Chaucer's Works (ed. Skeat) Vol. I/Romaunt - Notes

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[ 417 ]

NOTES

TO

THE ROMAUNT OF THE ROSE.

The French text, a portion of which is given in the lower part of pp. 93-164, is reprinted from Le Roman de la Rose, ed. Méon, Paris, 1814.

1. Scan:—Many | men seyn | that in | swev'níng-es ||. So, in the next line, read:—lesíng-es. In l. 3, read:—swev'nes. In l. 4, read 'hard-e-ly' as three syllables, and 'fals-e' as two; and, in general, throughout ll. 1-1705, apply the usual rules of Chaucerian pronunciation.

sweveninges, dreamings; see l. 3; cf. A.S. swefen, a dream, pl. swefnu; swefnian, v., to dream. The translation should be compared with the original F. text, as given below it.

On the subject of dreams, cf. Hous of Fame, ll. 1-52, and the notes to ll. 1, 7.

5. apparaunte, apparent, as coming true.

6. 'To warrant this, I may cite an author named Macrobius.' Macrobius, the commentator on Cicero's Somnium Scipionis (as here said); see notes to Parl. of Foules, 31; Book Duch. 284.

8-10. halt, holds, considers; lees, deceptive. 'But explains to us the vision that king Scipio formerly dreamt.'

22. taketh his corage, assumes fresh confidence from the support of the young, is encouraged by the young, receives their tribute. The O.F. paage is the mod. F. péage, toll, lit. 'footing.'

24. Cf. 'Right ther as I was wont to done'; Ho. Fame, 113.

27. Read—'That hit me lyked wonder wel.' wonder wel, wonderfully well. This use of wonder is common; see Cant. Ta., G 751, 1035. At a later time, wonder, when thus used adverbially, received the adverbial suffix -s; hence Th. has 'wonders wel' here. So also 'wonders dere' in the Test. of Love; see Wondrous in my Etym. Dict.

38. hote, be called; a less ambiguous spelling than hatte, as in Thynne; cf. Cant. Ta. D 144. rede you here, advise you to hear.

44. she. These and similar allusions are merely translated, and have therefore no special significance. [ 418 ] 49. 'Me thoghte thus; that hit was May'; Book Duch. 291.

56. wreen, cover; A. S. wrēon. Cf. wrye, I cover, Cant. Ta. D 1827.

59. Read:—And th'erth-e. Cf. Book Duch. 410-5; Good Wom. 125.

61. Forget, i. e. forgetteth; pres. tense. So in Ayenb. of Inwyt, p. 18, l. 9, we find the form uoryet. I supply al.

67. inde, azure; see Cursor Mundi, 9920. pers; see Prol. 439.

73. grille, keen, rough. 'Grym, gryl, and horryble'; Prompt. Parv.

81. chelaundre, (cf. l. 663), a kind of lark; O. F. calandre, caladre, Lat. caradrius, Gk. χαραδριός. Cf. Land of Cockaigne, l. 97. papingay, parrot; Sir Topas, B 1957.

98. aguiler, needle-case. It occurs nowhere else. The rime drow, y-now occurs in Leg. Good Women, 1458.

118. Seine, the river of Paris. In the next line, wel away straighter means 'a good deal broader' or more expanded (F. text, plus espandue), though less in volume. Wel away, in this sense, occurs in P. Plowman, B. xii. 263, xvii. 42.

129. Beet, beat, struck, i. e. bordered closely; a translation of F. batoit.

131. So also 'And ful atempre'; Book Duch. 341.

147. The descriptions of allegorical personages in this poem are clearly imitated from similar descriptions in Latin poets. Compare the celebrated description of Envy in Ovid, Metam. ii. 775, and the like. MS. G. absurdly reads a hate for Hate.

149. The reading must, of course, be moveresse, as in the Fr. text; Speght corrected it in 1598; it means a mover or stirrer up of strife.

196. Read miscounting (Kaluza); F. text, mesconter.

197. maketh; pronounced mak'th. Note, once for all, that 'th for final -eth is extremely common throughout all parts of this poem.

206. thing, pl. goods (A. S. þing, pl.). Cf. l. 387.

207. Avarice, i. e. Penuriousness, as distinct from Coveitise, i. e. Covetousness of the wealth of others. Compare the description of Avarice in Piers Plowman, B. v. 188.

220. courtepy, short coat, cape; see Prol. 290.

225. perche, a horizontal pole, on which clothes were sometimes hung.

226. burnet, a cloth of dyed wool, orig. of a dark brown colour. Gowns were nearly always trimmed with fur, but in this case only a common lambskin fur was used, instead of a costly fur such as miniver.

240. I supply doun, down. Cf. 'heng ... doun'; Cant. Ta. G 574.

247. Envy. Cf. Ovid, Met. ii. 775; P. Plowman, B. v. 76.

273. maltalent, ill-will; see 330. Cf. talent, Cant. Ta. C 540.

276. Read melt'th. for pure wood, as if entirely mad. The simple phrase for wood, as if mad, occurs in Ho. Fame, 1747; Leg. of Good Women, 2420 (unless For-wood is there a compound adjective).

292. baggingly, askant, sideways; cf. baggeth, looks askant, Book Duch. 623. [ 419 ] 311. fade, withered. 'Thi faire hewe is al fade'; Will. of Palerne, 891. Compare the description of Sorrow in Sackville's 'Induction'; see my Specimens of Eng. Literature, iii. 286.

360. dwyned, dwindled, wasted; cf. for-dwyned, 366.

361. forwelked, much wrinkled; cf. welked, Cant. Ta. C 738.

368. potente, a crutch, staff; cf. Cant. Ta. D 1776.

369, 381. With these lines cf. Cant. Tales, B 20-24.

380. F. trois tens, three moments. It is here asserted that no one can think of the present moment; for while he tries to do so, three moments have fled.

387. fret, for freteth, devours. 'Tempus edax rerum'; Ovid, Met. xv. 234. and shal, and will ever do so. thing is pl., as in 206.

396. Bell and Morris here print elde with a capital letter, shewing that they did not make out the sense. But it is here a verb, as in 391, 392. The sense is:—'Time ... had made her grow so extremely old that, as far as I knew, she could in no wise help herself.'

401. inwith, for within, is common in Chaucer; the occurrence of pith, just before, probably caused the scribe to omit with.

413. doon ther write, caused to be written (or described) there.

415. Pope-holy; properly an adjective, meaning 'holy as a pope,' hence, hypocritical. Here used as a sb., as equivalent to 'hypocrite,' to translate F. Papelardie. Used as an adj. in P. Plowman, C. vii. 37; see my note, which gives references to Dyce's Skelton, i. 209, 216, 240, 386; Barclay, Ship of Fools, ed. Jamieson, i. 154; and Polit. Poems, ed. Wright, ii. 251.

429. 'Devoted to a religious life,' viz. by having joined one of the religious orders. See note to P. Plowman, C. xi. 88.

438. haire, hair-shirt; the F. text has la haire, borrowed from O. H. G. hārrā, with the same sense. The A. S. word is hǣre, a derivative from hǣr, hair. See Haar in Kluge. See Cant. Ta., G 133; P. Plowman, C. vii. 6, and the note.

442. The reading ay possibly stands for , i. e. agh or ogh. Ogh (A. S. āh) is the (obsolete) pres. t. of ought, which takes its place in mod. E. Cf. ye owen, in Melibeus, B 2691. See ah in Stratmann. 'From her the gate of Paradise ought to be kept.' But it is simpler to read shal (F. text, ert = Lat. erit).

445. Alluding to Matt. vi. 16. For grace, read face (l. 444).

454. Cf. 'like a worm'; Clerkes Ta. E 880.

464. halke, corner; Can. Yem. Ta. G 311.

482. shepherd-e, is trisyllabic; cf. herd-e, in Prol. 603.

490. daungerous, stingy; contrasted with riche (l. 492).

501. It is impossible to make sense without reading nolde for wolde. The Fr. text clearly shews that nolde is meant:—'Que n'en preisse pas ... Que ge n'entrasse.' The scribe stumbled over the double negative.

505. G. has:—'Thassemble, god kepe it fro care Of briddis, whiche therynne ware'; and Th. has the same reading. It cannot be right, [ 420 ] because care and were give a false rime. Even the scribe has seen this, and has altered were to ware, to give a rime to the eye. Perhaps such a rime may have passed in Northern English, but certainly not in Midland. I have no hesitation in restoring the reading, which must have been 'God it kepe and were,' or something very near it. It is obvious that were is the original word in this passage, because it is the precise etymological equivalent of garisse in the French text; and it is further obvious that the reason for expelling it from the text, was to avoid the apparent repetition of were in the rime; a repetition which the scribe too hastily assumed to be a defect, though examples of it are familiar to the student of Chaucer; cf. Prol. 17, 18. Chaucer has were, to defend, riming with spere, Cant. Ta. A 2550; and were (were) also riming with spere, Ho. Fame, 1047. He would therefore have had no hesitation in riming these words together; and we cannot doubt that he here did so. Cf. ll. 515, 516 below.

516. where would mean 'by which'; read o-where, i. e. anywhere.

520. The spelling angwishis is a false spelling of anguissous, i. e. full of anguish. For this form, see Pers. Tale, I 304.

535. Read oft; F. text, 'par maintes fois.'

562. orfrays, gold embroidered work, cloth-of-gold; cf. ll. 869, 1076. 'The golden bands fastened to, or embroidered on chasubles, copes, and vestments ... Fringes or laces appended to the garments, as well as the embroidered work upon them, were so termed'; Fairholt, Costume in England. See Way's note on Orfrey in the Prompt. Parvulorum. Cotgrave has: 'Orfrais, m. Broad welts, or gards of gold or silver imbroidery laid on Copes, and other Church-vestments'; &c. There is a long note upon it, with quotations, in Thynne's Animadversions on Speght's Chaucer, ed. Furnivall, pp. 33-35; he says it is 'frised or perled cloothe of gold,' or 'a weued clothe of gold.' Here it seems to mean a gold-embroidered band, worn as a chaplet.

568. tressour; so spelt in Gawain and the Grene Knight, 1739, where a lady is described as having precious stones, in clusters of twenty, 'trased aboute hir tressour.' Roquefort also gives the O. F. forms tressour, tressoir, tresson, 'ornement de tête pour les femmes, ruban pour attacher les cheveux.' It differs from the heraldic term tressure (Lat. tricatura) in the form of the suffix. Tressour can rime with mirrour, whilst tressure (strictly) cannot do so. Her hair was entwined with gilt ribbons or threads.

574. Gaunt, Ghent; see Cant. Ta. A 448.

579, 580. Iournee, day's work. wel bigoon, might mean richly adorned; cf. 'With perle and gold so wel begoon'; Gower, C. A. ii. 45. But it is here equivalent to mery; see l. 693.

584. graythe hir, dress or adorn herself. uncouthly, strikingly, in an unusual way.

593. This is 'the porter Ydlenesse' of the Knightes Tale; A 1940.

602. Alexandryn, of Alexandria; for of may well be omitted. It means that many trees have been imported from the east by way of [ 421 ] Alexandria. Many MSS. of the Fr. text read 'de la terre Alexandrins.' The damson, for example, came from Damascus.

603. I put be hider for hider be; but be, after all, is better omitted. Made hider fet is a correct idiom; see note to Cant. Ta. E 1098.

610. The images and pictures on the outside of the wall were made repellent, to keep strangers aloof.

624. oon, one; i. e. a place. intil Inde, as far as India.

