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[ 1 ]



Many men there ben that, with eeres openly sprad, so
moche swalowen the deliciousnesse of jestes and of ryme,
by queynt knitting coloures, that of the goodnesse or of the
badnesse of the sentence take they litel hede or els non.

Soothly, dul wit and a thoughtful soule so sore have myned       5
and graffed in my spirites, that suche craft of endyting wol not
ben of myn acqueyntaunce. And, for rude wordes and boystous
percen the herte of the herer to the in[ne]rest point, and planten
there the sentence of thinges, so that with litel helpe it is able
to springe; this book, that nothing hath of the greet flode of       10
wit ne of semelich colours, is dolven with rude wordes and
boystous, and so drawe togider, to maken the cacchers therof
ben the more redy to hente sentence.

Some men there ben that peynten with colours riche, and
some with vers, as with red inke, and some with coles and       15
chalke; and yet is there good matere to the leude people of
thilke chalky purtreyture, as hem thinketh for the tyme; and
afterward the sight of the better colours yeven to hem more
joye for the first leudnesse. So, sothly, this leude clowdy occupacion
is not to prayse but by the leude; for comunly leude       20
leudnesse commendeth. Eke it shal yeve sight, that other
precious thinges shal be the more in reverence. In Latin
and French hath many soverayne wittes had greet delyt to
[ 2 ]endyte, and have many noble thinges fulfild; but certes, there
ben some that speken their poysye-mater in Frenche, of whiche       25
speche the Frenche men have as good a fantasye as we have
in hering of Frenche mennes English. And many termes there
ben in English, [of] whiche unneth we Englishmen connen declare
the knowleginge. How shulde than a Frenche man born suche
termes conne jumpere in his mater, but as the jay chatereth       30
English? Right so, trewly, the understanding of Englishmen
wol not strecche to the privy termes in Frenche, what-so-ever we
bosten of straunge langage. Let than clerkes endyten in Latin,
for they have the propertee of science, and the knowinge in that
facultee; and let Frenchmen in their Frenche also endyten their       35
queynt termes, for it is kyndely to their mouthes; and let us
shewe our fantasyes in suche wordes as we lerneden of our dames

And although this book be litel thank-worthy for the leudnesse
in travaile, yet suche wrytinges excyten men to thilke thinges that       40
ben necessarie; for every man therby may, as by a perpetual
mirrour, seen the vyces or vertues of other, in whiche thing
lightly may be conceyved to eschewe perils, and necessaries to
cacche, after as aventures have fallen to other people or persons.

Certes, [perfeccion is] the soveraynest thing of desyre, and       45
moste †creatures resonable have, or els shulde have, ful appetyte
to their perfeccion; unresonable beestes mowen not, sith reson
hath in hem no werking. Than resonable that wol not is comparisoned
to unresonable, and made lyke hem. For-sothe, the
most soverayne and fynal perfeccion of man is in knowing of       50
a sothe, withouten any entent disceyvable, and in love of oon
very god that is inchaungeable; that is, to knowe and love his

¶ Now, principally, the mene to bringe in knowleging and
loving his creatour is the consideracion of thinges made by the       55
creatour, wherthrough, by thilke thinges that ben made understonding
here to our wittes, arn the unsene privitees of god
made to us sightful and knowing, in our contemplacion and
understonding. These thinges than, forsoth, moche bringen us
[ 3 ]to the ful knowleginge [of] sothe, and to the parfit love of the       60
maker of hevenly thinges. Lo, David sayth, 'thou hast delyted
me in makinge,' as who sayth, to have delyt in the tune, how god
hath lent me in consideracion of thy makinge.

Wherof Aristotle, in the boke de Animalibus, saith to naturel
philosophers: 'it is a greet lyking in love of knowinge their       65
creatour; and also in knowinge of causes in kyndely thinges.'
Considred, forsoth, the formes of kyndly thinges and the shap,
a greet kindely love me shulde have to the werkman that
hem made. The crafte of a werkman is shewed in the werke.
Herfore, truly, the philosophers, with a lyvely studie, many       70
noble thinges right precious and worthy to memory writen;
and by a greet swetande travayle to us leften of causes [of] the
propertees in natures of thinges. To whiche (therfore) philosophers
it was more joy, more lykinge, more herty lust, in
kyndely vertues and maters of reson, the perfeccion by busy       75
study to knowe, than to have had al the tresour, al the richesse,
al the vainglory that the passed emperours, princes, or kinges
hadden. Therfore the names of hem, in the boke of perpetual
memory, in vertue and pees arn writen; and in the contrarye, that
is to sayne, in Styx, the foule pitte of helle, arn thilke pressed       80
that suche goodnesse hated. And bycause this book shal be of
love, and the pryme causes of steringe in that doinge, with passions
and diseses for wantinge of desyre, I wil that this book be cleped
The Testament of Love.

But now, thou reder, who is thilke that wil not in scorne       85
laughe, to here a dwarfe, or els halfe a man, say he wil rende
out the swerde of Hercules handes, and also he shuld sette
Hercules Gades a myle yet ferther; and over that, he had
power of strengthe to pulle up the spere, that Alisander the
noble might never wagge? And that, passing al thinge, to ben       90
mayster of Fraunce by might, there-as the noble gracious Edward
the thirde, for al his greet prowesse in victories, ne might al yet

Certes, I wot wel, ther shal be mad more scorne and jape
of me, that I, so unworthily clothed al-togider in the cloudy cloude       95
[ 4 ]of unconninge, wil putten me in prees to speke of love, or els
of the causes in that matter, sithen al the grettest clerkes han
had ynough to don, and (as who sayth) †gadered up clene toforn
hem, and with their sharpe sythes of conning al mowen, and
mad therof grete rekes and noble, ful of al plentees, to fede me       100
and many another. Envye, forsothe, commendeth nought his
reson that he hath in hayne, be it never so trusty. And al-though
these noble repers, as good workmen and worthy their hyre,
han al drawe and bounde up in the sheves, and mad many
shockes, yet have I ensample to gadere the smale crommes,       105
and fullen my walet of tho that fallen from the borde among
the smale houndes, notwithstandinge the travayle of the
almoigner, that hath drawe up in the cloth al the remissailes,
as trenchours, and the relief, to bere to the almesse.

Yet also have I leve of the noble husbande Boëce, al-though       110
I be a straunger of conninge, to come after his doctrine, and
these grete workmen, and glene my handfuls of the shedinge
after their handes; and, if me faile ought of my ful, to encrese
my porcion with that I shal drawe by privitees out of the shocke.
A slye servaunt in his owne helpe is often moche commended;       115
knowing of trouth in causes of thinges was more hardyer in the
first sechers (and so sayth Aristotle), and lighter in us that han
folowed after. For their passing †studies han fresshed our wittes,
and our understandinge han excyted, in consideracion of trouth,
by sharpnesse of their resons. Utterly these thinges be no       120
dremes ne japes, to throwe to hogges; it is lyflich mete for
children of trouthe; and as they me betiden, whan I pilgrimaged
out of my kith in winter; whan the †weder out of mesure was
boystous, and the wylde wind Boreas, as his kind asketh, with
dryinge coldes maked the wawes of the occian-see so to aryse       125
unkyndely over the commune bankes, that it was in poynte to
spille al the erthe.

Thus endeth the Prologue; and here-after foloweth the
first book of the Testament of Love.

2. delyciousnesse; (and elsewhere, y is often replaced by i). 4. none. 5. Sothely. wytte. 8. inrest poynte. 10. spring. boke. great floode. 12. catchers. 13. hent. 18. afterwarde. 19. leudenesse. 20. comenly. 21. leudenesse. 23. gret delyte.

24. fulfylde. 27. englysshe. 28. englysshe; supply of. englyssh-. 29. Howe. borne. 31. englyssh. englyssh-. 32. stretche. 34. propertie. 35. facultie. lette. 39. boke. thanke worthy. 42. sene. 44. catche. 45. I supply perfeccion is; to make sense. soueraynst. 46. creature (sic). reasonable. 47, 50. perfection. 47. sythe reason. 48. reasonable. 51. one. 54. Nowe. meane. 56. be (for by). 57. arne.

60. I supply of. parfyte. 61. haste. 62. delyte (this sentence is corrupt). 64. saythe. 65. great. 66, 67. thynges consydred. Forsoth (sic). 68. great. me (sic); for men. 72. great. Supply of. 73. propertyes. 75. matters of reason. perfection. 76. treasour. 79. peace. 80. stixe. 81. boke. 83. dyseases. boke. 85. nowe. 87. set. 89. pul. 92. great. 94. wote. made. 95. vnworthely.

98. gathered. toforne. 100. made. great. plentyes. 102. reason. hayn (sic). 102. -thoughe. 103. hyer. 104. made. 105. gader. 106. fullyn. amonge. 108. remyssayles. 109. relyef. 112. great. 113. encrease. 114. priuytyes. 116. knoweyng. 118. study (sic). 120. reasons. 121. lyfelyche meate. 122. betiden (sic); past tense. 123. wether. measure. 124. wynde Borias. kynde. 125. dryenge. 127. spyl. (rubric) boke.

[ 5 ]


Alas! Fortune! alas! I that som-tyme in delicious houres
was wont to enjoye blisful stoundes, am now drive by
unhappy hevinesse to bewaile my sondry yvels in tene!

Trewly, I leve, in myn herte is writte, of perdurable letters, al the
entencions of lamentacion that now ben y-nempned! For any       5
maner disese outward, in sobbing maner, sheweth sorowful yexinge
from within. Thus from my comfort I ginne to spille, sith she
that shulde me solace is fer fro my presence. Certes, her
absence is to me an helle; my sterving deth thus in wo it myneth,
that endeles care is throughout myne herte clenched; blisse of       10
my joye, that ofte me murthed, is turned in-to galle, to thinke on
thing that may not, at my wil, in armes me hente! Mirth is
chaunged in-to tene, whan swink is there continually that reste was
wont to sojourne and have dwelling-place. Thus witless, thoughtful,
sightles lokinge, I endure my penaunce in this derke prison,       15
†caitived fro frendshippe and acquaintaunce, and forsaken of al
that any †word dare speke. Straunge hath by waye of intrucioun
mad his home, there me shulde be, if reson were herd as he
shulde. Never-the-later yet hertly, lady precious Margarit, have
mynde on thy servaunt; and thinke on his disese, how lightles he       20
liveth, sithe the bemes brennende in love of thyn eyen are so
bewent, that worldes and cloudes atwene us twey wol nat suffre
my thoughtes of hem to be enlumined! Thinke that oon vertue
of a Margarite precious is, amonges many other, the sorouful to
comforte; yet †whyles that, me sorouful to comforte, is my lust       25
to have nought els at this tyme, d[r]ede ne deth ne no maner
traveyle hath no power, myn herte so moche to fade, as shulde
to here of a twinkling in your disese! Ah! god forbede that;
but yet let me deye, let me sterve withouten any mesure of
penaunce, rather than myn hertely thinking comfort in ought       30
were disesed! What may my service avayle, in absence of her
that my service shulde accepte? Is this nat endeles sorowe to
[ 6 ]thinke? Yes, yes, god wot; myn herte breketh nigh a-sonder.
How shulde the ground, without kyndly noriture, bringen forth
any frutes? How shulde a ship, withouten a sterne, in the grete see       35
be governed? How shulde I, withouten my blisse, my herte, my
desyre, my joye, my goodnesse, endure in this contrarious prison,
that thinke every hour in the day an hundred winter? Wel may
now Eve sayn to me, 'Adam, in sorowe fallen from welth, driven
art thou out of paradise, with swete thy sustenaunce to beswinke!'       40
Depe in this pyninge pitte with wo I ligge y-stocked,
with chaynes linked of care and of tene. It is so hye from thens
I lye and the commune erth, there ne is cable in no lande maked,
that might strecche to me, to drawe me in-to blisse; ne steyers
to steye on is none; so that, without recover, endeles here to       45
endure, I wot wel, I [am] purveyed. O, where art thou now,
frendship, that som-tyme, with laughande chere, madest bothe
face and countenaunce to me-wardes? Truely, now art thou
went out of towne. But ever, me thinketh, he wereth his olde
clothes, and that the soule in the whiche the lyfe of frendship was       50
in, is drawen out from his other spirites. Now than, farewel,
frendship! and farewel, felawes! Me thinketh, ye al han taken
your leve; no force of you al at ones. But, lady of love, ye wote
what I mene; yet thinke on thy servaunt that for thy love
spilleth; al thinges have I forsake to folowen thyn hestes;       55
rewarde me with a thought, though ye do naught els. Remembraunce
of love lyth so sore under my brest, that other thought
cometh not in my mynde but gladnesse, to thinke on your goodnesse
and your mery chere; †ferdnes and sorowe, to thinke on your
wreche and your daunger; from whiche Christ me save! My       60
greet joye it is to have in meditacion the bountees, the vertues,
the nobley in you printed; sorowe and helle comen at ones, to
suppose that I be †weyved. Thus with care, sorowe, and tene
am I shapt, myn ende with dethe to make. Now, good goodly,
thinke on this. O wrecched foole that I am, fallen in-to so lowe,       65
the hete of my brenning tene hath me al defased. How shulde
ye, lady, sette prise on so foule fylthe? My conninge is thinne,
my wit is exiled; lyke to a foole naturel am I comparisoned.
[ 7 ]Trewly, lady, but your mercy the more were, I wot wel al my
labour were in ydel; your mercy than passeth right. God graunt       70
that proposicion to be verifyed in me; so that, by truste of good
hope, I mowe come to the haven of ese. And sith it is impossible,
the colours of your qualitees to chaunge: and forsothe I
wot wel, wem ne spot may not abyde there so noble vertue
haboundeth, so that the defasing to you is verily [un]imaginable,       75
as countenaunce of goodnesse with encresinge vertue is so in you
knit, to abyde by necessary maner: yet, if the revers mighte falle
(which is ayenst kynde), I †wot wel myn herte ne shulde therfore
naught flitte, by the leste poynt of gemetrye; so sadly is it
†souded, that away from your service in love may he not departe.       80
O love, whan shal I ben plesed? O charitee, whan shal I ben
esed? O good goodly, whan shal the dyce turne? O ful of
vertue, do the chaunce of comfort upwarde to falle! O love,
whan wolt thou thinke on thy servaunt? I can no more but here,
out-cast of al welfare, abyde the day of my dethe, or els to see the       85
sight that might al my wellinge sorowes voyde, and of the flode
make an ebbe. These diseses mowen wel, by duresse of sorowe,
make my lyfe to unbodye, and so for to dye; but certes ye, lady,
in a ful perfeccion of love ben so knit with my soule, that deth
may not thilke knotte unbynde ne departe; so that ye and my       90
soule togider †in endeles blisse shulde dwelle; and there shal
my soule at the ful ben esed, that he may have your presence, to
shewe th'entent of his desyres. Ah, dere god! that shal be a
greet joye! Now, erthely goddesse, take regarde of thy servant,
though I be feble; for thou art wont to prayse them better that       95
wolde conne serve in love, al be he ful mener than kinges or
princes that wol not have that vertue in mynde.

Now, precious Margaryte, that with thy noble vertue hast
drawen me in-to love first, me weninge therof to have blisse,
[ther]-as galle and aloes are so moche spronge, that savour of       100
swetnesse may I not ataste. Alas! that your benigne eyen, in
whiche that mercy semeth to have al his noriture, nil by no
waye tourne the clerenesse of mercy to me-wardes! Alas! that
your brennande vertues, shyning amonges al folk, and enlumininge
[ 8 ]al other people by habundaunce of encresing, sheweth to me       105
but smoke and no light! These thinges to thinke in myn herte
maketh every day weping in myn eyen to renne. These liggen
on my backe so sore, that importable burthen me semeth on my
backe to be charged; it maketh me backwarde to meve, whan
my steppes by comune course even-forth pretende. These       110
thinges also, on right syde and lift, have me so envolved with
care, that wanhope of helpe is throughout me ronne; trewly,
†I leve, that graceles is my fortune, whiche that ever sheweth it
me-wardes by a cloudy disese, al redy to make stormes of tene;
and the blisful syde halt stil awayward, and wol it not suffre to       115
me-wardes to turne; no force, yet wol I not ben conquered.

O, alas! that your nobley, so moche among al other creatures
commended by †flowinge streme †of al maner vertues, but
ther ben wonderful, I not whiche that let the flood to come
in-to my soule; wherefore, purely mated with sorowe thorough-sought,       120
my-selfe I crye on your goodnesse to have pitè on this
caytif, that in the in[ne]rest degree of sorowe and disese is left,
and, without your goodly wil, from any helpe and recovery.
These sorowes may I not sustene, but-if my sorowe shulde be
told and to you-wardes shewed; although moche space is bitwene       125
us twayne, yet me thinketh that by suche †joleyvinge wordes my
disese ginneth ebbe. Trewly, me thinketh that the sowne of my
lamentacious weping is right now flowe in-to your presence, and
there cryeth after mercy and grace, to which thing (me semeth)
thee list non answere to yeve, but with a deynous chere ye       130
commaunden it to avoide; but god forbid that any word shuld of
you springe, to have so litel routh! Pardè, pitè and mercy in
every Margarite is closed by kynde amonges many other vertues,
by qualitees of comfort; but comfort is to me right naught worth,
withouten mercy and pitè of you alone; whiche thinges hastely       135
god me graunt for his mercy!

Ch. I. 2. enioy. 3. sondrye. 5. nowe. 6. disease outwarde. 7. comforte. 8. ferre. 9. hell. dethe. 10. endelesse. 12. hent. 13. swynke. 14. dwellynge-. wytlesse. 15. syghtlesse. prisone. 16. caytisned (for caytifued). 17. wode (!); for worde; read word. 18. made. reason. herde. 20. disease. 21. beames. 22. For be-went, Th. has be-went. 23. one. 25. wyl of; apparently an error for whyles (which I adopt). luste. 26. dede (for drede). 27. myne. 28. twynckelynge. disease. 29. lette (twice). dey. measure. 30. myne. comforte. 31. diseased. maye. aueyle. 32. endlesse.

33. wote; myne hert breaketh. 34. howe. grounde. forthe. 35. howe. shippe. great. 36. Howe. 39. nowe. sayne. 40. arte. weate. 44. stretche. 45. stey. endlesse. 46. wotte. I supply am. spurveyde. arte. nowe. 47. frenshyppe (sic). 48. nowe arte. 49. weareth. 51. Nowe. 53. leaue. 57. lythe. 59. frendes (sic); for ferdnes: cf. p. 9, l. 9. 60. Christe. 61. great. bounties. 62. hel. 63. veyned (sic); for weyued. 64. shapte. Nowe. 65. wretched. 66. heate. 68. wytte.

69. wote. 72. ease. sythe. 73. qualyties. 74. wote. wemme ne spotte maye. 75. Read unimaginable. 77. knytte. fal. 78. wol wel (for wot wel). 80. sonded; read souded. maye. 81. pleased. charyte. 82. eased. 83. comforte. fal. 85. out caste. daye. se. 86. flodde. 87. diseases. 89. perfectyon. knytte. dethe. 91. togyther is endelesse in blysse(!). dwel. 92. eased. 93. thentent. 94. great. Nowe. 95. arte wonte. 98. Nowe. haste. 100. I supply ther. 104. folke.

105. encreasing. 110. forthe. 112, 113. trewly and leue; read trewly I leve. 113. gracelesse. 114. disease. 115. halte. 117. (The sentence beginning O, alas seems hopelessly corrupt; there are pause-marks after vertues and wonderful.) 118. folowynge; read flowinge. by; read of. 119. flode. 122. caytife. inrest. disease. lefte. 124. maye. 125. tolde. 126. ioleynynge (sic). 127. disease. 128. nowe. 130. the lyst none. 131. worde. 134. qualites of comforte. worthe.

[ 9 ]


Rehersinge these thinges and many other, without tyme
or moment of rest, me semed, for anguisshe of disese, that
al-togider I was ravisshed, I can not telle how; but hoolly all my
passions and felinges weren lost, as it semed, for the tyme; and
sodainly a maner of drede lighte in me al at ones; nought suche       5
fere as folk have of an enemy, that were mighty and wolde hem
greve or don hem disese. For, I trowe, this is wel knowe to many
persones, that otherwhyle, if a man be in his soveraignes presence,
a maner of ferdnesse crepeth in his herte, not for harme, but of
goodly subjeccion; namely, as men reden that aungels ben aferde       10
of our saviour in heven. And pardè, there ne is, ne may no
passion of disese be; but it is to mene, that angels ben adradde,
not by †ferdnes of drede, sithen they ben perfitly blissed, [but]
as [by] affeccion of wonderfulnesse and by service of obedience.
Suche ferde also han these lovers in presence of their loves, and       15
subjectes aforn their soveraynes. Right so with ferdnesse myn
herte was caught. And I sodainly astonied, there entred in-to
the place there I was logged a lady, the semeliest and most
goodly to my sight that ever to-forn apered to any creature; and
trewly, in the blustringe of her looke, she yave gladnesse and       20
comfort sodaynly to al my wittes; and right so she doth to
every wight that cometh in her presence. And for she was so
goodly, as me thought, myn herte began somdele to be enbolded,
and wexte a litel hardy to speke; but yet, with a quakinge
voyce, as I durste, I salued her, and enquired what she was;       25
and why she, so worthy to sight, dayned to entre in-to so foule
a dongeon, and namely a prison, without leve of my kepers.
For certes, al-though the vertue of dedes of mercy strecchen to
visiten the poore prisoners, and hem, after that facultees ben had,
to comforte, me semed that I was so fer fallen in-to miserye and       30
wrecched hid caytifnesse, that me shulde no precious thing
neighe; and also, that for my sorowe every wight shulde ben
hevy, and wisshe my recovery. But whan this lady had somdele
[ 10 ]apperceyved, as wel by my wordes as by my chere, what thought
besied me within, with a good womanly countenance she sayde       35
these wordes:—

'O my nory, wenest thou that my maner be, to foryete my
frendes or my servauntes? Nay,' quod she, 'it is my ful entente
to visyte and comforte al my frendshippes and allyes, as wel in
tyme of perturbacion as of moost propertee of blisse; in me shal       40
unkyndnesse never be founden: and also, sithen I have so fewe
especial trewe now in these dayes. Wherefore I may wel at more
leysar come to hem that me deserven; and if my cominge may
in any thinge avayle, wete wel, I wol come often.'

'Now, good lady,' quod I, 'that art so fayre on to loke,       45
reyninge hony by thy wordes, blisse of paradys arn thy lokinges,
joye and comfort are thy movinges. What is thy name? How
is it that in you is so mokel werkinge vertues enpight, as me
semeth, and in none other creature that ever saw I with myne
eyen?'       50

'My disciple,' quod she, 'me wondreth of thy wordes and on
thee, that for a litel disese hast foryeten my name. Wost thou
not wel that I am Love, that first thee brought to thy service?'

'O good lady,' quod I, 'is this worship to thee or to thyn
excellence, for to come in-to so foule a place? Pardè, somtyme,       55
tho I was in prosperitè and with forayne goodes envolved, I had
mokil to done to drawe thee to myn hostel; and yet many
werninges thou madest er thou liste fully to graunte, thyn home
to make at my dwelling-place; and now thou comest goodly by
thyn owne vyse, to comforte me with wordes; and so there-thorough       60
I ginne remembre on passed gladnesse. Trewly, lady,
I ne wot whether I shal say welcome or non, sithen thy coming
wol as moche do me tene and sorowe, as gladnesse and mirthe.
See why: for that me comforteth to thinke on passed gladnesse,
that me anoyeth efte to be in doinge. Thus thy cominge bothe       65
gladdeth and teneth, and that is cause of moche sorowe. Lo, lady,
how than I am comforted by your comminge'; and with that
I gan in teeres to distille, and tenderly wepe.

'Now, certes,' quod Love, 'I see wel, and that me over-thinketh,
[ 11 ]that wit in thee fayleth, and [thou] art in pointe       70
to dote.'

'Trewly,' quod I, 'that have ye maked, and that ever wol
I rue.'

'Wottest thou not wel,' quod she, 'that every shepherde ought
by reson to seke his sperkelande sheep, that arn ronne in-to       75
wildernesse among busshes and perils, and hem to their pasture
ayen-bringe, and take on hem privy besy cure of keping? And
though the unconninge sheep scattred wolde ben lost, renning to
wildernesse, and to desertes drawe, or els wolden putte hem-selfe
to the swalowinge wolfe, yet shal the shepherde, by businesse and       80
travayle, so putte him forth, that he shal not lete hem be lost by
no waye. A good shepherde putteth rather his lyf to ben lost for
his sheep. But for thou shalt not wene me being of werse
condicion, trewly, for everich of my folke, and for al tho that to
me-ward be knit in any condicion, I wol rather dye than suffre       85
hem through errour to ben spilte. For me liste, and it me lyketh,
of al myne a shepherdesse to be cleped. Wost thou not wel,
I fayled never wight, but he me refused and wolde negligently go
with unkyndenesse? And yet, pardè, have I many such holpe
and releved, and they have ofte me begyled; but ever, at the ende,       90
it discendeth in their owne nekkes. Hast thou not rad how kinde
I was to Paris, Priamus sone of Troy? How Jason me falsed,
for al his false behest? How Cesars †swink, I lefte it for no tene
til he was troned in my blisse for his service? What!' quod she,
'most of al, maked I not a loveday bytwene god and mankynde,       95
and chees a mayde to be nompere, to putte the quarel at ende?
Lo! how I have travayled to have thank on al sydes, and yet list
me not to reste, and I might fynde on †whom I shulde werche.
But trewly, myn owne disciple, bycause I have thee founde, at al
assayes, in thy wil to be redy myn hestes to have folowed, and       100
hast ben trewe to that Margarite-perle that ones I thee shewed;
and she alwaye, ayenward, hath mad but daungerous chere;
I am come, in propre person, to putte thee out of errours, and
make thee gladde by wayes of reson; so that sorow ne disese shal
[ 12 ]no more hereafter thee amaistry. Wherthrough I hope thou       105
shalt lightly come to the grace, that thou longe hast desyred, of
thilke jewel. Hast thou not herd many ensamples, how I have
comforted and releved the scholers of my lore? Who hath
worthyed kinges in the felde? Who hath honoured ladyes in
boure by a perpetuel mirrour of their tr[o]uthe in my service?       110
Who hath caused worthy folk to voyde vyce and shame? Who
hath holde cytees and realmes in prosperitè? If thee liste clepe
ayen thyn olde remembraunce, thou coudest every point of this
declare in especial; and say that I, thy maistresse, have be cause,
causing these thinges and many mo other.'       115

'Now, y-wis, madame,' quod I, 'al these thinges I knowe wel
my-selfe, and that thyn excellence passeth the understanding of
us beestes; and that no mannes wit erthely may comprehende thy

'Wel than,' quod she, 'for I see thee in disese and sorowe,       120
I wot wel thou art oon of my nories; I may not suffre thee so to
make sorowe, thyn owne selfe to shende. But I my-selfe come
to be thy fere, thyn hevy charge to make to seme the lesse. For wo
is him that is alone; and to the sorye, to ben moned by a sorouful
wight, it is greet gladnesse. Right so, with my sicke frendes I am       125
sicke; and with sorie I can not els but sorowe make, til whan
I have hem releved in suche wyse, that gladnesse, in a maner of
counterpaysing, shal restore as mokil in joye as the passed hevinesse
biforn did in tene. And also,' quod she, 'whan any of my
servauntes ben alone in solitary place, I have yet ever besied me       130
to be with hem, in comfort of their hertes, and taught hem to
make songes of playnte and of blisse, and to endyten letters of
rethorike in queynt understondinges, and to bethinke hem in what
wyse they might best their ladies in good service plese; and
also to lerne maner in countenaunce, in wordes, and in bering,       135
and to ben meke and lowly to every wight, his name and fame to
encrese; and to yeve gret yeftes and large, that his renomè may
springen. But thee therof have I excused; for thy losse and thy
grete costages, wherthrough thou art nedy, arn nothing to me
unknowen; but I hope to god somtyme it shal ben amended, as       140
[ 13 ]thus I sayd. In norture have I taught al myne; and in curtesye
made hem expert, their ladies hertes to winne; and if any wolde
[b]en deynous or proude, or be envious or of wrecches acqueyntaunce,
hasteliche have I suche voyded out of my scole. For
al vyces trewly I hate; vertues and worthinesse in al my power       145
I avaunce.'

'Ah! worthy creature,' quod I, 'and by juste cause the name
of goddesse dignely ye mowe bere! In thee lyth the grace
thorough whiche any creature in this worlde hath any goodnesse.
Trewly, al maner of blisse and preciousnesse in vertue out of       150
thee springen and wellen, as brokes and rivers proceden from
their springes. And lyke as al waters by kynde drawen to the see,
so al kyndely thinges thresten, by ful appetyte of desyre, to drawe
after thy steppes, and to thy presence aproche as to their kyndely
perfeccion. How dare than beestes in this worlde aught forfete       155
ayenst thy devyne purveyaunce? Also, lady, ye knowen al the
privy thoughtes; in hertes no counsayl may ben hid from your
knowing. Wherfore I wot wel, lady, that ye knowe your-selfe that
I in my conscience am and have ben willinge to your service, al
coude I never do as I shulde; yet, forsothe, fayned I never to       160
love otherwyse than was in myn herte; and if I coude have made
chere to one and y-thought another, as many other doon alday
afore myn eyen, I trowe it wolde not me have vayled.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'haddest thou so don, I wolde not now
have thee here visited.'       165

'Ye wete wel, lady, eke,' quod I, 'that I have not played raket,
"nettil in, docke out," and with the wethercocke waved; and
trewly, there ye me sette, by acorde of my conscience I wolde
not flye, til ye and reson, by apert strength, maden myn herte to
tourne.'       170

'In good fayth,' quod she, 'I have knowe thee ever of tho
condicions; and sithen thou woldest (in as moch as in thee was)
a made me privy of thy counsayl and juge of thy conscience
(though I forsook it in tho dayes til I saw better my tyme), wolde
never god that I shuld now fayle; but ever I wol be redy       175
witnessing thy sothe, in what place that ever I shal, ayenst al tho
that wol the contrary susteyne. And for as moche as to me is
[ 14 ]naught unknowen ne hid of thy privy herte, but al hast thou tho
thinges mad to me open at the ful, that hath caused my cominge
in-to this prison, to voyde the webbes of thyne eyen, to make thee       180
clerely to see the errours thou hast ben in. And bycause that
men ben of dyvers condicions, some adradde to saye a sothe, and
some for a sothe anon redy to fighte, and also that I may not my-selfe
ben in place to withsaye thilke men that of thee speken
otherwyse than the sothe, I wol and I charge thee, in vertue of       185
obedience that thou to me owest, to wryten my wordes and sette
hem in wrytinges, that they mowe, as my witnessinge, ben
noted among the people. For bookes written neyther dreden ne
shamen, ne stryve conne; but only shewen the entente of the
wryter, and yeve remembraunce to the herer; and if any wol in       190
thy presence saye any-thing to tho wryters, loke boldely; truste on
Mars to answere at the ful. For certes, I shal him enfourme of
al the trouthe in thy love, with thy conscience; so that of his
helpe thou shalt not varye at thy nede. I trowe the strongest and
the beste that may be founde wol not transverse thy wordes;       195
wherof than woldest thou drede?'

Ch. II. 2. disease. 3. tel howe. holy. 4. loste. 5. light. 6. feare. folke. 7. done. disease. 9. ferdenesse. 10. subiection. 11. maye. 12. disease. meane. 13. frendes; read ferdnes; see l. 16. perfytely. I supply but and by. 14. affection. 16. aforne. ferdenesse. 18. lodged. moste. 19. to-forne. 21. comforte sodaynely. dothe. 23. myne. beganne. 27. prisone. leaue. 28. al-thoughe. stretchen. 29. faculties. 30. ferre. 31. wretched hyd. thynge. 33. heauy.

37. wenyst. foryet. 38. naye. 39. frenshippes. alyes. 40. propertye. 42. nowe. 42, 43. maye. 45. Nowe. 46. honny. paradise. 47. comforte. howe. 49. sawe. 52. the. disease haste. Woste. 53. the. 54. worshyppe. the. thyne. 57. the. 58. graunt thyne. 59. nowe. 60. thyne. 61. thoroughe. 62. wotte. none. 64. se. 67. howe. 69. Nowe. se.

70. wytte in the. I supply thou. arte. 74. shepeherde. 75. shepe. arne. 76. amonge. 78. tho. shepe. loste. 79. put. 80. shepeherde. 81. put. forthe. let. loste. 82. shepeherde. lyfe. loste. 83. shepe. shalte. 85. mewarde. 86. throughe. 91. Haste. radde howe. 92. sonne. 93. For false read faire. howe Sesars sonke (sic); corrupt. 95. louedaye. 96. chese. put. 97. howe. thanke. 98. rest. home; read whom. 99. the. 101. haste. the. 102. ayenwarde. made. 103. put the. 104. the. reason. disease.

105. the. 106. shalte. haste. 107. Haste. herde. howe. 111. folke. 112. cyties. the. cleape. 113. poynte. 116. Nowe. 118. wytte. 120. se the in disease. 121. wote. arte one. maye. the. 123. thyne. 125. great. 129. byforne. 131. comforte. 134. please. 135. bearyng. 137. encrease. maye. 138. the. 139. great. wherthroughe. arte. arne no-thinge.

141. thus as I; om. as. 143. endeynous; read ben deynous. wretches. 144. schole. 148. beare. the lythe. 151. the. 155. perfection. Howe. 157. counsayle maye. hydde. 158. wote. 162. doone aldaye. 164. done. nowe. 165. the. 166. playde. 169. reason. aperte. 171. faythe. the. 172. the. 173. counsayle. 174. forsoke. 175. nowe.

178. hert. 179. made. 180. the. 181. se. 183. anone. fyght. maye. 184. withsay. the. 185. the. 188. amonge. 189. onely. 191. -thynge. 194. shalte. 195. maye. transuers.


Gretly was I tho gladded of these wordes, and (as who
saith) wexen somdel light in herte; both for the auctoritè
of witnesse, and also for sikernesse of helpe of the forsayd
beheste, and sayd:—

'Trewly, lady, now am I wel gladded through comfort of       5
your wordes. Be it now lykinge unto your nobley to shewe
whiche folk diffame your servauntes, sithe your service ought
above al other thinges to ben commended.'

'Yet,' quod she, 'I see wel thy soule is not al out of the
amased cloude. Thee were better to here thing that thee might       10
lighte out of thyn hevy charge and after knowing of thyn owne
helpe, than to stirre swete wordes and such resons to here;
for in a thoughtful soule (and namely suche oon as thou art)
wol not yet suche thinges sinken. Come of, therfore, and let
[ 15 ]me seen thy hevy charge, that I may the lightlier for thy comfort       15

'Now, certes, lady,' quod I, 'the moste comfort I might have
were utterly to wete me be sure in herte of that Margaryte I
serve; and so I thinke to don with al mightes, whyle my lyfe
dureth.'       20

'Than,' quod she, 'mayst thou therafter, in suche wyse that
misplesaunce ne entre?'

'In good fayth,' quod I, 'there shal no misplesaunce be
caused through trespace on my syde.'

'And I do thee to weten,' quod she, 'I sette never yet person       25
to serve in no place (but-if he caused the contrary in defautes
and trespaces) that he ne spedde of his service.'

'Myn owne erthly lady,' quod I tho, 'and yet remembre to
your worthinesse how long sithen, by many revolving of yeres,
in tyme whan Octobre his leve ginneth take and Novembre       30
sheweth him to sight, whan bernes ben ful of goodes as is the
nutte on every halke; and than good lond-tillers ginne shape
for the erthe with greet travayle, to bringe forth more corn to
mannes sustenaunce, ayenst the nexte yeres folowing. In suche
tyme of plentee he that hath an home and is wyse, list not to       35
wander mervayles to seche, but he be constrayned or excited.
Oft the lothe thing is doon, by excitacion of other mannes
opinion, whiche wolden fayne have myn abydinge. [Tho gan I]
take in herte of luste to travayle and see the wynding of the erthe
in that tyme of winter. By woodes that large stretes wern in,       40
by smale pathes that swyn and hogges hadden made, as lanes
with ladels their maste to seche, I walked thinkinge alone
a wonder greet whyle; and the grete beestes that the woode
haunten and adorneth al maner forestes, and heerdes gonne to
wilde. Than, er I was war, I neyghed to a see-banke; and for       45
ferde of the beestes "shipcraft" I cryde. For, lady, I trowe ye
wete wel your-selfe, nothing is werse than the beestes that
shulden ben tame, if they cacche her wildenesse, and ginne ayen
waxe ramage. Thus forsothe was I a-ferd, and to shippe me
hyed.       50

Than were there y-nowe to lacche myn handes, and drawe me
[ 16 ]to shippe, of whiche many I knew wel the names. Sight was
the first, Lust was another, Thought was the thirde; and Wil eke
was there a mayster; these broughten me within-borde of this
shippe of Traveyle. So whan the sayl was sprad, and this ship       55
gan to move, the wind and water gan for to ryse, and overthwartly
to turne the welken. The wawes semeden as they kiste togider;
but often under colour of kissinge is mokel old hate prively
closed and kept. The storm so straungely and in a devouring
maner gan so faste us assayle, that I supposed the date of my       60
deth shulde have mad there his ginning. Now up, now downe,
now under the wawe and now aboven was my ship a greet
whyle. And so by mokel duresse of †weders and of stormes,
and with greet avowing [of] pilgrimages, I was driven to an yle,
where utterly I wende first to have be rescowed; but trewly, †at       65
the first ginning, it semed me so perillous the haven to cacche,
that but thorow grace I had ben comforted, of lyfe I was ful
dispayred. Trewly, lady, if ye remembre a-right of al maner
thinges, your-selfe cam hastely to sene us see-driven, and to
weten what we weren. But first ye were deynous of chere, after       70
whiche ye gonne better a-lighte; and ever, as me thought, ye
lived in greet drede of disese; it semed so by your chere.
And whan I was certifyed of your name, the lenger I loked in
you, the more I you goodly dradde; and ever myn herte on you
opened the more; and so in a litel tyme my ship was out of       75
mynde. But, lady, as ye me ladde, I was war bothe of beestes
and of fisshes, a greet nombre thronging togider; among whiche
a muskel, in a blewe shel, had enclosed a Margaryte-perle, the
moste precious and best that ever to-forn cam in my sight.
And ye tolden your-selfe, that ilke jewel in his kinde was so       80
good and so vertuous, that her better shulde I never finde, al
sought I ther-after to the worldes ende. And with that I held
my pees a greet whyle; and ever sithen I have me bethought on
the man that sought the precious Margarytes; and whan he had
founden oon to his lyking, he solde al his good to bye that jewel.       85
Y-wis, thought I, (and yet so I thinke), now have I founden the
jewel that myn herte desyreth; wherto shulde I seche further?
[ 17 ]Trewly, now wol I stinte, and on this Margaryte I sette me for
ever: now than also, sithen I wiste wel it was your wil that
I shulde so suche a service me take; and so to desyre that thing,       90
of whiche I never have blisse. There liveth non but he hath
disese; your might than that brought me to suche service, that to
me is cause of sorowe and of joye. I wonder of your worde that
ye sayn, "to bringen men in-to joye"; and, pardè, ye wete wel
that defaut ne trespace may not resonably ben put to me-wardes,       95
as fer as my conscience knoweth.

But of my disese me list now a whyle to speke, and to enforme
you in what maner of blisse ye have me thronge. For truly
I wene, that al gladnesse, al joye, and al mirthe is beshet under
locke, and the keye throwe in suche place that it may not be       100
founde. My brenning wo hath altred al my hewe. Whan
I shulde slepe, I walowe and I thinke, and me disporte. Thus
combred, I seme that al folk had me mased. Also, lady myne,
desyre hath longe dured, some speking to have; or els at the lest
have ben enmoysed with sight; and for wantinge of these thinges       105
my mouth wolde, and he durst, pleyne right sore, sithen yvels
for my goodnesse arn manyfolde to me yolden. I wonder, lady,
trewly, save evermore your reverence, how ye mowe, for shame,
suche thinges suffre on your servaunt to be so multiplied.
Wherfore, kneling with a lowe herte, I pray you to rue on this       110
caytif, that of nothing now may serve. Good lady, if ye liste,
now your help to me shewe, that am of your privyest servantes
at al assayes in this tyme, and under your winges of proteccion.
No help to me-wardes is shapen; how shal than straungers in
any wyse after socour loke, whan I, that am so privy, yet of helpe       115
I do fayle? Further may I not, but thus in this prison abyde;
what bondes and chaynes me holden, lady, ye see wel your-selfe.
A renyant forjuged hath not halfe the care. But thus, syghing
and sobbing, I wayle here alone; and nere it for comfort of your
presence, right here wolde I sterve. And yet a litel am I gladded,       120
that so goodly suche grace and non hap have I hent, graciously
to fynde the precious Margarite, that (al other left) men shulde
bye, if they shulde therfore selle al her substaunce. Wo is me,
[ 18 ]that so many let-games and purpose-brekers ben maked wayters,
suche prisoners as I am to overloke and to hinder; and, for       125
suche lettours, it is hard any suche jewel to winne. Is this, lady,
an honour to thy deitee? Me thinketh, by right, suche people
shulde have no maistrye, ne ben overlokers over none of thy
servauntes. Trewly, were it leful unto you, to al the goddes
wolde I playne, that ye rule your devyne purveyaunce amonges       130
your servantes nothing as ye shulde. Also, lady, my moeble is
insuffysaunt to countervayle the price of this jewel, or els to
make th'eschange. Eke no wight is worthy suche perles to were
but kinges or princes or els their peres. This jewel, for vertue,
wold adorne and make fayre al a realme; the nobley of vertue is       135
so moche, that her goodnesse overal is commended. Who is it
that wolde not wayle, but he might suche richesse have at his
wil? The vertue therof out of this prison may me deliver, and
naught els. And if I be not ther-thorow holpen, I see my-selfe
withouten recovery. Although I might hence voyde, yet wolde       140
I not; I wolde abyde the day that destenee hath me ordeyned,
whiche I suppose is without amendement; so sore is my herte
bounden, that I may thinken non other. Thus strayte, lady,
hath sir Daunger laced me in stockes, I leve it be not your wil;
and for I see you taken so litel hede, as me thinketh, and wol       145
not maken by your might the vertue in mercy of the Margaryte
on me for to strecche, so as ye mowe wel in case that you liste,
my blisse and my mirthe arn feld; sicknesse and sorowe ben
alwaye redy. The cope of tene is wounde aboute al my body,
that stonding is me best; unneth may I ligge for pure misesy       150
sorowe. And yet al this is litel ynough to be the ernest-silver in
forwarde of this bargayne; for treble-folde so mokel muste I suffer
er tyme come of myn ese. For he is worthy no welthe, that may
no wo suffer. And certes, I am hevy to thinke on these thinges;
but who shal yeve me water ynough to drinke, lest myn eyen       155
drye, for renning stremes of teres? Who shal waylen with me
myn owne happy hevinesse? Who shal counsaile me now in
my lyking tene, and in my goodly harse? I not. For ever the
more I brenne, the more I coveyte; the more that I sorow, the
more thrist I in gladnesse. Who shal than yeve me a contrarious       160
[ 19 ]drink, to stanche the thurste of my blisful bitternesse? Lo, thus
I brenne and I drenche; I shiver and I swete. To this reversed
yvel was never yet ordeyned salve; forsoth al †leches ben unconning,
save the Margaryte alone, any suche remedye to purveye.'

Ch. III. 1. gladed; see l. 5. 2. somdele. 5. nowe. comforte. 6. nowe. 7. folke. 9. se. 10. the (twice). 11. light. 13. one. arte.

15. sene. comforte. 16. puruey. 17. Nowe. comforte. 21. mayste. 25. the. set. 29. howe. 30. leaue. 32. londe-. 33. great. forthe. corne. 35. plentie. lyste. 37. doone. 38. I supply Tho gan I. 39. se. 40. werne. 41. swyne. 43. great. great. 44. gone; read gonne. 45. ware. 46. shypcrafte. 48. catche. 49. a-ferde. 51. lache.

52. many; read meynee. knewe. 55. sayle. shyppe. 56. wynde. 58. olde. 59. kepte. storme. 61. made. 61, 62. nowe. 62. shyppe. 62, 64. great. 63. wethers; read weders. 64. I supply of. 65. as; read at. 66. catche. 67. thorowe. 69. came. 71. a-lyght. 72. great. disease. 75. shyppe. 76. lad. ware. 77. great. amonge. 79. to-forne came. 82. helde. 83. peace. great. 85. one. 86. nowe. 87. myne.

88. nowe. 89. Nowe. 91. none. 92. disease. 94. sayne. 95. reasonably. 96. ferre. 97. disease. 103. folke. 106. mouthe. 107. arne. 108. howe. 111. caytife. 112. nowe. helpe. 113. protection. 114. helpe. howe. 115. socoure. 116. maye. 117. se. 119. comforte. 120. gladed. 121. none. hente. 122. lefte. 123. sel.

