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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 04

' Cesseth!' seide the Kyng, ' I suffre yow no lenger.
Ye shul saughtne, forsothe, and serve me bothe.
Kis hire,' quod the Kyng, 'Conscience, I hote!'
' Nay, by Crist!' quod Conscience, ' congeye me rather!
But Reson rede me therto, rather wol I deye.'
'And I comaunde thee,' quod the Kyng to Conseience thanne,
'Rape thee to ryde, and Reson that thow fecche.
Comaunde hym that he come my counseil to here,
For he shal rule my reaume and rede me the beste
Mede and of mo othere, what man shal hire wedde,

And acounte with thee, Conscience, so me Crist helpe,
How thow lernest the peple, the lered and the lewed!'
'I am fayn of that foreward,' seide the freke thanne,
And ryt right to Reson and rouneth in his ere,
And seide hym as the Kyng seide, and sithen took his leve.
'I shal arraye me to ryde,' quod Reson,-reste thee a while,'
And called Caton his knave, curteis of speche,
And also Tomme Trewe-tonge-tel-me-no-tales
Ne lesynge-to-laughen-of-for-I-loved-hem-nevere.
' Set my sadel upon Suffre-til-I-se-my-tyme,
And lat warroke hym wel with witty-wordes gerthes.
Hange on hym the hevy brydel to holde his heed lowe,
For he wol make ''wehee'' twies er he be there.'
Thanne Conscience on his capul caireth forth faste,
And Reson with hym ryt, rownynge togideres
Whiche maistries Mede maketh on this erthe.
Oon Waryn Wisdom and Witty his fere
Folwed hem faste, for thei hadde to doone
In th'Eseheker and in the Chauncerye, to ben descharged of thynges,
And riden faste for Reson sholde rede hem the beste
For to save hem for silver from shame and from harmes.
A[c] Conscience knew hem wel, thei loved coveitise,
And bad Reson ryde faste and recche of hir neither
'Ther are wiles in hire wordes, and with Mede thei dweneth -
Ther as wrathe and wranglynge is, ther wynne thei silver;
Ac there is love and leautee, thei wol noght come there
Contricio et infelicitas in viis eorum &c.
Thei ne gyveth noght of God one goose wynge
Non est timor Dei ante oculos eorum &c.
For thei wolde do moore for a dozeyne chiknes
Than for the love of Oure Lorde or alle hise leeve seintes!

Forthi, Reson, lat hem ride, tho riche by hemselve -
For Conscience knoweth hem noght, ne Crist, as I trowe.'
And thanne Reson rood faste the righte heighe gate,
As Conscience hym kenned, til thei come to the Kynge.
Curteisly the Kyng thanne com ayeins Reson,
And bitwene hymsel and his sone sette hym on benche,
And wordeden wel wisely a gret while togideres.

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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

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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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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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 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 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 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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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 Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 18

Wolleward and weetshoed wente I forth after
As a recchelees renk that [reccheth of no wo],
And yede forth lik a lorel al my lif tyme,
Til I weex wery of the world and wilned eft to slepe,
And lened me to a Lenten - and longe tyme I slepte;
Reste me there and rutte faste til ramis palmarum.
Of gerlis and of Gloria, laus gretly me dremed
And how osanna by organye olde folk songen,

