The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Quintus: Part 4

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

5928   With that he sterte up fro the mete,
5929   And schof the bord unto the flor,
5930   And cauhte a swerd anon and suor 
5931   That thei scholde of his handes dye.
5932   And thei unto the goddes crie 
5933   Begunne with so loude a stevene, 
5934   That thei were herd unto the hevene;
5935   And in a twinclinge of an yhe 
5936   The goddes, that the meschief syhe, 
5937   Here formes changen alle thre.
5938   Echon of hem in his degre  
5939   Was torned into briddes kinde;
5940   Diverseliche, as men mai finde,  
5941   After thastat that thei were inne,  
5942   Here formes were set atwinne. 
5943   And as it telleth in the tale,
5944   The ferst into a nyhtingale
5945   Was schape, and that was Philomene, 
5946   Which in the wynter is noght sene,  
5947   For thanne ben the leves falle    
5948   And naked ben the buisshes alle. 
5949   For after that sche was a brid,  
5950   Hir will was evere to ben hid,
5951   And forto duelle in prive place, 
5952   That noman scholde sen hir face  
5953   For schame, which mai noght be lassed, 
5954   Of thing that was tofore passed, 
5955   Whan that sche loste hir maidenhiede:  
5956   For evere upon hir wommanhiede,  
5957   Thogh that the goddes wolde hire change,  
5958   Sche thenkth, and is the more strange, 
5959   And halt hir clos the wyntres day.  
5960   Bot whan the wynter goth away,
5961   And that Nature the goddesse  
5962   Wole of hir oughne fre largesse  
5963   With herbes and with floures bothe  
5964   The feldes and the medwes clothe,
5965   And ek the wodes and the greves  
5966   Ben heled al with grene leves,
5967   So that a brid hire hyde mai, 
5968   Betwen Averil and March and Maii,
5969   Sche that the wynter hield hir clos,
5970   For pure schame and noght aros,  
5971   Whan that sche seth the bowes thikke,  
5972   And that ther is no bare sticke, 
5973   Bot al is hid with leves grene,  
5974   To wode comth this Philomene  
5975   And makth hir ferste yeres flyht;
5976   Wher as sche singeth day and nyht,  
5977   And in hir song al openly  
5978   Sche makth hir pleignte and seith, "O why,
5979   O why ne were I yit a maide?" 
5980   For so these olde wise saide, 
5981   Which understoden what sche mente,  
5982   Hire notes ben of such entente.      
5983   And ek thei seide hou in hir song
5984   Sche makth gret joie and merthe among, 
5985   And seith, "Ha, nou I am a brid, 
5986   Ha, nou mi face mai ben hid:  
5987   Thogh I have lost mi Maidenhede, 
5988   Schal noman se my chekes rede."  
5989   Thus medleth sche with joie wo
5990   And with hir sorwe merthe also,  
5991   So that of loves maladie
5992   Sche makth diverse melodie,
5993   And seith love is a wofull blisse,  
5994   A wisdom which can noman wisse,  
5995   A lusti fievere, a wounde softe: 
5996   This note sche reherceth ofte 
5997   To hem whiche understonde hir tale. 
5998   Nou have I of this nyhtingale,
5999   Which erst was cleped Philomene, 
6000   Told al that evere I wolde mene, 
6001   Bothe of hir forme and of hir note, 
6002   Wherof men mai the storie note.  
6003   And of hir Soster Progne I finde,
6004   Hou sche was torned out of kinde 
6005   Into a Swalwe swift of winge, 
6006   Which ek in wynter lith swounynge,  
6007   Ther as sche mai nothing be sene:
6008   Bot whan the world is woxe grene 
6009   And comen is the Somertide,
6010   Than fleth sche forth and ginth to chide, 
6011   And chitreth out in hir langage  
6012   What falshod is in mariage,
6013   And telleth in a maner speche 
6014   Of Teres the Spousebreche.  
6015   Sche wol noght in the wodes duelle, 
6016   For sche wolde openliche telle;  
6017   And ek for that sche was a spouse,  
6018   Among the folk sche comth to house, 
6019   To do thes wyves understonde      
6020   The falshod of hire housebonde,  
6021   That thei of hem be war also, 
6022   For ther ben manye untrewe of tho.  
6023   Thus ben the Sostres briddes bothe, 
6024   And ben toward the men so lothe, 
6025   That thei ne wole of pure schame 
6026   Unto no mannes hand be tame;  
6027   For evere it duelleth in here mynde 
6028   Of that thei founde a man unkinde,  
6029   And that was false Teres.
6030   If such on be amonges ous  
6031   I not, bot his condicion
6032   Men sein in every region
6033   Withinne toune and ek withoute
6034   Nou regneth comunliche aboute.
6035   And natheles in remembrance
6036   I wol declare what vengance
6037   The goddes hadden him ordeined,  
6038   Of that the Sostres hadden pleigned:
6039   For anon after he was changed 
6040   And from his oghne kinde stranged,  
6041   A lappewincke mad he was,  
6042   And thus he hoppeth on the gras, 
6043   And on his hed ther stant upriht 
6044   A creste in tokne he was a kniht;
6045   And yit unto this dai men seith, 
6046   A lappewincke hath lore his feith
6047   And is the brid falseste of alle.
6048   Bewar, mi Sone, er thee so falle;
6049   For if thou be of such covine,
6050   To gete of love be Ravine  
6051   Thi lust, it mai thee falle thus,
6052   As it befell of Teres.
6053   Mi fader, goddes forebode!     
6054   Me were levere be fortrode 
6055   With wilde hors and be todrawe,  
6056   Er I ayein love and his lawe  
6057   Dede eny thing or loude or stille,  
6058   Which were noght mi ladi wille.  
6059   Men sein that every love hath drede;
6060   So folweth it that I hire drede, 
6061   For I hire love, and who so dredeth,
6062   To plese his love and serve him nedeth.
6063   Thus mai ye knowen be this skile 
6064   That no Ravine don I wile  
6065   Ayein hir will be such a weie;
6066   Bot while I live, I wol obeie 
6067   Abidinge on hire courtesie,
6068   If eny merci wolde hir plie.  
6069   Forthi, mi fader, as of this  
6070   I wot noght I have don amis:  
6071   Bot furthermore I you beseche,
6072   Som other point that ye me teche,
6073   And axeth forth, if ther be auht,
6074   That I mai be the betre tauht.
6075   Whan Covoitise in povere astat
6076   Stant with himself upon debat 
6077   Thurgh lacke of his misgovernance,  
6078   That he unto his sustienance  
6079   Ne can non other weie finde
6080   To gete him good, thanne as the blinde,
6081   Which seth noght what schal after falle,  
6082   That ilke vice which men calle
6083   Of Robberie, he takth on honde;  
6084   Wherof be water and be londe  
6085   Of thing which othre men beswinke    
6086   He get him cloth and mete and drinke.  
6087   Him reccheth noght what he beginne, 
6088   Thurgh thefte so that he mai winne: 
6089   Forthi to maken his pourchas  
6090   He lith awaitende on the pas, 
6091   And what thing that he seth ther passe,
6092   He takth his part, or more or lasse,
6093   If it be worthi to be take.
6094   He can the packes wel ransake,
6095   So prively berth non aboute
6096   His gold, that he ne fint it oute,  
6097   Or other juel, what it be; 
6098   He takth it as his proprete.  
6099   In wodes and in feldes eke 
6100   Thus Robberie goth to seke,
6101   Wher as he mai his pourpos finde.
6102   And riht so in the same kinde,
6103   My goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,  
6104   To speke of love in the matiere  
6105   And make a verrai resemblance,
6106   Riht as a thief makth his chevance  
6107   And robbeth mennes good aboute
6108   In wode and field, wher he goth oute,  
6109   So be ther of these lovers some, 
6110   In wylde stedes wher thei come
6111   And finden there a womman able,  
6112   And therto place covenable,
6113   Withoute leve, er that thei fare,
6114   Thei take a part of that chaffare:  
6115   Yee, though sche were a Scheperdesse,  
6116   Yit wol the lord of wantounesse  
6117   Assaie, althogh sche be unmete,  
6118   For other mennes good is swete.  
6119   Bot therof wot nothing the wif
6120   At hom, which loveth as hir lif  
6121   Hir lord, and sitt alday wisshinge  
6122   After hir lordes hom comynge: 
6123   Bot whan that he comth hom at eve,      
6124   Anon he makth his wif beleve, 
6125   For sche noght elles scholde knowe: 
6126   He telth hire hou his hunte hath blowe,
6127   And hou his houndes have wel runne, 
6128   And hou ther schon a merye Sunne,
6129   And hou his haukes flowen wel;
6130   Bot he wol telle her nevere a diel  
6131   Hou he to love untrewe was,
