Chaucerian and Other Pieces/Notes
The text is from Thynne's first edition (1532); the later reprints are of inferior value. No MS. of this piece is known. Rejected spellings are given at the bottom of each page. Conjectural emendations are marked by a prefixed obelus (†). In many places, words or letters are supplied, within square brackets, to complete or improve the sense. For further discussion of this piece, see the Introduction.
Prologue. 1. The initial letters of the chapters in Book I. form the words MARGARETE OF. See the Introduction.
3. by queynt knitting coloures, by curious fine phrases, that 'knit' or join the words or verses together. For colours = fine phrases, cf. Ch., HF. 859; C. T., E 16, F 726.
7. for, because, seeing that; boystous, rough, plain, unadorned; cf. l. 12. The Glossary in vol. vi should be compared for further illustration of the more difficult words.
19. for the first leudnesse, on account of the former lack of skill.
21. yeve sight, enable men to see clearly.
30. conne jumpere suche termes, know how to jumble such terms together. Jumpere should rather be spelt jumpre; cf. jompre in the Gloss. to Chaucer. For such words, see the Glossary appended to the present volume.
but as, except as the jay chatters English; i.e. without understanding it; cf. Ch. Prol. 642.
43. necessaries to cacche, to lay hold of necessary ideas. Throughout this treatise, we frequently find the verb placed after the substantive which it governs, or relegated to the end of the clause or sentence. This absurd affectation often greatly obscures the sense.
45. The insertion of the words perfeccion is is absolutely necessary to the sense; cf. ll. 47, 50. For the general argument, cf. Ch. Boeth. iii.proses 10 and 11, where 'perfection' is represented by suffisaunce, as, e.g., in iii. pr. 11. l. 18.
50. Aristotle's Metaphysics begins with the words: , all men by nature are actuated by the desire of knowledge. The reference to this passage is explicitly given in the Romans of Partenay, ll. 78-87; and it was doubtless a much worn quotation. And see l. 64 below.
58. sightful and knowing, visible and capable of being known.
61. David. The whole of this sentence is so hopelessly corrupt that I can but give it up. Possibly there is a reference to Ps. cxxxix. 14. me in makinge may be put for 'in makinge me.' Tune is probably a misprint for time; lent may be an error for sent; but the whole is hopelessly wrong.
64. Apparently derived from Aristotle, De Animalibus, bk. i. c. 5. The general sense is that created things like to know both their creator and the causes of natural things akin to them ().
67. Considred; i.e. the forms of natural things and their creation being considered, men should have a great natural love to the Workman that made them.
68. me is frequently written for men, the unemphatic form of man, in the impersonal sense of 'one' or 'people'; thus, in King Horn, ed. Morris, 366, 'ne recche i what me telle' means 'I care not what people may say.' Strict grammar requires the form him for hem in l. 69, as me is properly singular; but the use of hem is natural enough in this passage, as me really signifies created beings in general. Cf. me in ch. i. l. 18 below.
80. Styx is not 'a pit,' but a river. The error is Chaucer's; cf. 'Stix, the put of helle,' in Troil. iv. 1540. Observe the expression—'Stygiamque paludem'; Vergil, Aen. vi. 323.
86. I. e. 'rend the sword out of the hands of Hercules, and set Hercules' pillars at Gades a mile further onward.' For the latter allusion, see Ch. vol. ii. p. lv; it may have been taken from Guido delle Colonne. And see Poem VIII (below), l. 349. Gades, now Cadiz.
89. the spere, the spear. There seems to be some confusion here. It was King Arthur who drew the magic sword out of the stone, after 150 knights had failed in the attempt: see Merlin, ed. Wheatley (E. E. T. S.), pp. 100-3. Alexander's task was to untie the Gordian knot.
90. And that; 'and who says that, surpassing all wonders, he will be master of France by might, whereas even King Edward III could not conquer all of it.' An interesting allusion.
96. unconninge, ignorance. There is an unpublished treatise called 'The Cloud of Unknowing'; but it is probably not here alluded to.
98. gadered, gathered. Thynne almost invariably commits the anachronism of spelling the words gader, fader, moder, togider, and the like, with th; and I have usually set him right, marking such corrections with a prefixed obelus (†). Cf. weder in l. 123 below.
100. rekes, ricks. The idea is from Chaucer, L. G. W. 73-4.101, 102. his reson, the reason of him. hayne, hatred.
110. Boëce, Boethius. No doubt the author simply consulted Chaucer's translation. See the Introduction.
115. slye, cunning; evidently alluding to the parable of the unjust steward.
117. Aristotle. The allusion appears to be to the Nicomachean Ethics, bk. i. c. 7: .
122. betiden, happened to me; the i is short. This sudden transition to the mention of the author's pilgrimage suggests that a portion of the Prologue is missing here.
Chap. I. 1. Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met. 1. ll. 1, 2.
12. thing seems to mean 'person'; the person that cannot now embrace me when I wish for comfort.
15. prison; probably not a material prison. The author, in imitation of Boethius, imagines himself to be imprisoned. At p. 144, l. 132, he is 'in good plite,' i.e. well off. Cf. note to ch. iii. 116.
16. caitived, kept as a captive; the correction of caytisned (with ſ for s) to caytifued (better spelt caitived) is obvious, and is given in the New E. Dict., s.v. Caitive.
17, 18. Straunge, a strange one, some stranger; me, one, really meaning 'myself'; he shulde, it ought to be.
21, 22. bewent, turned aside; see New E. Dict., s.v. Bewend. The reading bewet, i.e. profusely wetted, occurs (by misprinting) in later editions, and is adopted in the New E. Dict, s.v. Bewet. It is obviously wrong.
23. of hem, by them; these words, in the construction, follow enlumined. The very frequent inversion of phrases in this piece tends greatly to obscure the sense of it.
24. Margarite precious, a precious pearl. Gems were formerly credited with 'virtues'; thus Philip de Thaun, in his Bestiary (ed. Wright, l. 1503), says of the pearl—
'A mult choses pot valier, ki cestes peres pot aveir,' &c., or, in Wright's translation: 'For him who can have this stone, it will be of force against many things; there will never be any infirmity, except death, from which a person will not come to health, who will drink it with dew, if he has true faith.' See l. 133 below.
28. twinkling in your disese, a small matter tending to your discomfort. Here disese = dis-ease, want of ease. Cf. l. 31 below.
42. 'It is so high,' &c. The implied subject to which it refers is paradise, where the author's Eve is supposed to be. Hence the sense is:—'paradise is so far away from the place where I am lying and from the common earth, that no cable (let down from it) can reach me.'
59. ferdnes is obviously the right word, though misprinted frendes. It signifies 'fear,' and occurs again in ch. ii. ll. 9, 16; besides, it is again misprinted as frendes in the same chapter, l. 13.
63. weyved is an obvious correction for veyned; see the Glossary.70. mercy passeth right, your mercy exceeds your justice. This was a proverbial phrase, or, as it is called in the next clause, a 'proposition.'
79. flitte, stir, be moved; 'not even the least bit.'
80. souded (misprinted sonded by Thynne), fixed; cf. Ch. C.T., B 1769. From O.F. souder, Lat. solidare.
83. do, cause; 'cause the lucky throw of comfort to fall upward'; alluding to dice-play.
96. wolde conne, would like to be able to.
99, 100. me weninge, when I was expecting. ther-as, whereas.
116. no force, it does not matter; no matter for that.
117-20. Evidently corrupt, even when we read flowing for folowing, and of al for by al. Perhaps ther in l. 119 should be they; giving the sense:—'but they (thy virtues) are wonderful, I know not which (of them it is) that prevents the flood,' &c. Even so, a clause is lacking after vertues in l. 118.
126. Thynne has ioleynynge for ioleyuynge, i.e. joleyving, cheering, making joyous. The word is riot given in Stratmann or in Mätzner, but Godefroy has the corresponding O.F. verb joliver, to caress.
Chap. II. 18. a lady; this is evidently copied from Boethius; see Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 1. l. 3. The visitor to the prison of Boethius was named Philosophy; the visitor in the present case is Love, personified as a female; see l. 53 below.
20. blustringe, glance. But the word is not known in this sense, and there is evidently some mistake here. I have no doubt that the right word is blushinge; for the M.E. blusshen was often used in the sense of 'to cast a glance, give a look, glance with the eye'; as duly noted in the New E. Dict, s.v. Blush. The word was probably written bluschinge in Thynne's MS., with a c exactly (as often) like a t. If he misread it as blusthinge, he may easily have altered it to blustringe.
32. neighe, approach; governing me.
37. O my nory, O my pupil! Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 3. l. 10; cf. the same, bk. iii. pr. 11. l. 160. In l. 51 below, we have my disciple.
60. by thyn owne vyse, by thine own resolve; i.e. of thine own accord; see Advice in the New E. Dict. § 6. Vyse is put for avyse, the syllable a being dropped. Halliwell notes that vice, with the sense of 'advice,' is still in use.
64. 'Because it comforts me to think on past gladness, it (also) vexes me again to be doing so.' Clumsily expressed; and borrowed from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 4. ll. 4-7.
74-84. From Matt. xviii. 12; Luke, xv. 4; John, x. 11.
92. Love was kind to Paris, because he succeeded in gaining Helen. Jason was false to Love, because he deserted Hypsipyle and Medea. It is probable that false is misprinted for faire in l. 93; otherwise there is no contrast, as is implied by for.
93. Sesars sonke (sic) should probably be Cesars swink, i.e. Caesar's toil. I adopt this reading to make sense; but it is not at all clear why Caesar should have been selected as the type of a successful lover.95. loveday, a day of reconciliation; see note to Ch. C. T., A 258.
96. 'And chose a maid to be umpire between God and man'; alluding to the Virgin Mary.
114-5. cause, causing, the primary cause, originating these things and many others besides. See note to Troil. iv. 829.
123-4. wo is him; Lat. ve soli, Eccl. iv. 10; quoted in Troil. i. 694.
125. Cf. 'weep with them that weep'; Rom. xii. 15.
138. Here the author bemoans his losses and heavy expenses.
143. For wolde endeynous I here read wolde ben deynous, i.e. would be disdainful; see Deynous in the Gloss. to Chaucer. The New E. Dict. adopts the reading wolde [be] endeynous, with the same sense; but no other example of the adj. endeynous is known, and it is an awkward formation. However, there are five examples of the verb endeign, meaning 'to be indignant'; see Wyclif, Gen. xviii. 30; Ex. xxxii. 22; Is. lvii. 6; Job, xxxii. 2; Wisd. xii. 27.
166. Copied from Troil. iv. 460-1:—
'But canstow playen raket, to and fro,
Netle in, dokke out, now this, now that, Pandare?'
See the note on the latter line.
Wethercocke is a late spelling; the proper M.E. spelling is wedercokke, from a nom. wedercok, which appears in the poem Against Women Unconstant, l. 12.
173. a, an unemphatic form of have; 'thou wouldest have made me.'
180. voyde, do away with. webbes; the web, also called the pin and web, or the web and pin, is a disease of the eyes, now known as cataract. See Nares, s.v. Pin; Florio's Ital. Dict., s.v. Cateratta; the New E. Dict., s.v. Cataract; King Lear, iii. 4. 122; Winter's Tale, i. 2. 291.
191, 192. truste on Mars, trust to Mars, i.e. be ready with wager of battle; alluding to the common practice of appealing to arms when a speaker's truthfulness was called in question. See ch. vii. 10 below (p. 31).
Chap. III. 14. Come of, lit. come off; but it is remarkable that this phrase is used in M.E. where we should now say rather 'come on!' See note to Troil. ii. 1738.
21. mayst thou, canst thou do (or act)?
25-7. 'I never yet set any one to serve anywhere who did not succeed in his service.'
32. 'the nut in every nook.' Perhaps on should be in.
37-8. There is some corruption here. I insert Tho gan I to help out the sense, but it remains partially obscure. Perhaps the sense is:—'Often one does what one does not wish to do, being stirred to do so by the opinion of others, who wanted me to stay at home; whereupon I suddenly began to wish to travel.' He would rather have stayed at home; but when he found that others wanted him to do so, he perversely began to wish to travel.
39. the wynding of the erthe; an obscure expression; perhaps 'the envelopment of the earth in snow.'40. 'I walked through woods in which were broad ways, and (then) by small paths which the swine had made, being lanes with by-paths for seeking (there) their beech-mast.'
42. ladels, by-paths (?). No other example of the word appears. I guess it to be a diminutive of M.E. lade, a path, road, which occurs in the Ormulum; see Stratmann. Perhaps it is a mere misprint for lades.
44, 45. gonne to wilde, began to grow wild; cf. ginne ayen waxe ramage, in l. 48, with the like sense. I know of no other example of the verb to wilde.
52. shippe, ship; not, however, a real ship, but an allegorical one named Travail, i.e. Danger; see ll. 55, 75 below. many is here used in place of meynee, referring to the ship's company; some of whom had the allegorical names of Sight, Lust, Thought, and Will. The 'ship' is a common symbol of this present life, in which we are surrounded by perils; compare the parable of 'the wagging boat' in P. Plowm. C. xi. 32, and the long note to that line.
58. old hate; probably borrowed from Ch. Pers. Tale, I 562; see the note.
64. avowing, vowing; because persons in peril used to vow to perform pilgrimages.
75. my ship was out of mynde, i.e. I forgot all about my previous danger.
84. the man, the merchant-man in Matt. xiii. 45.
105. enmoysed, comforted. Enmoise or emmoise is a variant of M.E. amese, ameise, from O.F. amaiser, amaisier, to pacify, appease, render gentle (Godefroy); answering to the Low Lat. type *ad-mitiare from mitis, gentle. See Amese in the New E. Dict. No other example of the form enmoyse is known.
111. of nothing now may serve, is now of no use (to you).
116. prison; the author has forgotten all about his adventure in the ship, and is now back in prison, as in ch. i.
118. renyant forjuged, a denier (of his guilt) who has been wrongfully condemned.
121. suche grace and non hap, such favour and no mere luck.
124. let-games; probably from Troil. iii. 527; spoilers of sport or happiness. wayters, watchers, watch-men, guards.
131. nothing as ye shulde, not at all as you ought to do.
148. feld, felled, put down, done away with.
153-4. For he ... suffer, a perfect alliterative line; imitated from P. Plowm. C. xxi. 212:—'For wot no wight what wele is, that never wo suffrede.' Clearly quoted from memory; cf. notes to bk. ii. ch. 9. 178, and ch. 13. 86.
157. happy hevinesse, fortunate grief; a parallel expression to lyking tene, i.e. pleasing vexation, in l. 158. These contradictory phrases were much affected by way of rhetorical flourish. For a long passage of this character, cf. Rom. Rose, 4703-50.
158. harse is almost certainly a misprint for harme; then goodlyharme means much the same as lyking tene (see note above). So, in Rom. Rose, 4710, 4733, 4743, we find mention of 'a sweet peril,' 'a joyous pain,' and 'a sweet hell.'
Chap. IV. 2. semed they boren, they seemed to bore; boren being in the infin. mood.
18. For or read for, to make sense; for of disese, for out of such distress come gladness and joy, so poured out by means of a full vessel, that such gladness quenches the feeling of former sorrows. Here gladnesse and joy is spoken of as being all one thing, governing the singular verb is, and being alluded to as it.
25. commensal, table-companion; from F. commensal, given in Cotgrave. See the New E. Dict.
27. soukinges, suckings, draughts of milk; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 2. l. 4.
36. clothe, cloth. This circumstance is copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 2. l. 19.
42. This reference to Love, as controlling the universe, is borrowed from Boeth. bk. ii. met. 8.
47. Read werne (refuse) and wol (will); 'yet all things desire that you should refuse help to no one who is willing to do as you direct him.'
56. every thing in coming, every future thing. contingent, of uncertain occurrence; the earliest known quotation for this use of the word in English.
61-2. many let-games; repeated from above, ch. iii. ll. 124-8. thy moeble; from the same, ll. 131-2.
64. by the first, with reference to your first question; so also by that other, with reference to your second question, in l. 71.
Chap. V. 8. Acrisius shut his daughter Danaë up in a tower, to keep her safe; nevertheless she became the mother of Perseus, who afterwards killed Acrisius accidentally.
14. entremellen, intermingle hearts after merely seeing each other.
16. beestes, animals, beings; not used contemptuously; equivalent to living people in ll. 17, 18.
20. esployte, success, achievement; see Exploit in the New E. Dict.
29. Supply don; 'and I will cause him to come to bliss, as being one of my own servants.'
35. and in-to water, and jumps into the water and immediately comes up to breathe; like an unsuccessful diver.
37. A tree, &c.; a common illustration; cf. Troil. i. 964.
43. this countrè; a common saying; cf. Troil. ii. 28 (and note), 42. And see l. 47 below.
45. 'the salve that he healed his heel with.' From HF. 290.
71. jangelers; referring to l. 19 above. lokers; referring to overlokers; in ch. iii. l. 128.
72. wayters; referring to ch. iii. l. 128.
77. 'It is sometimes wise to feign flight.' Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxii. 103.
85. cornes, grains of corn. I supply bare, i.e. empty.86-7. Who, &c.; a proverb; from Troil. v. 784.
87-8. After grete stormes; see note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 454.
92. grobbed, grubbed; i.e. dug about. Cf. Isaiah, v. 2.
95. a, have (as before). Lya, Leah; Lat. Lia, in Gen. xxix. 17 (Vulgate).
103. eighteth, eighth; an extraordinary perversion of the notion of the sabbatical year. So below, in l. 104, we are informed that the number of workdays is seven; and that, in Christian countries, the day of rest is the eighth day in the week! kinrest, rest for the kin or people; a general day of rest. I know of no other example of this somewhat clumsy compound.
110. sothed, verified; referring to Luke, xiv. 29.
113. conisance, badge. Badges for retainers were very common at this date. See Notes to Richard the Redeless, ii. 2.
117-9. Copied from P. Plowman, C. vii. 24, 25:—
'Lauhynge al aloude, for lewede men sholde
Wene that ich were witty, and wyser than anothere;
Scorner and unskilful to hem that skil shewed.'
As these lines are not found in the earlier versions, it follows that the author was acquainted with the latest version.
124. a bridge; i.e. to serve by way of retreat for such as trust them. wolves, destroyers; here meant as a complimentary epithet.
127. This idea, of Jupiter's promotion, from being a bull, to being the mate of Europa, is extremely odd; still more so is that of the promotion of Aeneas from being in hell (l. 129). Cf. Europe in Troil. iii. 722.
128. lowest degrè; not true, as Caesar's father was praetor, and his aunt married Marius. But cf. C. T., B 3862.
Chap. VI. 3. enfame, infamy, obloquy; from Lat. infamia. Godefroy gives enfamer, to dishonour. The word only occurs in the present treatise; see ll. 6, 7, 15.
12. From Prov. xxvii. 6: 'Meliora sunt vulnera diligentis quam fraudulenta oscula odientis.'
17. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 6. ll. 5-13.
23. Cf. the same; bk. iv. pr. 7. ll. 34-42.
27. Cf. the same; bk. ii. pr. 5. ll. 121, 122.
30. Cf. the same; bk. iv. pr. 6. ll. 184-191.
48. Zedeoreys (or ȝedeoreys). I can find nothing resembling this strange name, nor any trace of its owner's dealings with Hannibal.
