Imatges de pàgina


But now alle other wise wote he.
Thanne have ye, sir, al outerly
Deserved helle, and jolyly
The deth of helle douteles,
That thrallen folk so gilteles."

Fals-semblant proveth so this thing,
That he can noon answeryng,
And seth alwey such apparaunce,
That nygh he fel in repentaunce, 7^70
And seide hym, "Sir, it may wel be;
Semblant, a good man semen ye;
And, Abstinence, fulle wise ye seme;
Of o talent1 you bothe I deme.
What counceil wole ye to me geven?"

"Ryght heere anoon thou shalt be shryven And sey thy synne withoute more; Of this shalt thou repente sore; For I am prest, and have pouste,2 To shryve folk of most dignyte 7680 That ben as wide as world may dure. Of alle this world I have the cure, And that hadde never yit persoun, Ne vicarie of no maner toun.

"And, God wote, I have of thee A thosand tyme more pitee Than hath thi preest parochial, Though he thy freend be special. I have avauntage, in o wise, That youre prelatis Den not so wise, 7690

1 Inclination. 1 Power.

Ne half so lettreri as am I.

I am licenced boldely,

In divinitie for to rede,

And to confessen, out of drede.

If ye wolle you nowe confesse,

And leave your synnes more and lesse,

Without abode, knele downe anon,

And ye shal have absolucion." 1


With tymeros hert and tremlyng hand oJ drede,

Of cunning naked, bare of eloquence,
Unto the flour of poort in womanhede
I write, as he that none intelligence
Of metres hath, ne floures of sentence;
Sauf that me list my writing to convey,
In that I can to please her hygh nobley.

The blosmes fresshe of Tullius * garden soote Present them not, my matere for to borne :4 Poemys of Virgile taken here no rote, Io Ne crafte of Galfride * may not here sojorne:

1 The version ends at line 12,563 of the French poem, leaving 0510 lines of the original untranslated. The scene above, cut short In the translation, ends thus in the original: Wikked-tunge kneeis, Abstinence chokes him with a handkerchief twisted about his throat, causing his tongue to protrude, and this is immediately cut off by False-semblant. At the end of the poem the lover has obtained the Rose, for which he thanks Venus, Cupid, and all the barons who had helped him. Day then arrives, and the dreamer awakes from his sleep. 1 Mr. Skeat says that the original manuscript of this poem is now in the library of Trinity College. aiH ihat it was written at about 1500, the poem being more unlike Chaucer than an) other attributed to him. s Cicero's. 4 Brighten. 5 Geoffrey dr Vinsauf, author of a work on poetry.

[ocr errors]

Why nam I cunning? O wel may I morne,
For lak of science that I cannot write
Unto the princes of my life aright.

No termys digne unto her excellence,
So is she sprong of noble stirpe 1 and high'
A world of honoure and of reverence
There is in her, this wille I testifie.
Callyope, thowe sister wise and sly,
And thowe Mynerva, guyde me with thy grace.
That langage rude my mater not deface. 21

Thy suger dropes swete of Elicon
Distill in me, thowe gentle Muse, I pray;
And the, Melpomene, I calle anone,
Of ignoraunce the miste to chace away;
And give me grace so for to write and sey,
That she, my lady, of her worthinesse,
Accepte in gree2 this litill short tretesse,

That is entitled thus, The Courte of Love.
And ye that bene metriciens me excuse, 30
I you beseche for Venus sake above;
For whate I mene in th's ye nede not muse:
And yf so be my lady it refuse
For lak of ornat speche, I wold be woo,
That I presume to her to writen soo.

But myne entent and all my besy cure Is for to write this tretesse, as I can, Unto my lady, stable, true, and sure, Feithfull and kynde, sith first that she began Me to accept in service as her man : * 40

1 Race. 1 Favor. s Liege man.

To her be all the pleasure of this boke,
That, when her like, she may it rede and loke.

When I was yong, at eighteen yere of age, Lusty and light, desirous of plesaunce, 'Approchyng on full sadde 1 and ripe corage,

Love arted1 me to do myn observaunce
To his astate, and doon hym obeysaunce,
Commaundyng me the Courte of Love to see,
A lite beside the Mounte of Citharee,

There Citherea* goddesse was and quene 50
Honowred highly for her majestie;
And eke her sonne, the myghty god, I wene,
Cupyde the blynde, that for his dignyte
A thousand lovers worship on there kne;
There was I bidde, in payn of deth, to pere,
By Mercury, the wynged messengere.

So than I wente be straunge and ferre con

Enquiryng ay whate costes that to it drewe
The Courte of Love: and thiderward, as bees,
At last I se the peple gan pursue: 60
Anon me thoughte som wight was there that

Where that the courte was holden, ferre or nye,
And aftir them fulle faste I gan me hie.

Anone as I them overtoke, I seide,
"Haile, frendes ! whider purpose ye to wende?"
"Forsothe," quod one that aunswerede lich a

1 Grave. 1 Gave me skill. 1 That is, Venus.


'To Loves Courte nowe goo we, gentill frend." 'Where is that place," quod I, "my felowe hende ?"1

'' At Citheron, sir," seid he, "withoute dowte, The Kyngof Love, and all his noble rowte, 70

"Dwellyng withynne a castell ryally.'" So than apace I jornede forth amonge, And as he seide, so fond I there truly. For I behelde the towres high and stronge, And highe pynacles, large of hight and longe, With plate of gold bespredde on every side, And presious stones, the stone werke for to hide.

No saphir Ind, no rube riche of price, There lakkede thanne, nor emeraude so grene, Bales Turkes,2 ne thing to my devise 80 That may the castell maken for to shene: kl\ was as bright as sterres in wynter bene; And Phebus shone, to make his pease agayn For trespace doon to high estates tweyne,

Venus and Mars, the god and goddesse clere, When he them founde' in armes cheyned faste Venus was than full sad of harte and chere. But Phebus bemes, streight as is the maste, Upon the castell gynith he to caste, To please the lady, princesse of that place, 90 [n sign he loketh aftir Loves grace.

For there nys god in Heven or Helle, iwis, But he hath ben right soget unto Love: Tove, Pluto, or whatesoever he is,

Courteous. * Bastard rubies. 1 See Homer's Odysseyviii. >6A

« AnteriorContinua »