The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Octavus: Part 2

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

1612   And hapneth thilke time so,
1613   The lordes bothe and the comune  
1614   The hihe festes of Neptune 
1615   Upon the stronde at the rivage,  
1616   As it was custumme and usage, 
1617   Sollempneliche thei besihe. 
1618   Whan thei this strange vessel syhe  
1619   Come in, and hath his Seil avaled,  
1620   The toun therof hath spoke and taled.  
1621   The lord which of the cite was,  
1622   Whos name is Athenagoras,  
1623   Was there, and seide he wolde se 
1624   What Schip it is, and who thei be
1625   That ben therinne: and after sone,  
1626   Whan that he sih it was to done, 
1627   His barge was for him arraied,
1628   And he goth forth and hath assaied. 
1629   He fond the Schip of gret Array, 
1630   Bot what thing it amonte may, 
1631   He seth thei maden hevy chiere,  
1632   Bot wel him thenkth be the manere
1633   That thei be worthi men of blod, 
1634   And axeth of hem hou it stod; 
1635   And thei him tellen al the cas,  
1636   Hou that here lord fordrive was, 
1637   And what a sorwe that he made,
1638   Of which ther mai noman him glade.  
1639   He preith that he here lord mai se, 
1640   Bot thei him tolde it mai noght be, 
1641   For he lith in so derk a place,  
1642   That ther may no wiht sen his face: 
1643   Bot for al that, thogh hem be loth, 
1644   He fond the ladre and doun he goth, 
1645   And to him spak, bot non ansuere 
1646   Ayein of him ne mihte he bere 
1647   For oght that he can don or sein;
1648   And thus he goth him up ayein.
1649   Tho was ther spoke in many wise  
1650   Amonges hem that weren wise,  
1651   Now this, now that, bot ate laste
1652   The wisdom of the toun this caste,  
1653   That yonge Taise were asent.  
1654   For if ther be amendement
1655   To glade with this woful king,
1656   Sche can so moche of every thing,
1657   That sche schal gladen him anon. 
1658   A Messager for hire is gon,
1659   And sche cam with hire Harpe on honde, 
1660   And seide hem that sche wolde fonde 
1661   Be alle weies that sche can,  
1662   To glade with this sory man.  
1663   Bot what he was sche wiste noght,
1664   Bot al the Schip hire hath besoght  
1665   That sche hire wit on him despende, 
1666   In aunter if he myhte amende, 
1667   And sein it schal be wel aquit.  
1668   Whan sche hath understonden it,  
1669   Sche goth hir doun, ther as he lay, 
1670   Wher that sche harpeth many a lay
1671   And lich an Angel sang withal;
1672   Bot he nomore than the wal 
1673   Tok hiede of eny thing he herde. 
1674   And whan sche sih that he so ferde, 
1675   Sche falleth with him into wordes,  
1676   And telleth him of sondri bordes,
1677   And axeth him demandes strange,  
1678   Wherof sche made his herte change,  
1679   And to hire speche his Ere he leide 
1680   And hath merveile of that sche seide.  
1681   For in proverbe and in probleme  
1682   Sche spak, and bad he scholde deme  
1683   In many soubtil question:  
1684   Bot he for no suggestioun  
1685   Which toward him sche couthe stere, 
1686   He wolde noght o word ansuere,
1687   Bot as a madd man ate laste
1688   His heved wepende awey he caste, 
1689   And half in wraththe he bad hire go.
1690   Bot yit sche wolde noght do so,  
1691   And in the derke forth sche goth,
1692   Til sche him toucheth, and he wroth,
1693   And after hire with his hond  
1694   He smot: and thus whan sche him fond
1695   Desesed, courtaisly sche saide,  
1696   "Avoi, mi lord, I am a Maide; 
