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Concerning the Philosophers Stone. ( alchemical verse .)

.

And also with great diligence,
Thei fonde thilke Experience:
Which cleped is Alconomie,
Whereof the Silver multiplie;
Thei made, and eke the Gold also.
And for to telle howe itt is so:
Of bodies seven in Speciall,
With fowre Spirites joynt withall;
Stant the substance of this matere,
The bodies which I speke of here,
Of the Plannets ben begonne,
The Gold is titled to the Sonne:
The Moone of Silver hath hi part,
And Iron that stonde uppon Mart:
The Leed after Saturne groweth,
And Jupiter the Brasse bestoweth;
The Copper sette is to Venus:
And to his part Mercurius
Hath the Quicksilver, as it falleth,
The which after the Boke it calleth,
Is first of thilke foure named
Of Spirits, which be proclymed,
And the Spirite which is seconde,
In Sal Armoniake is founde:
The third Spirite Sulphur is,
The fourth Sewende after this,
Arcennium by name is hotte
With blowyng, and with fires hote:
In these things which I say,
Thei worchen by divers waye.
For as the Philosopher tolde,
Of Gold and Sylver thei ben holde,
Two Principall extremitees,
To which all other by degrees,
Of the mettals ben accordant,
And so through kinde resemblant:
That what man couth awaie take,
The rust, of which they waxen blake,
And And the favour of the hardnes;
Thei shulden take the likeness;
Of Gold or Silver parfectly,
Bot for to worche it sykerly;
Between the Corps and the Spirite,
Er that the Metall be parfite,
In seven forms itt is sette
Of all, and if one be lette,

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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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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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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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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. Prologus

Torpor, ebes sensus, scola parua labor minimusque
Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam:
Qua tamen Engisti lingua canit Insula Bruti
Anglica Carmente metra iuuante loquar.
Ossibus ergo carens que conterit ossa loquelis
Absit, et interpres stet procul oro malus.


Of hem that writen ous tofore
The bokes duelle, and we therfore
Ben tawht of that was write tho:
Forthi good is that we also
In oure tyme among ous hiere
Do wryte of newe som matiere,
Essampled of these olde wyse
So that it myhte in such a wyse,
Whan we ben dede and elleswhere,
Beleve to the worldes eere
In tyme comende after this.
Bot for men sein, and soth it is,
That who that al of wisdom writ
It dulleth ofte a mannes wit
To him that schal it aldai rede,
For thilke cause, if that ye rede,
I wolde go the middel weie
And wryte a bok betwen the tweie,
Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore,
That of the lasse or of the more
Som man mai lyke of that I wryte:
And for that fewe men endite
In oure englissh, I thenke make
A bok for Engelondes sake,
The yer sextenthe of kyng Richard.
What schal befalle hierafterward
God wot, for now upon this tyde
Men se the world on every syde
In sondry wyse so diversed,
That it welnyh stant al reversed,
As forto speke of tyme ago.
The cause whi it changeth so
It needeth nought to specifie,
The thing so open is at ije
That every man it mai beholde:
And natheles be daies olde,
Whan that the bokes weren levere,
Wrytinge was beloved evere
Of hem that weren vertuous;
For hier in erthe amonges ous,
If noman write hou that it stode,
The pris of hem that weren goode

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Confessio Amantis. Explicit Liber Quintus

Incipit Liber Sextus

Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo
Hec agit, ut corpus anime contraria spirat,
Quo caro fit crassa, spiritus atque macer.
Intus et exterius si que virtutis habentur,
Potibus ebrietas conviciata ruit.
Mersa sopore labis, que Bachus inebriat hospes,
Indignata Venus oscula raro premit.

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The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo
I thenke speke and of no mo;
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
That he can al the lawe deme,
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
And yit no strengthe is in his armes:
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,

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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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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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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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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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The Court Of Love

With timerous hert and trembling hand of drede,
Of cunning naked, bare of eloquence,
Unto the flour of port in womanhede
I write, as he that non intelligence
Of metres hath, ne floures of sentence;
Sauf that me list my writing to convey,
In that I can to please her hygh nobley.


