The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Secundus: Part 2

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

1772  Anon it was at Rome knowe, 
1773  The pompe which that Perse ladde;
1774  And the Romeins that time hadde  
1775  A Consul, which was cleped thus  
1776  Be name, Paul Emilius,  
1777  A noble, a worthi kniht withalle;
1778  And he, which chief was of hem alle,
1779  This werre on honde hath undertake. 
1780  And whanne he scholde his leve take 
1781  Of a yong dowhter which was his, 
1782  Sche wepte, and he what cause it is 
1783  Hire axeth, and sche him ansuerde
1784  That Perse is ded; and he it herde, 
1785  And wondreth what sche meene wolde: 
1786  And sche upon childhode him tolde
1787  That Perse hir litel hound is ded.  
1788  With that he pulleth up his hed  
1789  And made riht a glad visage,  
1790  And seide how that was a presage 
1791  Touchende unto that other Perse, 
1792  Of that fortune him scholde adverse,
1793  He seith, for such a prenostik
1794  Most of an hound was to him lik: 
1795  For as it is an houndes kinde 
1796  To berke upon a man behinde,  
1797  Riht so behinde his brother bak  
1798  With false wordes whiche he spak 
1799  He hath do slain, and that is rowthe.  
1800  "Bot he which hateth alle untrowthe,
1801  The hihe god, it schal redresse; 
1802  For so my dowhter prophetesse     
1803  Forth with hir litel houndes deth
1804  Betokneth." And thus forth he geth  
1805  Conforted of this evidence,
1806  With the Romeins in his defence  
1807  Ayein the Greks that ben comende.
1808  This Perses, as noght seende
1809  This meschief which that him abod,  
1810  With al his multitude rod, 
1811  And prided him upon the thing,
1812  Of that he was become a king, 
1813  And how he hadde his regne gete; 
1814  Bot he hath al the riht foryete  
1815  Which longeth unto governance.
1816  Wherof thurgh goddes ordinance
1817  It fell, upon the wynter tide 
1818  That with his host he scholde ride  
1819  Over Danubie thilke flod,  
1820  Which al befrose thanne stod  
1821  So harde, that he wende wel
1822  To passe: bot the blinde whiel,  
1823  Which torneth ofte er men be war,
1824  Thilke ys which that the horsmen bar
1825  Tobrak, so that a gret partie 
1826  Was dreint; of the chivalerie 
1827  The rerewarde it tok aweie,
1828  Cam non of hem to londe dreie.
1829  Paulus the worthi kniht Romein
1830  Be his aspie it herde sein,
1831  And hasteth him al that he may,  
1832  So that upon that other day
1833  He cam wher he this host beheld, 
1834  And that was in a large feld, 
1835  Wher the Baneres ben desplaied.  
1836  He hath anon hise men arraied,
1837  And whan that he was embatailled,
1838  He goth and hath the feld assailed, 
1839  And slowh and tok al that he fond;  
1840  Wherof the Macedoyne lond,     
1841  Which thurgh king Alisandre honoured
1842  Long time stod, was tho devoured.
1843  To Perse and al that infortune
1844  Thei wyte, so that the comune 
1845  Of al the lond his heir exile;
1846  And he despeired for the while
1847  Desguised in a povere wede 
1848  To Rome goth, and ther for nede  
1849  The craft which thilke time was, 
1850  To worche in latoun and in bras, 
1851  He lerneth for his sustienance.  
1852  Such was the Sones pourveance,
1853  And of his fader it is seid,  
1854  In strong prisoun that he was leid  
1855  In Albe, wher that he was ded 
1856  For hunger and defalte of bred.  
1857  The hound was tokne and prophecie
1858  That lich an hound he scholde die,  
1859  Which lich was of condicioun, 
1860  Whan he with his detraccioun  
1861  Bark on his brother so behinde.  
1862  Lo, what profit a man mai finde, 
1863  Which hindre wole an other wiht. 
1864  Forthi with al thin hole miht,
1865  Mi Sone, eschuie thilke vice. 
1866  Mi fader, elles were I nyce:  
1867  For ye therof so wel have spoke, 
1868  That it is in myn herte loke  
1869  And evere schal: bot of Envie,
1870  If ther be more in his baillie
1871  Towardes love, sai me what.
1872  Mi Sone, as guile under the hat  
1873  With sleyhtes of a tregetour  
1874  Is hidd, Envie of such colour 
1875  Hath yit the ferthe deceivant,
1876  The which is cleped Falssemblant,
1877  Wherof the matiere and the forme 
1878  Now herkne and I thee schal enforme.    
1879  Of Falssemblant if I schal telle,
1880  Above alle othre it is the welle 
1881  Out of the which deceipte floweth.  
1882  Ther is noman so wys that knoweth
1883  Of thilke flod which is the tyde,
1884  Ne how he scholde himselven guide
1885  To take sauf passage there.
1886  And yit the wynd to mannes Ere
1887  Is softe, and as it semeth oute  
1888  It makth clier weder al aboute;  
1889  Bot thogh it seme, it is noght so.  
1890  For Falssemblant hath everemo 
1891  Of his conseil in compaignie  
1892  The derke untrewe Ypocrisie,  
1893  Whos word descordeth to his thoght: 
1894  Forthi thei ben togedre broght
1895  Of o covine, of on houshold,  
1896  As it schal after this be told.  
1897  Of Falssemblant it nedeth noght  
1898  To telle of olde ensamples oght; 
1899  For al dai in experience
1900  A man mai se thilke evidence  
1901  Of faire wordes whiche he hiereth;  
1902  Bot yit the barge Envie stiereth 
1903  And halt it evere fro the londe, 
1904  Wher Falssemblant with Ore on honde 
1905  It roweth, and wol noght arive,  
1906  Bot let it on the wawes dryve     
1907  In gret tempeste and gret debat, 
1908  Wherof that love and his astat
1909  Empeireth. And therfore I rede,  
1910  Mi Sone, that thou fle and drede 
1911  This vice, and what that othre sein,
1912  Let thi Semblant be trewe and plein.
1913  For Falssemblant is thilke vice, 
1914  Which nevere was withoute office:
1915  Wher that Envie thenkth to guile,
1916  He schal be for that ilke while  
1917  Of prive conseil Messagier.
1918  For whan his semblant is most clier,
1919  Thanne is he most derk in his thoght,  
1920  Thogh men him se, thei knowe him noght;
1921  Bot as it scheweth in the glas
1922  Thing which therinne nevere was, 
1923  So scheweth it in his visage  
1924  That nevere was in his corage:
1925  Thus doth he al his thing with sleyhte.
1926  Now ley thi conscience in weyhte,
1927  Mi goode Sone, and schrif the hier, 
1928  If thou were evere Custummer  
1929  To Falssemblant in eny wise.  
1930  For ought I can me yit avise, 
1931  Mi goode fader, certes no. 
1932  If I for love have oght do so,
1933  Now asketh, I wol praie yow:  
1934  For elles I wot nevere how 
1935  Of Falssemblant that I have gilt.
1936  Mi Sone, and sithen that thou wilt  
1937  That I schal axe, gabbe noght,
1938  Bot tell if evere was thi thoght 
1939  With Falssemblant and coverture  
1940  To wite of eny creature 
1941  How that he was with love lad;
1942  So were he sori, were he glad,
1943  Whan that thou wistest how it were, 
1944  Al that he rounede in thin Ere    
1945  Thou toldest forth in other place,  
1946  To setten him fro loves grace 
1947  Of what womman that thee beste liste,  
1948  Ther as noman his conseil wiste  
1949  Bot thou, be whom he was deceived
1950  Of love, and from his pourpos weyved;  
1951  And thoghtest that his destourbance 
1952  Thin oghne cause scholde avance, 
1953  As who saith, "I am so celee, 
1954  Ther mai no mannes privete 
1955  Be heled half so wel as myn." 
1956  Art thou, mi Sone, of such engin?
1957  Tell on. Mi goode fader, nay  
1958  As for the more part I say;
1959  Bot of somdiel I am beknowe,  
1960  That I mai stonde in thilke rowe 
1961  Amonges hem that Saundres use.
1962  I wol me noght therof excuse, 
1963  That I with such colour ne steyne,  
1964  Whan I my beste Semblant feigne  
1965  To my felawh, til that I wot  
1966  Al his conseil bothe cold and hot:  
1967  For be that cause I make him chiere,
1968  Til I his love knowe and hiere;  
1969  And if so be myn herte soucheth  
1970  That oght unto my ladi toucheth  
1971  Of love that he wol me telle, 
1972  Anon I renne unto the welle
1973  And caste water in the fyr,
1974  So that his carte amidd the Myr, 
1975  Be that I have his conseil knowe,
1976  Fulofte sithe I overthrowe,
1977  Whan that he weneth best to stonde. 
1978  Bot this I do you understonde,
1979  If that a man love elles where,  
1980  So that my ladi be noght there,  
1981  And he me telle, I wole it hide, 
1982  Ther schal no word ascape aside,     
1983  For with deceipte of no semblant 
1984  To him breke I no covenant;
1985  Me liketh noght in other place
1986  To lette noman of his grace,  
1987  Ne forto ben inquisitif 
