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Robin Hood and the Monk

In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song,

To se the dere draw to the dale,
And leve the hilles hee,
And shadow hem in the leves grene,
Under the grene wode tre.

Hit befel on Whitson
Erly in a May mornyng,
The son up feyre can shyne,
And the briddis mery can syng.

'This is a mery mornyng,' seid Litull John,
'Be Hym that dyed on tre;
A more mery man then I am one
Lyves not in Cristianté.

'Pluk up thi hert, my dere mayster,'
Litull John can sey,
'And thynk hit is a full fayre tyme
In a mornyng of May.'

'Ye, on thyng greves me,' seid Robyn,
'And does my hert mych woo:
That I may not no solem day
To mas nor matyns goo.

'Hit is a fourtnet and more,' seid he,
'Syn I my Savyour see;
To day wil I to Notyngham,' seid Robyn,
'With the myght of mylde Marye.'

Than spake Moche, the mylner sun,
Ever more wel hym betyde!
'Take twelve of thi wyght yemen,
Well weppynd, be thi side.
Such on wolde thi selfe slon,
That twelve dar not abyde.'

'Of all my mery men,' seid Robyn,
'Be my feith I wil non have,
But Litull John shall beyre my bow,
Til that me list to drawe.'

'Thou shall beyre thin own,' seid Litull Jon,
'Maister, and I wyl beyre myne,
And we well shete a peny,' seid Litull Jon,

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Cleanness

Clannesse who so kyndly cowþe comende
& rekken vp alle þe resounz þat ho by ri3t askez,
Fayre formez my3t he fynde in for[þ]ering his speche
& in þe contrare kark & combraunce huge.
For wonder wroth is þe Wy3þat wro3t alle þinges
Wyth þe freke þat in fylþe fol3es Hym after,
As renkez of relygioun þat reden & syngen
& aprochen to hys presens & prestez arn called;
Thay teen vnto his temmple & temen to hym seluen,
Reken with reuerence þay rychen His auter;
Þay hondel þer his aune body & vsen hit boþe.
If þay in clannes be clos þay cleche gret mede;
Bot if þay conterfete crafte & cortaysye wont,
As be honest vtwyth & inwith alle fylþez,
Þen ar þay synful hemself & sulped altogeder
Boþe God & His gere, & hym to greme cachen.
He is so clene in His courte, þe Kyng þat al weldez,
& honeste in His housholde & hagherlych serued
With angelez enourled in alle þat is clene,
Boþ withine & withouten in wedez ful bry3t;
Nif he nere scoymus & skyg & non scaþe louied,
Hit were a meruayl to much, hit mo3t not falle.
Kryst kydde hit Hymself in a carp onez,
Þeras He heuened a3t happez & hy3t hem her medez.
Me mynez on one amonge oþer, as Maþew recordez,
Þat þus clanness vnclosez a ful cler speche:
Þe haþel clene of his hert hapenez ful fayre,
For he schal loke on oure Lorde with a bone chere';
As so saytz, to þat sy3t seche schal he neuer
Þat any vnclannesse hatz on, auwhere abowte;
For He þat flemus vch fylþe fer fro His hert
May not byde þat burre þat hit His body ne3en.
Forþy hy3not to heuen in haterez totorne,
Ne in þe harlatez hod, & handez vnwaschen.
For what vrþly haþel þat hy3honour haldez
Wolde lyke if a ladde com lyþerly attyred,
When he were sette solempnely in a sete ryche,
Abof dukez on dece, with dayntys serued?
Þen þe harlot with haste helded to þe table,
With rent cokrez at þe kne & his clutte traschez,
& his tabarde totorne, & his totez oute,
Oþer ani on of alle þyse, he schulde be halden vtter,
With mony blame ful bygge, a boffet peraunter,
Hurled to þe halle dore & harde þeroute schowued,
& be forboden þat bor3e to bowe þider neuer,
On payne of enprysonment & puttyng in stokkez;
& þus schal he be schent for his schrowde feble,
Þa3neuer in talle ne in tuch he trespas more.
& if vnwelcum he were to a worþlych prynce,
3et hym is þe hy3e Kyng harder in her euen;

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The Tale of Gamelyn

Fitt 1

Lithes and listneth and harkeneth aright,
And ye shul here of a doughty knyght;
Sire John of Boundes was his name,
He coude of norture and of mochel game.
Thre sones the knyght had and with his body he wan,
The eldest was a moche schrewe and sone bygan.
His brether loved wel her fader and of hym were agast,
The eldest deserved his faders curs and had it atte last.
The good knight his fadere lyved so yore,
That deth was comen hym to and handled hym ful sore.
The good knyght cared sore sik ther he lay,
How his children shuld lyven after his day.
He had bene wide where but non husbonde he was,
Al the londe that he had it was purchas.
Fayn he wold it were dressed amonge hem alle,
That eche of hem had his parte as it myght falle.
Thoo sente he in to contrey after wise knyghtes
To helpen delen his londes and dressen hem to-rightes.
He sent hem word by letters thei shul hie blyve,
If thei wolle speke with hym whilst he was alyve.

