Chaucer's Works (ed. Skeat) Vol. III/Legend of Good Women

THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN.


The Prologue to this Poem exists in two different versions, which differ widely from each other in many passages. The arrangement of the material is also different.

For the sake of clearness, the earlier version is here called 'Text A,' and the later version 'Text B.'

'Text A' exists in one MS. only, but this MS. is of early date and much importance. It is the MS. marked Gg. 4. 27 in the Cambridge University Library, and is here denoted by the letter 'C.' It is the same MS. as that denoted by the abbreviation 'Cm.' in the footnotes to the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. This text is printed in the upper part of the following pages. The footnotes give the MS. spellings, where these are amended in the text.

'Text B' occupies the lower part of the following pages. It follows the Fairfax MS. mainly, which is denoted by 'F.' In many places, the inferior spellings of this MS. are relegated to the footnotes, amended spellings being given in the text. Various readings are given from Tn. (Tanner MS. 346); T. (Trinity MS., R. 3. 19); A. (Arch. Seld. B. 24 in the Bodleian Library); Th. (Thynne's Edition, 1532); B. (Bodley MS. 638); P. (Pepys MS. 2006); and sometimes from C. (already mentioned) or Add. (Addit. 9832).

Lines which occur in one text only are marked (in either text) by a prefixed asterisk. Lines marked with a dagger (†) stand just the same in both texts. The blank space after A 60 (p. 70) shews that there is nothing in Text A corresponding to B 69-72. Where the corresponding matter is transposed to another place, one or other text has a portion printed in smaller type.


The prologe of .ix. goode Wimmen.

(Text A.)

A thousand sythes have I herd men telle,
†That ther is Ioye in heven, and peyne in helle;
And I acorde wel that hit be so;
But natheles, this wot I wel also,
That ther nis noon that dwelleth in this contree,       5
That either hath in helle or heven y-be,
†Ne may of hit non other weyes witen,
†But as he hath herd seyd, or founde hit writen;
†For by assay ther may no man hit preve.
But goddes forbode, but men shulde leve       10
†Wel more thing then men han seen with yë!
†Men shal nat wenen every-thing a lyë
For that he seigh it nat of yore ago.
God wot, a thing is never the lesse so
†Thogh every wight ne may hit nat y-see.       15
†Bernard the monk ne saugh nat al, parde!
†Than mote we to bokes that we finde,
†Through which that olde thinges been in minde,
†And to the doctrine of these olde wyse,
†Yeven credence, in every skilful wyse,       20
And trowen on these olde aproved stories
†Of holinesse, of regnes, of victories,
†Of love, of hate, of other sundry thinges,
†Of whiche I may not maken rehersinges.
†And if that olde bokes were a-weye,       25
†Y-loren were of remembraunce the keye.
Wel oghte us than on olde bokes leve,
Ther-as ther is non other assay by preve.
And, as for me, though that my wit be lyte,
†On bokes for to rede I me delyte,       30
†And in myn herte have hem in reverence;
And to hem yeve swich lust and swich credence,
That ther is wel unethe game noon
That from my bokes make me to goon,
But hit be other up-on the haly-day,       35
Or elles in the Ioly tyme of May;
Whan that I here the smale foules singe,
†And that the floures ginne for to springe,
Farwel my studie, as lasting that sesoun!
Now have I therto this condicioun       40
†That, of alle the floures in the mede,
†Than love I most these floures whyte and rede,
†Swiche as men callen daysies in our toun.
†To hem have I so greet affeccioun,
†As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,       45
†That in my bed ther daweth me no day
†That I nam up, and walking in the mede
To seen these floures agein the sonne sprede,
Whan hit up-riseth by the morwe shene,
*The longe day, thus walking in the grene.       50

From A. 55-58.
This dayesye, of alle floures flour,       (B. 53)
Fulfild of vertu and of alle honour,
†And ever y-lyke fair and fresh of hewe,
As wel in winter as in somer newe—

And whan the sonne ginneth for to weste,       (B. 61)
Than closeth hit, and draweth hit to reste.
So sore hit is afered of the night,
*Til on the morwe, that hit is dayes light.
This dayesye, of alle floures flour,       55
Fulfild of vertu and of alle honour,
†And ever y-lyke fair and fresh of hewe,
As wel in winter as in somer newe,
Fain wolde I preisen, if I coude aright;       (B. 67)
*But wo is me, hit lyth nat in my might!       60

For wel I wot, that folk han her-beforn       (B. 73)
†Of making ropen, and lad a-wey the corn;
†And I come after, glening here and there,
†And am ful glad if I may finde an ere
Of any goodly word that they han left.       65
And, if hit happe me rehersen eft
That they han in her fresshe songes sayd,
I hope that they wil nat ben evel apayd,
Sith hit is seid in forthering and honour
Of hem that either serven leef or flour.       70
For trusteth wel, I ne have nat undertake
As of the leef, ageyn the flour, to make;
Ne of the flour to make, ageyn the leef,
†No more than of the corn ageyn the sheef.
For, as to me, is leefer noon ne lother;       75
I am with-holde yit with never nother.
I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
That nis nothing the entent of my labour.
For this werk is al of another tunne,
Of olde story, er swich stryf was begunne.       80
But wherfor that I spak, to yeve credence       (B. 97)
To bokes olde and doon hem reverence,
Is for men shulde autoritees beleve,
Ther as ther lyth non other assay by preve.
*For myn entent is, or I fro yow fare,       85
*The naked text in English to declare
*Of many a story, or elles of many a geste,
*As autours seyn; leveth hem if yow leste!

Whan passed was almost the month of May,       (B. 108)
And I had romed, al the someres day,       90
*The grene medew, of which that I yow tolde,
Upon the fresshe daysy to beholde,
And that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
And closed was the flour and goon to reste
For derknesse of the night, of which she dredde,       95
†Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde;
†And, in a litel erber that I have,
Y-benched newe with turves fresshe y-grave,
†I bad men shulde me my couche make;
†For deyntee of the newe someres sake,       100
†I bad hem strowe floures on my bed.
†Whan I was layd, and had myn eyen hed,
I fel a-slepe with-in an houre or two.
Me mette how I was in the medew tho,
*And that I romed in that same gyse,       105
To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse.
*Fair was this medew, as thoughte me overal;
With floures swote enbrowded was it al;
As for to speke of gomme, or erbe, or tree,
†Comparisoun may noon y-maked be.       110
For hit surmounted pleynly alle odoures,
†And eek of riche beaute alle floures.
†Forgeten had the erthe his pore estat
†Of winter, that him naked made and mat,
And with his swerd of cold so sore had greved.       115
Now had the atempre sonne al that releved,
And clothed him in grene al newe agayn.
†The smale foules, of the seson fayn,
†That from the panter and the net ben scaped,
†Upon the fouler, that hem made a-whaped       120
†In winter, and distroyed had hir brood,
†In his despyt, hem thoughte hit did hem good
†To singe of him, and in hir song despyse
†The foule cherl that, for his covetyse,
†Had hem betrayed with his sophistrye.       125
†This was hir song—'the fouler we defye!'
Somme songen [layes] on the braunches clere       (B. 139)
Of love and [May], that Ioye hit was to here,
In worship and in preysing of hir make,
And of the newe blisful someres sake,       130

That songen, 'blissed be seynt Valentyn!       (B. 145)
[For] at his day I chees yow to be myn,
†With-oute repenting, myn herte swete!'
†And therwith-al hir bekes gonnen mete.
[They dide honour and] humble obeisaunces,       135
And after diden other observaunces
Right [plesing] un-to love and to nature;
*So ech of hem [doth wel] to creature.
*This song to herkne I dide al myn entente,
*For-why I mette I wiste what they mente.       140

From A. 90.
And I had romed, al the someres day,       (B. 180)

From A. 92.
Up-on the fresshe daysy to beholde.       (B. 182)

From A. 71-80.
For trusteth wel, I ne have nat undertake       (B. 188)
As of the leef, ageyn the flour, to make;
Ne of the flour to make, ageyn the leef,
†No more than of the corn ageyn the sheef.
For, as to me, is leefer noon ne lother;       75
I am with-holde yit with never nother.
I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
That nis nothing the entent of my labour.
For this werk is al of another tunne,
Of olde story, er swich stryf was begunne.       80

From A. 93-96.
And that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
And closed was the flour and goon to reste
For derknesse of the night, of which she dredde,
†Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde

From A. 106.
To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse.

From A. 97-104.
†And, in a litel erber that I have,
Y-benched newe with turves fresshe y-grave,
†I bad men shulde me my couche make;
†For deyntee of the newe someres sake,       100
†I bad hem strowe floures on my bed.
†Whan I was layd, and had myn eyen hed,
I fel a-slepe within an houre or two.
Me mette how I was in the medew tho,

*Til at the laste a larke song above:       141

  • 'I see,' quod she, 'the mighty god of love!

*Lo! yond he cometh, I see his winges sprede!'