1988  To knowe an other mannes lif: 
1989  Wher that he love or love noght, 
1990  That toucheth nothing to my thoght, 
1991  Bot al it passeth thurgh myn Ere 
1992  Riht as a thing that nevere were,
1993  And is foryete and leid beside.  
1994  Bot if it touche on eny side  
1995  Mi ladi, as I have er spoken, 
1996  Myn Eres ben noght thanne loken; 
1997  For certes, whanne that betitt,  
1998  My will, myn herte and al my witt
1999  Ben fully set to herkne and spire
2000  What eny man wol speke of hire.  
2001  Thus have I feigned compaignie
2002  Fulofte, for I wolde aspie 
2003  What thing it is that eny man 
2004  Telle of mi worthi lady can:  
2005  And for tuo causes I do this, 
2006  The ferste cause wherof is,-  
2007  If that I myhte ofherkne and seke
2008  That eny man of hire mispeke, 
2009  I wolde excuse hire so fully, 
2010  That whan sche wist in inderly,  
2011  Min hope scholde be the more  
2012  To have hir thank for everemore. 
2013  That other cause, I you assure,  
2014  Is, why that I be coverture
2015  Have feigned semblant ofte time  
2016  To hem that passen alday byme 
2017  And ben lovers als wel as I,  
2018  For this I weene trewely,  
2019  That ther is of hem alle non, 
2020  That thei ne loven everich on     
2021  Mi ladi: for sothliche I lieve
2022  And durste setten it in prieve,  
2023  Is non so wys that scholde asterte, 
2024  Bot he were lustles in his herte,
2025  Forwhy and he my ladi sihe,
2026  Hir visage and hir goodlych yhe, 
2027  Bot he hire lovede, er he wente. 
2028  And for that such is myn entente,
2029  That is the cause of myn aspie,  
2030  Why that I feigne compaignie  
2031  And make felawe overal; 
2032  For gladly wolde I knowen al  
2033  And holde me covert alway, 
2034  That I fulofte ye or nay
2035  Ne liste ansuere in eny wise, 
2036  Bot feigne semblant as the wise  
2037  And herkne tales, til I knowe 
2038  Mi ladi lovers al arowe.
2039  And whanne I hiere how thei have wroght,  
2040  I fare as thogh I herde it noght 
2041  And as I no word understode;  
2042  Bot that is nothing for here goode: 
2043  For lieveth wel, the sothe is this, 
2044  That whanne I knowe al how it is,
2045  I wol bot forthren hem a lite,
2046  Bot al the worste I can endite
2047  I telle it to my ladi plat 
2048  In forthringe of myn oghne astat,
2049  And hindre hem al that evere I may. 
2050  Bot for al that yit dar I say,
2051  I finde unto miself no bote,  
2052  Althogh myn herte nedes mote  
2053  Thurgh strengthe of love al that I hiere  
2054  Discovere unto my ladi diere: 
2055  For in good feith I have no miht 
2056  To hele fro that swete wiht,  
2057  If that it touche hire eny thing.
2058  Bot this wot wel the hevene king,
2059  That sithen ferst this world began,     
2060  Unto non other strange man 
2061  Ne feigned I semblant ne chiere, 
2062  To wite or axe of his matiere,
2063  Thogh that he lovede ten or tuelve, 
2064  Whanne it was noght my ladi selve:  
2065  Bot if he wolde axe eny red
2066  Al onlich of his oghne hed,
2067  How he with other love ferde, 
2068  His tales with myn Ere I herde,  
2069  Bot to myn herte cam it noght 
2070  Ne sank no deppere in my thoght, 
2071  Bot hield conseil, as I was bede,
2072  And tolde it nevere in other stede, 
2073  Bot let it passen as it com.  
2074  Now, fader, say what is thi dom, 
2075  And hou thou wolt that I be peined  
2076  For such Semblant as I have feigned.
2077  Mi Sone, if reson be wel peised, 
2078  Ther mai no vertu ben unpreised  
2079  Ne vice non be set in pris.
2080  Forthi, my Sone, if thou be wys, 
2081  Do no viser upon thi face, 
2082  Which as wol noght thin herte embrace: 
2083  For if thou do, withinne a throwe
2084  To othre men it schal be knowe,  
2085  So miht thou lihtli falle in blame  
2086  And lese a gret part of thi name.
2087  And natheles in this degree
2088  Fulofte time thou myht se  
2089  Of suche men that now aday 
2090  This vice setten in a say: 
2091  I speke it for no mannes blame,  
2092  Bot forto warne thee the same.
2093  Mi Sone, as I mai hiere talke 
2094  In every place where I walke, 
2095  I not if it be so or non,  
2096  Bot it is manye daies gon  
2097  That I ferst herde telle this,    
2098  How Falssemblant hath ben and is 
2099  Most comunly fro yer to yere  
2100  With hem that duelle among ous here,
2101  Of suche as we Lombardes calle.  
2102  For thei ben the slyeste of alle,
2103  So as men sein in toune aboute,  
2104  To feigne and schewe thing withoute 
2105  Which is revers to that withinne:
2106  Wherof that thei fulofte winne,  
2107  Whan thei be reson scholden lese;
2108  Thei ben the laste and yit thei chese, 
2109  And we the ferste, and yit behinde  
2110  We gon, there as we scholden finde  
2111  The profit of oure oghne lond:
2112  Thus gon thei fre withoute bond  
2113  To don her profit al at large,
2114  And othre men bere al the charge.
2115  Of Lombardz unto this covine, 
2116  Whiche alle londes conne engine, 
2117  Mai Falssemblant in special
2118  Be likned, for thei overal,
2119  Wher as they thenken forto duelle,  
2120  Among hemself, so as thei telle, 
2121  Ferst ben enformed forto lere 
2122  A craft which cleped is Fa crere:
2123  For if Fa crere come aboute,  
2124  Thanne afterward hem stant no doute 
2125  To voide with a soubtil hond  
2126  The beste goodes of the lond  
2127  And bringe chaf and take corn.
2128  Where as Fa crere goth toforn,
2129  In all his weie he fynt no lette;
2130  That Dore can non huissher schette  
2131  In which him list to take entre: 
2132  And thus the conseil most secre  
2133  Of every thing Fa crere knoweth, 
2134  Which into strange place he bloweth,
2135  Where as he wot it mai most grieve.     
2136  And thus Fa crere makth believe, 
2137  So that fulofte he hath deceived,
2138  Er that he mai ben aperceived.
2139  Thus is this vice forto drede;
2140  For who these olde bokes rede 
2141  Of suche ensamples as were ar,
2142  Him oghte be the more war  
2143  Of alle tho that feigne chiere,  
2144  Wherof thou schalt a tale hiere. 
2145  Of Falssemblant which is believed
2146  Ful many a worthi wiht is grieved,  
2147  And was long time er we wer bore.
2148  To thee, my Sone, I wol therfore 
2149  A tale telle of Falssemblant, 
2150  Which falseth many a covenant,
2151  And many a fraude of fals conseil
2152  Ther ben hangende upon his Seil: 
2153  And that aboghten gulteles 
2154  Bothe Deianire and Hercules,  
2155  The whiche in gret desese felle  
2156  Thurgh Falssemblant, as I schal telle. 
2157  Whan Hercules withinne a throwe  
2158  Al only hath his herte throwe 
2159  Upon this faire Deianire,  
2160  It fell him on a dai desire,  
2161  Upon a Rivere as he stod,  
2162  That passe he wolde over the flod
2163  Withoute bot, and with him lede  
2164  His love, bot he was in drede 
2165  For tendresce of that swete wiht,
2166  For he knew noght the forde ariht.  
2167  Ther was a Geant thanne nyh,  
2168  Which Nessus hihte, and whanne he sih  
2169  This Hercules and Deianyre,
2170  Withinne his herte he gan conspire, 
2171  As he which thurgh his tricherie 
2172  Hath Hercules in gret envie,      
2173  Which he bar in his herte loke,  
2174  And thanne he thoghte it schal be wroke.  
2175  Bot he ne dorste natheles  
2176  Ayein this worthi Hercules 
2177  Falle in debat as forto feihte;  
2178  Bot feigneth Semblant al be sleihte 
2179  Of frendschipe and of alle goode,
2180  And comth where as thei bothe stode,
2181  And makth hem al the chiere he can, 
2182  And seith that as here oghne man 
2183  He is al redy forto do  
2184  What thing he mai; and it fell so
2185  That thei upon his Semblant triste, 
2186  And axen him if that he wiste 
2187  What thing hem were best to done,
2188  So that thei mihten sauf and sone
2189  The water passe, he and sche. 
2190  And whan Nessus the privete
2191  Knew of here herte what it mente,
2192  As he that was of double entente,
2193  He made hem riht a glad visage;  
2194  And whanne he herde of the passage  
2195  Of him and hire, he thoghte guile,  
2196  And feigneth Semblant for a while
2197  To don hem plesance and servise, 
2198  Bot he thoghte al an other wise. 
2199  This Nessus with hise wordes slyhe  
2200  Yaf such conseil tofore here yhe 
2201  Which semeth outward profitable  
2202  And was withinne deceivable.  
2203  He bad hem of the Stremes depe
2204  That thei be war and take kepe,  
2205  So as thei knowe noght the pas;  
2206  Bot forto helpe in such a cas,
2207  He seith himself that for here ese  