Whan the knyghtes harden sik that he lay,
Had thei no rest neither nyght ne day,
Til thei come to hym ther he lay stille
On his dethes bedde to abide goddys wille.
Than seide the good knyght seke ther he lay,
'Lordes, I you warne for soth, without nay,
I may no lenger lyven here in this stounde;
For thorgh goddis wille deth droueth me to grounde.'
Ther nas noon of hem alle that herd hym aright,
That thei ne had routh of that ilk knyght,
And seide, 'Sir, for goddes love dismay you nought;
God may don boote of bale that is now ywrought.'
Than speke the good knyght sik ther he lay,
'Boote of bale God may sende I wote it is no nay;
But I beseche you knyghtes for the love of me,
Goth and dresseth my londes amonge my sones thre.
And for the love of God deleth not amyss,
And forgeteth not Gamelyne my yonge sone that is.
Taketh hede to that oon as wel as to that other;
Seelde ye seen eny hier helpen his brother.'

Thoo lete thei the knyght lyen that was not in hele,
And wenten into counselle his londes for to dele;
For to delen hem alle to on that was her thought.
And for Gamelyn was yongest he shuld have nought.
All the londe that ther was thei dalten it in two,
And lete Gamelyne the yonge without londe goo,

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Geoffrey Chaucer

Book Of The Duchesse

THE PROEM

I have gret wonder, be this lighte,
How that I live, for day ne nighte
I may nat slepe wel nigh noght,
I have so many an ydel thoght
Purely for defaute of slepe
That, by my trouthe, I take no kepe
Of no-thing, how hit cometh or goth,
Ne me nis no-thing leef nor loth.
Al is y-liche good to me --
Ioye or sorowe, wherso hyt be --
For I have feling in no-thinge,
But, as it were, a mased thing,
Alway in point to falle a-doun;
For sorwful imaginacioun
Is alway hoolly in my minde.
And wel ye wite, agaynes kynde
Hit were to liven in this wyse;
For nature wolde nat suffyse
To noon erthely creature
Not longe tyme to endure
Withoute slepe, and been in sorwe;
And I ne may, ne night ne morwe,
Slepe; and thus melancolye
And dreed I have for to dye,
Defaute of slepe and hevinesse
Hath sleyn my spirit of quiknesse,
That I have lost al lustihede.
Suche fantasies ben in myn hede
So I not what is best to do.
But men myght axe me, why soo
I may not slepe, and what me is?
But natheles, who aske this
Leseth his asking trewely.
My-selven can not telle why
The sooth; but trewely, as I gesse,
I holde hit be a siknesse
That I have suffred this eight yere,
And yet my bote is never the nere;
For ther is phisicien but oon,
That may me hele; but that is doon.
Passe we over until eft;
That wil not be, moot nede be left;
Our first matere is good to kepe.
So whan I saw I might not slepe,
Til now late, this other night,
Upon my bedde I sat upright
And bad oon reche me a book,
A romaunce, and he hit me took

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Septimus

Incipit Liber Octavus

Que favet ad vicium vetus hec modo regula confert,
Nec novus e contra qui docet ordo placet.
Cecus amor dudum nondum sua lumina cepit,
Quo Venus impositum devia fallit iter.

