The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Quartus: Part 1

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,
     Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:
Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras,
     Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo.
Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido,
     Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri.

1      Upon the vices to procede  
2      After the cause of mannes dede,  
3      The ferste point of Slowthe I calle 
4      Lachesce, and is the chief of alle, 
5      And hath this propreliche of kinde, 
6      To leven alle thing behinde.  
7      Of that he mihte do now hier  
8      He tarieth al the longe yer,  
9      And everemore he seith, "Tomorwe";  
10     And so he wol his time borwe, 
11     And wissheth after "God me sende,"  
12     That whan he weneth have an ende,
13     Thanne is he ferthest to beginne.
14     Thus bringth he many a meschief inne
15     Unwar, til that he be meschieved,
16     And may noght thanne be relieved.
17     And riht so nowther mor ne lesse 
18     It stant of love and of lachesce:
19     Som time he slowtheth in a day
20     That he nevere after gete mai.
21     Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing,
22     If thou have eny knowleching, 
23     That thou to love hast don er this, 
24     Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis.   
25     As of lachesce I am beknowe
26     That I mai stonde upon his rowe, 
27     As I that am clad of his suite:  
28     For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite
29     To make, and therto sette a day  
30     To speke unto the swete May,  
31     Lachesce bad abide yit, 
32     And bar on hond it was no wit 
33     Ne time forto speke as tho.
34     Thus with his tales to and fro
35     Mi time in tariinge he drowh: 
36     Whan ther was time good ynowh,
37     He seide, "An other time is bettre; 
38     Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre, 
39     And per cas wryte more plein  
40     Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein." 
41     Thus have I lete time slyde
42     For Slowthe, and kepte noght my tide,  
43     So that lachesce with his vice
44     Fulofte hath mad my wit so nyce, 
45     That what I thoghte speke or do  
46     With tariinge he hield me so, 
47     Til whanne I wolde and mihte noght. 
48     I not what thing was in my thoght,  
49     Or it was drede, or it was schame;  
50     Bot evere in ernest and in game  
51     I wot ther is long time passed.  
52     Bot yit is noght the love lassed,
53     Which I unto mi ladi have; 
54     For thogh my tunge is slowh to crave
55     At alle time, as I have bede, 
56     Min herte stant evere in o stede 
57     And axeth besiliche grace, 
58     The which I mai noght yit embrace.  
59     And god wot that is malgre myn;  
60     For this I wot riht wel a fin,
61     Mi grace comth so selde aboute,  
62     That is the Slowthe of which I doute  
63     Mor than of al the remenant
64     Which is to love appourtenant.
65     And thus as touchende of lachesce,  
66     As I have told, I me confesse 
67     To you, mi fader, and beseche 
68     That furthermor ye wol me teche; 
69     And if ther be to this matiere
70     Som goodly tale forto liere
71     How I mai do lachesce aweie,  
72     That ye it wolden telle I preie. 
73     To wisse thee, my Sone, and rede,
74     Among the tales whiche I rede,
75     An old ensample therupon
76     Now herkne, and I wol tellen on. 
77     Ayein Lachesce in loves cas
78     I finde how whilom Eneas,  
79     Whom Anchises to Sone hadde,  
80     With gret navie, which he ladde  
81     Fro Troie, aryveth at Cartage,
82     Wher for a while his herbergage  
83     He tok; and it betidde so, 
84     With hire which was qweene tho
85     Of the Cite his aqueintance
86     He wan, whos name in remembrance 
87     Is yit, and Dido sche was hote;  
88     Which loveth Eneas so hote 
89     Upon the wordes whiche he seide, 
90     That al hire herte on him sche leide
91     And dede al holi what he wolde.  
92     Bot after that, as it be scholde,
93     Fro thenne he goth toward Ytaile 
94     Be Schipe, and there his arivaile
95     Hath take, and schop him forto ryde.
96     Bot sche, which mai noght longe abide  
97     The hote peine of loves throwe,  
98     Anon withinne a litel throwe  
99     A lettre unto hir kniht hath write, 
100    And dede him pleinly forto wite,   
101    If he made eny tariinge,
102    To drecche of his ayeincomynge,  
103    That sche ne mihte him fiele and se,
104    Sche scholde stonde in such degre
105    As whilom stod a Swan tofore, 
106    Of that sche hadde hire make lore;  
107    For sorwe a fethere into hire brain 
108    Sche schof and hath hireselve slain;
109    As king Menander in a lay  
110    The sothe hath founde, wher sche lay
111    Sprantlende with hire wynges tweie, 
112    As sche which scholde thanne deie
113    For love of him which was hire make.
114    "And so schal I do for thi sake,"