1697   And if ye wiste what I am, 
1698   And out of what lignage I cam,
1699   Ye wolde noght be so salvage."
1700   With that he sobreth his corage  
1701   And put awey his hevy chiere. 
1702   Bot of hem tuo a man mai liere
1703   What is to be so sibb of blod:
1704   Non wiste of other hou it stod,  
1705   And yit the fader ate laste
1706   His herte upon this maide caste, 
1707   That he hire loveth kindely,  
1708   And yit he wiste nevere why.  
1709   Bot al was knowe er that thei wente;
1710   For god, which wot here hol entente,
1711   Here hertes bothe anon descloseth.  
1712   This king unto this maide opposeth, 
1713   And axeth ferst what was hire name, 
1714   And wher sche lerned al this game,  
1715   And of what ken that sche was come. 
1716   And sche, that hath hise wordes nome,  
1717   Ansuerth and seith, "My name is Thaise,
1718   That was som time wel at aise:
1719   In Tharse I was forthdrawe and fed, 
1720   Ther lerned I, til I was sped,
1721   Of that I can. Mi fader eke
1722   I not wher that I scholde him seke; 
1723   He was a king, men tolde me:  
1724   Mi Moder dreint was in the See." 
1725   Fro point to point al sche him tolde,  
1726   That sche hath longe in herte holde,
1727   And nevere dorste make hir mone  
1728   Bot only to this lord al one, 
1729   To whom hire herte can noght hele,  
1730   Torne it to wo, torne it to wele, 
1731   Torne it to good, torne it to harm. 
1732   And he tho toke hire in his arm, 
1733   Bot such a joie as he tho made
1734   Was nevere sen; thus be thei glade, 
1735   That sory hadden be toforn.
1736   Fro this day forth fortune hath sworn  
1737   To sette him upward on the whiel;
1738   So goth the world, now wo, now wel: 
1739   This king hath founde newe grace,
1740   So that out of his derke place
1741   He goth him up into the liht, 
1742   And with him cam that swete wiht,
1743   His doghter Thaise, and forth anon  
1744   Thei bothe into the Caban gon 
1745   Which was ordeigned for the king,
1746   And ther he dede of al his thing,
1747   And was arraied realy.  
1748   And out he cam al openly,  
1749   Wher Athenagoras he fond,  
1750   The which was lord of al the lond:  
1751   He preith the king to come and se
1752   His castell bothe and his cite,  
1753   And thus thei gon forth alle in fiere, 
1754   This king, this lord, this maiden diere.  
1755   This lord tho made hem riche feste  
1756   With every thing which was honeste, 
1757   To plese with this worthi king,  
1758   Ther lacketh him no maner thing: 
1759   Bot yit for al his noble array
1760   Wifles he was into that day,  
1761   As he that yit was of yong Age;  
1762   So fell ther into his corage  
1763   The lusti wo, the glade peine 
1764   Of love, which noman restreigne  
1765   Yit nevere myhte as nou tofore.  
1766   This lord thenkth al his world forlore,
1767   Bot if the king wol don him grace;
1768   He waiteth time, he waiteth place,  
1769   Him thoghte his herte wol tobreke,  
1770   Til he mai to this maide speke
1771   And to hir fader ek also
1772   For mariage: and it fell so,  
1773   That al was do riht as he thoghte,  
1774   His pourpos to an ende he broghte,  
1775   Sche weddeth him as for hire lord;  
1776   Thus be thei alle of on acord.
1777   Whan al was do riht as thei wolde,  
1778   The king unto his Sone tolde  
1779   Of Tharse thilke traiterie,
1780   And seide hou in his compaignie  
1781   His doghter and himselven eke 
1782   Schull go vengance forto seke.
1783   The Schipes were redy sone,
1784   And whan thei sihe it was to done,  
1785   Withoute lette of eny wente
1786   With Seil updrawe forth thei wente  
1787   Towardes Tharse upon the tyde.
1788   Bot he that wot what schal betide,  
1789   The hihe god, which wolde him kepe, 
1790   Whan that this king was faste aslepe,  
1791   Be nyhtes time he hath him bede  
1792   To seile into an other stede: 
1793   To Ephesim he bad him drawe,  
1794   And as it was that time lawe, 
1795   He schal do there his sacrifise; 
1796   And ek he bad in alle wise 
1797   That in the temple amonges alle  
1798   His fortune, as it is befalle,
1799   Touchende his doghter and his wif
1800   He schal beknowe upon his lif.
1801   The king of this Avisioun  
1802   Hath gret ymaginacioun, 
1803   What thing it signefie may;
1804   And natheles, whan it was day,
1805   He bad caste Ancher and abod; 
1806   And whil that he on Ancher rod,
1807   The wynd, which was tofore strange, 
1808   Upon the point began to change,  
1809   And torneth thider as it scholde.
1810   Tho knew he wel that god it wolde,  
1811   And bad the Maister make him yare,  
1812   Tofor the wynd for he wol fare
1813   To Ephesim, and so he dede.
1814   And whanne he cam unto the stede 
1815   Where as he scholde londe, he londeth  
1816   With al the haste he may, and fondeth  
1817   To schapen him be such a wise,
1818   That he may be the morwe arise
1819   And don after the mandement
1820   Of him which hath him thider sent.  
1821   And in the wise that he thoghte, 
1822   Upon the morwe so he wroghte; 
1823   His doghter and his Sone he nom, 
1824   And forth unto the temple he com 
1825   With a gret route in compaignie, 
1826   Hise yiftes forto sacrifie.
1827   The citezeins tho herden seie 
1828   Of such a king that cam to preie 
1829   Unto Diane the godesse, 
1830   And left al other besinesse,  
1831   Thei comen thider forto se 
1832   The king and the solempnete.  
1833   With worthi knyhtes environed 
1834   The king himself hath abandoned  
1835   Into the temple in good entente. 
1836   The dore is up, and he in wente, 
1837   Wher as with gret devocioun
1838   Of holi contemplacioun  
1839   Withinne his herte he made his schrifte;  
1840   And after that a riche yifte  
1841   He offreth with gret reverence,  
1842   And there in open Audience 
1843   Of hem that stoden thanne aboute,
1844   He tolde hem and declareth oute
1845   His hap, such as him is befalle, 
1846   Ther was nothing foryete of alle.
1847   His wif, as it was goddes grace, 
1848   Which was professed in the place,
1849   As sche that was Abbesse there,  
1850   Unto his tale hath leid hire Ere:
1851   Sche knew the vois and the visage,  
1852   For pure joie as in a rage 
1853   Sche strawhte unto him al at ones,  
1854   And fell aswoune upon the stones,
1855   Wherof the temple flor was paved.
1856   Sche was anon with water laved,  
1857   Til sche cam to hirself ayein,
1858   And thanne sche began to sein:
1859   "Ha, blessed be the hihe sonde,  
1860   That I mai se myn housebonde, 
1861   That whilom he and I were on!"
1862   The king with that knew hire anon,  
1863   And tok hire in his Arm and kiste;  
1864   And al the toun thus sone it wiste. 
1865   Tho was ther joie manyfold,
1866   For every man this tale hath told
1867   As for miracle, and were glade,  
1868   Bot nevere man such joie made 
1869   As doth the king, which hath his wif.  
1870   And whan men herde hou that hir lif 
1871   Was saved, and be whom it was,
1872   Thei wondren alle of such a cas: 
1873   Thurgh al the Lond aros the speche  
1874   Of Maister Cerymon the leche  
1875   And of the cure which he dede.
1876   The king himself tho hath him bede, 
1877   And ek this queene forth with him,  
1878   That he the toun of Ephesim
1879   Wol leve and go wher as thei be, 
1880   For nevere man of his degre
1881   Hath do to hem so mochel good;
1882   And he his profit understod,
1883   And granteth with hem forto wende.  
1884   And thus thei maden there an ende,  
1885   And token leve and gon to Schipe 
1886   With al the hole felaschipe.  
1887   This king, which nou hath his desir,
1888   Seith he wol holde his cours to Tyr.
1889   Thei hadden wynd at wille tho,
1890   With topseilcole and forth they go, 
1891   And striken nevere, til thei come
1892   To Tyr, where as thei havene nome,  
1893   And londen hem with mochel blisse.  
1894   Tho was ther many a mowth to kisse, 
1895   Echon welcometh other hom, 
1896   Bot whan the queen to londe com, 
1897   And Thaise hir doghter be hir side, 
1898   The joie which was thilke tyde
1899   Ther mai no mannes tunge telle:  
1900   Thei seiden alle, "Hier comth the welle
1901   Of alle wommannysshe grace."  
1902   The king hath take his real place,  
1903   The queene is into chambre go:
1904   Ther was gret feste arraied tho; 
1905   Whan time was, thei gon to mete, 
1906   Alle olde sorwes ben foryete, 
1907   And gladen hem with joies newe:  
1908   The descoloured pale hewe  
1909   Is now become a rody cheke,