6132   Of that he robbede in the pas,
6133   And tok his lust under the schawe
6134   Ayein love and ayein his lawe.
6135   Which thing, mi Sone, I thee forbede,  
6136   For it is an ungoodly dede.
6137   For who that takth be Robberie
6138   His love, he mai noght justefie  
6139   His cause, and so fulofte sithe  
6140   For ones that he hath be blithe  
6141   He schal ben after sory thries.  
6142   Ensample of suche Robberies
6143   I finde write, as thou schalt hiere,
6144   Acordende unto this matiere.  
6145   I rede hou whilom was a Maide,
6146   The faireste, as Ovide saide, 
6147   Which was in hire time tho;
6148   And sche was of the chambre also 
6149   Of Pallas, which is the goddesse 
6150   And wif to Marte, of whom prouesse  
6151   Is yove to these worthi knihtes. 
6152   For he is of so grete mihtes, 
6153   That he governeth the bataille;  
6154   Withouten him may noght availe
6155   The stronge hond, bot he it helpe;  
6156   Ther mai no knyht of armes yelpe,
6157   Bot he feihte under his banere.  
6158   Bot nou to speke of mi matiere,  
6159   This faire, freisshe, lusti mai, 
6160   Al one as sche wente on a dai 
6161   Upon the stronde forto pleie,     
6162   Ther cam Neptunus in the weie,
6163   Which hath the See in governance;
6164   And in his herte such plesance
6165   He tok, whan he this Maide sih,  
6166   That al his herte aros on hih,
6167   For he so sodeinliche unwar
6168   Behield the beaute that sche bar.
6169   And caste anon withinne his herte
6170   That sche him schal no weie asterte,
6171   Bot if he take in avantage 
6172   Fro thilke maide som pilage,  
6173   Noght of the broches ne the Ringes, 
6174   Bot of some othre smale thinges  
6175   He thoghte parte, er that sche wente;  
6176   And hire in bothe hise armes hente, 
6177   And putte his hond toward the cofre,
6178   Wher forto robbe he made a profre,  
6179   That lusti tresor forto stele,
6180   Which passeth othre goodes fele  
6181   And cleped is the maidenhede, 
6182   Which is the flour of wommanhede.
6183   This Maiden, which Cornix be name
6184   Was hote, dredende alle schame,  
6185   Sih that sche mihte noght debate,
6186   And wel sche wiste he wolde algate  
6187   Fulfille his lust of Robberie,
6188   Anon began to wepe and crie,  
6189   And seide, "O Pallas, noble queene, 
6190   Scheu nou thi myht and let be sene, 
6191   To kepe and save myn honour:  
6192   Help, that I lese noght mi flour,
6193   Which nou under thi keie is loke."  
6194   That word was noght so sone spoke,  
6195   Whan Pallas schop recoverir
6196   After the will and the desir  
6197   Of hire, which a Maiden was,  
6198   And sodeinliche upon this cas     
6199   Out of hire wommanisshe kinde 
6200   Into a briddes like I finde
6201   Sche was transformed forth withal,  
6202   So that Neptunus nothing stal 
6203   Of such thing as he wolde have stole.  
6204   With fetheres blake as eny cole  
6205   Out of hise armes in a throwe 
6206   Sche flih before his yhe a Crowe;
6207   Which was to hire a more delit,  
6208   To kepe hire maidenhede whit  
6209   Under the wede of fethers blake, 
6210   In Perles whyte than forsake  
6211   That no lif mai restore ayein.
6212   Bot thus Neptune his herte in vein  
6213   Hath upon Robberie sett;
6214   The bridd is flowe and he was let,  
6215   The faire Maide him hath ascaped,
6216   Wherof for evere he was bejaped  
6217   And scorned of that he hath lore.
6218   Mi Sone, be thou war therfore 
6219   That thou no maidenhode stele,
6220   Wherof men sen deseses fele
6221   Aldai befalle in sondri wise; 
6222   So as I schal thee yit devise 
6223   An other tale therupon, 
6224   Which fell be olde daies gon. 
6225   King Lichaon upon his wif  
6226   A dowhter hadde, a goodly lif,
6227   A clene Maide of worthi fame, 
6228   Calistona whos rihte name  
6229   Was cleped, and of many a lord
6230   Sche was besoght, bot hire acord 
6231   To love myhte noman winne, 
6232   As sche which hath no lust therinne;
6233   Bot swor withinne hir herte and saide  
6234   That sche wolde evere ben a Maide.  
6235   Wherof to kepe hireself in pes,      
6236   With suche as Amadriades
6237   Were cleped, wodemaydes, tho, 
6238   And with the Nimphes ek also  
6239   Upon the spring of freisshe welles  
6240   Sche schop to duelle and nagher elles. 
6241   And thus cam this Calistona
6242   Into the wode of Tegea, 
6243   Wher sche virginite behihte
6244   Unto Diane, and therto plihte 
6245   Her trouthe upon the bowes grene,
6246   To kepe hir maidenhode clene. 
6247   Which afterward upon a day 
6248   Was priveliche stole away; 
6249   For Jupiter thurgh his queintise 
6250   From hire it tok in such a wise, 
6251   That sodeinliche forth withal 
6252   Hire wombe aros and sche toswal, 
6253   So that it mihte noght ben hidd. 
6254   And therupon it is betidd, 
6255   Diane, which it herde telle,  
6256   In prive place unto a welle
6257   With Nimphes al a compainie
6258   Was come, and in a ragerie 
6259   Sche seide that sche bathe wolde,
6260   And bad that every maide scholde 
6261   With hire al naked bathe also.
6262   And tho began the prive wo,
6263   Calistona wax red for schame; 
6264   Bot thei that knewe noght the game, 
6265   To whom no such thing was befalle,  
6266   Anon thei made hem naked alle,
6267   As thei that nothing wolden hyde:
6268   Bot sche withdrouh hire evere asyde,
6269   And natheles into the flod,
6270   Wher that Diane hirselve stod,
6271   Sche thoghte come unaperceived.  
6272   Bot therof sche was al deceived; 
6273   For whan sche cam a litel nyh,    
6274   And that Diane hire wombe syh,
6275   Sche seide, "Awey, thou foule beste,
6276   For thin astat is noght honeste  
6277   This chaste water forto touche;  
6278   For thou hast take such a touche,
6279   Which nevere mai ben hol ayein." 
6280   And thus goth sche which was forlein
6281   With schame, and fro the Nimphes fledde,  
6282   Til whanne that nature hire spedde, 
6283   That of a Sone, which Archas  
6284   Was named, sche delivered was.
6285   And tho Juno, which was the wif  
6286   Of Jupiter, wroth and hastif, 
6287   In pourpos forto do vengance  
6288   Cam forth upon this ilke chance, 
6289   And to Calistona sche spak,
6290   And sette upon hir many a lak,
6291   And seide, "Ha, nou thou art atake, 
6292   That thou thi werk myht noght forsake. 
6293   Ha, thou ungoodlich ypocrite, 
6294   Hou thou art gretly forto wyte!  
6295   Bot nou thou schalt ful sore abie
6296   That ilke stelthe and micherie,  
6297   Which thou hast bothe take and do;  
6298   Wherof thi fader Lichao 
6299   Schal noght be glad, whan he it wot,
6300   Of that his dowhter was so hot,  
6301   That sche hath broke hire chaste avou. 
6302   Bot I thee schal chastise nou;
6303   Thi grete beaute schal be torned,
6304   Thurgh which that thou hast be mistorned, 
6305   Thi large frount, thin yhen greie,  
6306   I schal hem change in other weie,
6307   And al the feture of thi face 
6308   In such a wise I schal deface,
6309   That every man thee schal forbere." 
6310   With that the liknesse of a bere 
6311   Sche tok and was forschape anon.     
6312   Withinne a time and therupon  
6313   Befell that with a bowe on honde,
6314   To hunte and gamen forto fonde,  
6315   Into that wode goth to pleie  
6316   Hir Sone Archas, and in his weie 
6317   It hapneth that this bere cam.
6318   And whan that sche good hiede nam,  
6319   Wher that he stod under the bowh,
6320   Sche kneu him wel and to him drouh; 
6321   For thogh sche hadde hire forme lore,  
6322   The love was noght lost therfore 
6323   Which kinde hath set under his lawe.
6324   Whan sche under the wodesschawe  
6325   Hire child behield, sche was so glad,  
6326   That sche with bothe hire armes sprad, 
6327   As thogh sche were in wommanhiede,  
6328   Toward him cam, and tok non hiede
6329   Of that he bar a bowe bent.
6330   And he with that an Arwe hath hent  
6331   And gan to teise it in his bowe, 
6332   As he that can non other knowe,  
6333   Bot that it was a beste wylde.
6334   Bot Jupiter, which wolde schylde 
6335   The Moder and the Sone also,  
6336   Ordeineth for hem bothe so,
6337   That thei for evere were save.
6338   Bot thus, mi Sone, thou myht have
6339   Ensample, hou that it is to fle  
6340   To robbe the virginite  
6341   Of a yong innocent aweie:  