And of Cristes passion and penaunce, the peple that ofraughte.
Oon semblable to the Samaritan, and somdeel to Piers the Plowman,
Barefoot on an asse bak bootles cam prikye,
Withouten spores other spere; spakliche he loked,
As is the kynde of a knyght that cometh to be dubbed,
To geten hym gilte spores on galoches ycouped.
Thanne was Feith in a fenestre, and cryde 'At Fili David!'
As dooth an heraud of armes whan aventrous cometh to iustes.
Olde Jewes of Jerusalem for joye thei songen,
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Thanne I frayned at Feith what al that fare bymente,
And who sholde juste in Jerusalem. 'jesus,' he seide,
'And fecche that the fend claymeth - Piers fruyt the Plowman.'
'Is Piers in this place?' quod I, and he preynte on me.
'This Jesus of his gentries wol juste in Piers armes,
In his helm and in his haubergeon - humana natura.
That Crist be noght biknowe here for consummatus Deus,
In Piers paltok the Plowman this prikiere shal ryde;
For no dynt shal hym dere as in deitate Patris.'
'Who shal juste with Jesus?' quod I, 'Jewes or scrybes?'
'Nay,' quod Feith, 'but the fend and fals doom to deye.
Deeth seith he shal fordo and adoun brynge
Al that lyveth or loketh in londe or in watre.
Lif seith that he lieth, and leieth his lif to wedde
That, for al that Deeth kan do, withinne thre daies to walke
And fecche fro the fend Piers fruyt the Plowman,
And legge it ther hym liketh, and Lucifer bynde,

And forbete and adoun brynge bale-deeth for evere
O Mors ero mors tua!'
Thanne cam Pilatus with muche peple, sedens pro tribunali,
To se how doghtiliche Deeth sholde do, and deme hir botheres right.
The Jewes and the justieeayeins Jesu thei weere,
And al the court on hym cryde ' Crucifige!' sharpe.
Tho putte hym forth a p[e]lour bifore Pilat and seide,
'This Jesus of oure Jewes temple japed and despised,
To fordoon it on o day, and in thre dayes after
Edifie it eft newe - here he stant that seide it -
And yit maken it as muche in alle manere poyntes
Bothe as long and as large a lofte and by grounde.'
' Crucifige!' quod a cachepol, ' I warante hym a wicche!'

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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.

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

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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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 Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 03

Now is Mede the mayde and no mo of hem alle,
With bedeles and baillies brought bifore the Kyng.
The Kyng called a clerk - l kan noght his name -
To take Mede the maide and maken hire at ese.
I shal assayen hire myself and soothliche appose
What man of this world that hire were levest.
And if she werche bi wit and my wil folwe
I wol forgyven hire this gilt, so me God helpe!'
Curteisly the clerk thanne, as the Kyng highte,
Took Mede bi the myddel and broghte hire into chambre.
Ac ther was murthe and mynstralcie Mede to plese;
That wonyeth at Westmynstre worshipeth hire alle.
Gentilliche with joye the justices somme
Busked hem to the bour ther the burde dwellede,
Conforted hyre kyndely by Clergies leve,
And seiden, ' Mourne noght, Mede, ne make thow no sorwe,
For we wol wisse the Kyng and thi wey shape
To be wedded at thi wille and wher thee leef liketh
For al Conscienees cast or craft, as I trowe.'
Mildely Mede thanne merciede hem alle

Of hire grete goodnesse - and gaf hem echone
Coupes of clene gold and coppes of silver,
Rynges with rubies and richesses manye,
The Ieeste man of hire meynee a moton of golde.
Thanne laughte thei leve thise lordes at Mede.
With that comenclerkes to conforten hire the same,
And beden hire be blithe - 'For we beth thyne owene
For to werche thi wille the while thow myght laste.'
Hendiliche heo thanne bihighte hem the same -
To loven hem lelly and lordes to make,
And in the consistorie at the court do callen hire names.
' Shal no lewednesse lette the clerke that I lovye,
That he ne worth first avaunced for I am biknowen
Ther konnynge clerkes shul clokke bihynde.'
Thanne cam ther a confessour coped as a frere;
To Mede the mayde [mekeliche he loutede]
And seide ful softely, in shrift as it were,
'Theigh lewed men and lered men hadde leyen by thee bothe.
And Falshede hadde yfolwed thee alle thise fifty wynter,
I shal assoille thee myself for a seem of whete,
And also be thi bedeman, and bere wel thyn er[ende],
Amonges knyghtes and clerkes, Conscience to torne.
Thanne Mede for hire mysdedes to that man kneled,
And shrof hire of hire sherewednesse - shamelees, I trowe;
Tolde hym a tale and took hym a noble
For to ben hire bedeman and hire brocour als.
Thanne he assoiled hire soone and sithen he seide,
' We have a wyndow in werchynge, wole stonden us ful hye;
Woldestow glaze that gable and grave therinne thy name,

