Chaucerian and Other Pieces/Piece6

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VI. TO THE KINGES MOST NOBLE GRACE; AND TO THE LORDES AND KNIGHTES OF THE GARTER.

Cestes Balades ensuyantes feurent faites au tres noble Roy Henry le quint (que dieu pardoint!) et au tres honourable conpaignie du Jarter.

I.

To you, welle of honour and worthinesse,
Our Cristen king, the heir and successour
Un-to Justinians devout tendrenesse
In the feith of Jesu, our redemptour;
And to you, lordes of the Garter, 'flour       5
Of chevalrye,' as men you clepe and calle;
The lord of vertu and of grace auctour
Graunte the fruit of your loos never appalle!

O lige lord, that han eek the lyknesse
Of Constantyn, th'ensaumple and the mirour       10
To princes alle, in love and buxumnesse
To holy chirche, O verray sustenour
And piler of our feith, and werreyour
Ageyn the heresyës bitter galle,
Do forth, do forth, continue your socour!       15
Hold up Cristes baner; lat it nat falle!
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This yle, or this, had been but hethenesse,
Nad been of your feith the force and vigour!
And yit, this day, the feendes fikilnesse
Weneth fully to cacche a tyme and hour       20
To have on us, your liges, a sharp shour,
And to his servitude us knitte and thralle.
But ay we truste in you, our prótectour;
On your constaunce we awayten alle.

Commandeth that no wight have hardinesse,       25
O worthy king, our Cristen emperour,
Of the feith to despute more or lesse
Openly among people, wher errour
Springeth al day and engendreth rumour.
Maketh swich lawe, and for aught may befalle,       30
Observe it wel; ther-to be ye dettour.
Doth so, and god in glorie shal you stalle.

II.

Ye lordes eek, shyninge in noble fame,
To whiche appropred is the maintenaunce
Of Cristes cause; in honour of his name       35
Shove on, and putte his foos to the outrance!
God wolde so; so wolde eek your ligeaunce;
To tho two prikketh you your duëtee.
Who-so nat kepeth this double observaunce
Of merit and honour naked is he!       40

Your style seith that ye ben foos to shame;
Now kythe of your feith the perséveraunce,
In which an heep of us arn halte and lame.
Our Cristen king of England and of Fraunce,
And ye, my lordes, with your alliaunce,       45
And other feithful people that ther be
(Truste I to god) shul quenche al this nuisaunce
And this land sette in hy prosperitee.
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Conquest of hy prowesse is for to tame
The wilde woodnesse of this mescreaunce;       50
Right to the rote repe ye that same!
Slepe nat this, but, for goddes plesaunce
And his modres, and in signifiaunce
That ye ben of seint Georges liveree,
Doth him servyce and knightly obeisaunce;       55
For Cristes cause is his, wel knowen ye!

Stif stande in that, and ye shul greve and grame
The fo to pees, the norice of distaunce;
That now is ernest, torne it into game;
Dampnáble fro feith werë variaunce!       60
Lord lige, and lordes, have in rémembraunce,
Lord of al is the blessed Trinitee,
Of whos vertu the mighty habundaunce
You herte and strengthe in feithful unitee! Amen.

Cest tout.


From P. (Phillipps 8151); also in Ed. (ed. 1542). 1. Ed. honour; P. honur. 2. P. Our right cristen; Ed. om. right. Ed. the heire; P. om. the. 6. P. chiualrie; Ed. cheualry. 8. P. nat; Ed. neuer. 10. Ed. om. the. 11. P. loue and; Ed. humble. 14. P. bittir; Ed. bytter. 15. P. foorth; Ed. forthe (twice). 16. P. Ed. Holde.

19. P. fikilnesse; Ed. crabbydnesse. 20. P. Weeneth; Ed. Weneth. 22. P. seruiture; Ed. seruytude. 25. P. Commandith; Ed. Commaundeth. 26. Ed. O; P. Our. Ed. our; P. and. 27. Ed. dispute. 28. P. where; Ed. Her. 29. P. Spryngith; engendrith. 30. P. Makith. P. aght; Ed. ought. 31. P. been; Ed. be. 32. P. Dooth. 33. P. Yee. 34. P. approped (!). 38. Ed. duite. 39. P. keepith; Ed. kepeth. 40. P. nakid; Ed. naked. 41. Ed. om. that. P. yee been. 43. P. arn; Ed. be. 44. P. Engeland and; Ed. England and of. 45. P. yee. 46. P. othir. 47. P. qwenche. P. nusance; Ed. noysaunce (read nuisance).

49. P. Conqueste; Ed. Conquest. 50. Ed. myscreaunce. 51. P. roote rype; Ed. rote repe. P. yee. 52. P. Sleepe; Ed. Slepe. 54. P. yee been. 55. P. Dooth. 56, 57. P. yee. 57. P. shuln; Ed. shal. P. greeue. 58. Ed. the; P. and. 59. Ed. tourne. 60. Ed. Nowe kythe of your beleue the constaunce. 62. P. blissid; Ed. blysfull.