115    This qweene seide, "wel I wot."  
116    Lo, to Enee thus sche wrot 
117    With many an other word of pleinte: 
118    Bot he, which hadde hise thoghtes feinte  
119    Towardes love and full of Slowthe,  
120    His time lette, and that was rowthe:
121    For sche, which loveth him tofore,  
122    Desireth evere more and more, 
123    And whan sche sih him tarie so,  
124    Hire herte was so full of wo, 
125    That compleignende manyfold
126    Sche hath hire oghne tale told,  
127    Unto hirself and thus sche spak: 
128    "Ha, who fond evere such a lak
129    Of Slowthe in eny worthi kniht?  
130    Now wot I wel my deth is diht 
131    Thurgh him which scholde have be mi lif." 
132    Bot forto stinten al this strif, 
133    Thus whan sche sih non other bote,  
134    Riht evene unto hire herte rote  
135    A naked swerd anon sche threste, 
136    And thus sche gat hireselve reste
137    In remembrance of alle slowe. 
138    Wherof, my Sone, thou miht knowe   
139    How tariinge upon the nede 
140    In loves cause is forto drede;
141    And that hath Dido sore aboght,  
142    Whos deth schal evere be bethoght.  
143    And overmore if I schal seche 
144    In this matiere an other spieche,
145    In a Cronique I finde write
146    A tale which is good to wite. 
147    At Troie whan king Ulixes  
148    Upon the Siege among the pres 
149    Of hem that worthi knihtes were  
150    Abod long time stille there,  
151    In thilke time a man mai se
152    How goodli that Penolope,  
153    Which was to him his trewe wif,  
154    Of his lachesce was pleintif; 
155    Wherof to Troie sche him sende
156    Hire will be lettre, thus spekende: 
157    "Mi worthi love and lord also,
158    It is and hath ben evere so,  
159    That wher a womman is al one, 
160    It makth a man in his persone 
161    The more hardi forto wowe, 
162    In hope that sche wolde bowe  
163    To such thing as his wille were, 
164    Whil that hire lord were elleswhere.
165    And of miself I telle this;
166    For it so longe passed is, 
167    Sithe ferst than ye fro home wente, 
168    That welnyh every man his wente  
169    To there I am, whil ye ben oute, 
170    Hath mad, and ech of hem aboute, 
171    Which love can, my love secheth, 
172    With gret preiere and me besecheth: 
173    And some maken gret manace,
174    That if thei mihten come in place,  
175    Wher that thei mihte here wille have,    
176    Ther is nothing me scholde save, 
177    That thei ne wolde werche thinges;  
178    And some tellen me tidynges
179    That ye ben ded, and some sein
180    That certeinly ye ben besein  
181    To love a newe and leve me.
182    Bot hou as evere that it be,  
183    I thonke unto the goddes alle,
184    As yit for oght that is befalle  
185    Mai noman do my chekes rede:  
186    Bot natheles it is to drede,  
187    That Lachesse in continuance  
188    Fortune mihte such a chance,  
189    Which noman after scholde amende."  
190    Lo, thus this ladi compleignende 
191    A lettre unto hire lord hath write, 
192    And preyde him that he wolde wite
193    And thenke hou that sche was al his,
194    And that he tarie noght in this, 
195    Bot that he wolde his love aquite,  
196    To hire ayeinward and noght wryte,  
197    Bot come himself in alle haste,  
198    That he non other paper waste;
199    So that he kepe and holde his trowthe  
200    Withoute lette of eny Slowthe.
201    Unto hire lord and love liege 
202    To Troie, wher the grete Siege
203    Was leid, this lettre was conveied. 
204    And he, which wisdom hath pourveied 
205    Of al that to reson belongeth,
206    With gentil herte it underfongeth:  
207    And whan he hath it overrad,  
208    In part he was riht inly glad,
209    And ek in part he was desesed:
210    Bot love his herte hath so thorghsesed 
211    With pure ymaginacioun,   
212    That for non occupacioun
213    Which he can take on other side, 
214    He mai noght flitt his herte aside  
215    Fro that his wif him hadde enformed;
216    Wherof he hath himself conformed 
217    With al the wille of his corage  
218    To schape and take the viage  
219    Homward, what time that he mai:  
220    So that him thenketh of a day 
221    A thousand yer, til he mai se 
222    The visage of Penolope, 
223    Which he desireth most of alle.  
224    And whan the time is so befalle  
225    That Troie was destruid and brent,  
226    He made non delaiement, 
227    Bot goth him home in alle hihe,  
228    Wher that he fond tofore his yhe 
229    His worthi wif in good astat: 
230    And thus was cessed the debat 
231    Of love, and Slowthe was excused,
232    Which doth gret harm, where it is used,
233    And hindreth many a cause honeste.  
234    For of the grete Clerc Grossteste
235    I rede how besy that he was
236    Upon clergie an Hed of bras
237    To forge, and make it forto telle
238    Of suche thinges as befelle.  
239    And sevene yeres besinesse 
240    He leyde, bot for the lachesse
241    Of half a Minut of an houre,  
242    Fro ferst that he began laboure  
243    He loste all that he hadde do.
244    And otherwhile it fareth so,  
245    In loves cause who is slow,
246    That he withoute under the wow
247    Be nyhte stant fulofte acold, 
248    Which mihte, if that he hadde wold
249    His time kept, have be withinne. 
250    Bot Slowthe mai no profit winne, 
251    Bot he mai singe in his karole
252    How Latewar cam to the Dole,  
253    Wher he no good receive mihte.
254    And that was proved wel be nyhte 
255    Whilom of the Maidenes fyve,  
256    Whan thilke lord cam forto wyve: 
257    For that here oyle was aweie  
258    To lihte here lampes in his weie,
259    Here Slowthe broghte it so aboute,  
260    Fro him that thei ben schet withoute.  
261    Wherof, my Sone, be thou war, 
262    Als ferforth as I telle dar.  
263    For love moste ben awaited:
264    And if thou be noght wel affaited
265    In love to eschuie Slowthe,
266    Mi Sone, forto telle trowthe, 
267    Thou miht noght of thiself ben able 
268    To winne love or make it stable, 
269    All thogh thou mihtest love achieve.
270    Mi fader, that I mai wel lieve.  
271    Bot me was nevere assigned place,
272    Wher yit to geten eny grace,  
273    Ne me was non such time apointed;
274    For thanne I wolde I were unjoynted 
275    Of every lime that I have, 
276    If I ne scholde kepe and save 
277    Min houre bothe and ek my stede, 
278    If my ladi it hadde bede.  
279    Bot sche is otherwise avised  
280    Than grante such a time assised; 
281    And natheles of mi lachesse
282    Ther hath be no defalte I gesse  
283    Of time lost, if that I mihte:
284    Bot yit hire liketh noght alyhte
285    Upon no lure which I caste;
286    For ay the more I crie faste, 
287    The lasse hire liketh forto hiere.  
288    So forto speke of this matiere,  
289    I seche that I mai noght finde,  
290    I haste and evere I am behinde,  
291    And wot noght what it mai amounte.  
292    Bot, fader, upon myn acompte, 
293    Which ye be sett to examine
294    Of Schrifte after the discipline,
295    Sey what your beste conseil is.  
296    Mi Sone, my conseil is this:  
297    Hou so it stonde of time go,  
298    Do forth thi besinesse so, 
299    That no Lachesce in the be founde:  
300    For Slowthe is mihti to confounde
301    The spied of every mannes werk.  
302    For many a vice, as seith the clerk,
303    Ther hongen upon Slowthes lappe  
304    Of suche as make a man mishappe, 
305    To pleigne and telle of hadde I wist.  
306    And therupon if that thee list
307    To knowe of Slowthes cause more, 
308    In special yit overmore 
309    Ther is a vice full grevable  
310    To him which is therof coupable, 
311    And stant of alle vertu bare, 
312    Hierafter as I schal declare. 
313    Touchende of Slowthe in his degre,  
314    Ther is yit Pusillamite,
315    Which is to seie in this langage,
316    He that hath litel of corage  
317    And dar no mannes werk beginne:
318    So mai he noght be resoun winne; 
319    For who that noght dar undertake,
320    Be riht he schal no profit take. 
321    Bot of this vice the nature
322    Dar nothing sette in aventure,
323    Him lacketh bothe word and dede, 
324    Wherof he scholde his cause spede:  
325    He woll no manhed understonde,
326    For evere he hath drede upon honde: 
327    Al is peril that he schal seie,  
328    Him thenkth the wolf is in the weie,
329    And of ymaginacioun  
330    He makth his excusacioun
331    And feigneth cause of pure drede,
332    And evere he faileth ate nede,
333    Til al be spilt that he with deleth.
334    He hath the sor which noman heleth, 
335    The which is cleped lack of herte;  
336    Thogh every grace aboute him sterte,
337    He wol noght ones stere his fot; 
338    So that be resoun lese he mot,
339    That wol noght auntre forto winne.  
340    And so forth, Sone, if we beginne
341    To speke of love and his servise,
342    Ther ben truantz in such a wise, 
343    That lacken herte, whan best were
344    To speke of love, and riht for fere 
345    Thei wexen doumb and dar noght telle,  
346    Withoute soun as doth the belle, 
347    Which hath no claper forto chyme;
348    And riht so thei as for the tyme 
349    Ben herteles withoute speche  
350    Of love, and dar nothing beseche;
351    And thus thei lese and winne noght. 
352    Forthi, my Sone, if thou art oght
353    Coupable as touchende of this Slowthe, 
354    Schrif thee therof and tell me trowthe.
355    Mi fader, I am al beknowe    
356    That I have ben on of tho slowe, 
357    As forto telle in loves cas.  
358    Min herte is yit and evere was,  
359    As thogh the world scholde al tobreke, 
360    So ferful, that I dar noght speke
361    Of what pourpos that I have nome,
362    Whan I toward mi ladi come,
363    Bot let it passe and overgo.  
364    Mi Sone, do nomore so:  
365    For after that a man poursuieth  
366    To love, so fortune suieth,
367    Fulofte and yifth hire happi chance 
368    To him which makth continuance
369    To preie love and to beseche; 
370    As be ensample I schal thee teche.  
371    I finde hou whilom ther was on,  
372    Whos name was Pymaleon, 
373    Which was a lusti man of yowthe: 
374    The werkes of entaile he cowthe  
375    Above alle othre men as tho;  
376    And thurgh fortune it fell him so,  
377    As he whom love schal travaile,  
378    He made an ymage of entaile
379    Lich to a womman in semblance 
