Romance of the Rose – Fragment A

By Geoffrey Chaucer

RomA 1 Many men sayn that in sweveninges
RomA 2 Ther nys but fables and lesynges;
RomA 3 But men may some sweven[es] sen
RomA 4 Whiche hardely that false ne ben,
RomA 5 But afterward ben apparaunt.
RomA 6 This may I drawe to warraunt
RomA 7 An authour that hight Macrobes,
RomA 8 That halt nat dremes false ne lees,
RomA 9 But undoth us the avysioun
RomA 10 That whilom mette kyng Cipioun.
RomA 11 And whoso saith or weneth it be
RomA 12 A jape, or elles nycete,
RomA 13 To wene that dremes after falle,
RomA 14 Let whoso lyste a fol me calle.
RomA 15 For this trowe I, and say for me,
RomA 16 That dremes signifiaunce be
RomA 17 Of good and harm to many wightes
RomA 18 That dremen in her slep a-nyghtes
RomA 19 Ful many thynges covertly
RomA 20 That fallen after al openly.
RomA 21 Within my twenty yer of age,
RomA 22 Whan that Love taketh his cariage
RomA 23 Of yonge folk, I wente soone
RomA 24 To bedde, as I was wont to done,
RomA 25 And faste I slepte; and in slepyng
RomA 26 Me mette such a swevenyng
RomA 27 That lyked me wonders wel.
RomA 28 But in that sweven is never a del
RomA 29 That it nys afterward befalle,
RomA 30 Ryght as this drem wol tel us alle.
RomA 31 Now this drem wol I ryme aright
RomA 32 To make your hertes gaye and lyght,
RomA 33 For Love it prayeth, and also
RomA 34 Commaundeth me that it be so.
RomA 35 And if there any aske me,
RomA 36 Whether that it be he or she,
RomA 37 How this book, which is here,
RomA 38 Shal hatte, that I rede you here:
RomA 39 It is the Romance of the Rose,
RomA 40 In which al the art of love I close.
RomA 41 The mater fayre is of to make;
RomA 42 God graunt me in gree that she it take
RomA 43 For whom that it begonnen is.
RomA 44 And that is she that hath, ywis,
RomA 45 So mochel pris, and therto she
RomA 46 So worthy is biloved to be,
RomA 47 That she wel ought, of pris and ryght,
RomA 48 Be cleped Rose of every wight.
RomA 49 That it was May me thoughte tho
RomA 50 It is fyve yer or more ago
RomA 51 That it was May, thus dremed me,
RomA 52 In tyme of love and jolite,
RomA 53 That al thing gynneth waxen gay,
RomA 54 For ther is neither busk nor hay
RomA 55 In May that it nyl shrouded ben
RomA 56 And it with newe leves wren.
RomA 57 These wodes eek recoveren grene,
RomA 58 That drie in wynter ben to sene,
RomA 59 And the erthe wexith proud withalle,
RomA 60 For swote dewes that on it falle,
RomA 61 And the pore estat forget
RomA 62 In which that wynter had it set.
RomA 63 And than bycometh the ground so proud
RomA 64 That it wole have a newe shroud,
RomA 65 And makith so queynt his robe and faire
RomA 66 That it hath hewes an hundred payre
RomA 67 Of gras and flouris, ynde and pers,
RomA 68 And many hewes ful dyvers
RomA 69 That is the robe I mene, iwys,
RomA 70 Through which the ground to preisen is.
RomA 71 The briddes that haven left her song,
RomA 72 While thei suffride cold so strong,
RomA 73 In wedres gryl and derk to sighte,
RomA 74 Ben in May for the sonne brighte
RomA 75 So glade that they shewe in syngyng
RomA 76 That in her hertis is sich lykyng
RomA 77 That they mote syngen and be light.
RomA 78 Than doth the nyghtyngale hir myght
RomA 79 To make noyse and syngen blythe,
RomA 80 Than is blisful many sithe
RomA 81 The chelaundre and papyngay,
RomA 82 Than yonge folk entenden ay
RomA 83 Forto ben gay and amorous
RomA 84 The tyme is than so saverous.
RomA 85 Hard is the hert that loveth nought
RomA 86 In May whan al this mirth is wrought,
RomA 87 Whan he may on these braunches here
RomA 88 The smale briddes syngen clere
RomA 89 Her blisful swete song pitous.
RomA 90 And in this sesoun delytous,
RomA 91 Whan love affraieth alle thing,
RomA 92 Me thought a-nyght in my sleping,
RomA 93 Right in my bed, ful redily,
RomA 94 That it was by the morowe erly,
RomA 95 And up I roos and gan me clothe.
RomA 96 Anoon I wissh myn hondis bothe.
RomA 97 A sylvre nedle forth I drough
RomA 98 Out of an aguler queynt ynough,
RomA 99 And gan this nedle threde anon,
RomA 100 For out of toun me list to gon
RomA 101 The song of briddes forto here
RomA 102 That in thise buskes syngen clere.
RomA 103 And in [the] swete seson that leef is,
RomA 104 With a thred bastyng my slevis,
RomA 105 Alone I wente in my plaiyng,
RomA 106 The smale foules song harknyng.
RomA 107 They peyned hem, ful many peyre,
RomA 108 To synge on bowes blosmed feyre.
RomA 109 Joly and gay, ful of gladnesse,
RomA 110 Toward a ryver gan I me dresse
RomA 111 That I herd renne faste by,
RomA 112 For fairer plaiyng non saugh I
RomA 113 Than playen me by that ryver.
RomA 114 For from an hill that stood ther ner
RomA 115 Cam doun the strem ful stif and bold.
RomA 116 Cleer was the water, and as cold
RomA 117 As any welle is, soth to seyne,
RomA 118 And somdel lasse it was than Seyne,
RomA 119 But it was strayghter wel away.
RomA 120 And never saugh I, er that day,
RomA 121 The watir that so wel lyked me,
RomA 122 And wondir glad was I to se
RomA 123 That lusty place and that ryver.
RomA 124 And with that watir, that ran so cler,
RomA 125 My face I wyssh. Tho saugh I well
RomA 126 The botme paved everydell
RomA 127 With gravel, ful of stones shene.
RomA 128 The medewe softe, swote, and grene,
RomA 129 Beet right on the watir syde.
RomA 130 Ful cler was than the morowtyde,
RomA 131 And ful attempre, out of drede.
RomA 132 Tho gan I walke thorough the mede,
RomA 133 Dounward ay in my pleiyng,
RomA 134 The ryver syde costeiyng.
RomA 135 And whan I had a while goon,
RomA 136 I saugh a gardyn right anoon,
RomA 137 Ful long and brood, and everydell
RomA 138 Enclosed was, and walled well
RomA 139 With highe walles enbatailled,
RomA 140 Portraied without and wel entailled
RomA 141 With many riche portraitures.
RomA 142 And bothe the ymages and the peyntures
RomA 143 Gan I biholde bysyly,
RomA 144 And I wole telle you redyly
RomA 145 Of thilk ymages the semblaunce,
RomA 146 As fer as I have in remembraunce.
RomA 147 Amydde saugh I Hate stonde,
RomA 148 That for hir wrathe, yre, and onde,
RomA 149 Semede to ben a mynoresse,
RomA 150 An angry wight, a chideresse;
RomA 151 And ful of gyle and fel corage,
RomA 152 By semblaunt, was that ilk ymage.
RomA 153 And she was nothyng wel arraied,
RomA 154 But lyk a wod womman afraied.
RomA 155 Frounced foule was hir visage,
RomA 156 And grennyng for dispitous rage,
RomA 157 Hir nose snorted up for tene.
RomA 158 Ful hidous was she for to sene,
RomA 159 Ful foul and rusty was she, this.
RomA 160 Hir heed writhen was, ywis,
RomA 161 Ful grymly with a greet towayle.
RomA 162 An ymage of another entayle
RomA 163 A lyft half was hir faste by.
RomA 164 Hir name above hir heed saugh I,
RomA 165 And she was called Felonye.
RomA 166 Another ymage that Vilanye
RomA 167 Clepid was saugh I and fond
RomA 168 Upon the wal on hir right hond.
RomA 169 Vilany was lyk somdell
RomA 170 That other ymage, and, trustith wel,
RomA 171 She semede a wikked creature.
RomA 172 By countenaunce in portrayture
RomA 173 She semed be ful dispitous,
RomA 174 And eek ful proud and outragious.
RomA 175 Wel coude he peynte, I undirtake,
RomA 176 That sich ymage coude make.
RomA 177 Ful foul and cherlyssh semed she,
RomA 178 And eek vylayneus for to be,
RomA 179 And litel coude of norture
RomA 180 To worshipe any creature.
RomA 181 And next was peynted Coveitise,
RomA 182 That eggith folk in many gise
RomA 183 To take and yeve right nought ageyn,
RomA 184 And gret tresouris up to leyn.
RomA 185 And that is she that for usure
RomA 186 Leneth to many a creature
RomA 187 The lasse for the more wynnyng,
RomA 188 So coveitous is her brennyng.
RomA 189 And that is she that penyes fele
RomA 190 Techith for to robbe and stele
RomA 191 These theves and these smale harlotes;
RomA 192 And that is routh, for by her throtes
RomA 193 Ful many oon hangith at the laste.
RomA 194 She makith folk compasse and caste
RomA 195 To taken other folkis thyng
RomA 196 Thorough robberie or myscounting.
RomA 197 And that is she that makith trechoures,
RomA 198 And she makith false pleadoures
RomA 199 That with hir termes and hir domes
RomA 200 Doon maydens, children, and eek gromes
RomA 201 Her heritage to forgo.
RomA 202 Ful croked were hir hondis two,
RomA 203 For Coveitise is evere wod
RomA 204 To gripen other folkis god.
RomA 205 Coveityse, for hir wynnyng,
RomA 206 Ful leef hath other mennes thing.
RomA 207 Another ymage set saugh I
RomA 208 Next Coveitise faste by,
RomA 209 And she was clepid Avarice.
RomA 210 Ful foul in peyntyng was that vice;
RomA 211 Ful fade and caytif was she eek,
RomA 212 And also grene as ony leek.
RomA 213 So yvel hewed was hir colour,
RomA 214 Hir semed to have lyved in langour.
RomA 215 She was lyk thyng for hungre deed,
RomA 216 That ladde hir lyf oonly by breed
RomA 217 Kneden with eisel strong and egre,
RomA 218 And therto she was lene and megre.
