The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Septimus: Part 2

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

1827   For king hath pouer over man, 
1828   And man is he which reson can,
1829   As he which is of his nature  
1830   The moste noble creature
1831   Of alle tho that god hath wroght:
1832   And be that skile it semeth noght,  
1833   He seith, that eny erthly thing
1834   Mai be so myhty as a king. 
1835   A king mai spille, a king mai save, 
1836   A king mai make of lord a knave  
1837   And of a knave a lord also:
1838   The pouer of a king stant so, 
1839   That he the lawes overpasseth;
1840   What he wol make lasse, he lasseth, 
1841   What he wol make more, he moreth;
1842   And as the gentil faucon soreth, 
1843   He fleth, that noman him reclameth; 
1844   Bot he al one alle othre tameth, 
1845   And stant himself of lawe fre.
1846   Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,
1847   So as his reson can argue, 
1848   Is strengest and of most value.  
1849   Bot Manachaz seide otherwise, 
1850   That wyn is of the more emprise; 
1851   And that he scheweth be this weie.  
1852   The wyn fulofte takth aweie
1853   The reson fro the mannes herte;  
1854   The wyn can make a krepel sterte,
1855   And a delivere man unwelde;
1856   It makth a blind man to behelde, 
1857   And a bryht yhed seme derk;
1858   It makth a lewed man a clerk, 
1859   And fro the clerkes the clergie  
1860   It takth aweie, and couardie  
1861   It torneth into hardiesse; 
1862   Of Avarice it makth largesse. 
1863   The wyn makth ek the goode blod, 
1864   In which the Soule which is good 
1865   Hath chosen hire a resting place,
1866   Whil that the lif hir wole embrace. 
1867   And be this skile Manachas 
1868   Ansuered hath upon this cas,  
1869   And seith that wyn be weie of kinde 
1870   Is thing which mai the hertes binde 
1871   Wel more than the regalie. 
1872   Zorobabel for his partie 
1873   Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,
1874   That wommen ben the myhtieste.
1875   The king and the vinour also  
1876   Of wommen comen bothe tuo; 
1877   And ek he seide hou that manhede 
1878   Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede
1879   Of love, wher he wole or non, 
1880   Obeie schal; and therupon, 
1881   To schewe of wommen the maistrie,
1882   A tale which he syh with yhe  
1883   As for ensample he tolde this,-  
1884   Hou Apemen, of Besazis  
1885   Which dowhter was, in the paleis 
1886   Sittende upon his hihe deis,  
1887   Whan he was hotest in his ire 
1888   Toward the grete of his empire,  
1889   Cirus the king tirant sche tok,  
1890   And only with hire goodly lok 
1891   Sche made him debonaire and meke,
1892   And be the chyn and be the cheke 
1893   Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste, 
1894   That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,  
1895   And doth with him what evere hir liketh;  
1896   Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh, 
1897   And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:  
1898   And thus this king was overlad
1899   With hire which his lemman was.  
1900   Among the men is no solas, 
1901   If that ther be no womman there; 
1902   For bot if that the wommen were, 
1903   This worldes joie were aweie: 
1904   Thurgh hem men finden out the weie  
1905   To knihthode and to worldes fame;
1906   Thei make a man to drede schame, 
1907   And honour forto be desired:  
1908   Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred
1909   The Dart of which Cupide throweth,  
1910   Wherof the jolif peine groweth,
1911   Which al the world hath under fote. 
1912   A womman is the mannes bote,  
1913   His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel; 
1914   And this thing mai be schewed wel,  
1915   Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,
1916   For in ensample this I finde. 
1917   Whan that the duk Ametus lay  
1918   Sek in his bedd, that every day  
1919   Men waiten whan he scholde deie, 
1920   Alceste his wif goth forto preie,
1921   As sche which wolde thonk deserve,  
1922   With Sacrifice unto Minerve,  
1923   To wite ansuere of the goddesse  
1924   Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,  
1925   Wherof he was so wo besein,
1926   Recovere myhte his hele ayein.
1927   Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide, 
1928   Til ate laste a vois hir seide,  
1929   That if sche wolde for his sake  
1930   The maladie soffre and take,  
1931   And deie hirself, he scholde live.  
1932   Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive
1933   Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,  
1934   So that hir deth and his livinge 
1935   Sche ches with al hire hole entente,
1936   And thus acorded hom sche wente. 
1937   Into the chambre and whan sche cam, 
1938   Hire housebonde anon sche nam 
1939   In bothe hire Armes and him kiste,  
1940   And spak unto him what hire liste;  
1941   And therupon withinne a throwe
1942   This goode wif was overthrowe 
1943   And deide, and he was hool in haste.
1944   So mai a man be reson taste,  
1945   Hou next after the god above  
1946   The trouthe of wommen and the love, 
1947   In whom that alle grace is founde,  
1948   Is myhtiest upon this grounde 
1949   And most behovely manyfold. 
1950   Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told  
1951   The tale of his opinion:
1952   Bot for final conclusion
1953   What strengest is of erthli thinges,
1954   The wyn, the wommen or the kinges,  
1955   He seith that trouthe above hem alle
1956   Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle. 
1957   The trouthe, hou so it evere come,  
1958   Mai for nothing ben overcome; 
1959   It mai wel soffre for a throwe,  
1960   Bot ate laste it schal be knowe. 
1961   The proverbe is, who that is trewe, 
1962   Him schal his while nevere rewe: 
1963   For hou so that the cause wende, 
1964   The trouthe is schameles ate ende,  
1965   Bot what thing that is troutheles,  
1966   It mai noght wel be schameles,
1967   And schame hindreth every wyht:  
1968   So proveth it, ther is no myht
1969   Withoute trouthe in no degre. 
1970   And thus for trouthe of his decre
1971   Zorobabel was most commended, 
1972   Wherof the question was ended,
1973   And he resceived hath his mede
1974   For trouthe, which to mannes nede
1975   Is most behoveliche overal.
1976   Forthi was trouthe in special 
1977   The ferste point in observance
1978   Betake unto the governance 
1979   Of Alisandre, as it is seid:  
1980   For therupon the ground is leid  
1981   Of every kinges regiment,  
1982   As thing which most convenient
1983   Is forto sette a king in evene
1984   Bothe in this world and ek in hevene.
1985   Next after trouthe the secounde, 
1986   In Policie as it is founde,
1987   Which serveth to the worldes fame
1988   In worschipe of a kinges name,
1989   Largesse it is, whos privilegge  
1990   Ther mai non Avarice abregge. 
1991   The worldes good was ferst comune,  
1992   Bot afterward upon fortune 
1993   Was thilke comun profit cessed:  
1994   For whan the poeple stod encresced  
1995   And the lignages woxen grete, 
1996   Anon for singulier beyete  
1997   Drouh every man to his partie;
1998   Wherof cam in the ferste envie
1999   With gret debat and werres stronge, 
2000   And laste among the men so longe,
2001   Til noman wiste who was who,  
2002   Ne which was frend ne which was fo. 
2003   Til ate laste in every lond
2004   Withinne hemself the poeple fond 
2005   That it was good to make a king, 
2006   Which mihte appesen al this thing
2007   And yive riht to the lignages 
2008   In partinge of here heritages 
2009   And ek of al here other good; 
2010   And thus above hem alle stod  
2011   The king upon his Regalie, 
2012   As he which hath to justifie  
2013   The worldes good fro covoitise.  
2014   So sit it wel in alle wise 
2015   A king betwen the more and lesse 
2016   To sette his herte upon largesse 
2017   Toward himself and ek also 
2018   Toward his poeple; and if noght so, 
2019   That is to sein, if that he be 
2020   Toward himselven large and fre
2021   And of his poeple take and pile, 
2022   Largesse be no weie of skile  
2023   It mai be seid, bot Avarice,  
2024   Which in a king is a gret vice.  
2025   A king behoveth ek to fle  
2026   The vice of Prodegalite,
2027   That he mesure in his expence 
2028   So kepe, that of indigence 
2029   He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth,
2030   In al his werk the worse he spedeth.
2031   As Aristotle upon Chaldee  
2032   Ensample of gret Auctorite 
2033   Unto king Alisandre tauhte 
2034   Of thilke folk that were unsauhte
2035   Toward here king for his pilage: 
2036   Wherof he bad, in his corage  
2037   That he unto thre pointz entende,
2038   Wher that he wolde his good despende.  
2039   Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,  
2040   That al were of his oghne good
2041   The yiftes whiche he wolde yive; 
2042   So myhte he wel the betre live:  
2043   And ek he moste taken hiede
2044   If ther be cause of eny nede, 
2045   Which oghte forto be defended,
2046   Er that his goodes be despended: 
2047   He mot ek, as it is befalle,  
2048   Amonges othre thinges alle 
2049   Se the decertes of his men;
2050   And after that thei ben of ken
2051   And of astat and of merite,
2052   He schal hem largeliche aquite,  
2053   Or for the werre, or for the pes,
2054   That non honour falle in descres,
2055   Which mihte torne into defame,
2056   Bot that he kepe his goode name, 
2057   So that he be noght holde unkinde.  
2058   For in Cronique a tale I finde,
2059   Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,  
2060   Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere. 
