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Hyt nedeth noght efte the to teche.
But understonde now ryght wel this,
Whan any speche yeomen ys
Up to the paleys, anon ryght
Hyt wexeth lyke the same wizht,
Which that the worde in erii* «^ak,
Be hyt clothed rede or blak
And so were hys lykenesse,
And spake the word, that thou wilt gesse
That it the same body be,
Man or woman, he or she.
And ys not this a wonder thynge?"
"Yis," quod I tho, "by hevene kynge!"
And with this worde, "Farewel," quod he,
"And here I wol abyden the,
And God of hevene sende the grace,
Some goode to lerne in this place."
And I of him toke leve anon,
\nd gan forthe to the paleys gon.
O God of science1 and of lyght, Apollo, thurgh thy grete myght, This lytel laste boke thou gye !2 Nat that I wilne for maistrye
1 Knowledge. 'Direct. Compare this invocation with Dante' Paradiso, i. 13-27.
Here art poetical be shewed;
But, for the ryme ys lyght and lewed,
Yit make hyt sumwhat agreable,
Though somme vers fayle in a sillable;
And that I do no diligence,
To shewe crafte, but o sentence.1
And gif devyne vertu nowe
Wilt helpe me to shewe yowe,
That in myn hede ymarked ys, —
Loo, that is for to menen this,
The Hous of Fame2 for to descryve, —
Thou shake se me go as blyve
Unto the next laurer I see,
And kysse yt, for hyt is thy tree.
Now entreth in my brest anoon I
Whan L was fro thys egle goon,
1 Meaning. 1 Compare with this book Pope's TtmpU qf Fa
And for to powren wondrt lowe,
But at the laste espied I,
Tho sawgh I the halfe y-grave With famouse folkes names fele,* That had yben in mochel wele,* And her fames wide y-blowe. But wel unnethes koude I knowe 50 Any lettres for to rede Hir names be; for, oute of drede, They were almost of thowed4 so, That of the lettres oon or two Were molte away of every name. So unfamouse was wox hir fame; But men seyn, "What may ever laste?"
Thoo gan I in myn herte caste, That they were molte awey with hete,
1 Of Canterbury. 2 Many. • Good fortune. 4 Thawed ofl
A DWELLING ON THE TOP.
And not awey with stormes bete.
For on that other syde I say
Of this hille, that northewarde lay,
How hit was writen ful of names
Of folkes that hadden grete fames
Of olde tymes, and yet they were
As fressh as men had writen hem here
The selfe day ryght, or that oure
That I upon hem gan to poure.
But wel I wiste what yt made;
Hyt was conserved with the shade,
Alle this wrytynge that I sigh,1
Of a castel stoode on high;
And stoode eke on so colde a place,
That hete hyt myght not deface.
Thoo gan I up the hille to goone,
1 Saw. 'Dwelling, * Mate. 4 Labor. • Conttinuu*. Ne kan I not to yow devyse,
My wit ne may me not suffise. 9c
But natheles alle the substance
There herd I pleyen upon an harpe
1 Cf. Canterbury Tales, 1. 17,5*5. 2 Chamber. 'Niches. 4 Saw Cf. 1- 4g7- 6 Chiron, of the family of iEacus, the severe tutor a, VOiiifca Cf Ovid, Art Amatfia, 1. 16; Fasti,*. 379.