380    Of feture and of contienance, 
381    So fair yit nevere was figure.
382    Riht as a lyves creature
383    Sche semeth, for of yvor whyt 
384    He hath hire wroght of such delit,  
385    That sche was rody on the cheke  
386    And red on bothe hire lippes eke;
387    Wherof that he himself beguileth.
388    For with a goodly lok sche smyleth, 
389    So that thurgh pure impression
390    Of his ymaginacion
391    With al the herte of his corage    
392    His love upon this faire ymage
393    He sette, and hire of love preide;  
394    Bot sche no word ayeinward seide.
395    The longe day, what thing he dede,  
396    This ymage in the same stede  
397    Was evere bi, that ate mete
398    He wolde hire serve and preide hire ete,  
399    And putte unto hire mowth the cuppe;
400    And whan the bord was taken uppe,
401    He hath hire into chambre nome,  
402    And after, whan the nyht was come,  
403    He leide hire in his bed al nakid.  
404    He was forwept, he was forwakid, 
405    He keste hire colde lippes ofte, 
406    And wissheth that thei weren softe, 
407    And ofte he rouneth in hire Ere, 
408    And ofte his arm now hier now there 
409    He leide, as he hir wolde embrace,  
410    And evere among he axeth grace,  
411    As thogh sche wiste what he mente:  
412    And thus himself he gan tormente 
413    With such desese of loves peine, 
414    That noman mihte him more peine. 
415    Bot how it were, of his penance  
416    He made such continuance
417    Fro dai to nyht, and preith so longe,  
418    That his preiere is underfonge,  
419    Which Venus of hire grace herde; 
420    Be nyhte and whan that he worst ferde, 
421    And it lay in his nakede arm, 
422    The colde ymage he fieleth warm  
423    Of fleissh and bon and full of lif. 
424    Lo, thus he wan a lusti wif,  
425    Which obeissant was at his wille;
426    And if he wolde have holde him stille  
427    And nothing spoke, he scholde have failed:
428    Bot for he hath his word travailed  
429    And dorste speke, his love he spedde,    
430    And hadde al that he wolde abedde.  
431    For er thei wente thanne atwo,
432    A knave child betwen hem two  
433    Thei gete, which was after hote  
434    Paphus, of whom yit hath the note
435    A certein yle, which Paphos
436    Men clepe, and of his name it ros.  
437    Be this ensample thou miht finde 
438    That word mai worche above kinde.
439    Forthi, my Sone, if that thou spare 
440    To speke, lost is al thi fare,
441    For Slowthe bringth in alle wo.  
442    And over this to loke also,
443    The god of love is favorable  
444    To hem that ben of love stable,  
445    And many a wonder hath befalle:  
446    Wherof to speke amonges alle, 
447    If that thee list to taken hede, 
448    Therof a solein tale I rede,  
449    Which I schal telle in remembraunce 
450    Upon the sort of loves chaunce.  
451    The king Ligdus upon a strif  
452    Spak unto Thelacuse his wif,  
453    Which thanne was with childe grete; 
454    He swor it scholde noght be lete,
455    That if sche have a dowhter bore,
456    That it ne scholde be forlore 
457    And slain, wherof sche sory was. 
458    So it befell upon this cas,
459    Whan sche delivered scholde be,  
460    Isis be nyhte in privete,  
461    Which of childinge is the goddesse, 
462    Cam forto helpe in that destresse,  
463    Til that this lady was al smal,  
464    And hadde a dowhter forth withal;
465    Which the goddesse in alle weie  
466    Bad kepe, and that thei scholden seie    
467    It were a Sone: and thus Iphis
468    Thei namede him, and upon this
469    The fader was mad so to wene. 
470    And thus in chambre with the qweene 
471    This Iphis was forthdrawe tho,
472    And clothed and arraied so 
473    Riht as a kinges Sone scholde.
474    Til after, as fortune it wolde,  
475    Whan it was of a ten yer age, 
476    Him was betake in mariage  
477    A Duckes dowhter forto wedde, 
478    Which Iante hihte, and ofte abedde  
479    These children leien, sche and sche,
480    Whiche of on age bothe be. 
481    So that withinne time of yeeres, 
482    Togedre as thei ben pleiefieres, 
483    Liggende abedde upon a nyht,  
484    Nature, which doth every wiht 
485    Upon hire lawe forto muse, 
486    Constreigneth hem, so that thei use 
487    Thing which to hem was al unknowe;  
488    Wherof Cupide thilke throwe
489    Tok pite for the grete love,  
490    And let do sette kinde above, 
491    So that hir lawe mai ben used,
492    And thei upon here lust excused. 
493    For love hateth nothing more  
494    Than thing which stant ayein the lore  
495    Of that nature in kinde hath sett:  
496    Forthi Cupide hath so besett  
497    His grace upon this aventure, 
498    That he acordant to nature,
499    Whan that he syh the time best,  
500    That ech of hem hath other kest, 
501    Transformeth Iphe into a man, 
502    Wherof the kinde love he wan  
503    Of lusti yonge Iante his wif;   
504    And tho thei ladde a merie lif,  
505    Which was to kinde non offence.  
506    And thus to take an evidence, 
507    It semeth love is welwillende 
508    To hem that ben continuende
509    With besy herte to poursuie
510    Thing which that is to love due. 
511    Wherof, my Sone, in this matiere 
512    Thou miht ensample taken hiere,  
513    That with thi grete besinesse 
514    Thou miht atteigne the richesse  
515    Of love, if that ther be no Slowthe.
516    I dar wel seie be mi trowthe, 
517    Als fer as I my witt can seche,  
518    Mi fader, as for lacke of speche,
519    Bot so as I me schrof tofore, 
520    Ther is non other time lore,  
521    Wherof ther mihte ben obstacle
522    To lette love of his miracle, 
523    Which I beseche day and nyht. 
524    Bot, fader, so as it is riht  
525    In forme of schrifte to beknowe  
526    What thing belongeth to the slowe,  
527    Your faderhode I wolde preie, 
528    If ther be forthere eny weie  
529    Touchende unto this ilke vice.
530    Mi Sone, ye, of this office
531    Ther serveth on in special,
532    Which lost hath his memorial, 
533    So that he can no wit withholde  
534    In thing which he to kepe is holde, 
535    Wherof fulofte himself he grieveth: 
536    And who that most upon him lieveth, 
537    Whan that hise wittes ben so weyved,
538    He mai full lihtly be deceived.    
539    To serve Accidie in his office,  
540    Ther is of Slowthe an other vice,
541    Which cleped is Foryetelnesse;
542    That noght mai in his herte impresse
543    Of vertu which reson hath sett,  
544    So clene his wittes he foryet.
545    For in the tellinge of his tale  
546    Nomore his herte thanne his male 
547    Hath remembrance of thilke forme,
548    Wherof he scholde his wit enforme
549    As thanne, and yit ne wot he why.
550    Thus is his pourpos noght forthi 
551    Forlore of that he wolde bidde,  
552    And skarsly if he seith the thridde 
553    To love of that he hadde ment:
554    Thus many a lovere hath be schent.  
555    Tell on therfore, hast thou be oon  
556    Of hem that Slowthe hath so begon?  
557    Ye, fader, ofte it hath be so,
558    That whanne I am mi ladi fro  
559    And thenke untoward hire drawe,  
560    Than cast I many a newe lawe  
561    And al the world torne up so doun,  
562    And so recorde I mi lecoun 
563    And wryte in my memorial
564    What I to hire telle schal,
565    Riht al the matiere of mi tale:  
566    Bot al nys worth a note schale;  
567    For whanne I come ther sche is,  
568    I have it al foryete ywiss;
569    Of that I thoghte forto telle 
570    I can noght thanne unethes spelle
571    That I wende altherbest have rad,  
572    So sore I am of hire adrad.
573    For as a man that sodeinli 
574    A gost behelde, so fare I; 
575    So that for feere I can noght gete  
576    Mi witt, bot I miself foryete,
577    That I wot nevere what I am,  
578    Ne whider I schal, ne whenne I cam, 
579    Bot muse as he that were amased. 
580    Lich to the bok in which is rased
581    The lettre, and mai nothing be rad, 
582    So ben my wittes overlad,  
583    That what as evere I thoghte have spoken, 
584    It is out fro myn herte stoken,  
585    And stonde, as who seith, doumb and def,  
586    That all nys worth an yvy lef,
587    Of that I wende wel have seid.
588    And ate laste I make abreid,  
589    Caste up myn hed and loke aboute,
590    Riht as a man that were in doute 
591    And wot noght wher he schal become. 
592    Thus am I ofte al overcome,
593    Ther as I wende best to stonde:  
594    Bot after, whanne I understonde, 
595    And am in other place al one, 
596    I make many a wofull mone  
597    Unto miself, and speke so: 
598    "Ha fol, wher was thin herte tho,
599    Whan thou thi worthi ladi syhe?  
600    Were thou afered of hire yhe? 
601    For of hire hand ther is no drede:  
602    So wel I knowe hir wommanhede,
603    That in hire is nomore oultrage  
604    Than in a child of thre yeer age.
605    Whi hast thou drede of so good on,  
606    Whom alle vertu hath begon,
607    That in hire is no violence
608    Bot goodlihiede and innocence 
609    Withouten spot of eny blame?    
610    Ha, nyce herte, fy for schame]
611    Ha, couard herte of love unlered,
612    Wherof art thou so sore afered,  
613    That thou thi tunge soffrest frese, 
614    And wolt thi goode wordes lese,  
615    Whan thou hast founde time and space?  
616    How scholdest thou deserve grace,
617    Whan thou thiself darst axe non, 
618    Bot al thou hast foryete anon?"  
619    And thus despute I loves lore,
620    Bot help ne finde I noght the more, 
621    Bot stomble upon myn oghne treine
622    And make an ekinge of my peine.  
623    For evere whan I thenke among 
624    How al is on miself along, 
625    I seie, "O fol of alle foles, 
626    Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles  
627    That wolde sitte and goth to grounde.  
628    It was ne nevere schal be founde,
629    Betwen foryetelnesse and drede
630    That man scholde any cause spede."  
631    And thus, myn holi fader diere,  
632    Toward miself, as ye mai hiere,  
633    I pleigne of my foryetelnesse;
634    Bot elles al the besinesse,
635    That mai be take of mannes thoght,  
636    Min herte takth, and is thorghsoght 
637    To thenken evere upon that swete 
638    Withoute Slowthe, I you behete.  
639    For what so falle, or wel or wo, 
640    That thoght foryete I neveremo,  
641    Wher so I lawhe or so I loure:
