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The thridde part of mankynde, or the ferthe,
That ryght anoon, as that they gonne espye
And with that word, a-compas enviroun, 300
I, knelyng by this floure, in good entente Aboode,4 to knowen what this peple mente, As stille as any ston; til at the laste 31c This god of Love on me hyse eighen caste, And seyde, "Who kneleth there?" And I answerde
1 The prize from all of us in a figure. 1 Side by side. s A ahor ipace of time. * Waited.
"THOW MYSSEYEST." Ql
CJnto his askynge, whan that I it herde,
So nygh myn oune floure, so boldely?
Yt were better worthy trewely
A worme to neghen2 ner my flour than thow."
"And why, sire," quod I, "and yt lyke* yow?"
"For thow," quod he, "art therto nothing
able. 320 Yt is my relyke, digne and delytable, And thow my foo, and al my folke werrey
And of myn olde servauntes thow mysseyest,
1 Nearer. 1 Approach. s Please. 4 Warrest. 6 Hinderest.
"Hast thow nat mad in Englys ek the bok How that Crisseyde Troylis forsok, 265 In schewynge how that wemen han don mis? • Bit, natheles, answere me now to this, Why noldest thow as wel a-seyd goodnes Of women as thow hast seyd wekednes? "Was there no good matyr in thyn tnynde? 17* That is an heresye ageins my lawe, 330 And makest wise folke fro me withdrawe ;s
Ne in alle thyne bokys ne coudist thow nat fynde
Sum story of wemen that were goode and trewe?
"Yis, God wot, sixty bokys olde and newe
"What seith Valerye, Titus or Claudyan? 38a
But, I dar seyn, an hunderede on a rewe, 385
They chose to be ded in sundery wyse, 390
And deiedyn, as the story wele devyse.
And som were brend, and some were cut the hals, ,
And some dreynkt, for they woldyn not be fals.
For alle keped they here maydynhed,
Or elles wedlok, or here wedewehed. 395
M And this thing was uat kept for holynesse,
That were so sore a-drad of alle schame. 300
"These olde wemen kepte su here name
"What seyth also the Epistelle of Ovyde• 305
u It nedyth nat al day thus for to endite, 310
"Be Seym Venus! of whom that I was borr:, Althogh thow reneyist hast mvn lav.
As othere olde folis, manye a day, 315 ,
Thow schalt repente it so that it schal be senel n
Thanne spak Alceste, the worthyere queene, And seyde, " God, right of youre curtuseye" .... 318 1 This is considered evidence that the text of Chaucer's translation u lost, for the one now extant is not open to the censure here given 1 The_HcroitUs. a Vincent of Beauvais, a learned Dominican the thirteenth century.
And of Cresyde thou hast seyde as the lyste,
That maketh men to wommen lasse triste,
That ben as trewe as ever was any steel?
Of thyn answere avise the ryght weel,
For thogh thou reneyed hast my lay,1
As other wrecches han doon many a day,
By Seynte Venus, that my moder ys,
If that thou lyve, thou shalt repenten this
So cruelly, that it shal wele be sene." 340
Thoo spake this lady,2 clothed al in greene, And seyde, "God, ryght of youre curtesye, Ye moten herken yf he can replye Agayns al this that ye have to him meved; A god ne sholde nat be thus agreved, But of hys deitee he shal be stable, And therto gracious and merciable. And yf ye nere a god that knowen alle, Thanne myght yt be as I yow tellen shalle; This man to yow may falsly ben accused, 350 Ther as by right him oughte ben excused; For in youre courte ys many a losengeour,* And many a queinte totolere4 accusour, That tabouren * in youre eres many a swoun,* Ryght aftir hire ymagynacioun, To have youre daliance, and for envie. Thise ben the causes, and I shal nat lye, Envie ys lavendere' of the court alway; For she ne parteth neither nyght ne day,
1 Denied hast my law. * Ct L 317 in the note above given Liar. 4 Artful tattling. 1 Drum. * Noise. 7 Gutter or sewer.
Out of the house of Cesar, — thus seith Dante;1 360 Who so that gooth, algate she wol nat wante.
"And eke, parauntere, for this man ys nyce, He myghte doon * yt, gessyng no malice; For he useth thynges for to make ;4 Hym rekketh noght of what matere he take; Or him was boden6 maken thilke tweye Of somme persone, and durste yt nat withseye , Or him repenteth outrely of this. He ne hath nat doon so grevously amys, To translaten that olde clerkes writen, 370 As thogh that he of malice wolde editen, Despite of Love, and had himselfe yt wroght. This shoolde a ryghtwis lord have in h's thought,
And nat be lyke tirauntes of Lumbardye,
That han no reward but at tyrannye.
For he that kynge or lorde ys naturel,
Hym oghte nat be tiraunt ne crewel,
As is a fermour,6 to doon the harme he kan;
He moste thinke yt is his leege man,
And is his tresour, and his gold in cofre. 380
This is the sentence 7 of the philosophre:
A kyng to kepe hise leeges in justice,
Withouten doute that is his office.
Al wol he kepe hise lordes in hire degree,
As it ys ryght and skilful* that they bee
1 Inferno, xiii. 64. 1 Ignorant. s The earlier MS. reads, u Hi may translate a thynge." * That is, to make poetry. 6 Bidden 'A farmer (as of the revenues). 7 Opinion. * Reasonable.