The Legend of Good Women – Prologue (G Version)

By Geoffrey Chaucer

LGW G 1 A thousand sythes have I herd men telle
LGW G 2 That there is joye in hevene and peyne in helle,
LGW G 3 And I acorde wel that it be so;
LGW G 4 But natheles, this wot I wel also,
LGW G 5 That there ne is non that dwelleth in this contre
LGW G 6 That eyther hath in helle or hevene ybe,
LGW G 7 Ne may of it non other weyes witen
LGW G 8 But as he hath herd seyd or founde it writen;
LGW G 9 For by assay there may no man it preve.
LGW G 10 But Goddes forbode but men shulde leve
LGW G 11 Wel more thyng than men han seyn with ye!
LGW G 12 Men shal nat wenen every thyng a lye
LGW G 13 For that he say it nat of yore ago.
LGW G 14 God wot a thyng is nevere the lesse so
LGW G 15 Thow every wyght ne may it nat yse.
LGW G 16 Bernard the monk ne say nat al, parde!
LGW G 17 Thanne mote we to bokes that we fynde,
LGW G 18 Thourgh whiche that olde thynges ben in mynde,
LGW G 19 And to the doctryne of these olde wyse
LGW G 20 Yeven credence, in every skylful wyse,
LGW G 21 And trowen on these olde aproved storyes
LGW G 22 Of holynesse, of regnes, of victoryes,
LGW G 23 Of love, of hate, of othere sondry thynges,
LGW G 24 Of which I may nat make rehersynges.
LGW G 25 And if that olde bokes weren aweye,
LGW G 26 Yloren were of remembrance the keye.
LGW G 27 Wel oughte us thanne on olde bokes leve,
LGW G 28 There as there is non other assay by preve.
LGW G 29 And as for me, though that my wit be lite,
LGW G 30 On bokes for to rede I me delyte,
LGW G 31 And in myn herte have hem in reverence,
LGW G 32 And to hem yeve swich lust and swich credence
LGW G 33 That there is wel unethe game non
LGW G 34 That fro my bokes make me to gon,
LGW G 35 But it be other upon the halyday,
LGW G 36 Or ellis in the joly tyme of May,
LGW G 37 Whan that I here the smale foules synge,
LGW G 38 And that the floures gynne for to sprynge.
LGW G 39 Farwel my stodye, as lastynge that sesoun!
LGW G 40 Now have I therto this condicioun,
LGW G 41 That, of alle the floures in the mede,
LGW G 42 Thanne love I most these floures white and rede,
LGW G 43 Swyche as men calle dayesyes in oure toun.
LGW G 44 To hem have I so gret affeccioun,
LGW G 45 As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,
LGW G 46 That in my bed there daweth me no day
LGW G 47 That I n’ am up and walkynge in the mede
LGW G 48 To sen these floures agen the sonne sprede
LGW G 49 Whan it up ryseth by the morwe shene,
LGW G 50 The longe day thus walkynge in the grene.
LGW G 51 And whan the sonne gynneth for to weste,
LGW G 52 Thanne closeth it, and draweth it to reste,
LGW G 53 So sore it is afered of the nyght,
LGW G 54 Til on the morwe that it is dayes lyght.
LGW G 55 This dayesye, of alle floures flour,
LGW G 56 Fulfyld of vertu and of alle honour,
LGW G 57 And evere ylike fayr and fresh of hewe,
LGW G 58 As wel in wynter as in somer newe,
LGW G 59 Fayn wolde I preysen, if I coude aryght;
LGW G 60 But wo is me, it lyth nat in my myght.
LGW G 61 For wel I wot that folk han here-beforn
LGW G 62 Of makyng ropen, and lad awey the corn;
LGW G 63 [And] I come after, glenynge here and there,
LGW G 64 And am ful glad if I may fynde an ere
LGW G 65 Of any goodly word that they han left.
LGW G 66 And if it happe me rehersen eft
LGW G 67 That they han in here freshe songes said,
LGW G 68 I hope that they wole nat ben evele apayd,
LGW G 69 Sith it is seyd in fortheryng and honour
LGW G 70 Of hem that eyther serven lef or flour.
