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[ 335 ]

V. THE PARLEMENT OF FOULES.

The Proem.

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne,
Thassay so hard, so sharp the conquering,
The dredful Ioy, that alwey slit so yerne,
Al this mene I by love, that my feling
Astonyeth with his wonderful worching       5
So sore y-wis, that whan I on him thinke,
Nat wot I wel wher that I wake or winke.

For al be that I knowe not love in dede,
Ne wot how that he quyteth folk hir hyre,
Yet happeth me ful ofte in bokes rede       10
Of his miracles, and his cruel yre;
Ther rede I wel he wol be lord and syre,
I dar not seyn, his strokes been so sore,
But God save swich a lord! I can no more.

Of usage, what for luste what for lore,       15
On bokes rede I ofte, as I yow tolde.
But wherfor that I speke al this? not yore
[ 336 ]Agon, hit happed me for to beholde
Upon a boke, was write with lettres olde;
And ther-upon, a certeyn thing to lerne,       20
The longe day ful faste I radde and yerne.

For out of olde feldes, as men seith,
Cometh al this newe corn fro yeer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feith,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.       25
But now to purpos as of this matere—
To rede forth hit gan me so delyte,
That al the day me thoughte but a lyte.

This book of which I make mencioun,
Entitled was al thus, as I shal telle,       30
Tullius of the dreme of Scipioun';
Chapitres seven hit hadde, of hevene and helle,
And erthe, and soules that therinne dwelle,
Of whiche, as shortly as I can hit trete,
Of his sentence I wol you seyn the grete.       35

First telleth hit, whan Scipioun was come
In Afrik, how he mette Massinisse,
That him for Ioye in armes hath y nome.
Than telleth [hit] hir speche and al the blisse
That was betwix hem, til the day gan misse;       40
And how his auncestre, African so dere,
Gan in his slepe that night to him appere.

Than telleth hit that, fro a sterry place,
How African hath him Cartage shewed,
[ 337 ]And warned him before of al his grace,       45
And seyde him, what man, lered other lewed,
That loveth comun profit, wel y-thewed,
He shal unto a blisful place wende,
Ther as Ioye is that last withouten ende.

Than asked he, if folk that heer be dede       50
Have lyf and dwelling in another place;
And African seyde, 'ye, withoute drede,'
And that our present worldes lyves space
Nis but a maner deth, what wey we trace,
And rightful folk shal go, after they dye,       55
To heven; and shewed him the galaxye.

Than shewed he him the litel erthe, that heer is,
At regard of the hevenes quantite;
And after shewed he him the nyne speres,
And after that the melodye herde he       60
That cometh of thilke speres thryes three,
That welle is of musyke and melodye
In this world heer, and cause of armonye.

Than bad he him, sin erthe was so lyte,
And ful of torment and of harde grace,       65
That he ne shulde him in the world delyte.
Than tolde he him, in certeyn yeres space,
That every sterre shulde come into his place
Ther hit was first; and al shulde out of minde
That in this worlde is don of al mankinde.       70

[ 338 ]Than prayde him Scipioun to telle him al
The wey to come un-to that hevene blisse;
And he seyde, 'know thy-self first immortal,
And loke ay besily thou werke and wisse
To comun profit, and thou shalt nat misse       75
To comen swiftly to that place dere,
That ful of blisse is and of soules clere.

But brekers of the lawe, soth to seyne,
And lecherous folk, after that they be dede,
Shul alwey whirle aboute therthe in peyne,       80
Til many a world be passed, out of drede,
And than, for-yeven alle hir wikked dede,
Than shul they come unto that blisful place,
To which to comen god thee sende his grace!'—

The day gan failen, and the derke night,       85
That reveth bestes from hir besinesse,
Berafte me my book for lakke of light,
And to my bedde I gan me for to dresse,
Fulfild of thought and besy hevinesse;
For bothe I hadde thing which that I nolde,       90
And eek I ne hadde that thing that I wolde.

But fynally my spirit, at the laste,
For-wery of my labour al the day,
Took rest, that made me to slepe faste,
And in my slepe I mette, as I lay,       95
How African, right in that selfe aray
[ 339 ]That Scipioun him saw before that tyde,
Was comen, and stood right at my beddes syde.

The wery hunter, slepinge in his bed,
To wode ayein his minde goth anoon;       100
The Iuge dremeth how his plees ben sped;
The carter dremeth how his cartes goon;
The riche, of gold; the knight fight with his foon,
The seke met he drinketh of the tonne;
The lover met he hath his lady wonne.       105

Can I nat seyn if that the cause were
For I had red of African beforn,
That made me to mete that he stood there;
But thus seyde he, 'thou hast thee so wel born
In loking of myn olde book to-torn,       110
Of which Macrobie roghte nat a lyte,
That somdel of thy labour wolde I quyte!'—

Citherea! thou blisful lady swete,
That with thy fyr-brand dauntest whom thee lest,
And madest me this sweven for to mete,       115
Be thou my help in this, for thou mayst best;
As wisly as I saw thee north-north-west,
When I began my sweven for to wryte,
So yif me might to ryme hit and endyte!

The Story.

This forseid African me hente anoon,       120
And forth with him unto a gate broghte
Right of a parke, walled with grene stoon;
And over the gate, with lettres large y-wroghte,
Ther weren vers y-writen, as me thoghte,
[ 340 ]On eyther halfe, of ful gret difference,       125
Of which I shal yow sey the pleyn sentence.

Thorgh me men goon in-to that blisful place
Of hertes hele and dedly woundes cure;
Thorgh me men goon unto the welle of Grace,
Ther grene and lusty May shal ever endure;       130
This is the wey to al good aventure;
Be glad, thou reder, and thy sorwe of-caste,
Al open am I; passe in, and hy the faste!'

Thorgh me men goon,' than spak that other syde,
'Unto the mortal strokes of the spere,       135
Of which Disdayn and Daunger is the gyde,
Ther tree shal never fruyt ne leves bere.
This streem you ledeth to the sorwful were,
Ther as the fish in prison is al drye;
Theschewing is only the remedye.'       140

Thise vers of gold and blak y-writen were,
The whiche I gan a stounde to beholde,
For with that oon encresed ay my fere,
And with that other gan myn herte bolde;
That oon me hette, that other did me colde,       145
No wit had I, for errour, for to chese,
To entre or flee, or me to save or lese.

Right as, betwixen adamauntes two
Of even might, a pece of iren y-set,
That hath no might to meve to ne fro—       150
For what that on may hale, that other let—
Ferde I, that niste whether me was bet,
[ 341 ]To entre or leve, til African my gyde
Me hente, and shoof in at the gates wyde,

And seyde, 'hit stondeth writen in thy face,       155
Thyn errour, though thou telle it not to me;
But dred thee nat to come in-to this place,
For this wryting is no-thing ment by thee,
Ne by noon, but he Loves servant be;
For thou of love hast lost thy tast, I gesse,       160
As seek man hath of swete and bitternesse.

