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The Fyftene Loyes Of Maryage

Somer passed/and wynter well begone
The dayes shorte/the darke nyghtes longe
Haue taken season/and brynghtnes of the sonne
Is lytell sene/and small byrdes songe
Seldon is herde/in feldes or wodes ronge
All strength and ventue/of trees and herbes sote
Dyscendynge be/from croppe in to the rote


And euery creature by course of kynde
For socoure draweth to that countre and place
Where for a tyme/they may purchace and fynde
Conforte and rest/abydynge after grace
That clere Appolo with bryghtnes of his face
Wyll sende/whan lusty ver shall come to towne
And gyue the grounde/of grene a goodly gowne


And Flora goddesse bothe of whyte and grene
Her mantell large/ouer all the erthe shall sprede
Shewynge her selfe/apparayled lyke a quene
As well in feldes/wodes/as in mede
Hauynge so ryche a croune vpon her hede
The whiche of floures/shall be so fayre and bryght
That all the worlde/shall take therof a lyght


So now it is/of late I was desyred
Out of the trenche to drawe a lytell boke
Of .xv. Ioyes/of whiche though I were hyred
I can not tell/and yet I vndertoke
This entrepryse/with a full pyteous loke
Remembrynge well/the case that stode in
Lyuynge in hope/this wynter to begyn


Some Ioyes to fynde that be in maryage
For in my youth/yet neuer acquayntaunce
Had of them but now in myn olde aege
I trust my selfe/to forther and auaunce
If that in me/there lacke no suffysaunce
Whiche may dyspleasyr/clerely set a parte
I wante but all/that longeth to that arte


yet wyll I speke/though I may do no more
Fully purposynge/in all these Ioyes to trete
Accordynge to my purpose made to fore
All be it so/I can not well forgete
The payne/trauayle/besynes and hete

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The Cōforte of Louers

The prohemye.

The gentyll poetes/vnder cloudy fygures
Do touche a trouth/and clokeit subtylly
Harde is to cōstrue poetycall scryptures
They are so fayned/& made sētēcyously
For som do wryte of loue by fables pryuely
Some do endyte/vpon good moralyte
Of chyualrous actes/done in antyquyte
Whose fables and storyes ben pastymes pleasaunt
To lordes and ladyes/as is theyr lykynge
Dyuers to moralyte/ben oft attendaunt
And many delyte to rede of louynge
Youth loueth aduenture/pleasure and lykynge
Aege foloweth polycy/sadnesse and prudence
Thus they do dyffre/eche in experyence
I lytell or nought/experte in this scyence
Compyle suche bokes/to deuoyde ydlenes
Besechynge the reders/with all my delygence
Where as I offende/for to correct doubtles
Submyttynge me to theyr grete gentylnes
As none hystoryagraffe/nor poete laureate
But gladly wolde folowe/the makynge of Lydgate
Fyrst noble Gower/moralytees dyde endyte
And after hym Cauncers/grete bokes delectable
Lyke a good phylozophre/meruaylously dyde wryte
After them Lydgate/the monke commendable
Made many wonderfull bokes moche profytable
But syth the are deed/& theyr bodyes layde in chest
I pray to god to gyue theyr soules good rest

Finis prohemii.

Whan fayre was phebus/w&supere; his bemes bryght
Amyddes of gemyny/aloft the fyrmament
Without blacke cloudes/castynge his pured lyght
With sorowe opprest/and grete incombrement
Remembrynge well/my lady excellent
Saynge o fortune helpe me to preuayle
For thou knowest all my paynfull trauayle
I went than musynge/in a medowe grene
Myselfe alone/amonge the floures in dede
With god aboue/the futertens is sene
To god I sayd/thou mayst my mater spede
And me rewarde/accordynge to my mede
Thou knowest the trouthe/I am to the true
Whan that thou lyst/thou mayst them all subdue
Who dyde preserue the yonge edyppus
Whiche sholde haue be slayne by calculacyon
To deuoyde grete thynges/the story sheweth vs

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The Example of Vertu : Cantos VIII.-XIV.

Capitalum VIII.