From A. 106.
To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse,

Tho gan I loken endelong the mede,       (B. 212)
And saw him come, and in his hond a quene,       145
Clothed in ryal abite al of grene.
†A fret of gold she hadde next hir heer,
†And up-on that a whyt coroun she beer
With many floures, and I shal nat lye;
For al the world, right as the dayesye       150
†I-coroned is with whyte leves lyte,
Swich were the floures of hir coroun whyte.
For of o perle fyn and oriental
†Hir whyte coroun was y-maked al;
†For which the whyte coroun, above the grene,       155
†Made hir lyk a daysie for to sene,
Considered eek the fret of gold above.
†Y-clothed was this mighty god of love
Of silk, y-brouded ful of grene greves;
A garlond on his heed of rose-leves       160
*Steked al with lilie floures newe;
*But of his face I can nat seyn the hewe.
For sekirly his face shoon so brighte,
*That with the gleem a-stoned was the sighte;
A furlong-wey I mighte him nat beholde.       165
But at the laste in hande I saw him holde
†Two fyry dartes, as the gledes rede;
And aungellich his wenges gan he sprede.
†And al be that men seyn that blind is he,
Al-gate me thoughte he mighte wel y-see;       170
†For sternely on me he gan biholde,
†So that his loking doth myn herte colde.
†And by the hande he held the noble quene,
†Corouned with whyte, and clothed al in grene,
†So womanly, so benigne, and so meke,       175
†That in this world, thogh that men wolde seke,
†Half hir beautee shulde men nat finde
†In creature that formed is by kinde,
Hir name was Alceste the debonayre;
I prey to god that ever falle she fayre!       180
†For ne hadde confort been of hir presence,
†I had be deed, withouten any defence,
†For drede of Loves wordes and his chere,
†As, whan tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
Byhind this god of love, up-on this grene,       185
†I saw cominge of ladyës nyntene
†In ryal abite, a ful esy pas,
†And after hem com of wemen swich a tras
That, sin that god Adam made of erthe,
The thredde part of wemen, ne the ferthe,       190
†Ne wende I nat by possibilitee
Hadden ever in this world y-be;       (B. 289)
†And trewe of love thise wemen were echoon.
†Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
†That, right anoon as that they gonne espye       195
†This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
†Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at-ones,
And kneled adoun, as it were for the nones.
*And after that they wenten in compas,
*Daunsinge aboute this flour an esy pas,       200
*And songen, as it were in carole-wyse,
*This balade, which that I shal yow devyse.

Balade.

†Hyd, Absolon, thy gilte tresses clere;
†Ester, ley them thy meknesse al a-doun;
†Hyd, Ionathas, al thy frendly manere;       205
†Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun,
†Mak of your wyfhod no comparisoun;
†Hyde ye your beautes, Isoude and Eleyne,
Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.

†Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere,       210
†Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun,
†And Polixene, that boghte love so dere,
Eek Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
Hyde ye your trouthe in love and your renoun;
And thou, Tisbe, that hast for love swich peyne:       215
Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.

Herro, Dido, Laudomia, alle in-fere,
Eek Phyllis, hanging for thy Demophoun,
†And Canace, espyed by thy chere,
Ysiphile, betrayed with Jasoun,       220
Mak of your trouthe in love no bost ne soun;
Nor Ypermistre or Adriane, ne pleyne;
Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.

Whan that this balade al y-songen was,       (B. 270)

From A. 179-198.
Hir name was Alceste the debonayre;
I prey to god that ever falle she fayre!       180
†For ne hadde confort been of hir presence,
†I had be deed, withouten any defence,
†For drede of Loves wordes and his chere,
†As, whan tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
Byhind this god of love, up-on this grene,       185
†I saw cominge of ladyës nyntene
†In ryal abite, a ful esy pas,
†And after hem com of wemen swich a tras,
That, sin that god Adam made of erthe,
The thredde part of wemen, ne the ferthe,       190
†Ne wende I nat by possibilitee
Hadden ever in this world y-be.
†And trewe of love these wemen were echoon.
†Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
†That, right anon as that they gonne espye       195
†This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
†Ful sodeinly they stinten alle atones,
And kneled adoun, as it were for the nones.

*Upon the softe and swote grene gras       225
†They setten hem ful softely adoun,       (B. 301)
By ordre alle in compas, alle enveroun.
First sat the god of love, and than this quene
†With the whyte coroun, clad in grene;
†And sithen al the remenant by and by,       230
As they were of degree, ful curteisly;
†Ne nat a word was spoken in the place
†The mountance of a furlong-wey of space.
I, lening faste by under a bente,
†Abood, to knowen what this peple mente,       235
†As stille as any stoon; til at the laste,
The god of love on me his eye caste,
And seyde, 'who resteth ther?' and I answerde
Un-to his axing, whan that I him herde,
†And seyde, 'sir, hit am I'; and cam him neer,       240
†And salued him. Quod he, 'what dostow heer
In my presence, and that so boldely?
†For it were better worthy, trewely,
A werm to comen in my sight than thou.'
†'And why, sir,' quod I, 'and hit lyke yow?'       245
†'For thou,' quod he, 'art ther-to nothing able.
*My servaunts been alle wyse and honourable.
Thou art my mortal fo, and me warreyest,       (B. 322)
†And of myne olde servaunts thou misseyest,
†And hinderest hem with thy translacioun,       250
And lettest folk to han devocioun
†To serven me, and haldest hit folye
To troste on me. Thou mayst hit nat denye;
For in pleyn text, hit nedeth nat to glose,
†Thou hast translated the Romauns of the Rose,       255
†That is an heresye ageyns my lawe,
†And makest wyse folk fro me withdrawe.
*And thinkest in thy wit, that is ful cool.
*That he nis but a verray propre fool
*That loveth paramours, to harde and hote.       260
*Wel wot I ther-by thou beginnest dote
*As olde foles, whan hir spirit fayleth;
*Than blame they folk, and wite nat what hem ayleth.
*Hast thou nat mad in English eek the book
How that Crisseyde Troilus forsook,       (B. 332) 265
In shewinge how that wemen han don mis?
*But natheles, answere me now to this,
*Why noldest thou as wel han seyd goodnesse
*Of wemen, as thou hast seyd wikkednesse?
*Was ther no good matere in thy minde,       270
*Ne in alle thy bokes coudest thou nat finde
*Sum story of wemen that were goode and trewe?
*Yis! god wot, sixty bokes olde and newe
*Hast thou thy-self, alle fulle of stories grete,
*That bothe Romains and eek Grekes trete       275
*Of sundry wemen, which lyf that they ladde,
*And ever an hundred gode ageyn oon badde.
*This knoweth god, and alle clerkes eke,
*That usen swiche materes for to seke.
*What seith Valerie, Titus, or Claudian?       280
*What seith Ierome ageyns Iovinian?
*How clene maydens, and how trewe wyves,
*How stedfast widwes during al hir lyves,
*Telleth Jerome; and that nat of a fewe,
*But, I dar seyn, an hundred on a rewe;       285
*That hit is pitee for to rede, and routhe,
*The wo that they enduren for hir trouthe.
For to hir love were they so trewe,       (B. 334)
*That, rather than they wolde take a newe,
*They chosen to be dede in sundry wyse,       290
*And deyden, as the story wol devyse;
*And some were brend, and some were cut the hals,
*And some dreynt, for they wolden nat be fals.
*For alle keped they hir maydenhed,
*Or elles wedlok, or hir widwehed.       295
*And this thing was nat kept for holinesse,
*But al for verray vertu and clennesse,
*And for men shulde sette on hem no lak;
*And yit they weren hethen, al the pak,
*That were so sore adrad of alle shame.       300
*These olde wemen kepte so hir name,
*That in this world I trow men shal nat finde
*A man that coude be so trewe and kinde,
*As was the leste woman in that tyde.
*What seith also the epistels of Ovyde       305
*Of trewe wyves, and of hir labour?
*What Vincent, in his Storial Mirour?
*Eek al the world of autours maystow here,
*Cristen and hethen, trete of swich matere;
*It nedeth nat alday thus for tendyte.       310
*But yit I sey, what eyleth thee to wryte
*The draf of stories, and forgo the corn?
By seint Venus, of whom that I was born,       (B. 338)
Although [that] thou reneyed hast my lay,       (B. 336)
As othere olde foles many a day,       (B. 337) 315
Thou shalt repente hit, that hit shal be sene!'
Than spak Alceste, the worthieste quene,
†And seyde, 'god, right of your curtesye,
†Ye moten herknen if he can replye
Ageyns these points that ye han to him meved;       320
†A god ne sholde nat be thus agreved,
†But of his deitee he shal be stable,
And therto rightful and eek merciable.
*He shal nat rightfully his yre wreke
*Or he have herd the tother party speke.       325
*Al ne is nat gospel that is to yow pleyned;
*The god of love herth many a tale y-feyned.

From A. 338, 339.
This man to yow may wrongly been accused,
†Ther as by right him oghte been excused;