RomA 219 And she was clad ful porely
RomA 220 Al in an old torn courtepy,
RomA 221 As she were al with doggis torn;
RomA 222 And bothe bihynde and eke biforn
RomA 223 Clouted was she beggarly.
RomA 224 A mantyl heng hir faste by,
RomA 225 Upon a perche, weik and small;
RomA 226 A burnet cote heng therwithall
RomA 227 Furred with no menyver,
RomA 228 But with a furre rough of her,
RomA 229 Of lambe-skynnes hevy and blake.
RomA 230 It was ful old, I undirtake,
RomA 231 For Avarice to clothe hir well
RomA 232 Ne hastith hir never a dell.
RomA 233 For certeynly it were hir loth
RomA 234 To weren ofte that ilke cloth,
RomA 235 And if it were forwered, she
RomA 236 Wolde have ful gret necessite
RomA 237 Of clothyng er she bought hir newe,
RomA 238 Al were it bad of woll and hewe.
RomA 239 This Avarice hild in hir hand
RomA 240 A purs that heng by a band,
RomA 241 And that she hidde and bond so stronge,
RomA 242 Men must abyde wondir longe
RomA 243 Out of that purs er ther come ought.
RomA 244 For that ne cometh not in hir thought;
RomA 245 It was not, certein, hir entente
RomA 246 That fro that purs a peny wente.
RomA 247 And by that ymage, nygh ynough,
RomA 248 Was peynted Envye, that never lough
RomA 249 Nor never wel in hir herte ferde
RomA 250 But if she outher saugh or herde
RomA 251 Som gret myschaunce or gret disese.
RomA 252 Nothyng may so moch hir plese
RomA 253 As myschef and mysaventure,
RomA 254 Or whan she seeth discomfiture
RomA 255 Upon ony worthy man falle,
RomA 256 Than likith hir wel withalle.
RomA 257 She is ful glad in hir corage,
RomA 258 If she se any gret lynage
RomA 259 Be brought to nought in shamful wise.
RomA 260 And if a man in honour rise,
RomA 261 Or by his wit or by his prowesse,
RomA 262 Of that hath she gret hevynesse.
RomA 263 For, trustith wel, she goth nygh wod
RomA 264 Whan any chaunce happith god.
RomA 265 Envie is of such crueltee
RomA 266 That feith ne trouthe holdith she
RomA 267 To freend ne felawe, bad or good.
RomA 268 Ne she hath kyn noon of hir blood,
RomA 269 That she nys ful her enemy;
RomA 270 She nolde, I dar seyn hardely,
RomA 271 Hir owne fadir ferde well.
RomA 272 And sore abieth she everydell
RomA 273 Hir malice and hir maltalent,
RomA 274 For she is in so gret turment,
RomA 275 And hath such [wo] whan folk doth good
RomA 276 That nygh she meltith for pure wood.
RomA 277 Hir herte kervyth and so brekith
RomA 278 That God the puple wel awrekith.
RomA 279 Envie, iwis, shal nevere lette
RomA 280 Som blame upon the folk to sette.
RomA 281 I trowe that if Envie, iwis,
RomA 282 Knewe the beste man that is
RomA 283 On this side or biyonde the see,
RomA 284 Yit somwhat lakken hym wolde she;
RomA 285 And if he were so hende and wis
RomA 286 That she ne myght al abate his pris,
RomA 287 Yit wolde she blame his worthynesse
RomA 288 Or by hir wordis make it lesse.
RomA 289 I saugh Envie in that peyntyng
RomA 290 Hadde a wondirful lokyng,
RomA 291 For she ne lokide but awry
RomA 292 Or overthwart, all baggyngly.
RomA 293 And she hadde a [foul] usage:
RomA 294 She myght loke in no visage
RomA 295 Of man or womman forth-right pleyn,
RomA 296 But shette hir [oon] eie for disdeyn.
RomA 297 So for envie brenned she
RomA 298 Whan she myght any man se
RomA 299 That fair or worthi were, or wis,
RomA 300 Or elles stod in folkis prys.
RomA 301 Sorowe was peynted next Envie
RomA 302 Upon that wall of masonrye.
RomA 303 But wel was seyn in hir colour
RomA 304 That she hadde lyved in langour;
RomA 305 Hir semede to have the jaunyce.
RomA 306 Nought half so pale was Avarice,
RomA 307 Nor nothyng lyk of lenesse;
RomA 308 For sorowe, thought, and gret distresse,
RomA 309 That she hadde suffred day and nyght,
RomA 310 Made hir ful yelow and nothyng bright,
RomA 311 Ful fade, pale, and megre also.
RomA 312 Was never wight yit half so wo
RomA 313 As that hir semede for to be,
RomA 314 Nor so fulfilled of ire as she.
RomA 315 I trowe that no wight myght hir please
RomA 316 Nor do that thyng that myght hir ease;
RomA 317 Nor she ne wolde hir sorowe slake,
RomA 318 Nor comfort noon unto hir take,
RomA 319 So depe was hir wo bigonnen,
RomA 320 And eek hir hert in angre ronnen.
RomA 321 A sorowful thyng wel semed she,
RomA 322 Nor she hadde nothyng slowe be
RomA 323 For to forcracchen al hir face,
RomA 324 And for to rent in many place
RomA 325 Hir clothis, and for to tere hir swire,
RomA 326 As she that was fulfilled of ire.
RomA 327 And al totorn lay eek hir her
RomA 328 Aboute hir shuldris here and ther,
RomA 329 As she that hadde it al torent
RomA 330 For angre and for maltalent.
RomA 331 And eek I telle you certeynly
RomA 332 How that she wep ful tendirly.
RomA 333 In world nys wight so hard of herte
RomA 334 That hadde sen her sorowes smerte,
RomA 335 That nolde have had of her pyte,
RomA 336 So wo-begon a thyng was she.
RomA 337 She al todassht herself for woo
RomA 338 And smot togyder her hondes two.
RomA 339 To sorowe was she ful ententyf,
RomA 340 That woful recheles caytyf.
RomA 341 Her roughte lytel of playing
RomA 342 Or of clypping or kissyng;
RomA 343 For whoso sorouful is in herte,
RomA 344 Him luste not to play ne sterte,
RomA 345 Ne for to dauncen, ne to synge,
RomA 346 Ne may his herte in temper bringe
RomA 347 To make joye on even or morowe,
RomA 348 For joy is contrarie unto sorowe.
RomA 349 Elde was paynted after this,
RomA 350 That shorter was a foot, iwys,
RomA 351 Than she was wont in her yonghede.
RomA 352 Unneth herself she mighte fede.
RomA 353 So feble and eke so old was she
RomA 354 That faded was al her beaute.
RomA 355 Ful salowe was waxen her colour;
RomA 356 Her heed, for hor, was whyt as flour.
RomA 357 Iwys, great qualm ne were it non,
RomA 358 Ne synne, although her lyf were gon.
RomA 359 Al woxen was her body unwelde,
RomA 360 And drie and dwyned al for elde.
RomA 361 A foul, forwelked thyng was she,
RomA 362 That whylom round and softe had be.
RomA 363 Her eeres shoken faste withalle,
RomA 364 As from her heed they wolde falle;
RomA 365 Her face frounced and forpyned,
RomA 366 And bothe her hondes lorne, fordwyned.
RomA 367 So old she was that she ne wente
RomA 368 A foot, but it were by potente.
RomA 369 The tyme that passeth nyght and day,
RomA 370 And resteles travayleth ay,
RomA 371 And steleth from us so prively
RomA 372 That to us semeth sykerly
RomA 373 That it in oon poynt dwelleth ever
RomA 374 And certes, it ne resteth never,
RomA 375 But goth so faste, and passeth ay,
RomA 376 That ther nys man that thynke may
RomA 377 What tyme that now present is
RomA 378 (Asketh at these clerkes this),
RomA 379 For [er] men thynke it, redily
RomA 380 Thre tymes ben passed by
RomA 381 The tyme, that may not sojourne,
RomA 382 But goth and may never retourne,
RomA 383 As watir that doun renneth ay,
RomA 384 But never drope retourne may;
RomA 385 Ther may nothing as tyme endure,
RomA 386 Metall nor erthely creature,
RomA 387 For alle thing it fret and shall;
RomA 388 The tyme eke that chaungith all,
RomA 389 And all doth waxe and fostred be,
RomA 390 And alle thing distroieth he;
RomA 391 The tyme that eldith our auncessours,
RomA 392 And eldith kynges and emperours,
RomA 393 And that us alle shal overcomen,
RomA 394 Er that deth us shal have nomen;
RomA 395 The tyme that hath al in welde
RomA 396 To elden folk had maad hir elde
RomA 397 So ynly that, to my witing,
RomA 398 She myghte helpe hirsilf nothing,
RomA 399 But turned ageyn unto childhede.
RomA 400 She had nothing hirsilf to lede,
RomA 401 Ne wit ne pithe in hir hold,
RomA 402 More than a child of two yeer old.
RomA 403 But natheles, I trowe that she
RomA 404 Was fair sumtyme, and fresh to se,
RomA 405 Whan she was in hir rightful age,
RomA 406 But she was past al that passage,
RomA 407 And was a doted thing bicomen.
RomA 408 A furred cope on had she nomen;
RomA 409 Wel had she clad hirsilf and warm,
RomA 410 For cold myght elles don hir harm.
RomA 411 These olde folk have alwey cold;
RomA 412 Her kynde is sich, whan they ben old.
RomA 413 Another thing was don there write
RomA 414 That semede lyk an ipocrite,
RomA 415 And it was clepid Poope-Holy.
RomA 416 That ilk is she that pryvely
RomA 417 Ne spareth never a wikked dede,
RomA 418 Whan men of hir taken noon hede,
RomA 419 And maketh hir outward precious,
RomA 420 With pale visage and pitous,
RomA 421 And semeth a simple creature;
RomA 422 But ther nys no mysaventure
RomA 423 That she ne thenkith in hir corage.
RomA 424 Ful lyk to hir was that ymage,
RomA 425 That makid was lyk hir semblaunce.
RomA 426 She was ful symple of countenaunce,
RomA 427 And she was clothed and eke shod
RomA 428 As she were, for the love of God,
RomA 429 Yolden to relygioun,
RomA 430 Sich semede hir devocioun.
RomA 431 A sauter held she fast in honde,
RomA 432 And bisily she gan to fonde
RomA 433 To make many a feynt praiere
RomA 434 To God and to his seyntis dere.
RomA 435 Ne she was gay, ne fresh, ne jolyf,
RomA 436 But semede to be ful ententyf
RomA 437 To gode werkis and to faire,
RomA 438 And therto she had on an haire.