------------------------------------ -----------------------------------------------
The myhti god, which unbegunne
Stant of himself and hath begunne
Alle othre thinges at his wille,
The hevene him liste to fulfille
Of alle joie, where as he
Sit inthronized in his See,
And hath hise Angles him to serve,
Suche as him liketh to preserve,
So that thei mowe noght forsueie:
Bot Lucifer he putte aweie,
With al the route apostazied
Of hem that ben to him allied,
Whiche out of hevene into the helle
From Angles into fendes felle;
Wher that ther is no joie of lyht,
Bot more derk than eny nyht
The peine schal ben endeles;
And yit of fyres natheles
Ther is plente, bot thei ben blake,
Wherof no syhte mai be take.
Thus whan the thinges ben befalle,
That Luciferes court was falle
Wher dedly Pride hem hath conveied,
Anon forthwith it was pourveied
Thurgh him which alle thinges may;
He made Adam the sexte day
In Paradis, and to his make
Him liketh Eve also to make,
And bad hem cresce and multiplie.
For of the mannes Progenie,
Which of the womman schal be bore,
The nombre of Angles which was lore,
Whan thei out fro the blisse felle,
He thoghte to restore, and felle
In hevene thilke holy place
Which stod tho voide upon his grace.
Bot as it is wel wiste and knowe,
Adam and Eve bot a throwe,
So as it scholde of hem betyde,
In Paradis at thilke tyde
Ne duelten, and the cause why,
Write in the bok of Genesi,

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How A Naked Mole

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Robin Hood And The Monk

In somer when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and longe,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song.

To se the dere draw to the dale,
And leve the hilles hee,
And shadow hem in the leves grene,
Vndur the grene-wode tre.

Hit befell on Whitsontide,
Erly in a may mornyng,
The son vp fayre can shyne,
And the briddis mery can syng.

'This is a mery mornyng,' seid Litulle Johne,
'Be hym that dyed on tre;
A more mery man than I am one
Lyves not in Cristiante.'

'Pluk vp thi hert, my dere mayster,'
Litulle Johne can sey,
'And thynk hit is a fulle fayre tyme
In a mornynge of may.'

'Ze on thynge greves me,' seid Robyne,
'And does my hert mych woo,
That I may not so solem day
To mas nor matyns goo.

'Hit is a fourtnet and more,' seyd hee,
'Syn I my Sauyour see;
To day will I to Notyngham,' seid Robyn,
'With the myght of mylde Mary.'

Then spake Moche the mylner sune,
Euer more wel hym betyde,
'Take xii thi wyght zemen
Well weppynd be thei side.
Such on wolde thi selfe slon
That xii dar not abyde.'

'Off alle my mery men,' seid Robyne,
'Be my feithe I wil non haue;
But Litulle Johne shall beyre my bow
Til that me list to drawe.'

* * * * *

'Thou shalle beyre thin own,' seid Litulle Jon,

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Knyghthode and Bataile

A XVth Century Verse Paraphrase of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' Treatise 'DE RE MILITARI'


Proemium.
Salue, festa dies
i martis,
Mauortis! auete
Kalende. Qua Deus
ad celum subleuat
ire Dauid.


Hail, halyday deuout! Alhail Kalende
Of Marche, wheryn Dauid the Confessour
Commaunded is his kyngis court ascende;
Emanuel, Jhesus the Conquerour,
This same day as a Tryumphatour,
Sette in a Chaire & Throne of Maiestee,
To London is comyn. O Saviour,
Welcome a thousand fold to thi Citee!


And she, thi modir Blessed mot she be
That cometh eke, and angelys an ende,
Wel wynged and wel horsed, hidir fle,
Thousendys on this goode approche attende;
And ordir aftir ordir thei commende,
As Seraphin, as Cherubyn, as Throne,
As Domynaunce, and Princys hidir sende;
And, at o woord, right welcom euerychone!


But Kyng Herry the Sexte, as Goddes Sone
Or themperour or kyng Emanuel,
To London, welcomer be noo persone;
O souuerayn Lord, welcom! Now wel, Now wel!
Te Deum to be songen, wil do wel,
And Benedicta Sancta Trinitas!
Now prosperaunce and peax perpetuel
Shal growe,-and why? ffor here is Vnitas.


Therof to the Vnitee 'Deo gracias'
In Trinitee! The Clergys and Knyghthode
And Comynaltee better accorded nas
Neuer then now; Now nys ther noon abode,
But out on hem that fordoon Goddes forbode,
Periurous ar, Rebellovs and atteynte,
So forfaytinge her lyif and lyvelode,
Although Ypocrisie her faytys peynte.

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The Flower And The Leaf

When that Phebus his chaire of gold so hy
Had whirled up the sterry sky aloft,
And in the Bole was entred certainly;
Whan shoures swete of rain discended soft,
Causing the ground, felë tymes and oft,
Up for to give many an hoolsom air,
And every plain was [eek y-]clothed fair

With newe grene, and maketh smalë floures
To springen here and there in feld and mede;
So very good and hoolsom be the shoures
That it reneweth, that was old and deede
In winter-tyme; and out of every seede
Springeth the herbë, so that every wight
Of this sesoun wexeth [ful] glad and light.