†For in your court is many a losengeour,
†And many a queynte totelere accusour,
That tabouren in your eres many a thing       330
For hate, or for Ielous imagining,
And for to han with yow som daliaunce.
Envye (I prey to god yeve hir mischaunce!)
Is lavender in the grete court alway.
†For she ne parteth, neither night ne day,       335
†Out of the hous of Cesar; thus seith Dante;
Who-so that goth, alwey she moot [nat] wante.
This man to yow may wrongly been accused,
†Ther as by right him oghte been excused.
Or elles, sir, for that this man is nyce,       340
He may translate a thing in no malyce.
But for he useth bokes for to make,
And takth non heed of what matere he take;
*Therfor he wroot the Rose and eek Crisseyde
*Of innocence, and niste what he seyde;       345
†Or him was boden make thilke tweye
†Of som persone, and durste hit nat with-seye;
*For he hath writen many a book er this.
†He ne hath nat doon so grevously amis
†To translaten that olde clerkes wryten,       350
†As thogh that he of malice wolde endyten
Despyt of love, and hadde him-self y-wroght.
†This shulde a rightwys lord han in his thoght,
†And nat be lyk tiraunts of Lumbardye,
That usen wilfulhed and tirannye,       355
†For he that king or lord is naturel,
†Him oghte nat be tiraunt ne cruel,
†As is a fermour, to doon the harm he can.
†He moste thinke hit is his lige man,
*And that him oweth, of verray duetee,       360
*Shewen his peple pleyn benignitee,
*And wel to here hir excusaciouns,
*And hir compleyntes and peticiouns,
*In duewe tyme, whan they shal hit profre.
†This is the sentence of the philosophre:       (B. 381) 365
†A king to kepe his liges in Iustyce;
†With-outen doute, that is his offyce.
*And therto is a king ful depe y-sworn,
*Ful many an hundred winter heer-biforn;
And for to kepe his lordes hir degree,       370
†As hit is right and skilful that they be
†Enhaunced and honoured, and most dere—
†For they ben half-goddes in this world here—
This shal he doon, bothe to pore [and] riche,
Al be that here stat be nat a-liche,       375
†And han of pore folk compassioun.
†For lo, the gentil kind of the lioun!
†For whan a flye offendeth him or byteth,
†He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth
†Al esily; for, of his genterye,       380
†Him deyneth nat to wreke him on a flye,
†As doth a curre or elles another beste.
†In noble corage oghte been areste,
†And weyen every thing by equitee,
†And ever han reward to his owen degree.       385
†For, sir, hit is no maystrie for a lord
To dampne a man with-oute answere or word;
†And, for a lord, that is ful foul to use.
†And if so be he may him nat excuse,
[But] axeth mercy with a sorweful herte,       390
†And profreth him, right in his bare sherte,
†To been right at your owne Iugement,
†Than oghte a god, by short avysement,
†Considre his owne honour and his trespas.
†For sith no cause of deeth lyth in this cas,       395
†Yow oghte been the lighter merciable;
†Leteth your yre, and beth somwhat tretable!
†The man hath served yow of his conning,
And forthered your lawe with his making.
*Whyl he was yong, he kepte your estat;       400
*I not wher he be now a renegat.
But wel I wot, with that he can endyte,
He hath maked lewed folk delyte
†To serve you, in preysing of your name.
†He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame,       405
†And eek the Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse,
†And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,
†And al the love of Palamon and Arcyte
†Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte;
†And many an ympne for your halydayes,       410
†That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes;
And for to speke of other besinesse,
†He hath in prose translated Boëce;
*And of the Wreched Engendring of Mankinde,
*As man may in pope Innocent y-finde;       415
†And mad the Lyf also of seynt Cecyle;       (B. 426)
†He made also, goon sithen a greet whyl,
†Origenes upon the Maudeleyne;
†Him oghte now to have the lesse peyne;
†He hath mad many a lay and many a thing.       420
†'Now as ye been a god, and eek a king,
†I, your Alceste, whylom quene of Trace,
†I axe yow this man, right of your grace,
†That ye him never hurte in al his lyve;
†And he shal sweren yow, and that as blyve,       425
†He shal no more agilten in this wyse;
†But he shal maken, as ye wil devyse,
†Of wemen trewe in lovinge al hir lyve,
†Wher-so ye wil, of maiden or of wyve,
†And forthren yow, as muche as he misseyde       430
†Or in the Rose or elles in Crisseyde.'
†The god of love answerde hir thus anoon,
†'Madame,' quod he, 'hit is so long agoon
†That I yow knew so charitable and trewe,
†That never yit, sith that the world was newe,       435
†To me ne fond I better noon than ye.
That, if that I wol save my degree,
†I may ne wol nat warne your requeste;
Al lyth in yow, doth with him what yow leste
†And al foryeve, with-outen lenger space;       440
†For who-so yeveth a yift, or doth a grace,
†Do hit by tyme, his thank is wel the more;
†And demeth ye what he shal do therfore.
†Go thanke now my lady heer,' quod he.
†I roos, and doun I sette me on my knee,       445
†And seyde thus: 'Madame, the god above
†Foryelde yow, that ye the god of love
†Han maked me his wrathe to foryive;
†And yeve me grace so long for to live,
†That I may knowe soothly what ye be       450
That han me holpen, and put in swich degree.
†But trewely I wende, as in this cas,
†Naught have agilt, ne doon to love trespas.
†Forwhy a trewe man, with-outen drede,
†Hath nat to parten with a theves dede;       455
†Ne a trewe lover oghte me nat blame,
†Thogh that I speke a fals lover 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 auctour mente,       460
†Algate, god wot, hit was myn entente
†To forthren trouthe in love and hit cheryce;
†And to be war fro falsnesse and fro vyce
†By swich ensample; this was my meninge.'
†And she answerde, 'lat be thyn arguinge;       465
†For Love ne wol nat countrepleted be
In right ne wrong; and lerne this at me!
†Thou hast thy grace, and hold thee right ther-to.
†Now wol I seyn what penance thou shalt do
†For thy trespas, and understond hit here:       470
†Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere,
The moste party of thy lyve spende
†In making of a glorious Legende
†Of Gode Wemen, maidenes and wyves,
†That were trewe in lovinge al hir lyves;       475
†And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,
†That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen
†How many wemen they may doon a shame;
For in your world that is now holden game.
And thogh thee lesteth nat a lover be,       480
†Spek wel of love; this penance yeve I thee.
†And to the god of love I shal so preye,
†That he shal charge his servants, by any weye,
†To forthren thee, and wel thy labour quyte;
Go now thy wey, thy penance is but lyte.'       (B. 495) 485

†The god of love gan smyle, and than he seyde,
†'Wostow,' quod he, 'wher this be wyf or mayde,
†Or quene, or countesse, or of what degree,
†That hath so litel penance yeven thee,
†That hast deserved sorer for to smerte?       490
†But pitee renneth sone in gentil herte;
†That mayst thou seen, she kytheth what she is.'
†And I answerde, 'nay, sir, so have I blis,
†No more but that I see wel she is good.'
†'That is a trewe tale, by myn hood,'       495
†Quod Love, 'and that thou knowest wel, pardee,
†If hit be so that thou avyse thee.
†Hastow nat in a book, lyth in thy cheste,
†The grete goodnesse of the quene Alceste,
†That turned was into a dayesye:       500
†She that for hir husbonde chees to dye,
†And eek to goon to helle, rather than he,
†And Ercules rescued hir, pardee,
†And broghte hir out of helle agayn to blis?'
†And I answerde ageyn, and seyde, 'yis,       505
†Now knowe I hir! And is this good Alceste,
†The dayesye, and myn owne hertes reste?
†Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wyf,
†That bothe after hir deeth, and in hir lyf,
†Hir grete bountee doubleth hir renoun!       510
†Wel hath she quit me myn affeccioun
†That I have to hir flour, the dayesye!
†No wonder is thogh Iove hir stellifye,
†As telleth Agaton, for hir goodnesse!
†Hir whyte coroun berth of hit witnesse;       515
†For also many vertues hadde she,
†As smale floures in hir coroun be.
†In remembraunce of hir and in honour,
†Cibella made the dayesy and the flour
†Y-coroned al with whyt, as men may see;       520
†And Mars yaf to hir coroun reed, pardee,
†In stede of rubies, set among the whyte.'
†Therwith this quene wex reed for shame a lyte,
†Whan she was preysed so in hir presence.
†Than seyde Love, 'a ful gret negligence       525
Was hit to thee, to write unstedfastnesse
*Of women, sith thou knowest hir goodnesse
*By preef, and eek by stories heer-biforn;
*Let be the chaf, and wryt wel of the corn.
*Why noldest thou han writen of Alceste,       530
*And leten Criseide been a-slepe and reste?

Sin that thou wost that kalender is she       (B. 542)
Of goodnesse, for she taughte of fyn lovinge,
†And namely of wyfhood the livinge,       535
†And alle the boundes that she oghte kepe;
†Thy litel wit was thilke tyme a-slepe.
†But now I charge thee, upon thy lyf,
†That in thy Legend thou make of this wyf,
Whan thou hast othere smale mad before;       540
†And fare now wel, I charge thee no more.       (B. 551)
†At Cleopatre I wol that thou beginne;       (B. 566)
†And so forth; and my love so shalt thou winne.'

And with that word of sleep I gan a-awake,       (B. 578)
†And right thus on my Legend gan I make.       545

Explicit prohemium.