RomA 439 Ne, certis, she was fatt nothing,
RomA 440 But semed wery for fasting;
RomA 441 Of colour pale and deed was she.
RomA 442 From hir the gate ay werned be
RomA 443 Of paradys, that blisful place;
RomA 444 For sich folk maketh lene her face,
RomA 445 As Crist seith in his evangile,
RomA 446 To gete hem prys in toun a while;
RomA 447 And for a litel glorie veine
RomA 448 They lesen God and his reigne.
RomA 449 And alderlast of everychon
RomA 450 Was peynted Povert al aloon,
RomA 451 That not a peny hadde in wolde,
RomA 452 All though she hir clothis solde,
RomA 453 And though she shulde anhonged be,
RomA 454 For nakid as a worm was she.
RomA 455 And if the wedir stormy were,
RomA 456 For cold she shulde have deyed there.
RomA 457 She nadde on but a streit old sak,
RomA 458 And many a clout on it ther stak:
RomA 459 This was hir cote and hir mantell.
RomA 460 No more was there, never a dell,
RomA 461 To clothe hir with, I undirtake;
RomA 462 Gret leyser hadde she to quake.
RomA 463 And she was putt, that I of talke,
RomA 464 Fer fro these other, up in an halke.
RomA 465 There lurked and there coured she,
RomA 466 For pover thing, whereso it be,
RomA 467 Is shamefast and dispised ay.
RomA 468 Acursed may wel be that day
RomA 469 That povere man conceyved is.
RomA 470 For, God wot, al to selde, iwys,
RomA 471 Is ony povere man wel fed,
RomA 472 Or wel araied or [wel] cled,
RomA 473 Or wel biloved, in sich wise
RomA 474 In honour that he may arise.
RomA 475 Alle these thingis, well avised,
RomA 476 As I have you er this devysed,
RomA 477 With gold and asure over all
RomA 478 Depeynted were upon the wall.
RomA 479 Square was the wall, and high sumdell;
RomA 480 Enclosed and barred well,
RomA 481 In stede of hegge, was that gardyn;
RomA 482 Com nevere shepherde theryn.
RomA 483 Into that gardyn, wel wrought,
RomA 484 Whoso that me coude have brought,
RomA 485 By laddre or elles by degre,
RomA 486 It wolde wel have liked me.
RomA 487 For sich solas, sich joie and play,
RomA 488 I trowe that nevere man ne say,
RomA 489 As was in that place delytous.
RomA 490 The gardeyn was not daungerous
RomA 491 To herberwe briddes many oon.
RomA 492 So riche a yer[d] was never noon
RomA 493 Of briddes song and braunches grene;
RomA 494 Therynne were briddes mo, I wene,
RomA 495 Than ben in all the rewme of Fraunce.
RomA 496 Ful blisful was the accordaunce
RomA 497 Of swete and pitous song thei made,
RomA 498 For all this world it owghte glade.
RomA 499 And I mysilf so mery ferde,
RomA 500 Whan I her blisful songes herde,
RomA 501 That for an hundred pound nolde I
RomA 502 (If that the passage openly
RomA 503 Hadde be unto me free)
RomA 504 That I nolde entren for to se
RomA 505 Th’ assemble God kepe it fro care!
RomA 506 Of briddis whiche therynne ware,
RomA 507 That songen thorugh her mery throtes
RomA 508 Daunces of love and mery notes.
RomA 509 Whan I thus herde foules synge,
RomA 510 I fel fast in a weymentynge
RomA 511 By which art or by what engyn
RomA 512 I myght come into that gardyn;
RomA 513 But way I couth. fynde noon
RomA 514 Into that gardyn for to goon.
RomA 515 Ne nought wist I if that ther were
RomA 516 Eyther hole or place [o-]where
RomA 517 By which I myght have entre.
RomA 518 Ne ther was noon to teche me,
RomA 519 For I was al aloone, iwys,
RomA 520 Ful wo and angwishus of this,
RomA 521 Til atte last bithought I me
RomA 522 That by no weye ne myght it be
RomA 523 That ther nas laddre or wey to passe,
RomA 524 Or hole, into so faire a place.
RomA 525 Tho gan I go a full gret pas
RomA 526 Envyronyng evene in compas
RomA 527 The closing of the square wall,
RomA 528 Tyl that I fond a wiket small
RomA 529 So shett that I ne myght in gon,
RomA 530 And other entre was ther noon.
RomA 531 Uppon this dore I gan to smyte,
RomA 532 That was fetys and so lite,
RomA 533 For other wey coude I not seke.
RomA 534 Ful long I shof, and knokkide eke,
RomA 535 And stood ful long and of[t] herknyng,
RomA 536 If that I herde ony wight comyng,
RomA 537 Til that [the] dore of thilk entre
RomA 538 A mayden curteys openyde me.
RomA 539 Hir heer was as yelowe of hewe
RomA 540 As ony basyn scoured newe,
RomA 541 Hir flesh tendre as is a chike,
RomA 542 With bente browis smothe and slyke.
RomA 543 And by mesure large were
RomA 544 The openyng of hir yen clere,
RomA 545 Hir nose of good proporcioun,
RomA 546 Hir yen grey as is a faucoun,
RomA 547 With swete breth and wel savoured,
RomA 548 Hir face whit and wel coloured,
RomA 549 With litel mouth and round to see.
RomA 550 A clove chynne eke hadde she.
RomA 551 Hir nekke was of good fasoun
RomA 552 In lengthe and gretnesse, by resoun,
RomA 553 Withoute bleyne, scabbe, or royne;
RomA 554 Fro Jerusalem unto Burgoyne
RomA 555 Ther nys a fairer nekke, iwys,
RomA 556 To fele how smothe and softe it is.
RomA 557 Hir throte, also whit of hewe
RomA 558 As snowe on braunche snowed newe.
RomA 559 Of body ful wel wrought was she;
RomA 560 Men neded not in no cuntre
RomA 561 A fairer body for to seke.
RomA 562 And of fyn orfrays hadde she eke
RomA 563 A chapelet so semly oon
RomA 564 Ne werede never mayde upon
RomA 565 And faire above that chapelet
RomA 566 A rose gerland had she sett.
RomA 567 She hadde [in honde] a gay mirrour,
RomA 568 And with a riche gold tressour
RomA 569 Hir heed was tressed queyntely,
RomA 570 Hir sleves sewid fetisly,
RomA 571 And for to kepe hir hondis faire
RomA 572 Of gloves white she had a paire.
RomA 573 And she hadde on a cote of grene
RomA 574 Of cloth of Gaunt. Withouten wene,
RomA 575 Wel semyde by hir apparayle
RomA 576 She was not wont to gret travayle,
RomA 577 For whan she kempt was fetisly,
RomA 578 And wel arayed and richely,
RomA 579 Thanne had she don al hir journe,
RomA 580 For merye and wel bigoon was she.
RomA 581 She ladde a lusty lyf in May:
RomA 582 She hadde no thought, by nyght ne day,
RomA 583 Of nothyng, but if it were oonly
RomA 584 To graythe hir wel and uncouthly.
RomA 585 Whan that this dore hadde opened me
RomA 586 This may[de] semely for to see,
RomA 587 I thanked hir as I best myghte,
RomA 588 And axide hir how that she highte,
RomA 589 And what she was I axide eke.
RomA 590 And she to me was nought unmeke,
RomA 591 Ne of hir answer daungerous,
RomA 592 But faire answerde, and seide thus:
RomA 593 “Lo, sir, my name is Ydelnesse;
RomA 594 So clepe men me, more and lesse.
RomA 595 Ful myghty and ful riche am I,
RomA 596 And that of oon thyng namely,
RomA 597 For I entende to nothyng
RomA 598 But to my joye and my pleying,
RomA 599 And for to kembe and tresse me.
RomA 600 Aqueynted am I and pryve
RomA 601 With Myrthe, lord of this gardyn,
RomA 602 That fro the land of Alexandryn
RomA 603 Made the trees hidre be fet
RomA 604 That in this gardyn ben set.
RomA 605 And whan the trees were woxen on highte,
RomA 606 This wall, that stant heere in thi sighte,
RomA 607 Dide Myrthe enclosen al aboute;
RomA 608 And these ymages, al withoute,
RomA 609 He dide hem bothe entaile and peynte,
RomA 610 That neithir ben jolyf ne queynte,
RomA 611 But they ben ful of sorowe and woo,
RomA 612 As thou hast seen a while agoo.
RomA 613 And ofte tyme, hym to solace,
RomA 614 Sir Myrthe cometh into this place,
RomA 615 And eke with hym cometh his meynee
RomA 616 That lyven in lust and jolite.
RomA 617 And now is Myrthe therynne to here
RomA 618 The briddis how they syngen clere,
RomA 619 The mavys and the nyghtyngale,
RomA 620 And other joly briddis smale.
RomA 621 And thus he walketh to solace
RomA 622 Hym and his folk, for swetter place
RomA 623 To pleyen ynne he may not fynde,
RomA 624 Although he sought oon in-tyl Ynde.
RomA 625 The alther-fairest folk to see
RomA 626 That in this world may founde be
RomA 627 Hath Mirthe with hym in his route,
RomA 628 That folowen hym always aboute.”
RomA 629 Whan Ydelnesse had told al this,
RomA 630 And I hadde herkned wel, ywys,
RomA 631 Thanne seide I to dame Ydelnesse,
RomA 632 “Now, also wisly God me blesse,
RomA 633 Sith Myrthe, that is so faire and fre,
RomA 634 Is in this yerde with his meyne,
RomA 635 Fro thilk assemble, if I may,
RomA 636 Shal no man werne me to-day,
RomA 637 That I this nyght ne mote it see.
RomA 638 For wel wene I there with hym be
RomA 639 A fair and joly companye
RomA 640 Fulfilled of alle curtesie.”
RomA 641 And forth, withoute wordis mo,
RomA 642 In at the wiket went I tho,
RomA 643 That Ydelnesse hadde opened me,
RomA 644 Into that gardyn fair to see.
RomA 645 And whan I was inne, iwys,
RomA 646 Myn herte was ful glad of this,
RomA 647 For wel wende I ful sikerly
RomA 648 Have ben in paradys erthly.
RomA 649 So fair it was that, trusteth wel,
RomA 650 It semede a place espirituel,
RomA 651 For certys, as at my devys,
RomA 652 Ther is no place in paradys
RomA 653 So good inne for to dwelle or be
RomA 654 As in that gardyn, thoughte me.
