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Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Septimus: Part 3

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

3661   Thus was with him bot only left  
3662   The thridde part, and yit god eft
3663   His Angel sende and seide this
3664   To Gedeon: "If it so is 
3665   That I thin help schal undertake,
3666   Thou schalt yit lasse poeple take,  
3667   Be whom mi will is that thou spede. 
3668   Forthi tomorwe tak good hiede,
3669   Unto the flod whan ye be come,
3670   What man that hath the water nome
3671   Up in his hond and lapeth so, 
3672   To thi part ches out alle tho;
3673   And him which wery is to swinke, 
3674   Upon his wombe and lith to drinke,
3675   Forsak and put hem alle aweie.
3676   For I am myhti alle weie,  
3677   Wher as me list myn help to schewe  
3678   In goode men, thogh thei ben fewe." 
3679   This Gedeon awaiteth wel,  
3680   Upon the morwe and everydel,  
3681   As god him bad, riht so he dede. 
3682   And thus ther leften in that stede  
3683   With him thre hundred and nomo,  
3684   The remenant was al ago:
3685   Wherof that Gedeon merveileth,
3686   And therupon with god conseileth,
3687   Pleignende as ferforth as he dar.
3688   And god, which wolde he were war 
3689   That he schal spede upon his riht,  
3690   Hath bede him go the same nyht
3691   And take a man with him, to hiere
3692   What schal be spoke in his matere
3693   Among the hethen enemis;
3694   So mai he be the more wys, 
3695   What afterward him schal befalle.
3696   This Gedeon amonges alle
3697   Phara, to whom he triste most,
3698   Be nyhte tok toward thilke host, 
3699   Which logged was in a valleie,
3700   To hiere what thei wolden seie;  
3701   Upon his fot and as he ferde, 
3702   Tuo Sarazins spekende he herde.  
3703   Quod on, "Ared mi swevene ariht, 
3704   Which I mette in mi slep to nyht.
3705   Me thoghte I sih a barli cake,
3706   Which fro the Hull his weie hath take, 
3707   And cam rollende doun at ones;
3708   And as it were for the nones, 
3709   Forth in his cours so as it ran, 
3710   The kinges tente of Madian, 
3711   Of Amalech, of Amoreie, 
3712   Of Amon and of Jebuseie,
3713   And many an other tente mo 
3714   With gret noise, as me thoghte tho, 
3715   It threw to grounde and overcaste,  
3716   And al this host so sore agaste  
3717   That I awok for pure drede."  
3718   "This swevene can I wel arede,"  