1. thousent sythis. 2. there; heuene. 3. it. 4. wit (over erasure); read wot. 5. ne is; dwellyth; cuntre. 6. heuene. 10. goddis; schulde. 13. say (better seigh). 14. neuere. 21. trowyn; aprouede storyis. 27. ouȝte; thanne; bokys. 28. There; othyr a-say (see l. 9); be (for by). 29. thow; myn. 30, 34. bokys. 33. onethe. 39. stodye; lastynge. 48. sen; flouris a-gen; sunne to sprede. 49. be (for by); schene. 50. walkynge. 51. sunne be-gynnys. 52. it; drawith it. 53. it; a-ferid. 54. it; dayis. 55. flouris. 57. frosch. 58. wyntyr; somyr. 59. preysyn; a-ryht. 60. myn. 62. makynge ropyn. 63. C. om. And; aftyr glenynge; ther. 64. er. 65. ony; laft. 66. reherse. 67. here frosche songis. 68. wele; euele a-payed. 69. Sithe. 70. eythir seruyn lef. 71. trustyth; vndyr-take. 72. lef a-gayn. 73. lef. 74. a-gen; shef. 75. lefere non; lothere. 76. witholde; nothire. 77. ho seruyth lef. 80. old. 81. -fore. 82. bokys; don. 83. schulde autoriteis. 84. There; there; othyr a-say; be. 86. nakede tixt; englis. 87. manye (twice); ellis. 88. autourys; leuyth. 89. monyth. 90. hadde; somerys. 91. medewe. 92. frosche dayseie. 93. souht (!). 94. clothede (error for closed). 95. derknese; nyht; sche dradde. 96. spadde. 97. lytyl. 98. I-benchede; turwis frorsche I-grawe (!). 99. schulde; myn. 100. somerys. 101. flouris. 102. hadde; hid (for hed). 103. with-Inne; our. 104. medewe. 105. romede. 106. sen. 107. medewe. 108. flouris sote embroudit. 110. non I-makede. 111. surmountede; odours. 112. om. eek; beute; flourys. 113. Forgetyn hadde. 114. wyntyr; nakede. 115. hadde greuyd. 116. hadde the tempre; releuyd. 117. clothede; a-geyn. 127. I supply layes. 128. I supply May. 129. worschepe; hire. 130. somerys. 131. sungyn blyssede; volentyn. 132. I supply For; ches. 133. repentynge. 134. here bekys gunne. 135. C. is here corrupt; it has—The honour and the humble obeysaunce. I try to give some sense; in any case we must read obeisaunces. 136. dedyn othere. 137, 138. C. is again corrupt and imperfect; I supply plesing and doth wel. C. has natures, cryaturys; but read nature. 139. herkenyn; dede; entent. 140. ment. 143. comyth; hise wyngis. 144. loke. 146. Clothid. 147. frette; goold; hyre her. 148. corone sche ber. 149. mane (!) flourys. 150. dayseye. 151. I-corounede; leuys. 152. flourys; corene (sic). 159. I-broudede; greuys. 160. hed; leuys. 161. Stekid; lylye flourys. 163. schon; bryhte. 164. glem a-stonede; syhte. 165. myhte; not. 167. Tho (error for Two); fery dartis; gleedys. 168. hyse wengis. 179. the thebonoyre (sic). 180. preye; euere. 186. nynetene. 192. Haddyn euere. 199. aftyr; wentyn. 201. songyn. 202. whiche; schal. 206. Penolope. 209. destene. 221. ȝoure. 224. I-songyn. [179. thebonoyre.] [185. Byhynde.] [186. ladyis nynetene.] [192. Haddyn.] [196. whiche; dayseye.] [197. styntyn; atonys.] [198. knelede; nonys.] 225. sote. 226. settyn. 227. ordere; cumpas; in-veroun. 228. thanne. 231. degre. 234. lenynge; vndyr. 238. ho (for who). 239. axsynge. 243. bettere. 244. come; syht. 247. Myne; ben. 248. myn. 249. mysseyst. 251. lettist. 252. seruyn; haldist. 254. tixt. 258. thyn; cole. 259. fole. 260. louyth paramouris. 262. folis; spryt (sic) faylyth. 263. wete; ealyth. 264. englys ek; bok. 265. forsok. 267. Bit (for But). 268. noldist; a (for have or han); goodnes. 269. wekedenes. 270. matyr; thyn. 271. thyne bokys ne coudist; (I omit ne). 273. lx. bokys. 274. thyn-self; storyis. 275. romaynys; ek grekis. 276. sundery; whiche; ledde. 277. euere; hunderede goode; on. 278. knowith; clerkis ek. 279. vsyn sweche materis; sek. 282. maydenys; wyuys. 283. stedefaste wedewys durynge all here lyuys. 284. Tellyth. 285. hunderede. 286. pete. 287. endure; here. 289. rathere; wole (error for wolde). 290. chose; ded; sundery. 291. deiedyn; wele (for wol). 293. dreynkt (!); thy (for they); woldyn. 294. kepid maydynhed. 295. ellis wedlek; here wedewehed. 299. were hethene. 302. trowe; schal. 303. trowe. 305. epistelle (see note). 306. wyuys. 307. estoryal. 308. te (for the); autourys. 309. Cristene; hethene. 310. nedyth; to endite. 311. seye; eylyth the. 312. storyis; forgete, with gete over erasure; read forgo. 313. Be (for By). 314. Al-thow; I supply that; reneyist (sic) hast myn. 315. folys. 316. so that (for that; I omit so). 317. Thanne; worthyere (!). 320. poyntys; mevid. 322. dede (for deitee; the scribe's error). 323. ek. 325. tothyr. 327. hereth manye; I-feynyd. 328. losenger. 329. totulour. 330. tabourryn; ȝoure; manye. 332. sum. 333. prere (!). 335. che; partyth; nygh (!). 337. mote; I supply nat. 338. ben acused. 339. There; be; oughte ben excusid. 340. sere. 342. vsyth bokis. 343. takyth; hed. 344. ek. 348. wrete manye; bok. 355. vsyn. 357. oughte. 358. don. 359. must. 360. owith; o (error for of); verry. 361. Schewyn; benygnete. 362. heryn here. 363. here compleyntys. 367. Which oughtyn (!). 369. manye; hunderede wyntyr here-. 370. lordys. 372. Enhaunsede; om. 2nd and. 373. goddys. 374. don; I supply and. 388. C. wol; for ful. 389. ascuse. 390. I supply But. 397, 399, 400. ȝoure. 401. where (= whether); renagat. 403. makid lewede folk to; I omit to. 412. othyr. 413. translatid. 414. wrechede engendrynge. 436. I neuere non betere; the. 437. wele; myn. 438. wel. 456. may (for oghte). 507. herte is reste. 518. Of (for In). 526. the; onstedefastnesse. 527. sithe thow knowist here. 528. pref; ek; storyis here. 530. noldist; writyn. 531. latyn; ben. 532. thyn wrytynge. 533. wist (badly); calandier. 544. slep. 545. myn legende.


The prologe of .ix. goode Wimmen.

(Text B.)

A thousand tymes have I herd men telle,
That ther is Ioye in heven, and peyne in helle;
And I acorde wel that hit is so;
But natheles, yit wot I wel also,
That ther nis noon dwelling in this contree,       5
That either hath in heven or helle y-be,
†Ne may of hit non other weyes witen,
†But as he hath herd seyd, or founde hit writen;
For by assay ther may no man hit preve.
But god forbede but men shulde leve       10
Wel more thing then men han seen with yë!
Men shal nat wenen every-thing a lyë
But-if him-self hit seeth, or elles dooth;
For, god wot, thing is never the lasse sooth,
†Thogh every wight ne may hit nat y-see.       15
Bernard the monk ne saugh nat al, parde!
†Than mote we to bokes that we finde,
†Through which that olde thinges been in minde.
†And to the doctrine of these olde wyse,
†Yeve credence, in every skilful wyse,       20
That tellen of these olde appreved stories,
†Of holinesse, of regnes, of victories,
†Of love, of hate, of other sundry thinges,
†Of whiche I may not maken rehersinges.
And if that olde bokes were a-weye,       25
†Y-loren were of remembraunce the keye.
Wel oghte us than honouren and beleve
These bokes, ther we han non other preve.
And as for me, thogh that I can but lyte,
†On bokes for to rede I me delyte,       30
And to hem yeve I feyth and ful credence,
†And in myn herte have hem in reverence
So hertely, that ther is game noon
That fro my bokes maketh me to goon,
But hit be seldom, on the holyday;       35
Save, certeynly, whan that the month of May
Is comen, and that I here the foules singe,
†And that the floures ginnen for to springe,
Farwel my book and my devocioun!
Now have I than swich a condicioun,       40
That, of alle the floures in the mede,
†Than love I most these floures whyte and rede,
†Swiche as men callen daysies in our toun.
†To hem have I so greet affeccioun,
†As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,       45
That in my bed ther daweth me no day
†That I nam up, and walking in the mede
To seen this flour agein the sonne sprede,
Whan hit upryseth erly by the morwe;
*That blisful sighte softneth al my sorwe,       50
*So glad am I whan that I have presence
*Of hit, to doon al maner reverence,
As she, that is of alle floures flour,
Fulfilled of al vertu and honour,
†And ever y-lyke fair, and fresh of hewe;       55
And I love hit, and ever y-lyke newe,
*And ever shal, til that myn herte dye;

*Ther loved no wight hotter in his lyve.
*And whan that hit is eve, I renne blyve,       60
As sone as ever the sonne ginneth weste,
To seen this flour, how it wol go to reste,
For fere of night, so hateth she derknesse!

From B. 53-56.
As she, that is of alle floures flour,
Fulfilled of al vertu and honour,
†And ever y-lyke fair, and fresh of hewe;
And I love hit, and ever y-lyke newe.

*Hir chere is pleynly sprad in the brightnesse
*Of the sonne, for ther hit wol unclose.       65
*Allas! that I ne had English, ryme or prose,
Suffisant this flour to preyse aright!
*But helpeth, ye that han conning and might,
*Ye lovers, that can make of sentement;
*In this cas oghte ye be diligent       70
*To forthren me somwhat in my labour,
*Whether ye ben with the leef or with the flour.
For wel I wot, that ye han her-biforn
†Of making ropen, and lad awey the corn;
†And I come after, glening here and there,       75
†And am ful glad if I may finde an ere
Of any goodly word that ye han left.
And thogh it happen me rehercen eft
That ye han in your fresshe songes sayd,
For-bereth me, and beth nat evel apayd,       80
Sin that ye see I do hit in the honour
Of love, and eek in service of the flour,

From B. 188-196.
But natheles, ne wene nat that I make
In preysing of the flour agayn the leef,
†No more than of the corn agayn the sheef.
For as to me, nis lever noon ne lother;
I nam with-holden yit with never nother.
Ne I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
Wel brouken they hir service or labour.
For this thing is al of another tonne,
Of olde story, er swich thing was begonne.

