The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Tercius: Part 2

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

1342   This o lord hadde in special  
1343   A Sone, a lusti Bacheler,  
1344   In al the toun was non his pier: 
1345   That other hadde a dowhter eke,  
1346   In al the lond that forto seke
1347   Men wisten non so faire as sche. 
1348   And fell so, as it scholde be,
1349   This faire dowhter nyh this Sone 
1350   As thei togedre thanne wone,  
1351   Cupide hath so the thinges schape,  
1352   That thei ne mihte his hand ascape,     
1353   That he his fyr on hem ne caste: 
1354   Wherof her herte he overcaste 
1355   To folwe thilke lore and suie 
1356   Which nevere man yit miht eschuie;  
1357   And that was love, as it is happed, 
1358   Which hath here hertes so betrapped,
1359   That thei be alle weies seche 
1360   How that thei mihten winne a speche,
1361   Here wofull peine forto lisse.
1362   Who loveth wel, it mai noght misse, 
1363   And namely whan ther be tuo
1364   Of on acord, how so it go, 
1365   Bot if that thei som weie finde; 
1366   For love is evere of such a kinde
1367   And hath his folk so wel affaited,  
1368   That howso that it be awaited,
1369   Ther mai noman the pourpos lette:
1370   And thus betwen hem tuo thei sette  
1371   And hole upon a wall to make, 
1372   Thurgh which thei have her conseil take
1373   At alle times, whan thei myhte.  
1374   This faire Maiden Tisbee hihte,  
1375   And he whom that sche loveth hote
1376   Was Piramus be name hote.  
1377   So longe here lecoun thei recorden, 
1378   Til ate laste thei acorden 
1379   Be nihtes time forto wende 
1380   Al one out fro the tounes ende,  
1381   Wher was a welle under a Tree;
1382   And who cam ferst, or sche or he,
1383   He scholde stille there abide.
1384   So it befell the nyhtes tide  
1385   This maiden, which desguised was,
1386   Al prively the softe pas
1387   Goth thurgh the large toun unknowe, 
1388   Til that sche cam withinne a throwe 
1389   Wher that sche liketh forto duelle, 
1390   At thilke unhappi freisshe welle,
1391   Which was also the Forest nyh.    
1392   Wher sche comende a Leoun syh 
1393   Into the feld to take his preie, 
1394   In haste and sche tho fledde aweie, 
1395   So as fortune scholde falle,  
1396   For feere and let hire wympel falle 
1397   Nyh to the welle upon therbage.  
1398   This Leoun in his wilde rage  
1399   A beste, which that he fond oute,
1400   Hath slain, and with his blodi snoute, 
1401   Whan he hath eten what he wolde, 
1402   To drynke of thilke stremes colde
1403   Cam to the welle, where he fond  
1404   The wympel, which out of hire hond  
1405   Was falle, and he it hath todrawe,  
1406   Bebled aboute and al forgnawe;
1407   And thanne he strawhte him forto drinke
1408   Upon the freisshe welles brinke, 
1409   And after that out of the plein  
1410   He torneth to the wode ayein. 
1411   And Tisbee dorste noght remue,
1412   Bot as a bridd which were in Mue 
1413   Withinne a buissh sche kepte hire clos 
1414   So stille that sche noght aros;  
1415   Unto hirself and pleigneth ay.
1416   And fell, whil that sche there lay, 
1417   This Piramus cam after sone
1418   Unto the welle, and be the Mone  
1419   He fond hire wimpel blodi there. 
1420   Cam nevere yit to mannes Ere  
1421   Tidinge, ne to mannes sihte
1422   Merveile, which so sore aflihte  
1423   A mannes herte, as it tho dede
1424   To him, which in the same stede  
1425   With many a wofull compleignynge 
1426   Began his handes forto wringe,
1427   As he which demeth sikerly 
1428   That sche be ded: and sodeinly    
1429   His swerd al nakid out he breide 
1430   In his folhaste, and thus he seide: 
1431   "I am cause of this felonie,  
1432   So it is resoun that I die,
1433   As sche is ded be cause of me."  
1434   And with that word upon his kne  
1435   He fell, and to the goddes alle  
1436   Up to the hevene he gan to calle,
1437   And preide, sithen it was so  
1438   That he may noght his love as tho
1439   Have in this world, that of her grace  
1440   He miht hire have in other place,
1441   For hiere wolde he noght abide,  
1442   He seith: bot as it schal betide,
1443   The Pomel of his swerd to grounde
1444   He sette, and thurgh his herte a wounde
1445   He made up to the bare hilte: 
1446   And in this wise himself he spilte  
1447   With his folhaste and deth he nam;  
1448   For sche withinne a while cam,
1449   Wher he lai ded upon his knif.
1450   So wofull yit was nevere lif  
1451   As Tisbee was, whan sche him sih:
1452   Sche mihte noght o word on hih
1453   Speke oute, for hire herte schette, 
1454   That of hir lif no pris sche sette, 
1455   Bot ded swounende doun sche fell.
1456   Til after, whanne it so befell
1457   That sche out of hire traunce awok, 
1458   With many a wofull pitous lok 
1459   Hire yhe alwei among sche caste  
1460   Upon hir love, and ate laste  
1461   Sche cawhte breth and seide thus:
1462   "O thou which cleped art Venus,  
1463   Goddesse of love, and thou, Cupide, 
1464   Which loves cause hast forto guide, 
1465   I wot now wel that ye be blinde,     
1466   Of thilke unhapp which I now finde  
1467   Only betwen my love and me.
1468   This Piramus, which hiere I se
1469   Bledende, what hath he deserved? 
1470   For he youre heste hath kept and served,  
1471   And was yong and I bothe also:
1472   Helas, why do ye with ous so? 
1473   Ye sette oure herte bothe afyre, 
1474   And maden ous such thing desire  
1475   Wherof that we no skile cowthe;  
1476   Bot thus oure freisshe lusti yowthe 
1477   Withoute joie is al despended,
1478   Which thing mai nevere ben amended: 
1479   For as of me this wol I seie, 
1480   That me is levere forto deie  
1481   Than live after this sorghful day." 
1482   And with this word, where as he lay,
1483   Hire love in armes sche embraseth,  
1484   Hire oghne deth and so pourchaseth  
1485   That now sche wepte and nou sche kiste,
1486   Til ate laste, er sche it wiste, 
1487   So gret a sorwe is to hire falle,
1488   Which overgoth hire wittes alle. 
1489   As sche which mihte it noght asterte,  
1490   The swerdes point ayein hire herte  
1491   Sche sette, and fell doun therupon, 
1492   Wherof that sche was ded anon:
1493   And thus bothe on o swerd bledende  
1494   Thei weren founde ded liggende.  
1495   Now thou, mi Sone, hast herd this tale,
1496   Bewar that of thin oghne bale 
1497   Thou be noght cause in thi folhaste,
1498   And kep that thou thi witt ne waste 
1499   Upon thi thoght in aventure,  
1500   Wherof thi lyves forfeture 
1501   Mai falle: and if thou have so thoght  
1502   Er this, tell on and hyde it noght.     
1503   Mi fader, upon loves side  
1504   Mi conscience I woll noght hyde, 
1505   How that for love of pure wo  
1506   I have ben ofte moeved so, 
1507   That with my wisshes if I myhte, 
1508   A thousand times, I yow plyhte,  
1509   I hadde storven in a day;  
1510   And therof I me schryve may,  
1511   Though love fully me ne slowh,
1512   Mi will to deie was ynowh, 
1513   So am I of my will coupable:  
1514   And yit is sche noght merciable, 
1515   Which mai me yive lif and hele.  