1910   Ther was no merthe forto seke,
1911   Bot every man hath that he wolde.
1912   The king, as he wel couthe and scholde,
1913   Makth to his poeple riht good chiere;  
1914   And after sone, as thou schalt hiere,  
1915   A parlement he hath sommoned, 
1916   Wher he his doghter hath coroned 
1917   Forth with the lord of Mitelene, 
1918   That on is king, that other queene: 
1919   And thus the fadres ordinance  
1920   This lond hath set in governance,
1921   And seide thanne he wolde wende  
1922   To Tharse, forto make an ende 
1923   Of that his doghter was betraied.
1924   Therof were alle men wel paied,  
1925   And seide hou it was forto done: 
1926   The Schipes weren redi sone,  
1927   And strong pouer with him he tok;
1928   Up to the Sky he caste his lok,  
1929   And syh the wynd was covenable.  
1930   Thei hale up Ancher with the cable, 
1931   The Seil on hih, the Stiere in honde,  
1932   And seilen, til thei come alonde 
1933   At Tharse nyh to the cite; 
1934   And whan thei wisten it was he,  
1935   The toun hath don him reverence. 
1936   He telleth hem the violence,  
1937   Which the tretour Strangulio  
1938   And Dionise him hadde do
1939   Touchende his dowhter, as yee herde;
1940   And whan thei wiste hou that it ferde, 
1941   As he which pes and love soghte, 
1942   Unto the toun this he besoghte,  
1943   To don him riht in juggement. 
1944   Anon thei were bothe asent 
1945   With strengthe of men, and comen sone, 
1946   And as hem thoghte it was to done,  
1947   Atteint thei were be the lawe 
1948   And diemed forto honge and drawe,
1949   And brent and with the wynd toblowe,
1950   That al the world it myhte knowe:
1951   And upon this condicion 
1952   The dom in execucion 
1953   Was put anon withoute faile.  
1954   And every man hath gret mervaile,  
1955   Which herde tellen of this chance,  
1956   And thonketh goddes pourveance,  
1957   Which doth mercy forth with justice.
1958   Slain is the moerdrer and moerdrice 
1959   Thurgh verray trowthe of rihtwisnesse, 
1960   And thurgh mercy sauf is simplesse  
1961   Of hire whom mercy preserveth;
1962   Thus hath he wel that wel deserveth.
1963   Whan al this thing is don and ended,
1964   This king, which loved was and frended,
1965   A lettre hath, which cam to him  
1966   Be Schipe fro Pentapolim,  
1967   Be which the lond hath to him write,
1968   That he wolde understonde and wite  
1969   Hou in good mynde and in good pes
1970   Ded is the king Artestrates,  
1971   Wherof thei alle of on acord  
1972   Him preiden, as here liege lord, 
1973   That he the lettre wel conceive  
1974   And come his regne to receive,
1975   Which god hath yove him and fortune;
1976   And thus besoghte the commune 
1977   Forth with the grete lordes alle.
1978   This king sih how it was befalle,
1979   Fro Tharse and in prosperite  
1980   He tok his leve of that Cite  
1981   And goth him into Schipe ayein:  
1982   The wynd was good, the See was plein,  
1983   Hem nedeth noght a Riff to slake,
1984   Til thei Pentapolim have take.
1985   The lond, which herde of that tidinge, 
1986   Was wonder glad of his cominge;  
1987   He resteth him a day or tuo
1988   And tok his conseil to him tho,  
1989   And sette a time of Parlement,
1990   Wher al the lond of on assent 
1991   Forth with his wif hath him corouned,
1992   Wher alle goode him was fuisouned.  
1993   Lo, what it is to be wel grounded:  
1994   For he hath ferst his love founded  
1995   Honesteliche as forto wedde,  
1996   Honesteliche his love he spedde  
1997   And hadde children with his wif, 
1998   And as him liste he ladde his lif;  
1999   And in ensample his lif was write,  
2000   That alle lovers myhten wite  
2001   How ate laste it schal be sene
2002   Of love what thei wolden mene.
2003   For se now on that other side,
2004   Antiochus with al his Pride,  
2005   Which sette his love unkindely,  
2006   His ende he hadde al sodeinly,
2007   Set ayein kinde upon vengance,
2008   And for his lust hath his penance.  
2009   Lo thus, mi Sone, myht thou liere
2010   What is to love in good manere,  
2011   And what to love in other wise:  
2012   The mede arist of the servise;
2013   Fortune, thogh sche be noght stable,
2014   Yit at som time is favorable  
2015   To hem that ben of love trewe.
2016   Bot certes it is forto rewe
2017   To se love ayein kinde falle, 
2018   For that makth sore a man to falle, 
2019   As thou myht of tofore rede.  
2020   Forthi, my Sone, I wolde rede 
2021   To lete al other love aweie,  
2022   Bot if it be thurgh such a weie  
2023   As love and reson wolde acorde.  
2024   For elles, if that thou descorde,
2025   And take lust as doth a beste,
2026   Thi love mai noght ben honeste;  
2027   For be no skile that I finde
2028   Such lust is noght of loves kinde.  
2029   Mi fader, hou so that it stonde, 
2030   Youre tale is herd and understonde, 
2031   As thing which worthi is to hiere,  
2032   Of gret ensample and gret matiere,  
2033   Wherof, my fader, god you quyte. 
2034   Bot in this point miself aquite  
2035   I mai riht wel, that nevere yit  
2036   I was assoted in my wit,
2037   Bot only in that worthi place 
2038   Wher alle lust and alle grace 
2039   Is set, if that danger ne were.  
2040   Bot that is al my moste fere: 
2041   I not what ye fortune acompte,
2042   Bot what thing danger mai amonte 
2043   I wot wel, for I have assaied;
2044   For whan myn herte is best arraied  
2045   And I have al my wit thurghsoght 
2046   Of love to beseche hire oght, 
2047   For al that evere I skile may,
2048   I am concluded with a nay: 
2049   That o sillable hath overthrowe  
2050   A thousend wordes on a rowe
2051   Of suche as I best speke can; 
2052   Thus am I bot a lewed man. 
2053   Bot, fader, for ye ben a clerk
2054   Of love, and this matiere is derk,  
2055   And I can evere leng the lasse,  
2056   Bot yit I mai noght let it passe,
2057   Youre hole conseil I beseche, 
2058   That ye me be som weie teche  
2059   What is my beste, as for an ende.
2060   Mi Sone, unto the trouthe wende  
2061   Now wol I for the love of thee,  
2062   And lete alle othre truffles be. 
2063   The more that the nede is hyh,
2064   The more it nedeth to be slyh  
2065   To him which hath the nede on honde.
2066   I have wel herd and understonde, 
2067   Mi Sone, al that thou hast me seid, 
2068   And ek of that thou hast me preid,  
2069   Nou at this time that I schal 
2070   As for conclusioun final
2071   Conseile upon thi nede sette: 
2072   So thenke I finaly to knette  
2073   This cause, where it is tobroke, 
2074   And make an ende of that is spoke.  
2075   For I behihte thee that yifte 
2076   Ferst whan thou come under my schrifte,
2077   That thogh I toward Venus were,  
2078   Yit spak I suche wordes there,
2079   That for the Presthod which I have, 
2080   Min ordre and min astat to save, 
2081   I seide I wolde of myn office 
2082   To vertu more than to vice 
2083   Encline, and teche thee mi lore. 
2084   Forthi to speken overmore  
2085   Of love, which thee mai availe,  
2086   Tak love where it mai noght faile:  
2087   For as of this which thou art inne, 
2088   Be that thou seist it is a Sinne,
2089   And Sinne mai no pris deserve,
2090   Withoute pris and who schal serve,  
2091   I not what profit myhte availe.  
2092   Thus folweth it, if thou travaile,  
2093   Wher thou no profit hast ne pris,
2094   Thou art toward thiself unwis:
2095   And sett thou myhtest lust atteigne,
2096   Of every lust thende is a peine, 
2097   And every peine is good to fle;  
2098   So it is wonder thing to se,  
2099   Why such a thing schal be desired.
2100   The more that a Stock is fyred,  
2101   The rathere into Aisshe it torneth; 
2102   The fot which in the weie sporneth  
2103   Fulofte his heved hath overthrowe;  
2104   Thus love is blind and can noght knowe 
2105   Wher that he goth, til he be falle: 
2106   Forthi, bot if it so befalle  
2107   With good conseil that he be lad,
2108   Him oghte forto ben adrad. 
2109   For conseil passeth alle thing
2110   To him which thenkth to ben a king; 
2111   And every man for his partie  
2112   A kingdom hath to justefie,
2113   That is to sein his oghne dom.
2114   If he misreule that kingdom,  
2115   He lest himself, and that is more
2116   Than if he loste Schip and Ore
2117   And al the worldes good withal:  
2118   For what man that in special  
2119   Hath noght himself, he hath noght elles,  
2120   Nomor the perles than the schelles; 