53. The (possibly imaginary) autobiographical details here supplied have been strangely handled for the purpose of insertion into the life of Chaucer, with which they have nothing to do. See Morris's Chaucer, vol. i. p. 32 (Aldine edition). The author tells us very little, except that tumults took place in London, of which he was a native, and that he had knowledge of some secret which he was pressed to betray, and did so in order to serve his own purposes.77-8. From Chaucer, Troil. v. 6, 7:—
—'shal dwelle in pyne
Til Lachesis his threed no lenger twyne.'
107. Referring to John, xiv. 27.
114. Athenes; Athene was the goddess who maintained the authority of law and order, and in this sense was 'a god of peace.' But she was certainly also a goddess of battles.
139. mighty senatoures. It has been conjectured that the reference is to John of Gaunt. In the Annals of England, under the date 1384, it is noted that 'John of Northampton, a vehement partisan of the duke, is tried and sentenced to imprisonment and forfeiture. An attempt is also made to put the duke on his trial.' John of Northampton had been mayor of London in 1382, when there was a dispute between the court and the citizens regarding his election; perhaps the words comen eleccion (common election), in l. 125 above, may refer to this trouble; so also free eleccion in l. 140. In l. 143 we must read fate, not face; the confusion between c and t is endless. Perhaps governours in l. 144 should be governour, as in l. 147. Note that the author seems to condemn the disturbers of the peace.
157. coarted by payninge dures, constrained by painful duress (or torture).
165. sacrament, my oath of allegiance. Note that the author takes credit for giving evidence against the riotous people; for which the populace condemned him as a liar (l. 171).
178. passed, surpassed (every one), in giving me an infamous character.
181. reply, i.e. to subvert, entirely alter, recall; lit. to fold or bend back.
189. Here the author says, more plainly, that he became unpopular for revealing a conspiracy.
193. out of denwere, out of doubt, without doubt. Such is clearly the sense; but the word denwere is rejected from the New E. Dict., as it is not otherwise known, and its form is suspicious. It is also omitted in Webster and in the Century Dictionary. Bailey has 'denwere, doubt,' taken from Speght's Chaucer, and derived from this very passage. Hence Chatterton obtained the word, which he was glad to employ. It occurs, for instance, in his poem of Goddwyn, ed. Skeat, vol. ii. p. 100:—
—'No denwere in my breast I of them feel.'
The right phrase is simply out of were; cf. 'withoute were' in the Book of the Duchess, 1295. I think the letters den may have been prefixed accidentally. The line, as printed in Thynne, stands thus: 'denwere al the sothe knowe of these thinges.' I suggest that den is an error for don, and the word don ought to come at the end of the line (after thinges) instead of at the beginning. This would give the readings 'out of were' and 'these thinges don in acte'; both of which are improvements.
194. but as, only as, exactly as.
198. clerkes, i.e. Chaucer, HF. 350; Vergil, Aen. iv. 174.
200. of mene, make mention of. Cf. 'hit is a schep[h]erde that I of mene'; Ancient Metrical Tales, ed. Hartshorne, p. 74.
Chap. VII. 10. profered, offered wager of battle; hence the mention of Mars in l. 11. Cf. note to ch. ii. 191 above, p. 455.
23. he, i.e. thine adversary shall bring dishonour upon you in no way.
34. Indifferent, impartial. who, whoever.
38. discovered, betrayed; so that the author admits that he betrayed his mistress.
46. that sacrament, that the oath to which you swore, viz. when you were charged upon your oath to tell the truth. That is, his oath in the court of justice made him break his private oath.
49. trewe is certainly an error for trewthe; the statement is copied from Jer. iv. 2:—' Et iurabis ... in veritate, et in iudicio, et in justitia.' So in l. 58 below, we have: 'in jugement, in trouthe, and rightwisenesse'; and in l. 53—'for a man to say truth, unless judgement and righteousness accompany it, he is forsworn.'
54. serment, oath; as in l. 52: referring to Matt. xiv. 7.
56. 'Moreover, it is sometimes forbidden to say truth rightfully—except in a trial—because all truths are not to be disclosed.'
60. that worde: 'melius mori quam male vivere'; for which see P. Plowman, C. xviii. 40. Somewhat altered from Tobit, iii. 6:—'expedit mihi mori magis quam vivere.'
61, 62. al, although, enfame, dishonour; as in vi. 3 (see note, p. 458).
63. whan, yet when.
73. legen, short for alegen; 'allege against others.'
75. Here misprinted; read:—'may it be sayd, "in that thinge this man thou demest,"' &c. From Rom. ii. 1; 'in quo enim iudicas alterum, teipsum condemnas.'
83. shrewe, wicked man, i.e. Ham; Gen. ix. 22.
101. emprisonned; so in Thynne; better, emprisouned.
104. brige, contention, struggle, trouble; see note to Ch. C. T., B 2872.
105. after thyne helpes, for your aid; i.e. to receive assistance from you.
108. Selande, Zealand, Zeeland. The port of Middleburg, in the isle of Walcheren, was familiar to the English; cf. note to C. T., Prol. 277. The reference must be to some companions of the author who had fled to Zealand to be out of the way of prosecution. rydinge, expedition on horseback, journey.
109, 110. for thy chambre, to pay the rent of your room. renter, landlord; 'unknown to the landlord.'
112. helpe of unkyndnesse, relieve from unkind treatment.115-6. fleddest, didst avoid. privitè to counsayle, knowledge of a secret.
120-1. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. ll. 31-3.
Chap. VIII. 1. Eft, again. Thynne prints Ofte, which does not give the sense required. Fortunately, we know that the first letter must be E, in order that the initial letters of the Prologue and chapters I. to VIII. may give the word MARGARETE. The reading Ofte would turn this into MARGARETO.
4, 5. From Ch. Troil. iv. 3; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. ll. 19-21.
13. and thou, if thou. Cf. Matt. xviii. 12.
27. in their mouthes, into their mouths; Matt. xii. 34.
31. leve for no wight, cease not on any one's account.
32. use Jacobs wordes. The allusion seems to be to the conciliatory conduct of Jacob towards Esau; Gen. xxxiii. 8, 10, 11. Similarly the author is to be patient, and to say—'I will endure my lady's wrath, which I have deserved,' &c.
41. sowe hem, to sew them together again. at his worshippe, in honour of him; but I can find no antecedent to his. Perhaps for his we should read her.
44. The text has forgoing al errour distroyeng causeth; but distroyeng (which may have been a gloss upon forgoing) is superfluous, and al should be of. But forgoing means rather 'abandonment.'
55. passest, surpassest.
59. by, with reference to.
61. Hector, according to Guido delle Colonne, gave counsel against going to war with the Greeks, but was overborne by Paris. See the alliterative Destruction of Troy, ed. Panton and Donaldson (E. E. T. S.), Book VI; or Lydgate's Siege of Troye, ch. xii.
65. leveth, neglects to oppose what is wrong.
66. The modern proverb is: 'silence gives consent.' Ray gives, as the Latin equivalent, 'qui tacet consentire videtur (inquiunt iuris consulti).' This is the exact form which is here translated.
73. Alluding to the canticle 'Exultet' sung upon Easter Eve, in the Sarum Missal:—'O certe necessarium Ade peccatum.' See note to P. Plowman, C. viii. 126 (or B. v. 491).
80. lurken, creep into lurking-holes, slink away.
95. centre, central point; from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. ll. 18-20. The whole passage (ll. 94-105) is imitated from the same 'prose' of Boethius.
103. London is substituted for 'Rome' in Chaucer's Boethius. Chaucer has—'may thanne the glorie of a singuler Romaine strecchen thider as the fame of the name of Rome may nat climben or passen?' See the last note.
112-6. From Ch. Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 7. 58-62.
116-25. From the same, ll. 65-79. Thus, in l. 123, the word ofte (in Thynne) is a misprint for of the; for Chaucer has—'For of thinges that han ende may be maked comparisoun.' The whole passage shews that the author consulted Chaucer's translation of Boethius rather than the Latin text.127. and thou canst nothing don aright; literally from Chaucer: 'Ye men, certes, ne conne don nothing aright'; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 79. but thou desyre the rumour therof be heled and in every wightes ere; corresponds to Chaucer's—'but-yif it be for the audience of the people and for ydel rumours'; Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 80. Hence heled (lit. hidden) is quite inadmissible; the right reading is probably deled, i.e. dealt round.
134. The words supplied are necessary; they dropped out owing to the repetition of vertue.
135-6. Again copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 7. 106: 'the sowle ... unbounden fro the prison of the erthe.'
Chap. IX. 13. than leveth there, then it remains.
15. for thy moebles, because thy goods.
20. This proverb is given by Hazlitt in the form—
'Who-so heweth over-high,
The chips will fall in his eye.'
Cf. 'one looketh high as one that feareth no chips'; Lyly's Euphues, ed. Arber, p. 467. And see IX. 158 (p. 270).
34. From Chaucer, Boeth. bk. i. pr. 4. 186. The saying is attributed to Pythagoras; see the passage in Chaucer, and the note upon it.
39. a this halfe god, on this side of God, i.e. here below; a strange expression. So again in bk. ii. ch. 13. 23.
46. the foure elementes, earth, air, fire, and water; see notes to Ch. C. T., A 420, 1247, G 1460. Al universitee, the whole universe; hence man was called the microcosm, or the universe in little; see Coriolanus, ii. 1. 68.
64. I sette now, I will now suppose the most difficult case; suppose that thou shouldst die in my service.
71. in this persone; read on this persone; or else, perhaps, in this prisoune.
86. til deth hem departe; according to the phrase 'till death us depart' in the Marriage Service, now ingeniously altered to 'till death us do part.'
96. 'and although they both break the agreement.'
98, 99. accord, betrothal. the rose, i.e. of virginity; as in the Romance of the Rose, when interpreted.
99, 100. Marye his spouse. But the Vulgate has; 'Surge, et accipe puerum et matrem eius'; Matt. ii. 13. The author must have been thinking of Matt. i. 18: 'Cum esset desponsata mater eius Maria Ioseph.'
113. al being thinges, all things that exist.
118. prophete; David, in Ps. xcvi. 5: (xcv. 5 in the Vulgate): 'omnes dii gentium daemonia.'
129. This refers back to ch. iv. 71-2, ch. ix. 14, 20, 56.
Chap. X. 5. last objeccion; i.e. his poverty, see ch. iii. 131, iv. 73, ix. 14.12-8. Imitated from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. pr. 4. 200-17.
18. sayd, i.e. it is said of him.
19. aver, property, wealth; 'lo! how the false man, for the sake of his wealth, is accounted true!'
20. dignitees; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 6.
21. were he out, if he were not in office; cf. l. 23.
26-37. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met. 5. 22-39. Thus, slydinge chaunges in l. 31 answers to Chaucer's slydinge fortune (l. 24); and that arn a fayr parcel of the erthe, in l. 32, to a fayr party of so grete a werk (l. 38); and yet again, thou that knittest, in l. 35, to what so ever thou be that knittest (l. 36).
37-40. From Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met 5. 27-30.
64-7. From the same; bk. ii. pr. 2. 7-12.
71-6. From the same; bk. ii. pr. 2. 23-5.
76-80. Cf. the argument in the same; bk. iii. pr. 3.
85-120. From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 8. For literal imitations, compare the other haleth him to vertue by the hookes of thoughtes (l. 104-5) with Chaucer's 'the contrarious Fortune ... haleth hem ayein as with an hooke' (l. 21); and Is nat a greet good ... for to knowe the hertes of thy sothfast frendes (ll. 107-9) with Chaucer's 'wenest thou thanne that thou oughtest to leten this a litel thing, that this ... Fortune hath discovered to thee the thoughtes of thy trewe frendes' (l. 22). Also ll. 114-6 with Chaucer (ll. 28-31).
126. let us singen; in imitation of the Metres in Boethius, which break the prose part of the treatise at frequent intervals. Cf. 'and bigan anon to singen right thus'; Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 9. 149.
Chap. I. The initials of the fourteen Chapters in this Book give the words: VIRTW HAVE MERCI. Thynne has not preserved the right division, but makes fifteen chapters, giving the words: VIRTW HAVE MCTRCI. I have set this right, by making Chap. XI begin with 'Every.' Thynne makes Chapter XI begin with 'Certayn,' p. 86, l. 133, and another Chapter begin with 'Trewly,' p. 89, l. 82. This cannot be right, because the latter word, 'Trewly,' belongs to the last clause of a sentence; and the Chapter thus beginning would have the unusually small number of 57 lines.
1. Chapter I really forms a Prologue to the Second Book, interrupting our progress. At the end of Book I we are told that Love is about to sing, but her song begins with Chap. II. Hence this first Chapter must be regarded as a digression, in which the author reviews what has gone before (ll. 10-3), and anticipates what is to come (l. 61).
9. steering, government (of God), otherwysed, changed, varied; an extraordinary form.
12, 13. after as, according as. hildeth, outpours.
14-8. There is clearly much corruption in this unintelligible andimperfect sentence. The reference to 'the Roman emperor' is mysterious.
21. woweth; so in Thynne, but probably an error for waweth, i.e. move, shift; see waȝien in Stratmann.
23. phane, vane; cf. 'chaunging as a vane'; Ch. C. T., E 996.
34. irrecuperable, irrecoverable; irrecuperabilis is used by Tertullian (Lewis and Short).
40. armes; this refers, possibly, to the struggle between the pope and anti-pope, after the year 1378.
51-2. lovers clerk, clerk of lovers; but perhaps an error for Loves clerk; cf. Troil. iii. 41.
62-3. ryder and goer, rider on horseback and walker on foot.
77. Translated from 'Fides non habet meritum ubi humana ratio praebet experimentum'; as quoted in P. Plowman, C. xii. 160. This is slightly altered from a saying of St. Gregory (xl. Homil. in Evangelium, lib. ii. homil. 26)—'nec fides humana habet meritum cui humana ratio praebet experimentum.' See note to P. Plowman (as above).
83. as by a glasse, as in a mirror; 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
93. cockle, tares. This seems to refer to the Lollards, as puns upon the words Lollard and lolia were very rife at this period. If so, the author had ceased to approve of Lollard notions. In l. 94, love seems to mean Christian charity, in its highest sense; hence it is called, in l. 95, the most precious thing in nature.
96, 97. The passage seems corrupt, and I cannot quite see what is meant. Perhaps read: 'with many eke-names, [and] that [to] other thinges that the soule [seketh after, men] yeven the ilke noble name.' The comma after kynde in l. 96 represents a down-stroke (equivalent to a comma) in Thynne; but it is not wanted.
99. to thee, i.e. to the 'Margaret of virtue' whose name appears as an acrostic at the head of the Chapters in Book I. and Chapters I-V of Book II; moreover, we find at last that Margaret signifies Holy Church, to which the treatise is accordingly dedicated. tytled of Loves name, entitled the Testament of Love.
103. inseëres, lookers into it, readers.
104. Every thing; with respect to everything to which appertains a cause which is wrought with a view to its accomplishment, Aristotle supposes that the doing of everything is, in a manner, its final cause. 'Final cause' is a technical term, explained in the New E. Dict. as 'a term introduced into philosophical language by the schoolmen as a translation of Aristotle's fourth cause, or , the end or purpose for which a thing is done, viewed as the cause of the act; especially as applied in Natural Theology to the design, purpose, or end of the arrangements of the universe.' The phrase 'the end in view' comes near to expressing it, and will serve to explain 'A final cause' in the next clause.
107. is finally to thilke ende, is done with a view to that result.109. After so, understand 'is it with regard to.'
110. the cause, the cause whereby I am directed, and that for which I ought to write it, are both alike noble.
113. this leude, &c.; I have set about learning this alphabet; for I cannot, as yet, go beyond counting up to three.
115. in joininge, &c.; by proceeding to the joining together of syllables.
124. in bright whele, in (its) bright circuit. Chaucer has wheel in the sense of orbit; HF. 1450.
126. another tretyse. As to this proposed treatise nothing is known. Perhaps it never was written.
Chap. II. 2. in Latin. This suggests that the present chapter may be adapted from some Latin original; especially as the author only gives the sentence or general drift of it. But the remark may mean nothing, and the tone of the chapter is wholly medieval.
24. Saturnes sphere, Saturn's orbit; the supposed outer boundary of the spheres of the seven planets.
27. me have, possess me (i.e. love), since Love is the speaker; i.e. they think they can procure men's love by heaping up wealth.
28. Perhaps place the comma after sowed (sewn), not after sakke.
29. pannes, better spelt panes; see pane in Stratmann. From O.F. pan, panne, Lat. pannus, a cloth, garment, robe. mouled, become mouldy; the very form from which the mod. E. mould-y has been evolved; see muwlen in Stratmann, and mouldy in my Etym. Dict. (Supplement). whicche, chest, from A.S. hwæcca; see P. Plowm. A. iv. 102, where some copies have huche, a hutch, a word of French origin. Thus pannes mouled in a whicche signifies garments that have become mouldy in a chest. See note to C. T., C 734.
30. presse, a clothes-press; observe the context.
35. seventh; perhaps an error for thirde; cf. 'percussa est tertia pars solis'; Rev. viii. 12. He is referring to the primitive days of the Church, when 'the pope went afoot.'
40. defended, forbade (opposed) those taxations. See Taylage in Ch. Glossary.
42. maryed, caused to be married; cf. P. Plowman, B. vii. 29.
47. symonye, simony; cf. note to P. Plowman, C. iii. 63.
48. Observe the rimes: achates, debates; wronges, songes.
49. for his wronges, on account of the wrongs which he commits. personer, better parsoner or parcener, participant, sharer; i.e. the steward, courtier, escheator, and idle minstrel, all get something. See parcener in Stratmann.
50. 'And each one gets his prebend (or share) all for himself, with which many thrifty people ought to profit.'
51. behynde, behindhand; even these wicked people are neglected, in comparison with the losengeour, or flatterer.
52. Note the rimes, forsake, take. it acordeth, it agrees, it is all consistent; see note to l. 74 below.55. at matins; cf. P. Plowm. C. i. 125, viii. 27.
56. bene-breed, bean-bread; cf. P. Plowm. C. ix. 327.
57, 58. Cf. P. Plowman, C. vi. 160-5.
60. shete, a sheet, instead of a napkin to cover the bread; god refers to the eucharist.
62. a clergion, a chorister-boy; see Ch. C. T., B 1693, and the note.
65. broken, torn; as in P. Plowm. B. v. 108, ix. 91.
66. good houndes; cf. P. Plowm. C. vi. 161-5.
69. dolven, buried; 'because they (the poor) always crave an alms, and never make an offering, they (the priests) would like to see them dead and buried.'
69. legistres, lawyers; 'legistres of bothe the lawes,' P. Plowm. B. vii. 14.
71. 'For then wrong and force would not be worth a haw anywhere.' Before plesen something seems lost; perhaps read—'and [thou canst] plesen,' i.e. and you can please no one, unless those oppressive and wrong-doing lawyers are in power and full action.'
