of hir chaunce,
And casteth hem oute of balaunce,        3845
She makith, thurgh hir adversitee,
Men ful cleerly for to see
Him that is freend in existence
From him that is by apparence.
For Infortune makith anoon        3850
To knowe thy freendis fro thy foon,
By experience, right as it is;
The which is more to preyse, y-wis,
Than [is] miche richesse and tresour;
For more [doth] profit and valour        3855
Poverte, and such adversitee,
Bifore than doth prosperitee;
For the toon yeveth conisaunce,
And the tother ignoraunce.
  ‘And thus in poverte is in dede        3860
Trouthe declared fro falsehede;
For feynte frendis it wol declare,
And trewe also, what wey they fare.
For whan he was in his richesse,
These freendis, ful of doublenesse,        3865
Offrid him in many wyse
Hert and body, and servyse.
What wolde he than ha [yeve] to ha bought
To knowen openly her thought,
That he now hath so clerly seen?        3870
The lasse bigyled he sholde have been
And he hadde than perceyved it,
But richesse nold not late him wit.
Wel more avauntage doth him than,
Sith that it makith him a wys man,        3875
The greet mischeef that he [receyveth],
Than doth richesse that him deceyveth.
Richesse riche ne makith nought
Him that on tresour set his thought;
For richesse stont in suffisaunce        3880
And no-thing in habundaunce;
For suffisaunce al-only
Makith men to live richely.
For he that hath [but] miches tweyne,
Ne [more] value in his demeigne,        3885
Liveth more at ese, and more is riche,
Than doth he that is [so] chiche,
And in his bern hath, soth to seyn,
An hundred [muwis] of whete greyn,
Though he be chapman or marchaunt,        3890
And have of golde many besaunt.
For in the geting he hath such wo,
And in the keping drede also,
And set evermore his bisynesse
For to encrese, and not to lesse,        3895
For to augment and multiply.
And though on hepis [it] lye him by,
Yit never shal make his richesse
Asseth unto his gredinesse.
But the povre that recchith nought,        3900
Save of his lyflode, in his thought,
Which that he getith with his travaile,
He dredith nought that it shal faile,
Though he have lytel worldis good,
Mete and drinke, and esy food,        3905
Upon his travel and living,
And also suffisaunt clothing.
Or if in syknesse that he falle,
And lothe mete and drink withalle,
Though he have nought, his mete to by,        3910
He shal bithinke him hastely,
To putte him out of al daunger,
That he of mete hath no mister;
Or that he may with litel eke
Be founden, whyl that he is seke;        3915
Or that men shul him bere in hast,
To live, til his syknesse be past,
To somme maysondewe bisyde;
He cast nought what shal him bityde.
He thenkith nought that ever he shal        3920
Into any syknesse falle.
  ‘And though it falle, as it may be,
That al betyme spare shal he
As mochel as shal to him suffyce,
Whyl he is syke in any wyse,        3925
He doth [it], for that he wol be
Content with his povertee
Withoute nede of any man.
So miche in litel have he can,
He is apayed with his fortune;        3930
And for he nil be importune
Unto no wight, ne onerous,
Nor of hir goodes coveitous;
Therfore he spareth, it may wel been,
His pore estat for to sustene.        3935
  ‘Or if him lust not for to spare,
But suffrith forth, as nought ne ware,
Atte last it hapneth, as it may,
Right unto his laste day,
And taketh the world as it wolde be;        3940
For ever in herte thenkith he,
The soner that [the] deeth him slo,
To paradys the soner go
He shal, there for to live in blisse,
Where that he shal no good misse.        3945
Thider he hopith god shal him sende
Aftir his wrecchid lyves ende.
Pictagoras himsilf reherses,
In a book that the Golden Verses
Is clepid, for the nobilitee        3950
Of the honourable ditee:—
“Than, whan thou gost thy body fro,
Free in the eir thou shalt up go,
And leven al humanitee,
And purely live in deitee.”—        3955
He is a fool, withouten were,
That trowith have his countre here.
“In erthe is not our countree,”
That may these clerkis seyn and see
In Boece of Consolacioun,        3960
Where it is maked mencioun
Of our countree pleyn at the eye,
By teching of philosophye,
Where lewid men might lere wit,
Who-so that wolde translaten it.        3965
If he be sich that can wel live
Aftir his rente may him yive,
And not desyreth more to have,
That may fro povertee him save:
A wys man seide, as we may seen,        3970
Is no man wrecched, but he it wene,
Be he king, knight, or ribaud.
And many a ribaud is mery and baud,
That swinkith, and berith, bothe day and night,
Many a burthen of gret might,        3975
The whiche doth him lasse offense,
For he suffrith in pacience.
They laugh and daunce, trippe and singe,
And ley not up for her living,
But in the tavern al dispendith        3980
The winning that god hem sendith.