2208  He wolde, if that it mihte hem plese,  
2209  The passage of the water take,
2210  And for this ladi undertake    
2211  To bere unto that other stronde  
2212  And sauf to sette hire up alonde,
2213  And Hercules may thanne also  
2214  The weie knowe how he schal go:  
2215  And herto thei acorden alle.  
2216  Bot what as after schal befalle, 
2217  Wel payd was Hercules of this,
2218  And this Geant also glad is,  
2219  And tok this ladi up alofte
2220  And set hire on his schuldre softe, 
2221  And in the flod began to wade,
2222  As he which no grucchinge made,  
2223  And bar hire over sauf and sound.
2224  Bot whanne he stod on dreie ground  
2225  And Hercules was fer behinde, 
2226  He sette his trowthe al out of mynde,  
2227  Who so therof be lief or loth,
2228  With Deianyre and forth he goth, 
2229  As he that thoghte to dissevere  
2230  The compaignie of hem for evere. 
2231  Whan Hercules therof tok hiede,  
2232  Als faste as evere he mihte him spiede 
2233  He hyeth after in a throwe;
2234  And hapneth that he hadde a bowe,
2235  The which in alle haste he bende,
2236  As he that wolde an Arwe sende,  
2237  Which he tofore hadde envenimed. 
2238  He hath so wel his schote timed, 
2239  That he him thurgh the bodi smette, 
2240  And thus the false wiht he lette.
2241  Bot lest now such a felonie:  
2242  Whan Nessus wiste he scholde die,
2243  He tok to Deianyre his scherte,  
2244  Which with the blod was of his herte
2245  Thurghout desteigned overal,  
2246  And tolde how sche it kepe schal 
2247  Al prively to this entente,    
2248  That if hire lord his herte wente
2249  To love in eny other place,
2250  The scherte, he seith, hath such a grace, 
2251  That if sche mai so mochel make  
2252  That he the scherte upon him take,  
2253  He schal alle othre lete in vein 
2254  And torne unto hire love ayein.  
2255  Who was tho glad bot Deianyre?
2256  Hire thoghte hire herte was afyre
2257  Til it was in hire cofre loke,
2258  So that no word therof was spoke.
2259  The daies gon, the yeres passe,  
2260  The hertes waxen lasse and lasse 
2261  Of hem that ben to love untrewe: 
2262  This Hercules with herte newe 
2263  His love hath set on Eolen,
2264  And therof spieken alle men.  
2265  This Eolen, this faire maide, 
2266  Was, as men thilke time saide,
2267  The kinges dowhter of Eurice; 
2268  And sche made Hercules so nyce
2269  Upon hir Love and so assote,  
2270  That he him clotheth in hire cote,  
2271  And sche in his was clothed ofte;
2272  And thus fieblesce is set alofte,
2273  And strengthe was put under fote,
2274  Ther can noman therof do bote.
2275  Whan Deianyre hath herd this speche,
2276  Ther was no sorwe forto seche:
2277  Of other helpe wot sche non,  
2278  Bot goth unto hire cofre anon;
2279  With wepende yhe and woful herte 
2280  Sche tok out thilke unhappi scherte,
2281  As sche that wende wel to do, 
2282  And broghte hire werk aboute so  
2283  That Hercules this scherte on dede, 
2284  To such entente as she was bede      
2285  Of Nessus, so as I seide er.  
2286  Bot therof was sche noght the ner,  
2287  As no fortune may be weyved;  
2288  With Falssemblant sche was deceived,
2289  That whan sche wende best have wonne,  
2290  Sche lost al that sche hath begonne.
2291  For thilke scherte unto the bon  
2292  His body sette afyre anon, 
2293  And cleveth so, it mai noght twinne,
2294  For the venym that was therinne. 
2295  And he thanne as a wilde man  
2296  Unto the hihe wode he ran, 
2297  And as the Clerk Ovide telleth,  
2298  The grete tres to grounde he felleth
2299  With strengthe al of his oghne myght,  
2300  And made an huge fyr upriht,  
2301  And lepte himself therinne at ones  
2302  And brende him bothe fleissh and bones.
2303  Which thing cam al thurgh Falssemblant,
2304  That false Nessus the Geant
2305  Made unto him and to his wif; 
2306  Wherof that he hath lost his lif,
2307  And sche sori for everemo. 
2308  Forthi, my Sone, er thee be wo,  
2309  I rede, be wel war therfore;  
2310  For whan so gret a man was lore, 
2311  It oghte yive a gret conceipte
2312  To warne alle othre of such deceipte.  
2313  Grant mercy, fader, I am war  
2314  So fer that I nomore dar
2315  Of Falssemblant take aqueintance;
2316  Bot rathere I wol do penance  
2317  That I have feigned chiere er this. 
2318  Now axeth forth, what so ther is 
2319  Of that belongeth to my schrifte.
2320  Mi Sone, yit ther is the fifte
2321  Which is conceived of Envie,  
2322  And cleped is Supplantarie,
2323  Thurgh whos compassement and guile      
2324  Ful many a man hath lost his while  
2325  In love als wel as otherwise, 
2326  Hierafter as I schal devise.  
2327  The vice of Supplantacioun 
2328  With many a fals collacioun,  
2329  Which he conspireth al unknowe,  
2330  Full ofte time hath overthrowe
2331  The worschipe of an other man.
2332  So wel no lif awayte can
2333  Ayein his sleyhte forto caste,
2334  That he his pourpos ate laste 
2335  Ne hath, er that it be withset.  
2336  Bot most of alle his herte is set
2337  In court upon these grete Offices
2338  Of dignitees and benefices:
2339  Thus goth he with his sleyhte aboute
2340  To hindre and schowve an other oute 
2341  And stonden with his slyh compas 
2342  In stede there an other was;  
2343  And so to sette himselven inne,  
2344  He reccheth noght, be so he winne,  
2345  Of that an other man schal lese, 
2346  And thus fulofte chalk for chese 
2347  He changeth with ful litel cost, 
2348  Wherof an other hath the lost 
2349  And he the profit schal receive. 
2350  For his fortune is to deceive 
2351  And forto change upon the whel
2352  His wo with othre mennes wel:     
2353  Of that an other man avaleth, 
2354  His oghne astat thus up he haleth,  
2355  And takth the bridd to his beyete,  
2356  Wher othre men the buisshes bete.
2357  Mi Sone, and in the same wise 
2358  Ther ben lovers of such emprise, 
2359  That schapen hem to be relieved  
2360  Where it is wrong to ben achieved:  
2361  For it is other mannes riht,  
2362  Which he hath taken dai and niht 
2363  To kepe for his oghne Stor 
2364  Toward himself for everemor,  
2365  And is his propre be the lawe,
2366  Which thing that axeth no felawe,
2367  If love holde his covenant.
2368  Bot thei that worchen be supplaunt, 
2369  Yit wolden thei a man supplaunte,
2370  And take a part of thilke plaunte
2371  Which he hath for himselve set:  
2372  And so fulofte is al unknet,  
2373  That som man weneth be riht fast.
2374  For Supplant with his slyhe cast 
2375  Fulofte happneth forto mowe
2376  Thing which an other man hath sowe, 
2377  And makth comun of proprete
2378  With sleihte and with soubtilite,
2379  As men mai se fro yer to yere.
2380  Thus cleymeth he the bot to stiere, 
2381  Of which an other maister is. 
2382  Forthi, my Sone, if thou er this 
2383  Hast ben of such professioun, 
2384  Discovere thi confessioun: 
2385  Hast thou supplanted eny man? 
2386  For oght that I you telle can,
2387  Min holi fader, as of the dede
2388  I am withouten eny drede    
2389  Al gulteles; bot of my thoght 
2390  Mi conscience excuse I noght. 
2391  For were it wrong or were it riht,  
2392  Me lakketh nothing bote myht, 
2393  That I ne wolde longe er this 
2394  Of other mannes love ywiss 
2395  Be weie of Supplantacioun  
2396  Have mad apropriacioun  
2397  And holde that I nevere boghte,  
2398  Thogh it an other man forthoghte.
2399  And al this speke I bot of on,
2400  For whom I lete alle othre gon;  
2401  Bot hire I mai noght overpasse,  
2402  That I ne mot alwey compasse, 
2403  Me roghte noght be what queintise,  
2404  So that I mihte in eny wise
2405  Fro suche that mi ladi serve  
2406  Hire herte make forto swerve  
2407  Withouten eny part of love.
2408  For be the goddes alle above  
2409  I wolde it mihte so befalle,  
2410  That I al one scholde hem alle
2411  Supplante, and welde hire at mi wille. 
2412  And that thing mai I noght fulfille,
2413  Bot if I scholde strengthe make; 
2414  And that I dar noght undertake,  
2415  Thogh I were as was Alisaundre,  
2416  For therof mihte arise sklaundre;
2417  And certes that schal I do nevere,  
2418  For in good feith yit hadde I levere
2419  In my simplesce forto die, 
2420  Than worche such Supplantarie.
2421  Of otherwise I wol noght seie 
2422  That if I founde a seker weie,
2423  I wolde as for conclusioun 
2424  Worche after Supplantacioun,  
2425  So hihe a love forto winne.    
2426  Now, fader, if that this be Sinne,  
2427  I am al redy to redresce
2428  The gilt of which I me confesse. 