LGW G 71 For trusteth wel, I ne have nat undertake
LGW G 72 As of the lef agayn the flour to make,
LGW G 73 Ne of the flour to make ageyn the lef,
LGW G 74 No more than of the corn agen the shef;
LGW G 75 For, as to me, is lefer non, ne lother.
LGW G 76 I am witholde yit with never nother;
LGW G 77 I not who serveth lef ne who the flour.
LGW G 78 That nys nothyng the entent of my labour.
LGW G 79 For this werk is al of another tonne,
LGW G 80 Of olde story, er swich strif was begonne.
LGW G 81 But wherfore that I spak, to yeve credence
LGW G 82 To bokes olde and don hem reverence,
LGW G 83 Is for men shulde autoritees beleve,
LGW G 84 There as there lyth non other assay by preve.
LGW G 85 For myn entent is, or I fro yow fare,
LGW G 86 The naked text in English to declare
LGW G 87 Of many a story, or elles of many a geste,
LGW G 88 As autours seyn; leveth hem if yow leste.
LGW G 89 Whan passed was almost the month of May,
LGW G 90 And I hadde romed, al the someres day,
LGW G 91 The grene medewe, of which that I yow tolde,
LGW G 92 Upon the freshe dayseie to beholde,
LGW G 93 And that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
LGW G 94 And closed was the flour and gon to reste,
LGW G 95 For derknesse of the nyght, of which she dredde,
LGW G 96 Hom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde,
LGW G 97 And in a lytel herber that I have,
LGW G 98 Ybenched newe with turves fresshe ygrave,
LGW G 99 I bad men shulde me my couche make;
LGW G 100 For deynte of the newe someres sake,
LGW G 101 I bad hem strowe floures on my bed.
LGW G 102 Whan I was layd, and hadde myn eyen hed,
LGW G 103 I fel aslepe withinne an hour or two.
LGW G 104 Me mette how I was in the medewe tho,
LGW G 105 And that I romede in that same gyse,
LGW G 106 To sen that flour, as ye han herd devyse.
LGW G 107 Fayr was this medewe, as thoughte me, overal;
LGW G 108 With floures sote enbrouded was it al.
LGW G 109 As for to speke of gomme, or herbe, or tre,
LGW G 110 Comparisoun may non ymaked be;
LGW G 111 For it surmountede pleynly alle odoures,
LGW G 112 And of ryche beaute alle floures.
LGW G 113 Forgeten hadde the erthe his pore estat
LGW G 114 Of wynter, that hym naked made and mat,
LGW G 115 And with his swerd of cold so sore hadde greved.
LGW G 116 Now hadde th’ atempre sonne al that releved,
LGW G 117 And clothed hym in grene al newe ageyn.
LGW G 118 The smale foules, of the seson fayn,
LGW G 119 That from the panter and the net ben skaped,
LGW G 120 Upon the foulere, that hem made awhaped
LGW G 121 In wynter, and distroyed hadde hire brod,
LGW G 122 In his dispit hem thoughte it dide hem good
LGW G 123 To synge of hym, and in here song despise
LGW G 124 The foule cherl that for his coveytyse
LGW G 125 Hadde hem betrayed with his sophistrye.
LGW G 126 This was here song, “The foulere we defye,
LGW G 127 [And] [al] [his] [craft].” [And] [some] [songen] [clere]
LGW G 128 [Layes] of love that joye it was to here,
LGW G 129 In worshipe and in preysyng of hire make;
LGW G 130 And [for] the newe blysful somers sake,
LGW G 131 [They] sungen, “Blyssed be Seynt Valentyn!
LGW G 132 [For] [on] his day I ches yow to be myn,
LGW G 133 Withoute repentynge, myn herte swete!”
LGW G 134 And therwithal here bekes gonne mete,
LGW G 135 [Yelding] honour and humble obeysaunces;
LGW G 136 And after diden othere observaunces
LGW G 137 Ryht [longing] onto love and to nature;
LGW G 138 So ech of hem [doth] [wel] to creature.