And I, só glad of the seson swete,
Was happed thus upon a certain night;
As I lay in my bed, sleep ful unmete
Was unto me; but, why that I ne might
Rest, I ne wist; for there nas erthly wight,
As I suppose, had more hertës ese
Than I, for I n'ad siknesse nor disese.

Wherfore I mervail gretly of my-selve,
That I so long, withouten sleepë lay;
And up I roos, three houres after twelve,
About the [very] springing of the day,
And on I put my gere and myn array;
And to a plesaunt grovë I gan passe,
Long or the brightë sonne uprisen was,

In which were okës grete, streight as a lyne,
Under the which the gras, so fresh of hew,
Was newly spronge; and an eight foot or nyne
Every tree wel fro his felawe grew,
With braunches brode, laden with leves new,
That sprongen out ayein the sonnë shene,
Som very rede, and som a glad light grene;

Which, as me thought, was right a plesaunt sight.
And eek the briddes song[ës] for to here
Would have rejoised any erthly wight.
And I, that couth not yet, in no manere,
Here the nightingale of al the yere,
Ful busily herkned, with herte and ere,
If I her voice perceive coud any-where.

And at the last, a path of litel brede
I found, that gretly had not used be,

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Primus

Incipit Liber Secundus

Inuidie culpa magis est attrita dolore,
Nam sua mens nullo tempore leta manet:
Quo gaudent alii, dolet ille, nec vnus amicus
Est, cui de puro comoda velle facit.
Proximitatis honor sua corda veretur, et omnis
Est sibi leticia sic aliena dolor.
Hoc etenim vicium quam sepe repugnat amanti,
Non sibi, set reliquis, dum fauet ipsa Venus.
Est amor ex proprio motu fantasticus, et que
Gaudia fert alius, credit obesse sibi.


Now after Pride the secounde
Ther is, which many a woful stounde
Towardes othre berth aboute
Withinne himself and noght withoute;
For in his thoght he brenneth evere,
Whan that he wot an other levere
Or more vertuous than he,
Which passeth him in his degre;
Therof he takth his maladie:
That vice is cleped hot Envie.
Forthi, my Sone, if it be so
Thou art or hast ben on of tho,
As forto speke in loves cas,
If evere yit thin herte was
Sek of an other mannes hele?
So god avance my querele,
Mi fader, ye, a thousend sithe:
Whanne I have sen an other blithe
Of love, and hadde a goodly chiere,
Ethna, which brenneth yer be yere,
Was thanne noght so hot as I
Of thilke Sor which prively
Min hertes thoght withinne brenneth.
The Schip which on the wawes renneth,
And is forstormed and forblowe,
Is noght more peined for a throwe
Than I am thanne, whanne I se
An other which that passeth me
In that fortune of loves yifte.
Bot, fader, this I telle in schrifte,
That is nowher bot in o place;
For who that lese or finde grace
In other stede, it mai noght grieve:
Bot this ye mai riht wel believe,
Toward mi ladi that I serve,
Thogh that I wiste forto sterve,

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Prologus

Incipit Liber Primus

Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem
Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras:
Huius enim mundi Princeps amor esse videtur,
Cuius eget diues, pauper et omnis ope.
Sunt in agone pares amor et fortuna, que cecas
Plebis ad insidias vertit vterque rotas.
Est amor egra salus, vexata quies, pius error,
Bellica pax, vulnus dulce, suaue malum.

I may noght strecche up to the hevene
Min hand, ne setten al in evene
This world, which evere is in balance:
It stant noght in my sufficance
So grete thinges to compasse,
Bot I mot lete it overpasse
And treten upon othre thinges.
Forthi the Stile of my writinges
Fro this day forth I thenke change
And speke of thing is noght so strange,
Which every kinde hath upon honde,
And wherupon the world mot stonde,
And hath don sithen it began,
And schal whil ther is any man;
And that is love, of which I mene
To trete, as after schal be sene.
In which ther can noman him reule,
For loves lawe is out of reule,
That of tomoche or of tolite
Welnyh is every man to wyte,
And natheles ther is noman
In al this world so wys, that can
Of love tempre the mesure,
Bot as it falth in aventure:
For wit ne strengthe may noght helpe,
And he which elles wolde him yelpe
Is rathest throwen under fote,
Ther can no wiht therof do bote.
For yet was nevere such covine,
That couthe ordeine a medicine
To thing which god in lawe of kinde
Hath set, for ther may noman finde
The rihte salve of such a Sor.
It hath and schal ben everemor
That love is maister wher he wile,
Ther can no lif make other skile;
For wher as evere him lest to sette,
Ther is no myht which him may lette.
Bot what schal fallen ate laste,