2429  Mi goode Sone, as of Supplant 
2430  Thee thar noght drede tant ne quant,
2431  As for nothing that I have herd, 
2432  Bot only that thou hast misferd  
2433  Thenkende, and that me liketh noght,
2434  For godd beholt a mannes thoght. 
2435  And if thou understode in soth
2436  In loves cause what it doth,  
2437  A man to ben a Supplantour,
2438  Thou woldest for thin oghne honour  
2439  Be double weie take kepe:  
2440  Ferst for thin oghne astat to kepe, 
2441  To be thiself so wel bethoght 
2442  That thou supplanted were noght, 
2443  And ek for worschipe of thi name 
2444  Towardes othre do the same,
2445  And soffren every man have his.  
2446  Bot natheles it was and is,
2447  That in a wayt at alle assaies
2448  Supplant of love in oure daies
2449  The lief fulofte for the levere  
2450  Forsakth, and so it hath don evere. 
2451  Ensample I finde therupon, 
2452  At Troie how that Agamenon 
2453  Supplantede the worthi knyht  
2454  Achilles of that swete wiht,  
2455  Which named was Brexei5da; 
2456  And also of Crisei5da,  
2457  Whom Troilus to love ches, 
2458  Supplanted hath Diomedes.  
2459  Of Geta and Amphitrion, 
2460  That whilom weren bothe as on 
2461  Of frendschipe and of compaignie,
2462  I rede how that Supplantarie      
2463  In love, as it betidde tho,
2464  Beguiled hath on of hem tuo.  
2465  For this Geta that I of meene,
2466  To whom the lusti faire Almeene  
2467  Assured was be weie of love,  
2468  Whan he best wende have ben above
2469  And sikerest of that he hadde,
2470  Cupido so the cause ladde, 
2471  That whil he was out of the weie,
2472  Amphitrion hire love aweie 
2473  Hath take, and in this forme he wroghte.  
2474  Be nyhte unto the chambre he soghte,
2475  Wher that sche lay, and with a wyle 
2476  He contrefeteth for the whyle 
2477  The vois of Gete in such a wise, 
2478  That made hire of hire bedd arise,  
2479  Wenende that it were he,
2480  And let him in, and whan thei be 
2481  Togedre abedde in armes faste,
2482  This Geta cam thanne ate laste
2483  Unto the Dore and seide, "Undo." 
2484  And sche ansuerde and bad him go,
2485  And seide how that abedde al warm
2486  Hir lief lay naked in hir arm;
2487  Sche wende that it were soth. 
2488  Lo, what Supplant of love doth:  
2489  This Geta forth bejaped wente,
2490  And yit ne wiste he what it mente;  
2491  Amphitrion him hath supplanted
2492  With sleyhte of love and hire enchaunted: 
2493  And thus put every man out other,
2494  The Schip of love hath lost his Rother,
2495  So that he can no reson stiere.  
2496  And forto speke of this matiere  
2497  Touchende love and his Supplant, 
2498  A tale which is acordant
2499  Unto thin Ere I thenke enforme.      
2500  Now herkne, for this is the forme.  
2501  Of thilke Cite chief of alle  
2502  Which men the noble Rome calle,  
2503  Er it was set to Cristes feith,  
2504  Ther was, as the Cronique seith, 
2505  An Emperour, the which it ladde  
2506  In pes, that he no werres hadde: 
2507  Ther was nothing desobeissant 
2508  Which was to Rome appourtenant,  
2509  Bot al was torned into reste. 
2510  To some it thoghte for the beste,
2511  To some it thoghte nothing so,
2512  And that was only unto tho 
2513  Whos herte stod upon knyhthode:  
2514  Bot most of alle of his manhode  
2515  The worthi Sone of themperour,
2516  Which wolde ben a werreiour,  
2517  As he that was chivalerous 
2518  Of worldes fame and desirous, 
2519  Began his fadre to beseche 
2520  That he the werres mihte seche,  
2521  In strange Marches forto ride.
2522  His fader seide he scholde abide,
2523  And wolde granten him no leve:
2524  Bot he, which wolde noght beleve,
2525  A kniht of his to whom he triste,
2526  So that his fader nothing wiste, 
2527  He tok and tolde him his corage, 
2528  That he pourposeth a viage.
2529  If that fortune with him stonde, 
2530  He seide how that he wolde fonde 
2531  The grete See to passe unknowe,  
2532  And there abyde for a throwe  
2533  Upon the werres to travaile.  
2534  And to this point withoute faile 
2535  This kniht, whan he hath herd his lord,
2536  Is swore, and stant of his acord,    
2537  As thei that bothe yonge were;
2538  So that in prive conseil there
2539  Thei ben assented forto wende.
2540  And therupon to make an ende, 
2541  Tresor ynowh with hem thei token,
2542  And whan the time is best thei loken,  
2543  That sodeinliche in a Galeie  
2544  Fro Romelond thei wente here weie
2545  And londe upon that other side.  
2546  The world fell so that ilke tide,
2547  Which evere hise happes hath diverse,  
2548  The grete Soldan thanne of Perse 
2549  Ayein the Caliphe of Egipte
2550  A werre, which that him beclipte,
2551  Hath in a Marche costeiant.
2552  And he, which was a poursuiant
2553  Worschipe of armes to atteigne,  
2554  This Romein, let anon ordeigne,  
2555  That he was redi everydel: 
2556  And whan he was arraied wel
2557  Of every thing which him belongeth, 
2558  Straght unto Kaire his weie he fongeth,
2559  Wher he the Soldan thanne fond,  
2560  And axeth that withinne his lond 
2561  He mihte him for the werre serve,
2562  As he which wolde his thonk deserve.
2563  The Soldan was riht glad with al,
2564  And wel the more in special
2565  Whan that he wiste he was Romein;
2566  Bot what was elles in certein,
2567  That mihte he wite be no weie.
2568  And thus the kniht of whom I seie
2569  Toward the Soldan is beleft,  
2570  And in the Marches now and eft,  
2571  Wher that the dedli werres were, 
2572  He wroghte such knihthode there, 
2573  That every man spak of him good. 
2574  And thilke time so it stod,
2575  This mihti Soldan be his wif  
2576  A Dowhter hath, that in this lif 
2577  Men seiden ther was non so fair. 
2578  Sche scholde ben hir fader hair, 
2579  And was of yeres ripe ynowh:  
2580  Hire beaute many an herte drowh  
2581  To bowe unto that ilke lawe
2582  Fro which no lif mai be withdrawe,  
2583  And that is love, whos nature 
2584  Set lif and deth in aventure  
2585  Of hem that knyhthode undertake. 
2586  This lusti peine hath overtake
2587  The herte of this Romein so sore,
2588  That to knihthode more and more  
2589  Prouesce avanceth his corage. 
2590  Lich to the Leoun in his rage,
2591  Fro whom that alle bestes fle,
2592  Such was the knyht in his degre: 
2593  Wher he was armed in the feld,
2594  Ther dorste non abide his scheld;
2595  Gret pris upon the werre he hadde.  
2596  Bot sche which al the chance ladde, 
2597  Fortune, schop the Marches so,
2598  That be thassent of bothe tuo,
2599  The Soldan and the Caliphe eke,  
2600  Bataille upon a dai thei seke,
2601  Which was in such a wise set  
2602  That lengere scholde it noght be let.  
2603  Thei made hem stronge on every side,
2604  And whan it drowh toward the tide
2605  That the bataille scholde be, 
2606  The Soldan in gret privete 
2607  A goldring of his dowhter tok,
2608  And made hire swere upon a bok
2609  And ek upon the goddes alle,  
2610  That if fortune so befalle 
2611  In the bataille that he deie,     
2612  That sche schal thilke man obeie 
2613  And take him to hire housebonde, 
2614  Which thilke same Ring to honde  
2615  Hire scholde bringe after his deth. 
2616  This hath sche swore, and forth he geth
2617  With al the pouer of his lond 
2618  Unto the Marche, where he fond
2619  His enemy full embatailled.
2620  The Soldan hath the feld assailed:  
2621  Thei that ben hardy sone assemblen, 
2622  Wherof the dredfull hertes tremblen:
2623  That on sleth, and that other sterveth,
2624  Bot above all his pris deserveth 
2625  This knihtly Romein; where he rod,  
2626  His dedly swerd noman abod,
2627  Ayein the which was no defence;  
2628  Egipte fledde in his presence,
2629  And thei of Perse upon the chace 
2630  Poursuien: bot I not what grace  
2631  Befell, an Arwe out of a bowe 
2632  Al sodeinly that ilke throwe  
2633  The Soldan smot, and ther he lay:
2634  The chace is left for thilke day,
2635  And he was bore into a tente. 
2636  The Soldan sih how that it wente,
2637  And that he scholde algate die;  
2638  And to this knyht of Romanie, 
2639  As unto him whom he most triste, 
2640  His Dowhter Ring, that non it wiste,
2641  He tok, and tolde him al the cas,
2642  Upon hire oth what tokne it was  
2643  Of that sche scholde ben his wif.
2644  Whan this was seid, the hertes lif  
2645  Of this Soldan departeth sone;
2646  And therupon, as was to done, 
2647  The dede body wel and faire
2648  Thei carie til thei come at Kaire,  
2649  Wher he was worthily begrave. 