74. ryme, rime. The reference is not to actual jingle of rime, but to a proverb then current. In a poem by Lydgate in MS. Harl. 2251 (fol. 26), beginning—'Alle thynge in kynde desirith thynge i-like,' the refrain to every stanza runs thus:—'It may wele ryme, but it accordith nought'; see his Minor Poems, ed. Halliwell, p. 55. The sense is that unlike things may be brought together, like riming words, but they will not on that account agree. So here: such things may seem, to all appearance, congruous, but they are really inconsistent. Cf. note to l. 52 above.
79. beestly wit, animal intelligence.
99. cosinage, those who are my relatives.
104. behynde, behindhand, in the rear. passe, to surpass, be prominent.
109. comeden is false grammar for comen, came; perhaps it is a misprint. The reference is to Gen. ix. 27: 'God shall enlarge Japheth ... and Canaan shall be his servant.' The author has turned Canaan into Cayn, and has further confused Canaan with his father Ham!
112. gentilesse; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 6. 31-4; C. T., D 1109.
116. Perdicas, Perdiccas, son of Orontes, a famous general under Alexander the Great. This king, on his death-bed, is said to have taken the royal signet-ring from his finger and to have given it to Perdiccas. After Alexander's death, Perdiccas held the chief authority under the new king Arrhidaeus; and it was really Arrhidaeus (not Perdiccas) who was the son of a tombestere, or female dancer, and of Philip of Macedonia; so that he was Alexander's half brother. The dancer's name was Philinna, of Larissa. In the Romance of Alexander, the dying king bequeaths to Perdiccas the kingdom of Greece; cf. note to bk. iii. c. ii. l. 25. Hence the confusion.122. Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. met. 6:—'Al the linage of men that ben in erthe ben of semblable birthe. On allone is fader of thinges.... Why noisen ye or bosten of your eldres? For yif thou loke your biginninge, and god your auctor and maker,' &c.
135. one; i.e. the Virgin Mary.
139. After secte, supply I:—'that, in any respect, I may so hold an opinion against her sex.' Secte is properly 'suite'; but here means sex; cf. l. 134.
140. in hem, in them, i.e. in women. And so in l. 141.
Chap. III. 8. victorie of strength; because, according to the first book of Esdras, iv. 14, 15, women are the strongest of all things.
9. Esdram, accus. of Esdras, with reference to the first book of Esdras, called 'liber Esdrae tertius' in the Vulgate.
9, 10. whos lordship al lignes. Something is lost here; lordship comes at the end of a line; perhaps the insertion of passeth will give some sort of sense; whos lordship [passeth] al lignes, whose lordship surpasses all lines. But lignes is probably a corrupt reading.
10. who is, i.e. who is it that? The Vulgate has: 'Quis est ergo qui dominatur eorum? Nonne mulieres genuerunt regem,' &c. But the A. V. has: 'Who is it then that ruleth them, or hath the lordship over them? Are they not women? Women have borne the king,' &c. This translates a text in which mulieres has been repeated.
17-21. From 1 Esdras, iv. 15-7: 'Women have borne the king and all the people that bear rule by sea and land. Even of them came they: and they nourished them up that planted the vineyards, from whence the wine cometh. These also make garments [Lat. stolas] for men; these bring glory unto men; and without women cannot men be.'
21-5. Adapted from 1 Esdras, iv. 18, 19.
30. 'That by no way can they refuse his desire to one that asks well.'
32. of your sectes, of your followers, of those of your sex. Cf. chap. 2. 139 above, and the note.
38. wenen, imagine that your promises are all gospel-truth; cf. Legend of Good Women, 326 (earlier version).
41. so maked; 'and that (i.e. the male sex) is so made sovereign and to be entreated, that was previously servant and used the voice of prayer.' Men begin by entreating, and women then surrender their sovereignty.
43. trewe; used ironically; i.e. untrue.
45, 46. what thing to women it is, what a thing it is for women. Ll. 45-58 are borrowed, sometimes word for word, from Ch. HF. 269-85. See note to l. 70 below, and the Introduction, § 11.
47. 'All that glisters is not gold'; see Ch. C. T., G 962, and the note. But it is here copied from Ch. HF. 272.
55. whistel, pipe. Cf. note to P. Plowm. B. xv. 467.
60. is put, i.e. she (each one of them) is led to suppose.63, 64. Copied from Ch. HF. 305-10.
67. they, i.e. women; cf. l. 58. So also in l. 68.
68. ye, i.e. ye men; so also you in l. 69.
70-81. Expanded from Ch. HF. 332-59; observe how some phrases are preserved.
91. 'Faciamus ei adiutorium simile sibi'; Gen. ii. 18.
92. this tree, i.e. Eve, womankind. So in l. 96.
100. 'What is heaven the worse, though Saracens lie concerning it?'
111. dames, mothers; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. met. 6. 1-9.
114. way, path; it lightly passe, easily go along it.
115. This proverb is copied from Ch. HF. 290-1; just as the proverb in l. 47 is from the same, l. 272. Compare p. 22, ll. 44-5.
131-2. Obscure; and apparently imperfect.
Chap. IV. 2. Either my or to me should be struck out.
4-8. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 2. 3-8. 14-6. From the same, 8-12.
20-1. by wayes of riches; cf. richesses in Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 2. 20; so also dignite answers to digne of reverence in the same, l. 21; power occurs in the same, l. 24; and renomè answers to renoun in l. 26.
21. wening me, seeing that I supposed.
22. turneth; 'it goes against the hair.' We now say—'against the grain.'
45. The words between square brackets must be supplied.
55. holden for absolute, considered as free, separate, or detached; as in Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 6. 169.
56. leveth in, there remain in, i.e. remain for consideration, remain to be considered. When 'bestial' living is set aside, 'manly' and 'resonable' are left.
61. riches, &c.; from Boethius. See riches discussed in Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 5; dignitè, in pr. 6; renomè, or fame, in pr. 7; and power, along with dignitè, in pr. 6.
99. as a litel assay, as if for a short trial, for a while.
100. songedest, didst dream; from F. songer. I know of no other example of this verb in English. However, Langland has songewarie, interpretation of dreams, P. Plowman, C. x. 302.
113. thy king; presumably, Richard II; cf. l. 120.
116. to oblige, to subject thy body to deeds of arms, to offer to fight judicially; as already said above; cf. bk. i. c. 7. 10.
138. 'Love and the bliss already spoken of above (cf. 'the parfit blisse of love,' bk. ii. c. 1. 79) shall be called "the knot" in the heart.' This definition of "the knot," viz. as being the perfect bliss or full fruition of love, should be noted; because, in later chapters, the author continually uses the phrase "the knot," without explaining what he means by it. It answers to 'sovereyn blisfulnesse' in Chaucer's Boethius.
141. inpossession is all one word, but is clearly an error. The right word is certainly imposition. The Lat. impositio was a grammatical term, used by Varro, signifying the imposing of a name, or theapplication of a name to an object; and the same sense of O.F. imposition appears in a quotation given by Godefroy. It is just the word required. When Love declares that she shall give the name of "the knot" to the perfect bliss of love, the author replies, 'I shall well understand the application of this name,' i.e. what you mean by it; cf. l. 149.
147. A goddes halfe, lit. on the side of God; with much the same sense as in God's name; see Ch. C. T., D 50.
Chap. V. 3. richesse is singular; it was probably Thynne who put the following verbs into plural forms.
5. Aristotle. Perhaps the reference is to the Nicomachean Ethics, i. 1.
15-20. The argument is from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 5. 84, 122.
57, 58. From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 5. 45-7.
65. Cf. 'Why embracest thou straunge goodes as they weren thyne?' Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 5. 50.
67-77. From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 5. 52-69.
79-110. From the same; ll. 71-80; 88-133.
Chap. VI. Suggested by Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 6.
11-4. From the same, 57, 58; 54-7; 62-4.
25. dignites ... is as the sonne; the verb is agrees with the latter substantive sonne.
26-9. From the same as above, 4-6; the author substitutes wilde fyre for Chaucer's flaumbe of Ethna.
30. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 6. 75-8.
38. Perhaps read dignitè in suche thing tene y-wrought; 'as dignity in such a case wrought harm, so, on the contrary, the substance in dignity, being changed, rallied (so as) to bring in again a good condition in its effect.' Obscure. 'Dignities' are further discussed in Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4.
74-7. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4. 64-70.
78. Nero. The name was evidently suggested by the mention of Nero immediately after the end of Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4 (viz. in met. 4); but the story of Nero killing his mother is from an earlier passage in Boethius, viz. bk. ii. met. 6.
81. king John. By asserting his 'dignity' as king against prince Arthur, he brought about a war in which the greater part of the French possessions of the crown were lost.
82. nedeth in a person, are necessary for a man.
99. such maner planettes, planets such as those; referring to the sun and moon mentioned just above; ll. 87, 91. The sun and moon were then accounted as being among the seven planets.
100-1. 'That have any desire for such (ill) shining planets to appear any more in that way.'
117-8. I not, I do not know. and thou see, if thou shouldst see. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4. 22-7.
123-8. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4. 31-9.
127. besmyteth, contaminates, defiles. Note that the author is here reproducing Chaucer's bispotten and defoulen (pr. 4. 38). The word isnoted in Stratmann, because the A.S. besmītan, in this sense, occurs in Mark, vii. 15. The form besmitten is commoner, four examples of it being given in the New E. Dict., s.v. besmit. The verb besmite has escaped recognition there, because the present passage has not been noted. So also, in the next line, smyteth has a like sense. Smitted occurs in Troilus, v. 1545.
129. fyr, fire; from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4. 47.
132-4. From the same; ll. 48-53.
138. The sentence is incomplete and gives no sense; probably a clause has dropped out after the word goodnesse. I cannot set it right.
143-5. Imitated from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 4. 55-7.
153-6. Suggested by the same; ll. 64-70.
164. Cf. 'leve hem in [or on] thy lift hand'; P. Plowman, C. viii. 225.
Chap. VII. Suggested by Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 5.
8. Nero; from the same, bk. iii. met. 4. 4, 5.
14. ensamples; answers to ensaumples in the same, bk. iii. pr. 5. 4.
17. Henry Curtmantil, Henry II. 'Henry short mantell, or Henry the seconde'; Fabyan, ed. Ellis, p. 260. 'In his fifty-fifth year he thus miserably expired, and his son Geoffrey of Lincoln with difficulty found any one to attend to his funeral; the attendants had all fled away with everything valuable that they could lay their hands on'; Miss Yonge, Cameos from English History (1869); p. 180.
20. Copied without material alteration from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 5. 5-7.
23. power of rëalmes; from the same, l. 7.
30-9. Copied, in part literally, from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 5. 8-17.
39-42. From the same; ll. 20-5.
50-2. Cf. 'Holdest thou thanne thilke man be mighty, that thou seest that he wolde don that he may nat don?' the same; ll. 23-5.
72. overthrowen would be better grammar.
74-8. From the same prose, ll. 25-9.
78. warnisshed, guarded. warnishe, guard; the hour of warnishe, the time of his being guarded.
81. famulers, household servants; borrowed from Chaucer's familieres in the same prose, l. 29.
82. sypher, cipher in arithmetic. Though in itself it signifies nothing, yet appended to a preceding figure it gives that figure a tenfold value. Cf. Richard the Redeless, iv. 53-4:—
'Than satte summe as siphre doth in awgrym
That noteth a place, and no-thing availeth.'
92. the blynde; alluding to a common fable.
95-6. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 5. 32-4.
98-9; 101-3. From the same; ll. 41-6.
105-8. From the same, ll. 48-51.109-12. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. met. 5.
114-6. Here the author suddenly dashes off to another book of Boethius; see bk. ii. pr. 6. 44-5.
117. Buserus; Chaucer has Busirides in his text of Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 6. 47 (whose text our author here follows); but Busirus in the Monkes Tale, B 3293. The true name is Busiris, of which Busiridis is the genitive case. Chaucer evolved the form Busirides out of the accusative Busiridem in Boethius. See note in vol. ii. p. 433.
118. Hugest; substituted for the example of Regulus in Boethius. Hugest is probably an error for Hengest, i.e. Hengist. The story of his slaughter of the Britons at Stonehenge by a shameful treachery is famous; he certainly 'betrayed many men.' See Fabyan, ed. Ellis, p. 66; Rob. of Gloucester, l. 2651 (ed. Hearne, p. 124). The story of his death is not inconsistent with the text. Rob. of Gloucester, at l. 2957 (ed. Hearne, p. 140) tells how he was suddenly seized, in a battle, by Eldol, earl of Gloucester, who cried out for help; many came to his assistance, and Hengist was taken alive. Shortly afterwards, at the instance of Eldad, bishop of Gloucester, Eldol led him out of the town of Corneboru, and smote his head off. Eldad's verdict was:—
'Also doth by this mon that so moche wo ath y-do,
So mony child y-mad faderles, dighteth him al-so.'
The name of his betrayer or capturer is given as Collo in our text; but proper names take so many forms that it is not much to go by. Thus, the very name which is given as Eldol in one MS. of Robert of Gloucester (l. 2679) appears as Cadel in another. Fabyan calls him Edolf (p. 66), and makes him Earl of Chester. Layamon (ed. Madden, ii. 268) calls him Aldolf.
120. 'Omnes enim, qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt'; Matt. xxvi. 52.
122. huisht, hushed, silent; cf. hust in Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. met. 5. 16.
130-2. Cf. the same, bk. iv. pr. 2. 31-4.
132. 'But then, as for him who could make you wretched, if he wished it, thou canst not resist it.' The sentence appears to be incomplete.
135. flye, fly; substituted for Chaucer's mous; see his Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 6. 22-4.
139-42. From the same, ll. 25-9.
148-9. Why there, i.e. 'wherefore (viz. by help of these things) there is no way,' &c. Cf. 'Now is it no doute thanne that thise weyes ne ben a maner misledinges to blisfulnesse'; Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 8. 1-2.
Chap. VIII. 5. renomè, renown; answering to glori and renoun in Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 6. 1, 6. But there is not much imitation of Chaucer in the former part of this chapter.37. abouten, round about; i.e. you have proved a contradiction.
39. acorden, agree; by lacking, with respect to blame and praise.
42. elementes, the four elements. Sir T. Elyot's Castel of Helthe (1539) presents the usual strange medieval notions on medicine. He begins by saying that we must consider the things natural, the things not natural, and the things against nature. The things natural are seven, viz. elements, complexions, humours, members, powers, operations, and spirits. 'The Elementes be those originall thynges vnmyxt and vncompounde, of whose temperance and myxture all other thynges, hauynge corporalle substance, be compacte: Of them be foure, that is to saye, Erthe, Water, Ayre, and Fyre.
Erthe is the moost grosse and ponderouse element, and of her proper nature is colde and drye.
Water is more subtyll and lyght thanne erthe, but in respect of Ayre and Fyre, it is grosse and heuye, and of hir proper Nature is colde and moyste.
Ayre is more lyghte and subtylle than the other two, and beinge not altered with any exteriour cause, is properly hotte and moyste.
Fyre is absolutely lyght and clere, and is the clarifier of other elementes, if they be vyciate or out of their naturall temperaunce, and is properly hotte and drye.' Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. met. 9. 13-7.
50. oned, united; see the last note.
52. erthe (see the footnote) is an obvious error for eyre; so also in l. 53. But the whole of the argument is ridiculous.
68-9. Copied from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 6. 3-4. From the Andromache of Euripides, l. 319; see the note in vol. ii. p. 439.
69-71. From Chaucer, as above, ll. 5-9.
75-81. From the same, ll. 9-17.
82. obstacles; they are enumerated in bk. i. c. 8. l. 98 (p. 37).
85-7; 89-97. From Chaucer, bk. iii. pr. 6. ll. 21-34.
99. I do not know the source of this saying. Cf. C.T., D 1109-12.
102-7. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 8. 26-35.
104-5. fayre and foule, handsome and ugly men; hewe, beauty.
107-10. thilke—knotte; equivalent to 'they ne ben nat weyes ne pathes that bringen men to blisfulnesse'; Ch., as above, ll. 42-3.
122. Cf. 'But alday fayleth thing that fooles wenden'; certainly the right reading of Troil. i. 217; see note on the line; vol. ii. p. 463.
124. the sterre, the star of the Southern pole; so in the next line, the Northern pole-star.
126. out-waye-going, going out of the way, error of conduct; which may be called, as it were, 'imprisonment,' or 'banishment.' It is called Deviacion in bk. iii. ch. i. 6, which see.
127. falsed, proved false, gave way.
130. Cf. 'It suffyseth that I have shewed hiderto the forme of false welefulness'; Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 9. 1. With line 131, cf. the same, ll. 5-7.Chap. IX. 1-5. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 9. 9-11.
9. The 'harmony' or music of the spheres; see Troil. v. 1812-3; Parl. Foules, 59-63, and the note in vol. i. p. 507.
37-8. sugre ... soot; cf. 'sucre be or soot,' Troil. iii. 1194; and 'in her hony galle'; C. T., B 3537.
54. Flebring; omitted in the New E. Dict., as being a false form; there is no such word. Mr. Bradley suggests flekring or flekering, which is probable enough. The M.E. flekeren, also spelt flikeren, meant not only to flutter, but to be in doubt, to vacillate, and even to caress. We may take it to mean 'light speech' or 'gossip.'
65. 'Good and yvel ben two contraries'; Ch. Boeth. bk. iv. pr. 2. 10.
74. in that mores, in the possession of that greater thing.
77-8. Cf. l. 81 below. Hence the sense is: 'and that thing which belongs to it (i.e. to the knot) ought to incline to its superior cause out of honour and good-will.' But it is clumsy enough; and even to get this sense (which seems to have been that intended) we must alter mores to more. The form was probably miswritten mores here owing to the occurrence of mores just above (l. 74) and just below (l. 79). It proceeds thus:—'otherwise, it is rebellious, and ought to be rejected from protection by its superior.'
116. From Troil. iii. 1656-9.
129-38. Perhaps the finest passage in the treatise, but not very original. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxi. 456-7; Ch. Boeth. bk. iv. met. 6. 20-3.
133. Cf. 'ones a yere al thinges renovelen'; Ch. C. T., I 1027.
134. Cf. 'To be gayer than the heven'; Book of the Duch. 407.
139. Imitated from Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 2. 54-5; but with the substitution of 'garmentes' for 'tonnes.'
143. proverbe, proverb. 'When bale is hext (highest), then bote is next'; Proverbs of Hending; see notes to Gamelyn, ll. 32, 631, in vol. v. pp. 478, 486. For hext our author substitutes a nyebore, i.e. a neighbour, nigh at hand.
151. The truth of astrology is here assumed.
155-70. I suspect that this account of the days of the week (though no doubt familiar in those days to many) was really copied from Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe, part ii. sect. 12 (vol. iii. p. 197). For it contains a remarkable blunder. The word noon in l. 163 should, of course, be midnight; but, as Chaucer omits to say when the first planetary hour of the day occurs, the author was left to himself in regard to this point. Few people understand why the day after Sunday must needs be Monday; yet it is very simple. The principle is given in the footnote to vol. iii. p. 197 (cf. vol. v. p. 86), but may here be stated a little more plainly. The earth being taken as the centre of the planetary system, the planets are arranged in the order of the radii of their orbits. The nearest planet is the Moon, then Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. These were arranged by the astrologers in the reverse order; viz. Saturn, Jupiter,Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon; after which the rotation began over again, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, &c.; as before. If we now divide Sunday into twenty-four hours, and assign the first of these to the Sun, the second to Venus (next in rotation), the third to Mercury, and so on, the eighth hour will again fall to the Sun, and so will the fifteenth and the twenty-second. Consequently, the twenty-third (like the second) belongs to Venus, the twenty-fourth to Mercury, and the twenty-fifth to the Moon. But the twenty-fifth hour is the first hour of the new day, which is therefore the day of the Moon. And so throughout.