656. The rime is only a single one, in -ing.

658. Alpes, bullfinches; also called an awp, or, corruptly, a nope. 'Alp, or Nope, a bulfinch. I first took notice of this word in Suffolk, but find since that it is used in other counties, almost generally all over England'; Ray's Collection of South and E. Country Words (1691).

wodewales, witwalls. In the Prompt. Parvulorum, the wodewale is identified with the wodehake, woodpecker; whilst Hexham explains Du. Weduwael as 'a kinde of a yellow bird.' There is often great confusion in such names. The true witwall is the Green Woodpecker (Gecinus viridis). We may omit and, and even were in l. 657.

662. laverokkes, larks. The A. S. lāwerce, lāferce, became laverk; then the final k was exchanged for the diminutive suffix -ok.

663. Chalaundres; see note to l. 81 above.

664. wery, weary (F. lassees); nigh forsongen, nearly tired out with singing.

665. thrustles, throstles, thrushes; see Parl. Foules, 364.

terins; F. tarin, which, Littré says, is the Fringilla spinus. Cotgrave has: 'Tarin, a little singing bird, having a yellowish body, and an ash-coloured head'; by which (says Prof. Newton) he means the siskin, otherwise called the aberdevine.

mavys, mavises, song-thrushes. If we take the mavis to be the song-thrush, Turdus musicus, then the throstle may be distinguished as the missel-thrush, Turdus viscivorus. But the mavis is also called throstle. In Cambridge, the name is pronounced mavish (romic mei·vish).

672. 'As spiritual angels do.'

676. 'Of man liable to death'; by mortal man.

684. sereyns, i. e. Sirens. Cotgrave has: 'Sereine, f. a Mermaid.' Chaucer takes no notice of G. de Lorris' notable etymology, by which he derives Seraines from the adj. seri. Cotgrave gives (marked as obsolete): 'Seri, m. ie, f. Quiet, mild, calm, still; fair, clear.'

693. wel bigo, the opposite of 'woe begone'; as in l. 580. Cf. 'glad and wel begoon'; Parl. Foules, 171.

700. leten, pp. of leten, to let; 'and had let me in.'

705. Morris reads Withoute, which improves the line:—'Without-e fabl' I wol descryve.'

714. sete, sat; A. S. sǣton, pt. t. pl. (The correct form).

716. Iargoning, chattering; cf. E. jargon.

720. Read reverdye (see footnote). It means 'rejoicing'; from the renewal of green things in spring. [ 422 ] 731. mentes, mints; Th. has myntes.

735. 'Where he abode, to amuse himself.'

744. carole, a dance; orig. a dance in a ring, accompanied with song. Hence, in l. 745, the verb carolen, to sing, in accompaniment to a dance of this character. In Rob. of Brunne's Handlyng Synne, 9138, there is a description of a company carolling 'hand in hand.' And see below, ll. 759-765, 781; Book Duch. 849.

746. I insert the (as Urry does) before blisful; cf. l. 797.

749. The line—'And couthe make in song swich refreininge' is obviously too long. The word couthe is needlessly repeated from l. 747, and must be omitted. The Fr. text shews that refreininge means the singing of a refrain at the end of each verse.

768. in this contree. This is an adaptation; the original Fr. says 'in any country.' Warton calmly observes: 'there is not a syllable of these songs and singers of Lorraine in the French.' But he consulted a defective copy.

769. timbestere, a female player on a timbrel. Tyrwhitt confuses the matter by quoting Lye, who mixed up this word with tombestere, a female tumbler; for which see Cant. Ta. C 477. They are quite unconnected, but are formed with the same fem. suffix, viz. that which appears also in the mod. E. spin-ster, and in the old words webb-estere, bak-estere, whence the surnames Webster, Baxter. In l. 772, timbres simply mean timbrels, and tambourine-players may still be performing the easy trick of throwing up a tambourine and catching it, spinning, on a finger-point. There is therefore no reason for explaining timbre as a basin. Nevertheless, such a mistake arose, and Junius quotes (s.v. Timbestere) some lines from an edition of Le Roman de la Rose, printed in 1529, in which the following lines here occur:—

'Apres y eut farces joyeuses,
Et batelleurs et batelleuses,
Qui de passe passe jouoyent,
Et en l'air ung bassin ruoyent,
Puis le scavoyent bien recueillir
Sur ung doy, sans point y faillir.'


It is tolerably certain that this is a corrupt form of the passage, and only makes the matter darker. All it proves is, that timbre was, by some, supposed to mean a basin! No doubt it had that sense (see Cotgrave), but not here.

Timbestere is a mere English form of the O.F. tymberesse, a player on a timbre. Diez, in his Dictionary, cites a passage from a commentary on the Psalms, given in Roquefort, Poés. franç, p. 127, to this effect:—'li tymbres est uns estrumenz de musique qui est couverz d'un cuir sec de bestes'; i. e. it is the Lat. tympanum. So also, in Wright's Vocab. col. 616, l. 28, we have:—'Timpanum, a taber, or a tymbre.' In Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, ii. 1414, we read of the sound of 'tymbres and tabornes,' and of 'symbales,' i. e. cymbals. In King Alisaunder, [ 423 ] ed. Weber, 191, we again have tymbres meaning 'timbrels.' Wyclif, in his tr. of Isaiah, v. 12, has 'tymbre and trumpe,' to translate 'tympanum et tibia'; and the word is well preserved in the mod. E. dimin. timbr-el.

770. saylours, dancers; from O. F. saillir, Lat. salere; cf. 'Salyyn, salio'; Prompt. Parv. The M. E. sailen, to dance, occurs in P. Plowman, C xvi. 208 (see my note); and in Rob. of Glouc. l. 5633 (or p. 278, ed. Hearne).

791. Ne bede I. The Fr. text means—'I would never seek to go away.' As e and o are constantly confused, I change bode (which gives no sense) into bede; i. e. 'I would never pray.' Bede is the pt. t. subj. of bidden, to pray. Gower uses ne bede in the same sense; 'That I ne bede never awake'; Conf. Am. ii. 99.

826. girdilstede, the stead or place of the girdle, i. e. the waist.

836. samyt, samite, a very rich silk; see Halliwell and my Etym. Dict.

840. to-slitered, very much 'slashed' with small cuts. It is well known that slashed or snipped sleeves, shewing the colour of the lining beneath them, were common in the Tudor period; and it here appears that they were in vogue much earlier. Sliteren is the frequentative form of sliten, to slit.

843. decoped, cut, slashed. The shoes were slashed like the dress; the Fr. text has here decopes, which, only just above, is translated by to-slitered. Cf. the expression 'galoches y-couped' in P. Plowman, C. xxi. 12, and see my note on that passage. Halliwell is quite wrong in confusing decoped with coppid, i. e. peaked. See note to Mill. Ta. A 3318.

860. The readings pleye, pley are evidently false; the scribe has omitted the stroke for n above the vowel. The right reading is obviously playn, i. e. plain, smooth; it translates F. poli, just as frounceles translates sans fronce, without a wrinkle.

865. If the reader prefers to keep eleven (or twelve) syllables in this line, I am sorry for him.

869. orfrays, gold embroidery; see note to l. 562. In this case, the gold seems to have been embroidered on silk; see l. 872.

886. quistroun, a kitchen-boy, scullion. Godefroy gives the forms coistron, coitron, coisteron, quistron, coestron, with the sense 'marmiton.' His examples include the expressions 'coitron de la cuisine,' and 'un quistroun de sa quisyne.' The addition of de la (sa) cuisine shew that the word meant no more than 'boy' or 'lad'; such a lad as was often employed in the kitchen.

'Ther nas knave, ne quystron,
That he ne hadde god waryson';
King Alisaunder, ed. Weber, 2511.


892. amorettes, (probably) love-knots. Such seems also to be the meaning in the passage in the Kingis Quair, st. 47, which was probably [ 424 ] imitated from the present one. But both passages are sufficiently obscure. The word occurs again, below, in l. 4755, where the meaning is different, viz. young girls, sweethearts; but we must remember that it is there employed by a different translator. In the present passage, the Fr. text is obscure, and it is possible that par fines amoretes means 'by beautiful girls.' The note in Bell's Chaucer says accordingly:—'these flowers were painted by amorous young ladies;' and adds that 'with here means by.' But this will hardly serve. We have no proof that Chaucer so understood the French; and if 'with means by' here, it must have the same sense in l. 894, which would mean that birds, leopards, and lions all lent a hand in painting. On the whole, the sense 'love-knots' seems the safest.

893. losenges and scochouns, lozenges (or diamond-shaped figures) and escutcheons.

911. felden, caused to fall, knocked off.

914. chalaundre; see note to l. 81. wodewale; see note to l. 658.

915. archaungel, supposed to mean 'a titmouse,' answering to F. mesange. But no other example of this use is known.

923. This line is too long; I omit ful wel devysed, which is not in the original.

933. thwiten, cut, shaped; pp. of thwyten, to cut (see Hous of Fame, 1938); cf. thwitel in the Reves Ta. A 3933, and E. whittle.

938. gadeling, vagabond; see Gamelyn, 102, 106.

971. The idea of the two sets of arrows is taken from Ovid, Met. i. 468-471.

998. William de Lorris did not live to fulfil this promise.

1008. I. e. Beauty was also the name of an arrow; see l. 952. The allegory is rather of a mixed kind.

1014. byrde, i. e. bride (though the words are different); Fr. espousee. bour, bower; the usual name for a lady's chamber.

1018. I alter the wintred of the old copies to windred, to make the form agree with that in l. 1020. To windre is evidently a form suggested by the Fr. guignier. There are two verbs of this form; the more common is guigner, to wink (see Cotgrave); the other is given by Godefroy as guignier, guigner, guingnier, guinier, gignier, with the senses 'parer, farder,' i. e. to trick out. Note the original line: 'Ne fu fardee ne guignie'; and again in l. 2180: 'Mais ne te farde ne guigne.' The sense, in the present passage, is evidently 'to trim,' with reference to the eyebrows. 'Her eyebrows were not artificially embellished.'

Poppen, in l. 1019, has much the same sense, and is evidently allied to F. popin, 'spruce, neat, briske, trimme, fine,' in Cotgrave.

1031. I read Wys for want of a better word; it answers to one sense of Lat. sapidus, whence the F. sade is derived. However, Cotgrave explains sade by 'pretty, neat, spruce, fine, compt, minion, quaint.' Perhap Queint or Fine would do better. [ 425 ] 1049. in hir daungere, under her control; see Prol. A 663, and the note. And see l. 1470.

1050. losengere, deceiver, flatterer; see Non. Pr. Ta. B 4516; Legend of Good Women, 352. Cf. ll. 1056, 1064 below.

1057. 'And thus anoint the world with (oily) words.'

1058. I cannot find that there is any such word as prill (as in Th.) or prile (as in G.) in any suitable sense; the word required is clearly prikke. As it was usual to write kk like lk, the word probably looked, to the eye, like prilke, out of which prille may have been evolved. Numerous mistakes have thus arisen, such as rolke for rokke (a rock) in Gawain Douglas, and many more of the same kind. M. Michel here quotes an O. F. proverb—'Poignez vilain, il vous oindra: Oignez vilain, il vous poindra.'

1068. Read aryved, for the Fr. text has arives; cf. Ho. Fame, 1047.

1079. bend, band, strip; as used in heraldry.

1080. Read améled, as in Speght; of which enameled is a lengthened form, with the prefix en-. It signifies 'enamelled.' Palsgrave gives a good example. 'I ammell, as a goldesmyth dothe his worke, Iesmaille. Your broche is very well amelled: vostre deuise est fort bien esmaillee.' See Ameled in the New Eng. Dict. See also the long note in Warton (sect. xiii, where this passage is quoted) on enamelling in the middle ages. He cites the Latin forms amelitam and amelita in the sense 'enamelled,' and shews that the art flourished, in particular, at Limoges in France.

1081. of gentil entaile, of a fine shape, referring to her neck, apparently; or it may refer to the collar. Halliwell quotes from MS. Douce 291 'the hors of gode entaile,' i. e. of a good shape. Cf. entaile, to shape, in l. 609 above; and see l. 3711.