*Whom that I serve as I have wit or might.
*She is the clernesse and the verray light,
*That in this derke worlde me wynt and ledeth,       85
*The herte in-with my sorowful brest yow dredeth,
*And loveth so sore, that ye ben verrayly
*The maistresse of my wit, and nothing I.
*My word, my werk, is knit so in your bonde,
*That, as an harpe obeyeth to the honde       90

*Right so mowe ye out of myn herte bringe
*Swich vois, right as yow list, to laughe or pleyne.
*Be ye my gyde and lady sovereyne;
*As to myn erthly god, to yow I calle,       95
*Bothe in this werke and in my sorwes alle.
But wherfor that I spak, to give credence
To olde stories, and doon hem reverence,
And that men mosten more thing beleve
Then men may seen at eye or elles preve?       100
*That shal I seyn, whan that I see my tyme;
*I may not al at ones speke in ryme.
*My besy gost, that thrusteth alwey newe
*To seen this flour so yong, so fresh of hewe,
*Constreyned me with so gledy desyr,       105
*That in my herte I fele yit the fyr,
*That made me to ryse er hit wer day—
And this was now the firste morwe of May
*With dredful herte and glad devocioun,
*For to ben at the resureccioun       110
*Of this flour, whan that it shuld unclose

  • Agayn the sonne, that roos as rede as rose,

*That in the brest was of the beste that day,
*That Agenores doghter ladde away.
*And doun on knees anon-right I me sette,       115
*And, as I coude, this fresshe flour I grette;
*Kneling alwey, til hit unclosed was,
*Upon the smale softe swote gras,

From B. 180, 182.
The longe day I shoop me for to abyde ...
But for to loke upon the dayesye.

From B. 197-200.
Whan that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
And that this flour gan close and goon to reste
For derknesse of the night, the which she dredde,
†Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde;

From B. 203-211.
†And, in a litel herber that I have,
That benched was on turves fresshe y-grave,
†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 leyd, and had my eyen hed,
I fel on slepe in-with an houre or two;
Me mette how I lay in the medew tho,
To seen this flour, that I so love and drede,

That was with floures swote enbrouded al,
*Of swich swetnesse and swich odour over-al,       120
That, for to speke of gomme, or herbe, or tree,
†Comparisoun may noon y-maked be;
For hit surmounteth pleynly alle odoures,
†And eek of riche beautee alle floures.
Forgeten had the erthe his pore estat       125
†Of winter, that him naked made and mat,
And with his swerd of cold so sore greved;
Now hath the atempre sonne al that releved
That naked was, and clad hit new agayn.
The smale foules, of the seson fayn,       130
†That from the panter and the net ben scaped,
Upon the fouler, that hem made a-whaped
†In winter, and distroyed had hir brood,
†In his despyt, hem thoughte hit did hem good
†To singe of him, and in hir song despyse       135
†The foule cherl that, for his covetyse,
†Had hem betrayed with his sophistrye.
†This was hir song—'the fouler we defye,
And al his craft!' And somme songen clere
Layes of love, that Ioye hit was to here,       140
In worshipinge and preisinge of hir make.
And, for the newe blisful somers sake,
*Upon the braunches ful of blosmes softe,
*In hir delyt, they turned hem ful ofte,
And songen, 'blessed be seynt Valentyn!       145
For on his day I chees yow to be myn,
†Withouten repenting, myn herte swete!'
†And therwith-al hir bekes gonnen mete,
Yelding honour and humble obeisaunces
To love, and diden hir other observaunces       150
That longeth unto love and to nature;
*Construeth that as yow list, I do no cure.
*And tho that hadde doon unkindenesse—
*As dooth the tydif, for new-fangelnesse—
*Besoghte mercy of hir trespassinge,       155
*And humblely songen hir repentinge,
*And sworen on the blosmes to be trewe,

*And at the laste maden hir acord.
*Al founde they Daunger for a tyme a lord,       160
*Yet Pitee, through his stronge gentil might,
*Forgaf, and made Mercy passen Right,

*But I ne clepe nat innocence folye,
*Ne fals pitee, for 'vertu is the mene,'       165
*As Etik saith, in swich maner I mene.
*And thus thise foules, voide of al malyce,
*Acordeden to love, and laften vyce
*Of hate, and songen alle of oon acord,
*'Welcome, somer, our governour and lord!'       170
*And Zephirus and Flora gentilly
*Yaf to the floures, softe and tenderly,
*Hir swote breth, and made hem for to sprede,
*As god and goddesse of the floury mede;
*In which me thoghte I mighte, day by day,       175
*Dwellen alwey, the Ioly month of May,
*Withouten sleep, withouten mete or drinke.
*A-doun ful softely I gan to sinke;
*And, leninge on myn elbowe and my syde,
The longe day I shoop me for to abyde       180
*For nothing elles, and I shal nat lye,
But for to loke upon the dayesye,
*That wel by reson men hit calle may

*The emperice and flour of floures alle.       185

*And alle that loven floures, for hir sake!
But natheles, ne wene nat that I make
In preysing of the flour agayn the leef,
*No more than of the corn agayn the sheef:       190
For, as to me, nis lever noon ne lother;
I nam with-holden yit with never nother.
Ne I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
Wel brouken they hir service or labour;
For this thing is al of another tonne,       195
Of olde story, er swich thing was be-gonne.
Whan that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
And that this flour gan close and goon to reste
For derknesse of the night, the which she dredde,
†Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde       200
*To goon to reste, and erly for to ryse,
To seen this flour to sprede, as I devyse.
†And, in a litel herber that I have,
That benched was on turves fresshe y-grave,
†I bad men sholde me my couche make;       205
†For deyntee of the newe someres sake,
†I bad hem strawen floures on my bed.
†Whan I was leyd, and had myn eyen hed,
I fel on slepe in-with an houre or two;
Me mette how I lay in the medew tho,       210

To seen this flour that I so love and drede.
And from a-fer com walking in the mede
The god of love, and in his hande a quene;
And she was clad in real habit grene.
†A fret of gold she hadde next hir heer,       215
†And upon that a whyt coroun she beer
With florouns smale, and I shal nat lye;
For al the world, ryght as a dayesye
†Y-corouned is with whyte leves lyte,
So were the florouns of hir coroun whyte;       220
For of o perle fyne, oriental,
†Hir whyte coroun was y-maked al;
For which the whyte coroun, above the grene,
†Made hir lyk a daysie for to sene,
Considered eek hir fret of gold above.       225
†Y-clothed was this mighty god of love
In silke, enbrouded ful of grene greves,
In-with a fret of rede rose-leves,
*The fresshest sin the world was first bigonne.
*His gilte heer was corouned with a sonne,       230
*In-stede of gold, for hevinesse and wighte;
Therwith me thoughte his face shoon so brighte
That wel unnethes mighte I him beholde;
And in his hande me thoughte I saugh him holde
†Two fyry dartes, as the gledes rede;       235
And aungellyke his winges saugh I sprede.
†And al be that men seyn that blind is he,
Al-gate me thoughte that he mighte see;
†For sternely on me he gan biholde,
†So that his loking doth myn herte colde.       240
†And by the hande he held this noble quene,
Corouned with whyte, and clothed al in grene,
†So womanly, so benigne, and so meke,
†That in this world, thogh that men wolde seke,
†Half hir beautee shulde men nat finde       245
†In creature that formed is by kinde.

From B. 276-295.
That is so good, so fair, so debonaire;
I prey to god that ever falle hir faire!
†For, nadde comfort been of hir presence,
†I had ben deed, withouten any defence,
†For drede of Loves wordes and his chere;       280
†As, when tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
Behind this god of love, upon the grene,
†I saugh cominge of ladyës nyntene
†In real habit, a ful esy paas;
†And after hem com of women swich a traas,       285
That, sin that god Adam had mad of erthe
The thridde part of mankynd, or the ferthe,
†Ne wende I nat by possibilitee,
Had ever in this wyde worlde y-be;
†And trewe of love thise women were echoon.       290
†Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
†That, right anoon as that they gonne espye
†This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
†Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at ones,
And kneled doun, as it were for the nones,       295

*And therfor may I seyn, as thinketh me,       247
*This song, in preysing of this lady fre.

Balade.

†Hyd, Absolon, thy gilte tresses clere;
Ester, ley thou thy meknesse al a-doun;       250
†Hyd, Ionathas, al thy frendly manere;
Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun,
†Mak of your wyfhod no comparisoun;
†Hyde ye your beautes, Isoude and Eleyne,
My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.       255

†Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere,
Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun,
†And Polixene, that boghten love so dere,
And Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
Hyde ye your trouthe of love and your renoun;       260
And thou, Tisbe, that hast of love swich peyne;
My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.

Herro, Dido, Laudomia, alle y-fere,
And Phyllis, hanging for thy Demophoun,
†And Canace, espyed by thy chere,       265
Ysiphile, betraysed with Jasoun,
Maketh of your trouthe neyther boost ne soun;
Nor Ypermistre or Adriane, ye tweyne;
My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.

This balade may ful wel y-songen be,       270
*As I have seyd erst, by my lady free;
*For certeynly, alle these mow nat suffyse
*To apperen with my lady in no wyse.
*For as the sonne wol the fyr disteyne,
*So passeth al my lady sovereyne,       275
That is so good, so fair, so debonaire;
I prey to god that ever falle hir faire!
†For, nadde comfort been of hir presence,
†I had ben deed, withouten any defence,
†For drede of Loves wordes and his chere;       280
†As, when tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
Behind this god of love, upon the grene,
†I saugh cominge of ladyës nyntene
†In real habit, a ful esy paas;
†And after hem com of women swich a traas,       285
That, sin that god Adam had mad of erthe,
The thridde part of mankynd, or the ferthe,
†Ne wende I nat by possibilitee,
Had ever in this wyde worlde y-be;
†And trewe of love thise women were echoon.       290
†Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
†That, right anoon as that they gonne espye
†This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
†Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at ones,
And kneled doun, as it were for the nones,       295
*And songen with o vois, 'Hele and honour
*To trouthe of womanhede, and to this flour