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The Libelle of Englyshe Polycye

Here beginneth the Prologe of the processe of the Libelle of Englyshe polycye, exhortynge alle Englande to kepe the see enviroun and namelye the narowe see, shewynge whate profete commeth thereof and also whate worshype and salvacione to Englande and to alle Englyshe menne.

The trewe processe of Englysh polycye
Of utterwarde to kepe thys regne in rest
Of oure England, that no man may denye
Ner say of soth but it is one the best,
Is thys, as who seith, south, north, est and west
Cheryshe marchandyse, kepe thamyralte,
That we bee maysteres of the narowe see.


For Sigesmonde the grete Emperoure,
Whyche yet regneth, whan he was in this londe
Wyth kynge Herry the vte, prince of honoure,
Here moche glorye, as hym thought, he founde,
A myghty londe, whyche hadde take on honde
To werre in Fraunce and make mortalite,
And ever well kept rounde aboute the see.


And to the kynge thus he seyde, 'My brothere',
Whan he perceyved too townes, Calys and Dovere,
'Of alle youre townes to chese of one and other
To kepe the see and sone for to come overe,
To werre oughtwardes and youre regne to recovere,
Kepe these too townes sure to youre mageste
As youre tweyne eyne to kepe the narowe see'.


For if this see be kepte in tyme of werre,
Who cane here passe withought daunger and woo?
Who may eschape, who may myschef dyfferre?
What marchaundy may forby be agoo?
For nedes hem muste take truse every foo,
Flaundres and Spayne and othere, trust to me,
Or ellis hyndered alle for thys narowe see.


Therfore I caste me by a lytell wrytinge
To shewe att eye thys conclusione,
For concyens and for myne acquytynge
Ayenst God, and ageyne abusyon
And cowardyse and to oure enmyes confusione;
For iiij. thynges oure noble sheueth to me,
Kyng, shype and swerde and pouer of the see.


Where bene oure shippes, where bene oure swerdes become?
Owre enmyes bid for the shippe sette a shepe.
Allas, oure reule halteth, hit is benome.

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Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly

Part the First


Mery it was in the grene forest
Amonge the leves grene,
Wheras men hunt east and west,
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene,

To ryse the dere out of theyr denne,
Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene,
As by thre yemen of the north countrey,
By them it is I meane.

The one of them hight Adam Bel,
The other Clym of the Clough,
The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,
An archer good ynough.

They were outlawed for venyson,
These yemen everychone;
They swore them brethren upon a day,
To Englyshe-wood for to gone.

Now lith and lysten, gentylmen,
That of myrthes loveth to here:
Two of them were single men,
The third had a wedded fere.

Wyllyam was the wedded man,
Muche more then was hys care:
He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleile he would fare,

For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,
And with hys chyldren thre.
'By my trouth,' sayde Adam Bel,
'Not by the counsell of me.

'For if ye go to Carleile, brother,
And from thys wylde wode wende,
If the justice may you take,
Your lyfe were at an ende.'

'If that I come not to-morrowe, brother,
By pryme to you agayne,
Truste you then that I am 'taken,'
Or else that I am slayne.'

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two,
And to Carleile he is gon;

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Secundus

Incipit Liber Tercius

Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,
Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.
Ira malencolicos animos perturbat, vt equo
Iure sui pondus nulla statera tenet.
Omnibus in causis grauat Ira, set inter amantes,
Illa magis facili sorte grauamen agit:
Est vbi vir discors leuiterque repugnat amori,
Sepe loco ludi fletus ad ora venit.