1082. shet, shut, i. e. clasped, fastened. Chevesaile, a collar; properly, the neckband of the robe, as explained in the New E. Dict. Though it does not here occur in the Fr. text, it occurs below in a passage which Chaucer does not exactly translate, though it answers to the 'colere' of l. 1190, q.v. There seems to be no sufficient reason for explaining it by 'necklace' or 'gorget,' as if it were a separable article of attire. It answers to a Lat. type capitiale, from capitium, the opening in a tunic through which the head passed; which explains how the word arose.

1089. The right word is thurte, which the scribe, not understanding, has turned into durst; both here, and in l. 1324 below. Thurte him means 'he needed,' the exact sense required. The use of the dative him is a clear trace of the use of this phrase.

The idea that a gem would repel venom was common; see P. Plowman, B. ii. 14, and my note.

1093. and Fryse, and Friesland. Not in the original, and merely added for the rime.

1094. mourdaunt, mordant, chape, tag. Halliwell explains it 'the tongue of a buckle,' which is probably a guess; it is often mentioned as if it were quite distinct from it. It was probably 'the metal chape or [ 426 ] tag fixed to the end of a girdle or strap,' viz. to the end remote from the buckle; see Fairholt's 'Costume.' Godefroy explains it in the same way; it terminated the dependent end of the girdle; and this explains how it could be made of a stone. Warton, in a note on this passage (sect. xiii.), quotes from a wardrobe roll, in which there is mention of one hundred garters 'cum boucles, barris, et pendentibus de argento.'

1103. barres, bars; fixed transversely to the satin tissue of the girdle, and perforated to receive the tongue of the buckle. See note to Prol. A 329.

1106. 'In each bar was a bezant-weight of gold.' A bezant was a gold coin, originally struck at Byzantium, whence the name. It 'varied in weight between the English sovereign and half-sovereign, or less'; New E. Dict.

1117. The false reading ragounces is easily corrected by the original. In Lydgate's Chorle and Bird, st. 34, we find:—'There is a stone which called is iagounce.' Warton rather hastily identifies it with the jacinth. Godefroy says that some make it to be a jacinth, but others, a garnet. Warnke explains iagunce (in Marie de France, Le Fraisne, 130) by 'ruby.'

1120. carboucle, carbuncle; see notes to Ho. Fame, 1352, 1363.

1137. That is, he would have expected to be accused of a crime equal to theft or murder, if he had kept in his stable such a horse as a hackney. The F. text has roucin, whence Chaucer's rouncy, in Prol. A 390.

1148. I. e. as if his wealth had been poured into a garner, like so much wheat. daungere here means 'parsimony.'

1152. I. e. Alexander was noted for his liberality.

1163. to hir baundon, (so as to be) at her disposal.

1182. adamaunt, lodestone; leyd therby, laid beside it.

1188. The form sarlynysh (in G.) evidently arose from the common mistake of reading a long s (ſ) as an l. The right reading is, of course, Sarsinesshe, i. e., Saracenic, or coloured by an Eastern dye. Compare the mod. E. sarsnet, a derivative from the same source.

1190. Her neck-band was thrown open, because she had given away the brooch, with which she used to fasten it.

1199. The knight is said to be sib, i. e., akin, to king Arthur, because of the great celebrity of that flower of chivalry.

1201. The reading gousfaucoun is a queer mistake; the scribe seems to have thought that it meant a goshawk! But the sense is war-banner.' See Gonfanon in my Etym. Dict.

1215. at poynt devys, with great exactness, with great regularity; cf. l. 830. The same expression occurs in the Ho. of Fame, 917.

1216. tretys, long and well-shaped; hence this epithet, as applied to the nose of the Prioress; see Prol. A 152. See ll. 932, 1016.

1227. bistad, bestead; i. e. hard beset.

1232. sukkenye, an E. adaptation of the O.F. sorquanie. Cotgrave has: 'Souquenie, f. a canvas Jacket, frock, or Gaberdine; such a one [ 427 ] as our Porters wear.' Mod. F. souquenille, a smock-frock. It was therefore a loose frock, probably made, in this case, of fine linen. For a note in the glossary to Méon's edition says that linen was sometimes the material used for it; and we are expressly told, in the text, that it was not made of hempen hards. Cf. Russ. sukno, cloth.

1235. rideled, 'gathered,' or pleated; F. coillie. Not 'pierced like a riddle,' as suggested in Bell's Chaucer, but gathered in folds like a curtain or a modern surplice; from O.F. ridel (F. rideau), a curtain. Cf. 'filettis, and wymplis, and rydelid gownes and rokettis, colers, lacis,' &c.; Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 41. Hence, in ll. 1236, 7, the statement that every point was in its right place; because it was so evenly gathered.

1240. 'A roket, or rochet, is a loose linen frock synonymous with sukkenye. The name is now appropriated to the short surplice worn by bishops over their cassocks.'—Bell.

1249, 50. Al hadde he be, even if he had been. As the French copy consulted by Warton here omitted two lines of the original, Warton made the singular mistake of supposing that, in l. 1250, Chaucer intended 'a compliment to some of his patrons.' But William de Lorris died in 1260, so that the seignor de Gundesores was 'Henry of Windsor,' as he was sometimes termed[1], i. e. no other than Henry III; and the reference was probably suggested by the birth of prince Edward in 1239, unless these two lines were added somewhat later.

1263. avenant, comely, graceful; see the New E. Dict.

1282. The absolutely necessary correction in this line was suggested by Ten Brink, in his Chaucer Studien, p. 30.

1284. volage, flighty, giddy; see Manc. Ta. H 239.

1294. I should like to read—'They ne made force of privetee'; pronounced They n' mad-e, &c. But no fors is usual.

1321. his thankes, willingly; see Kn. Ta. A 1626, 2107.

1324. durst is an error for thurte; see note to l. 1089.

1334. For hadde (which gives no sense), read bad; confusion of b and h is not uncommon. And for bent, read bende it; see l. 1336.

1341. Some mending of the text is absolutely necessary, because shette is altogether a false form; the pp. of sheten, to shoot, is shoten. The suggested emendation satisfies the conditions, and makes better sense. So, in l. 1343, read wol me greven.

1348. In ll. 1461, 1582, the F. vergier is translated by yerde. So here, and in l. 1447 (as Dr. Kaluza suggests) we must read yerde in, to make sense. The scribe easily turned yerde in into gardin, but ruined the sense by it. So in l. 1366, yerde would be better than gardin.

1359. greet foisoun, a great abundance (of them).

1361. notemygge is the form given in the Prompt. Parv. In Sir [ 428 ] Topas, 1953, notemuge occurs in all the seven MSS. See note to the same, B 1950, which explains clow-gelofre, i. e. clove, and setewale, i. e., zedoary.

1363. The form alemandres is justified by the Fr. text, which has Alemandiers. The O. F. for 'almond' was at first alemande, before it was shortened to almande; see Almond in the New E. Dict. The sense is 'almond-trees.'

1369. parys or paris is a stupid blunder for paradys, as the Fr. text shews. It was a well-known term. Cotgrave has 'Graine de paradis, the spice called Grains.' Philips explains Paradisi grana as 'cardamum-seed.' Compare the quotation from Langham in the New E. Dict., s. v. Cardamom. Canelle (in l. 1370) is 'cinnamon.'

1374. coyn is the word which has been twisted into quin; and the pl. quins has become the sing. quince.

1377. aleys. 'Aley [adapted from O. Fr. alie, alye (also alis), mod. Fr. alise, alize, from O. H. G. eliza, mod. G. else(beere); the suppression of the s in the O. Fr. is anomalous.] The fruit of the Wild-Service tree'; New E. Dict. No other example of the word is known in English. bolas, bullace; the rime is only a single one.

1379. lorer, laurel; miswritten lorey in G.; cf. l. 1313 above, where loreres is miswritten loreyes.

1384. Compare the tree-lists in Parl. Foules, 176, and in the Kn. Ta. A 2921.

1385. I should read Pyn, ew, instead of Fyn ew; only we have had pyn already, in l. 1379.

1391. Imitated in the Book Duch. 419; again, l. 1401 is imitated in the same, 429.

1397, 8. The rimed words must needs be knet, set, as in the Parl. Foules, 627, 628.

1405. claperes, burrows. 'Clapier, m. A clapper of conies, a heap of stones, &c., whereinto they retire themselves'; Cotgrave. See Clapper in the New E. Dict.

1414. condys, conduits; Fr. text, conduis. Godefroy gives numerous examples of conduis as the pl. of O. F. conduit, in the sense of safe-conduct, &c. So, in the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 91, we find:—'Thise uif wytes byeth ase uif condwys,' i. e. these five wits (senses) are as five channels. by devys, by contrivances (l. 1413).

1420. vel-u-et is here a trisyllabic word; and the u is a vowel, as in A. F. veluet. The mod. E. velvet arose from misreading the u as a v. The Prompt. Parv. has also the form velwet. So in Lydgate, Compl. of the Black Knight, l. 80: 'And soft as vel-u-et,' &c.

1426. as mister was, as was need, as was necessary.

1447. As garden makes no sense here, Kaluza reads yerde in; see note to l. 1348.

1448. estres (F. text, l'estre), inner parts; see Rev. Ta. A 4295, and the note.

1453. at good mes, to advantage, from a favourable position; Fr. en [ 429 ] bel leu. In l. 3462, the phrase translates F. en bon point. Mes (Lat. missum) is an old Anglo-French hunting-term, answering (nearly) to mod. E. shot. Thus, in Marie de France, Guigemar, 87:—'Traire voleit, si mes ëust,' he wished to shoot, if he could get a good shot. See Ducange, ed. 1887, ix. 270, for two more examples.

1458. Pepyn; the F. text says 'Charles, the son of Pepin.' Charles the Great, who died in 814, was the son of Pepin Le Bref, king of the Franks, who died in 768.

1469. This story of Narcissus is from Ovid, Met. iii. 346.

1470. in his daungere, within his control; in l. 1492, daungerous means 'disdainful.' See note to l. 1049.

1498. The right spelling is vilaynsly; it occurs in the Pers. Tale, I 279; and the adj. vilayns in the same, I 627, 715, 854.

1517, 18. The right spellings are sene, adj., visible, and shene, adj., showy, bright.

1525. bere, bore; but it is in the subjunctive mood; A. S. bǣre.

1537. warisoun, reward; F. guerredon. But this is not the usual sense; it commonly means healing, cure, or remedy; see Guarison in Cotgrave. However, it also means provision, store, assistance; whence it is no great step to the sense of 'reward.' To 'winne a warisun' is to obtain a reward; Will. of Palerne, 2253, 2259. Cf. note to l. 886.

1550. scatheles, without harm. There is actually a touch of humour here; the poet ran no risk of falling in love with such a face as his own.

1561. welmeth up, boils up, bubbles up; from A. S. wylm, a spring.

1564. For moiste, because it was moist, because of its moisture. The adj. has almost the force of a sb. Cf. note to l. 276.

1591. entrees is, of course, a blunder for estres, as the F. text shews. See l. 1448 above, where estres rightly occurs, to represent F. l'estre. accuseth, reveals, shews; see the New Eng. Dict.

1604. 'That made him afterwards lie on his back,' i. e. lie dead (F. mors). The alteration of lye to ligge in MS. G. is a clear example of the substitution of a Northern form.

1608. Here laughyng is a very queer travesty of loving, owing to a similarity in the sound. But the F. text has d'amer, which settles it.

1621. panteres, nets; see Leg. of Good Women, 131, and the note.