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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 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 Assembly Of Ladies

In Septembre, at the falling of the leef,
The fressh sesoun was al-togider doon,
And of the corn was gadered in the sheef;
In a gardyn, about twayn after noon,
Ther were ladyes walking, as was her wone,
Foure in nombre, as to my mynd doth falle,
And I the fifte, the simplest of hem alle.


Of gentilwomen fayre ther were also,
Disporting hem, everiche after her gyse,
In crosse-aleys walking, by two and two,
And some alone, after her fantasyes.
Thus occupyed we were in dyvers wyse;
And yet, in trouthe, we were not al alone;
Ther were knightës and squyers many one.


'Wherof I served?' oon of hem asked me;
I sayde ayein, as it fel in my thought,
'To walke about the mase, in certayntè,
As a woman that [of] nothing rought.'
He asked me ayein—'whom that I sought,
And of my colour why I was so pale?'
'Forsothe,' quod I, 'and therby lyth a tale.'


'That must me wite,' quod he, 'and that anon;
Tel on, let see, and make no tarying.'
'Abyd,' quod I, 'ye been a hasty oon,
I let you wite it is no litel thing.
But, for bicause ye have a greet longing
In your desyr, this proces for to here,
I shal you tel the playn of this matere.—


It happed thus, that, in an after-noon,
My felawship and I, by oon assent,
Whan al our other besinesse was doon,
To passe our tyme, into this mase we went,
And toke our wayes, eche after our entent;
Some went inward, and wend they had gon out,
Some stode amid, and loked al about.


And, sooth to say, some were ful fer behind,
And right anon as ferforth as the best;
Other ther were, so mased in her mind,
Al wayes were good for hem, bothe eest and west.
Thus went they forth, and had but litel rest;

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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 Regiment of Princes

Musynge upon the restlees bysynesse
Which that this troubly world hath ay on honde,
That othir thyng than fruyt of bittirnesse
Ne yildith naght, as I can undirstonde,
At Chestres In, right faste by the Stronde,
As I lay in my bed upon a nyght,
Thoght me byrefte of sleep the force and might. 1

And many a day and nyght that wikkid hyne
Hadde beforn vexed my poore goost
So grevously that of angwissh and pyne
No rycher man was nowhere in no coost.
This dar I seyn, may no wight make his boost
That he with thoght was bet than I aqweynted,
For to the deeth he wel ny hath me feynted.

Bysyly in my mynde I gan revolve
The welthe unseur of every creature,
How lightly that Fortune it can dissolve
Whan that hir list that it no lenger dure;
And of the brotilnesse of hir nature
My tremblynge herte so greet gastnesse hadde
That my spirites were of my lyf sadde.

Me fil to mynde how that nat longe agoo
Fortunes strook doun thraste estat rial
Into mescheef, and I took heede also
Of many anothir lord that hadde a fal.
In mene estat eek sikirnesse at al
Ne saw I noon, but I sy atte laste
Wher seuretee for to abyde hir caste.

In poore estat shee pighte hir pavyloun
To kevere hir fro the storm of descendynge 2
For shee kneew no lower descencion
Sauf oonly deeth, fro which no wight lyvynge
Deffende him may; and thus in my musynge
I destitut was of joie and good hope,
And to myn ese nothyng cowde I grope.

For right as blyve ran it in my thoght,
Thogh poore I be, yit sumwhat leese I may.
Than deemed I that seurtee wolde noght
With me abyde; it is nat to hir pay
Ther to sojourne as shee descende may.
And thus unsikir of my smal lyflode,
Thoght leide on me ful many an hevy lode.