LGW G 139 This song to herkenen I dide al myn entente,
LGW G 140 For-why I mette I wiste what they mente,
LGW G 141 Tyl at the laste a larke son above:
LGW G 142 “I se,” quod she, “the myghty god of Love.
LGW G 143 Lo! yond he cometh! I se his wynges sprede.”
LGW G 144 Tho gan I loken endelong the mede
LGW G 145 And saw hym come, and in his hond a quene
LGW G 146 Clothed in real habyt al of grene.
LGW G 147 A fret of goold she hadde next hyre her
LGW G 148 And upon that a whit corone she ber
LGW G 149 With many floures, and I shal nat lye;
LGW G 150 For al the world, ryght as the dayesye
LGW G 151 Ycorouned is with white leves lite,
LGW G 152 Swiche were the floures of hire coroune white.
LGW G 153 For of o perle fyn and oryental
LGW G 154 Hyre white coroun was ymaked al;
LGW G 155 For which the white coroun above the grene
LGW G 156 Made hire lyk a dayesye for to sene,
LGW G 157 Considered ek the fret of gold above.
LGW G 158 Yclothed was this myghty god of Love
LGW G 159 Of silk, ybrouded ful of grene greves,
LGW G 160 A garlond on his hed of rose-leves
LGW G 161 Stiked al with lylye floures newe.
LGW G 162 But of his face I can not seyn the hewe,
LGW G 163 For sikerly his face shon so bryghte
LGW G 164 That with the glem astoned was the syghte;
LGW G 165 A furlong-wey I myhte hym not beholde.
LGW G 166 But at the laste in hande I saw hym holde
LGW G 167 Two firy dartes as the gleedes rede,
LGW G 168 And aungellych hys winges gan he sprede.
LGW G 169 And al be that men seyn that blynd is he,
LGW G 170 Algate me thoughte he myghte wel yse;
LGW G 171 For sternely on me he gan beholde,
LGW G 172 So that his lokynge doth myn herte colde.
LGW G 173 And by the hond he held the noble quene
LGW G 174 Corouned with whit and clothed al in grene,
LGW G 175 So womanly, so benygne, and so meke,
LGW G 176 That in this world, thogh that men wolde seke,
LGW G 177 Half hire beaute shulde men nat fynde
LGW G 178 In creature that formed is by kynde.
LGW G 179 Hire name was Alceste the debonayre.
LGW G 180 I preye to God that evere falle she fayre,
LGW G 181 For ne hadde confort been of hire presence,
LGW G 182 I hadde be ded, withouten any defence,
LGW G 183 For dred of Loves wordes and his chere,
LGW G 184 As, whan tyme is, hereafter ye shal here.
LGW G 185 Byhynde this god of Love, upon this grene,
LGW G 186 I saw comynge of ladyes nyntene
LGW G 187 In real habyt, a ful esy pas,
LGW G 188 And after hem come of wemen swich a tras
LGW G 189 That, syn that God Adam [had] mad of erthe,
LGW G 190 The thridde part of wemen, ne the ferthe,
LGW G 191 Ne wende I not by possibilite
LGW G 192 Hadden evere in this [wyde] world ybe;
LGW G 193 And trewe of love these wemen were echon.
LGW G 194 Now whether was that a wonder thyng or non,
LGW G 195 That ryght anon as that they gonne espye
LGW G 196 This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
LGW G 197 Ful sodeynly they stynten alle atones,
LGW G 198 And knelede adoun, as it were for the nones.
LGW G 199 And after that they wenten in compas,
LGW G 200 Daunsynge aboute this flour an esy pas,
LGW G 201 And songen, as it were in carole-wyse,
LGW G 202 This balade, which that I shal yow devyse.
LGW G 203 Hyd, Absalon, thy gilte tresses clere;
LGW G 204 Ester, ley thow thy meknesse al adoun;
LGW G 205 Hyd, Jonathas, al thyn frendly manere;
LGW G 206 Penelope and Marcia Catoun,
LGW G 207 Mak of youre wyfhod no comparisoun;
LGW G 208 Hyde ye youre beautes, Ysoude and Eleyne:
LGW G 209 Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.