1624. lacche, trap. The usual sense is 'the latch of a door'; but the sense here given is clearly caught from the related verb lacchen, which sometimes meant to catch birds. Thus in P. Plowman, B. v. 355, we find 'forto lacche foules,' i. e. to catch birds. We must not confuse lacche, as here used, with lace, a snare.

1641. We must read syked, not sighede, in order to rime with entryked. Observe that syketh rimes with entryketh in the Parl. of Foules, 404. Further, as the rime is a double one, the word have must be inserted, to fill up the line. It is in the Fr. text, 'tant en ai puis souspire.'

1652. enclos, enclosed; a French form, used for the rime. Cf. clos, in the same sense; The Pearl, l. 2. [ 430 ] 1663. Speght made the obvious correction of be, for me.

1666. My thankes, with my goodwill; cf. his thankes, l. 1321.

1673. gret woon, a great quantity.

1674. roon (in place of Rone); F. text, sous ciaus, 'under the skies.' Bell suggests that there is a reference to the river Rhone, and to the roses of Provence. But the prep. in must mean 'in' or 'upon'; and as roses do not grow on a river, but upon bushes, perhaps roon answers to Lowland Scotch rone, a bush; see Jamieson. Thus Henrysoun, Prol. to Moral Fables, l. 15, has:—'The roisis reid arrayit on rone and ryce'; and G. Douglas has ronnis, bushes. In Roon might mean 'in Rouen'; spelt Roan in Shakespeare.

1677. moysoun, size; Cotgrave has: 'Moyson, size, bignesse, quantity'; from Lat. mensionem, a measuring. See P. Plowman, C. xii. 120, and my note. Not connected with moisson, harvest, as suggested in Bell.

1701. 'The stalk was as upright as a rush.'

1705. Here ends Chaucer's portion of the translation, in the middle of an incomplete sentence, without any verb. It may have been continued thus (where dide fulfild = caused to be filled):—

The swote smelle sprong so wyde,
That it dide al the place aboute
Fulfild of baume, withouten doute.


We can easily understand that the original MS. ended here suddenly, the rest being torn away or lost. An attempt was made to join on another version, without observing the incompleteness of the sentence. Moreover, the rime is a false one, since swote and aboute have different vowel-sounds. Hence the point of junction becomes visible enough.

Dr. Max Kaluza was the first to observe the change of authorship at this point, though he made Chaucer's portion end at l. 1704. He remarked, very acutely, that Chaucer translates the F. bouton by the word knoppe; see ll. 1675, 1683, 1685, 1691, 1702, whereas the other translator merely keeps the word botoun; see ll. 1721, 1761, 1770.

It is easily seen that ll. 1706-5810 are by a second and less skilful hand. This portion abounds with non-Chaucerian rimes, as explained in the Introduction, and is not by any means remarkable for accuracy. Some of the false rimes are noted below.

As the remaining portion is of less interest and value, I only draw attention, in the notes, to the most important points. I here denote the second portion (ll. 1706-5810) by the name of Section B.

1713. muche, in Sect. B, is usually dissyllabic; perhaps the original had mikel.

1721. In sect. B, the word botoun is invariably misspelt bothum or bothom. That this ridiculous form is wrong, is proved by the occurrence of places where the pl. botouns rimes with sesouns (4011) and with glotouns (4308). I therefore restore the form botoun throughout. [ 431 ] 1776. Sect. B is strongly marked by the frequent use of withouten wene, withouten were, withouten drede, and the like tags.

1820. A common proverb, in many languages. 'Chien eschaudé craint l'eau froide, the scaulded dog fears even cold water;' Cotgrave. 'Brend child fur dredeth' is one of the Proverbs of Hending, l. 184. The Fr. text has: 'Qu'eschaudés doit iaue douter.' See Cant. Ta. G 1407. At this point, the translation somewhat varies from the Fr. text, as usually printed. The third arrow is here called Curtesye (1802, cf. 957) instead of Fraunchise (955).

1853, 4. Both thore, more, evidently for thar, mar; see ll. 1857, 8.

1871. allegeaunce, alleviation; F. text, aleiance. Cf. aleggement, 1890; F. text, alegement; and see l. 1923.

1906. Both texts have Rokyng. A better spelling is either rouking or rukking. It means—'crouching down very closely on account of the pain.' See Kn. Ta. A 1308. (Not in the French text.)

1909. The other four arrows are Beauty (1750), Simplesse (1774), Curtesye (1802, and note to l. 1820), and Companye (1862). But the names, even in the F. text, are not exactly the same as in a former passage; see ll. 952-963 above.

2002. 'For I do not vouchsafe to churls, that they shall ever come near it.' For of (suggested by sauf) we should read to.

2017. Lord seems to be dissyllabic; read (perhaps) laverd.

2037. As in l. 4681, there is here an allusion to the mode of doing homage, wherein the kneeling vassal places his joined hands between those of his lord. This is still the attitude of one who receives a degree at Cambridge from the Vice-chancellor.

2044. For taken read tan, the Northern form. So again in l. 2068.

2046. Disteyned is, of course, a blunder for Disceyued.

2051. 'If I get them into my power.'

2063. For-why, i. e. why; F. 'por quoi.'

2076. disseise, oust you from possessing it. Disseisin is the opposite of seisin, a putting in possession of a thing.

2087. aumener, purse, lit. bag for alms; F. aumoniere.

2092. I take iowell (with a bar through the ll) to be the usual (Northern) contraction for Iowellis, jewels; F. text, joiau, pl. I can find no authority for making it a collective noun, as Bell suggests.

2099. spered, for sperred, fastened; F. ferma. See l. 3320.

2141. I supply sinne; perhaps the exact word is erre, as suggested by Urry; F. 'Tost porroie issir de la voie.'

2154. Read ginn'th; only one syllable is wanted here. Cf. l. 2168.

2161. poyntith ille, punctuates badly. This is a remarkable statement. As the old MSS. had no punctuation at all, the responsibility in this respect fell entirely on the reader. Ll. 2157-62 are not in the French.

2170. Romaunce, the Romance language, Old French.

2190. This important passage is parallel to one in the Wife of [ 432 ] Bath's Tale, D 1109. Ll. 2185-2202 are not in the French; so they may have been suggested by Chaucer's Tale.

2203. 'Gravis est culpa, tacenda loqui'; Ovid, Ars Amat. ii. 604.

2206. Keye, Sir Kay, one of the knights of the Round Table, who was noted for his discourtesy. For his rough treatment of Sir Beaumains, see Sir T. Malory's Morte d'Arthur, bk. vii. c. 1. On the other hand, Sir Gawain was famed for his courtesy; see Squi. Ta. F 95.

2271. The word aumenere is here used, as in l. 2087 above, to translate the F. aumosniere or aumoniere. In Th., it is miswritten aumere, and in G. it appears as awmere. Hence awmere has gained a place in the New E. Dict., to which it is certainly not entitled. It is not a 'contraction for awmenere,' as is there said, but a mere blunder.

2278. Of Whitsonday, suitable for Whitsunday, a time of great festivity; F. text—'a Penthecouste.'

2279. Both texts have costneth, which makes the line halt. Cost (short for costeth) has the same sense, and suits much better; the F. text has simply couste.

2280-4. Copied from Ovid, Ars Amat. i. 515-9.

2285. It is clear that Fard, not Farce, is the right reading. Farce would mean 'stuff' or 'cram'; see Prol. A 233. The F. text has—'Mais ne te farde ne ne guigne.' Among the additions by Halliwell and Wright to Nares' Glossary will be found: 'Fard, to paint the face'; with three examples. Cotgrave also has: 'Fardé, Farded, coloured, painted.'

2294. knowith is a strange error for lowhith, or lauhwith, forms of laugheth; F. text, rit.

2296. meynd, mingled; see Kn. Ta. A 2170.

2301-4. Not in the F. text. I alter pleyneth in l. 2302 to pleyeth, to suit the context more closely.

2309. sitting, becoming; cf. sit, Clk. Ta. E 460.

2318. 'Make no great excuse'; F. essoine. From Ovid, Ars Am. i. 595.

2327. For meuen I read meve hem, move them. Ll. 2325-8 are not in the French text.

2336. Read Loves. 'Whoever would live in Love's teaching must be always ready to give.' F. text, 'Se nus se vuelt d'amors pener.'

2341. Cf. F. text:—'Doit bien, apres si riche don.' See ll. 2381.

2354. alosed, praised (for liberality); see Alose in the New E. Dict.

2365. 'Against treachery, in all security.' For is here used for 'against.' F. text, 'Tous entiers sans tricherie.'

2386. maugre his, in spite of himself; against the giver's will.

2463. 'That thou wouldst never willingly leave off.'

2471. fere, fire; spelt fyr in l. 2467. But desyr rimes with nere, l. 2441.

2473. Obscure. The French text helps but little; it means—'whenever thou comest nearer her.' Hence Thought should be That swete, or some such phrase. [ 433 ] 2522. 'To conceal (it) closely'; F. de soi celer.

2561. 'Now groveling on your face, and now on your back.'

2564. 'Like a man that should be defeated in war.' To get a rime to abrede or abreed, abroad, read forwerreyd; see l. 3251.

2573. 'Thou shalt imagine delightful visions.' The 'castles in Spain' are romantic fictions. Cf. Gower, Conf. Am. ii. 99.

2617, 2624. In both lines, wher is short for 'whether.'

2628. To liggen, to lie, is a Northern form; I alter liggen to ly, which occurs in the next line.

2641. contene, contain (thyself). But the F. text has te contendras, which perhaps means 'shalt struggle.'

2650. What whider gives no sense; read What weder, i. e. whatever weather it be; see next line.

2660. score, (perhaps) cut, i. e. crack; F. text, fendéure.

2669. I supply a, i. e. by; or we may supply al.

2676. There is something wrong here; the F. text has:—

'Si te dirai que tu dois faire
Por l'amour de la debonnaire [or, du haut seintueire]
De qui tu ne pues avoir aise;
Au departir la porte baise.'


The lover is here directed to kiss the door!

2684-6. From Ovid, Ars Amat. i. 729, 733.

2695. All from Ovid, Ars Amat. ii. 251-260.

2710. Read fare, short for faren, gone; cf. Ovid, Ars Am. ii. 357-8. A note in Bell says—'fore means absent, from the Lat. foris, abroad.' This is a cool invention.

2775. Hope, do thou hope; imperative mood.

2824. The reading not ben ruins sense and metre.

'Et se tu l'autre refusoies,
Qui n'est mie mains doucerens,
Tu seroies moult dangereus.'


2883. Such was the duty of sworn brethren; See Kn. Ta. A 1132.

2888. The trilled r in darst perhaps constitutes a syllable.

2951. 'When the God of Love had all day taught me.'

2971. hay(e), hedge; F. haie. Perhaps not hay-e; see l. 2987.

2984. Bial-Acoil, another spelling of Bel-Acueil, i. e. 'a graceful address'; which would be useful in propitiating the lady.

3105. doth me drye, makes me suffer; Scotch 'gars me dree.'

3132. chere, face; kid, manifested, displayed.

3137. kirked, probably 'crooked,' as Morris suggests. It may be a mere dialectal form of 'crooked,' or it may be miswritten for kroked, the usual old spelling. Halliwell gives, 'kirked, turning upwards,' on the authority of Skinner; but a reference to Skinner shows that his reason for giving the word this sense was solely owing to a notion of deriving it from A. S. cerran, to turn, which is out of the question. On the strength of this Wright, in his Provincial Dictionary, makes up [ 434 ] the verb: 'Kirk, to turn upwards.' This is how glossaries are frequently written. The F. text merely has: 'Le nes froncié.'

3144. maugree, disfavour, ill will.

3185. with the anger, against the pain.

3231. trasshed, betrayed; F. traï. Trasshen is from the stem traiss-.

3234. verger, orchard; F. vergier; Lat. uiridiarium; so in ll. 3618, 3831.