But natheles, al-though that thou be dulle,
Yit that thou canst not do, yit mayst thou see;
For many a man that may not stonde a pulle,
Yit lyketh him at the wrastling for to be,       165
And demeth yit wher he do bet or he;
And if thou haddest cunning for tendyte,
I shal thee shewen mater of to wryte.'

With that my hond in his he took anoon,
Of which I comfort caughte, and wente in faste;       170
But lord! so I was glad and wel begoon!
For over-al, wher that I myn eyen caste,
Were treës clad with leves that ay shal laste,
Eche in his kinde, of colour fresh and grene
As emeraude, that Ioye was to sene.       175

The bilder ook, and eek the hardy asshe;
The piler elm, the cofre unto careyne;
The boxtree piper; holm to whippes lasshe;
[ 342 ]The sayling firr; the cipres, deth to pleyne;
The sheter ew, the asp for shaftes pleyne;       180
The olyve of pees, and eek the drunken vyne,
The victor palm, the laurer to devyne.

A garden saw I, ful of blosmy bowes,
Upon a river, in a grene mede,
Ther as that swetnesse evermore y-now is,       185
With floures whyte, blewe, yelowe, and rede;
And colde welle-stremes, no-thing dede,
That swommen ful of smale fisshes lighte,
With finnes rede and scales silver-brighte.

On every bough the briddes herde I singe,       190
With voys of aungel in hir armonye,
Som besyed hem hir briddes forth to bringe;
The litel conyes to hir pley gunne hye,
And further al aboute I gan espye
The dredful roo, the buk, the hert and hinde,       195
Squerels, and bestes smale of gentil kinde.

Of instruments of strenges in acord
Herde I so pleye a ravisshing swetnesse,
That god, that maker is of al and lord,
Ne herde never better, as I gesse;       200
Therwith a wind, unnethe hit might be lesse,
Made in the leves grene a noise softe
Acordant to the foules songe on-lofte.

The air of that place so attempre was
That never was grevaunce of hoot ne cold;       205
Ther wex eek every holsom spyce and gras,
[ 343 ]Ne no man may ther wexe seek ne old;
Yet was ther Ioye more a thousand fold
Then man can telle; ne never wolde it nighte,
But ay cleer day to any mannes sighte.       210

Under a tree, besyde a welle, I say
Cupyde our lord his arwes forge and fyle;
And at his fete his bowe al redy lay,
And wel his doghter tempred al the whyle
The hedes in the welle, and with hir wyle       215
She couched hem after as they shulde serve,
Som for to slee, and som to wounde and kerve.

Tho was I war of Plesaunce anon-right,
And of Aray, and Lust, and Curtesye;
And of the Craft that can and hath the might       220
To doon by force a wight to do folye—
Disfigurat was she, I nil not lye;
And by him-self, under an oke, I gesse,
Sawe I Delyt, that stood with Gentilnesse.

I saw Beautee, withouten any atyr,       225
And Youthe, ful of game and Iolyte,
Fool-hardinesse, Flatery, and Desyr,
Messagerye, and Mede, and other three—
Hir names shul noght here be told for me—
And upon pilers grete of Iasper longe       230
I saw a temple of bras y-founded stronge.

[ 344 ]Aboute the temple daunceden alway
Wommen y-nowe, of whiche somme ther were
Faire of hem-self, and somme of hem were gay;
In kirtels, al disshevele, wente they there—       235
That was hir office alwey, yeer by yere—
And on the temple, of doves whyte and faire
Saw I sittinge many a hundred paire.

Before the temple-dore ful soberly
Dame Pees sat, with a curteyn in hir hond:       240
And hir besyde, wonder discretly,
Dame Pacience sitting ther I fond
With face pale, upon an hille of sond;
And alder-next, within and eek with-oute,
Behest and Art, and of hir folke a route.       245

Within the temple, of syghes hote as fyr
I herde a swogh that gan aboute renne;
Which syghes were engendred with desyr,
That maden every auter for to brenne
Of newe flaume; and wel aspyed I thenne       250
That al the cause of sorwes that they drye
Com of the bitter goddesse Ialousye.

The god Priapus saw I, as I wente,
Within the temple, in soverayn place stonde,
In swich aray as whan the asse him shente       255
With crye by night, and with his ceptre in honde;
Ful besily men gunne assaye and fonde
Upon his hede to sette, of sondry hewe,
Garlondes ful of fresshe floures newe.

[ 345 ]And in a privee corner, in disporte,       260
Fond I Venus and hir porter Richesse,
That was ful noble and hauteyn of hir porte;
Derk was that place, but afterward lightnesse
I saw a lyte, unnethe hit might be lesse,
And on a bed of golde she lay to reste,       265
Til that the hote sonne gan to weste.

Hir gilte heres with a golden threde
Y-bounden were, untressed as she lay,
And naked fro the breste unto the hede
Men might hir see; and, sothly for to say,       270
The remenant wel kevered to my pay
Right with a subtil kerchef of Valence,
Ther was no thikker cloth of no defence.

The place yaf a thousand savours swote,
And Bachus, god of wyn, sat hir besyde,       275
And Ceres next, that doth of hunger bote;
And, as I seide, amiddes lay Cipryde,
To whom on knees two yonge folkes cryde
To ben hir help; but thus I leet hir lye,
And ferther in the temple I gan espye       280

That, in dispyte of Diane the chaste,
Ful many a bowe y-broke heng on the wal
Of maydens, suche as gunne hir tymes waste
In hir servyse; and peynted over al
Of many a story, of which I touche shal       285
A fewe, as of Calixte and Athalaunte,
And many a mayde, of which the name I wante;

[ 346 ]Semyramus, Candace, and Ercules,
Biblis, Dido, Tisbe and Piramus,
Tristram, Isoude, Paris, and Achilles,       290
Eleyne, Cleopatre, and Troilus,
Silla, and eek the moder of Romulus—
Alle these were peynted on that other syde,
And al hir love, and in what plyte they dyde.

Whan I was come ayen into the place       295
That I of spak, that was so swote and grene,
Forth welk I tho, my-selven to solace.
Tho was I war wher that ther sat a quene
That, as of light the somer-sonne shene
Passeth the sterre, right so over mesure       300
She fairer was than any creature.

And in a launde, upon an hille of floures,
Was set this noble goddesse Nature;
Of braunches were hir halles and hir boures,
Y-wrought after hir craft and hir mesure;       305
Ne ther nas foul that cometh of engendrure,
That they ne were prest in hir presence,
To take hir doom and yeve hir audience.

For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,       310
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.       315

[ 347 ]And right as Aleyn, in the Pleynt of Kinde,
Devyseth Nature of aray and face,
In swich aray men mighten hir ther finde.
This noble emperesse, ful of grace,
Bad every foul to take his owne place,       320
As they were wont alwey fro yeer to yere,
Seynt Valentynes day, to stonden there.

