Imatges de pàgina
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Ne trowe not that I lye or madde;1

For in this world is noon hir lyche,

Ne by a thousand deelle so riche,

Ne noon so faire; for it ful welle

With orfrays leyd was everydeelle,

And portraied in the ribanynges

Of dukes storyes, and of kynges.

And with a bend of gold tasseled,

And knoppis fyne of gold enameled, 1080

Aboute hir nekke of gentyl entayle *

Was shete the riche chevesaile,1

In which ther was fulle gret plente

Of stones clere and bright to see.

Rychesse a girdelle hadde upon,

The bokele of it was of a stoon,

Of vertu gret, and mochel of myght

For who so bare the stoon so bright,

Of venym durst hym no thing doute,

While he the stoon hadde hym aboute. 1090

That stoon was gretly for to love,

And tyl a riche man byhove

Worth alle the gold in Rome and Frise.

The mourdaunt,* wrought in noble wise, Was of a stoon fulle precious, That was so fyne and vertuous, That hole a man it koude make Of palasie, and tothe ake. And yit the stoon hadde such a grace, That he was siker in every place 1100.

Become mad. 'Cutting. * Necklace. 4 Tonga*.

Ale -t,-i* iir 30c "rcyade 33 hene,
Tiac imijir anzise :i-it store see-*.
Tie rirr^s veie of goid £ni frne,
Upcix a rjissa oc stryrae.
File bey. pet and ao tbyz$ brgic,
I- eier-.cie ris a b*ss=rs£ wight.1

Uprc tire trusses ot Richesse
Was sere a oercie foe roh ^esse
Of bce-c rrid. teat tulle ryghte shoon;
So Ltie tttrwe I was never neon, Iiic
Bat she rac kusniraj tor the nonys,
Thit ksoie deTTse ilie the stonys
That in that cercie:
It is a. woncir thing :o i
For no man koude preyse or;
Of hem thit vol ewe or richesse.

Rubyes there were, saphires.
And erneriudes. more than two <
Bat alle byfore ful sonlly

A fyn charboDcie sette saugh L IIM
The stoon so clere was and so bright,
That, also soone as it was nyght,
Men myghte seen to go for nede
A myle or two, in lengthe and brede.
Sich lyght tho sprang oute of the stone,
That Richesse wondir brighte shone,
Bo the hir heed and alle hir face.
And eke aboute hir al the place.
Dame Richesse on hir honde gan lede

1 The weight of a beiant of gold. > Jacntkb

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A yong man fulle of semelyhede, 1130

That she best loved of ony thing;

His lust was mych in housholding.

In clothyng was he ful fetys,

And lovede to have welle hors of prys.

He wende to have reproved be

Of theft or moordre, if that he

Hadde in his stable ony hakeney.

And therfore ne desired ay

To be aqueynted with Richesse;

For alle his purpos, as I gesse, 1140

Was for to make gret dispense,

Withoute wernyug or diffense.

And Richesse myght it wel sustene,
And hir dispence welle mayntene,
And hym alwey sich plente sende,
Of gold and silver for to dispende
Withoute lakke or daunger,
As it were poured in a garner.

And after on the daunce wente
Largesse, that settith al hir entente 1150
For to be honourable and free;
Of Alexandres kyn was she.
Hir moste joye was, ywys,
Whan that she gaf, and seide, "Have this."
Not Avarice, the foule caytyf,
Was half to gripe so ententyf,
As Largesse is to geve and spende.
And God ynough alwey hir sende,
So that the more she gaf awey,
The more, ywys, she hadde alwey. 1160

Gret loos1 hath Largesse, and gret pris; For bothe wyse folk and unwys Were hooly to hir baundon 1 brought, So wel with giftes hath she wrought. And if she hadde an enemy, I trowe that she coude tristely * Make hym fulle soone hir freend to be, So large of gift, and free was she; Therfore she stode in love and grace Of riche and pover in every place. 1170

A fulle gret fool is he, ywys,
That bothe riche and nygart is.
A lord may have no maner vice,
That greveth more than avarice.
For nygart never with strengthe of honde
May wynne gret lordship or londe.
For freendis alle to fewe hath he
To doon4 his wille perfourmed be.
And who-so wole have freendis heere,
He may not holde his tresour deere. 1180
For by ensample I telle this,
Right as an adamaund, iwys,
Can drawen to hym sotylly
The yren, that is leid therby,
So drawith folkes hertis, ywis,
Silver and gold that geven is.

Largesse had on a robe fresh
Of riche purpur sarlynysh.6
Wel fourmed was hir face and cleere,

1 Laud- 2 Disposal. 'Trustfully. * Cause. 5 bawl

LARGESSE AND HER SIBBE. . 249

And opened hadde she hir colere; 1190

For she right there hadde in present

Unto a lady maad present

Of a gold broche, ful wel y-wrought.

And certys it myssatte hir nought;

For thorgh hir smokke wrought with silk,

The flesh was seen as white as mylk.

Largesse, that worthy was and wys, Hilde by the honde a knyght of prys, Was sibbe1 to Artour of Britaigne. And that was he that bare the ensaigne noo Of worship, and the gounfaucoun.2 And yit he is of sich renoun, That men of hym seye faire thynges Byfore barouns, erles, and kynges. This knyght was comen alle newely Fro tourneiynge faste by; There hadde he don gret chyvalrie Thorgh his vertu and his maistrie, And for the love of his lemman * He caste doun many a doughty man. mo

And next hym dauncede dame Fraunchisk, Arayed in fulle noble gyse. She was not broune ne dunne of hewe, But white as snowe falle newe. Hir nose was wrought at poynt devys, For it was gentil and tretys ; * With eyen gladde, and browes bente; Hir here doun to hir helis wente.

• Kin. • Gonfanon. banner. • Sweetheart. * Straight.

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