2061   In Rome, to poursuie his riht,
2062   Ther was a worthi povere kniht,  
2063   Which cam al one forto sein
2064   His cause, when the court was plein,
2065   Wher Julius was in presence.  
2066   And for him lacketh of despence, 
2067   Ther was with him non advocat 
2068   To make ple for his astat. 
2069   Bot thogh him lacke forto plede, 
2070   Him lacketh nothing of manhede;  
2071   He wiste wel his pours was povere,  
2072   Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,  
2073   And openly poverte alleide,
2074   To themperour and thus he seide: 
2075   "O Julius, lord of the lawe,  
2076   Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe  
2077   For lacke of gold: do thin office
2078   After the lawes of justice:
2079   Help that I hadde conseil hiere  
2080   Upon the trouthe of mi matiere." 
2081   And Julius with that anon  
2082   Assigned him a worthi on,  
2083   Bot he himself no word ne spak.  
2084   This kniht was wroth and fond a lak 
2085   In themperour, and seide thus:
2086   "O thou unkinde Julius, 
2087   Whan thou in thi bataille were
2088   Up in Aufrique, and I was there, 
2089   Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede 
2090   And putte noman in my stede,  
2091   Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde:
2092   Bot hier I finde thee so badde,  
2093   That thee ne liste speke o word  
2094   Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord
2095   To yive a florin me to helpe. 
2096   Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe  
2097   Fro this dai forth of thi largesse, 
2098   Whan such a gret unkindenesse 
2099   Is founde in such a lord as thou?"  
2100   This Julius knew wel ynou  
2101   That al was soth which he him tolde;
2102   And for he wolde noght ben holde 
2103   Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde, 
2104   And as it were of goddes sonde,  
2105   He yaf him good ynouh to spende  
2106   For evere into his lives ende.
2107   And thus scholde every worthi king  
2108   Take of his knihtes knowleching, 
2109   Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,  
2110   For every service axeth mede: 
2111   Bot othre, which have noght deserved
2112   Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,  
2113   A king schal noght deserve grace,
2114   Thogh he be large in such a place.  
2115   It sit wel every king to have 
2116   Discrecion, whan men him crave,  
2117   So that he mai his yifte wite:
2118   Wherof I finde a tale write,  
2119   Hou Cinichus a povere kniht
2120   A Somme which was over myht
2121   Preide of his king Antigonus. 
2122   The king ansuerde to him thus,
2123   And seide hou such a yifte passeth  
2124   His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,  
2125   And axeth bot a litel peny,
2126   If that the king wol yive him eny.  
2127   The king ansuerde, it was to smal
2128   For him, which was a lord real;  
2129   To yive a man so litel thing  
2130   It were unworschipe in a king.
2131   Be this ensample a king mai lere  
2132   That forto yive is in manere: 
2133   For if a king his tresor lasseth 
2134   Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,  
2135   Whan he himself wol so beguile,  
2136   I not who schal compleigne his while,  
2137   Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.  
2138   Bot natheles this I believe,  
2139   To helpe with his oghne lond  
2140   Behoveth every man his hond
2141   To sette upon necessite;
2142   And ek his kinges realte
2143   Mot every liege man conforte, 
2144   With good and bodi to supporte,  
2145   Whan thei se cause resonable: 
2146   For who that is noght entendable 
2147   To holde upriht his kinges name, 
2148   Him oghte forto be to blame.  
2149   Of Policie and overmore 
2150   To speke in this matiere more,
2151   So as the Philosophre tolde,  
2152   A king after the reule is holde  
2153   To modifie and to adresce  
2154   Hise yiftes upon such largesce
2155   That he mesure noght excede:  
2156   For if a king falle into nede,
2157   It causeth ofte sondri thinges
2158   Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.  
2159   What man wol noght himself mesure,  
2160   Men sen fulofte that mesure
2161   Him hath forsake: and so doth he 
2162   That useth Prodegalite, 
2163   Which is the moder of poverte,
2164   Wherof the londes ben deserte;
2165   And namely whan thilke vice
2166   Aboute a king stant in office 
2167   And hath withholde of his partie 
2168   The covoitouse flaterie, 
2169   Which many a worthi king deceiveth, 
2170   Er he the fallas aperceiveth  
2171   Of hem that serven to the glose. 
2172   For thei that cunnen plese and glose,  
2173   Ben, as men tellen, the norrices 
2174   Unto the fostringe of the vices, 
2175   Wherof fulofte natheles 
2176   A king is blamed gulteles. 
2177   A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,
2178   Spak to a king of this matiere,  
2179   And seide him wel hou that flatours 
2180   Coupable were of thre errours.
2181   On was toward the goddes hihe,
2182   That weren wrothe of that thei sihe 
2183   The meschief which befalle scholde  
2184   Of that the false flatour tolde. 
2185   Toward the king an other was, 
2186   Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas  
2187   Of feigned wordes make him wene  
2188   That blak is whyt and blew is grene 
2189   Touchende of his condicion:
2190   For whanne he doth extorcion  
2191   With manye an other vice mo,  
2192   Men schal noght finden on of tho 
2193   To groucche or speke therayein,  
2194   Bot holden up his oil and sein
2195   That al is wel, what evere he doth; 
2196   And thus of fals thei maken soth,
2197   So that here kinges yhe is blent 
2198   And wot not hou the world is went.  
2199   The thridde errour is harm comune,  
2200   With which the poeple mot commune
2201   Of wronges that thei bringen inne:  
2202   And thus thei worchen treble sinne, 
2203   That ben flatours aboute a king. 
2204   Ther myhte be no worse thing  
2205   Aboute a kinges regalie,
2206   Thanne is the vice of flaterie.
2207   And natheles it hath ben used,
2208   That it was nevere yit refused
2209   As forto speke in court real; 
2210   For there it is most special, 
2211   And mai noght longe be forbore.  
2212   Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,  
2213   That scholden the vertus forthbringe,  
2214   And trouthe is torned to lesinge,
2215   It is, as who seith, ayein kinde,
2216   Wherof an old ensample I finde.  
2217   Among these othre tales wise  
2218   Of Philosophres, in this wise 
2219   I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,
2220   And to the Scole forto lere
2221   Unto Athenes fro Cartage
2222   Here frendes, whan thei were of Age,
2223   Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe, 
2224   Til thei such lore have underfonge, 
2225   That in here time thei surmonte  
2226   Alle othre men, that to acompte  
2227   Of hem was tho the grete fame.
2228   The ferste of hem his rihte name 
2229   Was Diogenes thanne hote,  
2230   In whom was founde no riote:  
2231   His felaw Arisippus hyhte, 
2232   Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.  
2233   Bot ate laste, soth to sein,  
2234   Thei bothe tornen hom ayein
2235   Unto Cartage and scole lete.  
2236   This Diogenes no beyete  
2237   Of worldes good or lasse or more 
2238   Ne soghte for his longe lore, 
2239   Bot tok him only forto duelle 
2240   At hom; and as the bokes telle,  
2241   His hous was nyh to the rivere
2242   Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere. 
2243   Ther duelleth he to take his reste, 
2244   So as it thoghte him for the beste, 
2245   To studie in his Philosophie, 
2246   As he which wolde so defie 
2247   The worldes pompe on every syde. 
2248   Bot Arisippe his bok aside 
2249   Hath leid, and to the court he wente,  
2250   Wher many a wyle and many a wente
2251   With flaterie and wordes softe
2252   He caste, and hath compassed ofte
2253   Hou he his Prince myhte plese;
2254   And in this wise he gat him ese  
2255   Of vein honour and worldes good. 
2256   The londes reule upon him stod,  
2257   The king of him was wonder glad, 
2258   And all was do, what thing he bad,  
2259   Bothe in the court and ek withoute. 
2260   With flaterie he broghte aboute  
2261   His pourpos of the worldes werk, 
2262   Which was ayein the stat of clerk,  
2263   So that Philosophie he lefte  
2264   And to richesse himself uplefte: 
2265   Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.  
2266   Bot Diogenes duelte stille 
2267   A home and loked on his bok:  
2268   He soghte noght the worldes crok 
2269   For vein honour ne for richesse, 
2270   Bot all his hertes besinesse  
2271   He sette to be vertuous;
2272   And thus withinne his oghne hous 
2273   He liveth to the sufficance
2274   Of his havinge. And fell per chance, 
2275   This Diogene upon a day,
2276   And that was in the Monthe of May,  
2277   Whan that these herbes ben holsome, 
2278   He walketh forto gadre some
2279   In his gardin, of whiche his joutes 
2280   He thoghte have, and thus aboutes
2281   Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh, 
2282   He satte him thanne doun and pyketh,
2283   And wyssh his herbes in the flod 
2284   Upon the which his gardin stod,  
2285   Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.
2286   And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,  
2287   Cam Arisippes be the strete
2288   With manye hors and routes grete,
2289   And straght unto the bregge he rod. 
2290   Wher that he hoved and abod;  
2291   For as he caste his yhe nyh,  
2292   His felaw Diogene he syh,  
2293   And what he dede he syh also, 
2294   Wherof he seide to him so: 
2295   "O Diogene, god thee spede.