2121   Al is to him of o value:
2122   Thogh he hadde at his retenue 
2123   The wyde world ryht as he wolde, 
2124   Whan he his herte hath noght withholde 
2125   Toward himself, al is in vein.
2126   And thus, my Sone, I wolde sein, 
2127   As I seide er, that thou aryse,  
2128   Er that thou falle in such a wise
2129   That thou ne myht thiself rekevere; 
2130   For love, which that blind was evere,  
2131   Makth alle his servantz blinde also.
2132   My Sone, and if thou have be so, 
2133   Yit is it time to withdrawe,  
2134   And set thin herte under that lawe, 
2135   The which of reson is governed
2136   And noght of will. And to be lerned,
2137   Ensamples thou hast many on 
2138   Of now and ek of time gon, 
2139   That every lust is bot a while;  
2140   And who that wole himself beguile,  
2141   He may the rathere be deceived.  
2142   Mi Sone, now thou hast conceived 
2143   Somwhat of that I wolde mene; 
2144   Hierafterward it schal be sene
2145   If that thou lieve upon mi lore; 
2146   For I can do to thee nomore
2147   Bot teche thee the rihte weie:
2148   Now ches if thou wolt live or deie. 
2149   Mi fader, so as I have herd
2150   Your tale, bot it were ansuerd,  
2151   I were mochel forto blame. 
2152   Mi wo to you is bot a game,
2153   That fielen noght of that I fiele;  
2154   The fielinge of a mannes Hiele
2155   Mai noght be likned to the Herte:
2156   I mai noght, thogh I wolde, asterte,
2157   And ye be fre from al the peine  
2158   Of love, wherof I me pleigne. 
2159   It is riht esi to comaunde;
2160   The hert which fre goth on the launde  
2161   Not of an Oxe what him eileth;
2162   It falleth ofte a man merveileth 
2163   Of that he seth an other fare,
2164   Bot if he knewe himself the fare,
2165   And felt it as it is in soth, 
2166   He scholde don riht as he doth,  
2167   Or elles werse in his degre:  
2168   For wel I wot, and so do ye,  
2169   That love hath evere yit ben used,  
2170   So mot I nedes ben excused.
2171   Bot, fader, if ye wolde thus  
2172   Unto Cupide and to Venus
2173   Be frendlich toward mi querele,  
2174   So that myn herte were in hele 
2175   Of love which is in mi briest,
2176   I wot wel thanne a betre Prest
2177   Was nevere mad to my behove.  
2178   Bot al the whiles that I hove 
2179   In noncertein betwen the tuo, 
2180   And not if I to wel or wo  
2181   Schal torne, that is al my drede,
2182   So that I not what is to rede.
2183   Bot for final conclusion
2184   I thenke a Supplicacion 
2185   With pleine wordes and expresse  
2186   Wryte unto Venus the goddesse,
2187   The which I preie you to bere 
2188   And bringe ayein a good ansuere. 
2189   Tho was betwen mi Prest and me
2190   Debat and gret perplexete: 
2191   Mi resoun understod him wel,  
2192   And knew it was sothe everydel
2193   That he hath seid, bot noght forthi 
2194   Mi will hath nothing set therby. 
2195   For techinge of so wis a port 
2196   Is unto love of no desport;
2197   Yit myhte nevere man beholde  
2198   Reson, wher love was withholde,  
2199   Thei be noght of o governance.
2200   And thus we fellen in distance,  
2201   Mi Prest and I, bot I spak faire,
2202   And thurgh mi wordes debonaire
2203   Thanne ate laste we acorden,  
2204   So that he seith he wol recorden 
2205   To speke and stonde upon mi syde 
2206   To Venus bothe and to Cupide; 
2207   And bad me wryte what I wolde,
2208   And seith me trewly that he scholde 
2209   Mi lettre bere unto the queene.  
2210   And I sat doun upon the grene  
2211   Fulfilt of loves fantasie, 
2212   And with the teres of myn ije 
2213   In stede of enke I gan to wryte  
2214   The wordes whiche I wolde endite 
2215   Unto Cupide and to Venus,  
2216   And in mi lettre I seide thus.
2217   The wofull peine of loves maladie,  
2218   Ayein the which mai no phisique availe,
2219   Min herte hath so bewhaped with sotie, 
2220   That wher so that I reste or I travaile,  
2221   I finde it evere redy to assaile 
2222   Mi resoun, which that can him noght defende: 
2223   Thus seche I help, wherof I mihte amende. 
2224   Ferst to Nature if that I me compleigne,  
2225   Ther finde I hou that every creature
2226   Som time ayer hath love in his demeine,
2227   So that the litel wrenne in his mesure 
2228   Hath yit of kinde a love under his cure;  
2229   And I bot on desire, of which I misse: 
2230   And thus, bot I, hath every kinde his blisse.
2231   The resoun of my wit it overpasseth,
2232   Of that Nature techeth me the weie  
2233   To love, and yit no certein sche compasseth  
2234   Hou I schal spede, and thus betwen the tweie 
2235   I stonde, and not if I schal live or deie.
2236   For thogh reson ayein my will debate,  
2237   I mai noght fle, that I ne love algate.
2238   Upon miself is thilke tale come, 
2239   Hou whilom Pan, which is the god of kinde,
2240   With love wrastlede and was overcome:  
2241   For evere I wrastle and evere I am behinde,  
2242   That I no strengthe in al min herte finde,
2243   Wherof that I mai stonden eny throwe;  
2244   So fer mi wit with love is overthrowe.  
2245   Whom nedeth help, he mot his helpe crave, 
2246   Or helpeles he schal his nede spille:  
2247   Pleinly thurghsoght my wittes alle I have,
2248   Bot non of hem can helpe after mi wille;  
2249   And als so wel I mihte sitte stille,
2250   As preie unto mi lady eny helpe: 
2251   Thus wot I noght wherof miself to helpe.  
2252   Unto the grete Jove and if I bidde, 
2253   To do me grace of thilke swete tunne,  
2254   Which under keie in his celier amidde  
2255   Lith couched, that fortune is overrunne,  
2256   Bot of the bitter cuppe I have begunne,
2257   I not hou ofte, and thus finde I no game; 
2258   For evere I axe and evere it is the same. 
2259   I se the world stonde evere upon eschange,
2260   Nou wyndes loude, and nou the weder softe;
2261   I mai sen ek the grete mone change, 
2262   And thing which nou is lowe is eft alofte;
2263   The dredfull werres into pes fulofte
2264   Thei torne; and evere is Danger in o place,  
2265   Which wol noght change his will to do me grace. 
2266   Bot upon this the grete clerc Ovide,
2267   Of love whan he makth his remembrance, 
2268   He seith ther is the blinde god Cupide,
2269   The which hath love under his governance, 
2270   And in his hond with many a fyri lance 
2271   He woundeth ofte, ther he wol noght hele; 
2272   And that somdiel is cause of mi querele.  
2273   Ovide ek seith that love to parforne
2274   Stant in the hond of Venus the goddesse,  
2275   Bot whan sche takth hir conseil with Satorne,
2276   Ther is no grace, and in that time, I gesse, 
2277   Began mi love, of which myn hevynesse  
2278   Is now and evere schal, bot if I spede:
2279   So wot I noght miself what is to rede.  
2280   Forthi to you, Cupide and Venus bothe, 
2281   With al myn hertes obeissance I preie, 
2282   If ye were ate ferste time wrothe,  
2283   Whan I began to love, as I you seie,
2284   Nou stynt, and do thilke infortune aweie, 
2285   So that Danger, which stant of retenue 
2286   With my ladi, his place mai remue.  
2287   O thou Cupide, god of loves lawe,
2288   That with thi Dart brennende hast set afyre  
2289   Min herte, do that wounde be withdrawe,
2290   Or yif me Salve such as I desire:
2291   For Service in thi Court withouten hyre
2292   To me, which evere yit have kept thin heste, 
2293   Mai nevere be to loves lawe honeste.
2294   O thou, gentile Venus, loves queene,
2295   Withoute gult thou dost on me thi wreche; 
2296   Thou wost my peine is evere aliche grene  
2297   For love, and yit I mai it noght areche:  
2298   This wold I for my laste word beseche, 
2299   That thou mi love aquite as I deserve, 
2300   Or elles do me pleinly forto sterve.
2301   Whanne I this Supplicacioun
2302   With good deliberacioun,
2303   In such a wise as ye nou wite,
2304   Hadde after min entente write 
2305   Unto Cupide and to Venus,  
2306   This Prest which hihte Genius 
2307   It tok on honde to presente,  
2308   On my message and forth he wente 
2309   To Venus, forto wite hire wille. 
2310   And I bod in the place stille,
2311   And was there bot a litel while, 
2312   Noght full the montance of a Mile,  
2313   Whan I behield and sodeinly
2314   I sih wher Venus stod me by.  
2315   So as I myhte, under a tre  
2316   To grounde I fell upon mi kne,
2317   And preide hire forto do me grace:  
2318   Sche caste hire chiere upon mi face,
2319   And as it were halvinge a game
2320   Sche axeth me what is mi name.
2321   "Ma dame," I seide, "John Gower."