6342   And overthis be other weie,
6343   In olde bokes as I rede,
6344   Such Robberie is forto drede, 
6345   And nameliche of thilke good  
6346   Which every womman that is good  
6347   Desireth forto kepe and holde,    
6348   As whilom was be daies olde.  
6349   For if thou se mi tale wel 
6350   Of that was tho, thou miht somdiel  
6351   Of old ensample taken hiede,  
6352   Hou that the flour of maidenhiede
6353   Was thilke time holde in pris.
6354   And so it was, and so it is,  
6355   And so it schal for evere stonde:
6356   And for thou schalt it understonde, 
6357   Nou herkne a tale next suiende,  
6358   Hou maidenhod is to commende. 
6359   Of Rome among the gestes olde 
6360   I finde hou that Valerie tolde
6361   That what man tho was Emperour
6362   Of Rome, he scholde don honour
6363   To the virgine, and in the weie, 
6364   Wher he hire mette, he scholde obeie
6365   In worschipe of virginite, 
6366   Which tho was of gret dignite.
6367   Noght onliche of the wommen tho, 
6368   Bot of the chaste men also 
6369   It was commended overal:
6370   And forto speke in special 
6371   Touchende of men, ensample I finde, 
6372   Phyryns, which was of mannes kinde  
6373   Above alle othre the faireste 
6374   Of Rome and ek the comelieste,
6375   That wel was hire which him mihte
6376   Beholde and have of him a sihte. 
6377   Thus was he tempted ofte sore;    
6378   Bot for he wolde be nomore 
6379   Among the wommen so coveited, 
6380   The beaute of his face streited  
6381   He hath, and threste out bothe hise yhen, 
6382   That alle wommen whiche him syhen
6383   Thanne afterward, of him ne roghte: 
6384   And thus his maidehiede he boghte.  
6385   So mai I prove wel forthi, 
6386   Above alle othre under the Sky,  
6387   Who that the vertus wolde peise, 
6388   Virginite is forto preise, 
6389   Which, as thapocalips recordeth, 
6390   To Crist in hevene best acordeth.
6391   So mai it schewe wel therfore,
6392   As I have told it hier tofore,
6393   In hevene and ek in Erthe also
6394   It is accept to bothe tuo. 
6395   And if I schal more over this 
6396   Declare what this vertu is,
6397   I finde write upon this thing     
6398   Of Valentinian the king 
6399   And Emperour be thilke daies, 
6400   A worthi knyht at alle assaies,  
6401   Hou he withoute Mariage 
6402   Was of an hundred wynter Age,     
6403   And hadde ben a worthi kniht  
6404   Bothe of his lawe and of his myht.  
6405   Bot whan men wolde his dedes peise  
6406   And his knyhthode of Armes preise,  
6407   Of that he dede with his hondes, 
6408   Whan he the kinges and the londes
6409   To his subjeccion put under,  
6410   Of al that pris hath he no wonder,  
6411   For he it sette of non acompte,  
6412   And seide al that may noght amonte  
6413   Ayeins o point which he hath nome,  
6414   That he his fleissh hath overcome:  
6415   He was a virgine, as he seide;
6416   On that bataille his pris he leide. 
6417   Lo nou, my Sone, avise thee.  
6418   Yee, fader, al this wel mai be,  
6419   Bot if alle othre dede so, 
6420   The world of men were sone go:
6421   And in the lawe a man mai finde, 
6422   Hou god to man be weie of kinde  
6423   Hath set the world to multeplie; 
6424   And who that wol him justefie,
6425   It is ynouh to do the lawe.
6426   And natheles youre goode sawe 
6427   Is good to kepe, who so may,  
6428   I wol noght therayein seie nay.  
6429   Mi Sone, take it as I seie;
6430   If maidenhod be take aweie 
6431   Withoute lawes ordinance,      
6432   It mai noght failen of vengance. 
6433   And if thou wolt the sothe wite, 
6434   Behold a tale which is write, 
6435   Hou that the King Agamenon,
6436   Whan he the Cite of Lesbon 
6437   Hath wonne, a Maiden ther he fond,  
6438   Which was the faireste of the Lond  
6439   In thilke time that men wiste.
6440   He tok of hire what him liste 
6441   Of thing which was most precious,
6442   Wherof that sche was dangerous.  
6443   This faire Maiden cleped is
6444   Criseide, douhter of Crisis,  
6445   Which was that time in special
6446   Of thilke temple principal,
6447   Wher Phebus hadde his sacrifice, 
6448   So was it wel the more vice.  
6449   Agamenon was thanne in weie
6450   To Troieward, and tok aweie
6451   This Maiden, which he with him ladde,  
6452   So grete a lust in hire he hadde.
6453   Bot Phebus, which hath gret desdeign
6454   Of that his Maiden was forlein,  
6455   Anon as he to Troie cam,
6456   Vengance upon this dede he nam
6457   And sende a comun pestilence. 
6458   Thei soghten thanne here evidence
6459   And maden calculacion,  
6460   To knowe in what condicion 
6461   This deth cam in so sodeinly; 
6462   And ate laste redyly 
6463   The cause and ek the man thei founde:  
6464   And forth withal the same stounde
6465   Agamenon opposed was,
6466   Which hath beknowen al the cas
6467   Of the folie which he wroghte.    
6468   And therupon mercy thei soghte
6469   Toward the god in sondri wise 
6470   With preiere and with sacrifise, 
6471   The Maide and hom ayein thei sende, 
6472   And yive hire good ynouh to spende  
6473   For evere whil sche scholde live:
6474   And thus the Senne was foryive
6475   And al the pestilence cessed. 
6476   Lo, what it is to ben encressed  
6477   Of love which is evele wonne. 
6478   It were betre noght begonne
6479   Than take a thing withoute leve, 
6480   Which thou most after nedes leve,
6481   And yit have malgre forth withal.
6482   Forthi to robben overal 
6483   In loves cause if thou beginne,  
6484   I not what ese thou schalt winne.
6485   Mi Sone, be wel war of this,  
6486   For thus of Robberie it is.
6487   Mi fader, youre ensamplerie
6488   In loves cause of Robberie 
6489   I have it riht wel understonde.  
6490   Bot overthis, hou so it stonde,  
6491   Yit wolde I wite of youre aprise 
6492   What thing is more of Covoitise. 
6493   With Covoitise yit I finde 
6494   A Servant of the same kinde,  
6495   Which Stelthe is hote, and Mecherie 
6496   With him is evere in compainie.      
6497   Of whom if I schal telle soth,
6498   He stalketh as a Pocok doth,  
6499   And takth his preie so covert,
6500   That noman wot it in apert.
6501   For whan he wot the lord from home, 
6502   Than wol he stalke aboute and rome; 
6503   And what thing he fint in his weie, 
6504   Whan that he seth the men aweie, 
6505   He stelth it and goth forth withal, 
6506   That therof noman knowe schal.
6507   And ek fulofte he goth a nyht 
6508   Withoute Mone or sterreliht,  
6509   And with his craft the dore unpiketh,  
6510   And takth therinne what him liketh: 
6511   And if the dore be so schet,  
6512   That he be of his entre let,  
6513   He wole in ate wyndou crepe,  
6514   And whil the lord is faste aslepe,  
6515   He stelth what thing as him best list, 
6516   And goth his weie er it be wist. 
6517   Fulofte also be lyhte of day  
6518   Yit wole he stele and make assay;
6519   Under the cote his hond he put,  
6520   Til he the mannes Purs have cut, 
6521   And rifleth that he fint therinne.  
6522   And thus he auntreth him to winne,  
6523   And berth an horn and noght ne bloweth,
6524   For noman of his conseil knoweth;
6525   What he mai gete of his Michinge,
6526   It is al bile under the winge.
6527   And as an hound that goth to folde  
6528   And hath ther taken what he wolde,  
6529   His mouth upon the gras he wypeth,  
6530   And so with feigned chiere him slypeth,
6531   That what as evere of schep he strangle,  
6532   Ther is noman therof schal jangle,  
6533   As forto knowen who it dede;  
6534   Riht so doth Stelthe in every stede,    
6535   Where as him list his preie take.
6536   He can so wel his cause make  
6537   And so wel feigne and so wel glose, 
6538   That ther ne schal noman suppose,
6539   Bot that he were an innocent, 
6540   And thus a mannes yhe he blent:  
6541   So that this craft I mai remene  
6542   Withouten help of eny mene.
6543   Ther be lovers of that degre, 
6544   Which al here lust in privete,
6545   As who seith, geten al be Stelthe,  
6546   And ofte atteignen to gret welthe
6547   As for the time that it lasteth. 
6548   For love awaiteth evere and casteth 
6549   Hou he mai stele and cacche his preie, 
6550   Whan he therto mai finde a weie: 
6551   For be it nyht or be it day,  
6552   He takth his part, whan that he may,