642    Noght half the Minut of an houre 
643    Ne mihte I lete out of my mende, 
644    Bot if I thoghte upon that hende.
645    Therof me schal no Slowthe lette,
646    Til deth out of this world me fette,  
647    Althogh I hadde on such a Ring,  
648    As Moises thurgh his enchanting  
649    Som time in Ethiope made,  
650    Whan that he Tharbis weddid hade.
651    Which Ring bar of Oblivion 
652    The name, and that was be resoun 
653    That where it on a finger sat,
654    Anon his love he so foryat,
655    As thogh he hadde it nevere knowe:  
656    And so it fell that ilke throwe, 
657    Whan Tharbis hadde it on hire hond, 
658    No knowlechinge of him sche fond,
659    Bot al was clene out of memoire, 
660    As men mai rede in his histoire; 
661    And thus he wente quit away,  
662    That nevere after that ilke day  
663    Sche thoghte that ther was such on; 
664    Al was foryete and overgon.
665    Bot in good feith so mai noght I:
666    For sche is evere faste by,
667    So nyh that sche myn herte toucheth,
668    That for nothing that Slowthe voucheth 
669    I mai foryete hire, lief ne loth;
670    For overal, where as sche goth,  
671    Min herte folwith hire aboute.
672    Thus mai I seie withoute doute,  
673    For bet, for wers, for oght, for noght,
674    Sche passeth nevere fro my thoght;  
675    Bot whanne I am ther as sche is, 
676    Min herte, as I you saide er this,  
677    Som time of hire is sore adrad,  
678    And som time it is overglad,  
679    Al out of reule and out of space.
680    For whan I se hir goodli face 
681    And thenke upon hire hihe pris,  
682    As thogh I were in Paradis,
683    I am so ravisht of the syhte, 
684    That speke unto hire I ne myhte
685    As for the time, thogh I wolde:  
686    For I ne mai my wit unfolde
687    To finde o word of that I mene,  
688    Bot al it is foryete clene;
689    And thogh I stonde there a myle, 
690    Al is foryete for the while,  
691    A tunge I have and wordes none.  
692    And thus I stonde and thenke al one 
693    Of thing that helpeth ofte noght;
694    Bot what I hadde afore thoght 
695    To speke, whanne I come there,
696    It is foryete, as noght ne were, 
697    And stonde amased and assoted,
698    That of nothing which I have noted  
699    I can noght thanne a note singe, 
700    Bot al is out of knowlechinge:
701    Thus, what for joie and what for drede,
702    Al is foryeten ate nede.
703    So that, mi fader, of this Slowthe  
704    I have you said the pleine trowthe; 
705    Ye mai it as you list redresce:  
706    For thus stant my foryetelnesse  
707    And ek my pusillamite.  
708    Sey now forth what you list to me,  
709    For I wol only do be you.  
710    Mi Sone, I have wel herd how thou
711    Hast seid, and that thou most amende:  
712    For love his grace wol noght sende  
713    To that man which dar axe non.
714    For this we knowen everichon, 
715    A mannes thoght withoute speche  
716    God wot, and yit that men beseche
717    His will is; for withoute bedes  
718    He doth his grace in fewe stedes:
719    And what man that foryet himselve,  
720    Among a thousand be noght tuelve,
721    That wol him take in remembraunce,  
722    Bot lete him falle and take his chaunce.    
723    Forthi pull up a besi herte,  
724    Mi Sone, and let nothing asterte 
725    Of love fro thi besinesse: 
726    For touchinge of foryetelnesse,  
727    Which many a love hath set behinde, 
728    A tale of gret ensample I finde, 
729    Wherof it is pite to wite  
730    In the manere as it is write. 
731    King Demephon, whan he be Schipe 
732    To Troieward with felaschipe  
733    Sailende goth, upon his weie  
734    It hapneth him at Rodopeie,
735    As Eolus him hadde blowe,  
736    To londe, and rested for a throwe.  
737    And fell that ilke time thus, 
738    The dowhter of Ligurgius,  
739    Which qweene was of the contre,  
740    Was sojournende in that Cite  
741    Withinne a Castell nyh the stronde, 
742    Wher Demephon cam up to londe.
743    Phillis sche hihte, and of yong age 
744    And of stature and of visage  
745    Sche hadde al that hire best besemeth. 
746    Of Demephon riht wel hire qwemeth,  
747    Whan he was come, and made him chiere; 
748    And he, that was of his manere
749    A lusti knyht, ne myhte asterte  
750    That he ne sette on hire his herte; 
751    So that withinne a day or tuo 
752    He thoghte, how evere that it go,
753    He wolde assaie the fortune,  
754    And gan his herte to commune  
755    With goodly wordes in hire Ere;  
756    And forto put hire out of fere,  
757    He swor and hath his trowthe pliht  
758    To be for evere hire oghne knyht.
759    And thus with hire he stille abod,  
760    Ther while his Schip on Anker rod,
761    And hadde ynowh of time and space
762    To speke of love and seche grace.
763    This ladi herde al that he seide,
764    And hou he swor and hou he preide,  
765    Which was as an enchantement  
766    To hire, that was innocent:
767    As thogh it were trowthe and feith, 
768    Sche lieveth al that evere he seith,
769    And as hire infortune scholde,
770    Sche granteth him al that he wolde. 
771    Thus was he for the time in joie,
772    Til that he scholde go to Troie; 
773    Bot tho sche made mochel sorwe,  
774    And he his trowthe leith to borwe
775    To come, if that he live may, 
776    Ayein withinne a Monthe day,  
777    And therupon thei kisten bothe:  
778    Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe,  
779    To Schipe he goth and forth he wente
780    To Troie, as was his ferste entente.
781    The daies gon, the Monthe passeth,  
782    Hire love encresceth and his lasseth,  
783    For him sche lefte slep and mete,
784    And he his time hath al foryete; 
785    So that this wofull yonge qweene,
786    Which wot noght what it mihte meene,
787    A lettre sende and preide him come, 
788    And seith how sche is overcome
789    With strengthe of love in such a wise, 
790    That sche noght longe mai suffise
791    To liven out of his presence; 
792    And putte upon his conscience 
793    The trowthe which he hath behote,
794    Wherof sche loveth him so hote,  
795    Sche seith, that if he lengere lette
796    Of such a day as sche him sette, 
797    Sche scholde sterven in his Slowthe,    
798    Which were a schame unto his trowthe.  
799    This lettre is forth upon hire sonde,  
800    Wherof somdiel confort on honde  
801    Sche tok, as she that wolde abide
802    And waite upon that ilke tyde 
803    Which sche hath in hire lettre write.  
804    Bot now is pite forto wite,
805    As he dede erst, so he foryat 
806    His time eftsone and oversat. 
807    Bot sche, which mihte noght do so,  
808    The tyde awayteth everemo, 
809    And caste hire yhe upon the See: 
810    Somtime nay, somtime yee,  
811    Somtime he cam, somtime noght,
812    Thus sche desputeth in hire thoght  
813    And wot noght what sche thenke mai; 
814    Bot fastende al the longe day 
815    Sche was into the derke nyht, 
816    And tho sche hath do set up lyht 
817    In a lanterne on hih alofte
818    Upon a Tour, wher sche goth ofte,
819    In hope that in his cominge
820    He scholde se the liht brenninge,
821    Wherof he mihte his weies rihte  
822    To come wher sche was be nyhte.  
823    Bot al for noght, sche was deceived,
824    For Venus hath hire hope weyved, 
825    And schewede hire upon the Sky
826    How that the day was faste by,
827    So that withinne a litel throwe  
828    The daies lyht sche mihte knowe. 
829    Tho sche behield the See at large;  
830    And whan sche sih ther was no barge 
831    Ne Schip, als ferr as sche may kenne,  
832    Doun fro the Tour sche gan to renne 
833    Into an Herber all hire one,  
834    Wher many a wonder woful mone 
835    Sche made, that no lif it wiste, 
836    As sche which all hire joie miste,  
837    That now sche swouneth, now sche pleigneth,        
838    And al hire face sche desteigneth
839    With teres, whiche, as of a welle
840    The stremes, from hire yhen felle;  
841    So as sche mihte and evere in on 
842    Sche clepede upon Demephon,
843    And seide, "Helas, thou slowe wiht, 
844    Wher was ther evere such a knyht,
845    That so thurgh his ungentilesce  
846    Of Slowthe and of foryetelnesse  
847    Ayein his trowthe brak his stevene?"
848    And tho hire yhe up to the hevene
849    Sche caste, and seide, "O thou unkinde,
850    Hier schalt thou thurgh thi Slowthe finde,
851    If that thee list to come and se,
852    A ladi ded for love of thee,  
853    So as I schal myselve spille; 
854    Whom, if it hadde be thi wille,  
855    Thou mihtest save wel ynowh." 
856    With that upon a grene bowh
857    A Ceinte of Selk, which sche ther hadde,  
858    Sche knette, and so hireself sche ladde,  
859    That sche aboute hire whyte swere
860    It dede, and hyng hirselven there.  
861    Wherof the goddes were amoeved,  
862    And Demephon was so reproeved,
863    That of the goddes providence 
864    Was schape such an evidence
865    Evere afterward ayein the slowe, 
866    That Phillis in the same throwe  
867    Was schape into a Notetre, 
868    That alle men it mihte se, 
869    And after Phillis Philliberd  
870    This tre was cleped in the yerd, 
871    And yit for Demephon to schame
872    Into this dai it berth the name. 
873    This wofull chance how that it ferde
874    Anon as Demephon it herde, 
875    And every man it hadde in speche,
876    His sorwe was noght tho to seche;
877    He gan his Slowthe forto banne,      
878    Bot it was al to late thanne. 
879    Lo thus, my Sone, miht thou wite 
880    Ayein this vice how it is write; 
881    For noman mai the harmes gesse,  
882    That fallen thurgh foryetelnesse,
883    Wherof that I thi schrifte have herd.  
884    Bot yit of Slowthe hou it hath ferd 
885    In other wise I thenke oppose,
886    If thou have gult, as I suppose. 
887    Fulfild of Slowthes essamplaire  
888    Ther is yit on, his Secretaire,  
889    And he is cleped Negligence:  
890    Which wol noght loke his evidence,  
891    Wherof he mai be war tofore;  
892    Bot whanne he hath his cause lore,  
893    Thanne is he wys after the hond: 
894    Whanne helpe may no maner bond,  
895    Thanne ate ferste wolde he binde:
896    Thus everemore he stant behinde. 
897    Whanne he the thing mai noght amende,  
898    Thanne is he war, and seith at ende,
899    "Ha, wolde god I hadde knowe!"