2650  The lordes, whiche as wolden save    
2651  The Regne which was desolat,  
2652  To bringe it into good astat  
2653  A parlement thei sette anon.  
2654  Now herkne what fell therupon:
2655  This yonge lord, this worthi kniht  
2656  Of Rome, upon the same niht
2657  That thei amorwe trete scholde,  
2658  Unto his Bacheler he tolde 
2659  His conseil, and the Ring with al
2660  He scheweth, thurgh which that he schal,  
2661  He seith, the kinges Dowhter wedde, 
2662  For so the Ring was leid to wedde,  
2663  He tolde, into hir fader hond,
2664  That with what man that sche it fond
2665  Sche scholde him take to hire lord. 
2666  And this, he seith, stant of record,
2667  Bot noman wot who hath this Ring.
2668  This Bacheler upon this thing 
2669  His Ere and his entente leide,
2670  And thoghte more thanne he seide,
2671  And feigneth with a fals visage  
2672  That he was glad, bot his corage 
2673  Was al set in an other wise.  
2674  These olde Philosophres wise  
2675  Thei writen upon thilke while,
2676  That he mai best a man beguile
2677  In whom the man hath most credence; 
2678  And this befell in evidence
2679  Toward this yonge lord of Rome.  
2680  His Bacheler, which hadde tome,  
2681  Whan that his lord be nihte slepte, 
2682  This Ring, the which his maister kepte,
2683  Out of his Pours awey he dede,
2684  And putte an other in the stede. 
2685  Amorwe, whan the Court is set,
2686  The yonge ladi was forth fet, 
2687  To whom the lordes don homage,    
2688  And after that of Mariage  
2689  Thei trete and axen of hir wille.
2690  Bot sche, which thoghte to fulfille 
2691  Hire fader heste in this matiere,
2692  Seide openly, that men mai hiere,
2693  The charge which hire fader bad. 
2694  Tho was this Lord of Rome glad
2695  And drowh toward his Pours anon, 
2696  Bot al for noght, it was agon:
2697  His Bacheler it hath forthdrawe, 
2698  And axeth ther upon the lawe  
2699  That sche him holde covenant. 
2700  The tokne was so sufficant 
2701  That it ne mihte be forsake,  
2702  And natheles his lord hath take  
2703  Querelle ayein his oghne man; 
2704  Bot for nothing that evere he can
2705  He mihte as thanne noght ben herd,  
2706  So that his cleym is unansuerd,  
2707  And he hath of his pourpos failed.  
2708  This Bacheler was tho consailed  
2709  And wedded, and of thilke Empire 
2710  He was coroned Lord and Sire, 
2711  And al the lond him hath received;  
2712  Wherof his lord, which was deceived,
2713  A seknesse er the thridde morwe  
2714  Conceived hath of dedly sorwe:
2715  And as he lay upon his deth,  
2716  Therwhile him lasteth speche and breth,
2717  He sende for the worthieste
2718  Of al the lond and ek the beste, 
2719  And tolde hem al the sothe tho,  
2720  That he was Sone and Heir also
2721  Of themperour of grete Rome,  
2722  And how that thei togedre come,  
2723  This kniht and he; riht as it was,  
2724  He tolde hem al the pleine cas,  
2725  And for that he his conseil tolde,      
2726  That other hath al that he wolde,
2727  And he hath failed of his mede:  
2728  As for the good he takth non hiede, 
2729  He seith, bot only of the love,  
2730  Of which he wende have ben above.
2731  And therupon be lettre write  
2732  He doth his fader forto wite  
2733  Of al this matiere as it stod;
2734  And thanne with an hertly mod 
2735  Unto the lordes he besoghte
2736  To telle his ladi how he boghte  
2737  Hire love, of which an other gladeth;  
2738  And with that word his hewe fadeth, 
2739  And seide, "A dieu, my ladi swete." 
2740  The lif hath lost his kindly hete,  
2741  And he lay ded as eny ston;
2742  Wherof was sory manyon, 
2743  Bot non of alle so as sche.
2744  This false knyht in his degree
2745  Arested was and put in hold:  
2746  For openly whan it was told
2747  Of the tresoun which is befalle, 
2748  Thurghout the lond thei seiden alle,
2749  If it be soth that men suppose,  
2750  His oghne untrowthe him schal depose.  
2751  And forto seche an evidence,  
2752  With honour and gret reverence,  
2753  Wherof they mihten knowe an ende,
2754  To themperour anon thei sende 
2755  The lettre which his Sone wrot.  
2756  And whan that he the sothe wot,  
2757  To telle his sorwe is endeles,
2758  Bot yit in haste natheles  
2759  Upon the tale which he herde  
2760  His Stieward into Perse ferde 
2761  With many a worthi Romein eke,
2762  His liege tretour forto seke; 
2763  And whan thei thider come were,      
2764  This kniht him hath confessed there 
2765  How falsly that he hath him bore,
2766  Wherof his worthi lord was lore. 
2767  Tho seiden some he scholde deie, 
2768  Bot yit thei founden such a weie 
2769  That he schal noght be ded in Perse;
2770  And thus the skiles ben diverse. 
2771  Be cause that he was coroned, 
2772  And that the lond was abandoned  
2773  To him, althogh it were unriht,  
2774  Ther is no peine for him diht;
2775  Bot to this point and to this ende  
2776  Thei granten wel that he schal wende
2777  With the Romeins to Rome ayein.  
2778  And thus acorded ful and plein,  
2779  The qwike body with the dede  
2780  With leve take forth thei lede,  
2781  Wher that Supplant hath his juise.  
2782  Wherof that thou thee miht avise 
2783  Upon this enformacioun  
2784  Touchende of Supplantacioun,  
2785  That thou, my Sone, do noght so: 
2786  And forto take hiede also  
2787  What Supplant doth in other halve,  
2788  Ther is noman can finde a salve  
2789  Pleinly to helen such a Sor;  
2790  It hath and schal ben everemor,  
2791  Whan Pride is with Envie joint,  
2792  He soffreth noman in good point, 
2793  Wher that he mai his honour lette.  
2794  And therupon if I schal sette 
2795  Ensample, in holy cherche I finde
2796  How that Supplant is noght behinde; 
2797  God wot if that it now be so: 
2798  For in Cronique of time ago
2799  I finde a tale concordable 
2800  Of Supplant, which that is no fable,
2801  In the manere as I schal telle,  
2802  So as whilom the thinges felle.      
2803  At Rome, as it hath ofte falle,  
2804  The vicair general of alle 
2805  Of hem that lieven Cristes feith 
2806  His laste day, which non withseith, 
2807  Hath schet as to the worldes ije,
2808  Whos name if I schal specefie,
2809  He hihte Pope Nicolas.  
2810  And thus whan that he passed was,
2811  The Cardinals, that wolden save  
2812  The forme of lawe, in the conclave  
2813  Gon forto chese a newe Pope,  
2814  And after that thei cowthe agrope
2815  Hath ech of hem seid his entente:
2816  Til ate laste thei assente 
2817  Upon an holy clerk reclus, 
2818  Which full was of gostli vertus; 
2819  His pacience and his simplesse
2820  Hath set him into hih noblesse.  
2821  Thus was he Pope canonized,
2822  With gret honour and intronized, 
2823  And upon chance as it is falle,  
2824  His name Celestin men calle;  
2825  Which notefied was be bulle
2826  To holi cherche and to the fulle 
2827  In alle londes magnified.  
2828  Bot every worschipe is envied,
2829  And that was thilke time sene:
2830  For whan this Pope of whom I meene  
2831  Was chose, and othre set beside, 
2832  A Cardinal was thilke tide 
2833  Which the papat longe hath desired  
2834  And therupon gretli conspired;
2835  Bot whan he sih fortune is failed,  
2836  For which long time he hath travailed, 
2837  That ilke fyr which Ethna brenneth  
2838  Thurghout his wofull herte renneth,     
2839  Which is resembled to Envie,  
2840  Wherof Supplant and tricherie 
2841  Engendred is; and natheles 
2842  He feigneth love, he feigneth pes,  
2843  Outward he doth the reverence,
2844  Bot al withinne his conscience
2845  Thurgh fals ymaginacioun
2846  He thoghte Supplantacioun. 
2847  And therupon a wonder wyle 
2848  He wroghte: for at thilke whyle  
2849  It fell so that of his lignage
2850  He hadde a clergoun of yong age, 
2851  Whom he hath in his chambre affaited.  
2852  This Cardinal his time hath waited, 
2853  And with his wordes slyhe and queinte, 
2854  The whiche he cowthe wysly peinte,  
2855  He schop this clerk of which I telle
2856  Toward the Pope forto duelle, 
2857  So that withinne his chambre anyht  
2858  He lai, and was a prive wyht  
2859  Toward the Pope on nyhtes tide.  
2860  Mai noman fle that schal betide. 
2861  This Cardinal, which thoghte guile, 
2862  Upon a day whan he hath while 
2863  This yonge clerc unto him tok,
2864  And made him swere upon a bok,
2865  And told him what his wille was. 
2866  And forth withal a Trompe of bras
2867  He hath him take, and bad him this: 