RomA 655 For there was many a bridd syngyng,
RomA 656 Thoroughout the yerd al thringyng;
RomA 657 In many places were nyghtyngales,
RomA 658 Alpes, fynches, and wodewales,
RomA 659 That in her swete song deliten
RomA 660 In thilke places as they habiten.
RomA 661 There myghte men see many flokkes
RomA 662 Of turtles and laverokkes.
RomA 663 Chalaundres fele sawe I there,
RomA 664 That wery, nygh forsongen were;
RomA 665 And thrustles, terins, and mavys,
RomA 666 That songen for to wynne hem prys,
RomA 667 And eke to sormounte in her song
RomA 668 That other briddes hem among.
RomA 669 By note made fair servyse
RomA 670 These briddes, that I you devise;
RomA 671 They songe her song as faire and wel
RomA 672 As angels don espirituel.
RomA 673 And trusteth wel, whan I hem herde,
RomA 674 Ful lustily and wel I ferde,
RomA 675 For never yitt sich melodye
RomA 676 Was herd of man that myghte dye.
RomA 677 Sich swete song was hem among
RomA 678 That me thought it no briddis song,
RomA 679 But it was wondir lyk to be
RomA 680 Song of mermaydens of the see,
RomA 681 That, for her syngyng is so clere,
RomA 682 Though we mermaydens clepe hem here
RomA 683 In English, as is oure usaunce,
RomA 684 Men clepe hem sereyns in Fraunce.
RomA 685 Ententif weren for to synge
RomA 686 These briddis, that nought unkunnynge
RomA 687 Were of her craft, and apprentys,
RomA 688 But of song sotil and wys.
RomA 689 And certis, whan I herde her song,
RomA 690 And saw the grene place among,
RomA 691 In herte I wex so wondir gay
RomA 692 That I was never erst, er that day,
RomA 693 So jolyf nor so wel bigoo,
RomA 694 Ne merye in herte, as I was thoo.
RomA 695 And than wist I and saw ful well
RomA 696 That Ydelnesse me served well,
RomA 697 That me putte in sich jolite.
RomA 698 Hir freend wel ought I for to be,
RomA 699 Sith she the dore of that gardyn
RomA 700 Hadde opened and me leten in.
RomA 701 From hennes forth hou that I wroughte,
RomA 702 I shal you tellen, as me thoughte.
RomA 703 First, whereof Myrthe served there,
RomA 704 And eke what folk there with hym were,
RomA 705 Withoute fable I wol discryve.
RomA 706 And of that gardyn eke as blyve
RomA 707 I wole you tellen aftir this
RomA 708 The faire fasoun all, ywys,
RomA 709 That wel wrought was for the nones.
RomA 710 I may not telle you all at ones,
RomA 711 But, as I may and can, I shall
RomA 712 By ordre tellen you it all.
RomA 713 Ful fair servise and eke ful swete
RomA 714 These briddis maden as they sete.
RomA 715 Layes of love, ful wel sownyng,
RomA 716 They songen in her jargonyng;
RomA 717 Summe high and summe eke lowe songe
RomA 718 Upon the braunches grene spronge.
RomA 719 The swetnesse of her melodye
RomA 720 Made al myn herte in reverye.
RomA 721 And whan that I hadde herd, I trowe,
RomA 722 These briddis syngyng on a rowe,
RomA 723 Than myght I not withholde me
RomA 724 That I ne wente inne for to see
RomA 725 Sir Myrthe, for my desiryng
RomA 726 Was hym to seen, over alle thyng,
RomA 727 His countenaunce and his manere
RomA 728 That sighte was to me ful dere.
RomA 729 Tho wente I forth on my right hond
RomA 730 Doun by a lytel path I fond
RomA 731 Of mentes full, and fenell grene,
RomA 732 And faste by, without wene,
RomA 733 Sir Myrthe I fond, and right anoon
RomA 734 Unto Sir Myrthe gan I goon,
RomA 735 There as he was hym to solace.
RomA 736 And with hym in that lusty place
RomA 737 So fair folk and so fresh had he
RomA 738 That whan I saw, I wondred me
RomA 739 Fro whennes siche folk myght come,
RomA 740 So faire they weren, alle and some;
RomA 741 For they were lyk, as to my sighte,
RomA 742 To angels that ben fethered brighte.
RomA 743 This folk, of which I telle you soo,
RomA 744 Upon a karole wenten thoo.
RomA 745 A lady karolede hem that hyghte
RomA 746 Gladnesse, [the] blissful and the lighte;
RomA 747 Wel coude she synge and lustyly,
RomA 748 Noon half so wel and semely,
RomA 749 And make in song sich refreynynge:
RomA 750 It sat hir wondir wel to synge.
RomA 751 Hir vois ful clere was and ful swete.
RomA 752 She was nought rude ne unmete
RomA 753 But couth. ynow of sich doyng
RomA 754 As longeth unto karolyng,
RomA 755 For she was wont in every place
RomA 756 To syngen first, folk to solace.
RomA 757 For syngyng moost she gaf hir to;
RomA 758 No craft had she so leef to do.
RomA 759 Tho myghtist thou karoles sen,
RomA 760 And folk daunce and mery ben,
RomA 761 And made many a fair tournyng
RomA 762 Upon the grene gras springyng.
RomA 763 There myghtist thou see these flowtours,
RomA 764 Mynstrales, and eke jogelours,
RomA 765 That wel to synge dide her peyne.
RomA 766 Somme songe songes of Loreyne,
RomA 767 For in Loreyn her notes bee
RomA 768 Full swetter than in this contre.
RomA 769 There was many a tymbestere,
RomA 770 And saillouris, that I dar wel swere
RomA 771 Couth. her craft ful parfitly.
RomA 772 The tymbres up ful sotilly
RomA 773 They caste and hente full ofte
RomA 774 Upon a fynger fair and softe,
RomA 775 That they failide never mo.
RomA 776 Ful fetys damyseles two,
RomA 777 Ryght yonge and full of semelyhede,
RomA 778 In kirtles and noon other wede,
RomA 779 And faire tressed every tresse,
RomA 780 Hadde Myrthe doon, for his noblesse,
RomA 781 Amydde the karole for to daunce;
RomA 782 But herof lieth no remembraunce,
RomA 783 Hou that they daunced queyntely.
RomA 784 That oon wolde come all pryvyly
RomA 785 Agayn that other, and whan they were
RomA 786 Togidre almost, they threwe yfere
RomA 787 Her mouthis so that thorough her play
RomA 788 It semed as they kiste alway
RomA 789 To dauncen well koude they the gise.
RomA 790 What shulde I more to you devyse?
RomA 791 Ne bede I never thennes go,
RomA 792 Whiles that I saw hem daunce so.
RomA 793 Upon the karoll wonder faste
RomA 794 I gan biholde, til atte laste
RomA 795 A lady gan me for to espie,
RomA 796 And she was cleped Curtesie,
RomA 797 The worshipfull, the debonaire
RomA 798 I pray to God evere falle hir faire!
RomA 799 Ful curteisly she called me:
RomA 800 “What do ye there, beau ser?” quod she,
RomA 801 “Come and, if it lyke you
RomA 802 To dauncen, dauncith with us now.”
RomA 803 And I, withoute tariyng,
RomA 804 Wente into the karolyng.
RomA 805 I was abasshed never a dell,
RomA 806 But it to me liked right well
RomA 807 That Curtesie me cleped so
RomA 808 And bad me on the daunce go.
RomA 809 For if I hadde durst, certeyn
RomA 810 I wolde have karoled right fayn,
RomA 811 As man that was to daunce right blithe.
RomA 812 Thanne gan I loken ofte sithe
RomA 813 The shap, the bodies, and the cheres,
RomA 814 The countenaunce and the maneres
RomA 815 Of all the folk that daunced there,
RomA 816 And I shal telle what they were.
RomA 817 Ful fair was Myrthe, ful long and high;
RomA 818 A fairer man I nevere sigh.
RomA 819 As round as appil was his face,
RomA 820 Ful rody and whit in every place.
RomA 821 Fetys he was and wel beseye,
RomA 822 With metely mouth and yen greye;
RomA 823 His nose by mesure wrought ful right;
RomA 824 Crisp was his heer, and eek ful bright;
RomA 825 His shuldris of a large brede,
RomA 826 And smalish in the girdilstede.
RomA 827 He semed lyk a portreiture,
RomA 828 So noble he was of his stature,
RomA 829 So fair, so joly, and so fetys,
RomA 830 With lymes wrought at poynt devys,
RomA 831 Delyver, smert, and of gret myght;
RomA 832 Ne sawe thou nevere man so lyght.
RomA 833 Of berd unnethe hadde he nothyng,
RomA 834 For it was in the firste spryng.
RomA 835 Ful yong he was, and mery of thought,
RomA 836 And in samet, with briddis wrought,
RomA 837 And with gold beten ful fetysly,
RomA 838 His body was clad ful richely.
RomA 839 Wrought was his robe in straunge gise,
RomA 840 And al toslytered for queyntise
RomA 841 In many a place, lowe and hie.
RomA 842 And shod he was with gret maistrie,
RomA 843 With shoon decoped, and with laas.
RomA 844 By druery and by solas
RomA 845 His leef a rosyn chapelet
RomA 846 Hadde mad, and on his heed it set.
RomA 847 And wite ye who was his leef?
RomA 848 Dame Gladnesse there was hym so leef,
RomA 849 That syngith so wel with glad courage,
RomA 850 That from she was twelve yeer of age
RomA 851 She of hir love graunt hym made.
RomA 852 Sir Mirthe hir by the fynger hadde
RomA 853 Daunsyng, and she hym also;
RomA 854 Gret love was atwixe hem two.
RomA 855 Bothe were they faire and bright of hewe.
RomA 856 She semed lyk a rose newe
RomA 857 Of colour, and hir flesh so tendre
RomA 858 That with a brere smale and slendre
RomA 859 Men myght it cleve, I dar wel seyn.
RomA 860 Hir forheed, frounceles al pleyn;
RomA 861 Bente were hir browis two,
RomA 862 Hir yen greye and glad also,
RomA 863 That laugheden ay in hir semblaunt
RomA 864 First or the mouth, by covenaunt.
RomA 865 I not what of hir nose descryve,
RomA 866 So fair hath no womman alyve.
RomA 867 Hir heer was yelowe and clere shynyng;
RomA 868 I wot no lady so likyng.
RomA 869 Of orfrays fresh was hir gerland;
RomA 870 I, which seyen have a thousand,
RomA 871 Saugh never, ywys, no gerlond yitt
RomA 872 So wel wrought of silk as it.