1516   Bot that hir list noght with me dele,  
1517   I wot be whos conseil it is,  
1518   And him wolde I long time er this,  
1519   And yit I wolde and evere schal, 
1520   Slen and destruie in special. 
1521   The gold of nyne kinges londes
1522   Ne scholde him save fro myn hondes, 
1523   In my pouer if that he were;  
1524   Bot yit him stant of me no fere  
1525   For noght that evere I can manace.  
1526   He is the hindrere of mi grace,  
1527   Til he be ded I mai noght spede; 
1528   So mot I nedes taken hiede 
1529   And schape how that he were aweie,  
1530   If I therto mai finde a weie. 
1531   Mi Sone, tell me now forthi,  
1532   Which is that mortiel enemy
1533   That thou manacest to be ded. 
1534   Mi fader, it is such a qwed,  
1535   That wher I come, he is tofore,  
1536   And doth so, that mi cause is lore. 
1537   What is his name? It is Daunger, 
1538   Which is mi ladi consailer:
1539   For I was nevere yit so slyh, 
1540   To come in eny place nyh    
1541   Wher as sche was be nyht or day, 
1542   That Danger ne was redy ay,
1543   With whom for speche ne for mede 
1544   Yit mihte I nevere of love spede;
1545   For evere this I finde soth,  
1546   Al that my ladi seith or doth 
1547   To me, Daunger schal make an ende,  
1548   And that makth al mi world miswende:
1549   And evere I axe his help, bot he 
1550   Mai wel be cleped sanz pite;  
1551   For ay the more I to him bowe,
1552   The lasse he wol my tale alowe.  
1553   He hath mi ladi so englued,
1554   Sche wol noght that he be remued;
1555   For evere he hangeth on hire Seil,  
1556   And is so prive of conseil,
1557   That evere whanne I have oght bede, 
1558   I finde Danger in hire stede  
1559   And myn ansuere of him I have;
1560   Bot for no merci that I crave,
1561   Of merci nevere a point I hadde. 
1562   I finde his ansuere ay so badde, 
1563   That werse mihte it nevere be:
1564   And thus betwen Danger and me 
1565   Is evere werre til he dye. 
1566   Bot mihte I ben of such maistrie,
1567   That I Danger hadde overcome, 
1568   With that were al my joie come.  
1569   Thus wolde I wonde for no Sinne, 
1570   Ne yit for al this world to winne;  
1571   If that I mihte finde a sleyhte, 
1572   To leie al myn astat in weyhte,  
1573   I wolde him fro the Court dissevere,
1574   So that he come ayeinward nevere.
1575   Therfore I wisshe and wolde fain 
1576   That he were in som wise slain;  
1577   For while he stant in thilke place, 
1578   Ne gete I noght my ladi grace.    
1579   Thus hate I dedly thilke vice,
1580   And wolde he stode in non office 
1581   In place wher mi ladi is;  
1582   For if he do, I wot wel this, 
1583   That owther schal he deie or I
1584   Withinne a while; and noght forthi  
1585   On my ladi fulofte I muse, 
1586   How that sche mai hirself excuse,
1587   If that I deie in such a plit.
1588   Me thenkth sche mihte noght be qwyt 
1589   That sche ne were an homicide:
1590   And if it scholde so betide,  
1591   As god forbiede it scholde be,
1592   Be double weie it is pite. 
1593   For I, which al my will and witt 
1594   Have yove and served evere yit,  
1595   And thanne I scholde in such a wise 
1596   In rewardinge of my servise
1597   Be ded, me thenkth it were a rowthe:
1598   And furthermor, to telle trowthe,
1599   Sche, that hath evere be wel named, 
1600   Were worthi thanne to be blamed  
1601   And of reson to ben appeled,  
1602   Whan with o word sche mihte have heled 
1603   A man, and soffreth him so deie. 
1604   Ha, who sawh evere such a weie?  
1605   Ha, who sawh evere such destresse?  
1606   Withoute pite gentilesse,  
1607   Withoute mercy wommanhede, 
1608   That wol so quyte a man his mede,
1609   Which evere hath be to love trewe.  
1610   Mi goode fader, if ye rewe 
1611   Upon mi tale, tell me now, 
1612   And I wol stinte and herkne yow. 
1613   Mi Sone, attempre thi corage  
1614   Fro Wraththe, and let thin herte assuage: 
1615   For who so wole him underfonge,      
1616   He mai his grace abide longe, 
1617   Er he of love be received; 
1618   And ek also, bot it be weyved,
1619   Ther mihte mochel thing befalle, 
1620   That scholde make a man to falle 
1621   Fro love, that nevere afterward  
1622   Ne durste he loke thiderward. 
1623   In harde weies men gon softe, 
1624   And er thei clymbe avise hem ofte:  
1625   Men sen alday that rape reweth;  
1626   And who so wicked Ale breweth,
1627   Fulofte he mot the werse drinke: 
1628   Betre is to flete than to sincke;
1629   Betre is upon the bridel chiewe  
1630   Thanne if he felle and overthrewe,  
1631   The hors and stikede in the Myr: 
1632   To caste water in the fyr  
1633   Betre is than brenne up al the hous:
1634   The man which is malicious 
1635   And folhastif, fulofte he falleth,  
1636   And selden is whan love him calleth.
1637   Forthi betre is to soffre a throwe  
1638   Than be to wilde and overthrowe; 
1639   Suffrance hath evere be the beste
1640   To wissen him that secheth reste:
1641   And thus, if thou wolt love and spede, 
1642   Mi Sone, soffre, as I the rede.  
1643   What mai the Mous ayein the Cat? 
1644   And for this cause I axe that,
1645   Who mai to love make a werre, 
1646   That he ne hath himself the werre?  
1647   Love axeth pes and evere schal,  
1648   And who that fihteth most withal 
1649   Schal lest conquere of his emprise: 
1650   For this thei tellen that ben wise, 
1651   Wicke is to stryve and have the werse; 
1652   To hasten is noght worth a kerse;
1653   Thing that a man mai noght achieve,     
1654   That mai noght wel be don at Eve,
1655   It mot abide til the morwe.
1656   Ne haste noght thin oghne sorwe, 
1657   Mi Sone, and tak this in thi witt,  
1658   He hath noght lost that wel abitt.  
1659   Ensample that it falleth thus,
1660   Thou miht wel take of Piramus,
1661   Whan he in haste his swerd outdrowh 
1662   And on the point himselve slowh  
1663   For love of Tisbee pitously,  
1664   For he hire wympel fond blody 
1665   And wende a beste hire hadde slain; 
1666   Wher as him oghte have be riht fain,
1667   For sche was there al sauf beside:  
1668   Bot for he wolde noght abide, 
1669   This meschief fell. Forthi be war,  
1670   Mi Sone, as I the warne dar,  
1671   Do thou nothing in such a res,
1672   For suffrance is the welle of Pes.  
1673   Thogh thou to loves Court poursuie, 
1674   Yit sit it wel that thou eschuie 
1675   That thou the Court noght overhaste,
1676   For so miht thou thi time waste; 
1677   Bot if thin happ therto be schape,  
1678   It mai noght helpe forto rape.
1679   Therfore attempre thi corage; 
1680   Folhaste doth non avantage,
1681   Bot ofte it set a man behinde 
1682   In cause of love, and that I finde  
1683   Be olde ensample, as thou schalt hiere,
1684   Touchende of love in this matiere.  
1685   A Maiden whilom ther was on,  
1686   Which Daphne hihte, and such was non
1687   Of beaute thanne, as it was seid.
1688   Phebus his love hath on hire leid,  
1689   And therupon to hire he soghte
1690   In his folhaste, and so besoghte,    
1691   That sche with him no reste hadde;  
1692   For evere upon hire love he gradde, 
1693   And sche seide evere unto him nay.  
1694   So it befell upon a dai,