3249. to garisoun, to protection, to safety; here, to your cure.

'Je ne voi mie ta santé,
Ne ta garison autrement.'


3251. thee to werrey, to war against thee; F. guerroier.

3256. musarde, sluggard; one who delays; F. musarde; see l. 4034.

3264. G. has seyne; Th. sayne. I prefer feyne. Not in the F. text.

3277. passioun, suffering, trouble; F. poine pain.

3284. but in happe, only in chance, i. e. a matter of chance.

3292. a rage, as in Th.; G. arrage. Cf. l. 3400.

3303. leve, believe; for the F. text has croit.

3326. in the peine, under torture; see Kn. Ta. A 1133.

3337. chevisaunce, resource, remedy. Both G. and Th., and all old editions, have cherisaunce, explained by Speght to mean 'comfort,' though the word is fictitious. Hence Kersey, by a misprint, gives 'cherisaunei, comfort'; which Chatterton adopted.

3346. The F. text has 'Amis ot non'; so that 'Freend' is here a proper name.

3356. meygned, maimed. This word takes numerous forms both in M. E. and in Anglo-French.

3462. at good mes, at a favourable time (en bon point); see note to l. 1453.

3501. 'And Pity, (coming) with her, filled the Rosebud with gracious favour.' of = with.

3508. Supply word; F. La parole a premiere prise.

3539. Cf. 'Regia, crede mihi, res est succurrere lapsis'; Ovid, Ex Ponto, Ep. lib. ii. ix. 11.

3548. This, put for This is; as in Parl. Foules, 411.

3579. moneste, short for amoneste, i. e. admonish.

3604. 'You need be no more afraid.' Here Thynne has turned thar into dare; see l. 3761, and note to l. 1089.

3633. to spanisshing, to its (full) expansion. F. text, espanie, expanded, pp. fem. of espanir, which Cotgrave explains by 'To grow or spread, as a blooming rose.'

3645, 6. vermayle, ruddy, lit. vermilion. abawed, dismayed; variant of abaved, Book Duch. 614; cf. l. 4041 below.

3699. werreyeth, makes war upon; cf. Knight Ta. A 2235, 6. The corrections here made in the text are necessary to the sense.

3715. I. e. she did not belong to a religious order. [ 435 ] 3718. attour; better atour; F. text ator; array, dress.

3740. chasteleyne, mistress of a castle; F. chastelaine.

3751. The reading is easily put right, by help of the French:—

'Car tant cum vous plus atendrez,
Tant plus, sachies, de tens perdrez.'


3774. Read it nil, it will not; F. Qu'el ne soit troble (l. 3505).

3811. The F. text has une vielle irese, and M. Méon explains irese by angry, or full of ire. Hence, a note in Bell suggests that irish here means 'full of ire.' But I think M. Méon is wrong; for the O.F. for 'full of ire' is irous, whence M.E. irous; and M. Michel prints Irese with a capital letter, and explains it by 'Irlandaise.' Besides, there is no point in speaking of 'an old angry woman'; whereas G. de Lorris clearly meant something disrespectful in speaking of 'an old Irishwoman.' M. Michel explains, in a note, that the Irish character was formerly much detested in France. I therefore believe that Irish has here its usual sense.

3826. Where Amyas is, is of no consequence; for the name is wrongly given. The F. text has 'a Estampes ou a Miaus,' i. e. at Étampes or at Meaux. Neither place is very far from Paris. Reynes means Rennes in Brittany; see note to Book Duch. 255.

3827. foot-hoot, foot-hot, immediately; see note to Cant. Ta. B 438.

3832. reward, regard; as in Parl. Foules, 426.

3845. Insert not, because the F. text has 'Si ne s'est mie.'

3855. We should probably insert him after hid.

3856. took, i. e. caught; see l. 3858.

3880. Read leye, lay; both for rime and sense.

3882. loigne, leash for a hawk. Cotgrave gives: 'Longe,... a hawks lune or leash.' This is the mod. F. longe, a tether, quite a different word from longe, the loin. Longe, a tether, was sometimes spelt loigne in O.F. (see Godefroy), which accounts for the form here used. It answers to Low Lat. longia, a tether, a derivative of longus, long. Perhaps lune is only a variant of the same word. The expression 'to have a long loigne' means 'to have too much liberty.'

3895. Read trecherous, i. e. treacherous people, for the sake of the metre and the rime. Trechours means 'traitors.'

3907. Read loude; for loude and stille is an old phrase; see Barbour's Bruce, iii. 745. It means, 'whether loudly or silently,' i. e. under all circumstances.

3912. blered is myn ye, I am made a fool of; see Cant. Ta. G 730.

3917. Read werreyed, warred against; see note to l. 3699.

3928. I. e. 'I must (have) fresh counsel.'

3938. 'And come to watch how to cause me shame.'

3940-3. The F. text has:—

'Il ne me sera ja peresce
Que ne face une forteresce
Qui les Roses clorra entor.'


[ 436 ] 3954. 'And to blind him with their imposture.'

3962. Perhaps read he durste.

3987. purpryse, enclosure; F. porprise, fem. Cotgrave has pourpris, m., in the same sense. See l. 4171.

4021. Read in hy, in haste, a common phrase; see l. 3591.

4032. 'No man, by taming it, can make a sparrow-hawk of a buzzard.' A buzzard was useless for falconry, but a sparrow-hawk was excellent. The F. text gives this as a proverb. Two similar proverbs are given in Cotgrave, s.v. Esparvier.

4034. musarde, a sluggish, and hence a useless person; see l. 3256.

4038. recreaundyse, recreant conduct; F. recreantise.

4073. goth afere, goes on fire, is inflamed.

4096. me sometimes occurs in M. E. as a shorter form of men, in the sense of 'one'; but it is better to read men at once, as it receives the accent. If written 'mē,' it might easily be copied as 'me.'

4126. 'Unless Love consent, at another time.'

4149. querrour, a quarrier, stone-cutter; see quarrieur in Cotgrave.

4176. ginne, war-engine, skaffaut, scaffold; a wooden shed on wheels, to protect besiegers. See the description of one, called 'a sow,' employed at the siege of Berwick in 1319, in Barbour's Bruce, xvii. 597-600; together with other sundry 'scaffatis' in the same, l. 601.

4191. Springoldes (F. perrieres, from Lat. petrariae), engines for casting-stones; spelt spryngaldis in Barbour's Bruce, xvii. 247. From O. F. espringale, a catapult; from G. springen, to spring.

4195. kernels, battlements; F. text, creniaus. Cf. P. Plowm. C., viii. 235; B. v. 597.

4196. arblasters (answering to Lat. arcuballistra), a variant form of arblasts or arbalests (answering to Lat. arcuballista), huge cross-bows, for discharging missiles. See Arbalest in the New E. Dict.

4229. for stelinge, i. e. to prevent stealing.

4248. distoned, made different in tone, out of tune. Cotgrave gives: 'Destonner, to change or alter a tune, to take it higher or lower.'

4249. Controve, compose or invent tunes, foule fayle, fail miserably.

4250. horn-pypes, pipes made of horn; but the F. text has estives, pipes made of straw. Cornewayle is doubtful; some take it to mean Cornwall; but it was more probably the name of a place in Brittany. A note in Méon's edition of Le Roman de la Rose, iii. 300, suggests 'la ville de Cornouaille, aujourd'hui Quimper-Corentin, qui est en basse Bretagne.' The F. text has Cornoaille.

4286. vekke, an old woman; as in l. 4495. Cf. Ital. vecchia, the same; but it is difficult to see how we came by the Ital. form.

4291. Some late editions read expert, which is clearly right; except gives no sense. Expt, with a stroke through the p, may have been misread as except.

4300. F. 'Qu'el scet toute la vielle dance'; see Prol. A 476.

4322. The old reading gives no sense; the corrected reading is due [ 437 ] to Dr. Kaluza. It means 'I weened to have bought it very knowingly'; F. Ges cuidoie avoir achetés, I weened to have bought them. Ges = Ge les, i. e. les biens, the property. See note to l. 4352.

4333. For also perhaps read als, or so.

4352. wend, for wende, weened, supposed; F. cuidoie.

4372. For wol read wal; F. 'Qui est entre les murs enclose.'

4389. M. Méon here quotes a Latin proverb:—'Qui plus castigat, plus amore ligat.'

4432. G. de Lorris here ended his portion of the poem (containing 4070 lines), which he did not live to complete. His last line is:—

'A poi que ne m'en desespoir.'


When Jean de Meun, more than forty years later, began his continuation, he caught up the last word, commencing thus:—

'Desespoir, las! ge non ferai,
Jà ne m'en desespererai.'


4464. a-slope, on the slope, i. e. insecure, slippery.

4472. Perhaps stounde should be wounde. F. 'S'ele ne me fait desdoloir.' Stounde arose from repeating the st in staunche.

4499. enforced, made stronger, i. e. increased.

4510. Read simpilly; this trisyllabic form is Northern, occurring in Barbour's Bruce, i. 331, xvii. 134. Cf. l. 3861.

4525. 'Who was to blame?' Cf. l. 4529.

4532. for to lowe, to appraise; hence, to be valued at. F. 'De la value d'une pome.' See Allow in the New E. Dict.

4549. The develles engins, the contrivances of the devil.

4556. yolden, requited; cf. Somp. Ta. D 2177.

4559. 'Ought I to shew him ill-will for it?'

4568. 'And lie awake when I ought to sleep.'

4574. taken atte gree, receive with favour.

4617, 8. not, know not; nist (knew not) would suit better; see l. 4626. eche, eke out, assist.

4634. I insert pyned, punished; F. 'N'as tu mie éu mal assés?'

4646. 'Thou didst act not at all like a wise man.'

4668. 'See, there's a fine knowledge.' Noble is ironical, as in 4639.

4681. with myn honde; see note to l. 2037 above.

4689, 90.

'Si sauras tantost, sans science,
Et congnoistras, sans congnoissance.'


4697-4700. To him who flees love, its nature is explicable; to you, who are still under its influence, it remains a riddle.

4705. In Tyrwhitt's Gloss., s.v. Fret, he well remarks:—'In Rom. Rose, l. 4705, And through the fret full, read A trouthe fret full.' In fact, the F. text has: 'C'est loiautes la desloiaus.' Fret full is adorned or furnished, so as to be full; from A. S. frætwian, to adorn; cf. fretted full, Leg. of Good Women, 1117; and see Mätzner. Cf. l. 7259. On the whole, I do not think it is an error for bret-ful, i. e. brimful. [ 438 ] 4712. This line is not in the F. text; it seems to mean—'a wave, harmful in wearing away the shore.'

4713. Caribdis, Charybdis, the whirlpool; cf. Horace, Carm. i. 27. 19.

4720. Havoir, property; usually spelt avoir.

4722. 'A thirst drowned in drunkenness'; F. 'C'est la soif qui tous jors est ivre.'

4728. drerihed, sadness; F. 'tristor'; cf. G. Traurigkeit.

4732. F. 'De pechies pardon entechies.' without, on the outside.

4747. Pryme temps, spring-time; F. 'Printems.'

4751. a slowe, a moth; F. taigne (Lat. tinea). But I know of no other example. Hence were, in the next line, must mean to wear away, to fret; cf. note to 4712.

4755. 'And sweethearts are as good in black mourning as when adorned in shining robes.' Cotgrave, s. v. Amourette, quotes a proverb: 'Aussi bien sont amourettes Soubs bureau, que soubs brunettes; Love bides in cottages, as well as in courts.' A burnet was a cloth of a superior quality; see note to l. 226.

4764. For That read But, answering to the F. Qui ... ne.

4768. Genius is one of the characters in a later part of the F. text, l. 16497 (ed. Méon).

4790. avaunt, forward; F. 'Ge n'en sai pas plus que devant.'