900    Wherof bejaped with a mowe 
901    He goth, for whan the grete Stiede  
902    Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede,
903    And makth the stable dore fast:  
904    Thus evere he pleith an aftercast
905    Of al that he schal seie or do.  
906    He hath a manere eke also, 
907    Him list noght lerne to be wys,  
908    For he set of no vertu pris
909    Bot as him liketh for the while; 
910    So fieleth he fulofte guile,  
911    Whan that he weneth siker stonde.    
912    And thus thou miht wel understonde, 
913    Mi Sone, if thou art such in love,  
914    Thou miht noght come at thin above  
915    Of that thou woldest wel achieve.
916    Mi holi fader, as I lieve, 
917    I mai wel with sauf conscience
918    Excuse me of necgligence
919    Towardes love in alle wise:
920    For thogh I be non of the wise,  
921    I am so trewly amerous, 
922    That I am evere curious 
923    Of hem that conne best enforme
924    To knowe and witen al the forme, 
925    What falleth unto loves craft.
926    Bot yit ne fond I noght the haft,
927    Which mihte unto that bladd acorde; 
928    For nevere herde I man recorde
929    What thing it is that myhte availe  
930    To winne love withoute faile. 
931    Yit so fer cowthe I nevere finde 
932    Man that be resoun ne be kinde
933    Me cowthe teche such an art,  
934    That he ne failede of a part; 
935    And as toward myn oghne wit,  
936    Controeve cowthe I nevere yit 
937    To finden eny sikernesse,  
938    That me myhte outher more or lesse  
939    Of love make forto spede:  
940    For lieveth wel withoute drede,  
941    If that ther were such a weie,
942    As certeinliche as I schal deie  
943    I hadde it lerned longe ago.  
944    Bot I wot wel ther is non so: 
945    And natheles it may wel be,
946    I am so rude in my degree  
947    And ek mi wittes ben so dulle,
948    That I ne mai noght to the fulle 
949    Atteigne to so hih a lore. 
950    Bot this I dar seie overmore,     
951    Althogh mi wit ne be noght strong,  
952    It is noght on mi will along, 
953    For that is besi nyht and day 
954    To lerne al that he lerne may,
955    How that I mihte love winne:  
956    Bot yit I am as to beginne 
957    Of that I wolde make an ende, 
958    And for I not how it schal wende,
959    That is to me mi moste sorwe. 
960    Bot I dar take god to borwe,  
961    As after min entendement,  
962    Non other wise necgligent  
963    Thanne I yow seie have I noght be:  
964    Forthi per seinte charite  
965    Tell me, mi fader, what you semeth. 
966    In good feith, Sone, wel me qwemeth,
967    That thou thiself hast thus aquit
968    Toward this vice, in which no wit
969    Abide mai, for in an houre 
970    He lest al that he mai laboure
971    The longe yer, so that men sein, 
972    What evere he doth it is in vein.
973    For thurgh the Slowthe of Negligence
974    Ther was yit nevere such science 
975    Ne vertu, which was bodely,
976    That nys destruid and lost therby.  
977    Ensample that it hath be so
978    In boke I finde write also.
979    Phebus, which is the Sonne hote, 
980    That schyneth upon Erthe hote 
981    And causeth every lyves helthe,  
982    He hadde a Sone in al his welthe,
983    Which Pheton hihte, and he desireth 
984    And with his Moder he conspireth,
985    The which was cleped Clemenee,
986    For help and conseil, so that he     
987    His fader carte lede myhte 
988    Upon the faire daies brihte.  
989    And for this thing thei bothe preide
990    Unto the fader, and he seide  
991    He wolde wel, bot forth withal
992    Thre pointz he bad in special 
993    Unto his Sone in alle wise,
994    That he him scholde wel avise 
995    And take it as be weie of lore.  
996    Ferst was, that he his hors to sore 
997    Ne prike, and over that he tolde 
998    That he the renes faste holde;
999    And also that he be riht war  
1000   In what manere he lede his charr,
1001   That he mistake noght his gate,  
1002   Bot up avisement algate 
1003   He scholde bere a siker yhe,  
1004   That he to lowe ne to hyhe 
1005   His carte dryve at eny throwe,
1006   Wherof that he mihte overthrowe. 
1007   And thus be Phebus ordinance  
1008   Tok Pheton into governance 
1009   The Sonnes carte, which he ladde:
1010   Bot he such veine gloire hadde
1011   Of that he was set upon hyh,  
1012   That he his oghne astat ne syh
1013   Thurgh negligence and tok non hiede;
1014   So mihte he wel noght longe spede.  
1015   For he the hors withoute lawe 
1016   The carte let aboute drawe 
1017   Wher as hem liketh wantounly, 
1018   That ate laste sodeinly,
1019   For he no reson wolde knowe,  
1020   This fyri carte he drof to lowe, 
1021   And fyreth al the world aboute;  
1022   Wherof thei weren alle in doubte,
1023   And to the god for helpe criden      
1024   Of suche unhappes as betyden. 
1025   Phebus, which syh the necgligence,  
1026   How Pheton ayein his defence  
1027   His charr hath drive out of the weie,  
1028   Ordeigneth that he fell aweie 
1029   Out of the carte into a flod  
1030   And dreynte. Lo now, hou it stod 
1031   With him that was so necgligent, 
1032   That fro the hyhe firmament,  
1033   For that he wolde go to lowe, 
1034   He was anon doun overthrowe.  
1035   In hih astat it is a vice  
1036   To go to lowe, and in service 
1037   It grieveth forto go to hye,  
1038   Wherof a tale in poesie 
1039   I finde, how whilom Dedalus,  
1040   Which hadde a Sone, and Icharus  
1041   He hihte, and thogh hem thoghte lothe, 
1042   In such prison thei weren bothe  
1043   With Minotaurus, that aboute  
1044   Thei mihten nawher wenden oute;  
1045   So thei begonne forto schape  
1046   How thei the prison mihte ascape.
1047   This Dedalus, which fro his yowthe  
1048   Was tawht and manye craftes cowthe, 
1049   Of fetheres and of othre thinges 
1050   Hath mad to fle diverse wynges
1051   For him and for his Sone also;
1052   To whom he yaf in charge tho  
1053   And bad him thenke therupon,  
1054   How that his wynges ben set on
1055   With wex, and if he toke his flyhte 
1056   To hyhe, al sodeinliche he mihte 
1057   Make it to melte with the Sonne. 
1058   And thus thei have her flyht begonne
1059   Out of the prison faire and softe;  
1060   And whan thei weren bothe alofte,
1061   This Icharus began to monte,      
1062   And of the conseil non accompte  
1063   He sette, which his fader tawhte,
1064   Til that the Sonne his wynges cawhte,  
1065   Wherof it malt, and fro the heihte  
1066   Withouten help of eny sleihte 
1067   He fell to his destruccion.
1068   And lich to that condicion 
1069   Ther fallen ofte times fele
1070   For lacke of governance in wele, 
1071   Als wel in love as other weie.
1072   Now goode fader, I you preie, 
1073   If ther be more in the matiere
1074   Of Slowthe, that I mihte it hiere.  
1075   Mi Sone, and for thi diligence,  
1076   Which every mannes conscience 
1077   Be resoun scholde reule and kepe,
1078   If that thee list to taken kepe, 
1079   I wol thee telle, aboven alle 
1080   In whom no vertu mai befalle, 
1081   Which yifth unto the vices reste 
1082   And is of slowe the sloweste. 
1083   Among these othre of Slowthes kinde,
1084   Which alle labour set behinde,
1085   And hateth alle besinesse, 
1086   Ther is yit on, which Ydelnesse  
1087   Is cleped, and is the Norrice 
1088   In mannes kinde of every vice,
1089   Which secheth eases manyfold. 
1090   In Wynter doth he noght for cold,
1091   In Somer mai he noght for hete;  
1092   So whether that he frese or swete,      
1093   Or he be inne, or he be oute, 
1094   He wol ben ydel al aboute, 
1095   Bot if he pleie oght ate Dees.
1096   For who as evere take fees 
1097   And thenkth worschipe to deserve,
1098   Ther is no lord whom he wol serve,  
1099   As forto duelle in his servise,  
1100   Bot if it were in such a wise,
1101   Of that he seth per aventure  
1102   That be lordschipe and coverture 
1103   He mai the more stonde stille,
1104   And use his ydelnesse at wille.  
1105   For he ne wol no travail take 
1106   To ryde for his ladi sake, 
1107   Bot liveth al upon his wisshes;  
1108   And as a cat wolde ete fisshes
1109   Withoute wetinge of his cles, 
1110   So wolde he do, bot natheles  
1111   He faileth ofte of that he wolde.
1112   Mi Sone, if thou of such a molde 
1113   Art mad, now tell me plein thi schrifte.  
1114   Nay, fader, god I yive a yifte.  
1115   That toward love, as be mi wit,  
1116   Al ydel was I nevere yit,  
1117   Ne nevere schal, whil I mai go.  
1118   Now, Sone, tell me thanne so, 
1119   What hast thou don of besischipe 
1120   To love and to the ladischipe 
1121   Of hire which thi ladi is? 
1122   Mi fader, evere yit er this
1123   In every place, in every stede,  
1124   What so mi lady hath me bede, 
1125   With al myn herte obedient 
1126   I have therto be diligent. 
1127   And if so is sche bidde noght,
1128   What thing that thanne into my thoght  
1129   Comth ferst of that I mai suffise,  
1130   I bowe and profre my servise, 
1131   Somtime in chambre, somtime in halle,      
1132   Riht as I se the times falle. 
1133   And whan sche goth to hiere masse,  
1134   That time schal noght overpasse, 
1135   That I naproche hir ladihede, 
1136   In aunter if I mai hire lede  
1137   Unto the chapelle and ayein.  
1138   Thanne is noght al mi weie in vein, 
1139   Somdiel I mai the betre fare, 
1140   Whan I, that mai noght fiele hir bare, 
1141   Mai lede hire clothed in myn arm:
1142   Bot afterward it doth me harm 
1143   Of pure ymaginacioun;
1144   For thanne this collacioun 
1145   I make unto miselven ofte, 
1146   And seie, "Ha lord, hou sche is softe, 
1147   How sche is round, hou sche is smal]