1695   Cupide, which hath every chance  
1696   Of love under his governance, 
1697   Syh Phebus hasten him so sore:
1698   And for he scholde him haste more,  
1699   And yit noght speden ate laste,  
1700   A dart thurghout his herte he caste,
1701   Which was of gold and al afyre,  
1702   That made him manyfold desire 
1703   Of love more thanne he dede.  
1704   To Daphne ek in the same stede
1705   A dart of Led he caste and smot, 
1706   Which was al cold and nothing hot.  
1707   And thus Phebus in love brenneth,
1708   And in his haste aboute renneth, 
1709   To loke if that he mihte winne;  
1710   Bot he was evere to beginne,  
1711   For evere awei fro him sche fledde, 
1712   So that he nevere his love spedde.  
1713   And forto make him full believe  
1714   That no Folhaste mihte achieve
1715   To gete love in such degree,  
1716   This Daphne into a lorer tre  
1717   Was torned, which is evere grene,
1718   In tokne, as yit it mai be sene, 
1719   That sche schal duelle a maiden stille,
1720   And Phebus failen of his wille.  
1721   Be suche ensamples, as thei stonde, 
1722   Mi Sone, thou miht understonde,  
1723   To hasten love is thing in vein, 
1724   Whan that fortune is therayein.  
1725   To take where a man hath leve 
1726   Good is, and elles he mot leve;  
1727   For whan a mannes happes failen, 
1728   Ther is non haste mai availen.
1729   Mi fader, grant merci of this:    
1730   Bot while I se mi ladi is  
1731   No tre, but halt hire oghne forme,  
1732   Ther mai me noman so enforme, 
1733   To whether part fortune wende,
1734   That I unto mi lyves ende  
1735   Ne wol hire serven everemo.
1736   Mi Sone, sithen it is so,  
1737   I seie nomor; bot in this cas 
1738   Bewar how it with Phebus was. 
1739   Noght only upon loves chance, 
1740   Bot upon every governance  
1741   Which falleth unto mannes dede,  
1742   Folhaste is evere forto drede,
1743   And that a man good consail take,
1744   Er he his pourpos undertake,  
1745   For consail put Folhaste aweie.  
1746   Now goode fader, I you preie, 
1747   That forto wisse me the more, 
1748   Som good ensample upon this lore 
1749   Ye wolden telle of that is write,
1750   That I the betre mihte wite
1751   How I Folhaste scholde eschuie,  
1752   And the wisdom of conseil suie.  
1753   Mi Sone, that thou miht enforme  
1754   Thi pacience upon the forme
1755   Of old essamples, as thei felle, 
1756   Now understond what I schal telle.  
1757   Whan noble Troie was belein
1758   And overcome, and hom ayein
1759   The Gregois torned fro the siege,
1760   The kinges founde here oghne liege  
1761   In manye places, as men seide,
1762   That hem forsoke and desobeide.  
1763   Among the whiche fell this cas
1764   To Demephon and Athemas,
1765   That weren kinges bothe tuo,  
1766   And bothe weren served so:         
1767   Here lieges wolde hem noght receive,
1768   So that thei mote algates weyve  
1769   To seche lond in other place, 
1770   For there founde thei no grace.  
1771   Wherof they token hem to rede,
1772   And soghten frendes ate nede, 
1773   And ech of hem asseureth other
1774   To helpe as to his oghne brother,
1775   To vengen hem of thilke oultrage 
1776   And winne ayein here heritage.
1777   And thus thei ryde aboute faste  
1778   To gete hem help, and ate laste  
1779   Thei hadden pouer sufficant,  
1780   And maden thanne a covenant,  
1781   That thei ne scholden no lif save,  
1782   Ne prest, ne clerc, ne lord, ne knave, 
1783   Ne wif, ne child, of that thei finde,  
1784   Which berth visage of mannes kinde, 
1785   So that no lif schal be socoured,
1786   Bot with the dedly swerd devoured:  
1787   In such Folhaste here ordinance  
1788   Thei schapen forto do vengance.  
1789   Whan this pourpos was wist and knowe
1790   Among here host, tho was ther blowe 
1791   Of wordes many a speche aboute:  
1792   Of yonge men the lusti route  
1793   Were of this tale glad ynowh, 
1794   Ther was no care for the plowh;  
1795   As thei that weren Folhastif, 
1796   Thei ben acorded to the strif,
1797   And sein it mai noght be to gret 
1798   To vengen hem of such forfet: 
1799   Thus seith the wilde unwise tonge
1800   Of hem that there weren yonge.
1801   Bot Nestor, which was old and hor,  
1802   The salve sih tofore the sor, 
1803   As he that was of conseil wys:
1804   So that anon be his avis    
1805   Ther was a prive conseil nome.
1806   The lordes ben togedre come;  
1807   This Demephon and Athemas  
1808   Here pourpos tolden, as it was;  
1809   Thei sieten alle stille and herde,  
1810   Was non bot Nestor hem ansuerde. 
1811   He bad hem, if thei wolde winne, 
1812   They scholden se, er thei beginne,  
1813   Here ende, and sette here ferste entente, 
1814   That thei hem after ne repente:  
1815   And axeth hem this questioun, 
1816   To what final conclusioun  
1817   Thei wolde regne Kinges there,
1818   If that no poeple in londe were; 
1819   And seith, it were a wonder wierde  
1820   To sen a king become an hierde,  
1821   Wher no lif is bot only beste 
1822   Under the liegance of his heste; 
1823   For who that is of man no king,  
1824   The remenant is as no thing.  
1825   He seith ek, if the pourpos holde
1826   To sle the poeple, as thei tuo wolde,  
1827   Whan thei it mihte noght restore,
1828   Al Grece it scholde abegge sore, 
1829   To se the wilde beste wone 
1830   Wher whilom duelte a mannes Sone:
1831   And for that cause he bad hem trete,
1832   And stinte of the manaces grete. 
1833   Betre is to winne be fair speche,
1834   He seith, than such vengance seche; 
1835   For whanne a man is most above,  
1836   Him nedeth most to gete him love.
1837   Whan Nestor hath his tale seid,  
1838   Ayein him was no word withseid;  
1839   It thoghte hem alle he seide wel:
1840   And thus fortune hire dedly whiel
1841   Fro werre torneth into pes.
1842   Bot forth thei wenten natheles;      
1843   And whan the Contres herde sein  
1844   How that here kinges be besein
1845   Of such a pouer as thei ladde,
1846   Was non so bold that hem ne dradde, 
1847   And forto seche pes and grith 
1848   Thei sende and preide anon forthwith,  
1849   So that the kinges ben appesed,  
1850   And every mannes herte is esed;  
1851   Al was foryete and noght recorded.  
1852   And thus thei ben togedre acorded;  
1853   The kinges were ayein received,  
1854   And pes was take and wraththe weived,  
1855   And al thurgh conseil which was good
1856   Of him that reson understod.  
1857   Be this ensample, Sone, attempre 
1858   Thin herte and let no will distempre
1859   Thi wit, and do nothing be myht  
1860   Which mai be do be love and riht.
1861   Folhaste is cause of mochel wo;  
1862   Forthi, mi Sone, do noght so. 
1863   And as touchende of Homicide  
1864   Which toucheth unto loves side,  
1865   Fulofte it falleth unavised
1866   Thurgh will, which is noght wel assised,  
1867   Whan wit and reson ben aweie  
1868   And that Folhaste is in the weie,
1869   Wherof hath falle gret vengance. 
1870   Forthi tak into remembrance
1871   To love in such a maner wise  
1872   That thou deserve no juise:
1873   For wel I wot, thou miht noght lette,  