LGW G 210 Thy fayre body, lat it nat apeere,
LGW G 211 Laveyne; and thow, Lucresse of Rome toun,
LGW G 212 And Polixene, that boughte love so dere,
LGW G 213 Ek Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
LGW G 214 Hide ye youre trouth in love and youre renoun;
LGW G 215 And thow, Tysbe, that hast for love swich peyne:
LGW G 216 Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.
LGW G 217 Herro, Dido, Laodomya, alle in-fere,
LGW G 218 Ek Phillis, hangynge for thy Demophoun,
LGW G 219 And Canace, espied by thy chere,
LGW G 220 Ysiphile, betrayed with Jasoun,
LGW G 221 Mak of youre trouthe in love no bost ne soun;
LGW G 222 Nor Ypermystre or Adriane, ne pleyne
LGW G 223 Alceste is here, that al that may disteyne.
LGW G 224 Whan that this balade al ysongen was,
LGW G 225 Upon the softe and sote grene gras
LGW G 226 They setten hem ful softely adoun,
LGW G 227 By order alle in compas, enveroun.
LGW G 228 Fyrst sat the god of Love, and thanne this queene
LGW G 229 With the white corone, clad in grene,
LGW G 230 And sithen al the remenant by and by,
LGW G 231 As they were of degre, ful curteysly;
LGW G 232 Ne nat a word was spoken in that place
LGW G 233 The mountaunce of a furlong-wey of space.
LGW G 234 I, lenynge faste by under a bente,
LGW G 235 Abod to knowe what this peple mente,
LGW G 236 As stille as any ston, til at the laste
LGW G 237 The god of Love on me his eye caste
LGW G 238 And seyde, “Who restith there?” And I answerde
LGW G 239 Unto his axynge, whan that I hym herde,
LGW G 240 And seyde, “Sire, it am I,” and cam hym ner,
LGW G 241 And salewede hym. Quod he, “What dost thow her
LGW G 242 In my presence, and that so boldely?
LGW G 243 For it were better worthi, trewely,
LGW G 244 A worm to comen in my syght than thow.”
LGW G 245 “And why, sire,” quod I, “and it lyke yow?”
LGW G 246 “For thow,” quod he, “art therto nothyng able.
LGW G 247 My servaunts ben alle wyse and honourable.
LGW G 248 Thow art my mortal fo and me werreyest,
LGW G 249 And of myne olde servauntes thow mysseyest,
LGW G 250 And hynderest hem with thy translacyoun,
LGW G 251 And lettest folk to han devocyoun
LGW G 252 To serven me, and holdest it folye
LGW G 253 To truste on me. Thow mayst it nat denye,
LGW G 254 For in pleyn text, it nedeth nat to glose,
LGW G 255 Thow hast translated the Romauns of the Rose,
LGW G 256 That is an heresye ageyns my lawe,
LGW G 257 And makest wise folk fro me withdrawe;
LGW G 258 And thynkest in thy wit, that is ful col,
LGW G 259 That he nys but a verray propre fol
LGW G 260 That loveth paramours to harde and hote.
LGW G 261 Wel wot I therby thow begynnyst dote,
LGW G 262 As olde foles whan here spiryt fayleth;
LGW G 263 Thanne blame they folk, and wite nat what hem ayleth.
LGW G 264 Hast thow nat mad in Englysh ek the bok
LGW G 265 How that Crisseyde Troylus forsok,
LGW G 266 In shewynge how that wemen han don mis?
LGW G 267 But natheles, answere me now to this;
LGW G 268 Why noldest thow as wel [han] seyd goodnesse
LGW G 269 Of wemen, as thow hast seyd wikednesse?
LGW G 270 Was there no good matere in thy mynde,
LGW G 271 Ne in alle thy bokes ne coudest thow nat fynde
LGW G 272 Som story of wemen that were goode and trewe?