Dame Sapyence taryed a lytell whyle
Behynd the other saynge to Dyscrecyon
And began on her to laugh and smyle
Axynge her how I stode in condycyon
Well she sayd in good perfeccyon
But best it is that he maryed be
For to eschewe all yll censualyte
I knowe a lady of meruelous beaute
Spronge out of hyghe and noble lynage
Replete with vertue and full of bounte
Whiche vnto youth were a good maryage
For she is comen of royall apparage
But herde it wyll be to gete her loue
Without youth frayltye do sore reproue
I kneled downe than vpon my kne
Afore dame Sapyence with humble chere
Besechynge her of me to haue pyte
And also Dyscrecyon her syster dere
Than dame Sapyence came me nere
Saynge youth wyll ye haue a wyfe
And her to loue durynge her lyfe
Ye madame that wolde I fayne
Yf that she be both fayre and bryght
I wyll her loue euer more certayne
And pleas her alway with all my myght
Of suche a persone wolde I haue a syght
With all my herte now at this houre
Wolde to god I had so fayre a floure
Than sayd dyscrecyon there is a kynge
Dwellynge fer hens in a fayre castell
Of whome I oft haue herd grete talkynge
Whiche hath a doughter as I you tell
I trowe that youth wyll lyke her well
She is both good eke fayre and pure
As I report me vnto dame Nature
But yf that youth sholde her go seke
Ye must syster than hym well indue
With your grete power so good and meke
That he all frayltye may eschue
For by the way it wyll oft pursue
On hym by flatery and grete temptacyon
That shall brynge hym in tribulacyon
As for that sayd she he shall not care
For he shall theym sone ouercome
And of theyr flatery ryght well beware
For I to hym shall gyue grete wysedome
Theyr dedes to withstande & make theym dōme
Wherfore dere syster as I you pray

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The Bowge of Courte

In Autumpne whan the sonne in vyrgyne
By radyante hete enryped hath our corne
Whan luna full of mutabylyte
As Emperes the dyademe hath worne
Of our pole artyke smylynge halfe in scorne
At our foly and our vnstedfastnesse
The tyme whan Mars to werre hym dyd dres

I callynge to mynde the great auctoryte
Of poetes olde whyche full craftely
Under as couerte termes as coude be
Can touche a troughte and cloke it subtylly
Wyth fresshe vtteraunce full sentencyously
Dyuerse in style some spared not vyce to wrythe
Some of moralyte nobly dyde endyte

Wherby I rede theyr renome and theyr fame
Maye neuer dye bute euermore endure
I was sore moued to a force the same
But Ignoraunce full soone dyde me dyscure
And shewed that in this arte I was not sure
For to Illumyne she sayde I was to dulle
Auysynge me my penne awaye to pulle

And not to wrythe/ for he so wyll atteyne
Excedynge ferther than his connynge is
His hede maye be harde but feble is his brayne
Yet haue I knowen suche er this
But of reproche surely he maye not mys
That clymmeth hyer than he may fotynge haue
What and he slyde downe who shall hym saue

Thus vp & down my mynde was drawen & cast
That I ne wyste what to do was beste
Soo sore enwered that I was at the laste
Enforsed to slepe and for to take some reste
And to lye downe as soone as I me dreste
At harwyche porte slumbrynge as I laye
In myne hostes house called powers keye

Me thoughte I sawe a shyppe goodly of sayle
Come saylynge forth into that hauen brood
Her takelynge ryche and of hye apparayle
She kyste an anker and there she laye at rode
Marchauntes her borded to see what she had lode
Therein they founde Royall marchaundyse
Fraghted with plesure of what ye coude deuyse

But than I thoughte I wolde not dwell behynde
Amonge all other I put myselfe in prece

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Here Begynneth A Lyttell Treatyse Cleped La Conusaunce Damours

Forth gone the virgyns euerychone
Replet with ioye/and eke felicite
To gether floures. And some vnto one
Haue more fantasy/whan they it se
Than to all that in the medowes be
Another shall incontrary wyse
Gether other after theyr deuyse.


So done clerkes/of great grauite
Chose maters/wheron they lyst to wryte
But I that am of small capacite
Toke on me this treatyse to endyte
Tauoyde ydelnesse/more than for delyte
And most parte therof/tolde was to me
As here after/ye may rede and se.


Thus endeth the prologue.