126. harde. 127. deytie. 133. weare. 139. ther-thorowe. se. 141. daye. destenye. 143. maye. none. 145. se. 147. stretche. 148. arne. 150. miseasy. 151. ynoughe. 153. ease. maye. 156. teares. 157. myne. nowe. 158. harse (sic); for harme?

161. drinke. 162. sweate. 163. lyches (for leches). 164. puruey.


And with these wordes I brast out to wepe, that every teere
of myne eyen, for greetnesse semed they boren out the bal of
my sight, and that al the water had ben out-ronne. Than thought
me that Love gan a litel to hevye for miscomfort of my chere;
and gan soberly and in esy maner speke, wel avysinge what       5
she sayd. Comenly the wyse speken esily and softe for many
skilles. Oon is, their wordes are the better bileved; and also, in
esy spekinge, avysement men may cacche, what to putte forth
and what to holden in. And also, the auctoritè of esy wordes is
the more; and eke, they yeven the more understandinge to other       10
intencion of the mater. Right so this lady esely and in a softe
maner gan say these wordes.

¶ 'Mervayle,' quod she, 'greet it is, that by no maner of semblaunt,
as fer as I can espye, thou list not to have any recour;
but ever thou playnest and sorowest, and wayes of remedye, for       15
folisshe wilfulnesse, thee list not to seche. But enquyre of thy
next frendes, that is, thyne inwit and me that have ben thy
maystresse, and the recour and fyne of thy disese; [f]or of disese is
gladnesse and joy, with a ful †vessel so helded, that it quencheth
the felinge of the firste tenes. But thou that were wont not only       20
these thinges remembre in thyne herte, but also fooles therof to
enfourmen, in adnullinge of their errours and distroying of their
derke opinions, and in comfort of their sere thoughtes; now canst
thou not ben comfort of thyn owne soule, in thinking of these
thinges. O where hast thou be so longe commensal, that hast so       25
mikel eeten of the potages of foryetfulnesse, and dronken so of
ignorance, that the olde souking[es] whiche thou haddest of me
arn amaystred and lorn fro al maner of knowing? O, this is
[ 20 ]a worthy person to helpe other, that can not counsayle him-selfe!'
And with these wordes, for pure and stronge shame, I wox al       30

And she than, seing me so astonyed by dyvers stoundes,
sodainly (which thing kynde hateth) gan deliciously me comforte
with sugred wordes, putting me in ful hope that I shulde the
Margarite getten, if I folowed her hestes; and gan with a fayre       35
clothe to wypen the teres that hingen on my chekes; and than
sayd I in this wyse.

'Now, wel of wysdom and of al welthe, withouten thee may
nothing ben lerned; thou berest the keyes of al privy thinges.
In vayne travayle men to cacche any stedship, but-if ye, lady,       40
first the locke unshet. Ye, lady, lerne us the wayes and the
by-pathes to heven. Ye, lady, maken al the hevenly bodyes
goodly and benignely to don her cours, that governen us beestes
here on erthe. Ye armen your servauntes ayenst al debates with
imperciable harneys; ye setten in her hertes insuperable blood of       45
hardinesse; ye leden hem to the parfit good. Yet al thing
desyreth ye werne no man of helpe, that †wol don your
lore. Graunt me now a litel of your grace, al my sorowes
to cese.'

'Myne owne servaunt,' quod she, 'trewly thou sittest nye       50
myne herte; and thy badde chere gan sorily me greve. But
amonge thy playning wordes, me thought, thou allegest thinges to
be letting of thyne helpinge and thy grace to hinder; wherthrough,
me thinketh, that wanhope is crope thorough thyn hert. God
forbid that nyse unthrifty thought shulde come in thy mynde,       55
thy wittes to trouble; sithen every thing in coming is contingent.
Wherfore make no more thy proposicion by an impossible.
But now, I praye thee reherse me ayen tho thinges that
thy mistrust causen; and thilke thinges I thinke by reson to
distroyen, and putte ful hope in thyn herte. What understondest       60
thou there,' quod she, 'by that thou saydest, "many let-games
are thyn overlokers?" And also by "that thy moeble is insuffysaunt"?
I not what thou therof menest.'

'Trewly,' quod I, 'by the first I say, that janglers evermore
arn spekinge rather of yvel than of good; for every age of man       65
[ 21 ]rather enclyneth to wickednesse, than any goodnesse to avaunce.
Also false wordes springen so wyde, by the stering of false lying
tonges, that fame als swiftely flyeth to her eres and sayth many
wicked tales; and as soone shal falsenesse ben leved as tr[o]uthe,
for al his gret sothnesse.       70

'Now by that other,' quod I, 'me thinketh thilke jewel so
precious, that to no suche wrecche as I am wolde vertue therof
extende; and also I am to feble in worldly joyes, any suche
jewel to countrevayle. For suche people that worldly joyes han
at her wil ben sette at the highest degree, and most in reverence       75
ben accepted. For false wening maketh felicitè therin to be
supposed; but suche caytives as I am evermore ben hindred.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'take good hede, and I shal by reson to
thee shewen, that al these thinges mowe nat lette thy purpos
by the leest point that any wight coude pricke.       80

Ch. IV. 2. great-. 4. heauy. 5. easy. 6. easyly. 7. One. 8. easy speakynge. catche. put forthe. 9. easy. 11. ladye easely. 13. great. 14. ferre. 16. the lyste. 17. inwytte. 18. disease (twice). 19. nessel; misprint for uessel. 20. wonte. onely. 22. distroyeng. 23. comforte. seare. 24. comforte. 25. haste. 27. soukyng. 28. arne.

30. woxe. 33. thynge. 36. teares. 38. Nowe. wysedom. the. 39. bearest. 40. catche. 43. done her course. 45. blode. 46. leaden. parfyte. thynge. 47. wern. wele; read wol. done. 48. nowe. 49. cease. 53. wherthroughe. 58. nowe. the. 59. reason. 60. put. 61. lette-games. 63. meanest. 65. arne.

67. steeryng. lyeng. 68. eares. 72. wretche. 78. reason. 79. the. let. purpose.


Remembrest nat,' quod she, 'ensample is oon of the
strongest maner[es], as for to preve a mannes purpos?
Than if I now, by ensample, enduce thee to any proposicion, is
it nat preved by strength?'

'Yes, forsothe,' quod I.       5

'Wel,' quod she, 'raddest thou never how Paris of Troye and
Heleyne loved togider, and yet had they not entrecomuned of
speche? Also Acrisius shette Dane his doughter in a tour, for
suertee that no wight shulde of her have no maistry in my
service; and yet Jupiter by signes, without any speche, had       10
al his purpose ayenst her fathers wil. And many suche mo have
ben knitte in trouthe, and yet spake they never togider; for
that is a thing enclosed under secretnesse of privytè, why twey
persons entremellen hertes after a sight. The power in knowing,
of such thinges †to preven, shal nat al utterly be yeven to you       15
beestes; for many thinges, in suche precious maters, ben
reserved to jugement of devyne purveyaunce; for among lyving
people, by mannes consideracion, moun they nat be determined.
[ 22 ]Wherfore I saye, al the envy, al the janglinge, that wel ny [al]
people upon my servauntes maken †ofte, is rather cause of esployte       20
than of any hindringe.'

'Why, than,' quod I, 'suffre ye such wrong; and moun, whan
ye list, lightly al such yvels abate? Me semeth, to you it is
a greet unworship.'

'O,' quod she, 'hold now thy pees. I have founden to many       25
that han ben to me unkynde, that trewly I wol suffre every wight
in that wyse to have disese; and who that continueth to the ende
wel and trewly, hem wol I helpen, and as for oon of myne in-to
blisse [don] to wende. As [in] marcial doing in Grece, who
was y-crowned? By god, nat the strongest; but he that rathest       30
com and lengest abood and continued in the journey, and spared
nat to traveyle as long as the play leste. But thilke person, that
profred him now to my service, [and] therin is a while, and anon
voideth and [is] redy to another; and so now oon he thinketh
and now another; and in-to water entreth and anon respireth:       35
such oon list me nat in-to perfit blisse of my service bringe.
A tree ofte set in dyvers places wol nat by kynde endure to bringe
forth frutes. Loke now, I pray thee, how myne olde servauntes
of tyme passed continued in her service, and folowe thou after
their steppes; and than might thou not fayle, in case thou worche       40
in this wyse.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'it is nothing lich, this world, to tyme
passed; eke this countrè hath oon maner, and another countrè
hath another. And so may nat a man alway putte to his eye the
salve that he heled with his hele. For this is sothe: betwixe       45
two thinges liche, ofte dyversitè is required.'

'Now,' quod she, 'that is sothe; dyversitè of nation, dyversitè of
lawe, as was maked by many resons; for that dyversitè cometh in
by the contrarious malice of wicked people, that han envyous hertes
ayenst other. But trewly, my lawe to my servauntes ever hath       50
ben in general, whiche may nat fayle. For right as mannes †lawe
that is ordained by many determinacions, may nat be knowe for
good or badde, til assay of the people han proved it and [founden]
to what ende it draweth; and than it sheweth the necessitè
[ 23 ]therof, or els the impossibilitè: right so the lawe of my servauntes       55
so wel hath ben proved in general, that hitherto hath it not fayled.

Wiste thou not wel that al the lawe of kynde is my lawe, and
by god ordayned and stablisshed to dure by kynde resoun?
Wherfore al lawe by mannes witte purveyed ought to be underput
to lawe of kynde, whiche yet hath be commune to every kyndely       60
creature; that my statutes and my lawe that ben kyndely arn
general to al peoples. Olde doinges and by many turninges of
yeres used, and with the peoples maner proved, mowen nat so
lightly ben defased; but newe doinges, contrariauntes suche olde,
ofte causen diseses and breken many purposes. Yet saye I nat       65
therfore that ayen newe mischeef men shulde nat ordaynen
a newe remedye; but alwaye looke it contrary not the olde no
ferther than the malice streccheth. Than foloweth it, the olde
doinges in love han ben universal, as for most exployte[s] forth
used; wherfore I wol not yet that of my lawes nothing be adnulled.       70
But thanne to thy purpos: suche jangelers and lokers, and
wayters of games, if thee thinke in aught they mowe dere, yet
love wel alwaye, and sette hem at naught; and let thy port ben
lowe in every wightes presence, and redy in thyne herte to
maynteyne that thou hast begonne; and a litel thee fayne with       75
mekenesse in wordes; and thus with sleyght shalt thou surmount
and dequace the yvel in their hertes. And wysdom yet is to seme
flye otherwhyle, there a man wol fighte. Thus with suche thinges
the tonges of yvel shal ben stilled; els fully to graunte thy ful
meninge, for-sothe ever was and ever it shal be, that myn enemyes       80
ben aferde to truste to any fightinge. And therfore have thou no
cowardes herte in my service, no more than somtyme thou
haddest in the contrarye. For if thou drede suche jangleres, thy
viage to make, understand wel, that he that dredeth any rayn, to
sowe his cornes, he shal have than [bare] bernes. Also he that       85
is aferd of his clothes, let him daunce naked! Who nothing
undertaketh, and namely in my service, nothing acheveth. After
grete stormes the †weder is often mery and smothe. After
moche clatering, there is mokil rowning. Thus, after jangling
wordes, cometh "huissht! pees! and be stille!"'       90

'O good lady!' quod I than, 'see now how, seven yere passed
[ 24 ]and more, have I graffed and †grobbed a vyne; and with al the
wayes that I coude I sought to a fed me of the grape; but frute
have I non founde. Also I have this seven yere served Laban, to
a wedded Rachel his doughter; but blere-eyed Lya is brought to       95
my bedde, which alway engendreth my tene, and is ful of children
in tribulacion and in care. And although the clippinges and
kissinges of Rachel shulde seme to me swete, yet is she so
barayne that gladnesse ne joye by no way wol springe; so that
I may wepe with Rachel. I may not ben counsayled with solace,       100
sithen issue of myn hertely desyre is fayled. Now than I pray that
to me [come] sone fredom and grace in this eight[eth] yere; this
eighteth mowe to me bothe be kinrest and masseday, after the
seven werkedays of travayle, to folowe the Christen lawe; and,
what ever ye do els, that thilke Margaryte be holden so, lady, in       105
your privy chambre, that she in this case to none other person be

'Loke than,' quod she, 'thou persever in my service, in whiche
I have thee grounded; that thilke scorn in thyn enemyes mowe
this on thy person be not sothed: "lo! this man began to edefye,       110
but, for his foundement is bad, to the ende may he it not bringe."
For mekenesse in countenaunce, with a manly hert in dedes and
in longe continuaunce, is the conisance of my livery to al my
retinue delivered. What wenest thou, that me list avaunce suche
persons as loven the first sittinges at feestes, the highest stoles       115
in churches and in hal, loutinges of peoples in markettes and fayres;
unstedfaste to byde in one place any whyle togider; wening his
owne wit more excellent than other; scorning al maner devyse
but his own? Nay, nay, god wot, these shul nothing parten of
my blisse. Truly, my maner here-toforn hath ben [to] worship[pe]       120
with my blisse lyons in the felde and lambes in chambre;
egles at assaute and maydens in halle; foxes in counsayle, stil[le]
in their dedes; and their proteccioun is graunted, redy to ben
a bridge; and their baner is arered, like wolves in the felde.
Thus, by these wayes, shul men ben avaunced; ensample of       125
David, that from keping of shepe was drawen up in-to the order
of kingly governaunce; and Jupiter, from a bole, to ben Europes
fere; and Julius Cesar, from the lowest degrè in Rome, to be
mayster of al erthly princes; and Eneas from hel, to be king of
[ 25 ]the countrè there Rome is now stonding. And so to thee I say;       130
thy grace, by bering ther-after, may sette thee in suche plight,
that no jangling may greve the leest tucke of thy hemmes; that
[suche] are their †jangles, is nought to counte at a cresse in thy

Ch. V. 1. one. 2. maner; read maneres. purpose. 3. nowe. the. 4. proued. 6. howe. 9. suertie. 15. so; read to. 17. lyueng.

19. I supply al. 20. efte; read ofte. 24. great. 25. holde nowe thy peace. 27. disease. 29. one. I supply don. I supply in. 31. come. abode. 32. lest. 33. nowe. I supply and. 34. I supply is. nowe one. 35. nowe. 36. one. perfyte. 38. nowe. the howe. 42. worlde. 43. one. 44. alwaye put. 45. healed. 47. Nowe. 48. reasons. 51. lawes; read lawe. 52. determinatiōs. 53. I supply founden.

58. reasoun. 59. purueyde. vnderputte. 61. arne. 65. diseases. breaken. 66. mischefe. 68. stretcheth. 69. exployte forthe. 70. nothynge. 71. purpose. 72. the. 73. lette. porte. 75. the. 77. wysdome. 78. fyght. 79. graunt. 80. meanynge. 84. vnderstande. rayne. 85. I supply bare. 86. aferde. 88. great. wether; read weder. 90. huysshte. peace. styl. 91. se nowe howe.

92. groubed. 94. none. 101. Nowe. 102. I supply come. 103. kynrest (sic). 109. skorne. 110. this; read thus? 120. toforne. 121. worship; read worshippe (verb). 122. styl. 123. protection.

130. nowe. the. 131. set the. 132. lest. 133. ianghes; read jangles.


Ever,' quod she, 'hath the people in this worlde desyred
to have had greet name in worthinesse, and hated foule
to bere any [en]fame; and that is oon of the objeccions thou
alegest to be ayen thyne hertely desyre.'

'Ye, forsothe,' quod I; 'and that, so comenly, the people wol       5
lye, and bringe aboute suche enfame.'

'Now,' quod she, 'if men with lesinges putte on thee enfame,
wenest thy-selfe therby ben enpeyred? That wening is wrong;
see why; for as moche as they lyen, thy meryte encreseth, and
make[th] thee ben more worthy, to hem that knowen of the soth;       10
by what thing thou art apeyred, that in so mokil thou art encresed
of thy beloved frendes. And sothly, a wounde of thy frende [is] to
thee lasse harm, ye, sir, and better than a fals kissing in disceyvable
glosing of thyne enemy; above that than, to be wel with thy
frende maketh [voyd] suche enfame. Ergo, thou art encresed       15
and not apeyred.'

'Lady,' quod I, 'somtyme yet, if a man be in disese, th'estimacion
of the envyous people ne loketh nothing to desertes of men,
ne to the merytes of their doinges, but only to the aventure of
fortune; and therafter they yeven their sentence. And some       20
loken the voluntary wil in his herte, and therafter telleth his
jugement; not taking hede to reson ne to the qualitè of the
doing; as thus. If a man be riche and fulfild with worldly
welfulnesse, some commenden it, and sayn it is so lent by juste
cause; and he that hath adversitè, they sayn he is weked; and       25
hath deserved thilke anoy. The contrarye of these thinges some
[ 26 ]men holden also; and sayn that to the riche prosperitè is purvayed
in-to his confusion; and upon this mater many autoritès
of many and greet-witted clerkes they alegen. And some men
sayn, though al good estimacion forsake folk that han adversitè,       30
yet is it meryte and encrees of his blisse; so that these purposes
am so wonderful in understanding, that trewly, for myn adversitè
now, I not how the sentence of the indifferent people wil jugen
my fame.'

'Therfore,' quod she, 'if any wight shulde yeve a trewe sentence       35
on suche maters, the cause of the disese maist thou see
wel. Understand ther-upon after what ende it draweth, that is to
sayne, good or badde; so ought it to have his fame †by goodnesse
or enfame by badnesse. For [of] every resonable person, and
namely of a wyse man, his wit ought not, without reson to-forn       40
herd, sodainly in a mater to juge. After the sawes of the wyse,
"thou shalt not juge ne deme toforn thou knowe."'

'Lady,' quod I, 'ye remembre wel, that in moste laude and
praysing of certayne seyntes in holy churche, is to rehersen their
conuersion from badde in-to good; and that is so rehersed, as       45
by a perpetual mirrour of remembraunce, in worshippinge of
tho sayntes, and good ensample to other misdoers in amendement.
How turned the Romayne Zedeoreys fro the Romaynes,
to be with Hanibal ayenst his kynde nacion; and afterwardes,
him seming the Romayns to be at the next degrè of confusion,       50
turned to his olde alyes; by whose witte after was Hanibal
discomfited. Wherfore, to enfourme you, lady, the maner-why
I mene, see now. In my youth I was drawe to ben assentaunt
and (in my mightes) helping to certain conjuracions and other
grete maters of ruling of citizins; and thilke thinges ben my       55
drawers in; and ex[c]itours to tho maters wern so paynted and
coloured that (at the prime face) me semed them noble and
glorious to al the people. I than, wening mikel meryte have
deserved in furthering and mayntenaunce of tho thinges, besyed
and laboured, with al my diligence, in werkinge of thilke maters       60
to the ende. And trewly, lady, to telle you the sothe, me rought
litel of any hate of the mighty senatours in thilke citè, ne of
[ 27 ]comunes malice; for two skilles. Oon was, I had comfort to ben
in suche plyte, that bothe profit were to me and to my frendes.
Another was, for commen profit in cominaltee is not but pees and       65
tranquilitè, with just governaunce, proceden from thilke profit;
sithen, by counsayle of myne inwitte, me thought the firste painted
thinges malice and yvel meninge, withouten any good avayling to
any people, and of tyrannye purposed. And so, for pure sorowe,
and of my medlinge and badde infame that I was in ronne, tho       70
[the] teres [that] lasshed out of myne eyen were thus awaye
wasshe, than the under-hidde malice and the rancour of purposing
envye, forncast and imagined in distruccion of mokil people,
shewed so openly, that, had I ben blind, with myne hondes al the
circumstaunce I might wel have feled.       75

Now than tho persones that suche thinges have cast to redresse,
for wrathe of my first medlinge, shopen me to dwelle in this pynande
prison, til Lachases my threed no lenger wolde twyne. And
ever I was sought, if me liste to have grace of my lyfe and
frenesse of that prison, I shulde openly confesse how pees might       80
ben enduced to enden al the firste rancours. It was fully
supposed my knowing to be ful in tho maters. Than, lady,
I thought that every man that, by any waye of right, rightfully
don, may helpe any comune †wele to ben saved; whiche thing to
kepe above al thinges I am holde to mayntayne, and namely in       85
distroying of a wrong; al shulde I therthrough enpeche myn
owne fere, if he were gilty and to do misdeed assentaunt. And
mayster ne frend may nought avayle to the soule of him that
in falsnesse deyeth; and also that I nere desyred wrathe of the
people ne indignacion of the worthy, for nothinge that ever I       90
wrought or did, in any doing my-selfe els, but in the mayntenaunce
of these foresayd errours and in hydinge of the privitees therof.
And that al the peoples hertes, holdinge on the errours syde,
weren blinde and of elde so ferforth begyled, that debat and
stryf they maynteyned, and in distruccion on that other syde;       95
by whiche cause the pees, that moste in comunaltee shulde be
desyred, was in poynte to be broken and adnulled. Also the citee
of London, that is to me so dere and swete, in whiche I was forth
[ 28 ]growen; (and more kyndely love have I to that place than to any
other in erthe, as every kyndely creature hath ful appetyte to that       100
place of his kyndly engendrure, and to wilne reste and pees
in that stede to abyde); thilke pees shulde thus there have ben
broken, and of al wyse it is commended and desyred. For knowe
thing it is, al men that desyren to comen to the perfit pees
everlasting must the pees by god commended bothe mayntayne and       105
kepe. This pees by angels voyce was confirmed, our god entringe
in this worlde. This, as for his Testament, he lefte to al his
frendes, whanne he retourned to the place from whence he cam;
this his apostel amonesteth to holden, without whiche man perfitly
may have non insight. Also this god, by his coming, made not       110
pees alone betwene hevenly and erthly bodyes, but also amonge
us on erthe so he pees confirmed, that in one heed of love oon
body we shulde perfourme. Also I remembre me wel how the
name of Athenes was rather after the god of pees than of batayle,
shewinge that pees moste is necessarie to comunaltees and citees.       115
I than, so styred by al these wayes toforn nempned, declared
certayne poyntes in this wyse. Firste, that thilke persones
that hadden me drawen to their purposes, and me not weting the
privy entent of their meninge, drawen also the feeble-witted
people, that have non insight of gubernatif prudence, to clamure       120
and to crye on maters that they styred; and under poyntes for
comune avauntage they enbolded the passif to take in the
actives doinge; and also styred innocentes of conning to crye
after thinges, whiche (quod they) may not stande but we ben
executours of tho maters, and auctoritè of execucion by comen       125
eleccion to us be delivered. And that muste entre by strength of
your mayntenaunce. For we out of suche degree put, oppression
of these olde hindrers shal agayn surmounten, and putten you in
such subjeccion, that in endelesse wo ye shul complayne.

The governementes (quod they) of your citè, lefte in the handes       130
of torcencious citezins, shal bringe in pestilence and distruccion
to you, good men; and therfore let us have the comune administracion
to abate suche yvels. Also (quod they) it is worthy
the good to commende, and the gilty desertes to chastice. There
ben citezens many, for-ferde of execucion that shal be doon; for       135
[ 29 ]extorcions by hem committed ben evermore ayenst these purposes
and al other good mevinges. Never-the-latter, lady, trewly the
meninge under these wordes was, fully to have apeched the
mighty senatoures, whiche hadden hevy herte for the misgovernaunce
that they seen. And so, lady, whan it fel that free       140
eleccion [was mad], by greet clamour of moche people, [that] for
greet disese of misgovernaunce so fervently stoden in her eleccion
that they hem submitted to every maner †fate rather than have
suffred the maner and the rule of the hated governours;
notwithstandinge that in the contrary helden moche comune meyny,       145
that have no consideracion but only to voluntary lustes withouten
reson. But than thilke governour so forsaken, fayninge to-forn
his undoinge for misrule in his tyme, shoop to have letted thilke
eleccion, and have made a newe, him-selfe to have ben chosen;
and under that, mokil rore [to] have arered. These thinges, lady,       150
knowen among the princes, and made open to the people,
draweth in amendement, that every degree shal ben ordayned to
stande there-as he shulde; and that of errours coming herafter
men may lightly to-forn-hand purvaye remedye; in this wyse pees
and rest to be furthered and holde. Of the whiche thinges, lady,       155
thilke persones broughten in answere to-forn their moste soverayne
juge, not coarted by payninge dures, openly knowlegeden, and
asked therof grace; so that apertly it preveth my wordes ben
sothe, without forginge of lesinges.

But now it greveth me to remembre these dyvers sentences, in       160
janglinge of these shepy people; certes, me thinketh, they oughten
to maken joye that a sothe may be knowe. For my trouthe and
my conscience ben witnesse to me bothe, that this (knowinge
sothe) have I sayd, for no harme ne malice of tho persones, but
only for trouthe of my sacrament in my ligeaunce, by whiche       165
I was charged on my kinges behalfe. But see ye not now, lady,
how the felonous thoughtes of this people and covins of wicked
men conspyren ayen my sothfast trouth! See ye not every wight
that to these erroneous opinions were assentaunt, and helpes to
the noyse, and knewen al these thinges better than I my-selven,       170
apparaylen to fynden newe frendes, and clepen me fals, and
[ 30 ]studyen how they mowen in her mouthes werse plyte nempne?
O god, what may this be, that thilke folk whiche that in tyme of
my mayntenaunce, and whan my might avayled to strecche to
the forsayd maters, tho me commended, and yave me name of       175
trouth, in so manyfolde maners that it was nyghe in every
wightes eere, there-as any of thilke people weren; and on the
other syde, thilke company somtyme passed, yevinge me name
of badde loos: now bothe tho peoples turned the good in-to
badde, and badde in-to good? Whiche thing is wonder, that       180
they knowing me saying but sothe, arn now tempted to reply her
olde praysinges; and knowen me wel in al doinges to ben trewe,
and sayn openly that I false have sayd many thinges! And they
aleged nothing me to ben false or untrewe, save thilke mater
knowleged by the parties hem-selfe; and god wot, other mater       185
is non. Ye also, lady, knowe these thinges for trewe; I avaunte
not in praysing of my-selfe; therby shulde I lese the precious
secrè of my conscience. But ye see wel that false opinion of the
people for my trouthe, in telling out of false conspyred maters;
and after the jugement of these clerkes, I shulde not hyde the       190
sothe of no maner person, mayster ne other. Wherfore I wolde
not drede, were it put in the consideracion of trewe and of wyse.
And for comers hereafter shullen fully, out of denwere, al the
sothe knowe of these thinges in acte, but as they wern, I have
put it in scripture, in perpetuel remembraunce of true meninge.       195
For trewly, lady, me semeth that I ought to bere the name of
trouthe, that for the love of rightwysnesse have thus me †submitted.
But now than the false fame, which that (clerkes sayn)
flyeth as faste as doth the fame of trouthe, shal so wyde sprede
til it be brought to the jewel that I of mene; and so shal I ben       200
hindred, withouten any mesure of trouthe.'

Ch. VI. 2. great. beare. 3. read enfame; see l. 6. one. obiections. 7. Nowe. leasynges put on the. 8. wronge. 9. se. encreaseth. 10. the. 11. arte encreased. 12. I supply is. 13. the. harme. false. 15. I supply voyd. arte. 17. disease. 22. reason. 23. fulfylde. 24. sayne. lente. 25. sayne. weaked; read wikked? 26. anoye.

27. sayne. 29. great. 30. forsaken; read forsake. 31. encrease. 32. arne. 33. nowe. howe. 36. disease. se. 37. vnderstande. 38. fame or by goodnesse enfame; read fame by goodnesse or enfame. 39. Supply of. reasonable. 40. wytte. reason to-forne. 41. herde. 42. toforne. 45. conuercion. 48. Howe. zedeoreys or ȝedeoreys. 53. meane se nowe. 55. great. 56. exitours. werne. 61. tel.

63. One. comforte. 64. profyte. 65. profyte. comynaltie. peace. 66. profyte. 68. meanynge. 71. I supply the and that. 72. rancoure. 73. fornecaste. distruction. 74. blynde. 76. Nowe. caste. 77. dwel. 78. threde. 80. howe peace. 81. endused. 84. done. maye. helpe (repeated after comen); read wele. thynge. 86. distroyeng. 87. misdede. 88. frende maye. 94. -forthe. debate. 95. stryfe. distruction. 96. peace. comunaltie. 97. cytie. 98. forthe.

101-6. peace (five times). 104. thynge. perfyte. 107. left. 108. came. 109. perfytely. 110. none. 111-2. peace (twice). 112. one (twice). 113. howe. 114-5. peace (twice). 115. comunalties and cytes. 116. toforne. 119. meanynge. feoble. 120. none. gubernatyfe. 122. passyfe. 126. election. 128. agayne. 129. subiection. 131. distruction. 135. doone.

138. meanynge. 139. heauy. 141. election. Supply was mad. great (twice). Supply that. 142. disease. election. 143. face; read fate. 146. onely. 147. reason. to-forne. 148. shope. 149. electyon. 151. amonge. 154. to forne hande. peace. 156. to forne. 158. apertely. 159. leasynges. 160. nowe. 162. maye. 164. sayde. 165. onely. leigeaunce. 166. se. nowe. 168. Se. 171. cleapen. false.

172. howe. 173. maye. folke. 174. stretch. 179. Nowe. 181. knowyuge (sic). sayng. arne nowe. 183. sayne. 184. nothynge. 185. wote. 186. none. 188. se. 194. werne. 195. meanynge. 196. beare. 197. submytten (!). 198. nowe. sayne. 199. dothe. 200. meane. 201. measure.

[ 31 ]


Than gan Love sadly me beholde, and sayd in a changed
voyce, lower than she had spoken in any tyme: 'Fayn
wolde I,' quod she, 'that thou were holpen; but hast thou sayd
any-thing whiche thou might not proven?'

'Pardè,' quod I, 'the persones, every thing as I have sayd, han       5
knowleged hem-selfe.'

'Ye,' quod she, 'but what if they hadden nayed? How
woldest thou have maynteyned it?'

'Sothely,' quod I, 'it is wel wist, bothe amonges the greetest
and other of the realme, that I profered my body so largely in-to       10
provinge of tho thinges, that Mars shulde have juged the ende;
but, for sothnesse of my wordes, they durste not to thilke juge

'Now, certes,' quod she, 'above al fames in this worlde, the
name of marcial doinges most plesen to ladyes of my lore; but       15
sithen thou were redy, and thyne adversaryes in thy presence
refused thilke doing; thy fame ought to be so born as if in dede
it had take to the ende. And therfore every wight that any
droppe of reson hath, and hereth of thee infame for these thinges,
hath this answere to saye: "trewly thou saydest; for thyne       20
adversaryes thy wordes affirmed." And if thou haddest lyed, yet
are they discomfited, the prise leved on thy syde; so that fame
shal holde down infame; he shal bringe [it in] upon none
halfe. What greveth thee thyne enemye[s] to sayn their owne
shame, as thus: "we arn discomfited, and yet our quarel is       25
trewe?" Shal not the loos of thy frendes ayenward dequace thilke
enfame, and saye they graunted a sothe without a stroke or fighting?
Many men in batayle ben discomfited and overcome in
a rightful quarel, that is goddes privy jugement in heven; but
yet, although the party be yolden, he may with wordes saye his       30
quarel is trewe, and to yelde him, in the contrarye, for drede of
dethe he is compelled; and he that graunteth and no stroke hath
feled, he may not crepe away in this wyse by none excusacion.
[ 32 ]Indifferent folk wil say: "ye, who is trewe, who is fals, him-selfe
knowlegeth tho thinges." Thus in every syde fame sheweth to       35
thee good and no badde.'

'But yet,' quod I, 'some wil say, I ne shulde, for no dethe,
have discovered my maistresse; and so by unkyndnesse they
wol knette infame, to pursue me aboute. Thus enemyes of wil,
in manyfolde maner, wol seche privy serpentynes queintyses, to       40
quenche and distroye, by venim of many besinesses, the light of
tr[o]uthe; to make hertes to murmure ayenst my persone, to have
me in hayne withouten any cause.'

'Now,' quod she, 'here me a fewe wordes, and thou shalt fully
ben answered, I trowe. Me thinketh (quod she) right now, by       45
thy wordes, that sacrament of swering, that is to say, charging by
othe, was oon of the causes to make thee discover the malicious
imaginacions tofore nempned. Every ooth, by knittinge of copulation,
muste have these lawes, that is, trewe jugement and rightwysenesse;
in whiche thinge if any of these lacke, the ooth is       50
y-tourned in-to the name of perjury. Than to make a trewe
serment, most nedes these thinges folowe. For ofte tymes, a man
to saye sothe, but jugement and justice folowe, he is forsworn;
ensample of Herodes, for holdinge of his serment was [he]
dampned.       55

Also, to saye tr[o]uthe rightfulliche (but in jugement) otherwhile
is forboden, by that al sothes be nat to sayne. Therfore in
jugement, in tr[o]uthe, and rightwisenesse, is every creature
bounden, up payne of perjury, ful knowing to make, tho[ugh] it
were of his owne persone, for drede of sinne; after that worde,       60
"better is it to dey than live false." And, al wolde perverted people
fals report make in unkyndnesse, in that entent thy [en]fame to
reyse, whan light of tr[o]uthe in these maters is forth sprongen
and openly publisshed among commens, than shal nat suche
derke enfame dare appere, for pure shame of his falsnesse. As some       65
men ther ben that their owne enfame can none otherwyse voide
or els excuse, but †by hindringe of other mennes fame; which
that by non other cause clepen other men false, but for [that]
with their owne falsnesse mowen they nat ben avaunsed; or els
by false sklaund[r]inge wordes other men shenden, their owne       70
[ 33 ]trewe sklaunder to make seme the lasse. For if such men wolden
their eyen of their conscience revolven, [they] shulden seen the
same sentence they legen on other springe out of their sydes, with
so many braunches, it were impossible to nombre. To whiche
therefore may it be sayd in that thinge, "this man thou demest,       75
therein thy-selfe thou condempnest."

But (quod she) understand nat by these wordes, that thou
wene me saye thee to be worthy sclaunder, for any mater tofore
written; truely I wolde witnesse the contrary; but I saye that
the bemes of sclaundring wordes may not be don awaye til the       80
daye of dome. For how shulde it nat yet, amonges so greet
plentee of people, ben many shrewes, sithen whan no mo but
eight persons in Noes shippe were closed, yet oon was a shrewe
and skorned his father? These thinges (quod she) I trowe, shewen
that fals fame is nat to drede, ne of wyse persons to accepte, and       85
namely nat of thy Margarite, whose wysdom here-after I thinke to
declare; wherfore I wot wel suche thing shal nat her asterte;
than of unkyndnesse thyn ooth hath thee excused at the fulle.
But now, if thou woldest nat greve, me list a fewe thinges to
shewe.'       90

'Say on,' quod I, 'what ye wol; I trowe ye mene but trouthe
and my profit in tyme cominge.'

'Trewly,' quod she, 'that is sothe, so thou con wel kepe these
wordes, and in the in[ne]rest secrè chambre of thyne herte so
faste hem close that they never flitte; than shalt thou fynde hem       95
avayling. Loke now what people hast thou served; whiche of
hem al in tyme of thyne exile ever thee refresshed, by the valewe
of the leste coyned plate that walketh in money? Who was sory,
or made any rewth for thy disese? If they hadden getten their
purpose, of thy misaventure sette they nat an hawe. Lo, whan       100
thou were emprisonned, how faste they hyed in helpe of thy
deliveraunce! I wene of thy dethe they yeve but lyte. They
loked after no-thing but after their owne lustes. And if thou liste
say the sothe, al that meyny that in this †brige thee broughten,
lokeden rather after thyne helpes than thee to have releved.       105

Owen nat yet some of hem money for his commens? Paydest
[ 34 ]nat thou for some of her dispences, til they were tourned out of
Selande? Who yave thee ever ought for any rydinge thou madest?
Yet, pardè, some of hem token money for thy chambre, and
putte tho pens in his purse, unwetinge of the renter.       110

Lo for which a company thou medlest, that neither thee ne
them-selfe mighten helpe of unkyndnesse; now they bere the
name that thou supposest of hem for to have. What might thou
more have don than thou diddest, but-if thou woldest in a fals
quarel have been a stinkinge martyr? I wene thou fleddest, as       115
longe as thou might, their privitè to counsayle; which thing thou
hele[de]st lenger than thou shuldest. And thilke that ought thee
money no penny wolde paye; they wende thy returne hadde ben
an impossible. How might thou better have hem proved, but thus
in thy nedy diseses? Now hast thou ensaumple for whom thou       120
shalt meddle; trewly, this lore is worth many goodes.'

Ch. VII. 2. Fayne. 3. haste. 4. -thynge. 7. Yea. Howe. 9. wyste. amongest. greatest. 14. Nowe. 15. moste pleasen. 17. borne. 19. reason. the. 22. leaued. 23. Supply it in. 24. the. enemye (sic). sayne. 25. arne. 30. partie. 33. maye.

34. folke. false. 36. the. 44. Nowe. shalte. 45. answerde. nowe. 46. swearyng. 47. one. the. 48. othe. copulation. 50. othe. 53. forsworne. 54. Supply he. 61. false. 62. reporte. 63. forthe. 67. be; for by. 68. cleapen. Supply that. 70. sklaundynge. shendyn.

72. I supply they. sene. 73. legen [for aleggen]. 75. maye. 77. vnderstande. 78. the. 80. beames. done. 81. howe. great. 82. plentie. 83. one. 85. false. 86. wysedom. 87. wotte. thynge. 88. thyne othe. the. 89. nowe. 91. meane. 92. profyte. 94. inrest. 95. shalte. 96. nowe. haste. 97. the. 98. sorye. 99. disease. 101. howe. 103. -thynge. 104. brigge; read brige. 104, 105. the.

108. the. 109. pardye. 111. the. 112. now. beare. 114. done. false. 117. helest; read heledest. the. 119. Howe. 120. diseases. Nowe haste. 121. shalte. worthe.


†Eft gan Love to †steren me [with] these wordes: 'thinke
on my speche; for trewly here-after it wol do thee lykinge;
and how-so-ever thou see Fortune shape her wheele to tourne,
this meditacion [shal] by no waye revolve. For certes, Fortune
sheweth her fayrest, whan she thinketh to begyle. And as me       5
thought, here-toforn thou saydest, thy loos in love, for thy
rightwysenesse ought to be raysed, shulde be a-lowed in tyme cominge.
Thou might in love so thee have, that loos and fame shul so ben
raysed, that to thy frendes comfort, and sorowe to thyne enemys,
endlesse shul endure.       10

But if thou were the oon sheep, amonges the hundred, were lost
in deserte and out of the way hadde erred, and now to the flocke
art restoored, the shepherd hath in thee no joye and thou ayen
to the forrest tourne. But that right as the sorowe and anguisshe
was greet in tyme of thyne out-waye goinge, right so       15
joye and gladnesse shal be doubled to sene thee converted; and
[ 35 ]nat as Lothes wyf ayen-lokinge, but [in] hool counsayle with the
shepe folowinge, and with them grasse and herbes gadre. Never-the-later
(quod she) I saye nat these thinges for no wantrust that
I have in supposinge of thee otherwyse than I shulde. For       20
trewly, I wot wel that now thou art set in suche a purpose, out of
whiche thee liste nat to parte. But I saye it for many men there
been, that to knowinge of other mennes doinges setten al their
cure, and lightly desyren the badde to clatter rather than the
good, and have no wil their owne maner to amende. They also       25
hate of olde rancours lightly haven; and there that suche thing
abydeth, sodaynly in their mouthes procedeth the habundaunce
of the herte, and wordes as stones out-throwe. Wherfore my
counsayl is ever-more openly and apertly, in what place thou sitte,
counterplete th'errours and meninges in as fer as thou hem       30
wistest false, and leve for no wight to make hem be knowe in
every bodyes ere; and be alway pacient and use Jacobes wordes,
what-so-ever men of thee clappen: "I shal sustayne my ladyes
wrathe which I have deserved, so longe as my Margarite hath
rightwysed my cause." And certes (quod she) I witnesse my-selfe,       35
if thou, thus converted, sorowest in good meninge in thyne herte,
[and] wolt from al vanitè parfitly departe, in consolacioun of al
good plesaunce of that Margaryte, whiche that thou desyrest after
wil of thyn herte, in a maner of a †moders pitè, [she] shul fully
accepte thee in-to grace. For right as thou rentest clothes in       40
open sighte, so openly to sowe hem at his worshippe withouten
reprofe [is] commended. Also, right as thou were ensample of
moche-folde errour, right so thou must be ensample of manyfolde
correccioun; so good savour to forgoing †of errour causeth diligent
love, with many playted praisinges to folowe; and than shal al       45
the firste errours make the folowinge worshippes to seme hugely
encresed. Blacke and white, set togider, every for other more
semeth; and so doth every thinges contrary in kynde. But
infame, that goth alwaye tofore, and praysinge worship by any
cause folowinge after, maketh to ryse the ilke honour in double       50
of welth; and that quencheth the spotte of the first enfame. Why
[ 36 ]wenest, I saye, these thinges in hindringe of thy name? Nay,
nay, god wot, but for pure encresing worship, thy rightwysenesse to
commende, and thy trouthe to seme the more. Wost nat wel
thy-selfe, that thou in fourme of making †passest nat Adam that eet       55
of the apple? Thou †passest nat the stedfastnesse of Noe, that
eetinge of the grape becom dronke. Thou passest nat the
chastitè of Lothe, that lay by his doughter; eke the nobley of
Abraham, whom god reproved by his pryde; also Davides
mekenesse, whiche for a woman made Urye be slawe. What?       60
also Hector of Troye, in whom no defaute might be founde, yet
is he reproved that he ne hadde with manhode nat suffred the
warre begonne, ne Paris to have went in-to Grece, by whom gan
al the sorowe. For trewly, him lacketh no venim of privè
consenting, whiche that openly leveth a wrong to withsaye.       65

Lo eke an olde proverbe amonges many other: "He that is
stille semeth as he graunted."

Now by these ensamples thou might fully understonde, that
these thinges ben writte to your lerning, and in rightwysenesse of
tho persones, as thus: To every wight his defaute committed       70
made goodnesse afterwardes don be the more in reverence and in
open shewing; for ensample, is it nat songe in holy churche,
"Lo, how necessary was Adams synne!" David the king gat
Salomon the king of her that was Uryes wyf. Truly, for reprofe
is non of these thinges writte. Right so, tho I reherce thy       75
before-dede, I repreve thee never the more; ne for no villany of
thee are they rehersed, but for worshippe, so thou continewe wel
here-after: and for profit of thy-selfe I rede thou on hem thinke.'

Than sayde I right thus: 'Lady of unitè and accorde, envy
and wrathe lurken there thou comest in place; ye weten wel       80
your-selve, and so don many other, that whyle I administred the
office of commen doinge, as in rulinge of the stablisshmentes
amonges the people, I defouled never my conscience for no
maner dede; but ever, by witte and by counsayle of the wysest,
the maters weren drawen to their right endes. And thus trewly       85
for you, lady, I have desyred suche cure; and certes, in your
service was I nat ydel, as fer as suche doinge of my cure
[ 37 ]
'That is a thing,' quod she, 'that may drawe many hertes of
noble, and voice of commune in-to glory; and fame is nat but       90
wrecched and fickle. Alas! that mankynde coveyteth in so leude
a wyse to be rewarded of any good dede, sithe glorie of fame, in
this worlde, is nat but hindringe of glorie in tyme comminge!
And certes (quod she) yet at the hardest suche fame, in-to heven,
is nat the erthe but a centre to the cercle of heven? A pricke is       95
wonder litel in respect of al the cercle; and yet, in al this pricke,
may no name be born, in maner of peersing, for many obstacles,
as waters, and wildernesse, and straunge langages. And nat only
names of men ben stilled and holden out of knowleginge by these
obstacles, but also citees and realmes of prosperitè ben letted to       100
be knowe, and their reson hindred; so that they mowe nat ben
parfitly in mennes propre understandinge. How shulde than the
name of a singuler Londenoys passe the glorious name of London,
whiche by many it is commended, and by many it is lacked, and
in many mo places in erthe nat knowen than knowen? For in       105
many countrees litel is London in knowing or in spech; and yet
among oon maner of people may nat such fame in goodnes
come; for as many as praysen, commenly as many lacken. Fy
than on such maner fame! Slepe, and suffre him that knoweth
previtè of hertes to dele suche fame in thilke place there nothing       110
ayenst a sothe shal neither speke ne dare apere, by attourney
ne by other maner. How many greet-named, and many greet
in worthinesse losed, han be tofore this tyme, that now out
of memorie are slidden, and clenely forgeten, for defaute of
wrytinges! And yet scriptures for greet elde so ben defased, that       115
no perpetualtè may in hem ben juged. But if thou wolt make
comparisoun to ever, what joye mayst thou have in erthly name?
It is a fayr lykenesse, a pees or oon grayn of whete, to a thousand
shippes ful of corne charged! What nombre is betwene the
oon and th'other? And yet mowe bothe they be nombred, and       120
ende in rekening have. But trewly, al that may be nombred is
nothing to recken, as to thilke that may nat be nombred. For
†of the thinges ended is mad comparison; as, oon litel, another
greet; but in thinges to have an ende, and another no ende,
suche comparisoun may nat be founden. Wherfore in heven to       125
[ 38 ]ben losed with god hath non ende, but endlesse endureth; and
thou canst nothing don aright, but thou desyre the rumour therof
be heled and in every wightes ere; and that dureth but a pricke
in respecte of the other. And so thou sekest reward of folkes
smale wordes, and of vayne praysinges. Trewly, therin thou       130
lesest the guerdon of vertue; and lesest the grettest valour of
conscience, and uphap thy renomè everlasting. Therfore boldely
renomè of fame of the erthe shulde be hated, and fame after deth
shulde be desyred of werkes of vertue. [Trewly, vertue] asketh
guerdoning, and the soule causeth al vertue. Than the soule,       135
delivered out of prison of erthe, is most worthy suche guerdon
among to have in the everlastinge fame; and nat the body, that
causeth al mannes yvels.