----------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------

If thou the vices lest to knowe,
Mi Sone, it hath noght ben unknowe,
Fro ferst that men the swerdes grounde,
That ther nis on upon this grounde,
A vice forein fro the lawe,
Wherof that many a good felawe
Hath be distraght be sodein chance;
And yit to kinde no plesance
It doth, bot wher he most achieveth
His pourpos, most to kinde he grieveth,
As he which out of conscience
Is enemy to pacience:
And is be name on of the Sevene,
Which ofte hath set this world unevene,
And cleped is the cruel Ire,
Whos herte is everemore on fyre
To speke amis and to do bothe,
For his servantz ben evere wrothe.
Mi goode fader, tell me this:
What thing is Ire? Sone, it is
That in oure englissh Wrathe is hote,
Which hath hise wordes ay so hote,
That all a mannes pacience
Is fyred of the violence.
For he with him hath evere fyve
Servantz that helpen him to stryve:
The ferst of hem Malencolie
Is cleped, which in compaignie
An hundred times in an houre
Wol as an angri beste loure,
And noman wot the cause why.
Mi Sone, schrif thee now forthi:
Hast thou be Malencolien?
Ye, fader, be seint Julien,
Bot I untrewe wordes use,
I mai me noght therof excuse:
And al makth love, wel I wot,

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Parliament Of Fowles

Here begynyth the Parlement of Foulys

THE PROEM

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne,
Thassay so hard, so sharp the conquering,
The dredful Ioy, that alwey slit so yerne,
Al this mene I by love, that my feling
Astonyeth with his wonderful worching
So sore y-wis, that whan I on him thinke,
Nat wot I wel wher that I wake or winke.

For al be that I knowe nat love in dede,
Ne wot how that he quyteth folk hir hyre,
Yet happeth me ful ofte in bokes rede
Of his miracles, and his cruel yre;
Ther rede I wel he wol be lord and syre,
I dar not seyn, his strokes been so sore,
But God save swich a lord! I can no more.

Of usage, what for luste what for lore,
On bokes rede I ofte, as I yow tolde.
But wherfor that I speke al this? not yore
Agon, hit happed me for to beholde
Upon a boke, was write with lettres olde;
And ther-upon, a certeyn thing to lerne,
The longe day ful faste I radde and yerne.

For out of olde feldes, as men seith,
Cometh al this newe corn fro yeer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feith,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
But now to purpos as of this matere --
To rede forth hit gan me so delyte,
That al the day me thoughte but a lyte.

This book of which I make of mencioun,
Entitled was al thus, as I shal telle,
`Tullius of the dreme of Scipioun.';
Chapitres seven hit hadde, of hevene and helle,
And erthe, and soules that therinnr dwelle,
Of whiche, as shortly as I can hit trete,
Of his sentence I wol you seyn the grete.

First telleth hit, whan Scipion was come
In Afrik, how he mette Massinisse,
That him for Ioye in armes hath y nome.
Than telleth hit hir speche and al the blisse
That was betwix hem, til the day gan misse;
And how his auncestre, African so dere,

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 15

Ac after my wakynge it was wonder longe
Er I koude kyndely knowe what was Dowel.
And so my wit weex and wanyed til I a fool weere;
And some lakked my lif - allowed it fewe -
And leten me for a lorel and looth to reverencen
Lordes or ladies or any lif ellis -
As persons in pelure with pendaunts of silver;
To sergeaunts ne to swiche seide noght ones,
' God loke yow, lordes!' - ne loutede faire,
That folk helden me a fool; and in that folie I raved,
Til reson hadde ruthe on me and rokked me aslepe,
Til I seigh, as it sorcerie were, a sotil thyng withalle -
Oon withouten tonge and teeth, tolde me whider I sholde
And wherof I cam and of what kynde. I conjured hym at the laste,
If he were Cristes creature for Cristes love me to tellen.
' I am Cristes creature,' quod he, 'and Cristene in many a place,
In Cristes court yknowe wel, and of his kyn a party.
Is neither Peter the Porter, ne Poul with the fauchon,
That wole defende me the dore, dynge I never so late.
At mydnyght, at mydday, my vois is so yknowe
That ech a creature of his court welcometh me faire.'
'What are ye called?' quod I, 'in that court among Cristes peple?'
'The whiles I quykne the cors,' quod he, 'called am I Anima;
And whan I wilne and wolde, Animus ich hatte;
And for that I kan and knowe, called am I Mens;
And whan I make mone to God, Memoria is my name;
And whan I deme domes and do as truthe techeth,
Thanne is Racio my righte name - ''reson'' on Englissh;
And whan I feele that folk telleth, my firste name is Sensus -
And that is wit and wisdom, the welle of alle craftes;
And whan I chalange or chalange noght, chepe or refuse,