4793. For ever read er, i. e. ere, before; for the rime.

4796. can, know. parcuere, by heart; F. 'par cuer.'

4831. 'For paramours only feign.' But the original has: 'Mes par Amors amer ne daignent,' i. e. 'But they do not deign to love like true lovers'; unless it is a mere exclamation, 'I swear by Love.'

4859. 'To save the progeny (or strain) of our species'; cf. Cl. Ta. E 157.

4875, 6. Not in the original. It seems to mean—'who very often seek after destroyed increase (abortion) and the play of love.' Cf. tenen, to harm. But no other instance of for-tened is known, nor yet of crece as short for increes (increase). However, the verb cresen, to increase, is used by Wyclif; see cresce in Stratmann, ed. Bradley.

4882-4. Alluding to Cicero's treatise De Senectute.

4901. 'And considers himself satisfied with no situation.'

4904. Yalt him, yields himself, goes; F. 'se rent.'

4910. I. e. to remain till he professes himself, his year of probation being over. So, in l. 4914, leve his abit, to give up his friar's dress.

4923. Conteyne, contain or keep himself; F. 'le tiegne.'

4943. And mo seems a mistake for Demand, i. e. 'he may go and ask them.' F. 'Ou le demant as anciens.'

5014. This sentence is incomplete; the translator has missed the line—'Et qu'ele a sa vie perdue.' And he missed it thus. He began: 'That, but [i. e. unless] aforn hir,' &c., and was going to introduce, further on, 'She findeth she hath lost hir lyf,' or something of that kind. But by the time he came to 'wade' at the end of l. 5022, where [ 439 ] this line should have come in, he had lost the thread of the sentence, and so left it out!

5028. Who list have Ioye; F. 'Qui ... veut joir.'

5047. arn, with the trilled r, is dissyllabic; see l. 5484.

5051. so, clearly an error for sho, Northern form of she.

5064. druery, courtship; but here, apparently, improperly used in the sense of 'mistress,' answering to 'amie' in the F. text.

5080. ado, short for at do, i. e. to do; at = to, is Northern.

5085. Read they; F. 'Més de la fole Amor se gardent.'

5107. Read herberedest; see Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 14. Pronounce it as herb'redest. F. 'hostelas,' from the verb hosteler.

5123, 4. As these lines are not in the original, the writer may have taken them from Chaucer's Hous of Fame, ll. 1257, 8. The converse seems to me unlikely; however, they are not remarkable for originality. Cf. note to l. 5486.

5124. recured, recovered; see examples in Halliwell.

5137. That refers to love, not to the sermon; and hir refers to Reason.

5162. The sense is doubtful; perhaps—'Then must I needs, if I leave it (i. e. Love), boldly essay to live always in hatred, and put away love from me, and be a sinful wretch, hated by all who love that fault.' Ll. 5165, 6 are both deficient, and require filling up.

5176. 'He who would not believe you would be a fool.' The omission of the relative is common; it appears (as qui) in the F. text. The line is ironical. Cf. ll. 5185-7.

5186. 'When that thou wilt approve of nothing.'

5191. 'But I know not whether it will profit.'

5223. I supply Ne lak (defect) in hem, to make some sense; the F. text does not help here. Half the line is lost; the rest means—'whom they, that ought to be true and perfect in love, would wish to prove.'

5266. A proverbial phrase; not in the F. text.

5274. him is here reflexive, and means 'himself.'

5278, 9, fered, fired, inflamed. depart, part, share.

5285. Read amitee; F. 'amitié.'

5286. Alluding to Cicero, De Amicitia: capp. xiii, xvii.

5292. The sense is; one friend must help another in every reasonable request; if the request seem unjust, he need not do so, except in two cases, viz. when his friend's life is in danger, or his honour is attacked: 'in quibus eorum aut caput agatur aut fama.' Read in cases two; F. 'en deux cas.'

5330. bit not, abides not, at any time; bit = bideth.

5341. For hir read the.

5353. The original reading would be It hit, i. e. it hideth; then It was dropped, and hit became hidith.

5384. gote, goat; but the F. text has cers, i. e. stag, ramage, wild.

5443. Obscure. The F. text has: 'Et que por seignors ne les [ 440 ] tiengnent' Perhaps it means: 'They perform it (their will) wholly'; see l. 5447.

5452. Here chere of is for there of, with the common mistake of c for t.

5470. Of, i. e. off, off from.

5484. arn, with trilled r, is dissyllabic; as in l. 5047.

5486. 'Friend from affection (affect), and friend in appearance.' Chaucer, in his Balade on Fortune, l. 34, has 'Frend of effect [i. e. in reality], and frend of countenance.' And as the passage is not in the French, but is probably borrowed from Chaucer, we see that effect (not affect) is the right reading here; see l. 5549.

5491. The reading of Th. and G. is clearly wrong. The F. text helps but little. I read al she, i. e. all that she.

5507. flaterye is very inappropriate; we should expect iaperye, i. e. mockery. F. text, 'a vois jolie.'

5510. I. e. 'Begone, and let us be rid of you.' See Troilus, iii. 861, and note. (Probably borrowed from Chaucer.)

5513. From Prov. xvii. 17.

5523-9. 'This appears to be taken from Ecclus. xxii. 26.'—Bell. This reference is to the Vulgate; in the A.V., it is Ecclus. xxii. 22. Compare ll. 5521-2 with the preceding verse. With l. 5534 cf. Eccles. vii. 28.

5538. valoure, value; F. text, 'valor.' See 5556.

5541. So in Shakespeare; 2 Hen. IV. v. 1. 34. Michel cites: 'Verus amicus omni praestantior auro.'

5569. F. text; 'Que vosist-il acheter lores'; &c.

5585, 6. I fill up the lines so as to make sense. miches, F. 'miches.' A miche is a loaf of fine manchet bread, of good quality; see Cotgrave. chiche (l. 5588) is 'niggardly.'

5590. mauis, (as in G. and Th.) is clearly an error for muwis, or, muis, bushels. The F. text has muis, i. e. bushels (from Lat. modius). For the M.E. form muwe or mue, cf. M.E. puwe or pue (Lat. podium). The A.F. form muy occurs in the Liber Custumarum, ed. Riley, i. 62.

5598. that, perhaps 'that gold'; see l. 5592. 'And though that (gold) lie beside him in heaps.' It is better to read it.

5600. Asseth, a sufficiency, enough; see note to P. Plowman, C. xx. 203; and the note to Catholicon Anglicum, p. 13, n. 6.

5619. maysondewe, hospital, lit. 'house of God.' See Halliwell.

5649. Pictagoras, Pythagoras; the usual form, as in Book Duch. 1167. He died about B. C. 510. He was a Greek philosopher, who taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and he is here said to have taught the principle of the absorption of the soul into the supreme divinity. None of his works are extant. Hierocles of Alexandria, in the fifth century, wrote a commentary on the Golden Verses, which professed to give a summary of the views of Pythagoras.

5661. From Boethius, de Consolatione Philosophiæ, lib. i. pr. 5; lib. v. pr. 1. See notes to the Balade of Truth, ll. 17, 19. [ 441 ] 5668. 'According as his income may afford him means.'

5673. ribaud, here used in the sense of 'a labouring man.' In the F. text he is spoken of as carrying 'sas de charbon,' i. e. sacks of coal.

5683. It is quite possible that Shakespeare caught up the phrase 'who would fardels bear,' &c., from this line in a black-letter edition of Chaucer. His next line—'To grunt and sweat under a weary life'—resembles ll. 5675-6; and 'The undiscovered country' may be from ll. 5658-5664. And see note to l. 5541. (But it is proper to add that Shakespearian scholars in general do not accept this as a possibility.)

5699. Read 'in sich a were'; F. 'en tel guerre.'

5700. Insert 'more'; F. 'Qu'il art tous jors de plus acquerre.'

5702. yeten, poured; a false form; correctly, yoten, pp. of yeten, to pour (A. S. gēotan, pp. goten).

5710. Seyne; F. 'Saine'; the river Seine (at Paris).

5739-5744. Not in the F. text, but inserted as a translation of some lines by Guiot de Provins, beginning: 'Fisicien sont apelé Sanz fi ne sont-il pas nommé.' See La Bible Guiot de Provins, v. 2582, in Fabliaux et Contes, édit. de Méon, tom. ii. p. 390. We must spell the words fysyk and fysycien as here written. A mild joke is intended. These words begin with fy, which (like E. fie!) means 'out upon it'; and go on with sy (= si), which means 'if,' and expresses the precariousness of trusting to doctors. Cf. Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer, ii. 222.

5749. 'Because people do not live in a holy manner.' This is ironical. The word 'Her' refers to 'tho that prechen,' i. e. the clergy; F. 'devins.' But the F. text has—'Cil [i. e. the preachers] ne vivent pas loiaument.' See ll. 5750-1.

5759. Proverbial. F. 'Deceus est tex decevierres.' See Reves Ta. A 4321; P. Plowman, C. xxi. 166, and the note.

5799. yeve, gave, i. e. were to give; past pl. subjunctive.

5810. This answers to l. 5170 of the original; after which there is a gap of some 6000 lines, which are entirely lost in the translation. L. 5811 answers to l. 10717 of the F. text. The last portion, or part C, of the E. text (ll. 5811-7698) may be by a third hand. Part C is considerably better than Part B, and approaches very much nearer to Chaucer's style; indeed, Dr. Kaluza accepts it as genuine, but I am not myself (as yet) fully convinced upon this point. See further in the Introduction.

5811. At l. 10715 of the original, we have the lines:—

'Ainsinc Amors a eus parole,
Qui bien reçurent sa parole.
Quant il ot sa raison fenie,
Conseilla soi la baronnie.'


Ll. 5811-2 of the E. text answer to the two last of these.

5824. lyf answers to F. âme; but the F. text has arme, a weapon.

5837. To-moche-yeving; F. 'Trop-Donner.' [ 442 ] 5855, 6. To, i. e. against; F. 'Contre.' Fair-Welcoming; F. 'Bel-Acueil'; called Bialacoil in Fragment B of the translation.

5857. Wel-Helinge, good concealment; F. 'Bien-Celer.'

5894. tan, taken; common in the Northern dialect. So, perhaps, in l. 5900.

5931. letting, hindrance; F. 'puisse empéeschier.' He cannot prevent another from having what he has himself paid for.

5953. According to one account, Aphrodite was the daughter of Cronos and Euonyme; and the Romans identified Aphrodite with Venus, and Cronos with Saturnus. The wife of Cronos was Rhea.

5962. Two of the fathers were Mars and Anchises; and there are several other legends about the loves of Venus.

5966. pole, pool; F. 'la palu d'enfer.'

5978. Here sparth, with trilled r, appears to be dissyllabic; cf. ll. 3962, 5047, 5484, 6025. Or supply with before gisarme.

5984. pulle, pluck; as in Prol. A 652, &c.

5988. 'Unless they continue to increase (F. sourdent) in his garner.'

6002. chinchy, niggardly. For grede read gnede, i. e. stingy (person); A. S. gnēð.

6006. beautee; F. 'volonte'; read leautee; see l. 5959.

6009. For wol read wolde; F. 'Tous les méisse."

6017. they; i. e. a number of barons; see l. 5812.

6024. 'They act like fools who are outrageous,' i. e. they act foolishly. F. 'Il ne feront mie que sage'; which seems to mean just the contrary.

6025. forsworn, with trilled r, seems to be trisyllabic; see note to l. 5978. But it is better to read forsworen.

6026. Ne lette, nor cease. Cf. l. 5967. But read let, pp. prevented.

6027. piment is much the same as clarree; in fact, in l. 5967, where the E. has clarree, the F. text has piment. Tyrwhitt says, s. v. clarre; 'wine mixed with honey and spices, and afterwards strained till it is clear. It is otherwise called Piment, as appears from the title of the following receipt, in the Medulla Cirurgiae Rolandi, MS. Bodl. 761, fol. 86: Claretum bonum, sive Pigmentum,' &c., shewing that piment is spiced wine, with a third part of honey; see Piment in Halliwell.