1874   That thou ne schalt thin herte sette
1875   To love, wher thou wolt or non;  
1876   Bot if thi wit be overgon, 
1877   So that it torne into malice, 
1878   Ther wot noman of thilke vice,
1879   What peril that ther mai befalle:
1880   Wherof a tale amonges alle,
1881   Which is gret pite forto hiere,      
1882   I thenke forto tellen hiere,  
1883   That thou such moerdre miht withstonde,
1884   Whan thou the tale hast understonde.
1885   Of Troie at thilke noble toun,
1886   Whos fame stant yit of renoun 
1887   And evere schal to mannes Ere,
1888   The Siege laste longe there,  
1889   Er that the Greks it mihten winne,  
1890   Whil Priamus was king therinne;  
1891   Bot of the Greks that lyhe aboute
1892   Agamenon ladde al the route.  
1893   This thing is knowen overal,  
1894   Bot yit I thenke in special
1895   To my matiere therupon  
1896   Telle in what wise Agamenon,  
1897   Thurgh chance which mai noght be weived,  
1898   Of love untrewe was deceived. 
1899   An old sawe is, "Who that is slyh
1900   In place where he mai be nyh, 
1901   He makth the ferre Lieve loth":  
1902   Of love and thus fulofte it goth.
1903   Ther while Agamenon batailleth
1904   To winne Troie, and it assailleth,  
1905   Fro home and was long time ferr, 
1906   Egistus drowh his qweene nerr,
1907   And with the leiser which he hadde  
1908   This ladi at his wille he ladde: 
1909   Climestre was hire rihte name,
1910   Sche was therof gretli to blame, 
1911   To love there it mai noght laste.
1912   Bot fell to meschief ate laste;  
1913   For whan this noble worthi kniht 
1914   Fro Troie cam, the ferste nyht
1915   That he at home abedde lay,
1916   Egistus, longe er it was day,     
1917   As this Climestre him hadde asent,  
1918   And weren bothe of on assent, 
1919   Be treson slowh him in his bedd. 
1920   Bot moerdre, which mai noght ben hedd, 
1921   Sprong out to every mannes Ere,  
1922   Wherof the lond was full of fere.
1923   Agamenon hath be this qweene  
1924   A Sone, and that was after sene; 
1925   Bot yit as thanne he was of yowthe, 
1926   A babe, which no reson cowthe,
1927   And as godd wolde, it fell him thus.
1928   A worthi kniht Taltabius
1929   This yonge child hath in kepinge,
1930   And whan he herde of this tidinge,  
1931   Of this treson, of this misdede, 
1932   He gan withinne himself to drede,
1933   In aunter if this false Egiste
1934   Upon him come, er he it wiste,
1935   To take and moerdre of his malice
1936   This child, which he hath to norrice:  
1937   And for that cause in alle haste 
1938   Out of the lond he gan him haste 
1939   And to the king of Crete he strawhte
1940   And him this yonge lord betawhte,
1941   And preide him for his fader sake
1942   That he this child wolde undertake  
1943   And kepe him til he be of Age,
1944   So as he was of his lignage;  
1945   And tolde him over al the cas,
1946   How that his fadre moerdred was, 
1947   And hou Egistus, as men seide,
1948   Was king, to whom the lond obeide.  
1949   And whanne Ydomeneux the king 
1950   Hath understondinge of this thing,  
1951   Which that this kniht him hadde told,  
1952   He made sorwe manyfold, 
1953   And tok this child into his warde,  
1954   And seide he wolde him kepe and warde,     
1955   Til that he were of such a myht  
1956   To handle a swerd and ben a knyht,  
1957   To venge him at his oghne wille. 
1958   And thus Horestes duelleth stille,  
1959   Such was the childes rihte name, 
1960   Which after wroghte mochel schame
1961   In vengance of his fader deth.
1962   The time of yeres overgeth,
1963   That he was man of brede and lengthe,  
1964   Of wit, of manhod and of strengthe, 
1965   A fair persone amonges alle.  
1966   And he began to clepe and calle, 
1967   As he which come was to manne,
1968   Unto the King of Crete thanne,
1969   Preiende that he wolde him make  
1970   A kniht and pouer with him take, 
1971   For lengere wolde he noght beleve,  
1972   He seith, bot preith the king of leve  
1973   To gon and cleyme his heritage
1974   And vengen him of thilke oultrage
1975   Which was unto his fader do.  
1976   The king assenteth wel therto,
1977   With gret honour and knyht him makth,  
1978   And gret pouer to him betakth,
1979   And gan his journe forto caste:  
1980   So that Horestes ate laste 
1981   His leve tok and forth he goth.  
1982   As he that was in herte wroth,
1983   His ferste pleinte to bemene, 
1984   Unto the Cite of Athene 
1985   He goth him forth and was received, 
1986   So there was he noght deceived.  
1987   The Duc and tho that weren wise  
1988   Thei profren hem to his servise; 
1989   And he hem thonketh of here profre  
1990   And seith himself he wol gon offre  
1991   Unto the goddes for his sped,     
1992   As alle men him yeven red. 
1993   So goth he to the temple forth:  
1994   Of yiftes that be mochel worth
1995   His sacrifice and his offringe
1996   He made; and after his axinge 
1997   He was ansuerd, if that he wolde 
1998   His stat recovere, thanne he scholde
1999   Upon his Moder do vengance 
2000   So cruel, that the remembrance
2001   Therof mihte everemore abide, 
2002   As sche that was an homicide  
2003   And of hire oghne lord Moerdrice.
2004   Horestes, which of thilke office 
2005   Was nothing glad, as thanne he preide  
2006   Unto the goddes there and seide  
2007   That thei the juggement devise,  
2008   How sche schal take the juise.
2009   And therupon he hadde ansuere,
2010   That he hire Pappes scholde of tere 
2011   Out of hire brest his oghne hondes, 
2012   And for ensample of alle londes  
2013   With hors sche scholde be todrawe,  
2014   Til houndes hadde hire bones gnawe  
2015   Withouten eny sepulture:
2016   This was a wofull aventure.
2017   And whan Horestes hath al herd,  
2018   How that the goddes have ansuerd,
2019   Forth with the strengthe which he ladde
2020   The Duc and his pouer he hadde,  
2021   And to a Cite forth thei gon, 
2022   The which was cleped Cropheon,
2023   Where as Phoieus was lord and Sire, 
2024   Which profreth him withouten hyre
2025   His help and al that he mai do,  
2026   As he that was riht glad therto, 
2027   To grieve his mortiel enemy:  
2028   And tolde hem certein cause why, 
2029   How that Egiste in Mariage     
2030   His dowhter whilom of full Age
2031   Forlai, and afterward forsok, 
2032   Whan he Horestes Moder tok.
2033   Men sein, "Old Senne newe schame":  
2034   Thus more and more aros the blame
2035   Ayein Egiste on every side.
2036   Horestes with his host to ride
2037   Began, and Phoieus with hem wente;  
2038   I trowe Egiste him schal repente.
2039   Thei riden forth unto Micene, 
2040   Wher lay Climestre thilke qweene,
2041   The which Horestes moder is:  
2042   And whan sche herde telle of this,  
2043   The gates weren faste schet,  
2044   And thei were of here entre let. 
2045   Anon this Cite was withoute
2046   Belein and sieged al aboute,  
2047   And evere among thei it assaile, 
2048   Fro day to nyht and so travaile, 
2049   Til ate laste thei it wonne;  
2050   Tho was ther sorwe ynowh begonne.
2051   Horestes dede his moder calle 
2052   Anon tofore the lordes alle
2053   And ek tofor the poeple also, 