3719   Quod thother Sarazin anon: 
3720   "The barli cake is Gedeon, 
3721   Which fro the hell doun sodeinly 
3722   Schal come and sette such ascry  
3723   Upon the kinges and ous bothe,
3724   That it schal to ous alle lothe: 
3725   For in such drede he schal ous bringe, 
3726   That if we hadden flyht of wynge,
3727   The weie on fote in desespeir 
3728   We scholden leve and flen in their, 
3729   For ther schal nothing him withstonde."
3730   Whan Gedeon hath understonde  
3731   This tale, he thonketh god of al,
3732   And priveliche ayein he stal, 
3733   So that no lif him hath perceived.  
3734   And thanne he hath fulli conceived  
3735   That he schal spede; and therupon
3736   The nyht suiende he schop to gon 
3737   This multitude to assaile. 
3738   Nou schalt thou hiere a gret mervaile, 
3739   With what voisdie that he wroghte.  
3740   The litel poeple which he broghte,  
3741   Was non of hem that he ne hath
3742   A pot of erthe, in which he tath 
3743   A lyht brennende in a kressette, 
3744   And ech of hem ek a trompette 
3745   Bar in his other hond beside; 
3746   And thus upon the nyhtes tyde 
3747   Duk Gedeon, whan it was derk, 
3748   Ordeineth him unto his werk,
3749   And parteth thanne his folk in thre,
3750   And chargeth hem that thei ne fle,  
3751   And tawhte hem hou they scholde ascrie 
3752   Alle in o vois per compaignie,
3753   And what word ek thei scholden speke,  
3754   And hou thei scholde here pottes breke 
3755   Echon with other, whan thei herde
3756   That he himselve ferst so ferde; 
3757   For whan thei come into the stede,  
3758   He bad hem do riht as he dede.
3759   And thus stalkende forth a pas
3760   This noble Duk, whan time was,
3761   His pot tobrak and loude ascride,
3762   And tho thei breke on every side.
3763   The trompe was noght forto seke; 
3764   He blew, and so thei blewen eke  
3765   With such a noise among hem alle,
3766   As thogh the hevene scholde falle.  
3767   The hull unto here vois ansuerde,
3768   This host in the valleie it herde,  
3769   And sih hou that the hell alyhte;
3770   So what of hieringe and of sihte,
3771   Thei cawhten such a sodein feere,
3772   That non of hem belefte there:
3773   The tentes hole thei forsoke, 
3774   That thei non other good ne toke,
3775   Bot only with here bodi bare  
3776   Thei fledde, as doth the wylde Hare.
3777   And evere upon the hull thei blewe, 
3778   Til that thei sihe time, and knewe  
3779   That thei be fled upon the rage; 
3780   And whan thei wiste here avantage,  
3781   Thei felle anon unto the chace.  
3782   Thus myht thou sen hou goddes grace 
3783   Unto the goode men availeth;  
3784   But elles ofte time it faileth
3785   To suche as be noght wel disposed.  
3786   This tale nedeth noght be glosed, 
3787   For it is openliche schewed
3788   That god to hem that ben wel thewed 
3789   Hath yove and granted the victoire: 
3790   So that thensample of this histoire 
3791   Is good for every king to holde; 
3792   Ferst in himself that he beholde 
3793   If he be good of his livinge, 
3794   And that the folk which he schal bringe
3795   Be good also, for thanne he may  
3796   Be glad of many a merie day,  
3797   In what as evere he hath to done.
3798   For he which sit above the Mone  
3799   And alle thing mai spille and spede,
3800   In every cause, in every nede 
3801   His goode king so wel adresceth, 
3802   That alle his fomen he represseth,  
3803   So that ther mai noman him dere; 
3804   And als so wel he can forbere,
3805   And soffre a wickid king to falle
3806   In hondes of his fomen alle.  
3807   Nou forthermore if I schal sein  
3808   Of my matiere, and torne ayein
3809   To speke of justice and Pite  
3810   After the reule of realte, 
3811   This mai a king wel understonde, 
3812   Knihthode mot ben take on honde, 
3813   Whan that it stant upon the nede:
3814   He schal no rihtful cause drede, 
3815   Nomore of werre thanne of pes,
3816   If he wol stonde blameles; 
3817   For such a cause a king mai have 
3818   That betre him is to sle than save, 
3819   Wherof thou myht ensample finde. 
3820   The hihe makere of mankinde
3821   Be Samuel to Sal bad, 
3822   That he schal nothing ben adrad  
3823   Ayein king Agag forto fihte;
3824   For this the godhede him behihte,
3825   That Agag schal ben overcome: 
3826   And whan it is so ferforth come, 
3827   That Sal hath him desconfit,
3828   The god bad make no respit,
3829   That he ne scholde him slen anon.
3830   Bot Sal let it overgon
3831   And dede noght the goddes heste: 
3832   For Agag made gret beheste 
3833   Of rancoun which he wolde yive,  
3834   King Sal soffreth him to live  
3835   And feigneth pite forth withal.  
3836   Bot he which seth and knoweth al,
3837   The hihe god, of that he feigneth
3838   To Samuel upon him pleigneth, 
3839   And sende him word, for that he lefte  
3840   Of Agag that he ne berefte 
3841   The lif, he schal noght only dye 
3842   Himself, bot fro his regalie  
3843   He schal be put for everemo,  
3844   Noght he, bot ek his heir also,  
3845   That it schal nevere come ayein. 
3846   Thus myht thou se the sothe plein,  
3847   That of tomoche and of tolyte 
3848   Upon the Princes stant the wyte. 
3849   Bot evere it was a kinges riht
3850   To do the dedes of a knyht;
3851   For in the handes of a king
3852   The deth and lif is al o thing
3853   After the lawes of justice.
3854   To slen it is a dedly vice,
3855   Bot if a man the deth deserve;
3856   And if a king the lif preserve
3857   Of him which oghte forto dye, 
3858   He suieth noght thensamplerie 
3859   Which in the bible is evident:
3860   Hou David in his testament,
3861   Whan he no lengere myhte live,
3862   Unto his Sone in charge hath yive 
3863   That he Joab schal slen algate;  
3864   And whan David was gon his gate, 
3865   The yonge wise Salomon  
3866   His fader heste dede anon, 
3867   And slouh Joab in such a wise,
3868   That thei that herden the juise  
3869   Evere after dradden him the more,
3870   And god was ek wel paid therfore,
3871   That he so wolde his herte plye  
3872   The lawes forto justefie.  
3873   And yit he kepte forth withal 
3874   Pite, so as a Prince schal,
3875   That he no tirannie wroghte;  
3876   He fond the wisdom which he soghte, 
3877   And was so rihtful natheles,  
3878   That al his lif he stod in pes,  
3879   That he no dedly werres hadde,
3880   For every man his wisdom dradde. 
3881   And as he was himselve wys,
3882   Riht so the worthi men of pris
3883   He hath of his conseil withholde;
3884   For that is every Prince holde,  
3885   To make of suche his retenue  
3886   Whiche wise ben, and to remue 
3887   The foles: for ther is nothing
3888   Which mai be betre aboute a king,
3889   Than conseil, which is the substance
3890   Of all a kinges governance.
3891   In Salomon a man mai see
3892   What thing of most necessite  
3893   Unto a worthi king belongeth. 
3894   Whan he his kingdom underfongeth,
3895   God bad him chese what he wolde, 
3896   And seide him that he have scholde  
3897   What he wolde axe, as of o thing.
3898   And he, which was a newe king,
3899   Forth therupon his bone preide
3900   To god, and in this wise he seide:  
3901   "O king, be whom that I schal regne, 
3902   Yif me wisdom, that I my regne,  
3903   Forth with thi poeple which I have, 
3904   To thin honour mai kepe and save."  
3905   Whan Salomon his bone hath taxed,
3906   The god of that which he hath axed  
3907   Was riht wel paid, and granteth sone
3908   Noght al only that he his bone
3909   Schal have of that, bot of richesse,
3910   Of hele, of pes, of hih noblesse,
3911   Forth with wisdom at his axinges,
3912   Which stant above alle othre thinges.  
3913   Bot what king wole his regne save,  
3914   Ferst him behoveth forto have 
3915   After the god and his believe 
3916   Such conseil which is to believe,
3917   Fulfild of trouthe and rihtwisnesse:
3918   Bot above alle in his noblesse
3919   Betwen the reddour and pite
3920   A king schal do such equite
3921   And sette the balance in evene,  
3922   So that the hihe god in hevene
3923   And al the poeple of his nobleie 
3924   Loange unto his name seie. 
3925   For most above all erthli good,  
3926   Wher that a king himself is good 
3927   It helpeth, for in other weie 
3928   If so be that a king forsueie,
3929   Fulofte er this it hath be sein, 
3930   The comun poeple is overlein  
3931   And hath the kinges Senne aboght,
3932   Al thogh the poeple agulte noght.
3933   Of that the king his god misserveth,
3934   The poeple takth that he descerveth 
3935   Hier in this world, bot elleswhere  
3936   I not hou it schal stonde there. 
3937   Forthi good is a king to triste  
3938   Ferst to himself, as he ne wiste 
3939   Non other help bot god alone;  
3940   So schal the reule of his persone
3941   Withinne himself thurgh providence  
3942   Ben of the betre conscience.  
3943   And forto finde ensample of this,
3944   A tale I rede, and soth it is.
3945   In a Cronique it telleth thus:
3946   The king of Rome Lucius 
3947   Withinne his chambre upon a nyht 
3948   The Steward of his hous, a knyht,
3949   Forth with his Chamberlein also, 
3950   To conseil hadde bothe tuo,
3951   And stoden be the Chiminee 
3952   Togedre spekende alle thre.
3953   And happeth that the kinges fol  
3954   Sat be the fyr upon a stol,
3955   As he that with his babil pleide,
3956   Bot yit he herde al that thei seide,
3957   And therof token thei non hiede. 
3958   The king hem axeth what to rede  
3959   Of such matiere as cam to mouthe,
3960   And thei him tolden as thei couthe. 
3961   Whan al was spoke of that thei mente,  
3962   The king with al his hole entente
3963   Thanne ate laste hem axeth this, 
3964   What king men tellen that he is: 
3965   Among the folk touchende his name,  
3966   Or be it pris, or be it blame,