6033. vicaire, deputy. In Méon's edition, the F. text has: 'Ja n'i querés autres victaires'; but Kaluza quotes five MSS. that read vicaires.

6037. Lat ladies worche, let ladies deal.

6044. 'Shall there never remain to them' (F. demorra).

6057. This, a common contraction for This is; cf. E. 'tis; see 3548.

6068. King of harlots; F. 'rois des ribaus.' The sense is 'king of rascals.' There is a note on the subject in Méon's edition. It quotes Fauchet, Origine des Dignités, who says that the roi des ribauds was an officer of the king's palace, whose duty it was to clear out of it the men of bad character who had no business to be there. M. Méon quotes an extract from an order of the household of king Philippe, A.D. 1290:—'Le Roy des Ribaus, vi. d. de gages, une provende de xl. s. pour robbe pour tout l'an, et mengera à court et n'aura point de livraison.' [ 443 ] It further appears that the title of Roi des ribaus was often jocularly conferred on any conspicuous vagabond; as e.g. on the chief of a gang of strolling minstrels. See the note at p. 369 of Political Songs, ed. T. Wright, where it is shewn that the ribaldi were usually 'the lowest class of retainers, who had no other mode of living than following the courts of the Barons, and who were employed on all kinds of disgraceful and wicked actions.' The word harlot had, in Middle English, a similar sense.

6078. mister, need, use; F. 'mestier.'

6083. 'Which I do not care should be mentioned'; cf. l. 6093, which means—'They do not care to hear such tales.'

6103. 'If I say anything to impair (or lessen) their fame.'

6111. Let, short for ledeth: 'that he leads his life secretly.'

6120. 'Whilst every one here hears.'

6146. to hulstred be, to be concealed; cf. A. S. heolstor, a hiding-place.

6149. Remember that the speaker is Fals-Semblant, who often speaks ironically; he explains that he has nothing to do with truly religious people, but he dotes upon hypocrites. See l. 6171.

6169. lete, let alone, abandon; lette gives no sense.

6186. 'They offer the world an argument.'

6192. 'Cucullus non facit monachum'; a proverb.

'Non tonsura facit monachum, nec horrida uestis,
Sed uirtus animi, perpetuusque rigor'; &c.
Alex. de Neckam (Michel).


6198. cut, for cutteth, cuts; F. trenche. 'Whom Guile cuts into thirteen branches.' I. e. Guile makes thirteen tonsured men at once; because the usual number in a convent was thirteen, viz. a prior and twelve friars.

6204. Gibbe, Gib (Gilbert); a common name for a tom-cat. Shak. has gib-cat, 1 Hen. IV. i. 2. 83. The F. text has Tibers, whence E. Tibert, Tybalt.

6205. A blank line in G.; Th. has—'That awayteth mice and rattes to killen,' which will not rime, and is spurious. I supply a line which, at any rate, rimes; went his wyle means 'turns aside his wiliness.' F. text—'Ne tent qu'a soris et a ras.'

6220. aresoneth, addresses him, talks to him.

6223. what, devel; i. e. what the devil.

6247. The legend of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins, who were martyred by the Huns at Cologne in the middle of the fifth century, is mentioned by Alban Butler under the date of Oct. 21, and is told in the Legenda Aurea. The ciergis (in l. 6248) are wax-candles.

6256. Read mak'th, and (in 6255) the god-e.

6260. wolf; F. Sire Isangrin; such is the name given to the wolf in the Roman de Renard.

6264. wery, worry. Thynne has wirry. In P. Plowman, C. x. 226, [ 444 ] we find the pl. wyryeth, with the various readings wirieth, werien, werrieth, wery. See wurȝen in Stratmann.

6267. treget, trickery; cf. Frank. Ta. F 1141, 1143.

6279. trepeget, a machine for casting stones; see trepeget in Halliwell, and my note to P. Plowman, A. xii. 91. A mangonel is a similar machine.

6280. pensel, banner; cf. P. Plowm. C. xix. 189. Short for penoncel.

6290. stuffen, furnish the wall with defenders.

6305. my lemman, my sweetheart (Abstinence); see l. 6341.

6317-8. Kaluza supplies the words within square brackets: G. has only 'But so sligh is the aperceyuyng,' followed by a blank line, in place of which Th. has the spurious line—'That al to late cometh knowyng.' F. text; 'Mès tant est fort la decevance Que trop est grief l'apercevance.'

6332. 'I am a man of every trade.'

6337. Sir Robert was a knight's name; Robin, that of a common man, as Robin Hood.

6338. Menour. The Friars Minors were the Franciscan, or Grey Friars; the Jacobins were the Dominicans, or Black Friars.

6339. loteby, wench; see P. Plowman, B. iii. 150, and note.

6341. Elsewhere called 'Streyned-Abstinence,' as in ll. 7325, 7366; F. 'Astenance-Contrainte,' i. e. Compulsory-Abstinence.

6345. I. e. 'Sometimes I wear women's clothes.'

6352. 'Trying all the religious orders.'

6354. All the copies wrongly have bete or beate for lete, i. e. leave. Some fancy the text is wrong, because Méon's edition has 'G'en pren le grain et laiz la paille.' But (says Kaluza) three MSS. have—'Je les le grain et pren la paille'; which better suits the context.

6355. To blynde, to hoodwink; F. 'avugler.' For blynde, G. and Th. actually have Ioly! I supply ther, i. e. where; for sense and metre.

6359. bere me, behave; were me, defend myself. The F. text varies.

6365. lette, hinder. The friars had power of absolution, independently of the bishop; and it was a bitter grievance.

6374. tregetry, a piece of trickery; see l. 6267.

6379. 'Through their folly, whether man or woman.'

6385. I. e. at Easter; see Pers. Tale, I 1027. See l. 6435.

6390. Note that the penitent is here supposed to address his own parish-priest. Thus he in l. 6391 means the friar.

6398. This is like the argument in the Somn. Ta. D 2095.

6418. I, for me, would be better grammar. As it stands, me is governed by pleyne, and I is understood. The F. text has: 'Si que ge m'en aille complaindre.'

6423. That is, the penitent will again apply to the friar.

6424. 'Whose name is not.' This means; such is his right name, but he does not answer to it; see l. 6428.

6425. 'He will occupy himself for me,' i. e. will take my part; see Chevise in the New E. Dict., sect. 4b. [ 445 ] 6434. 'Unless you admit me to communion.'

6449. may never have might, will never be able. If the priest is not confessed to, he will not understand the sins of his flock.

6452. this, i. e. this is; see notes to ll. 3548, 6057.

6454. See Prov. xxvii. 23; and cf. John, x. 14.

6464. 'I care not a bean for the harm they can do me.'

6469. 'Shall lose, by the force of the blow.' The rime is a bad one.

6491. Read the acqueyntance, as in Th.; F. 'l'acointance.'

6500. yeve me dyne, give me something to dine off.

6532. Read thrittethe, i. e. thirtieth. See Prov. xxx. 8, 9.

6541, 2. Unnethe that he nis, it is hard if he is not; i. e. he probably is. micher, a petty thief, a purloiner; F. 'lierres.' See the examples of mich in Halliwell. For goddis, read god is; F. 'ou Diex est mentieres.' See Prov. xxx. 9.

6556. 'The simple text, and neglect the commentary.'

6571. bilden is here used as a pt. tense; 'built.' In the next line, read leye, lay, lodged. There is an allusion to the splendid houses built by the friars.

6584. Not in the F. text.

6585. writ, writeth. Alluding to St. Augustine's work De Opere Monachorum, shewing how monks ought to exercise manual labour. His arguments are here made to suit the friars.

6615. 'De Mendicantibus validis; Codex Justin. xi. 25. Justinian, whose celebrated code (called the Pandects) forms the basis of the Civil and Canon Law, was emperor of the Eastern Empire in 527.'—Bell.

6636. 'The allusion seems to be to Matt. xxiii. 14.'—Bell.

6645-52. Not in the F. text, ed. Méon; but found in some MSS.

6653. See Matt. xix. 21.

6665. Alluding, probably, to Eph. iv. 28.

6682. Alluding to Acts xx. 33-35.

6691. Alluding to St. Augustine's treatise De Opere Monachorum ad Aurelium episc. Carthaginensem. Of course he does not mention the Templars, &c.; these are only noticed by way of example.

6693. templers; 'the Knights Templars were founded in 1119 by Hugh de Paganis. Their habit was a white garment with a red cross on the breast. See Fuller, Holy Warre, ii. 16, v. 2.'—Bell. The Knights Hospitallers are described in the same work, ii. 4. The Knights of Malta belonged to this order.

6694. chanouns regulers, Canons living under a certain rule; see the Chan. Yemannes Tale.

6695. 'The White Monks were Cistercians, a reformed order of Benedictines; the Black, the unreformed.'—Bell.

6713. I may abey, 'I may suffer for it'; see Cant. Ta. C 100. The F. text varies.

6749. 'In the rescue of our law (of faith)'; i. e. of Christianity. [ 446 ] 6763. William of Saint-Amour, a doctor of the Sorbonne, and a canon of Beauvais, about A.D. 1260, wrote a book against the friars, entitled De Periculis nouissimorum Temporum. He was answered by St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas, his book was condemned by Pope Alexander IV, and he was banished from France (see l. 6777). See the note in Méon's edition of Le Roman.

6782. This noble, this brave man; F. 'Le vaillant homme.'

6787. ich reneyed, that I should renounce.

6796. papelardye, hypocrisy; see note to l. 415.

6810. garners; i. e. their garners contain things of value.

6811. Taylagiers (not in F. text), tax gatherers. Cf. taillage, tax, tribute; P. Plowm. C. xxii. 37.

6814. 'The poor people must bow down to them.'

6819. wryen himself, cover himself, clothe himself.

6820. pulle, strip them, skin them. A butcher scalds a hog to make the hair come off more easily (Bell).

6824. 'And beguile both deceived men and deceivers.'

6831. entremees. Cotgrave has: 'Entremets, certain choice dishes served in between the courses at a feast.'

6834. 'For, when the great bag (of treasure) is empty, it comes right again (i. e. is filled again) by my tricks.'

6838. Quoted in the Freres Tale, D 1451.

6861. Bigyns, Beguines; these were members of certain lay sisterhoods in the Low Countries, from the twelfth century onwards.

6862. palasyns (F. dames palasines), ladies connected with the court. Allied to F. palais, palace; cf. E. palatine.

6875. Ayens me, in comparison with me.

6887-6922. See Matt. xxiii. 1-8.

6911. burdens, repeated from ll. 6902, 6907, is clearly wrong. Perhaps read borders; F. 'philateres.'

6912. hemmes, borders of their garments, on which were phylacteries.

6948. our alder dede, the action of us all.

6952. parceners, partners; see Partner in my Etym. Dict.

6964. See 2 Cor. vi. 10.

6971. 'I intermeddle with match-makings.' See my note to P. Plowman, C. iii. 92 (B. ii. 87); and cf. Ch. Prol. A 212.

6976. I. e. 'yet it is no real business of mine.'

7000. The friars did not seek retirement, like the monks.

7016. ravisable (F. ravissables), ravenous, ravening; Matt. vii. 15.

7017. Imitated from Matt. xxiii. 15.

7018. werreyen, war; F. 'avons pris guerre.'

7022. bougerons, sodomites; see Godefroy; F. 'bogres.' This long sentence goes on to l. 7058; if (7021) is answered by He shal (7050).