2054   To hire and tolde his tale tho,  
2055   And seide, "O cruel beste unkinde,  
2056   How mihtest thou thin herte finde,  
2057   For eny lust of loves drawhte,
2058   That thou acordest to the slawhte
2059   Of him which was thin oghne lord?
2060   Thi treson stant of such record, 
2061   Thou miht thi werkes noght forsake; 
2062   So mot I for mi fader sake 
2063   Vengance upon thi bodi do, 
2064   As I comanded am therto.
2065   Unkindely for thou hast wroght,  
2066   Unkindeliche it schal be boght,      
2067   The Sone schal the Moder sle, 
2068   For that whilom thou seidest yee 
2069   To that thou scholdest nay have seid." 
2070   And he with that his hond hath leid 
2071   Upon his Moder brest anon, 
2072   And rente out fro the bare bon
2073   Hire Pappes bothe and caste aweie
2074   Amiddes in the carte weie, 
2075   And after tok the dede cors
2076   And let it drawe awey with hors  
2077   Unto the hound and to the raven; 
2078   Sche was non other wise graven.  
2079   Egistus, which was elles where,  
2080   Tidinges comen to his Ere  
2081   How that Micenes was belein,  
2082   Bot what was more herd he noght sein;  
2083   With gret manace and mochel bost 
2084   He drowh pouer and made an host  
2085   And cam in rescousse of the toun.
2086   Bot al the sleyhte of his tresoun
2087   Horestes wiste it be aspie,
2088   And of his men a gret partie  
2089   He made in buisshement abide, 
2090   To waite on him in such a tide
2091   That he ne mihte here hond ascape:  
2092   And in this wise as he hath schape  
2093   The thing befell, so that Egiste 
2094   Was take, er he himself it wiste,
2095   And was forth broght hise hondes bounde,  
2096   As whan men han a tretour founde.
2097   And tho that weren with him take,
2098   Whiche of tresoun were overtake, 
2099   Togedre in o sentence falle;  
2100   Bot false Egiste above hem alle  
2101   Was demed to diverse peine,
2102   The worste that men cowthe ordeigne,
2103   And so forth after be the lawe
2104   He was unto the gibet drawe,      
2105   Where he above alle othre hongeth,  
2106   As to a tretour it belongeth. 
2107   Tho fame with hire swifte wynges 
2108   Aboute flyh and bar tidinges, 
2109   And made it cowth in alle londes 
2110   How that Horestes with hise hondes  
2111   Climestre his oghne Moder slowh. 
2112   Some sein he dede wel ynowh,  
2113   And som men sein he dede amis,
2114   Diverse opinion ther is:
2115   That sche is ded thei speken alle,  
2116   Bot pleinli hou it is befalle,
2117   The matiere in so litel throwe
2118   In soth ther mihte noman knowe
2119   Bot thei that weren ate dede: 
2120   And comunliche in every nede  
2121   The worste speche is rathest herd
2122   And lieved, til it be ansuerd.
2123   The kinges and the lordes grete  
2124   Begonne Horestes forto threte 
2125   To puten him out of his regne:
2126   "He is noght worthi forto regne, 
2127   The child which slowh his moder so,"
2128   Thei saide; and therupon also 
2129   The lordes of comun assent 
2130   A time sette of parlement, 
2131   And to Athenes king and lord  
2132   Togedre come of on accord, 
2133   To knowe hou that the sothe was: 
2134   So that Horestes in this cas  
2135   Thei senden after, and he com.
2136   King Menelay the wordes nom
2137   And axeth him of this matiere:
2138   And he, that alle it mihten hiere,  
2139   Ansuerde and tolde his tale alarge, 
2140   And hou the goddes in his charge 
2141   Comanded him in such a wise
2142   His oghne hond to do juise.    
2143   And with this tale a Duc aros,
2144   Which was a worthi kniht of los, 
2145   His name was Menestes,
2146   And seide unto the lordes thus:  
2147   "The wreeche which Horeste dede, 
2148   It was thing of the goddes bede, 
2149   And nothing of his crualte;
2150   And if ther were of mi degree 
2151   In al this place such a kniht 
2152   That wolde sein it was no riht,  
2153   I wole it with my bodi prove."
2154   And therupon he caste his glove, 
2155   And ek this noble Duc alleide 
2156   Ful many an other skile, and seide  
2157   Sche hadde wel deserved wreche,  
2158   Ferst for the cause of Spousebreche,
2159   And after wroghte in such a wise 
2160   That al the world it oghte agrise,  
2161   Whan that sche for so foul a vice
2162   Was of hire oghne lord moerdrice.
2163   Thei seten alle stille and herde,
2164   Bot therto was noman ansuerde,
2165   It thoghte hem alle he seide skile, 
2166   Ther is noman withseie it wile;  
2167   Whan thei upon the reson musen,  
2168   Horestes alle thei excusen:
2169   So that with gret solempnete  
2170   He was unto his dignete 
2171   Received, and coroned king.
2172   And tho befell a wonder thing:
2173   Egiona, whan sche this wiste, 
2174   Which was the dowhter of Egiste  
2175   And Soster on the moder side  
2176   To this Horeste, at thilke tide, 
2177   Whan sche herde how hir brother spedde,
2178   For pure sorwe, which hire ledde,
2179   That he ne hadde ben exiled,      
2180   Sche hath hire oghne lif beguiled
2181   Anon and hyng hireselve tho.  
2182   It hath and schal ben everemo,
2183   To moerdre who that wole assente,
2184   He mai noght faille to repente:  
2185   This false Egiona was on,  
2186   Which forto moerdre Agamenon  
2187   Yaf hire acord and hire assent,  
2188   So that be goddes juggement,  
2189   Thogh that non other man it wolde,  
2190   Sche tok hire juise as sche scholde;
2191   And as sche to an other wroghte, 
2192   Vengance upon hireself sche soghte, 
2193   And hath of hire unhappi wit  
2194   A moerdre with a moerdre quit.
2195   Such is of moerdre the vengance. 
2196   Forthi, mi Sone, in remembrance  
2197   Of this ensample tak good hiede: 
2198   For who that thenkth his love spiede
2199   With moerdre, he schal with worldes schame
2200   Himself and ek his love schame.  
2201   Mi fader, of this aventure 
2202   Which ye have told, I you assure 
2203   Min herte is sory forto hiere,
2204   Bot only for I wolde lere  
2205   What is to done, and what to leve.  
2206   And over this now be your leve,  
2207   That ye me wolden telle I preie, 
2208   If ther be lieffull eny weie  
2209   Withoute Senne a man to sle.  
2210   Mi Sone, in sondri wise ye.
2211   What man that is of traiterie,
2212   Of moerdre or elles robberie  
2213   Atteint, the jugge schal noght lette,  
2214   Bot he schal slen of pure dette, 
2215   And doth gret Senne, if that he wonde. 
2216   For who that lawe hath upon honde,      
2217   And spareth forto do justice  
2218   For merci, doth noght his office,
2219   That he his mercy so bewareth,
2220   Whan for o schrewe which he spareth 
2221   A thousand goode men he grieveth:
2222   With such merci who that believeth  
2223   To plese god, he is deceived, 
2224   Or elles resoun mot be weyved.
2225   The lawe stod er we were bore,
2226   How that a kinges swerd is bore  
2227   In signe that he schal defende
2228   His trewe poeple and make an ende
2229   Of suche as wolden hem devoure.  
2230   Lo thus, my Sone, to socoure  
2231   The lawe and comun riht to winne,
2232   A man mai sle withoute Sinne, 
2233   And do therof a gret almesse, 
2234   So forto kepe rihtwisnesse.