RomA 873 And in an overgilt samit
RomA 874 Clad she was, by gret delit,
RomA 875 Of which hir leef a robe werde
RomA 876 The myrier she in hir herte ferde.
RomA 877 And next hir wente, on hir other side,
RomA 878 The God of Love that can devyde
RomA 879 Love, and as hym likith it be.
RomA 880 But he can cherles daunten, he,
RomA 881 And maken folkis pride fallen;
RomA 882 And he can wel these lordis thrallen,
RomA 883 And ladyes putt at lowe degre,
RomA 884 Whan he may hem to p[r]oude see.
RomA 885 This God of Love of his fasoun
RomA 886 Was lyk no knave ne quystroun;
RomA 887 His beaute gretly was to pryse.
RomA 888 But of his robe to devise
RomA 889 I drede encombred for to be;
RomA 890 For nought clad in silk was he,
RomA 891 But all in floures and in flourettes,
RomA 893 And with losenges and scochouns,
RomA 894 With briddes, lybardes, and lyouns,
RomA 895 And other beestis wrought ful well.
RomA 896 His garnement was everydell
RomA 897 Portreied and wrought with floures,
RomA 898 By dyvers medlyng of coloures.
RomA 899 Floures there were of many gise
RomA 900 Sett by compas in assise.
RomA 901 Ther lakkide no flour, to my dom,
RomA 902 Ne nought so mych as flour of brom,
RomA 903 Ne violete, ne eke pervynke,
RomA 904 Ne flour noon that man can on thynke;
RomA 905 And many a rose-leef ful long
RomA 906 Was entermedled theramong.
RomA 907 And also on his heed was set
RomA 908 Of roses reed a chapelett,
RomA 909 But nyghtyngales, a ful gret route,
RomA 910 That flyen over his heed aboute,
RomA 911 The leeves felden as they flyen.
RomA 912 And he was all with briddes wryen,
RomA 913 With popynjay, with nyghtyngale,
RomA 914 With chalaundre, and with wodewale,
RomA 915 With fynch, with lark, and with archaungell.
RomA 916 He semede as he were an aungell
RomA 917 That doun were comen fro hevene cler.
RomA 918 Love hadde with hym a bacheler
RomA 919 That he made alweyes with hym be;
RomA 920 Swete-Lokyng cleped was he.
RomA 921 This bacheler stod biholdyng
RomA 922 The daunce, and in his hond holdyng
RomA 923 Turke bowes two had he.
RomA 924 That oon of hem was of a tree
RomA 925 That bereth a fruyt of savour wykke;
RomA 926 Ful crokid was that foule stikke,
RomA 927 And knotty here and there also,
RomA 928 And blak as bery or ony slo.
RomA 929 That other bowe was of a plante
RomA 930 Withoute wem, I dar warante,
RomA 931 Ful evene and by proporcioun
RomA 932 Treitys and long, of ful good fasoun.
RomA 933 And it was peynted wel and thwyten,
RomA 934 And overal diapred and writen
RomA 935 With ladyes and with bacheleris,
RomA 936 Ful lyghtsom and glad of cheris.
RomA 937 These bowes two held Swete-Lokyng,
RomA 938 That semede lyk no gadelyng.
RomA 939 And ten brode arowis hild he there,
RomA 940 Of which fyve in his right hond were.
RomA 941 But they were shaven wel and dight,
RomA 942 Nokked and fethered right,
RomA 943 And all they were with gold bygoon,
RomA 944 And stronge poynted everychoon,
RomA 945 And sharpe for to kerven well.
RomA 946 But iren was ther noon ne steell,
RomA 947 For al was gold, men myght it see,
RomA 948 Out-take the fetheres and the tree.
RomA 949 The swiftest of these arowis fyve
RomA 950 Out of a bowe for to dryve,
RomA 951 And best fethered for to flee,
RomA 952 And fairest eke, was clepid Beaute.
RomA 953 That other arowe, that hurteth lesse,
RomA 954 Was clepid, as I trowe, Symplesse.
RomA 955 The thridde cleped was Fraunchise,
RomA 956 That fethred was in noble wise
RomA 957 With valour and with curtesye.
RomA 958 The fourthe was cleped Compaignye,
RomA 959 That hevy for to sheten ys.
RomA 960 But whoso shetith right, ywys,
RomA 961 May therwith doon gret harm and wo.
RomA 962 The fifte of these and laste also,
RomA 963 Faire-Semblaunt men that arowe calle,
RomA 964 The leeste grevous of hem alle,
RomA 965 Yit can it make a ful gret wounde.
RomA 966 But he may hope his soris sounde,
RomA 967 That hurt is with that arowe, ywys.
RomA 968 His wo the bet bistowed is,
RomA 969 For he may sonner have gladnesse
RomA 970 His langour oughte be the lesse.
RomA 971 Five arowis were of other gise,
RomA 972 That ben ful foule to devyse,
RomA 973 For shaft and ende, soth for to telle,
RomA 974 Were also blak as fend in helle.
RomA 975 The first of hem is called Pride.
RomA 976 That other arowe next hym biside,
RomA 977 It was cleped Vylanye;
RomA 978 That arowe was al with felonye
RomA 979 Envenymed, and with spitous blame.
RomA 980 The thridde of hem was cleped Shame.
RomA 981 The fourthe Wanhope cleped is.
RomA 982 The fifte, the Newe-Thought, ywys.
RomA 983 These arowis that I speke of heere
RomA 984 Were alle fyve on oon maneere,
RomA 985 And alle were they resemblable.
RomA 986 To hem was wel sittyng and able
RomA 987 The foule croked bowe hidous,
RomA 988 That knotty was and al roynous.
RomA 989 That bowe semede wel to shete
RomA 990 These arowis fyve that ben unmete
RomA 991 And contrarye to that other fyve.
RomA 992 But though I telle not as blyve
RomA 993 Of her power ne of her myght,
RomA 994 Herafter shal I tellen right
RomA 995 The soothe and eke signyfiaunce,
RomA 996 As fer as I have remembraunce.
RomA 997 All shal be seid, I undirtake,
RomA 998 Er of this book an ende I make.
RomA 999 Now come I to my tale ageyn.
RomA 1000 But aldirfirst I wol you seyn
RomA 1001 The fasoun and the countenaunces
RomA 1002 Of all the folk that on the daunce is.
RomA 1003 The God of Love, jolyf and lyght,
RomA 1004 Ladde on his hond a lady bright,
RomA 1005 Of high prys and of gret degre.
RomA 1006 This lady called was Beaute,
RomA 1007 As an arowe, of which I tolde.
RomA 1008 Ful wel thewed was she holde,
RomA 1009 Ne she was derk ne broun, but bright,
RomA 1010 And clere as the mone lyght
RomA 1011 Ageyn whom all the sterres semen
RomA 1012 But smale candels, as we demen.
RomA 1013 Hir flesh was tendre as dew of flour,
RomA 1014 Hir chere was symple as byrde in bour,
RomA 1015 As whyt as lylye or rose in rys,
RomA 1016 Hir face, gentyl and tretys.
RomA 1017 Fetys she was, and smal to se;
RomA 1018 No wyndred browis hadde she,
RomA 1019 Ne popped hir, for it neded nought
RomA 1020 To wyndre hir or to peynte hir ought.
RomA 1021 Hir tresses yelowe and longe straughten,
RomA 1022 Unto hir helys doun they raughten.
RomA 1023 Hir nose, hir mouth, and eye, and cheke
RomA 1024 Wel wrought, and all the remenaunt eke.
RomA 1025 A ful gret savour and a swote
RomA 1026 Me toucheth in myn herte rote,
RomA 1027 As helpe me God, whan I remembre
RomA 1028 Of the fasoun of every membre.
RomA 1029 In world is noon so fair a wight,
RomA 1030 For yong she was, and hewed bright,
RomA 1031 Sore plesaunt, and fetys withall,
RomA 1032 Gente, and in hir myddill small.
RomA 1033 Biside Beaute yede Richesse,
RomA 1034 An high lady of gret noblesse,
RomA 1035 And gret of prys in every place.
RomA 1036 But whoso durste to hir trespace,
RomA 1037 Or til hir folk, in word or dede,
RomA 1038 He were full hardy, out of drede,
RomA 1039 For bothe she helpe and hyndre may.
RomA 1040 And that is nought of yisterday
RomA 1041 That riche folk have full gret myght
RomA 1042 To helpe and eke to greve a wyght.
RomA 1043 The beste and the grettest of valour
RomA 1044 Diden Rychesse ful gret honour,
RomA 1045 And besy weren hir to serve,
RomA 1046 For that they wolde hir love deserve:
RomA 1047 They cleped hir lady, gret and small.
RomA 1048 This wide world hir dredith all;
RomA 1049 This world is all in hir daunger.
RomA 1050 Hir court hath many a losenger,
RomA 1051 And many a traytour envyous,
RomA 1052 That ben ful besy and curyous
RomA 1053 For to dispreisen and to blame
RomA 1054 That best deserven love and name.
RomA 1055 Bifore the folk, hem to bigilen,
RomA 1056 These losengeris hem preyse and smylen,
RomA 1057 And thus the world with word anoynten;
RomA 1058 And aftirward they prikke and poynten
RomA 1059 The folk right to the bare boon,
RomA 1060 Bihynde her bak whan they ben goon,
RomA 1061 And foule abate the folkis prys.
RomA 1062 Ful many a worthy man and wys,
RomA 1063 An hundred, have [they] do to dye.
RomA 1064 These losengers thorough flaterye
RomA 1065 Have made folk ful straunge be,
RomA 1066 There hem oughte be pryve.
RomA 1067 Wel yvel mote they thryve and thee,
RomA 1068 And yvel aryved mote they be,
RomA 1069 These losengers, ful of envye!
RomA 1070 No good man loveth her companye.
RomA 1071 Richesse a robe of purpur on hadde
RomA 1072 Ne trowe not that I lye or madde,
RomA 1073 For in this world is noon it lyche,
RomA 1074 Ne by a thousand deell so riche,
RomA 1075 Ne noon so fair; for it ful well
RomA 1076 With orfrays leyd was everydeell,
RomA 1077 And portraied in the ribanynges
RomA 1078 Of dukes storyes, and of kynges,
RomA 1079 And with a bend of gold tasseled,
RomA 1080 And knoppis fyne of gold ameled.
RomA 1081 Aboute hir nekke of gentyl entayle
RomA 1082 Was shet the riche chevesaile,
RomA 1083 In which ther was full gret plente
RomA 1084 Of stones clere and bright to see.