That is to sey, the foules of ravyne
Were hyest set; and than the foules smale,
That eten as hem nature wolde enclyne,       325
As worm, or thing of whiche I telle no tale;
But water-foul sat lowest in the dale;
And foul that liveth by seed sat on the grene,
And that so fele, that wonder was to sene.

Ther mighte men the royal egle finde,       330
That with his sharpe look perceth the sonne;
And other egles of a lower kinde,
Of which that clerkes wel devysen conne.
Ther was the tyraunt with his fethres donne
And greye, I mene the goshauk, that doth pyne       335
To briddes for his outrageous ravyne.

The gentil faucon, that with his feet distreyneth
The kinges hond; the hardy sperhauk eke,
The quayles foo; the merlion that peyneth
Him-self ful ofte, the larke for to seke;       340
Ther was the douve, with hir eyen meke;
The Ialous swan, ayens his deth that singeth;
The oule eek, that of dethe the bode bringeth;

[ 348 ]The crane the geaunt, with his trompes soune;
The theef, the chogh; and eek the Iangling pye;       345
The scorning Iay; the eles foo, the heroune;
The false lapwing, ful of trecherye;
The stare, that the counseyl can bewrye;
The tame ruddok; and the coward kyte;
The cok, that orloge is of thorpes lyte;       350

The sparow, Venus sone; the nightingale,
That clepeth forth the fresshe leves newe;
The swalow, mordrer of the flyës smale
That maken hony of floures fresshe of hewe;
The wedded turtel, with hir herte trewe;       355
The pecok, with his aungels fethres brighte;
The fesaunt, scorner of the cok by nighte;

The waker goos; the cukkow ever unkinde;
The popiniay, ful of delicasye;
The drake, stroyer of his owne kinde;       360
The stork, the wreker of avouterye;
The hote cormeraunt of glotonye;
The raven wys, the crow with vois of care;
The throstel olde; the frosty feldefare.

What shulde I seyn? of foules every kinde       365
That in this worlde han fethres and stature,
Men mighten in that place assembled finde
Before the noble goddesse Nature.
And everich of hem did his besy cure
[ 349 ]Benignely to chese or for to take,       370
By hir acord, his formel or his make.

But to the poynt—Nature held on hir honde
A formel egle, of shap the gentileste
That ever she among hir werkes fonde,
The most benigne and the goodlieste;       375
In hir was every vertu at his reste,
So ferforth, that Nature hir-self had blisse
To loke on hir, and ofte hir bek to kisse.

Nature, the vicaire of thalmyghty lorde,
That hoot, cold, hevy, light, [and] moist and dreye       380
Hath knit by even noumbre of acorde,
In esy vois began to speke and seye,
Foules, tak hede of my sentence, I preye,
And, for your ese, in furthering of your nede,
As faste as I may speke, I wol me spede.       385

Ye know wel how, seynt Valentynes day,
By my statut and through my governaunce,
Ye come for to chese—and flee your way—
Your makes, as I prik yow with plesaunce.
But natheles, my rightful ordenaunce       390
May I not lete, for al this world to winne,
That he that most is worthy shal beginne.

The tercel egle, as that ye knowen wel,
The foul royal above yow in degree,
The wyse and worthy, secree, trewe as stel,       395
The which I formed have, as ye may see,
In every part as hit best lyketh me,
[ 350 ]Hit nedeth noght his shap yow to devyse,
He shal first chese and speken in his gyse.

And after him, by order shul ye chese,       400
After your kinde, everich as yow lyketh,
And, as your hap is, shul ye winne or lese;
But which of yow that love most entryketh,
God sende him hir that sorest for him syketh.'
And therwith-al the tercel gan she calle,       405
And seyde, 'my sone, the choys is to thee falle.

But natheles, in this condicioun
Mot be the choys of everich that is here,
That she agree to his eleccioun,
Who-so he be that shulde been hir fere;       410
This is our usage alwey, fro yeer to yere;
And who so may at this time have his grace,
In blisful tyme he com in-to this place.'

With hed enclyned and with ful humble chere
This royal tercel spak and taried nought;       415
Unto my sovereyn lady, and noght my fere,
I chese, and chese with wille and herte and thought,
The formel on your hond so wel y-wrought,
Whos I am al and ever wol hir serve,
Do what hir list, to do me live or sterve.       420

Beseching hir of mercy and of grace,
As she that is my lady sovereyne;
Or let me dye present in this place.
For certes, long may I not live in peyne;
For in myn herte is corven every veyne;       425
Having reward only to my trouthe,
My dere herte, have on my wo som routhe.

And if that I to hir be founde untrewe,
Disobeysaunt, or wilful negligent,
Avauntour, or in proces love a newe,       430
[ 351 ]I pray to you this be my Iugement,
That with these foules I be al to-rent,
That ilke day that ever she me finde
To hir untrewe, or in my gilte unkinde.

And sin that noon loveth hir so wel as I,       435
Al be she never of love me behette,
Than oghte she be myn thourgh hir mercy,
For other bond can I noon on hir knette.
For never, for no wo, ne shal I lette
To serven hir, how fer so that she wende;       440
Sey what yow list, my tale is at an ende.'

Right as the fresshe, rede rose newe
Ayen the somer-sonne coloured is,
Right so for shame al wexen gan the hewe
Of this formel, whan she herde al this;       445
She neyther answerde 'wel,' ne seyde amis,
So sore abasshed was she, til that Nature
Seyde, 'doghter, drede yow noght, I yow assure.'

Another tercel egle spak anoon
Of lower kinde, and seyde, 'that shal not be;       450
I love hir bet than ye do, by seynt Iohn,
Or atte leste I love hir as wel as ye;
And lenger have served hir, in my degree,
And if she shulde have loved for long loving,
To me allone had been the guerdoning.       455

I dar eek seye, if she me finde fals,
Unkinde, Iangler, or rebel any wyse,
Or Ialous, do me hongen by the hals!
And but I bere me in hir servyse
As wel as that my wit can me suffyse,       460
Fro poynt to poynt, hir honour for to save,
Tak she my lyf, and al the good I have.'

[ 352 ]The thridde tercel egle answerde tho,
Now, sirs, ye seen the litel leyser here;
For every foul cryeth out to been a-go       465
Forth with his make, or with his lady dere;
And eek Nature hir-self ne wol nought here,
For tarying here, noght half that I wolde seye;
And but I speke, I mot for sorwe deye.

Of long servyse avaunte I me no-thing,       470
But as possible is me to dye to-day
For wo, as he that hath ben languisshing
Thise twenty winter, and wel happen may
A man may serven bet and more to pay
In half a yere, al-though hit were no more,       475
Than som man doth that hath served ful yore.

I ne say not this by me, for I ne can
Do no servyse that may my lady plese;
But I dar seyn, I am hir trewest man
As to my dome, and feynest wolde hir ese;       480
At shorte wordes, til that deth me sese,
I wol ben hires, whether I wake or winke,
And trewe in al that herte may bethinke.'