3967   Riht after that thei herden sein,
3968   He bad hem forto telle it plein, 
3969   That thei no point of soth forbere, 
3970   Be thilke feith that thei him bere. 
3971   The Steward ferst upon this thing
3972   Yaf his ansuere unto the king 
3973   And thoghte glose in this matiere,  
3974   And seide, als fer as he can hiere, 
3975   His name is good and honourable: 
3976   Thus was the Stieward favorable, 
3977   That he the trouthe plein ne tolde. 
3978   The king thanne axeth, as he scholde,
3979   The Chamberlein of his avis.  
3980   And he, that was soubtil and wys,
3981   And somdiel thoghte upon his feith, 
3982   Him tolde hou al the poeple seith
3983   That if his conseil were trewe,  
3984   Thei wiste thanne wel and knewe  
3985   That of himself he scholde be 
3986   A worthi king in his degre:
3987   And thus the conseil he accuseth 
3988   In partie, and the king excuseth.
3989   The fol, which herde of al the cas  
3990   That time, as goddes wille was,  
3991   Sih that thei seiden noght ynowh,
3992   And hem to skorne bothe lowh, 
3993   And to the king he seide tho: 
3994   "Sire king, if that it were so,  
3995   Of wisdom in thin oghne mod
3996   That thou thiselven were good,
3997   Thi conseil scholde noght be badde."
3998   The king therof merveille hadde, 
3999   Whan that a fol so wisly spak,
4000   And of himself fond out the lack 
4001   Withinne his oghne conscience:
4002   And thus the foles evidence,  
4003   Which was of goddes grace enspired, 
4004   Makth that good conseil was desired.
4005   He putte awey the vicious  
4006   And tok to him the vertuous;  
4007   The wrongful lawes ben amended,  
4008   The londes good is wel despended,
4009   The poeple was nomore oppressed, 
4010   And thus stod every thing redressed.
4011   For where a king is propre wys,  
4012   And hath suche as himselven is
4013   Of his conseil, it mai noght faile  
4014   That every thing ne schal availe:
4015   The vices thanne gon aweie,
4016   And every vertu holt his weie;
4017   Wherof the hihe god is plesed,
4018   And al the londes folk is esed.  
4019   For if the comun poeple crie, 
4020   And thanne a king list noght to plie
4021   To hiere what the clamour wolde, 
4022   And otherwise thanne he scholde  
4023   Desdeigneth forto don hem grace, 
4024   It hath be sen in many place, 
4025   Ther hath befalle gret contraire;
4026   And that I finde of ensamplaire. 
4027   After the deth of Salomon, 
4028   Whan thilke wise king was gon,
4029   And Roboas in his persone  
4030   Receive scholde the corone,
4031   The poeple upon a Parlement
4032   Avised were of on assent,  
4033   And alle unto the king thei preiden,
4034   With comun vois and thus thei seiden:  
4035   "Oure liege lord, we thee beseche
4036   That thou receive oure humble speche
4037   And grante ous that which reson wile,  
4038   Or of thi grace or of thi skile. 
4039   Thi fader, whil he was alyve  
4040   And myhte bothe grante and pryve,
4041   Upon the werkes whiche he hadde  
4042   The comun poeple streite ladde:  
4043   Whan he the temple made newe, 
4044   Thing which men nevere afore knewe  
4045   He broghte up thanne of his taillage,  
4046   And al was under the visage
4047   Of werkes whiche he made tho. 
4048   Bot nou it is befalle so,  
4049   That al is mad, riht as he seide,
4050   And he was riche whan he deide;  
4051   So that it is no maner nede,  
4052   If thou therof wolt taken hiede, 
4053   To pilen of the poeple more,  
4054   Which long time hath be grieved sore.  
4055   And in this wise as we thee seie,
4056   With tendre herte we thee preie  
4057   That thou relesse thilke dette,  
4058   Which upon ous thi fader sette.  
4059   And if thee like to don so,
4060   We ben thi men for everemo,
4061   To gon and comen at thin heste." 
4062   The king, which herde this requeste,
4063   Seith that he wole ben avised,
4064   And hath therof a time assised;  
4065   And in the while as he him thoghte  
4066   Upon this thing, conseil he soghte. 
4067   And ferst the wise knyhtes olde, 
4068   To whom that he his tale tolde,  
4069   Conseilen him in this manere; 
4070   That he with love and with glad chiere 
4071   Foryive and grante al that is axed  
4072   Of that his fader hadde taxed;
4073   For so he mai his regne achieve  
4074   With thing which schal him litel grieve.  
4075   The king hem herde and overpasseth, 
4076   And with these othre his wit compasseth,  
4077   That yonge were and nothing wise.
4078   And thei these olde men despise, 
4079   And seiden: "Sire, it schal be schame  
4080   For evere unto thi worthi name,  
4081   If thou ne kepe noght the riht,  
4082   Whil thou art in thi yonge myht, 
4083   Which that thin olde fader gat.  
4084   Bot seie unto the poeple plat,
4085   That whil thou livest in thi lond,  
4086   The leste finger of thin hond 
4087   It schal be strengere overal  
4088   Than was thi fadres bodi al.  
4089   And this also schal be thi tale, 
4090   If he hem smot with roddes smale,
4091   With Scorpions thou schalt hem smyte;  
4092   And wher thi fader tok a lyte,
4093   Thou thenkst to take mochel more.
4094   Thus schalt thou make hem drede sore
4095   The grete herte of thi corage,
4096   So forto holde hem in servage.
4097   This yonge king him hath conformed  
4098   To don as he was last enformed,  
4099   Which was to him his undoinge:
4100   For whan it cam to the spekinge, 
4101   He hath the yonge conseil holde, 
4102   That he the same wordes tolde 
4103   Of al the poeple in audience; 
4104   And whan thei herden the sentence
4105   Of his malice and the manace, 
4106   Anon tofore his oghne face 
4107   Thei have him oultreli refused
4108   And with ful gret reproef accused.  
4109   So thei begunne forto rave,
4110   That he was fain himself to save;
4111   For as the wilde wode rage 
4112   Of wyndes makth the See salvage, 
4113   And that was calm bringth into wawe,
4114   So for defalte of grace and lawe 
4115   This poeple is stered al at ones 
4116   And forth thei gon out of hise wones;  
4117   So that of the lignages tuelve
4118   Tuo tribes only be hemselve
4119   With him abiden and nomo:  
4120   So were thei for everemo
4121   Of no retorn withoute espeir  
4122   Departed fro the rihtfull heir.  
4123   Al Irahel with comun vois  
4124   A king upon here oghne chois  
4125   Among hemself anon thei make, 
4126   And have here yonge lord forsake;
4127   A povere knyht Jeroboas 
4128   Thei toke, and lefte Roboas,  
4129   Which rihtfull heir was be descente.
4130   Lo, thus the yonge cause wente:  
4131   For that the conseil was noght good,
4132   The regne fro the rihtfull blod  
4133   Evere afterward divided was.  
4134   So mai it proven be this cas  
4135   That yong conseil, which is to warm,
4136   Er men be war doth ofte harm. 
4137   Old age for the conseil serveth, 
4138   And lusti youthe his thonk deserveth
4139   Upon the travail which he doth;  
4140   And bothe, forto seie a soth, 
4141   Be sondri cause forto have,
4142   If that he wole his regne save,  
4143   A king behoveth every day. 
4144   That on can and that other mai,  
4145   Be so the king hem bothe reule,  
4146   For elles al goth out of reule.  
4147   And upon this matiere also 
4148   A question betwen the tuo  
4149   Thus writen in a bok I fond;  
4150   Wher it be betre for the lond 
4151   A king himselve to be wys, 
4152   And so to bere his oghne pris,
4153   And that his consail be noght good, 
4154   Or other wise if it so stod,  
4155   A king if he be vicious 
4156   And his conseil be vertuous.  
4157   It is ansuerd in such a wise, 
4158   That betre it is that thei be wise  
4159   Be whom that the conseil schal gon, 
4160   For thei be manye, and he is on; 
4161   And rathere schal an one man  
4162   With fals conseil, for oght he can, 
4163   From his wisdom be mad to falle, 
4164   Thanne he al one scholde hem alle
4165   Fro vices into vertu change,  
4166   For that is wel the more strange.
4167   Forthi the lond mai wel be glad, 
4168   Whos king with good conseil is lad, 
4169   Which set him unto rihtwisnesse, 
4170   So that his hihe worthinesse  
4171   Betwen the reddour and Pite
4172   Doth mercy forth with equite. 
4173   A king is holden overal 
4174   To Pite, bot in special 
4175   To hem wher he is most beholde;  
4176   Thei scholde his Pite most beholde  
4177   That ben the Lieges of his lond, 
4178   For thei ben evere under his hond
4179   After the goddes ordinaunce
4180   To stonde upon his governance.
4181   Of themperour Anthonius 
4182   I finde hou that he seide thus,  
4183   That levere him were forto save  
4184   Oon of his lieges than to have
4185   Of enemis a thousend dede. 
4186   And this he lernede, as I rede,  
4187   Of Cipio, which hadde be
4188   Consul of Rome. And thus to se
4189   Diverse ensamples hou thei stonde,  
4190   A king which hath the charge on honde  
4191   The comun poeple to governe,  
4192   If that he wole, he mai wel lerne.  
4193   Is non so good to the plesance
4194   Of god, as is good governance;
4195   And every governance is due
4196   To Pite: thus I mai argue  
4197   That Pite is the foundement
4198   Of every kinges regiment,  
4199   If it be medled with justice. 
4200   Thei tuo remuen alle vice, 
4201   And ben of vertu most vailable
4202   To make a kinges regne stable.
4203   Lo, thus the foure pointz tofore,
4204   In governance as thei ben bore,  
4205   Of trouthe ferst and of largesse,
4206   Of Pite forth with rihtwisnesse, 
4207   I have hem told; and over this
4208   The fifte point, so as it is  
4209   Set of the reule of Policie,  
4210   Wherof a king schal modefie
4211   The fleisschly lustes of nature, 
4212   Nou thenk I telle of such mesure,
4213   That bothe kinde schal be served 
4214   And ek the lawe of god observed. 
4215   The Madle is mad for the the femele,
4216   Bot where as on desireth fele,