2868  "Thou schalt," he seide, "whan time is 
2869  Awaite, and take riht good kepe, 
2870  Whan that the Pope is fast aslepe
2871  And that non other man by nyh;
2872  And thanne that thou be so slyh  
2873  Thurghout the Trompe into his Ere,  
2874  Fro hevene as thogh a vois it were, 
2875  To soune of such prolacioun
2876  That he his meditacioun     
2877  Therof mai take and understonde, 
2878  As thogh it were of goddes sonde.
2879  And in this wise thou schalt seie,  
2880  That he do thilke astat aweie 
2881  Of Pope, in which he stant honoured,
2882  So schal his Soule be socoured
2883  Of thilke worschipe ate laste 
2884  In hevene which schal evere laste." 
2885  This clerc, whan he hath herd the forme
2886  How he the Pope scholde enforme, 
2887  Tok of the Cardinal his leve, 
2888  And goth him hom, til it was Eve,
2889  And prively the trompe he hedde, 
2890  Til that the Pope was abedde. 
2891  And at the Midnyht, whan he knewh
2892  The Pope slepte, thanne he blewh 
2893  Withinne his trompe thurgh the wal, 
2894  And tolde in what manere he schal
2895  His Papacie leve, and take 
2896  His ferste astat: and thus awake 
2897  This holi Pope he made thries,
2898  Wherof diverse fantasies
2899  Upon his grete holinesse
2900  Withinne his herte he gan impresse. 
2901  The Pope ful of innocence  
2902  Conceiveth in his conscience  
2903  That it is goddes wille he cesse;
2904  Bot in what wise he may relesse  
2905  His hihe astat, that wot he noght.  
2906  And thus withinne himself bethoght, 
2907  He bar it stille in his memoire, 
2908  Til he cam to the Consistoire;
2909  And there in presence of hem alle
2910  He axeth, if it so befalle 
2911  That eny Pope cesse wolde, 
2912  How that the lawe it soffre scholde.
2913  Thei seten alle stille and herde,
2914  Was non which to the point ansuerde,    
2915  For to what pourpos that it mente
2916  Ther was noman knew his entente, 
2917  Bot only he which schop the guile.  
2918  This Cardinal the same while  
2919  Al openly with wordes pleine  
2920  Seith, if the Pope wolde ordeigne
2921  That ther be such a lawe wroght, 
2922  Than mihte he cesse, and elles noght.  
2923  And as he seide, don it was;  
2924  The Pope anon upon the cas 
2925  Of his Papal Autorite
2926  Hath mad and yove the decre:  
2927  And whan that lawe was confermed 
2928  In due forme and al affermed, 
2929  This innocent, which was deceived,  
2930  His Papacie anon hath weyved, 
2931  Renounced and resigned eke.
2932  That other was nothing to seke,  
2933  Bot undernethe such a jape 
2934  He hath so for himselve schape,  
2935  That how as evere it him beseme, 
2936  The Mitre with the Diademe 
2937  He hath thurgh Supplantacion: 
2938  And in his confirmacion 
2939  Upon the fortune of his grace 
2940  His name is cleped Boneface.  
2941  Under the viser of Envie,  
2942  Lo, thus was hid the tricherie,  
2943  Which hath beguiled manyon.
2944  Bot such conseil ther mai be non,
2945  With treson whan it is conspired,
2946  That it nys lich the Sparke fyred
2947  Up in the Rof, which for a throwe
2948  Lith hidd, til whan the wyndes blowe
2949  It blaseth out on every side. 
2950  This Bonefas, which can noght hyde  
2951  The tricherie of his Supplant,
2952  Hath openly mad his avant  
2953  How he the Papacie hath wonne.
2954  Bot thing which is with wrong begonne      
2955  Mai nevere stonde wel at ende;
2956  Wher Pride schal the bowe bende, 
2957  He schet fulofte out of the weie:
2958  And thus the Pope of whom I seie,
2959  Whan that he stod on hih the whiel, 
2960  He can noght soffre himself be wel. 
2961  Envie, which is loveles,
2962  And Pride, which is laweles,  
2963  With such tempeste made him erre,
2964  That charite goth out of herre:  
2965  So that upon misgovernance 
2966  Ayein Lowyz the king of France
2967  He tok querelle of his oultrage, 
2968  And seide he scholde don hommage 
2969  Unto the cherche bodily.
2970  Bot he, that wiste nothing why
2971  He scholde do so gret servise 
2972  After the world in such a wise,  
2973  Withstod the wrong of that demande; 
2974  For noght the Pope mai comande
2975  The king wol noght the Pope obeie.  
2976  This Pope tho be alle weie 
2977  That he mai worche of violence
2978  Hath sent the bulle of his sentence 
2979  With cursinge and with enterdit. 
2980  The king upon this wrongful plyt,
2981  To kepe his regne fro servage,
2982  Conseiled was of his Barnage  
2983  That miht with miht schal be withstonde.  
2984  Thus was the cause take on honde,
2985  And seiden that the Papacie
2986  Thei wolde honoure and magnefie  
2987  In al that evere is spirital; 
2988  Bot thilke Pride temporal  
2989  Of Boneface in his persone,
2990  Ayein that ilke wrong al one  
2991  Thei wolde stonden in debat:  
2992  And thus the man and noght the stat     
2993  The Frensche schopen be her miht 
2994  To grieve. And fell ther was a kniht,  
2995  Sire Guilliam de Langharet,
2996  Which was upon this cause set;
2997  And therupon he tok a route
2998  Of men of Armes and rod oute, 
2999  So longe and in a wayt he lay,
3000  That he aspide upon a day  
3001  The Pope was at Avinoun,
3002  And scholde ryde out of the toun 
3003  Unto Pontsorge, the which is  
3004  A Castell in Provence of his. 
3005  Upon the weie and as he rod,  
3006  This kniht, which hoved and abod 
3007  Embuisshed upon horse bak, 
3008  Al sodeinliche upon him brak  
3009  And hath him be the bridel sesed,
3010  And seide: "O thou, which hast desesed 
3011  The Court of France be thi wrong,
3012  Now schalt thou singe an other song:
3013  Thin enterdit and thi sentence
3014  Ayein thin oghne conscience
3015  Hierafter thou schalt fiele and grope. 
3016  We pleigne noght ayein the Pope, 
3017  For thilke name is honourable,
3018  Bot thou, which hast be deceivable  
3019  And tricherous in al thi werk,
3020  Thou Bonefas, thou proude clerk, 
3021  Misledere of the Papacie,  
3022  Thi false bodi schal abye  
3023  And soffre that it hath deserved."  
3024  Lo, thus the Supplantour was served;
3025  For thei him ladden into France  
3026  And setten him to his penance 
3027  Withinne a tour in harde bondes, 
3028  Wher he for hunger bothe hise hondes
3029  Eet of and deide, god wot how:    
3030  Of whom the wrytinge is yit now  
3031  Registred, as a man mai hiere,
3032  Which spekth and seith in this manere: 
3033  Thin entre lich the fox was slyh,
3034  Thi regne also with pride on hih 
3035  Was lich the Leon in his rage;
3036  Bot ate laste of thi passage  
3037  Thi deth was to the houndes like.
3038  Such is the lettre of his Cronique  
3039  Proclamed in the Court of Rome,  
3040  Wherof the wise ensample nome.
3041  And yit, als ferforth as I dar,  
3042  I rede alle othre men be war, 
3043  And that thei loke wel algate 
3044  That non his oghne astat translate  
3045  Of holi cherche in no degree  
3046  Be fraude ne soubtilite:
3047  For thilke honour which Aaron tok
3048  Schal non receive, as seith the bok,
3049  Bot he be cleped as he was.
3050  What I schal thenken in this cas 
3051  Of that I hiere now aday,  
3052  I not: bot he which can and may, 
3053  Be reson bothe and be nature  
3054  The help of every mannes cure,
3055  He kepe Simon fro the folde.  
3056  For Joachim thilke Abbot tolde
3057  How suche daies scholden falle,  
3058  That comunliche in places alle
3059  The Chapmen of such mercerie  
3060  With fraude and with Supplantarie
3061  So manye scholden beie and selle,
3062  That he ne may for schame telle  
3063  So foul a Senne in mannes Ere.
3064  Bot god forbiede that it were 
3065  In oure daies that he seith:  
3066  For if the Clerc beware his feith
3067  In chapmanhod at such a feire,
3068  The remenant mot nede empeire 
3069  Of al that to the world belongeth;  
3070  For whan that holi cherche wrongeth,
3071  I not what other thing schal rihte. 
3072  And natheles at mannes sihte  
3073  Envie forto be preferred
3074  Hath conscience so differred, 
3075  That noman loketh to the vice 
3076  Which is the Moder of malice, 
3077  And that is thilke false Envie,  
3078  Which causeth many a tricherie;  
3079  For wher he may an other se
3080  That is mor gracious than he, 
3081  It schal noght stonden in his miht  
3082  Bot if he hindre such a wiht: 
3083  And that is welnyh overal, 
3084  This vice is now so general.  
3085  Envie thilke unhapp indrowh,  
3086  Whan Joab be deceipte slowh
3087  Abner, for drede he scholde be
3088  With king David such as was he.  
3089  And thurgh Envie also it fell 
3090  Of thilke false Achitofell,