Since the twenty-second hour belongs to the Sun, and the twenty-fifth to the Moon, the planetary interval from day to day is really obtained by pitching upon every third planet in the series, i.e. by skipping two. Hence the order of ruling planets for each day (which rule depends upon the assignment of the first hour) is obviously—the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn; or, in Anglo-Saxon terminology, the Sun, the Moon, Tīw, Wōden, Thunor (Thur), Frige, and Sætern (Sæter).
178. Cf. 'here wo into wele wende mote atte laste'; P. Plowman, C. xxi. 210. See notes to ch. 13. 86 below, and bk. i. 3. 153.
180. Cf. Troil. iv. 836, and the note (vol. ii. p. 490).
196. slawe, slain; the usual expression; cf. Compl. of Mars, 186; Compl. unto Pitè, 112.
Chap. X. 1-6. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 9. 1-4; pr. 10. 1-4.
7. three lyves; as mentioned above, bk. ii. ch. 4. 44-6.
18. firste sayde; viz. in bk. ii. ch. 4. 56.
28-34. Borrowed from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. met. 7.
37. a fair parcel. Similarly, Boethius recites his former good fortune; bk. ii. pr. 3. 20-43.
45. He insists that he was only a servant of conspirators; he would have nothing to do with the plot (l. 50); yet he repented of it (l. 49); and it is clear that he betrayed it (bk. i. ch. 6. l. 189).
58. farn, for faren, fared. Fortune; cf. the complaints of Boethius, bk. i. met. 1. 19; pr. 4. 8; bk. ii. met. 1.
68-71. From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 4. 57-61.
81-3. From the same; bk. ii. pr. 4. 122; pr. 3. 61.
84-7. From the same; pr. 4. 127-32.
88-105. From the same; pr. 3. 48-63.
96. both, booth; Chaucer has tabernacle; pr. 3. 56.
105-10; 115-20. From the same; bk. ii. pr. 4. 33-42.
126-9. From the same; ll. 43-7.
133. Here begins a new chapter in Thynne; with a large capital C. See note to book ii. ch. i.
148-50. From Ch. Boeth. bk. ii. pr. 4. 97-101.
155. 'The soules of men ne mowe nat deyen in no wyse'; the same, ll. 122-3.
163. oon of three; see ch. 10. 10 above (p. 83).Chap. XI. 11-3. Not in character; the author forgets that Love is supposed to be the speaker, and speaks in his own person.
40-8. From Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. met. 8. 3-7, 16-8; pr. ix. 12-16, 66-70; somewhat varied.
56. over his soule; cf. 'but only upon his body'; the same, bk. ii. pr. 6. 31.
56-69. The general idea corresponds with the same, bk. iii. pr. 9. I observe no verbal resemblance.
82. Thynne begins a new chapter here, with a large capital T. See note to bk. ii. ch. i.
93. Plato. This story is told of Socrates, and is given in the note to C. T., I 670, in vol. v. p. 466; from Seneca, De Ira, lib. i. c. 15.
111. conclude seems here to mean 'include,' as in C. T., G 429.
121. habit ... monk; 'Cucullus non facit monachum'; a common medieval proverb; see Rom. Rose, 6192, and the note.
125. cordiacle is Thynne's misprint for cardiacle; cf. 'That I almost have caught a cardiacle'; C.T., C 313.
Chap. XII. 8. in place, i.e. present; chafinge, warming.
14. neigheth, approaches; and it ... be, if it can be.
17. Donet, primer, elementary book of instruction; named from Donatus, the grammarian; see note to P. Plowman, C. vii. 215.
32. muskle; referring to bk. i. ch. 3. 78.
35. excellence of coloures, its (outward) blue colour. Blue was the emblem of constancy and truth; see note to C. T., F 644 (vol. v. p. 386). For coloures we should rather read colour; the same error occurs in l. 43 below (see footnote).
45. 'When pleasant weather is above.'
46. 'Betokening steadfastness (continuance) in peace'; cf. note to l. 35 above.
47. The following is Pliny's account of the Pearl, as translated by Holland; bk. ix. c. 35.
'This shell-fish which is the mother of Pearle, differs not much in the manner of breeding and generation from the Oysters; for when the season of the yeare requireth that they should engender, they seeme to yawne and gape, and so do open wide; and then (by report) they conceive a certaine moist dew as seed, wherewith they swell and grow big; ... and the fruit of these shell-fishes are the Pear[l]es, better or worse, great or small, according to the qualitie and quantitie of the dew which they receiued. For if the dew were pure and cleare which went into them, then are the Pearles white, faire, and Orient: but if grosse and troubled, the Pearles likewise are dimme, foule, and duskish; ... according as the morning is faire, so are they cleere; but otherwise, if it were misty and cloudy, they also will be thicke and muddy in colour.'
50. The sense of Margaryte in this passage is the visible church of Christ, as the context shews. In book iii. ch. 9. 160, the author tells us that it signifies 'grace, lerning, or wisdom of god, or els holy church.'52. mekenesse, humility; cf. l. 63. The church is descended from Christ, who is the heavenly dew.
56. reduced in-to good, connected with good; mene, intermediate.
58. beestes, living things that cannot move; the very word used by Chaucer, Boeth. bk. v. pr. 5. 20; compare the passage.
64. There is something wrong; either discendeth should be discended, or we should understand and before to; and perhaps downe should be dewe; cf. l. 68. The reference seems to be to the Incarnation.
68. Here the Protean word Margaryte means 'the wisdom of god,' judging by the context; see note to l. 50 above.
78. This does not mean 'I would have explained it better,' but 'I should like to have it better explained.'
86. Margaryte here means the visible church, as before (l. 50); to the end of the chapter.
91. welde, possess; and all that he now possesses is his life.
108. yvel spekers; this seems to allude to the Lollards, who ought (he says) to be 'stopped and ashamed.'
114. This shews that Margarete does not mean a woman; for it is declared to be as precious as a woman, to whom it is likened.
121. deedly, mortal. Hence Margarete does not mean the church in general, but the visible church at the time of writing, the church militant.
Chap. XIII. 11. 'To be evil, is to be nothing.' The general argument follows Ch. Boeth. bk. iv. pr. 2. 143-94, and pr. 4.
23. a this halfe, on this side of, under; cf. note to bk. i. ch. 9. 39.
30. determinison, determination; a correct form. Cf. venison from Lat. acc. uenationem. Accordingly, the O.F. forms were determinaison, -eson, -oison, as given by Godefroy. He supplies the example: 'Definicio, difinicion ou determineson,' from an old glossary. Hence determination is here used in the sense of 'definition,' as is obvious from the context. Thynne prints determission, which makes nonsense; and there is no such word. The present passage is entered in the New E. Dict. under determission, with the suggestion that it is an error; it might have been better to enter it under determinison (or -eson); but it is always difficult to know how to deal with these mistakes of printers and editors.
33. your-selfe sayd; referring to l. 4 above.
35. y-sayd good, called 'good.'
40. participacion; from Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 10. 110.
43. Austen, St. Augustin; and so Pope, Essay on Man, i. 294:—'One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.'
49. Boece, Boethius; whom the author here mentions just once more; see his former allusion in bk. i. prologue, 110. The reference is to bk. iii. pr. 10. 153-84.
53. apeted to, sought after, longed for, desired. Apete is a correct form, as it represents an O.F. *apeter; but the usual O.F. form is appeter (Littré, s.v. appéter), from Lat. appetere. See New E. Dict., s.v. Appete, where a quotation is given from Chaucer, L. G. W. 1582.But the right reading in that line is surely appetyteth, as appeteth will not scan; unless we strongly accent the initial As. See vol. ii. p. 137, l. 1582 and footnote, and the note to the line, at p. 328.
56. This stands for This is, as usual; see notes to C. T., A 1091, E 56.
71. betterer, better; not necessarily a misprint. The form bettyrer occurs in the Catholicon Anglicum.
72. his kyndely place, its natural position; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 11. 100-2.
77. blacke; cf. Troil. i. 642.
82. yeven by the ayre, endowed by the air with little goodness and virtue; because the dew that produced the pearl fell through the air; see note to ch. xii. 47 above. Hence matier is material, viz. the dew.
86. unpees, war. The general argument, with the contrast of colours above mentioned, occurs in P. Plowman, C. xxi. 209-21; cf. also ll. 144-66. Of these lines, ll. 210 and 212 have already been explicitly cited above: see notes to bk. i. ch. 3. 153, and to bk. ii. ch. 9. 178.
92. Pallas; we should have expected 'Minerva'; however, Pallas occurs five times in Troilus.
94. and Mercurie, if Mercury; but it is obscure.
99. a dewe and a deblys. Under Adieu, in the New E. Dict., we find: 'fig. an expression of regret at the loss or departure of anything; or a mere exclamatory recognition of its disappearance; = away, no longer, no more, all is over with. c. 1400 Test. Love ii. (1560) 292/1. Adewe and adewe blis.'
Something has gone wrong here; the edition of 1561 (not 1560) has, at fol. 306, back (not 292) the reading 'a dewe and a deblis'; as in the text. The same reading occurs in all the earlier black-letter editions and in Chalmers; there being no other authority except Thynne. I do not understand the passage; the apparent sense is: 'his name is given a dieu and to devils'; i.e. (I suppose) is renounced. Deblis for 'devils' is a possible form; at any rate, we find deblet, deblerie, for devilet and diablerie; see New E. Dict., under Dablet and Deblerie.
115-6. 'That which is good, seems to me to be wholly good.' This is extremely significant. 'The church is good, and therefore wholly good,' is evidently intended. In other words, it needs no reform; the Lollards should let it alone. In ch. 14. 24, he plainly speaks of 'heretics,' and of the errors of 'mismeninge people.'
130. leve, believe. L. 120 shews that he hopes for mercy and pity; we may safely conclude that he had been a Lollard once. Cf. ch. 14. 2-4.
Chap. XIV. 6. Proverbes. He refers to Prov. vii. 7-22: 'Considero uecordem iuuenem, qui ... graditur in obscuro, in noctis tenebris; et ecce occurrit illi mulier ornatu meretricio, praeparata ad capiendas animas, garrula et uaga, quietis impatiens ... dicens ... ueni, inebriemur uberibus, et fruamur cupitis amplexibus ... statim eam sequitur quasi bos ductus ad uictimam.'
25. skleren and wimplen, veil and cover over. He probably foundthe word skleire, a veil, in P. Plowman, C. ix. 5 (cf. also B. vi. 7, A. vii. 7), as that is the only known example of the substantive. The verb occurs here only. Other spellings of skleire, sb., in the MSS., are sklayre, scleyre, slaire, skleir, sleire, sleyre. Cf. Du. sluier, G. Schleier.
29. by experience; i.e. the author had himself been inclined to 'heresy'; he was even in danger of 'never returning' (l. 38).
36. weyved, rejected; he had rejected temptations to Lollardry.
38. shewed thee thy Margarite; meaning (I suppose) shewn thee the excellence of the church as it is.
40. Siloë, Siloam. It is a wonder where the author found this description of the waters of the pool of Siloam; but I much suspect that it arose from a gross misunderstanding of Isaiah, viii. 6, 7, thus:—'the waters of Shiloah that go softly ... shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.' In the Vulgate: 'aquas Siloë, quae uadunt cum silentio ... ascendet super omnes riuos eius, et fluet super uniuersas ripas eius.' Hence cankes in l. 44 is certainly an error for bankes; the initial c was caught from the preceding circuit.
46. After Mercurius supply servaunts or children. The children or servants of Mercury mean the clerks or writers. The expression is taken from Ch. C. T., D 697:—
'The children of Mercurie and of Venus
Ben in hir wirking ful contrarious.'
47. Veneriens, followers of Venus; taken from Ch. C. T., D 609.
52. that ben fallas; that is to say, deceptions. See Fallace in the New E. Dict.
60. sote of the smoke, soot of the smoke of the fire prepared for the sacrificed ox; 'bos ductus ad uictimam'; Prov. vii. 22.
61. it founde, didst find it; referring, apparently, to thy langoring deth.
67-8. thilke Margaryte, the church; by serving which he was to be delivered from danger, by means of his amendment.
70. disese, misery, discomfort; because he had to do penance.
74. He had formerly sinned against the church.
80. 'And yet thou didst expect to have been rejected for ever.'
83. lache, loosen (it); from O.F. lascher, to loosen, relax. Or it may mean 'turn cowardly.'
85. 'Inueni Dauid seruum meum; oleo sancto meo unxi eum'; Ps. lxxxix. 20 (lxxxviii. 21, Vulgate).
93. openly; hence the author had publicly recanted.
Chap. I. This chapter is really a Prologue to the Third Book.
2. discrete, separate; tellinge, counting.
3. Three was considered a perfect number; see below.
6. Time was divided into three ages; first, the age of Error, before the coming of Christ; all that died then went to hell, whence somewere rescued by Christ when He descended thither. The second, the age of Grace, from the time of Christ's coming till His second advent. The third, the age of Joy, enduring for ever in heaven.
Deviacion; Thynne prints Demacion, an obvious error for Deuiacion (m for ui); in l. 26, it is replaced by Errour of misgoinge, which has the same sense, and in bk. ii. ch. 8. 126, it is called out-waye-going. The New E. Dict. has no quotation for deviation older than 1603; but here we find it.
25. I. e. Book I treats of Error or Deviation; Book II, of Grace; and Book III, of Joy.
28. whiche is faylinge without desert, which is failure without merit; these words are out of place here, and perhaps belong to the preceding clause (after shewed in l. 26). thilke, &c.; amending that first fault.
29. Perhaps for and read an; it refers to guidance into the right path.
37. He says that the English alter the name Margarite-perle into Margery-perle, whereas Latin, French, and many other languages keep the true form. Cf. Lat. margarita, O.F. marguerite, margarete, Gk. , Pers. marwārīd, Arab. marjān; all from Skt. manjarī, a pearl.
45. the more Britayne, greater Britain (England and Scotland), as distinguished from lesser Britain (Brittany); see note to bk. ii. ch. 12. 47 above. Pliny says (tr. by Holland, bk. ix. c. 35):—'In Brittaine it is certain that some [pearls] do grow; but they be small, dim of colour, and nothing orient.'
56. conninge, certain knowledge; opinion, uncertain knowledge, supposition; as he proceeds to say.
62. We thus learn that it was at this date an open question, whether the sun was bigger than the earth; there were some who imagined it to be so.
68. He here mentions the quadrivium, or group of four of the seven sciences, viz. arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy; see note to P. Plowman, C. xii. 98.
73. These are the four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude; see note to P. Plowman, C. i. 131.
79. Why 'two things' are mentioned, is not clear. It was usual to introduce here the trivium, or second group of the seven arts (see note to l. 68); which contained logic, grammar, and rhetoric. For the two former he has substituted 'art,' the general term.
99. twey, two; viz. natural and reasonable; cf. l. 53. The third is moral. Hence we have the following scheme.
|Philosophy||relating to the body||natural: the quadrivium.|
|reasonable: the trivium.|
|relating to the soul: moral: the cardinal virtues.|
122. I. e. 'so that harm, (as punishment) for harm, should restrain evil-doers by the bridle of fear.'
125. contrarioustee of, that which is contrary to.
130. and unworthy, even if they be unworthy.
professe and reguler; the 'professed' were such as, after a year of probation, had been received into a monastic order; the 'regular' were such as were bound by the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
131. obediencer, bound by obedience; used adjectivally; cf. Low Lat. obedientiarius.
134. Thus the author was himself bound by monastic vows, and was one of the 'regular' clergy.
146-7. abouten, about (me), near at hand. eche, to increase, lengthen.
156. refrete, refrain, burden of a song; O.F. refrait, refret (Godefroy). 'Sobs are a ready (ever-present) refrain in its meditations'; where his (its) refers to goost, or spirit, in l. 155.
157-8. comming about I not than, recurring I know not when. For than read whan, to make sense.
160. he, Christ; referring to Matt. xxi. 16.
161. whos spirit; 'Spiritus ubi uult spirat'; John, iii. 8; 'Spiritus, diuidens singulis prout uult'; 1 Cor. xii. 11.
170. wyte that, lay the blame for that upon. Such is the right idiom; cf. 'Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I yow preye'; Ch. C. T., A 3140. Thynne prints with for wite or wyte, making nonsense of the passage.
Chap. II. 14. lybel of departicion, bill (or writ) of separation; taken from libellum repudii in Matt. v. 31, which Wyclif translates by 'a libel of forsakyng.'
16. 'I find, in no law, (provision for) recompensing and rewarding in a bounteous way, those who are guilty, according to their deserts.'
19. Paulyn, Paulinus. But there is some mistake. Perhaps he refers to L. Aemilius Paulus, brother of M. Aemilius Lepidus the Triumvir. This Paulus was once a determined enemy of Caesar, but was won over to his side by a large bribe.
21-3. I cannot explain or understand this clause; something seems to be omitted, to which it refers.
23. Julius Caesar was accounted as following Cato in justice. The statement is obscure.
25. Perdiccas, according to the romances, succeeded Alexander the Great; see note to Bk. ii. c. 2. 116. I do not find the anecdote referring to Porus. It is not improbable that the author was thinking of Philip the physician, who revealed to Alexander 'a privy hate' entertained against that monarch by Parmenion; see the Wars of Alexander, ed. Skeat, 2559-83.
49. right as mater. Cf. 'sicut ad formam de forma procedere materiam notum est'; an often quoted passage in Guido delleColonne's Historia Troiae; see note to Legend of Good Women, 1582 (vol. iii. p. 329).
65. and right, if right-doing were not in the original working.
82. muste do good nedes, must necessarily do good.
87. ende, object. The reference seems to be to Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, bk. i. c. 1, c. 2, or c. 5.
90. goodly, with a good motive. In l. 99, it simply means 'a good motive.'
112. praysing ne lacking, praise nor blame.
115. The Latin would be nemo inuite beatus; but I do not know where to find it.
128. free arbitrement, Lat. liberum arbitrium; introduced in order to lead up to a discussion of free will, necessity, and providence; as in Boeth. bk. v.
140. closing, including, implying.
154-60. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 3. 1-18.
Chap. III. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 3 and pr. 4.
26. Cf. the same, pr. iii. 29, and the context.
58. for I love, i.e. because (or since) I love.
74. commende, coming; probably the original MS. had command, the Northern form. We have a similar form lykende, in l. 133 below. In ll. 82, 83, the usual form comming appears.
82-3. In many places, comming is used nearly with the sense of 'future'; cf. ll. 177-8.
126. Here again we have the usual ridiculous contradictions; the sense is—'being wet, I burn; without wasting, I fade.' Cf. Rom. Rose, Eng. version, 4703-50.
128. Thynne has (here and in ch. 6. 147, p. 132) vnbyde, an obvious error for onbyde, i.e. abide, remain; see ch. 7. 161, 163.