2322   "Now John," quod sche, "in my pouer 
2323   Thou most as of thi love stonde; 
2324   For I thi bille have understonde,
2325   In which to Cupide and to me  
2326   Somdiel thou hast compleigned thee, 
2327   And somdiel to Nature also.
2328   Bot that schal stonde among you tuo,
2329   For therof have I noght to done; 
2330   For Nature is under the Mone  
2331   Maistresse of every lives kinde, 
2332   Bot if so be that sche mai finde 
2333   Som holy man that wol withdrawe  
2334   His kindly lust ayein hir lawe;  
2335   Bot sielde whanne it falleth so, 
2336   For fewe men ther ben of tho, 
2337   Bot of these othre ynowe be,  
2338   Whiche of here oghne nycete
2339   Ayein Nature and hire office  
2340   Deliten hem in sondri vice,
2341   Wherof that sche fulofte hath pleigned,
2342   And ek my Court it hath desdeigned  
2343   And evere schal; for it receiveth
2344   Non such that kinde so deceiveth.
2345   For al onliche of gentil love 
2346   Mi court stant alle courtz above 
2347   And takth noght into retenue  
2348   Bot thing which is to kinde due, 
2349   For elles it schal be refused.
2350   Wherof I holde thee excused,  
2351   For it is manye daies gon,
2352   That thou amonges hem were on 
2353   Which of my court hast ben withholde;  
2354   So that the more I am beholde 
2355   Of thi desese to commune,  
2356   And to remue that fortune, 
2357   Which manye daies hath the grieved. 
2358   Bot if my conseil mai be lieved, 
2359   Thou schalt ben esed er thou go  
2360   Of thilke unsely jolif wo, 
2361   Wherof thou seist thin herte is fyred: 
2362   Bot as of that thou hast desired 
2363   After the sentence of thi bille, 
2364   Thou most therof don at my wille,
2365   And I therof me wole avise.
2366   For be thou hol, it schal suffise:  
2367   Mi medicine is noght to sieke 
2368   For thee and for suche olde sieke,  
2369   Noght al per chance as ye it wolden,
2370   Bot so as ye be reson scholden,  
2371   Acordant unto loves kinde. 
2372   For in the plit which I thee finde, 
2373   So as mi court it hath awarded,  
2374   Thou schalt be duely rewarded;
2375   And if thou woldest more crave,  
2376   It is no riht that thou it have." 
2377   Venus, which stant withoute lawe 
2378   In noncertein, bot as men drawe  
2379   Of Rageman upon the chance,
2380   Sche leith no peis in the balance,  
2381   Bot as hir lyketh forto weie; 
2382   The trewe man fulofte aweie
2383   Sche put, which hath hir grace bede,
2384   And set an untrewe in his stede. 
2385   Lo, thus blindly the world sche diemeth
2386   In loves cause, as tome siemeth: 
2387   I not what othre men wol sein,
2388   Bot I algate am so besein, 
2389   And stonde as on amonges alle 
2390   Which am out of hir grace falle: 
2391   It nedeth take no witnesse,
2392   For sche which seid is the goddesse,
2393   To whether part of love it wende,
2394   Hath sett me for a final ende 
2395   The point wherto that I schal holde.
2396   For whan sche hath me wel beholde,  
2397   Halvynge of scorn, sche seide thus: 
2398   "Thou wost wel that I am Venus,  
2399   Which al only my lustes seche;
2400   And wel I wot, thogh thou beseche
2401   Mi love, lustes ben ther none,
2402   Whiche I mai take in thi persone;
2403   For loves lust and lockes hore
2404   In chambre acorden neveremore,
2405   And thogh thou feigne a yong corage,
2406   It scheweth wel be the visage 
2407   That olde grisel is no fole:  
2408   There ben fulmanye yeres stole
2409   With thee and with suche othre mo,  
2410   That outward feignen youthe so 
2411   And ben withinne of pore assay.  
2412   Min herte wolde and I ne may  
2413   Is noght beloved nou adayes;  
2414   Er thou make eny suche assaies
2415   To love, and faile upon the fet, 
2416   Betre is to make a beau retret;  
2417   For thogh thou myhtest love atteigne,  
2418   Yit were it bot an ydel peine,
2419   Whan that thou art noght sufficant  
2420   To holde love his covenant.
2421   Forthi tak hom thin herte ayein, 
2422   That thou travaile noght in vein,
2423   Wherof my Court may be deceived. 
2424   I wot and have it wel conceived, 
2425   Hou that thi will is good ynowh; 
2426   Bot mor behoveth to the plowh,
2427   Wherof the lacketh, as I trowe:  
2428   So sitte it wel that thou beknowe
2429   Thi fieble astat, er thou beginne
2430   Thing wher thou miht non ende winne.
2431   What bargain scholde a man assaie,  
2432   Whan that him lacketh forto paie?
2433   Mi Sone, if thou be wel bethoght,
2434   This toucheth thee; foryet it noght:
2435   The thing is torned into was; 
2436   That which was whilom grene gras,
2437   Is welked hey at time now. 
2438   Forthi mi conseil is that thou
2439   Remembre wel hou thou art old."  
2440   Whan Venus hath hir tale told,
2441   And I bethoght was al aboute, 
2442   Tho wiste I wel withoute doute,  
2443   That ther was no recoverir;
2444   And as a man the blase of fyr 
2445   With water quencheth, so ferd I;  
2446   A cold me cawhte sodeinly, 
2447   For sorwe that myn herte made 
2448   Mi dedly face pale and fade
2449   Becam, and swoune I fell to grounde.
2450   And as I lay the same stounde,
2451   Ne fully quik ne fully ded,
2452   Me thoghte I sih tofor myn hed
2453   Cupide with his bowe bent, 
2454   And lich unto a Parlement, 
2455   Which were ordeigned for the nones, 
2456   With him cam al the world at ones
2457   Of gentil folk that whilom were  
2458   Lovers, I sih hem alle there  
2459   Forth with Cupide in sondri routes. 
2460   Min yhe and as I caste aboutes,  
2461   To knowe among hem who was who,  
2462   I sih wher lusty Youthe tho,  
2463   As he which was a Capitein,
2464   Tofore alle othre upon the plein 
2465   Stod with his route wel begon,
2466   Here hevedes kempt, and therupon 
2467   Garlandes noght of o colour,  
2468   Some of the lef, some of the flour, 
2469   And some of grete Perles were;
2470   The newe guise of Beawme there,  
2471   With sondri thinges wel devised, 
2472   I sih, wherof thei ben queintised.  
2473   It was al lust that thei with ferde,
2474   Ther was no song that I ne herde,
2475   Which unto love was touchende;
2476   Of Pan and al that was likende
2477   As in Pipinge of melodie
2478   Was herd in thilke compaignie 
2479   So lowde, that on every side  
2480   It thoghte as al the hevene cride
2481   In such acord and such a soun 
2482   Of bombard and of clarion  
2483   With Cornemuse and Schallemele,
2484   That it was half a mannes hele
2485   So glad a noise forto hiere.  
2486   And as me thoghte, in this manere
2487   Al freissh I syh hem springe and dance,
2488   And do to love her entendance 
2489   After the lust of youthes heste. 
2490   Ther was ynowh of joie and feste,
2491   For evere among thei laghe and pleie,  
2492   And putten care out of the weie, 
2493   That he with hem ne sat ne stod. 
2494   And overthis I understod,  
2495   So as myn Ere it myhte areche,
2496   The moste matiere of her speche  
2497   Was al of knyhthod and of Armes, 
2498   And what it is to ligge in armes 
2499   With love, whanne it is achieved.
2500   Ther was Tristram, which was believed  
2501   With bele Ysolde, and Lancelot
2502   Stod with Gunnore, and Galahot
2503   With his ladi, and as me thoghte,
2504   I syh wher Jason with him broghte
2505   His love, which that Creusa hihte,  
2506   And Hercules, which mochel myhte,
2507   Was ther berende his grete Mace, 
2508   And most of alle in thilke place 
2509   He peyneth him to make chiere 
2510   With Eolen, which was him diere. 
2511   Theses, thogh he were untrewe  
2512   To love, as alle wommen knewe,