3091  For his conseil was noght achieved, 
3092  Bot that he sih Cusy believed 
3093  With Absolon and him forsake, 
3094  He heng himself upon a stake. 
3095  Senec witnesseth openly 
3096  How that Envie proprely 
3097  Is of the Court the comun wenche,
3098  And halt taverne forto schenche  
3099  That drink which makth the herte brenne,  
3100  And doth the wit aboute renne,
3101  Be every weie to compasse  
3102  How that he mihte alle othre passe, 
3103  As he which thurgh unkindeschipe 
3104  Envieth every felaschipe;  
3105  So that thou miht wel knowe and se,     
3106  Ther is no vice such as he,
3107  Ferst toward godd abhominable,
3108  And to mankinde unprofitable: 
3109  And that be wordes bot a fewe 
3110  I schal be reson prove and schewe.  
3111  Envie if that I schal descrive,  
3112  He is noght schaply forto wyve
3113  In Erthe among the wommen hiere; 
3114  For ther is in him no matiere 
3115  Wherof he mihte do plesance.  
3116  Ferst for his hevy continance 
3117  Of that he semeth evere unglad,  
3118  He is noght able to ben had;  
3119  And ek he brenneth so withinne,  
3120  That kinde mai no profit winne,  
3121  Wherof he scholde his love plese:
3122  For thilke blod which scholde have ese 
3123  To regne among the moiste veines,
3124  Is drye of thilke unkendeli peines  
3125  Thurgh whiche Envie is fyred ay. 
3126  And thus be reson prove I may 
3127  That toward love Envie is noght; 
3128  And otherwise if it be soght, 
3129  Upon what side as evere it falle,
3130  It is the werste vice of alle,
3131  Which of himself hath most malice.  
3132  For understond that every vice
3133  Som cause hath, wherof it groweth,  
3134  Bot of Envie noman knoweth 
3135  Fro whenne he cam bot out of helle. 
3136  For thus the wise clerkes telle, 
3137  That no spirit bot of malice      
3138  Be weie of kinde upon a vice  
3139  Is tempted, and be such a weie
3140  Envie hath kinde put aweie 
3141  And of malice hath his steringe, 
3142  Wherof he makth his bakbitinge,  
3143  And is himself therof desesed.
3144  So mai ther be no kinde plesed;  
3145  For ay the mor that he envieth,  
3146  The more ayein himself he plieth.
3147  Thus stant Envie in good espeir  
3148  To ben himself the develes heir, 
3149  As he which is his nexte liche
3150  And forthest fro the heveneriche,
3151  For there mai he nevere wone. 
3152  Forthi, my goode diere Sone,  
3153  If thou wolt finde a siker weie  
3154  To love, put Envie aweie.  
3155  Min holy fader, reson wolde
3156  That I this vice eschuie scholde:
3157  Bot yit to strengthe mi corage,  
3158  If that ye wolde in avantage  
3159  Therof sette a recoverir,  
3160  It were tome a gret desir, 
3161  That I this vice mihte flee.  
3162  Nou understond, my Sone, and se, 
3163  Ther is phisique for the seke,
3164  And vertus for the vices eke. 
3165  Who that the vices wolde eschuie,
3166  He mot be resoun thanne suie  
3167  The vertus; for be thilke weie
3168  He mai the vices don aweie,
3169  For thei togedre mai noght duelle:  
3170  For as the water of a welle
3171  Of fyr abateth the malice, 
3172  Riht so vertu fordoth the vice.  
3173  Ayein Envie is Charite, 
3174  Which is the Moder of Pite,
3175  That makth a mannes herte tendre,    
3176  That it mai no malice engendre
3177  In him that is enclin therto. 
3178  For his corage is tempred so, 
3179  That thogh he mihte himself relieve,
3180  Yit wolde he noght an other grieve, 
3181  Bot rather forto do plesance  
3182  He berth himselven the grevance, 
3183  So fain he wolde an other ese.
3184  Wherof, mi Sone, for thin ese 
3185  Now herkne a tale which I rede,  
3186  And understond it wel, I rede.
3187  Among the bokes of latin
3188  I finde write of Constantin
3189  The worthi Emperour of Rome,  
3190  Suche infortunes to him come, 
3191  Whan he was in his lusti age, 
3192  The lepre cawhte in his visage
3193  And so forth overal aboute,
3194  That he ne mihte ryden oute:  
3195  So lefte he bothe Schield and spere,
3196  As he that mihte him noght bestere, 
3197  And hield him in his chambre clos.  
3198  Thurgh al the world the fame aros,  
3199  The grete clerkes ben asent
3200  And come at his comandement
3201  To trete upon this lordes hele.  
3202  So longe thei togedre dele,
3203  That thei upon this medicine  
3204  Apointen hem, and determine
3205  That in the maner as it stod  
3206  Thei wolde him bathe in childes blod
3207  Withinne sevene wynter age:
3208  For, as thei sein, that scholde assuage
3209  The lepre and al the violence,
3210  Which that thei knewe of Accidence  
3211  And noght be weie of kinde is falle.
3212  And therto thei acorden alle      
3213  As for final conclusioun,  
3214  And tolden here opinioun
3215  To themperour: and he anon 
3216  His conseil tok, and therupon 
3217  With lettres and with seales oute
3218  Thei sende in every lond aboute  
3219  The yonge children forto seche,  
3220  Whos blod, thei seiden, schal be leche 
3221  For themperoures maladie.  
3222  Ther was ynowh to wepe and crie  
3223  Among the Modres, whan thei herde
3224  Hou wofully this cause ferde, 
3225  Bot natheles thei moten bowe; 
3226  And thus wommen ther come ynowhe 
3227  With children soukende on the Tete. 
3228  Tho was ther manye teres lete,
3229  Bot were hem lieve or were hem lothe,  
3230  The wommen and the children bothe
3231  Into the Paleis forth be broght  
3232  With many a sory hertes thoght
3233  Of hem whiche of here bodi bore  
3234  The children hadde, and so forlore  
3235  Withinne a while scholden se. 
3236  The Modres wepe in here degre,
3237  And manye of hem aswoune falle,  
3238  The yonge babes criden alle:  
3239  This noyse aros, the lord it herde, 
3240  And loked out, and how it ferde  
3241  He sih, and as who seith abreide 
3242  Out of his slep, and thus he seide: 
3243  "O thou divine pourveance, 
3244  Which every man in the balance
3245  Of kinde hast formed to be liche,
3246  The povere is bore as is the riche  
3247  And deieth in the same wise,  
3248  Upon the fol, upon the wise
3249  Siknesse and hele entrecomune;
3250  Mai non eschuie that fortune      
3251  Which kinde hath in hire lawe set;  
3252  Hire strengthe and beaute ben beset 
3253  To every man aliche fre,
3254  That sche preferreth no degre 
3255  As in the disposicioun  
3256  Of bodili complexioun:  
3257  And ek of Soule resonable  
3258  The povere child is bore als able
3259  To vertu as the kinges Sone;  
3260  For every man his oghne wone  
3261  After the lust of his assay
3262  The vice or vertu chese may.  
3263  Thus stonden alle men franchised,
3264  Bot in astat thei ben divised;
3265  To some worschipe and richesse,  
3266  To some poverte and distresse,
3267  On lordeth and an other serveth; 
3268  Bot yit as every man deserveth
3269  The world yifth noght his yiftes hiere.
3270  Bot certes he hath gret matiere  
3271  To ben of good condicioun, 
3272  Which hath in his subjeccioun 
3273  The men that ben of his semblance." 
3274  And ek he tok a remembrance
3275  How he that made lawe of kinde
3276  Wolde every man to lawe binde,
3277  And bad a man, such as he wolde  
3278  Toward himself, riht such he scholde
3279  Toward an other don also.  
3280  And thus this worthi lord as tho 
3281  Sette in balance his oghne astat 
3282  And with himself stod in debat,  
3283  And thoghte hou that it was noght good 
3284  To se so mochel mannes blod
3285  Be spilt for cause of him alone. 
3286  He sih also the grete mone,
3287  Of that the Modres were unglade, 
3288  And of the wo the children made,     
3289  Wherof that al his herte tendreth,  
3290  And such pite withinne engendreth,  
3291  That him was levere forto chese  
3292  His oghne bodi forto lese, 
3293  Than se so gret a moerdre wroght 
3294  Upon the blod which gulteth noght.  
3295  Thus for the pite which he tok
3296  Alle othre leches he forsok,  
3297  And put him out of aventure
3298  Al only into goddes cure;  
3299  And seith, "Who that woll maister be,  
3300  He mot be servant to pite."
3301  So ferforth he was overcome
3302  With charite, that he hath nome  
3303  His conseil and hise officers,
3304  And bad unto hise tresorers
3305  That thei his tresour al aboute  
3306  Departe among the povere route
3307  Of wommen and of children bothe, 
3308  Wherof thei mihte hem fede and clothe  
3309  And saufli tornen hom ayein
3310  Withoute lost of eny grein.
3311  Thurgh charite thus he despendeth
3312  His good, wherof that he amendeth
3313  The povere poeple, and contrevaileth