RomA 1085 Rychesse a girdell hadde upon,
RomA 1086 The bokel of it was of a stoon
RomA 1087 Of vertu gret and mochel of myght,
RomA 1088 For whoso bar the stoon so bright,
RomA 1089 Of venym durst hym nothing doute,
RomA 1090 While he the stoon hadde hym aboute.
RomA 1091 That stoon was gretly for to love,
RomA 1092 And tyl a riche mannes byhove
RomA 1093 Worth all the gold in Rome and Frise.
RomA 1094 The mourdaunt wrought in noble wise
RomA 1095 Was of a stoon full precious,
RomA 1096 That was so fyn and vertuous
RomA 1097 That hol a man it koude make
RomA 1098 Of palasie and toth-ake.
RomA 1099 And yit the stoon hadde such a grace
RomA 1100 That he was siker in every place,
RomA 1101 All thilke day, not blynd to ben,
RomA 1102 That fastyng myghte that stoon seen.
RomA 1103 The barres were of gold ful fyn
RomA 1104 Upon a tyssu of satyn,
RomA 1105 Full hevy, gret, and nothyng lyght;
RomA 1106 In everich was a besaunt-wight.
RomA 1107 Upon the tresses of Richesse
RomA 1108 Was sette a cercle, for noblesse,
RomA 1109 Of brend gold that full lyghte shoon;
RomA 1110 So fair, trowe I, was never noon.
RomA 1111 But he were kunnyng, for the nonys,
RomA 1112 That koude devyse all the stonys
RomA 1113 That in that cercle shewen clere.
RomA 1114 It is a wondir thing to here,
RomA 1115 For no man koude preyse or gesse
RomA 1116 Of hem the valewe or richesse.
RomA 1117 Rubyes there were, saphires, jagounces,
RomA 1118 And emeraudes, more than two ounces,
RomA 1119 But all byfore, ful sotilly,
RomA 1120 A fyn charboncle set saugh I.
RomA 1121 The stoon so clere was and so bright
RomA 1122 That, also soone as it was nyght,
RomA 1123 Men myghte seen to go, for nede,
RomA 1124 A myle or two in lengthe and brede.
RomA 1125 Sich lyght sprang out of the ston
RomA 1126 That Richesse wondir brighte shon,
RomA 1127 Bothe hir heed and all hir face,
RomA 1128 And eke aboute hir al the place.
RomA 1129 Dame Richesse on hir hond gan lede
RomA 1130 A yong man ful of semelyhede,
RomA 1131 That she best loved of ony thing.
RomA 1132 His lust was mych in housholding.
RomA 1133 In clothyng was he ful fetys,
RomA 1134 And loved well to have hors of prys.
RomA 1135 He wende to have reproved be
RomA 1136 Of theft or moordre if that he
RomA 1137 Hadde in his stable ony hakeney.
RomA 1138 And therfore he desired ay
RomA 1139 To be aqueynted with Richesse,
RomA 1140 For all his purpos, as I gesse,
RomA 1141 Was forto make gret dispense,
RomA 1142 Withoute wernyng or diffense.
RomA 1143 And Richesse myght it wel sustene,
RomA 1144 And hir dispence well mayntene,
RomA 1145 And hym alwey sich plente sende
RomA 1146 Of gold and silver for to spende
RomA 1147 Withoute lakking or daunger,
RomA 1148 As it were poured in a garner.
RomA 1149 And after on the daunce wente
RomA 1150 Largesse, that settith al hir entente
RomA 1151 For to be honourable and free.
RomA 1152 Of Alexandres kyn was she.
RomA 1153 Hir most joye was, ywys,
RomA 1154 Whan that she yaf and seide, “Have this.”
RomA 1155 Not Avarice, the foule caytyf,
RomA 1156 Was half to gripe so ententyf,
RomA 1157 As Largesse is to yeve and spende;
RomA 1158 And God ynough alwey hir sende,
RomA 1159 So that the more she yaf awey
RomA 1160 The more, ywys, she hadde alwey.
RomA 1161 Gret loos hath Largesse and gret pris,
RomA 1162 For bothe [wys] folk and unwys
RomA 1163 Were hooly to hir baundon brought,
RomA 1164 So wel with yiftes hath she wrought.
RomA 1165 And if she hadde an enemy,
RomA 1166 I trowe that she coude tristily
RomA 1167 Make hym full soone hir freend to be,
RomA 1168 So large of yift and free was she.
RomA 1169 Therfore she stod in love and grace
RomA 1170 Of riche and pover in every place.
RomA 1171 A full gret fool is he, ywys,
RomA 1172 That bothe riche and nygard is.
RomA 1173 A lord may have no maner vice
RomA 1174 That greveth more than avarice,
RomA 1175 For nygart never with strengthe of hond
RomA 1176 May wynne gret lordship or lond,
RomA 1177 For freendis all to fewe hath he
RomA 1178 To doon his will perfourmed be.
RomA 1179 And whoso wole have freendis heere,
RomA 1180 He may not holde his tresour deere.
RomA 1181 For by ensample I telle this:
RomA 1182 Right as an adamaunt, iwys,
RomA 1183 Can drawen to hym sotylly
RomA 1184 The iren that is leid therby,
RomA 1185 So drawith folkes hertis, ywis,
RomA 1186 Silver and gold that yeven is.
RomA 1187 Largesse hadde on a robe fresh
RomA 1188 Of riche purpur Sarsynesh.
RomA 1189 Wel fourmed was hir face and cleer,
RomA 1190 And opened hadde she hir coler,
RomA 1191 For she right there hadde in present
RomA 1192 Unto a lady maad present
RomA 1193 Of a gold broche, ful wel wrought.
RomA 1194 And certys, it myssat hir nought,
RomA 1195 For thorough hir smokke, wrought with silk,
RomA 1196 The flesh was seen as whit as mylk.
RomA 1197 Largesse, that worthy was and wys,
RomA 1198 Hild by the hond a knyght of prys,
RomA 1199 Was sib to Artour of Britaigne,
RomA 1200 And that was he that bar the ensaigne
RomA 1201 Of worship and the gounfanoun.
RomA 1202 And yit he is of sich renoun
RomA 1203 That men of hym seye faire thynges
RomA 1204 Byfore barouns, erles, and kynges.
RomA 1205 This knyght was comen all newely
RomA 1206 Fro tourneiynge faste by;
RomA 1207 There hadde he don gret chyvalrie
RomA 1208 Thorough his vertu and his maistrie;
RomA 1209 And for the love of his lemman
RomA 1210 He caste doun many a doughty man.
RomA 1211 And next hym daunced dame Fraunchise,
RomA 1212 Arayed in full noble gyse.
RomA 1213 She was not broun ne dun of hewe,
RomA 1214 But whit as snow fallen newe.
RomA 1215 Hir nose was wrought at poynt devys,
RomA 1216 For it was gentyl and tretys,
RomA 1217 With eyen gladde, and browes bente.
RomA 1218 Hir heer doun to hir helis wente,
RomA 1219 And she was symple as dowve on tree.
RomA 1220 Ful debonaire of herte was she.
RomA 1221 She durst never seyn ne do
RomA 1222 But that that hir longed to;
RomA 1223 And if a man were in distresse,
RomA 1224 And for hir love in hevynesse,
RomA 1225 Hir herte wolde have full gret pite,
RomA 1226 She was so amiable and free.
RomA 1227 For were a man for hir bistad,
RomA 1228 She wolde ben right sore adrad
RomA 1229 That she dide over-gret outrage,
RomA 1230 But she hym holpe his harm to aswage;
RomA 1231 Hir thought it elles a vylanye.
RomA 1232 And she hadde on a sukkenye,
RomA 1233 That not of hempene heerdis was
RomA 1234 So fair was noon in all Arras.
RomA 1235 Lord, it was ridled fetysly!
RomA 1236 Ther nas [nat] a poynt, trewely,
RomA 1237 That it nas in his right assise.
RomA 1238 Full wel clothed was Fraunchise,
RomA 1239 For ther is no cloth sittith bet
RomA 1240 On damysell than doth roket.
RomA 1241 A womman wel more fetys is
RomA 1242 In roket than in cote, ywis.
RomA 1243 The whyte roket, rydled faire,
RomA 1244 Bitokeneth that full debonaire
RomA 1245 And swete was she that it ber.
RomA 1246 Bi hir daunced a bacheler.
RomA 1247 I can not telle you what he highte,
RomA 1248 But faire he was and of good highte,
RomA 1249 All hadde he be, I sey no more,
RomA 1250 The lordis sone of Wyndesore.
RomA 1251 And next that daunced Curtesye,
RomA 1252 That preised was of lowe and hye,
RomA 1253 For neither proud ne fool was she.
RomA 1254 She for to daunce called me
RomA 1255 (I pray God yeve hir right good grace!),
RomA 1256 Whanne I com first into the place.
RomA 1257 She was not nyce ne outrageous,
RomA 1258 But wys and war and vertuous,
RomA 1259 Of fair speche and of fair answere.
RomA 1260 Was never wight mysseid of here;
RomA 1261 She bar rancour to no wight.
RomA 1262 Clere broun she was, and therto bright
RomA 1263 Of face, of body avenaunt
RomA 1264 I wot no lady so plesaunt.
RomA 1265 She [were] worthy for to bene
RomA 1266 An emperesse or crowned quene.
RomA 1267 And by hir wente a knyght dauncyng,
RomA 1268 That worthy was and wel spekyng,
RomA 1269 And ful wel koude he don honour.
RomA 1270 The knyght was fair and styf in stour,
RomA 1271 And in armure a semely man,
RomA 1272 And wel biloved of his lemman.
RomA 1273 Faire Idilnesse thanne saugh I,
RomA 1274 That alwey was me faste by.
RomA 1275 Of hir have I, withoute fayle,
RomA 1276 Told yow the shap and apparayle;
RomA 1277 For (as I seide) loo, that was she
RomA 1278 That dide to me so gret bounte
RomA 1279 That she the gate of the gardyn
RomA 1280 Undide and let me passen in.
RomA 1281 And after daunced, as I gesse,
RomA 1282 [Youthe], fulfilled of lustynesse,
RomA 1283 That nas not yit twelve yeer of age,
RomA 1284 With herte wylde and thought volage.
RomA 1285 Nyce she was, but she ne mente
RomA 1286 Noon harm ne slight in hir entente,
RomA 1287 But oonly lust and jolyte;
RomA 1288 For yonge folk, wel witen ye,
RomA 1289 Have lytel thought but on her play.