2513   Yit was he there natheles  
2514   With Phedra, whom to love he ches:  
2515   Of Grece ek ther was Thelamon,
2516   Which fro the king Lamenedon  
2517   At Troie his doghter refte aweie,
2518   Eseonen, as for his preie, 
2519   Which take was whan Jason cam 
2520   Fro Colchos, and the Cite nam 
2521   In vengance of the ferste hate;  
2522   That made hem after to debate, 
2523   Whan Priamus the newe toun 
2524   Hath mad. And in avisioun  
2525   Me thoghte that I sih also 
2526   Ector forth with his brethren tuo;  
2527   Himself stod with Pantaselee, 
2528   And next to him I myhte se,
2529   Wher Paris stod with faire Eleine,  
2530   Which was his joie sovereine; 
2531   And Troilus stod with Criseide,  
2532   Bot evere among, althogh he pleide, 
2533   Be semblant he was hevy chiered, 
2534   For Diomede, as him was liered,  
2535   Cleymeth to ben his parconner.
2536   And thus full many a bacheler,
2537   A thousend mo than I can sein,
2538   With Yowthe I sih ther wel besein
2539   Forth with here loves glade and blithe.
2540   And some I sih whiche ofte sithe 
2541   Compleignen hem in other wise;
2542   Among the whiche I syh Narcise
2543   And Piramus, that sory were.  
2544   The worthy Grek also was there,  
2545   Achilles, which for love deide:  
2546   Agamenon ek, as men seide, 
2547   And Menelay the king also  
2548   I syh, with many an other mo, 
2549   Which hadden be fortuned sore 
2550   In loves cause. And overmore  
2551   Of wommen in the same cas, 
2552   With hem I sih wher Dido was, 
2553   Forsake which was with Enee;  
2554   And Phillis ek I myhte see,
2555   Whom Demephon deceived hadde; 
2556   And Adriagne hir sorwe ladde, 
2557   For Theses hir Soster tok
2558   And hire unkindely forsok. 
2559   I sih ther ek among the press 
2560   Compleignende upon Hercules 
2561   His ferste love Deyanire,  
2562   Which sette him afterward afyre: 
2563   Medea was there ek and pleigneth 
2564   Upon Jason, for that he feigneth,
2565   Withoute cause and tok a newe;
2566   Sche seide, "Fy on alle untrewe!"
2567   I sih there ek Deijdamie,  
2568   Which hadde lost the compaignie  
2569   Of Achilles, whan Diomede  
2570   To Troie him fette upon the nede.
2571   Among these othre upon the grene 
2572   I syh also the wofull queene  
2573   Cleopatras, which in a Cave
2574   With Serpentz hath hirself begrave  
2575   Alquik, and so sche was totore,  
2576   For sorwe of that sche hadde lore
2577   Antonye, which hir love hath be: 
2578   And forth with hire I sih Tisbee,
2579   Which on the scharpe swerdes point  
2580   For love deide in sory point; 
2581   And as myn Ere it myhte knowe,
2582   Sche seide, "Wo worthe alle slowe!" 
2583   The pleignte of Progne and Philomene
2584   Ther herde I what it wolde mene, 
2585   How Teres of his untrouthe  
2586   Undede hem bothe, and that was routhe; 
2587   And next to hem I sih Canace, 
2588   Which for Machaire hir fader grace  
2589   Hath lost, and deide in wofull plit.
2590   And as I sih in my spirit, 
2591   Me thoghte amonges othre thus 
2592   The doghter of king Priamus,  
2593   Polixena, whom Pirrus slowh,  
2594   Was there and made sorwe ynowh,  
2595   As sche which deide gulteles  
2596   For love, and yit was loveles.
2597   And forto take the desport,
2598   I sih there some of other port,
2599   And that was Circes and Calipse, 
2600   That cowthen do the Mone eclipse,
2601   Of men and change the liknesses, 
2602   Of Artmagique Sorceresses; 
2603   Thei hielde in honde manyon,  
2604   To love wher thei wolde or non.  
2605   Bot above alle that ther were 
2606   Of wommen I sih foure there,  
2607   Whos name I herde most comended: 
2608   Be hem the Court stod al amended;
2609   For wher thei comen in presence, 
2610   Men deden hem the reverence,  
2611   As thogh they hadden be goddesses,  
2612   Of al this world or Emperesses.  
2613   And as me thoghte, an Ere I leide,  
2614   And herde hou that these othre seide,  
2615   "Lo, these ben the foure wyves,  
2616   Whos feith was proeved in her lyves:
2617   For in essample of alle goode 
2618   With Mariage so thei stode,
2619   That fame, which no gret thing hydeth, 
2620   Yit in Cronique of hem abydeth." 
2621   Penolope that on was hote, 
2622   Whom many a knyht hath loved hote,  
2623   Whil that hire lord Ulixes lay
2624   Full many a yer and many a day
2625   Upon the grete Siege of Troie:
2626   Bot sche, which hath no worldes joie
2627   Bot only of hire housebonde,  
2628   Whil that hir lord was out of londe,
2629   So wel hath kept hir wommanhiede,
2630   That al the world therof tok hiede, 
2631   And nameliche of hem in Grece.
2632   That other womman was Lucrece,
2633   Wif to the Romain Collatin;
2634   And sche constreigned of Tarquin 
2635   To thing which was ayein hir wille, 
2636   Sche wolde noght hirselven stille,  
2637   Bot deide only for drede of schame
2638   In keping of hire goode name, 
2639   As sche which was on of the beste.  
2640   The thridde wif was hote Alceste,
2641   Which whanne Ametus scholde dye  
2642   Upon his grete maladye, 
2643   Sche preide unto the goddes so,  
2644   That sche receyveth al the wo 
2645   And deide hirself to yive him lif:  
2646   Lo, if this were a noble wif. 
2647   The ferthe wif which I ther sih, 
2648   I herde of hem that were nyh  
2649   Hou sche was cleped Alcione,  
2650   Which to Seyix hir lord al one
2651   And to nomo hire body kepte;  
2652   And whan sche sih him dreynt, sche lepte  
2653   Into the wawes where he swam, 
2654   And there a Sefoul sche becam,
2655   And with hire wenges him bespradde  
2656   For love which to him sche hadde.
2657   Lo, these foure were tho
2658   Whiche I sih, as me thoghte tho, 
2659   Among the grete compaignie 
2660   Which Love hadde forto guye:  
2661   Bot Youthe, which in special  
2662   Of Loves Court was Mareschal, 
2663   So besy was upon his lay,  
2664   That he non hiede where I lay 
2665   Hath take. And thanne, as I behield,
2666   Me thoghte I sih upon the field, 
2667   Where Elde cam a softe pas 
2668   Toward Venus, ther as sche was.  
2669   With him gret compaignie he ladde,  
2670   Bot noght so manye as Youthe hadde: 
2671   The moste part were of gret Age, 
2672   And that was sene in the visage,  
2673   And noght forthi, so as thei myhte, 
2674   Thei made hem yongly to the sihte:  
2675   Bot yit herde I no pipe there 
2676   To make noise in mannes Ere,  
2677   Bot the Musette I myhte knowe,
2678   For olde men which souneth lowe, 
2679   With Harpe and Lute and with Citole.
2680   The hovedance and the Carole, 
2681   In such a wise as love hath bede,
2682   A softe pas thei dance and trede;
2683   And with the wommen otherwhile
2684   With sobre chier among thei smyle,  
2685   For laghtre was ther non on hyh. 
2686   And natheles full wel I syh
2687   That thei the more queinte it made  
2688   For love, in whom thei weren glade. 
2689   And there me thoghte I myhte se  
2690   The king David with Bersabee, 
2691   And Salomon was noght withoute;  
2692   Passende an hundred on a route
2693   Of wyves and of Concubines,
2694   Juesses bothe and Sarazines,  
2695   To him I sih alle entendant:  
2696   I not if he was sufficant, 
2697   Bot natheles for al his wit
2698   He was attached with that writ
2699   Which love with his hond enseleth,  
2700   Fro whom non erthly man appeleth.
2701   And overthis, as for a wonder,
2702   With his leon which he put under,
2703   With Dalida Sampson I knew,
2704   Whos love his strengthe al overthrew.  
2705   I syh there Aristotle also,