Thanne am I Conseience ycalled, Goddes clerk and his notarie;
And whan I love leelly Oure Lord and alle othere,
Thanne is ''lele Love'' my name, and in Latyn Amor;
And whan I flee fro the flessh and forsake the careyne,
Thanne am I spirit spechelees - and Spiritus thanne ich hatte.
Austyn and Ysodorus, either of hem bothe
Nempnede me thus to name - now thow myght chese
How thow coveitest to calle me, now thow knowest alle my names.
Anima pro diversis accionibus diversa nomina sortiturdum
vivificat corpus, anima est; dum vult, animus est; dum scit,
mens est; dum recolit, memoria est; dum iudicat, racio est;
dum sentit, sensus est; dum amat, Amor est ; dum negat vel
consentit, consciencia est; dum spirat, spiritus est.'
'Ye ben as a bisshop,' quod I, al bourdynge that tyme,
' For bisshopes yblessed, thei bereth manye names -
Presul and Pontifex and Metropolitanus,
And othere names an heep, Episcopus and Pastor.'
'That is sooth,' seide he, 'now I se thi wille!

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The Wright's Chaste Wife

Allemyghty god, maker of alle,
Saue you my souereyns in towre & halle,
And send you good grace!
If ye wylle a stounde blynne,
Of a story I wylle begynne,
And telle you alle the cas,
Meny farleyes ?aue herde,
Ye would haue wondyr how yt ferde;
Lystyn, and ye schalle here;
Of a wryght I wylle you telle
That some tyme in thys land gan dwelle,
And lyued by hys myster.
Whether that he were yn or oute,
Of erthely man hadde he no dowte,
To werke hows, harowe, nor plowgh,
Or other werkes, what so they were,
Thous wrought he hem farre and nere,
And dyd tham wele I-nough.
Thys wryght would wedde no wyfe,
Butt yn yougeth to lede hys lyfe
In myrthe and o?ody;
Ouer alle where he gan wende,
Alle they seyd 'welcome, frende,
Sytt downe, and do gla[d]ly.'
Tylle on a tyme he was wyllyng,
As tyme comyth of alle thyng,
(So seyth the profesye,)
A wyfe for to wedde & haue
That myght hys goodes kepe & saue,
And for to leue alle foly.
Ther dwellyd a wydowe in ?tre
That hadde a doughter feyre & fre;
Of her, word sprang wyde,
For sche was bothe stabylle & trewe,
Meke of maners, and feyre of hewe;
So seyd men in that tyde.
The wryght seyde, 'so god me saue,
Such a wyfe would I haue
To lye nyghtly by my syde.'
He ?to speke wyth ?,
And rose erly on a daye
And ?an he to ryde.
The wryght was welcome to ?,
And her saluyd alle so blyve,
And so he dyd her doughter fre:
For the erand that he for came
Tho he spake, ?d yemane;
Than to hym seyd sche:
The wydow seyd, 'by heuen kyng,
I may geue wyth her no ?r> (And ?thynketh me

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Athelston

Lord that is off myghtys most,
Fadyr and Sone and Holy Gost,
Bryng us out of synne
And lene us grace so for to wyrke
To love bothe God and Holy Kyrke
That we may hevene wynne.
Lystnes, lordyngys, that ben hende,
Of falsnesse, hou it wil ende
A man that ledes hym therin.
Of foure weddyd bretheryn I wole yow tell
That wolden yn Yngelond go dwel,
That sybbe were nought of kyn.

And all foure messangeres they were,
That wolden yn Yngelond lettrys bere,
As it wes here kynde.
By a forest gan they mete
With a cros, stood in a strete
Be leff undyr a lynde,
And, as the story telles me,
Ylke man was of dyvers cuntrie
In book iwreten we fynde —
For love of here metyng thare,
They swoor hem weddyd bretheryn for evermare,
In trewthe trewely dede hem bynde.

The eldeste of hem ylkon,
He was hyght Athelston,
The kyngys cosyn dere;
He was of the kyngys blood,
Hys eemes sone, I undyrstood;
Therefore he neyghyd hym nere.
And at the laste, weel and fayr,
The kyng him dyyd withouten ayr.
Thenne was ther non hys pere
But Athelston, hys eemes sone;
To make hym kyng wolde they nought schone,
To corowne hym with gold so clere.

Now was he kyng semely to se:
He sendes afftyr his bretheryn thre
And gaff hem here warysoun.
The eldest brothir he made Eerl of Dovere —
And thus the pore man gan covere —
Lord of tour and toun.
That other brother he made Eerl of Stane —
Egelond was hys name,
A man of gret renoun —
And gaff him tyl hys weddyd wyff
Hys owne sustyr, Dame Edyff,

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The Not-Browne Mayd

'Be it ryght or wrong, these men among
On women do complayne;
Affyrmynge this, how that it is
A labour spent in vayne
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man agayne:
For late a man do what he can
Theyr favour to attayne,
Yet yf a newe do them persue,
Theyr furst true lover than
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought
He is a banyshed man.'