2235   And over this for his contre  
2236   In time of werre a man is fre 
2237   Himself, his hous and ek his lond
2238   Defende with his oghne hond,  
2239   And slen, if that he mai no bet, 
2240   After the lawe which is set.  
2241   Now, fader, thanne I you beseche 
2242   Of hem that dedly werres seche
2243   In worldes cause and scheden blod,  
2244   If such an homicide is good.  
2245   Mi Sone, upon thi question 
2246   The trowthe of myn opinion,
2247   Als ferforth as my wit arecheth  
2248   And as the pleine lawe techeth,  
2249   I woll thee telle in evidence,
2250   To rewle with thi conscience.     
2251   The hihe god of his justice
2252   That ilke foule horrible vice 
2253   Of homicide he hath forbede,  
2254   Be Moi5ses as it was bede. 
2255   Whan goddes Sone also was bore,  
2256   He sende hise anglis doun therfore, 
2257   Whom the Schepherdes herden singe,  
2258   Pes to the men of welwillinge 
2259   In erthe be among ous here.
2260   So forto speke in this matiere
2261   After the lawe of charite, 
2262   Ther schal no dedly werre be: 
2263   And ek nature it hath defended
2264   And in hir lawe pes comended, 
2265   Which is the chief of mannes welthe,
2266   Of mannes lif, of mannes helthe. 
2267   Bot dedly werre hath his covine  
2268   Of pestilence and of famine,  
2269   Of poverte and of alle wo, 
2270   Wherof this world we blamen so,  
2271   Which now the werre hath under fote,
2272   Til god himself therof do bote.  
2273   For alle thing which god hath wroght
2274   In Erthe, werre it bringth to noght:
2275   The cherche is brent, the priest is slain,
2276   The wif, the maide is ek forlain,
2277   The lawe is lore and god unserved:  
2278   I not what mede he hath deserved 
2279   That suche werres ledeth inne.
2280   If that he do it forto winne, 
2281   Ferst to acompte his grete cost  
2282   Forth with the folk that he hath lost, 
2283   As to the wordes rekeninge     
2284   Ther schal he finde no winnynge; 
2285   And if he do it to pourchace  
2286   The hevene mede, of such a grace 
2287   I can noght speke, and natheles  
2288   Crist hath comanded love and pes,
2289   And who that worcheth the revers,
2290   I trowe his mede is ful divers.  
2291   And sithen thanne that we finde  
2292   That werres in here oghne kinde  
2293   Ben toward god of no decerte, 
2294   And ek thei bringen in poverte
2295   Of worldes good, it is merveile  
2296   Among the men what it mai eyle,  
2297   That thei a pes ne conne sette.  
2298   I trowe Senne be the lette,
2299   And every mede of Senne is deth; 
2300   So wot I nevere hou that it geth:
2301   Bot we that ben of o believe  
2302   Among ousself, this wolde I lieve,  
2303   That betre it were pes to chese, 
2304   Than so be double weie lese.  
2305   I not if that it now so stonde,  
2306   Bot this a man mai understonde,  
2307   Who that these olde bokes redeth,
2308   That coveitise is on which ledeth,  
2309   And broghte ferst the werres inne.  
2310   At Grece if that I schal beginne,
2311   Ther was it proved hou it stod:  
2312   To Perce, which was ful of good, 
2313   Thei maden werre in special,  
2314   And so thei deden overal,  
2315   Wher gret richesse was in londe, 
2316   So that thei leften nothing stonde  
2317   Unwerred, bot onliche Archade.
2318   For there thei no werres made,
2319   Be cause it was bareigne and povere,
2320   Wherof thei mihten noght recovere;  
2321   And thus poverte was forbore,     
2322   He that noght hadde noght hath lore.
2323   Bot yit it is a wonder thing, 
2324   Whan that a riche worthi king,
2325   Or other lord, what so he be, 
2326   Wol axe and cleyme proprete
2327   In thing to which he hath no riht,  
2328   Bot onliche of his grete miht:
2329   For this mai every man wel wite, 
2330   That bothe kinde and lawe write  
2331   Expressly stonden therayein.  
2332   Bot he mot nedes somwhat sein,
2333   Althogh ther be no reson inne,
2334   Which secheth cause forto winne: 
2335   For wit that is with will oppressed,
2336   Whan coveitise him hath adressed,
2337   And alle resoun put aweie, 
2338   He can wel finde such a weie  
2339   To werre, where as evere him liketh,
2340   Wherof that he the world entriketh, 
2341   That many a man of him compleigneth:
2342   Bot yit alwei som cause he feigneth,
2343   And of his wrongful herte he demeth 
2344   That al is wel, what evere him semeth, 
2345   Be so that he mai winne ynowh.
2346   For as the trew man to the plowh 
2347   Only to the gaignage entendeth,  
2348   Riht so the werreiour despendeth 
2349   His time and hath no conscience. 
2350   And in this point for evidence
2351   Of hem that suche werres make,
2352   Thou miht a gret ensample take,  
2353   How thei her tirannie excusen 
2354   Of that thei wrongfull werres usen, 
2355   And how thei stonde of on acord, 
2356   The Souldeour forth with the lord,  
2357   The povere man forth with the riche,
2358   As of corage thei ben liche,  
2359   To make werres and to pile     
2360   For lucre and for non other skyle:  
2361   Wherof a propre tale I rede,  
2362   As it whilom befell in dede.  
2363   Of him whom al this Erthe dradde,
2364   Whan he the world so overladde
2365   Thurgh werre, as it fortuned is, 
2366   King Alisandre, I rede this;  
2367   How in a Marche, where he lay,
2368   It fell per chance upon a day 
2369   A Rovere of the See was nome, 
2370   Which many a man hadde overcome  
2371   And slain and take here good aweie: 
2372   This Pilour, as the bokes seie,  
2373   A famous man in sondri stede  
2374   Was of the werkes whiche he dede.
2375   This Prisoner tofor the king  
2376   Was broght, and there upon this thing  
2377   In audience he was accused:
2378   And he his dede hath noght excused, 
2379   Bot preith the king to don him riht,
2380   And seith, "Sire, if I were of miht,
2381   I have an herte lich to thin; 
2382   For if the pouer were myn, 
2383   Mi will is most in special 
2384   To rifle and geten overal  
2385   The large worldes good aboute.
2386   Bot for I lede a povere route 
2387   And am, as who seith, at meschief,  
2388   The name of Pilour and of thief  
2389   I bere; and thou, which routes grete
2390   Miht lede and take thi beyete,
2391   And dost riht as I wolde do,  
2392   Thi name is nothing cleped so,
2393   Bot thou art named Emperour.  
2394   Oure dedes ben of o colour 
2395   And in effect of o decerte,
2396   Bot thi richesse and my poverte  
2397   Tho ben noght taken evene liche.     
2398   And natheles he that is riche 
2399   This dai, tomorwe he mai be povere; 
2400   And in contraire also recovere
2401   A povere man to gret richesse 
2402   Men sen: forthi let rihtwisnesse 
2403   Be peised evene in the balance.  
2404   The king his hardi contienance
2405   Behield, and herde hise wordes wise,
2406   And seide unto him in this wise: 
2407   "Thin ansuere I have understonde,
2408   Wherof my will is, that thou stonde 
2409   In mi service and stille abide." 
2410   And forth withal the same tide
2411   He hath him terme of lif withholde, 
2412   The mor and for he schal ben holde, 
2413   He made him kniht and yaf him lond, 
2414   Which afterward was of his hond  