6553   And if he mai nomore do,
6554   Yit wol he stele a cuss or tuo.  
6555   Mi Sone, what seist thou therto? 
6556   Tell if thou dedest evere so. 
6557   Mi fader, hou? Mi Sone, thus,-
6558   If thou hast stolen eny cuss  
6559   Or other thing which therto longeth,
6560   For noman suche thieves hongeth: 
6561   Tell on forthi and sei the trouthe. 
6562   Mi fader, nay, and that is routhe,  
6563   For be mi will I am a thief;  
6564   Bot sche that is to me most lief,
6565   Yit dorste I nevere in privete
6566   Noght ones take hire be the kne, 
6567   To stele of hire or this or that,
6568   And if I dorste, I wot wel what: 
6569   And natheles, bot if I lie,
6570   Be Stelthe ne be Robberie  
6571   Of love, which fell in mi thoght,
6572   To hire dede I nevere noght.
6573   Bot as men sein, wher herte is failed, 
6574   Ther schal no castell ben assailed; 
6575   Bot thogh I hadde hertes ten, 
6576   And were als strong as alle men, 
6577   If I be noght myn oghne man
6578   And dar noght usen that I can,
6579   I mai miselve noght recovere. 
6580   Thogh I be nevere man so povere, 
6581   I bere an herte and hire it is,  
6582   So that me faileth wit in this,  
6583   Hou that I scholde of myn acord  
6584   The servant lede ayein the lord: 
6585   For if mi fot wolde awher go, 
6586   Or that min hand wolde elles do, 
6587   Whan that myn herte is therayein,
6588   The remenant is al in vein.
6589   And thus me lacketh alle wele,
6590   And yit ne dar I nothing stele
6591   Of thing which longeth unto love:
6592   And ek it is so hyh above, 
6593   I mai noght wel therto areche,
6594   Bot if so be at time of speche,  
6595   Ful selde if thanne I stele may  
6596   A word or tuo and go my way.  
6597   Betwen hire hih astat and me  
6598   Comparison ther mai non be,
6599   So that I fiele and wel I wot,
6600   Al is to hevy and to hot
6601   To sette on hond withoute leve:  
6602   And thus I mot algate leve 
6603   To stele that I mai noght take,  
6604   And in this wise I mot forsake
6605   To ben a thief ayein mi wille 
6606   Of thing which I mai noght fulfille.
6607   For that Serpent which nevere slepte
6608   The flees of gold so wel ne kepte
6609   In Colchos, as the tale is told, 
6610   That mi ladi a thousendfold
6611   Nys betre yemed and bewaked,      
6612   Wher sche be clothed or be naked.
6613   To kepe hir bodi nyht and day,
6614   Sche hath a wardein redi ay,  
6615   Which is so wonderful a wyht, 
6616   That him ne mai no mannes myht
6617   With swerd ne with no wepne daunte, 
6618   Ne with no sleihte of charme enchaunte,
6619   Wherof he mihte be mad tame,  
6620   And Danger is his rihte name; 
6621   Which under lock and under keie, 
6622   That noman mai it stele aweie,
6623   Hath al the Tresor underfonge 
6624   That unto love mai belonge.
6625   The leste lokinge of hire yhe 
6626   Mai noght be stole, if he it syhe;  
6627   And who so gruccheth for so lyte,
6628   He wolde sone sette a wyte 
6629   On him that wolde stele more. 
6630   And that me grieveth wonder sore,
6631   For this proverbe is evere newe, 
6632   That stronge lokes maken trewe
6633   Of hem that wolden stele and pyke:  
6634   For so wel can ther noman slyke  
6635   Be him ne be non other mene,  
6636   To whom Danger wol yive or lene  
6637   Of that tresor he hath to kepe.  
6638   So thogh I wolde stalke and crepe,  
6639   And wayte on eve and ek on morwe,
6640   Of Danger schal I nothing borwe, 
6641   And stele I wot wel may I noght: 
6642   And thus I am riht wel bethoght, 
6643   Whil Danger stant in his office, 
6644   Of Stelthe, which ye clepe a vice,  
6645   I schal be gultif neveremo.
6646   Therfore I wolde he were ago  
6647   So fer that I nevere of him herde,  
6648   Hou so that afterward it ferde:      
6649   For thanne I mihte yit per cas
6650   Of love make som pourchas  
6651   Be Stelthe or be som other weie, 
6652   That nou fro me stant fer aweie. 
6653   Bot, fader, as ye tolde above,
6654   Hou Stelthe goth a nyht for love,
6655   I mai noght wel that point forsake, 
6656   That ofte times I ne wake  
6657   On nyhtes, whan that othre slepe;
6658   Bot hou, I prei you taketh kepe. 
6659   Whan I am loged in such wise  
6660   That I be nyhte mai arise, 
6661   At som wyndowe and loken oute 
6662   And se the housinge al aboute,
6663   So that I mai the chambre knowe  
6664   In which mi ladi, as I trowe, 
6665   Lyth in hir bed and slepeth softe,  
6666   Thanne is myn herte a thief fulofte:
6667   For there I stonde to beholde 
6668   The longe nyhtes that ben colde, 
6669   And thenke on hire that lyth there. 
6670   And thanne I wisshe that I were  
6671   Als wys as was Nectanabus  
6672   Or elles as was Prothes, 
6673   That couthen bothe of nigromaunce
6674   In what liknesse, in what semblaunce,  
6675   Riht as hem liste, hemself transforme: 
6676   For if I were of such a forme,
6677   I seie thanne I wolde fle  
6678   Into the chambre forto se  
6679   If eny grace wolde falle,  
6680   So that I mihte under the palle  
6681   Som thing of love pyke and stele.
6682   And thus I thenke thoghtes fele, 
6683   And thogh therof nothing be soth,
6684   Yit ese as for a time it doth:
6685   Bot ate laste whanne I finde  
6686   That I am falle into my mynde,    
6687   And se that I have stonde longe  
6688   And have no profit underfonge,
6689   Than stalke I to mi bedd withinne.  
6690   And this is al that evere I winne
6691   Of love, whanne I walke on nyht: 
6692   Mi will is good, bot of mi myht  
6693   Me lacketh bothe and of mi grace;
6694   For what so that mi thoght embrace, 
6695   Yit have I noght the betre ferd. 
6696   Mi fader, lo, nou have ye herd
6697   What I be Stelthe of love have do,  
6698   And hou mi will hath be therto:  
6699   If I be worthi to penance  
6700   I put it on your ordinance.
6701   Mi Sone, of Stelthe I the behiete,  
6702   Thogh it be for a time swete, 
6703   At ende it doth bot litel good,  
6704   As be ensample hou that it stod  
6705   Whilom, I mai thee telle nou. 
6706   I preie you, fader, sei me hou.  
6707   Mi Sone, of him which goth be daie  
6708   Be weie of Stelthe to assaie, 
6709   In loves cause and takth his preie, 
6710   Ovide seide as I schal seie,  
6711   And in his Methamor he tolde  
6712   A tale, which is good to holde.  
6713   The Poete upon this matiere
6714   Of Stelthe wrot in this manere.  
6715   Venus, which hath this lawe in honde
6716   Of thing which mai noght be withstonde,
6717   As sche which the tresor to warde
6718   Of love hath withinne hir warde, 
6719   Phebum to love hath so constreigned,
6720   That he withoute reste is peined 
6721   With al his herte to coveite      
6722   A Maiden, which was warded streyte  
6723   Withinne chambre and kept so clos,  
6724   That selden was whan sche desclos
6725   Goth with hir moder forto pleie. 
6726   Leuchotoe, so as men seie, 
6727   This Maiden hihte, and Orchamus  
6728   Hir fader was; and befell thus.  
6729   This doughter, that was kept so deere, 
6730   And hadde be fro yer to yeere 
6731   Under hir moder discipline 
6732   A clene Maide and a Virgine,  
6733   Upon the whos nativite  
6734   Of comelihiede and of beaute  
6735   Nature hath set al that sche may,
6736   That lich unto the fresshe Maii, 
6737   Which othre monthes of the yeer  
6738   Surmonteth, so withoute pier  
6739   Was of this Maiden the feture.
6740   Wherof Phebus out of mesure
6741   Hire loveth, and on every syde
6742   Awaiteth, if so mai betyde,
6743   That he thurgh eny sleihte myhte 
6744   Hire lusti maidenhod unrihte, 
6745   The which were al his worldes welthe.  
6746   And thus lurkende upon his stelthe  
6747   In his await so longe he lai, 
6748   Til it befell upon a dai,  
6749   That he thurghout hir chambre wall  
6750   Cam in al sodeinliche, and stall 
6751   That thing which was to him so lief.
6752   Bot wo the while, he was a thief!
6753   For Venus, which was enemie
6754   Of thilke loves micherie,  
6755   Discovereth al the pleine cas 
6756   To Clymene, which thanne was      
6757   Toward Phebus his concubine.  
6758   And sche to lette the covine  
6759   Of thilke love, dedli wroth
6760   To pleigne upon this Maide goth, 
6761   And tolde hire fader hou it stod;
6762   Wherof for sorwe welnyh wod
6763   Unto hire moder thus he saide:
6764   "Lo, what it is to kepe a Maide! 