2706   Whom that the queene of Grece so 
2707   Hath bridled, that in thilke time 
2708   Sche made him such a Silogime,
2709   That he foryat al his logique;
2710   Ther was non art of his Practique,  
2711   Thurgh which it mihte ben excluded  
2712   That he ne was fully concluded
2713   To love, and dede his obeissance.
2714   And ek Virgile of aqueintance 
2715   I sih, wher he the Maiden preide,
2716   Which was the doghter, as men seide,
2717   Of themperour whilom of Rome; 
2718   Sortes and Plato with him come,  
2719   So dede Ovide the Poete.
2720   I thoghte thanne how love is swete, 
2721   Which hath so wise men reclamed, 
2722   And was miself the lasse aschamed,  
2723   Or forto lese or forto winne  
2724   In the meschief that I was inne: 
2725   And thus I lay in hope of grace. 
2726   And whan thei comen to the place 
2727   Wher Venus stod and I was falle, 
2728   These olde men with o vois alle  
2729   To Venus preiden for my sake. 
2730   And sche, that myhte noght forsake  
2731   So gret a clamour as was there,  
2732   Let Pite come into hire Ere;  
2733   And forth withal unto Cupide  
2734   Sche preith that he upon his side
2735   Me wolde thurgh his grace sende  
2736   Som confort, that I myhte amende,
2737   Upon the cas which is befalle.
2738   And thus for me thei preiden alle
2739   Of hem that weren olde aboute,
2740   And ek some of the yonge route,  
2741   Of gentilesse and pure trouthe
2742   I herde hem telle it was gret routhe,  
2743   That I withouten help so ferde.  
2744   And thus me thoghte I lay and herde.
2745   Cupido, which may hurte and hele 
2746   In loves cause, as for myn hele
2747   Upon the point which him was preid  
2748   Cam with Venus, wher I was leid  
2749   Swounende upon the grene gras.
2750   And, as me thoghte , anon ther was  
2751   On every side so gret presse, 
2752   That every lif began to presse,  
2753   I wot noght wel hou many score,  
2754   Suche as I spak of now tofore,
2755   Lovers, that comen to beholde,
2756   Bot most of hem that weren olde: 
2757   Thei stoden there at thilke tyde,
2758   To se what ende schal betyde  
2759   Upon the cure of my sotie. 
2760   Tho myhte I hiere gret partie 
2761   Spekende, and ech his oghne avis 
2762   Hath told, on that, an other this:  
2763   Bot among alle this I herde,  
2764   Thei weren wo that I so ferde,
2765   And seiden that for no riote  
2766   An old man scholde noght assote; 
2767   For as thei tolden redely, 
2768   Ther is in him no cause why,  
2769   Bot if he wolde himself benyce;  
2770   So were he wel the more nyce. 
2771   And thus desputen some of tho,
2772   And some seiden nothing so,
2773   Bot that the wylde loves rage 
2774   In mannes lif forberth non Age;  
2775   Whil ther is oyle forto fyre, 
2776   The lampe is lyhtly set afyre,
2777   And is fulhard er it be queynt,  
2778   Bot only if it be som seint,  
2779   Which god preserveth of his grace.  
2780   And thus me thoghte, in sondri place
2781   Of hem that walken up and doun
2782   Ther was diverse opinioun: 
2783   And for a while so it laste,  
2784   Til that Cupide to the laste,  
2785   Forth with his moder full avised,
2786   Hath determined and devised
2787   Unto what point he wol descende. 
2788   And al this time I was liggende  
2789   Upon the ground tofore his yhen, 
2790   And thei that my desese syhen 
2791   Supposen noght I scholde live;
2792   Bot he, which wolde thanne yive  
2793   His grace, so as it mai be,
2794   This blinde god which mai noght se, 
2795   Hath groped til that he me fond; 
2796   And as he pitte forth his hond
2797   Upon my body, wher I lay,  
2798   Me thoghte a fyri Lancegay,
2799   Which whilom thurgh myn herte he caste,
2800   He pulleth oute, and also faste  
2801   As this was do, Cupide nam 
2802   His weie, I not where he becam,  
2803   And so dede al the remenant
2804   Which unto him was entendant, 
2805   Of hem that in Avision  
2806   I hadde a revelacion,
2807   So as I tolde now tofore.  
2808   Bot Venus wente noght therfore,  
2809   Ne Genius, whiche thilke time 
2810   Abiden bothe faste byme.
2811   And sche which mai the hertes bynde 
2812   In loves cause and ek unbinde,
2813   Er I out of mi trance aros,
2814   Venus, which hield a boiste clos,
2815   And wolde noght I scholde deie,  
2816   Tok out mor cold than eny keie
2817   An oignement, and in such point  
2818   Sche hath my wounded herte enoignt, 
2819   My temples and my Reins also. 
2820   And forth withal sche tok me tho 
2821   A wonder Mirour forto holde,
2822   In which sche bad me to beholde  
2823   And taken hiede of that I syhe;  
2824   Wherinne anon myn hertes yhe  
2825   I caste, and sih my colour fade, 
2826   Myn yhen dymme and al unglade,
2827   Mi chiekes thinne, and al my face
2828   With Elde I myhte se deface,  
2829   So riveled and so wo besein,  
2830   That ther was nothing full ne plein,
2831   I syh also myn heres hore. 
2832   Mi will was tho to se nomore  
2833   Outwith, for ther was no plesance;  
2834   And thanne into my remembrance
2835   I drowh myn olde daies passed,
2836   And as reson it hath compassed,  
2837   I made a liknesse of miselve  
2838   Unto the sondri Monthes twelve,  
2839   Wherof the yeer in his astat  
2840   Is mad, and stant upon debat, 
2841   That lich til other non acordeth.
2842   For who the times wel recordeth, 
2843   And thanne at Marche if he beginne, 
2844   Whan that the lusti yeer comth inne,
2845   Til Augst be passed and Septembre,  
2846   The myhty youthe he may remembre 
2847   In which the yeer hath his deduit
2848   Of gras, of lef, of flour, of fruit,
2849   Of corn and of the wyny grape.
2850   And afterward the time is schape 
2851   To frost, to Snow, to Wind, to Rein,
2852   Til eft that Mars be come ayein: 
2853   The Wynter wol no Somer knowe,
2854   The grene lef is overthrowe,  
2855   The clothed erthe is thanne bare,
2856   Despuiled is the Somerfare, 
2857   That erst was hete is thanne chele. 
2858   And thus thenkende thoghtes fele,
2859   I was out of mi swoune affraied, 
2860   Wherof I sih my wittes straied,  
2861   And gan to clepe hem hom ayein.  
2862   And whan Resoun it herde sein 
2863   That loves rage was aweie, 
2864   He cam to me the rihte weie,  
2865   And hath remued the sotie  
2866   Of thilke unwise fantasie, 
2867   Wherof that I was wont to pleigne,  
2868   So that of thilke fyri peine  
2869   I was mad sobre and hol ynowh.
2870   Venus behield me than and lowh,  
2871   And axeth, as it were in game,
2872   What love was. And I for schame  
2873   Ne wiste what I scholde ansuere; 
2874   And natheles I gan to swere
2875   That be my trouthe I knew him noght;
2876   So ferr it was out of mi thoght, 
2877   Riht as it hadde nevere be.
2878   "Mi goode Sone," tho quod sche,  
2879   "Now at this time I lieve it wel,
2880   So goth the fortune of my whiel; 
2881   Forthi mi conseil is thou leve." 
2882   "Ma dame," I seide, "be your leve,  
2883   Ye witen wel, and so wot I,
2884   That I am unbehovely 
2885   Your Court fro this day forth to serve:
2886   And for I may no thonk deserve,  
2887   And also for I am refused, 
2888   I preie you to ben excused.
2889   And natheles as for the laste,
2890   Whil that my wittes with me laste,  
2891   Touchende mi confession 
2892   I axe an absolucion  
2893   Of Genius, er that I go."
2894   The Prest anon was redy tho,  
2895   And seide, "Sone, as of thi schrifte
2896   Thou hast ful pardoun and foryifte; 
2897   Foryet it thou, and so wol I."
2898   "Min holi fader, grant mercy,"