2296   It were certes litel nede  
2297   To sitte there and wortes pyke,  
2298   If thou thi Prince couthest lyke,
2299   So as I can in my degre."  
2300   "O Arisippe," ayein quod he,  
2301   "If that thou couthist, so as I, 
2302   Thi wortes pyke, trewely
2303   It were als litel nede or lasse, 
2304   That thou so worldly wolt compasse  
2305   With flaterie forto serve, 
2306   Wherof thou thenkest to deserve  
2307   Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace 
2308   Hou thou myht stonden in his grace, 
2309   For getinge of a litel good.  
2310   If thou wolt take into thi mod
2311   Reson, thou myht be reson deeme  
2312   That so thi prince forto queeme
2313   Is noght to reson acordant,
2314   Bot it is gretly descordant
2315   Unto the Scoles of Athene."
2316   Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene  
2317   Ayein the clerkes flaterie.
2318   Bot yit men sen thessamplerie 
2319   Of Arisippe is wel received,  
2320   And thilke of Diogene is weyved. 
2321   Office in court and gold in cofre
2322   Is nou, men sein, the philosophre
2323   Which hath the worschipe in the halle; 
2324   Bot flaterie passeth alle  
2325   In chambre, whom the court avanceth;
2326   For upon thilke lot it chanceth  
2327   To be beloved nou aday. 
2328   I not if it be ye or nay,  
2329   Bot as the comun vois it telleth;
2330   Bot wher that flaterie duelleth  
2331   In eny lond under the Sonne,  
2332   Ther is ful many a thing begonne  
2333   Which were betre to be left;  
2334   That hath be schewed nou and eft.
2335   Bot if a Prince wolde him reule  
2336   Of the Romeins after the reule,  
2337   In thilke time as it was used,
2338   This vice scholde be refused, 
2339   Wherof the Princes ben assoted.  
2340   Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted,  
2341   Ther may a Prince wel conceive,  
2342   That he schal noght himself deceive,
2343   Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;
2344   For him thar noght be reson pleigne,
2345   That warned is er him be wo.  
2346   And that was fully proeved tho,  
2347   Whan Rome was the worldes chief, 
2348   The Sothseiere tho was lief,  
2349   Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,
2350   Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare
2351   To Themperour hise sothes tolde, 
2352   As in Cronique is yit withholde, 
2353   Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere  
2354   Acordende unto this matiere.  
2355   To se this olde ensamplerie,  
2356   That whilom was no flaterie
2357   Toward the Princes wel I finde;  
2358   Wherof so as it comth to mynde,  
2359   Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere,
2360   Whil that the worthi princes were
2361   At Rome, I thenke forto tellen.  
2362   For whan the chances so befellen  
2363   That eny Emperour as tho
2364   Victoire hadde upon his fo,
2365   And so forth cam to Rome ayein,  
2366   Of treble honour he was certein, 
2367   Wherof that he was magnefied. 
2368   The ferste, as it is specefied,  
2369   Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde, 
2370   The Charr in which he scholde ryde  
2371   Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe; 
2372   Of Jupiter be thilke lawe  
2373   The Cote he scholde were also;
2374   Hise prisoners ek scholden go 
2375   Endlong the Charr on eyther hond,
2376   And alle the nobles of the lond  
2377   Tofore and after with him come
2378   Ridende and broghten him to Rome,
2379   In thonk of his chivalerie 
2380   And for non other flaterie.
2381   And that was schewed forth withal;  
2382   Wher he sat in his Charr real,
2383   Beside him was a Ribald set,  
2384   Which hadde hise wordes so beset,
2385   To themperour in al his gloire
2386   He seide, "Tak into memoire,  
2387   For al this pompe and al this pride 
2388   Let no justice gon aside,  
2389   Bot know thiself, what so befalle.  
2390   For men sen ofte time falle
2391   Thing which men wende siker stonde: 
2392   Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde, 
2393   Fortune mai noght stonde alway;  
2394   The whiel per chance an other day
2395   Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;
2396   Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe." 