6765   To Phebus dar I nothing speke,
6766   Bot upon hire I schal be wreke,  
6767   So that these Maidens after this 
6768   Mow take ensample, what it is 
6769   To soffre her maidenhed be stole,
6770   Wherof that sche the deth schal thole."
6771   And bad with that do make a pet, 
6772   Wherinne he hath his douhter set,
6773   As he that wol no pite have,  
6774   So that sche was al quik begrave 
6775   And deide anon in his presence.  
6776   Bot Phebus, for the reverence 
6777   Of that sche hadde be his love,  
6778   Hath wroght thurgh his pouer above, 
6779   That sche sprong up out of the molde
6780   Into a flour was named golde, 
6781   Which stant governed of the Sonne.  
6782   And thus whan love is evele wonne,  
6783   Fulofte it comth to repentaile.  
6784   Mi fader, that is no mervaile,
6785   Whan that the conseil is bewreid.
6786   Bot ofte time love hath pleid 
6787   And stole many a prive game,  
6788   Which nevere yit cam into blame, 
6789   Whan that the thinges weren hidde.  
6790   Bot in youre tale, as it betidde,
6791   Venus discoverede al the cas, 
6792   And ek also brod dai it was,  
6793   Whan Phebus such a Stelthe wroghte,     
6794   Wherof the Maide in blame he broghte,  
6795   That afterward sche was so lore. 
6796   Bot for ye seiden nou tofore  
6797   Hou stelthe of love goth be nyhte,  
6798   And doth hise thinges out of syhte, 
6799   Therof me liste also to hiere 
6800   A tale lich to the matiere,
6801   Wherof I myhte ensample take. 
6802   Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake, 
6803   So as it fell be daies olde,  
6804   And so as the Poete it tolde, 
6805   Upon the nyhtes micherie
6806   Nou herkne a tale of Poesie.  
6807   The myhtieste of alle men  
6808   Whan Hercules with Eolen,  
6809   Which was the love of his corage,
6810   Togedre upon a Pelrinage
6811   Towardes Rome scholden go, 
6812   It fell hem be the weie so,
6813   That thei upon a dai a Cave
6814   Withinne a roche founden have,
6815   Which was real and glorious
6816   And of Entaile curious, 
6817   Be name and Thophis it was hote. 
6818   The Sonne schon tho wonder hote, 
6819   As it was in the Somer tyde;  
6820   This Hercules, which be his syde 
6821   Hath Eolen his love there, 
6822   Whan thei at thilke cave were,
6823   He seide it thoghte him for the beste  
6824   That sche hire for the hete reste
6825   Al thilke day and thilke nyht;
6826   And sche, that was a lusti wyht, 
6827   It liketh hire al that he seide: 
6828   And thus thei duelle there and pleide  
6829   The longe dai. And so befell,     
6830   This Cave was under the hell  
6831   Of Tymolus, which was begrowe 
6832   With vines, and at thilke throwe 
6833   Faunus with Saba the goddesse,
6834   Be whom the large wildernesse 
6835   In thilke time stod governed, 
6836   Weere in a place, as I am lerned,
6837   Nyh by, which Bachus wode hihte. 
6838   This Faunus tok a gret insihte
6839   Of Eolen, that was so nyh; 
6840   For whan that he hire beaute syh,
6841   Out of his wit he was assoted,
6842   And in his herte it hath so noted,  
6843   That he forsok the Nimphes alle, 
6844   And seide he wolde, hou so it falle,
6845   Assaie an other forto winne;  
6846   So that his hertes thoght withinne  
6847   He sette and caste hou that he myhte
6848   Of love pyke awey be nyhte 
6849   That he be daie in other wise 
6850   To stele mihte noght suffise: 
6851   And therupon his time he waiteth.
6852   Nou tak good hiede hou love afaiteth
6853   Him which withal is overcome. 
6854   Faire Eolen, whan sche was come  
6855   With Hercules into the Cave,  
6856   Sche seide him that sche wolde have 
6857   Hise clothes of and hires bothe, 
6858   That ech of hem scholde other clothe.  
6859   And al was do riht as sche bad,  
6860   He hath hire in hise clothes clad    
6861   And caste on hire his gulion, 
6862   Which of the Skyn of a Leoun  
6863   Was mad, as he upon the weie  
6864   It slouh, and overthis to pleie  
6865   Sche tok his grete Mace also  
6866   And knet it at hir gerdil tho.
6867   So was sche lich the man arraied,
6868   And Hercules thanne hath assaied 
6869   To clothen him in hire array: 
6870   And thus thei jape forth the dai,
6871   Til that her Souper redy were.
6872   And whan thei hadden souped there,  
6873   Thei schopen hem to gon to reste;
6874   And as it thoghte hem for the beste,
6875   Thei bede, as for that ilke nyht,
6876   Tuo sondri beddes to be dyht, 
6877   For thei togedre ligge nolde, 
6878   Be cause that thei offre wolde
6879   Upon the morwe here sacrifice.
6880   The servantz deden here office
6881   And sondri beddes made anon,  
6882   Wherin that thei to reste gon 
6883   Ech be himself in sondri place.  
6884   Faire Eole hath set the Mace  
6885   Beside hire beddes hed above, 
6886   And with the clothes of hire love
6887   Sche helede al hire bed aboute;  
6888   And he, which hadde of nothing doute,  
6889   Hire wympel wond aboute his cheke,  
6890   Hire kertell and hire mantel eke 
6891   Abrod upon his bed he spredde.
6892   And thus thei slepen bothe abedde;  
6893   And what of travail, what of wyn,
6894   The servantz lich to drunke Swyn 
6895   Begunne forto route faste. 
6896   This Faunus, which his Stelthe caste,  
6897   Was thanne come to the Cave,  
6898   And fond thei weren alle save     
6899   Withoute noise, and in he wente. 
6900   The derke nyht his sihte blente, 
6901   And yit it happeth him to go  
6902   Where Eolen abedde tho  
6903   Was leid al one for to slepe; 
6904   Bot for he wolde take kepe 
6905   Whos bed it was, he made assai,  
6906   And of the Leoun, where it lay,  
6907   The Cote he fond, and ek he fieleth 
6908   The Mace, and thanne his herte kieleth,
6909   That there dorste he noght abyde,
6910   Bot stalketh upon every side  
6911   And soghte aboute with his hond, 
6912   That other bedd til that he fond,
6913   Wher lai bewympled a visage.  
6914   Tho was he glad in his corage,
6915   For he hir kertell fond also  
6916   And ek hir mantell bothe tuo  
6917   Bespred upon the bed alofte.  
6918   He made him naked thanne, and softe 
6919   Into the bedd unwar he crepte,
6920   Wher Hercules that time slepte,  
6921   And wende wel it were sche;
6922   And thus in stede of Eole  
6923   Anon he profreth him to love. 
6924   But he, which felte a man above, 
6925   This Hercules, him threw to grounde 
6926   So sore, that thei have him founde  
6927   Liggende there upon the morwe;
6928   And tho was noght a litel sorwe, 
6929   That Faunus of himselve made, 
6930   Bot elles thei were alle glade
6931   And lowhen him to scorne aboute: 
6932   Saba with Nimphis al a route  
6933   Cam doun to loke hou that he ferde, 
6934   And whan that thei the sothe herde, 
6935   He was bejaped overal.  
6936   Mi Sone, be thou war withal    
6937   To seche suche mecheries,  
6938   Bot if thou have the betre aspies,  
6939   In aunter if the so betyde 
6940   As Faunus dede thilke tyde,
6941   Wherof thou miht be schamed so.  
6942   Min holi fader, certes no. 
6943   Bot if I hadde riht good leve,
6944   Such mecherie I thenke leve:  
6945   Mi feinte herte wol noght serve; 
6946   For malgre wolde I noght deserve 
6947   In thilke place wher I love.  
6948   Bot for ye tolden hier above  
6949   Of Covoitise and his pilage,  
6950   If ther be more of that lignage, 
6951   Which toucheth to mi schrifte, I preie 
6952   That ye therof me wolde seie, 
6953   So that I mai the vice eschuie.  
6954   Mi Sone, if I be order suie
6955   The vices, as thei stonde arowe, 
6956   Of Covoitise thou schalt knowe
6957   Ther is yit on, which is the laste; 
6958   In whom ther mai no vertu laste, 
6959   For he with god himself debateth,
6960   Wherof that al the hevene him hateth.  
6961   The hihe god, which alle goode
6962   Pourveied hath for mannes fode
6963   Of clothes and of mete and drinke,  
6964   Bad Adam that he scholde swinke  
6965   To geten him his sustienance: 
6966   And ek he sette an ordinance  
6967   Upon the lawe of Moi5ses,  
6968   That though a man be haveles, 
6969   Yit schal he noght be thefte stele. 
6970   Bot nou adaies ther ben fele,     
6971   That wol no labour undertake, 
6972   Bot what thei mai be Stelthe take
6973   Thei holde it sikerliche wonne.  
6974   And thus the lawe is overronne,  
6975   Which god hath set, and namely
6976   With hem that so untrewely 
6977   The goodes robbe of holi cherche.
6978   The thefte which thei thanne werche 
6979   Be name is cleped Sacrilegge, 
6980   Ayein the whom I thenke alegge.  
6981   Of his condicion to telle, 
6982   Which rifleth bothe bok and belle,  
6983   So forth with al the remenant     
6984   To goddes hous appourtenant,  
6985   Wher that he scholde bidde his bede,
6986   He doth his thefte in holi stede,
6987   And takth what thing he fint therinne: 
6988   For whan he seth that he mai winne, 
6989   He wondeth for no cursednesse,
6990   That he ne brekth the holinesse  
6991   And doth to god no reverence; 
6992   For he hath lost his conscience, 
6993   That though the Prest therfore curse,  
6994   He seith he fareth noght the wurse. 
6995   And forto speke it otherwise, 
6996   What man that lasseth the franchise 
6997   And takth of holi cherche his preie,
6998   I not what bedes he schal preie. 
6999   Whan he fro god, which hath yive al,
7000   The Pourpartie in special, 
7001   Which unto Crist himself is due, 
7002   Benymth, he mai noght wel eschue 
7003   The peine comende afterward;  
7004   For he hath mad his foreward  
7005   With Sacrilegge forto duelle, 
7006   Which hath his heritage in helle.
7007   And if we rede of tholde lawe,
7008   I finde write, in thilke dawe 
7009   Of Princes hou ther weren thre
7010   Coupable sore in this degre.  
7011   That on of hem was cleped thus,  
7012   The proude king Antiochus; 
7013   That other Nabuzardan hihte,  
7014   Which of his crualte behyhte  
7015   The temple to destruie and waste,
7016   And so he dede in alle haste; 
7017   The thridde, which was after schamed,  
7018   Was Nabugodonosor named,    
7019   And he Jerusalem putte under, 
7020   Of Sacrilegge and many a wonder  
7021   There in the holi temple he wroghte,
7022   Which Baltazar his heir aboghte, 
7023   Whan Mane, Techel, Phares write  
7024   Was on the wal, as thou miht wite,  
7025   So as the bible it hath declared.
7026   Bot for al that it is noght spared  
7027   Yit nou aday, that men ne pile,  
7028   And maken argument and skile  
7029   To Sacrilegge as it belongeth,
7030   For what man that ther after longeth,  
7031   He takth non hiede what he doth. 
7032   And riht so, forto telle soth,
7033   In loves cause if I schal trete,     
7034   Ther ben of suche smale and grete:  