Ch. VIII. 1. Ofte; read Eft. sterne; read steren. I supply with. 2. the. 3. howe. se. 4. meditation. I supply shal. 6. toforne. 8. the. 9. comforte. 11. one shepe. 12. loste. nowe. 13. arte. shepeherd. the. 15. great. 16. the.

17. wyfe. I supply in. hoole. 20. the. 21. wotte. nowe. arte sette. 22. the. 23. bene. 26. thynge. 28. stones repeated in Th. 29. counsayle. apertely. 30. therrours. meanynges. ferre. 31. wystyst. leaue. 32. eare. 33. menne. the. 36. meanynge. 37. I supply and. wolte. parfytely. 37. consolatyoun. 38. pleasaunce. 39. hert. mothers; read moders. I supply she. 40. the. 42. I supply is. 44. correctioun. al; read of. After errour I omit distroyeng (gloss upon forgoing). 47. encreased. sette. 48. dothe. 49. gothe. worshippe.

52. wenyste. Naye nay god wotte. 53. encreasyng. 55-7. passeth (twice); passyst (third time). ete. 57. eatynge. become. 61. whome. 63. begon. ganne. 65. leaueth. wronge. withsay. 68. Nowe. 71. done. 72. song. 73. howe. gate. 74. wyfe. 75. none. 76-7. the (twice). 78. profyte. 81. done. 87. ferre. 88. stretcheth.

91. wretched. 96. respecte. 97. borne. 98. onely. 101. reason. 102. parfitely. Howe. 107. one. 108. Fye. 110. nothynge. 112. Howe. great (twice). 113. nowe. 115. great. 116. maye. wolte. 118. fayre. one grayne of wheate. thousande. 120. one. thother. 121-2. maye. 123. ofte; read of the. made. one. 124. great.

126. none. 127. canste nothynge done. rumoure. 128. healed; read deled? eare. 129. rewarde. 131. valoure. consyence. 134. Supply Trewly, vertue. 136. prisone. guerdone.


Of twey thinges art thou answered, as me thinketh (quod
Love); and if any thing be in doute in thy soule, shewe
it forth, thyn ignoraunce to clere, and leve it for no shame.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'there is no body in this worlde, that aught
coude saye by reson ayenst any of your skilles, as I leve; and by       5
my witte now fele I wel, that yvel-spekers or berers of enfame
may litel greve or lette my purpos, but rather by suche thinge my
quarel to be forthered.'

'Ye,' quod she,'and it is proved also, that the ilke jewel in
my kepinge shal nat there-thorow be stered, of the lest moment       10
that might be imagined.'

'That is soth,' quod I.

'Wel,' quod she, 'than †leveth there, to declare that thy
insuffisance is no maner letting, as thus: for that she is so worthy,
thou shuldest not clymbe so highe; for thy moebles and thyn       15
estate arn voyded, thou thinkest [thee] fallen in suche miserie,
that gladnesse of thy pursute wol nat on thee discende.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'that is sothe; right suche thought is in myn
herte; for commenly it is spoken, and for an olde proverbe it is
[ 39 ]leged: "He that heweth to hye, with chippes he may lese       20
his sight." Wherfore I have ben about, in al that ever I might,
to studye wayes of remedye by one syde or by another.'

'Now,' quod she, 'god forbede †that thou seke any other
doinges but suche as I have lerned thee in our restinge-whyles,
and suche herbes as ben planted in oure gardins. Thou shalt       25
wel understande that above man is but oon god alone.'

'How,' quod I, 'han men to-forn this tyme trusted in writtes
and chauntements, and in helpes of spirites that dwellen in the
ayre, and therby they han getten their desyres, where-as first, for
al his manly power, he daunced behynde?'       30

'O,' quod she, 'fy on suche maters! For trewly, that is
sacrilege; and that shal have no sort with any of my servauntes;
in myne eyen shal suche thing nat be loked after. How often is
it commaunded by these passed wyse, that "to one god shal men
serve, and not to goddes?" And who that liste to have myne       35
helpes, shal aske none helpe of foule spirites. Alas! is nat man
maked semblable to god? Wost thou nat wel, that al vertue of
lyvelich werkinge, by goddes purveyaunce, is underput to resonable
creature in erthe? Is nat every thing, a this halfe god, mad
buxom to mannes contemplation, understandinge in heven and       40
in erthe and in helle? Hath not man beinge with stones, soule of
wexing with trees and herbes? Hath he nat soule of felinge, with
beestes, fisshes, and foules? And he hath soule of reson and
understanding with aungels; so that in him is knit al maner
of lyvinges by a resonable proporcioun. Also man is mad of       45
al the foure elementes. Al universitee is rekened in him alone;
he hath, under god, principalitè above al thinges. Now is his
soule here, now a thousand myle hence; now fer, now nygh;
now hye, now lowe; as fer in a moment as in mountenaunce of
ten winter; and al this is in mannes governaunce and disposicion.       50
Than sheweth it that men ben liche unto goddes, and children of
moost heyght. But now, sithen al thinges [arn] underput to the
wil of resonable creatures, god forbede any man to winne that
lordship, and aske helpe of any-thing lower than him-selfe; and than,
namely, of foule thinges innominable. Now than, why shuldest       55
[ 40 ]thou wene to love to highe, sithen nothing is thee above but god
alone? Trewly, I wot wel that thilke jewel is in a maner even in
lyne of degree there thou art thy-selfe, and nought above, save
thus: aungel upon angel, man upon man, and devil upon devil
han a maner of soveraigntee; and that shal cese at the daye       60
of dome. And so I say: though thou be put to serve the
ilke jewel duringe thy lyfe, yet is that no servage of
underputtinge, but a maner of travayling plesaunce, to conquere and
gette that thou hast not. I sette now the hardest: in my service
now thou deydest, for sorowe of wantinge in thy desyres; trewly,       65
al hevenly bodyes with one voyce shul come and make melody in
thy cominge, and saye—"Welcome, our fere, and worthy to entre
into Jupiters joye! For thou with might hast overcome deth;
thou woldest never flitte out of thy service; and we al shul
now praye to the goddes, rowe by rowe, to make thilk Margarite,       70
that no routh had in this persone, but unkyndely without comfort
let thee deye, shal besette her-selfe in suche wyse, that in erthe,
for parte of vengeaunce, shal she no joye have in loves service;
and whan she is deed, than shal her soule ben brought up in-to
thy presence; and whider thou wilt chese, thilke soule shal ben       75
committed." Or els, after thy deth, anon al the foresayd hevenly
bodyes, by one accorde, shal †benimen from thilke perle al the
vertues that firste her were taken; for she hath hem forfeyted
by that on thee, my servaunt, in thy lyve, she wolde not suffre
to worche al vertues, withdrawen by might of the hygh bodyes.       80
Why than shuldest thou wene so any more? And if thee liste
to loke upon the lawe of kynde, and with order whiche to me
was ordayned, sothely, non age, non overtourninge tyme but
†hiderto had no tyme ne power to chaunge the wedding, ne
the knotte to unbynde of two hertes [that] thorow oon assent, in       85
my presence, †togider accorden to enduren til deth hem departe.
What? trowest thou, every ideot wot the meninge and the privy
entent of these thinges? They wene, forsothe, that suche accord
may not be, but the rose of maydenhede be plucked. Do way,
do way; they knowe nothing of this. For consent of two hertes       90
[ 41 ]alone maketh the fasteninge of the knotte; neither lawe of kynde
ne mannes lawe determineth neither the age ne the qualitè of
persones, but only accord bitwene thilke twaye. And trewly,
after tyme that suche accord, by their consent in hert, is enseled,
and put in my tresorye amonges my privy thinges, than ginneth       95
the name of spousayle; and although they breken forward bothe,
yet suche mater enseled is kept in remembrance for ever. And
see now that spouses have the name anon after accord, though
the rose be not take. The aungel bad Joseph take Marye his
spouse, and to Egypte wende. Lo! she was cleped "spouse,"       100
and yet, toforn ne after, neither of hem bothe mente no flesshly
lust knowe. Wherfore the wordes of trouthe acorden that my
servauntes shulden forsake bothe †fader and moder, and be adherand
to his spouse; and they two in unitè of one flesshe
shulden accorde. And this wyse, two that wern firste in a litel       105
maner discordaunt, hygher that oon and lower that other, ben
mad evenliche in gree to stonde. But now to enfourme thee
that ye ben liche to goddes, these clerkes sayn, and in determinacion
shewen, that "three thinges haven [by] the names
of goddes ben cleped; that is to sayn: man, divel, and images";       110
but yet is there but oon god, of whom al goodnesse, al grace, and
al vertue cometh; and he †is loving and trewe, and everlasting,
and pryme cause of al being thinges. But men ben goddes
lovinge and trewe, but not everlasting; and that is by adopcioun
of the everlastinge god. Divels ben goddes, stirringe by       115
a maner of lyving; but neither ben they trewe ne everlastinge;
and their name of godliheed th[e]y han by usurpacion, as the
prophete sayth: "Al goddes of gentyles (that is to say, paynims)
are divels." But images ben goddes by nuncupacion; and they
ben neither livinge ne trewe, ne everlastinge. After these wordes       120
they clepen "goddes" images wrought with mennes handes.
But now [art thou a] resonable creature, that by adopcion alone
art to the grete god everlastinge, and therby thou art "god"
cleped: let thy †faders maners so entre thy wittes that thou might
folowe, in-as-moche as longeth to thee, thy †faders worship, so       125
[ 42 ]that in nothinge thy kynde from his wil declyne, ne from his
nobley perverte. In this wyse if thou werche, thou art above
al other thinges save god alone; and so say no more "thyn herte
to serve in to hye a place."

Ch. IX. 1. arte. 2. thynge. 3. thyne. leaue. 5. reason. 6. nowe. bearers. 7. purpose. 9. Yea. 10. -thorowe. steered. 13. leneth; read leueth. 15. thyne. 16. arne. I supply thee. 17. the. 18. myne hert.

20. maye. 23. Nowe. are; read that. 24. the. 25. shalte. 26. one. 27. Howe. to forne. 31. fye. 38. vnderputte. 39. thynge. made. 40. buxome. 41. manne. 43. reason. 44. knytte. 45. lyuenges. reasonable. made. 47. Nowe. 48. nowe. nowe ferre nowe. thousande. 49. nowe (twice). ferre. momente. 50. tenne. disposytion. 52. nowe. I supply arn. vnderputte. 53. reasonable. 54. lordshippe. thynge.

56. nothynge. the. 57. wote. euyn. 58. arte. 59. manne (twice). 60. soueraygntie. cease. 61. thoughe putte. 64. haste. 64-5. nowe. 68. haste. dethe. 70. nowe pray. 71. For in read on? comforte. 72. lette the. 75. wylte. 76. dethe anone. 77. benommen; read benimen. 79. the. 81. the. 83. none (twice). 84. hytherto. 85. Supply that. thorowe one. 86. togyther. dethe. 87. ydeot wotte. 88. accorde. 89. waye (twice). 90. consente.

93. onely. 93-4. accorde. 94. ensealed. 96. breaken forwarde. 97. ensealed. kepte. 98. se nowe. accorde. 99. bade. 101. toforne. 102. luste. 103. father and mother; rather, fader and moder. adherande. 105. werne. 106. one. 107. made. nowe. the. 108. sayne. 109. thre. I supply by. 110. cleaped. 111. one. 112. his; read is. 116. lyueng. 117. thy; read they. 118. saythe. 121. cleapen. 122. nowe. I supply art thou a. reasonable. 123. arte (twice). great. 124. lette. 124-5. fathers; read faders. 125. the. worshyppe.

127. arte.


Fully have I now declared thyn estate to be good, so thou
folow therafter, and that the †objeccion first †by thee
aleged, in worthinesse of thy Margaryte, shal not thee lette, as
it shal forther thee, and encrese thee. It is now to declare, the
last objeccion in nothing may greve.'       5

'Yes, certes,' quod I, 'bothe greve and lette muste it nedes;
the contrarye may not ben proved; and see now why. Whyle
I was glorious in worldly welfulnesse, and had suche goodes in
welth as maken men riche, tho was I drawe in-to companyes
that loos, prise, and name yeven. Tho louteden blasours; tho       10
curreyden glosours; tho welcomeden flatterers; tho worshipped
thilke that now deynen nat to loke. Every wight, in such erthly
wele habundant, is holde noble, precious, benigne, and wyse to
do what he shal, in any degree that men him sette; al-be-it that
the sothe be in the contrarye of al tho thinges. But he that can       15
never so wel him behave, and hath vertue habundaunt in manyfolde
maners, and be nat welthed with suche erthly goodes, is holde
for a foole, and sayd, his wit is but sotted. Lo! how fals for
aver is holde trewe! Lo! how trewe is cleped fals for wanting
of goodes! Also, lady, dignitees of office maken men mikel       20
comended, as thus: "he is so good, were he out, his pere shulde
men not fynde." Trewly, I trowe of some suche that are so
praysed, were they out ones, another shulde make him so be
knowe, he shulde of no wyse no more ben loked after: but only
fooles, wel I wot, desyren suche newe thinges. Wherfore I wonder       25
that thilke governour, out of whom alone the causes proceden
that governen al thinges, whiche that hath ordeyned this world
in workes of the kyndely bodyes so be governed, not with
[ 43 ]unstedfast or happyous thing, but with rules of reson, whiche
shewen the course of certayne thinges: why suffreth he suche       30
slydinge chaunges, that misturnen suche noble thinges as ben we
men, that arn a fayr parcel of the erthe, and holden the upperest
degree, under god, of benigne thinges, as ye sayden right now
your-selfe; shulde never man have ben set in so worthy a place
but-if his degrè were ordayned noble. Alas! thou that knittest       35
the purveyaunce of al thinges, why lokest thou not to amenden
these defautes? I see shrewes that han wicked maners sitten in
chayres of domes, lambes to punisshen, there wolves shulden ben
punisshed. Lo! vertue, shynende naturelly, for povertee lurketh,
and is hid under cloude; but the moone false, forsworn (as       40
I knowe my-selfe) for aver and yeftes, hath usurped to shyne by
day-light, with peynture of other mens praysinges; and trewly,
thilke forged light fouly shulde fade, were the trouth away of
colours feyned. Thus is night turned in-to day, and day in-to
night; winter in-to sommer, and sommer in-to winter; not in       45
dede, but in misclepinge of foliche people.'

'Now,' quod she, 'what wenest thou of these thinges? How
felest thou in thyn hert, by what governaunce that this cometh

'Certes,' quod I, 'that wot I never; but-if it be that Fortune       50
hath graunt from above, to lede the ende of man as her lyketh.'

'Ah! now I see,' quod she, 'th'entent of thy mening! Lo,
bycause thy worldly goodes ben fulliche dispent, thou beraft out
of dignitè of office, in whiche thou madest the †gaderinge of thilke
goodes, and yet diddest in that office by counsaile of wyse [before       55
that] any thing were ended; and true were unto hem whos profit
thou shuldest loke; and seest now many that in thilke hervest
made of thee mokel, and now, for glosing of other, deyneth thee
nought to forther, but enhaunsen false shrewes by witnessinge of
trouthe! These thinges greveth thyn herte, to sene thy-selfe thus       60
abated; and than, frayltè of mankynde ne setteth but litel by the
lesers of suche richesse, have he never so moche vertue; and so
thou wenest of thy jewel to renne in dispyt, and not ben accepted
in-to grace. Al this shal thee nothing hinder. Now (quod she)
first thou wost wel, thou lostest nothing that ever mightest thou       65
[ 44 ]chalenge for thyn owne. Whan nature brought thee forth, come
thou not naked out of thy †moders wombe? Thou haddest no
richesse; and whan thou shalt entre in-to the ende of every
flesshly body, what shalt thou have with thee than? So, every
richesse thou hast in tyme of thy livinge, nis but lent; thou       70
might therin chalenge no propertee. And see now; every thing
that is a mannes own, he may do therwith what him lyketh, to
yeve or to kepe; bul richesse thou playnest from thee lost; if thy
might had strecched so ferforth, fayn thou woldest have hem kept,
multiplyed with mo other; and so, ayenst thy wil, ben they departed       75
from thee; wherfore they were never thyn. And if thou laudest
and joyest any wight, for he is stuffed with suche maner richesse,
thou art in that beleve begyled; for thou wenest thilke joye to be
selinesse or els ese; and he that hath lost suche happes to ben
unsely.'       80

'Ye, forsoth,' quod I.

'Wel,' quod she, 'than wol I prove that unsely in that wise is
to preise; and so the tother is, the contrary, to be lacked.'

'How so?' quod I.

'For Unsely,' quod she, 'begyleth nat, but sheweth th'entent       85
of her working. Et e contra: Selinesse begyleth. For in prosperitè
she maketh a jape in blyndnesse; that is, she wyndeth him to
make sorowe whan she withdraweth. Wolt thou nat (quod she)
preise him better that sheweth to thee his herte, tho[ugh] it be
with bytande wordes and dispitous, than him that gloseth and       90
thinketh in †his absence to do thee many harmes?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'the oon is to commende; and the other to
lacke and dispice.'

'A! ha!' quod she, 'right so Ese, while †she lasteth, gloseth
and flatereth; and lightly voydeth whan she most plesauntly       95
sheweth; and ever, in hir absence, she is aboute to do thee tene
and sorowe in herte. But Unsely, al-be-it with bytande chere,
sheweth what she is, and so doth not that other; wherfore
Unsely doth not begyle. Selinesse disceyveth; Unsely put away
doute. That oon maketh men blynde; that other openeth their       100
eyen in shewinge of wrecchidnesse. The oon is ful of drede to
[ 45 ]lese that is not his owne; that other is sobre, and maketh men
discharged of mokel hevinesse in burthen. The oon draweth
a man from very good; the other haleth him to vertue by the
hookes of thoughtes. And wenist thou nat that thy disese hath       105
don thee mokel more to winne than ever yet thou lostest, and
more than ever the contrary made thee winne? Is nat a greet
good, to thy thinking, for to knowe the hertes of thy sothfast
frendes? Pardè, they ben proved to the ful, and the trewe have
discevered fro the false. Trewly, at the goinge of the ilke brotel       110
joye, ther yede no more away than the ilke that was nat thyn
proper. He was never from that lightly departed; thyn owne
good therfore leveth it stille with thee. Now good (quod she);
for how moche woldest thou somtyme have bought this verry
knowing of thy frendes from the flatteringe flyes that thee glosed,       115
whan thou thought thy-selfe sely? But thou that playnest of losse
in richesse, hast founden the most dere-worthy thing; that thou
clepest unsely hath made thee moche thing to winnen. And
also, for conclusioun of al, he is frende that now leveth nat his
herte from thyne helpes. And if that Margarite denyeth now nat       120
to suffre her vertues shyne to thee-wardes with spredinge bemes,
as far or farther than if thou were sely in worldly joye, trewly,
I saye nat els but she is somdel to blame.'

'Ah! pees,' quod I, 'and speke no more of this; myn herte
breketh, now thou touchest any suche wordes!'       125

'A! wel!' quod she, 'thanne let us singen; thou herest no
more of these thinges at this tyme.'

Thus endeth the firste book of the Testament of Love;
and herafter foloweth the seconde.

Ch. X. 1. nowe. 2. abiection; read objeccion. be; read by. the. 3. the. 4. the. encrease the. nowe. 5. obiection. 6. let. 7. maye. se nowe. 12. nowe. 14. set. 15. can ne never; omit ne. 18. wytte. false. 19. auer (sic); for aueir (avoir). howe. cleaped. false. 24. onely. 25. wotte. new. 26. whome. 27. worlde.

29. reason. 32. arne a fayre parsel. 33. nowe. 37. se. 39. pouertie. 40. hydde. forsworne. 44. daye (twice). 46. miscleapynge. 50. wotte. 52. nowe I se. thentent. meanyng. 53. berafte. 54. gatherynge. 55. I supply before that. 56. whose profyte. 57. nowe. 58. the (twice). nowe. 63. dispyte. 64. the. Nowe. 65. woste.

66. the forthe. 67. mothers; read moders. 69. the. 70. haste. lente. 71. propertie. se nowe. 72. owne. 73. the. 74. stretched. fayne. 76. the. 78. arte. 79. ease. loste. 84. Howe. 85. thentent. 88. Wolte. 89. the. 91. their; read his. the. 92. one. 94. ease. he; read she. 99. dothe. awaye. 100-1. one (twice). 101. wretchydnesse.

103. one. 105. disease. 106. done the. 107. the. great. 109. Pardy. 111. awaye. 111-2. thyne. 113. leaueth. the. Nowe. 114. howe. 115. the. 117. thynge. 118. cleapest. the. thynge. 119. nowe leaueth. 120. hert. nowe. 121. the. spreadynge beames. 122. farre. 123. somdele. 124. peace. myne. 125. breaketh nowe. 126. lette.

[ 46 ]



Very welth may not be founden in al this worlde; and that
is wel sene. Lo! how in my mooste comfort, as I wende
and moost supposed to have had ful answere of my contrary
thoughtes, sodaynly it was vanisshed. And al the workes of man
faren in the same wyse; whan folk wenen best her entent for to       5
have and willes to perfourme, anon chaunging of the lift syde to
the right halve tourneth it so clene in-to another kynde, that never
shal it come to the first plyte in doinge.

O this wonderful steering so soone otherwysed out of knowinge!
But for my purpos was at the beginninge, and so dureth yet, if god       10
of his grace tyme wol me graunt, I thinke to perfourme this
worke, as I have begonne, in love; after as my thinne wit, with
inspiracion of him that hildeth al grace, wol suffre. Grevously,
god wot, have I suffred a greet throwe that the Romayne
emperour, which in unitè of love shulde acorde, and every with       15
other * * * * in cause of other to avaunce; and namely, sithe
this empyre [nedeth] to be corrected of so many sectes in heresie
of faith, of service, o[f] rule in loves religion. Trewly, al were
it but to shende erroneous opinions, I may it no lenger suffre.
For many men there ben that sayn love to be in gravel and sande,       20
that with see ebbinge and flowinge woweth, as riches that sodaynly
vanissheth. And some sayn that love shulde be in windy blastes,
that stoundmele turneth as a phane, and glorie of renomè, which
after lustes of the varyaunt people is areysed or stilled.

Many also wenen that in the sonne and the moone and other       25
sterres love shulde ben founden; for among al other planettes
moste soveraynly they shynen, as dignitees in reverence of estates
rather than good han and occupyen. Ful many also there ben
that in okes and in huge postes supposen love to ben grounded,
as in strength and in might, whiche mowen not helpen their owne       30
[ 47 ]wrecchidnesse, whan they ginne to falle. But [of] suche diversitè
of sectes, ayenst the rightful beleve of love, these errours ben forth
spredde, that loves servantes in trewe rule and stedfast fayth in
no place daren apere. Thus irrecuperable joy is went, and anoy
endless is entred. For no man aright reproveth suche errours,       35
but [men] confirmen their wordes, and sayn, that badde is noble
good, and goodnesse is badde; to which folk the prophete biddeth
wo without ende.

Also manye tonges of greet false techinges in gylinge maner,
principally in my tymes, not only with wordes but also with armes,       40
loves servauntes and professe in his religion of trewe rule pursewen,
to confounden and to distroyen. And for as moche as holy †faders,
that of our Christen fayth aproved and strengthed to the Jewes, as
to men resonable and of divinitè lerned, proved thilke fayth with
resones, and with auctoritès of the olde testament and of the newe,       45
her pertinacie to distroy: but to paynims, that for beestes and
houndes were holde, to putte hem out of their errour, was †miracle
of god shewed. These thinges were figured by cominge of th'angel
to the shepherdes, and by the sterre to paynims kinges; as who
sayth: angel resonable to resonable creature, and sterre of miracle       50
to people bestial not lerned, wern sent to enforme. But I, lovers
clerk, in al my conning and with al my mightes, trewly I have no
suche grace in vertue of miracles, ne for no discomfit falsheedes
suffyseth not auctoritès alone; sithen that suche [arn] heretikes
and maintaynours of falsitès. Wherfore I wot wel, sithen that       55
they ben men, and reson is approved in hem, the clowde of errour
hath her reson beyond probable resons, whiche that cacchende
wit rightfully may not with-sitte. By my travaylinge studie I have
ordeyned hem, †whiche that auctoritè, misglosed by mannes
reson, to graunt shal ben enduced.       60

Now ginneth my penne to quake, to thinken on the sentences
of the envyous people, whiche alway ben redy, both ryder and
goer, to scorne and to jape this leude book; and me, for rancour
and hate in their hertes, they shullen so dispyse, that although
my book be leude, yet shal it ben more leude holden, and by       65
wicked wordes in many maner apayred. Certes, me thinketh,
[ 48 ][of] the sowne of their badde speche right now is ful bothe myne
eeres. O good precious Margaryte, myne herte shulde wepe if
I wiste ye token hede of suche maner speche; but trewly, I wot
wel, in that your wysdom shal not asterte. For of god, maker of       70
kynde, witnesse I took, that for none envy ne yvel have I drawe
this mater togider; but only for goodnesse to maintayn, and
errours in falsetees to distroy. Wherfore (as I sayd) with reson
I thinke, thilke forsayd errours to distroye and dequace.

These resons and suche other, if they enduce men, in loves       75
service, trewe to beleve of parfit blisse, yet to ful faithe in
credence of deserte fully mowe they nat suffyse; sithen 'faith hath
no merite of mede, whan mannes reson sheweth experience in
doing.' For utterly no reson the parfit blisse of love by no waye
may make to be comprehended. Lo! what is a parcel of lovers       80
joye? Parfit science, in good service, of their desyre to comprehende
in bodily doinge the lykinge of the soule; not as by
a glasse to have contemplacion of tyme cominge, but thilke first
imagined and thought after face to face in beholding. What
herte, what reson, what understandinge can make his heven to be       85
feled and knowe, without assaye in doinge? Certes, noon. Sithen
thanne of love cometh suche fruite in blisse, and love in him-selfe
is the most among other vertues, as clerkes sayn; the seed of
suche springinge in al places, in al countreys, in al worldes shulde
ben sowe.       90

But o! welawaye! thilke seed is forsake, and †mowe not ben
suffred, the lond-tillers to sette a-werke, without medlinge of
cockle; badde wedes whiche somtyme stonken †han caught the
name of love among idiotes and badde-meninge people. Never-the-later,
yet how-so-it-be that men clepe thilke †thing preciousest       95
in kynde, with many eke-names, that other thinges that the soule
yeven the ilke noble name, it sheweth wel that in a maner men
have a greet lykinge in worshippinge of thilke name. Wherfore
this worke have I writte; and to thee, tytled of Loves name,
I have it avowed in a maner of sacrifyse; that, where-ever it be       100
rad, it mowe in merite, by the excellence of thilke name, the
more wexe in authoritè and worshippe of takinge in hede; and to
[ 49 ]what entent it was ordayned, the inseëres mowen ben moved.
Every thing to whom is owande occasion don as for his ende,
Aristotle supposeth that the actes of every thinge ben in a maner       105
his final cause. A final cause is noblerer, or els even as noble,
as thilke thing that is finally to thilke ende; wherfore accion of
thinge everlasting is demed to be eternal, and not temporal;
sithen it is his final cause. Right so the actes of my boke 'Love,'
and love is noble; wherfore, though my book be leude, the cause       110
with which I am stered, and for whom I ought it doon, noble
forsothe ben bothe. But bycause that in conninge I am yong,
and can yet but crepe, this leude A. b. c. have I set in-to lerning;
for I can not passen the telling of three as yet. And if god
wil, in shorte tyme, I shal amende this leudnesse in joininge       115
syllables; whiche thing, for dulnesse of witte, I may not in three
letters declare. For trewly I saye, the goodnesse of my Margaryte-perle
wolde yeve mater in endyting to many clerkes; certes, her
mercy is more to me swetter than any livinges; wherfore my
lippes mowen not suffyse, in speking of her ful laude and worshippe       120
as they shulde. But who is that [wolde be wyse] in
knowing of the orders of heven, and putteth his resones in the
erthe? I forsothe may not, with blere eyen, the shyning sonne of
vertue in bright whele of this Margaryte beholde; therfore as yet
I may her not discryve in vertue as I wolde. In tyme cominge,       125
in another tretyse, thorow goddes grace, this sonne in clerenesse
of vertue to be-knowe, and how she enlumineth al this day,
I thinke to declare.

Ch. I. 2. howe. comforte. 3. hadde. 5. folke. 6. anone. 10. purpose. 12. wytte. 14. wotte. great. 16. (Something seems to be lost here). 17. I supply nedeth. 18. o; read of. 19. erronyous. maye. 20. menne. sayne. 26. amonge.

31. wretchydnesse. fal. I supply of. 32. forthe. 33. stedfaste faythe. 34. darne. 35. endlesse. 36. I supply men. 37. folke. 39. great. 40. onely. 42. fathers; read faders. 44. faythe. 47. put. miracles; read miracle. 48. thangel. 50. saythe. 51. werne. 53. discomfyte. 54. I supply arn. 55. wotte. 56. reason. erroure. 57. reason. bewonde (sic). catchende wytte. 59. with; read whiche. 60. reason. 61. Nowe. 62. alwaye. 63. booke. rancoure. 64. althoughe. 65. booke.

67. I supply of. nowe. 69. wotte. 70. wysdome 71. toke. 73. reason. 75. reasons. 76. parfyte. 78-9. reason (twice). 79. parfyte. 80. maye. persel. 81. parfyte. 85. reason. 86. none. 88. amonge. sayne. 88-91. sede. 91. mowen; read mowe. 92. londe-tyllers. set. 93. hath; read han. 94. meanynge. 95. howe. menne cleape. kynge (sic); read thing. 98. great. 99. the. 101. radde.

104. thynge. done. 107. thynge. 110. boke. 111. done (sic). 112. yonge. 113. canne. sette. 114. thre. 116. thynge. maye. thre. 121. that in knowyng (sic); supply wolde be wyse before in knowing. 125. maye. 126. thorowe. 127. howe.


In this mene whyle this comfortable lady gan singe a wonder
mater of endytinge in Latin; but trewly, the noble colours in
rethorik wyse knitte were so craftely, that my conning wol not
strecche to remembre; but the sentence, I trowe, somdel have
I in mynde. Certes, they were wonder swete of sowne, and they       5
were touched al in lamentacion wyse, and by no werbles of
myrthe. Lo! thus gan she singe in Latin, as I may constrewe it
in our Englisshe tonge.
[ 50 ]
'Alas! that these hevenly bodyes their light and course shewen,
as nature yave hem in commaundement at the ginning of the first       10
age; but these thinges in free choice of reson han non
understondinge. But man that ought to passe al thing of doinge, of
right course in kynde, over-whelmed sothnesse by wrongful tytle,
and hath drawen the sterre of envye to gon by his syde, that the
clips of me, that shulde be his shynande sonne, so ofte is seye,       15
that it wened thilke errour, thorow hem come in, shulde ben myn
owne defaute. Trewly, therfore, I have me withdrawe, and mad
my dwellinge out of lande in an yle by my-selfe, in the occian
closed; and yet sayn there many, they have me harberowed; but,
god wot, they faylen. These thinges me greven to thinke, and       20
namely on passed gladnesse, that in this worlde was wont me
disporte of highe and lowe; and now it is fayled; they that
wolden maystries me have in thilke stoundes. In heven on
highe, above Saturnes sphere, in sesonable tyme were they
lodged; but now come queynte counsailours that in no house       25
wol suffre me sojourne, wherof is pitè; and yet sayn some that
they me have in celler with wyne shed; in gernere, there corn is
layd covered with whete; in sacke, sowed with wolle; in purse,
with money faste knit; among pannes mouled in a †whicche;
in presse, among clothes layd, with riche pelure arayed; in stable,       30
among hors and other beestes, as hogges, sheep, and neet; and
in many other wyse. But thou, maker of light (in winking of
thyn eye the sonne is queynt), wost right wel that I in trewe name
was never thus herberowed.

Somtyme, toforn the sonne in the seventh partie was smiten,       35
I bar both crosse and mytre, to yeve it where I wolde. With me
the pope wente a-fote; and I tho was worshipped of al holy
church. Kinges baden me their crownes holden. The law was
set as it shuld; tofore the juge, as wel the poore durste shewe
his greef as the riche, for al his money. I defended tho taylages,       40
and was redy for the poore to paye. I made grete feestes in my
tyme, and noble songes, and maryed damoselles of gentil feture,
withouten golde or other richesse. Poore clerkes, for witte of
schole, I sette in churches, and made suche persones to preche;
[ 51 ]and tho was service in holy churche honest and devout, in       45
plesaunce bothe of god and of the people. But now the leude
for symonye is avaunced, and shendeth al holy churche. Now is
steward, for his achates; now †is courtiour, for his debates; now
is eschetour, for his wronges; now is losel, for his songes,
personer; and [hath his] provendre alone, with whiche manye       50
thrifty shulde encrese. And yet is this shrewe behynde; free
herte is forsake; and losengeour is take. Lo! it acordeth; for
suche there ben that voluntarie lustes haunten in courte with
ribaudye, that til midnight and more wol playe and wake, but in
the churche at matins he is behynde, for yvel disposicion of his       55
stomake; therfore he shulde ete bene-breed (and so did his
syre) his estate ther-with to strengthen. His auter is broke, and
lowe lyth, in poynte to gon to the erthe; but his hors muste ben
esy and hye, to bere him over grete waters. His chalice poore,
but he hath riche cuppes. No towayle but a shete, there god       60
shal ben handled; and on his mete-borde there shal ben bord-clothes
and towelles many payre. At masse serveth but a clergion;
fyve squiers in hal. Poore chaunsel, open holes in every
syde; beddes of silke, with tapites going al aboute his chambre.
Poore masse-book and leud chapelayn, and broken surplice with       65
many an hole; good houndes and many, to hunte after hart and
hare, to fede in their feestes. Of poore men have they greet
care; for they ever crave and nothing offren, they wolden have
hem dolven! But among legistres there dar I not come; my
doinge[s], they sayn, maken hem nedy. They ne wolde for       70
nothing have me in town; for than were tort and †force nought
worth an hawe about, and plesen no men, but thilk grevous and
torcious ben in might and in doing. These thinges to-forn-sayd
mowe wel, if men liste, ryme; trewly, they acorde nothing. And
for-as-moch as al thinges by me shulden of right ben governed,       75
I am sory to see that governaunce fayleth, as thus: to sene smale
and lowe governe the hye and bodies above. Certes, that
policye is naught; it is forbode by them that of governaunce
treten and enformen. And right as beestly wit shulde ben
[ 52 ]subject to reson, so erthly power in it-selfe, the lower shulde ben       80
subject to the hygher. What is worth thy body, but it be
governed with thy soule? Right so litel or naught is worth
erthely power, but if reignatif prudence in heedes governe the
smale; to whiche heedes the smale owen to obey and suffre in
their governaunce. But soverainnesse ayenward shulde thinke in       85
this wyse: "I am servaunt of these creatures to me delivered,
not lord, but defendour; not mayster, but enfourmer; not
possessour, but in possession; and to hem liche a tree in whiche
sparowes shullen stelen, her birdes to norisshe and forth bringe,
under suretee ayenst al raveynous foules and beestes, and not to       90
be tyraunt them-selfe." And than the smale, in reste and quiete,
by the heedes wel disposed, owen for their soveraynes helth and
prosperitè to pray, and in other doinges in maintenaunce therof
performe, withouten other administracion in rule of any maner
governaunce. And they wit have in hem, and grace to come to       95
suche thinges, yet shulde they cese til their heedes them cleped,
although profit and plesaunce shulde folowe. But trewly, other
governaunce ne other medlinge ought they not to clayme, ne
the heedes on hem to putte. Trewly, amonges cosinage dar
I not come, but-if richesse be my mene; sothly, she and other       100
bodily goodes maketh nigh cosinage, ther never propinquitè ne
alyaunce in lyve was ne shulde have be, nere it for her medling
maners; wherfore kindly am I not ther leged. Povert of
kinred is behynde; richesse suffreth him to passe; truly he saith,
he com never of Japhetes childre. Whereof I am sory that       105
Japhetes children, for povert, in no linage ben rekened, and
Caynes children, for riches, be maked Japhetes heires. Alas! this
is a wonder chaunge bitwene tho two Noës children, sithen that
of Japhetes ofspring comeden knightes, and of Cayn discended
the lyne of servage to his brothers childre. Lo! how gentillesse       110
and servage, as cosins, bothe discended out of two brethern of
one body! Wherfore I saye in sothnesse, that gentilesse in
kinrede †maketh not gentil linage in succession, without desert
of a mans own selfe. Where is now the lyne of Alisaundre the
noble, or els of Hector of Troye? Who is discended of right       115
bloode of lyne fro king Artour? Pardè, sir Perdicas, whom that
[ 53 ]Alisandre made to ben his heire in Grece, was of no kinges
bloode; his dame was a tombestere. Of what kinred ben the
gentiles in our dayes? I trow therfore, if any good be in gentilesse,
it is only that it semeth a maner of necessitè be input to       120
gentilmen, that they shulden not varyen fro the vertues of their
auncestres. Certes, al maner linage of men ben evenliche in
birth; for oon †fader, maker of al goodnes, enformed hem al,
and al mortal folk of one sede arn greyned. Wherto avaunt men
of her linage, in cosinage or in †elde-faders? Loke now the ginning,       125
and to god, maker of mans person; there is no clerk ne no
worthy in gentilesse; and he that norissheth his †corage with
vyces and unresonable lustes, and leveth the kynde course, to
whiche ende him brought forth his birthe, trewly, he is ungentil,
and among †cherles may ben nempned. And therfore, he that       130
wol ben gentil, he mot daunten his flesshe fro vyces that causen
ungentilnesse, and leve also reignes of wicked lustes, and drawe
to him vertue, that in al places gentilnesse gentilmen maketh.
And so speke I, in feminine gendre in general, of tho persones,
at the reverence of one whom every wight honoureth; for her       135
bountee and her noblesse y-made her to god so dere, that his
moder she became; and she me hath had so greet in worship,
that I nil for nothing in open declare, that in any thinge ayenst her
secte may so wene. For al vertue and al worthinesse of plesaunce
in hem haboundeth. And although I wolde any-thing speke,       140
trewly I can not; I may fynde in yvel of hem no maner mater.'

Ch. II. 1. meane. ganne. 4. stretche. somdele. 7. ganne.

11. none. 12. thynge. 15. sey; read seye or seyen. 16. thorowe. 17. made. 19. sayne. 20. wote. 21. wonte. 23. nowe. 24. seasonable. 26. sayne. 27. corne. 28. layde. 29. knytte. amonge (twice). wyche; read whicche. 30. layde. 31. amonge horse. shepe. nete. 33. woste. 36. bare. 37. went. 40. grefe. 41. pay. great. 44. preache.

45. deuoute. 46. nowe. 47. Nowe. 48. stewarde. nowe. it; read is. nowe. 49. eschetoure. nowe. 50. I supply hath his. 51. encrease. 56. eate beane-. 58. lythe. gone. horse. 59. easy. beare. great. 61. meate-. borde-. 65. boke. leude chapelayne. 66. harte. 67. great. 68. nothynge. 69. amonge. dare. 70. sayne. 71. forthe; read force. 72. worthe. pleasen. 73. to-forne-. 74. nothynge. 76. sorye. se. 78. polesye. 79. treaten. wytte.

80. subiecte. reason. 82. worthe. 83. reignatyfe. 85. ayenwarde. 87. lorde. 88. possessoure. 89. forth bring. 90. suretie. 96. cease. 97. profyte. pleasaunce. 99. put. dare. 100. meane. 109. comeden (sic); read comen? 110. howe. 111. bretherne. 113. maken; read maketh. deserte. 114. nowe.

118. tombystere. 123. one. father; read fader. 124. folke. arne. 125. -fathers; read -faders. 126. clerke. 127. corare; read corage. 128. leaueth. 129. forthe. 130. amonge. clerkes (!); read cherles. 131. mote. 132. leaue. 136. bountie. 137. great. 139. maye.


Right with these wordes she stinte of that lamentable
melodye; and I gan with a lyvely herte to praye, if that
it were lyking unto her noble grace, she wolde her deyne to
declare me the mater that firste was begonne, in which she lefte
and stinte to speke beforn she gan to singe.       5

'O,' quod she, 'this is no newe thing to me, to sene you men
desyren after mater, whiche your-selfe caused to voyde.'

'Ah, good lady,' quod I, 'in whom victorie of strength is proved
above al other thing, after the jugement of Esdram, whos lordship
[ 54 ]al lignes: who is, that right as emperour hem commaundeth,       10
whether thilke ben not women, in whos lyknesse to me ye aperen?
For right as man halt the principaltè of al thing under his beinge,
in the masculyne gender; and no mo genders ben there
but masculyn and femenyne; al the remenaunt ben no gendres but
of grace, in facultee of grammer: right so, in the femenyne, the       15
women holden the upperest degree of al thinges under thilke
gendre conteyned. Who bringeth forth kinges, whiche that ben
lordes of see and of erthe; and al peoples of women ben born.
They norisshe hem that graffen vynes; they maken men comfort
in their gladde cheres. Her sorowe is deth to mannes herte.       20
Without women, the being of men were impossible. They conne
with their swetnesse the crewel herte ravisshe, and make it meke,
buxom, and benigne, without violence mevinge. In beautee
of their eyen, or els of other maner fetures, is al mens desyres;
ye, more than in golde, precious stones, either any richesse.       25
And in this degree, lady, your-selfe many hertes of men have
so bounden, that parfit blisse in womankynde to ben men wenen,
and in nothinge els. Also, lady, the goodnesse, the vertue of
women, by propertè of discrecion, is so wel knowen, by litelnesse
of malice, that desyre to a good asker by no waye conne they       30
warne. And ye thanne, that wol not passe the kynde werchinge
of your sectes by general discrecion, I wot wel, ye wol so enclyne
to my prayere, that grace of my requeste shal fully ben graunted.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'thus for the more parte fareth al mankynde,
to praye and to crye after womans grace, and fayne many fantasyes       35
to make hertes enclyne to your desyres. And whan these
sely women, for freeltè of their kynde, beleven your wordes, and
wenen al be gospel the promise of your behestes, than graunt[en]
they to you their hertes, and fulfillen your lustes, wherthrough
their libertè in maystreship that they toforn had is thralled; and       40
so maked soverayn and to be prayed, that first was servaunt,
and voice of prayer used. Anon as filled is your lust, many of you
be so trewe, that litel hede take ye of suche kyndnesse; but
with traysoun anon ye thinke hem begyle, and let light of that
thing whiche firste ye maked to you wonders dere; so what       45
thing to women it is to loven any wight er she him wel knowe,
and have him proved in many halfe! For every glittring thing
[ 55 ]is nat gold; and under colour of fayre speche many vices may
be hid and conseled. Therfore I rede no wight to trust on you
to rathe; mens chere and her speche right gyleful is ful ofte.       50
Wherfore without good assay, it is nat worth on many †of you
to truste. Trewly, it is right kyndely to every man that thinketh
women betraye, and shewen outward al goodnesse, til he have
his wil performed. Lo! the bird is begyled with the mery voice
of the foulers whistel. Whan a woman is closed in your nette,       55
than wol ye causes fynden, and bere unkyndenesse her †on
hande, or falsetè upon her putte, your owne malicious trayson
with suche thinge to excuse. Lo! than han women non other
wreche in vengeaunce, but †blobere and wepe til hem list stint,
and sorily her mishap complayne; and is put in-to wening that       60
al men ben so untrewe. How often have men chaunged her
loves in a litel whyle, or els, for fayling their wil, in their
places hem set! For fren[d]ship shal be oon, and fame with another
him list for to have, and a thirde for delyt; or els were he lost
bothe in packe and in clothes! Is this fair? Nay, god wot.       65
I may nat telle, by thousande partes, the wronges in trechery
of suche false people; for make they never so good a bond,
al sette ye at a myte whan your hert tourneth. And they that
wenen for sorowe of you deye, the pitè of your false herte is flowe
out of towne. Alas! therfore, that ever any woman wolde take       70
any wight in her grace, til she knowe, at the ful, on whom she
might at al assayes truste! Women con no more craft in queynt
knowinge, to understande the false disceyvable conjectementes
of mannes begylinges. Lo! how it fareth; though ye men
gronen and cryen, certes, it is but disceyt; and that preveth wel       75
by th'endes in your werkinge. How many women have ben
lorn, and with shame foule shent by long-lastinge tyme, whiche
thorow mennes gyle have ben disceyved? Ever their fame shal
dure, and their dedes [ben] rad and songe in many londes; that
they han don, recoveren shal they never; but alway ben demed       80
lightly, in suche plyte a-yen shulde they falle. Of whiche slaunders
and tenes ye false men and wicked ben the verey causes; on you
by right ought these shames and these reproves al hoolly discende.
[ 56 ]Thus arn ye al nighe untrewe; for al your fayre speche, your
herte is ful fickel. What cause han ye women to dispyse? Better       85
fruite than they ben, ne swetter spyces to your behove, mowe ye
not fynde, as far as worldly bodyes strecchen. Loke to their
forminge, at the making of their persones by god in joye of
paradyce! For goodnesse, of mans propre body were they
maked, after the sawes of the bible, rehersing goddes wordes in       90
this wyse: "It is good to mankynde that we make to him an
helper." Lo! in paradyse, for your helpe, was this tree graffed,
out of whiche al linage of man discendeth. If a man be noble
frute, of noble frute it is sprongen; the blisse of paradyse, to
mennes sory hertes, yet in this tree abydeth. O! noble helpes       95
ben these trees, and gentil jewel to ben worshipped of every
good creature! He that hem anoyeth doth his owne shame; it is
a comfortable perle ayenst al tenes. Every company is mirthed
by their present being. Trewly, I wiste never vertue, but a woman
were therof the rote. What is heven the worse though Sarazins       100
on it lyen? Is your fayth untrewe, though †renegates maken
theron lesinges? If the fyr doth any wight brenne, blame his
owne wit that put him-selfe so far in the hete. Is not fyr gentillest
and most comfortable element amonges al other? Fyr
is cheef werker in fortheringe sustenaunce to mankynde. Shal       105
fyr ben blamed for it brende a foole naturelly, by his own stulty
witte in steringe? Ah! wicked folkes! For your propre malice
and shreudnesse of your-selfe, ye blame and dispyse the precious[es]t
thing of your kynde, and whiche thinges among other
moste ye desyren! Trewly, Nero and his children ben shrewes,       110
that dispysen so their dames. The wickednesse and gyling of
men, in disclaundring of thilke that most hath hem glad[d]ed
and plesed, were impossible to wryte or to nempne. Never-the-later
yet I say, he that knoweth a way may it lightly passe; eke
an herbe proved may safely to smertande sores ben layd. So       115
I say, in him that is proved is nothing suche yvels to gesse.
But these thinges have I rehersed, to warne you women al at
ones, that to lightly, without good assaye, ye assenten not to
mannes speche. The sonne in the day-light is to knowen from
the moone that shyneth in the night. Now to thee thy-selfe       120
[ 57 ](quod she) as I have ofte sayd, I knowe wel thyne herte; thou
art noon of al the tofore-nempned people. For I knowe wel the
continuaunce of thy service, that never sithen I sette thee
a-werke, might thy Margaryte for plesaunce, frendship, ne fayrhede
of none other, be in poynte moved from thyne herte; wherfore       125
in-to myne housholde hastely I wol that thou entre, and al the
parfit privitè of my werking, make it be knowe in thy understonding,
as oon of my privy familiers. Thou desyrest (quod she)
fayn to here of tho thinges there I lefte?'