*Hir whyte coroun berth the witnessinge!'
And with that word, a-compas enviroun,       300
†They setten hem ful softely adoun.
First sat the god of love, and sith his quene
†With the whyte coroun, clad in grene;
†And sithen al the remenant by and by,
As they were of estaat, ful curteisly;       305
†Ne nat a word was spoken in the place
†The mountance of a furlong-wey of space.
I kneling by this flour, in good entente
†Abood, to knowen what this peple mente,
†As stille as any stoon; til at the laste,       310
This god of love on me his eyen caste,
And seyde, 'who kneleth ther'? and I answerde
Unto his asking, whan that I hit herde,
†And seyde, 'sir, hit am I'; and com him neer,
†And salued him. Quod he, 'what dostow heer       315
So nigh myn owne flour, so boldely?
†For it were better worthy, trewely,
A worm to neghen neer my flour than thou.'
†'And why, sir,' quod I, 'and hit lyke yow?'
†'For thou,' quod he, 'art ther-to nothing able.       320
*Hit is my relik, digne and delytable,
And thou my fo, and al my folk werreyest,
†And of myn olde servaunts thou misseyest,
†And hindrest hem, with thy translacioun,
And lettest folk from hir devocioun       325
†To serve me, and holdest hit folye
To serve Love. Thou mayst hit nat denye;
For in pleyn text, with-outen nede of glose,
†Thou hast translated the Romaunce of the Rose,
†That is an heresye ageyns my lawe,       330
†And makest wyse folk fro me withdrawe.
And of Criseyde thou hast seyd as thee liste,
That maketh men to wommen lasse triste,
That ben as trewe as ever was any steel.
*Of thyn answere avyse thee right weel;       335
For, thogh that thou reneyed hast my lay,
As other wrecches han doon many a day,
By seynt Venus, that my moder is,
If that thou live, thou shalt repenten this
So cruelly, that hit shal wel be sene!'       340
Tho spak this lady, clothed al in grene,
†And seyde, 'god, right of your curtesye,
Ye moten herknen if he can replye
Agayns al this that ye han to him meved;
†A god ne sholde nat be thus agreved,       345
†But of his deitee he shal be stable,
And therto gracious and merciable.

*Than mighte hit be, as I yow tellen shal;
This man to you may falsly been accused,       350
†Ther as by right him oghte been excused.
For in your court is many a losengeour,
†And many a queynte totelere accusour,
That tabouren in your eres many a soun,
Right after hir imaginacioun,       355
To have your daliance, and for envye;

Envye is lavender of the court alway;
†For she ne parteth, neither night ne day,
†Out of the hous of Cesar; thus seith Dante;       360
Who-so that goth, algate she wol nat wante.

From B. 350, 351.
This man to yow may falsly been accused,
†Ther as by right him oghte been excused.

And eek, paraunter, for this man is nyce,
He mighte doon hit, gessing no malyce,
But for he useth thinges for to make;
Him rekketh noght of what matere he take;       365

Or him was boden maken thilke tweye
†Of som persone, and durste hit nat with-seye;
*Or him repenteth utterly of this.
†He ne hath nat doon so grevously amis
†To translaten that olde clerkes wryten,       370
As thogh that he of malice wolde endyten
Despyt of love, and had him-self hit wroght.
†This shulde a rightwys lord have in his thoght,
†And nat be lyk tiraunts of Lumbardye,
Than han no reward but at tirannye.       375
†For he that king or lord is naturel,
†Him oghte nat be tiraunt ne cruel,
†As is a fermour, to doon the harm he can.
†He moste thinke hit is his lige man,

*And is his tresour, and his gold in cofre.       380
†This is the sentence of the philosophre:
†A king to kepe his liges in Iustyce;
†With-outen doute, that is his offyce.
Al wol he kepe his lordes hir degree,
†As hit is right and skilful that they be       385
†Enhaunced and honoured, and most dere—
†For they ben half-goddes in this world here—
Yit mot he doon bothe right, to pore and riche,
Al be that hir estat be nat y-liche,
†And han of pore folk compassioun.       390
†For lo, the gentil kynd of the leoun!
†For whan a flye offendeth him or byteth,
†He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth
†Al esily; for, of his genterye,
†Him deyneth nat to wreke him on a flye,       395
†As doth a curre or elles another beste.
†In noble corage oghte been areste,
†And weyen every thing by equitee,
†And ever han reward to his owen degree.
†For, sir, hit is no maystrie for a lord       400
To dampne a man with-oute answere of word;
†And, for a lord, that is ful foul to use.
†And if so be he may him nat excuse,
But asketh mercy with a dredful herte,
†And profreth him, right in his bare sherte,       405
†To been right at your owne Iugement,
†Than oghte a god, by short avysement,
†Considre his owne honour and his trespas.
†For sith no cause of deeth lyth in this cas,
†Yow oghte been the lighter merciable;       410
†Leteth your yre, and beth somwhat tretable!
†The man hath served yow of his conning,
And forthred wel your lawe in his making.
'Al be hit that he can nat wel endyte,
Yet hath he maked lewed folk delyte       415
†To serve you, in preysing of your name.
He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame,
†And eek the Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse,
†And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,
†And al the love of Palamon and Arcyte       420
†Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte;
†And many an ympne for your halydayes,
†That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes;
And, for to speke of other holynesse,
†He hath in prose translated Boëce,       425

†And mad the Lyf also of seynt Cecyle;
†He made also, goon sithen a greet whyl,
Origenes upon the Maudeleyne;
†Him oghte now to have the lesse peyne;
†He hath mad many a lay and many a thing.       430
†'Now as ye been a god, and eek a king,
†I, your Alceste, whylom quene of Trace,
†I aske yow this man, right of your grace,
†That ye him never hurte in al his lyve;
†And he shal sweren yow, and that as blyve,       435
†He shal no more agilten in this wyse;
†But he shal maken, as ye wil devyse,
†Of wommen trewe in lovinge al hir lyve,
†Wher-so ye wil, of maiden or of wyve,
†And forthren yow, as muche as he misseyde       440
†Or in the Rose or elles in Creseyde.'
†The god of love answerde hir thus anoon,
†'Madame,' quod he, 'hit is so long agoon
†That I yow knew so charitable and trewe,
†That never yit, sith that the world was newe,       445
†To me ne fond I better noon than ye.
If that I wolde save my degree,
†I may ne wol nat werne your requeste;
Al lyth in yow, doth with him as yow leste.
†I al foryeve, with-outen lenger space;       450
†For who-so yeveth a yift, or doth a grace,
Do hit by tyme, his thank is wel the more;
†And demeth ye what he shal do therfore.
†Go thanke now my lady heer,' quod he.
†I roos, and doun I sette me on my knee,       455
†And seyde thus: 'Madame, the god above
†Foryelde yow, that ye the god of love
†Han maked me his wrathe to foryive;
†And yeve me grace so long for to live,
†That I may knowe soothly what ye be       460
That han me holpe and put in this degree.
†But trewely I wende, as in this cas,
†Naught have agilt, ne doon to love trespas.
†Forwhy a trewe man, with-outen drede,
Hath nat to parten with a theves dede;       465
Ne a trewe lover oghte me nat blame,
†Thogh that I speke a fals lover 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 auctour mente,       470
†Algate, god wot, hit was myn entente
†To forthren trouthe in love and hit cheryce;
†And to be war fro falsnesse and fro vyce
†By swich ensample; this was my meninge.'
†And she answerde, 'lat be thyn arguinge;       475
†For Love ne wol nat countrepleted be
In right ne wrong; and lerne that of me!
†Thou hast thy grace, and hold thee right ther-to.
†Now wol I seyn what penance thou shalt do
†For thy trespas, and understond hit here:       480
†Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere,
The moste party of thy tyme spende
†In making of a glorious Legende
†Of Gode Wommen, maidenes and wyves,
†That weren trewe in lovinge al hir lyves;       485
†And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,
†That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen
†How many wommen they may doon a shame;
For in your world that is now holde a game.
And thogh thee lyke nat a lover be,       490
†Spek wel of love; this penance yive I thee.
†And to the god of love I shal so preye,
†That he shal charge his servants, by any weye,
†To forthren thee, and wel thy labour quyte;
Go now thy wey, this penance is but lyte.       495

*On my behalfe, at Eltham, or at Shene.'
†The god of love gan smyle, and than he seyde,
†'Wostow,' quod he, 'wher this be wyf or mayde,
†Or quene, or countesse, or of what degree,       500
†That hath so litel penance yiven thee,
†That hast deserved sorer for to smerte?
But pitee renneth sone in gentil herte;
†That maystow seen, she kytheth what she is.'
†And I answerde, 'nay, sir, so have I blis,       505
†No more but that I see wel she is good.'
†'That is a trewe tale, by myn hood,'
†Quod Love, 'and that thou knowest wel, pardee,
†If hit be so that thou avyse thee.
Hastow nat in a book, lyth in thy cheste,       510
†The grete goodnesse of the quene Alceste,
†That turned was into a dayesye:
†She that for hir husbonde chees to dye,
†And eek to goon to helle, rather than he,
And Ercules rescowed hir, pardee,       515
†And broghte hir out of helle agayn to blis?'
†And I answerde ageyn, and seyde, 'yis,
†Now knowe I hir! And is this good Alceste,
†The dayesye, and myn owne hertes reste?
†Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wyf,       520
†That bothe after hir deeth, and in hir lyf,
†Hir grete bountee doubleth hir renoun!
†Wel hath she quit me myn affeccioun
†That I have to hir flour, the dayesye!
†No wonder is thogh Iove hir stellifye,       525
†As telleth Agaton, for hir goodnesse!
†Hir whyte coroun berth of hit witnesse;
†For also many vertues hadde she,
†As smale floures in hir coroun be.
†In remembraunce of hir and in honour,       530
Cibella made the dayesy and the flour
†Y-coroned al with whyt, as men may see;
†And Mars yaf to hir coroun reed, pardee,
†In stede of rubies, set among the whyte.'
†Therwith this quene wex reed for shame a lyte,       535
†Whan she was preysed so in hir presence.
†Than seyde Love, 'a ful gret negligence
Was hit to thee, that ilke tyme thou made