7035   If thei no leisir fynden elles,  
7036   Thei wol noght wonden for the belles,      
7037   Ne thogh thei sen the Prest at masse;  
7038   That wol thei leten overpasse.
7039   If that thei finde here love there,     
7040   Thei stonde and tellen in hire Ere, 
7041   And axe of god non other grace,  
7042   Whyl thei ben in that holi place;    
7043   Bot er thei gon som avantage  
7044   Ther wol thei have, and som pilage  
7045   Of goodli word or of beheste, 
7046   Or elles thei take ate leste  
7047   Out of hir hand or ring or glove,
7048   So nyh the weder thei wol love,  
7049   As who seith sche schal noght foryete, 
7050   Nou I this tokne of hire have gete: 
7051   Thus halwe thei the hihe feste.  
7052   Such thefte mai no cherche areste,  
7053   For al is leveful that hem liketh,  
7054   To whom that elles it misliketh. 
7055   And ek riht in the selve kinde
7056   In grete Cites men mai finde  
7057   This lusti folk, that make it gay,  
7058   And waite upon the haliday:
7059   In cherches and in Menstres eke  
7060   Thei gon the wommen forto seke,  
7061   And wher that such on goth aboute,  
7062   Tofore the faireste of the route,
7063   Wher as thei sitten alle arewe,  
7064   Ther wol he most  his bodi schewe,  
7065   His croket kembd and theron set  
7066   A Nouche with a chapelet,  
7067   Or elles on of grene leves,
7068   Which late com out of the greves,
7069   Al for he scholde seme freissh.  
7070   And thus he loketh on the fleissh,      
7071   Riht as an hauk which hath a sihte  
7072   Upon the foul, ther he schal lihte; 
7073   And as he were of faierie, 
7074   He scheweth him tofore here yhe  
7075   In holi place wher thei sitte,
7076   Al forto make here hertes flitte.
7077   His yhe nawher wole abyde, 
7078   Bot loke and prie on every syde  
7079   On hire and hire, as him best lyketh:  
7080   And otherwhile among he syketh;  
7081   Thenkth on of hem, "That was for me,"  
7082   And so ther thenken tuo or thre, 
7083   And yit he loveth non of alle,
7084   Bot wher as evere his chance falle. 
7085   And natheles to seie a soth,  
7086   The cause why that he so doth 
7087   Is forto stele an herte or tuo,  
7088   Out of the cherche er that he go:
7089   And as I seide it hier above, 
7090   Al is that Sacrilege of love; 
7091   For wel mai be he stelth away 
7092   That he nevere after yelde may.  
7093   Tell me forthi, my Sone, anon,
7094   Hast thou do Sacrilege, or non,  
7095   As I have said in this manere?
7096   Mi fader, as of this matiere  
7097   I wole you tellen redely
7098   What I have do; bot trewely
7099   I mai excuse min entente,  
7100   That nevere I yit to cherche wente  
7101   In such manere as ye me schryve, 
7102   For no womman that is on lyve.
7103   The cause why I have it laft  
7104   Mai be for I unto that craft  
7105   Am nothing able so to stele,  
7106   Thogh ther be wommen noght so fele. 
7107   Bot yit wol I noght seie this,
7108   Whan I am ther mi ladi is,     
7109   In whom lith holly mi querele,
7110   And sche to cherche or to chapele
7111   Wol go to matins or to messe,-
7112   That time I waite wel and gesse, 
7113   To cherche I come and there I stonde,  
7114   And thogh I take a bok on honde, 
7115   Mi contienance is on the bok, 
7116   Bot toward hire is al my lok; 
7117   And if so falle that I preie  
7118   Unto mi god, and somwhat seie 
7119   Of Paternoster or of Crede,
7120   Al is for that I wolde spede, 
7121   So that mi bede in holi cherche  
7122   Ther mihte som miracle werche 
7123   Mi ladi herte forto chaunge,  
7124   Which evere hath be to me so strange.  
7125   So that al mi devocion  
7126   And al mi contemplacion 
7127   With al min herte and mi corage  
7128   Is only set on hire ymage; 
7129   And evere I waite upon the tyde. 
7130   If sche loke eny thing asyde, 
7131   That I me mai of hire avise,  
7132   Anon I am with covoitise
7133   So smite, that me were lief
7134   To ben in holi cherche a thief;  
7135   Bot noght to stele a vestement,  
7136   For that is nothing mi talent,
7137   Bot I wold stele, if that I mihte,  
7138   A glad word or a goodly syhte;
7139   And evere mi service I profre,
7140   And namly whan sche wol gon offre,  
7141   For thanne I lede hire, if I may,
7142   For somwhat wolde I stele away.  
7143   Whan I beclippe hire on the wast,
7144   Yit ate leste I stele a tast, 
7145   And otherwhile "grant mercy"  
7146   Sche seith, and so winne I therby    
7147   A lusti touch, a good word eke,  
7148   Bot al the remenant to seke
7149   Is fro mi pourpos wonder ferr.
7150   So mai I seie, as I seide er, 
7151   In holy cherche if that I wowe,  
7152   My conscience it wolde allowe,
7153   Be so that up amendement
7154   I mihte gete assignement
7155   Wher forto spede in other place: 
7156   Such Sacrilege I holde a grace.  
7157   And thus, mi fader, soth to seie,
7158   In cherche riht as in the weie,  
7159   If I mihte oght of love take, 
7160   Such hansell have I noght forsake.  
7161   Bot finali I me confesse,  
7162   Ther is in me non holinesse,  
7163   Whil I hire se in eny stede;  
7164   And yit, for oght that evere I dede,
7165   No Sacrilege of hire I tok,
7166   Bot if it were of word or lok,
7167   Or elles if that I hir fredde,
7168   Whan I toward offringe hir ledde,
7169   Take therof what I take may,  
7170   For elles bere I noght away:  
7171   For thogh I wolde oght elles have,  
7172   Alle othre thinges ben so save
7173   And kept with such a privilege,  
7174   That I mai do no Sacrilege.
7175   God wot mi wille natheles, 
7176   Thogh I mot nedes kepe pes 
7177   And malgre myn so let it passe,  
7178   Mi will therto is noght the lasse,  
7179   If I mihte other wise aweie.  
7180   Forthi, mi fader, I you preie,
7181   Tell what you thenketh therupon, 
7182   If I therof have gult or non.     
7183   Thi will, mi Sone, is forto blame,  
7184   The remenant is bot a game,
7185   That I have herd the telle as yit.  
7186   Bot tak this lore into thi wit,  
7187   That alle thing hath time and stede,
7188   The cherche serveth for the bede,
7189   The chambre is of an other speche.  
7190   Bot if thou wistest of the wreche,  
7191   Hou Sacrilege it hath aboght, 
7192   Thou woldest betre ben bethoght; 
7193   And for thou schalt the more amende,
7194   A tale I wole on the despende.
7195   To alle men, as who seith, knowe 
7196   It is, and in the world thurgh blowe,  
7197   Hou that of Troie Lamedon  
7198   To Hercules and to Jasoun, 
7199   Whan toward Colchos out of Grece 
7200   Be See sailende upon a piece  
7201   Of lond of Troie reste preide,-  
7202   Bot he hem wrathfulli congeide:  
7203   And for thei founde him so vilein,  
7204   Whan thei come into Grece ayein, 
7205   With pouer that thei gete myhte  
7206   Towardes Troie thei hem dyhte,
7207   And ther thei token such vengance,  
7208   Wherof stant yit the remembrance;
7209   For thei destruide king and al,  
7210   And leften bot the brente wal.
7211   The Grecs of Troiens many slowe  
7212   And prisoners thei toke ynowe,
7213   Among the whiche ther was on, 
7214   The kinges doughter Lamedon,  
7215   Esiona, that faire thing,  
7216   Which unto Thelamon the king  
7217   Be Hercules and be thassent
7218   Of al the hole parlement    
7219   Was at his wille yove and granted.  
7220   And thus hath Grece Troie danted,
7221   And hom thei torne in such manere:  
7222   Bot after this nou schalt thou hiere
7223   The cause why this tale I telle, 
7224   Upon the chances that befelle.
7225   King Lamedon, which deide thus,  
7226   He hadde a Sone, on Priamus,  
7227   Which was noght thilke time at hom: 
7228   Bot whan he herde of this, he com,  
7229   And fond hou the Cite was falle, 
7230   Which he began anon to walle  
7231   And made ther a cite newe, 
7232   That thei whiche othre londes knewe 
7233   Tho seiden, that of lym and Ston 
7234   In al the world so fair was non. 
7235   And on that o side of the toun
7236   The king let maken Ylioun, 
7237   That hihe Tour, that stronge place, 
7238   Which was adrad of no manace  
7239   Of quarel nor of non engin;
7240   And thogh men wolde make a Myn,  
7241   No mannes craft it mihte aproche,
7242   For it was sett upon a roche. 
7243   The walles of the toun aboute,
7244   Hem stod of al the world no doute,  
7245   And after the proporcion
7246   Sex gates weren of the toun
7247   Of such a forme, of such entaile,
7248   That hem to se was gret mervaile:
7249   The diches weren brode and depe, 
7250   A fewe men it mihte kepe
7251   From al the world, as semeth tho,
7252   Bot if the goddes weren fo.
7253   Gret presse unto that cite drouh,
7254   So that ther was of poeple ynouh,
7255   Of Burgeis that therinne duellen;
7256   Ther mai no mannes tunge tellen      
7257   Hou that cite was riche of good. 
7258   Whan al was mad and al wel stod, 
7259   King Priamus tho him bethoghte
7260   What thei of Grece whilom wroghte,  
7261   And what was of her swerd devoured, 
7262   And hou his Soster deshonoured
7263   With Thelamon awey was lad:
7264   And so thenkende he wax unglad,  
7265   And sette anon a parlement,
7266   To which the lordes were assent. 
7267   In many a wise ther was spoke,
7268   Hou that thei mihten ben awroke, 
7269   Bot ate laste natheles  
7270   Thei seiden alle, "Acord and pes."  
7271   To setten either part in reste
7272   It thoghte hem thanne for the beste 
7273   With resonable amendement; 
7274   And thus was Anthenor forth sent 
7275   To axe Esionam ayein 
7276   And witen what thei wolden sein. 
7277   So passeth he the See be barge
7278   To Grece forto seie his charge,  
7279   The which he seide redely  
7280   Unto the lordes by and by: 
7281   Bot where he spak in Grece aboute,  
7282   He herde noght bot wordes stoute,
7283   And nameliche of Thelamon; 
7284   The maiden wolde he noght forgon,
7285   He seide, for no maner thing, 
7286   And bad him gon hom to his king, 
7287   For there gat he non amende
7288   For oght he couthe do or sende.  
7289   This Anthenor ayein goth hom  
7290   Unto his king, and whan he com,  
7291   He tolde in Grece of that he herde, 
7292   And hou that Thelamon ansuerde,      
7293   And hou thei were at here above, 
7294   That thei wol nouther pes ne love,  
7295   Bot every man schal don his beste.  
7296   Bot for men sein that nyht hath reste, 
7297   The king bethoghte him al that nyht,
7298   And erli, whan the dai was lyht, 
7299   He tok conseil of this matiere;  
7300   And thei acorde in this manere,  
7301   That he withouten eny lette
7302   A certein time scholde sette  
7303   Of Parlement to ben avised:
7304   And in the wise it was devised,  
7305   Of parlement he sette a day,  
7306   And that was in the Monthe of Maii. 