'Ye, forsothe,' quod I, 'that were to me a greet blisse.'       130

'Now,' quod she, 'for thou shalt not wene that womans condicions
for fayre speche suche thing belongeth:—

Ch. III. 2. ganne. 5. beforne. 6. thynge. menne. 9. thynge. whose.

10. lignes (sic). 11. whose lykenesse. 12. halte. 15. facultie. 17. forthe. 18. borne. 19. comforte. 20. dethe. 23. buxome. beautie. 27. parfyte. 32. wotte. 38. graunt. 40. toforne.

48. golde. 51. worthe. on; read of. 53. -warde. 54. birde. 56. beare. vnhande; read on hande. 58. none. 59. bloder; read blobere. 61. Howe. 63. sette. frenship (sic). one. 64. lyste. delyte. 65. faire. 66. maye. tel. 67. bonde. 69. dey. 72. trust. crafte. 74. howe. 76. thendes. Howe. 77. lorne. longe-. 78. thorowe. 79. I supply ben. radde. 80. done. 81. fal. 83. holy.

84. arne. 87. farre. stretchen. 97. dothe. 99. wyst. 101. faythe. thoughe rennogates. 102. leasynges. fyre (four times) 103. wytte. farre. heate. 104, 112. moste. 104. element comfortable; read comfortable element. 105. chefe. 108. precioust. 109. amonge. 112-3. gladed and pleased. 115. layde. 120. Nowe. the.

122. arte none. 123. set the. 124. frendeshyp. fayrehede. 127. parfyte. 128. one. 129. fayne. 130. great. 131. Nowe.


Thou shalt,' quod she, 'understonde first among al other
thinges, that al the cure of my service to me in the parfit
blisse in doing is desyred in every mannes herte, be he never
so moche a wrecche; but every man travayleth by dyvers studye,
and seke[th] thilke blisse by dyvers wayes. But al the endes       5
are knit in selinesse of desyre in the parfit blisse, that is suche
joye, whan men it have gotten, there †leveth no thing more to
ben coveyted. But how that desyre of suche perfeccion in
my service be kindely set in lovers hertes, yet her erroneous
opinions misturne it by falsenesse of wening. And although       10
mannes understanding be misturned, to knowe whiche shuld ben
the way unto my person, and whither it abydeth; yet wote they
there is a love in every wight, [whiche] weneth by that thing that
he coveyteth most, he shulde come to thilke love; and that
is parfit blisse of my servauntes; but than fulle blisse may not       15
be, and there lacke any thing of that blisse in any syde. Eke it
foloweth than, that he that must have ful blisse lacke no blisse in
love on no syde.'

'Therfore, lady,' quod I tho, 'thilke blisse I have desyred,
and †soghte toforn this my-selfe, by wayes of riches, of dignitè,       20
[ 58 ]of power, and of renomè, wening me in tho †thinges had ben
thilke blisse; but ayenst the heer it turneth. Whan I supposed
beste thilke blisse have †getten, and come to the ful purpose
of your service, sodaynly was I hindred, and throwen so fer
abacke, that me thinketh an inpossible to come there I lefte.'       25

'I †wot wel,' quod she; 'and therfore hast thou fayled; for
thou wentest not by the hye way. A litel misgoing in the ginning
causeth mikil errour in the ende; wherfore of thilke blisse thou
fayledest, for having of richesse; ne non of the other thinges thou
nempnedest mowen nat make suche parfit blisse in love as I shal       30
shewe. Therfore they be nat worthy to thilke blisse; and yet
somwhat must ben cause and way to thilke blisse. Ergo, there is
som suche thing, and som way, but it is litel in usage and that
is nat openly y-knowe. But what felest in thyne hert of the
service, in whiche by me thou art entred? Wenest aught thy-selfe       35
yet be in the hye way to my blisse? I shal so shewe it to
thee, thou shalt not conne saye the contrary.'

'Good lady,' quod I, 'altho I suppose it in my herte, yet
wolde I here thyn wordes, how ye menen in this mater.'

Quod she, 'that I shal, with my good wil. Thilke blisse       40
desyred, som-del ye knowen, altho it be nat parfitly. For kyndly
entencion ledeth you therto, but in three maner livinges is al suche
wayes shewed. Every wight in this world, to have this blisse, oon
of thilke three wayes of lyves must procede; whiche, after opinions
of grete clerkes, are by names cleped bestiallich, resonablich, [and       45
manlich. Resonablich] is vertuous. Manlich is worldlich. Bestialliche
is lustes and delytable, nothing restrayned by bridel of reson.
Al that joyeth and yeveth gladnesse to the hert, and it be ayenst
reson, is lykened to bestial living, which thing foloweth lustes and
delytes; wherfore in suche thinge may nat that precious blisse,       50
that is maister of al vertues, abyde. Your †faders toforn you have
cleped such lusty livinges after the flessh "passions of desyre,"
which are innominable tofore god and man both. Than, after
determinacion of suche wyse, we accorden that suche passions of
desyre shul nat be nempned, but holden for absolute from al other       55
livinges and provinges; and so †leveth in t[w]o livinges, manlich
[ 59 ]and resonable, to declare the maters begonne. But to make thee
fully have understanding in manlich livinges, whiche is holden
worldlich in these thinges, so that ignorance be mad no letter,
I wol (quod she) nempne these forsayd wayes †by names and       60
conclusions. First riches, dignitè, renomè, and power shul in
this worke be cleped bodily goodes; for in hem hath ben, a gret
throw, mannes trust of selinesse in love: as in riches, suffisance
to have maintayned that was begonne by worldly catel; in dignitè,
honour and reverence of hem that wern underput by maistry       65
therby to obeye. In renomè, glorie of peoples praising, after
lustes in their hert, without hede-taking to qualitè and maner of
doing; and in power, by trouth of lordships mayntenaunce, thing
to procede forth in doing. In al whiche thinges a longe tyme
mannes coveytise in commune hath ben greetly grounded, to come       70
to the blisse of my service; but trewly, they were begyled, and for
the principal muste nedes fayle, and in helping mowe nat availe.
See why. For holdest him not poore that is nedy?'

'Yes, pardè,' quod I.

'And him for dishonored, that moche folk deyne nat to       75

'That is soth,' quod I.

'And what him, that his mightes faylen and mowe nat helpen?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'me semeth, of al men he shulde be holden
a wrecche.'       80

'And wenest nat,' quod she, 'that he that is litel in renomè,
but rather is out of the praysinges of mo men than a fewe, be nat
in shame?'

'For soth,' quod I, 'it is shame and villany, to him that
coveyteth renomè, that more folk nat prayse in name than preise.'       85

'Soth,' quod she, 'thou sayst soth; but al these thinges are
folowed of suche maner doinge, and wenden in riches suffisaunce,
in power might, in dignitè worship, and in renomè glorie; wherfore
they discended in-to disceyvable wening, and in that service disceit
is folowed. And thus, in general, thou and al suche other that so       90
worchen, faylen of my blisse that ye long han desyred. Wherfore
truly, in lyfe of reson is the hye way to this blisse; as I thinke
more openly to declare herafter. Never-the-later yet, in a litel to
comforte thy herte, in shewing of what waye thou art entred
[ 60 ]*selfe, and that thy Margarite may knowe thee set in the hye way,       95
I wol enforme thee in this wyse. Thou hast fayled of thy first
purpos, bicause thou wentest wronge and leftest the hye way on
thy right syde, as thus: thou lokedest on worldly living, and that
thing thee begyled; and lightly therfore, as a litel assay, thou
songedest; but whan I turned thy purpos, and shewed thee       100
a part of the hye waye, tho thou abode therin, and no deth ne
ferdnesse of non enemy might thee out of thilk way reve; but
ever oon in thyn herte, to come to the ilke blisse, whan thou
were arested and firste tyme enprisoned, thou were loth to
chaunge thy way, for in thy hert thou wendest to have ben there       105
thou shuldest. And for I had routhe to sene thee miscaried,
and wiste wel thyn ablenesse my service to forther and encrese,
I com my-selfe, without other mene, to visit thy person in comfort
of thy hert. And perdy, in my comming thou were greetly
glad[d]ed; after whiche tyme no disese, no care, no tene, might       110
move me out of thy hert. And yet am I glad and greetly enpited,
how continually thou haddest me in mynde, with good avysement
of thy conscience, whan thy king and his princes by huge wordes
and grete loked after variaunce in thy speche; and ever thou
were redy for my sake, in plesaunce of the Margarite-perle and       115
many mo other, thy body to oblige in-to Marces doing, if any
contraried thy sawes. Stedfast way maketh stedfast hert, with
good hope in the ende. Trewly, I wol that thou it wel knowe;
for I see thee so set, and not chaunginge herte haddest in my
service; and I made thou haddest grace of thy kinge, in       120
foryevenesse of mikel misdede. To the gracious king art thou mikel
holden, of whos grace and goodnesse somtyme hereafter I thinke
thee enforme, whan I shew the ground where-as moral vertue
groweth. Who brought thee to werke? Who brought this grace
aboute? Who made thy hert hardy? Trewly, it was I. For       125
haddest thou of me fayled, than of this purpos had[dest thou]
never taken [hede] in this wyse. And therfore I say, thou might
wel truste to come to thy blisse, sithen thy ginninge hath ben hard,
but ever graciously after thy hertes desyr hath proceded. Silver
fyned with many hetes men knowen for trew; and safely men       130
[ 61 ]may trust to the alay in werkinge. This †disese hath proved what
way hence-forward thou thinkest to holde.'

'Now, in good fayth, lady,' quod I tho, 'I am now in; me
semeth, it is the hye way and the right.'

'Ye, forsothe,' quod she, 'and now I wol disprove thy first       135
wayes, by whiche many men wenen to gette thilke blisse. But
for-as-moche as every herte that hath caught ful love, is tyed with
queynt knittinges, thou shalt understande that love and thilke
foresayd blisse toforn declared in this[e] provinges, shal hote the
knot in the hert.'       140

'Wel,' quod I, 'this inpossession I wol wel understande.'

'Now also,' quod she, 'for the knotte in the herte muste ben
from one to an-other, and I knowe thy desyr, I wol thou understande
these maters to ben sayd of thy-selfe, in disproving of thy
first service, and in strengthinge of thilke that thou hast       145
undertake to thy Margaryte-perle.'

'A goddes halfe,' quod I, 'right wel I fele that al this case is
possible and trewe; and therfore I †admitte it altogither.'

'†Understand wel,' quod she, 'these termes, and loke no
contradiccion thou graunt.'       150

'If god wol,' quod I, 'of al these thinges wol I not fayle; and
if I graunt contradiccion, I shulde graunte an impossible; and
that were a foul inconvenience; for whiche thinges, lady, y-wis,
herafter I thinke me to kepe.'

Ch. IV. 1. shalte. amonge. 2. parfyte. 4. wretche. 5. seke; read seketh. 6. parfyte. 7. lyueth; read leveth. thynge. 8. howe. perfection. 9. erronyous. 13. I supply whiche. 14. moste. 15. parfyte. maye. 16. thynge. 20. sothe; read soghte. toforne.

21. thrages (sic); read thinges. 22. heere. 23. get; read getten. 26. wol; read wot. 30. parfite. 33. some (twice). 37. the. shalte. con. 39. howe ye meanen. 41. some deale. 42. entention. thre. lyuenges. 43. one. 44. thre. 45. great. cleaped. I supply and manlich. Resonablich. 47. nothynge. 47-9. reason (twice). 49. lyueng. thynge. 50. maye. 51. fathers. toforne. 52. lyuenges. 54. determination. 56. lyuenges (twice). lyueth; read leveth. to; read two.

57. the. 58. lyuenges. 59. made. 60. be; read by. 62. cleaped. 64. begon. 65. werne. 66. obey. 70. greatly. 73. Se. 75. folke. 80. wretch. 89. disceite. 92. reason. 94. arte.

95-6. the (twice). 97-100. purpose. 98. lyueng. 99. the. 100-2. the. 101. parte. dethe. 103. one. 106. the. 107. wyst. thyne. encrease. 108. come. mean. For person read prison? comforte. 109. greatly gladed. 110. disease. 111. gladde. greatly. 112. howe. 114. great. 115. peerle. 119. se the. 121. arte. 122. whose. 123. the. grounde. 124. the. 126. purpose. had; read haddest thou. I supply hede. 128. harde. 129. desyre. 130. heates.

131. diseases (sic). waye. -forwarde. 133-142. Nowe (four times). 139. toforne. 143. desyre. 145. strenghthynge. haste. 148. admytted; read admytte it. 149. Vnderstanden (sic). 149-152. contradyction (twice). 153. foule. ladye.


'Wel,' quod she, 'thou knowest that every thing is a cause,
wherthrough any thing hath being that is cleped "caused."
Than, if richesse †causeth knot in herte, thilke richesse †is cause
of thilke precious thinge being. But after the sentence of
Aristotle, every cause is more in dignitè than his thinge caused;       5
wherthrough it foloweth richesse to ben more in dignitè than
thilke knot. But richesses arn kyndely naughty, badde, and
nedy; and thilke knotte is thing kyndely good, most praysed
and desyred. Ergo, thing naughty, badde, and nedy in kyndely
[ 62 ]understandinge is more worthy than thing kyndely good, most       10
desyred and praysed! The consequence is fals; nedes, the
antecedent mot ben of the same condicion. But that richesses
ben bad, naughty, and nedy, that wol I prove; wherfore they
mowe cause no suche thing that is so glorious and good. The
more richesse thou hast, the more nede hast thou of helpe hem       15
to kepe. Ergo, thou nedest in richesse, whiche nede thou
shuldest not have, if thou hem wantest. Than muste richesse
ben nedy, that in their having maken thee nedy to helpes, in
suretee thy richesse to kepen; wherthrough foloweth, richesse to
ben nedy. Everything causinge yvels is badde and naughty; but       20
richesse in one causen misese, in another they mowen not evenly
strecchen al about. Wherof cometh plee, debat, thefte, begylinges,
but richesse to winne; whiche thinges ben badde, and by richesse
arn caused. Ergo, thilke richesse[s] ben badde; whiche badnesse
and nede ben knit in-to richesse by a maner of kyndely propertee;       25
and every cause and caused accorden; so that it foloweth, thilke
richesse[s] to have the same accordaunce with badnesse and nede,
that their cause asketh. Also, every thing hath his being by his
cause; than, if the cause be distroyed, the being of caused is
vanisshed. And, so, if richesse[s] causen love, and richesse[s]       30
weren distroyed, the love shulde vanisshe; but thilke knotte, and
it be trewe, may not vanisshe, for no going of richesse. Ergo,
richesse is no cause of the knot. And many men, as I sayd,
setten the cause of the knotte in richesse; thilke knitten the
richesse, and nothing the yvel; thilke persons, what-ever they       35
ben, wenen that riches is most worthy to be had; and that make
they the cause; and so wene they thilke riches be better than the
person. Commenly, suche asken rather after the quantitè than
after the qualitè; and suche wenen, as wel by hem-selfe as by
other, that conjunccion of his lyfe and of his soule is no more       40
precious, but in as mikel as he hath of richesse. Alas! how may
he holden suche thinges precious or noble, that neither han lyf ne
soule, ne ordinaunce of werchinge limmes! Suche richesse[s]
ben more worthy whan they ben in †gadering; in departing,
ginneth his love of other mennes praysing. And avarice †gadering       45
maketh be hated, and nedy to many out-helpes; and whan leveth
the possession of such goodes, and they ginne vanissh, than
[ 63 ]entreth sorowe and tene in their hertes. O! badde and strayte
ben thilke, that at their departinge maketh men teneful and sory,
and in the †gadering of hem make men nedy! Moche folk at       50
ones mowen not togider moche therof have. A good gest gladdeth
his hoste and al his meyny; but he is a badde gest that maketh
his hoste nedy and to be aferd of his gestes going.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'me wondreth therfore that the comune
opinion is thus: "He is worth no more than that he hath in       55

'O!' quod she, 'loke thou be not of that opinion; for if gold or
money, or other maner of riches shynen in thy sight, whos is that?
Nat thyn. And tho[ugh] they have a litel beautee, they be nothing
in comparison of our kynde; and therfore, ye shulde nat sette       60
your worthinesse in thing lower than your-selfe. For the riches,
the fairnesse, the worthinesse of thilke goodes, if ther be any
suche preciousnesse in hem, are nat thyne; thou madest hem
so never; from other they come to thee, and to other they shul
from thee. Wherfore enbracest thou other wightes good, as       65
tho[ugh] they were thyn? Kynde hath drawe hem by hem-selfe.
It is sothe, the goodes of the erth ben ordayned in your fode
and norisshinge; but if thou wolt holde thee apayd with that
suffyseth to thy kynde, thou shalt nat be in daunger of no suche
riches; to kynde suffyseth litel thing, who that taketh hede.       70
And if thou wolt algates with superfluitè of riches be a-throted,
thou shalt hastelich be anoyed, or els yvel at ese. And fairnesse
of feldes ne of habitacions, ne multitude of meynè, may nat be
rekened as riches that are thyn owne. For if they be badde, it is
greet sclaunder and villany to the occupyer; and if they be good       75
or faire, the mater of the workman that hem made is to prayse.
How shulde other-wyse bountee be compted for thyne? Thilke
goodnesse and fairnesse be proper to tho thinges hem-selfe; than,
if they be nat thyne, sorow nat whan they wende, ne glad thee
nat in pompe and in pride whan thou hem hast. For their       80
bountee and their beautees cometh out of their owne kynde, and
nat of thyne owne person. As faire ben they in their not having
as whan thou hast hem. They be nat faire for thou hast hem;
but thou hast geten hem for the fairnesse of them-selfe. And
there the vaylance of men is demed in richesse outforth, wenen       85
[ 64 ]me[n] to have no proper good in them-selfe, but seche it in
straunge thinges. Trewly, the condicion of good wening is to
thee mistourned, to wene, your noblesse be not in your-selfe, but
in the goodes and beautee of other thinges. Pardy, the beestes
that han but feling soules, have suffisaunce in their owne selfe;       90
and ye, that ben lyke to god, seken encrese of suffisaunce from so
excellent a kynde of so lowe thinges; ye do greet wrong to him
that you made lordes over al erthly thinges; and ye putte your
worthinesse under the nombre of the fete of lower thinges and
foule. Whan ye juge thilke riches to be your worthinesse, than       95
putte ye your-selfe, by estimacion, under thilke foule thinges;
and than leve ye the knowing of your-selfe; so be ye viler than
any dombe beest; that cometh of shrewde vice. Right so thilke
persons that loven non yvel for dereworthinesse of the persone,
but for straunge goodes, and saith, the adornement in the knot       100
lyth in such thing; his errour is perilous and shrewd, and he
wryeth moche venim with moche welth; and that knot may
nat be good whan he hath it getten.

Certes, thus hath riches with flickering sight anoyed many;
and often, whan there is a throw-out shrewe, he coyneth al the       105
gold, al the precious stones that mowen be founden, to have in
his bandon; he weneth no wight be worthy to have suche thinges
but he alone. How many hast thou knowe, now in late tyme,
that in their richesse supposed suffisance have folowed, and now
it is al fayled!'       110

'Ye, lady,' quod I, 'that is for mis medling; and otherwyse
governed [they] thilke richesse than they shulde.'

'Ye,' quod she tho, 'had not the flood greetly areysed, and
throwe to-hemward both gravel and sand, he had mad no medlinge.
And right as see yeveth flood, so draweth see ebbe, and       115
pulleth ayen under wawe al the firste out-throwe, but-if good pyles
of noble governaunce in love, in wel-meninge maner, ben sadly
grounded; †the whiche holde thilke gravel as for a tyme, that
ayen lightly mowe not it turne; and if the pyles ben trewe, the
gravel and sand wol abyde. And certes, ful warning in love shalt       120
thou never thorow hem get ne cover, that lightly with an ebbe, er
[ 65 ]thou be ware, it [ne] wol ayen meve. In richesse many men
have had tenes and diseses, whiche they shulde not have had, if
therof they had fayled. Thorow whiche, now declared, partly it is
shewed, that for richesse shulde the knotte in herte neither ben       125
caused in one ne in other; trewly, knotte may ben knit, and
I trowe more stedfast, in love, though richesse fayled; and els,
in richesse is the knotte, and not in herte. And than suche
a knotte is fals; whan the see ebbeth and withdraweth the
gravel, that such richesse voydeth, thilke knotte wol unknitte.       130
Wherfore no trust, no way, no cause, no parfit being is in
richesse, of no suche knotte. Therfore another way muste we

Ch. V. 1. thynge. 2. -throughe. 3. causen; read causeth. arne; read is. 7. arne. 8, 9. thynge (twice). moste.

10. thynge. moste. 11. false. 12. mote. 15. haste. 18. the. 19. suretie. 21. misease. 22. stretchen. debate. 24. arne. richesse; read richesses. 25. propertie. 27-30. richesse; read richesses (thrice). 35. nothynge. 40. coniunction. 41. howe maye. 42. lyfe. 43. richesse; read richesses. 44-5. gatheryng.

50. gatheryng. folke. 53. aferde. 55. worthe. 57. golde. 58. whose. 59. beautie. 60. set. 64-5. the (twice). 68. wolte. the apayde. 72. ease. 73. maye. 75. great. 76. workeman. 77. Howe. bountie. 79. the. 81. bountie. beautes. 83-4. haste (thrice).

86. me; read men. 87. condytion. 88. the. 89. beautie. 91. encrease. 92. great. 93-6. put (twice). 101. shreude. 102. maye. 105. throwe out. 106. golde. 108. Howe. haste. 108-9. nowe. 111. misse medlyng. 112. Supply they. 113. floode greatly. 114. hemwarde. sande. made. 115. floode. 116. out throw. 117. meanynge. 118. to; read the. 120. sande. 121. shalte. thorowe.

122. beware. I supply ne. 123. diseases. 124. Thorowe. nowe. partely. 126. maye. knytte. 129. false. 131. parfyte.


Honour in dignitè is wened to yeven a ful knot.'
'Ye, certes,' quod I, 'and of that opinion ben many;
for they sayn, dignitè, with honour and reverence, causen hertes
to encheynen, and so abled to be knit togither, for the excellence
in soverayntè of such degrees.'       5

'Now,' quod she, 'if dignitè, honour, and reverence causen
thilke knotte in herte, this knot is good and profitable. For
every cause of a cause is cause of thing caused. Than thus:
good thinges and profitable ben by dignitè, honour, and reverence
caused. Ergo, they accorden; and dignites ben good with       10
reverences and honour. But contraries mowen not accorden.
Wherfore, by reson, there shulde no dignitee, no reverence, non
honour acorde with shrewes. But that is fals; they have ben
cause to shrewes in many shreudnes; for with hem they accorden.
Ergo, from beginning to argue ayenward til it come to the laste       15
conclusion, they are not cause of the knot. Lo, al day at eye arn
shrewes not in reverence, in honour, and in dignitè? Yes, forsothe,
rather than the good. Than foloweth it that shrewes
rather than good shul ben cause of this knot. But of this [the]
contrarie of al lovers is bileved, and for a sothe openly determined       20
to holde.'
[ 66 ]
'Now,' quod I, 'fayn wolde I here, how suche dignitees acorden
with shrewes.'

'O,' quod she, 'that wol I shewe in manifolde wyse. Ye wene
(quod she) that dignites of office here in your citè is as the       25
sonne; it shyneth bright withouten any cloude; [of] whiche thing,
whan they comen in the handes of malicious tirauntes, there
cometh moche harm, and more grevaunce therof than of the
wilde fyre, though it brende al a strete. Certes, in dignitè of
office, the werkes of the occupyer shewen the malice and the       30
badnesse in the person; with shrewes they maken manyfolde
harmes, and moche people shamen. How often han rancours,
for malice of the governour, shulde ben mainteyned? Hath not
than suche dignitees caused debat, rumours, and yvels? Yes,
god wot, by suche thinges have ben trusted to make mens understanding       35
enclyne to many queynte thinges. Thou wottest wel
what I mene.'

'Ye,' quod I, 'therfore, as dignitè suche thing in tene y-wrought,
so ayenward, the substaunce in dignitè chaunged, relyed to bring
ayen good plyte in doing.'       40

'Do way, do way,' quod she; 'if it so betyde, but that is
selde, that suche dignitè is betake in a good mannes governaunce,
what thing is to recken in the dignitees goodnesse? Pardè, the
bountee and goodnesse is hers that usen it in good governaunce;
and therfore cometh it that honour and reverence shulde ben       45
don to dignitè bycause of encresinge vertue in the occupyer,
and not to the ruler bycause of soverayntee in dignitè. Sithen
dignitè may no vertue cause, who is worthy worship for suche
goodnesse? Not dignitè, but person, that maketh goodnesse in
dignitè to shyne.'       50

'This is wonder thing,' quod I; 'for me thinketh, as the person
in dignitè is worthy honour for goodnesse, so, tho[ugh] a person
for badnesse ma[u]gree hath deserved, yet the dignitè leneth to
be commended.'

'Let be,' quod she, 'thou errest right foule; dignitè with       55
badnesse is helper to performe the felonous doing. Pardy, were
it kyndly good, or any propertè of kyndly vertue [that men]
hadden in hem-selfe, shrewes shulde hem never have; with hem
shulde they never accorde. Water and fyr, that ben contrarious,
[ 67 ]mowen nat togider ben assembled; kynde wol nat suffre suche       60
contraries to joyne. And sithen at eye, by experience in doing,
we seen that shrewes have hem more often than good men, siker
mayst thou be, that kyndly good in suche thing is nat appropred.
Pardy, were they kyndly good, as wel oon as other shulden
evenlich in vertue of governaunce ben worthe; but oon fayleth in       65
goodnesse, another doth the contrary; and so it sheweth, kyndly
goodnesse in dignitè nat be grounded. And this same reson
(quod she) may be mad, in general, on al the bodily goodes;
for they comen ofte to throw-out shrewes. After this, he is
strong that hath might to have grete burthens, and he is light       70
and swifte, that hath soveraintè in ronning to passe other; right
so he is a shrewe, on whom shreude thinges and badde han most
werchinge. And right as philosophy maketh philosophers, and
my service maketh lovers, right so, if dignites weren good or
vertuous, they shulde maken shrewes good, and turne her malice,       75
and make hem be vertuous. But that they do nat, as it is
proved, but causen rancour and debat. Ergo, they be nat good,
but utterly badde. Had Nero never ben Emperour, shulde
never his dame have be slayn, to maken open the privitè of his
engendrure. Herodes, for his dignitè, slew many children. The       80
dignitè of king John wolde have distroyed al England. Therfore
mokel wysdom and goodnesse both, nedeth in a person, the
malice in dignitè slyly to brydel, and with a good bitte of arest
to withdrawe, in case it wolde praunce otherwyse than it shulde.
Trewly, ye yeve to dignites wrongful names in your cleping.       85
They shulde hete, nat dignitè, but moustre of badnesse and
mayntenour of shrewes. Pardy, shyne the sonne never so bright,
and it bringe forth no hete, ne sesonably the herbes out-bringe of
the erthe, but suffre frostes and cold, and the erthe barayne to
ligge by tyme of his compas in circute about, ye wolde wonder,       90
and dispreyse that sonne! If the mone be at ful, and sheweth
no light, but derke and dimme to your sight appereth, and make
distruccion of the waters, wol ye nat suppose it be under cloude
or in clips, and that som prevy thing, unknowen to your wittes,
is cause of suche contrarious doinge? Than, if clerkes, that han       95
ful insight and knowing of suche impedimentes, enforme you of
[ 68 ]the sothe, very idiottes ye ben, but-if ye yeven credence to thilk
clerkes wordes. And yet it doth me tene, to sene many wrecches
rejoycen in such maner planettes. Trewly, litel con[ne] they on
philosophy, or els on my lore, that any desyr haven suche       100
lightinge planettes in that wyse any more to shewe.'

'Good lady,' quod I, 'tel me how ye mene in these thinges.'

'Lo,' quod she, 'the dignites of your citè, sonne and mone,
nothing in kynde shew their shyning as they shulde. For the
sonne made no brenning hete in love, but freesed envye in       105
mennes hertes, for feblenesse of shyning hete; and the moone
was about, under an olde cloude, the livinges by waters to

'Lady,' quod I, 'it is supposed they had shyned as they
shulde.'       110

'Ye,' quod she, 'but now it is proved at the ful, their beautè in
kyndly shyning fayled; wherfore dignitè of him-selven hath no
beautee in fayrnesse, ne dryveth nat awaye vices, but encreseth;
and so be they no cause of the knotte. Now see, in good trouth;
holde ye nat such sonnes worthy of no reverence, and dignites       115
worthy of no worship, that maketh men to do the more harmes?'

'I not,' quod I.

'No?' quod she; 'and thou see a wyse good man, for his
goodnesse and wysnesse wolt thou nat do him worship? Therof
he is worthy.'       120

'That is good skil,' quod I; 'it is dewe to suche, both reverence
and worship to have.'

'Than,' quod she, 'a shrewe, for his shreudnesse, altho he be
put forth toforn other for ferde, yet is he worthy, for shrewdnesse,
to be unworshipped; of reverence no part is he worthy to have,       125
[that] to contrarious doing belongeth: and that is good skil.
For, right as he besmyteth the dignites, thilke same thing ayenward
him smyteth, or els shulde smyte. And over this thou wost
wel (quod she) that fyr in every place heteth where it be, and
water maketh wete. Why? For kyndely werking is so y-put in       130
hem, to do suche thinges; for every kyndely in werking sheweth
his kynde. But though a wight had ben mayre of your city
many winter togider, and come in a straunge place there he were
[ 69 ]not knowen, he shulde for his dignitè have no reverence. Than
neither worshippe ne reverence is kyndely propre in no dignitè,       135
sithen they shulden don their kynde in suche doinge, if any were.
And if reverence ne worshippe kyndely be not set in dignitees,
and they more therein ben shewed than goodnesse, for that in
dignitè is shewed, but it proveth that goodnesse kyndely in hem
is not grounded. I-wis, neither worshippe, ne reverence, ne       140
goodnesse in dignitè don non office of kynde; for they have non
suche propertee in nature of doinge but by false opinion of the
people. Lo! how somtyme thilke that in your city wern in
dignitè noble, if thou liste hem nempne, they ben now overturned
bothe in worship, in name, and in reverence; wherfore       145
such dignites have no kyndly werching of worshippe and of
reverence. He that hath no worthinesse on it-selfe, now it ryseth
and now it vanissheth, after the variaunt opinion in false hertes
of unstable people. Wherfore, if thou desyre the knotte of this
jewel, or els if thou woldest suppose she shulde sette the knotte       150
on thee for suche maner dignitè, than thou wenest beautee or
goodnesse of thilke somwhat encreseth the goodnesse or vertue in
the body. But dignite[es] of hemself ben not good, ne yeven
reverence ne worshippe by their owne kynde. How shulde they
than yeve to any other a thing, that by no waye mowe they have       155
hem-selfe? It is sene in dignitè of the emperour and of many
mo other, that they mowe not of hem-selve kepe their worshippe
ne their reverence; that, in a litel whyle, it is now up and now
downe, by unstedfaste hertes of the people. What bountee mowe
they yeve that, with cloude, lightly leveth his shyninge? Certes,       160
to the occupyer is mokel appeyred, sithen suche doinge doth
villanye to him that may it not mayntayne. Wherfore thilke way
to the knotte is croked; and if any desyre to come to the knot,
he must leve this way on his lefte syde, or els shal he never come
there.       165

Ch. VI. 3. sayne. 4. knytte. 6. Nowe. 12. reason. none. 13. false. 15. ayenwarde. 16. arne. 19. Supply the.

22. Nowe. fayne. howe. 26. I supply of. thynge. 28. harme. 32. Howe. 34. debate. 35. wote. 37. meane. 39. ayenwarde. 44. bountie. 45. honoure. 46. done. encreasynge. 47. soverayntie. 53. magre. 57. Supply that. men and it. 59. fire.

61. ioyn. 62. sene. menne. 63. mayste. 64-5. one (twice). 66. dothe. 68. made. 69. throwe out. 70. great burthyns. 77. debate. 80. slewe. 81. Englande. 82. wysedom. 88. bring forthe. heate. 89. colde. 91. son. 93. distruction. 94. some.

98. wretches. 99. con; read conne. 100. desyre. 102. howe. mean. 107. lyuenges. 111. nowe. 113. beautie. encreaseth. 114. Nowe se. 118. se. 119. wysenesse wolte. 124. forthe toforne. 125. parte. 126. I supply that. 127. ayenwarde. 128. woste. 129. fyre. heateth. 132. cytie.

141. done none. none. 142. propertie. 143. howe. cytie werne. 144. nowe. 147. For He read That thing? 147-8. nowe (twice). 151. the. beautie. 152. encreaseth. 153. dignite; read dignitees. 154. howe. 155. thynge. 158. that that; read that. nowe (twice). 159. bountie. 160. leaueth. 161. dothe. 162. maye. waye. 164. leaue. waye.

[ 70 ]


Avayleth aught (quod she) power of might in mayntenaunce
of [men, to maken hem] worthy to come to this

'Parde,' quod I, 'ye; for hertes ben ravisshed from suche
maner thinges.'       5

'Certes,' quod she, 'though a fooles herte is with thing
ravisshed, yet therfore is no general cause of the powers, ne of
a siker parfit herte to be loked after. Was not Nero the moste
shrewe oon of thilke that men rede, and yet had he power to
make senatours justices, and princes of many landes? Was not       10
that greet power?'

'Yes, certes,' quod I.

'Wel,' quod she, 'yet might he not helpe him-selfe out of
disese, whan he gan falle. How many ensamples canst thou
remembre of kinges grete and noble, and huge power †helden, and       15
yet they might not kepe hem-selve from wrecchednesse? How
wrecched was king Henry Curtmantil er he deyde? He had not
so moche as to cover with his membres; and yet was he oon
of the grettest kinges of al the Normandes ofspring, and moste
possession had. O! a noble thing and clere is power, that is not       20
founden mighty to kepe him-selfe! Now, trewly, a greet fole is
he, that for suche thing wolde sette the knotte in thyne herte!
Also power of rëalmes, is not thilke grettest power amonges the
worldly powers reckened? And if suche powers han wrecchednesse
in hem-selfe, it foloweth other powers of febler condicion to       25
ben wrecched; and than, that wrecchednesse shulde be cause of
suche a knotte! But every wight that hath reson wot wel that
wrecchednesse by no way may ben cause of none suche knotte;
wherfore suche power is no cause. That powers have wrecchednesse
in hem-selfe, may right lightly ben preved. If power lacke on       30
any syde, on that syde is no power; but no power is wrecchednesse:
for al-be-it so the power of emperours or kinges, or els
of their rëalmes (which is the power of the prince) strecchen
[ 71 ]wyde and brode, yet besydes is ther mokel folk of whiche he
hath no commaundement ne lordshippe; and there-as lacketh his       35
power, his nonpower entreth, where-under springeth that maketh
hem wrecches. No power is wrecchednesse and nothing els;
but in this maner hath kinges more porcion of wrecchednesse
than of power. Trewly, suche powers ben unmighty; for ever
they ben in drede how thilke power from lesing may be keped       40
of sorow; so drede sorily prikkes ever in their hertes: litel
is that power whiche careth and ferdeth it-selfe to mayntayne.
Unmighty is that wrecchednesse whiche is entred by the ferdful
weninge of the wrecche him-selfe; and knot y-maked by wrecchednesse
is betwene wrecches; and wrecches al thing bewaylen;       45
wherfore the knot shulde be bewayled; and there is no suche
parfit blisse that we supposed at the ginning! Ergo, power in
nothing shulde cause suche knottes. Wrecchednesse is a kyndely
propertee in suche power, as by way of drede, whiche they mowe
nat eschewe, ne by no way live in sikernesse. For thou wost wel       50
(quod she) he is nought mighty that wolde don that he may not
don ne perfourme.'

'Therfore,' quod I, 'these kinges and lordes that han suffisaunce
at the ful of men and other thinges, mowen wel ben
holden mighty; their comaundementes ben don; it is nevermore       55

'Foole,' quod she, 'or he wot him-selfe mighty, or wot it
not; for he is nought mighty that is blynde of his might and wot
it not.'

'That is sothe,' quod I.       60

'Than if he wot it, he must nedes ben a-drad to lesen it. He
that wot of his might is in doute that he mote nedes lese; and so
ledeth him drede to ben unmighty. And if he recche not to lese,
litel is that worth that of the lesing reson reccheth nothing; and
if it were mighty in power or in strength, the lesing shulde ben       65
withset; and whan it cometh to the lesing, he may it not withsitte.
Ergo, thilke might is leude and naughty. Such mightes
arn y-lyke to postes and pillers that upright stonden, and greet
might han to bere many charges; and if they croke on any syde,
litel thing maketh hem overthrowe.'       70

'This is a good ensample,' quod I, 'to pillers and postes that
[ 72 ]I have seen overthrowed my-selfe; and hadden they ben underput
with any helpes, they had not so lightly falle.'

'Than holdest thou him mighty that hath many men armed
and many servauntes; and ever he is adrad of hem in his herte;       75
and, for he gasteth hem, somtyme he mot the more fere have.
Comenly, he that other agasteth, other in him ayenward werchen
the same; and thus warnisshed mot he be, and of warnisshe the
hour drede. Litel is that might and right leude, who-so taketh
hede.'       80

'Than semeth it,' quod I, 'that suche famulers aboute kinges
and grete lordes shulde greet might have. Although a sypher in
augrim have no might in significacion of it-selve, yet he yeveth
power in significacion to other; and these clepe I the helpes to
a poste to kepe him from falling.'       85

'Certes,' quod she, 'thilke skilles ben leude. Why? But-if
the shorers be wel grounded, the helpes shulden slyden and suffre
the charge to falle; her might litel avayleth.'

'And so me thinketh,' quod I, 'that a poste alone, stonding
upright upon a basse, may lenger in greet burthen endure than       90
croken pilers for al their helpes, and her ground be not siker.'

'That is sothe,' quod she; 'for as, [if] the blynde in bering of
the lame ginne stomble, bothe shulde falle, right so suche pillers,
so envyroned with helpes, in falling of the grounde fayleth
†altogider. How ofte than suche famulers, in their moste pryde       95
of prosperitè, ben sodainly overthrowen! Thou hast knowe
many in a moment so ferre overthrowe, that cover might they
never. Whan the hevinesse of suche fayling cometh by case of
fortune, they mowe it not eschue; and might and power, if ther
were any, shulde of strength such thinges voyde and weyve; and       100
so it is not. Lo, than! whiche thing is this power, that, tho men
han it, they ben agast; and in no tyme of ful having be they
siker! And if they wold weyve drede, as they mow not, litel is
in worthines. Fye therfore on so naughty thing, any knot to
cause! Lo! in adversitè, thilk ben his foes that glosed and       105
semed frendes in welth; thus arn his familiers his foes and his
enemyes; and nothing is werse, ne more mighty for to anoy than
is a familier enemy; and these thinges may they not weyve; so
[ 73 ]trewly their might is not worth a cresse. And over al thinge, he
that may not withdrawe the brydel of his flesshly lustes and his       110
wrecched complayntes (now think on thy-selfe) trewly he is not
mighty; I can seen no way that lyth to the knotte. Thilke
people than, that setten their hertes upon suche mightes and
powers, often ben begyled. Pardè, he is not mighty that may do
any thing, that another may doon him the selve, and that men       115
have as greet power over him as he over other. A justice that
demeth men ayenward hath ben often demed. Buserus slew his
gestes, and he was slayn of Hercules his geste. Hugest betraysshed
many men, and of Collo was he betrayed. He that with
swerde smyteth, with swerde shal be smitten.'       120

Than gan I to studyen a whyle on these thinges, and made
a countenaunce with my hande in maner to ben huisht.

'Now let seen,' quod she, 'me thinketh somwhat there is
within thy soule, that troubleth thy understanding; saye on what
it is.'       125

Quod I tho, 'me thinketh that, although a man by power have
suche might over me, as I have over another, that disproveth no
might in my person; but yet may I have power and might

'See now,' quod she, 'thyne owne leudenesse. He is mighty       130
that may without wrecchednesse; and he is unmighty that may it
not withsitte; but than he, that might over thee, and he wol,
putte on thee wrecchednesse, thou might it not withsitte. Ergo,
thou seest thy-selfe what foloweth! But now (quod she) woldest
thou not skorne, and thou see a flye han power to don harm to       135
an-other flye, and thilke have no might ne ayenturning him-selfe
to defende?'

'Yes, certes,' quod I.

'Who is a frayler thing,' quod she, 'than the fleshly body of
a man, over whiche have oftentyme flyes, and yet lasse thing than       140
a flye, mokel might in grevaunce and anoying, withouten any
withsittinge, for al thilke mannes mightes? And sithen thou
seest thyne flesshly body in kyndely power fayle, how shulde than
the accident of a thinge ben in more suretè of beinge than
substancial? Wherfore, thilke thinges that we clepe power is but       145
[ 74 ]accident to the flesshly body; and so they may not have that
suretee in might, whiche wanteth in the substancial body. Why
there is no way to the knotte, [for him] that loketh aright after
the hye way, as he shulde.

Ch. VII. 2. I supply men, to maken hem. 8. parfyte. 9. one. 11. great. 14. disease. fal. Howe. canste. 15. great. holden; read helden. 16. wretchydnesse. Howe wretched. 18. one. 19. greatest. 20. thynge. 21. Nowe. great. 23. greatest. 24. wretchydnesse (several times); wretched (several times). 27. reason wote. 33. stretchen.

34. folke. 40. howe. 41. prickes. 47. parfyte. 49. propertie. 50. woste. 51-5. done (thrice). 57-62. wotte (four times). 61. a dradde. 63. leadeth. retche. 64. worthe. reason retcheth. 68. arne. great. 69. beare. 70. thynge.

72. sene. 73. fal. 75. adradde. 76. mote. feare. 77. ayenwarde. 78. mote. 82. great (twice). Althoughe. 88. fal. 90. graet (sic). 91. grounde. 92. Supply if. bearyng. 93. fal. 95. al togyther. howe. 96. haste. 108. enemye.