The blosmes fresshe of Tullius garden soote
Present thaim not, my mater for to borne:
Poemes of Virgil taken here no rote,
Ne crafte of Galfrid may not here sojorne:
Why nam I cunning? O well may I morne,
For lak of science that I can-not write
Unto the princes of my life a-right


No termes digne unto her excellence,
So is she sprong of noble stirpe and high:
A world of honour and of reverence
There is in her, this wil I testifie.
Calliope, thou sister wise and sly,
And thou, Minerva, guyde me with thy grace,
That langage rude my mater not deface.


Thy suger-dropes swete of Elicon
Distill in me, thou gentle Muse, I pray;
And thee, Melpomene, I calle anon,
Of ignoraunce the mist to chace away;
And give me grace so for to write and sey,
That she, my lady, of her worthinesse,
Accepte in gree this litel short tretesse,


That is entitled thus, 'The Court of Love.'
And ye that ben metriciens me excuse,
I you besech, for Venus sake above;
For what I mene in this ye need not muse:
And if so be my lady it refuse
For lak of ornat speche, I wold be wo,
That I presume to her to writen so.


But myn entent and all my besy cure
Is for to write this tretesse, as I can,
Unto my lady, stable, true, and sure,
Feithfull and kind, sith first that she began
Me to accept in service as her man:

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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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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 19

Thus I awaked and wroot what I hadde ydremed,
And dighte me derely, and dide me to chirche,
To here holly the masse and to be housled after.
In myddes of the masse, tho men yede to offryng,
I fel eftsoones aslepe - and sodeynly me mette
That Piers the Plowman was peynted al blody,
And com in with a cros bifore the comune peple,
And right lik in alle lymes to Oure Lord Jesu.
And thanne called I Conscience to kenne me the sothe
'Is this Jesus the justere,' quod I, 'that Jewes dide to dethe?
Or it is Piers the Plowman! Who peynted hym so rede?'
Quod Conscience, and kneled tho, ' Thise arn Piers armes -
Hise colours and his cote armure; ac he that cometh so blody
Is Crist with his cros, conquerour of Cristene.'
'Why calle ye hym Crist?' quod I, 'sithen Jewes called hym Jesus?
Patriarkes and prophetes prophecied bifore
That alle kynne creatures sholden knelen and bowen
Anoon as men nempned the name of God Jesu.
Ergo is no name to the name of Jesus,
Ne noon so nedeful to nempne by nyghte ne by daye.
For alle derke develes arn adrad to heren it,
And synfulle aren solaced and saved by that name;
And ye callen hym Crist; for what cause, telleth me?
Is Crist moore of myght and moore worthi name
Than Jesu or Jesus, that al oure joye com of?'
'Thow knowest wel,' quod Conscience, 'and thow konne reson,
That knyght, kyng, conquerour may be o persone.
To be called a knyght is fair, for men shul knele to hym;
To be called a kyng is fairer, for he may knyghtes make;
Ac to be conquerour called, that cometh of special grace,
And of hardynesse of herte and of hendemesse -
To make lordes of laddes, of lond that he wynneth,
And fre men foule thralles, that folwen noght hise lawes.

'The Jewes, that were gentil men, Jesu thei despised -
Bothe his loore and his lawe; now are thei lowe cherles.
As wide as the world is, wonyeth ther noon
But under tribut and taillage as tikes and cherles;
And tho that bicome Cristene bi counseil of the Baptiste
Aren frankeleyns, free men thorugh fullynge that thei toke
And gentil men with Jesu - for Jesus was yfulled
And upon Calvarie on cros ycrouned kyng of Jewes.
' It bicometh to a kyng to kepe and to defende,
And conqueror of his conquest hise lawes and his large.
And so dide Jesus the Jewes - he justified and taughte hem
The lawe of lif that laste shal evere,
And fended from foule yveles, feveres and fiuxes,
And from fendes that in hem was, and false bileve.
Tho was he Jesus of Jewes called, gentile prophete,
And kyng of hir kyngdom, and croune bar of thornes.