The thyrde idus/in the moneth of July
Phebus his beames/lustryng euery way
Gladdynge the hartes/of all our Hemyspery
And mouynge many/vnto sporte and playe
So dyd it me/the treuthe for to saye
To walke forth/I had great inclination
Per chaunce some where/to fynde recreation


And as I walked/ever I dyd beholde
Goodly yonge people/that them encouraged
In suche maner wyse/as though they wolde
Ryght gladly have songe or daunsed
Or els some other gorgious thynge deuysed
Whose demeanynge/made me ryght ioyous
For to beholde/theyr dedes amorous.


To wryte all thynges of plesure/that I se
In euery place/where I passed by
In all a day recunted it can nat be
Who coude discryue the fresshe beauty
Of dames and pusels/attyred gorgiously
So swete of loke/so amiable of face
Smilyng doulcely/on suche as stande in grace


Certaynly theyr boute/and curtesy
Ofte moueth me/for to do my payne
Some thynge to wryte/them to magnifye

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Colyn Cloute

Quis consurget mecum adversus malignantes ?
aut quis stabit mecum adversus operantes iniqui-
tatem ? Nemo, Domine !

W H A T can it auayle
To dryue forth a snayle,
Or to make a sayle
Of an herynges tayle ;
To ryme or to rayle,
To wryte or to indyte,
Eyther for delyte
Or elles for despyte ;
Or bokes to compyle
Of dyuers maner style, 10
Vyce to reuyle
And synne to exyle ;
To teche or to preche,
As reason wyll reche ?
Say this, and say that,
His hed is so fat,
He wotteth neuer what
Nor wherof he speketh ;
He cryeth and he creketh,
He pryeth and he peketh, 20
He chydes and he chatters,
He prates and he patters,
He clytters and he clatters,
He medles and he smatters,
He gloses and he flatters ;
Or yf he speake playne,
Than he lacketh brayne,
He is but a fole ;
Let hym go to scole,
On a thre foted stole 30
That he may downe syt,
For he lacketh wyt ;
And yf that he hyt
The nayle on the hede,
It standeth in no stede ;
The deuyll, they say, is dede,
The deuell is dede.
It may well so be,
Or els they wolde se
Otherwyse, and fle 40
From worldly vanyte,
And foule couetousnesse,
And other wretchednesse,
Fyckell falsenesse,
Varyablenesse,
With vnstablenesse.

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The Example of Vertu : Cantos I.-VII.

Here begynneth the boke called the example of vertu.

The prologe.

Whan I aduert in my remembraunce
The famous draughtes of poetes eloquent
Whiche theyr myndes dyd well enhaunce
Bokes to contryue that were expedyent
To be remembred without Impedyment
For the profyte of humanyte
This was the custume of antyquyte.
I now symple and moost rude
And naked in depured eloquence
For dulnes rethoryke doth exclude
Wherfore in makynge I lake intellygence
Also consyderynge my grete neglygence
It fereth me sore for to endyte
But at auenture I wyll now wryte.
As very blynde in the poetys art
For I therof can no thynge skyll
Wherfore I lay it all a part
But somwhat accordynge to my wyll
I wyll now wryte for to fulfyll
Saynt Powles wordes and true sentement
All that is wryten is to oure document
O prudent Gower in langage pure
Without corrupcyon moost facundyous
O noble Chauser euer moost sure
Of frutfull sentence ryght delycyous
O vertuous Lydgat moche sentencyous
Unto you all I do me excuse
Though I your connynge do now vse
Explicit prologus.

Capitulum Primsi.
In Septembre in fallynge of the lefe
Whan phebus made his declynacyon
And all the whete gadred was in the shefe
By radyaunt hete and operacyon
Whan the vyrgyn had full domynacyon
And Dyane entred was one degre
Into the sygne of Gemyne
Whan the golden sterres clere were splendent
In the firmament puryfyed clere as crystall
By imperyall course without incombrement
As Iuppyter and Mars that be celestyall
With Saturne and Mercury that wer supernall
Myxt with venus that was not retrograte
That caused me to be well fortunate
In a slombrynge slepe with slouth opprest

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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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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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The Pastime of Pleasure : The First Part.

Here begynneth the passe tyme of pleasure.