RomA 1290 Hir lemman was biside alway
RomA 1291 In sich a gise that he hir kyste
RomA 1292 At alle tymes that hym lyste,
RomA 1293 That all the daunce myght it see.
RomA 1294 They make no force of pryvete,
RomA 1295 For who spake of hem yvel or well,
RomA 1296 They were ashamed never a dell,
RomA 1297 But men myght seen hem kisse there
RomA 1298 As it two yonge dowves were.
RomA 1299 For yong was thilke bacheler;
RomA 1300 Of beaute wot I noon his per.
RomA 1301 And he was right of sich an age
RomA 1302 As Youthe his leef, and sich corage.
RomA 1303 The lusty folk thus daunced there,
RomA 1304 And also other that with hem were,
RomA 1305 That weren alle of her meyne;
RomA 1306 Ful hende folk and wys and free,
RomA 1307 And folk of faire port, truely,
RomA 1308 There weren alle comunly.
RomA 1309 Whanne I hadde seen the countenaunces
RomA 1310 Of hem that ladden thus these daunces,
RomA 1311 Thanne hadde I will to gon and see
RomA 1312 The gardyn that so lyked me,
RomA 1313 And loken on these faire loreres,
RomA 1314 On pyntrees, cedres, and oliveris.
RomA 1315 The daunces thanne eended were,
RomA 1316 For many of them that daunced there
RomA 1317 Were with her loves went awey
RomA 1318 Undir the trees to have her pley.
RomA 1319 A, Lord, they lyved lustyly!
RomA 1320 A gret fool were he, sikirly,
RomA 1321 That nolde, his thankes, such lyf lede!
RomA 1322 For this dar I seyn, oute of drede,
RomA 1323 That whoso myghte so wel fare,
RomA 1324 For better lyf durst hym not care;
RomA 1325 For ther nys so good paradys
RomA 1326 As to have a love at his devys.
RomA 1327 Oute of that place wente I thoo,
RomA 1328 And in that gardyn gan I goo,
RomA 1329 Pleyyng along full meryly.
RomA 1330 The God of Love full hastely
RomA 1331 Unto hym Swete-Lokyng clepte;
RomA 1332 No lenger wolde he that he kepte
RomA 1333 His bowe of gold, that shoon so bright.
RomA 1334 He bad hym bende [it] anoon ryght,
RomA 1335 And he full soone [it] sette an-ende,
RomA 1336 And at a braid he gan it bende,
RomA 1337 And tok hym of his arowes fyve,
RomA 1338 Full sharp and redy for to dryve.
RomA 1339 Now God, that sittith in mageste,
RomA 1340 Fro deedly woundes he kepe me,
RomA 1341 If so be that he hadde me shette!
RomA 1342 For if I with his arowe mette,
RomA 1343 It hadde me greved sore, iwys.
RomA 1344 But I, that nothyng wist of this,
RomA 1345 Wente up and doun full many a wey,
RomA 1346 And he me folwed fast alwey,
RomA 1347 But nowhere wold I reste me,
RomA 1348 Till I hadde in all the gardyn be.
RomA 1349 The gardyn was, by mesuryng,
RomA 1350 Right evene and square in compassing:
RomA 1351 It as long was as it was large.
RomA 1352 Of fruyt hadde every tree his charge,
RomA 1353 But it were any hidous tree,
RomA 1354 Of which ther were two or three.
RomA 1355 There were, and that wot I full well,
RomA 1356 Of pome-garnettys a full gret dell;
RomA 1357 That is a fruyt full well to lyke,
RomA 1358 Namely to folk whanne they ben sike.
RomA 1359 And trees there were, gret foisoun,
RomA 1360 That baren notes in her sesoun,
RomA 1361 Such as men notemygges calle,
RomA 1362 That swote of savour ben withalle.
RomA 1363 And alemandres gret plente,
RomA 1364 Fyges, and many a date-tree
RomA 1365 There wexen, if men hadde nede,
RomA 1366 Thorough the gardyn in length and brede.
RomA 1367 Ther was eke wexyng many a spice,
RomA 1368 As clowe-gelofre and lycorice,
RomA 1369 Gyngevre and greyn de parys,
RomA 1370 Canell and setewale of prys,
RomA 1371 And many a spice delitable
RomA 1372 To eten whan men rise fro table.
RomA 1373 And many homly trees ther were
RomA 1374 That peches, coynes, and apples beere,
RomA 1375 Medlers, plowmes, perys, chesteynes,
RomA 1376 Cherys, of which many oon fayn is,
RomA 1377 Notes, aleys, and bolas,
RomA 1378 That for to seen it was solas.
RomA 1379 With many high lorer and pyn
RomA 1380 Was renged clene all that gardyn,
RomA 1381 With cipres and with olyveres,
RomA 1382 Of which that nygh no plente heere is.
RomA 1383 There were elmes grete and stronge,
RomA 1384 Maples, assh, ok, asp, planes longe,
RomA 1385 Fyn ew, popler, and lyndes faire,
RomA 1386 And othere trees full many a payre.
RomA 1387 What shulde I tel you more of it?
RomA 1388 There were so many trees yit,
RomA 1389 That I shulde al encombred be
RomA 1390 Er I had rekened every tree.
RomA 1391 These trees were set, that I devyse,
RomA 1392 Oon from another, in assyse,
RomA 1393 Fyve fadome or sixe, I trowe so;
RomA 1394 But they were hye and great also,
RomA 1395 And for to kepe out wel the sonne,
RomA 1396 The croppes were so thicke ronne,
RomA 1397 And every braunche in other knet
RomA 1398 And ful of grene leves set,
RomA 1399 That sonne myght there non discende,
RomA 1400 Lest [it] the tender grasses shende.
RomA 1401 There myght men does and roes se,
RomA 1402 And of squyrels ful great plente
RomA 1403 From bowe to bowe alway lepynge.
RomA 1404 Conies there were also playinge,
RomA 1405 That comyn out of her clapers,
RomA 1406 Of sondrie colours and maners,
RomA 1407 And maden many a tourneying
RomA 1408 Upon the fresshe grass spryngyng.
RomA 1409 In places saw I welles there,
RomA 1410 In whiche there no frogges were,
RomA 1411 And fayr in shadowe was every welle.
RomA 1412 But I ne can the nombre telle
RomA 1413 Of stremys smal that by devys
RomA 1414 Myrthe had don come through condys,
RomA 1415 Of whiche the water in rennyng
RomA 1416 Gan make a noyse ful lykyng.
RomA 1417 About the brinkes of these welles,
RomA 1418 And by the stremes overal elles,
RomA 1419 Sprang up the grass, as thicke set
RomA 1420 And softe as any veluet,
RomA 1421 On which men myght his lemman leye
RomA 1422 As on a fetherbed to pleye,
RomA 1423 For the erthe was ful softe and swete.
RomA 1424 Through moisture of the welle wete
RomA 1425 Sprong up the sote grene gras
RomA 1426 As fayre, as thicke, as myster was.
RomA 1427 But moche amended it the place
RomA 1428 That th’ erthe was of such a grace
RomA 1429 That it of floures hath plente,
RomA 1430 That bothe in somer and wynter be.
RomA 1431 There sprang the vyolet al newe,
RomA 1432 And fressh pervynke, riche of hewe,
RomA 1433 And floures yelowe, white, and rede
RomA 1434 Such plente grew there never in mede.
RomA 1435 Ful gay was al the ground, and queynt,
RomA 1436 And poudred, as men had it peynt,
RomA 1437 With many a fressh and sondri flour,
RomA 1438 That casten up ful good savour.
RomA 1439 I wol nat longe holde you in fable
RomA 1440 Of al this garden dilectable.
RomA 1441 I mot my tonge stynten nede,
RomA 1442 For I ne may, withouten drede,
RomA 1443 Naught tellen you the beaute al,
RomA 1444 Ne half the bounte therewithal.
RomA 1445 I went on right hond and on left
RomA 1446 About the place; it was nat left,
RomA 1447 Tyl I had [in] al the garden ben,
RomA 1448 In the estres that men myghte sen.
RomA 1449 And thus while I wente in my play,
RomA 1450 The God of Love me folowed ay,
RomA 1451 Right as an hunter can abyde
RomA 1452 The beest, tyl he seeth his tyde
RomA 1453 To sheten at good mes to the der,
RomA 1454 Whan that hym nedeth go no ner.
RomA 1455 And so befyl, I rested me
RomA 1456 Besydes a wel, under a tree,
RomA 1457 Which tree in Fraunce men cal a pyn.
RomA 1458 But sithe the tyme of Kyng Pepyn,
RomA 1459 Ne grew there tree in mannes syghte
RomA 1460 So fayr, ne so wel woxe in highte
RomA 1461 In al that yard so high was non.
RomA 1462 And springyng in a marble ston
RomA 1463 Had Nature set, the sothe to telle,
RomA 1464 Under that pyn-tree a welle.
RomA 1465 And on the border, al withoute,
RomA 1466 Was written in the ston aboute,
RomA 1467 Letters smal that sayden thus,
RomA 1468 “Here starf the fayre Narcisus.”
RomA 1469 Narcisus was a bacheler
RomA 1470 That Love had caught in his danger,
RomA 1471 And in his net gan hym so strayne,
RomA 1472 And dyd him so to wepe and playne,
RomA 1473 That nede him must his lyf forgo.
RomA 1474 For a fayr lady that hight Echo
RomA 1475 Him loved over any creature,
RomA 1476 And gan for hym such payne endure
RomA 1477 That on a tyme she him tolde
RomA 1478 That if he her loven nolde,
RomA 1479 That her behoved nedes dye;
RomA 1480 There laye non other remedye.
RomA 1481 But natheles for his beaute
RomA 1482 So feirs and daungerous was he
RomA 1483 That he nolde graunten hir askyng,
RomA 1484 For wepyng ne for fair praiyng.
RomA 1485 And whanne she herde hym werne [her] soo,
RomA 1486 She hadde in herte so gret woo,
RomA 1487 And took it in so gret dispit,
RomA 1488 That she, withoute more respit,
RomA 1489 Was deed anoon. But er she deide,
RomA 1490 Full pitously to God she preide
RomA 1491 That proude-hertid Narcisus,
RomA 1492 That was in love so daungerous,
RomA 1493 Myght on a day ben hampred so
RomA 1494 For love, and ben so hoot for woo,
RomA 1495 That never he myght to joye atteyne,
RomA 1496 And that he shulde feele in every veyne
RomA 1497 What sorowe trewe lovers maken,
RomA 1498 That ben so vilaynsly forsaken.