Of al my lyf, sin that day I was born,
So gentil plee in love or other thing       485
Ne herde never no man me beforn,
Who-[so] that hadde leyser and cunning
For to reherse hir chere and hir speking;
And from the morwe gan this speche laste
Til dounward drow the sonne wonder faste.       490

The noyse of foules for to ben delivered
So loude rong, 'have doon and let us wende!'
That wel wende I the wode had al to-shivered.
Come of!' they cryde, 'allas! ye wil us shende!
Whan shal your cursed pleding have an ende?       495
[ 353 ]How shulde a Iuge eyther party leve,
For yee or nay, with-outen any preve?'

The goos, the cokkow, and the doke also
So cryden 'kek, kek!' 'kukkow!' 'quek, quek!' hye,
That thorgh myn eres the noyse wente tho.       500
The goos seyde, 'al this nis not worth a flye!
But I can shape hereof a remedye,
And I wol sey my verdit faire and swythe
For water-foul, who-so be wrooth or blythe.'

'And I for worm-foul,' seyde the fool cukkow,       505
For I wol, of myn owne auctoritè,
For comune spede, take the charge now,
For to delivere us is gret charitè.'
Ye may abyde a whyle yet, parde!'
Seide the turtel, 'if hit be your wille       510
A wight may speke, him were as good be stille.

I am a seed-foul, oon the unworthieste,
That wot I wel, and litel of kunninge;
But bet is that a wightes tonge reste
Than entremeten him of such doinge       515
Of which he neyther rede can nor singe.
And who-so doth, ful foule himself acloyeth,
For office uncommitted ofte anoyeth.'

Nature, which that alway had an ere
To murmour of the lewednes behinde,       520
With facound voys seide, 'hold your tonges there!
And I shal sone, I hope, a counseyl finde
You to delivere, and fro this noyse unbinde;
[ 354 ]I Iuge, of every folk men shal oon calle
To seyn the verdit for you foules alle.'       525

Assented were to this conclusioun
The briddes alle; and foules of ravyne
Han chosen first, by pleyn eleccioun,
The tercelet of the faucon, to diffyne
Al hir sentence, and as him list, termyne;       530
And to Nature him gonnen to presente,
And she accepteth him with glad entente.

The tercelet seide than in this manere:
Ful hard were hit to preve hit by resoun
Who loveth best this gentil formel here;       535
For everich hath swich replicacioun,
That noon by skilles may be broght a-doun;
I can not seen that arguments avayle;
Than semeth hit ther moste be batayle.'

'Al redy!' quod these egles tercels tho.       540
Nay, sirs!' quod he, 'if that I dorste it seye,
Ye doon me wrong, my tale is not y-do!
For sirs, ne taketh noght a-gref, I preye,
It may noght gon, as ye wolde, in this weye;
Oure is the voys that han the charge in honde,       545
And to the Iuges dome ye moten stonde;

And therfor pees! I seye, as to my wit,
Me wolde thinke how that the worthieste
Of knighthode, and lengest hath used hit,
Moste of estat, of blode the gentileste,       550
Were sittingest for hir, if that hir leste;
And of these three she wot hir-self, I trowe,
Which that he be, for hit is light to knowe.'

[ 355 ]The water-foules han her hedes leyd
Togeder, and of short avysement,       555
Whan everich had his large golee seyd,
They seyden sothly, al by oon assent,
How that 'the goos, with hir facounde gent,
That so desyreth to pronounce our nede,
Shal telle our tale,' and preyde 'god hir spede.'       560

And for these water-foules tho began
The goos to speke, and in hir cakelinge
She seyde, 'pees! now tak kepe every man,
And herkeneth which a reson I shal bringe;
My wit is sharp, I love no taryinge;       565
I seye, I rede him, though he were my brother,
But she wol love him, lat him love another!'

Lo here! a parfit reson of a goos!'
Quod the sperhauk; 'never mot she thee!
Lo, swich hit is to have a tonge loos!       570
Now parde, fool, yet were hit bet for thee
Have holde thy pees, than shewed thy nycete!
Hit lyth not in his wit nor in his wille,
But sooth is seyd, "a fool can noght be stille."'

The laughter aroos of gentil foules alle,       575
And right anoon the seed-foul chosen hadde
The turtel trewe, and gunne hir to hem calle,
And preyden hir to seye the sothe sadde
Of this matere, and asked what she radde;
And she answerde, that pleynly hir entente       580
She wolde shewe, and sothly what she mente.

Nay, god forbede a lover shulde chaunge!'
The turtel seyde, and wex for shame al reed;
Thogh that his lady ever-more be straunge,
[ 356 ]Yet let him serve hir ever, til he be deed;       585
For sothe, I preyse noght the gooses reed;
For thogh she deyed, I wolde non other make,
I wol ben hires, til that the deth me take.'

Wel bourded!' quod the doke, 'by my hat!
That men shulde alwey loven, causeles,       590
Who can a reson finde or wit in that?
Daunceth he mury that is mirtheles?
Who shulde recche of that is reccheles?
Ye, quek!' yit quod the doke, ful wel and faire,
'There been mo sterres, god wot, than a paire!'       595

Now fy, cherl!' quod the gentil tercelet,
Out of the dunghil com that word ful right,
Thou canst noght see which thing is wel be-set:
Thou farest by love as oules doon by light,
The day hem blent, ful wel they see by night;       600
Thy kind is of so lowe a wrechednesse,
That what love is, thou canst nat see ne gesse.'

Tho gan the cukkow putte him forth in prees
For foul that eteth worm, and seide blyve,
'So I,' quod he, 'may have my make in pees,       605
I recche not how longe that ye stryve;
Lat ech of hem be soleyn al hir lyve,
This is my reed, sin they may not acorde;
This shorte lesson nedeth noght recorde.'

'Ye! have the glotoun fild ynogh his paunche,       610
Than are we wel!' seyde the merlioun;
Thou mordrer of the heysugge on the braunche
That broghte thee forth, thou [rewthelees] glotoun!
Live thou soleyn, wormes corrupcioun!
[ 357 ]For no fors is of lakke of thy nature;       615
Go, lewed be thou, whyl the world may dure!'

Now pees,' quod Nature, 'I comaunde here;
For I have herd al your opinioun,
And in effect yet be we never the nere;
But fynally, this is my conclusioun,       620
That she hir-self shal han the eleccioun
Of whom hir list, who-so be wrooth or blythe,
Him that she cheest, he shal hir have as swythe.