2415   And orped kniht in many a stede, 
2416   And gret prouesce of armes dede, 
2417   As the Croniqes it recorden.  
2418   And in this wise thei acorden,
2419   The whiche of o condicioun 
2420   Be set upon destruccioun:  
2421   Such Capitein such retenue.
2422   Bot forto se to what issue 
2423   The thing befalleth ate laste,
2424   It is gret wonder that men caste 
2425   Here herte upon such wrong to winne,
2426   Wher no beyete mai ben inne,  
2427   And doth desese on every side:
2428   Bot whan reson is put aside
2429   And will governeth the corage,
2430   The faucon which that fleth ramage  
2431   And soeffreth nothing in the weie,  
2432   Wherof that he mai take his preie,  
2433   Is noght mor set upon ravine, 
2434   Than thilke man which his covine 
2435   Hath set in such a maner wise:
2436   For al the world ne mai suffise  
2437   To will which is noght resonable.
2438   Wherof ensample concordable
2439   Lich to this point of which I meene,
2440   Was upon Alisandre sene,
2441   Which hadde set al his entente,  
2442   So as fortune with him wente, 
2443   That reson mihte him non governe,
2444   Bot of his will he was so sterne,
2445   That al the world he overran  
2446   And what him list he tok and wan.
2447   In Ynde the superiour
2448   Whan that he was ful conquerour, 
2449   And hadde his wilful pourpos wonne  
2450   Of al this Erthe under the Sonne,
2451   This king homward to Macedoine,  
2452   Whan that he cam to Babiloine,
2453   And wende most in his Empire, 
2454   As he which was hol lord and Sire,  
2455   In honour forto be received,  
2456   Most sodeinliche he was deceived,
2457   And with strong puison envenimed.
2458   And as he hath the world mistimed
2459   Noght as he scholde with his wit,
2460   Noght as he wolde it was aquit.  
2461   Thus was he slain that whilom slowh,
2462   And he which riche was ynowh  
2463   This dai, tomorwe he hadde noght:
2464   And in such wise as he hath wroght  
2465   In destorbance of worldes pes,
2466   His werre he fond thanne endeles,
2467   In which for evere desconfit  
2468   He was. Lo now, for what profit  
2469   Of werre it helpeth forto ryde,  
2470   For coveitise and worldes pride  
2471   To sle the worldes men aboute,    
2472   As bestes whiche gon theroute.
2473   For every lif which reson can 
2474   Oghth wel to knowe that a man 
2475   Ne scholde thurgh no tirannie 
2476   Lich to these othre bestes die,  
2477   Til kinde wolde for him sende.
2478   I not hou he it mihte amende, 
2479   Which takth awei for everemore
2480   The lif that he mai noght restore.  
2481   Forthi, mi Sone, in alle weie 
2482   Be wel avised, I thee preie,  
2483   Of slawhte er that thou be coupable 
2484   Withoute cause resonable.  
2485   Mi fader, understonde it is,  
2486   That ye have seid; bot over this 
2487   I prei you tell me nay or yee,
2488   To passe over the grete See
2489   To werre and sle the Sarazin, 
2490   Is that the lawe? Sone myn,
2491   To preche and soffre for the feith, 
2492   That have I herd the gospell seith; 
2493   Bot forto slee, that hiere I noght. 
2494   Crist with his oghne deth hath boght
2495   Alle othre men, and made hem fre,
2496   In tokne of parfit charite;
2497   And after that he tawhte himselve,  
2498   Whan he was ded, these othre tuelve 
2499   Of hise Apostles wente aboute 
2500   The holi feith to prechen oute,  
2501   Wherof the deth in sondri place  
2502   Thei soffre, and so god of his grace
2503   The feith of Crist hath mad aryse:  
2504   Bot if thei wolde in other wise  
2505   Be werre have broght in the creance,    
2506   It hadde yit stonde in balance.  
2507   And that mai proven in the dede; 
2508   For what man the Croniqes rede,  
2509   Fro ferst that holi cherche hath weyved
2510   To preche, and hath the swerd received,
2511   Wherof the werres ben begonne,
2512   A gret partie of that was wonne  
2513   To Cristes feith stant now miswent: 
2514   Godd do therof amendement, 
2515   So as he wot what is the beste.  
2516   Bot, Sone, if thou wolt live in reste  
2517   Of conscience wel assised, 
2518   Er that thou sle, be wel avised: 
2519   For man, as tellen ous the clerkes, 
2520   Hath god above alle ertheli werkes  
2521   Ordeined to be principal,  
2522   And ek of Soule in special 
2523   He is mad lich to the godhiede.  
2524   So sit it wel to taken hiede  
2525   And forto loke on every side, 
2526   Er that thou falle in homicide,  
2527   Which Senne is now so general,
2528   That it welnyh stant overal,  
2529   In holi cherche and elles where. 
2530   Bot al the while it stant so there, 
2531   The world mot nede fare amis: 
2532   For whan the welle of pite is 
2533   Thurgh coveitise of worldes good 
2534   Defouled with schedinge of blod, 
2535   The remenant of folk aboute
2536   Unethe stonden eny doute
2537   To werre ech other and to slee.  
2538   So is it all noght worth a Stree,
2539   The charite wherof we prechen,
2540   For we do nothing as we techen:  
2541   And thus the blinde conscience
2542   Of pes hath lost thilke evidence 
2543   Which Crist upon this Erthe tawhte. 
2544   Now mai men se moerdre and manslawhte      
2545   Lich as it was be daies olde, 
2546   Whan men the Sennes boghte and solde.  
2547   In Grece afore Cristes feith, 
2548   I rede, as the Cronique seith,
2549   Touchende of this matiere thus,  
2550   In thilke time hou Peles 
2551   His oghne brother Phocus slowh;  
2552   Bot for he hadde gold ynowh
2553   To yive, his Senne was despensed 
2554   With gold, wherof it was compensed: 
2555   Achastus, which with Venus was
2556   Hire Priest, assoilede in that cas, 
2557   Al were ther no repentance.
2558   And as the bok makth remembrance,
2559   It telleth of Medee also;  
2560   Of that sche slowh her Sones tuo,
2561   Eges in the same plit 
2562   Hath mad hire of hire Senne quit.
2563   The Sone ek of Amphioras,  
2564   Whos rihte name Almes was,  
2565   His Moder slowh, Eriphile; 
2566   Bot Achilo the Priest and he, 
2567   So as the bokes it recorden,  
2568   For certein Somme of gold acorden
2569   That thilke horrible sinfull dede
2570   Assoiled was. And thus for mede  
2571   Of worldes good it falleth ofte  
2572   That homicide is set alofte
2573   Hiere in this lif;  bot after this  
2574   Ther schal be knowe how that it is  
2575   Of hem that suche thinges werche,
2576   And hou also that holi cherche
2577   Let suche Sennes passe quyte, 
2578   And how thei wole hemself aquite 
2579   Of dedly werres that thei make.  
2580   For who that wolde ensample take,
2581   The lawe which is naturel  
2582   Be weie of kinde scheweth wel     
2583   That homicide in no degree,
2584   Which werreth ayein charite,  
2585   Among the men ne scholde duelle. 
2586   For after that the bokes telle,  
2587   To seche in al this worldesriche,
2588   Men schal noght finde upon his liche
2589   A beste forto take his preie: 
2590   And sithen kinde hath such a weie,  
2591   Thanne is it wonder of a man, 
2592   Which kynde hath and resoun can, 
2593   That he wol owther more or lasse 
2594   His kinde and resoun overpasse,  
2595   And sle that is to him semblable.
2596   So is the man noght resonable 