4217   That nedeth noght be weie of kinde: 
4218   For whan a man mai redy finde 
4219   His oghne wif, what scholde he seche
4220   In strange places to beseche  
4221   To borwe an other mannes plouh,  
4222   Whan he hath geere good ynouh 
4223   Affaited at his oghne heste,  
4224   And is to him wel more honeste
4225   Than other thing which is unknowe?  
4226   Forthi scholde every good man knowe 
4227   And thenke, hou that in mariage  
4228   His trouthe pliht lith in morgage,  
4229   Which if he breke, it is falshode,  
4230   And that descordeth to manhode,  
4231   And namely toward the grete,  
4232   Wherof the bokes alle trete;  
4233   So as the Philosophre techeth 
4234   To Alisandre, and him betecheth  
4235   The lore hou that he schal mesure
4236   His bodi, so that no mesure
4237   Of fleisshly lust he scholde excede.
4238   And thus forth if I schal procede,  
4239   The fifte point, as I seide er,  
4240   Is chastete, which sielde wher
4241   Comth nou adaies into place;  
4242   And natheles, bot it be grace 
4243   Above alle othre in special,  
4244   Is non that chaste mai ben all.  
4245   Bot yit a kinges hihe astat,  
4246   Which of his ordre as a prelat
4247   Schal ben enoignt and seintefied,
4248   He mot be more magnefied
4249   For dignete of his corone, 
4250   Than scholde an other low persone,  
4251   Which is noght of so hih emprise.
4252   Therfore a Prince him scholde avise,
4253   Er that he felle in such riote,  
4254   And namely that he nassote 
4255   To change for the wommanhede  
4256   The worthinesse of his manhede.  
4257   Of Aristotle I have wel rad,  
4258   Hou he to Alisandre bad,
4259   That forto gladen his corage  
4260   He schal beholde the visage
4261   Of wommen, whan that thei ben faire.
4262   Bot yit he set an essamplaire,
4263   His bodi so to guide and reule,  
4264   That he ne passe noght the reule,
4265   Wherof that he himself beguile.  
4266   For in the womman is no guile 
4267   Of that a man himself bewhapeth; 
4268   Whan he his oghne wit bejapeth,  
4269   I can the wommen wel excuse:  
4270   Bot what man wole upon hem muse  
4271   After the fool impression  
4272   Of his ymaginacioun, 
4273   Withinne himself the fyr he bloweth,
4274   Wherof the womman nothing knoweth,  
4275   So mai sche nothing be to wyte.  
4276   For if a man himself excite
4277   To drenche, and wol it noght forbere,  
4278   The water schal no blame bere.
4279   What mai the gold, thogh men coveite?  
4280   If that a man wol love streite,  
4281   The womman hath him nothing bounde; 
4282   If he his oghne herte wounde, 
4283   Sche mai noght lette the folie;  
4284   And thogh so felle of compainie  
4285   That he myht eny thing pourchace,
4286   Yit makth a man the ferste chace,
4287   The womman fleth and he poursuieth: 
4288   So that be weie of skile it suieth, 
4289   The man is cause, hou so befalle,
4290   That he fulofte sithe is falle
4291   Wher that he mai noght wel aryse.
4292   And natheles ful manye wise
4293   Befoled have hemself er this, 
4294   As nou adaies yit it is 
4295   Among the men and evere was,  
4296   The stronge is fieblest in this cas.
4297   It sit a man be weie of kinde 
4298   To love, bot it is noght kinde
4299   A man for love his wit to lese:  
4300   For if the Monthe of Juil schal frese  
4301   And that Decembre schal ben hot, 
4302   The yeer mistorneth, wel I wot.  
4303   To sen a man fro his astat 
4304   Thurgh his sotie effeminat,
4305   And leve that a man schal do, 
4306   It is as Hose above the Scho, 
4307   To man which oghte noght ben used.  
4308   Bot yit the world hath ofte accused 
4309   Ful grete Princes of this dede,  
4310   Hou thei for love hemself mislede,  
4311   Wherof manhode stod behinde,  
4312   Of olde ensamples as I finde. 
4313   These olde gestes tellen thus,
4314   That whilom Sardana Pallus,
4315   Which hield al hol in his empire 
4316   The grete kingdom of Assire,  
4317   Was thurgh the slouthe of his corage
4318   Falle into thilke fyri rage
4319   Of love, which the men assoteth, 
4320   Wherof himself he so rioteth, 
4321   And wax so ferforth wommannyssh, 
4322   That ayein kinde, as if a fissh  
4323   Abide wolde upon the lond, 
4324   In wommen such a lust he fond,
4325   That he duelte evere in chambre stille,
4326   And only wroghte after the wille 
4327   Of wommen, so as he was bede, 
4328   That selden whanne in other stede
4329   If that he wolde wenden oute, 
4330   To sen hou that it stod aboute.  
4331   Bot ther he keste and there he pleide, 
4332   Thei tawhten him a Las to breide,
4333   And weve a Pours, and to enfile  
4334   A Perle: and fell that ilke while,  
4335   On Barbarus the Prince of Mede
4336   Sih hou this king in wommanhede  
4337   Was falle fro chivalerie,  
4338   And gat him help and compaignie, 
4339   And wroghte so, that ate laste
4340   This king out of his regne he caste,
4341   Which was undon for everemo:  
4342   And yit men speken of him so, 
4343   That it is schame forto hiere.
4344   Forthi to love is in manere.  
4345   King David hadde many a love, 
4346   Bot natheles alwey above
4347   Knyhthode he kepte in such a wise,  
4348   That for no fleisshli covoitise  
4349   Of lust to ligge in ladi armes
4350   He lefte noght the lust of armes.
4351   For where a Prince hise lustes suieth, 
4352   That he the werre noght poursuieth, 
4353   Whan it is time to ben armed, 
4354   His contre stant fulofte harmed, 
4355   Whan thenemis ben woxe bolde, 
4356   That thei defence non beholde.
4357   Ful many a lond hath so be lore, 
4358   As men mai rede of time afore 
4359   Of hem that so here eses soghten,
4360   Which after thei full diere aboghten.  
4361   To mochel ese is nothing worth,  
4362   For that set every vice forth 
4363   And every vertu put abak,  
4364   Wherof priss torneth into lak,
4365   As in Cronique I mai reherse: 
4366   Which telleth hou the king of Perse,
4367   That Cirus hihte, a werre hadde  
4368   Ayein a poeple which he dradde,  
4369   Of a contre which Liddos hihte;  
4370   Bot yit for oght that he do mihte
4371   As in bataille upon the werre,
4372   He hadde of hem alwey the werre. 
4373   And whan he sih and wiste it wel,
4374   That he be strengthe wan no del, 
4375   Thanne ate laste he caste a wyle 
4376   This worthi poeple to beguile,
4377   And tok with hem a feigned pes,  
4378   Which scholde lasten endeles, 
4379   So as he seide in wordes wise,
4380   Bot he thoghte al in other wise. 
4381   For it betidd upon the cas,
4382   Whan that this poeple in reste was, 
4383   Thei token eses manyfold;  
4384   And worldes ese, as it is told,  
4385   Be weie of kinde is the norrice  
4386   Of every lust which toucheth vice.  
4387   Thus whan thei were in lustes falle,
4388   The werres ben foryeten alle; 
4389   Was non which wolde the worschipe
4390   Of Armes, bot in idelschipe
4391   Thei putten besinesse aweie
4392   And token hem to daunce and pleie;  
4393   Bot most above alle othre thinges
4394   Thei token hem to the likinges
4395   Of fleysshly lust, that chastete 
4396   Received was in no degre,  
4397   Bot every man doth what him liste.  
4398   And whan the king of Perse it wiste,
4399   That thei unto folie entenden,
4400   With his pouer, whan thei lest wenden, 
4401   Mor sodeinly than doth the thunder  
4402   He cam, for evere and put hem under.
4403   And thus hath lecherie lore
4404   The lond, which hadde be tofore  
4405   The beste of hem that were tho.  
4406   And in the bible I finde also 
4407   A tale lich unto this thing,  
4408   Hou Amalech the paien king,
4409   Whan that he myhte be no weie 
4410   Defende his lond and putte aweie 
4411   The worthi poeple of Irael,
4412   This Sarazin, as it befell,
4413   Thurgh the conseil of Balaam  
4414   A route of faire wommen nam,  
4415   That lusti were and yonge of Age,
4416   And bad hem gon to the lignage
4417   Of these Hebreus: and forth thei wente 
4418   With yhen greye and browes bente 
4419   And wel arraied everych on;
4420   And whan thei come were anon  
4421   Among thebreus, was non insihte, 
4422   Bot cacche who that cacche myhte,
4423   And ech of hem hise lustes soghte,  
4424   Whiche after thei full diere boghte.
4425   For grace anon began to faile,
4426   That whan thei comen to bataille 
4427   Thanne afterward, in sori plit
4428   Thei were take and disconfit, 
4429   So that withinne a litel throwe  
4430   The myht of hem was overthrowe,  
4431   That whilom were wont to stonde. 
4432   Til Phinees the cause on honde
4433   Hath take, this vengance laste,  
4434   Bot thanne it cessede ate laste, 
4435   For god was paid of that he dede:
4436   For wher he fond upon a stede 
4437   A couple which misferde so,
4438   Thurghout he smot hem bothe tuo, 
4439   And let hem ligge in mennes yhe; 
4440   Wherof alle othre whiche hem sihe
4441   Ensamplede hem upon the dede, 
4442   And preiden unto the godhiede 
4443   Here olde Sennes to amende:
4444   And he, which wolde his mercy sende,
4445   Restorede hem to newe grace.  
4446   Thus mai it schewe in sondri place, 
4447   Of chastete hou the clennesse 
4448   Acordeth to the worthinesse
4449   Of men of Armes overal; 
4450   Bot most of alle in special
4451   This vertu to a king belongeth,  
4452   For upon his fortune it hongeth  
4453   Of that his lond schal spede or spille.
4454   Forthi bot if a king his wille
4455   Fro lustes of his fleissh restreigne,  
4456   Ayein himself he makth a treigne,
4457   Into the which if that he slyde, 
4458   Him were betre go besyde.  
4459   For every man mai understonde,
4460   Hou for a time that it stonde,
4461   It is a sori lust to lyke, 
4462   Whos ende makth a man to syke 
4463   And torneth joies into sorwe. 
4464   The brihte Sonne be the morwe 
4465   Beschyneth noght the derke nyht, 
4466   The lusti youthe of mannes myht, 