7029. In G. and Th., thefe has become these, by confusion of f with long s; hence also or has become that. But the F. text has—'Ou lerres ou simoniaus.'

7038. But, unless; unless the sinners bribe the friars. [ 447 ] 7043. caleweys, sweet pears of Cailloux in Burgundy. See my note to P. Plowman, B. xvi. 69. pullaille, poultry.

7044. coninges, conies, rabbits; F. 'connis.'

7049. groine, murmur; see note to Kn. Ta. A 2460.

7050. loigne, a length, long piece; see l. 3882.

7057. smerten, smart for; F. 'sera pugni.'

7063. vounde (so in G. and Th.), if a genuine word, can only be another form of founde, pp. of the strong verb finden, to find. I suppose 'found stone' to mean good building-stone, found in sufficient quantities in the neighbourhood of a site for a castle. The context shews that it here means stone of the first quality, such as could be wrought with the squire (mason's square) and to any required scantilone (scantling, pattern). The general sense clearly is, that the friars oppress the weak, but not the strong. If a man is master of a castle, they let him off easily, even if the castle be not built of freestone of the first quality, wrought by first-rate workmen. (Or read founded.)

7071. sleightes, missiles. The translator could think of no better word, because the context is jocular. If the lord of the castle pelted the friars, not exactly with stones, but with barrels of wine and other acceptable things, then the friars took his part.

7076. equipolences, equivocations. The next line suggests that he should refrain from coarse and downright lies (lete = let alone).

7089. 'And if it had not been for the good keeping (or watchfulness) of the University of Paris.' Alluding to William de St. Amour and his friends; see ll. 6554, 6766.

7092. See the footnote. We must either read They had been turmented (as I give it) or else We had turmented (as in Bell). I prefer They, because it is a closer translation, and suits better with Such in the next line.

7093. I insert fals, for the metre; it is countenanced by traitours in l. 7087. The reference is to the supporters of the book mentioned below.

7102. The book here spoken of really emanated from the friars, but was too audacious to succeed, and hence Fals-Semblant, for decency's sake, is made to denounce it. We may note how the keen satire of Jean de Meun contrives to bring in a mention of this work, under the guise of a violent yet half-hearted condemnation of it by a representative of the friars.

The book appeared in 1255 (as stated in the text), and was called Euangelium Eternum, siue Euangelium Spiritus Sancti. It was compiled by some Dominican and Franciscan friars, from notes made by an abbot named Joachim, and from the visions of one Cyril, a Carmelite. It is thus explained in Southey's Book of the Church, chap. xi. 'The opinion which they started was ... that there should be three Dispensations, one from each Person. That of the Father had terminated when the Law was abolished by the Gospel; ... the uses of the Gospel were obsolete; and in its place, they produced a book, [ 448 ] in the name of the Holy Ghost, under the title of the Eternal Gospel.... In this, however, they went too far: the minds of men were not yet subdued to this. The Eternal Gospel was condemned by the church; and the Mendicants were fain to content themselves with disfiguring the religion which they were not allowed to set aside.'

7108. 'In the porch before the cathedral of Notre Dame, at Paris.' A school was for some time held in this porch; and books could be bought there, or near it. Any one could there buy this book, 'to copy it, if the desire took him.'

7113. This is a quotation from the Eternal Gospel. L. 7118 means: 'I am not mocking you in saying this; the quotation is a true one.'

7116. troubler, dimmer; F. 'plus troble.'

7152. This shews that Fals-Semblaunt does not really condemn the book; he only says it is best to suppress it for the present, till Antichrist comes to strengthen the friars' cause. The satire is of the keenest. Note that, in l. 7164, Fals-Semblaunt shamelessly calls the Eternal Gospel 'our book.' See also ll. 7211-2.

7173. I am obliged to supply two lines by guess here, to make out the sense. The F. text has:—

'Par Pierre voil le Pape entendre,
Et les clers seculiers comprendre
Qui la loi Iesu-Crist tendront,' &c.


I. e. By Peter I wish you to understand the pope, and to include also the secular clerks, &c. John represents the friars (l. 7185).

7178. I. e. 'against those friars who maintain all (this book), and falsely teach the people; and John betokens those (the friars) who preach, to the effect that there is no law so suitable as that Eternal Gospel, sent by the Holy Ghost to convert such as have gone astray.' The notion is, that the teaching of John (the type of the law of love, as expounded by the friars) is to supersede the teaching of Peter (the type of the pope and other obsolete secular teachers). Such was the 'Eternal Gospel'; no wonder that the Pope condemned it as being too advanced.

7197-7204. Obscure; and not fully in the F. text.

7217. The mother of Faux-Semblaunt was Hypocrisy (l. 6779).

7227. 'But he who dreads my brethren more than Christ subjects himself to Christ's wrath.'

7243. patren, to repeat Pater-nosters; see Plowm. Crede, 6.

7256. Beggers is here used as a proper name, answering to F. Beguins. The Beguins, members of certain lay brotherhoods which arose in the Low Countries in the beginning of the thirteenth century, were also called Beguards or Begards, which in E. became Beggars. There can be now no doubt that the mod. E. beggar is the same word, and the verb to beg was merely evolved from it. See the articles on Beg, Beggar, Beghard, and Beguine in the New E. Dict. All these [ 449 ] names were derived from a certain Lambert Bègue. The Béguins were condemned at the council of Cologne in 1261, and at the general council of Vienne, in 1311. It seems probable that the term Beggars (Beguins) is here used derisively; the people really described seem to be the Franciscan friars, also called Gray friars; see l. 7258.

7259. fretted, ornamented, decked; from A. S. frætwian, to adorn; cf. l. 4705, and Leg. of Good Women, 1117; here ironical.

tatarwagges, ragged shreds, i. e. patches coarsely sewn on. See tatter in my Etym. Dict. The ending -wagges is allied to wag.

The F. text has: 'Toutes fretelées de crotes,' which means all bedaubed with dirt; see frestelé in Godefroy. The translation freely varies from the original, in a score of places. See next line.

7260. knopped, knobbed, dagges, clouts, patches. A more usual sense of dagge is a strip of cloth; see dagge in Stratmann.

7261. frouncen, shew wrinkles; cf. ll. 155, 3137. The comparison to a quail-pipe seems like a guess; in the F. text, we have Hosiaus froncis, wrinkled hose, and 'large boots like a borce à caillier,' said (in Méon) to mean a net for quails. Any way, the translation is sufficiently inaccurate.

7262. riveling, shewing wrinkles; gype, a frock or cassock; cf. gipoun in Prol. A 75.

7265. Take, betake, offer.

7282. Here again, Beggar answers to F. Beguin; see l. 7256.

7283. papelard, hypocrite; see l. 6796 and note to l. 415.

7288. casting, vomit; see 2 Pet. ii. 22.

7302. See note to l. 6068.

7316. 'Read flayn for slayn; F. Tant qu'il soit escorchiés.'—Kaluza.

7325. Streyned, constrained; F. 'Contrainte-Astenance.'

7348. batels, battalions, squadrons; see Gloss. to Barbour's Bruce.

7363. in tapinage, in secret. Cotgrave has: 'Tapinois, en tapinois, Crooching, lurking ... also, covertly, secretly.' Also: 'Tapineux, lurking, secret'; 'Tapi, hidden'; 'Tapir, to hide; se tapir, to lurk.'

7367. camelyne, a stuff made of camel's hair, or resembling it.

7372. peire of bedis, set of beads, rosary; see Prol. A 159.

7374. bede, might bid; pt. s. subjunctive.

7388. I. e. they often kissed each other.

7392. that salowe horse, that pale horse; Rev. vi. 8.

7403. burdoun, staff; F. 'bordon'; see ll. 3401, 4092.

7406. elengeness, cheerlessness; F. 'soussi,' i. e. souci, care, anxiety. See Wyf of B. Ta. D 1199.

7408. saynt, probably 'girt,' i. e. with a girdle on him like that of a Cordelier (Franciscan). The F. has 'qui bien se ratorne,' who attires himself well. (The epithet 'saint' is weak.) A better spelling would be ceint, but no other example of the word occurs. We find, however, the sb. ceint, a girdle, in the Prol. A 329, spelt seint in MS. Ln., and seynt in MSS. Cm. and Hl. ie vous dy, I tell you, occurs in the Somn. Ta. D 1832. [ 450 ] 7422. Coupe-Gorge, Cut-throat; F. 'Cope-gorge.'

7455. Joly Robin, Jolly Robin, a character in a rustic dance; see Troil. v. 1174, and note.

7456. Jacobin, a Jacobin or Dominican friar. They were also called Black Friars and Friars Preachers (as in l. 7458). Their black robes gave them a melancholy appearance.

7459. 'They would but wickedly sustain (the fame of) their order, if they became jolly minstrels.'

7461. Augustins, Austin Friars; Cordileres, Cordeliers, Franciscan Friars; Carmes, Carmelites, or White Friars; Sakked Friars, Friars of the Sack. The orders of friars were generally counted as four; see note to Prol. A 210. These were the Dominican, Austin, Franciscan, and Carmelite Friars, all of whom had numerous houses in England. There were also Croutched Friars and Friars de Penitentia or de Sacco. The last had houses at Cambridge, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Lynne, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford, and Worcester; see Godwin, Archæologist's Handbook, p. 178.

7467. 'But you will never, in any argument, see that a good result can be concluded from the mere outward appearance, when the inward substance has wholly failed.' Cf. Hous of Fame, 265-6.

7492. fisshen, fish for; see Somn. Ta. D 1820. Cf. Matt. iv. 19.

7520. We are here referred back to ll. 3815-3818, where Wicked-Tongue reports evil about the author (here called the 'young man') and Bialacoil (here called Fair-Welcoming).

7534. 'You have also caused the man to be chased.'

7538. The repetition of thought (in the rime) is correct; the F. text repeats pensee.

7562. 'Meditate there, you sluggard, all day.'

7573. 'Take it not amiss; it were a good deed.'

7578. F. text—'Vous en irez où puis [pit] d'enfer.' And, for puis, some MSS. have cul; a fact which at once sets aside the argument in Lounsbury's Studies in Chaucer, ii. 119.

7581. 'What? you are anything but welcome.'

7588. tregetours, deceivers; cf. treget above, l. 6267.

7605. bemes, trumpets; see Ho. Fame, 1240.

7628. come, coming; see cume in Stratmann.

7633. 'You would necessarily see him so often.'

7645. 'The blame (lit. the ill will) would be yours.' For the use of maugre as a sb., compare l. 4399.

7664. Iolyly, especially; a curious use; F. 'bien.'

7680. 1. 'To shrive folk that are of the highest dignity, as long as the world lasts.' So in the F. text.

7682. I. e. the Mendicant friars had license to shrive in any parish whatever.

7693. 'To read (i. e. give lectures) in divinity'; a privilege reserved for doctors of divinity.

7694. Here G. merely has a wrong half-line:—'And longe haue [ 451 ] red'; with which it abruptly ends, the rest of the page being blank, except that explicit is written, lower down, on the same page.

The last four lines in the F. text are:—

'Se vous volés ci confessier,
Et ce pechié sans plus lessier
Sans faire en jamés mencion,
Vous auréz m'asolucion.'


The last of these lines is l. 12564 in Méon's edition. The last line in the whole poem is l. 22052; leaving 9488 lines untranslated, in addition to the gap of 5546 lines of the F. text at the end of Fragment B. Thus the three fragments of the translation make up less than a third of the original.

The fact that Thynne gives the last six lines correctly shews that his print was not made from the Glasgow MS. Indeed, it frequently preserves words which that MS. omits.


  1. As, e. g. in the curious satirical ballad 'Against the King of Almaigne,' printed in Percy's Ballads, Series II. Book I, and in Wright's 'Political Songs,' p. 69. Henry was also called Henry of Winchester, from the place of his birth.