131. 'God grant (that) that thing may soon draw nigh to thee.' Neigh is here a verb, as in Bk. ii. ch. 12. 14.
164. that, that which; with nothing, yet not so as to be constrained by anything else.
171. rysinge of the sonne, rising of the sun; this example is borrowed from Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 6. 103, 165.
Chap. IV. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 6. 157-89.
29. and nedeful is, 'and it is necessary that, in order to desire (a thing), he may also not desire (it)'; otherwise, he does not make any choice.
30-1. The words 'But thilke ... the same to wilne' are repeated in Thynne's edition, to the destruction of the sense.
59. as now, present; cf. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 6. 28-32.
96-9. A clear case of reasoning in a circle.
112. 'Constituisti terminos eius, qui praeteriri non poterunt'; Job, xiv. 5.
121-6. See Rom. viii. 29, 30. conformes; the Vulgate has: 'Nam quos praesciuit, et praedestinauit conformes fieri imaginis Filii sui.'129. Cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. v. pr. 6. 35, 71-8.
140. Cf. the same, 12-9, 28-33, &c.
152. Referring to ll. 121-6 above.
165. close and one, are closed and united; here close and one seem to be verbs.
169. by, with reference to.
198-9. no art, in no way (?); but surely an error for nat, as wrytest nat is repeated in l. 200.
206. defendeth, 'forbids something to be movable,' &c.
220. Too obscure to deserve the encomium for perspicuity which follows in ll. 222-5.
232. for right, &c.; 'for nothing at all exists there (i.e. in eternity) after the manner of that which is temporal.'
243. ben to ben, are to come because of God's knowledge.
249. philosophical poete; Chaucer, because he translated The Consolation of Philosophy, and introduced passages from it into his poem of Troilus, notably in Book iv. 963-6, 974-1078. In l. 254, Troilus is expressly mentioned. Most likely, the allusion is to Bk. iv. 974-1078; although this deals rather with predestination than with the origin of evil.
257. storiers, gen. pl. of storier, a teller of a story; cf. O.F. historieur, an historian (Godefroy). Thynne prints starieres; which gives no sense.
262. two the laste, the last two; chapters 13 and 14; but chapter 14 has little to do with the subject.
Chap. V. 4. 'Or as an ook comth of a litel spyr'; Troil. ii. 1335.
33-7. The word welked occurs twice in Chaucer, C. T., C 738, D 277; and wiver once, Troil. iii. 1010.
57. with yvel ... acomered, desires not to be encumbered with evil.
63. 'Why, as soon as one has sprung up on high, does not the other spring up also?' Here 'one' and 'the other' seem to refer to 'will' and 'bliss'; cf. ll. 16, 17, 70, 71.
73-6. Cf. HF. 737-46; Boeth. bk. iii. pr. 11. 98-101.
Chap. VI. 4-7. Imitated from Ch. Boeth. bk. i. met. 6. 5-11.
10. seconde boke; cf. Book ii. ch. 11. 51-69, 102.
12. setling; misprinted setteles; but see setling in ch. 5. l. 23.
17. He here contemplates the possibility of yielding to persecution and threats.
50-1. The five wits are the five senses; P. Plowman, C. ii. 15, and the note.
60. aptes, natural tendencies; used here only; see New E. Dict.
64. terme of equivocas, terms of like signification; terme being an error for termes. Answering to Lat. uerba aequiuoca, words of like signification; Isidore, Orig. ii. 26 (Lewis and Short). Equivocas is formed by adding the Eng. pl. -s to the Lat. neuter plural (New E. Dict.).
Cf. the passage in P. Plowman, where Liberum-arbitrium reciteshis names; C. xvii. 201. The first name, 'instrument of willing,' corresponds to animus: 'dum uult, animus est'; but the rest vary.
68. reson. Compare the same passage: 'dum iudicat, racio est.'
73. Compare the same: 'dum recolit, memoria est.'
77. affeccion: a disposition to wish for sleep.
90. that lambes, who scorn and despise lambs.
104. Thynne has vs, which is a not uncommon spelling of 'use.' I merely print 'us[e]' because us looks so unintelligible. In l. 103, the word is usage; in l. 110, we have use.
140. thinges; viz. riches, honour, and power; discussed in Book ii. chapters 5-7.
147. onbyde, misprinted unbyde; see note above, to ch. 3. 128.
Chap. VII. 11. The idea of this Tree is copied from P. Plowman, C. xix. 4-14. Thus in l. 11, the ground in which the tree grows is said to be 'ful in thyne herte'; and in P. Plowman, the tree grows in cor-hominis, the heart of man. In P. Plowman, the tree is called True-love, the blossoms are Benign-Speech (cf. l. 16), and the fruits are deeds of Charity. See note to l. 69 below.
38. Cf. 'As, wry the gleed, and hotter is the fyr'; Legend of Good Women, 735.
50. pype; see Troil. v. 1433; C. T., A 1838 (and note).
53. no wode lay use, sing no mad song.
59. Aristotel. The reference appears to be to Aristotle, De Interpretatione (), ch. 1. Voice seems to mean 'a word unrelated to a sentence,' i.e. not related to something else as forming part of a sentence.
69. So in P. Plowman, C. xix. 29, the tree is attacked by three wicked winds; especially 'in flouryng-tyme,' l. 35.
97. A marchaunt; so in Chaucer, C. T., G 945-50.
99. So ofte; from Ch. Troil. ii. 1380-3; note the epithet happy, the use of the sb. sweigh or swaye, and the phrase come al at ones, in both passages.
101. Cf. 'Gutta cauat lapidem'; Ovid, Ex Ponto, iv. 10. 5.
lethy, weak; see Prompt. Parv., and Gloss. to P. Plowman.
117-121. Compare Bk. iii. ch. 2. 122-9.
123. 'Quod debuimus facere, fecimus'; Luke, xvii. 10.
145. al is, it is all to be accounted to her wholly. To wyte usually has a bad sense; as implying blame.
160. this lady; i.e. Heavenly Love suddenly took up its place in his heart. This is rather inartistic; no wonder that the author was much astonished at such a proceeding (ch. 8. 2 below). This of course puts an end to the dialogue, but in Thynne's misarranged print the lady speaks to him again, as if it were out of his heart!
Chap. VIII. 7. lynes, written lines of writing, which he imagines to be imprinted on his understanding; see ll. 8, 13, 14 below.
10. me might, one might; me for men = man, as often.21. but for, except because; so in l. 22. wol, desires.
42. owe I not alowe, I ought not to applaud.
46. it make, cause it (to be so); as in Troil. ii. 959.
91. 'Quia Christi bonus odor sumus Deo, in iis qui salui fiunt; ... aliis quidem odor mortis in mortem'; 2 Cor. ii. 15-6.
120. ne had, had; disregarding ne, which is inserted after the word denyed.
123. without ... nede, without any kind of necessity.
125. him nedeth, something is lacking to him.
146. forward, thenceforward, afterwards.
155-6. in his owne comodité, in what is suitable for him; comodites, desires that are suitable. The examples of the word in this passage are older than any given, s.v. Commodity, in the New E. Dict. Cf. ll. 159, 165.
Chap. IX. 7. destenee, destiny; cf. Ch. Boeth. bk. iv. pr. 6. 39, 44.
12. non inconvenient, convenient; i.e. befitting.
21. chapitre, chapter; viz. ch. 3 of Book iii.
46. Here Thynne's text returns to the right order.
52. The author now concludes his work with a prayer and a short recommendation of his book to the reader. Ll. 58-61 speak of its imperfections; ll. 61-6 tell us that the effort of writing it has done him good. In ll. 67-75 he anticipates future freedom from anxiety, and continuance 'in good plight.' He was then evidently unaware that his death was near at hand.
86. 'My dull wit is hindred by the stepmother named Forgetfulness.' A curious expression.
92. horisons, put for orisons, prayers.
98. sightful, visible; an obvious allusion to the eucharist (l. 100). Similarly, a gem denotes a pearl, or 'margaret'; and Margaret (a woman's name) denotes grace, learning, or wisdom of God, or else holy church.
104. From John, vi. 63.
107. From 2 Cor. iii. 6.
109, 110. Printed as prose in Thynne; but two riming verses seem to be intended. If so, al-le is dissyllabic.
Numerous references are given to Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, ed. Skeat (E.E.T.S.); a poem by the same author. See the Introduction.
9. tabard; a ploughman's loose frock; as in Ch. C. T., A 541.
11. saynt Thomas; i.e. his shrine at Canterbury.
30. therwith to fynd, to provide for thereby.
40. queynt, quenched; because, in the solemn form of excommunication used in the Romish church, a bell was tolled, the book of officesfor the purpose was used, and three candles were extinguished. See Nares, s.v. Bell, Book, and Candle. Cf. ll. 165, 1241.
44. Four lines are here lost, the stanza being incomplete. We might supply them thus:—
They have the loof and we the crust,
They eten more than kinde hath craved;
They been ungentle and unjust,
With sinners shullen such be graved.
53. stryf, strife. The struggle was between the secular and regular clergy on the one hand, and the Lollards on the other; see ll. 61-76. Each side accused the other of falseness, and the author hopes that the falser of them may suffer shame. He evidently sides with the Lollards; but, not caring to decide so weighty a question for himself, he contrives that the dispute shall be carried on by two birds, the Griffin and the Pelican.
55. sedes, seeds. The Lollards were accused of sowing tares (lolia). The author hints that seeds were sown by both of the contending parties.
57. some; referring rather to the sowers than to the seeds. In any case, it refers to the two parties.
58. souple; the text has souble, which is an obvious error. The O.F. souple means 'humble,' which is the sense here intended.
71. a-cale, chilled, frozen; cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 439; and see the New E. Dict.
72. ever in oon, always in the same condition, without increasing in wealth.
73. I-cleped, called; the old text has Iclepeth, but some editions make this obvious correction. lollers, idle fellows; see the note to P. Plowman, C. x. 213.
74. 'Whoever looks on them (sees that) they are the reverse of tall.' Cf. 'a tall fellow,' and 'a tall man of his hands' in Shakespeare.
81. wro, nook; see wrā in Stratmann.
86. Griffon, griffin; a fabulous monster with the head and wings of an eagle, and the hinder parts of a lion; with probable reference to the Vulture. 'In that contre ben many griffounes ... thei han the body upward as an egle, and benethe as a lyoun.... But o griffoun is more strong thanne .viij. lyouns'; Mandeville's Travels; ch. xxvi. See l. 1317 below.
87. 'A Pelican laid his lure to (attracted to him) these lollers.' The Pelican was supposed to feed its young with blood which it drew from its own breast by wounding it, and was early considered as the type of Christian love or Charity, or of Christ himself; see l. 1293. See the illustration at p. 172 of Legends of the Holy Rood, ed. Morris. Hence it is here supposed to plead on behalf of meekness, in the long passages contained in ll. 95-716, 719-988, 991-1072, 1110-32, 1177-232, 1245-68. The Pelican is responsible for the greater part of thepoem, as the author distinctly says in l. 1373. Anything that is amiss, we are told, must be put down to the Pelican; the author is irresponsible, as it is only a fable.
106. pelure, costly fur; also spelt pellour; but pylloure (as in the old text) is a bad spelling. See Gloss. to P. Plowman.
111. batail, battle. It was notorious that William Spenser, bishop of Norwich, used to lead military expeditions. Thus he led one such expedition into Flanders, in 1382. Cf. l. 128.
129. 'God is not the master of them that consider no man equal to them.'
130. peragall, equal; spelt 'peragal' or 'paragal' in Rich. the Redeless, i. 71. The old text has permagall, where the m is clearly for in; the spelling peringall being intended. Godefroy has O.F. parivel, also parigal, paregal, perigal, paringal [with intrusive n], 'adj. et s., tout à fait ègal, tout à fait semblable.' From Lat. peraequalis.
135. 'Painted and adorned with colours.' Cf. 'peynt and portred'; P. Pl. Crede, 192; 'portreid and paynt,' 121.
139. boystous, rough. The O.F. boistous meant 'lame' (F. boiteux); but Godefroy shews, in his Supplement, that it was also applied to a very rough road (as being likely to lame one); hence, generally, rough, and finally, rude, noisy, as in the E. boisterous; a word of which the etymology has not yet been fully accounted for, but may be thus explained.
159. perrey, precious stones, jewellery; see Perree in the Glossary (vol. vi). The old text has pyrrey.
162. gown, an obvious correction; old text, gold, repeated from l. 161. For 'grene gownes,' see l. 925 below.
178. This line seems to be corrupt.
186. crallit, curled, twisted; cf. crulle in Chaucer; see New E. Dict.
187. gold-mastling is a compound word, and should have been printed with a hyphen. It means the same as latoun, unless latoun was an imitation of an older and richer alloy. Thus, in Wright's A.S. Vocabularies, we find: 'Auricalcum, goldmæslinc,' col. 334, 10; 'Auricalcum, goldmestling,' col. 550, 34; 'Auricalcum, Anglice latoun,' col. 567, 5. As to latoun, see note in vol. v. p. 270. Cf. A.S. mæstling, G. Messing; words of uncertain origin.
193-4. Cf. 1 John, iv. 3. admirall, prince, chief.
198. demed; an easy correction; old text, done, which will not scan.
201. All-holyest, i.e. Sanctissimus (l. 230); a title given to the head of a religious order.
208. 'The very thing which Christ forbad to the apostles.'
212. 'They regard him (the pope) as wholly omnipotent.'
213-6. He, the Pope. another, (apparently) a head of a religious order, an abbot or prior. mystere, ministry, office.
220. 'He reserves nothing at all'; opin, open, a thing that is free; joint, a thing that is connected.226. An angell; see Rev. xxii. 9.
235. Read Christ his; 'Christ keep his people from them'; the printer evidently regarded Christ his as a form of the genitive case. The proper sense of wisse is guide, or direct.
242. which of hem, which of the two popes. The rival popes were Boniface IX, elected Nov. 2, 1389, and Benedict XIII, elected Sept. 28, 1394. Clement VIII, predecessor of the latter, died Sept. 16, 1394.
245. 'Omnes enim, qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt'; Matt. xxvi. 52.
255. Swearing was a dismembering of Christ; see note to C. T., C 474 (vol. v. p. 275).
264. 'But curse all that oppose them.'
275. 'But he, who so acquires it, shall part from it.'
281. rent, income, profit; the method of doing this is explained in The Freres Tale, D 1371-4.
282. 'They anoint the sheep's sore'; as a shepherd does with tar; see Tar-box in Halliwell; and cf. l. 707.
298. Maximien; Galerius Valerius Maximianus, usually called Galerius; emperor of Rome, 305-11; a cruel persecutor of the Christians.
297. 'They follow Christ (who went upward) to heaven, just as a bucket (that goes downward) into a well.' Said ironically; their ascent towards heaven is in a downward direction; cf. l. 402. wall for 'well' is rare, but not unexampled; cf. walle-stream, well-stream, in Layamon, vol. i. p. 121, and see walle in Stratmann.
305. 'The truth has (often) slain such men.'
306. 'They comb their "crockets" with a crystal comb.' A crocket was a curl or roll of hair, as formerly worn; see the New E. Dict. There is a lost romance entitled 'King Adelstane with gilden kroket'; see footnote to Havelok, ed. Skeat, p. vi. Sir F. Madden remarks that 'the term crocket points out the period [i.e. the earliest possible date] of the poem's composition, since the fashion of wearing those large rolls of hair so called, only arose at the latter end of the reign of Henry III.'
321. Cf. 'turpis lucri'; Tit. i. 7, 11; 1 Pet. v. 2.
322. meynall, perhaps better spelt meyneall. It is the adj. formed from M.E. meynee, a household, and is the same word as mod. E. menial. Wyclif uses meyneal to translate Lat. domesticam in Rom. xvi. 5. The sense here is—the exaction of tithes is, with these masters, a household business, a part of their usual domestic arrangements.
325. Lit. 'They betake to farm to their sumners,' i.e. they farm out to their sumners the power of harming people as much as they can; they let their sumners make exactions. The method of doing this is fully exposed in Chaucer's Freres Tale. Cf. ll. 328, 725.
333. 'Such rascals are sure to slander men, in order to induce them to win their favour'; i.e. by compounding.
338. call, caul or head-dress, richly ornamented, and therefore expensive; see note to C. T., D 1018 (vol. v. p. 318).375. 'Or, to commit such a tool (instrument) to such cursed men.'
402. 'As good a bishop as is my horse Ball.' Said ironically; 'no better a bishop than,' &c. Ball was, and still is, a very common name for a horse.
406. nothing, not at all, not a whit.
410. Old text, one fors, with s attached to the wrong word.
417-8. goodes, property. somme totall, sum total of wealth.
421, 431. for Christes love, for love of Christ. The words forsake in l. 421, and wake in l. 431, are used ironically.
434. Lamuall, Lemuel; who was a king; Prov. xxxi. 1.
443. the stoon, the rock; Matt. xvi. 18; cf. 1 Cor. x. 4.
445. croysery, crusade, as in Rob. of Glouc. 9938. No serious crusade was intended at this time; however, the author affirms that the rival popes discouraged the idea; for each wanted men to fight for him.
464. hye seet, sat aloft; the form seet occurs in Ch. C. T., A 2075.
471. fettes, fetch; observe the use of this Northern plural.
473. 'Their servants are unfaithful [or unserviceable] to them unless they can double their rental.'
477. The author can find no more rimes to rime with fall, so he proceeds to 'shew' or propose another word, viz. amend.
487. 'They tell men nothing, nor (explain) how; yet, in God's word, they tell of (or count) many a slip, or omission,' i.e. find errors in the Scriptures. See Balk in the New E. Dict.
490. offrend; O.F. offrende; cf. 'Offrande, an offering'; Cotgrave.
520. Read punishëments, as in the old edition; it is a word of four syllables; from O.F. punissement (Godefroy), which often appears in verse as a word of four syllables.
531. 'They hate guests of the poor,' i.e. hate to entertain them; cf. l. 747.
542. careckes, characters, signs, marks; see the New E. Dict.
567. 'One, to curse to hell; the other, to slay men here (on earth)'; cf. Luke, xxii. 38.
575. 'A sword is no implement to guard sheep with, except for shepherds that would devour the sheep.' In later English, at any rate, a sheep-biter meant a thief (Halliwell). Cf. l. 583.
594. untrend, unrolled; not rolled up, but freshly pulled off.
605. Sathan, Satan; Heb. sātān, adversary, opponent.
610. Read reprende; cf. comprende in Chaucer.
625. ensyse, variant of assyse, fashion, sort; 'they are, surely, of the same sort.' See Assize, sect. 8, in the New E. Dict. Bailey gives: 'Ensise, quality, stamp; Old word'; with reference, doubtless, to this very line. Cf. assyse, fashion, manner, in l. 843 below.
626. frend, evidently put for fremde, strange, foreign, averse; which was difficult to pronounce.
633. Read maundements, i.e. commandments (trisyllabic). The formcommaundementes is too long for the line. See mandement in Stratmann and in Chaucer.
642. to prison. Evidently written before 1401, when Lollards were frequently sent to the stake for heresy. Cf. l. 650; and see note to l. 827.
645. 'The king's law will judge no man angrily, without allowing the accused to answer.'