LGW G 273 Yis, God wot, sixty bokes olde and newe
LGW G 274 Hast thow thyself, alle ful of storyes grete,
LGW G 275 That bothe Romayns and ek Grekes trete
LGW G 276 Of sundry wemen, which lyf that they ladde,
LGW G 277 And evere an hundred goode ageyn oon badde.
LGW G 278 This knoweth God, and alle clerkes eke
LGW G 279 That usen swiche materes for to seke.
LGW G 280 What seith Valerye, Titus, or Claudyan?
LGW G 281 What seith Jerome agayns Jovynyan?
LGW G 282 How clene maydenes and how trewe wyves,
LGW G 283 How stedefaste widewes durynge alle here lyves,
LGW G 284 Telleth Jerome, and that nat of a fewe,
LGW G 285 But, I dar seyn, an hundred on a rewe,
LGW G 286 That it is pite for to rede, and routhe,
LGW G 287 The wo that they endure for here trouthe
LGW G 288 For to hyre love were they so trewe
LGW G 289 That, rathere than they wolde take a newe,
LGW G 290 They chose to be ded in sondry wyse,
LGW G 291 And deiden, as the story wol devyse;
LGW G 292 And some were brend, and some were cut the hals,
LGW G 293 And some dreynt for they wolden not be fals;
LGW G 294 For alle keped they here maydenhede,
LGW G 295 Or elles wedlok, or here widewehede.
LGW G 296 And this thing was nat kept for holynesse,
LGW G 297 But al for verray vertu and clennesse,
LGW G 298 And for men schulde sette on hem no lak;
LGW G 299 And yit they were hethene, al the pak,
LGW G 300 That were so sore adrad of alle shame.
LGW G 301 These olde wemen kepte so here name
LGW G 302 That in this world I trowe men shal nat fynde
LGW G 303 A man that coude be so trewe and kynde
LGW G 304 As was the leste woman in that tyde.
LGW G 305 What seyth also the epistel of Ovyde
LGW G 306 Of trewe wyves and of here labour?
LGW G 307 What Vincent in his Estoryal Myrour?
LGW G 308 Ek al the world of autours maystow here,
LGW G 309 Cristene and hethene, trete of swich matere;
LGW G 310 It nedeth nat al day thus for to endite.
LGW G 311 But yit, I seye, what eyleth the to wryte
LGW G 312 The draf of storyes, and forgete the corn?
LGW G 313 By Seynt Venus, of whom that I was born,
LGW G 314 Althogh thow reneyed hast my lay,
LGW G 315 As othere olde foles many a day,
LGW G 316 Thow shalt repente it, so that it shal be sene!”
LGW G 317 Thanne spak Alceste, the worthyeste queene,
LGW G 318 And seyde, “God, ryght of youre curteysye,
LGW G 319 Ye moten herkenen if he can replye
LGW G 320 Ageyns these poynts that ye han to hym meved.
LGW G 321 A god ne sholde not thus been agreved,
LGW G 322 But of his deite he shal be stable,
LGW G 323 And therto ryghtful, and ek mercyable.
LGW G 324 He shal nat ryghtfully his yre wreke
LGW G 325 Or he have herd the tother partye speke.
LGW G 326 Al ne is nat gospel that is to yow pleyned;
LGW G 327 The god of Love hereth many a tale yfeyned.
LGW G 328 For in youre court is many a losengeour,
LGW G 329 And many a queynte totelere accusour,
LGW G 330 That tabouren in youre eres many a thyng
LGW G 331 For hate, or for jelous ymagynyng,
LGW G 332 And for to han with you som dalyaunce.
LGW G 333 Envye — I preye to God yeve hire myschaunce! —
LGW G 334 Is lavender in the grete court alway,
LGW G 335 For she ne parteth, neyther nyght ne day,
LGW G 336 Out of the hous of Cesar; thus seyth Dante;
LGW G 337 Whoso that goth, alwey she mot [nat] wante.
LGW G 338 This man to yow may wrongly ben acused,
LGW G 339 There as by ryght hym oughte ben excusid.
