Imatges de pàgina
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Al founde they Daunger1 for a tyme a lord, 160

Vet Pitee, thurgh his stronge gentil myght,

Forgaf, and made mercy passen ryght

Thurgh Innocence, and ruled Curtesye.

But I ne clepe yt nat innocence folye,2

Ne fals pitee, for "vertue is the mene,"

As Ethike * seith, in swich maner I mene.

And thus thise foweles, voide of al malice,

Acordeden to love, and laften vice

Of hate, and songe alle of oon acorde,

"Welcome, Somer, ouregovemour and lorde."

And Zepherus and Flora gentilly 171 Gaf to the floures, softe and tenderly, Hire swoote breth, and made hem for to sprede, As god and goddesse of the floury mede. In whiche me thoght I myghte, day by day, Dwellen alwey, the joly monyth of May, Withouten slepe, withouten mete or drynke. Adoune ful softely I gan to synke, And lenynge on myn elbowe and my syde, The longe day I shoope 4 me for tabide 180 For nothing ellis, and I shal nat lye, But for to loke upon the daysie, That men by resoun wel it calle may The daisie, or elles the ye of day, The emperice, and floure of floures alle. I pray to God that faire mote she falle,

1 Although they found haughtiness. 1 Foolish. s Ethics, probably Aristotle's, tnough the expression is common. Cleobulus oi Rhodes is said to have spoken of the "Golden Mean" three centu ties before the Stagirite. * Arranged.

And alle that loven floures, for hire sake I1
But, natheles, ne wene nat that I make
In preysing of the flour agayn the leef,2
No more than of the come agayn the sheef:
For as to me nys lever noon, ne lother,* 191
I nam withholden yit with never n other.
Ne I not4 who serveth leef, ne who the flour,
Wei browken 6 they her service or labour,
For this thing is al of another tonne,6
Of olde storye, er swiche thinge was begonne.
Whan that the sonne out of the south gan

And that this floure gan close, and goon to reste,

For derknesse of the nyght, the which she dredde,

Home to myn house full swiftly I me spedde
To goon to reste, and erly for to ryse, 201
To seen this floure sprede, as I devyse.
And in a litel herber7 that I have,
That benched was on turves fressh ygrave,
I bad men sholde me my couche make;
For deyntee of the newe someres sake,
I bad hem strawen floures on my bed.

Whan I was leyde, and hadde myn eyen hed.*
T fel on slepe, in-with an houre or twoo,
Me mette9 how I lay in the medewe thoo, 210

1 Lines 152-187 are not found in the MS. marked Gg, 4, 27, in the Cambridge University Library, which is evidently an earlier one than the one followed in the text, Fairfax 16, Bodleian Library, Ox furd. 'CI. 1. 72. * More loath. 4 Know not. * Enjoy. « CJ Canterbury Tales, 1. 10,219. 7 Arbor. s Hidden. s Dreamed.


To seen this flour that I love so and drede;
And from a fer come walkyng in the mede
The god of Love, and in his hand a quene,
And she was clad in real1 habite grene;
A fret2 of gold she hadde next her heer,
And upon that a white crorone she beer,
With flourouns smale, and, I shal nat lye,
For al the worlde ryght as a daysye
Ycorouned ys with white leves lyte,
So were the flowrouns of hire coroune white;
For of 00 perle, fyne, oriental, 221
Hire white coroune was imaked al,
For which the white coroune above the grene
Made hire lyke a daysie for to sene,
Considered eke hir fret of golde above.

Yclothed was this myghty god of Love
In silke enbrouded, ful of grene greves,*
In-with a fret of rede rose leves,
The fresshest syn the worlde was first begonne.
His gilte here was corowned with a sonne 230
In stede of golde, for hevynesse and wyghte ;*
Therwith me thoght his face shoon so brighte
That wel unnethes 6 myght I him beholde;
And in his hand me thoght I saugh him holde
Twoo firy dartes, as the gledes6 rede,
And aungelyke hys wynges saugh I sprede.
And, al be that men seyn that blynd ys he,
Algate me thoghte that he myghte se;

* Regal. * Ornament. "Things carved I graven), or frroTM f Weight s Scarcely. 6 Live coals.

For sternely on me he gan byholde,
So that his loking dooth myn herte colde. 240
And by the hande he helde this noble quene,
Corowned with white, and clothed al in grene,
So womanly, so benigne, and so meke,
That in this world, thogh that men wolde

Half hire beute shulde men nat fynde
In creature that formed ys by Kynde.
And therfore may I seyn, as thynketh me,
This songe in preysyng of this lady fre.1

Ballad sung to Alceste.

Hyd, Ab salon, thy gilte tres sis clere;

Ester, ley thou thy mekenesse al adoune; 250

Hyde, yonathas, al thy frendly manere;

Penelopee, and Marcia Catoun,2

Make of youre wifhode no comparysoune;

Hyde ye youre beautes, Ysoude and Eleyne,

My lady comith, that al this may disteyne.*

Thy /aire body lat yt nat appere,

Lavyne ;4 and thou Lucresse of Rome toune,'

And folixene, that boghten love so dcre,

And Cleopatre, with al thy passyoun, 259

Hyde ye your trouthe of love, and your renoun,

1 MS. Gg, 4, 27, which differs in many lines from the text here given, proves that " this lady fre" was Alceste. who died for Admetus, ter husband. Cf. I.432. * Marcia, wife of Cato the younger. Set Clough's Plutarch, iv. 394. s Outshine. * Lavinia, wife of i£neaj Most of these names are taken from Ovid.


And thou, Tesbe, that hast of love suche peyne, My lady comith, that al this may disteyne.

Hero, Dido, Laudomia, alle yfere?

And Phillis, hangyng for thy Demophoun,

And Canace, espied by thy chere,

Ysiphile betraysed with Jasoun,

Maketh of your trouthe neythir boost ne soun,

Nor Ypermystre, or Adriane,2 ye tweyne,

My lady cometh, that al thys may dysteyne.

This balade may ful wel ysongen be, 270 As I have seyde erst, by* my lady fre; For certeynly al thise mowe nat suffise To apperen wyth my lady in no wyse. For as the sonne wole the fire disteyne, So passeth al my lady sovereyne, That ys so good, so faire, so debonayre, I prey to God that ever falle hire faire. For nadde comfort ben of hire presence, I hadde ben dede, withouten any defence, For drede of Loves wordes, and his chere, 280 As, when tyme ys, herafter ye shal here.

Behynde this god of Love upon the grene I saugh comyng of ladyes nientene In real4 habite, a ful esy paas; And after hem come of wymen swich a traas,6 That syn that God Adam hadde made of erthe,

1 Together. 1 Ariadne. * Concerning. 4 Regal. * Train

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