For sith hit may not here discussed be
Who loveth hir best, as seide the tercelet,       625
Than wol I doon hir this favour, that she
Shal have right him on whom hir herte is set,
And he hir that his herte hath on hir knet.
This Iuge I, Nature, for I may not lyë;
To noon estat I have non other yë.       630

But as for counseyl for to chese a make,
If hit were reson, certes, than wolde I
Counseyle yow the royal tercel take,
As seide the tercelet ful skilfully,
As for the gentilest and most worthy,       635
Which I have wroght so wel to my plesaunce;
That to yow oghte been a suffisaunce.'

With dredful vois the formel hir answerde,
My rightful lady, goddesse of Nature,
Soth is that I am ever under your yerde,       640
Lyk as is everiche other creature,
And moot be youres whyl my lyf may dure;
And therfor graunteth me my firste bone,
And myn entente I wol yow sey right sone.'

[ 358 ]'I graunte it you,' quod she; and right anoon       645
This formel egle spak in this degree,
Almighty quene, unto this yeer be doon
I aske respit for to avysen me.
And after that to have my choys al free;
This al and som, that I wolde speke and seye;       650
Ye gete no more, al-though ye do me deye.

I wol noght serven Venus ne Cupyde
For sothe as yet, by no manere wey.'
Now sin it may non other wyse betyde,'
Quod tho Nature, 'here is no more to sey;       655
Than wolde I that these foules were a-wey
Ech with his make, for tarying lenger here'—
And seyde hem thus, as ye shul after here.

To you speke I, ye tercelets,' quod Nature,
'Beth of good herte and serveth, alle three;       660
A yeer is not so longe to endure,
And ech of yow peyne him, in his degree,
For to do wel; for, god wot, quit is she
Fro yow this yeer; what after so befalle,
This entremes is dressed for you alle.'       665

And whan this werk al broght was to an ende,
To every foule Nature yaf his make
By even acorde, and on hir wey they wende.
A! lord! the blisse and Ioye that they make!
For ech of hem gan other in winges take,       670
And with hir nekkes ech gan other winde,
Thanking alwey the noble goddesse of kinde.

But first were chosen foules for to singe,
As yeer by yere was alwey hir usaunce
To singe a roundel at hir departinge,       675
To do Nature honour and plesaunce.
The note, I trowe, maked was in Fraunce;
[ 359 ]The wordes wer swich as ye may heer finde,
The nexte vers, as I now have in minde.

Qui bien aime a tard oublie.

'Now welcom somer, with thy sonne softe,       680
That hast this wintres weders over-shake,
And driven awey the longe nightes blake!

Seynt Valentyn, that art ful hy on-lofte;—
Thus singen smale foules for thy sake—
Now welcom somer, with thy sonne softe,       685
That hast this wintres weders over-shake.

Wel han they cause for to gladen ofte,
Sith ech of hem recovered hath his make;
Ful blisful may they singen whan they wake;
Now welcom somer, with thy sonne softe,       690
That hast this wintres weders over-shake,
And driven awey the longe nightes blake.'

And with the showting, whan hir song was do,
That foules maden at hir flight a-way,
I wook, and other bokes took me to       695
To rede upon, and yet I rede alway;
I hope, y-wis, to rede so som day
That I shal mete som thing for to fare
The bet; and thus to rede I nil not spare.       699

Explicit tractatus de congregacione Volucrum
die sancti Valentini.


The authorities are: F. (Fairfax 16); Gg. (Gg. 4. 27, Cambridge Univ. Library); Trin. (Trinity Coll. Camb. R. 3. 19); Cx. (Caxton's edition); Harl. (Harleian 7333); O. (St. John's Coll. Oxford); Ff. (Ff. I. 6, Cambridge Univ. Library); occasionally Tn. (Tanner 346); D. (Digby 181); and others. I follow F. mainly, corrected by Gg. (and others); and note all variations from F. of any consequence.

Title; Gg. has—Here begynyth the parlement of Foulys; D. The parlement of Fowlis. 2. So F. Harl. Tn.; some transpose hard and sharp. 3. Gg. and others dredful; F. slyder. Gg. O. slit; Cx. flit (for slit); Ff. slydeth (om. so); F. slyd; Trin. fleeth. 5. Gg. (and others) with his wondyrful; F. soo with a dredeful. 7. F. Tn. wake or wynke; rest flete or synke; see 482. 9. Gg. Trin. Harl. that; which the rest omit. 10. Gg. Trin. Cx. Harl. Ff. ful ofte in bokis; F. in bookes ofte to. 11. F. ins. of after and; Gg. om. 13. F. Dar I; Gg. and others I dar. 14. F. suche; Gg. swich. 17. F. Tn. D. why; rest wherfore (wherfor).

21. Gg. faste; F. fast. Harl. radde; F. rad; Gg. redde. 22. F. seyth; Gg. sey. 24. F. feythe; Gg. fey. 26. Gg. O. as of this; Trin. Cx. Harl. Ff. of this; F. of my firste. 28. Gg. Ff. me thouȝte; Trin. Cx. Harl. me thought hit; F. thought me. 30. Gg. Cx. thus; F. Trin. Harl. there. Gg. and rest as I schal; F. I shal yow. 31. F. inserts the after dreme of; the rest omit. Trin. Harl. O. Scipioun; F. Cipioun; Gg. sothion (!). 32. F. hyt had vij; Gg. and the rest seuene It hadde. 33. Ff. therInne; F. and the rest theryn (wrongly). 34. Gg. it; O. of; the rest omit. 35. Gg. seyn; F. tel; the rest sey (say). 37. F. In-to; rest In. F. Aufryke; Gg. Affrik. 39. For hit all wrongly have he; see ll. 36, 43. 40. Harl. betwix; F. betwixt. 41. Gg. Affrican; F. Aufrikan. 42. F. on; rest in. 43. F. tolde he hym; Gg. Trin. Cx. Harl. tellith it; O. Ff. tellithe he. 44. Gg. Affrycan; F. Aufrikan. F. y-shewed; rest schewid, shewyd, &c.

46. Gg. other; Th. eyther; rest or. 49. Gg. There as Ioye is that last with outyn; F. There Ioy is that lasteth with-out. 50. F. inserts the after if; rest omit. 52. Gg. Affrican; F. Aufrikan. 53. Gg. Ff. that; Trin. Cx. Harl. how; F. om. 54. Cx. Nis; Gg. Nys; F. Trin. Harl. Ff. Meneth. 55. Gg. and rest after; F. whan. Gg. Ff. gon; Harl. O. gone. 56. Cx. galaxye; F. Ff. galoxye; O. galoxie. i. watlynstrete; Harl. galorye; Trin. galry (!); Gg. galylye (!). 58. Gg. and rest the; Harl. tho; F. om. 62. T. Cx. Harl. O. That welles of musyk be (ben). 64. Gg. Ff. Than bad he hym syn erthe was so lyte; F. Than bad he hym see the erthe that is so lite (wrongly). 65. Cx. Trin. Harl. O. ful of torment and; F. was somedel fulle; Gg. was sumdel disseyuable and ful (!). 69. Gg. and rest schulde (schuld, shuld); F. shal. 70. F. was; rest is.