I thoghte eek, if I into povert creepe,
Than am I entred into sikirnesse;

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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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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; the Seconde Nonnes Tale

The Prologe of the Seconde Nonnes Tale.

The ministre and the norice unto vices,
Which that men clepe in Englissh ydelnesse,
That porter of the gate is of delices,
To eschue, and by hir contrarie hir oppresse,
(That is to seyn by leveful bisynesse),
Wel oghten we to doon al oure entente,
Lest that the feend thurgh ydelnesse us shente.

For he, that with hise thousand cordes slye
Continuelly us waiteth to biclappe,
Whan he may man in ydelnesse espye,
He kan so lightly cacche hym in his trappe,
Til that a man be hent right by the lappe,
He nys nat war the feend hath hym in honde.
Wel oghte us werche, and ydelnesse withstonde.

And though men dradden nevere for to dye,
Yet seen men wel by resoun, doutelees,
That ydelnesse is roten slogardye,
Of which ther nevere comth no good encrees;
And seen that slouthe hir holdeth in a lees,
Oonly to slepe, and for to ete and drynke,
And to devouren al that othere swynke.

And for to putte us fro swich ydelnesse,
That cause is of so greet confusioun,
I have heer doon my feithful bisynesse,
After the legende, in translacioun
Right of thy glorious lyf and passioun,
Thou with thy gerland wroght with rose and lilie,
Thee meene I, mayde and martir, seint Cecilie.

Invocacio ad Mariam.

And thow that flour of virgines art alle,
Of whom that Bernard list so wel to write,
To thee at my bigynnyng first I calle,
Thou confort of us wrecches, do me endite
Thy maydens deeth, that wan thurgh hir merite

The eterneel lyf, and of the feend victorie,
As man may after reden in hir storie.

Thow mayde and mooder, doghter of thy sone,
Thow welle of mercy, synful soules cure,
In whom that God for bountee chees to wone,
Thow humble and heigh, over every creature
Thow nobledest so ferforth oure nature,

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; The Clerkes Tale (a)

THE CLERKES TALE - PROLOGUE

Heere folweth the Prologe of the clerkes tale of Oxenford.

'Sire clerk of Oxenford,' oure Hooste sayde,
'Ye ryde as coy and stille as dooth a mayde,
Were newe spoused, sittynge at the bord.
This day ne herde I of youre tonge a word.
I trowe ye studie about som sophyme;

But Salomon seith, `every thyng hath tyme.'
For Goddes sake, as beth of bettre cheere;
It is no tyme for to studien heere,
Telle us som myrie tale, by youre fey.
For what man that is entred in a pley,

He nedes moot unto the pley assente;
But precheth nat as freres doon in Lente,
To make us for oure olde synnes wepe,
Ne that thy tale make us nat to slepe.
Telle us som murie thyng of aventures;

Youre termes, youre colours, and youre figures,
Keep hem in stoor, til so be that ye endite
Heigh style, as whan that men to kynges write.
Speketh so pleyn at this tyme, we yow preye,
That we may understonde what ye seye.'

This worthy clerk benignely answerde,
'Hooste,' quod he, 'I am under youre yerde.
Ye han of us as now the governance;
And therfore wol I do yow obeisance
As fer as resoun axeth, hardily.

I wol yow telle a tale, which that I
Lerned at Padwe of a worthy clerk,
As preved by his wordes and his werk.
He is now deed, and nayled in his cheste;
I prey to God so yeve his soule reste.

Fraunceys Petrark, the lauriat poete,
Highte this clerk, whos rethorike sweete
Enlumyned al Ytaille of poetrie,
As Lynyan dide of philosophie,
Or lawe, or oother art particuler.

But deeth, that wol nat suffre us dwellen heer
But as it were a twynklyng of an eye,
Hem bothe hath slayn, and alle shul we dye.
But forth to tellen of this worthy man,

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