7307   This Priamus hadde in his yhte
7308   A wif, and Hecuba sche hyhte, 
7309   Be whom that time ek hadde he 
7310   Of Sones fyve, and douhtres thre 
7311   Besiden hem, and thritty mo,  
7312   And weren knyhtes alle tho,
7313   Bot noght upon his wif begete,
7314   Bot elles where he myhte hem gete
7315   Of wommen whiche he hadde knowe; 
7316   Such was the world at thilke throwe:
7317   So that he was of children riche,
7318   As therof was noman his liche.
7319   Of Parlement the dai was come,
7320   Ther ben the lordes alle and some;  
7321   Tho was pronounced and pourposed,
7322   And al the cause hem was desclosed, 
7323   Hou Anthenor in Grece ferde.  
7324   Thei seten alle stille and herde,
7325   And tho spak every man aboute:
7326   Ther was alegged many a doute,
7327   And many a proud word spoke also;
7328   Bot for the moste part as tho     
7329   Thei wisten noght what was the beste,  
7330   Or forto werre or forto reste.
7331   Bot he that was withoute fere,
7332   Hector, among the lordes there
7333   His tale tolde in such a wise,
7334   And seide, "Lordes, ye ben wise, 
7335   Ye knowen this als wel as I,  
7336   Above all othre most worthi
7337   Stant nou in Grece the manhode
7338   Of worthinesse and of knihthode; 
7339   For who so wole it wel agrope,
7340   To hem belongeth al Europe,
7341   Which is the thridde parti evene 
7342   Of al the world under the hevene;
7343   And we be bot of folk a fewe. 
7344   So were it reson forto schewe 
7345   The peril, er we falle thrinne:  
7346   Betre is to leve, than beginne
7347   Thing which as mai noght ben achieved; 
7348   He is noght wys that fint him grieved, 
7349   And doth so that his grief be more; 
7350   For who that loketh al tofore 
7351   And wol noght se what is behinde,
7352   He mai fulofte hise harmes finde:
7353   Wicke is to stryve and have the worse. 
7354   We have encheson forto corse, 
7355   This wot I wel, and forto hate
7356   The Greks; bot er that we debate 
7357   With hem that ben of such a myht,
7358   It is ful good that every wiht
7359   Be of himself riht wel bethoght. 
7360   Bot as for me this seie I noght; 
7361   For while that mi lif wol stonde,
7362   If that ye taken werre on honde, 
7363   Falle it to beste or to the werste, 
7364   I schal miselven be the ferste
7365   To grieven hem, what evere I may.    
7366   I wol noght ones seie nay  
7367   To thing which that youre conseil demeth, 
7368   For unto me wel more it quemeth  
7369   The werre certes than the pes;
7370   Bot this I seie natheles,  
7371   As me belongeth forto seie.
7372   Nou schape ye the beste weie."
7373   Whan Hector hath seid his avis,  
7374   Next after him tho spak Paris,
7375   Which was his brother, and alleide  
7376   What him best thoghte, and thus he seide: 
7377   "Strong thing it is to soffre wrong,
7378   And suffre schame is more strong,
7379   Bot we have suffred bothe tuo;
7380   And for al that yit have we do
7381   What so we mihte to reforme
7382   The pes, whan we in such a forme 
7383   Sente Anthenor, as ye wel knowe. 
7384   And thei here grete wordes blowe 
7385   Upon her wrongful dedes eke;  
7386   And who that wole himself noght meke
7387   To pes, and list no reson take,  
7388   Men sein reson him wol forsake:  
7389   For in the multitude of men
7390   Is noght the strengthe, for with ten
7391   It hath be sen in trew querele
7392   Ayein an hundred false dele,  
7393   And had the betre of goddes grace.  
7394   This hath befalle in many place; 
7395   And if it like unto you alle, 
7396   I wolde assaie, hou so it falle, 
7397   Oure enemis if I mai grieve;  
7398   For I have cawht a gret believe  
7399   Upon a point I wol declare.
7400   This ender day, as I gan fare 
7401   To hunte unto the grete hert, 
7402   Which was tofore myn houndes stert,     
7403   And every man went on his syde
7404   Him to poursuie, and I to ryde
7405   Began the chace, and soth to seie,  
7406   Withinne a while out of mi weie  
7407   I rod, and nyste where I was. 
7408   And slep me cauhte, and on the gras 
7409   Beside a welle I lay me doun  
7410   To slepe, and in a visioun 
7411   To me the god Mercurie cam;
7412   Goddesses thre with him he nam,  
7413   Minerve, Venus and Juno,
7414   And in his hond an Appel tho  
7415   He hield of gold with lettres write:
7416   And this he dede me to wite,  
7417   Hou that thei putt hem upon me,  
7418   That to the faireste of hem thre 
7419   Of gold that Appel scholde I yive.  
7420   With ech of hem tho was I schrive,  
7421   And echon faire me behihte;
7422   Bot Venus seide, if that sche mihte 
7423   That Appel of mi yifte gete,  
7424   Sche wolde it neveremor foryete, 
7425   And seide hou that in Grece lond 
7426   Sche wolde bringe unto myn hond  
7427   Of al this Erthe the faireste;
7428   So that me thoghte it for the beste,
7429   To hire and yaf that Appel tho.  
7430   Thus hope I wel, if that I go,
7431   That sche for me wol so ordeine, 
7432   That thei matiere forto pleigne  
7433   Schul have, er that I come ayein.
7434   Nou have ye herd that I wol sein:
7435   Sey ye what stant in youre avis."
7436   And every man tho seide his,  
7437   And sundri causes thei recorde,  
7438   Bot ate laste thei acorde  
7439   That Paris schal to Grece wende,     
7440   And thus the parlement tok ende. 
7441   Cassandra, whan sche herde of this, 
7442   The which to Paris Soster is, 
7443   Anon sche gan to wepe and weile, 
7444   And seide, "Allas, what mai ous eile?  
7445   Fortune with hire blinde whiel
7446   Ne wol noght lete ous stonde wel:
7447   For this I dar wel undertake, 
7448   That if Paris his weie take,  
7449   As it is seid that he schal do,  
7450   We ben for evere thanne undo."
7451   This, which Cassandre thanne hihte, 
7452   In al the world as it berth sihte,  
7453   In bokes as men finde write,  
7454   Is that Sibille of whom ye wite, 
7455   That alle men yit clepen sage.
7456   Whan that sche wiste of this viage, 
7457   Hou Paris schal to Grece fare,
7458   No womman mihte worse fare 
7459   Ne sorwe more than sche dede; 
7460   And riht so in the same stede 
7461   Ferde Helenus, which was hir brother,  
7462   Of prophecie and such an other:  
7463   And al was holde bot a jape,  
7464   So that the pourpos which was schape,  
7465   Or were hem lief or were hem loth,  
7466   Was holde, and into Grece goth
7467   This Paris with his retenance.
7468   And as it fell upon his chance,  
7469   Of Grece he londeth in an yle,
7470   And him was told the same whyle  
7471   Of folk which he began to freyne,
7472   Tho was in thyle queene Heleyne, 
7473   And ek of contres there aboute
7474   Of ladis many a lusti route,  
7475   With mochel worthi poeple also.  
7476   And why thei comen theder tho,
7477   The cause stod in such a wise,-      
7478   For worschipe and for sacrifise  
7479   That thei to Venus wolden make,  
7480   As thei tofore hadde undertake,  
7481   Some of good will, some of beheste, 
7482   For thanne was hire hihe feste
7483   Withinne a temple which was there.  
7484   Whan Paris wiste what thei were, 
7485   Anon he schop his ordinance
7486   To gon and don his obeissance 
7487   To Venus on hire holi day, 
7488   And dede upon his beste aray. 
7489   With gret richesse he him behongeth,
7490   As it to such a lord belongeth,  
7491   He was noght armed natheles,  
7492   Bot as it were in lond of pes,
7493   And thus he goth forth out of Schipe
7494   And takth with him his felaschipe:  
7495   In such manere as I you seie  
7496   Unto the temple he hield his weie.  
7497   Tydinge, which goth overal 
7498   To grete and smale, forth withal 
7499   Com to the queenes Ere and tolde 
7500   Hou Paris com, and that he wolde 
7501   Do sacrifise to Venus:  
7502   And whan sche herde telle thus,  
7503   Sche thoghte, hou that it evere be, 
7504   That sche wole him abyde and se. 
7505   Forth comth Paris with glad visage  
7506   Into the temple on pelrinage, 
7507   Wher unto Venus the goddesse  
7508   He yifth and offreth gret richesse, 
7509   And preith hir that he preie wolde. 
7510   And thanne aside he gan beholde, 
7511   And sih wher that this ladi stod;
7512   And he forth in his freisshe mod 
7513   Goth ther sche was and made her chiere,
7514   As he wel couthe in his manere,  
7515   That of his wordes such plesance 
7516   Sche tok, that al hire aqueintance,     
7517   Als ferforth as the herte lay,
7518   He stal er that he wente away.
7519   So goth he forth and tok his leve,  
7520   And thoghte, anon as it was eve, 
7521   He wolde don his Sacrilegge,  
7522   That many a man it scholde abegge.  
7523   Whan he to Schipe ayein was come,
7524   To him he hath his conseil nome, 
7525   And al devised the matiere 
7526   In such a wise as thou schalt hiere.
7527   Withinne nyht al prively
7528   His men he warneth by and by, 
7529   That thei be redy armed sone  
7530   For certein thing which was to done:
7531   And thei anon ben redi alle,  
7532   And ech on other gan to calle,
7533   And went hem out upon the stronde
7534   And tok a pourpos ther alonde 
7535   Of what thing that thei wolden do,  
7536   Toward the temple and forth thei go.
7537   So fell it, of devocion 
7538   Heleine in contemplacion
7539   With many an other worthi wiht
7540   Was in the temple and wok al nyht,  
7541   To bidde and preie unto thymage  
7542   Of Venus, as was thanne usage;
7543   So that Paris riht as him liste  
7544   Into the temple, er thei it wiste,  
7545   Com with his men al sodeinly, 
7546   And alle at ones sette ascry  
7547   In hem whiche in the temple were,
7548   For tho was mochel poeple there; 
7549   Bot of defense was no bote,
7550   So soffren thei that soffre mote.
7551   Paris unto the queene wente,  
7552   And hire in bothe hise armes hente  
7553   With him and with his felaschipe,
7554   And forth thei bere hire unto Schipe.      
7555   Up goth the Seil and forth thei wente, 
7556   And such a wynd fortune hem sente,  
7557   Til thei the havene of Troie cauhte;
7558   Where out of Schipe anon thei strauhte 
7559   And gon hem forth toward the toun,  
7560   The which cam with processioun
7561   Ayein Paris to sen his preie. 
7562   And every man began to seie
7563   To Paris and his felaschipe
7564   Al that thei couthen of worschipe;  
7565   Was non so litel man in Troie,
7566   That he ne made merthe and joie  
7567   Of that Paris hath wonne Heleine.
7568   Bot al that merthe is sorwe and peine  
7569   To Helenus and to Cassaundre; 
7570   For thei it token schame and sklaundre 
7571   And lost of al the comun grace,  
7572   That Paris out of holi place  
7573   Be Stelthe hath take a mannes wif,  
7574   Wherof that he schal lese his lif