Than goth he, fardels for to bere,
With as good chere as he dide ere;
To swinke and traveile he not feynith,
For for to robben he disdeynith;        3985
But right anoon, aftir his swinke,
He goth to tavern for to drinke.
Alle these ar riche in abundaunce,
That can thus have suffisaunce
Wel more than can an usurere,        3990
As god wel knowith, withoute were.
For an usurer, so god me see,
Shal never for richesse riche bee,
But evermore pore and indigent,
Scarce, and gredy in his entent.        3995
  ‘For soth it is, whom it displese,
Ther may no marchaunt live at ese,
His herte in sich a were is set,
That it quik brenneth [more] to get,
Ne never shal [enough have] geten;        4000
Though he have gold in gerners yeten,
For to be nedy he dredith sore.
Wherfore to geten more and more
He set his herte and his desire;
So hote he brennith in the fire        4005
Of coveitise, that makith him wood
To purchase other mennes good.
He undirfongith a gret peyne,
That undirtakith to drinke up Seyne;
For the more he drinkith, ay        4010
The more he leveth, the soth to say.
[This is the] thurst of fals geting,
That last ever in coveiting,
And the anguisshe and distresse
With the fire of gredinesse.        4015
She fighteth with him ay, and stryveth,
That his herte asondre ryveth;
Such gredinesse him assaylith,
That whan he most hath, most he faylith.
  ‘Phisiciens and advocates        4020
Gon right by the same yates;
They selle hir science for winning,
And haunte hir crafte for greet geting.
Hir winning is of such swetnesse,
That if a man falle in sikenesse,        4025
They are ful glad, for hir encrese;
For by hir wille, withoute lees,
Everiche man shulde be seke,
And though they dye, they set not a leke.
After, whan they the gold have take,        4030
Ful litel care for hem they make.
They wolde that fourty were seke at onis,
Ye, two hundred, in flesh and bonis,
And yit two thousand, as I gesse,
For to encresen her richesse.        4035
They wol not worchen, in no wyse,
But for lucre and coveityse;
For fysyk ginneth first by fy,
The fysycien also sothely;
And sithen it goth fro fy to sy;        4040
To truste on hem, it is foly;
For they nil, in no maner gree,
Do right nought for charitee.
  ‘Eke in the same secte are set
Alle tho that prechen for to get        4045
Worshipes, honour, and richesse.
Her hertis arn in greet distresse,
That folk [ne] live not holily.
But aboven al, specialy,
Sich as prechen [for] veynglorie,        4050
And toward god have no memorie,
But forth as ypocrites trace,
And to her soules deth purchace,
And outward [shewen] holynesse,
Though they be fulle of cursidnesse.        4055
Not liche to the apostles twelve,
They deceyve other and hem-selve;
Bigyled is the gyler than.
For preching of a cursed man,
Though [it] to other may profyte,        4060
Himsilf availeth not a myte;
For oft good predicacioun
Cometh of evel entencioun.
To him not vailith his preching,
Al helpe he other with his teching;        4065
For where they good ensaumple take,
There is he with veynglorie shake.
  ‘But lat us leven these prechoures,
And speke of hem that in her toures
Hepe up her gold, and faste shette,        4070
And sore theron her herte sette.
They neither love god, ne drede;
They kepe more than it is nede,
And in her bagges sore it binde,
Out of the sonne, and of the winde;        4075
They putte up more than nede ware,
Whan they seen pore folk forfare,
For hunger dye, and for cold quake;
God can wel vengeaunce therof take.
[Thre] gret mischeves hem assailith,        4080
And thus in gadring ay travaylith;
With moche peyne they winne richesse;
And drede hem holdith in distresse,
To kepe that they gadre faste;
With sorwe they leve it at the laste;        4085
With sorwe they bothe dye and live,
That to richesse her hertis yive,
And in defaute of love it is,
As it shewith ful wel, y-wis.
For if these gredy, the sothe to seyn,        4090
Loveden, and were loved ageyn,
And good love regned over-alle,
Such wikkidnesse ne shulde falle;
But he shulde yeve that most good had
To hem that weren in nede bistad,        4095
And live withoute fals usure,
For charitee ful clene and pure.
If they hem yeve to goodnesse,
Defending hem from ydelnesse,
In al this world than pore noon        4100
We shulde finde, I trowe, not oon.
But chaunged is this world unstable;
For love is over-al vendable.
We see that no man loveth now
But for winning and for prow;        4105
And love is thralled in servage
Whan it is sold for avauntage;
Yit wommen wol hir bodies selle;
Suche soules goth to the devel of helle.’

[Here ends l. 5170 of the F. text. A great gap follows.
The next line answers to
l. 10717 of the same.]

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