2397   With these wordes and with mo 
2398   This Ribald, which sat with him tho,
2399   To Themperour his tale tolde:  
2400   And overmor what evere he wolde, 
2401   Or were it evel or were it good, 
2402   So pleinly as the trouthe stod,  
2403   He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;  
2404   And so myhte every man aboute 
2405   The day of that solempnete 
2406   His tale telle als wel as he  
2407   To Themperour al openly.
2408   And al was this the cause why;
2409   That whil he stod in that noblesse, 
2410   He scholde his vanite represse
2411   With suche wordes as he herde.
2412   Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde 
2413   Toward so hih a worthi lord:  
2414   For this I finde ek of record,
2415   Which the Cronique hath auctorized. 
2416   What Emperour was entronized, 
2417   The ferste day of his corone, 
2418   Wher he was in his real Throne
2419   And hield his feste in the paleis
2420   Sittende upon his hihe deis
2421   With al the lust that mai be gete,  
2422   Whan he was gladdest at his mete,
2423   And every menstral hadde pleid,  
2424   And every Disour hadde seid
2425   What most was plesant to his Ere,
2426   Than ate laste comen there 
2427   Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave
2428   Wher that he wolde be begrave,
2429   And of what Ston his sepulture
2430   Thei scholden make, and what sculpture 
2431   He wolde ordeine therupon. 
2432   Tho was ther flaterie non
2433   The worthi princes to bejape; 
2434   The thing was other wise schape  
2435   With good conseil; and otherwise 
2436   Thei were hemselven thanne wise, 
2437   And understoden wel and knewen.  
2438   Whan suche softe wyndes blewen
2439   Of flaterie into here Ere, 
2440   Thei setten noght here hertes there;
2441   Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,
2442   The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned  
2443   Of hem that weren so discrete.
2444   So tok the flatour no beyete  
2445   Of him that was his prince tho:  
2446   And forto proven it is so, 
2447   A tale which befell in dede
2448   In a Cronique of Rome I rede. 
2449   Cesar upon his real throne 
2450   Wher that he sat in his persone  
2451   And was hyest in al his pris, 
2452   A man, which wolde make him wys, 
2453   Fell doun knelende in his presence, 
2454   And dede him such a reverence,
2455   As thogh the hihe god it were:
2456   Men hadden gret mervaille there  
2457   Of the worschipe which he dede.  
2458   This man aros fro thilke stede,  
2459   And forth with al the same tyde  
2460   He goth him up and be his side
2461   He set him doun as pier and pier,
2462   And seide, "If thou that sittest hier  
2463   Art god, which alle thinges myht,
2464   Thanne have I do worshipe ariht  
2465   As to the god; and other wise,
2466   If thou be noght of thilke assisse, 
2467   Bot art a man such as am I,
2468   Than mai I sitte faste by,  
2469   For we be bothen of o kinde." 
2470   Cesar ansuerde and seide, "O blinde,
2471   Thou art a fol, it is wel sene
2472   Upon thiself: for if thou wene
2473   I be a god, thou dost amys 
2474   To sitte wher thou sest god is;  
2475   And if I be a man, also 
2476   Thou hast a gret folie do, 
2477   Whan thou to such on as schal deie  
2478   The worschipe of thi god aweie
2479   Hast yoven so unworthely.  
2480   Thus mai I prove redely,
2481   Thou art noght wys."  And thei that herde 
2482   Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,
2483   It was to hem a newe lore; 
2484   Wherof thei dradden him the more,
2485   And broghten nothing to his Ere, 
2486   Bot if it trouthe and reson were.
2487   So be ther manye, in such a wise 
2488   That feignen wordes to be wise,  
2489   And al is verray flaterie  
2490   To him which can it wel aspie.
2491   The kinde flatour can noght love 
2492   Bot forto bringe himself above;  
2493   For hou that evere his maister fare,
2494   So that himself stonde out of care, 
2495   Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte
2496   Deceived ben with wordes softe
2497   The kinges that ben innocent. 
2498   Wherof as for chastiement  
2499   The wise Philosophre seide,
2500   What king that so his tresor leide  
2501   Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,  
2502   And yit ne doth he no largesse,  
2503   Bot harmeth with his oghne hond  
2504   Himself and ek his oghne lond,
2505   And that be many a sondri weie.  
2506   Wherof if that a man schal seie, 
2507   As forto speke in general,  
2508   Wher such thing falleth overal
2509   That eny king himself misreule,  
2510   The Philosophre upon his reule
2511   In special a cause sette,  
2512   Which is and evere hath be the lette
2513   In governance aboute a king
2514   Upon the meschief of the thing,  
2515   And that, he seith, is Flaterie. 
2516   Wherof tofore as in partie 
2517   What vice it is I have declared; 
2518   For who that hath his wit bewared
2519   Upon a flatour to believe, 
2520   Whan that he weneth best achieve 
2521   His goode world, it is most fro. 
2522   And forto proeven it is so 
2523   Ensamples ther ben manyon, 
2524   Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,
2525   It is behovely forto hiere 
2526   What whilom fell in this matiere.
2527   Among the kinges in the bible 
2528   I finde a tale, and is credible, 
2529   Of him that whilom Achab hihte,  
2530   Which hadde al Irahel to rihte;  
2531   Bot who that couthe glose softe  
2532   And flatre, suche he sette alofte
2533   In gret astat and made hem riche;
2534   Bot thei that spieken wordes liche  
2535   To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere, 
2536   For hem was non astat to bere,
2537   The court of suche tok non hiede.
2538   Til ate laste upon a nede, 
2539   That Benedab king of Surie 
2540   Of Irahel a gret partie,
2541   Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,
2542   Hath sesed; and of that riote 
2543   He tok conseil in sondri wise,
2544   Bot noght of hem that weren wise. 
2545   And natheles upon this cas 
2546   To strengthen him, for Josaphas, 
2547   Which thanne was king of Judee,  
2548   He sende forto come, as he 
2549   Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance  
2550   Was next to him of aqueintance;  
2551   For Joram Sone of Josaphath
2552   Achabbes dowhter wedded hath, 
2553   Which hihte faire Godelie. 
2554   And thus cam into Samarie  
2555   King Josaphat, and he fond there 
2556   The king Achab: and whan thei were  
2557   Togedre spekende of this thing,  
2558   This Josaphat seith to the king, 
2559   Hou that he wolde gladly hiere
2560   Som trew prophete in this matiere,  
2561   That he his conseil myhte yive
2562   To what point that it schal be drive.  
2563   And in that time so befell,
2564   Ther was such on in Irahel,
2565   Which sette him al to flaterie,  
2566   And he was cleped Sedechie;
2567   And after him Achab hath sent:
2568   And he at his comandement  
2569   Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte 
2570   He hath upon his heved on heyhte 
2571   Tuo large hornes set of bras, 
2572   As he which al a flatour was, 
2573   And goth rampende as a leoun  
2574   And caste hise hornes up and doun,  
2575   And bad men ben of good espeir,  
2576   For as the hornes percen their,  
2577   He seith, withoute resistence,
2578   So wiste he wel of his science
2579   That Benedab is desconfit. 
2580   Whan Sedechie upon this plit  
2581   Hath told this tale to his lord, 
2582   Anon ther were of his acord
2583   Prophetes false manye mo 
2584   To bere up oil, and alle tho  
2585   Affermen that which he hath told,
2586   Wherof the king Achab was bold
2587   And yaf hem yiftes al aboute. 
2588   But Josaphat was in gret doute,  
2589   And hield fantosme al that he herde,
2590   Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde, 
2591   If ther were eny other man,
2592   The which of prophecie can,
2593   To hiere him speke er that thei gon.
2594   Quod Achab thanne, "Ther is on,  
2595   A brothell, which Micheas hihte; 
2596   Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,  
2597   For he hath longe in prison lein.
2598   Him liketh nevere yit to sein 
2599   A goodly word to mi plesance; 
2600   And natheles at thin instance 
2601   He schal come oute, and thanne he may  
2602   Seie as he seide many day; 
2603   For yit he seide nevere wel." 
2604   Tho Josaphat began somdel  
2605   To gladen him in hope of trouthe,
2606   And bad withouten eny slouthe 
2607   That men him scholden fette anon.
2608   And thei that weren for him gon, 
2609   Whan that thei comen wher he was,
2610   Thei tolden unto Micheas
2611   The manere hou that Sedechie  
2612   Declared hath his prophecie;  
2613   And therupon thei preie him faire
2614   That he wol seie no contraire,
2615   Wherof the king mai be desplesed,
2616   For so schal every man ben esed, 
2617   And he mai helpe himselve also.  
2618   Micheas upon trouthe tho
2619   His herte sette, and to hem seith,  
2620   Al that belongeth to his feith
2621   And of non other feigned thing,
2622   That wol he telle unto his king, 
2623   Als fer as god hath yove him grace. 
2624   Thus cam this prophete into place
2625   Wher he the kinges wille herde;  
2626   And he therto anon ansuerde,  
2627   And seide unto him in this wise: 
2628   "Mi liege lord, for mi servise,  
2629   Which trewe hath stonden evere yit, 
2630   Thou hast me with prisone aquit; 
2631   Bot for al that I schal noght glose 
2632   Of trouthe als fer as I suppose; 
2633   And as touchende of this bataille,  
2634   Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.  
2635   For if it like thee to hiere, 
2636   As I am tauht in that matiere,
2637   Thou miht it understonde sone;
2638   Bot what is afterward to done 
2639   Avise thee, for this I sih.
2640   I was tofor the throne on hih,
2641   Wher al the world me thoghte stod,  
2642   And there I herde and understod  
2643   The vois of god with wordes cliere  
2644   Axende, and seide in this manere:
2645   "In what thing mai I best beguile
2646   The king Achab?" And for a while 
2647   Upon this point thei spieken faste. 
2648   Tho seide a spirit ate laste, 
2649   "I undertake this emprise."
