Imatges de pàgina
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Enhaunced and honoured, and most dere,
For they ben half goddys in this world here.
Vit mote he doon bothe ryght to poore and
ryche,

Al be that hire estaate be nat yliche,

And han of poore folke compassyoun; 390

For loo, the gentil kynde 1 of the lyoun!

For whan a flye offendith him or biteth,

He with his tayle awey the flye smyteth

Al esely; for of his gentrye

Hym deyneth nat to wreke 2 hym on a flie,

As dooth a curre, or elles another best.

"In noble corage * oughte ben arest/ And weyen every thing by equytee, And ever have rewarde6 unto his owen degree.

For, syr, yt is no maistrye for a lorde 400
To dampne a man, without answere of worde,
And for a lorde, that is ful foule to use.
And it so be, he may hym nat excuse,
But asketh mercy with a dredeful herte,
And profereth him, ryght in his bare sherte,
To ben ryght at your owen jugement,
Than oght a god, by short avysement,
Consydre his owne honour, and hys trespas;
For syth no caus of dethe lyeth in this caas,
Vow oghte to ben the lyghter6 merciable. 410
Leteth7 youre ire, and beth sumwhat tretable!

1 Nature. Revenge. * Spirit. 4 Restraint. * Regard. More easily. 'Stint.

The man hath served yow of his kunnyng, And furthred wel youre lawe in his makyng.1

"Al be hit that he kan nat wel endite,
Yet hath he made lewde folke delyte
To serve you, in preysinge of your name.
He made the book that hight the 'Hous oi
Fame,'

And eke the 1 Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse.'
And the ' Parlement of Foules,' as I gesse, 419
And al the 'Love of Palamoun and Arcite'
Of Thebes, thbgh the storye ys knowen lyte ;'
And many an ympne * for your haly4 dayes,
That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes.

'rAnd for to speke of other holynesse, He hath in proce translated Boece,6 And made the 'Lyfe' also 'of Seynt Cecile.' * He made also, goon ys a grete while, 'Origenes upon the Maudeleyne.'7 Hym oughte now to have the lesse peyne, He hath maade many a lay, and many a thynge. 430

"Now as ye be a god, and eke a kynge,
I youre Alceste, whilom quene of Trace,
T aske yow this man, ryght of your grace,

1 Poetizing. The earlier MS. here adds,—
Whil he was yong he kepte youre estat,
I not [know not] wher [whether] he be now a renegat.

* Little. s Hymn. 4 Holy. 6 Boethius, De Cottsolatione Philosa *hi*. The earlier MS. adds a book now unknown (De Miseria Con ditumis Humana:),

And of the " Wrechede Engendrynge of Mankynde,"
As man may in pope Innocent i-fynde.

• The Second Nun's Tale. 1 Origen was a Christiar writer of be second century. This work is lost.

"BIS DAT QUI CITO DAT." 9/

That ye him never hurte in al his lyve,
And he shal sweren to yow, and that blyve,
He never more shal agilten 1 in this wyse,
But shal maken, as ye wole devyse,
Of wommen trewe in lovyng al hire lyf,
Wher so ye wol, of mayden or of wyf,
And forthren yow as muche as he mysseyde,
Or in the Rose, or elles in Creseyde." 441

The god of Love answerede hire anoon,
"Madame," quod he, "it is so long agoon
That I yow knewe so charitable and trewe,
That never yit, syn that the worlde was newe,
To me ne founde I better noon than yee;
If that ye wolde, save my degree,
I may ne wol nat werne2 your requeste;
Al lyeth in yow, — dooth wyth hym as yow
liste.

I al forgeve withouten lenger space; 450
For who-so geveth a gifte or dooth a grace,
Do it bytyme, his thank ys wel the more,*
\nd demeth4 ye what he shal do therfore.
Goo thanke now my lady here," quod he.

I roos, and doune I sette me on my knee,
And seyde thus: "Madame, the God above
Foryelde6 yow that the god of Love
Elan maked me his wrathe to forgive,
And grace so longe for to lyve,
That I may knowe soothly what ye bee, 460

1 Offend. '• Refuse. * Bit dot qui cite dot { Latin proverb Judge. 5 Requite.

VOL. in. 7

That han me holpe, and put me in this degree;

But trewely I wende, as in this cas,

Naught have agilt,1 ne doon to love trespas;

For-why, 'a trewe man, withouten drede,

Hath nat to parten with a theves dede ;'

Ne a trewe lover oghte me not to blame,

Thogh that I spake a fals lovere som shame.

They oghte rather with me for to holde,

For that I of Creseyde wroot or tolde,

Or of the Rose, — what - so myn auctoui

mente, — 470 Algate, God woot, yt was myn entente To forthren trouthe in love, and yt cheryce, And to ben war fro falsnesse and fro vice,' By swiche ensample; this was my menynge."

And she answerde, "Lat be thyn arguynge, For love ne wol nat countrepleted 2 be In ryght ne wrong, and lerne that of me; Thow hast thy grace, and holde the ryght

therto.

Now wol I seyn what penance thou shalt do
For thy trespas, and understonde yt here: 48c
Thou shalt while that thou lyvest, yere by yere
The moste partye of thy tyme spende
In makyng of a glorious Legende
Of goode wymmen, maydenes and wyves,
That weren trew in lovyng al hire lyves,
And telle of false men that hem bytraien,
That al here lyf ne don nat but asayen

1 Not to have offended. s Pleaded against.

"SPLICE WEL OF LOVE." 99

How many women they may doon a shame,
For in your worlde that is now holde a game.
And thogh the lyke nat a lovere bee, 490
Speke wel of love; this penance give I the.
And to the god of Love I shal so preye,
That he shal charge his servauntes, by any
weye,

To forthren thee, and wel thy labour quyte:
Goo now thy weye, thys penaunce ys but lyte.
And whan this book ys made, give it the quene
On my byhalfe, at Eltham, or at Sheene."1
The god of Love gan smyle, and than he
seyde,

"Wostow," quod he, "wher2 this be wyf or mayde,

Or queene, or countesse, or of what degre, 500
That hath so lytel penance given thee,
That hast deserved sore for to smerte?
But 'pite renneth soone in gentil herte:'
That maistow seen, she kytheth' what she ys."
And I answerde, "Nay, sire, so have I blys,
No more, but that I see wel she is good."

"That is a trewe tale, by myn hood!" Quod Love, "and thou knowest wel, pardee, if yt be so that thou avise the. Hastow nat in a book lyth in thy cheste 51c The grete goodnesse of the quene Alceste, That turned was into a dayesye?

1 Lines 406, 407 were not in the earlier version. They are np> Dosed to refer to Anne of Bohemia, married to Richard II. in 1383. Whether. • Showeth.

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