71. F. O. he; rest him. Gg. and rest to; F. om. 72. Gg. Trin. Harl. O. into that; Cx. unto that; F. to (om. that). 73. Gg. inmortal; O. Th. immortalle; F. and rest mortalle(!). 75. Gg. and rest not (nat, noght); F. never. 76. Gg. comyn: Cx. comen; F. come. Gg. O. to; rest into, vnto. 77. Trin. Cx. Harl. Ff. retain of after and; F. Gg. O. omit. 78. F. ins. for before to (but lawe is dissyllabic); rest om. 80. Gg. wrongly puts there for therthe; Harl. O. Ff. place alwey before in peyne; the rest are bad. 82. F. ins. hem before alle. Gg. And that for-ȝeuyn is his weked dede (but dede is plural). 84. Gg. comyn; rest come, com. Cx. Harl. the sende his; O. sende the his; Gg. synde us; Ff. send vs; F. sende ech lover (!). 85. Harl. faylen; Cx. fayllen; F. faile; Gg. folwyn (!). 87. F. Berefte; rest Berafte, Beraft. 90. F. had; Gg. hadde. 91. Harl. O. give 1st that; Trin. Cx. the; F. Ff. Gg. om. 95. After as, Gg. Trin. Harl. O. insert that; it is hardly needed. 96. Gg. Affrican; F. Aufrikan.

102. Gg. Ft carte is; O. cart is; rest cartes or cartis. 104, 5. Gg. Harl. O. met; F. Trin. Cx. meteth. 106. Gg. Cx. O. Ff. I nat; F. not I. 107. F. redde had; Gg. hadde red; rest had red (rad). Gg. affrican; F. Aufrican. 108. F. omits made; the rest have it. 110. to-torn] F. al to torne. 111. F. roght noght; Gg. roughte nat; Cx. roght not. 112. F. Cx. ins. the after I; rest omit. 114. Trin. Cx. fyrebronde; Gg. ferbrond; F. firy bronde. 119. Gg. ȝif; F. yeve. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. hit and; Ff. eke and; Gg. & ek; F. and to. 120. Gg. Affrican; F. Aufrikan. 122. F. and rest with; Gg. of. 124. Read weren; all were (weer). Gg. I-wrete; Th. ywritten; F. writen.

133. F. Ff. hye; the rest spede (sped). 135. F. stroke; rest strokes (strokis). 137. Cx. Harl. O. Ff. neuer tree shal. Cx. fruyt; Harl. O. fruyte; Trin. F. frute. 138. F. unto; rest to. 139. All is (ys). 140. O. Theschewing; Cx. Theschewyng; Harl. The eschuyng; F. Thescwynge (sic). 142. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. The; F. Gg. Of; Ff. On. F. Cx. a stounde (which I think is correct); Ff. astonde; (alt. to) Gg. a-stonyd; Trin. astonyed; Harl. O. astoned. 144. F. Cx. O. Ff. insert to before bolde (wrongly); Gg. Trin. Harl. om. 148. Gg. be-twixsyn; F. betwix. 149. F. y-sette; Gg. set. 150. F. That; Ff. om.; rest Ne (which would be elided). F. nor; rest ne (better). 152. Gg. and rest nyste; F. I ne wiste. Gg. and rest whether; F. wher that (perhaps rightly).

153. F. Affrikan. 156. Gg. Cx. O. to; rest omit. 158. Trin. Cx. by; Gg. bi; F. be. 159. Gg. Trin. Cx. by; F. be. 160. Gg. stat (!); for tast (taste). 162. F. Ff. om. that. 163. Gg. Harl. O. supply Yit; Cx. Yf; rest om. F. yet thou maist hyt; O. mayst thowe; rest yit mayst (may) thou. 165. F. Ff. om. for. 166. Gg. wher; rest whether. 167. Gg. Cx. tendite; F. Trin. to endite. 169. F. And with; rest om. And. 170. Gg. confort. Gg. that as; rest went in. 172. F. om. that (but over-al=ov'r-al). 173. F. Weren; rest Were. 174. Gg. O. Ff. of; F. Cx. with (from line above). 175. F. Emerawde. Gg. sothe (for Ioye, wrongly). 177. Cx. O. piler; Gg. pilere; Trin. pylor; F. Harl. peler. 178. F. box pipe tre; Gg. and rest box tre pipere (or piper). Trin. the holyn; Cx. holin; Ff. holye; Gg. O. holm; F. Harl. holme.

180. Gg. Ew; rest ewe. 183. Harl. O. blosmy; Gg. blospemy (for blossemy); Cx. blossome; Trin. blossom; F. Ff. blossomed. 185. O. that; Gg. ther; rest omit. Gg. Ff. I-now; O. I-nowe; F. ynowh. 188. Ff. That swommen; Harl. That swommyn; Gg. That swemyn; Trin. That swymen; Cx. O. That swymmen; F. And swymmynge. 192. F. That; Gg. Ff. So (error for Som); rest Som, Some, Somme. 193. Gg. gunne; F. gunnen; rest gan, cane. 194. F. Trin. om. al. 196. Cx. Squerels; F. Squerel; rest Squyrelis (Squyrellis, Squerellis). 197. F. Cx. On; rest Of. Gg. Cx. O. strengis; Trin. stryngys; F. strynge. Gg. a-cord; rest accorde, acorde. 198. F. om. so. F. Gg. and (for a, wrongly); Ff. om.; rest a. 201. F. om. be; rest have it. 203. Gg. bryddis; rest foules. 205. F. ther of; rest of. 206. Gg. wex; Ff. waxed; F. growen; rest was (error for wex).

207. Trin. Cx. Harl. Ne; rest omit. 208. F. more Ioye; rest Ioye more. 209. F. No; rest Then (or Than). F. om. ne; rest (except Ff.) retain it. Trin. was (for wolde). 214. Gg. Th. wel; F. O. wille; Cx. Trin. wylle; Harl. whille; see note. 215. Gg. and rest hire (hir, hyr); F. harde. F. fyle; Trin. vyle (for fyle) Harl. wyel; rest wile. 216. F. shul; rest shuld, shulde. 217. F. om. for. 221. O. doon by force; Trin. Cx. do by force; Harl. done be force; Gg. don be fore (sic); F. goo before. 222. F. Ff. Disfigured. Gg. Harl. nyl; Cx. Trin. Ff. wil; O. wolle; F. shal. 225. Gg. saw; F. sawgh. Gg. with outyn; Cx. Ff. with outen; F. with oute. 228. F. Ff. Trin. omit 1st and. 229. F. Ff. Trin. omit here. 230. F. pelers; rest pilers (pileris, pylors). 231. F. sawgh. F. glas; rest (except Ff.) bras or brasse. Gg. Harl. O. I-founded; Trin. enfoundyd; F. founded.