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 10

Thanne hadde Wit a wif, was hote Dame Studie,
That lene was of lere and of liche bothe.
She was wonderly wroth that Wit me thus taughte,
And al staiynge Dame Studie sterneliche seide.
'Wel artow wis,' quod she to Wit, 'any wisdomes to telle
To flatereres or to fooles that frenetike ben of wittes!' -
And blamed hym and banned hym and bad hym be stille -
'With swiche wise wordes to wissen any sottes!'
And seide, ' Nolite mittere, man, margery perles
Among hogges that han hawes at wille.
Thei doon but dryvele theron - draf were hem levere
Than al the precious perree that in paradis wexeth.
I seye it by swiche,' quod she, 'that sheweth by hir werkes
That hem were levere lond and lordshipe on erthe,
Or richesse or rentes and reste at hir wille
Than alle the sooth sawes that Salamon seide evere.

'Wisdom and wit now is noght worth a kerse
But if it be carded with coveitise as clotheres kemben hir wolle.
Whoso can contreve deceites and conspire wronges
And lede forth a loveday to lette with truthe - .
That swiche craftes kan to counseil [are] cleped ;
Thei lede lordes with lesynges and bilieth truthe.
' Job the gentile in hise gestes witnesseth
That wikked men, thei welden the welthe of this worlde,
And that thei ben lordes of ech a lond, that out of lawe libbeth
Quare impii vivunt ? bene est omnibus qui prevaricantur et inique agunt ?
'The Sauter seith the same by swiche that doon ille
Ecce ipsi peccatores habundantes in seculo obtinuerunt divicias.
' Lo!' seith holy lettrure, ' whiche lordes beth thise sherewes!'
Thilke that God moost gyveth, leest good thei deleth,
And moost unkynde to the commune, that moost catel weldeth
Que perfecisti destruxerunt, iustus autem &c.
'Harlotes for hir harlotrie may have of hir goodes,
And japeris and jogelours and jangleris of gestes;
Ac he that hath Holy Writ ay in his mouthe
And kan telle of Tobye and of the twelve Apostles
Or prechen of the penaunce that Pilat wroghte
To Jesu the gentile, that Jewes todrowe -
Litel is he loved that swich a lesson sheweth,
Or daunted or drawe forth - I do it on God hymselve!
'But thoo that feynen hem foolis and with faityng libbeth
Ayein the lawe of Oure Lord, and lyen on hemselve,
Spitten and spuen and speke foule wordes,
Drynken and drevelen and do men for to gape,
Likne men and lye on hem that leneth hem no yiftes -
Thei konne na moore mynstralcie ne musik men to glade

Than Munde the Millere of Multa fecit Deus.
Ne were hir vile harlotrye, have God my trouthe,

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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 Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 11

Thanne Scriptare scorned me and a skile tolde,
And lakked me in Latyn and light by me sette,
And seide, ' Multi multa sciunt et seipsos nesciunt.'
Tho wepte I for wo andwrathe of hir speche
And in a wynkynge w[o]rth til I [weex] aslepe.

A merveillous metels mette me thanne.
For I was ravysshed right there - for Fortune me fette
And into the lond of longynge and love she me broughte,
And in a mirour that highte Middelerthe she made me to biholde.
Sithen she seide to me,-Here myghtow se wondres,
And knowe that thow coveitest, and come therto, peraunter.'
Thanne hadde Fortune folwynge hire two faire damyseles
Concupiscencia Carnis men called the elder mayde,
And Coveitise of Eighes ycalled was that oother.
Pride of Parfit Lyvynge pursued hem bothe,
And bad me for my contenaunce acounten Clergie lighte.
Concupiscencia Carnis colled me aboute the nekke
And seide, 'Thow art yong and yeep and hast yeres ynowe
For to lyve longe and ladies to lovye;
And in this mirour thow might se myrthes ful manye
That leden thee wole to likynge al thi lif tyme.'
The secounde seide the same' I shal sewe thi wille;
Til thow be a lord and have lond, leten thee I nelle
That I ne shal folwe thi felawship, if Fortune it like.'
' He shal fynde me his frend,' quod Fortune therafter;
'The freke that folwede my wille failled nevere blisse.'
Thanne was ther oon that highte Elde, that hevy was of chere,
' Man,' quod he, 'if I mete with thee, by Marie of hevene
Thow shalt fynde Fortune thee faille at thi mooste nede,
And Concupiscencia Carnis clene thee forsake.
Bittrely shaltow banne thanne, bothe dayes and nyghtes,
Coveitise of Eighe, that evere thow hir knewe;
And Pride of Parfit Lyvynge to muche peril thee brynge.'
' Ye? Recche thee nevere!' quod Rechelesnesse, stood forth in raggede clothes
' Folwe forth that Fortune wole - thow has wel fer til Elde.
A man may stoupe tyme ynogh whan he shal tyne the crowne.