4467   In Age bot it stonde wel,  
4468   Mistorneth al the laste whiel.
4469   That every worthi Prince is holde
4470   Withinne himself himself beholde,
4471   To se the stat of his persone,
4472   And thenke hou ther be joies none
4473   Upon this Erthe mad to laste, 
4474   And hou the fleissh schal ate laste 
4475   The lustes of this lif forsake,  
4476   Him oghte a gret ensample take
4477   Of Salomon, whos appetit
4478   Was holy set upon delit,
4479   To take of wommen the plesance:  
4480   So that upon his ignorance 
4481   The wyde world merveileth yit,
4482   That he, which alle mennes wit
4483   In thilke time hath overpassed,  
4484   With fleisshly lustes was so tassed,
4485   That he which ladde under the lawe  
4486   The poeple of god, himself withdrawe
4487   He hath fro god in such a wise,  
4488   That he worschipe and sacrifise  
4489   For sondri love in sondri stede  
4490   Unto the false goddes dede.
4491   This was the wise ecclesiaste,
4492   The fame of whom schal evere laste, 
4493   That he the myhti god forsok, 
4494   Ayein the lawe whanne he tok  
4495   His wyves and his concubines  
4496   Of hem that weren Sarazines,  
4497   For whiche he dede ydolatrie. 
4498   For this I rede of his sotie: 
4499   Sche of Sidoyne so him ladde, 
4500   That he knelende his armes spradde  
4501   To Astrathen with gret humblesse,
4502   Which of hire lond was the goddesse:
4503   And sche that was a Moabite
4504   So ferforth made him to delite
4505   Thurgh lust, which al his wit devoureth,  
4506   That he Chamos hire god honoureth.  
4507   An other Amonyte also
4508   With love him hath assoted so,
4509   Hire god Moloch that with encense
4510   He sacreth, and doth reverence
4511   In such a wise as sche him bad.  
4512   Thus was the wiseste overlad  
4513   With blinde lustes whiche he soghte;
4514   Bot he it afterward aboghte.  
4515   For Achias Selonites,
4516   Which was prophete, er his decess,  
4517   Whil he was in hise lustes alle, 
4518   Betokneth what schal after falle.
4519   For on a day, whan that he mette 
4520   Jeroboam the knyht, he grette 
4521   And bad him that he scholde abyde,  
4522   To hiere what him schal betyde.  
4523   And forth withal Achias caste 
4524   His mantell of, and also faste
4525   He kut it into pieces twelve, 
4526   Wherof tuo partz toward himselve 
4527   He kepte, and al the remenant,
4528   As god hath set his covenant, 
4529   He tok unto Jeroboas,
4530   Of Nabal which the Sone was,  
4531   And of the kinges court a knyht: 
4532   And seide him, "Such is goddes myht,
4533   As thou hast sen departed hiere  
4534   Mi mantell, riht in such manere  
4535   After the deth of Salomon  
4536   God hath ordeigned therupon,  
4537   This regne thanne he schal divide:  
4538   Which time thou schalt ek abide, 
4539   And upon that division  
4540   The regne as in proporcion 
4541   As thou hast of mi mantell take, 
4542   Thou schalt receive, I undertake.
4543   And thus the Sone schal abie  
4544   The lustes and the lecherie
4545   Of him which nou his fader is."  
4546   So forto taken hiede of this, 
4547   It sit a king wel to be chaste,  
4548   For elles he mai lihtly waste 
4549   Himself and ek his regne bothe,  
4550   And that oghte every king to lothe. 
4551   O, which a Senne violent,  
4552   Wherof so wys a king was schent, 
4553   That the vengance in his persone 
4554   Was noght ynouh to take al one,  
4555   Bot afterward, whan he was passed,  
4556   It hath his heritage lassed,  
4557   As I more openli tofore 
4558   The tale tolde. And thus therfore
4559   The Philosophre upon this thing  
4560   Writ and conseileth to a king,
4561   That he the surfet of luxure  
4562   Schal tempre and reule of such mesure, 
4563   Which be to kinde sufficant
4564   And ek to reson acordant,  
4565   So that the lustes ignorance  
4566   Be cause of no misgovernance, 
4567   Thurgh which that he be overthrowe, 
4568   As he that wol no reson knowe.
4569   For bot a mannes wit be swerved, 
4570   Whan kinde is dueliche served,
4571   It oghte of reson to suffise; 
4572   For if it falle him otherwise,
4573   He mai tho lustes sore drede. 
4574   For of Anthonie thus I rede,  
4575   Which of Severus was the Sone,
4576   That he his lif of comun wone 
4577   Yaf holy unto thilke vice, 
4578   And ofte time he was so nyce, 
4579   Wherof nature hire hath compleigned 
4580   Unto the god, which hath desdeigned 
4581   The werkes whiche Antonie wroghte
4582   Of lust, whiche he ful sore aboghte:
4583   For god his forfet hath so wroke 
4584   That in Cronique it is yit spoke.
4585   Bot forto take remembrance 
4586   Of special misgovernance
4587   Thurgh covoitise and injustice
4588   Forth with the remenant of vice, 
4589   And nameliche of lecherie, 
4590   I finde write a gret partie
4591   Withinne a tale, as thou schalt hiere, 
4592   Which is thensample of this matiere.
4593   So as these olde gestes sein, 
4594   The proude tirannyssh Romein  
4595   Tarquinus, which was thanne king 
4596   And wroghte many a wrongful thing,  
4597   Of Sones hadde manyon,  
4598   Among the whiche Arrons was on,  
4599   Lich to his fader of maneres; 
4600   So that withinne a fewe yeres 
4601   With tresoun and with tirannie
4602   Thei wonne of lond a gret partie,
4603   And token hiede of no justice,
4604   Which due was to here office  
4605   Upon the reule of governance; 
4606   Bot al that evere was plesance
4607   Unto the fleisshes lust thei toke.  
4608   And fell so, that thei undertoke 
4609   A werre, which was noght achieved,  
4610   Bot ofte time it hadde hem grieved, 
4611   Ayein a folk which thanne hihte  
4612   The Gabiens: and al be nyhte  
4613   This Arrons, whan he was at hom  
4614   In Rome, a prive place he nom 
4615   Withinne a chambre, and bet himselve
4616   And made him woundes ten or tuelve  
4617   Upon the bak, as it was sene; 
4618   And so forth with hise hurtes grene 
4619   In al the haste that he may
4620   He rod, and cam that other day
4621   Unto Gabie the Cite, 
4622   And in he wente: and whan that he
4623   Was knowe, anon the gates schette,  
4624   The lordes alle upon him sette
4625   With drawe swerdes upon honde.
4626   This Arrons wolde hem noght withstonde,
4627   Bot seide, "I am hier at your wille,
4628   Als lief it is that ye me spille,
4629   As if myn oghne fader dede."  
4630   And forthwith in the same stede  
4631   He preide hem that thei wolde se,
4632   And schewede hem in what degre
4633   His fader and hise brethren bothe,  
4634   Whiche, as he seide, weren wrothe,  
4635   Him hadde beten and reviled,  
4636   For evere and out of Rome exiled.
4637   And thus he made hem to believe, 
4638   And seide, if that he myhte achieve 
4639   His pourpos, it schal wel be yolde, 
4640   Be so that thei him helpe wolde. 
4641   Whan that the lordes hadde sein  
4642   Hou wofully he was besein, 
4643   Thei token Pite of his grief; 
4644   Bot yit it was hem wonder lief
4645   That Rome him hadde exiled so.
4646   These Gabiens be conseil tho  
4647   Upon the goddes made him swere,  
4648   That he to hem schal trouthe bere
4649   And strengthen hem with al his myht;
4650   And thei also him have behiht 
4651   To helpen him in his querele. 
4652   Thei schopen thanne for his hele 
4653   That he was bathed and enoignt,  
4654   Til that he was in lusti point;  
4655   And what he wolde thanne he hadde,  
4656   That he al hol the cite ladde 
4657   Riht as he wolde himself divise. 
4658   And thanne he thoghte him in what wise 
4659   He myhte his tirannie schewe; 
4660   And to his conseil tok a schrewe,
4661   Whom to his fader forth he sente 
4662   In his message, and he tho wente,
4663   And preide his fader forto seie  
4664   Be his avis, and finde a weie,
4665   Hou they the cite myhten winne,  
4666   Whil that he stod so wel therinne.  
4667   And whan the messager was come
4668   To Rome, and hath in conseil nome
4669   The king, it fell per chance so  
4670   That thei were in a gardin tho,  
4671   This messager forth with the king.  
4672   And whanne he hadde told the thing  
4673   In what manere that it stod,  
4674   And that Tarquinus understod  
4675   Be the message hou that it ferde,
4676   Anon he tok in honde a yerde, 
4677   And in the gardin as thei gon,
4678   The lilie croppes on and on,  
4679   Wher that thei weren sprongen oute, 
4680   He smot of, as thei stode aboute,
4681   And seide unto the messager:  
4682   "Lo, this thing, which I do nou hier,  
4683   Schal ben in stede of thin ansuere; 
4684   And in this wise as I me bere,
4685   Thou schalt unto mi Sone telle." 
4686   And he no lengere wolde duelle,  
4687   Bot tok his leve and goth withal 
4688   Unto his lord, and told him al,  
4689   Hou that his fader hadde do.  
4690   Whan Arrons herde him telle so,  
4691   Anon he wiste what it mente,  
4692   And therto sette al his entente, 
4693   Til he thurgh fraude and tricherie  
4694   The Princes hefdes of Gabie
4695   Hath smiten of, and al was wonne:
4696   His fader cam tofore the Sonne
4697   Into the toun with the Romeins,  
4698   And tok and slowh the citezeins  
4699   Withoute reson or pite, 
4700   That he ne spareth no degre.  
4701   And for the sped of this conqueste  
4702   He let do make a riche feste  
4703   With a sollempne Sacrifise 
4704   In Phebus temple; and in this wise  
4705   Whan the Romeins assembled were, 
4706   In presence of hem alle there,
4707   Upon thalter whan al was diht 
4708   And that the fyres were alyht,
4709   From under thalter sodeinly
4710   An hidous Serpent openly
4711   Cam out and hath devoured al  
4712   The Sacrifice, and ek withal  
4713   The fyres queynt, and forth anon,
4714   So as he cam, so is he gon 
4715   Into the depe ground ayein.
4716   And every man began to sein,  
4717   "Ha lord, what mai this signefie?"  