1148   Now wolde god I hadde hire al 
1149   Withoute danger at mi wille]" 
1150   And thanne I sike and sitte stille, 
1151   Of that I se mi besi thoght
1152   Is torned ydel into noght. 
1153   Bot for al that lete I ne mai,
1154   Whanne I se time an other dai,
1155   That I ne do my besinesse  
1156   Unto mi ladi worthinesse.  
1157   For I therto mi wit afaite 
1158   To se the times and awaite 
1159   What is to done and what to leve:
1160   And so, whan time is, be hir leve,  
1161   What thing sche bit me don, I do,
1162   And wher sche bidt me gon, I go, 
1163   And whanne hir list to clepe, I come.  
1164   Thus hath sche fulliche overcome 
1165   Min ydelnesse til I sterve,
1166   So that I mot hire nedes serve,  
1167   For as men sein, nede hath no lawe. 
1168   Thus mot I nedly to hire drawe,      
1169   I serve, I bowe, I loke, I loute,
1170   Min yhe folweth hire aboute,  
1171   What so sche wole so wol I,
1172   Whan sche wol sitte, I knele by, 
1173   And whan sche stant, than wol I stonde:
1174   Bot whan sche takth hir werk on honde  
1175   Of wevinge or enbrouderie, 
1176   Than can I noght bot muse and prie  
1177   Upon hir fingres longe and smale,
1178   And now I thenke, and now I tale,
1179   And now I singe, and now I sike, 
1180   And thus mi contienance I pike.  
1181   And if it falle, as for a time
1182   Hir liketh noght abide bime,  
1183   Bot besien hire on other thinges,
1184   Than make I othre tariinges
1185   To dreche forth the longe dai,
1186   For me is loth departe away.  
1187   And thanne I am so simple of port,  
1188   That forto feigne som desport 
1189   I pleie with hire litel hound 
1190   Now on the bedd, now on the ground, 
1191   Now with hir briddes in the cage;
1192   For ther is non so litel page,
1193   Ne yit so simple a chamberere,
1194   That I ne make hem alle chere,
1195   Al for thei scholde speke wel:
1196   Thus mow ye sen mi besi whiel,
1197   That goth noght ydeliche aboute. 
1198   And if hir list to riden oute 
1199   On pelrinage or other stede,  
1200   I come, thogh I be noght bede,
1201   And take hire in min arm alofte  
1202   And sette hire in hire sadel softe, 
1203   And so forth lede hire be the bridel,  
1204   For that I wolde noght ben ydel. 
1205   And if hire list to ride in Char,
1206   And thanne I mai therof be war,      
1207   Anon I schape me to ryde
1208   Riht evene be the Chares side;
1209   And as I mai, I speke among,  
1210   And otherwhile I singe a song,
1211   Which Ovide in his bokes made,
1212   And seide, "O whiche sorwes glade,  
1213   O which wofull prosperite  
1214   Belongeth to the proprete  
1215   Of love, who so wole him serve]  
1216   And yit therfro mai noman swerve,
1217   That he ne mot his lawe obeie."  
1218   And thus I ryde forth mi weie,
1219   And am riht besi overal 
1220   With herte and with mi body al,  
1221   As I have said you hier tofore.  
1222   My goode fader, tell therfore,
1223   Of Ydelnesse if I have gilt.  
1224   Mi Sone, bot thou telle wilt  
1225   Oght elles than I mai now hiere, 
1226   Thou schalt have no penance hiere.  
1227   And natheles a man mai se, 
1228   How now adayes that ther be
1229   Ful manye of suche hertes slowe, 
1230   That wol noght besien hem to knowe  
1231   What thing love is, til ate laste,  
1232   That he with strengthe hem overcaste,  
1233   That malgre hem thei mote obeie  
1234   And don al ydelschipe aweie,  
1235   To serve wel and besiliche.
1236   Bot, Sone, thou art non of swiche,  
1237   For love schal the wel excuse:
1238   Bot otherwise, if thou refuse 
1239   To love, thou miht so per cas 
1240   Ben ydel, as somtime was
1241   A kinges dowhter unavised, 
1242   Til that Cupide hire hath chastised:
1243   Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere  
1244   Acordant unto this matiere.    
1245   Of Armenye, I rede thus,
1246   Ther was a king, which Herupus
1247   Was hote, and he a lusti Maide
1248   To dowhter hadde, and as men saide  
1249   Hire name was Rosiphelee;  
1250   Which tho was of gret renomee,
1251   For sche was bothe wys and fair  
1252   And scholde ben hire fader hair. 
1253   Bot sche hadde o defalte of Slowthe 
1254   Towardes love, and that was rowthe; 
1255   For so wel cowde noman seie,  
1256   Which mihte sette hire in the weie  
1257   Of loves occupacion  
1258   Thurgh non ymaginacion; 
1259   That scole wolde sche noght knowe.  
1260   And thus sche was on of the slowe
1261   As of such hertes besinesse,  
1262   Til whanne Venus the goddesse,
1263   Which loves court hath forto reule, 
1264   Hath broght hire into betre reule,  
1265   Forth with Cupide and with his miht:
1266   For thei merveille how such a wiht, 
1267   Which tho was in hir lusti age,  
1268   Desireth nother Mariage 
1269   Ne yit the love of paramours, 
1270   Which evere hath be the comun cours 
1271   Amonges hem that lusti were.  
1272   So was it schewed after there:
1273   For he that hihe hertes loweth
1274   With fyri Dartes whiche he throweth,
1275   Cupide, which of love is godd,
1276   In chastisinge hath mad a rodd
1277   To dryve awei hir wantounesse;
1278   So that withinne a while, I gesse,  
1279   Sche hadde on such a chance sporned,
1280   That al hire mod was overtorned, 
1281   Which ferst sche hadde of slow manere:
1282   For thus it fell, as thou schalt hiere.
1283   Whan come was the Monthe of Maii,
1284   Sche wolde walke upon a dai,  
1285   And that was er the Sonne Ariste;
1286   Of wommen bot a fewe it wiste,
1287   And forth sche wente prively  
1288   Unto the Park was faste by,
1289   Al softe walkende on the gras,
1290   Til sche cam ther the Launde was,
1291   Thurgh which ther ran a gret rivere.
1292   It thoghte hir fair, and seide, "Here  
1293   I wole abide under the schawe":  
1294   And bad hire wommen to withdrawe,
1295   And ther sche stod al one stille,
1296   To thenke what was in hir wille. 
1297   Sche sih the swote floures springe, 
1298   Sche herde glade foules singe,
1299   Sche sih the bestes in her kinde,
1300   The buck, the do, the hert, the hinde, 
1301   The madle go with the femele; 
1302   And so began ther a querele
1303   Betwen love and hir oghne herte, 
1304   Fro which sche couthe noght asterte.
1305   And as sche caste hire yhe aboute,  
1306   Sche syh clad in o suite a route 
1307   Of ladis, wher thei comen ryde
1308   Along under the wodes syde:
1309   On faire amblende hors thei sete,
1310   That were al whyte, fatte and grete,
1311   And everichon thei ride on side. 
1312   The Sadles were of such a Pride, 
1313   With Perle and gold so wel begon,
1314   So riche syh sche nevere non; 
1315   In kertles and in Copes riche 
1316   Thei weren clothed, alle liche,  
1317   Departed evene of whyt and blew; 
1318   With alle lustes that sche knew  
1319   Thei were enbrouded overal.
1320   Here bodies weren long and smal,     
1321   The beaute faye upon her face 
1322   Non erthly thing it may desface; 
1323   Corones on here hed thei beere,  
1324   As ech of hem a qweene weere, 
1325   That al the gold of Cresus halle 
1326   The leste coronal of alle  
1327   Ne mihte have boght after the worth:
1328   Thus come thei ridende forth. 
1329   The kinges dowhter, which this syh, 
1330   For pure abaissht drowh hire adryh  
1331   And hield hire clos under the bowh, 
1332   And let hem passen stille ynowh; 
1333   For as hire thoghte in hire avis,
1334   To hem that were of such a pris  
1335   Sche was noght worthi axen there,
1336   Fro when they come or what thei were:  
1337   Bot levere than this worldes good
1338   Sche wolde have wist hou that it stod, 
1339   And putte hire hed alitel oute;  
1340   And as sche lokede hire aboute,  
1341   Sche syh comende under the linde 
1342   A womman up an hors behinde.  
1343   The hors on which sche rod was blak,
1344   Al lene and galled on the back,  
1345   And haltede, as he were encluyed,
1346   Wherof the womman was annuied;
1347   Thus was the hors in sori plit,  
1348   Bot for al that a sterre whit 
1349   Amiddes in the front he hadde.
1350   Hir Sadel ek was wonder badde,
1351   In which the wofull womman sat,      
1352   And natheles ther was with that  
1353   A riche bridel for the nones  
1354   Of gold and preciouse Stones. 
1355   Hire cote was somdiel totore; 
1356   Aboute hir middel twenty score
1357   Of horse haltres and wel mo
1358   Ther hyngen ate time tho.  
1359   Thus whan sche cam the ladi nyh, 
1360   Than tok sche betre hiede and syh
1361   This womman fair was of visage,  
1362   Freyssh, lusti, yong and of tendre age;
1363   And so this ladi, ther sche stod,
1364   Bethoghte hire wel and understod 
1365   That this, which com ridende tho,
1366   Tidinges couthe telle of tho, 
1367   Which as sche sih tofore ryde,
1368   And putte hir forth and preide abide,  
1369   And seide, "Ha, Suster, let me hiere,  
1370   What ben thei, that now riden hiere,
1371   And ben so richeliche arraied?"  
1372   This womman, which com so esmaied,  
1373   Ansuerde with ful softe speche,  
1374   And seith, "Ma Dame, I schal you teche.
1375   These ar of tho that whilom were 
1376   Servantz to love, and trowthe beere,
1377   Ther as thei hadde here herte set.  
1378   Fare wel, for I mai noght be let:
1379   Ma Dame, I go to mi servise,  
1380   So moste I haste in alle wise;
1381   Forthi, ma Dame, yif me leve, 
1382   I mai noght longe with you leve."
1383   "Ha, goode Soster, yit I preie,  
1384   Tell me whi ye ben so beseie  
1385   And with these haltres thus begon." 
1386   "Ma Dame, whilom I was on      
1387   That to mi fader hadde a king;
1388   Bot I was slow, and for no thing 
1389   Me liste noght to love obeie, 
1390   And that I now ful sore abeie.