109. worthe. 110. maye. 111. wretched. nowe thynke. 112. sene. waye. lythe. 115. maye doone. 116. great. 117. ayenwarde. slewe. 118. slayne. 122. huyshte. 123. Nowe. sene. 130. Se nowe. 131. maye. wretchydnesse. 132. the. 133. put. the wretchydnesse. 134. nowe. 135. se. done harme. 141. anoyeng. 143. howe.

147. suretie. 148. waye. Supply for him. 149. waye.


Verily it is proved that richesse, dignitè, and power ben not
trewe way to the knotte, but as rathe by suche thinges the
knotte to be unbounde; wherfore on these thinges I rede no
wight truste to gette any good knotte. But what shul we saye of
renomè in the peoples mouthes? Shulde that ben any cause?       5
What supposest thou in thyn herte?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'yes, I trowe; for your slye resons I dare not
safely it saye.'

'Than,' quod she, 'wol I preve that shrewes as rathe shul ben
in the knotte as the good; and that were ayenst kynde.'       10

'Fayn,' quod I, 'wolde I that here; me thinketh wonder how
renomè shuld as wel knitte a shrewe as a good person; renomè
in every degree hath avaunced; yet wist I never the contrarye.
Shulde than renomè accorde with a shrewe? It may not sinke in
my stomake til I here more.'       15

'Now,' quod she, 'have I not sayd alwayes, that shrewes shul
not have the knotte?'

'What nedeth,' quod I, 'to reherse that any more? I wot wel
every wight, by kyndely reson, shrewes in knitting wol eschewe.'

'Than,' quod she, 'the good ought thilke knotte to have.'       20

'How els?' quod I.

'It were greet harm,' quod she, 'that the good were weyved
and put out of espoire of the knotte, if he it desyred.'

'O,' quod I, 'alas! On suche thing to thinke, I wene that
heven wepeth to see suche wronges here ben suffred on erthe; the       25
good ought it to have, and no wight els.'

'The goodnesse,' quod she, 'of a person may not ben knowe
outforth but by renomè of the knowers; wherfore he must be
renomed of goodnesse, to come to the knot.'

'So must it be,' quod I, 'or els al lost that we carpen.'       30
[ 75 ]
'Sothly,' quod she, 'that were greet harm, but-if a good man
might have his desyres in service of thilke knot, and a shrewe to
be †weyved, and they ben not knowen in general but by lacking
and praysing, and in renomè; and so by the consequence it
foloweth, a shrewe to ben praysed and knit; and a good to be       35
forsake and unknit.'

'Ah,' quod I tho, 'have ye, lady, ben here abouten; yet wolde
I see, by grace of our argumentes better declared, how good and
bad do acorden by lacking and praysing; me thinketh it ayenst
kynde.'       40

'Nay,' quod she, 'and that shalt thou see as yerne; these
elementes han contrarious qualitees in kynde, by whiche they
mowe not acorde no more than good and badde; and in [some]
qualitees they acorde, so that contraries by qualitè acorden by
qualitè. Is not erthe drye; and water, that is next and bitwene       45
th'erthe, is wete? Drye and wete ben contrarie, and mowen not
acorde, and yet this discordaunce is bounde to acorde by cloudes;
for bothe elementes ben colde. Right so the eyre, that is next
the water, is wete; and eke it is hot. This eyre by his hete
contrarieth water that is cold; but thilke contrarioustè is oned †by       50
moysture; for bothe be they moyst. Also the fyr, that is next
the †eyre and it encloseth al about, is drye, wherthrough it
contrarieth †eyre, that is wete; and in hete they acorde; for
bothe they ben hote. Thus by these acordaunces discordantes
ben joyned, and in a maner of acordaunce they acorden by       55
conneccion, that is, knitting togither; of that accorde cometh
a maner of melodye that is right noble. Right so good and bad
arn contrarie in doinges, by lacking and praysing; good is bothe
lacked and praysed of some; and badde is bothe lacked and
praysed of some; wherfore their contrarioustee acorde bothe by       60
lacking and praysing. Than foloweth it, though good be never
so mokel praysed, [it] oweth more to ben knit than the badde;
or els bad, for the renomè that he hath, must be taken as wel as
the good; and that oweth not.'

'No, forsothe,' quod I.       65

'Wel,' quod she, 'than is renomè no way to the knot. Lo,
foole,' quod she, 'how clerkes wryten of suche glorie of renomè:—"O
[ 76 ]glorie, glorie, thou art non other thing to thousandes of folke
but a greet sweller of eeres!" Many oon hath had ful greet renomè
by false opinion of variaunt people. And what is fouler than       70
folk wrongfully to ben praysed, or by malice of the people giltlesse
lacked? Nedes shame foloweth therof to hem that with wrong
prayseth, and also to the desertes praysed; and vilanye and
reproof of him that disclaundreth.

Good child (quod she) what echeth suche renomè to the       75
conscience of a wyse man, that loketh and mesureth his goodnesse,
not by slevelesse wordes of the people, but by sothfastnesse
of conscience? By god, nothing. And if it be fayr, a mans name
be eched by moche folkes praysing, and fouler thing that mo folk
not praysen? I sayd to thee a litel here-beforn, that no folk in       80
straunge countreyes nought praysen; suche renomè may not
comen to their eeres, bycause of unknowing and other obstacles,
as I sayde: wherfore more folk not praysen, and that is right foul
to him that renomè desyreth, to wete, lesse folk praisen than
renomè enhaunce. I trowe, the thank of a people is naught       85
worth in remembraunce to take; ne it procedeth of no wyse
jugement; never is it stedfast pardurable. It is veyne and fleing;
with winde wasteth and encreseth. Trewly, suche glorie ought to
be hated. If gentillesse be a cleer thing, renomè and glorie to
enhaunce, as in reckening of thy linage, than is gentilesse of thy       90
kinne; for-why it semeth that gentilesse of thy kinne is but
praysing and renomè that come of thyne auncestres desertes:
and if so be that praysing and renomè of their desertes make
their clere gentillesse, than mote they nedes ben gentil for their
gentil dedes, and not thou; for of thy-selfe cometh not such       95
maner gentilesse, praysinge of thy desertes. Than gentillesse of
thyne auncesters, that forayne is to thee, maketh thee not gentil,
but ungentil and reproved, and-if thou continuest not their
gentilesse. And therfore a wyse man ones sayde: "Better is it
thy kinne to ben by thee gentyled, than thou to glorifye of thy       100
kinnes gentilesse, and hast no desert therof thy-selfe."

How passinge is the beautee of flesshly bodyes, more flittinge
than movable floures of sommer! And if thyne eyen weren as good
as the lynx, that may seen thorow many stone walles, bothe fayre
[ 77 ]and foule, in their entrayles, of no maner hewe shulde apere to       105
thy sight; that were a foule sight. Than is fayrnesse by feblesse
of eyen, but of no kynde; wherfore thilke shulde be no way to
the knot; whan thilke is went, the knotte wendeth after. Lo,
now, at al proves, none of al these thinges mowe parfitly ben in
understanding, to ben way to the during blisse of the knotte.       110
But now, to conclusion of these maters, herkeneth these wordes.
Very sommer is knowe from the winter: in shorter cours draweth
the dayes of Decembre than in the moneth of June; the springes
of Maye faden and †falowen in Octobre. These thinges ben not
unbounden from their olde kynde; they have not lost her werke       115
of their propre estat. Men, of voluntarious wil, withsitte that
hevens governeth. Other thinges suffren thinges paciently to
werche; man, in what estat he be, yet wolde he ben chaunged.
Thus by queynt thinges blisse is desyred; and the fruit that
cometh of these springes nis but anguis and bitter; al-though it       120
be a whyle swete, it may not be with-holde; hastely they departe;
thus al-day fayleth thinges that fooles wende. Right thus hast
thou fayled in thy first wening. He that thinketh to sayle, and drawe
after the course of the sterre de polo antartico, shal he never
come northward to the contrarye sterre of polus articus; of whiche       125
thinges if thou take kepe, thy first out-waye-going "prison" and
"exile" may be cleped. The ground falsed underneth, and so
hast thou fayled. No wight, I wene, blameth him that stinteth
in misgoing, and secheth redy way of his blisse. Now me
thinketh (quod she) that it suffyseth in my shewing; the wayes       130
by dignetè, richesse, renomè, and power, if thou loke clerely, arn
no wayes to the knotte.'

Ch. VIII. 2. waye. 11. Fayne. howe. 14. maye. 16. Nowe. 18. wotte. 19. reason. 21. Howe. 22. great harme. 25. se.

31. great harme. 33. veyned; read weyued. 38. se. howe. 41. se. 42. qualyties. 43. I supply some. 46. therthe. 49. hotte. 50. colde. contrariousty. my; read by. 51. fyre. 52. erthe; read eyre (twice). 56. connection. 58. arne. 60. contraryoustie. 62. I supply it. 66. waye. 67. howe.

68. arte none. thynge. 69. great. one. great. 71. folke. 74. reprofe. 75. chylde. 76. measureth. 78. fayre. 79. folke. 80. the. beforne. folke. 83. folke. foule. 84. folke. 85. thanke. 86. worthe. 88. encreaseth. 89. clear thynge. 97-100. the (thrice). 101. haste. deserte. 102. Howe. beautie. 104. maye sene thorowe.

106. fayrenesse. 109-111. nowe (twice). 110. waye. 111. nowe. 114. folowen; read falowen. 115. loste. 116. estate. 119. fruite. 121. maye. 122. al-daye. haste. 125. northwarde. 127. grounde. 129. Nowe. 132. ways.


'Every argument, lady,' quod I tho, 'that ye han maked in
these fore-nempned maters, me thinketh hem in my ful
witte conceyved; shal I no more, if god wil, in the contrarye be
begyled. But fayn wolde I, and it were your wil, blisse of the
knotte to me were declared. I might fele the better how my       5
[ 78 ]herte might assente, to pursue the ende in service, as he hath

'O,' quod she, 'there is a melodye in heven, whiche clerkes
clepen "armony"; but that is not in brekinge of voice, but it is
a maner swete thing of kyndely werching, that causeth joye[s]       10
out of nombre to recken, and that is joyned by reson and by
wysdome in a quantitè of proporcion of knitting. God made al
thing in reson and in witte of proporcion of melody, we mowe not
suffyse to shewe. It is written by grete clerkes and wyse, that,
in erthly thinges, lightly by studye and by travayle the knowinge       15
may be getten; but of suche hevenly melody, mokel travayle wol
bringe out in knowing right litel. Swetenesse of this paradyse
hath you ravisshed; it semeth ye slepten, rested from al other
diseses; so kyndely is your herte therein y-grounded. Blisse of
two hertes, in ful love knitte, may not aright ben imagined; ever       20
is their contemplacion, in ful of thoughty studye to plesaunce,
mater in bringinge comfort everiche to other. And therfore, of
erthly thinges, mokel mater lightly cometh in your lerning.
Knowledge of understonding, that is nigh after eye, but not so
nigh the covetyse of knittinge in your hertes. More soverain       25
desyr hath every wight in litel heringe of hevenly conninge than
of mokel material purposes in erthe. Right so it is in propertee
of my servauntes, that they ben more affiched in steringe of litel
thinge in his desyr than of mokel other mater lasse in his
conscience. This blisse is a maner of sowne delicious in       30
a queynte voice touched, and no dinne of notes; there is non
impression of breking labour. I can it not otherwyse nempne,
for wantinge of privy wordes, but paradyse terrestre ful of delicious
melody, withouten travayle in sown, perpetual service in ful joye
coveyted to endure. Only kynde maketh hertes in understonding       35
so to slepe, that otherwyse may it nat be nempned, ne in other
maner names for lyking swetnesse can I nat it declare; al sugre
and hony, al minstralsy and melody ben but soot and galle in
comparison, by no maner proporcion to reken, in respect of this
blisful joye. This armony, this melody, this perdurable joye may       40
nat be in doinge but betwene hevens and elementes, or twey
kyndly hertes ful knit in trouth of naturel understonding, withouten
weninge and disceit; as hevens and planettes, whiche thinges
[ 79 ]continually, for kyndly accordaunces, foryeteth al contrarious
mevinges, that in-to passive diseses may sowne; evermore it       45
thirsteth after more werking. These thinges in proporcion be
so wel joyned, that it undoth al thing whiche in-to badnesse by any
way may be accompted.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'this is a thing precious and noble. Alas!
that falsnesse ever, or wantrust shulde ever be maynteyned, this       50
joye to voyde. Alas! that ever any wrecche shulde, thorow wrath
or envy, janglinge dare make, to shove this melody so farre
a-backe, that openly dar it nat ben used; trewly, wrecches ben
fulfilled with envy and wrathe, and no wight els. Flebring
and tales in suche wrecches dare appere openly in every wightes       55
eere, with ful mouth so charged, [with] mokel malice moved
many innocentes to shende; god wolde their soule therwith were
strangled! Lo! trouth in this blisse is hid, and over-al under
covert him hydeth; he dar not come a-place, for waytinge of
shrewes. Commenly, badnesse goodnesse amaistreth; with my-selfe       60
and my soule this joye wolde I bye, if the goodnesse were
as moche as the nobley in melody.'

'O,' quod she, 'what goodnesse may be acompted more in
this material worlde? Truly, non; that shalt thou understonde.
Is nat every thing good that is contrariant and distroying yvel?'       65

'How els?' quod I.

'Envy, wrathe, and falsnesse ben general,' quod she; 'and
that wot every man being in his right mynde; the knotte, the
whiche we have in this blisse, is contrariaunt and distroyeth such
maner yvels. Ergo, it is good. What hath caused any wight       70
to don any good dede? Fynd me any good, but-if this knotte
be the cheef cause. Nedes mot it be good, that causeth so
many good dedes. Every cause is more and worthier than thing
caused; and in that mores possession al thinges lesse ben
compted. As the king is more than his people, and hath in       75
possession al his rëalme after, right so the knot is more than
al other goodes; thou might recken al thinges lasse; and that
to him longeth, oweth in-to his mores cause of worship and of
wil †to turne; it is els rebel and out of his mores defending to
voyde. Right so of every goodnesse; in-to the knotte and       80
in-to the cause of his worship [it] oweth to tourne. And trewly,
[ 80 ]every thing that hath being profitably is good, but nothing hath
to ben more profitably than this knot; kinges it mayntayneth,
and hem, their powers to mayntayne. It maketh misse to ben
amended with good governaunce in doing. It closeth hertes       85
so togider, that rancour is out-thresten. Who that it lengest
kepeth, lengest is glad[d]ed.'

'I trowe,' quod I, 'heretykes and misse-mening people hence-forward
wol maintayne this knotte; for therthorough shul they
ben maintayned, and utterly wol turne and leve their olde yvel       90
understanding, and knitte this goodnesse, and profer so ferre
in service, that name of servauntes might they have. Their
jangles shal cese; me thinketh hem lacketh mater now to alege.'

'Certes,' quod Love, 'if they, of good wil thus turned, as thou
sayst, wolen trewly perfourme, yet shul they be abled party       95
of this blisse to have; and they wol not, yet shul my servauntes
the werre wel susteyne in myn helpe of maintenaunce to the ende.
And they, for their good travayle, shullen in reward so ben meded,
that endelesse joye body and soule †to-gider in this shullen
abyden. There is ever accion of blisse withouten possible       100
corrupcion; there is accion perpetuel in werke without travayle;
there is everlasting passife, withouten any of labour; continuel
plyte, without cesinge coveyted to endure. No tonge may telle,
ne herte may thinke the leest point of this blisse.'

'God bring me thider!' quod I than.       105

'Continueth wel,' quod she, 'to the ende, and thou might not
fayle than; for though thou spede not here, yet shal the passion
of thy martred lyfe ben written, and rad toforn the grete Jupiter,
that god is of routhe, an high in the holownesse of heven, there
he sit in his trone; and ever thou shalt forward ben holden       110
amonge al these hevins for a knight, that mightest with no
penaunce ben discomfited. He is a very martyr that, livingly
goinge, is gnawen to the bones.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'these ben good wordes of comfort; a litel
myne herte is rejoyced in a mery wyse.'       115

'Ye,' quod she; 'and he that is in heven felith more joye,
than whan he firste herde therof speke.'

'So it is,' quod I; 'but wist I the sothe, that after disese
comfort wolde folowe with blisse, so as ye have often declared,
[ 81 ]I wolde wel suffre this passion with the better chere. But my       120
thoughtful sorowe is endelesse, to thinke how I am cast out
of a welfare; and yet dayneth not this yvel non herte, non hede,
to meward throwe: which thinges wolde greetly me by wayes
of comfort disporte, to weten in my-selfe a litel with other me[n]
ben y-moved; and my sorowes peysen not in her balaunce the       125
weyght of a peese. Slinges of her daunger so hevily peysen,
they drawe my causes so hye, that in her eyen they semen but
light and right litel.'

'O! for,' quod she, 'heven with skyes that foule cloudes
maken and darke †weders, with gret tempestes and huge,       130
maketh the mery dayes with softe shyning sonnes. Also the
yere with-draweth floures and beautee of herbes and of erth;
the same †yere maketh springes and jolitè in Vere so to renovel
with peinted coloures, that erthe semeth as gay as heven. Sees
that blasteth and with wawes throweth shippes, of whiche the       135
living creatures for greet peril for hem dreden; right so, the
same sees maketh smothe waters and golden sayling, and comforteth
hem with noble haven that firste were so ferde. Hast
thou not (quod she) lerned in thy youth, that Jupiter hath in
his warderobe bothe garmentes of joye and of sorowe? What       140
wost thou how soone he wol turne of the garment of care,
and clothe thee in blisse? Pardè, it is not ferre fro thee. Lo,
an olde proverbe aleged by many wyse:—"Whan bale is greetest,
than is bote a nye-bore." Wherof wilt thou dismaye? Hope
wel and serve wel; and that shal thee save, with thy good bileve.'       145

'Ye, ye,' quod I; 'yet see I not by reson how this blisse
is coming; I wot it is contingent; it may falle on other.'

'O,' quod she, 'I have mokel to done to clere thyne understanding,
and voyde these errours out of thy mynde. I wol
prove it by reson, thy wo may not alway enduren. Every thing       150
kyndely (quod she) is governed and ruled by the hevenly bodyes,
whiche haven ful werchinge here on erthe; and after course
of these bodyes, al course of your doinges here ben governed
and ruled by kynde.

Thou wost wel, by cours of planettes al your dayes proceden;       155
and to everich of singuler houres be enterchaunged stondmele
[ 82 ]about, by submitted worching naturally to suffre; of whiche
changes cometh these transitory tymes that maketh revolving of
your yeres thus stondmele; every hath ful might of worchinge,
til al seven han had her course about. Of which worchinges and       160
possession of houres the dayes of the weke have take her names,
after denominacion in these seven planettes. Lo, your Sonday
ginneth at the first hour after noon on the Saturday, in whiche
hour is than the Sonne in ful might of worching; of whom Sonday
taketh his name. Next him foloweth Venus, and after       165
Mercurius, and than the Moone; so than Saturnus, after whom
Jovis; and than Mars; and ayen than the Sonne; and so forth
†by .xxiiii. houres togider; in whiche hour ginning in the seconde
day stant the Moone, as maister for that tyme to rule; of whom
Monday taketh his name; and this course foloweth of al other       170
dayes generally in doing. This course of nature of these bodyes
chaunging stinten at a certain terme, limitted by their first kynde;
and of hem al governementes in this elemented worlde proceden,
as in springes, constellacions, engendrures, and al that folowen
kynde and reson; wherfore [in] the course that foloweth, sorowe       175
and joy kyndely moten entrechangen their tymes; so that
alway oon wele, as alway oon wo, may not endure. Thus seest
thou appertly, thy sorowe in-to wele mot ben chaunged; wherfore
in suche case to better syde evermore enclyne thou shuldest.
Trewly, next the ende of sorowe anon entreth joy; by maner       180
of necessitè it wol ne may non other betyde; and so thy conti[n]gence
is disproved; if thou holde this opinion any more, thy
wit is right leude. Wherfore, in ful conclusion of al this, thilke
Margaryte thou desyrest hath ben to thee dere in thy herte, and
for her hast thou suffred many thoughtful diseses; herafter shal       185
[she] be cause of mokel mirth and joye; and loke how glad canst
thou ben, and cese al thy passed hevinesse with manifolde
joyes. And than wol I as blythly here thee speken thy mirthes
in joye, as I now have y-herd thy sorowes and thy complayntes.
And if I mowe in aught thy joye encrese, by my trouthe, on       190
my syde shal nat be leved for no maner traveyle, that I with
al my mightes right blythly wol helpe, and ever ben redy you
bothe to plese.' And than thanked I that lady with al goodly
[ 83 ]maner that I worthily coude; and trewly I was greetly rejoysed
in myne herte of her fayre behestes; and profered me to be       195
slawe, in al that she me wolde ordeyne, while my lyf lested.

Ch. IX. 4. fayne. 5. howe.

10. ioye; read joyes. 11-3. reason. 14. great. 19. diseases. hertes; read herte. 22. comforte. 24-5. nyghe (twice). 25. soueraine desyre. 27. propertie. 29. desyre. 31. none. 32. breakynge laboure. canne. 35. Onely. 38. soote. 39. respecte.

45. diseases. 51. wretch. thorowe. 53. dare. 53-5. wretches. 56. eare. I supply with. 57. innoctenes; misprint for innocentes. 59. dare. 65. distroyeng. 66. Howe. 71. Fynde. 72. chefe. mote. 73. thynge. 79. do; read to, as in l. 81. 81. Supply it.

88. meanynge. 89. forwarde. 90. leaue. 93. cease. nowe. 99. togyther. 100-1. action (twice). 103. ceasynge. tel. 104. hert. 108. radde toforne. great. 110. sytte. forwarde. 114. comforte. 118. disease comforte.

121. howe. 122. none (twice). 123. mewarde. greatly. 124. comforte. me; read men? 130. wethers; read weders. 132. beautie. 133. yeres; read yere. 136. great. 141. howe. 142. the. 143. greatest. 144. wylte. 145. the. 146. se. reason howe. 147. wote. fal. 150. reason.

162. denomination. 168. be; for by. 169. stante. 172. certayne. 175. Supply in. 177. on (for oon; twice). 178. mote. 181. contygence. 184. the. 185. diseases. 186. Supply she. howe. canste. 187. cease. 188. the. 189. ioy. nowe. yherde. 190. encrease. 191. leaued.

194. worthely. greatly. 195. hert. 196. lyfe.


'Me thinketh,' quod I, 'that ye have right wel declared,
that way to the knot shuld not ben in none of these
disprovinge thinges; and now, order of our purpos this asketh,
that ye shulde me shewe if any way be †thider, and whiche
thilke way shulde ben; so that openly may be seye the verry       5
hye way in ful confusioun of these other thinges.'

'Thou shalt,' quod she, 'understande that [of] one of three
lyves (as I first sayd) every creature of mankynde is sprongen,
and so forth procedeth. These lyves ben thorow names departed
in three maner of kyndes, as bestialliche, manliche, and resonabliche;       10
of whiche two ben used by flesshely body, and the thirde
by his soule. "Bestial" among resonables is forboden in every
lawe and every secte, bothe in Cristen and other; for every
wight dispyseth hem that liveth by lustes and delytes, as him
that is thral and bounden servaunt to thinges right foule; suche       15
ben compted werse than men; he shal nat in their degree ben
rekened, ne for suche one alowed. Heritykes, sayn they, chosen
lyf bestial, that voluptuously liven; so that (as I first sayde to
thee) in manly and resonable livinges our mater was to declare;
but [by] "manly" lyfe, in living after flesshe, or els flesshly wayes       20
to chese, may nat blisse in this knotte be conquered, as by reson
it is proved. Wherfore by "resonable" lyfe he must nedes it
have, sithe a way is to this knotte, but nat by the firste tway lyves;
wherfore nedes mot it ben to the thirde; and for to live in flesshe,
but nat after flessh, is more resonablich than manliche rekened       25
by clerkes. Therfore how this way cometh in, I wol it blythely

See now (quod she) that these bodily goodes of manliche
livinges yelden †sorowfulle stoundes and smertande houres. Who-so
†wol remembre him to their endes, in their worchinges they       30
[ 84 ]ben thoughtful and sorie. Right as a bee that hath had his hony,
anon at his flight beginneth to stinge; so thilke bodily goodes at
the laste mote awaye, and than stinge they at her goinge, wherthrough
entreth and clene voydeth al blisse of this knot.'

'Forsothe,' quod I, 'me thinketh I am wel served, in shewing       35
of these wordes. Although I hadde litel in respect among other
grete and worthy, yet had I a fair parcel, as me thought, for the
tyme, in forthering of my sustenaunce; whiche while it dured,
I thought me havinge mokel hony to myne estat. I had richesse
suffisauntly to weyve nede; I had dignitè to be reverenced in       40
worship. Power me thought that I had to kepe fro myne enemyes,
and me semed to shyne in glorie of renomè as manhood asketh
in mene; for no wight in myne administracion coude non yvels
ne trechery by sothe cause on me putte. Lady, your-selve
weten wel, that of tho confederacies maked by my soverains       45
I nas but a servaunt, and yet mokel mene folk wol fully ayenst
reson thilke maters maynteyne, in whiche mayntenaunce [they]
glorien them-selfe; and, as often ye haven sayd, therof ought
nothing in yvel to be layd to me-wardes, sithen as repentaunt
I am tourned, and no more I thinke, neither tho thinges ne       50
none suche other to sustene, but utterly distroye, without medlinge
maner, in al my mightes. How am I now cast out of al
swetnesse of blisse, and mischevously [is] stongen my passed
joy! Soroufully muste I bewayle, and live as a wrecche.

Every of tho joyes is tourned in-to his contrary. For richesse,       55
now have I povertè; for dignitè, now am I emprisoned; in
stede of power, wrecchednesse I suffre; and for glorie of renomè,
I am now dispysed and foulich hated. Thus hath farn Fortune,
that sodaynly am I overthrowen, and out of al welth dispoyled.
Trewly, me thinketh this way in entree is right hard; god graunt       60
me better grace er it be al passed; the other way, lady, me
thought right swete.'

'Now, certes,' quod Love, 'me list for to chyde. What ayleth
thy darke dulnesse? Wol it nat in clerenesse ben sharped?
Have I nat by many resons to thee shewed, suche bodily goodes       65
faylen to yeve blisse, their might so ferforth wol nat strecche?
[ 85 ]Shame (quod she) it is to say, thou lyest in thy wordes. Thou
ne hast wist but right fewe that these bodily goodes had al atones;
commenly they dwellen nat togider. He that plentè hath in riches,
of his kinne is ashamed; another of linage right noble and wel       70
knowe, but povert him handleth; he were lever unknowe.
Another hath these, but renomè of peoples praysing may he nat
have; overal he is hated and defamed of thinges right foule.
Another is fair and semely, but dignitè him fayleth; and he that
hath dignitè is croked or lame, or els misshapen and foully dispysed.       75
Thus partable these goodes dwellen commenly; in one
houshold ben they but silde. Lo! how wrecched is your truste
on thing that wol nat accorde! Me thinketh, thou clepest thilke
plyte thou were in "selinesse of fortune"; and thou sayest, for
that the selinesse is departed, thou art a wrecch. Than foloweth       80
this upon thy wordes; every soule resonable of man may nat dye;
and if deth endeth selinesse and maketh wrecches, as nedes of
fortune maketh it an ende. Than soules, after deth of the body,
in wrecchednesse shulde liven. But we knowe many that han
geten the blisse of heven after their deth. How than may this       85
lyf maken men blisful, that whan it passeth it yeveth no wrecchednesse,
and many tymes blisse, if in this lyfe he con live as he
shulde? And wolt thou acompt with Fortune, that now at [t]he
first she hath don thee tene and sorowe? If thou loke to the
maner of al glad thinges and sorouful, thou mayst nat nay it, that       90
yet, and namely now, thou standest in noble plyte in a good
ginning, with good forth-going herafter. And if thou wene to be
a wrecch, for such welth is passed, why than art thou nat wel
fortunate, for badde thinges and anguis wrecchednesse ben passed?
Art thou now come first in-to the hostry of this lyfe, or els the       95
both of this worlde? Art thou now a sodayn gest in-to this
wrecched exile? Wenest there be any thing in this erthe stable?
Is nat thy first arest passed, that brought thee in mortal sorowe?
Ben these nat mortal thinges agon with ignorance of beestial wit,
and hast receyved reson in knowing of vertue? What comfort is       100
in thy herte, the knowinge sikerly in my service [to] be grounded?
And wost thou nat wel, as I said, that deth maketh ende of al
[ 86 ]fortune? What than? Standest thou in noble plyte, litel hede
or recking to take, if thou let fortune passe dy[i]ng, or els that
she fly whan her list, now by thy lyve? Pardy, a man hath       105
nothing so leef as his lyf; and for to holde that, he doth al his
cure and diligent traveyle. Than, say I, thou art blisful and
fortunat sely, if thou knowe thy goodes that thou hast yet
†beleved, whiche nothing may doute that they ne ben more worthy
than thy lyf?'       110

'What is that?' quod I.

'Good contemplacion,' quod she, 'of wel-doing in vertue in tyme
coming, bothe in plesaunce of me and of thy Margarit-peerle.
Hastely thyn hert in ful blisse with her shal be esed. Therfore dismay
thee nat; Fortune, in hate grevously ayenst thy bodily person,       115
ne yet to gret tempest hath she nat sent to thee, sithen the holding
cables and ankers of thy lyfe holden by knitting so faste, that
thou discomforte thee nought of tyme that is now, ne dispayre
thee not of tyme to come, but yeven thee comfort in hope of
weldoing, and of getting agayn the double of thy lesing, with       120
encresing love of thy Margarite-perle therto! For this, hiderto,
thou hast had al her ful daunger; and so thou might amende al
that is misse and al defautes that somtyme thou diddest; and
that now, in al thy tyme, to that ilke Margaryte in ful service of
my lore thyne herte hath continued; wherfore she ought moche       125
the rather enclyne fro her daungerous sete. These thinges ben
yet knit by the holding anker in thy lyve, and holden mote they;
to god I pray, al these thinges at ful ben perfourmed. For whyle
this anker holdeth, I hope thou shalt safely escape; and [in a]
whyle thy trewe-mening service aboute bringe, in dispyte of al       130
false meners that thee of-newe haten; for [in] this trewe service
thou art now entred.'

'Certayn,' quod I, 'among thinges I asked a question, whiche
was the way to the knot. Trewly, lady, how-so it be I tempt you
with questions and answers, in speking of my first service, I am       135
now in ful purpos in the pricke of the herte, that thilke service
was an enprisonment, and alway bad and naughty, in no maner
to be desyred; ne that, in getting of the knot, may it nothing
aveyle. A wyse gentil herte loketh after vertue, and none other
[ 87 ]bodily joyes alone. And bycause toforn this in tho wayes I was       140
set, I wot wel my-selfe I have erred, and of the blisse fayled; and
so out of my way hugely have I ronne.'

'Certes,' quod she, 'that is sothe; and there thou hast miswent,
eschewe the path from hens-forward, I rede. Wonder
I trewly why the mortal folk of this worlde seche these ways       145
outforth; and it is preved in your-selfe. Lo, how ye ben confounded
with errour and folly! The knowing of very cause and way is
goodnesse and vertue. Is there any thing to thee more precious
than thy-selfe? Thou shalt have in thy power that thou woldest
never lese, and that in no way may be taken fro thee; and thilke       150
thing is that is cause of this knot. And if deth mowe it nat reve
more than an erthly creature, thilke thing than abydeth with thy-selfe
soule. And so, our conclusion to make, suche a knot, thus
getten, abydeth with this thinge and with the soule, as long as
they laste. A soule dyeth never; vertu and goodnesse evermore       155
with the soule endureth; and this knot is parfit blisse. Than
this soule in this blisse endlesse shal enduren. Thus shul hertes
of a trewe knot ben esed: thus shul their soules ben plesed: thus
perpetually in joye shul they singe.'

'In good trouth,' quod I, 'here is a good beginning; yeve us       160
more of this way.'

Quod she, 'I said to thee nat longe sithen, that resonable lyf
was oon of three thinges; and it was proved to the soule.

Ch. X. 3. nowe. purpose. 4. thyther. 5. maye be sey. 6. waye. 7. I supply of. 7-10. thre (twice). 9. thorowe. 13. christen. 17. sayne. 18. lyfe. 19. the. lyuenges. 20. Supply by. lyueng. 21. reason. 24. mote. 26. howe. waye. 28. Se nowe. 29. lyuenges. soroufully; read sorowfulle. 30. wele; read wol.

31. hadde. 32. anone. 36. respecte amonge. 37. great. faire. 39. estate. 42. manhode. 43. meane. -tion. 46. meane folke. 47. reason. I supply they. 48. sayde. 49. nothynge. layde. 52. Howe. nowe caste. 53. Supply is. 54. wretche. 56. nowe (thrice). 57. wretchednesse. 58. nowe. 60. entre. harde. 61. ladye. 63. Nowe. 65. reasons. the. 66. ferforthe. stretche.

74. faire. 75. fouly. 77. sylde. howe reetched (!). 80. arte a wretch. 82. dethe. wretches. 83. dethe. 84-6. wretchednesse. 85. dethe. Howe. 86. lyfe. 88. wolte. now. he; read the. 89. done the. 91. nowe. 93. wretch. 94. wretchednesse. 95-6. nowe (twice). 96. sodayne. 97. wretched. thynge. 98. the (sic). 100. reason. comforte. 101. hert. I supply to. 102. woste.

104. rcekyng. dyng (sic). 106. lefe. lyfe. 109. beloued; read beleued. nothynge. 112. contemplation. 114. eased. 115-9. the (five times). 119. comforte. 120. agayne. encreasynge. 129. shalte. Supply in a. 130. meanyng. 131. meaners. the. Supply in. 132. arte nowe. 133. Certayn begins with a large capital C, on fol. 306, verso. amonge. 134. howe. 136. nowe. purpose. 136-9. hert.

140. toforne. 141. sette. wote. 142. ron. 144. pathe. -forwarde. 145. folke. 146. howe. 148. thynge. the. 150. the. 151. dethe. 152. thynge. 155. last. 156. parfite. 158. eased. pleased. 162. the. lyfe. 163. one. thre.


Every soule of reson hath two thinges of stering lyf, oon in
vertue, and another in the bodily workinge; and whan the
soule is the maister over the body, than is a man maister of him-selfe.
And a man, to be a maister over him-selfe, liveth in vertu and
in goodnesse, and as reson of vertue techeth. So the soule and the       5
body, worching vertue togider, liven resonable lyf, whiche clerkes
clepen "felicitè in living"; and therein is the hye way to this knot.
These olde philosophers, that hadden no knowing of divine grace,
of kyndly reson alone, wenden that of pure nature, withouten any
[ 88 ]helpe of grace, me might have y-shoned th'other livinges.       10
Resonably have I lived; and for I thinke herafter, if god wol,
and I have space, thilke grace after my leude knowing declare,
I leve it as at this tyme. But, as I said, he that out-forth loketh
after the wayes of this knot, [his] conning with whiche he shulde
knowe the way in-forth, slepeth for the tyme. Wherfore he that       15
wol this way knowe, must leve the loking after false wayes out-forth,
and open the eyen of his conscience, and unclose his herte.
Seest nat, he that hath trust in the bodily lyfe is so besy bodily
woundes to anointe, in keping from smert (for al-out may they nat
be heled), that of woundes in his true understanding he taketh no       20
hede; the knowing evenforth slepeth so harde: but anon, as in
knowing awake, than ginneth the prevy medicynes, for heling of
his trewe intent, inwardes lightly †helen conscience, if it be wel
handled. Than must nedes these wayes come out of the soule
by stering lyfe of the body; and els may no man come to parfit       25
blisse of this knotte. And thus, by this waye, he shal come to the
knotte, and to the parfit selinesse that he wende have had in
bodily goodes outforth.'

'Ye,' quod I, 'shal he have both knot, riches, power, dignitè,
and renomè in this maner way?'       30

'Ye,' quod she, 'that shal I shewe thee. Is he nat riche that
hath suffisaunce, and hath the power that no man may amaistrien?
Is nat greet dignitè to have worship and reverence? And hath
he nat glorie of renomè, whos name perpetual is during, and out
of nombre in comparacion?'       35

'These be thinges that men wenen to getten outforth,' quod I.

'Ye,' quod she; 'they that loken after a thing that nought is
therof, in al ne in partie, longe mowe they gapen after!'

'That is sothe,' quod I.

'Therfore,' quod she, 'they that sechen gold in grene trees, and       40
wene to gader precious stones among vynes, and layn her nettes
in mountains to fisshe, and thinken to hunte in depe sees after
hart and hynd, and sechen in erth thilke thinges that surmounteth
heven, what may I of hem say, but folisshe ignoraunce misledeth
wandring wrecches by uncouth wayes that shulden be forleten,       45
and maketh hem blynde fro the right pathe of trewe way that
[ 89 ]shulde ben used? Therfore, in general, errour in mankynde
departeth thilke goodes by mis-seching, whiche he shulde have
hole, and he sought by reson. Thus goth he begyled of that he
sought; in his hode men have blowe a jape.'       50

'Now,' quod I, 'if a man be vertuous, and al in vertue liveth,
how hath he al these thinges?'

'That shal I proven,' quod she. 'What power hath any man
to lette another of living in vertue? For prisonment, or any
other disese, [if] he take it paciently, discomfiteth he nat; the       55
tyrant over his soule no power may have. Than hath that man,
so tourmented, suche power, that he nil be discomfit; ne overcome
may he nat ben, sithen pacience in his soule overcometh,
and †is nat overcomen. Suche thing that may nat be a-maistred,
he hath nede to nothing; for he hath suffisaunce y-now, to helpe       60
him-selfe. And thilke thing that thus hath power and suffisance,
and no tyrant may it reve, and hath dignitè to sette at nought al
thinges, here it is a greet dignitè, that deth may a-maistry. Wherfore
thilke power [with] suffisaunce, so enclosed with dignitè, by
al reson renomè must have. This is thilke riches with suffisaunce       65
ye sholde loke after; this is thilke worshipful dignitè ye shulde
coveyte; this is thilke power of might, in whiche ye shulde truste;
this is the ilke renomè of glorie that endlesse endureth; and al
nis but substaunce in vertuous lyving.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'al this is sothe; and so I see wel that vertue       70
with ful gripe encloseth al these thinges. Wherfore in sothe
I may saye, by my trouth, vertue of my Margarite brought me
first in-to your service, to have knitting with that jewel, nat sodain
longinges ne folkes smale wordes, but only our conversacion
togider; and than I, seinge th'entent of her trewe mening with       75
florisshing vertue of pacience, that she used nothing in yvel, to
quyte the wicked lesinges that false tonges ofte in her have laid,
I have seye it my-selfe, goodly foryevenesse hath spronge out of
her herte. Unitè and accord, above al other thinges, she
desyreth in a good meke maner; and suffereth many wicked       80

Trewly, lady, to you it were a gret worship, that suche thinges
by due chastisment were amended.'
[ 90 ]
'Ye,' quod she, 'I have thee excused; al suche thinges as yet
mowe nat be redressed; thy Margarites vertue I commende wel       85
the more, that paciently suche anoyes suffreth. David king was
meke, and suffred mokel hate and many yvel speches; no despyt
ne shame that his enemys him deden might nat move pacience
out of his herte, but ever in one plyte mercy he used. Wherfore
god him-selfe took reward to the thinges; and theron suche       90
punisshment let falle. Trewly, by reson, it ought be ensample of
drede to al maner peoples mirth. A man vengeable in wrath no
governance in punisshment ought to have. Plato had a cause his
servant to †scourge, and yet cleped he his neibour to performe the
doinge; him-selfe wolde nat, lest wrath had him a-maistred; and       95
so might he have layd on to moche: evermore grounded vertue
sheweth th'entent fro within. And trewly, I wot wel, for her goodnesse
and vertue, thou hast desyred my service to her plesance
wel the more; and thy-selfe therto fully hast profered.'

'Good lady,' quod I, 'is vertue the hye way to this knot that       100
long we have y-handled?'

'Ye, forsoth,' quod she, 'and without vertue, goodly this knot
may nat be goten.'

'Ah! now I see,' quod I, 'how vertu in me fayleth; and I, as
a seer tree, without burjoning or frute, alwaye welke; and       105
so I stonde in dispeyre of this noble knot; for vertue in me
hath no maner workinge. A! wyde-where aboute have I

'Pees,' quod she, 'of thy first way; thy traveyle is in ydel;
and, as touchinge the seconde way, I see wel thy meninge. Thou       110
woldest conclude me, if thou coudest, bycause I brought thee
to service; and every of my servantes I helpe to come to this
blisse, as I sayd here-beforn. And thou saydest thy-selfe, thou
mightest nat be holpen as thou wenest, bycause that vertue in
thee fayleth; and this blisse parfitly without vertue may nat be       115
goten; thou wenest of these wordes contradiccion to folowe.
Pardè, at the hardest, I have no servant but he be vertuous in
dede and thought. I brought thee in my service, yet art thou
nat my servant; but I say, thou might so werche in vertue herafter,
that than shalt thou be my servant, and as for my servant       120
[ 91 ]acompted. For habit maketh no monk; ne weringe of gilte
spurres maketh no knight. Never-the-later, in confort of thyne
herte, yet wol I otherwyse answere.'

'Certes, lady,' quod I tho, 'so ye muste nedes; or els I had
nigh caught suche a †cardiacle for sorowe, I wot it wel, I shulde       125
it never have recovered. And therfore now I praye [thee] to
enforme me in this; or els I holde me without recovery. I may
nat long endure til this lesson be lerned, and of this mischeef the
remedy knowen.'

'Now,' quod she, 'be nat wroth; for there is no man on-lyve       130
that may come to a precious thing longe coveited, but he somtyme
suffre teneful diseses: and wenest thy-selfe to ben unliche to al
other? That may nat ben. And with the more sorowe that
a thing is getten, the more he hath joye the ilke thing afterwardes
to kepe; as it fareth by children in scole, that for lerninge arn       135
beten, whan their lesson they foryetten. Commenly, after a good
disciplyning with a yerde, they kepe right wel doctrine of their

Ch. XI. 1. euery (with small e). reason. lyfe. one. 6. lyfe. 7. lyueng. 9. reason.

10. thother lyuenges. 13. leaue. 14. I supply his. 16. leaue. 19. anoynt. 20. healed. 22. healyng. 23. healeth; read helen. 25. maye. parfite. 27. parfyte. 30. waye. 31. the. 33. great. 34. whose. 35. comparation. 37. thynge. 40. golde. 41. amonge. layne. 42. hunt. 43. hynde. 45. wretches.

48. mysse. 49. reason. 51. Nowe. 52. howe. 54. let. lyueng. 55. I supply if. 56. maye. 59. as; read is. 60. ynowe. 63. great. 64. I supply with. 67. coueyt. 69. lyueng. 70. se. 74. onely. conversation. 75. thentent. 76. nothynge. 77. leasynges. layde. 78. sey. 79. hert. accorde. 82. Trewly (with large capital T).

84. the. 87. dispite. 89. Werfore. 90. toke rewarde. 91. fal. reason. 94. scoure (!); read scourge. 96. layde. 97. thentent. wotte. 99. haste. 100. waye. 104. nowe I se. howe. 105. tre. 109. Peace. 110. se. meanyng. 111. the. 112. one. 113. beforne. 114. wenyst. 115. the. maye. 116. contradiction. 118. the. arte.

121. habyte. monke. wearynge. 122. conforte. 125. nyghe. cordiacle; read cardiacle. wotte. 126. nowe. I supply thee. 127. recouerye. 128. mischefe. 130. Nowe. wrothe. 131. maye. 132. diseases. wenyst. 133. maye. 134. thynge. 135. schole. arne. 136. beaten. 138. schole.


Right with these wordes, on this lady I threw up myne eyen,
to see her countenaunce and her chere; and she, aperceyving
this fantasye in myne herte, gan her semblaunt goodly on me
caste, and sayde in this wyse.

'It is wel knowe, bothe to reson and experience in doinge,       5
every active worcheth on his passive; and whan they ben togider,
"active" and "passive" ben y-cleped by these philosophers. If
fyr be in place chafinge thing able to be chafed or hete[d], and
thilke thinges ben set in suche a distaunce that the oon may
werche, the other shal suffre. Thilke Margarite thou desyrest is       10
ful of vertue, and able to be active in goodnesse: but every herbe
sheweth his vertue outforth from within. The sonne yeveth light,
that thinges may be seye. Every fyr heteth thilke thing that it
†neigheth, and it be able to be hete[d]. Vertue of this Margarite
[ 92 ]outforth †wercheth; and nothing is more able to suffre worching,       15
or worke cacche of the actife, but passife of the same actife; and
no passife, to vertues of this Margaryte, but thee, in al my Donet
can I fynde! So that her vertue muste nedes on thee werche;
in what place ever thou be, within distaunce of her worthinesse,
as her very passife thou art closed. But vertue may thee nothing       20
profyte, but thy desyr be perfourmed, and al thy sorowes cesed.
Ergo, through werchinge of her vertue thou shalt esely ben
holpen, and driven out of al care, and welcome to this longe by
thee desyred!'