LGW G 340 Or elles, sire, for that this man is nyce,
LGW G 341 He may translate a thyng in no malyce,
LGW G 342 But for he useth bokes for to make,
LGW G 343 And taketh non hed of what matere he take,
LGW G 344 Therfore he wrot the Rose and ek Crisseyde
LGW G 345 Of innocence, and nyste what he seyde.
LGW G 346 Or hym was boden make thilke tweye
LGW G 347 Of som persone, and durste it not withseye;
LGW G 348 For he hath write many a bok er this.
LGW G 349 He ne hath not don so grevously amys
LGW G 350 To translate that olde clerkes wryte,
LGW G 351 As thogh that he of maleys wolde endyte
LGW G 352 Despit of love, and hadde hymself ywrought.
LGW G 353 This shulde a ryghtwys lord han in his thought,
LGW G 354 And not ben lyk tyraunts of Lumbardye,
LGW G 355 That usen wilfulhed and tyrannye.
LGW G 356 For he that kyng or lord is naturel,
LGW G 357 Hym oughte nat be tyraunt and crewel
LGW G 358 As is a fermour, to don the harm he can.
LGW G 359 He moste thynke it is his lige man,
LGW G 360 And that hym oweth, of verray duetee,
LGW G 361 Shewen his peple pleyn benygnete,
LGW G 362 And wel to heren here excusacyouns,
LGW G 363 And here compleyntes and petyciouns,
LGW G 364 In duewe tyme, whan they shal it profre.
LGW G 365 This is the sentence of the Philosophre,
LGW G 366 A kyng to kepe his lyges in justice;
LGW G 367 Withouten doute, that is his office.
LGW G 368 And therto is a kyng ful depe ysworn
LGW G 369 Ful many an hundred wynter herebeforn;
LGW G 370 And for to kepe his lordes hir degre,
LGW G 371 As it is ryght and skylful that they be
LGW G 372 Enhaunsed and honoured, [and] most dere —
LGW G 373 For they ben half-goddes in this world here —
LGW G 374 This shal he don bothe to pore [and] ryche,
LGW G 375 Al be that her estat be nat alyche,
LGW G 376 And han of pore folk compassioun.
LGW G 377 For lo, the gentyl kynde of the lyoun:
LGW G 378 For whan a flye offendeth hym or byteth,
LGW G 379 He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth
LGW G 380 Al esyly; for, of his genterye,
LGW G 381 Hym deyneth nat to wreke hym on a flye,
LGW G 382 As doth a curre, or elles another best.
LGW G 383 In noble corage oughte ben arest,
LGW G 384 And weyen every thing by equite,
LGW G 385 And evere han reward to his owen degre.
LGW G 386 For, sire, it is no maystrye for a lord
LGW G 387 To dampne a man withoute answere or word,
LGW G 388 And, for a lord, that is ful foul to use.
LGW G 389 And if so be he may hym nat excuse,
LGW G 390 [But] axeth mercy with a sorweful herte,
LGW G 391 And profereth hym, ryght in his bare sherte,
LGW G 392 To been ryght at youre owene jugement,
LGW G 393 Than ought a god, by short avisement,
LGW G 394 Considere his owene honour and his trespas.
LGW G 395 For syth no cause of deth lyth in this cas,
LGW G 396 Yow oughte to ben the lyghter merciable;
LGW G 397 Leteth youre yre, and beth somwhat tretable.
LGW G 398 The man hath served yow of his konnynge,
LGW G 399 And forthered [wel] youre lawe with his makynge.
LGW G 400 Whil he was yong, he kepte youre estat;
LGW G 401 I not wher he be now a renegat.
LGW G 402 But wel I wot, with that he can endyte
LGW G 403 He hath maked lewed folk to delyte
LGW G 404 To serven yow, in preysynge of youre name.
LGW G 405 He made the bok that highte the Hous of Fame,
LGW G 406 And ek the Deth of Blaunche the Duchesse,
LGW G 407 And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,
LGW G 408 And al the love of Palamon and Arcite
LGW G 409 Of Thebes, thogh the storye is knowen lite;
LGW G 410 And many an ympne for your halydayes,
LGW G 411 That highten balades, roundeles, vyrelayes;
LGW G 412 And, for to speke of other besynesse,
LGW G 413 He hath in prose translated Boece,
LGW G 414 And Of the Wreched Engendrynge of Mankynde,
LGW G 415 As man may in Pope Innocent yfynde;
LGW G 416 And mad the lyf also of Seynt Cecile.