Ryyght myghty prynce / & redoubted souerayne
Saylynge forthe well / in the shyppe of grace
Ouer the wawes / of this lyfe vncertayne
Ryght towarde heuen / to haue dwellynge place
Grace dothe you guyde / in euery doubtfull cace
Your gouernaunce / dothe euermore eschewe
The synne of slouthe / enemy to vertewe
Grace stereth well / the grace of god is grete
Whiche you hathe brought / to your ryall se
And in your ryght / it hath you surely sette
Aboue vs all / to haue the soueraynte
Whose worthy power / and regall dygnyte
All our rancour / and our debate and ceace
Hath to vs brought / bothe welthe reste and peace
Frome whome dyscendeth / by the ryghtfull lyne
Noble pryuce Henry / to succede the crowne
That in his youthe / dothe so clerely shyne
In euery vertu / castynge the vyce adowne
He shall of fame / attayne the hye renowne
No doubte but grace / shall hym well enclose
Whiche by trewe ryght / sprange of the reed rose
Your noble grace / and excellent hyenes
For to accepte / I beseche ryght humbly
This lytell boke / opprest with rudenes
Without rethorycke / or colour crafty
Nothynge I am / experte in poetry
As the monke of Bury / floure of eloquence
Whiche was in tyme / of grete excellence
Of your predecessour / the .v. kynge henry
Vnto whose grace / he dyde present
Ryght famous bokes / of parfyte memory
Of his faynynge with termes eloquent
Whose fatall fyccyons / are yet permanent
Grounded on reason / with clowdy fygures
He cloked the trouthe / of all his scryptures
The lyght of trouthe / I lacke connynge to cloke
To drawe a curtayne / I dare not to presume
Nor hyde my mater / with a mysty smoke
My rudenes connynge / dothe so sore cōsume
Yet as I maye / I shall blowe out a fume
To hyde my mynde / vnderneth a fable
By conuert colour / well and probable
Besechynge your grace / to pardon myne ignoraunce
Whiche this fayned fable / to eschewe ydlenesse
Hane so compyled / now without doubtaunce
For to present / to your hye worthynesse
To folowe the trace / and all the parfytenesse
Of my mayster Lydgate / with due exercyse

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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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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Tercius

Incipit Liber Quartus


Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,
Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:
Que fieri possent hodie transfert piger in cras,
Furatoque prius ostia claudit equo.
Poscenti tardo negat emolumenta Cupido,
Set Venus in celeri ludit amore viri.

Upon the vices to procede
After the cause of mannes dede,
The ferste point of Slowthe I calle
Lachesce, and is the chief of alle,
And hath this propreliche of kinde,
To leven alle thing behinde.
Of that he mihte do now hier
He tarieth al the longe yer,
And everemore he seith, 'Tomorwe';
And so he wol his time borwe,
And wissheth after 'God me sende,'
That whan he weneth have an ende,
Thanne is he ferthest to beginne.
Thus bringth he many a meschief inne
Unwar, til that he be meschieved,
And may noght thanne be relieved.
And riht so nowther mor ne lesse
It stant of love and of lachesce:
Som time he slowtheth in a day
That he nevere after gete mai.
Now, Sone, as of this ilke thing,
If thou have eny knowleching,
That thou to love hast don er this,
Tell on. Mi goode fader, yis.
As of lachesce I am beknowe
That I mai stonde upon his rowe,
As I that am clad of his suite:
For whanne I thoghte mi poursuite
To make, and therto sette a day
To speke unto the swete May,
Lachesce bad abide yit,
And bar on hond it was no wit
Ne time forto speke as tho.
Thus with his tales to and fro
Mi time in tariinge he drowh:
Whan ther was time good ynowh,
He seide, 'An other time is bettre;
Thou schalt mowe senden hire a lettre,
And per cas wryte more plein
Than thou be Mowthe durstest sein.'

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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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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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Salmacis and Hermaphroditus.