7575   And many a worthi man therto, 
7576   And al the Cite be fordo,  
7577   Which nevere schal be mad ayein. 
7578   And so it fell, riht as thei sein,  
7579   The Sacrilege which he wroghte
7580   Was cause why the Gregois soughte
7581   Unto the toun and it beleie,  
7582   And wolden nevere parte aweie,
7583   Til what be sleihte and what be strengthe 
7584   Thei hadde it wonne in brede and lengthe, 
7585   And brent and slayn that was withinne. 
7586   Now se, mi Sone, which a sinne
7587   Is Sacrilege in holy stede:
7588   Be war therfore and bidd thi bede,  
7589   And do nothing in holy cherche,  
7590   Bot that thou miht be reson werche. 
7591   And ek tak hiede of Achilles, 
7592   Whan he unto his love ches 
7593   Polixena, that was also     
7594   In holi temple of Appollo, 
7595   Which was the cause why he dyde  
7596   And al his lust was leyd asyde.  
7597   And Troilus upon Criseide  
7598   Also his ferste love leide 
7599   In holi place, and hou it ferde, 
7600   As who seith, al the world it herde;
7601   Forsake he was for Diomede,
7602   Such was of love his laste mede. 
7603   Forthi, mi Sone, I wolde rede,
7604   Be this ensample as thou myht rede, 
7605   Sech elles, wher thou wolt, thi grace, 
7606   And war the wel in holi place 
7607   What thou to love do or speke,
7608   In aunter if it so be wreke
7609   As thou hast herd me told before.
7610   And tak good hiede also therfore 
7611   Upon what forme, of Avarice
7612   Mor than of eny other vice,
7613   I have divided in parties  
7614   The branches, whiche of compainies  
7615   Thurghout the world in general
7616   Ben nou the leders overal, 
7617   Of Covoitise and of Perjure,  
7618   Of fals brocage and of Usure, 
7619   Of Skarsnesse and Unkindeschipe, 
7620   Which nevere drouh to felaschipe,
7621   Of Robberie and privi Stelthe,
7622   Which don is for the worldes welthe,
7623   Of Ravine and of Sacrilegge,  
7624   Which makth the conscience agregge; 
7625   Althogh it mai richesse atteigne,
7626   It floureth, bot it schal noght greine 
7627   Unto the fruit of rihtwisnesse.  
7628   Bot who that wolde do largesse
7629   Upon the reule as it is yive, 
7630   So myhte a man in trouthe live
7631   Toward his god, and ek also
7632   Toward the world, for bothe tuo  
7633   Largesse awaiteth as belongeth,  
7634   To neither part that he ne wrongeth;
7635   He kepth himself, he kepth his frendes,
7636   So stant he sauf to bothe hise endes,  
7637   That he excedeth no mesure,
7638   So wel he can himself mesure: 
7639   Wherof, mi Sone, thou schalt wite,  
7640   So as the Philosophre hath write.
7641   Betwen the tuo extremites  
7642   Of vice stant the propretes
7643   Of vertu, and to prove it so  
7644   Tak Avarice and tak also
7645   The vice of Prodegalite;
7646   Betwen hem Liberalite,  
7647   Which is the vertu of Largesse,  
7648   Stant and governeth his noblesse.
7649   For tho tuo vices in discord  
7650   Stonde evere, as I finde of record; 
7651   So that betwen here tuo debat 
7652   Largesse reuleth his astat.
7653   For in such wise as Avarice,  
7654   As I tofore have told the vice,  
7655   Thurgh streit holdinge and thurgh skarsnesse 
7656   Stant in contraire to Largesse,  
7657   Riht so stant Prodegalite  
7658   Revers, bot noght in such degre. 
7659   For so as Avarice spareth, 
7660   And forto kepe his tresor careth,
7661   That other al his oghne and more 
7662   Ayein the wise mannes lore 
7663   Yifth and despendeth hiere and there,  
7664   So that him reccheth nevere where.  
7665   While he mai borwe, he wol despende,
7666   Til ate laste he seith, "I wende";  
7667   Bot that is spoken al to late,
7668   For thanne is poverte ate gate
7669   And takth him evene be the slieve,  
7670   For erst wol he no wisdom lieve. 
7671   And riht as Avarice is Sinne, 
7672   That wolde his tresor kepe and winne,  
7673   Riht so is Prodegalite: 
7674   Bot of Largesse in his degre, 
7675   Which evene stant betwen the tuo,
7676   The hihe god and man also  
7677   The vertu ech of hem commendeth. 
7678   For he himselven ferst amendeth, 
7679   That overal his name spredeth,
7680   And to alle othre, where it nedeth, 
7681   He yifth his good in such a wise,
7682   That he makth many a man arise,  
7683   Which elles scholde falle lowe.  
7684   Largesce mai noght ben unknowe;  
7685   For what lond that he regneth inne, 
7686   It mai noght faile forto winne
7687   Thurgh his decerte love and grace,  
7688   Wher it schal faile in other place. 
7689   And thus betwen tomoche and lyte 
7690   Largesce, which is noght to wyte,
7691   Halt evere forth the middel weie:
7692   Bot who that torne wole aweie 
7693   Fro that to Prodegalite,
7694   Anon he lest the proprete  
7695   Of vertu and goth to the vice;
7696   For in such wise as Avarice
7697   Lest for scarsnesse his goode name, 
7698   Riht so that other is to blame,  
7699   Which thurgh his wast mesure excedeth, 
7700   For noman wot what harm that bredeth.  
7701   Bot mochel joie ther betydeth,    
7702   Wher that largesse an herte guydeth:
7703   For his mesure is so governed,
7704   That he to bothe partz is lerned,
7705   To god and to the world also, 
7706   He doth reson to bothe tuo.
7707   The povere folk of his almesse
7708   Relieved ben in the destresse 
7709   Of thurst, of hunger and of cold;
7710   The yifte of him was nevere sold,
7711   Bot frely yive, and natheles  
7712   The myhti god of his encress  
7713   Rewardeth him of double grace;
7714   The hevene he doth him to pourchace 
7715   And yifth him ek the worldes good:  
7716   And thus the Cote for the hod 
7717   Largesse takth, and yit no Sinne 
7718   He doth, hou so that evere he winne.
7719   What man hath hors men yive him hors,  
7720   And who non hath of him no fors, 
7721   For he mai thanne on fote go; 
7722   The world hath evere stonde so.  
7723   Bot forto loken of the tweie, 
7724   A man to go the siker weie,
7725   Betre is to yive than to take:
7726   With yifte a man mai frendes make,  
7727   Bot who that takth or gret or smal, 
7728   He takth a charge forth withal,  
7729   And stant noght fre til it be quit. 
7730   So forto deme in mannes wit,  
7731   It helpeth more a man to have 
7732   His oghne good, than forto crave 
7733   Of othre men and make him bounde,
7734   Wher elles he mai stonde unbounde.  
7735   Senec conseileth in this wise,
7736   And seith, "Bot, if thi good suffise
7737   Unto the liking of thi wille, 
7738   Withdrawh thi lust and hold the stille,
7739   And be to thi good sufficant."    
7740   For that thing is appourtenant
7741   To trouthe and causeth to be fre 
7742   After the reule of charite,
7743   Which ferst beginneth of himselve.  
7744   For if thou richest othre tuelve,
7745   Wherof thou schalt thiself be povere,  
7746   I not what thonk thou miht recovere.
7747   Whil that a man hath good to yive,  
7748   With grete routes he mai live 
7749   And hath his frendes overal,  
7750   And everich of him telle schal.  
7751   Therwhile he hath his fulle packe,  
7752   Thei seie, "A good felawe is Jacke";
7753   Bot whanne it faileth ate laste, 
7754   Anon his pris thei overcaste, 
7755   For thanne is ther non other lawe
7756   Bot, "Jacke was a good felawe."  
7757   Whan thei him povere and nedy se,
7758   Thei lete him passe and farwel he;  
7759   Al that he wende of compainie 
7760   Is thanne torned to folie. 
7761   Bot nou to speke in other kinde  
7762   Of love, a man mai suche finde,  
7763   That wher thei come in every route  
7764   Thei caste and waste her love aboute,  
7765   Til al here time is overgon,  
7766   And thanne have thei love non:
7767   For who that loveth overal,
7768   It is no reson that he schal  
7769   Of love have eny proprete. 
7770   Forthi, mi Sone, avise thee
7771   If thou of love hast be to large,
7772   For such a man is noght to charge:  
7773   And if it so be that thou hast
7774   Despended al thi time in wast 
7775   And set thi love in sondri place,
7776   Though thou the substance of thi grace     
7777   Lese ate laste, it is no wonder; 
7778   For he that put himselven under, 
7779   As who seith, comun overal,
7780   He lest the love special
7781   Of eny on, if sche be wys; 
7782   For love schal noght bere his pris  
7783   Be reson, whanne it passeth on.  
7784   So have I sen ful many on, 
7785   That were of love wel at ese, 
7786   Whiche after felle in gret desese
7787   Thurgh wast of love, that thei spente  
7788   In sondri places wher thei wente.
7789   Riht so, mi Sone, I axe of thee  
7790   If thou with Prodegalite
7791   Hast hier and ther thi love wasted. 
7792   Mi fader, nay; bot I have tasted 
7793   In many a place as I have go, 
7794   And yit love I nevere on of tho, 
7795   Bot forto drive forth the dai.
7796   For lieveth wel, myn herte is ay 
7797   Withoute mo for everemore  
7798   Al upon on, for I nomore
7799   Desire bot hire love al one:  
7800   So make I many a prive mone,  
7801   For wel I fiele I have despended 
7802   Mi longe love and noght amended  
7803   Mi sped, for oght I finde yit.
7804   If this be wast to youre wit  
7805   Of love, and Prodegalite,  
7806   Nou, goode fader, demeth ye:  
7807   Bot of o thing I wol me schryve, 
7808   That I schal for no love thryve, 
7809   Bot if hirself me wol relieve.
7810   Mi Sone, that I mai wel lieve:
7811   And natheles me semeth so, 
7812   For oght that thou hast yit misdo
7813   Of time which thou hast despended,  
7814   It mai with grace ben amended.
7815   For thing which mai be worth the cost
7816   Per chaunce is nouther wast ne lost;
7817   For what thing stant on aventure,
7818   That can no worldes creature
7819   Telle in certein hou it schal wende,
7820   Til he therof mai sen an ende.
7821   So that I not as yit therfore
7822   If thou, mi Sone, hast wonne or lore:
7823   For ofte time, as it is sene,
7824   Whan Somer hath lost al his grene
7825   And is with Wynter wast and bare,
7826   That him is left nothing to spare,
7827   Al is recovered in a throwe;
7828   The colde wyndes overblowe,
7829   And still be the scharpe schoures,
7830   And soudeinliche ayein his floures
7831   The Somer hapneth and is riche:
7832   And so per cas thi graces liche,
7833   Mi Sone, thogh thou be nou povere
7834   Of love, yit thou miht recovere.
7835     Mi fader, certes grant merci:
7836   Ye have me tawht so redeli,
7837   That evere whil I live schal
7838   The betre I mai be war withal
7839   Of thing which ye have seid er this.
7840   Bot overmore hou that it is,
7841   Toward mi schrifte as it belongeth,
7842   To wite of othre pointz me longeth;
7843   Wherof that ye me wolden teche
7844   With al myn herte I you beseche.

Explicit Liber Quintus.