4718   And therupon thei preie and crie 
4719   To Phebus, that thei mihten knowe
4720   The cause: and he the same throwe
4721   With gastly vois, that alle it herde,  
4722   The Romeins in this wise ansuerde,  
4723   And seide hou for the wikkidnesse
4724   Of Pride and of unrihtwisnesse,  
4725   That Tarquin and his Sone hath do,  
4726   The Sacrifice is wasted so,
4727   Which myhte noght ben acceptable 
4728   Upon such Senne abhominable.  
4729   And over that yit he hem wisseth,
4730   And seith that which of hem ferst kisseth 
4731   His moder, he schal take wrieche 
4732   Upon the wrong: and of that speche  
4733   Thei ben withinne here hertes glade,
4734   Thogh thei outward no semblant made.
4735   Ther was a knyht which Brutus hihte,
4736   And he with al the haste he myhte
4737   To grounde fell and therthe kiste,  
4738   Bot non of hem the cause wiste,  
4739   Bot wenden that he hadde sporned 
4740   Per chance, and so was overtorned.  
4741   Bot Brutus al an other mente; 
4742   For he knew wel in his entente
4743   Hou therthe of every mannes kinde
4744   Is Moder: bot thei weren blinde, 
4745   And sihen noght so fer as he. 
4746   Bot whan thei leften the Cite 
4747   And comen hom to Rome ayein,  
4748   Thanne every man which was Romein
4749   And moder hath, to hire he bende 
4750   And keste, and ech of hem thus wende
4751   To be the ferste upon the chance,
4752   Of Tarquin forto do vengance, 
4753   So as thei herden Phebus sein.
4754   Bot every time hath his certein, 
4755   So moste it nedes thanne abide,  
4756   Til afterward upon a tyde  
4757   Tarquinus made unskilfully 
4758   A werre, which was fasteby 
4759   Ayein a toun with walles stronge 
4760   Which Ardea was cleped longe, 
4761   And caste a Siege theraboute, 
4762   That ther mai noman passen oute. 
4763   So it befell upon a nyht,  
4764   Arrons, which hadde his souper diht,
4765   A part of the chivalerie
4766   With him to soupe in compaignie  
4767   Hath bede: and whan thei comen were 
4768   And seten at the souper there,
4769   Among here othre wordes glade 
4770   Arrons a gret spekinge made,  
4771   Who hadde tho the beste wif
4772   Of Rome: and ther began a strif, 
4773   For Arrons seith he hath the beste. 
4774   So jangle thei withoute reste,
4775   Til ate laste on Collatin, 
4776   A worthi knyht, and was cousin
4777   To Arrons, seide him in this wise:  
4778   "It is," quod he, "of non emprise
4779   To speke a word, bot of the dede,
4780   Therof it is to taken hiede.  
4781   Anon forthi this same tyde 
4782   Lep on thin hors and let ous ryde:  
4783   So mai we knowe bothe tuo  
4784   Unwarli what oure wyves do,
4785   And that schal be a trewe assay."
4786   This Arrons seith noght ones nay:
4787   On horse bak anon thei lepte  
4788   In such manere, and nothing slepte, 
4789   Ridende forth til that thei come 
4790   Al prively withinne Rome;  
4791   In strange place and doun thei lihte,  
4792   And take a chambre, and out of sihte
4793   Thei be desguised for a throwe,  
4794   So that no lif hem scholde knowe.
4795   And to the paleis ferst thei soghte,
4796   To se what thing this ladi wroghte  
4797   Of which Arrons made his avant:  
4798   And thei hire sihe of glad semblant,
4799   Al full of merthes and of bordes;
4800   Bot among alle hire othre wordes 
4801   Sche spak noght of hire housebonde. 
4802   And whan thei hadde al understonde  
4803   Of thilke place what hem liste,  
4804   Thei gon hem forth, that non it wiste, 
4805   Beside thilke gate of bras,
4806   Collacea which cleped was, 
4807   Wher Collatin hath his duellinge.
4808   Ther founden thei at hom sittinge
4809   Lucrece his wif, al environed 
4810   With wommen, whiche are abandoned
4811   To werche, and sche wroghte ek withal, 
4812   And bad hem haste, and seith, "It schal
4813   Be for mi housebondes were,
4814   Which with his swerd and with his spere
4815   Lith at the Siege in gret desese.
4816   And if it scholde him noght displese,  
4817   Nou wolde god I hadde him hiere; 
4818   For certes til that I mai hiere  
4819   Som good tidinge of his astat,
4820   Min herte is evere upon debat.
4821   For so as alle men witnesse,  
4822   He is of such an hardiesse,
4823   That he can noght himselve spare,
4824   And that is al my moste care, 
4825   Whan thei the walles schulle assaile.  
4826   Bot if mi wisshes myhte availe,  
4827   I wolde it were a groundles pet, 
4828   Be so the Siege were unknet,  
4829   And I myn housebonde sihe."
4830   With that the water in hire yhe  
4831   Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe, 
4832   And as men sen the dew bedroppe  
4833   The leves and the floures eke,
4834   Riht so upon hire whyte cheke 
4835   The wofull salte teres felle. 
4836   Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle  
4837   The menynge of hire trewe herte, 
4838   Anon with that to hire he sterte,
4839   And seide, "Lo, mi goode diere,  
4840   Nou is he come to you hiere,  
4841   That ye most loven, as ye sein." 
4842   And sche with goodly chiere ayein
4843   Beclipte him in hire armes smale,
4844   And the colour, which erst was pale,
4845   To Beaute thanne was restored,
4846   So that it myhte noght be mored. 
4847   The kinges Sone, which was nyh,  
4848   And of this lady herde and syh
4849   The thinges as thei ben befalle, 
4850   The resoun of hise wittes alle
4851   Hath lost; for love upon his part
4852   Cam thanne, and of his fyri dart 
4853   With such a wounde him hath thurghsmite,  
4854   That he mot nedes fiele and wite 
4855   Of thilke blinde maladie,  
4856   To which no cure of Surgerie  
4857   Can helpe. Bot yit natheles
4858   At thilke time he hield his pes, 
4859   That he no contienance made,  
4860   Bot openly with wordes glade, 
4861   So as he couthe in his manere,
4862   He spak and made frendly chiere, 
4863   Til it was time forto go.  
4864   And Collatin with him also 
4865   His leve tok, so that be nyhte
4866   With al the haste that thei myhte
4867   Thei riden to the Siege ayein.
4868   Bot Arrons was so wo besein
4869   With thoghtes whiche upon him runne,
4870   That he al be the brode Sunne 
4871   To bedde goth, noght forto reste,
4872   Bot forto thenke upon the beste  
4873   And the faireste forth withal,
4874   That evere he syh or evere schal,
4875   So as him thoghte in his corage, 
4876   Where he pourtreieth hire ymage: 
4877   Ferst the fetures of hir face,
4878   In which nature hadde alle grace 
4879   Of wommanly beaute beset,  
4880   So that it myhte noght be bet;
4881   And hou hir yelwe her was tresced
4882   And hire atir so wel adresced,
4883   And hou sche spak, and hou sche wroghte,  
4884   And hou sche wepte, al this he thoghte,
4885   That he foryeten hath no del, 
4886   Bot al it liketh him so wel,  
4887   That in the word nor in the dede 
4888   Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede.  