661. testament, a will; the friars had much to do with the making of wills.
681. 'For they (the people) are faster in their bonds, worse beaten, and more bitterly burnt than is known to the king.' For the word brent, see note to l. 827.
693. The emperour; Constantine, according to a legend which the Lollards loved to repeat; see the full note to P. Plowman, C. xviii. 220.
695. sely kyme, innocent (or silly) wretch. Kyme answers to an A.S. *cȳma = *kūm-ja, lit. 'one who laments,' from the verb found in O.H.G. kūmjan, to lament, chū-mo, a lament; cf. Gk. , wailing; Skt. gu, to sound. See O.H.G. cūm, cūmjan in Schade; and the Idg. root gu, in Fick.
723. 'A title of dignity, to be as a play-mate to them'; a curious expression. Godefroy gives O.F. 'personage, s.m., dignité, bénéfice ecclésiastique; en particulier personnat, dignité ecclésiastique qui donnait quelque prééminence au chanoine qui en était revêtu dans le chapitre auquel il appartenait.' Cotgrave has: 'Personat, a place, or title of honour, enjoyed by a beneficed person, without any manner of jurisdiction, in the church.'
724. Possibly copied from P. Plowman, B. prol. 92:—'Somme serven the king, and his silver tellen.' These ecclesiastics often busied themselves in the law-courts, to their great profit. Cf. l. 790.
725. 'And let out to farm all that business.'
743. builde; so in P. Pl. Crede, 118: 'For we buldeth a burwgh, a brod and a large.' Cf. Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 380.
748. 'Nor (will they) send anything to Him who hath given them everything.'
759. gigges, concubines; see Stratmann. Roquefort has: 'Gigues, fille gaie, vive.' Cf. giglot in Shakespeare. (Initial g is here sounded as j.)
760. 'And provide them with fine clothes.'
773. Here all the 'seven sins' are mentioned except gluttony.
780. 'The wisdom of such willers is not worth a needle.'
791. jay; so also in Chaucer, C. T., A 642.
801. maynteyners, abettors of wrongdoers; see note to P. Plowman, B. iii. 90.
827. brent, burnt; still more strongly put in l. 1234. That heretics were sometimes burnt before 1401, is certain from Wyclif's Sermons, ed. Arnold, vol. i. pp. x, 205, as compared with p. 354. There is a case given in Bracton of a man who was burnt as early as in the reign ofHenry III. See the whole subject discussed in my edition of P. Plowman (E. E. T. S.), in the Pref. to B-text, p. v, Pref. to C-text, pp. xi-xiv, and the note to B. xv. 81, where Langland has 'ledeth me to brennynge.' Observe that the king is here spoken of as not presuming to burn heretics.
855. The seven sacraments of the Romish church; cf. l. 875.
856. Compare—'And also y sey coveitise catel to fongen'; P. Pl. Crede, 146.
857. 'They want to meddle in everything, and to perform matters amiss is their amusement.'
868. sturte, variant of sterte, start up; stryve, struggle.
870. at the nale = at then ale, at the ale-house; cf. note to P. Plowman, C. i. 43.
871. Cf. 'At marketts and miracles we medleth us nevere'; P. Pl. Crede, 107.
872. 'They dance and hoot with the cry of "heave and hale."' Heave is here to use exertion; cf. Troil. ii. 1289; and hale is to haul or pull. Heave and hale, or heave and hoe, was a cry used for men to pull all together; hence with heve and hale just corresponds to the modern 'with might and main.' Cotgrave has (s.v. Cor) the phrase: 'À cor et à cry, by proclamation; also, by might and maine, with heave and hoe, eagerly, vehemently, seriously.'
878. they, i.e. the husbands; sory, aggrieved.
880. For, for fear of being summoned.
893. stocke, i.e. some image of a saint. An image of a favourite saint was honoured with many candles burning before it; whilst other saints were left in the dark, because they could work no miracles. The most favourite image was that of Mary; see l. 902, and cf. P. Pl. Crede, 79.
915. 'And alle povere in gost god himself blisseth'; P. Pl. Crede, 521.
918. Baudriks, belts; baselardes, short swords, sometimes curved. See note to P. Plowman, C. iv. 461.
927. counten ... of gownes, they think much (counten) of scarlet and green gowns, that must be made in the latest fashion, in order to embrace and kiss the damsels. An awkward sentence.
929. sewe, sue, suit, lit. follow; unless it be for schewe, i.e. shew.
930. pykes, peaks. Long-peaked shoes were much in fashion; cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 219.
941. 'Such men will ask them (i.e. those that confess to them) for money for shriving them.' is = es, them; a curious form of the plural pronoun of the third person; see es in Stratmann.
942. 'And they desire men to creep to the cross.' 'Creeping to the cross' was an old ceremony of penance, most practised on Good Friday; see note to P. Plowman, C. xxi. 475.
943. askes, ashes; alluding to the sacrament of penance. For all other sacraments (as baptism, confirmation, holy orders, the eucharist, matrimony, and extreme unction) men had to pay.955. sans ... dyre, without (saying) 'if I may say so.' That is, ose je dyre, (dare I say it) is an apologetic phrase for introducing an unpalatable remark.
957. 'Either they give the bishops (some reason) why.'
961. agryse, dread, here used in an imperative sense; 'let such men dread God's anger.' Cf. ll. 964, 1216.
979. for he, because he would fain earn something.
993. Benet, Benedict; cf. Ch. C. T., A 173, and note.
1002. Cf. 'Of double worstede y-dight'; P. Pl. Crede, 228.
1035. Compare—'And his syre a soutere' (cobbler); P. Pl. Crede, 752.
1042-4. honged, hung upon, followed after. Cf. 'opon the plow hongen,' P. Pl. Crede, 421. And compare also the same, 784-8.
1050. The line is imperfect. I have supplied but, but the right word is not. For cherelich means 'expensive' or 'prodigal,' from O.F. cher, dear. This we know from the occurrence of the same rare form as an adverb in P. Pl. Crede, 582; where the sense is—'but to maintain his chamber as expensively (chereliche) as a chieftain.' See cherely in the New E. Dict. The parallel phrase not lordlych occurs in l. 1052.
1066. Crede, i.e. Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, written shortly before by the same author, and describing at length the four orders of friars.
1089. sad, sated, tired. The more usual old sense was 'staid.'
1097. 'If they were poor, filthy, and dirty.'
1102. honest, honourable, worthy of respect; cf. l. 1105.
1115. Maysters, masters; Matt. xxiii. 10. Cf. P. Pl. Crede, 574-6, 838; and C. T., D 2185, and the note (vol. v. p. 340).
1135. Read leve, not lyve; with hir leve, with what is permitted to them. For leve (leave), see l. 1238.
1153. For ye woll, because you wish to.
1166. distaunce, disagreement, strife; see Mätzner.
1174. 'Why do ye meddle, who have nothing to do with it?'
1189. lette, to prevent men from living in that way.
1193. soule-hele, salvation for the soul.
1200. Pronounce this is as this.
1212. Wedding, matrimony; considered as a sacrament.
1222. 'subject or accident'; cf. note to C. T., C 539.
1231. The line should end with a semicolon.
1244. 'Unless ye will act otherwise.'
1271. cockes, euphemistic for goddes.
1272. doule, small feather, down-feather. I derive it from O.F. doulle, variant of douille, soft, something soft, from Lat. ductilis. Hence it meant something downy, and, in particular, the 'down-feather' of a bird. This is clearly the sense in Shakespeare also, where Ariel uses the expression—'one dowle that's in my plume'; Temp. iii. 3. 65; i.e. one down-feather (small feather) that is in my plumage. Dr. Schmidt is in doubt whether plume here means 'plumage,' but thestage-direction expressly says that 'Ariel enters like a harpy, and claps his wings upon the table.' It is very interesting to see how well this passage illustrates Shakespeare. See Mr. Wright's note for other passages where dowl means 'soft down.' Of course, the words dowl and down are in no way connected. See my note in Phil. Soc. Trans. 1888-90, p. 3.
1280. God wolde, i.e. oh! that it might be God's will. Cf. would God, Numb. xi. 29; Deut. xxviii. 67; 2 Kings, v. 3; Rich. II, iv. 1. 117.
1293. Christ was likened to the pelican; see note to l. 87.
1305. The foul, the former or bird-like part of the griffin; see note to l. 86, and cf. l. 1317.
1315. 'Because bribery may break God's prohibition.'
1317. Referring to the form of the griffin; see notes to ll. 86, 1305.
1336. Y-gurd, lit. girt; hence, prepared, ready.
1339. ly, lie, i.e. deceive; because the lapwing tries to delude those who search for its nest.
1340. for-gerd, destroyed, utterly done away with; from M.E. for-garen.
1343. the Phenix. The Phœnix is here supposed, as being an unique bird, to be the king or master of all birds, and to execute vengeance on evil-doers.
1359. The sense of of is here uncertain. Perhaps of flight means 'as regards my flight,' and so 'to protect my flight.'
1361. This line is somewhat 'set back,' as in the original. But there seems to be no reason for it.
1362. The original has: 'And the lambe that slayn was'; imperfect.
1367. Here the author speaks for himself, and excuses the Pelican's language.
To this piece, which is an attack upon the friars, a reply was made by one of them (probably a Dominican, see notes to ll. 100, 130), which is printed at length in Wright's Political Poems and Songs (Record Series), vol. ii. pp. 39-114; together with a rejoinder by Jack Upland, printed on the same pages. The friar's reply is often cited in the Notes below, where the number refers to the page of the above-named volume. See further in the Introduction.
1. Jack Uplande, Jack the Countryman, a nickname for one who is supposed to have had but little education; cf. the Plowman's Tale.
6. fellest folk, the wickedest people; referring to the friars.
7. The friar's reply copies several of these expressions: thus we find—'On wounder wise, seith Jak, freres, ye ben growun'; p. 42.
8. 'sowen in youre sectes of Anticristis hondes'; p. 42.
9. not obedient; 'unboxom to bishopis, not lege men to kynges'; p. 42. The friar asserts that they do obey the bishops; but carefully adds—'although not so fer forth as seculer preestes'; p. 44.11. 'wede, corn, ne gras, wil ye not hewen'; p. 42; repeated on p. 44. The friar retorts that they are not expected to cleanse ditches, like a Jack Upland; p. 44. We thus learn that woode in l. 11 is almost certainly an error for weede.
15. where to been, where they will (hereafter) go to.
21. See 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3.
27. skilfully, reasonably; skill often has the sense of reason.
28. The friar evades the question as to the number of orders, and replies that he is of Christ's order; pp. 59-61.
35. Reply: St. James makes mention of two kinds of life, the active and the contemplative; we belong to the latter; pp. 63-6.
37. apostata, apostate; a term applied to a friar who left his order (see l. 42) after his year of probation had been completed, or else (see l. 42) after a probation of three months. See ll. 273-5, and 310-2 below; and the note to P. Plowman, C. ii. 98 (B. i. 104). The question here put was not answered.
40-1. Reply: it is shocking to speak of men leaving their wives like this; we are not wedded to our habit any more than a priest is to his tonsure; p. 67.
44. Reply: no. We are only punished for leaving off our habits because it implies forsaking of our rule. Our habits are not sendal, nor satin nor golden; pp. 67-8.
50. Reply: what, Jack, does your tippet mean? My wide cope signifies charity. My hood, patience in adversity. The scapulary denotes obedience to our superiors. As for the knotted girdle, ask the Franciscans; pp. 68-71.
52. Reply: Why do most of the Lollards wear gray clothes? p. 71.
58. No reply to this question.
60. Reply: see Eccles. iii. 7; Prov. xxv. 28; p. 71.
62. Reply: a question rather for monks than friars. Why do you not put your dining-table in your cow-house? p. 72.
65. Reply: perhaps some of us go to Rome for dispensations, but most of us have need to stay at home, to keep watch over Lollards; p. 73.
70. Reply: you have forgotten the text, 2 Cor. vi. 9; p. 74.
74. Reply: Christ, at His transfiguration, had only three witnesses from among His apostles. And He chose only twelve apostles, out of His many followers; and see Prov. xii. 15; p. 75.
77. Reply: a man is better than a beast; yet even for your beasts you make cattle-sheds and stables. Our houses are often poor ones. Did you ever see any that resembled the Tower, or Windsor Castle, or Woodstock? Your lies are shameless; pp. 77-8. I note here Jack Upland's rejoinder; he says that he does not object to the friars having houses, but he objects to the needless grandeur of them; for it does not follow that a man who drinks a quart of wine must therefore proceed to drink a gallon; p. 76.
83. Reply: you say that we let the whole realm to farm. Why, itis not ours at all! It belongs to the king. We have no more estate in the country than you have in heaven; pp. 78-9. The incompleteness of this reply is amazing.
86. The original reading must have been different here. The friar puts the question thus: Why do you pay no tribute to the king, whereas Christ paid tribute to the emperor? Reply: Christ did not pay it as a debt, but only to perform the law in meekness. The Jewish priests did not pay taxes like the commons. Priests may pay if they are willing, but not friars; pp. 79, 80.
90. Reply: we are glad to have the prayers of the poor, if their letters of fraternity are genuine; but we do not desire your paternosters; p. 80.
92. Reply: we do not make men more perfect than their baptism makes them; p. 81.
95. Reply: the golden trental, 'that now is purchasid of preestis out of freris hondis,' delivers no soul, except as it is deserved; p. 81. See note to Ch. C. T., D 1717 (vol. v. p. 331).
100. Reply: you are quite mistaken. Perhaps some Carmelite told you this, or some Franciscan. The Austin friars and the Dominicans do not say so; p. 82.
105. Reply: if you accuse us of stealing children, Christ practically did the same, by enticing disciples to follow him. See Matt. xix. 21; Luke, xiv. 33; John, xv. 19. To win souls is no robbery; pp. 83-4.
109. undernime, reprove. Reply: according to you, not even the king should maintain any discipline. The pope has a prison; and so has the bishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of London. But you do not like prisons, for you often experience them; pp. 85-6.
114. Reply: burial is not a sacrament, as you say. You contradict yourself; p. 86.
116. Reply: if, as you say, we never shrive the poor, why are parish-priests so angry with us for doing so? p. 87. Cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xiii. 21. Questions 26, 27, and 28 are passed over.
127. Reply: we do right to live of the gospel; see 1 Cor. ix. 14; Luke, x. 7; Rom. xv. 26.
130. Reply: God knows how much good the preaching of the friars has wrought; p. 89. The Dominicans especially were proud of their preaching.
133. The friar here remarks that the Wycliffites are heretics, and ought to be burnt; p. 90. The same remark is all the answer made to question 32.
141. Reply: the friars do not sell the mass; they only freely give it to those who freely give to them. Even if we did sell it, surely the parish-priests receive money for the same; this is not simony; pp. 93-5. See note to Ch. C. T., D 1749; vol. v. p. 333.
149. Reply: we write down the names only to help our own memories; for special prayers are very profitable for souls; pp. 99, 100. See note to Ch. C. T., D 1741; vol. v. p. 332.153. berest god in honde, accusest Christ. Reply: Christ was lord of all spiritually; but, as a man, he was needy. David says of Him, 'I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me'; Ps. xl. 17. I refer you to Matt. viii. 20; pp. 95-8.
156. No special answer is given to questions 36-9.
187. Reply: you expect your servant to call you 'master.' It is not the being called 'master,' but ambition, that Christ forbids; pp. 100-1. Cf. note to Ch. C. T., D 2185; vol. v. p. 340.
189. The reply is singular, to the effect that pope John XXIV wrote against this matter, and the friars Minors (Franciscans) against him. 'Examyne her actis, and loke who hath the beter; and knowe noon other ordre this perfitnesse approveth'; p. 101.
208. There is no reply to question 42.
211. Reply; going two and two together is a scriptural custom. Barnabas and Paul did so. So did Paul and Timothy. Besides, there were two tables in the law, two cherubim in the temple, and two in the tabernacle. It was not good for Adam to be alone; pp. 101-3. Cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xi. 8; and to Chaucer, C. T., C 1740.
213. There seems to be no reply to questions 44-8.
246. As regards question 49, the friar replies to ll. 249-51, saying that, according to this, no one could pray for any one; for we cannot tell his future destiny; p. 103. Cf. note to Ch. C. T., D 2126; vol. v. p. 339.
258. Questions 50 and 51 do not seem to be noticed. Question 52 is partly answered in the reply to question 22. See l. 105.
277. Reply: you admit (l. 283) that God made all things according to weight, number, and measure. But a friar is something; ergo, God made friars according to weight, &c. Why are priests so numerous? As to a man's hand (l. 287), the number of fingers is fixed, and an extra finger is monstrous. But neither God nor holy church have fixed the number of priests or friars. 'Many hondis togider maken light werk'; pp. 105-6. Cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 270.
At this point the friar introduces a subject not discussed in the copy of Jack Upland here printed, viz. the subject of transubstantiation. He says that Jack accuses the friars of saying that the bread is not Christ's body, but mere roundness and whiteness, and accident without subject; and Wyclif is adduced as saying that it remains material bread, and only Christ's body in a figurative sense; pp. 106-10. The rest of the friar's reply (which goes but little further) is inapplicable to our text, so that the latter part of the treatise, ll. 294-end, is left unanswered. Perhaps sections 54-64 were, at first, a somewhat later addition.
296. This has been partly said before; see l. 77 above.
310. It was thought that to die in a friar's habit increased a man's chance of salvation; see l. 100 above.
320. Cf. note to P. Plowman, C. xiii. 21. See l. 246 above.
336. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 323-72.368. This enquiry takes up a large portion of the Ploughman's Crede. The jealousy of one order against the other was very remarkable. See note to l. 100 above.
399. See James, i. 27; cf. l. 36 above.
411. See Matt. xi. 30. Wyclif has—'For my yok is softe, and my charge light.'
421. The Franciscans claimed that St. Francis sat in heaven above the Seraphim, upon the throne from which Lucifer fell; see note to P. Plowman, C. ii. 105 (B. i. 105).
424-7. Evidently intended for four alliterative lines, but the third is too long; read—'And whan ye han soiled that I saide,' &c. Again, the first is too short; read—'Go, frere, now forth,' &c.
430. even-Christen, fellow-Christian; see Gloss. to P. Plowman.
433. 'Benefac humili, et non dederis impio: prohibe panes illi dari, ne in ipsis potentior te sit'; Ecclus. xii. 6.
This piece has no English title except that printed at p. 205; for the Latin title, see p. 216. See the Introduction.
12, 13. Henry founded his title on conquest, hereditary right, and election. The first of these is referred to in ll. 9, 10; the second, in l. 12; and the third, in l. 13. See note in vol. i. p. 564, to XIX. 23.
17. boun, ready; better than the reading bounde.
21. I note here an unimportant variation. For this is, the MS. has is this.
27. I find that there is no need to insert the. Read requeste, in three syllables, as it really had a final e, being a feminine substantive. Cf. 'Et lor requestë refaison'; Rom. Rose, 4767. Requeste is trisyllabic in Troil. iv. 57; L. Good Wom. 448.
36. According to the romance of Alexander, the god Serapis, appearing in a dream, told him that his great deeds would be remembered for ever. Before this, Alexander had told his men that he hoped to conquer all the earth—'with the graunt of my god.' See Wars of Alexander, ed. Skeat, ll. 990, 1095.