2650   And god him axeth in what wise.  
2651   "I schal," quod he, "deceive and lye
2652   With flaterende prophecie  
2653   In suche mouthes as he lieveth." 
2654   And he which alle thing achieveth
2655   Bad him go forth and don riht so.
2656   And over this I sih also
2657   The noble peple of Irahel  
2658   Dispers as Schep upon an hell, 
2659   Withoute a kepere unarraied:  
2660   And as thei wente aboute astraied,  
2661   I herde a vois unto hem sein, 
2662   "Goth hom into your hous ayein,  
2663   Til I for you have betre ordeigned."
2664   Quod Sedechie, "Thou hast feigned
2665   This tale in angringe of the king." 
2666   And in a wraththe upon this thing
2667   He smot Michee upon the cheke;
2668   The king him hath rebuked eke,
2669   And every man upon him cride: 
2670   Thus was he schent on every side,
2671   Ayein and into prison lad, 
2672   For so the king himselve bad. 
2673   The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;
2674   Bot afterward as it hath ferd,
2675   The dede proveth his entente: 
2676   Achab to the bataille wente,  
2677   Wher Benedab for al his Scheld
2678   Him slouh, so that upon the feld 
2679   His poeple goth aboute astray.
2680   Bot god, which alle thinges may, 
2681   So doth that thei no meschief have; 
2682   Here king was ded and thei ben save,
2683   And hom ayein in goddes pes
2684   Thei wente, and al was founde les
2685   That Sedechie hath seid tofore.  
2686   So sit it wel a king therfore 
2687   To loven hem that trouthe mene;  
2688   For ate laste it wol be sene  
2689   That flaterie is nothing worth.  
2690   Bot nou to mi matiere forth,  
2691   As forto speken overmore
2692   After the Philosophres lore,  
2693   The thridde point of Policie  
2694   I thenke forto specifie. 
2695   What is a lond wher men ben none?
2696   What ben the men whiche are al one  
2697   Withoute a kinges governance? 
2698   What is a king in his ligance,
2699   Wher that ther is no lawe in londe? 
2700   What is to take lawe on honde,
2701   Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
2702   These olde worldes with the newe 
2703   Who that wol take in evidence,
2704   Ther mai he se thexperience,  
2705   What thing it is to kepe lawe,
2706   Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe 
2707   And rihtwisnesse stant commended,
2708   Wherof the regnes ben amended.
2709   For wher the lawe mai comune  
2710   The lordes forth with the commune,  
2711   Ech hath his propre duete; 
2712   And ek the kinges realte
2713   Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,
2714   To his astat as it belongeth, 
2715   Which of his hihe worthinesse 
2716   Hath to governe rihtwisnesse, 
2717   As he which schal the lawe guide.
2718   And natheles upon som side 
2719   His pouer stant above the lawe,  
2720   To yive bothe and to withdrawe
2721   The forfet of a mannes lif;
2722   But thinges whiche are excessif  
2723   Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do
2724   For love ne for hate also. 
2725   The myhtes of a king ben grete,  
2726   Bot yit a worthi king schal lete 
2727   Of wrong to don, al that he myhte;  
2728   For he which schal the poeple ryhte,
2729   It sit wel to his regalie  
2730   That he himself ferst justefie 
2731   Towardes god in his degre: 
2732   For his astat is elles fre 
2733   Toward alle othre in his persone,
2734   Save only to the god al one,  
2735   Which wol himself a king chastise,  
2736   Wher that non other mai suffise. 
2737   So were it good to taken hiede
2738   That ferst a king his oghne dede 
2739   Betwen the vertu and the vice 
2740   Redresce, and thanne of his justice 
2741   So sette in evene the balance 
2742   Towardes othre in governance, 
2743   That to the povere and to the riche 
2744   Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,  
2745   He schal excepte no persone.  
2746   Bot for he mai noght al him one  
2747   In sondri places do justice,  
2748   He schal of his real office
2749   With wys consideracion  
2750   Ordeigne his deputacion 
2751   Of suche jugges as ben lerned,
2752   So that his poeple be governed
2753   Be hem that trewe ben and wise.  
2754   For if the lawe of covoitise  
2755   Be set upon a jugges hond, 
2756   Wo is the poeple of thilke lond, 
2757   For wrong mai noght himselven hyde: 
2758   Bot elles on that other side, 
2759   If lawe stonde with the riht, 
2760   The poeple is glad and stant upriht.
2761   Wher as the lawe is resonable,
2762   The comun poeple stant menable,  
2763   And if the lawe torne amis,
2764   The poeple also mistorned is. 
2765   And in ensample of this matiere  
2766   Of Maximin a man mai hiere,
2767   Of Rome which was Emperour, 
2768   That whanne he made a governour  
2769   Be weie of substitucion 
2770   Of Province or of region,  
2771   He wolde ferst enquere his name, 
2772   And let it openly proclame 
2773   What man he were, or evel or good.  
2774   And upon that his name stod
2775   Enclin to vertu or to vice,
2776   So wolde he sette him in office, 
2777   Or elles putte him al aweie.  
2778   Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie, 
2779   Which fond no let of covoitise:  
2780   The world stod than upon the wise,  
2781   As be ensample thou myht rede;
2782   And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.
2783   In a Cronique I finde thus,
2784   Hou that Gayus Fabricius,  
2785   Which whilom was Consul of Rome, 
2786   Be whom the lawes yede and come, 
2787   Whan the Sampnites to him broghte
2788   A somme of gold, and him besoghte
2789   To don hem favour in the lawe,
2790   Toward the gold he gan him drawe,
2791   Wherof in alle mennes lok  
2792   A part up in his hond he tok, 
2793   Which to his mouth in alle haste 
2794   He putte, it forto smelle and taste,
2795   And to his yhe and to his Ere,
2796   Bot he ne fond no confort there: 
2797   And thanne he gan it to despise, 
2798   And tolde unto hem in this wise: 
2799   "I not what is with gold to thryve, 
2800   Whan non of all my wittes fyve
2801   Fynt savour ne delit therinne.
2802   So is it bot a nyce Sinne  
2803   Of gold to ben to covoitous;  
2804   Bot he is riche and glorious,
2805   Which hath in his subjeccion  
2806   Tho men whiche in possession  
2807   Ben riche of gold, and be this skile;  
2808   For he mai aldai whan he wile,
2809   Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe, 
2810   Justice don upon hem bothe."  
2811   Lo, thus he seide, and with that word  
2812   He threw tofore hem on the bord  
2813   The gold out of his hond anon,
2814   And seide hem that he wolde non: 
2815   So that he kepte his liberte  
2816   To do justice and equite,  
2817   Withoute lucre of such richesse. 
2818   Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse; 
2819   For it was thilke times used, 
2820   That every jugge was refused  
2821   Which was noght frend to comun riht;
2822   Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht  
2823   For trouthe only to do justice
2824   Preferred were in thilke office  
2825   To deme and jugge commun lawe:
2826   Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.  