4889   And thus this tirannysshe knyht  
4890   Was soupled, bot noght half ariht,  
4891   For he non other hiede tok,
4892   Bot that he myhte be som crok,
4893   Althogh it were ayein hire wille,
4894   The lustes of his fleissh fulfille; 
4895   Which love was noght resonable,  
4896   For where honour is remuable, 
4897   It oghte wel to ben avised.
4898   Bot he, which hath his lust assised 
4899   With melled love and tirannie,
4900   Hath founde upon his tricherie
4901   A weie which he thenkth to holde,
4902   And seith, "Fortune unto the bolde  
4903   Is favorable forto helpe." 
4904   And thus withinne himself to yelpe, 
4905   As he which was a wylde man,  
4906   Upon his treson he began:  
4907   And up he sterte, and forth he wente
4908   On horsebak, bot his entente  
4909   Ther knew no wiht, and thus he nam  
4910   The nexte weie, til he cam 
4911   Unto Collacea the gate  
4912   Of Rome, and it was somdiel late,
4913   Riht evene upon the Sonne set,
4914   As he which hadde schape his net 
4915   Hire innocence to betrappe.
4916   And as it scholde tho mishappe,  
4917   Als priveliche as evere he myhte 
4918   He rod, and of his hors alyhte
4919   Tofore Collatines In,
4920   And al frendliche he goth him in,
4921   As he that was cousin of house.  
4922   And sche, which is the goode spouse,
4923   Lucrece, whan that sche him sih, 
4924   With goodli chiere drowh him nyh,
4925   As sche which al honour supposeth,  
4926   And him, so as sche dar, opposeth
4927   Hou it stod of hire housebonde.  
4928   And he tho dede hire understonde 
4929   With tales feigned in his wise,  
4930   Riht as he wolde himself devise, 
4931   Wherof he myhte hire herte glade,
4932   That sche the betre chiere made, 
4933   Whan sche the glade wordes herde,
4934   Hou that hire housebonde ferde.  
4935   And thus the trouthe was deceived
4936   With slih tresoun, which was received  
4937   To hire which mente alle goode;  
4938   For as the festes thanne stode,  
4939   His Souper was ryht wel arraied. 
4940   Bot yit he hath no word assaied  
4941   To speke of love in no degre; 
4942   Bot with covert subtilite  
4943   His frendly speches he affaiteth,
4944   And as the Tigre his time awaiteth  
4945   In hope forto cacche his preie.  
4946   Whan that the bordes were aweie  
4947   And thei have souped in the halle,  
4948   He seith that slep is on him falle, 
4949   And preith he moste go to bedde; 
4950   And sche with alle haste spedde, 
4951   So as hire thoghte it was to done,  
4952   That every thing was redi sone.  
4953   Sche broghte him to his chambre tho 
4954   And tok hire leve, and forth is go  
4955   Into hire oghne chambre by,
4956   As sche that wende certeinly  
4957   Have had a frend, and hadde a fo,
4958   Wherof fell after mochel wo.  
4959   This tirant, thogh he lyhe softe,
4960   Out of his bed aros fulofte,  
4961   And goth aboute, and leide his Ere  
4962   To herkne, til that alle were 
4963   To bedde gon and slepten faste.  
4964   And thanne upon himself he caste 
4965   A mantell, and his swerd al naked
4966   He tok in honde; and sche unwaked
4967   Abedde lay, but what sche mette, 
4968   God wot; for he the Dore unschette  
4969   So prively that non it herde, 
4970   The softe pas and forth he ferde 
4971   Unto the bed wher that sche slepte, 
4972   Al sodeinliche and in he crepte, 
4973   And hire in bothe his Armes tok. 
4974   With that this worthi wif awok,  
4975   Which thurgh tendresce of wommanhiede  
4976   Hire vois hath lost for pure drede, 
4977   That o word speke sche ne dar:
4978   And ek he bad hir to be war,  
4979   For if sche made noise or cry,
4980   He seide, his swerd lay faste by 
4981   To slen hire and hire folk aboute.  
4982   And thus he broghte hire herte in doute,  
4983   That lich a Lomb whanne it is sesed 
4984   In wolves mouth, so was desesed  
4985   Lucrece, which he naked fond: 
4986   Wherof sche swounede in his hond,
4987   And, as who seith, lay ded oppressed.  
4988   And he, which al him hadde adresced 
4989   To lust, tok thanne what him liste, 
4990   And goth his wey, that non it wiste,
4991   Into his oghne chambre ayein, 
4992   And clepede up his chamberlein,  
4993   And made him redi forto ryde. 
4994   And thus this lecherouse pride
4995   To horse lepte and forth he rod; 
4996   And sche, which in hire bed abod,
4997   Whan that sche wiste he was agon,
4998   Sche clepede after liht anon  
4999   And up aros long er the day,  
5000   And caste awey hire freissh aray,
5001   As sche which hath the world forsake,  
5002   And tok upon the clothes blake:  
5003   And evere upon continuinge,
5004   Riht as men sen a welle springe, 
5005   With yhen fulle of wofull teres, 
5006   Hire her hangende aboute hire Eres, 
5007   Sche wepte, and noman wiste why. 
5008   Bot yit among full pitously
5009   Sche preide that thei nolden drecche
5010   Hire housebonde forto fecche  
5011   Forth with hire fader ek also.
5012   Thus be thei comen bothe tuo, 
5013   And Brutus cam with Collatin, 
5014   Which to Lucrece was cousin,  
5015   And in thei wenten alle thre  
5016   To chambre, wher thei myhten se  
5017   The wofulleste upon this Molde,  
5018   Which wepte as sche to water scholde.  
5019   The chambre Dore anon was stoke, 
5020   Er thei have oght unto hire spoke;  
5021   Thei sihe hire clothes al desguised,
5022   And hou sche hath hirself despised, 
5023   Hire her hangende unkemd aboute, 
5024   Bot natheles sche gan to loute
5025   And knele unto hire housebonde;  
5026   And he, which fain wolde understonde
5027   The cause why sche ferde so,  
5028   With softe wordes axeth tho,  
5029   "What mai you be, mi goode swete?"  