*That thou forgete hir in thy song to sette,       540
*Sin that thou art so gretly in hir dette,
And wost so wel, that kalender is she
*To any woman that wol lover be.
For she taughte al the craft of fyn lovinge,
†And namely of wyfhood the livinge,       545
†And alle the boundes that she oghte kepe;
†Thy litel wit was thilke tyme a-slepe.
†But now I charge thee, upon thy lyf,
†That in thy Legend thou make of this wyf,
Whan thou hast other smale y-maad before;       550
†And fare now wel, I charge thee no more.
*'But er I go, thus muche I wol thee telle,
*Ne shal no trewe lover come in helle.
*Thise other ladies sittinge here arowe
*Ben in thy balade, if thou canst hem knowe,       555
*And in thy bokes alle thou shalt hem finde;
*Have hem now in thy Legend alle in minde,
*I mene of hem that been in thy knowinge.
*For heer ben twenty thousand mo sittinge
*Than thou knowest, that been good wommen alle       560
*And trewe of love, for aught that may befalle;
*Make the metres of hem as thee leste.
*I mot gon hoom, the sonne draweth weste,
*To Paradys, with al this companye;
*And serve alwey the fresshe dayesye.       565
†'At Cleopatre I wol that thou beginne;
†And so forth; and my love so shalt thou winne.
*For lat see now what man that lover be,
*Wol doon so strong a peyne for love as she.
*I wot wel that thou mayst nat al hit ryme,       570
*That swiche lovers diden in hir tyme;
*It were to long to reden and to here;
*Suffyceth me, thou make in this manere,
*That thou reherce of al hir lyf the grete,
*After thise olde auctours listen to trete.       575
*For who-so shal so many a storie telle,
*Sey shortly, or he shal to longe dwelle.'
And with that word my bokes gan I take,
†And right thus on my Legend gan I make.