LGW G 417 He made also, gon is a gret while,
LGW G 418 Orygenes upon the Maudeleyne.
LGW G 419 Hym oughte now to have the lesse peyne;
LGW G 420 He hath mad many a lay and many a thyng.
LGW G 421 Now as ye ben a god and ek a kyng,
LGW G 422 I, youre Alceste, whilom quene of Trace,
LGW G 423 I axe yow this man, ryght of youre grace,
LGW G 424 That ye hym nevere hurte in al his lyve;
LGW G 425 And he shal swere to yow, and that as blyve,
LGW G 426 He shal no more agilten in this wyse,
LGW G 427 But he shal maken, as ye wol devyse,
LGW G 428 Of women trewe in lovynge al here lyve,
LGW G 429 Wherso ye wol, of mayden or of wyve,
LGW G 430 And fortheren yow as muche as he mysseyde
LGW G 431 Or in the Rose or elles in Crisseyde.”
LGW G 432 The god of Love answerede hire thus anon:
LGW G 433 “Madame,” quod he, “it is so longe agon
LGW G 434 That I yow knew so charytable and trewe,
LGW G 435 That nevere yit sith that the world was newe
LGW G 436 To me ne fond I betere non than ye;
LGW G 437 That, if that I wol save my degre,
LGW G 438 I may, ne wol, not warne youre requeste.
LGW G 439 Al lyth in yow, doth with hym what yow leste;
LGW G 440 And al foryeve, withoute lenger space.
LGW G 441 For whoso yeveth a yifte or doth a grace,
LGW G 442 Do it by tyme, his thank is wel the more.
LGW G 443 And demeth ye what he shal do therfore.
LGW G 444 Go thanke now my lady here,” quod he.
LGW G 445 I ros, and doun I sette me on my kne,
LGW G 446 And seyde thus, “Madame, the God above
LGW G 447 Foryelde yow that ye the god of Love
LGW G 448 Han maked me his wrathe to foryive,
LGW G 449 And yeve me grace so longe for to live
LGW G 450 That I may knowe sothly what ye be
LGW G 451 That han me holpen and put in swich degre.
LGW G 452 But trewely I wende, as in this cas,
LGW G 453 Naught have agilt, ne don to love trespas.
LGW G 454 For-why a trewe man, withoute drede,
LGW G 455 Hath nat to parte with a theves dede;
LGW G 456 Ne a trewe lovere oghte me nat to blame
LGW G 457 Thogh that I speke a fals lovere som shame.
LGW G 458 They oughte rathere with me for to holde
LGW G 459 For that I of Criseyde wrot or tolde,
LGW G 460 Or of the Rose; what so myn auctour mente,
LGW G 461 Algate, God wot, it was myn entente
LGW G 462 To forthere trouthe in love and it cheryce,
LGW G 463 And to be war fro falsnesse and fro vice
LGW G 464 By swich ensaumple; this was my menynge.”
LGW G 465 And she answerde, “Lat be thyn arguynge,
LGW G 466 For Love ne wol nat counterpletyd be
LGW G 467 In ryght ne wrong; and lerne this at me!
LGW G 468 Thow hast thy grace, and hold the ryght therto.
LGW G 469 Now wol I seyn what penaunce thow shalt do
LGW G 470 For thy trespas, and understond it here:
LGW G 471 Thow shalt, whil that thow livest, yer by yere,
LGW G 472 The moste partye of thy tyme spende
LGW G 473 In makynge of a gloryous legende
LGW G 474 Of goode women, maydenes and wyves,
LGW G 475 That were trewe in lovynge al here lyves;
LGW G 476 And telle of false men that hem betrayen,
LGW G 477 That al here lyf ne don nat but assayen
LGW G 478 How manye wemen they may don a shame;
LGW G 479 For in youre world that is now holden game.
