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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 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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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 13

And I awaked therwith, witlees nerhande,
And as a freke that fey were, forth gan I walke
In manere of a mendynaunt many yer after,
And of this metyng many tyme muche thought I hadde
First how Fortune me failed at my mooste nede,
And how that Elde manaced me, myghte we evere mete;
And how that freres folwede folk that was riche,
And [peple] that was povere at litel pris thei sette,
And no corps in hir kirkyerd ne in hir kirk was buryed
But quik he biquethe hem aught or sholde helpe quyte hir dettes;
And how this coveitise overcom clerkes and preestes;
And how that lewed men ben lad, but Oure Lord hem helpe,
Thorugh unkonnynge curatours to incurable peynes;
And how that Ymaginatif in dremels me tolde
Of Kynde and of his konnynge, and how curteis he is to bestes,
And how lovynge he is to bestes on londe and on watre
Leneth he no lif lasse ne moore;
The creatures that crepen of Kynde ben engendred;
And sithen how Ymaginatif seide, ' Vix iustus salvabitur,'
And whan he hadde seid so, how sodeynliche he passed.
I lay down longe in this thoght, and at the laste I slepte;

And as Crist wolde ther com Conscience to conforte me that tyme,
And bad me come to his court - with Clergie sholde I dyne.
And for Conscience of Clergie spak, I com wel the rather;
And there I [merkede] a maister - what man he was I nyste -
That lowe louted and loveliche to Scripture.
Conscience knew hym wel and welcomed hym faire;
Thei wesshen and wipeden and wenten to the dyner.
Ac Pacience in the paleis stood in pilgrymes clothes,
And preyde mete par charite for a povere heremyte.
Conscience called hym in, and curteisliche seide,
' Welcome, wye, go and wassh; thow shalt sitte soone.'
This maister was maad sitte as for the mooste worthi,
And thanne Clergie and Conscience and Pacience cam after.
Pacience and I were put to be mettes,
And seten bi oureselve at a side borde.
Conscience called after mete, and thanne cam Scripture
And served hem thus soone of sondry metes manye -
Of Austyn, of Ambrose, of alle the foure Evaungelistes
Edentes et bibentes que apud eos sunt.
Ac this maister ne his man no maner flessh eten,
Ac thei eten mete of moore cost - mortrews and potages
Of that men myswonne thei made hem wel at ese.
Ac hir sauce was over sour and unsavourly grounde
In a morter, Post mortem, of many bitter peyne -
But if thei synge for tho soules and wepe salte teris
Vos qui peccata hominum comeditis, nisi pro eis lacrimas et
oraciones effuderitis, ea que in deliciis comeditis, in tormentis evometis.
Conscience ful curteisly tho commaunded Scripture

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Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales; Prologue

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-

So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende

Of Engelond, to Caunturbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for the seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.
Bifil that in that seson, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,

Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury, with ful devout corage,
At nyght were come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle

In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste;
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,

So hadde I spoken with hem everychon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse
To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.
But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degree,

And eek in what array that they were inne;
And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.

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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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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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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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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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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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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 08

Thus yrobed in russet I romed aboute
Al a somer seson for to seke Dowel,
And frayned ful ofte of folk that I mette
If any wight wiste wher Dowel was at inne,
And what man he myghte be of many man I asked.
Was nevere wight as I wente that me wisse kouthe
Where this leode lenged, lasse ne moore -
Til it bifel on a Friday two freres I mette,
Maistres of the Menours, men of grete witte.
I hailsed hem hendely, as I hadde ylerned,
And preide hem, pur churite, er thei passed ferther,
If they knewe any contree or costes [aboute]
Where that Dowel dwelieth - 'Dooth me to witene;
For [ye] be men of this moolde that moost wide walken,
And knowen contrees and courtes and many kynnes places -
Bothe princes paleises and povere mennes cotes,
And Dowel and Do-yvele, wher thei dwelle bothe.'
'[Marie!]', quod the Menours, ' [amonges us he dwelleth],
And evere hath, as I hope, and evere shal herafter.'
'Contra!' quod I as a clerc, and comsed to disputen,
And seide, 'Soothly, Sepcies in die cadit iustus.
Sevene sithes, seith the Book, synneth the rightfulle,
And whoso synneth,' I seide, ' [certes] dooth yvele, as me thynketh,
And Dowel and Do-yvele mowe noght dwelle togideres.
Ergo he nys noght alwey at hoom amonges yow freres
He is outhemhile elliswhere to wisse the peple.'
' I shal seye thee, my sone,' seide the frere thanne,

'How seven sithes the sadde man synneth on the day.
By a forbisne,' quod the frere, 'I shal thee faire shewe.
'Lat brynge a man in a boot amydde a brode watre
The wynd and the water and the [waggyng of the boot]
Maketh the man many tyme to falle and to stonde.
For stonde he never so stif, he stumbleth if he meve -
Ac yet is he saaf and sound, and so hym bihoveth;
For if he ne arise the rather and raughte to the steere,
The wynd wolde with the water the boot overthrowe,
And thanne were his lif lost thorugh lachesse of hymselve.
' Right thus it fareth,' quod the frere, ' by folk here on erthe.
The water is Iikned to the world, that wanyeth and wexeth;
The goodes of this grounde arn lik the grete wawes
That as wyndes and wedres walweth aboute;
The boot is likned to oure body that brotel is of kynde,
That thorugh the fend and the flessh and the frele worlde
Synneth the sadde man [seven sithes a day].
'Ac dedly synne doth he noght, for Dowel hym kepeth,
And that is charite the champion, chief help ayein synne;
For he strengtheth man to stonde, and steereth mannes soule
That, though thi body bowe as boot dooth in the watre,
Ay is thi soule saaf but thow thiselve wole

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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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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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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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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 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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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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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 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 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 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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