2597   Ne kinde, and that is noght honeste,
2598   Whan he is worse than a beste.
2599   Among the bokes whiche I finde
2600   Solyns spekth of a wonder kinde, 
2601   And seith of fowhles ther is on, 
2602   Which hath a face of blod and bon
2603   Lich to a man in resemblance. 
2604   And if it falle him so per chance,  
2605   As he which is a fowhl of preie, 
2606   That he a man finde in his weie, 
2607   He wol him slen, if that he mai: 
2608   Bot afterward the same dai,
2609   Whan he hath eten al his felle,  
2610   And that schal be beside a welle,
2611   In which whan he wol drinke take,
2612   Of his visage and seth the make  
2613   That he hath slain, anon he thenketh
2614   Of his misdede, and it forthenketh  
2615   So gretly, that for pure sorwe
2616   He liveth noght til on the morwe.
2617   Be this ensample it mai well suie
2618   That man schal homicide eschuie, 
2619   For evere is merci good to take, 
2620   Bot if the lawe it hath forsake  
2621   And that justice is therayein.    
2622   For ofte time I have herd sein
2623   Amonges hem that werres hadden,  
2624   That thei som while here cause ladden  
2625   Be merci, whan thei mihte have slain,  
2626   Wherof that thei were after fain:
2627   And, Sone, if that thou wolt recorde
2628   The vertu of Misericorde,  
2629   Thou sihe nevere thilke place,
2630   Where it was used, lacke grace.  
2631   For every lawe and every kinde
2632   The mannes wit to merci binde;
2633   And namely the worthi knihtes,
2634   Whan that thei stonden most uprihtes
2635   And ben most mihti forto grieve, 
2636   Thei scholden thanne most relieve
2637   Him whom thei mihten overthrowe, 
2638   As be ensample a man mai knowe.  
2639   He mai noght failen of his mede  
2640   That hath merci: for this I rede,
2641   In a Cronique and finde thus. 
2642   Whan Achilles with Telaphus
2643   His Sone toward Troie were,
2644   It fell hem, er thei comen there,
2645   Ayein Theucer the king of Mese
2646   To make werre and forto sese  
2647   His lond, as thei that wolden regne 
2648   And Theucer pute out of his regne.  
2649   And thus the Marches thei assaile,  
2650   Bot Theucer yaf to hem bataille; 
2651   Thei foghte on bothe sides faste,
2652   Bot so it hapneth ate laste,  
2653   This worthi Grek, this Achilles, 
2654   The king among alle othre ches:  
2655   As he that was cruel and fell,
2656   With swerd in honde on him he fell, 
2657   And smot him with a dethes wounde,  
2658   That he unhorsed fell to grounde.    
2659   Achilles upon him alyhte,  
2660   And wolde anon, as he wel mihte, 
2661   Have slain him fullich in the place;
2662   Bot Thelaphus his fader grace 
2663   For him besoghte, and for pite
2664   Preith that he wolde lete him be,
2665   And caste his Schield betwen hem tuo.  
2666   Achilles axeth him why so, 
2667   And Thelaphus his cause tolde,
2668   And seith that he is mochel holde,  
2669   For whilom Theucer in a stede 
2670   Gret grace and socour to him dede,  
2671   And seith that he him wolde aquite, 
2672   And preith his fader to respite. 
2673   Achilles tho withdrowh his hond; 
2674   Bot al the pouer of the lond, 
2675   Whan that thei sihe here king thus take,  
2676   Thei fledde and han the feld forsake:  
2677   The Grecs unto the chace falle,  
2678   And for the moste part of alle
2679   Of that contre the lordes grete  
2680   Thei toke, and wonne a gret beyete. 
2681   And anon after this victoire  
2682   The king, which hadde good memoire, 
2683   Upon the grete merci thoghte, 
2684   Which Telaphus toward him wroghte,  
2685   And in presence of al the lond
2686   He tok him faire be the hond, 
2687   And in this wise he gan to seie: 
2688   "Mi Sone, I mot be double weie
2689   Love and desire thin encress; 
2690   Ferst for thi fader Achilles  
2691   Whilom ful many dai er this,  
2692   Whan that I scholde have fare amis, 
2693   Rescousse dede in mi querele  
2694   And kepte al myn astat in hele:  
2695   How so ther falle now distance
2696   Amonges ous, yit remembrance      
2697   I have of merci which he dede 
2698   As thanne: and thou now in this stede  
2699   Of gentilesce and of franchise
2700   Hast do mercy the same wise.  
2701   So wol I noght that eny time  
2702   Be lost of that thou hast do byme;  
2703   For hou so this fortune falle,
2704   Yit stant mi trust aboven alle,  
2705   For the mercy which I now finde, 
2706   That thou wolt after this be kinde: 
2707   And for that such is myn espeir, 
2708   As for my Sone and for myn Eir
2709   I thee receive, and al my lond
2710   I yive and sese into thin hond." 
2711   And in this wise thei acorde, 
2712   The cause was Misericorde: 
2713   The lordes dede here obeissance  
2714   To Thelaphus, and pourveance  
2715   Was mad so that he was coroned:  
2716   And thus was merci reguerdoned,  
2717   Which he to Theucer dede afore.  
2718   Lo, this ensample is mad therfore,  
2719   That thou miht take remembrance, 
2720   Mi Sone; and whan thou sest a chaunce, 
2721   Of other mennes passioun
2722   Tak pite and compassioun,  
2723   And let nothing to thee be lief, 
2724   Which to an other man is grief.  
2725   And after this if thou desire 
2726   To stonde ayein the vice of Ire, 
2727   Consaile thee with Pacience,  
2728   And tak into thi conscience
2729   Merci to be thi governour. 
2730   So schalt thou fiele no rancour, 
2731   Wherof thin herte schal debate
2732   With homicide ne with hate 
2733   For Cheste or for Malencolie: 
2734   Thou schalt be soft in compaignie
2735   Withoute Contek or Folhaste:  
2736   For elles miht thou longe waste      
2737   Thi time, er that thou have thi wille  
2738   Of love; for the weder stille 
2739   Men preise, and blame the tempestes.
2740   Mi fader, I wol do youre hestes, 
2741   And of this point ye have me tawht, 
2742   Toward miself the betre sawht 
2743   I thenke be, whil that I live.
2744   Bot for als moche as I am schrive
2745   Of Wraththe and al his circumstance,
2746   Yif what you list to my penance, 
2747   And asketh forthere of my lif,
2748   If otherwise I be gultif
2749   Of eny thing that toucheth Sinne.
2750   Mi Sone, er we departe atwinne,  
2751   I schal behinde nothing leve. 
2752   Mi goode fader, be your leve  
2753   Thanne axeth forth what so you list,
2754   For I have in you such a trist,  
2755   As ye that be my Soule hele,  
2756   That ye fro me wol nothing hele, 
2757   For I schal telle you the trowthe.  
2758   Mi Sone, art thou coupable of Slowthe  
2759   In eny point which to him longeth?  
2760   My fader, of tho pointz me longeth  
2761   To wite pleinly what thei meene, 
2762   So that I mai me schrive cleene. 
2763   Now herkne, I schal the pointz devise; 
2764   And understond wel myn aprise:
2765   For schrifte stant of no value
2766   To him that wol him noght vertue 
2767   To leve of vice the folie:
2768   For word is wynd, bot the maistrie
2769   Is that a man himself defende
2770   Of thing which is noght to comende,
2771   Wherof ben fewe now aday.  
2772   And natheles, so as I may  
2773   Make unto thi memoire knowe,  
2774   The pointz of Slowthe thou schalt knowe. 

Explicit Liber Tercius