MY wanton lines doe treate of amorous loue,
Such as would bow the hearts of gods aboue:
Then Venus, thou great Citherean Queene,
That hourely tript on the Idalian greene,
Thou laughing Erycina, daygne to see
The verses wholly consecrate to thee;
Temper them so within thy Paphian shrine,
That euery Louers eye may melt a line;
Commaund the god of Loue that little King,
To giue each verse a sleight touch with his wing,
That as I write, one line may draw the tother,
And euery word skip nimbly o're another.
There was a louely boy the Nymphs had kept,
That on the Idane mountains oft had slept,
Begot and borne by powers that dwelt aboue,
By learned Mercury of the Queene of loue:
A face he had that shew'd his parents fame,
And from them both conioynd, he drew his name:
So wondrous fayre he was that (as they say)
Diana being hunting on a day,
Shee saw the boy vpon a greene banke lay him,
And there the virgin-huntresse meant to slay him,
Because no Nymphes did now pursue the chase:
For all were strooke blind with the wanton's face.
But when that beauteous face Diana saw,
Her armes were nummed, & shee could not draw;
Yet she did striue to shoot, but all in vaine,
Shee bent her bow, and loos'd it streight againe.
Then she began to chide her wanton eye,
And fayne would shoot, but durst not see him die,
She turnd and shot, and did of purpose misse him,
Shee turnd againe, and did of purpose kisse him.
Then the boy ran: for (some say) had he stayd,
Diana had no longer bene a mayd.
Phoebus so doted on this rosiat face,
That he hath oft stole closely from his place,
When he did lie by fayre Leucothoes side,
To dally with him in the vales of Ide:
And euer since this louely boy did die,
Phoebus each day about the world doth flie,
And on the earth he seekes him all the day,
And euery night he seekes him in the sea:
His cheeke was sanguine, and his lip as red
As are the blushing leaues of the Rose spred:
And I haue heard, that till this boy was borne,
Rose grew white vpon the virgin thorne,
Till one day walking to a pleasant spring,
To heare how cunningly the birds could sing,
Laying him downe vpon a flowry bed,
The Roses blush'd and turn'd themselues to red.

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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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Edmund Spenser

The Teares of the Muses

Rehearse to me ye sacred Sisters nine:
The golden brood of great Apolloes wit,
Those piteous plaints and sorrowful sad tine,
Which late ye powred forth as ye did sit
Beside the siluer Springs of Helicone,
Making your musick of hart-breaking mone.
For since the time that Phoebus foolish sonne
Ythundered through Ioues auengefull wrath,
For trauersing the charret of the Sunne
Beyond the compasse of his pointed path,
Of you his mournfull Sisters was lamented,
Such mournfull tunes were neuer since inuented.

Nor since that faire Calliope did lose
Her loued Twinnes, the dearlings of her ioy,
Her Palici, whom her vnkindly foes
The fatall Sisters, did for spight destroy,
Whom all the Muses did bewaile long space;
Was euer heard such wayling in this place.

For all their groues, which with the heauenly noyses,
Of their sweete instruments were wont to sound,
And th' hollow hills, from which their siluer voyces
Were wont redoubled Echoes to rebound,
Did now rebound with nought but rufull cries,
And yelling shrieks throwne vp into the skies.

The trembling streames, which wont in chanels cleare
To romble gently downe with murmur soft,
And were by them right tunefull taught to beare
A Bases part amongst their consorts oft;
Now forst to ouerflowe with brackish teares,
With troublous noyse did dull their daintie eares.

The ioyous Nymphes and lightfoote Faeries
Which thether came to heare their musick sweet,
And to the measure of their melodies
Did learne to moue their nimble shifting feete;
Now hearing them so heauily lament,
Like heauily lamenting from them went.

And all that els was wont to worke delight
Through the diuine infusion of their skill,
And all that els seemd faire and fresh in sight,
So made by nature for to serue their will,
Was turned now to dismall heauinesse,
Was turned now to dreadfull vglinesse.

Ay me, what thing on earth that all thing breeds,
Might be the cause of so impatient plight?

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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 Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 14

'I have but oon hool hater,' quod Haukyn, 'I am the lasse to blame
Though it be soiled and selde clene - I slepe therinne o nyghtes;
And also I have an houswif, hewen and children -
Uxorem duxi, et ideo non possum venire -
That wollen bymolen it many tyme, maugree my chekes.