LGW G 480 And thogh the lesteth nat a lovere be,
LGW G 481 Spek wel of love; this penaunce yeve I thee.
LGW G 482 And to the god of Love I shal so preye
LGW G 483 That he shal charge his servaunts by any weye
LGW G 484 To fortheren the, and wel thy labour quite.
LGW G 485 Go now thy wey, thy penaunce is but lyte.”
LGW G 486 The god of Love gan smyle, and thanne he seyde:
LGW G 487 “Wostow,” quod he, “wher this be wif or mayde,
LGW G 488 Or queen, or countesse, or of what degre,
LGW G 489 That hath so lytel penaunce yiven the,
LGW G 490 That hast deserved sorer for to smerte?
LGW G 491 But pite renneth sone in gentil herte;
LGW G 492 That mayst thow sen; she kytheth what she is.”
LGW G 493 And I answerde, “Nay, sire, so have I blys,
LGW G 494 No more but that I se wel she is good.”
LGW G 495 “That is a trewe tale, by myn hood!”
LGW G 496 Quod Love, “and that thow knowest wel, parde,
LGW G 497 Yif it be so that thow avise the.
LGW G 498 Hast thow nat in a bok, lyth in thy cheste,
LGW G 499 The grete goodnesse of the queene Alceste,
LGW G 500 That turned was into a dayesye;
LGW G 501 She that for hire husbonde ches to dye,
LGW G 502 And ek to gon to helle rather than he,
LGW G 503 And Ercules rescued hire, parde,
LGW G 504 And broughte hyre out of helle ageyn to blys?”
LGW G 505 And I answerde ayen, and seyde, “Yis,
LGW G 506 Now knowe I hire. And is this goode Alceste,
LGW G 507 The dayesye, and myn owene hertes reste?
LGW G 508 Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wif,
LGW G 509 That bothe after hire deth and in hire lyf
LGW G 510 Hire grete bounte doubleth hire renoun.
LGW G 511 Wel hath she quit me myn affeccioun
LGW G 512 That I have to hire flour, the dayesye.
LGW G 513 No wonder is thogh Jove hire stellifye,
LGW G 514 As telleth Agaton, for hyre goodnesse!
LGW G 515 Hire white coroun bereth of it witnesse;
LGW G 516 For also manye vertues hadde she
LGW G 517 As smale flourys in hyre coroun be.
LGW G 518 In remembraunce of hire and in honour
LGW G 519 Cibella made the dayesye and the flour
LGW G 520 Ycoroned al with whit, as men may se;
LGW G 521 And Mars yaf to hire corone red, parde,
LGW G 522 In stede of rubies, set among the white.”
LGW G 523 Therwith this queene wex red for shame a lyte
LGW G 524 Whan she was preysed so in hire presence.
LGW G 525 Thanne seyde Love, “A ful gret neglygence
LGW G 526 Was it to the, to write unstedefastnesse
LGW G 527 Of women, sith thow knowest here goodnesse
LGW G 528 By pref, and ek by storyes herebyforn.
LGW G 529 Let be the chaf, and writ wel of the corn.
LGW G 530 Why noldest thow han writen of Alceste,
LGW G 531 And laten Criseide ben aslepe and reste?
LGW G 532 For of Alceste shulde thy wrytynge be,
LGW G 533 Syn that thow wost that calandier is she
LGW G 534 Of goodnesse, for she taughte of fyn lovynge,
LGW G 535 And namely of wifhod the lyvynge,
LGW G 536 And alle the boundes that she oughte kepe.
LGW G 537 Thy litel wit was thilke tyme aslepe.
LGW G 538 But now I charge the upon thy lyf
LGW G 539 That in thy legende thow make of this wif
LGW G 540 Whan thow hast othere smale mad byfore;
LGW G 541 And far now wel, I charge the no more.
LGW G 542 At Cleopatre I wol that thow begynne,
LGW G 543 And so forth, and my love so shalt thow wynne.”
LGW G 544 And with that word, of slep I gan awake,
LGW G 545 And ryght thus on my Legende gan I make.