''Homo proponit,'' quod a poete, and Plato he highte,
''And Deus disponit'' quod he, 'lat God doon his wille.''
If Truthe wol witnesse it be wel do, Fortune to folwe,
Concupiscencia Carnis ne Coveitise of Eighes
Ne shal noght greve thee graithly, ne bigile thee but thow wolt.'
' Ye, farewel Phippe! ' quod Faunteltee, and forth gan me drawe,
Til Concupiscencia Carnis acorded til alle my werkes.
'Allas, eighe!' quod Elde and Holynesse bothe,
'That wit shal torne to wrecchednesse for wil to have his likyng!'
Coveitise of Eighes conforted me anoon after
And folwed me fourty wynter and a fifte moore,
That of Dowel ne Dobet no deyntee me thoughte.

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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 Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 20

Thanne as I wente by the way, whan I was thus awaked,
Hevy chered I yede, and elenge in herte;
For I ne wiste wher to ete ne at what place,
And it neghed neigh the noon, and with Nede I mette,
That afrounted me foule and faitour me called.
'Coudestow noght excuse thee, as dide the kyng and othere -
That thow toke to thy bilyve, to clothes and to sustenaunce,
Was by techynge and by tellynge of Spiritus Temperancie,
And that thow nome na moore than nede thee taughte,
And nede ne hath no lawe, ne nevere shal falle in dette
For thre thynges he taketh his lif for to save? -
That is, mete whan men hym werneth, and he no moneye weldeth,
Ne wight noon wol ben his borugh, ne wed hath noon to legge;
And he ca[cch]e in that caas and come therto by sleighte,

He synneth noght, soothliche, that so wynneth his foode.
And though he come so to a clooth, and kan no bettre chevyssaunce,
Nede anoon righte nymeth hym under maynprise.
And if hym list for to lape, the lawe of kynde wolde
That he dronke at ech dych, er he [deide for thurst].
So Nede, at gret nede, may nymen as for his owene,
Withouten conseil of Conscience or Cardynale Vertues -
So that he sewe and save Spiritus Temperancie.
'For is no vertue bi fer to Spiritus Temperancie -
Neither Spiritus Iusticie ne Spiritus Fortitudinis.
For Spiritus Fortitudinis forfeteth ful ofte
He shal do moore than mesure many tyme and ofte,
And bete men over bittre, and som body to litel,
And greve men gretter than good feith it wolde.
'And Spiritus Iusticie shal juggen, wole he, nel he,
After the kynges counseil and the comune like.
And Spiritus Prudencie in many a point shal faille
Of that he weneth wolde falle if his wit ne weere.
Wenynge is no wysdom, ne wys ymaginacion
Homo proponit et Deus disponit -
[God] governeth alle goode vertues;
And Nede is next hym, for anoon he meketh
And as lowe as a lomb, for lakkyng that hym nedeth;
For nede maketh nede fele nedes lowe-herted.
Philosophres forsoke welthe for thei wolde be nedy,
And woneden wel elengely and wolde noght be riche.
'And God al his grete joye goostliche he lefte,
And cam and took mankynde and bicam nedy.'
So he was nedy, as seith the Book, in manye sondry places,
That he seide in his some on the selve roode,
''the Fox and fowel may fle to hole and crepe,

And the fissh hath fyn to flete with to reste,
Ther nede hath ynome me, that I moot nede abide
And suffre sorwes ful soure, that shal to joye torne.''

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