2827   To sette a lawe and kepe it noght
2828   Ther is no comun profit soght;
2829   Bot above alle natheles 
2830   The lawe, which is mad for pes,  
2831   Is good to kepe for the beste,
2832   For that set alle men in reste.  
2833   The rihtful Emperour Conrade  
2834   To kepe pes such lawe made,
2835   That non withinne the cite 
2836   In destorbance of unite 
2837   Dorste ones moeven a matiere. 
2838   For in his time, as thou myht hiere,
2839   What point that was for lawe set 
2840   It scholde for no gold be let,
2841   To what persone that it were.  
2842   And this broghte in the comun fere, 
2843   Why every man the lawe dradde,
2844   For ther was non which favour hadde.
2845   So as these olde bokes sein,  
2846   I finde write hou a Romein,
2847   Which Consul was of the Pretoire,
2848   Whos name was Carmidotoire,
2849   He sette a lawe for the pes,  
2850   That non, bot he be wepneles, 
2851   Schal come into the conseil hous,
2852   And elles as malicious  
2853   He schal ben of the lawe ded. 
2854   To that statut and to that red
2855   Acorden alle it schal be so,  
2856   For certein cause which was tho: 
2857   Nou lest what fell therafter sone.  
2858   This Consul hadde forto done, 
2859   And was into the feldes ride; 
2860   And thei him hadden longe abide, 
2861   That lordes of the conseil were, 
2862   And for him sende, and he cam there 
2863   With swerd begert, and hath foryete,
2864   Til he was in the conseil sete.  
2865   Was non of hem that made speche, 
2866   Til he himself it wolde seche,
2867   And fond out the defalte himselve;  
2868   And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,
2869   Whiche of the Senat weren wise,  
2870   "I have deserved the juise,
2871   In haste that it were do." 
2872   And thei him seiden alle no;  
2873   For wel thei wiste it was no vice,  
2874   Whan he ne thoghte no malice, 
2875   Bot onliche of a litel slouthe:  
2876   And thus thei leften as for routhe
2877   To do justice upon his gilt,  
2878   For that he scholde noght be spilt. 
2879   And whanne he sih the maner hou  
2880   Thei wolde him save, he made avou
2881   With manfull herte, and thus he seide, 
2882   That Rome scholde nevere abreide 
2883   His heires, whan he were of dawe,
2884   That here Ancestre brak the lawe.
2885   Forthi, er that thei weren war,  
2886   Forth with the same swerd he bar 
2887   The statut of his lawe he kepte, 
2888   So that al Rome his deth bewepte.
2889   In other place also I rede,
2890   Wher that a jugge his oghne dede 
2891   Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,
2892   The king it hath himselven wroke.
2893   The grete king which Cambises 
2894   Was hote, a jugge laweles  
2895   He fond, and into remembrance 
2896   He dede upon him such vengance:  
2897   Out of his skyn he was beflain
2898   Al quyk, and in that wise slain, 
2899   So that his skyn was schape al meete,  
2900   And nayled on the same seete  
2901   Wher that his Sone scholde sitte.
2902   Avise him, if he wolde flitte 
2903   The lawe for the coveitise,
2904   Ther sih he redi his juise.
2905   Thus in defalte of other jugge
2906   The king mot otherwhile jugge,
2907   To holden up the rihte lawe.  
2908   And forto speke of tholde dawe,  
2909   To take ensample of that was tho,
2910   I finde a tale write also, 
2911   Hou that a worthi prince is holde
2912   The lawes of his lond to holde,  
2913   Ferst for the hihe goddes sake,  
2914   And ek for that him is betake  
2915   The poeple forto guide and lede, 
2916   Which is the charge of his kinghede.
2917   In a Cronique I rede thus  
2918   Of the rihtful Ligurgius,  
2919   Which of Athenis Prince was,  
2920   Hou he the lawe in every cas, 
2921   Wherof he scholde his poeple reule, 
2922   Hath set upon so good a reule,
2923   In al this world that cite non
2924   Of lawe was so wel begon
2925   Forth with the trouthe of governance.  
2926   Ther was among hem no distance,  
2927   Bot every man hath his encress;  
2928   Ther was withoute werre pes,  
2929   Withoute envie love stod;  
2930   Richesse upon the comun good  
2931   And noght upon the singuler
2932   Ordeigned was, and the pouer  
2933   Of hem that weren in astat 
2934   Was sauf: wherof upon debat
2935   Ther stod nothing, so that in reste 
2936   Mihte every man his herte reste. 
2937   And whan this noble rihtful king 
2938   Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,  
2939   Wherof the poeple stod in ese,
2940   He, which for evere wolde plese  
2941   The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte, 
2942   A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,
2943   And schop if that it myhte be,
2944   Hou that his lawe in the cite 
2945   Mihte afterward for evere laste. 
2946   And therupon his wit he caste 
2947   What thing him were best to feigne, 
2948   That he his pourpos myhte atteigne. 
2949   A Parlement and thus he sette,
2950   His wisdom wher that he besette  
2951   In audience of grete and smale,
2952   And in this wise he tolde his tale: 
2953   "God wot, and so ye witen alle,  
2954   Hierafterward hou so it falle,
2955   Yit into now my will hath be  
2956   To do justice and equite
2957   In forthringe of comun profit;
2958   Such hath ben evere my delit. 
2959   Bot of o thing I am beknowe,  
2960   The which mi will is that ye knowe: 
2961   The lawe which I tok on honde,
2962   Was altogedre of goddes sonde 
2963   And nothing of myn oghne wit; 
2964   So mot it nede endure yit, 
2965   And schal do lengere, if ye wile.
2966   For I wol telle you the skile;
2967   The god Mercurius and no man  
2968   He hath me tawht al that I can
2969   Of suche lawes as I made,  
2970   Wherof that ye ben alle glade;
2971   It was the god and nothing I, 
2972   Which dede al this, and nou forthi  
2973   He hath comanded of his grace 
2974   That I schal come into a place
2975   Which is forein out in an yle,
2976   Wher I mot tarie for a while, 
2977   With him to speke, as he hath bede. 
2978   For as he seith, in thilke stede 
2979   He schal me suche thinges telle, 
2980   That evere, whyl the world schal duelle,  
2981   Athenis schal the betre fare. 
2982   Bot ferst, er that I thider fare,
2983   For that I wolde that mi lawe 
2984   Amonges you ne be withdrawe
2985   Ther whyles that I schal ben oute,  
2986   Forthi to setten out of doute 
2987   Bothe you and me, this wol I preie, 
2988   That ye me wolde assure and seie 
2989   With such an oth as I wol take,
2990   That ech of you schal undertake  
2991   Mi lawes forto kepe and holde."  
2992   Thei seiden alle that thei wolde,
2993   And therupon thei swore here oth,
2994   That fro the time that he goth,  
2995   Til he to hem be come ayein,  
2996   Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein  
2997   In every point kepe and fulfille.
2998   Thus hath Ligurgius his wille,
2999   And tok his leve and forth he wente.
3000   Bot lest nou wel to what entente 
3001   Of rihtwisnesse he dede so:
3002   For after that he was ago, 
3003   He schop him nevere to be founde;
3004   So that Athenis, which was bounde,  
3005   Nevere after scholde be relessed,
3006   Ne thilke goode lawe cessed,  
3007   Which was for comun profit set.  
3008   And in this wise he hath it knet;
3009   He, which the comun profit soghte,  
3010   The king, his oghne astat ne roghte;
3011   To do profit to the comune,
3012   He tok of exil the fortune,
3013   And lefte of Prince thilke office
3014   Only for love and for justice,
3015   Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte,
3016   For evere after his deth to rihte
3017   The cite which was him betake.
3018   Wherof men oghte ensample take
3019   The goode lawes to avance  
3020   With hem which under governance  
3021   The lawes have forto kepe; 
3022   For who that wolde take kepe  
3023   Of hem that ferst the lawes founde, 
3024   Als fer as lasteth eny bounde 
3025   Of lond, here names yit ben knowe:  
3026   And if it like thee to knowe
3027   Some of here names hou thei stonde, 
3028   Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde.