1391   For I whilom no love hadde,
1392   Min hors is now so fieble and badde,
1393   And al totore is myn arai, 
1394   And every yeer this freisshe Maii
1395   These lusti ladis ryde aboute,
1396   And I mot nedes suie here route  
1397   In this manere as ye now se,  
1398   And trusse here haltres forth with me, 
1399   And am bot as here horse knave.  
1400   Non other office I ne have,
1401   Hem thenkth I am worthi nomore,  
1402   For I was slow in loves lore, 
1403   Whan I was able forto lere,
1404   And wolde noght the tales hiere  
1405   Of hem that couthen love teche." 
1406   "Now tell me thanne, I you beseche, 
1407   Wherof that riche bridel serveth."  
1408   With that hire chere awei sche swerveth,  
1409   And gan to wepe, and thus sche tolde:  
1410   "This bridel, which ye nou beholde  
1411   So riche upon myn horse hed,- 
1412   Ma Dame, afore, er I was ded, 
1413   Whan I was in mi lusti lif,
1414   Ther fel into myn herte a strif  
1415   Of love, which me overcom, 
1416   So that therafter hiede I nom 
1417   And thoghte I wolde love a kniht:
1418   That laste wel a fourtenyht,  
1419   For it no lengere mihte laste,
1420   So nyh my lif was ate laste.  
1421   Bot now, allas, to late war
1422   That I ne hadde him loved ar: 
1423   For deth cam so in haste bime,
1424   Er I therto hadde eny time,    
1425   That it ne mihte ben achieved.
1426   Bot for al that I am relieved,
1427   Of that mi will was good therto, 
1428   That love soffreth it be so
1429   That I schal swiche a bridel were.  
1430   Now have ye herd al myn ansuere: 
1431   To godd, ma Dame, I you betake,  
1432   And warneth alle for mi sake, 
1433   Of love that thei ben noght ydel,
1434   And bidd hem thenke upon mi brydel."
1435   And with that word al sodeinly
1436   Sche passeth, as it were a Sky,  
1437   Al clene out of this ladi sihte: 
1438   And tho for fere hire herte afflihte,  
1439   And seide to hirself, "Helas] 
1440   I am riht in the same cas. 
1441   Bot if I live after this day, 
1442   I schal amende it, if I may." 
1443   And thus homward this lady wente,
1444   And changede al hire ferste entente,
1445   Withinne hire herte and gan to swere
1446   That sche none haltres wolde bere.  
1447   Lo, Sone, hier miht thou taken hiede,  
1448   How ydelnesse is forto drede, 
1449   Namliche of love, as I have write.  
1450   For thou miht understonde and wite, 
1451   Among the gentil nacion 
1452   Love is an occupacion,  
1453   Which forto kepe hise lustes save
1454   Scholde every gentil herte have: 
1455   For as the ladi was chastised,
1456   Riht so the knyht mai ben avised,
1457   Which ydel is and wol noght serve
1458   To love, he mai per cas deserve  
1459   A grettere peine than sche hadde,
1460   Whan sche aboute with hire ladde 
1461   The horse haltres; and forthi 
1462   Good is to be wel war therbi. 
1463   Bot forto loke aboven alle,    
1464   These Maidens, hou so that it falle,
1465   Thei scholden take ensample of this 
1466   Which I have told, for soth it is.  
1467   Mi ladi Venus, whom I serve,  
1468   What womman wole hire thonk deserve,
1469   Sche mai noght thilke love eschuie  
1470   Of paramours, bot sche mot suie  
1471   Cupides lawe; and natheles 
1472   Men sen such love sielde in pes, 
1473   That it nys evere upon aspie  
1474   Of janglinge and of fals Envie,  
1475   Fulofte medlid with disese:
1476   Bot thilke love is wel at ese,
1477   Which set is upon mariage; 
1478   For that dar schewen the visage  
1479   In alle places openly.  
1480   A gret mervaile it is forthi, 
1481   How that a Maiden wolde lette,
1482   That sche hir time ne besette 
1483   To haste unto that ilke feste,
1484   Wherof the love is al honeste.
1485   Men mai recovere lost of good,
1486   Bot so wys man yit nevere stod,  
1487   Which mai recovere time lore: 
1488   So mai a Maiden wel therfore  
1489   Ensample take, of that sche strangeth  
1490   Hir love, and longe er that sche changeth 
1491   Hir herte upon hir lustes greene 
1492   To mariage, as it is seene.
1493   For thus a yer or tuo or thre 
1494   Sche lest, er that sche wedded be,  
1495   Whyl sche the charge myhte bere  
1496   Of children, whiche the world forbere  
1497   Ne mai, bot if it scholde faile. 
1498   Bot what Maiden hire esposaile
1499   Wol tarie, whan sche take mai,
1500   Sche schal per chance an other dai  
1501   Be let, whan that hire lievest were.
1502   Wherof a tale unto hire Ere,      
1503   Which is coupable upon this dede,
1504   I thenke telle of that I rede.
1505   Among the Jewes, as men tolde,
1506   Ther was whilom be daies olde 
1507   A noble Duck, which Jepte hihte. 
1508   And fell, he scholde go to fyhte 
1509   Ayein Amon the cruel king: 
1510   And forto speke upon this thing, 
1511   Withinne his herte he made avou  
1512   To god and seide, "Ha lord, if thou 
1513   Wolt grante unto thi man victoire,  
1514   I schal in tokne of thi memoire  
1515   The ferste lif that I mai se, 
1516   Of man or womman wher it be,  
1517   Anon as I come hom ayein,  
1518   To thee, which art god sovereign,
1519   Slen in thi name and sacrifie."  
1520   And thus with his chivalerie  
1521   He goth him forth, wher that he scholde,  
1522   And wan al that he winne wolde
1523   And overcam his fomen alle.
1524   Mai noman lette that schal falle.
1525   This Duc a lusti dowhter hadde,  
1526   And fame, which the wordes spradde, 
1527   Hath broght unto this ladi Ere
1528   How that hire fader hath do there.  
1529   Sche waiteth upon his cominge 
1530   With dansinge and with carolinge,
1531   As sche that wolde be tofore  
1532   Al othre, and so sche was therfore  
1533   In Masphat at hir fader gate  
1534   The ferste; and whan he com therate,
1535   And sih his douhter, he tobreide 
1536   Hise clothes and wepende he seide:  
1537   "O mihti god among ous hiere, 
1538   Nou wot I that in no manere    
1539   This worldes joie mai be plein.  
1540   I hadde al that I coude sein  
1541   Ayein mi fomen be thi grace,  
1542   So whan I cam toward this place  
1543   Ther was non gladdere man than I:
1544   But now, mi lord, al sodeinli 
1545   Mi joie is torned into sorwe, 
1546   For I mi dowhter schal tomorwe
1547   Tohewe and brenne in thi servise 
1548   To loenge of thi sacrifise 
1549   Thurgh min avou, so as it is."
1550   The Maiden, whan sche wiste of this,
1551   And sih the sorwe hir fader made,
1552   So as sche mai with wordes glade 
1553   Conforteth him, and bad him holde
1554   The covenant which he is holde
1555   Towardes god, as he behihte.  
1556   Bot natheles hire herte aflihte  
1557   Of that sche sih hire deth comende; 
1558   And thanne unto the ground knelende 
1559   Tofore hir fader sche is falle,  
1560   And seith, so as it is befalle
1561   Upon this point that sche schal deie,  
1562   Of o thing ferst sche wolde him preie, 
1563   That fourty daies of respit
1564   He wolde hir grante upon this plit, 
1565   That sche the whyle mai bewepe
1566   Hir maidenhod, which sche to kepe
1567   So longe hath had and noght beset;  
1568   Wherof her lusti youthe is let,  
1569   That sche no children hath forthdrawe  
1570   In Mariage after the lawe, 
1571   So that the poeple is noght encressed. 
1572   Bot that it mihte be relessed,
1573   That sche hir time hath lore so, 
1574   Sche wolde be his leve go  
1575   With othre Maidens to compleigne,
1576   And afterward unto the peine      
1577   Of deth sche wolde come ayein.
1578   The fader herde his douhter sein,
1579   And therupon of on assent  
1580   The Maidens were anon asent,  
1581   That scholden with this Maiden wende.  
1582   So forto speke unto this ende,
1583   Thei gon the dounes and the dales
1584   With wepinge and with wofull tales, 
1585   And every wyht hire maidenhiede  
1586   Compleigneth upon thilke nede,
1587   That sche no children hadde bore,
1588   Wherof sche hath hir youthe lore,
1589   Which nevere sche recovere mai:  
1590   For so fell that hir laste dai
1591   Was come, in which sche scholde take
1592   Hir deth, which sche may noght forsake.
1593   Lo, thus sche deiede a wofull Maide 
1594   For thilke cause which I saide,  
1595   As thou hast understonde above.  
1596   Mi fader, as toward the Love  
1597   Of Maidens forto telle trowthe,  
1598   Ye have thilke vice of Slowthe,  
1599   Me thenkth, riht wonder wel declared,  
1600   That ye the wommen have noght spared
1601   Of hem that tarien so behinde.
1602   Bot yit it falleth in my minde,  
1603   Toward the men hou that ye spieke
1604   Of hem that wole no travail sieke
1605   In cause of love upon decerte:
1606   To speke in wordes so coverte,
1607   I not what travaill that ye mente.  
1608   Mi Sone, and after min entente
1609   I woll thee telle what I thoghte,
1610   Hou whilom men here loves boghte 
1611   Thurgh gret travaill in strange londes,
1612   Wher that thei wroghten with here hondes  
1613   Of armes many a worthi dede,  
1614   In sondri place as men mai rede.     
1615   That every love of pure kinde 
1616   Is ferst forthdrawe, wel I finde:
1617   Bot natheles yit overthis  
1618   Decerte doth so that it is 
1619   The rather had in mani place. 
1620   Forthi who secheth loves grace,  
1621   Wher that these worthi wommen are,  
1622   He mai noght thanne himselve spare  
1623   Upon his travail forto serve, 
1624   Wherof that he mai thonk deserve,
1625   There as these men of Armes be,  
1626   Somtime over the grete Se: 
1627   So that be londe and ek be Schipe
1628   He mot travaile for worschipe 
1629   And make manye hastyf rodes,  
1630   Somtime in Prus, somtime in Rodes,  
1631   And somtime into Tartarie; 
1632   So that these heraldz on him crie,  
1633   "Vailant, vailant, lo, wher he goth]"  