2899   Quod I to him, and to the queene 
2900   I fell on knes upon the grene,
2901   And tok my leve forto wende.  
2902   Bot sche, that wolde make an ende,  
2903   As therto which I was most able, 
2904   A Peire of Bedes blak as Sable
2905   Sche tok and heng my necke aboute;  
2906   Upon the gaudes al withoute
2907   Was write of gold, Por reposer.  
2908   "Lo," thus sche seide, "John Gower, 
2909   Now thou art ate laste cast,  
2910   This have I for thin ese cast,
2911   That thou nomore of love sieche. 
2912   Bot my will is that thou besieche
2913   And preie hierafter for the pes, 
2914   And that thou make a plein reles 
2915   To love, which takth litel hiede 
2916   Of olde men upon the nede, 
2917   Whan that the lustes ben aweie:  
2918   Forthi to thee nys bot o weie,
2919   In which let reson be thi guide; 
2920   For he may sone himself misguide,
2921   That seth noght the peril tofore.
2922   Mi Sone, be wel war therfore, 
2923   And kep the sentence of my lore  
2924   And tarie thou mi Court nomore,  
2925   Bot go ther vertu moral duelleth,
2926   Wher ben thi bokes, as men telleth, 
2927   Whiche of long time thou hast write.
2928   For this I do thee wel to wite,  
2929   If thou thin hele wolt pourchace,
2930   Thou miht noght make suite and chace,
2931   Wher that the game is nought pernable; 
2932   It were a thing unresonable,  
2933   A man to be so overseie.
2934   Forthi tak hiede of that I seie; 
2935   For in the lawe of my comune  
2936   We be noght schape to comune, 
2937   Thiself and I, nevere after this.
2938   Now have y seid al that ther is  
2939   Of love as for thi final ende:
2940   Adieu, for y mot fro the wende." 
2941   And with that word al sodeinly,
2942   Enclosid in a sterred sky, 
2943   Venus, which is the qweene of love, 
2944   Was take in to hire place above, 
2945   More wiste y nought wher sche becam.
2946   And thus my leve of hire y nam,  
2947   And forth with al the same tide  
2948   Hire prest, which wolde nought abide,  
2949   Or be me lief or be me loth,  
2950   Out of my sighte forth he goth,  
2951   And y was left with outen helpe. 
2952   So wiste I nought wher of to yelpe, 
2953   Bot only that y hadde lore 
2954   My time, and was sori ther fore. 
2955   And thus bewhapid in my thought, 
2956   Whan al was turnyd in to nought, 
2957   I stod amasid for a while, 
2958   And in my self y gan to smyle 
2959   Thenkende uppon the bedis blake, 
2960   And how they weren me betake, 
2961   For that y schulde bidde and preie. 
2962   And whanne y sigh non othre weie 
2963   Bot only that y was refusid,  
2964   Unto the lif which y hadde usid  
2965   I thoughte nevere torne ayein:
2966   And in this wise, soth to seyn,  
2967   Homward a softe pas y wente,  
2968   Wher that with al myn hol entente 
2969   Uppon the point that y am schryve
2970   I thenke bidde whil y live.
2971   He which withinne daies sevene
2972   This large world forth with the hevene 
2973   Of his eternal providence  
2974   Hath mad, and thilke intelligence
2975   In mannys soule resonable  
2976   Hath schape to be perdurable, 
2977   Wherof the man of his feture  
2978   Above alle erthli creature 
2979   Aftir the soule is immortal,
2980   To thilke lord in special, 
2981   As he which is of alle thinges
2982   The creatour, and of the kynges  
2983   Hath the fortunes uppon honde,
2984   His grace and mercy forto fonde  
2985   Uppon my bare knes y preie,
2986   That he this lond in siker weie  
2987   Wol sette uppon good governance. 
2988   For if men takyn remembrance  
2989   What is to live in unite,  
2990   Ther ys no staat in his degree
2991   That noughte to desire pes,
2992   With outen which, it is no les,  
2993   To seche and loke in to the laste,  
2994   Ther may no worldes joye laste.  
2995   Ferst forto loke the Clergie, 
2996   Hem oughte wel to justefie 
2997   Thing which belongith to here cure, 
2998   As forto praie and to procure 
2999   Oure pes toward the hevene above,
3000   And ek to sette reste and love 
3001   Among ous on this erthe hiere.
3002   For if they wroughte in this manere 
3003   Aftir the reule of charite,
3004   I hope that men schuldyn se
3005   This lond amende. And ovyr this, 
3006   To seche and loke how that it is 
3007   Touchende of the chevalerie,  
3008   Which forto loke, in som partie  
3009   Is worthi forto be comendid,  
3010   And in som part to ben amendid,  
3011   That of here large retenue 
3012   The lond is ful of maintenue, 
3013   Which causith that the comune right 
3014   In fewe contrees stant upright.  
3015   Extorcioun, contekt, ravine
3016   Withholde ben of that covyne, 
3017   Aldai men hierin gret compleignte
3018   Of the desease, of the constreignte,
3019   Wher of the poeple is sore oppressid:
3020   God graunte it mote be redressid.
3021   For of knyghthode thordre wolde  
3022   That thei defende and kepe scholde  
3023   The comun right and the fraunchise  
3024   Of holy cherche in alle wise, 
3025   So that no wikke man it dere, 
3026   And ther fore servith scheld and spere:
3027   Bot for it goth now other weie,  
3028   Oure grace goth the more aweie.  
3029   And forto lokyn ovyrmore,  
3030   Wher of the poeple pleigneth sore,  
3031   Toward the lawis of oure lond,
3032   Men sein that trouthe hath broke his bond 
3033   And with brocage is goon aweie,  
3034   So that no man can se the weie
3035   Wher forto fynde rightwisnesse.  
3036   And if men sechin sikernesse  
3037   Uppon the lucre of marchandie,
3038   Compassement and tricherie 
3039   Of singuler profit to wynne,  
3040   Men seyn, is cause of mochil synne, 
3041   And namely of divisioun,
3042   Which many a noble worthi toun 
3043   Fro welthe and fro prosperite 
3044   Hath brought to gret adversite.  
3045   So were it good to ben al on, 
3046   For mechil grace ther uppon
3047   Unto the Citees schulde falle,
3048   Which myghte availle to ous alle,
3049   If these astatz amendid were, 
3050   So that the vertus stodyn there  
3051   And that the vices were aweie:
3052   Me thenkth y dorste thanne seie, 
3053   This londis grace schulde arise. 
3054   Bot yit to loke in othre wise,
3055   Ther is a stat, as ye schul hiere,  
3056   Above alle othre on erthe hiere, 
3057   Which hath the lond in his balance: 
3058   To him belongith the leiance  
3059   Of Clerk, of knyght, of man of lawe;
3060   Undir his hond al is forth drawe 
3061   The marchant and the laborer; 
3062   So stant it al in his power
3063   Or forto spille or forto save.
3064   Bot though that he such power have, 
3065   And that his myghtes ben so large,  
3066   He hath hem nought withouten charge,
3067   To which that every kyng ys swore:  
3068   So were it good that he ther fore 
3069   First un to rightwisnesse entende,  
3070   Wherof that he hym self amende
3071   Toward his god and leve vice, 
3072   Which is the chief of his office;
3073   And aftir al the remenant  
3074   He schal uppon his covenant
3075   Governe and lede in such a wise, 
3076   So that ther be no tirandise, 
3077   Wherof that he his poeple grieve,
3078   Or ellis may he nought achieve
3079   That longith to his regalie.  
3080   For if a kyng wol justifie 
3081   His lond and hem that beth withynne,
3082   First at hym self he mot begynne,
3083   To kepe and reule his owne astat,
3084   That in hym self be no debat  
3085   Toward his god: for othre wise
3086   Ther may non erthly kyng suffise 
3087   Of his kyngdom the folk to lede, 
3088   Bot he the kyng of hevene drede. 
3089   For what kyng sett hym uppon pride  
3090   And takth his lust on every side 
3091   And wil nought go the righte weie,  
3092   Though god his grace caste aweie 
3093   No wondir is, for ate laste
3094   He schal wel wite it mai nought laste, 
3095   The pompe which he secheth here.  
3096   Bot what kyng that with humble chere
3097   Aftir the lawe of god eschuieth  
3098   The vices, and the vertus suieth,
3099   His grace schal be suffisant  
3100   To governe al the remenant 
3101   Which longith to his duite;
3102   So that in his prosperite  
3103   The poeple schal nought ben oppressid, 
3104   Wherof his name schal be blessid,
3105   For evere and be memorial. 
3106   And now to speke as in final, 
3107   Touchende that y undirtok  
3108   In englesch forto make a book  
3109   Which stant betwene ernest and game,
3110   I have it maad as thilke same 
3111   Which axe forto ben excusid,  
3112   And that my bok be nought refusid
3113   Of lered men, whan thei it se,
3114   For lak of curiosite:
3115   For thilke scole of eloquence 
3116   Belongith nought to my science,  
3117   Uppon the forme of rethoriqe  
3118   My wordis forto peinte and pike, 
3119   As Tullius som tyme wrot.  
3120   Bot this y knowe and this y wot, 
3121   That y have do my trewe peyne 
3122   With rude wordis and with pleyne,
3123   In al that evere y couthe and myghte,  
3124   This bok to write as y behighte, 
3125   So as siknesse it soffre wolde;  
3126   And also for my daies olde, 
3127   That y am feble and impotent, 
3128   I wot nought how the world ys went. 
3129   So preye y to my lordis alle  
3130   Now in myn age, how so befalle,  
3131   That y mot stonden in here grace:
3132   For though me lacke to purchace  
3133   Here worthi thonk as by decerte, 
3134   Yit the symplesse of my poverte  
3135   Desireth forto do plesance 
3136   To hem undir whos governance  
3137   I hope siker to abide.  
3138   But now uppon my laste tide
3139   That y this book have maad and write,  
3140   My muse doth me forto wite,
3141   And seith it schal be for my beste  
3142   Fro this day forth to take reste,
3143   That y nomore of love make, 
3144   Which many an herte hath overtake,  
3145   And ovyrturnyd as the blynde  
3146   Fro reson in to lawe of kynde;
3147   Wher as the wisdom goth aweie 
3148   And can nought se the ryhte weie 
3149   How to governe his oghne estat,  
3150   Bot everydai stant in debat
3151   Withinne him self, and can nought leve.
3152   And thus forthy my final leve 
3153   I take now for evere more, 
3154   Withoute makynge any more, 
3155   Of love and of his dedly hele,
3156   Which no phisicien can hele.  
3157   For his nature is so divers,  
3158   That it hath evere som travers
3159   Or of to moche or of to lite, 
3160   That pleinly mai noman delite,
3161   Bot if him faile or that or this.
3162   Bot thilke love which that is 
3163   Withinne a mannes herte affermed,
3164   And stant of charite confermed,
3165   Such love is goodly forto have,  
3166   Such love mai the bodi save,  
3167   Such love mai the soule amende,  
3168   The hyhe god such love ous sende 
3169   Forthwith the remenant of grace; 
3170   So that above in thilke place 
3171   Wher resteth love and alle pes,  
3172   Oure joie mai ben endeles. 

Explicit iste liber, qui transeat, obsecro liber,
Vt sine liuore vigeat lectoris in ore.
Qui sedet in scannis celi det vt ista lohannis
Perpetuis annis stet pagina grata Britannis,
Derbeie Comiti, recolunt quem laude periti,
Vade liber purus, sub eo requiesce futurus.