'Lady,' quod I, 'this is a good lesson in ginning of my joye;       25
but wete ye wel forsothe, though I suppose she have moche
vertue, I wolde my spousaile were proved, and than may I live
out of doute, and rejoice me greetly, in thinking of tho vertues
so shewed.'

'I herde thee saye,' quod she, 'at my beginning, whan I receyved       30
thee firste for to serve, that thy jewel, thilke Margaryte thou
desyrest, was closed in a muskle with a blewe shel.'

'Ye, forsothe,' quod I; 'so I sayd; and so it is.'

'Wel,' quod she, 'every-thing kyndly sheweth it-selfe; this
jewel, closed in a blewe shel, [by] excellence of coloures sheweth       35
vertue from within; and so every wight shulde rather loke to the
propre vertue of thinges than to his forayne goodes. If a thing
be engendred of good mater, comenly and for the more part, it
foloweth, after the congelement, vertue of the first mater (and
it be not corrupt with vyces) to procede with encrees of good       40
vertues; eke right so it fareth of badde. Trewly, greet excellence
in vertue of linage, for the more part, discendeth by kynde to
the succession in vertues to folowe. Wherfore I saye, the †colour
of every Margarit sheweth from within the fynesse in vertue.
Kyndely heven, whan mery †weder is a-lofte, apereth in mannes       45
eye of coloure in blewe, stedfastnesse in pees betokening within
and without. Margaryte is engendred by hevenly dewe, and
sheweth in it-selfe, by fynenesse of colour, whether the engendrure
were maked on morowe or on eve; thus sayth kynde of this
perle. This precious Margaryte that thou servest, sheweth it-selfe       50
discended, by nobley of vertue, from this hevenlich dewe, norisshed
[ 93 ]and congeled in mekenesse, that †moder is of al vertues; and, by
werkes that men seen withouten, the significacion of the coloures
ben shewed, mercy and pitee in the herte, with pees to al other;
and al this is y-closed in a muskle, who-so redily these vertues       55
loken. Al thing that hath soule is reduced in-to good by mene thinges,
as thus: In-to god man is reduced by soules resonable; and so
forth beestes, or bodyes that mowe not moven, after place ben
reduced in-to manne by beestes †mene that moven from place to
place. So that thilke bodyes that han felinge soules, and move       60
not from places, holden the lowest degree of soulinge thinges in
felinge; and suche ben reduced in-to man by menes. So it
foloweth, the muskle, as †moder of al vertues, halt the place of
mekenesse, to his lowest degree discendeth downe of heven, and
there, by a maner of virgine engendrure, arn these Margarytes       65
engendred, and afterward congeled. Made not mekenesse so
lowe the hye heven, to enclose and cacche out therof so noble
a dewe, that after congelement, a Margaryte, with endelesse vertue
and everlasting joy, was with ful vessel of grace yeven to every
creature, that goodly wolde it receyve?'       70

'Certes,' quod I, 'these thinges ben right noble; I have er this
herd these same sawes.'

'Than,' quod she, 'thou wost wel these thinges ben sothe?'

'Ye, forsothe,' quod I, 'at the ful.'

'Now,' quod she, 'that this Margaryte is ful of vertue, it is wel       75
proved; wherfore som grace, som mercy, among other vertues,
I wot right wel, on thee shal discende?'

'Ye,' quod I; 'yet wolde I have better declared, vertues in this
Margarite kyndely to ben grounded.'

'That shal I shew thee,' quod she, 'and thou woldest it lerne.'       80

'Lerne?' quod I, 'what nedeth suche wordes? Wete ye nat
wel, lady, your-selfe, that al my cure, al my diligence, and al my
might, have turned by your counsayle, in plesaunce of that perle?
Al my thought and al my studye, with your helpe, desyreth, in
worshippe [of] thilke jewel, to encrese al my travayle and al my       85
besinesse in your service, this Margaryte to gladde in some halve.
Me were lever her honour, her plesaunce, and her good chere
[ 94 ]thorow me for to be mayntayned and kept, and I of suche thinge
in her lykinge to be cause, than al the welthe of bodily goodes ye
coude recken. And wolde never god but I putte my-selfe in       90
greet jeopardy of al that I †welde, (that is now no more but
my lyf alone), rather than I shulde suffre thilke jewel in any
pointe ben blemisshed; as ferre as I may suffre, and with my
mightes strecche.'

'Suche thing,' quod she, 'may mokel further thy grace, and       95
thee in my service avaunce. But now (quod Love) wilt thou
graunte me thilke Margaryte to ben good?'

'O! good †god,' quod I, 'why tempte ye me and tene with
suche maner speche? I wolde graunt that, though I shulde anon
dye; and, by my trouthe, fighte in the quarel, if any wight wolde       100

'It is so moche the lighter,' quod Love, 'to prove our entent.'

'Ye,' quod I; 'but yet wolde I here how ye wolde prove that
she were good by resonable skil, that it mowe not ben denyed.
For although I knowe, and so doth many other, manifold goodnesse       105
and vertue in this Margaryte ben printed, yet some men
there ben that no goodnesse speken; and, wher-ever your wordes
ben herd and your resons ben shewed, suche yvel spekers, lady,
by auctoritè of your excellence, shullen be stopped and ashamed!
And more, they that han non aquayntaunce in her persone, yet       110
mowe they knowe her vertues, and ben the more enfourmed in
what wyse they mowe sette their hertes, whan hem liste in-to your
service any entree make. For trewly al this to beginne, I wot
wel my-selfe that thilke jewel is so precious perle, as a womanly
woman in her kynde; in whom of goodnesse, of vertue, and also       115
of answeringe shappe of limmes, and fetures so wel in al pointes
acording, nothing fayleth. I leve that kynde her made with greet
studye; for kynde in her person nothing hath foryet[en], and that
is wel sene. In every good wightes herte she hath grace of
commending and of vertuous praysing. Alas! that ever kynde       120
made her deedly! Save only in that, I wot wel, that Nature,
in fourminge of her, in no-thinge hath erred.'

Ch. XII. 1. threwe. 2. se. 5. Reason. 7. ycleaped. 8. fyre. thynge. hete; read heted. 9. sette. one. 12. outforthe. 13. sey. fyre. 14. neighed; read neigheth. hete; read heted.

15. wrethe (!); read wercheth. nothynge. 16. catche. 17-8. the (twice). 20. arte. the. 21. desyre. ceased. 22. shalte easely. 24. the. 26. thoughe. 27. maye. 28. greatly. 30. the say. 31. the. 35. Supply by. 38. parte. 40. encrease. 41. great. 42. parte. 43. colours; read colour. 45. wether; read weder. 46. peace. 48. coloure.

52, 63. mother; read moder. 53. sene. signification. 54. pytie. 56. meane. 58. forthe. 59. meue; misprint for mene. mouyn. 62. meanes. 63. halte. 65. arne. 66. afterwarde. 67. catche. 72. herde. 73. woste. 75. Nowe. 76. some (twice). amonge. 77. wotte. 77, 80. the (twice). 85. I supply of. encrease. 87. leauer. pleasaunce.

88. thorowe. kepte. 90. put. 91. great ieoperdye. wolde; read welde. nowe. lyfe. 94. stretche. 95. maye. 96. the. nowe. wylte. 98. good good; read good god. 99. thoughe. anone. 100. fyght. 103. howe. 104. reasonable. 105. dothe. 108. herde. reasons. 110. none. 113. entre. wote. 115. whome. 117. nothynge. great. 118. foryet. 121. onely.

[ 95 ]


'Certes,' quod Love, 'thou hast wel begonne; and I aske
thee this question: Is not, in general, every-thing good?'

'I not,' quod I.

'No?' quod she; '†saw not god everything that he made, and
weren right good?'       5

'Than is wonder,' quod I, 'how yvel thinges comen a-place,
sithen that al thinges weren right good.'

'Thus,' quod she, 'I wol declare. Everiche qualitè and every
accion, and every thing that hath any maner of beinge, it is of
god; and god it made, of whom is al goodnesse and al being.       10
Of him is no badnesse. Badde to be, is naught; good to be,
is somwhat; and therfore good and being is oon in

'How may this be?' quod I. 'For often han shrewes me
assailed, and mokel badnesse therin have I founden; and so me       15
semeth bad to be somwhat in kynde.'

'Thou shalt,' quod she, 'understande that suche maner badnesse,
whiche is used to purifye wrong-doers, is somwhat; and god it
made, and being [it] hath; and that is good. Other badnesse no
being hath utterly; it is in the negative of somwhat, and that is       20
naught and nothing being. The parties essential of being arn
sayd in double wyse, as that it is; and these parties ben founde
in every creature. For al thing, a this halfe the first being, is
being through participacion, taking partie of being; so that [in]
every creature is difference bitwene being of him through whom       25
it is, and his own being. Right as every good is a maner of
being, so is it good thorow being; for it is naught other to be.
And every thing, though it be good, is not of him-selfe good;
but it is good by that it is ordinable to the greet goodnesse.
This dualitè, after clerkes †determinison, is founden in every       30
creature, be it never so single of onhed.'

'Ye,' quod I; 'but there-as it is y-sayd that god †saw every-thing
of his making, and [they] were right good (as your-selfe
sayd to me not longe tyme sithen), I aske whether every creature
[ 96 ]is y-sayd "good" through goodnesse unfourmed eyther els fourmed;       35
and afterward, if it be accept utterly good?'

'I shal say thee,' quod she. 'These grete passed clerkes han
devyded good in-to good being alone, and that is nothing but
†god, for nothing is good in that wyse but god: also, in good by
participacion, and that is y-cleped "good" for far fet and       40
representative of †godly goodnesse. And after this maner manyfold
good is sayd, that is to saye, good in kynde, and good in gendre,
and good of grace, and good of joy. Of good in kynde Austen
sayth, "al that ben, ben good." But peraunter thou woldest
wete, whether of hem-selfe it be good, or els of anothers goodnesse:       45
for naturel goodnesse of every substaunce is nothing els than his
substancial being, which is y-cleped "goodnesse" after comparison
that he hath to his first goodnesse, so as it is inductatife by menes
in-to the first goodnesse. Boece sheweth this thing at the ful, that
this name "good" is, in general, name in kynde, as it is comparisoned       50
generally to his principal ende, which is god, knotte of
al goodnesse. Every creature cryeth "god us made"; and so
they han ful apeted to thilke god by affeccion such as to hem
longeth; and in this wyse al thinges ben good of the gret god,
which is good alone.'       55

'This wonder thing,' quod I, 'how ye have by many resons
proved my first way to be errour and misgoing, and cause[d] of
badnesse and feble meninge in the grounde ye aleged to be roted.
Whence is it that suche badnesse hath springes, sithen al thinges
thus in general ben good, and badnesse hath no being, as ye have       60
declared? I wene, if al things ben good, I might than with the
first way in that good have ended, and so by goodnesse have comen
to blisse in your service desyred.'

'Al thing,' quod she, 'is good by being in participacion out of
the firste goodnesse, whiche goodnesse is corrupt by badnesse       65
and badde-mening maners. God hath [ordeyned] in good thinges,
that they ben good by being, and not in yvel; for there is absence
of rightful love. For badnesse is nothing but only yvel wil of the
user, and through giltes of the doer; wherfore, at the ginninge of
the worlde, every thing by him-selfe was good; and in universal       70
they weren right good. An eye or a hand is fayrer and betterer
[ 97 ]in a body set, in his kyndely place, than from the body dissevered.
Every thing in his kyndly place, being kyndly, good doth werche;
and, out of that place voyded, it dissolveth and is defouled him-selve.
Our noble god, in gliterande wyse, by armony this world       75
ordeyned, as in purtreytures storied with colours medled, in
whiche blacke and other derke colours commenden the golden
and the asured paynture; every put in kyndely place, oon, besyde
another, more for other glitereth. Right so litel fayr maketh
right fayr more glorious; and right so, of goodnesse, and of other       80
thinges in vertue. Wherfore other badde and not so good perles
as this Margaryte that we han of this matier, yeven by the ayre
litel goodnesse and litel vertue, [maken] right mokel goodnesse
and vertue in thy Margaryte to ben proved, in shyning wyse to be
founde and shewed. How shulde ever goodnesse of pees have       85
ben knowe, but-if unpees somtyme reigne, and mokel yvel †wrathe?
How shulde mercy ben proved, and no trespas were, by due
justification, to be punisshed? Therfore grace and goodnesse of
a wight is founde; the sorouful hertes in good meninge to endure,
ben comforted; unitè and acord bitwene hertes knit in joye to       90
abyde. What? wenest thou I rejoyce or els accompte him among
my servauntes that pleseth Pallas in undoinge of Mercurye, al-be-it
that to Pallas he be knit by tytle of lawe, not according to
resonable conscience, and Mercurie in doinge have grace to ben
suffered; or els him that †weyveth the moone for fayrenesse of       95
the eve-sterre? Lo! otherwhyle by nightes, light of the moone
greetly comforteth in derke thoughtes and blynde. Understanding
of love yeveth greet gladnesse. Who-so list not byleve, whan
a sothe tale is shewed, a dewe and a deblys his name is entred.
Wyse folk and worthy in gentillesse, bothe of vertue and of       100
livinge, yeven ful credence in sothnesse of love with a good herte,
there-as good evidence or experience in doinge sheweth not the
contrarie. Thus mightest thou have ful preef in thy Margarytes
goodnesse, by commendement of other jewels badnesse and
yvelnesse in doing. Stoundemele diseses yeveth several houres       105
in joye.'

'Now, by my trouthe,' quod I, 'this is wel declared, that my
[ 98 ]Margaryte is good; for sithen other ben good, and she passeth
manye other in goodnesse and vertue; wherthrough, by maner
necessarie, she muste be good. And goodnesse of this Margaryte       110
is nothing els but vertue; wherfore she is vertuous; and if there
fayled any vertue in any syde, there were lacke of vertue. Badde
nothing els is, ne may be, but lacke and want of good and goodnesse;
and so shulde she have that same lacke, that is to saye,
badde; and that may not be. For she is good; and that is good,       115
me thinketh, al good; and so, by consequence, me semeth, vertuous,
and no lacke of vertue to have. But the sonne is not knowe but
he shyne; ne vertuous herbes, but they have her kynde werchinge;
ne vertue, but it strecche in goodnesse or profyt to another, is no
vertue. Than, by al wayes of reson, sithen mercy and pitee ben       120
moste commended among other vertues, and they might never ben
shewed, [unto] refresshement of helpe and of comfort, but now
at my moste nede; and that is the kynde werkinge of these
vertues; trewly, I wene, I shal not varye from these helpes. Fyr,
and-if he yeve non hete, for fyre is not demed. The sonne, but       125
he shyne, for sonne is not accompted. Water, but it wete, the
name shal ben chaunged. Vertue, but it werche, of goodnesse
doth it fayle; and in-to his contrarie the name shal ben reversed.
And these ben impossible; wherfore the contradictorie, that is
necessarye, nedes muste I leve.'       130

'Certes,' quod she, 'in thy person and out of thy mouthe these
wordes lyen wel to ben said, and in thyne understanding to be
leved, as in entent of this Margaryte alone. And here now my
speche in conclusion of these wordes.

Ch. XIII. 1. haste. 2, 4. thynge. 4. saue; read saw. 5. werne. 6. howe. 9. action. 12. one. 14. Howe. 18. wronge. 19. I supply it. 21. arne. 24. I supply in. and of; I omit and. 27. thorowe. 29. great. determission (!); read determinison. 32. ysayde. saue; read saw. 33. I supply they.

35. ysayde. 36. afterwarde. accepte. 37. the. great. 39. good; read god. 40. farre fette. 41. goodly; read godly. manyfolde. 44. saythe. 47. ycleaped. 48. meanes. 53. affection. 56. howe. reasons. 57. waye. cause; read caused. 59. baddesse (!). 65. corrupte. 66. meanynge. I supply ordeyned. 68. nothynge. onely. 71. werne. hande.

72. sette. disceuered. 73. dothe. 75. worlde. 78. putte. one. 79. lytle fayre. 80. fayre. 83. Supply maken. 85. Howe. peace. 86. vnpeace. wrothe; read wrathe. 87. Howe. trespeace (!). 89. meanynge. 90. acorde. knytte. 91. amonge. 92. pleaseth. 93. knytte. 94. reasonable. 95. weneth; read weyveth. 97. greatly. 98. great. lyste. 99. adewe. 100. folke. 101. hert. 103. prefe. 105. diseases. 107. Nowe.

109. wherthroughe. 111. no thynge. 113. wante. 115. maye. 119. stretche. profyte. 120. reason. pytie. 121. amonge. 122. Supply unto. comforte. nowe. 124. Fyre. 125. none heate. 128. dothe. 133. nowe.


In these thinges,' quod she, 'that me list now to shewe
openly, shal be founde the mater of thy sicknesse, and
what shal ben the medicyn that may be thy sorowes lisse and
comfort, as wel thee as al other that amisse have erred and out of
the way walked, so that any drope of good wil in amendement       5
[may] ben dwelled in their hertes. Proverbes of Salomon openly
techeth, how somtyme an innocent walkid by the way in
[ 99 ]blyndnesse of a derke night; whom mette a woman (if it be leefly to
saye) as a strumpet arayed, redily purveyed in turninge of
thoughtes with veyne janglinges, and of rest inpacient, by       10
dissimulacion of my termes, saying in this wyse: "Com, and be we
dronken of our swete pappes; use we coveitous collinges." And
thus drawen was this innocent, as an oxe to the larder.'

'Lady,' quod I, 'to me this is a queynte thing to understande;
I praye you, of this parable declare me the entent.'       15

'This innocent,' quod she, 'is a scoler lerninge of my lore, in
seching of my blisse, in whiche thinge the day of his thought
turning enclyneth in-to eve; and the sonne, of very light faylinge,
maketh derke night in his conninge. Thus in derknesse of many
doutes he walketh, and for blyndenesse of understandinge, he ne       20
wot in what waye he is in; forsothe, suche oon may lightly ben
begyled. To whom cam love fayned, not clothed of my livery,
but [of] unlefful lusty habit, with softe speche and mery; and
with fayre honyed wordes heretykes and mis-meninge people
skleren and wimplen their errours. Austen witnesseth of an       25
heretyk, that in his first beginninge he was a man right expert
in resons and swete in his wordes; and the werkes miscorden.
Thus fareth fayned love in her firste werchinges. Thou knowest
these thinges for trewe; thou hast hem proved by experience
somtyme, in doing to thyne owne person; in whiche thing thou hast       30
founde mater of mokel disese. Was not fayned love redily
purveyed, thy wittes to cacche and tourne thy good thoughtes?
Trewly, she hath wounded the conscience of many with florisshinge
of mokel jangling wordes; and good worthe thanked I it for
no glose. I am glad of my prudence thou hast so manly her       35
†weyved. To me art thou moche holden, that in thy kynde
course of good mening I returne thy mynde. I trowe, ne had
I shewed thee thy Margaryte, thou haddest never returned. Of
first in good parfit joye was ever fayned love impacient, as the
water of Siloë, whiche evermore floweth with stilnesse and privy       40
noyse til it come nighe the brinke, and than ginneth it so out of
mesure to bolne, with novelleries of chaunging stormes, that in
course of every renning it is in pointe to spille al his circuit of
†bankes. Thus fayned love prively, at the fullest of his flowinge,
[ 100 ][ginneth] newe stormes [of] debat to arayse. And al-be-it that       45
Mercurius [servants] often with hole understandinge knowen
suche perillous maters, yet Veneriens so lusty ben and so leude
in their wittes, that in suche thinges right litel or naught don
they fele; and wryten and cryen to their felawes: "here is blisse,
here is joye"; and thus in-to one same errour mokel folk they       50
drawen. "Come," they sayen, "and be we dronken of our
pappes"; that ben fallas and lying glose, of whiche mowe they not
souke milke of helthe, but deedly venim and poyson, corrupcion
of sorowe. Milke of fallas is venim of disceyt; milke of lying glose
is venim of corrupcion. Lo! what thing cometh out of these       55
pappes! "Use we coveited collinges"; desyre we and meddle we false
wordes with sote, and sote with false! Trewly, this is the sorinesse
of fayned love; nedes, of these surfettes sicknesse muste
folowe. Thus, as an oxe, to thy langoring deth were thou drawen;
the sote of the smoke hath thee al defased. Ever the deper thou       60
somtyme wadest, the soner thou it founde; if it had thee killed,
it had be litel wonder. But on that other syde, my trewe
servaunt[s] not faynen ne disceyve conne; sothly, their doinge
is open; my foundement endureth, be the burthen never so
greet; ever in one it lasteth. It yeveth lyf and blisful goodnesse       65
in the laste endes, though the ginninges ben sharpe. Thus of
two contraries, contrarye ben the effectes. And so thilke
Margaryte thou servest shal seen thee, by her service out of
perillous tribulacion delivered, bycause of her service in-to newe
disese fallen, by hope of amendement in the laste ende, with joye       70
to be gladded. Wherfore, of kynde pure, her mercy with grace
of good helpe shal she graunte; and els I shal her so strayne,
that with pitè shal she ben amaystred. Remembre in thyne
herte how horribly somtyme to thyne Margaryte thou trespasest,
and in a grete wyse ayenst her thou forfeytest! Clepe ayen thy       75
mynde, and know thyne owne giltes. What goodnesse, what
bountee, with mokel folowing pitè founde thou in that tyme?
Were thou not goodly accepted in-to grace? By my pluckinge
was she to foryevenesse enclyned. And after, I her styred to
drawe thee to house; and yet wendest thou utterly for ever       80
have ben refused. But wel thou wost, sithen that I in suche
[ 101 ]sharpe disese might so greetly avayle, what thinkest in thy wit?
How fer may my wit strecche? And thou lache not on thy syde,
I wol make the knotte. Certes, in thy good bering I wol acorde
with the psauter: "I have founde David in my service true, and       85
with holy oyle of pees and of rest, longe by him desyred, utterly
he shal be anoynted." Truste wel to me, and I wol thee not
fayle. The †leving of the first way with good herte of continuance
that I see in thee grounded, this purpose to parfourme, draweth
me by maner of constrayning, that nedes muste I ben thyne helper.       90
Although mirthe a whyle be taried, it shal come at suche seson,
that thy thought shal ben joyed. And wolde never god, sithen
thyne herte to my resons arn assented, and openly hast confessed
thyne amisse-going, and now cryest after mercy, but-if mercy
folowed; thy blisse shal ben redy, y-wis; thou ne wost how sone.       95
Now be a good child, I rede. The kynde of vertues, in thy
Margaryte rehersed, by strength of me in thy person shul werche.
Comfort thee in this; for thou mayst not miscary.' And these
wordes sayd, she streyght her on length, and rested a whyle.

¶ Thus endeth the seconde book, and here after foloweth
the thirde book.

Ch. XIV. 1. nowe. 4. the. 6. Supply may. 7. teacheth. howe.

8. lefely. 11. sayeng. Come. 14. thynge. 16. scholer. 17. daye. 21. wote. one. 22. whome came. 23. Supply of. unleful lustye habyte. 24. misse-. 26. heretyke. experte. 27. resones. 29. haste. 32. catche. 35. gladde. 36. veyned; read weyved. arte. 37. meanyng. 38. the. 39. parfyte. 42. measure. 43. spyl. 44. cankes (!); read bankes.

45. I supply ginneth and of. debate. 46. I supply servants. 51. sayne. 52-4. lyeng. 54. disceyte. 55. thynge. 58. must. 60. the. 61. the. 63. seruaunt. 65. great. lyfe. 68. sene the. 70, 82. disease. 72. graunt. 74. howe. 75. great. 76. knowe. 77. bountie. 80. the.

82. greatly. 83. howe ferre maye my wytte stretche. 86. peace. 87. the. 88. leanyng (!). 89. se. the. 93. reasones arne. haste. 94. nowe. 96. chylde. 98. Comforte the. 99. sayde. Colophon. booke. boke.



Of nombre, sayn these clerkes, that it is naturel somme of
discrete thinges, as in tellinge oon, two, three, and so forth;
but among al nombres, three is determined for moste certayn.
Wherfore in nombre certayn this werk of my besy leudenesse
I thinke to ende and parfourme. Ensample by this worlde, in       5
three tymes is devyded; of whiche the first is cleped †Deviacion,
that is to say, going out of trewe way; and al that tho dyeden, in
helle were they punisshed for a man[ne]s sinne, til grace and mercy
fette hem thence, and there ended the firste tyme. The seconde
tyme lasteth from the comming of merciable grace until the ende       10
of transitorie tyme, in whiche is shewed the true way in fordoinge
of the badde; and that is y-cleped tyme of Grace. And that
[ 102 ]thing is not yeven by desert of yeldinge oon benefyt for another,
but only through goodnesse of the yever of grace in thilke tyme.
Who-so can wel understande is shapen to be saved in souled       15
blisse. The thirde tyme shal ginne whan transitorie thinges of
worldes han mad their ende; and that shal ben in Joye, glorie, and
rest, both body and soule, that wel han deserved in the tyme of
Grace. And thus in that heven †togider shul they dwelle perpetuelly,
without any imaginatyfe yvel in any halve. These       20
tymes are figured by tho three dayes that our god was closed
in erthe; and in the thirde aroos, shewing our resurreccion to
joye and blisse of tho that it deserven, by his merciable grace.
So this leude book, in three maters, accordaunt to tho tymes,
lightly by a good inseër may ben understonde; as in the firste,       25
Errour of misse-goinge is shewed, with sorowful pyne punisshed,
†that cryed after mercy. In the seconde, is Grace in good waye
proved, whiche is faylinge without desert, thilke first misse
amendinge, in correccion of tho erroures, and even way to bringe,
with comfort of welfare in-to amendement wexinge. And in the       30
thirde, Joye and blisse graunted to him that wel can deserve it,
and hath savour of understandinge in the tyme of grace. Thus
in Joye, of my thirde boke, shal the mater be til it ende.

But special cause I have in my herte to make this proces
of a Margarit-perle, that is so precious a gemme †whyt, clere and       35
litel, of whiche stones or jewel[les] the tonges of us Englissh
people tourneth the right names, and clepeth hem 'Margery-perles';
thus varieth our speche from many other langages. For
trewly Latin, Frenche, and many mo other langages clepeth hem,
Margery-perles, [by] the name 'Margarites,' or 'Margarite-perles';       40
wherfore in that denominacion I wol me acorde to other mens
tonges, in that name-cleping. These clerkes that treten of kyndes,
and studien out the propertee there of thinges, sayn: the Margarite
is a litel whyt perle, throughout holowe and rounde and
vertuous; and on the see-sydes, in the more Britayne, in       45
muskle-shelles, of the hevenly dewe, the best ben engendred; in whiche
by experience ben founde three fayre vertues. Oon is, it yeveth
comfort to the feling spirites in bodily persones of reson. Another
[ 103 ]is good; it is profitable helthe ayenst passions of sorie mens hertes.
And the thirde, it is nedeful and noble in staunching of bloode,       50
there els to moche wolde out renne. To whiche perle and vertues
me list to lyken at this tyme Philosophie, with her three speces,
that is, natural, and moral, and resonable; of whiche thinges
hereth what sayn these grete clerkes. Philosophie is knowing of
devynly and manly thinges joyned with studie of good living;       55
and this stant in two thinges, that is, conninge and opinion.
Conninge is whan a thing by certayn reson is conceyved. But
wrecches and fooles and leude men, many wil conceyve a thing
and mayntayne it as for sothe, though reson be in the contrarye;
wherfore conninge is a straunger. Opinion is whyl a thing is in       60
non-certayn, and hid from mens very knowleging, and by no parfit
reson fully declared, as thus: if the sonne be so mokel as men
wenen, or els if it be more than the erthe. For in sothnesse the
certayn quantitè of that planet is unknowen to erthly dwellers; and
yet by opinion of some men it is holden for more than midle-erth.       65

The first spece of philosophie is naturel; whiche in kyndely
thinges †treteth, and sheweth causes of heven, and strength of
kyndely course; as by arsmetrike, geometry, musike, and by
astronomye techeth wayes and cours of hevens, of planetes, and
of sterres aboute heven and erthe, and other elementes.       70

The seconde spece is moral, whiche, in order, of living maners
techeth; and by reson proveth vertues of soule moste worthy in
our living; whiche ben prudence, justice, temperaunce, and
strength. Prudence is goodly wisdom in knowing of thinges.
Strength voideth al adversitees aliche even. Temperaunce distroyeth       75
beestial living with esy bering. And Justice rightfully
jugeth; and juging departeth to every wight that is his owne.

The thirde spece turneth in-to reson of understanding; al
thinges to be sayd soth and discussed; and that in two thinges is
devyded. Oon is art, another is rethorike; in whiche two al       80
lawes of mans reson ben grounded or els maintayned.

And for this book is of Love, and therafter bereth his name,
and philosophie and lawe muste here-to acorden by their clergial
discripcions, as: philosophie for love of wisdom is declared, lawe
for mainteynaunce of pees is holden: and these with love must       85
nedes acorden; therfore of hem in this place have I touched.
[ 104 ]Ordre of homly thinges and honest maner of livinge in vertue,
with rightful jugement in causes and profitable administracion in
comminaltees of realmes and citees, by evenhed profitably to
raigne, nat by singuler avauntage ne by privè envy, ne by soleyn       90
purpos in covetise of worship or of goodes, ben disposed in open
rule shewed, by love, philosophy, and lawe, and yet love, toforn
al other. Wherfore as sustern in unitè they accorden, and oon
ende, that is, pees and rest, they causen norisshinge; and in the
joye maynteynen to endure.       95

Now than, as I have declared: my book acordeth with discripcion
of three thinges; and the Margarit in vertue is lykened
to Philosophy, with her three speces. In whiche maters ever
twey ben acordaunt with bodily reson, and the thirde with the
soule. But in conclusion of my boke and of this Margarite-perle       100
in knittinge togider, Lawe by three sondrye maners shal be lykened;
that is to saye, lawe, right, and custome, whiche I wol declare.
Al that is lawe cometh of goddes ordinaunce, by kyndly worching;
and thilke thinges ordayned by mannes wittes arn y-cleped right,
which is ordayned by many maners and in constitucion written.       105
But custome is a thing that is accepted for right or for lawe,
there-as lawe and right faylen; and there is no difference, whether
it come of scripture or of reson. Wherfore it sheweth, that lawe
is kyndly governaunce; right cometh out of mannes probable
reson; and custome is of commen usage by length of tyme       110
used; and custome nat writte is usage; and if it be writte,
constitucion it is y-written and y-cleped. But lawe of kynde is
commen to every nation, as conjunccion of man and woman in
love, succession of children in heritance, restitucion of thing
by strength taken or lent; and this lawe among al other halt       115
the soveraynest gree in worship; whiche lawe began at the
beginning of resonable creature; it varied yet never for no
chaunging of tyme. Cause, forsothe, in ordayning of lawe was to
constrayne mens hardinesse in-to pees, and withdrawing his yvel
wil, and turning malice in-to goodnesse; and that innocence       120
sikerly, withouten teneful anoye, among shrewes safely might
inhabite by proteccion of safe-conducte, so that the shrewes, harm
[ 105 ]for harme, by brydle of ferdnesse shulden restrayne. But forsothe,
in kyndely lawe, nothing is commended but such as goddes
wil hath confirmed, ne nothing denyed but contrarioustee of       125
goddes wil in heven. Eke than al lawes, or custome, or els
constitucion by usage or wryting, that contraryen lawe of kynde,
utterly ben repugnaunt and adversarie to our goddes wil of heven.
Trewly, lawe of kynde for goddes own lusty wil is verily to
mayntayne; under whiche lawe (and unworthy) bothe professe       130
and reguler arn obediencer and bounden to this Margarite-perle
as by knotte of loves statutes and stablisshment in kynde, whiche
that goodly may not be withsetten. Lo! under this bonde am
I constrayned to abyde; and man, under living lawe ruled, by that
lawe oweth, after desertes, to ben rewarded by payne or by mede,       135
but-if mercy weyve the payne. So than †by part resonfully may
be seye, that mercy bothe right and lawe passeth. Th' entent
of al these maters is the lest clere understanding, to weten, at
th'ende of this thirde boke; ful knowing, thorow goddes grace,
I thinke to make neverthelater. Yet if these thinges han a good       140
and a †sleigh inseër, whiche that can souke hony of the harde
stone, oyle of the drye rocke, [he] may lightly fele nobley of mater
in my leude imaginacion closed. But for my book shal be of
joye (as I sayd), and I [am] so fer set fro thilke place fro whens
gladnesse shulde come; my corde is to short to lete my boket       145
ought cacche of that water; and fewe men be abouten my corde
to eche, and many in ful purpos ben redy it shorter to make, and
to enclose th' entrè, that my boket of joye nothing shulde cacche,
but empty returne, my careful sorowes to encrese: (and if I dye
for payne, that were gladnesse at their hertes): good lord, send       150
me water in-to the cop of these mountayns, and I shal drinke
therof, my thurstes to stanche, and sey, these be comfortable
welles; in-to helth of goodnesse of my saviour am I holpen. And
yet I saye more, the house of joye to me is nat opened. How
dare my sorouful goost than in any mater of gladnesse thinken to       155
trete? For ever sobbinges and complayntes be redy refrete in
his meditacions, as werbles in manifolde stoundes comming about
I not than. And therfore, what maner of joye coude [I] endyte?
But yet at dore shal I knocke, if the key of David wolde the locke
[ 106 ]unshitte, and he bringe me in, whiche that childrens tonges both       160
openeth and closeth; whos spirit where he †wol wercheth,
departing goodly as him lyketh.

Now to goddes laude and reverence, profit of the reders,
amendement of maners of the herers, encresing of worship among
Loves servauntes, releving of my herte in-to grace of my jewel,       165
and fren[d]ship [in] plesance of this perle, I am stered in this
making, and for nothing els; and if any good thing to mennes
lyking in this scripture be founde, thanketh the maister of grace,
whiche that of that good and al other is authour and principal
doer. And if any thing be insufficient or els mislyking, †wyte       170
that the leudnesse of myne unable conning: for body in disese
anoyeth the understanding in soule. A disesely habitacion
letteth the wittes [in] many thinges, and namely in sorowe. The
custome never-the-later of Love, †by long tyme of service, in
termes I thinke to pursue, whiche ben lyvely to yeve understanding       175
in other thinges. But now, to enforme thee of this
Margarites goodnesse, I may her not halfe preyse. Wherfore, nat
she for my boke, but this book for her, is worthy to be commended,
tho my book be leude; right as thinges nat for places, but places
for thinges, ought to be desyred and praysed.       180

Book III: Ch. I. 1. sayne. 2. one. thre. 3. amonge. thre. 3, 4. certayne. 4. werke. 6. thre. Demacion; read Deuiacion. 8. hel.

13. thynge. deserte. one benefyte. 14. onely. 16. gyn. 17. made. 19. togyther. dwel. 21. thre. 22. arose. resurrection. 24. boke. thre. 25. maye. 26. erroure. 27. is (!); read that. 28. deserte. 29. correction. waye. 30. comforte. 31. canne. 34. hert. processe. 35. peerle. with; read whyt (see l. 44). 36. iewel; read iewelles. 39. cleapeth. 40. Supply by. 42. treaten. 43. propertie. sayne. 44. whyte. 47. One. 48. comforte. reason.

51. ren. 52. thre. 54. sayn. great. 56. stante. 57. certayne. 58. wretches. 60. whyle. 61. -certayne. hydde. 62. parfyte reason. 64. certayne. 67. treten; read treteth. 69. course. 73. lyueng. 74. wysdome. 76. lyueng. easy bearyng. 78. reason. 80. one. arte. 81. reason. 82. booke. beareth. 84. wisdome. 85. peace.

88. administration. 89. commynalties. cytes. 91. purpose. 93. susterne. one. 94. peace. 96. Nowe. boke. discription. 97-8. thre. 99. reason. 100. peerle. 101. thre. 105. constitution. 110. reason. 112. constitutyon. 113. coniunction. 114. restitution. 115. halte. 117. reasonable. 119. peace. 121. amonge. 122. harme for harme.

123. ferdenesse. 124. nothynge. 125. contraryoustie. 130. law. 131. arne. 133. maye. 134. lyueng. 135. payn. 136. be; read by. parte reasonfully. 137. sey. thentent. 139. thende. thorowe. 141. sleight; read sleigh. 142. I insert he. 143. ymagination. boke. 144. Supply am. ferre. 145. let. 146-8. catch. 147. purpose. 148. thentre. 150. lorde sende. 152. stanch. 157. meditations. 158. I supply I.

160. vnshyt. bring. 161. whose spirite. wel; read wol. 163. Nowe. profite. 165. hert. 166. frenship. I supply in. peerle. 170. with; read wyte. 172. habitation. 173. I supply in. 174. be; read by. 176. nowe. enform the. 178-9. boke (thrice).


'Now,' quod Love, 'trewly thy wordes I have wel understonde.
Certes, me thinketh hem right good; and me
wondreth why thou so lightly passest in the lawe.'

'Sothly,' quod I, 'my wit is leude, and I am right blynd, and
that mater depe. How shulde I than have waded? Lightly       5
might I have drenched, and spilte ther my-selfe.'

'Ye,' quod she, 'I shal helpe thee to swimme. For right as
lawe punissheth brekers of preceptes and the contrary-doers of the
written constitucions, right so ayenward lawe rewardeth and
yeveth mede to hem that lawe strengthen. By one lawe this       10
rebel is punisshed and this innocent is meded; the shrewe is
enprisoned and this rightful is corowned. The same lawe that
joyneth by wedlocke without forsaking, the same lawe yeveth
[ 107 ]lybel of departicion bycause of devorse both demed and
declared.'       15

'Ye, ye,' quod I, 'I fynde in no lawe to mede and rewarde in
goodnes the gilty of desertes.'

'Fole,' quod she, 'gilty, converted in your lawe, mikel merit
deserveth. Also Pauly[n] of Rome was crowned, that by him the
maynteyners of Pompeus weren knowen and distroyed; and yet       20
toforn was this Paulyn cheef of Pompeus counsaile. This lawe
in Rome hath yet his name of mesuring, in mede, the bewraying of
the conspiracy, ordayned by tho senatours the deth. Julius Cesar
is acompted in-to Catons rightwisnesse; for ever in trouth
florissheth his name among the knowers of reson. Perdicas was       25
crowned in the heritage of Alexander the grete, for tellinge of
a prevy hate that king Porrus to Alexander hadde. Wherfore
every wight, by reson of lawe, after his rightwysenesse apertely
his mede may chalenge; and so thou, that maynteynest lawe of
kynde, and therfore disese hast suffred in the lawe, reward is       30
worthy to be rewarded and ordayned, and †apertly thy mede
might thou chalenge.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'this have I wel lerned; and ever hens-forward
I shal drawe me therafter, in oonhed of wil to abyde, this
lawe bothe maynteyne and kepe; and so hope I best entre in-to       35
your grace, wel deservinge in-to worship of a wight, without
nedeful compulsion, [that] ought medefully to be rewarded.'

'Truly,' quod Love, 'that is sothe; and tho[ugh], by constitucion,
good service in-to profit and avantage strecche, utterly
many men it demen to have more desert of mede than good wil       40
nat compelled.'

'See now,' quod I, 'how †many men holden of this the contrary.
And what is good service? Of you wolde I here this
question declared.'

'I shal say thee,' quod she, 'in a fewe wordes:—resonable       45
workinges in plesaunce and profit of thy soverayne.'

'How shulde I this performe?' quod I.

'Right wel,' quod she; 'and here me now a litel. It is hardely
(quod she) to understande, that right as mater by due overchaunginges
foloweth his perfeccion and his forme, right so every       50
[ 108 ]man, by rightful werkinges, ought to folowe the lefful desyres in
his herte, and see toforn to what ende he deserveth. For many
tymes he that loketh nat after th'endes, but utterly therof is
unknowen, befalleth often many yvels to done, wherthrough, er he
be war, shamefully he is confounded; th'ende[s] therof neden to       55
be before loked. To every desirer of suche foresight in good
service, three thinges specially nedeth to be rulers in his workes.
First, that he do good; next, that he do [it] by eleccion in his
owne herte; and the thirde, that he do godly, withouten any
surquedry in thoughtes. That your werkes shulden be good, in       60
service or in any other actes, authoritès many may be aleged;
neverthelater, by reson thus may it be shewed. Al your werkes
be cleped seconde, and moven in vertue of the firste wercher,
whiche in good workes wrought you to procede; and right so
your werkes moven in-to vertue of the laste ende: and right in       65
the first workinge were nat, no man shulde in the seconde werche.
Right so, but ye feled to what ende, and seen their goodnes
closed, ye shulde no more †recche what ye wrought; but the
ginning gan with good, and there shal it cese in the laste ende, if
it be wel considred. Wherfore the middle, if other-wayes it drawe       70
than accordant to the endes, there stinteth the course of good,
and another maner course entreth; and so it is a partie by him-selve;
and every part [that] be nat accordant to his al, is foul and
ought to be eschewed. Wherfore every thing that is wrought
and be nat good, is nat accordant to th'endes of his al hole; it is       75
foul, and ought to be withdrawe. Thus the persons that neither
don good ne harm shamen foule their making. Wherfore, without
working of good actes in good service, may no man ben accepted.
Truely, the ilke that han might to do good and doon it nat, the
crowne of worship shal be take from hem, and with shame shul       80
they be anulled; and so, to make oon werke acordant with his
endes, every good servaunt, by reson of consequence, muste do
good nedes. Certes, it suffiseth nat alone to do good, but goodly
withal folowe; the thanke of goodnesse els in nought he
deserveth. For right as al your being come from the greetest       85
good, in whom al goodnesse is closed, right so your endes ben
directe to the same good. Aristotel determineth that ende and
good ben one, and convertible in understanding; and he that in
[ 109 ]wil doth awey good, and he that loketh nat to th'ende, loketh nat
to good; but he that doth good and doth nat goodly, [and]       90
draweth away the direction of th'ende nat goodly, must nedes
be badde. Lo! badde is nothing els but absence or negative
of good, as derkenesse is absence or negative of light. Than he
that dooth [not] goodly, directeth thilke good in-to th'ende of
badde; so muste thing nat good folowe: eke badnesse to suche       95
folke ofte foloweth. Thus contrariaunt workers of th'ende
that is good ben worthy the contrary of th'ende that is good
to have.'

'How,' quod I, 'may any good dede be doon, but-if goodly it
helpe?'       100

'Yes,' quod Love, 'the devil doth many good dedes, but
goodly he leveth be-hynde; for †ever badly and in disceyvable
wyse he worketh; wherfore the contrary of th'ende him foloweth.
And do he never so many good dedes, bicause goodly is away,
his goodnes is nat rekened. Lo! than, tho[ugh] a man do good,       105
but he do goodly, th'ende in goodnesse wol nat folowe; and thus
in good service both good dede and goodly doon musten joyne
togider, and that it be doon with free choise in herte; and els
deserveth he nat the merit in goodnes: that wol I prove. For
if thou do any-thing good by chaunce or by happe, in what thing       110
art thou therof worthy to be commended? For nothing, by reson
of that, turneth in-to thy praysing ne lacking. Lo! thilke thing
doon by hap, by thy wil is nat caused; and therby shulde I
thanke or lacke deserve? And sithen that fayleth, th'ende which
that wel shulde rewarde, must ned[e]s faile. Clerkes sayn, no man       115
but willinge is blessed; a good dede that he hath doon is nat
doon of free choice willing; without whiche blissednesse may nat
folowe. Ergo, neither thanke of goodnesse ne service [is] in that
[that] is contrary of the good ende. So than, to good service
longeth good dede goodly don, thorow free choice in herte.'       120

'Truely,' quod I, 'this have I wel understande.'

'Wel,' quod she, 'every thing thus doon sufficiently by lawe,
that is cleped justice, [may] after-reward clayme. For lawe and
justice was ordayned in this wyse, suche desertes in goodnesse,
[ 110 ]after quantitè in doinge, by mede to rewarde; and of necessitè of       125
suche justice, that is to say, rightwysenesse, was free choice in
deserving of wel or of yvel graunted to resonable creatures.
Every man hath free arbitrement to chose, good or yvel to

'Now,' quod I tho, 'if I by my good wil deserve this Margarit-perle,       130
and am nat therto compelled, and have free choice to do
what me lyketh; she is than holden, as me thinketh, to rewarde
th'entent of my good wil.'

'Goddes forbode els,' quod Love; 'no wight meneth otherwyse,
I trowe; free wil of good herte after-mede deserveth.'       135

'Hath every man,' quod I, 'free choice by necessary maner of
wil in every of his doinges that him lyketh, by goddes proper
purvyaunce? I wolde see that wel declared to my leude understanding;
for "necessary" and "necessitè" ben wordes of mokel
entencion, closing (as to saye) so mote it be nedes, and otherwyse       140
may it nat betyde.'