1634   And thanne he yifth hem gold and cloth,
1635   So that his fame mihte springe,  
1636   And to his ladi Ere bringe 
1637   Som tidinge of his worthinesse;  
1638   So that sche mihte of his prouesce  
1639   Of that sche herde men recorde,  
1640   The betre unto his love acorde
1641   And danger pute out of hire mod, 
1642   Whanne alle men recorden good,
1643   And that sche wot wel, for hir sake 
1644   That he no travail wol forsake.  
1645   Mi Sone, of this travail I meene:
1646   Nou schrif thee, for it schal be sene  
1647   If thou art ydel in this cas. 
1648   My fader ye, and evere was:    
1649   For as me thenketh trewely 
1650   That every man doth mor than I
1651   As of this point, and if so is
1652   That I have oght so don er this, 
1653   It is so litel of acompte, 
1654   As who seith, it mai noght amonte
1655   To winne of love his lusti yifte.
1656   For this I telle you in schrifte,
1657   That me were levere hir love winne  
1658   Than Kaire and al that is ther inne:
1659   And forto slen the hethen alle,  
1660   I not what good ther mihte falle,
1661   So mochel blod thogh ther be schad. 
1662   This finde I writen, hou Crist bad  
1663   That noman other scholde sle. 
1664   What scholde I winne over the Se,
1665   If I mi ladi loste at hom? 
1666   Bot passe thei the salte fom, 
1667   To whom Crist bad thei scholden preche 
1668   To al the world and his feith teche:
1669   Bot now thei rucken in here nest 
1670   And resten as hem liketh best 
1671   In all the swetnesse of delices. 
1672   Thus thei defenden ous the vices,
1673   And sitte hemselven al amidde;
1674   To slen and feihten thei ous bidde  
1675   Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith,  
1676   Converten unto Cristes feith. 
1677   Bot hierof have I gret mervaile, 
1678   Hou thei wol bidde me travaile:  
1679   A Sarazin if I sle schal,  
1680   I sle the Soule forth withal, 
1681   And that was nevere Cristes lore.
1682   Bot nou ho ther, I seie nomore.  
1683   Bot I wol speke upon mi schrifte;
1684   And to Cupide I make a yifte, 
1685   That who as evere pris deserve
1686   Of armes, I wol love serve;
1687   And thogh I scholde hem bothe kepe,     
1688   Als wel yit wolde I take kepe 
1689   Whan it were time to abide,
1690   As forto travaile and to ryde:
1691   For how as evere a man laboure,  
1692   Cupide appointed hath his houre. 
1693   For I have herd it telle also,
1694   Achilles lefte hise armes so  
1695   Bothe of himself and of his men  
1696   At Troie for Polixenen, 
1697   Upon hire love whanne he fell,
1698   That for no chance that befell
1699   Among the Grecs or up or doun,
1700   He wolde noght ayein the toun 
1701   Ben armed, for the love of hire. 
1702   And so me thenketh, lieve Sire,  
1703   A man of armes mai him reste  
1704   Somtime in hope for the beste,
1705   If he mai finde a weie nerr.  
1706   What scholde I thanne go so ferr 
1707   In strange londes many a mile 
1708   To ryde, and lese at hom therwhile  
1709   Mi love? It were a schort beyete 
1710   To winne chaf and lese whete. 
1711   Bot if mi ladi bidde wolde,
1712   That I for hire love scholde  
1713   Travaile, me thenkth trewely  
1714   I mihte fle thurghout the Sky,
1715   And go thurghout the depe Se, 
1716   For al ne sette I at a stre
1717   What thonk that I mihte elles gete. 
1718   What helpeth it a man have mete, 
1719   Wher drinke lacketh on the bord? 
1720   What helpeth eny mannes word  
1721   To seie hou I travaile faste, 
1722   Wher as me faileth ate laste  
1723   That thing which I travaile fore?    
1724   O in good time were he bore,  
1725   That mihte atteigne such a mede. 
1726   Bot certes if I mihte spede
1727   With eny maner besinesse
1728   Of worldes travail, thanne I gesse, 
1729   Ther scholde me non ydelschipe
1730   Departen fro hir ladischipe.  
1731   Bot this I se, on daies nou
1732   The blinde god, I wot noght hou, 
1733   Cupido, which of love is lord,
1734   He set the thinges in discord,
1735   That thei that lest to love entende 
1736   Fulofte he wole hem yive and sende  
1737   Most of his grace; and thus I finde 
1738   That he that scholde go behinde, 
1739   Goth many a time ferr tofore: 
1740   So wot I noght riht wel therfore,
1741   On whether bord that I schal seile. 
1742   Thus can I noght miself conseile,
1743   Bot al I sette on aventure,
1744   And am, as who seith, out of cure
1745   For ought that I can seie or do: 
1746   For everemore I finde it so,  
1747   The more besinesse I leie, 
1748   The more that I knele and preie  
1749   With goode wordes and with softe,
1750   The more I am refused ofte,
1751   With besinesse and mai noght winne. 
1752   And in good feith that is gret Sinne;  
1753   For I mai seie, of dede and thoght  
1754   That ydel man have I be noght;
1755   For hou as evere I be deslaied,  
1756   Yit evermore I have assaied.  
1757   Bot thogh my besinesse laste, 
1758   Al is bot ydel ate laste,  
1759   For whan theffect is ydelnesse,  
1760   I not what thing is besinesse.
1761   Sei, what availeth al the dede,      
1762   Which nothing helpeth ate nede?  
1763   For the fortune of every fame 
1764   Schal of his ende bere a name.
1765   And thus for oght is yit befalle,
1766   An ydel man I wol me calle 
1767   As after myn entendement:  
1768   Bot upon youre amendement, 
1769   Min holi fader, as you semeth,
1770   Mi reson and my cause demeth. 
1771   Mi Sone, I have herd thi matiere,
1772   Of that thou hast thee schriven hiere: 
1773   And forto speke of ydel fare, 
1774   Me semeth that thou tharst noght care, 
1775   Bot only that thou miht noght spede.
1776   And therof, Sone, I wol thee rede,  
1777   Abyd, and haste noght to faste;  
1778   Thi dees ben every dai to caste, 
1779   Thou nost what chance schal betyde. 
1780   Betre is to wayte upon the tyde  
1781   Than rowe ayein the stremes stronge:
1782   For thogh so be thee thenketh longe,
1783   Per cas the revolucion  
1784   Of hevene and thi condicion
1785   Ne be noght yit of on acord.  
1786   Bot I dar make this record 
1787   To Venus, whos Prest that I am,  
1788   That sithen that I hidir cam  
1789   To hiere, as sche me bad, thi lif,  
1790   Wherof thou elles be gultif,  
1791   Thou miht hierof thi conscience  
1792   Excuse, and of gret diligence,
1793   Which thou to love hast so despended,  
1794   Thou oghtest wel to be comended. 
1795   Bot if so be that ther oght faile,  
1796   Of that thou slowthest to travaile  
1797   In armes forto ben absent, 
1798   And for thou makst an argument
1799   Of that thou seidest hiere above,
1800   Hou Achilles thurgh strengthe of love      
1801   Hise armes lefte for a throwe,
1802   Thou schalt an other tale knowe, 
1803   Which is contraire, as thou schalt wite.  
1804   For this a man mai finde write,  
1805   Whan that knyhthode schal be werred,
1806   Lust mai noght thanne be preferred; 
1807   The bedd mot thanne be forsake
1808   And Schield and spere on honde take,
1809   Which thing schal make hem after glade,
1810   Whan thei ben worthi knihtes made.  
1811   Wherof, so as it comth to honde, 
1812   A tale thou schalt understonde,  
1813   Hou that a kniht schal armes suie,  
1814   And for the while his ese eschuie.  
1815   Upon knyhthode I rede thus,
1816   How whilom whan the king Nauplus,
1817   The fader of Palamades, 
1818   Cam forto preien Ulixes 
1819   With othre Gregois ek also,
1820   That he with hem to Troie go, 
1821   Wher that the Siege scholde be,  
1822   Anon upon Penolope
1823   His wif, whom that he loveth hote,  
1824   Thenkende, wolde hem noght behote.  
1825   Bot he schop thanne a wonder wyle,  
1826   How that he scholde hem best beguile,  
1827   So that he mihte duelle stille
1828   At home and welde his love at wille:
1829   Wherof erli the morwe day  
1830   Out of his bedd, wher that he lay,  
1831   Whan he was uppe, he gan to fare 
1832   Into the field and loke and stare,  
1833   As he which feigneth to be wod:  
1834   He tok a plowh, wher that it stod,  
1835   Wherinne anon in stede of Oxes
1836   He let do yoken grete foxes,  
1837   And with gret salt the lond he siew.
1838   But Nauplus, which the cause kniew,     
1839   Ayein the sleihte which he feigneth 
1840   An other sleihte anon ordeigneth.
1841   And fell that time Ulixes hadde  
1842   A chyld to Sone, and Nauplus radde  
1843   How men that Sone taken scholde, 
1844   And setten him upon the Molde,
1845   Wher that his fader hield the plowh,
1846   In thilke furgh which he tho drowh. 
1847   For in such wise he thoghte assaie, 
1848   Hou it Ulixes scholde paie,
1849   If that he were wod or non.
1850   The knihtes for this child forthgon;
1851   Thelamacus anon was fett,  
1852   Tofore the plowh and evene sett, 
1853   Wher that his fader scholde dryve.  
1854   Bot whan he sih his child, als blyve
1855   He drof the plowh out of the weie,  
1856   And Nauplus tho began to seie,
1857   And hath half in a jape cryd: 
1858   "O Ulixes, thou art aspyd: 
1859   What is al this thou woldest meene? 
1860   For openliche it is now seene 
1861   That thou hast feigned al this thing,  
1862   Which is gret schame to a king,  
1863   Whan that for lust of eny slowthe
1864   Thou wolt in a querele of trowthe
1865   Of armes thilke honour forsake,  
1866   And duelle at hom for loves sake:
1867   For betre it were honour to winne
1868   Than love, which likinge is inne.
1869   Forthi tak worschipe upon honde, 
1870   And elles thou schalt understonde
1871   These othre worthi kinges alle
1872   Of Grece, which unto thee calle, 
1873   Towardes thee wol be riht wrothe,
1874   And grieve thee per chance bothe:
1875   Which schal be tothe double schame          
1876   Most for the hindrynge of thi name, 
1877   That thou for Slouthe of eny love
1878   Schalt so thi lustes sette above 
1879   And leve of armes the knyhthode,
1880   Which is the pris of thi manhode
1881   And oghte ferst to be desired."