3314  The harm, that he hem so travaileth:
3315  And thus the woful nyhtes sorwe  
3316  To joie is torned on the morwe;  
3317  Al was thonkinge, al was blessinge, 
3318  Which erst was wepinge and cursinge;
3319  Thes wommen gon hom glade ynowh, 
3320  Echon for joie on other lowh, 
3321  And preiden for this lordes hele,
3322  Which hath relessed the querele, 
3323  And hath his oghne will forsake  
3324  In charite for goddes sake.
3325  Bot now hierafter thou schalt hiere 
3326  What god hath wroght in this matiere,      
3327  As he which doth al equite.
3328  To him that wroghte charite
3329  He was ayeinward charitous,
3330  And to pite he was pitous: 
3331  For it was nevere knowe yit
3332  That charite goth unaquit. 
3333  The nyht, whan he was leid to slepe,
3334  The hihe god, which wolde him kepe, 
3335  Seint Peter and seint Poul him sende,  
3336  Be whom he wolde his lepre amende.  
3337  Thei tuo to him slepende appiere 
3338  Fro god, and seide in this manere:  
3339  "O Constantin, for thou hast served 
3340  Pite, thou hast pite deserved:
3341  Forthi thou schalt such pite have
3342  That god thurgh pite woll thee save.
3343  So schalt thou double hele finde,
3344  Ferst for thi bodiliche kinde,
3345  And for thi wofull Soule also,
3346  Thou schalt ben hol of bothe tuo.
3347  And for thou schalt thee noght despeire,  
3348  Thi lepre schal nomore empeire
3349  Til thou wolt sende therupon  
3350  Unto the Mont of Celion,
3351  Wher that Silvestre and his clergie 
3352  Togedre duelle in compaignie  
3353  For drede of thee, which many day
3354  Hast ben a fo to Cristes lay, 
3355  And hast destruid to mochel schame  
3356  The prechours of his holy name.  
3357  Bot now thou hast somdiel appesed
3358  Thi god, and with good dede plesed, 
3359  That thou thi pite hast bewared  
3360  Upon the blod which thou hast spared.  
3361  Forthi to thi salvacion 
3362  Thou schalt have enformacioun,
3363  Such as Silvestre schal the teche:  
3364  The nedeth of non other leche."  
3365  This Emperour, which al this herde, 
3366  "Grant merci lordes," he ansuerde,      
3367  "I wol do so as ye me seie.
3368  Bot of o thing I wolde preie: 
3369  What schal I telle unto Silvestre
3370  Or of youre name or of youre estre?"
3371  And thei him tolden what thei hihte,
3372  And forth withal out of his sihte
3373  Thei passen up into the hevene.  
3374  And he awok out of his swevene,  
3375  And clepeth, and men come anon:  
3376  He tolde his drem, and therupon  
3377  In such a wise as he hem telleth 
3378  The Mont wher that Silvestre duelleth  
3379  Thei have in alle haste soght,
3380  And founde he was and with hem broght  
3381  To themperour, which to him tolde
3382  His swevene and elles what he wolde.
3383  And whan Silvestre hath herd the king, 
3384  He was riht joiful of this thing,
3385  And him began with al his wit 
3386  To techen upon holi writ
3387  Ferst how mankinde was forlore,  
3388  And how the hihe god therfore 
3389  His Sone sende from above, 
3390  Which bore was for mannes love,  
3391  And after of his oghne chois  
3392  He tok his deth upon the crois;  
3393  And how in grave he was beloke,  
3394  And how that he hath helle broke,
3395  And tok hem out that were him lieve;
3396  And forto make ous full believe  
3397  That he was verrai goddes Sone,  
3398  Ayein the kinde of mannes wone
3399  Fro dethe he ros the thridde day,
3400  And whanne he wolde, as he wel may, 
3401  He styh up to his fader evene 
3402  With fleissh and blod into the hevene; 
3403  And riht so in the same forme 
3404  In fleissh and blod he schal reforme,  
3405  Whan time comth, the qwike and dede     
3406  At thilke woful dai of drede, 
3407  Where every man schal take his dom, 
3408  Als wel the Maister as the grom. 
3409  The mihti kinges retenue
3410  That dai may stonde of no value  
3411  With worldes strengthe to defende;  
3412  For every man mot thanne entende 
3413  To stonde upon his oghne dedes
3414  And leve alle othre mennes nedes.
3415  That dai mai no consail availe,  
3416  The pledour and the plee schal faile,  
3417  The sentence of that ilke day 
3418  Mai non appell sette in delay;
3419  Ther mai no gold the Jugge plie, 
3420  That he ne schal the sothe trie  
3421  And setten every man upriht,  
3422  Als wel the plowman as the kniht:
3423  The lewed man, the grete clerk
3424  Schal stonde upon his oghne werk,
3425  And such as he is founde tho, 
3426  Such schal he be for everemo. 
3427  Ther mai no peine be relessed,
3428  Ther mai no joie ben encressed,  
3429  Bot endeles, as thei have do, 
3430  He schal receive on of the tuo.  
3431  And thus Silvestre with his sawe 
3432  The ground of al the newe lawe
3433  With gret devocion he precheth,  
3434  Fro point to point and pleinly techeth 
3435  Unto this hethen Emperour; 
3436  And seith, the hihe creatour  
3437  Hath underfonge his charite,  
3438  Of that he wroghte such pite, 
3439  Whan he the children hadde on honde.
3440  Thus whan this lord hath understonde
3441  Of al this thing how that it ferde, 
3442  Unto Silvestre he thanne ansuerde,  
3443  With al his hole herte and seith     
3444  That he is redi to the feith. 
3445  And so the vessel which for blod 
3446  Was mad, Silvestre, ther it stod,
3447  With clene water of the welle 
3448  In alle haste he let do felle,
3449  And sette Constantin therinne 
3450  Al naked up unto the chinne.  
3451  And in the while it was begunne, 
3452  A liht, as thogh it were a Sunne,
3453  Fro hevene into the place com 
3454  Wher that he tok his cristendom; 
3455  And evere among the holi tales
3456  Lich as thei weren fisshes skales
3457  Ther fellen from him now and eft,
3458  Til that ther was nothing beleft 
3459  Of al his grete maladie.
3460  For he that wolde him purefie,
3461  The hihe god hath mad him clene, 
3462  So that ther lefte nothing sene; 
3463  He hath him clensed bothe tuo,
3464  The bodi and the Soule also.  
3465  Tho knew this Emperour in dede
3466  That Cristes feith was forto drede, 
3467  And sende anon hise lettres oute 
3468  And let do crien al aboute,
3469  Up peine of deth that noman weyve
3470  That he baptesme ne receive:  
3471  After his Moder qweene Heleine
3472  He sende, and so betwen hem tweine  
3473  Thei treten, that the Cite all
3474  Was cristned, and sche forth withall.  
3475  This Emperour, which hele hath founde, 
3476  Withinne Rome anon let founde 
3477  Tuo cherches, which he dede make 
3478  For Peter and for Poules sake,
3479  Of whom he hadde avisioun; 
3480  And yaf therto possessioun 
3481  Of lordschipe and of worldes good.      
3482  Bot how so that his will was good
3483  Toward the Pope and his Franchise,  
3484  Yit hath it proved other wise,
3485  To se the worchinge of the dede: 
3486  For in Cronique this I rede;  
3487  Anon as he hath mad the yifte,
3488  A vois was herd on hih the lifte,
3489  Of which al Rome was adrad,
3490  And seith: "To day is venym schad
3491  In holi cherche of temporal,  
3492  Which medleth with the spirital."
3493  And hou it stant of that degree  
3494  Yit mai a man the sothe se:
3495  God mai amende it, whan he wile, 
3496  I can ther to non other skile.
3497  Bot forto go ther I began, 
3498  How charite mai helpe a man
3499  To bothe worldes, I have seid:
3500  And if thou have an Ere leid, 
3501  Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,  
3502  If charite be take on honde,  
3503  Ther folweth after mochel grace. 
3504  Forthi, if that thou wolt pourchace 
3505  How that thou miht Envie flee,
3506  Aqueinte thee with charite,
3507  Which is the vertu sovereine. 
3508  Mi fader, I schal do my peine:
3509  For this ensample which ye tolde 
3510  With al myn herte I have withholde, 
3511  So that I schal for everemore 
3512  Eschuie Envie wel the more:
3513  And that I have er this misdo,
3514  Yif me my penance er I go. 
3515  And over that to mi matiere
3516  Of schrifte, why we sitten hiere 
3517  In privete betwen ous tweie,  
3518  Now axeth what ther is, I preie. 
3519  Mi goode Sone, and for thi lore      
3520  I woll thee telle what is more,  
3521  So that thou schalt the vices knowe:
3522  For whan thei be to thee full knowe,
3523  Thou miht hem wel the betre eschuie.
3524  And for this cause I thenke suie 
3525  The forme bothe and the matiere, 
3526  As now suiende thou schalt hiere 
3527  Which vice stant next after this:
3528  And whan thou wost how that it is,  
3529  As thou schalt hiere me devise,  
3530  Thow miht thiself the betre avise. 

Explicit Liber Secundus