1. T. C. A. have I herd; rest I have herd. F. B. P. om. men; the rest have it. 2. F. B. (only) om. That. 5. F. T. is; rest nis. 6. F. Tn. Th. B. P. ins. 2nd in before helle; T. A. om. 8. F. seyde. 13. F. -selfe; dooth. 14. F. sooth. 16. F. monke; all. 18. F. ben. 20. C. Yeuyn (for Yeve). 23. F. sondry. 25. F. awey; C. Tn. A. aweye. 26. F. Y-lorne; C. I-loryn; P. I-lore. F. key; C. Tn. A. keye. 27. F. ought; thanne. 28. F. there; noon. 29. F. though. A. Th. P. can; T. con; F. Tn. konne. 31. F. yiue; rest yeue. 33. F. hertly; Tn. Th. B. hertely; T. hertyly; A. hertfully. 36. Tn. A. Th. month; B. P. moneth; F. monethe. 39. C. Th. Farwel; F. Faire wel. F. boke. 40. F. thanne. F. B. suche a; T. Th. eke thys; A. lo this; Tn. ek; P. eke a. 41. F. al. 42. F. Thanne; thise. 43. C. Swyche; F. Suche. F. her (for our); rest our. 44. F. grete. 45. C. whan; F. whanne. 47. F. vppe. 48. F. floure ayein. 49. F. vprysith. 50. All sight: read sighte. 52. A. all maner; Add. hit alle maner; Th. alle; F. Th. it al; Tn. B. it alle; P. it alle. 53. Tn. T. alle; F. al (wrongly). 54. F. vertue. 55. F. faire; fressh. 57. F. hert; Tn. herte. 61. F. evere. 64. F. Hire. 66. F. englyssh. 68. F. konnyng. 69. F. sentment; rest sentement. 70. F. case. All oght, ought (wrongly); read oghte. 72. F. Whethir; read Whe'r. 73. F. -biforne. 74. F. makynge; corne. 79. F. fresshe; A. fresche; Th. fresshe. F. sayede; Tn. said. 80. F. euele apayede; Tn. euylle a-paid. 82. F. eke; Tn. ek. 83. F. witte; Tn. wit. 84. F. clerenesse; Tn. clernesse. 85. F. ledyth. 86. All hert. F. sorwfull; dredith. 88. F. witte; Tn. wyt. F. not thing (over erasure); rest nothyng. 89. F. worde. F. werkes; Tn. werkes; T. werke; A. werk. F. youre. Tn. bonde; F. bond. 90. Tn. honde; F. hond. 92. F. oute. Th. B. herte; rest hert. 93. F. pleyn; Tn. pleyne. 94. F. souereyn; Tn. souereyne. 95. F. erthely; yowe. 96. A. B. in my; rest omit 2nd in. 97. F. wherfore. A. spak; F. spake. 100. Tn. Th. B. P. men; A. man; T. they; F. om. F. eighe. 101. Tn. whan; F. whanne. 102. F. (only) om. al. T. A. at ones; Tn. atones; F. attones. 103. F. trusteth (!); A. B. thrustith; Tn. Th. P. thursteth. 104. F. fressh. 105. F. Tn. A. B. P. gledy; T. glad; Th. gredy. 106. F. feele yet the fire. 108. F. om. this. 109. F. hert. 111. F. om. that. 112. F. Agayne. F. rede; better reed, as in Th. 114. F. doghtre. 115. F. dovne; knes anoon ryght. 116. F. koude. F. fresshe; A. fresche. 118. Tn. T. smale; F. smal. 120. F. suetnesse. 124. A. eke rest omit. F. beaute. F. (only) of (for alle). 125. F. estate; C. Tn. estat. 126. F. wynter. F. B. hem; rest him. C. mat; Tn. maat; rest mate. 127. F. colde. 128. Th. the atempre; Tn. A. B. the attempre; F. thatempre; P. the a-tempred. F. alle. 131. C. T. A. from; rest of. F. nette; C. Tn. net. 132. Tn. T. A. fouler; F. foweler. 133. F. hadde; broode. 134. F. dispite; C. dispit. F. goode; C. good. 135. C. song; F. songe. C. Tn. despise; F. dispise. 136. F. cherle. 138. F. hire. Tn. T. A. fouler; C. foulere; F. foweler. 139. F. crafte; T. A. craft. 141. F. Tn. B. in preysinge; rest om. in. 144. F. hire. 146. C. ches; T. chase; P. chose; F. chees (rightly); rest chese. 147. C. herte; F. hert. 148. F. -alle hire. 150. F. hire othere. 151. F. Tn. on to; T. A. Th. B. vnto. 153. F. thoo. Tn. vnkyndenesse; F. vnkyndnesse. 154. F. dooth. 156. F. Tn. B. humblely (trisyllabic); T. Th. humbly. A. P. songen; T. sangen; rest songe. 158. F. hire. 159. F. hire (and elsewhere). 161. F. thurgh. 162. Tn. T. Th. B. P. made; F. mad. 163. F. Thurgh. 164. F. Tn. Th. P. clepe it nat; but T. A. om. it. T. also om. nat; and A. has that for nat. 165. F. vertue. 166. Tn. A. Etic; B. Etyk; F. etike; T. Ethik. 167. Tn. foules; F. foweles. 169. A. songen; T. songyn; F. Tn. B. songe. F. Tn. acorde; T. acord; A. accord. 170. F. oure. F. Tn. lorde; T. A. lord. 171. Tn. zephirus; F. Zepherus. 173. F. Hire swoote. 175. F. whiche; thoght; myght. 176. F. Duellen. Tn. A. month; T. moneth; F. monyth. 177. Tn. sleep; F. slepe. 178. F. A-dovne. 180. F. shoope. Tn. to a-bide; F. tabide. 181. F. ellis. 182. Tn. dayesye; F. daysie. 183. F. B. (only) transpose wel and men. 184. Tn. dayesie; F. daisie. 185. F. floure; A. flour. 186. T. mot; P. may; rest mote. 190. F. corne; Tn. corn. 192. F. mother (!); rest nother. 194. F. browken; her. 196. T. story; F. storye; Tn. storie. F. swiche thinge. 197. All west; read weste (as in MS. Add. 9832). 198. F. floure. All rest; read reste (as in MS. Add. 9832 and in l. 201). 199. Th. dredde (rightly); rest dred. 200. Tn. hom; F. Home. Th. spedde (rightly); rest sped. 202. F. B. (only) omit to. 208. F. leyde; A. laid. 209. F. twoo. 210. Tn. medew; F. medewe; T. A. medow. 211, 212. F. (only) transposes these lines. 211. T. A. Add. so love; rest love so. 212. Tn. com; Th. cam; rest come. 214. Tn. habit; F. habite. 215. C. hadde; rest had (badly). 216. C. whit; P. whyt; F. Tn. B. white. T. coroun; C. corone; F. corwne; Tn. Th. crowne (but corowne in ll. 220, 223). 217 (and 220). Th. florouns; Tn. floruns; F. flourouns; B. flowrouns; rest floures. 218. C. world; F. worlde. Tn. dayesie; F. daysye. 220. P. corown; F. corovne; T. coroune; Tn. Th. B. corowne; A. croun. 222. F. Hire. F. corovne; C. coroun (and in l. 223). 224. F. hire lyke. 225. F. eke; golde. 229. F. worlde; Tn. world. 230. F. Tn. gilte; T. A. gilt. Tn. heer; F. here; A. hair. 231. F. I stede; rest In stede. F. golde; Tn. gold. 232. F. thoght. In 231, 232, most MSS. have wight, bright; but C. has bryhte, riming with syhte. 233. F. myght. 234. F. thoght. 235. F. Twoo. 238. F. thoght; myght. 240. F. dooth; C. both (!). C. herte; F. hert. 241. F. helde; C. held. C. the (for this). 242. F. Corowned. 244. F. om. wolde seke. 245. F. imperfect; has only nat fynde. C. Half hire beute schulde men; A. (only) inserts of after Half. [282. C. this; for the.] [286. C. om. had.] [287. C. thredde. C. Wemen ne; for mankynd or.] 247. F. therfore. 248. F. songe. 249. F. Tn. omit. C. Hyd absalon thynne gilte tressis clere. T. A. Th. absolon thy. 250. C. meknesse; F. mekenesse. C. adoun; F. adowne. 252. C. T. P. Penolope. 253. C. Mak; rest Make. F. youre; Tn. your. C. wyfhod; F. wifhode. 254. F. youre. 255. F. comith (and in l. 262). 257. F. tovne; C. toun. 261. F. Tesbe; C. Tysbe; Tn. A. Th. Tisbe; T. Tisbee. F. Tn. Th. B. P. of; C. T. A. for. C. swich; F. suche. 263. Th. Hero; MSS. Herro. C. Th. Laodomya; rest laudomia. 266. C. T. Th. bytrayed. 267. C. soun; F. sovne. 271. F. seyde; Tn. seid. 272. Tn. mow; F. Th. mowe; T. A. may. 274. F. wole; fire. 276. F. faire; Tn. fair. 279. F. Tn. hadde; T. A. had. F. dede; Tn. deed. 282. F. Behynde; A. Behynd. 283. F. comyng; Tn. comynge. F. Nientene; Tn. nyentene; T. A. nyntene. 284. F. habite. 285. F. coome. F. wymen; T. wemen; Th. B. P. women; A. wommen. 286. F. hadde made. 290. F. echon. 291. F. wheither (pronounced whe'r). F. non. 293. F. daysie; Tn. dayesie. 294. F. styten (miswritten for stynten). T. at ones; F. attones. 295. F. knelede dovne. 296. T. A. hele; Tn. heele; F. heel. 297. F. The (for To); rest To. 298. F. bereth. 299. F. Hire; corowne. F. beryth; Tn. berth. 301. F. softly; Tn. softely. 303. F. corowne; C. corone. 304. F. remenannt; C. remenant. 306. F. worde. 308. F. floure. 309. F. Aboode; Tn. Abood. 310. F. ston. F. last; C. laste. 311. F. hyse eighen. 312. F. there. 314. F. B. (only) om. sir. C. cam; F. come. C. ner; F. nere (see l. 318). 315. A. salued; F. salwed; C. salewede. C. her; F. here. 316. F. ovne floure. 317. C. A. For; rest om. 318. F. worme; Tn. worm; C. werm. Tn. neer; F. ner. 319. F. sire. 321. Tn. relik; F. relyke. 322. F. foo; folke. 323. F. servauntes; Tn. seruauntz. 324. Tn. hindrest; F. hynderest. 325. F. folke. 326, 327. F. om. from me to serve. 328. F. pleyne. 329. F. Tn. B. om. translated (!); perhaps read translat; but see l. 425. 330. F. ayeins. 331. F. folke. 332. F. Creseyde; A. Criseide. F. seyde; the. 335. F. the. 336. T. A. that; rest om. 340. Tn. wel; F. wele. 341. F. Thoo spake. 342. F. youre. 343. A. herknen; C. herkenyn; rest herken. 348. F. alle. 349. F. Thanne myght; shalle. 350. F. mane (!). 351. C. There; rest That. F. oughte ben. 352. F. youre courte. 353. C. Tn. queynte; F. queynt. 354. F. youre; swon (!), for sown. 356. F. youre. 357. F. Thise. 358. F. B. lauendere. 360. C. hous; F. house. 362. F. eke parauntere. 363. F. myght. 364. F. B. (only) om. But. 367. Tn. som; F. somme. 368. T. vttyrly; A. vtirly; F. Tn. outrely. 371. F. Tn. B. P. And; rest As. 372. F. Despite. 373. F. shoolde. 374. F. lyke tirauntez. 376. F. kynge. F. lord ys in; rest om. in. 377. F. oght; C. oughte. F. crewel; B. cruel. 378. F. harme. 379. F. leege; C. Tn. lige; Th. T. A. B. liege. 382. F. leeges; Tn. liges; C. lygis. 384. F. hise. Th. P. in her; rest om. in. 387. F. -goddys. 388. F. mote; T. A. Add. om. bothe; poore. 389. F. hire estaat. 390. F. poore. 391. F. loo; kynde. T. A. leoun; F. lyoun. 392. F. offendith. 393. F. tayle. F. fle; C. Tn. A. B. P. flye. 394. F. esely; A. esily. C. A. genterye; F. gentrye. 396. F. dooth; best. 397. C. oghte; F. ought. F. ben arest. 399. F. Tn. Th. B. vnto; rest to. 401. C. P. or; rest of. 402. C. wol; T. ryght; rest ful. F. foule. 403. C. T. A. if; rest it. 404. C. om. But. 405. F. profereth; P. profreth. 406. F. owen; C. Tn. owene; T. oune. 407. F. oght. 409. F. dethe lyeth; caas. 410. All but T. wrongly insert to before been. 412. F. kunnyng. 413. F. furthred; Tn. forthred. F. youre. 415. C. makid; rest made (line too short). 425. F. proce; rest prose. 426. F. maade; lyfe. 427. A. sithen; rest is. F. grete. 429. F. oughte. 430. F. maade; thinge. 431. F. be; C. A. ben. 435. A. sueren; rest swere to (less happily). C. T. A. as; which the rest omit. 436. C. T. A. no; rest neuer. 437. C. T. A. he; rest om. F. wol. 438. F. lyfe (but see l. 434). 439. F. wol; wyfe. 442. C. F. answerede; Th. answerde (better). F. (only) om. thus. 444. C. knew; F. knewe. 445. C. sith; F. syn. F. worlde. 446. C. T. A. fond; F. founde. 447. F. ye; rest I. F. wolde; P. Add. wolde; rest wol, wole, wolle. 449. C. Th. lyth; Tn. lith; F. lyeth. F. liste. 451. F. yifte; dooth. 454. P. her; rest here. 455. F. dovne. 457. C. Tn. T. A. Add. ye; rest om. 459. F. Tn. Th. B. P. all om. yeve me (wrongly); C. T. A. retain it. 461. C. holpyn; Th. holpen; rest holpe. C. F. Tn. needlessly insert me after put. C. swich (for this). 462. C. trewely; F. trewly. 466. F. oght. All wrongly omit final e in oght; and all but C. wrongly insert to before blame. 467. F. spake; Tn. spede; rest speke. 473. F. ben; C. be. 477. C. this at (for that of). 478. F. holde; all the. 480. C. A. and; rest om. T. to put the out of were (for and—here). 481. F. while; yere by yere. 482. F. most partye. C. lyf (for tyme). 484. C. goode; F. good. F. wymmen; Tn. A. wommen; C. T. wemen. 485. F. trew. C. leuynge (error for lonynge). 486. C. false; F. fals. 487. From C.; F. Tn. omit this line. 488. F. women; Tn. wommen. C. Tn. A. B. P. they; F. that. 489. F. youre worlde. 490. F. the; lovere bee. 491. C. Spek; F. Speke. 493. F. servantez; Tn. seruauntz. 495. F. Goo. C. thyn (for this). 496. F. maade. 497. F. Sheene; Tn. T. Th. Shene. 502, 503. F. omits from sorer to renneth. C. sorere; T. A. sorer; rest sore. C. Tn. Th. smerte. C. pete rennyth; Tn. A. pitee renneth. F. soone. 505. C. answerde; F. answered. C. sere; F. sire; Tn. sir. 506. F. Tn. B. Na; rest No. F. moore. 508. C. T. A. that; rest om. 511. C. Tn. grete; F. gret. 512. C. Tn. dayesye; F. daysye. 514. F. eke. 516. F. agayne. 518. F. hire. 519. C. dayes eye; F. daysie. F. owene. 520. F. weel. 521. C. bothe; F. both. F. aftir hir deth. C. ek (for in). 524. C. dayesye; F. daysye. 526. F. hire goodenesse. 527, 529. C. coroun; F. corowne. 527. F. berith. 528. C. hath (badly). 529. F. Th. florouns; rest floures. 530. F. honoure. 531. In margin of F.—Cibella mater deorum. F. maade; daysye; floure. 532. C. I-coroned; F. Y-crowned. F. white. 533. C. corone; F. corowne. F. reede. 534. C. set; F. sette. 537. F. Thanne. C. gret; F. grete. F. necligence. 538. F. ys (wrongly); rest hit, it. 540. Th. forgete; F. Tn. forgate; T. A. forgat. F. songe. 542. T. A. Add. so; rest om. F. shee. 543. F. bee. 544. C. taughte; F. taught. F. crafte; Tn. T. A. craft. 545. F. wyfhode; lyvyng. 546. F. al; oght. 547. F. witte. 548. F. the. C. lyf; F. lyfe. 549. F. legende. C. wif; F. wyfe. 550. F. y-maade. 551. C. no more; F. namore. 552. F. goo; the. 555. F. Th. my; rest thy. 556. F. bookes. 557. F. misplaces now after legende; Tn. Th. place now after hem. 558. F. ben; knowyng. 559. F. here; thousande moo sittyng. 560. F. Thanne. A. that ben; T. Add. and; rest om. 561. Tn. aught; F. oght. 562. F. lest; Tn. leste. 563. F. home. F. west; Tn. weste. 564. F. thise; rest this. 565. F. fressh; Th. fresshe; A. fresche. 566. F. wole. 567. F. forthe. C. Tn. shalt; F. shal. 569. F. stronge. 571. F. Tn. A. swich; T. Th. P. suche. F. Tn. dide; T. dedyn; P. deden; Add. diden. 573. B. Suffyceth; F. Suffich (!). 574. A. lyf; F. lyfe. 575. A. listen trete; Tn. the lasse to trete (!); Add. the lesse to trete (!); rest listen for to trete (badly; omit for). 576. F. storye. 578. A. word; F. worde. 579. F. legende.