3029   Of every bienfet the merite
3030   The god himself it wol aquite;
3031   And ek fulofte it falleth so, 
3032   The world it wole aquite also,
3033   Bot that mai noght ben evene liche: 
3034   The god he yifth the heveneriche,
3035   The world yifth only bot a name, 
3036   Which stant upon the goode fame  
3037   Of hem that don the goode dede.  
3038   And in this wise double mede  
3039   Resceiven thei that don wel hiere;  
3040   Wherof if that thee list to hiere
3041   After the fame as it is blowe,
3042   Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe, 
3043   Hou thilke honeste besinesse  
3044   Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse  
3045   Among the men the lawes made, 
3046   Mai nevere upon this erthe fade. 
3047   For evere, whil ther is a tunge, 
3048   Here name schal be rad and sunge 
3049   And holde in the Cronique write; 
3050   So that the men it scholden wite,
3051   To speke good, as thei wel oghten,  
3052   Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten 
3053   In forthringe of the worldes pes.
3054   Unto thebreus was Moi5ses  
3055   The ferste, and to thegipciens
3056   Mercurius, and to Troiens  
3057   Ferst was Neuma Pompilius, 
3058   To Athenes Ligurgius 
3059   Yaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois  
3060   Forones hath thilke vois,
3061   And Romulus to the Romeins.
3062   For suche men that ben vileins
3063   The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth, 
3064   That what man to the lawe pleigneth, 
3065   Be so the jugge stonde upriht,
3066   He schal be served of his riht.  
3067   And so ferforth it is befalle 
3068   That lawe is come among ous alle:
3069   God lieve it mote wel ben holde, 
3070   As every king therto is holde;
3071   For thing which is of kinges set,
3072   With kinges oghte it noght be let.  
3073   What king of lawe takth no kepe, 
3074   Be lawe he mai no regne kepe. 
3075   Do lawe awey, what is a king? 
3076   Wher is the riht of eny thing,
3077   If that ther be no lawe in londe?
3078   This oghte a king wel understonde,  
3079   As he which is to lawe swore, 
3080   That if the lawe be forbore
3081   Withouten execucioun,
3082   If makth a lond torne up so doun,
3083   Which is unto the king a sclandre.  
3084   Forthi unto king Alisandre 
3085   The wise Philosophre bad,  
3086   That he himselve ferst be lad 
3087   Of lawe, and forth thanne overal 
3088   So do justice in general,  
3089   That al the wyde lond aboute  
3090   The justice of his lawe doute,
3091   And thanne schal he stonde in reste.
3092   For therto lawe is on the beste  
3093   Above alle other erthly thing,
3094   To make a liege drede his king.  
3095   Bot hou a king schal gete him love  
3096   Toward the hihe god above, 
3097   And ek among the men in erthe,
3098   This nexte point, which is the ferthe  
3099   Of Aristotles lore, it techeth:  
3100   Wherof who that the Scole secheth,  
3101   What Policie that it is 
3102   The bok reherceth after this.  
3103   It nedeth noght that I delate 
3104   The pris which preised is algate,
3105   And hath ben evere and evere schal, 
3106   Wherof to speke in special,
3107   It is the vertu of Pite,
3108   Thurgh which the hihe mageste 
3109   Was stered, whan his Sone alyhte,
3110   And in pite the world to rihte
3111   Tok of the Maide fleissh and blod.  
3112   Pite was cause of thilke good,
3113   Wherof that we ben alle save: 
3114   Wel oghte a man Pite to have  
3115   And the vertu to sette in pris,  
3116   Whan he himself which is al wys  
3117   Hath schewed why it schal be preised.  
3118   Pite may noght be conterpeised
3119   Of tirannie with no peis;  
3120   For Pite makth a king courteis
3121   Bothe in his word and in his dede.  
3122   It sit wel every liege drede  
3123   His king and to his heste obeie, 
3124   And riht so be the same weie  
3125   It sit a king to be pitous 
3126   Toward his poeple and gracious
3127   Upon the reule of governance, 
3128   So that he worche no vengance,
3129   Which mai be cleped crualte.  
3130   Justice which doth equite  
3131   Is dredfull, for he noman spareth;  
3132   Bot in the lond wher Pite fareth 
3133   The king mai nevere faile of love,  
3134   For Pite thurgh the grace above, 
3135   So as the Philosphre affermeth,
3136   His regne in good astat confermeth. 
3137   Thus seide whilom Constantin: 
3138   "What Emperour that is enclin  
3139   To Pite forto be servant,  
3140   Of al the worldes remenant 
3141   He is worthi to ben a lord."  
3142   In olde bokes of record 
3143   This finde I write of essamplaire:  
3144   Troian the worthi debonaire,  
3145   Be whom that Rome stod governed, 
3146   Upon a time as he was lerned  
3147   Of that he was to familier,
3148   He seide unto that conseiller,
3149   That forto ben an Emperour 
3150   His will was noght for vein honour, 
3151   Ne yit for reddour of justice;
3152   Bot if he myhte in his office 
3153   Hise lordes and his poeple plese,
3154   Him thoghte it were a grettere ese  
3155   With love here hertes to him drawe, 
3156   Than with the drede of eny lawe. 
3157   For whan a thing is do for doute,
3158   Fulofte it comth the worse aboute;  
3159   Bot wher a king is Pietous,
3160   He is the more gracious,
3161   That mochel thrift him schal betyde,
3162   Which elles scholde torne aside. 
3163   Of Pite forto speke plein, 
3164   Which is with mercy wel besein,
3165   Fulofte he wole himselve peine
3166   To kepe an other fro the peine:  
3167   For Charite the moder is
3168   Of Pite, which nothing amis
3169   Can soffre, if he it mai amende.  
3170   It sit to every man livende
3171   To be Pitous, bot non so wel  
3172   As to a king, which on the whiel 
3173   Fortune hath set aboven alle: 
3174   For in a king, if so befalle  
3175   That his Pite be ferme and stable,  
3176   To al the lond it is vailable
3177   Only thurgh grace of his persone;
3178   For the Pite of him al one 
3179   Mai al the large realme save. 
3180   So sit it wel a king to have  
3181   Pite; for this Valeire tolde, 
3182   And seide hou that be daies olde 
3183   Codrus, which was in his degre  
3184   King of Athenis the cite,  
3185   A werre he hadde ayein Dorrence: 
3186   And forto take his evidence
3187   What schal befalle of the bataille, 
3188   He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille
3189   With Appollo, in whom he triste; 
3190   Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste, 
3191   Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese,  
3192   Or that he wolde his body lese
3193   And in bataille himselve deie,
3194   Or elles the seconde weie, 
3195   To sen his poeple desconfit.  
3196   Bot he, which Pite hath parfit
3197   Upon the point of his believe,  
3198   The poeple thoghte to relieve,
3199   And ches himselve to be ded.  
3200   Wher is nou such an other hed,
3201   Which wolde for the lemes dye?
3202   And natheles in som partie 
3203   It oghte a kinges herte stere,
3204   That he hise liege men forbere.  
3205   And ek toward hise enemis  
3206   Fulofte he may deserve pris,  
3207   To take of Pite remembrance,  
3208   Wher that he myhte do vengance:  
3209   For whanne a king hath the victoire,
3210   And thanne he drawe into memoire 
3211   To do Pite in stede of wreche,
3212   He mai noght faile of thilke speche 
3213   Wherof arist the worldes fame,
3214   To yive a Prince a worthi name.  
3215   I rede hou whilom that Pompeie,  
3216   To whom that Rome moste obeie,
3217   A werre hadde in jeupartie 
3218   Ayein the king of Ermenie, 
3219   Which of long time him hadde grieved.  
3220   Bot ate laste it was achieved 
3221   That he this king desconfit hadde,  
3222   And forth with him to Rome ladde 
3223   As Prisoner, wher many a day  
3224   In sori plit and povere he lay,  
3225   The corone of his heved deposed, 
3226   Withinne walles faste enclosed;  
3227   And with ful gret humilite 
3228   He soffreth his adversite. 
3229   Pompeie sih his pacience
3230   And tok pite with conscience, 
3231   So that upon his hihe deis 
3232   Tofore al Rome in his Paleis, 
3233   As he that wolde upon him rewe,  
3234   Let yive him his corone newe 
3235   And his astat al full and plein  
3236   Restoreth of his regne ayein, 
3237   And seide it was more goodly thing  
3238   To make than undon a king, 
3239   To him which pouer hadde of bothe.  
3240   Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe, 
3241   Acorden hem to final pes;  
3242   And yit justice natheles
3243   Was kept and in nothing offended;
3244   Wherof Pompeie was comended.  
3245   Ther mai no king himself excuse, 
3246   Bot if justice he kepe and use,  
3247   Which for teschuie crualte 
3248   He mot attempre with Pite. 
3249   Of crualte the felonie  
3250   Engendred is of tirannie,  
3251   Ayein the whos condicion
3252   God is himself the champion,  
3253   Whos strengthe mai noman withstonde.
3254   For evere yit it hath so stonde, 
3255   That god a tirant overladde;  
3256   Bot wher Pite the regne ladde,
3257   Ther mihte no fortune laste
3258   Which was grevous, bot ate laste 
3259   The god himself it hath redresced.  
3260   Pite is thilke vertu blessed  
3261   Which nevere let his Maister falle; 
3262   Bot crualte, thogh it so falle
3263   That it mai regne for a throwe,  
3264   God wole it schal ben overthrowe:
3265   Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe
3266   Of hem that thilke merel drowhe. 
3267   Of crualte I rede thus: 
3268   Whan the tirant Leoncius
3269   Was to thempire of Rome arrived, 
3270   Fro which he hath with strengthe prived
3271   The pietous Justinian, 
3272   As he which was a cruel man,  
3273   His nase of and his lippes bothe 
3274   He kutte, for he wolde him lothe 
3275   Unto the poeple and make unable. 
3276   Bot he which is al merciable, 
3277   The hihe god, ordeigneth so,  
3278   That he withinne a time also, 
3279   Whan he was strengest in his ire,
3280   Was schoven out of his empire.
3281   Tiberius the pouer hadde,  
3282   And Rome after his will he ladde,
3283   And for Leonce in such a wise 
3284   Ordeigneth, that he tok juise 
3285   Of nase and lippes bothe tuo, 
3286   For that he dede an other so, 
3287   Which more worthi was than he.
3288   Lo, which a fall hath crualte,
3289   And Pite was set up ayein: 
3290   For after that the bokes sein,
3291   Therbellis king of Bulgarie
3292   With helpe of his chivalerie  
3293   Justinian hath unprisoned  
3294   And to thempire ayein coroned.
3295   In a Cronique I finde also 
3296   Of Siculus, which was ek so
3297   A cruel king lich the tempeste,  
3298   The whom no Pite myhte areste,-  
3299   He was the ferste, as bokes seie,
3300   Upon the See which fond Galeie
3301   And let hem make for the werre,- 
3302   As he which al was out of herre  
3303   Fro Pite and misericorde;  
3304   For therto couthe he noght acorde,  
3305   Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh,
3306   And therof was he glad ynouh.
3307   He hadde of conseil manyon,
3308   Among the whiche ther was on, 
3309   Be name which Berillus hihte; 
3310   And he bethoghte him hou he myhte
3311   Unto the tirant do likinge,
3312   And of his oghne ymaginynge
3313   Let forge and make a Bole of bras,  
3314   And on the side cast ther was 
3315   A Dore, wher a man mai inne,  
3316   Whan he his peine schal beginne  
3317   Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under.  