'This shalt thou lerne,' quod she, 'so thou take hede in my
speche. If it were nat in mannes owne libertè of free wil to do
good or bad, but to the one teyed by bonde of goddes preordinaunce,
than, do he never so wel, it were by nedeful compulcion       145
of thilk bonde, and nat by free choice, wherby nothing he
desyreth: and do he never so yvel, it were nat man for to wyte,
but onlich to him that suche thing ordayned him to done.
Wherfore he ne ought for bad[de] be punisshed, ne for no good
dede be rewarded; but of necessitè of rightwisnesse was therfore       150
free choice of arbitrement put in mans proper disposicion. Truely,
if it were otherwyse, it contraried goddes charitè, that badnesse
and goodnesse rewardeth after desert of payne or of mede.'

'Me thinketh this wonder,' quod I; 'for god by necessitè
forwot al thinges coming, and so mote it nedes be; and thilke       155
thinges that ben don †by our free choice comen nothing of necessitè
but only †by wil. How may this stonde †togider? And so
me thinketh truely, that free choice fully repugneth goddes
forweting. Trewly, lady, me semeth, they mowe nat stande
†togider.'       160

Ch. II. 1. Nowe. 4. blynde. 5. howe. 7. Yea. the. swym. 9. constitutions. ayenwarde.

17. gyltie. 18. gyltie. merite. 19. Pauly (for Paulyn; first time). 21. toforne. chefe. 25. amonge. 25-8. reason. 26. great. 30. disease. rewarde. 31. apartly (for apertly). 34. onehed. 37. I supply that. 38. constitution. 39. profite. stretch. 42. Se. howe may. 45. the. 46. profite. 47. Howe. 48. nowe. 50. perfection.

51. leful. 52. hert. se. 55. ware. 57. thre. 58. I supply it. electyon. 59. hert. 62. reason. maye. 68. recth (for retch); read recche. 69. cease. 73. parte. I supply that. 73-5. foule. 77. harme. 79. done. 81. one. 82. reason. 85. greatest.

90. I supply and. 92. bad. negatyfe (first time). 94. I supply not. 99. done. 101. dothe. 102. even; read ever. 105. tho. 107-8. done (twice). 108. hert. 109. merite. 111. reason. 113. done. shulde I; put for shuldest thou. 115. neds (sic). 116-7. done (twice). 118. I supply is and that. 120. thorowe fre. hert. 122. done. 123. I supply may. rewarde claym.

130. Nowe. 134. meaneth. 135. hert. 136. fre. 138. se. 140. entention. 142. lern. 143-6. fre (twice). 148. onelych. 149. bad. 151. fre. 151. disposition. 153. payn. 155. forwote. 156. be; for by. fre. 157. onely be; for by. Howe. 157-60. togyther; read togider. 158. fre.

[ 111 ]


Than gan Love nighe me nere, and with a noble countenance
of visage and limmes, dressed her nigh my

'Take forth,' quod she, 'thy pen, and redily wryte these
wordes. For if god wol, I shal hem so enforme to thee, that thy       5
leudnesse which I have understande in that mater shal openly be
clered, and thy sight in ful loking therin amended. First, if thou
thinke that goddes prescience repugne libertè of arbitrement, it is
impossible that they shulde accorde in onheed of sothe to

'Ye,' quod I, 'forsothe; so I it conceyve.'

'Wel,' quod she, 'if thilke impossible were away, the repugnaunce
that semeth to be therin were utterly removed.'

'Shewe me the absence of that impossibilitè,' quod I.

'So,' quod she, 'I shal. Now I suppose that they mowe       15
stande togider: prescience of god, whom foloweth necessitè of
thinges comming, and libertè of arbitrement, thorow whiche thou
belevest many thinges to be without necessitè.'

'Bothe these proporcions be sothe,' quod I, 'and wel mowe
stande togider; wherfore this case as possible I admit.'       20

'Truely,' quod she, 'and this case is impossible.'

'How so?' quod I.

'For herof,' quod she, 'foloweth and wexeth another

'Prove me that,' quod I.       25

'That I shal,' quod she; 'for somthing is comming without
necessitè, and god wot that toforn; for al thing comming he
before wot, and that he beforn wot of necessitè is comming, as
he beforn wot be the case by necessary maner; or els, thorow
necessitè, is somthing to be without necessitè; and wheder, to       30
every wight that hath good understanding, is seen these thinges
to be repugnaunt: prescience of god, whiche that foloweth necessitè,
and libertè of arbitrement, fro whiche is removed necessitè?
For truely, it is necessary that god have forweting of thing withouten
any necessitè cominge.'       35
[ 112 ]
'Ye,' quod I; 'but yet remeve ye nat away fro myne understanding
the necessitè folowing goddes be foreweting, as thus. God
beforn wot me in service of love to be bounden to this Margarite-perle,
and therfore by necessitè thus to love am I bounde; and
if I had nat loved, thorow necessitè had I ben kept from al       40

'Certes,' quod Love, 'bicause this mater is good and necessary
to declare, I thinke here-in wel to abyde, and not lightly to passe.
Thou shalt not (quod she) say al-only, "god beforn wot me to be
a lover or no lover," but thus: "god beforn wot me to be a lover       45
without necessitè." And so foloweth, whether thou love or not love,
every of hem is and shal be. But now thou seest the impossibilitè
of the case, and the possibilitè of thilke that thou wendest
had been impossible; wherfore the repugnaunce is adnulled.'

'Ye,' quod I; 'and yet do ye not awaye the strength of necessitè,       50
whan it is said, th[r]ough necessitè it is me in love to
abyde, or not to love without necessitè for god beforn wot it.
This maner of necessitè forsothe semeth to some men in-to coaccion,
that is to sayne, constrayning, or else prohibicion, that is,
defendinge; wherfore necessitè is me to love of wil. I understande       55
me to be constrayned by some privy strength to the wil
of lovinge; and if [I] no[t] love, to be defended from the wil of
lovinge: and so thorow necessitè me semeth to love, for I love;
or els not to love, if I not love; wherthrough neither thank ne
maugrè in tho thinges may I deserve.'       60

'Now,' quod she, 'thou shalt wel understande, that often we
sayn thing thorow necessitè to be, that by no strength to be
neither is coarted ne constrayned; and through necessitè not
to be, that with no defendinge is removed. For we sayn it is
thorow necessitè god to be immortal, nought deedliche; and it       65
is necessitè, god to be rightful; but not that any strength of
violent maner constrayneth him to be immortal, or defendeth him
to be unrightful; for nothing may make him dedly or unrightful.
Right so, if I say, thorow necessitè is thee to be a lover or els
noon; only thorow wil, as god beforn wete. It is nat to understonde       70
that any thing defendeth or forbit thee thy wil, whiche shal
[ 113 ]nat be; or els constrayneth it to be, whiche shal be. That same
thing, forsoth, god before wot, whiche he beforn seeth. Any
thing commende of only wil, that wil neyther is constrayned
ne defended thorow any other thing. And so thorow libertè of       75
arbitrement it is do, that is don of wil. And trewly, my good
child, if these thinges be wel understonde, I wene that non
inconvenient shalt thou fynde betwene goddes forweting and
libertè of arbitrement; wherfore I wot wel they may stande
togider. Also farthermore, who that understanding of prescience       80
properlich considreth, thorow the same wyse that any-thing be
afore wist is said, for to be comming it is pronounced; there is
nothing toforn wist but thing comming; foreweting is but of
trouth[e]; dout[e] may nat be wist; wherfore, whan I sey that god
toforn wot any-thing, thorow necessitè is thilke thing to be comming;       85
al is oon if I sey, it shal be. But this necessitè neither
constrayneth ne defendeth any-thing to be or nat to be. Therfore sothly,
if love is put to be, it is said of necessitè to be; or els, for it
is put nat to be, it is affirmed nat to be of necessitè; nat for that
necessitè constrayneth or defendeth love to be or nat to be. For       90
whan I say, if love shal be, of necessitè it shal be, here foloweth
necessitè the thing toforn put; it is as moch to say as if it were thus
pronounced—"that thing shal be." Noon other thing signifyeth
this necessitè but only thus: that shal be, may nat togider be
and nat be. Evenlich also it is soth, love was, and is, and shal       95
be, nat of necessitè; and nede is to have be al that was; and
nedeful is to be al that is; and comming, to al that shal be.
And it is nat the same to saye, love to be passed, and love
passed to be passed; or love present to be present, and love to
be present; or els love to be comminge, and love comminge to be       100
comming. Dyversitè in setting of wordes maketh dyversitè in
understandinge; altho[ugh] in the same sentence they accorden
of significacion; right as it is nat al oon, love swete to be swete,
and love to be swete. For moch love is bitter and sorouful, er
hertes ben esed; and yet it glad[d]eth thilke sorouful herte on       105
suche love to thinke.'

'Forsothe,' quod I, 'outherwhile I have had mokel blisse in
herte of love that stoundmele hath me sorily anoyed. And
[ 114 ]certes, lady, for I see my-self thus knit with this Margarite-perle
as by bonde of your service and of no libertè of wil, my herte wil       110
now nat acorde this service to love. I can demin in my-selfe
non otherwise but thorow necessitè am I constrayned in this
service to abyde. But alas! than, if I thorow nedeful compulsioun
maugre me be with-holde, litel thank for al my greet traveil have
I than deserved.'       115

'Now,' quod this lady, 'I saye as I sayde: me lyketh this
mater to declare at the ful, and why: for many men have had
dyvers fantasyes and resons, both on one syde therof and in the
other. Of whiche right sone, I trowe, if thou wolt understonde,
thou shalt conne yeve the sentence to the partie more probable       120
by reson, and in soth knowing, by that I have of this mater
maked an ende.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'of these thinges longe have I had greet lust
to be lerned; for yet, I wene, goddes wil and his prescience
acordeth with my service in lovinge of this precious Margarite-perle.       125
After whom ever, in my herte, with thursting desyre wete,
I do brenne; unwasting, I langour and fade; and the day of my
desteny in dethe or in joye I †onbyde; but yet in th'ende I am
comforted †by my supposaile, in blisse and in joye to determine
after my desyres.'       130

'That thing,' quoth Love, 'hastely to thee neigh, god graunt
of his grace and mercy! And this shal be my prayer, til thou be
lykende in herte at thyne owne wil. But now to enforme thee in
this mater (quod this lady) thou wost where I lefte; that was:
love to be swete, and love swete to be swete, is not al oon for to       135
say. For a tree is nat alway by necessitè white. Somtyme, er it
were white, it might have be nat white; and after tyme it is
white, it may be nat white. But a white tree evermore nedeful
is to be white; for neither toforn ne after it was white, might it
be togider white and nat white. Also love, by necessitè, is nat       140
present as now in thee; for er it were present, it might have be
that it shulde now nat have be; and yet it may be that it shal nat
be present; but thy love present whiche to her, Margarite, thee
hath bounde, nedeful is to be present. Trewly, som doing of
[ 115 ]accion, nat by necessitè, is comminge fer toforn it be; it may be       145
that it shal nat be comminge. Thing forsoth comming nedeful is
to be comming; for it may nat be that comming shal nat be
comming. And right as I have sayd of present and of future
tymes, the same sentence in sothnesse is of the preterit, that is
to say, tyme passed. For thing passed must nedes be passed; and       150
er it were, it might have nat be; wherfore it shulde nat have
passed. Right so, whan love comming is said of love that is to
come, nedeful is to be that is said; for thing comming never is nat
comminge. And so, ofte, the same thing we sayn of the same; as
whan we sayn "every man is a man," or "every lover is a lover,"       155
so muste it be nedes. In no waye may he be man and no man togider.
And if it be nat by necessitè, that is to say nedeful, al thing
comming to be comming, than somthing comming is nat comminge,
and that is impossible. Right as these termes "nedeful,"
"necessitè," and "necessary" betoken and signify thing nedes       160
to be, and it may nat otherwyse be, right [so] †this terme "impossible"
signifyeth, that [a] thing is nat and by no way may it be.
Than, thorow pert necessitè, al thing comming is comming; but
that is by necessitè foloweth, with nothing to be constrayned.
Lo! whan that "comming" is said of thinge, nat alway thing       165
thorow necessitè is, altho[ugh] it be comming. For if I say,
"to-morowe love is comming in this Margarites herte," nat therfore
thorow necessitè shal the ilke love be; yet it may be that it shal
nat be, altho[ugh] it were comming. Neverthelater, somtyme it
is soth that somthing be of necessitè, that is sayd "to come"; as       170
if I say, to-morowe †be comminge the rysinge of the sonne. If
therfore with necessitè I pronounce comming of thing to come, in
this maner love to-morne comminge in thyne Margarite to thee-ward,
by necessitè is comminge; or els the rysing of the sonne
to-morne comminge, through necessitè is comminge. Love sothely,       175
whiche may nat be of necessitè alone folowinge, thorow necessitè
comming it is mad certayn. For "futur" of future is said; that is to
sayn, "comming" of comminge is said; as, if to-morowe comming
is thorow necessitè, comminge it is. Arysing of the sonne, thorow
two necessitès in comming, it is to understande; that oon is       180
to-for[e]going necessitè, whiche maketh thing to be; therfore it shal
be, for nedeful is that it be. Another is folowing necessitè, whiche
[ 116 ]nothing constrayneth to be, and so by necessitè it is to come; why?
for it is to come. Now than, whan we sayn that god beforn wot
thing comming, nedeful [it] is to be comming; yet therfore make       185
we nat in certayn evermore, thing to be thorow necessitè comminge.
Sothly, thing comming may nat be nat comming by no
way; for it is the same sentence of understanding as if we say
thus: if god beforn wot any-thing, nedeful is that to be comming.
But yet therfore foloweth nat the prescience of God, thing thorow       190
necessitè to be comming: for al-tho[ugh] god toforn wot al
thinges comming, yet nat therfore he beforn wot every thing
comming thorow necessitè. Some thinges he beforn wot comming
of free wil out of resonable creature.'

'Certes,' quod I, 'these termes "nede" and "necessitè" have       195
a queint maner of understanding; they wolden dullen many
mennes wittes.'

'Therfore,' quod she, 'I wol hem openly declare, and more
clerely than I have toforn, er I departe hen[ne]s.

Ch. III. 1. nygh. 5. the. 6. vnderstand. 8. lyberte of arbetry of arbitrement; omit arbetry of. 15. Nowe. 17. thorowe. 22. Howe. 29. beforne. maner than (omit than). thorowe. 30. whederto.

38. beforne wote. 40. thorowe. kepte. 44. shalte. onely. 44-5. beforne wote (twice). 47. nowe. 51. though; read through. 52. beforne wote. 53. coaction. 57. Supply I; for no read not; see l. 59. 58. thorowe. 59. thanke. 60. maye. 61. Nowe. shalte. 62. sayne. thorowe. 63. throughe. 64. sayne. 65. thorowe. 67. violente. 69. thorowe. the. 70. none. onely thorowe. beforne. 71. the.

73-4. thynge. 74. commende; for comminge. onely. 75. thorowe (twice). 76. done. 77. childe. vnderstond. 81. thorowe. 84. trouth. dout. 85. wote. thorowe. 86. if it shal be; omit if. 92. toforne. 93. None. 94. onely. 102. altho. 103. signification. one. 105. eased. hert. 108. hert.

109. se. peerle. 110. hert. 111. nowe. 112. thorowe. 113. thorowe. 114. thanke. great. 116. Nowe. 118. reasons. 120. shalte con. 121. reason. 123. great luste. 126. hert. weete. 128. vnbyde (!). 129. be; for by. 133. nowe. the. 135. one. 138. maye. 141. nowe. the. 142. nowe. maye. 143. the. 144. some.

145. action. ferre. 154. thynge. 155. sayne. 161. I supply so. these termes; read this terme. 162. I supply a. 163-6. thorowe. (twice). 166. altho. 167. hert. 169. altho. 171. by; read be. 173. the warde. 176. thorowe. 177. made certayne. 179. thorowe. 180. one. 181. to forgoing.

184. Nowe. 185. I supply it. 186. certayne. thynge. thorowe. 187. maye. 190. thorowe. 191. wote. 193. thorowe. 200. hense; read hennes.


Here of this mater,' quod she, 'thou shalt understande
that, right as it is nat nedeful, god to wilne that he wil,
no more in many thinges is nat nedeful, a man to wilne that
he wol. And ever, right as nedeful is to be, what that god wol,
right so to be it is nedeful that man wol in tho thinges, whiche       5
that god hath put in-to mannes subjeccion of willinge; as, if
a man wol love, that he love; and if he ne wol love, that he love
nat; and of suche other thinges in mannes disposicion. For-why,
now than that god wol may nat be, whan he wol the wil of man
thorow no necessitè to be constrayned or els defended for to       10
wilne, and he wol th'effect to folowe the wil; than is it nedeful,
wil of man to be free, and also to be that he wol. In this maner
it is soth, that thorow necessitè is mannes werke in loving, that
he wol do altho[ugh] he wol it nat with necessitè.'

Quod I than, 'how stant it in love of thilke wil, sithen men       15
[ 117 ]loven willing of free choice in herte? Wherfore, if it be thorow
necessitè, I praye you, lady, of an answere this question to

'I wol,' quod she, 'answere thee blyvely. Right as men wil
not thorow necessitè, right so is not love of wil thorow necessitè;       20
ne thorow necessitè wrought thilke same wil. For if he wolde
it not with good wil, it shulde nat have been wrought; although
that he doth, it is nedeful to be doon. But if a man do sinne, it
is nothing els but to †wilne that he shulde nat; right so sinne
of wil is not to be [in] maner necessary don, no more than wil is       25
necessarye. Never-the-later, this is sothe; if a man wol sinne,
it is necessarye him to sinne, but th[r]ough thilke necessitè nothing
is constrayned ne defended in the wil; right so thilke thing that
free-wil wol and may, and not may not wilne; and nedeful is
that to wilne he may not wilne. But thilke to wilne nedeful is; for       30
impossible to him it is oon thing and the same to wilne and not to
wilne. The werke, forsothe, of wil, to whom it is yeve that it be that
he hath in wil, and that he wol not, voluntarie †or spontanye it is;
for by spontanye wil it is do, that is to saye, with good wil not
constrayned: than by wil not constrayned it is constrayned to       35
be; and that is it may not †togider be. If this necessitè maketh
libertè of wil, whiche that, aforn they weren, they might have ben
eschewed and shonned: god than, whiche that knoweth al
tr[o]uthe, and nothing but tr[o]uthe, al these thinges, as they
arn spontanye or necessarie, †seeth; and as he seeth, so they       40
ben. And so with these thinges wel considred, it is open at the
ful, that without al maner repugnaunce god beforn wot al maner
thinges [that] ben don by free wil, whiche, aforn they weren,
[it] might have ben [that] never they shulde be. And yet ben
they thorow a maner necessitè from free wil †discended.       45

Hereby may (quod she) lightly ben knowe that not al thinges to
be, is of necessitè, though god have hem in his prescience. For
som thinges to be, is of libertè of wil. And to make thee to have
ful knowinge of goddes beforn-weting, here me (quod she) what
I shal say.'       50
[ 118 ]
'Blythly, lady,' quod I, 'me list this mater entyrely to

'Thou shalt,' quod she, 'understande that in heven is goddes
beinge; although he be over al by power, yet there is abydinge of
devyne persone; in whiche heven is everlastinge presence, withouten       55
any movable tyme. There * is nothing preterit ne passed,
there is nothing future ne comming; but al thinges togider in that
place ben present everlasting, without any meving. Wherfore, to
god, al thing is as now; and though a thing be nat, in kyndly
nature of thinges, as yet, and if it shulde be herafter, yet evermore       60
we shul saye, god it maketh be tyme present, and now; for no
future ne preterit in him may be founde. Wherfore his weting and
his before-weting is al oon in understanding. Than, if weting
and before-weting of god putteth in necessitè to al thinges whiche
he wot or before-wot; ne thing, after eternitè or els after any       65
tyme, he wol or doth of libertè, but al of necessitè: whiche thing
if thou wene it be ayenst reson, [than is] nat thorow necessitè to
be or nat to be, al thing that god wot or before-wot to be or nat
to be; and yet nothing defendeth any-thing to be wist or to be
before-wist of him in our willes or our doinges to be don, or els       70
comminge to be for free arbitrement. Whan thou hast these
declaracions wel understande, than shalt thou fynde it resonable
at prove, and that many thinges be nat thorow necessitè but
thorow libertè of wil, save necessitè of free wil, as I tofore said,
and, as me thinketh, al utterly declared.'       75

'Me thinketh, lady,' quod I, 'so I shulde you nat displese, and
evermore your reverence to kepe, that these thinges contraryen in
any understanding; for ye sayn, somtyme is thorow libertè of
wil, and also thorow necessitè. Of this have I yet no savour,
without better declaracion.'       80

'What wonder,' quod she, 'is there in these thinges, sithen al
day thou shalt see at thyne eye, in many thinges receyven in hem-selfe
revers, thorow dyvers resons, as thus:—I pray thee (quod
she) which thinges ben more revers than "comen" and "gon"?
For if I bidde thee "come to me," and thou come, after, whan       85
I bidde thee "go," and thou go, thou reversest fro thy first
[ 119 ]
'That is soth,' quod I.

'And yet,' quod she, 'in thy first alone, by dyvers reson, was
ful reversinge to understande.'       90

'As how?' quod I.

'That shal I shewe thee,' quod she, 'by ensample of thinges
that have kyndly moving. Is there any-thing that meveth more
kyndly than doth the hevens eye, whiche I clepe the sonne?'

'Sothly,' quod I, 'me semeth it is most kyndly to move.'       95

'Thou sayest soth,' quod she. 'Than, if thou loke to the
sonne, in what parte he be under heven, evermore he †hyeth him
in moving fro thilke place, and †hyeth meving toward the ilke
same place; to thilke place from whiche he goth he †hyeth
comminge; and without any ceesinge to that place he neigheth       100
from whiche he is chaunged and withdrawe. But now in these
thinges, after dyversitè of reson, revers in one thinge may be seye
without repugnaunce. Wherfore in the same wyse, without any
repugnaunce, by my resons tofore maked, al is oon to beleve,
somthing to be thorow necessitè comminge for it is comming, and       105
yet with no necessitè constrayned to be comming, but with
necessitè that cometh out of free wil, as I have sayd.'

Tho liste me a litel to speke, and gan stinte my penne of my
wryting, and sayde in this wyse.

'Trewly, lady, as me thinketh, I can allege authoritees grete,       110
that contrarien your sayinges. Job saith of mannes person,
"thou hast put his terme, whiche thou might not passe." Than
saye I that no man may shorte ne lengthe the day ordayned of
his †dying, altho[ugh] somtyme to us it semeth som man to do
a thing of free wil, wherthorow his deeth he henteth.'       115

'Nay, forsothe,' quod she, 'it is nothing ayenst my saying; for
god is not begyled, ne he seeth nothing wheder it shal come of
libertè or els of necessitè; yet it is said to be ordayned at god
immovable, whiche at man, or it be don, may be chaunged.
Suche thing is also that Poule the apostel saith of hem that tofore       120
wern purposed to be sayntes, as thus: "whiche that god before
wiste and hath predestined conformes of images of his †sone, that
he shulde ben the firste begeten, that is to saye, here amonges
[ 120 ]many brethren; and whom he hath predestined, hem he hath
cleped; and whom he hath cleped, hem he hath justifyed; and       125
whom he hath justifyed, hem he hath magnifyed." This purpos,
after whiche they ben cleped sayntes or holy in the everlasting
present, wher is neither tyme passed ne tyme comminge, but ever
it is only present, and now as mokel a moment as sevin thousand
winter; and so ayenward withouten any meving is nothing lich       130
temporel presence for thinge that there is ever present. Yet
amonges you men, er it be in your presence, it is movable thorow
libertè of arbitrement. And right as in the everlasting present
no maner thing was ne shal be, but only is; and now here, in
your temporel tyme, somthing was, and is, and shal be, but       135
movinge stoundes; and in this is no maner repugnaunce: right
so, in the everlasting presence, nothing may be chaunged; and,
in your temporel tyme, otherwhyle it is proved movable by libertè
of wil or it be do, withouten any inconvenience therof to folowe.
In your temporel tyme is no suche presence as in the tother; for       140
your present is don whan passed and to come ginnen entre;
whiche tymes here amonges you everich esily foloweth other.
But the presence everlasting dureth in oonhed, withouten any
imaginable chaunging, and ever is present and now. Trewly, the
course of the planettes and overwhelminges of the sonne in dayes       145
and nightes, with a newe ginning of his circute after it is ended,
that is to sayn, oon yeer to folowe another: these maken your
transitory tymes with chaunginge of lyves and mutacion of people,
but right as your temporel presence coveiteth every place, and al
thinges in every of your tymes be contayned, and as now both       150
seye and wist to goddes very knowinge.'

'Than,' quod I, 'me wondreth why Poule spak these wordes
by voice of significacion in tyme passed, that god his sayntes
before-wist hath predestined, hath cleped, hath justifyed, and
hath magnifyed. Me thinketh, he shulde have sayd tho wordes       155
in tyme present; and that had ben more accordaunt to the
everlasting present than to have spoke in preterit voice of passed

'O,' quod Love, 'by these wordes I see wel thou hast litel
understanding of the everlasting presence, or els of my before       160
[ 121 ]spoken wordes; for never a thing of tho thou hast nempned was
tofore other or after other; but al at ones evenlich at the god
ben, and al togider in the everlasting present be now to understanding.
This eternal presence, as I sayd, hath inclose togider
in one al tymes, in which close and one al thinges that ben in       165
dyvers tymes and in dyvers places temporel, [and] without posterioritè
or prioritè ben closed ther in perpetual now, and maked
to dwelle in present sight. But there thou sayest that Poule shulde
have spoke thilke forsaid sentence †by tyme present, and that
most shulde have ben acordaunt to the everlasting presence,       170
why gabbest thou †in thy wordes? Sothly, I say, Poule moved
the wordes by significacion of tyme passed, to shewe fully that
thilk wordes were nat put for temporel significacion; for al [at] thilk
tyme [of] thilke sentence were nat temporallich born, whiche that
Poule pronounced god have tofore knowe, and have cleped, than       175
magnifyed. Wherthorow it may wel be knowe that Poule used tho
wordes of passed significacion, for nede and lacke of a worde
in mannes bodily speche betokeninge the everlasting presence.
And therfore, [in] worde moste semeliche in lykenesse to everlasting
presence, he took his sentence; for thinges that here-beforn       180
ben passed utterly be immovable, y-lyke to the everlasting
presence. As thilke that ben there never mowe not ben present,
so thinges of tyme passed ne mowe in no wyse not ben passed;
but al thinges in your temporal presence, that passen in a litel
while, shullen ben not present. So than in that, it is more       185
similitude to the everlasting presence, significacion of tyme passed
than of tyme temporal present, and so more in accordaunce. In
this maner what thing, of these that ben don thorow free arbitrement,
or els as necessary, holy writ pronounceth, after eternitè he
speketh; in whiche presence is everlasting sothe and nothing but       190
sothe immovable; nat after tyme, in whiche naught alway ben
your willes and your actes. And right as, while they be nat, it is
nat nedeful hem to be, so ofte it is nat nedeful that somtyme
they shulde be.'

'As how?' quod I; 'for yet I must be lerned by some       195

'Of love,' quod she, 'wol I now ensample make, sithen I knowe
[ 122 ]the heed-knotte in that yelke. Lo! somtyme thou wrytest no
art, ne art than in no wil to wryte. And right as while thou
wrytest nat or els wolt nat wryte, it is nat nedeful thee to wryte       200
or els wilne to wryte. And for to make thee knowe utterly that
thinges ben otherwise in the everlastinge presence than in
temporal tyme, see now, my good child: for somthing is in the
everlastinge presence, than in temporal tyme it was nat; in
†eterne tyme, in eterne presence shal it nat be. Than no reson       205
defendeth, that somthing ne may be in tyme temporal moving,
that in eterne is immovable. Forsothe, it is no more contrary
ne revers for to be movable in tyme temporel, and [im]movable
in eternitè, than nat to be in any tyme and to be alway in
eternitè; and to have be or els to come in tyme temporel, and       210
nat have be ne nought comming to be in eternitè. Yet never-the-later,
I say nat somthing to be never in tyme temporel, that
ever is [in] eternitè; but al-only in som tyme nat to be. For
I saye nat thy love to-morne in no tyme to be, but to-day alone
I deny it to be; and yet, never-the-later, it is alway in eternitè.'       215

'A! so,' quod I, 'it semeth to me, that comming thing or els
passed here in your temporal tyme to be, in eternitè ever now
and present oweth nat to be demed; and yet foloweth nat thilke
thing, that was or els shal be, in no maner ther to ben passed
or els comming; than utterly shul we deny for there without       220
ceesing it is, in his present maner.'

'O,' quod she, 'myne owne disciple, now ginnest thou [be]
able to have the name of my servaunt! Thy wit is clered; away
is now errour of cloude in unconning; away is blyndnesse of
love; away is thoughtful study of medling maners. Hastely       225
shalt thou entre in-to the joye of me, that am thyn owne
maistres! Thou hast (quod she), in a fewe wordes, wel and
clerely concluded mokel of my mater. And right as there is
no revers ne contrarioustee in tho thinges, right so, withouten
any repugnaunce, it is sayd somthing to be movable in tyme       230
temporel, †afore it be, that in eternitè dwelleth immovable, nat
afore it be or after that it is, but without cessing; for right
naught is there after tyme; that same is there everlastinge that
[ 123 ]temporalliche somtyme nis; and toforn it be, it may not be, as
I have sayd.'       235

'Now sothly,' quod I, 'this have I wel understande; so that
now me thinketh, that prescience of god and free arbitrement
withouten any repugnaunce acorden; and that maketh the
strength of eternitè, whiche encloseth by presence during al
tymes, and al thinges that ben, han ben, and shul ben in any       240
tyme. I wolde now (quod I) a litel understande, sithen that
[god] al thing thus beforn wot, whether thilke wetinge be of tho
thinges, or els thilke thinges ben to ben of goddes weting, and so
of god nothing is; and if every thing be thorow goddes weting, and
therof take his being, than shulde god be maker and auctour       245
of badde werkes, and so he shulde not rightfully punisshe yvel
doinges of mankynde.'

Quod Love, 'I shal telle thee, this lesson to lerne. Myne
owne trewe servaunt, the noble philosophical poete in Englissh,
whiche evermore him besieth and travayleth right sore my name       250
to encrese (wherfore al that willen me good owe to do him
worship and reverence bothe; trewly, his better ne his pere in
scole of my rules coude I never fynde)—he (quod she), in a tretis
that he made of my servant Troilus, hath this mater touched, and
at the ful this question assoyled. Certaynly, his noble sayinges       255
can I not amende; in goodnes of gentil manliche speche, without
any maner of nycetè of †storiers imaginacion, in witte and in
good reson of sentence he passeth al other makers. In the boke of
Troilus, the answere to thy question mayst thou lerne. Never-the-later,
yet may lightly thyne understandinge somdel ben lerned,       260
if thou have knowing of these to-fornsaid thinges; with that thou
have understanding of two the laste chapiters of this seconde
boke, that is to say, good to be somthing, and bad to wante al
maner being. For badde is nothing els but absence of good;
and [as] that god in good maketh that good dedes ben good,       265
in yvel he maketh that they ben but naught, that they ben bad;
for to nothing is badnesse to be [lykned].'

'I have,' quod I tho, 'ynough knowing therin; me nedeth of
other thinges to here, that is to saye, how I shal come to my
blisse so long desyred.'       270

Ch. IV. 1. shalte. 6. subiection. 8. disposition. 9. nowe. 10. thorowe. 11. theffecte. folow. 12. fre. 13. thorowe. 14. altho. 15. howe stante.

16. thorowe. 19. the. 20-1. thorowe (thrice). 23. dothe. doone. 24. wyl; read wilne; see l. 30. 25. I supply in. done. 28. thynge. 29. frewyl. maye. 30. maye. 30-1. Some words repeated here. 31. one. 32. whome. 33. of; read or. 36. togyther; read togider. 37. libertie. aforne. 39. truthe (twice). 40. arne. syght; read seeth. 42. beforne. 43. I supply that. fre. aforne. 44. I supply it and that. 45. frewyl discendeth (!). 46. maye. 48. libertie. the. 49. beforne.

53. shalte. * A break here in Th. 59. nowe. thynge. 61. nowe. 63. one. 66. dothe. 67. reason. I supply than is. thorowe. 69. thynge. 70. done. 71. haste. 72. declarations. 73-4. thorowe (twice). 76. displease. 78. sayne. 78-9. thorowe. 80. declaration. 82. shalte se. 83. reasons. the. 84. gone. 85-6. thee (twice).

89. reasone. 91. howe. 92. the. 97. heigheth; read hyeth. 98. higheth; read hyeth. towarde. 99. gothe. heigheth; read hyeth. 100. ceasynge. 101. nowe. 102. reason. sey. 104. reasons. one. 105. thorowe. 108. list. stynt. 109. sayd. 110. gret. 111. sayenges. 112. putte. 113. length. 114. doyng; read dying. some. 115. thynge. -thorowe. dethe. 116. Naye. sayeng. 119. done. 120. saithe. toforne werne. 122. wyst. sonne; read sone.

124. brethern. 126. purpose. 129. onely. nowe. thousande. 130. ayenwarde. 132. thorowe. 134. onely. nowe. 141. done. 142. easely. 143. onehed. 144. nowe. 147. one yere. 148. mutation. 150. nowe. 151. sey. 152. spake. 153. signification. 155. sayde. 159. se.

163, 167. nowe. 166. I supply and. 167. therin; read ther in. 168. dwel. 169. be; read by. 171. to; read in. 172-3. signification (twice). 173. I supply at. 174. were nat thilke sentence; transpose, and insert of. borne. 176. Wherthorowe. know. 177. signification. 178. spech. 179. I supply in; and omit is after worde. 180. toke. 181. beforne. 186. signification. 188. thynge. done thorowe fre. 189. writte. 197. nowe.

199. arte (twice). 200. the. 201. the. 203. se nowe. childe. somthynge. 205. eternite; read eterne. reason. 208. movable (!). 210. and have to be. 213. I supply in. al onely. somtyme. 215. deny ne it; omit ne. alwaye. 217. nowe. 219. thynge. thereto; read ther to. 221. ceasyng. 222. nowe. I supply be. 223. witte. 224. nowe. awaye. 226. shalte. 227. haste. 229. contrarioustie. 231. and for; read afore.

234. toforne. maye. 236. Nowe. 237. nowe. fre. 241. nowe. 242. I supply god. beforne. 244. nothynge. thorowe. 248. tel the. 251. encrease. 253. schole. treatise. 255. sayenges. 256. gentyl manlyche. 257. nycite. starieres (!). 258. reason. 259. mayste. 260. somdele. 263. want. 265. I supply as. 267. I supply lykned. 269. howe.

[ 124 ]


'In this mater toforn declared,' quod Love, 'I have wel
shewed, that every man hath free arbitrement of thinges in
his power, to do or undo what him lyketh. Out of this grounde
muste come the spire, that by processe of tyme shal in greetnesse
sprede, to have braunches and blosmes of waxing frute in grace,       5
of whiche the taste and the savour is endelesse blisse, in joye
ever to onbyde.'*

'Now, trewly, lady, I have my grounde wel understonde;
but what thing is thilke spire that in-to a tree shulde wexe?
Expowne me that thing, what ye therof mene.'       10

'That shal I,' quod she, 'blithly, and take good hede to the
wordes, I thee rede. Continuaunce in thy good service, by longe
processe of tyme in ful hope abyding, without any chaunge to
wilne in thyne herte, this is the spire. Whiche, if it be wel kept
and governed, shal so hugely springe, til the fruit of grace is       15
plentuously out-sprongen. For although thy wil be good, yet
may not therfore thilk blisse desyred hastely on thee discenden;
it must abyde his sesonable tyme. And so, by processe of
growing, with thy good traveyle, it shal in-to more and more wexe,
til it be found so mighty, that windes of yvel speche, ne scornes       20
of envy, make nat the traveyle overthrowe; ne frostes of mistrust,
ne hayles of jelousy right litel might have, in harming of suche
springes. Every yonge setling lightly with smale stormes is
apeyred; but whan it is woxen somdel in gretnesse, than han
grete blastes and †weders but litel might, any disadvantage to       25
them for to werche.'

'Myne owne soverayne lady,' quod I, 'and welth of myne
herte, and it were lyking un-to your noble grace therthrough nat
to be displesed, I suppose ye erren, now ye maken jelousy, envy,
and distourbour to hem that ben your servauntes. I have lerned       30
ofte, to-forn this tyme, that in every lovers herte greet plentee of
jelousyes greves ben sowe, wherfore (me thinketh) ye ne ought
in no maner accompte thilke thing among these other welked
wivers and venomous serpentes, as envy, mistrust, and yvel
speche.'       35
[ 125 ]
'O fole,' quod she, 'mistrust with foly, with yvel wil medled,
engendreth that welked padde! Truely, if they were distroyed,
jelousy undon were for ever; and yet some maner of jelousy,
I wot wel, is ever redy in al the hertes of my trewe servauntes, as
thus: to be jelous over him-selfe, lest he be cause of his own       40
disese. This jelousy in ful thought ever shulde be kept, for
ferdnesse to lese his love by miskeping, thorow his owne doing in
leudnesse, or els thus: lest she, that thou servest so fervently, is
beset there her better lyketh, that of al thy good service she
compteth nat a cresse. These jelousies in herte for acceptable       45
qualitees ben demed; these oughten every trewe lover, by kyndly
[maner], evermore haven in his mynde, til fully the grace and
blisse of my service be on him discended at wil. And he that
than jelousy caccheth, or els by wening of his owne folisshe
wilfulnesse mistrusteth, truely with fantasy of venim he is foule       50
begyled. Yvel wil hath grounded thilke mater of sorowe in his
leude soule, and yet nat-for-than to every wight shulde me nat
truste, ne every wight fully misbeleve; the mene of these thinges
†oweth to be used. Sothly, withouten causeful evidence mistrust
in jelousy shulde nat be wened in no wyse person commenly;       55
suche leude wickednesse shulde me nat fynde. He that is wyse
and with yvel wil nat be acomered, can abyde wel his tyme, til
grace and blisse of his service folowing have him so mokel esed,
as his abydinge toforehande hath him disesed.'

'Certes, lady,' quod I tho, 'of nothing me wondreth, sithen       60
thilke blisse so precious is and kyndly good, and wel is and worthy
in kynde whan it is medled with love and reson, as ye toforn
have declared. Why, anon as hye oon is spronge, why springeth
nat the tother? And anon as the oon cometh, why receyveth nat
the other? For every thing that is out of his kyndly place, by ful       65
appetyt ever cometh thiderward kyndely to drawe; and his kyndly
being ther-to him constrayneth. And the kyndly stede of this
blisse is in suche wil medled to †onbyde, and nedes in that it
shulde have his kyndly being. Wherfore me thinketh, anon as that
wil to be shewed and kid him profreth, thilke blisse shulde him       70
hye, thilk wil to receyve; or els kynde[s] of goodnesse worchen
nat in hem as they shulde. Lo, be the sonne never so fer, ever
[ 126 ]it hath his kynde werching in erthe. Greet weight on hye on-lofte
caried stinteth never til it come to †his resting-place. Waters
to the see-ward ever ben they drawing. Thing that is light       75
blythly wil nat sinke, but ever ascendeth and upward draweth.
Thus kynde in every thing his kyndly cours and his beinge-place
sheweth. Wherfore †by kynde, on this good wil, anon as it were
spronge, this blisse shulde thereon discende; her kynde[s] wolde,
they dwelleden togider; and so have ye sayd your-selfe.'       80

'Certes,' quod she, 'thyne herte sitteth wonder sore, this blisse
for to have; thyne herte is sore agreved that it tarieth so longe;
and if thou durstest, as me thinketh by thyne wordes, this blisse
woldest thou blame. But yet I saye, thilke blisse is kyndly good,
and his kyndely place [is] in that wil to †onbyde. Never-the-later,       85
their comming togider, after kyndes ordinaunce, nat sodaynly
may betyde; it muste abyde tyme, as kynde yeveth him leve.
For if a man, as this wil medled gonne him shewe, and thilke
blisse in haste folowed, so lightly comminge shulde lightly cause
going. Longe tyme of thursting causeth drink to be the more       90
delicious whan it is atasted.'

'How is it,' quod I than, 'that so many blisses see I al day at
myne eye, in the firste moment of a sight, with suche wil accorde?
Ye, and yet other-whyle with wil assenteth, singulerly by him-selfe;
there reson fayleth, traveyle was non; service had no tyme. This       95
is a queynt maner thing, how suche doing cometh aboute.'

'O,' quod she, 'that is thus. The erthe kyndely, after sesons
and tymes of the yere, bringeth forth innumerable herbes and
trees, bothe profitable and other; but suche as men might leve
(though they nought in norisshinge to mannes kynde serven, or       100
els suche as tournen sone unto mennes confusion, in case that
therof they ataste), comen forth out of the erthe by their owne
kynde, withouten any mannes cure or any businesse in traveyle.
And the ilke herbes that to mennes lyvelode necessarily serven,
without whiche goodly in this lyfe creatures mowen nat enduren,       105
and most ben †norisshinge to mankynde, without greet traveyle,
greet tilthe, and longe abydinge-tyme, comen nat out of the erthe,
and [y]it with sede toforn ordayned, suche herbes to make springe
[ 127 ]and forth growe. Right so the parfit blisse, that we have in meninge
of during-tyme to abyde, may nat come so lightly, but with greet       110
traveyle and right besy tilth; and yet good seed to be sowe; for
ofte the croppe fayleth of badde seede, be it never so wel traveyled.
And thilke blisse thou spoke of so lightly in comming, trewly, is
nat necessary ne abydinge; and but it the better be stamped,
and the venomous jeuse out-wrongen, it is lykely to enpoysonen       115
al tho that therof tasten. Certes, right bitter ben the herbes that
shewen first [in] the yere of her own kynde. Wel the more is the
harvest that yeldeth many graynes, tho longe and sore it hath ben
traveyled. What woldest thou demen if a man wold yeve three
quarters of nobles of golde? That were a precious gift?'       120

'Ye, certes,' quod I.

'And what,' quod she, 'three quarters ful of perles?'

'Certes,' quod I, 'that were a riche gift.'

'And what,' quod she, 'of as mokel azure?'

Quod I, 'a precious gift at ful.'       125

'Were not,' quod she, 'a noble gift of al these atones?'

'In good faith,' quod I, 'for wanting of Englissh naming of
so noble a worde, I can not, for preciousnesse, yeve it a name.'

'Rightfully,' quod she, 'hast thou demed; and yet love, knit
in vertue, passeth al the gold in this erthe. Good wil, accordant       130
to reson, with no maner propertè may be countrevayled. Al the
azure in the worlde is nat to accompte in respect of reson. Love
that with good wil and reson accordeth, with non erthly riches
may nat ben amended. This yeft hast thou yeven, I know it
my-selfe, and thy Margarite thilke gift hath receyved; in whiche       135
thinge to rewarde she hath her-selfe bounde. But thy gift, as
I said, by no maner riches may be amended; wherfore, with
thinge that may nat be amended, thou shalt of thy Margarites
rightwisenesse be rewarded. Right suffred yet never but every
good dede somtyme to be yolde. Al wolde thy Margarite with       140
no rewarde thee quyte, right, that never-more dyeth, thy mede in
merit wol purvey. Certes, such sodayn blisse as thou first
nempnest, right wil hem rewarde as thee wel is worthy; and
though at thyn eye it semeth, the reward the desert to passe,
right can after sende suche bitternesse, evenly it to rewarde. So       145
[ 128 ]that sodayn blisse, by al wayes of reson, in gret goodnesse may
not ben acompted; but blisse long, both long it abydeth, and
endlesse it wol laste. See why thy wil is endelesse. For if thou
lovedest ever, thy wil is ever ther t'abyde and neveremore to
chaunge; evenhed of rewarde must ben don by right; than muste       150
nedes thy grace and this blisse [ben] endelesse in joye to †onbyde.
Evenliche disese asketh evenliche joye, whiche hastely thou shalt

'A!' quod I, 'it suffyseth not than alone good wil, be it never
so wel with reson medled, but-if it be in good service longe       155
travayled. And so through service shul men come to the joye;
and this, me thinketh, shulde be the wexing tree, of which ye first

Ch. V. 2. fre. 4. greatnesse. 6. ioy. * A break here in Th. 8. Nowe. 10. meane. 12. the. 15. fruite. 16. al thoughe. 17. the. 24. somdele. 25. great. wethers; read weders. 28. hert. 29. displeased. nowe. 31. to-forne. hert great plentie. 33. thynge.

38. vndone. 41. disease. 42. thorowe. 47. I supply maner. 49. catcheth. 50. venyme. 53. trust. meane. 54. owen; read oweth. 58. eased. 59. diseased. 62. reason. 63. one. sprong. 64. anone. one. 66. appetite. thiderwarde. 68. vnbyde; read onbyde. 70. kydde. 71. kynde; read kyndes. 72. ferre.