232. Gg. daunsedyn; F. daunced. 233. F. O. om. ther. 234. F. om. were; rest retain. 236. Gg. ȝer be ȝeere; Trin. Cx. Harl. yere by yere; F. fro yere to yere. 237. Trin. O. of douys; Gg. of dowis; Cx. of duues; Harl. of dofes; Ff. of dowfs; F. saugh I (sic). 238. F. Of dowves white (sic); Ff. Saw I sitte; rest Saw I syttynge. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. thousand (for hundred). 240. F. om. with. 241. Gg. and rest by hire syde (for hir besyde). 244. F. om. eek; rest retain. 246. Gg. sykys. 248. Gg. sikis. 250. Trin. Cx. flame. F. om. wel; rest retain it. 252. Gg. Cam; O. Com; F. Come; Cx. Comen; Trin. Harl. Ff. Cometh. Gg. Trin. Cx. goddesse; Harl. goddes (i. e. goddess); F. O. goddys. 253. F. sawgh. 255. Gg. swich; F. suche. 256. Trin. Cx. Ff. by; rest be.

260. Gg. priue; F. prevy. 264. F. saugh. 267. Gg. goldene; Ff. golden; F. and rest golde or gold. 271. Cx. wel couerd; Harl. wel couered; Gg. was wel keuerede; Trin. was welle coueryd; F. keuered wel. 272. Harl. Trin. Ff. sotil. Trin. O. kerchyff; F. keuerchefe; Gg. couercheif; Cx. couerchef. 273. Gg. nas (for was). Gg. Harl. alone insert 2nd no (but it is wanted). 275. Trin. Cx. Bachus; rest Bacus. Gg. wyn; F. wyne. 277. F. Gg. Harl. Cipride (rightly); the rest Cupide (!); see l. 279. 278. Gg. Cx. O. two; Ff. to; F. the; Trin. Harl. om. Gg. O. Ff. folk ther (for folkes). 279. Gg. Trin. let; O. lat; Ff. lett; F. B. Cx. Harl. lete. 283. Gg. Harl. gunne; F. gonne; rest gan, can. 285. Gg. Cx. Ff. Ful (for Of).

288. Cx. O. Semiramis; Ff. Semiriamis; rest Semiramus (as in Leg. Good Women, Tisbe, l. 2). Gg. Hercules. 289. Trin. Harl. Tysbe; F. Cx. Tesbe; Gg. Thisbe. 295. F. Cx. comen; rest come. F. Ff. that; rest the. 298. Gg. that; which rest omit (though wanted). 303. F. O. wrongly insert of before Nature. 307. Gg. Trin. Cx. Ff. they; F. Harl. O. there. After were (dissyllabic) Gg. inserts al; needlessly. 308. Gg. dom; rest dome. 310. Gg. bryd (for foul); Cx. birde. 311. F. On; rest Of. Ff. thenke; rest thynke (not so well). 313. Gg. Ff. eyr (for see).

316. F. Alayne; Trin. Alen; rest Aleyn. 317. Gg. in (for of). All but Gg. Ff. needlessly insert suche before aray (caught from line below). 318. Gg. swich; F. suche. MSS. myghte, myght; but read mighten. 320. Gg. Ff. his; rest her, hir (wrongly). Cx. owen; Gg. owene; F. ovne; rest owne. 325. Gg. Cx. hem; Ff. them; O. om.; rest that. 327. Trin. vale (for dale). 330. Gg. ryal; Cx. Harl. O. rial. 338. F. om. hardy. All eke (for eek); exceptionally. 343. Trin. bood; Cx. bodword; rest bode (dissyllabic).

344. Gg. Ff. om. the. 345. Trin. chowgh; F. choghe; Cx. choughe; Harl. chowhe; Gg. O. Ff. crow (wrongly). 346. Harl. Ff. eles; Gg. O. elis; Trin. elys; F. Cx. egles (!). Trin. Harl. O. insert the before heroun; rest omit. 347. Gg. false; F. fals. Trin. Cx. lapwynk; O. lappewynk. 348. Gg. starlyng; rest stare. Gg. bewreye (but note the rime). 349. Gg. rodok. 350. Gg. orloge; F. orlogge. Gg. thorpis; F. thropes. 352. Gg. Cx. Ff. grene (for fresshe). 353. Trin. Th. flyes; Ff. bryddis; Gg. O. foulis; rest foules (fowles). But flyes is right; see Cant. Ta. I. 468, Boeth. iii. met. 7. 355. F. his; O. om.; rest hire, hir, her. 356. Gg. clothis (for fethers). 357. F. be (for by). 359. F. papiay; Gg. popyniay. 361. F. Cx. Ff. om. the. 363. Gg. The rauen wys, the crowe wit voice of care; Ff. same (omitting wys); F. and rest The rauenes and the crowes with her voys of care (badly). 367. Gg. myghtyn; F. myghte. 368. F. that; Ff. this; Harl. om.; rest the. All but Gg. Ff. ins. of bef. Nature. 369. Gg. eueriche; O. Ff. euery; F. eche (badly).

370. Gg. Benygnely; F. Benyngly (sic). 374. fonde is pt. t. subjunctive. 375. Gg. Cx. the (after and); Ff. moste; rest om. 378. Gg. bek; F. beke. 379. Ff. Cx. vicaire; F. vyker. 380. I insert and after light. Gg. Cx. dreye; rest drye. 381. Trin. Cx. by; F. be; Gg. with. 383. Cx. Ff. kepe (for bede). 384. Gg. ese; F. ease. 385. Gg. Ff. ȝow; Cx. you (for me). 386. F. Cx. Harl. insert that after how. 387. Gg. By; F. Be. 389. F. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. insert With before Your; Gg. Ff. rightly omit. 390. Gg. Cx. Ff. ordenaunce; rest gouernaunce (see l. 387). 391. F. Trin. Harl. O. let (i. e. let go); Gg. breke; Ff. suffre; Cx. lette. 393. Gg. terslet (for tercel). Gg. ful wel; F. wele. 394. Gg. ryal. 395. Gg. stel; F. stele. 396. All have formed.

411. Cx. yere by yere (for fro yeer to yere). 413. Gg. cam. 414. Gg. O. Ff. om. ful; rest retain. 415. Trin. Ff. Royalle; F. real; Gg. ryal. 424. Gg. I may. 426. Read al-only? 428. Gg. And if that I to hyre be founde; F. And yf I be founde to hir.

436. F. As though; rest Al be. 438. F. knette; Gg. areete; rest knytte, knyt. 439. Gg. Cx. O. Ne (for For). 445. So all. Read whan that she? 446. Gg. She neythir; Cx. Harl. O. Ff. She neyther; F. Trin. Neyther she. 450. Gg. O. Ff. shal; rest shulde, shuld. 460. Gg. that; rest omit. 462. Gg. the; Trin. Harl. ye; rest she.