RomA 1499 This prayer was but resonable;
RomA 1500 Therfore God held it ferme and stable.
RomA 1501 For Narcisus, shortly to telle,
RomA 1502 By aventure com to that welle
RomA 1503 To reste hym in that shadowing
RomA 1504 A day whanne he com fro huntyng.
RomA 1505 This Narcisus hadde suffred paynes
RomA 1506 For rennyng alday in the playnes,
RomA 1507 And was for thurst in gret distresse
RomA 1508 Of heet and of his werynesse
RomA 1509 That hadde his breth almost bynomen.
RomA 1510 Whanne he was to that welle comen,
RomA 1511 That shadowid was with braunches grene,
RomA 1512 He thoughte of thilke water shene
RomA 1513 To drynke, and fresshe hym wel withalle.
RomA 1514 And doun on knees he gan to falle,
RomA 1515 And forth his heed and necke he straughte
RomA 1516 To drynken of that welle a draughte.
RomA 1517 And in the water anoon was seene
RomA 1518 His nose, his mouth, his yen sheene,
RomA 1519 And he therof was all abasshed.
RomA 1520 His owne shadowe had hym bytrasshed,
RomA 1521 For well wende he the forme see
RomA 1522 Of a child of gret beaute.
RomA 1523 Well kouth. Love hym wreke thoo
RomA 1524 Of daunger and of pride also,
RomA 1525 That Narcisus somtyme hym beer.
RomA 1526 He quytte hym well his guerdoun ther,
RomA 1527 For he musede so in the welle
RomA 1528 That, shortly all the sothe to telle,
RomA 1529 He lovede his owne shadowe soo
RomA 1530 That atte laste he starf for woo.
RomA 1531 For whanne he saugh that he his wille
RomA 1532 Myght in no maner wey fulfille,
RomA 1533 And that he was so faste caught
RomA 1534 That he hym kouth. comfort nought,
RomA 1535 He loste his wit right in that place,
RomA 1536 And diede withynne a lytel space.
RomA 1537 And thus his warisoun he took
RomA 1538 For the lady that he forsook.
RomA 1539 Ladyes, I preye ensample takith,
RomA 1540 Ye that ageyns youre love mistakith,
RomA 1541 For if her deth be yow to wite,
RomA 1542 God kan ful well youre while quyte.
RomA 1543 Whanne that this lettre of which I telle
RomA 1544 Hadde taught me that it was the welle
RomA 1545 Of Narcisus in his beaute,
RomA 1546 I gan anoon withdrawe me,
RomA 1547 Whanne it fel in my remembraunce
RomA 1548 That hym bitidde such myschaunce.
RomA 1549 But at the laste thanne thought I
RomA 1550 That scatheles, full sykerly,
RomA 1551 I myght unto the welle goo.
RomA 1552 Wherof shulde I abasshen soo?
RomA 1554 And doun I loutede for to see
RomA 1555 The clere water in the stoon,
RomA 1556 And eke the gravell, which that shoon
RomA 1557 Down in the botme as silver fyn,
RomA 1558 For of the well this is the fyn:
RomA 1559 In world is noon so cler of hewe.
RomA 1560 The water is evere fresh and newe,
RomA 1561 That welmeth up with wawis brighte
RomA 1562 The mountance of two fynger highte.
RomA 1563 Abouten it is gras spryngyng,
RomA 1564 For moiste so thikke and wel likyng
RomA 1565 That it ne may in wynter dye
RomA 1566 No more than may the see be drye.
RomA 1567 Down at the botme set saw I
RomA 1568 Two cristall stonys craftely
RomA 1569 In thilke freshe and faire welle.
RomA 1570 But o thing sothly dar I telle,
RomA 1571 That ye wole holde a gret mervayle
RomA 1572 Whanne it is told, withouten fayle.
RomA 1573 For whanne the sonne, cler in sighte,
RomA 1574 Cast in that well his bemys brighte,
RomA 1575 And that the heete descendid is,
RomA 1576 Thanne taketh the cristall stoon, ywis,
RomA 1577 Agayn the sonne an hundrid hewis,
RomA 1578 Blew, yelow, and red, that fresh and newe is.
RomA 1579 Yitt hath the merveilous cristall
RomA 1580 Such strengthe that the place overall,
RomA 1581 Bothe flour and tree and leves grene
RomA 1582 And all the yerd in it is seene.
RomA 1583 And for to don you to undirstonde,
RomA 1584 To make ensample wole I fonde.
RomA 1585 Ryght as a myrrour openly
RomA 1586 Shewith all thing that stondith therby,
RomA 1587 As well the colour as the figure,
RomA 1588 Withouten ony coverture,
RomA 1589 Right so the cristall stoon shynyng
RomA 1590 Withouten ony disseyvyng
RomA 1591 The estrees of the yerd accusith
RomA 1592 To hym that in the water musith.
RomA 1593 For evere, in which half that he be,
RomA 1594 He may well half the gardyn se,
RomA 1595 And if he turne, he may right well
RomA 1596 Sen the remenaunt everydell.
RomA 1597 For ther is noon so litil thyng
RomA 1598 So hid, ne closid with shittyng,
RomA 1599 That it ne is sene, as though it were
RomA 1600 Peyntid in the cristall there.
RomA 1601 This is the mirrour perilous
RomA 1602 In which the proude Narcisus
RomA 1603 Saw all his face fair and bright,
RomA 1604 That made hym sithe to ligge upright.
RomA 1605 For whoso loketh in that mirrour,
RomA 1606 Ther may nothyng ben his socour
RomA 1607 That he ne shall there sen somthyng
RomA 1608 That shal hym lede into lovyng.
RomA 1609 Full many worthy man hath it
RomA 1610 Blent, for folk of grettist wit
RomA 1611 Ben soone caught heere and awayted;
RomA 1612 Withouten respit ben they baited.
RomA 1613 Heere comth to folk of newe rage;
RomA 1614 Heere chaungith many wight corage;
RomA 1615 Heere lith no red ne wit therto;
RomA 1616 For Venus sone, daun Cupido,
RomA 1617 Hath sowen there of love the seed,
RomA 1618 That help ne lith there noon, ne red,
RomA 1619 So cerclith it the welle aboute.
RomA 1620 His gynnes hath he sette withoute,
RomA 1621 Ryght for to cacche in his panters
RomA 1622 These damoysels and bachelers.
RomA 1623 Love will noon other bridde[s] cacche,
RomA 1624 Though he sette either net or lacche.
RomA 1625 And for the seed that heere was sowen,
RomA 1626 This welle is clepid, as well is knowen,
RomA 1627 The Welle of Love, of verray right,
RomA 1628 Of which ther hath ful many a wight
RomA 1629 Spoken in bookis dyversely.
RomA 1630 But they shull never so verily
RomA 1631 Descripcioun of the welle heere,
RomA 1632 Ne eke the sothe of this matere,
RomA 1633 As ye shull, whanne I have undo
RomA 1634 The craft that hir bilongith too.
RomA 1635 Allway me liked for to dwelle
RomA 1636 To sen the cristall in the welle
RomA 1637 That shewide me full openly
RomA 1638 A thousand thinges faste by.
RomA 1639 But I may say, in sory houre
RomA 1640 Stode I to loken or to poure,
RomA 1641 For sithen [have] I sore siked.
RomA 1642 That mirrour hath me now entriked,
RomA 1643 But hadde I first knowen in my wit
RomA 1644 The vertu and [the] strengthe of it,
RomA 1645 I nolde not have mused there.
RomA 1646 Me hadde bet ben elliswhere,
RomA 1647 For in the snare I fell anoon
RomA 1648 That hath bitrasshed many oon.
RomA 1649 In thilke mirrour saw I tho,
RomA 1650 Among a thousand thinges mo,
RomA 1651 A roser chargid full of rosis,
RomA 1652 That with an hegge aboute enclos is.
RomA 1653 Tho had I sich lust and envie,
RomA 1654 That for Parys ne for Pavie
RomA 1655 Nolde I have left to goon and see
RomA 1656 There grettist hep of roses be.
RomA 1657 Whanne I was with this rage hent,
RomA 1658 That caught hath many a man and shent,
RomA 1659 Toward the roser gan I go;
RomA 1660 And whanne I was not fer therfro,
RomA 1661 The savour of the roses swote
RomA 1662 Me smot right to the herte-rote,
RomA 1663 As I hadde all enbawmed be.
RomA 1664 And if I ne hadde endouted me
RomA 1665 To have ben hatid or assailed,
RomA 1666 My thankis, wolde I not have failed
RomA 1667 To pulle a rose of all that route
RomA 1668 To beren in myn hond aboute
RomA 1669 And smellen to it where I wente;
RomA 1670 But ever I dredde me to repente,
RomA 1671 And lest it grevede or forthoughte
RomA 1672 The lord that thilke gardyn wroughte.
RomA 1673 Of roses ther were gret wone,
RomA 1674 So faire waxe never in rone.
RomA 1675 Of knoppes clos some sawe I there;
RomA 1676 And some wel beter woxen were;
RomA 1677 And some ther ben of other moysoun
RomA 1678 That drowe nygh to her sesoun
RomA 1679 And spedde hem faste for to sprede.
RomA 1680 I love well sich roses rede,
RomA 1681 For brode roses and open also
RomA 1682 Ben passed in a day or two,
RomA 1683 But knoppes wille [al] freshe be
RomA 1684 Two dayes, atte leest, or thre.
RomA 1685 The knoppes gretly liked me,
RomA 1686 For fairer may ther no man se.
RomA 1687 Whoso myght have oon of alle,
RomA 1688 It ought hym ben full lief withalle.
RomA 1689 Might I [a] gerlond of hem geten,
RomA 1690 For no richesse I wolde it leten.
RomA 1691 Among the knoppes I ches oon
RomA 1692 So fair that of the remenaunt noon
RomA 1693 Ne preise I half so well as it,
RomA 1694 Whanne I avise it in my wit.
RomA 1695 For it so well was enlumyned
RomA 1696 With colour reed, [and] as well fyned
RomA 1697 As nature couth. it make faire.
RomA 1698 And it hath leves wel foure paire,
RomA 1699 That Kynde hath sett, thorough his knowyng,
RomA 1700 Aboute the rede roses spryngyng.
RomA 1701 The stalke was as rishe right,
RomA 1702 And theron stod the knoppe upright
RomA 1703 That it ne bowide upon no side.
RomA 1704 The swote smelle sprong so wide
RomA 1705 That it dide all the place aboute