73. great. 74. this; read his. 75. see warde. 77. course. 78. be; read by. 79. kynde; read kyndes. 80. sayde. 81-2. hert. 85. I supply is. vnbyde; read onbyde. 87. maye. leaue. 90. drinke. 92. Howe. se. daye. 95. reason. none. 96. thynge howe. 97. seasons. 98. forthe. 99. leaue. 100. they were nought; omit were. 101. soone. 102. forthe. 106. norisshen; read norisshinge. 106-7. great (twice). 108. it; read yit; see l. 111. seede toforne. spring.

109. forthe. parfyte. meanynge. 110. great. 111. seede. 117. I supply in. 119-122. thre (twice). 122. peerles. 123-6. gifte (thrice). 129. haste. knytte. 130. golde. 131. reason. 132. respecte. 132-3. reason (twice). 136. gifte. 141. the. 142. sodayne. 143. the. 144. rewarde.

146. sodayne. reason. 148. last. Se. 149. tabyde. 151. I supply ben. ioy. vnbyde (!). 152. ioy. 157. tre. * A break here in Th.


Now, lady,' quod I, 'that tree to sette, fayn wolde I lerne.'

'So thou shalt,' quod she, 'er thou depart hence. The
first thing, thou muste sette thy werke on grounde siker and good,
accordaunt to thy springes. For if thou desyre grapes, thou
goest not to the hasel; ne, for to fecchen roses, thou sekest not       5
on okes; and if thou shalt have hony-soukels, thou levest the
frute of the soure docke. Wherfore, if thou desyre this blisse in
parfit joye, thou must sette thy purpos there vertue foloweth, and
not to loke after the bodily goodes; as I sayd whan thou were
wryting in thy seconde boke. And for thou hast set thy-selfe in       10
so noble a place, and utterly lowed in thyn herte the misgoing of
thy first purpos, this †setling is the esier to springe, and the more
lighter thy soule in grace to be lissed. And trewly thy desyr,
that is to say, thy wil algates mot ben stedfast in this mater without
any chaunginge; for if it be stedfast, no man may it voyde.'       15

'Yes, pardè,' quod I, 'my wil may ben turned by frendes, and
disese of manace and thretning in lesinge of my lyfe and of my
limmes, and in many other wyse that now cometh not to mynde.
And also it mot ofte ben out of thought; for no remembraunce
may holde oon thing continuelly in herte, be it never so lusty       20
[ 129 ]
'Now see,' quod she, 'thou thy wil shal folowe, thy free wil to
be grounded continuelly to abyde. It is thy free wil, that thou
lovest and hast loved, and yet shal loven this Margaryte-perle;
and in thy wil thou thinkest to holde it. Than is thy wil knit       25
in love, not to chaunge for no newe lust besyde; this wil techeth
thyn herte from al maner varying. But than, although thou be
thretened in dethe or els in otherwyse, yet is it in thyn arbitrement
to chose, thy love to voyde or els to holde; and thilke
arbitrement is in a maner a jugement bytwene desyr and thy       30
herte. And if thou deme to love thy good wil fayleth, than art
thou worthy no blisse that good wil shulde deserve; and if thou
chose continuaunce in thy good service, than thy good wil
abydeth; nedes, blisse folowing of thy good wil must come by
strength of thilke jugement; for thy first wil, that taught thyn       35
herte to abyde, and halt it from th'eschaunge, with thy reson
is accorded. Trewly, this maner of wil thus shal abyde; impossible
it were to turne, if thy herte be trewe; and if every
man diligently the meninges of his wil consider, he shal wel
understande that good wil, knit with reson, but in a false herte       40
never is voyded; for power and might of keping this good wil is
thorow libertè of arbitrement in herte, but good wil to kepe
may not fayle. Eke than if it fayle, it sheweth it-selfe that good
wil in keping is not there. And thus false wil, that putteth out
the good, anon constrayneth the herte to accorde in lovinge of       45
thy good wil; and this accordaunce bitwene false wil and thyn
herte, in falsitè ben lykened †togider. Yet a litel wol I say
thee in good wil, thy good willes to rayse and strengthe. Tak
hede to me (quod she) how thy willes thou shalt understande.
Right as ye han in your body dyvers membres, and fyve sondrye       50
wittes, everiche apart to his owne doing, whiche thinges as
instrumentes ye usen; as, your handes apart to handle; feet,
to go; tonge, to speke; eye, to see: right so the soule hath
in him certayne steringes and strengthes, whiche he useth as
instrumentes to his certayne doinges. Reson is in the soule,       55
which he useth, thinges to knowe and to prove; and wil, whiche
he useth to wilne; and yet is neyther wil ne reson al the soule;
but everich of hem is a thing by him-selfe in the soule. And
[ 130 ]right as everich hath thus singuler instrumentes by hemselfe,
they han as wel dyvers aptes and dyvers maner usinges; and       60
thilke aptes mowen in wil ben cleped affeccions. Affeccion is
an instrument of willinge in his apetytes. Wherfore mokel folk
sayn, if a resonable creatures soule any thing fervently wilneth,
affectuously he wilneth; and thus may wil, by terme of equivocas,
in three wayes ben understande. Oon is instrument of willing;       65
another is affection of this instrument; and the third is use, that
setteth it a-werke. Instrument of willing is thilke strength of the
soule, which that constrayneth to wilne, right as reson is instrument
of resons, which ye usen whan ye loken. Affeccion of this
instrument is a thing, by whiche ye be drawe desyrously any-thing       70
to wilne in coveitous maner, al be it for the tyme out
of your mynde; as, if it come in your thought thilke thing to
remembre, anon ye ben willing thilke to done or els to have.
And thus is instrument wil; and affeccion is wil also, to wilne
thing as I said; as, for to wilne helth, whan wil nothing theron       75
thinketh; for anon as it cometh to memorie, it is in wil. And so
is affeccion to wilne slepe, whan it is out of mynde; but anon
as it is remembred, wil wilneth slepe, whan his tyme cometh of
the doinge. For affeccion of wil never accordeth to sicknesse,
ne alway to wake. Right so, in a true lovers affeccion of willing,       80
instrument is to wilne tr[o]uthe in his service; and this affeccion
alway abydeth, although he be sleping or thretned, or els not
theron thinking; but anon as it cometh to mynde, anon he is
stedfast in that wil to abyde. Use of this instrument forsothe
is another thing by himselfe; and that have ye not but whan       85
ye be doing in willed thing, by affect or instrument of wil
purposed or desyred; and this maner of usage in my service
wysely nedeth to be ruled from wayters with envy closed, from
spekers ful of jangeling wordes, from proude folk and hautayn,
that lambes and innocentes bothe scornen and dispysen. Thus       90
in doing varieth the actes of willinge everich from other, and yet
ben they cleped "wil," and the name of wil utterly owen they to
have; as instrument of wil is wil, whan ye turne in-to purpos of
any thing to don, be it to sitte or to stande, or any such thing
els. This instrument may ben had, although affect and usage be       95
left out of doing; right as ye have sight and reson, and yet alway
[ 131 ]use ye* †nat to loke, [ne] thinges with resonning to prove; and so
is instrument of wil, wil; and yet varyeth he from effect and
using bothe. Affeccion of wil also for wil is cleped, but it varyeth
from instrument in this maner wyse, by that nameliche, whan it       100
cometh in-to mynde, anon-right it is in willinge desyred, and the
negatif therof with willing nil not acorde; this is closed in herte,
though usage and instrument slepe. This slepeth whan instrument
and us[e] waken; and of suche maner affeccion, trewly,
some man hath more and some man lesse. Certes, trewe lovers       105
wenen ever therof to litel to have. False lovers in litel wenen
have right mokel. Lo, instrument of wil in false and trewe
bothe, evenliche is proporcioned; but affeccion is more in some
places than in some, bycause of the goodnesse that foloweth, and
that I thinke hereafter to declare. Use of this instrument is wil,       110
but it taketh his name whan wilned thing is in doing; but utterly
grace to cacche in thy blisse †desyreth to ben rewarded. Thou
most have than affeccion of wil at the ful, and use whan his
tyme asketh wysely to ben governed. Sothly, my disciple,
without fervent affeccion of wil may no man ben saved. This       115
affeccion of good service in good love may not ben grounded,
without fervent desyr to the thing in wil coveited. But he that
never reccheth to have or not to have, affeccion of wil in that
hath no resting-place. Why? For whan thing cometh to mynde,
and it be not taken in hede to comin or not come, therfore in       120
that place affeccion fayleth; and, for thilke affeccion is so litel,
thorow whiche in goodnesse he shulde come to his grace, the
litelnesse wil it not suffre to avayle by no way in-to his helpes.
Certes, grace and reson thilke affeccion foloweth. This affeccion,
with reson knit, dureth in everiche trewe herte, and evermore       125
is encresing; no ferdnesse, no strength may it remove, whyle
tr[o]uthe in herte abydeth. Sothly, whan falsheed ginneth entre,
tr[o]uthe draweth away grace and joye bothe; but than thilke
falsheed, that trouth[e] hath thus voyded, hath unknit the bond
of understanding reson bytwene wil and the herte. And who-so       130
that bond undoth, and unknitteth wil to be in other purpose
than to the first accorde, knitteth him with contrarye of reson;
[ 132 ]and that is unreson. Lo, than, wil and unreson bringeth a man
from the blisse of grace; whiche thing, of pure kynde, every man
ought to shonne and to eschewe, and to the knot of wil and reson       135

Me thinketh,' quod she, 'by thy studient lokes, thou wenest in
these wordes me to contrarien from other sayinges here-toforn
in other place, as whan thou were somtyme in affeccion of wil to
thinges that now han brought thee in disese, which I have thee       140
consayled to voyde, and thyn herte discover; and there I made
thy wil to ben chaunged, whiche now thou wenest I argue to
with[h]olde and to kepe! Shortly I say, the revers in these
wordes may not ben founde; for though dronkennesse be forboden,
men shul not alway ben drinklesse. I trowe right, for       145
thou thy wil out of reson shulde not tourne, thy wil in one reson
shulde not †onbyde. I say, thy wil in thy first purpos with
unreson was closed; constrewe forth of the remenant what thee
good lyketh. Trewly, that wil and reson shulde be knit togider,
was free wil of reson; after tyme thyne herte is assentaunt to them       150
bothe, thou might not chaunge. But if thou from rule of reson
varye, in whiche variaunce to come to thilke blisse desyred,
contrariously thou werchest; and nothing may knowe wil and reson
but love alone. Than if thou voide love, than †weyvest [thou]
the bond that knitteth; and so nedes, or els right lightly, that       155
other gon a-sondre; wherfore thou seest apertly that love holdeth
this knot, and amaystreth hem to be bounde. These thinges, as
a ring in circuit of wrethe, ben knit in thy soule without departing.'

'A! let be! let be!' quod I; 'it nedeth not of this no
rehersayle to make; my soule is yet in parfit blisse, in thinking of       160
that knotte!'*

Ch. VI. 1. Nowe. set fayne. 3. set. 5. fetchen. 6. leauest. 8. parfite ioy. set. purpose. 10. booke. haste. 12. purpose. setteles; read setling. 13. desyre. 14. mote. 15-16. maye (twice). 17. disease. 18. nowe. 19. mote. 20. one.

32. Nowe se. 22, 23. frewyl (twice). 24. haste. 26. teacheth. 27. varyeng. 30. desyre. 31. arte. 36. halte. 38. hert. 40. reason. 42. thorowe. hert. 45. anone. 47. togyther. 48. the. strength. Take. 49. howe. 51-2. aparte (twice). 52. fete. 53. se. 55. Reason. 57. reason.

61. affections. Affection. 62. folke. 65. thre. One. 68. reason. 69. Affection. 74. affection. 75. thynge. 77-81. affection (four times). 86. affecte. 93. purpose. 94. syt.

97. * A break here in Th. ne ought; read nat. I supply ne. 98. effecte. 99. Affection. 100. name lyche. 102. negatyfe. 103. thoughe. 104. vs. 104-8. affection (twice). 112. catche. desyred; read desyreth. 113. muste. affection (often). 117. desyre. 118. retcheth. 120. comyn. 124-5. reason (twice). 125. knytte. 126. encreasyng. maye. 128. ioy. both. 129. bonde. 130-2. reason. 131. bonde vndothe.

133. unreason (twice). 135. reason. 138. sayenges. toforne. 139. affection. 140. nowe. the. disease. the. 146. reason (twice). 147. vnbyde; read onbyde. purpose. 148. unreason. remenante. the. 150. fre. 149-151. reason (thrice). 154. weuest; read weyvest thou. 155. bonde. 156. gone. 158. ringe. 160. parfyte. * A break here in Th.


'Very trouth,' quod she, 'hast thou now conceyved of these
thinges in thyne herte; hastely shalt thou be able very
joye and parfit blisse to receyve; and now, I wot wel, thou
desyrest to knowe the maner of braunches that out of the tree
shulde springe.'       5
[ 133 ]
'Therof, lady,' quod I, 'hertely I you pray; for than leve
I †wel, that right sone after I shal ataste of the frute that I so
long have desyred.'

'Thou hast herd,' quod she, 'in what wyse this tree toforn this
have I declared, as in grounde and in stocke of wexing. First,       10
the ground shulde be thy free wil, ful in thyne herte; and the
stocke (as I sayde) shulde be continuaunce in good service by
long tyme in traveyle, til it were in greetnesse right wel woxen.
And whan this tree suche greetnesse hath caught as I have
rehersed, the braunches than, that the frute shulde forth-bringe,       15
speche must they be nedes, in voice of prayer in complayning
wyse used.'

'Out! alas!' quod I tho, 'he is soroufully wounded that
hydeth his speche, and spareth his complayntes to make! What
shal I speke the care? But payne, even lyk to helle, sore hath       20
me assayled, and so ferforth in payne me thronge, that I leve my
tree is seer, and never shal it frute forth bringe! Certes, he is
greetly esed, that dare his prevy mone discover to a true felowe,
that conning hath and might, wherthrough his pleint in any thinge
may ben amended. And mokel more is he joyed, that with herte       25
of hardinesse dare complayne to his lady what cares that he
suffreth, by hope of mercy with grace to be avaunced. Truely
I saye for me, sithe I cam this Margarit to serve, durst I never me
discover of no maner disese; and wel the later hath myn herte
hardyed suche thinges to done, for the grete bountees and worthy       30
refresshmentes that she of her grace goodly, without any desert on
my halve, ofte hath me rekened. And nere her goodnesse the
more with grace and with mercy medled, which passen al desertes,
traveyls, and servinges that I in any degre might endite, I wolde
wene I shulde be without recover, in getting of this blisse for       35
ever! Thus have I stilled my disese; thus have I covered my
care; that I brenne in sorouful anoy, as gledes and coles wasten
a fyr under deed asshen. Wel the hoter is the fyr that with
asshen it is overleyn. Right longe this wo have I suffred.'

'Lo,' quod Love, 'how thou farest! Me thinketh, the palasy-yvel       40
hath acomered thy wittes; as faste as thou hyest forward,
anon sodaynly backward thou movest! Shal nat yet al thy
leudnesse out of thy braynes? Dul ben thy skilful understandinges;
[ 134 ]thy wil hath thy wit so amaistred. Wost thou nat wel (quod she)
but every tree, in his sesonable tyme of burjoninge, shewe his       45
blomes fro within, in signe of what frute shulde out of him
springe, els the frute for that yere men halt delivered, be the
ground never so good? And though the stocke be mighty at
the ful, and the braunches seer, and no burjons shewe, farwel the
gardiner! He may pype with an yvè-lefe; his frute is fayled.       50
Wherfore thy braunches must burjonen in presence of thy lady, if
thou desyre any frute of thy ladies grace. But beware of thy lyfe,
that thou no wode lay use, as in asking of thinges that strecchen
in-to shame! For than might thou nat spede, by no maner way
that I can espy. Vertue wol nat suffre villany out of him-selfe to       55
springe. Thy wordes may nat be queynt, ne of subtel maner
understandinge. Freel-witted people supposen in suche poesies
to be begyled; in open understandinge must every word be used.
"Voice without clere understanding of sentence," saith Aristotel,
"right nought printeth in herte." Thy wordes than to abyde in       60
herte, and clene in ful sentence of trewe mening, platly must
thou shewe; and ever be obedient, her hestes and her wils to
performe; and be thou set in suche a wit, to wete by a loke
ever-more what she meneth. And he that list nat to speke, but
stilly his disese suffer, what wonder is it, tho[ugh] he come never       65
to his blisse? Who that traveyleth unwist, and coveyteth thing
unknowe, unweting he shal be quyted, and with unknowe thing

'Good lady,' quod I than, 'it hath ofte be sene, that †weders
and stormes so hugely have falle in burjoning-tyme, and by perte       70
duresse han beten of the springes so clene, wherthrough the frute
of thilke yere hath fayled. It is a greet grace, whan burjons han
good †weders, their frutes forth to bringe. Alas! than, after
suche stormes, how hard is it to avoyde, til efte wedring and
yeres han maked her circute cours al about, er any frute be able       75
to be tasted! He is shent for shame, that foule is rebuked of his
speche. He that is in fyre brenning sore smarteth for disese;
him thinketh ful long er the water come, that shulde the fyr
quenche. While men gon after a leche, the body is buryed.
Lo! how semely this frute wexeth! Me thinketh, that of tho       80
[ 135 ]frutes may no man ataste, for pure bitternesse in savour. In this
wyse bothe frute and the tree wasten away togider, though mokel
besy occupacion have be spent, to bringe it so ferforth that it
was able to springe. A lyte speche hath maked that al this labour
is in ydel.'       85

'I not,' quod she, 'wherof it serveth, thy question to assoyle.
Me thinketh thee now duller in wittes than whan I with thee first
mette. Although a man be leude, commenly for a fole he is nat
demed but-if he no good wol lerne. Sottes and foles lete lightly
out of mynde the good that men techeth hem. I sayd therfore,       90
thy stocke must be stronge, and in greetnesse wel herted: the
tree is ful feble that at the firste dent falleth. And although frute
fayleth oon yere or two, yet shal suche a seson come oon tyme or
other, that shal bringe out frute that [is parfit]. *Fole, have I not
seyd toforn this, as tyme hurteth, right so ayenward tyme heleth       95
and rewardeth; and a tree oft fayled is holde more in deyntee
whan it frute forth bringeth. A marchaunt that for ones lesinge
in the see no more to aventure thinketh, he shal never with
aventure come to richesse. So ofte must men on the oke smyte,
til the happy dent have entred, whiche with the okes owne swaye       100
maketh it to come al at ones. So ofte falleth the lethy water on
the harde rocke, til it have thorow persed it. The even draught
of the wyr-drawer maketh the wyr to ben even and supple-werchinge;
and if he stinted in his draught, the wyr breketh
a-sonder. Every tree wel springeth, whan it is wel grounded and       105
not often removed.'

'What shal this frute be,' quod I, 'now it ginneth rype?'

'Grace,' quod she, 'in parfit joy to endure; and therwith thou

'Grace?' quod I; 'me thinketh, I shulde have a reward for my       110
longe travayle?'

'I shal telle thee,' quod she; 'retribucion of thy good willes
to have of thy Margarite-perle, it bereth not the name of mede,
but only of good grace; and that cometh not of thy desert, but
of thy Margarytes goodnesse and vertue alone.'       115

Quod I, 'shulde al my longe travayle have no reward but thorow
[ 136 ]grace? And som-tyme your-selven sayd, rightwisnesse evenliche
rewardeth, to quyte oon benefit for another.'

'That is sothe,' quod Love, 'ever as I sayde, as to him that
doth good, which to done he were neyther holden ne yet       120

'That is sothe,' quod I.

'Trewly,' quod she, 'al that ever thou doest to thyne Margaryte-perle,
of wil, of love, and of reson thou owest to done it; it is
nothing els but yelding of thy dette in quytinge of thy grace, which       125
she thee lente whan ye first mette.'

'I wene,' quod I, 'right litel grace to me she delivered.
Certes, it was harde grace; it hath nyghe me astrangled.'

'That it was good grace, I wot wel thou wilt it graunte, er
thou departe hence. If any man yeve to another wight, to whom       130
that he ought not, and whiche that of him-selfe nothing may
have, a garnement or a cote, though he were the cote or els
thilke clothing, it is not to putte to him that was naked the cause
of his clothinge, but only to him that was yever of the garnement.
Wherfore I saye, thou that were naked of love, and of thy-selfe       135
non have mightest, it is not to putte to thyne owne persone,
sithen thy love cam thorow thy Margaryte-perle. Ergo, she was
yever of the love, although thou it use; and there lente she thee
grace, thy service to beginne. She is worthy the thank of this
grace, for she was the yever. Al the thoughtes, besy doinges,       140
and plesaunce in thy might and in thy wordes that thou canst
devyse, ben but right litel in quytinge of thy dette; had she not
ben, suche thing hadde not ben studyed. So al these maters
kyndly drawen hom-ward to this Margaryte-perle, for from thence
were they borowed; al is hoolly her to wyte, the love that thou       145
havest; and thus quytest thou thy dette, in that thou stedfastly
servest. And kepe wel that love, I thee rede, that of her thou
hast borowed, and use it in her service thy dette to quyte; and
than art thou able right sone to have grace; wherfore after mede
in none halve mayst thou loke. Thus thy ginning and ending is       150
but grace aloon; and in thy good deserving thy dette thou
aquytest; without grace is nothing worth, what-so-ever thou
[ 137 ]werche. Thanke thy Margaryte of her grete grace that †hiderto
thee hath gyded, and praye her of continuaunce forth in thy
werkes herafter; and that, for no mishappe, thy grace overthwartly       155
tourne. Grace, glorie, and joye is coming thorow good
folkes desertes; and by getting of grace, therin shullen ende.
And what is more glorie or more joye than wysdom and love
in parfit charitè, whiche god hath graunted to al tho that wel
†conne deserve?' And with that this lady al at ones sterte in-to       160
my herte: 'here wol I onbyde,' quod she, 'for ever, and never
wol I gon hence; and I wol kepe thee from medlinge while me
liste here onbyde; thyne entermeting maners in-to stedfastnesse
shullen be chaunged.'

Ch. VII. 1. nowe. 2. hert. 3. parfyte. nowe. 5. spring.

7. wol; read wel. soone. atast. 9. herde. tre. 11. grounde. frewyl. hert. 13. greatnesse. 14. gretnesse. 20. lyke. hel. 22. tre. bring. 23. greatly eased. 28. came. 29. disease. 30. great bounties. 36. disease. 37. bren. 38. fyre (twice). 40. howe. 41. forwarde. 42. backwarde.

47. spring. halte. 48. grounde. 53. wodelay. stretchen. 56. spring. 58. worde. 60-1. hert (twice). 64. meaneth. 65. disease. 69. wethers; read weders. 70. fal. 71. beaten. 72. great. 73. wethers; read weders. forthe. 74. howe harde. 77. disease. 78. fyre. 79. gone. 80. howe.

81. maye. sauoure. 83. occupation. spente. ferforthe. 84. spring. 87. the nowe. 89. fooles lette. 90. teacheth. 91. greatnesse. 93. one (twice). season. 94. I supply is parfit. * A break here in Th. 95. healeth. 96. deyntie. 97. forthe. 102. thorowe. 103-4. wyre (thrice). 104. breaketh. 105. tre. 107. nowe. 108. parfyte. 109. begon; read begonne. 110. rewarde. 112. tel the. 113. beareth. 114. onely. deserte. 116. rewarde. thorowe.

118. one benefyte. 120. dothe. 124. catchword it is; misprinted yet is on the next page. 126. the lent. 127. lytle. 129. graunt. 131. nothynge maye. 132. weare. 133. put; read putte. 134. onely. 136. put. 137. came thorowe. 138. althoughe. lent. the. 139. thanke. 141. canste. 144. homewarde. 145. holy. 147. the. 149. arte. 151. alone. 152. worthe.

153. great. hytherto; read hiderto. 154. the. forthe. 156. thorowe. 158. wysdome. 159. parfyte. 160. canne; read conne. 161. hert.


Soberliche tho threw I up myn eyen, and hugely tho was
I astonyed of this sodayne adventure; and fayn wolde I have
lerned, how vertues shulden ben knowen; in whiche thinges,
I hope to god, here-after she shal me enfourmen; and namely,
sithen her restinge-place is now so nygh at my wil; and anon al       5
these thinges that this lady said, I remembred me by my-selfe, and
revolved the †lynes of myne understondinge wittes. Tho found
I fully al these maters parfitly there written, how mis-rule by
fayned love bothe realmes and citees hath governed a greet
throwe; how lightly me might the fautes espye; how rules in love       10
shulde ben used; how somtyme with fayned love foule I was
begyled; how I shulde love have knowe; and how I shal in love
with my service procede. Also furthermore I found, of perdurable
letters wonderly there graven, these maters whiche I shal nempne.
Certes, non age ne other thing in erthe may the leest sillable of       15
this in no poynte deface, but clerely as the sonne in myne
understandinge soule they shynen. This may never out of my mynde,
how I may not my love kepe, but thorow willinge in herte; wilne
to love may I not, but I lovinge have. Love have I non, but
thorow grace of this Margarite-perle. It is no maner doute, that       20
wil wol not love but for it is lovinge, as wil wol not rightfully but
[ 138 ]for it is rightful it-selve. Also wil is not lovinge for he wol love;
but he wol love for he is lovinge; it is al oon to †wilne to be
lovinge, and lovinges in possession to have. Right so wil wol not
love, for of love hath he no partie. And yet I denye not lovinge       25
wil [may] wilne more love to have, whiche that he hath not whan
he wolde more than he hath; but I saye, he may no love wilne
if he no love have, through which thilke love he shuld wilne. But
to have this loving wil may no man of him-selfe, but only through
grace toforn-going; right so may no man it kepe, but by grace       30
folowinge. Consider now every man aright, and let seen if that
any wight of him-selfe mowe this loving wel gete, and he therof
first nothing have; for if it shulde of him-selfe springe, either it
muste be willing or not willing. Willing by him-selfe may he it not
have, sithen him fayleth the mater that shulde it forth bringe.       35
The mater him fayleth; why? He may therof have no knowing
til whan grace put it in his herte. Thus willing by him-selfe may
he it not have; and not willing, may he it not have. Pardè,
every conseyt of every resonable creature otherwyse wil [wol] not
graunte; wil in affirmatif with not willing by no way mowe acorde.       40
And although this loving wol come in myn herte by freenesse of
arbitrement, as in this booke fully is shewed, yet owe I not therfore
as moche alowe my free wil as grace of that Margaryte to me
lened. For neyther might I, without grace to-forn going and
afterward folowing, thilke grace gete ne kepe; and lese shal I it       45
never but-if free wil it make, as in willinge otherwyse than grace
hath me graunted. For right as whan any person taketh willing
to be sobre, and throweth that away, willing to be dronke; or els
taketh wil of drinking out of mesure; whiche thing, anon as it is
don, maketh (thorow his owne gilte by free wil) that [he] leseth       50
his grace. In whiche thing therfore upon the nobley of grace
I mote trusten, and my besy cure sette thilke grace to kepe, that
my free wil, otherwyse than by reson it shulde werche, cause not
my grace to voyde: for thus must I bothe loke to free wil and to
grace. For right as naturel usage in engendring of children may       55
not ben without †fader, ne also but with the †moder, for neyther
†fader ne †moder in begetting may it lacke; right so grace and
[ 139 ]free wil accorden, and withoute hem bothe may not lovinge wil in
no partie ben getten. But yet is not free wil in gettinge of that
thing so mokel thank-worthy as is grace, ne in the kepinge therof       60
so moche thank deserveth; and yet in gettinge and keping bothe
don they accorde. Trewly, often-tyme grace free wil helpeth, in
fordoinge of contrarye thinges, that to willinge love not accorden,
and †strengtheth wil adversitees to withsitte; wherfore †al-togider
to grace oweth to ben accepted, that my willing deserveth. Free       65
wil to lovinge in this wyse is accorded. I remembre me wel how
al this book (who-so hede taketh) considereth [how] al thinges to
werchinges of mankynde evenly accordeth, as in turning of this
worde 'love' in-to trouthe or els rightwisnesse, whether that it
lyke. For what thing that falleth to man in helping of free       70
arbitrement, thilke rightwisnesse to take or els to kepe, thorow
whiche a man shal be saved (of whiche thing al this book mencion
hath maked), in every poynte therof grace oweth to be thanked.
Wherfore I saye, every wight havinge this rightwisnesse rightful
is; and yet therfore I fele not in my conscience, that to al       75
rightful is behoten the blisse everlastinge, but to hem that ben
rightful withouten any unrightfulnesse. Some man after some degree
may rightfully ben accompted as chaste men in living, and yet ben
they janglers and ful of envy pressed; to hem shal this blisse
never ben delivered. For right as very blisse is without al maner       80
nede, right so to no man shal it be yeven but to the rightful, voyde
from al maner unrightfulnesse founde; so no man to her blisse
shal ben folowed, but he be rightful, and with unrightfulnesse not
bounde, and in that degree fully be knowe. This rightfulnesse,
in as moche as in him-selfe is, of none yvel is it cause; and of al       85
maner goodnesse, trewly, it is †moder. This helpeth the spirit
to withsitte the leude lustes of flesshly lykinge. This strengtheth
and maintayneth the lawe of kynde; and if that otherwhyle me
weneth harm of this precious thing to folowe, therthorough is [it]
nothing the cause; of somwhat els cometh it aboute, who-so       90
taketh hede. By rightfulnesse forsothe wern many holy sayntes
good savour in swetenesse to god almighty; but that to some
folkes they weren savour of dethe, in-to deedly ende, that com
not of the sayntes rightwisnesse, but of other wicked mennes
[ 140 ]badnesse hath proceded. Trewly, the ilke wil, whiche that the       95
Lady of Love me lerned 'affeccion of wil' to nempne, which is
in willing of profitable thinges, yvel is it not, but whan to flesshly
lustes it consenteth ayenst reson of soule. But that this thing
more clerely be understande, it is for to knowe, whence and how
thilke wil is so vicious, and so redy yvel dedes to perfourme.       100
Grace at the ginninge ordeyned thilke wil in goodnesse ever to
have endured, and never to badnesse have assented. Men shulde
not byleve, that god thilke wil maked to be vicious [in] our firste
†faders, as Adam and Eve; for vicious appetytes, and vicious wil
to suche appetytes consentinge, ben not on thing in kynde; other       105
thing is don for the other. And how this wil first in-to man first
assented, I holde it profitable to shewe; but if the first condicion
of resonable creature wol be considred and apertly loked, lightly
the cause of suche wil may be shewed. Intencion of god was,
that rightfully and blissed shulde resonable nature ben maked,       110
himselfe for to kepe; but neyther blisful ne rightful might it not
be, withouten wil in them bothe. Wil of rightfulnesse is thilke
same rightfulnesse, as here-to-forn is shewed; but wil of blisse
is not thilke blisse, for every man hath not thilke blisse, in whom
the wil therof is abydinge. In this blisse, after every       115
understandinge, is suffisaunce of covenable comoditees without any
maner nede, whether it be blisse of aungels or els thilke that
grace first in paradise suffred Adam to have. For al-though
angels blisse be more than Adams was in paradyse, yet may it not
be †denyed, that Adam in paradyse ne had suffisaunce of blisse;       120
for right as greet herte is without al maner of coldenesse, and yet
may another herte more hete have; right so nothing defended
Adam in paradyse to ben blessed, without al maner nede.
Al-though aungels blisse be moche more, forsothe, it foloweth
not [that], lasse than another to have, therfore him nedeth; but       125
for to wante a thing whiche that behoveth to ben had, that may
'nede' ben cleped; and that was not in Adam at the first
ginning. God and the Margaryte weten what I mene. Forsothe,
where-as is nede, there is wrecchednesse. †God without cause
to-forngoing made not resonable creature wrecched; for him to       130
[ 141 ]understande and love had he firste maked. God made therfore
man blissed without al maner indigence; †togider and at ones
took resonable creature blisse, and wil of blissednesse, and wil
of rightfulnesse, whiche is rightfulnesse it-selve, and libertee of
arbitrement, that is, free wil, with whiche thilke rightfulnesse may       135
he kepe and lese. So and in that wyse [god] ordayned thilke
two, that wil (whiche that "instrument" is cleped, as here-toforn
mencion is maked) shulde use thilke rightfulnesse, by teching of
his soule to good maner of governaunce, in thought and in wordes;
and that it shulde use the blisse in obedient maner, withouten       140
any incommoditè. Blisse, forsothe, in-to mannes profit, and
rightwisnesse in-to his worship god delivered at ones; but rightfulnesse
so was yeven that man might it lese, whiche if he not lost
had, but continuelly [might] have it kept, he shulde have deserved
the avauncement in-to the felowshippe of angels, in whiche thing       145
if he that loste, never by him-selfe forward shulde he it mowe
ayenward recovere; and as wel the blisse that he was in, as
aungels blisse that to-him-wardes was coming, shulde be nome at
ones, and he deprived of hem bothe. And thus fil man un-to
lykenesse of unresonable bestes; and with hem to corrupcion and       150
unlusty apetytes was he under-throwen. But yet wil of blisse
dwelleth, that by indigence of goodes, whiche that he loste
through greet wrecchednesse, by right shulde he ben punisshed.
And thus, for he weyved rightfulnesse, lost hath he his blisse; but
fayle of his desyr in his owne comoditè may he not; and †where       155
comodites to his resonable nature whiche he hath lost may he not
have, to false lustes, whiche ben bestial appetytes, he is turned.
Folye of unconning hath him begyled, in wening that thilke ben
the comoditees that owen to ben desyred. This affeccion of wil
by libertè of arbitrement is enduced to wilne thus thing that       160
he shulde not; and so is wil not maked yvel but unrightful, by
absence of rightfulnesse, whiche thing by reson ever shulde he
have. And freenesse of arbitrement may he not wilne, whan he it
not haveth; for while he it had, thilke halp it not to kepe; so
that without grace may it not ben recovered. Wil of commoditè,       165
in-as-moche as unrightful it is maked by willinge of yvel lustes, willing
[ 142 ]of goodnesse may he not wilne; for wil of instrument to affeccion
of wil is thralled, sithen that other thing may it not wilne;
for wil of instrument to affeccion desyreth, and yet ben bothe they
'wil' cleped. For that instrument wol, through affeccion it wilneth;       170
and affeccion desyreth thilke thing wherto instrument him ledeth.
And so free wil to unlusty affeccion ful servaunt is maked, for
unrightfulnesse may he not releve; and without rightfulnesse ful
fredom may it never have. For kyndly libertee of arbitrement
without it, veyne and ydel is, forsothe. Wherfore yet I say, (as       175
often have I sayd the same), whan instrument of wil lost hath
rightfulnesse, in no maner but by grace may he ayen retourne
rightfulnesse to wilne. For sithen nothing but rightfulnesse alone
shulde he wilne, what that ever he wilneth without rightfulnesse,
unrightfully he it wilneth. These than unrightful appetytes and       180
unthrifty lustes whiche the †flesh desyreth, in as mokel as they ben
in kynde, ben they nat bad; but they ben unrightful and badde for
they ben in resonable creature, where-as they being, in no waye
shulde ben suffred. In unresonable beestes neyther ben they yvel
ne unrightful; for there is their kynde being.       185

Ch. VIII. 1. threwe. 2. fayne. 3. howe. 5. nowe. nyghe. 7. lyues (!). founde. 8. parfytely. howe. mysse-. 9. cyties. great. 10-12. howe (five times). 13. founde. 15. none. thynge. maye. 17. maye. 18. howe. maye. thorowe. 19. maye. none. 20. thorowe.

23. one. wil; read wilne. 26. I supply may. 27. maye. 29. onely. 30. toforne. maye. 31. nowe. sene. 32. get. 33. nothynge. spring. 35. forthe bring. 36. maye. 39. reasonable. I supply wol. 40. graunt. affyrmatife. 41. hert. frenesse. 43. frewyl (throughout). 44. leaned. 45. afterwarde. get; read gete. 50. done. thorowe. I supply he. 52. set. 53. reason. 55. maye. 56-7. father (twice); read fader. mother (twice); read moder.

57-8. maye. 60. thankeworthy. 61. thanke. 62. done. 64. strength; read strengtheth; see l. 87. al togyther. 66. howe. 67. booke. Supply how. 71. thorowe. 72. booke. 78. maye. 86. mother; read moder. 89. harme. Supply it. 90. nothynge. 91. werne. 93. come; read com.

96. affectyon. 98. reason. thynge. 99. vnderstand. howe. 100. redye. 103. vycious. I insert in; Our (sic). 104. father; read faders. 106. done. howe. 108-110. reasonable (twice). 113. -forne. 119, 122. maye. 120. denyded (!). 121. great. 122. heate. nothynge. 124. thoughe. 125. I supply that. 126. thynge. maye. 128. meane. 129. wretchydnesse. good; read God. 130. reasonable. wretched.

132. togyther. 133. toke reasonable. 134. lybertie. 135. fre. 136. I supply god. 137. cleaped. toforne. 138. teachyng. 141. profyte. 143. not loste had not; I omit second not. 144. I supply might. kepte. 146. forwarde. 147. ayenwarde. 150. vnreasonable. 153. great wretchydnesse. 154. loste. 155. desyre. were; read where. 156. reasonable. loste. 159. affection. 162. reason. 163. frenesse. 164. halpe.

167-170. affection (thrice). 172. frewyl. affection. 173. maye. 174. fredome. libertie. 176. loste. 181. flyes (!); read flesh. 184. vnreasonable.


Knowen may it wel ben now of these thinges toforn
declared, that man hath not alway thilke rightfulnesse
which by dutè of right evermore haven he shulde, and by no way
by him-selfe may he it gete ne kepe; and after he it hath, if he it
lese, recover shal he it never without especial grace. Wherfore       5
the comune sentence of the people in opinion, that every thing
after destenee is ruled, false and wicked is to beleve. For though
predestinacion be as wel of good as of badde, sithen that it is
sayd, god †hath destenees made, whiche he never ne wrought; but,
for he suffreth hem to be maked, as that he hardeth, whan he       10
naught missayth, or †let in-to temptacion, whan he not delivereth:
wherfore it is non inconvenient if in that maner be sayd, god toforn
have destenyed bothe badde and her badde werkes, whan
hem ne their yvel dedes [he] neyther amendeth ne therto hem
grace †leneth. But specialliche, predestinacion of goodnesse       15
[ 143 ]alone is sayd by these grete clerkes; for in him god doth that
they ben, and that in goodnesse they werchen. But the negatif
herof in badnesse is holden, as the Lady of Love hath me lerned,
who-so aright in this booke loketh. And utterly it is to weten,
that predestinacion properly in god may not ben demed, no more       20
than beforn-weting. For in the chapitre of goddes beforn-weting,
as Love me rehersed, al these maters apertly may ben founden.
Al thinges to god ben now †togider and in presence duringe.
Trewly, presence and predestinacion in nothing disacorden;
wherfore, as I was lerned how goddes before-weting and free       25
choice of wil mowe stonden †togider, me thinketh the same reson
me ledeth, that destenye and free wil accorden, so that neyther of
hem bothe to other in nothing contrarieth. And resonabliche
may it not ben demed, as often as any thing falleth [thorow] free
wil werching (as if a man another man wrongfully anoyeth, wherfore       30
he him sleeth), that it be constrayned to that ende, as mokel
folk cryeth and sayth: 'Lo, as it was destenyed of god toforn
knowe, so it is thorow necessitè falle, and otherwyse might it not
betyde.' Trewly, neyther he that the wrong wrought, ne he that
him-selfe venged, none of thilke thinges thorow necessitè wrought;       35
for if that [oon] with free wil there had it not willed, neyther had
[he] wrought that he perfourmed; and so utterly grace, that free
wil in goodnesse bringeth and kepeth, and fro badnesse it tourneth,
in al thinge moste thank deserveth. This grace maketh
sentence in vertue to abyde, wherfore in body and in soule, in ful       40
plentee of conninge, after their good deserving in the everlastinge
joye, after the day of dome shul they endelesse dwelle; and they
shul ben lerned in that kingdom with so mokel affect of love and
of grace, that the leste joye shal of the gretest in glorie rejoice
and ben gladded, as if he the same joye had. What wonder,       45
sith god is the gretest love and the *gretest wisdom? In hem
shal he be, and they in god. Now than, whan al false folk be
ashamed, which wenen al bestialtè and erthly thing be sweter and
better to the body than hevenly is to the soule; this is the grace
and the frute that I long have desyred; it doth me good the       50
savour to smelle.
[ 144 ]
Crist, now to thee I crye of mercy and of grace; and graunt,
of thy goodnes, to every maner reder ful understanding in this
leude pamflet to have; and let no man wene other cause in
this werke than is verily the soth. For envy is ever redy, al       55
innocentes to shende; wherfore I wolde that good speche envy
evermore hinder.

But no man wene this werke be sufficiently maked; for goddes
werke passeth man[ne]s; no man[ne]s wit to parfit werke may by no
way purvay th'ende. How shuld I than, so leude, aught wene of       60
perfeccion any ende to gete? Never-the-later, grace, glorie, and
laude I yelde and putte with worshipful reverences to the sothfast
god, in three with unitè closed, whiche that the hevy langour of
my sicknesse hath turned in-to mirthe of helth to recover. For
right as I was sorowed thorow the gloton cloud of manifolde       65
sickly sorow, so mirth [of] ayencoming helth hath me glad[d]ed
and gretly comforted. I beseche and pray therfore, and I crye
on goddes gret pitè and on his mokel mercy, that this[e] present
scorges of my flessh mow maken medecyne and lechecraft of
my inner man[ne]s helth; so that my passed trespas and tenes       70
through weping of myn eyen ben wasshe, and I, voyded from
al maner disese, and no more to wepe herafter, y-now be kept
thorow goddes grace; so that goddes hand, whiche that merciably
me hath scorged, herafter in good plite from thence merciably me
kepe and defende.       75

In this boke be many privy thinges wimpled and folde; unneth
shul leude men the plites unwinde. Wherfore I pray to the holy
gost, he lene of his oyntmentes, mennes wittes to clere; and, for
goddes love, no man wonder why or how this question come to
my mynde. For my greet lusty desyr was of this lady to ben       80
enfourmed, my leudenesse to amende. Certes, I knowe not
other mennes wittes, what I shulde aske, or in answere what
I shulde saye; I am so leude my-selfe, that mokel more lerninge
yet me behoveth. I have mad therfore as I coude, but not
sufficiently as I wolde, and as mater yave me sentence; for my       85
dul wit is hindred by †stepmoder of foryeting and with cloude
of unconning, that stoppeth the light of my Margarite-perle,
wherfore it may not shyne on me as it shulde. I desyre not
[ 145 ]only a good reder, but also I coveite and pray a good book-amender,
in correccion of wordes and of sentence; and only this       90
mede I coveite for my travayle, that every inseër and herer of
this leude fantasye devoute horisons and prayers to god the greet
juge yelden; and prayen for me in that wyse, that in his dome
my sinnes mowe ben relesed and foryeven. He that prayeth for
other for him-selfe travayleth.       95

Also I praye, that every man parfitly mowe knowe thorow what
intencion of herte this tretys have I drawe. How was it, that
sightful manna in deserte to children of Israel was spirituel
mete? Bodily also it was, for mennes bodies it †norisshed;
and yet, never-the-later, Crist it signifyed. Right so a jewel       100
betokeneth a gemme, and that is a stoon vertuous or els a perle.
Margarite, a woman, betokeneth grace, lerning, or wisdom of
god, or els holy church. If breed, thorow vertue, is mad holy
flesshe, what is that our god sayth? 'It is the spirit that yeveth
lyf; the flesshe, of nothing it profiteth.' Flesshe is flesshly       105
understandinge; flessh without grace and love naught is worth.
'The letter sleeth; the spirit yeveth lyfelich understanding.'
Charitè is love; and love is charitè.
God graunt us al[le] therin to be frended!
And thus The Testament of Love is ended.       110

Ch. IX. 1. nowe. toforne. 4. get. 7. destenye. thoughe. 9. sayde. god hadnest (!); read god hath destenees. 11. missaythe. ledde; read let = ledeth. 12. none. toforne. 14. I supply he. 15. leueth.

16. sayde. great. dothe. 17. negatyfe. 21. beforne (twice). 22. apertely maye. 23. nowe to-gyther. 24. nothynge. 25. howe. 26. togyther. reason. 27. leadeth. frewyl. 28. reasonablyche. 29. demyd. I supply thorow. frewyl. 32. folke. toforne know. 33. thorowe. fal. 34. wronge. 35. thorowe. 36-7. I supply oon and he. 39. thanke. 41. plentie. 42. ioy. dwel. 43. kyngdome. affecte. 44-6. greatest (twice). * A break here in Th. 47. folke. 48. swetter. 50. dothe. 51. smel.

52. Christ. the. 59. mans; read mannes (twice). 61. get. 62. put. 63. thre. 66. I supply of. 68. this; read thise. 69. medecyn. lechcraft. 70. mans. 72. I now; for y-now. 73. thorowe. hande. 80. great. desyre. 84. made. 86. wytte. -mother; read moder.

89. onely. booke. 90. correction. onely. 92. great. 94. released. 96. thorowe. 97. treatyse. Howe. 99. meate. norissheth; read norisshed. 100. Christ. 101. stone. 103. thorowe. made. 104. saythe. spyrite. 105. lyfe. 109. al; read allë.