3318   And al this dede he for a wonder,
3319   That whanne a man for peine cride,  
3320   The Bole of bras, which gapeth wyde,
3321   It scholde seme as thogh it were 
3322   A belwinge in a mannes Ere,
3323   And noght the criinge of a man.  
3324   Bot he which alle sleihtes can,  
3325   The devel, that lith in helle fast, 
3326   Him that this caste hath overcast,  
3327   That for a trespas which he dede 
3328   He was putt in the same stede,
3329   And was himself the ferste of alle  
3330   Which was into that peine falle  
3331   That he for othre men ordeigneth;
3332   Ther was noman which him compleigneth. 
3333   Of tirannie and crualte 
3334   Be this ensample a king mai se,  
3335   Himself and ek his conseil bothe,
3336   Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe
3337   And to the god abhominable.
3338   Ensamples that ben concordable
3339   I finde of othre Princes mo,  
3340   As thou schalt hiere, of time go.
3341   The grete tirant Dionys,
3342   Which mannes lif sette of no pris, 
3343   Unto his hors fulofte he yaf  
3344   The men in stede of corn and chaf,  
3345   So that the hors of thilke stod  
3346   Devoureden the mennes blod;
3347   Til fortune ate laste cam, 
3348   That Hercules him overcam, 
3349   And he riht in the same wise  
3350   Of this tirant tok the juise: 
3351   As he til othre men hath do,  
3352   The same deth he deide also,  
3353   That no Pite him hath socoured,  
3354   Til he was of hise hors devoured.
3355   Of Lichaon also I finde 
3356   Hou he ayein the lawe of kinde
3357   Hise hostes slouh, and into mete 
3358   He made her bodies to ben ete 
3359   With othre men withinne his hous.
3360   Bot Jupiter the glorious,  
3361   Which was commoeved of this thing,  
3362   Vengance upon this cruel king 
3363   So tok, that he fro mannes forme 
3364   Into a wolf him let transforme:  
3365   And thus the crualte was kidd,
3366   Which of long time he hadde hidd;
3367   A wolf he was thanne openly,  
3368   The whos nature prively 
3369   He hadde in his condicion. 
3370   And unto this conclusioun, 
3371   That tirannie is to despise,  
3372   I finde ensample in sondri wise, 
3373   And nameliche of hem fulofte, 
3374   The whom fortune hath set alofte 
3375   Upon the werres forto winne.  
3376   Bot hou so that the wrong beginne
3377   Of tirannie, it mai noght laste, 
3378   Bot such as thei don ate laste
3379   To othre men, such on hem falleth;  
3380   For ayein suche Pite calleth 
3381   Vengance to the god above. 
3382   For who that hath no tender love 
3383   In savinge of a mannes lif,
3384   He schal be founde so gultif, 
3385   That whanne he wolde mercy crave 
3386   In time of nede, he schal non have. 
3387   Of the natures this I finde,  
3388   The fierce Leon in his kinde, 
3389   Which goth rampende after his preie,
3390   If he a man finde in his weie,
3391   He wole him slen, if he withstonde. 
3392   Bot if the man coude understonde 
3393   To falle anon before his face 
3394   In signe of mercy and of grace,  
3395   The Leon schal of his nature  
3396   Restreigne his ire in such mesure,  
3397   As thogh it were a beste tamed,  
3398   And torne awey halfvinge aschamed,  
3399   That he the man schal nothing grieve.  
3400   Hou scholde than a Prince achieve
3401   The worldes grace, if that he wolde 
3402   Destruie a man whanne he is yolde
3403   And stant upon his mercy al?  
3404   Bot forto speke in special,
3405   Ther have be suche and yit ther be  
3406   Tirantz, whos hertes no pite  
3407   Mai to no point of mercy plie,
3408   That thei upon her tirannie
3409   Ne gladen hem the men to sle; 
3410   And as the rages of the See
3411   Ben unpitous in the tempeste, 
3412   Riht so mai no Pite areste 
3413   Of crualte the gret oultrage, 
3414   Which the tirant in his corage
3415   Engendred hath: wherof I finde
3416   A tale, which comth nou to mynde.
3417   I rede in olde bokes thus:
3418   Ther was a Duk, which Spertachus 
3419   Men clepe, and was a werreiour,  
3420   A cruel man, a conquerour  
3421   With strong pouer the which he ladde.  
3422   For this condicion he hadde,  
3423   That where him hapneth the victoire,
3424   His lust and al his moste gloire 
3425   Was forto sle and noght to save: 
3426   Of rancoun wolde he no good have 
3427   For savinge of a mannes lif,  
3428   Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf,  
3429   So lief him was the mannes blod. 
3430   And natheles yit thus it stod,
3431   So as fortune aboute wente,
3432   He fell riht heir as be descente 
3433   To Perse, and was coroned king.  
3434   And whan the worschipe of this thing
3435   Was falle, and he was king of Perse,
3436   If that thei weren ferst diverse,
3437   The tirannies whiche he wroghte, 
3438   A thousendfold welmore he soghte 
3439   Thanne afterward to do malice.
3440   The god vengance ayein the vice  
3441   Hath schape: for upon a tyde, 
3442   Whan he was heihest in his Pride,
3443   In his rancour and in his hete
3444   Ayein the queene of Marsagete,
3445   Which Thameris that time hihte,  
3446   He made werre al that he myhte:  
3447   And sche, which wolde hir lond defende,
3448   Hir oghne Sone ayein him sende,  
3449   Which the defence hath undertake.
3450   Bot he desconfit was and take;
3451   And whan this king him hadde in honde, 
3452   He wol no mercy understonde,  
3453   Bot dede him slen in his presence.
3454   The tidinge of this violence  
3455   Whan it cam to the moder Ere, 
3456   Sche sende anon ay wydewhere  
3457   To suche frendes as sche hadde,  
3458   A gret pouer til that sche ladde.
3459   In sondri wise and tho sche caste
3460   Hou sche this king mai overcaste;
3461   And ate laste acorded was, 
3462   That in the danger of a pass, 
3463   Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe,
3464   Sche schop his pouer to compasse 
3465   With strengthe of men be such a weie
3466   That he schal noght eschape aweie.  
3467   And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned, 
3468   Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned,
3469   For feere as thogh sche wolde flee  
3470   Out of hir lond: and whan that he
3471   Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde,
3472   So faste after the chace he spedde, 
3473   That he was founde out of array. 
3474   For it betidde upon a day, 
3475   Into the pas whanne he was falle,
3476   Thembuisschementz tobrieken alle 
3477   And him beclipte on every side,  
3478   That fle ne myhte he noght aside:
3479   So that ther weren dede and take 
3480   Tuo hundred thousend for his sake,  
3481   That weren with him of his host. 
3482   And thus was leid the grete bost 
3483   Of him and of his tirannie:
3484   It halp no mercy forto crie
3485   To him which whilom dede non; 
3486   For he unto the queene anon
3487   Was broght, and whan that sche him sih,
3488   This word sche spak and seide on hih:  
3489   "O man, which out of mannes kinde
3490   Reson of man hast left behinde
3491   And lived worse than a beste, 
3492   Whom Pite myhte noght areste, 
3493   The mannes blod to schede and spille
3494   Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille.  
3495   Bot nou the laste time is come,  
3496   That thi malice is overcome:  
3497   As thou til othre men hast do,
3498   Nou schal be do to thee riht so."
3499   Tho bad this ladi that men scholde  
3500   A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde
3501   Se the vengance of his juise, 
3502   Which sche began anon devise; 
3503   And tok the Princes whiche he ladde,
3504   Be whom his chief conseil he hadde, 
3505   And whil hem lasteth eny breth,  
3506   Sche made hem blede to the deth  
3507   Into the vessel wher it stod: 
3508   And whan it was fulfild of blod, 
3509   Sche caste this tirant therinne, 
3510   And seide him, "Lo, thus myht thou wynne  
3511   The lustes of thin appetit.
3512   In blod was whilom thi delit, 
3513   Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille." 
3514   And thus onliche of goddes wille,
3515   He which that wolde himselve strange
3516   To Pite, fond mercy so strange,  
3517   That he withoute grace is lore.  
3518   So may it schewe wel therfore 
3519   That crualte hath no good ende;  
3520   Bot Pite, hou so that it wende,  
3521   Makth that the god is merciable, 
3522   If ther be cause resonable 
3523   Why that a king schal be pitous. 
3524   Bot elles, if he be doubtous  
3525   To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse,
3526   It mai be said no Pitousnesse,
3527   Bot it is Pusillamite,
3528   Which every Prince scholde flee. 
3529   For if Pite mesure excede, 
3530   Kinghode may noght wel procede
3531   To do justice upon the riht:  
3532   For it belongeth to a knyht
3533   Als gladly forto fihte as reste, 
3534   To sette his liege poeple in reste, 
3535   Whan that the werre upon hem falleth;  
3536   For thanne he mote, as it befalleth,
3537   Of his knyhthode as a Leon 
3538   Be to the poeple a champioun  
3539   Withouten eny Pite feigned.
3540   For if manhode be restreigned,
3541   Or be it pes or be it werre,  
3542   Justice goth al out of herre, 
3543   So that knyhthode is set behinde.
3544   Of Aristotles lore I finde,
3545   A king schal make good visage,
3546   That noman knowe of his corage
3547   Bot al honour and worthinesse:
3548   For if a king schal upon gesse
3549   Withoute verrai cause drede,  
3550   He mai be lich to that I rede;
3551   And thogh that it be lich a fable,  
3552   Thensample is good and resonable.
3553   As it be olde daies fell,  
3554   I rede whilom that an hell 
3555   Up in the londes of Archade
3556   A wonder dredful noise made;  
3557   For so it fell that ilke day, 
3558   This hell on his childinge lay,  
3559   And whan the throwes on him come,
3560   His noise lich the day of dome
3561   Was ferfull in a mannes thoght
3562   Of thing which that thei sihe noght,
3563   Bot wel thei herden al aboute 
3564   The noise, of which thei were in doute,
3565   As thei that wenden to be lore
3566   Of thing which thanne was unbore.
3567   The nerr this hell was upon chance  
3568   To taken his deliverance,  
3569   The more unbuxomliche he cride;  
3570   And every man was fledd aside,
3571   For drede and lefte his oghne hous: 
3572   And ate laste it was a Mous,  
3573   The which was bore and to norrice
3574   Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce,
3575   For thei withoute cause dradde.  
3576   Thus if a king his herte ladde
3577   With every thing that he schal hiere,  
3578   Fulofte he scholde change his chiere
3579   And upon fantasie drede,
3580   Whan that ther is no cause of drede.
3581   Orace to his Prince tolde, 
3582   That him were levere that he wolde  
3583   Upon knihthode Achillem suie  
3584   In time of werre, thanne eschuie,
3585   So as Tersites dede at Troie. 
3586   Achilles al his hole joie  
3587   Sette upon Armes forto fihte; 
3588   Tersites soghte al that he myhte 
3589   Unarmed forto stonde in reste:
3590   Bot of the tuo it was the beste  
3591   That Achilles upon the nede
3592   Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede 
3593   Is yit comended overal. 
3594   King Salomon in special 
3595   Seith, as ther is a time of pes, 
3596   So is a time natheles
3597   Of werre, in which a Prince algate  
3598   Schal for the comun riht debate  
3599   And for his oghne worschipe eke. 
3600   Bot it behoveth noght to seke  
3601   Only the werre for worschipe, 
3602   Bot to the riht of his lordschipe,  
3603   Which he is holde to defende, 
3604   Mote every worthi Prince entende.
3605   Betwen the simplesce of Pite  
3606   And the folhaste of crualte,  
3607   Wher stant the verray hardiesce, 
3608   Ther mote a king his herte adresce, 
3609   Whanne it is time to forsake, 
3610   And whan time is also to take 
3611   The dedly werres upon honde,  
3612   That he schal for no drede wonde,
3613   If rihtwisnesse be withal. 
3614   For god is myhty overal 
3615   To forthren every mannes trowthe,
3616   Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe; 
3617   And namely the kinges nede 
3618   It mai noght faile forto spede,  
3619   For he stant one for hem alle;
3620   So mote it wel the betre falle
3621   And wel the more god favoureth,  
3622   Whan he the comun riht socoureth.
3623   And forto se the sothe in dede,  
3624   Behold the bible and thou myht rede 
3625   Of grete ensamples manyon, 
3626   Wherof that I wol tellen on.  
3627   Upon a time as it befell,  
3628   Ayein Judee and Irahel  
3629   Whan sondri kinges come were  
3630   In pourpos to destruie there  
3631   The poeple which god kepte tho,- 
3632   And stod in thilke daies so,  
3633   That Gedeon, which scholde lede  
3634   The goddes folk, tok him to rede,
3635   And sende in al the lond aboute, 
3636   Til he assembled hath a route 
3637   With thritti thousend of defence, 
3638   To fihte and make resistence  
3639   Ayein the whiche hem wolde assaille:
3640   And natheles that o bataille  
3641   Of thre that weren enemys  
3642   Was double mor than was al his;  
3643   Wherof that Gedeon him dradde,
3644   That he so litel poeple hadde.
3645   Bot he which alle thing mai helpe,  
3646   Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe,
3647   To Gedeon his Angel sente, 
3648   And bad, er that he forther wente,  
3649   Al openly that he do crie  
3650   That every man in his partie  
3651   Which wolde after his oghne wille
3652   In his delice abide stille 
3653   At hom in eny maner wise,  
3654   For pourchas or for covoitise,
3655   For lust of love or lacke of herte, 
3656   He scholde noght aboute sterte,  
3657   Bot holde him stille at hom in pes: 
3658   Wherof upon the morwe he les  
3659   Wel twenty thousend men and mo,
3660   The whiche after the cri ben go.