463. Gg. thredde; Trin. Ff. thryd; F. thirdde. 467. F. om. Nature. 473. Gg. yeer and as (for winter and). 476. F. om. ful. 479. Gg. seyn; F. say. 480. Gg. Ff. ese; rest plese. 481. Gg. shorte; F. short. 482. Ff. hyres; F. hirse (!). 487. I supply so. Gg. hadde; F. had. 488. F. rehersen; rest reherse (reherce). 490. Gg. drow; Cx. wente; rest went (badly). 494. Cx. Harl. wil; F. wol. 495. Gg. pletynge; Trin. Cx. Harl. pletyng.

498. So Gg.; rest The goos, the duk, and the cukkowe also (wrongly; see next line). 501. F. seyde tho; rest omit tho. Gg. Ff. nys not; Trin. O. ys nat; Cx. is not; F. Harl. om. not. 503. Gg. Cx. I; rest om. 507. Gg. O. profit; rest spede. Trin. For comon spede, take the chargë now. F. Cx. Harl. O. ins. on me bef. the; Ff. ins. vpon me. Gg. tak on no (!) for take the. 510. Trin. Seyde; Cx. Said; rest Quod. 511. F. good; Cx. better (for as good); rest fayr. 514. Gg. bet; rest better. 515. Gg. entirmetyn; F. entremete. 517. All but Gg. Cx. ins. hyt (it, yt) bef. doth. 518. Ff. vncommaundet; O. vnconveyid; Gg. onquit (!); rest vncommytted. 520. Gg. om. behynde; Trin. Harl. blynde; Cx. by kynde; rest behynde. 523. F. O. Ff. for to (for to). F. delyueren; rest delyuere (deliver). F. Gg. Harl. from; rest fro.

524. Cx. charge (for Iuge). 527. Most MSS. insert the before foules; which Gg. Th. and Longleat MS. omit. 530. All but Cx. Ff. ins. to after list. 534. Trin. Th. preue; Gg. proue; F. preven. 536. Gg. swich; F. suche. 537. Gg. non by skillis; F. and rest by skilles may non (badly). 540. Cx. terselis egles. 543. Gg. ne; rest omit. 544. F. om. gon. 545. Gg. Cx. Oure; rest Oures, Ours. 549. Gg. O. hath; rest had. 551. Gg. sittyngest; rest sittynge. 553. Cx. Harl. ethe (for light).

556. Gg. O. gole; Ff. goler; Cx. golye; Ff. golee; Trin. Harl. wyltee. 558. Gg. facounde so; Ff. facounde; Cx. faconde; F. faucond. 560. F. Cx. Ff. needlessly insert to after preyd-e. 564. All but Gg. insert forth before bringe. 569. For Quod read Seyde? 570. Gg. sich (for swich); F. suche. 575. F. laughtre. 576. F. Harl. Ff. foules; Trin. fowle; Cx. fowl; O. foule; Gg. ful (!). 577. Gg. gunne; Ff. gonne; rest gan.

588. Harl. hires; Gg. hire; Cx. hers; rest hirs. Trin. Harl. om. that (perhaps rightly). 589. Gg. Cx. Ff. doke; F. duk. 590. F. Ff. shulden. 592. F. Gg. murye; rest mery. 594. Gg. O. yit; Ff. yet; rest om. 599. Gg. by; F. be (1st time). 602. Gg. Th. nat; F. neyther. 603. F. put; Gg. putte. 606. Cx. Ff. recche; F. Gg. Harl, reche; Trin. O. rek. 611. Gg. Merlioun; Trin. O. Merlyon; Cx. merlion; F. Ff. Emerlyon. 612. F. om. 1st the. Harl. heysugge; O. heysugg; Cx. heysug; Ff. haysugge; F. haysogge; Gg. heysoge; Trin. heysoke. 613. Gg. reufulles (!); Pepys rowthfull; rest rewful (!).

621. Gg. han; rest haue. Gg. Cx. the; rest hir, hyr. 623. F. cheest; Gg. chesith; Trin. cheseth; Harl. chesithe. F. han hir; Gg. hire han; Trin. hyr hafe; Cx. Harl. Ff. her haue. 626. Gg. hire this fauour; Trin. Harl. to hyr thys fauour; F. and rest thys fauour to hir. 630. Ff. ye; Harl. yee; Trin. ey; rest eye. 632. F. Gg. I (for hit). Gg. certis; rest omit. 637. All but Gg. Cx. insert hit (or it) after That or yow. Th. ben; Cx. haue ben; rest to ben (be). 641. Gg. As is a-nothir lyuis creature. O. alone ins. Like bef. As. 642. Gg. mot; rest moste (muste). 643. Gg. grauntyth; rest graunte, graunt (badly). 644. Trin. Cx. Harl. I wyll yow; O. I woll ȝewe; F. Ff. yow wol I.

652. F. Cipride; Harl. Cypride; Ff. Sypryde; rest Cupide (cf. ll. 212, 277). 654. F. other weyes; Cx. other wayes; O. othir wey (perhaps best); Gg. othirwise; Ff. other-wyse; Trin. Harl. other (sic). 655. Gg. Harl. tho; rest om. 659. F. terceletys; Th. tercelets. 660. F. al; Gg. alle. 665. F. O. entremesse; Ff. entremeese; Th. entremes; Gg. entyrmes; Harl. entermes. 666. F. wroght; rest brought, broght. 669. F. A; Gg. But; rest And. Gg. Ioye; F. Ioy. 672. Gg. Thankynge; F. Thonkyng. Gg. queen; rest goddesse, goddes.

678. Gg. sweche (for swiche); F. suche. Th. Qui; miswritten Que in F. Cx.; Qe in Trin.; rest omit. aime; F. ayme. tard; F. tarde. Lines 680-692 only occur in Gg. Th. and Digby 181; lines 683, 684, 687-9 in O. I follow Digby 181 mainly. 680. Digb. Nowe welcome. 681. Gg. wintres wedres; Digb. wynter wedirs. 682. Gg. And; Digb. Hast. Digb. drevyn; Gg. dreuyne. Digb. nyghtis; Gg. nyghtes. 684. Digb. syngen; Fowlis. 687. Gg. O. Wele. 688. Gg. O. hem; Digb. them. 689. Digb. Fulle blisfully they synge and endles ioy thei make (wrongly); Gg. Ful blisseful mowe they ben when they wake; O. Th. Ful blesfull may they synge when they wake (Th. awake). 693. F. showtynge. 694. Gg. madyn; Ff. maden; F. made. 698. Trin. fynde (for mete). 699. Ff. nyl; Gg. nele; F. O. wol; Trin. wylle; Cx. wil.

Colophon. So in F; Gg. has—Explicit parliamentum Auium in die sancti Valentini tentum, secundum Galfridum Chaucer; Ff. has—Explicit Parliamentum Auium; MS. Arch. Seld. B. 24 has—Here endis the parliament of foulis; Quod Galfride Chaucere; the Longleat MS. has—Here endith the Parlement of foules.