It hath be laved in Lente and out of Lente bothe
With the sope of siknesse, that seketh wonder depe,
And with the losse of catel, that looth me w[ere]
For to agulte God or any good man, by aught that I wiste;
And was shryven of the preest, that [for my synnes gaf me]
To penaunce, pacience, and povere men to fede,
Al for coveitise of my Cristendom in clennesse to kepen it.
And kouthe I nevere, by Crist! kepen it clene an houre,
That I ne soiled it with sighte or som ydel speche,
Or thorugh werk or thorugh word, or wille of myn herte,
That I ne flobre it foule fro morwe til even.'
'And I shal kenne thee,' quod Conscience, 'of Contricion to make
That shal clawe thi cote of alle kynnes filthe -
Cordis contricio
Dowel shal wasshen it and wryngen it thorugh a wis confessour -
Oris confessio
Dobet shal beten it and bouken it as bright as any scarlet,
And engreynen it with good wille and Goddes grace to amende the,
And sithen sende thee to Satisfaccion for to sonnen it after
Satisfaccio.
'And Dobest kepe[th] clene from unkynde werkes.
Shal nevere my[te] bymolen it, ne mothe after biten it,
Ne fend ne fals man defoulen it in thi lyve.
Shal noon heraud ne harpour have a fairer garnement
Than Haukyn the Actif man, and thow do by my techyng,
Ne no mynstrall be moore worth amonges povere and riche
Than Haukyn wi[l] the wafrer, which is Activa Vita.'
'And I shal purveie thee paast,' quod Pacience, 'though no plough erye,
And flour to fede folk with as best be for the soule;
Though nevere greyn growed, ne grape upon vyne,
Alle that lyveth and loketh liflode wolde I fynde,
And that ynogh - shal noon faille of thyng that hem nedeth.

We sholde noght be to bisy abouten oure liflode
Ne soliciti sitis Volucres celi Deus pascit Pacientes vincunt
Thanne laughed Haukyn a litel, and lightly gan swerye,
'Whoso leveth yow, by Oure Lord, I leve noght he be blessed!'
'No?' quod Pacience paciently, and out of his poke hente
Vitailles of grete vertues for alle manere beestes,
And seide, ' Lo! here liflode ynogh, if oure bileve be trewe.
For lent nevere was lif but liflode were shapen,
Wherof or wherfore or wherby to libbe.
' First the wilde worm under weet erthe,
Fissh to lyve in the flood, and in the fir the criket,

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The Cōuercyon of Swerers

The fruytfull sentence & the noble werkes
To our doctryne wryten in olde antyquyte
By many grete and ryght notable clerkes
Grounded on reason & hyghe auctoryte
Dyde gyue vs example by good moralyte
To folowe the trace of trouthe and ryghtwysnes
Leuynge our synne and mortall wretchednes
By theyr wrytynge dothe vnto vs appere
The famous actes of many a champyon
In the courte of fame renowned fayre and clere
And some endyted theyr entencyon
Cloked in coloure harde in construccyon
Specyally poetes vnder cloudy fygures
Coueryd the trouthe of all theyr scryptures
So hystoryagraphes all the worthy dedes
Of kynges and knyghtes dyde put in wrytynge
To be in mynde for theyr memoryall medes
How sholde we nowe haue ony knowledgynge
Of thynges past/but by theyr endytynge
Wherfore we ought to preyse them doubteles
That spente theyr tyme in suche good besynes
Amonge all other my good mayster Lydgate
The eloquent poete and monke of bery
Dyde bothe contryue/and also translate
Many vertuous bookes to be in memorye
Touchynge the trouthe well and sentencyously
But syth that his dethe was intollerable
I praye god rewarde hym in lyfe perdurable
Amonge all thynges nothynge so prouffytable
As is scyence with the sentencyous scrypture
For worldly rychesse is often transmutable
As dayly dothe appere well in vre
Yet scyens a bydeth and is moost sure
After pouerte to attayne grete rychesse
Scyens is cause of promocyon doubtles
I lytell or nought expert in poetrye
Remembrynge my youth so lyght and frayle
Purpose to compyle here full breuyatly
A lytell treatyse wofull to bewayle
The cruell swerers whiche do god assayle
On euery syde his swete body to tere
With terryble othes as often as they swere
But also for drede plonged in neclygence
My penne doth quake to presume to endyte
But hope at laste to recure this scyence
Exorteth me ryght hardely to wryte
To deuoyde ydlenesse by good appetyte
For ydlenesse the grete moder of synne
Euery vyce is redy to lette ynne
I with the same ryght gretely infecte

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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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