Imatges de pàgina
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Her eeres shoken fast withalle,
As from her heed they wolde falle.
Her face frounced1 and forpyned,2
And both her hondes lorne, for-dwined.*
So olde she was that she ne wente
A fote, but it were by potente.'1

The tyme, that passeth nyght and daye,
And restelesse travayleth aye, 370
And steleth from us so prively,
That to us semeth sykerly
That it in one poynt dwelleth ever.
And certes it ne resteth never,
But goth so fast, and passeth aye,
That there nys man that thynke may
What tyme that nowe present is, —
Asketh at these clerkes this,
For men thynke it redily

Thre tymes ben ypassed by, — 380

The tyme, that may not sojourne,

But goth, and may never retourne,

As watir that doun renneth ay,

Hut never drope retourne may;

I'her may no thing as tyme endure,

Metalle, nor erthely creature,

For alle thing it frette and shalle:

The tyme eke, that chaungith alle,

And alle doth waxe,* and fostred be,

knd alle thing distroieth he: 390

1 Wrinkled. * Wasted. * Much wasted • Staff. CI Cmmirr Umy Tales, 1. 11,*1*. • Doth cause to grow

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The tyme, that eldith our auncessours

And eldith kynges and emperours,

And that us alle shal overcomen

Er that deth us shal have nomen:

The tyme, that hath al in welde

To elden folk,1 had maad hir Elde

So ynly, that to my witing

She myghte helpe hir-silf no thing,

But turned ageyn unto childhede;

She hadde no thing hir-silf to lede, 400

Ne witte ne pithe in hir holde

More than a child of two yeer olde.

But natheles I trowe that she

Was faire sumtyme, and fresh to se,

Whan she was in hir rightful age:

But she was past al that passage

And was a doted thing bicomen.

And furred cope on hadde she nomen ; *

Wei hadde she clad hir-silf and warme,

For colde myght elles don hir harme. 410

These olde folk have alwey colde,

Her kynde' is sich, whan they ben olde.

Another thing was don there write,4
That semede lyk an ipocrite,
And it was clepid Pope-holy.4
That ilk is she that pryvely
Ne spareth never a wikked dede,
Whan men of hir taken noon hede,

* Hath in its power to age folk. Taken. * Their natara.

• Ca—d there to be written. 9 Hypocrisy.

And niaketh hir outward precious,1

With pale visage and pitous, 420

And semeth a semely creature;

But ther nys no mysaventure,

That she ne thenkith in hir corage.

Ful lyk to hir was that ymage,

That makid was lyk hir semblaunce.

She was ful symple of countenaunce,

And she was clothed and eke shod,

As she were for the love of God

Yolden * to relygioun,

Sich semede hir devocioun. 430 A sauter helde she fast in honde,

And bisily she gan to fonde *

To make many a feynt praiere,

To God, and to his seyntis dere.

Ne she was gay, ne fresh, ne jolyf,

But semede to be ful ententyf

To gode werkis, and to faire;

And therto she had on an haire.*
Ne certis she was fatt no thing

But semede wery for fasting, 440

Of colour pale and deed was she.

From hir the gate ay werned' be

Of Paradys, that blisful place;

For sich folk maketh lene her grace,

As Crist seith in his Evangile,

To gete prys in toun a while;

* Over nice. 'Yielded. * To try. * A hair shirt. • Forbid POVEKT AL ALOON."

223

And for a litel glorie veigne,
They iesen God and al his reigne.1

And alderlast of everychon
Was peynted Povert al aloon, 450
That not a peny hadde in holde,
Alle-though she hir clothis solde,
And though she shulde an-honged be,
For nakid as a worme was she.
And if the wedir stormy were,
For colde she shulde have deyd there.

She nadde on but a streit2 olde sak, And many a cloute on it ther stak; This was hir cote, and hir mantelle, No more was there never a delle 460 To clothe hir with; I undirtake, Grete leyser hadde she to quake. And she was putt, that I of talke, Fer fro these other, up in an halke;1 There lurked and there courede 4 she, For pover thing, where so it be, Is shamefast, and dispised ay. Acursed may wel be that day, That povere man conceyved is; For, God wote, al to selde, iwys, 470 Is ony povere man wel fedde, Or wel araied or y-cledde, Or wel-biloved, in sich wise, In honour that he may arise.

Alle these thingis welle avised,

1 Kingdom. * Scanty. 'Corner. * Croochai

As I have you er this devysed.

With gold and asure over alle,

Depeynted newe upon the walle.1

Square was the walle, and high sumdelle

Enclosed and v-barred welle.

In stede of hegge, was that gar dyne;

Come nevere shepherde therynne.

Into that gardyn, wel y-wrought,
Whoso that me coude have brought,
By laddris or elks by degre,2
It wolde wel have liked' me.
For sich solace, sich joie, and play,
I trowe that nevere man ne say,4
As was in that place delytous-

The gardeyn was not daungerous *
To herberwe * briddes many oon-
So riche a yeer was never noon
Of briddes songe, and braunches grene.
Therynne were briddes mo, I wene,
Than ben in alle the rewme5 of Fraunce.
Ful blisful was the accordaunce
Of swete and pitous songe thei made,
For alle this world it owghte glade.

And I my-silf so mery ferde,*
Whan I her blisful songes herde,
That for an hundreth pounde wolde I,
If that the passage opunly
Hadde be unto me fre,

1 That is, on the outside of the wall, as representing things onistic to Lore. 1 Stairs. s Pleased. * Saw. * Sparing, bor. 7 Realm. • Fared.

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