57. This obviously refers to Bolingbroke's invasion, when he came, as he said, to claim his inheritance; cf. l. 65.
81. Of pestilence, out of pestilence, to free him from pestilence.
86. lyf, person, man; lit. 'living soul.' Common in P. Plowman.
174, 179. Matt. v. 9; John, xiv. 27.
185. out of herre, out of (off) the hinge; like mod. E. 'out of joint.' A favourite phrase of Gower's; see his Conf. Amant. ii. 139; iii. 43, 52, 203, 211.
197. Knights were expected to defend the faith; see note to P. Plowman, C. ix. 26. Cf. ll. 243-5.
202. I supply alday (i.e. continually) to complete the line.204. wayted, watched, carefully guarded; in contrast to l. 207.
211. For any perhaps read a; the line runs badly.
218. 'It is easier to keep a thing than acquire it.'
236. assysed, appointed; as in Conf. Amant. i. 181; iii. 228.
251. 'Let men be armed to fight against the Saracens.'
253. Three points; stated in ll. 254, 261-2, and 268; i.e. the church is divided; Christian nations are at variance; and the heathen threaten us.
281-3. These are the nine worthies; of whom three were heathen (281), three Jewish (282), and three Christian (283); as noted in Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 287. Sometimes they varied; thus Shakespeare introduces Hercules and Pompey among the number; L. L. L. v. 2. 538. Machabeus, Judas Maccabeus. Godfray, Godfrey of Bouillon. Arthus, King Arthur.
294. For men, MS. T. has pes = pees; which perhaps is better.
295. For tennes, as in Thynne, the Trentham MS. has the older spelling tenetz, which gives the etymology of 'tennis.' Tenetz is the imperative plural of the verb tenir, and must have been a cry frequently used in the jeu de paume; probably it was used to call attention, like the modern 'play!' This is the earliest passage in which the word occurs. 'No one can tell whether he will win or lose a "chace" at tennis, till the ball has run its course.' Chace is a term 'applied to the second impact on the floor (or in a gallery) of a ball which the opponent has failed or declined to return; the value of which is determined by the nearness of the spot of impact to the end wall. If the opponent, on both sides being changed, can "better" this stroke (i.e. cause his ball to rebound nearer the wall) he wins and scores it; if not, it is scored by the first player; until it is so decided, the "chace" is a stroke in abeyance'; New E. Dict.
306. be gete, begotten, be obtained; begete gives no sense.
323. lyf, life; not as in l. 86. See 1 Cor. xiii. 1.
330. Cassodore, Cassiodorus. Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, born about A.D. 468, was a statesman and author; his chief work being his Variarum Epistolarum Libri XII, which is six times quoted in Chaucer's Tale of Melibeus. Gower, in his Conf. Amantis, iii. 191, quotes this very passage again; thus—
'Cassiodore in his aprise telleth,
The regne is sauf, where pitè dwelleth.'
I find: 'Pietas est quae regit et celos'; Cass. Var. xi. 40.
332. assysed, fixed, set; cf. l. 236. Unless it means assessed, rated; a sense which is also found in Gower, viz. in his Conf. Amant. i. 5; see the New E. Dict. The passage is a little obscure.
336. 'On account of which mercy should turn aside.'
339. Constantyn, Constantine the Great, Roman emperor from A.D. 306 to 337. Eusebius wrote a life of him in four books, which is rather a panegyric than a biography. The story here told is hardly consistent with the facts, as Constantine caused the death of his own son Crispus and of young Licinius; as to which Gibbon (c. xviii) remarks that 'the courtly bishop, who has celebrated in an elaborate work the virtues and pieties of his hero, observes a prudent silence on the subject of these tragic events.' In his Conf. Amantis, iii. 192, Gower again says:—
'Thus saide whylom Constantyn:—
What emperour that is enclyn
To pitè for to be servaunt,
Of al the worldes remenaunt
He is worthy to ben a lord.'
But the particular story about the 'yonge children' to which Gower here alludes is given at length in the Conf. Amantis, bk. ii. vol. i. pp. 266-77. Very briefly, it comes to this. Constantine, while still a heathen, was afflicted with leprosy. The physicians said he could only be healed by bathing in the blood of young children. On due reflection, he preferred to retain his leprosy; whereupon, he was directed in a vision to apply to pope Silvester, who converted him and baptised him; and he was cured of his leprosy when immersed in the baptismal font. The whole city followed the emperor's example, and was converted to Christianity. This explains ll. 354-5:—'so that the dear ones, (converted) from being the hateful ones who had formerly been at enmity with Christ,' &c.
363. For debated, MS. T. has deleated, for delated, i.e. deferred; see Dilate in the New E. Dict.
380. 'these other Christian princes'; viz. in particular, Charles VI, king of France, and Robert III, king of Scotland.
393. These interesting lines tell us that blindness befell the poet in the first year of Henry IV (Sept. 30, 1399—Sept. 29, 1400); and we gather that the present poem was meant to be his last. As a matter of fact, he wrote a still later couplet in the following words:—
'Henrici regis annus fuit ille secundus
Scribere dum cesso, sum quia cecus ego.'
These lines occur in MSS. of his Vox Clamantis; see Morley, Eng. Writers, iv. 157. Notwithstanding his infirmity, Gower survived till the autumn of 1408; and was interred, as is well known, in the church of St. Mary Overies—now St. Saviour's—in Southwark, towards the rebuilding of which he had liberally contributed.
It appears that negotiations for peace, both with Scotland and France, were being prosecuted in the latter part of 1399; see Wylie, History of Henry IV, i. 82, 86. It is also probable that Gower must have written the 'Praise of Peace' before the death of Richard II in Feb. 1400, as he makes no allusion to that event, nor to the dangerous conspiracy against Henry's life in the early part of January. For these reasons, we may safely date the poem in the end of the year 1399.
This poem is imitated, rather than translated, from the French poem entitled L'Epistre au Dieu d'Amours, written by Christine de Pisan in May, 1399; printed in Œuvres Poétiques de Christine de Pisan, publiées par Maurice Roy, ii. 1-27; Société des Anciens Textes Français, 1891. Hoccleve even rearranges some of the material; and Dr. Furnivall has printed all the lines of the original of which the English poet has made use, in the Notes to his edition of Hoccleve's Works, published for the Early English Text Society, in 1892. It thus appears that the lines of Christine's poem are to be taken in the following order: 1-116, 537-54, 126-30, 531-4, 131-96, 721-5, 259-520, 321-5, 271-4, 387-460, 643-77, 608-23, 559-75, 759-800. The following stanzas, on the other hand, are wholly Hoccleve's own: 71-7, 92-8, 127-33, 141-7, 162-8, 176-89, 267-73, 316-29, 379-434. The last set extends to 56 lines.
Cupid, god of Love, is supposed to write a letter to all lovers, who are his subjects, reproving men for their slander and ill-treatment of women, and defending women against all that is alleged against them. In fact, it is a reply, by Christine de Pisan, to the numerous severe things that Jean de Meun had said about women in the famous Roman de la Rose. He is expressly mentioned by name in l. 281.
I here quote, as a specimen, the first 7 lines of the original, answering to Hoccleve's first stanza—
'Cupido, roy par la grace de lui,
Dieu des amans, sans aide de nullui,
Regnant en l'air du ciel tres reluisant,
Filz de Venus la deesse poissant,
Sire d'amours et de tous ses obgiez,
A tous vos vrais loiaulx servans subgiez,
Salut, Amour, Familiarite!'
5. 'Son of the goddess Cithera,' i.e. Venus. Cithera is an alternative spelling of Citherea, occurring in the Cambridge and Petworth MSS. of the Cant. Tales, A 2215. For the construction, see note to Ch. C. T., F 209.
16. Albion. Of course Hoccleve has adapted the poem for English readers. The original has:—'Sur tous païs se complaignent de France.'
28. I read mot for the sake of the grammar and scansion; the MSS. have most, bad spelling for most-e, the past tense. But moot occurs, correctly, as the emphatic form of mot, in l. 35. Cf. l. 410.
30. As doth, pray, do; a common idiom; see note to C. T., E 7.
37. man, i.e. 'human being'; used generally, and including women.
38. 'When no word can proceed out of his mouth but such as may reasonably please any one, it apparently comes from the heart.'50. 'Has the pot by the handle'; i.e. holds it securely.
54. Note the accentuation: 'Aný womán.' This accentuation of words on the latter syllable in rather unlikely cases, is a marked peculiarity of Hoccleve's verse. Cf. womán in l. 79, journéy in l. 106; axíng in l. 122, purpós in l. 130. Cf. wommán in l. 170 with wómman in l. 174.
71. To here? to her? Dr. Furnivall notes that Hoccleve frequently makes here dissyllabic, when it represents the personal pronoun. Cf. l. 70; and see his Preface, p. xli. The reading 'To hir name yet was yt no reprefe,' given in Dr. Furnivall's edition from one MS. only, affords no sense, and will not scan, as name is properly dissyllabic.
90. souneth in-to, tends to; cf. note to C. T., B 3157.
95. 'They procure such assistants as have a double face.' The accentuation of prócuren on the o was at this time common; we even find the form proker (see Stratmann).
120-2. wolde ... Men wiste, would like men to know.
131. 'Unless he be so far advanced in madness as to spoil all with open coarseness; for that, as I suppose, women do not like.'
145. 'Reason follows it so slowly and leisurely.'
184. dishonest, unworthy of honour, blameworthy. Ray gives the proverb—'it's an ill bird that bewrays its own nest'; and compares the Greek—.
192. lakken, blame, find fault with; as in Chaucer.
196. bilowen, lied against; pp. of bilēoȝen, A.S. bilēogan.
204. Alluding to Ovid's Remedium Amoris. Cf. Ch. C. T., D 688-710.
215. 'They say, it is profitable to consider peril.'
225. Rather close to the original French:—
'Et aucuns sont qui iadis en mes las
Furent tenus, mais il sont d'amer las,
Ou par vieillece ou deffaulte de cuer,
Si ne veulent plus amer a nul fuer,
Et convenant m'ont de tous poins nyé,
Moy et mon fait guerpy et renié,
Comme mauvais serviteurs et rebelles.'
257. hente, caught; in hir daunger, under their control, within their power.
258. It was thought that one poison would expel another; see P. Plowman, C. xxi. 156-8, and the notes.
272. 'It cannot long abide upon one object.'
281. Jean de Meun, author of the latter and more satirical part of the famous Roman de la Rose; see vol. i.
298. 'They are not so void of constancy.' Read cónstauncè.
302. See Ch. Legend of Good Women, 1580.
305. wold, desired; pp. of willen; see note to C. T., B 2615.
309. See Ch. Legend of Good Women, 924.316-29. These two stanzas are wholly original. Hoccleve, remembering that the examples of Medea and Dido both occur in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, here takes occasion to make an express reference to that work, which he here calls 'my Legende of Martres.' My refers to Cupid; Legend, to Chaucer's title; and Martres, to the Latin titles to some of the Legends. Thus the Legend of Hypsipyle and Medea is entitled—'Incipit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee, Martirum.' Instead of Martres, Thynne has the ridiculous reading Natures, which the editions carefully retain.
357. 'And, had it not been for the devil,' &c.
360. her, the serpent. There was a legend that the serpent had the face of a beautiful virgin. See Ch. C. T., B 360, and note; P. Plowman, B. xviii. 335, and note.
379-434. These eight stanzas are all Hoccleve's own.
393. happy to, fortunate for; because it brought about Christ's incarnation. The allusion is to the oft-quoted sentence—'O felix culpa, O necessarium peccatum Ade,' from the Sarum missal. See note to P. Plowman, C. viii. 126. Cf. l. 396.
421. The day of St. Margaret, Virgin and Martyr, was July 20, in the Latin Church. See the edition of Seinte Marherete, by O. Cockayne, E. E. T. S., 1866.
428. I, i.e. Cupid. This stanza is spoken by Cupid, in his own character; cf. l. 431. In l. 464, he assumes the royal style of we. It is, moreover, obvious that this stanza would hardly have been approved of by Christine.
473-6. Imitated from the closing lines of Christine's poem:—
'Donné en l'air, en nostre grant palais,
Le jour de May la solempnée feste
Ou les amans nous font mainte requeste,
L'An de grace Mil trois cens quate vins
Et dix et neuf, present dieux et divins,' &c.
It thus appears that 'the lusty month of May,' in l. 472, is merely copied from the French; but, to the fortunate circumstance that Christine gives the exact date of her poem as 1399, we owe the fact that Hoccleve likewise gives the exact date of his poem as being 1402.
These two Balades, each of 32 lines, are written in a highly artificial metre; for, in each case, the four stanzas of which each consists shew the same rimes throughout. The riming syllables in Balade 1 are -esse, -our, and -alle; and in Balade 2, are -ame, -aunce, and -ee. A similar example of metrical arrangement occurs in Chaucer's Balade to Rosemounde.2. king, Henry V, as we see from the French title.
3. Justinian; emperor of Constantinople, A.D. 527-65, whose fame rests upon the justly celebrated Justinian Code of laws. The reference, fortunately, is explained by Hoccleve himself, in a longer Balade concerning Sir John Oldcastel, printed in Anglia, v. 23; and again in Hoccleve's Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 8. Hoccleve is praising Justinian's orthodoxy, to which (as he tells us) Henry V was heir; and the exact reference is to the following clause in one of Justinian's laws, which is quoted in full in the margin of the Balade above mentioned; see Anglia, v. 28; or Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 14. 'Nemo clericus vel militaris, vel cuiuslibet alterius conditionis de fide Christiana publice turbis coadunatis et audientibus tractare conetur,' &c. So that Justinian's 'devout tenderness in the faith' was exhibited by repressing religious discussion; cf. l. 27. See Gibbon's Roman Empire, ch. 44.
5. the Garter. The noble Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III on St. George's day, Apr. 23, 1349; cf. l. 54.
10. Constantyn. He now proceeds to liken Henry V to Constantine the Great, who was a great supporter of the church; see note above, to Poem no. IV, l. 339. Cf. Anglia, v. 29; or Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 15; st. 28.
15. do forth, proceed, continue to do as you have done in the past. Not a common expression; see forth in Mätzner.
18. Very characteristic of Hoccleve; the accents required by the verse are thrown upon the weak words your and the. But perhaps your is emphatic. Cf. fullý in l. 20, á sharp, 21.
30. Hoccleve is clearly urging the King to repress Lollardry.
37. 'God would have it so; and your allegiance would also have it so.' This is explained in a sidenote in the margin: 'quia Rex illam iustissimam partem tenet.' That is, the lords ought to put down heresy, because their master the king was against it.
41. Your style, your motto; the famous 'Honi soit qui mal y pense.' Hence shame here means scandal; but foos to shame is an awkward expression in this connexion.
47. nuisaunce, annoyance; referring to heresy; cf. l. 50.
52. Slepë nat this, be not sleepy about this; a rare construction.
58. norice of distaunce, nurse of debate or strife.
60. 'Variation from the faith would be a damnable thing.'
64. The remark—Cest tout—instead of the usual word explicit, occurs at the end of several poems by Hoccleve; see his Poems, ed. Furnivall, pp. 8, 24, 47, 51, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, &c.
For remarks upon the heading of this poem, see the Introduction.
3. Sende; that is, he did not come and recite the poem himself.
8. This reminds us of the Knight's appeal: 'Now late us ryde, and herkneth what I seye'; C. T., A 855.30. to queme, according to your pleasure. Queme is here a substantive; see Stratmann. Cf. to pay in Chaucer.
49. Tak'th is monosyllabic, as in l. 57. So also Think'th, in l. 59.
51. From James, ii. 17.
56. 'To the honour of your life and the benefit of your soul.'
65. The exclamation shews that Chaucer was then dead.
67. The quotation is inexact; cf. ll. 120, 121 below. The reference is to the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 1121:—
'Yet may they [our eldres] nat biquethe us, for no-thing,
To noon of us hir virtuous living.'
81. Read Think'th; so also Dryv'th in l. 86; Tak'th in l. 89.
97. Here the quotation, again from the Wyf of Bathes Tale (D 1131), is very close:—
'For of our eldres may we no-thing clayme
But temporel thing, that man may hurte and mayme.'
100. 'Therefore God is the source of virtuous nobleness.' This depends on a passage in Boethius, bk. iii. met. 6. l. 2; see notes to poem XIV, in vol. i. pp. 553-5.
105. See this poem of Chaucer's in vol. i. p. 392.
143. ful rage, very fierce. But I know of no other example of rage as an adjective.
146. kalends, the beginning; as in Troil. v. 1634.
150. The passage in Boethius is in Book i. met. 6. 11-15. Cf. Ch. vol. ii. p. 19.
'Nec quaeras auida manu Vernos stringere palmites,
Vuis si libeat frui: Autumno potius sua
Bacchus munera contulit.'
166. From Chaucer, Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 1165:—
'Thenketh how noble, as seith Valerius,
Was thilke Tullius Hostilius,
That out of povert roos to heigh noblesse.'
And Chaucer found it in Valerius Maximus, iii. 4; see vol. v. p. 320.
168. From Chaucer, Monkes Tale, B 3862. But it may be doubted if Caesar's alleged poverty is an historical fact. Cf. p. 24, l. 128 (above).
174. Read the story of Nero in the Monkes Tale, B 3653; that of Balthasar (Belshazzar) in the same, B 3373; and that of Antiochus in the same, B 3765. Compare the lines in B 3800-1:—
'For he so sore fil out of his char
That it his limes and his skin to-tar.'
187. 'I should be sorry, if ye choose amiss.'
There are some excellent notes relative to this poem in Schick's edition of Lydgate's Temple of Glas (E. E. T. S.); I refer to them below as 'Schick, T. G.'
4. Bole, Bull. The sun entered Taurus, in the fifteenth century, just before the middle of April. Hence the phrase Amid the Bole refers, not to the first degree of the sign, but (literally) to the middle of it. The reference must be to May 1, when the sun had just passed a little beyond the middle (or 15th degree) of Taurus.
Even here we trace the influence of Chaucer's translation of the Romaunt of the Rose; for which see notes to ll. 36, 74 below. Chaucer reiterates the mention of May, R. R. 49, 51, 55, 74, 86; and ll. 1 and 2 of the present poem answer to R. R. 53-56:—
'For ther is neither busk ne hay
In May, that it nil shrouded been,
And it with newe leves wreen.'
12. with seint Johan, with St. John for their security or protection; probably suggested by The Compleynt of Mars, l. 9, which opens in a similar strain; cf. note to C. T., F 596; vol. v. p. 385.
15, 16. Compare Rom. Rose (Chaucer's version), ll. 94-5.
21. halt, holds, constrains; the present tense.
22, 23. Compare Rom. Rose (Chaucer's version), ll. 100-1.
28. Lydgate is fond of calling the sun Tytan; Chaucer has the name only once; in Troil. iii. 1464. Lydgate is here thinking of the passage in the Knightes Tale, A 1493-6, about fyry Phebus. Note that he is fond of the word persaunt; see ll. 358, 591, 613; cf. Schick, note to T. G. 328.
33. It is odd that no MS. has the form splayen; yet the final n is required for the metre, or, at any rate, to save an hiatus.