5030   And sche, which thoghte hirself unmete 
5031   And the lest worth of wommen alle,  
5032   Hire wofull chiere let doun falle
5033   For schame and couthe unnethes loke.
5034   And thei therof good hiede toke, 
5035   And preiden hire in alle weie 
5036   That sche ne spare forto seie 
5037   Unto hir frendes what hire eileth,  
5038   Why sche so sore hirself beweileth, 
5039   And what the sothe wolde mene.
5040   And sche, which hath hire sorwes grene,
5041   Hire wo to telle thanne assaieth,
5042   Bot tendre schame hire word delaieth,  
5043   That sondri times as sche minte  
5044   To speke, upon the point sche stinte.  
5045   And thei hire bidden evere in on 
5046   To telle forth, and therupon, 
5047   Whan that sche sih sche moste nede, 
5048   Hire tale betwen schame and drede
5049   Sche tolde, noght withoute peine.
5050   And he, which wolde hire wo restreigne,
5051   Hire housebonde, a sory man,  
5052   Conforteth hire al that he can,  
5053   And swor, and ek hire fader bothe,  
5054   That thei with hire be noght wrothe 
5055   Of that is don ayein hire wille; 
5056   And preiden hire to be stille,
5057   For thei to hire have al foryive.
5058   Bot sche, which thoghte noght to live, 
5059   Of hem wol no foryivenesse,
5060   And seide, of thilke wickednesse 
5061   Which was unto hire bodi wroght, 
5062   Al were it so sche myhte it noght,  
5063   Nevere afterward the world ne schal 
5064   Reproeven hire; and forth withal,
5065   Er eny man therof be war,  
5066   A naked swerd, the which sche bar
5067   Withinne hire Mantel priveli, 
5068   Betwen hire hondes sodeinly
5069   Sche tok, and thurgh hire herte it throng,
5070   And fell to grounde, and evere among,  
5071   Whan that sche fell, so as sche myhte, 
5072   Hire clothes with hire hand sche rihte,
5073   That noman dounward fro the kne  
5074   Scholde eny thing of hire se: 
5075   Thus lay this wif honestely,  
5076   Althogh sche deide wofully.
5077   Tho was no sorwe forto seke:  
5078   Hire housebonde, hire fader eke  
5079   Aswoune upon the bodi felle;  
5080   Ther mai no mannes tunge telle
5081   In which anguisshe that thei were.  
5082   Bot Brutus, which was with hem there,  
5083   Toward himself his herte kepte,  
5084   And to Lucrece anon he lepte, 
5085   The blodi swerd and pulleth oute,
5086   And swor the goddes al aboute 
5087   That he therof schal do vengance.
5088   And sche tho made a contienance, 
5089   Hire dedlich yhe and ate laste
5090   In thonkinge as it were up caste,
5091   And so behield him in the wise,  
5092   Whil sche to loke mai suffise.
5093   And Brutus with a manlich herte  
5094   Hire housebonde hath mad up sterte  
5095   Forth with hire fader ek also 
5096   In alle haste, and seide hem tho 
5097   That thei anon withoute lette 
5098   A Beere for the body fette;
5099   Lucrece and therupon bledende 
5100   He leide, and so forth out criende  
5101   He goth into the Market place 
5102   Of Rome: and in a litel space 
5103   Thurgh cry the cite was assembled,  
5104   And every mannes herte is trembled, 
5105   Whan thei the sothe herde of the cas.  
5106   And therupon the conseil was  
5107   Take of the grete and of the smale, 
5108   And Brutus tolde hem al the tale;
5109   And thus cam into remembrance 
5110   Of Senne the continuance,  
5111   Which Arrons hadde do tofore, 
5112   And ek, long time er he was bore,
5113   Of that his fadre hadde do 
5114   The wrong cam into place tho; 
5115   So that the comun clamour tolde  
5116   The newe schame of Sennes olde.  
5117   And al the toun began to crie,
5118   "Awey, awey the tirannie
5119   Of lecherie and covoitise!"
5120   And ate laste in such a wise  
5121   The fader in the same while
5122   Forth with his Sone thei exile,  
5123   And taken betre governance.
5124   Bot yit an other remembrance  
5125   That rihtwisnesse and lecherie
5126   Acorden noght in compaignie
5127   With him that hath the lawe on honde,  
5128   That mai a man wel understonde,  
5129   As be a tale thou shalt wite, 
5130   Of olde ensample as it is write. 
5131   At Rome whan that Apius,
5132   Whos other name is Claudius,  
5133   Was governour of the cite, 
5134   Ther fell a wonder thing to se
5135   Touchende a gentil Maide, as thus,  
5136   Whom Livius Virginius
5137   Begeten hadde upon his wif:
5138   Men seiden that so fair a lif 
5139   As sche was noght in al the toun.
5140   This fame, which goth up and doun,  
5141   To Claudius cam in his Ere,
5142   Wherof his thoght anon was there,
5143   Which al his herte hath set afyre,  
5144   That he began the flour desire
5145   Which longeth unto maydenhede,
5146   And sende, if that he myhte spede
5147   The blinde lustes of his wille.  
5148   Bot that thing mai he noght fulfille,  
5149   For sche stod upon Mariage;
5150   A worthi kniht of gret lignage,  
5151   Ilicius which thanne hihte,
5152   Acorded in hire fader sihte
5153   Was, that he scholde his douhter wedde.
5154   Bot er the cause fully spedde,
5155   Hire fader, which in Romanie  
5156   The ledinge of chivalerie  
5157   In governance hath undertake, 
5158   Upon a werre which was take
5159   Goth out with al the strengthe he hadde
5160   Of men of Armes whiche he ladde: 
5161   So was the mariage left,
5162   And stod upon acord til eft.  
5163   The king, which herde telle of this,
5164   Hou that this Maide ordeigned is 
5165   To Mariage, thoghte an other. 
5166   And hadde thilke time a brother, 
5167   Which Marchus Claudius was hote, 
5168   And was a man of such riote
5169   Riht as the king himselve was:
5170   Thei tuo togedre upon this cas
5171   In conseil founden out this weie,
5172   That Marchus Claudius schal seie 
5173   Hou sche be weie of covenant  
5174   To his service appourtenant
5175   Was hol, and to non other man;
5176   And therupon he seith he can  
5177   In every point witnesse take, 
5178   So that sche schal it noght forsake.
5179   Whan that thei hadden schape so, 
5180   After the lawe which was tho, 
5181   Whil that hir fader was absent,  
5182   Sche was somouned and assent  
5183   To come in presence of the king  
5184   And stonde in ansuere of this thing.
5185   Hire frendes wisten alle wel  
5186   That it was falshed everydel, 
5187   And comen to the king and seiden,
5188   Upon the comun lawe and preiden, 
5189   So as this noble worthi knyht 
5190   Hir fader for the comun riht  
5191   In thilke time, as was befalle,  
5192   Lai for the profit of hem alle
5193   Upon the wylde feldes armed,  
5194   That he ne scholde noght ben harmed 
5195   Ne schamed, whil that he were oute; 
5196   And thus thei preiden al aboute. 
5197   For al the clamour that he herde,
5198   The king upon his lust ansuerde, 
5199   And yaf hem only daies tuo 
5200   Of respit; for he wende tho,  
5201   That in so schorte a time appiere
5202   Hire fader mihte in no manere.
5203   Bot as therof he was deceived;
5204   For Livius hadde al conceived 
5205   The pourpos of the king tofore,  
5206   So that to Rome ayein therfore
5207   In alle haste he cam ridende, 
5208   And lefte upon the field liggende
5209   His host, til that he come ayein.
5210   And thus this worthi capitein 
5211   Appiereth redi at his day, 
5212   Wher al that evere reson may  
5213   Be lawe in audience he doth,  
5214   So that his dowhter upon soth 
5215   Of that Marchus hire hadde accused  
5216   He hath tofore the court excused.
5217   The king, which sih his pourpos faile, 
5218   And that no sleihte mihte availe,
5219   Encombred of his lustes blinde
5220   The lawe torneth out of kinde,
5221   And half in wraththe as thogh it were, 
5222   In presence of hem alle there 
5223   Deceived of concupiscence  
5224   Yaf for his brother the sentence,
5225   And bad him that he scholde sese 
5226   This Maide and make him wel at ese; 
5227   Bot al withinne his oghne entente
5228   He wiste hou that the cause wente,  
5229   Of that his brother hath the wyte
5230   He was himselven forto wyte.  
5231   Bot thus this maiden hadde wrong,
5232   Which was upon the king along,
5233   Bot ayein him was non Appel,  
5234   And that the fader wiste wel: 
5235   Wherof upon the tirannie,  
5236   That for the lust of Lecherie 
5237   His douhter scholde be deceived, 
5238   And that Ilicius was weyved
5239   Untrewly fro the Mariage,  
5240   Riht as a Leon in his rage,
5241   Which of no drede set acompte 
5242   And not what pite scholde amounte,  
5243   A naked swerd he pulleth oute,
5244   The which amonges al the route
5245   He threste thurgh his dowhter side, 
5246   And al alowd this word he cride: 
5247   "Lo, take hire ther, thou wrongfull king, 
5248   For me is levere upon this thing 
5249   To be the fader of a Maide,
5250   Thogh sche be ded, that if men saide
5251   That in hir lif sche were schamed
5252   And I therof were evele named."  
5253   Tho bad the king men scholde areste 
5254   His bodi, bot of thilke heste,
5255   Lich to the chaced wylde bor, 
5256   The houndes whan he fieleth sor, 
5257   Tothroweth and goth forth his weie, 
5258   In such a wise forto seie  
5259   This worthi kniht with swerd on honde  
5260   His weie made, and thei him wonde,  
5261   That non of hem his strokes kepte;  
5262   And thus upon his hors he lepte, 
5263   And with his swerd droppende of blod,  
5264   The which withinne his douhter stod,
5265   He cam ther as the pouer was  
5266   Of Rome, and tolde hem al the cas,  
5267   And seide hem that thei myhten liere
5268   Upon the wrong of his matiere,
5269   That betre it were to redresce
5270   At hom the grete unrihtwisnesse, 
5271   Than forto werre in strange place
5272   And lese at hom here oghne grace.
5273   For thus stant every mannes lif  
5274   In jeupartie for his wif
5275   Or for his dowhter, if thei be
5276   Passende an other of beaute.  
5277   Of this merveile which thei sihe 
5278   So apparant tofore here yhe,  
5279   Of that the king him hath misbore,  
5280   Here othes thei have alle swore  
5281   That thei wol stonde be the riht.
5282   And thus of on acord upriht
5283   To Rome at ones hom ayein  
5284   Thei torne, and schortly forto sein,
5285   This tirannye cam to mouthe,  
5286   And every man seith what he couthe, 
5287   So that the prive tricherie,  
5288   Which set was upon lecherie,  
5289   Cam openly to mannes Ere;  
5290   And that broghte in the comun feere,
5291   That every man the peril dradde  
5292   Of him that so hem overladde. 
5293   Forthi, er that it worse falle,  
5294   Thurgh comun conseil of hem alle 
5295   Thei have here wrongfull king deposed, 
5296   And hem in whom it was supposed  
5297   The conseil stod of his ledinge  
5298   Be lawe unto the dom thei bringe,
5299   Wher thei receiven the penance
5300   That longeth to such governance. 
5301   And thus thunchaste was chastised,  
5302   Wherof thei myhte ben avised  
5303   That scholden afterward governe, 
5304   And be this evidence lerne,
5305   Hou it is good a king eschuie 
5306   The lust of vice and vertu suie. 
5307   To make an ende in this partie,  
5308   Which toucheth to the Policie 
5309   Of Chastite in special, 
5310   As for conclusion final 
5311   That every lust is to eschue  
5312   Be gret ensample I mai argue: 
5313   Hou in Rages a toun of Mede
5314   Ther was a Mayde, and as I rede, 
5315   Sarra sche hihte, and Raguel  
5316   Hir fader was; and so befell, 
5317   Of bodi bothe and of visage
5318   Was non so fair of the lignage,  
5319   To seche among hem alle, as sche;
5320   Wherof the riche of the cite, 
5321   Of lusti folk that couden love,  
5322   Assoted were upon hire love,  
5323   And asken hire forto wedde.
5324   On was which ate laste spedde,
5325   Bot that was more for likinge,
5326   To have his lust, than for weddinge,
5327   As he withinne his herte caste,  
5328   Which him repenteth ate laste.
5329   For so it fell the ferste nyht,  
5330   That whanne he was to bedde dyht,
5331   As he which nothing god besecheth
5332   Bot al only hise lustes secheth, 
5333   Abedde er he was fully warm
5334   And wolde have take hire in his Arm,
5335   Asmod, which was a fend of helle,
5336   And serveth, as the bokes telle, 
5337   To tempte a man of such a wise,  
5338   Was redy there, and thilke emprise, 
5339   Which he hath set upon delit, 
5340   He vengeth thanne in such a plit,
5341   That he his necke hathe writhe atuo.
5342   This yonge wif was sory tho,  
5343   Which wiste nothing what it mente;  
5344   And natheles yit thus it wente
5345   Noght only of this ferste man,
5346   Bot after, riht as he began,  
5347   Sexe othre of hire housebondes
5348   Asmod hath take into hise bondes,
5349   So that thei alle abedde deiden, 
5350   Whan thei her hand toward hir leiden,  
5351   Noght for the lawe of Mariage,
5352   Bot for that ilke fyri rage
5353   In which that thei the lawe excede: 
5354   For who that wolde taken hiede
5355   What after fell in this matiere, 
5356   Ther mihte he wel the sothe hiere.  
5357   Whan sche was wedded to Thobie,
5358   And Raphael in compainie
5359   Hath tawht him hou to ben honeste,  
5360   Asmod wan noght at thilke feste, 
5361   And yit Thobie his wille hadde;  
5362   For he his lust so goodly ladde, 
5363   That bothe lawe and kinde is served,
5364   Wherof he hath himself preserved,
5365   That he fell noght in the sentence. 
5366   O which an open evidence
5367   Of this ensample a man mai se,
5368   That whan likinge in the degre
5369   Of Mariage mai forsueie,
5370   Wel oghte him thanne in other weie  
5371   Of lust to be the betre avised.  
5372   For god the lawes hath assissed  
5373   Als wel to reson as to kinde, 
5374   Bot he the bestes wolde binde 
5375   Only to lawes of nature,
5376   Bot to the mannes creature 
5377   God yaf him reson forth withal,  
5378   Wherof that he nature schal
5379   Upon the causes modefie,
5380   That he schal do no lecherie, 
5381   And yit he schal hise lustes have.  
5382   So ben the lawes bothe save
5383   And every thing put out of sclandre;
5384   As whilom to king Alisandre
5385   The wise Philosophre tawhte,  
5386   Whan he his ferste lore cawhte,  
5387   Noght only upon chastete,  
5388   Bot upon alle honestete;
5389   Wherof a king himself mai taste, 
5390   Hou trewe, hou large, hou joust, hou chaste  
5391   Him oghte of reson forto be,  
5392   Forth with the vertu of Pite, 
5393   Thurgh which he mai gret thonk deserve 
5394   Toward his godd, that he preserve
5395   Him and his poeple in alle welthe
5396   Of pes, richesse, honour and helthe 
5397   Hier in this world and elles eke.
5398   Mi Sone, as we tofore spieke  
5399   In schrifte, so as thou me seidest, 
5400   And for thin ese, as thou me preidest, 
5401   Thi love throghes forto lisse,
5402   That I thee wolde telle and wisse
5403   The forme of Aristotles lore, 
5404   I have it seid, and somdiel more 
5405   Of othre ensamples, to assaie 
5406   If I thi peines myhte allaie  
5407   Thurgh eny thing that I can seie.
5408   Do wey, mi fader, I you preie:
5409   Of that ye have unto me told  
5410   I thonke you a thousendfold.  
5411   The tales sounen in myn Ere,  
5412   Bot yit min herte is elleswhere, 
5413   I mai miselve noght restreigne,  
5414   That I nam evere in loves peine: 
5415   Such lore couthe I nevere gete,  
5416   Which myhte make me foryete
5417   O point, bot if so were I slepte,
5418   That I my tydes ay ne kepte
5419   To thenke of love and of his lawe;  
5420   That herte can I noght withdrawe.
5421   Forthi, my goode fader diere, 
5422   Lef al and speke of my matiere
5423   Touchende of love, as we begonne:
5424   If that ther be oght overronne
5425   Or oght foryete or left behinde  
5426   Which falleth unto loves kinde,  
5427   Wherof it nedeth to be schrive,  
5428   Nou axeth, so that whil I live
5429   I myhte amende that is mys.
5430   Mi goode diere Sone, yis.  
5431   Thi schrifte forto make plein,
5432   Ther is yit more forto sein
5433   Of love which is unavised. 
5434   Bot for thou schalt be wel avised
5435   Unto thi schrifte as it belongeth,  
5436   A point which upon love hongeth  
5437   And is the laste of alle tho, 
5438   I wol thee telle, and thanne ho. 

Explicit Liber Septimus.