'I say nat nay, but that all day
It is bothe writ and sayd,
That woman's faith is as who sayth,
All utterly decayd;
But neverthelesse, ryght good wytnesse
In this case might be layd,
That they love true, and continue:
Recorde the Not-Brown Mayde;
Which, when her love came, her to prove,
To her to make his mone,
Wolde nat depart, for in her hart
She loved but hym alone.'

'Than betwaine us late us dyscus,
What was all the manere
Betwayne them two; we wyll also
Telle all the payne and fere
That she was in. Nowe I begyn,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you gyve an eare.
I am the knyght, I come by nyght
As secret as I can,
Sayinge, 'Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banyshed man.''


She.

And I your wyll, for to fulfyll
In this wyll nat refuse,
Trustyng to shewe, in wordes fewe,
That men have an yll use,
(To theyr own shame) women to blame,
And causelesse them accuse:
Therfore to you I answere nowe,
All women to excuse, -

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Robin Hood and the Potter

Fitt I.
In schomer, when the leves spryng,
The bloschoms on every bowe,
So merey doyt the berdys syng
Yn wodys merey now.

Herkens, god yemen,
Comley, corteys, and god,
On of the best that yever bare bowe,
Hes name was Roben Hode.

Roben Hood was the yemans name,
That was boyt corteys and fre;
For the loffe of owre ladey,
All wemen werschepyd he.

Bot as the god yeman stod on a day,
Among hes mery maney,
He was ware of a prowd potter,
Cam dryfyng owyr the leye.

'Yonder comet a prod potter,' seyde Roben,
'That long hayt hantyd this wey;
He was never so corteys a man
On peney of pawage to pay.'

'Y met hem bot at Wentbreg,' seyde Lytyll John,
'And therefore yeffell mot he the!
Seche thre strokes he me gafe,
Yet by my seydys cleffe they.

Y ley forty shillings,' seyde Lytyll John,
'To pay het thes same day,
Ther ys nat a man among hus all
A wed schall make hem leye.'

'Here ys forty shillings,' seyde Roben,
'More, and thow dar say,
That Y schall make that prowde potter,
A wed to me schall he ley.'

There thes money they leyde,
They toke het a yeman to kepe;
Roben beffore the potter he breyde,
And bad hem stond stell.

Handys apon hes hors he leyde,
And bad the potter stonde foll stell;
The potter schorteley to hem seyde,
'Felow, what ys they well?'

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; the Wyves tale of Bathe

The Prologe of the Wyves tale of Bathe.

Experience, though noon auctoritee
Were in this world, were right ynogh to me
To speke of wo that is in mariage;
For, lordynges, sith I twelf yeer was of age,
Thonked be God, that is eterne on lyve,

Housbondes at chirche-dore I have had fyve-
For I so ofte have ywedded bee-
And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
But me was toold, certeyn, nat longe agoon is,
That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but onis

To weddyng in the Cane of Galilee,
That by the same ensample, taughte he me,
That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
Herkne eek, lo, which a sharpe word for the nones,
Biside a welle Jesus, God and Man,

Spak in repreeve of the Samaritan.
'Thou hast yhad fyve housbondes,' quod he,
'And thilke man the which that hath now thee
Is noght thyn housbonde;' thus seyde he, certeyn.
What that he mente ther by, I kan nat seyn;

But that I axe, why that the fifthe man
Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?
How manye myghte she have in mariage?
Yet herde I nevere tellen in myn age
Upon this nombre diffinicioun.

Men may devyne, and glosen up and doun,
But wel I woot expres withoute lye,
God bad us for to wexe and multiplye;
That gentil text kan I wel understonde.
Eek wel I woot, he seyde, myn housbonde

Sholde lete fader and mooder, and take me;
But of no nombre mencioun made he,
Of bigamye, or of octogamye;
Why sholde men speke of it vileynye?
Lo, heere the wise kyng, daun Salomon;

I trowe he hadde wyves mo than oon-
As, wolde God, it leveful were to me
To be refresshed half so ofte as he-
Which yifte of God hadde he, for alle hise wyvys?
No man hath swich that in this world alyve is.

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