36. Lydgate here copies l. 134 of the English Romaunt of the Rose—'The river-syde costeying'—and is a witness to the genuineness of Fragment A of that poem; as appears more clearly below; see note to l. 75. The whole passage seems founded upon the Romaunt; for this walk by the river brings him to a park (a garden in the Romaunt) enclosed by a wall that had a small gate in it. It is further obvious that l. 42 is borrowed from l. 122 of the Parliament of Foules—'Right of a park walled with grene stoon.' I may remark here that I have seen a wall constructed of red sandstone so entirely covered with a very minute kind of vegetable growth as to present to the eye a bright green surface.
40. gate smal; usually called a wiket in similar poems; see Rom. Rose, 528, and Schick, note to T. G. 39.
43-49. This stanza answers to Rom. Rose, ll. 105-8, 78-9.52. celúred, canopied, over-arched (New E. Dict.).
53-6. Cf. Rom. Rose, 1398-1400.
57. attempre, temperate; observe that this word occurs in the Rom. Rose, l. 131 (only three lines above the line quoted in the note to l. 36), where the F. text has atrempee.
62. take, take effect, take hold, become set; an early example of this curious intransitive use of the verb.
63. 'Ready for (men) to shake off the fruit.'
64. Daphne. Cf. Troil. iii. 726:—'O Phebus, thenk whan Dane hirselven shette Under the bark, and laurer wex for drede.' And cf. C. T., A 2062; and Schick, note to T. G. 115.
66. myrre; see Troil. iv. 1138-9.
67. Cf. the mention of laurel, pine, and cedar in Rom. Rose, 1313-4.
68. The resemblance of philbert (Philibert's nut) to Phyllis is accidental, but it was then believed that the connexion was real; merely because Vergil has 'Phyllis amat corylos'; Ecl. vii. 63. Thus Gower has (Conf. Amant. ii. 30):—
'And, after Phillis, philiberd
This tree was called in the yerd'—
and he gives the story of Phyllis and Demophon, saying that Phyllis hanged herself on a nut-tree. See the Legend of Good Women, 2557. Pliny alludes to 'the almond-tree whereon ladie Phyllis hanged herselfe'; Nat. Hist. xvi. 26 (in Holland's translation). See further in Schick, note to T. G. 86.
71. hawethorn; often mentioned in poems of this period; see Schick, note to T. G. 505. Cf. XX. 272, p. 369; XXIV. 1433, p. 447.
74, 75. The list of trees was evidently suggested by the Rom. Rose; see Chaucer's translation, 1379-86. Hence the next thing mentioned is a well; see the same, ll. 1409-11, 109-30. Note that the water was cold, as in R. R. 116; under a hill, as in R. R. 114; and ran over gravel, as in R. R. 127, 1556. And then note the same, 1417-20:—
'About the brinkes of thise welles,
And by the stremes over-al elles
Sprang up the gras, as thikke y-set
And softe as any veluët.'
It is remarkable that the French original merely has 'Poignoit l'erbe freschete et drue,' without any mention of softe or of veluët. It thus becomes clear that Lydgate is actually quoting Chaucer's version.
81. The reading seems to be lustily cam springing; it would be a great improvement to transpose the words, and read cam lustily springing. Cf. 'Abouten it is gras springing'; R. R. 1563.
82. Cf. 'That shadwed was with braunches grene'; R. R. 1511.
87. Narcisus, Narcissus; introduced as a matter of course, because he is here mentioned in the Romaunt; see R. R. 1468—'Here starf the faire Narcisus.'88. Cupyde; cf. R. R. 1523—'Wel couthe Love him wreke tho.' And see the same, 1601-29.
89. Cf. R. R. 1617—'Hath sowen there of love the seed.'
92. pitte, i.e. well of Helicon, most likely; which Chaucer mixed up with the Castalian spring on Parnassus; see note to Anelida, 15. And cf. the Pegasee in C. T., F 207; and 'I sleep never on the mount of Pernaso,' F 721.
95. Dyane, Diana; see C. T., A 2065-6.
97. his houndes, his own dogs; not her, as in several MSS. For see C. T., A 2067—'his houndes have him caught.'
102. pensifheed, pensiveness; common in Lydgate; see Schick, note to T. G. 2.
103. Cf. 'To drinke and fresshe him wel withalle'; R. R. 1513.
107-12. Suggested by R. R. 1507-16; especially 1515-6.
127. 'Of gras and floures, inde and pers'; R. R. 67. And compare l. 126 with R. R. 68.
129. hulfere, holly; Icel. hulfr, dogwood. Spelt hulwur, huluyr in the Prompt. Parv. 'The holly is still called in Norfolk hulver, and in Suffolk hulva'; Way. Cotgrave has:—'Houx, the holly, holme, or hulver-tree.' Also 'Petit houx, kneehulver, butchers broom.'
131. MS. P. has of colour; which suggests the reading—'In blakke and whyte, of colour pale and wan'; but this, though a better line, cannot stand, as it makes the words also of his hewe in l. 132 superfluous; indeed l. 132 then becomes unmeaning.
136. accesse, feverish attack; see Schick, note to T. G. 358.
151. ure, destiny; O.F. eur, Lat. augurium; cf. F. mal-heur. See l. 302 below, and Barbour's Bruce, i. 312.
154. among; so in all the copies; among as, whilst.
161. ado, to do; put for at do; a Northern idiom.
168. awhaped, stupefied: see Gloss. in vol. vi. amat, dismayed. Cf. Schick, note to T. G. 401.
169. sitting, suitable; cf. R. R. 986.
172. grounde (dissyllabic) improves the line; but ground is the correct form.
176. Here the Ashmole MS. inserts 'La compleynt du Chiualier'; but wrongly. For see l. 218.
178. Niobe; mentioned in Troil. i. 699. So woful Myrre, Troil. iv. 1139.
227. cheste, receptacle; 'cheste of every care'; Troil. v. 1368.
229. Cf. Troil. i. 420; also Rom. Rose, 4746-50.
233. fro, from being, after being.
250. Daunger; see Schick, note to T. G. 156.
253. Cf. 'his arwes ... fyle'; Parl. Foules, 212.
260. Male-Bouche, Evil Tongue; cf. R. R. 7357, &c.; where Fragment C has 'Wikkid-Tonge,' the F. original has Male Bouche. Cf. IX. 84 (p. 269). See Schick, note to T. G. 153.
274-6. forjuged and excused only give an assonance, not a rime.291. through-girt ... wounde; from C. T., A 1010.
303. purveyaunce, providence; a reminiscence of the argument in Troil. iv. 961, &c.
304. god; for the god; but the article is unnecessary; see Schick, note to T. G. 132.
305. 'And true men have fallen off the wheel'; i.e. the wheel of Fortune; cf. Troil. iv. 6.
330. Palamides, Palamedes. There were two different heroes of this name. One was the son of Nauplius, king of Euboea, who lost his life before Troy, by the artifices of Ulysses. It is said that Ulysses, envious of his fame, forged a letter to him purporting to come from Priam, and then accused him of treachery; whereupon he was condemned to be stoned to death. But the reference is rather to a much later hero, the unsuccessful lover of La bele Isoude. He was defeated by the celebrated knight Sir Tristram, who made him promise to resign his pretensions to the lady; a promise which he did not keep. See Sir T. Malory, Morte Arthure, bk. viii. c. 10, &c.
344. Hercules. See the Monkes Tale, B 3285.
349. Gades, Cadiz; where, according to Guido, Hercules set up some columns or pillars, to shew that he had come to the end of the world. There is an extraordinary confusion as to the locality and maker of these pillars. Lydgate here follows the account in the Alexander romances, viz. that Alexander set up a pillar of marble in the furthest end of India (l. 351); on which was inscribed—'Ego Alexander Philippi Macedonis post obitum Darii usque ad hunc locum expugnando viriliter militaui'; see Alexander and Dindimus, ed. Skeat, p. 42. Lydgate has confused the two accounts.
354. Copied from Troil. i. 518:—'Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce'; which is preceded by 'he may goon in the daunce'; see the next line.
358. Phebus. Cf. 'Whan Phebus dwelled here in this erthe adoun'; C. T., H 1. Lydgate is not, however, referring to the story in the Manciples Tale, but rather to the hopeless love of Phoebus for the daughter of Admetus; for which see Troil. i. 659-65. Cf. Schick, note to T. G. 112.
365. Piramus. See Legend of Good Women, 724; and Schick, note to T. G. 80.
366. Tristram. See notes to Parl. Foules, 288, and to Rosamounde, 20; and to Temple of Glas, ed. Schick, l. 77.
367. Achilles fell in love with Polyxena, a daughter of Priam, according to Guido; see note to Book of the Duch. 1070; and Schick, note to T. G. 94. Antonius, Antony; see Legend of Good Women, 588.
368. See the Knightes Tale; but it is a little extraordinary that Lydgate should instance Palamon here.
372. Jason; see Legend of Good Women, 1580. For Theseus, see the same, 1945; and for Enee (Aeneas), the same, 924.379. An interesting allusion, as the story of the false Arcite was of Chaucer's invention; see his Anelida.
380. Demophon; already mentioned above, l. 70.
386. Adon, Adonis; see Troil. iii. 721; C. T., A 2224.
390. chorl, churl; Vulcan; cf. C. T., A 2222, and Compl. of Mars.
393. Ipomenes, Hippomenes, the conqueror of Atalanta in the foot-race; and therefore not 'guerdonles.' He is thinking of Meleager, the unsuccessful lover of the other Atalanta, her of Calydon. Chaucer seems likewise to have confused these stories; see note to Parl. Foules, 286; and cf. C. T., A 2070-2.
412. Cf. Book Duch. 1024, and my note; and Schick, note to T. G. 169.
419. The correction is obvious. The scribes read iupartyng as inpartyng and then made it into two words. Cf. l. 475. Chaucer has juparten, Troil. iv. 1566.
458. 'So variable is thy chance'; cf. C. T., B 125, and the note.
461. blent, blinded. Evidently the right reading, for which MS. S. has blend. This was turned into blynde, destroying the rime.
462. went, weeneth, weens, supposes, guesses; he shoots by guess. Evidently the right word, for which MS. S. has wend. But it was easily misunderstood, and most MSS. have by wenynge, which preserves the sense, but destroys the rime. Cf. let = lets, in l. 464.
480. This line resembles l. 229 of the Temple of Glas.
484. For references to similar lines, see Schick, note to T. G. 60.
488. Parcas, Parcae, the Fates; the form is copied from Troil. v. 3. Lines 486-9 are reminiscences of Troil. iii. 734 and C. T., A 1566.
491. Nature is the deputy of God; see P. F. 379, and note; C. T., C 20.
512. With the following stanzas compare Chaucer's Complaint to his Lady, and An Amorous Complaint.
525. 'Out of your mercy and womanliness, charm my sharp wounds.'
554. A stock line of Lydgate's; it occurs twice in the Temple of Glas, ll. 424, 879.
574. Here the Knight's Complaint ends.
590. 'Parfourned hath the sonne his ark diurne'; C. T., E 1795.
596. Cf. 'among yon rowes rede'; Compl. Mars, 2.
597. deaurat, gilded, of a golden colour; see Deaurate in the New E. Dict.
612. Esperus, Hesperus, the evening-star, the planet Venus. See note to Boeth. bk. i. m. 5. 9.
621. Cf. C. T., A 2383, 2389; and Temple of Glas, 126-8.
627. 'Venus I mene, the wel-willy planete'; Troil. iii. 1257. Cf. gude-willy in Burns.
644. 'For thilke love thou haddest to Adoun'; C. T., A 2224.
647. MS. B. has for very wery, meaning 'because I was very weary,' which is a possible expression; see Schick, note to T. G. 632; but verily seems better, as otherwise the line is cumbersome.
663. Jelousye; cf. Parl. Foules, 252.
I know of no MS. copy of this piece.
4. Valentine's day is Feb. 14; cf. Parl. Foules, 309-11.
8. larke; cf. the song of the bird in Compl. Mars, 13-21.
20. Cipryde, really the same as Venus, but here distinguished; see Parl. Foules, 277.
38. Apparently accented as 'Aúrorà'; Ch. has Auróra, L. G. W. 774.
49. crampessh at must be crampisshed, i.e. constrained painfully, tortured; see note to Anelida, 171 (vol. i. p. 535).
62. Imitated from Parl. Foules, 379-89.
75. sursanure; a wound healed outwardly only; cf. note to C. T., F 1113.
84. Male-bouche, Evil Tongue, Slander; from the Roman de la Rose. See VIII. 260 above.
96. Boreas, only mentioned by Ch. in his Boethius, bk. i. m. 5. 17, m. 3. 8.
113. somer-sonne; imitated from the Book of the Duch. 821-4.
125. 'To speke of bountè or of gentilles,' &c.; T. G. 287.
140. 'To alle hir werkes virtu is hir gyde'; C. T., B 164.
158. Alluding to the proverb—'He that hews above his head, the chips fall in his eye'; which is a warning to men who attack their betters. See I. i. 9. 20, and the note (p. 462).
190-3. Policene, Polyxena; cf. note to VIII. 367. Helayne, Helen. Dorigene; see Frankleyns Tale, F 815.
195. Cleopatre; see the first legend in the Legend of Good Women. secree, secret, able to keep secrets; a praiseworthy attribute; cf. Parl. of Foules, 395; and Lydgate's Temple of Glas, 294-5:—
'and mirrour eke was she
Of secrenes, of trouth, of faythfulnes.'
It is obvious that the extraordinary word setrone (see the footnote) arose from a desire on the part of the scribe to secure a rime for the name in the next line, which he must have imagined to be An-ti-góne, in three syllables, with a mute final e! This turned secree into secrone, which Thynne probably misread as setrone, since c and t are alike in many MSS. But there are no such words as secrone or setrone; and secree must be restored, because An-ti-go-ne is a word of four syllables. We know whence Lydgate obtained his 'white Antigone'; it was from Troilus, ii. 887, where we find 'fresshe Antigone the whyte.' Antigone was Criseyde's niece, and was so 'secree' that Pandarus considered her to be the most fitting person to accompany Criseyde when she visited Troilus (Troil. ii. 1563), and again when she came to visit Pandarus himself (iii. 597).
197. Hester, Esther; see Book Duch. 987; but especially Legend ofGood Women, 250: 'Ester, lay thou thy mekenesse al adoun.' Judith; cf. Cant. Tales, B 939, 2289, 3761, E 1366.
198. Alceste, Alcestis; see L. G. W. 432, 511, 518. Marcia Catoun, Martia, daughter of Cato of Utica; see note to L. G. W. 252 (vol. iii. p. 298).
199. Grisilde; the Griselda of the Clerkes Tale. Again mentioned by Lydgate in the Temple of Glas, 75, 405, and elsewhere; see Schick's note to T.G. l. 75.
200, 201. Ariadne; see L. G. W. 268, 2078, &c. Lucrece, Lucretia; see the same, 1680; especially l. 1691:—'this Lucresse, that starf at Rome toun.'
203. Penelope; see note to L. G. W. 252.
204. Phyllis, Hipsiphilee; both in L. G. W.; 2394, 1368.
206. Canacee; may be either the Canace mentioned in L. G. W. 265, or the heroine of the Squieres Tale; probably the latter. See Schick, note to l. 137 of the Temple of Glas.
209. naught, not. falle, stoop, droop; hence, fail.
211-3. Dido slew herself; see L. G. W. 1351.
214. Medee, Medea; see L. G. W. 1580. But Chaucer does not there relate how Medea committed any 'outrage.' However, he refers to her murder of her children in the Cant. Tales, B 72.
216. 'That, while goodness and beauty are both under her dominion, she makes goodness have always the upper hand.' See l. 218.
221. Read n'offende, offend not. Probably the MS. had nofende, which Thynne turned into ne fende.
229. It is remarkable how often Lydgate describes his hand as 'quaking'; see Schick's note to the Temple of Glas, 947. Chaucer's hand quaked but once; Troil. iv. 14. Cf. note to XXII. 57 (p. 539).
232. suppryse, undertake, endeavour to do. Suppryse is from O.F. sousprendre, for which Godefroy gives the occasional sense 'entreprendre.'
234. lose, praise; out of lose, out of praise, discreditable.
236. Perhaps this means that Chaucer's decease was a very recent event. Schick proposes to date this piece between 1400 and 1402.
242. Chaucer invokes Clio at the beginning of Troilus, bk. ii. (l. 8); and Calliope at the beginning of bk. iii. (l. 45).
251. Cf. Compl. Mars, 13, 14. The metre almost seems to require an accent on the second syllable of Valentyn, with suppressed final e; but a much more pleasing line, though less regular, can be made by distributing the pauses artificially thus: Upón . the dáy of . saint Válen . týne . sínge. The word saint is altogether unemphatic; cf. ll. 4, 100.
257. fetheres ynde, blue feathers; possibly with a reference to blue as being the colour of constancy. Cf. floures inde; VIII. 127.
261. The woodbine is an emblem of constancy, as it clings to its support; cf. XX. 485-7.
4, 5. In l. 4, fere is the Kentish form of 'fire.' In l. 5, Thynne again prints fere, but MS. A. has hyre (not a rime), and MS. Sl. has were, which means 'doubt,' and is the right word.
7. For her, we must read his, as in l. 4. The reference is to Love or Cupid; see VIII. 354, and the note.
12. Cf. 'O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere,' &c.; Troil. ii. 2. Observe that Chaucer invokes Cleo (Clio) in his next stanza.
22. We may compare this invocation with Chaucer's ABC, and his introduction to the Second Nonnes Tale; but there is not much resemblance. Observe the free use of alliteration throughout ll. 22-141.
24. 'O pleasant ever-living one' seems to be meant; but it is very obscure. Notice that the excellent Sloane MS. has O lusty lemand (= leming), O pleasant shining one. Perhaps we should read leming for living; cf. l. 25.
27. Cf. 'Haven of refut'; ABC, 14. up to ryve, to arrive at; see rive in Halliwell.
28. The five joys of the Virgin are occasionally alluded to. See the poem on this subject in An Old Eng. Miscellany, ed. Morris, p. 87. The five joys were (1) at the Annunciation; (2) when she bore Christ; (3) when Christ rose from the dead; (4) when she saw Him ascend into heaven; (5) at her own Assumption into heaven.
30. 'And cheering course, for one to complain to for pity.' Very obscure.
52. propyne, give to drink; a usage found in the Vulgate version of Jer. xxv. 15: 'Sume calicem ... et propinabis de illo cunctis gentibus.'
56. Cf. magnificence in Ch. Sec. Nonnes Tale, G 50.
58. put in prescripcioun, i.e. prescribed, recommended.
60. Cf. 'I flee for socour to thy tente'; ABC, 41.
64. itinerárie, a description of the way.
65. bravie, prize, especially in an athletic contest; Lat. brauium, Gk. , in 1 Cor. ix. 24. See note to C. T., D 75.
66. diourn denárie, daily pay, as of a penny a day; referring to Matt. xx. 2: 'Conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno.'
68. Laureat crowne, crown of laurel.
69. palestre, a wrestling-match; cf. Troil. v. 304.
70. lake, fine white linen cloth; as in C. T., B 2048.
71. citole, harp; as in C. T., A 1959.
78. 'The wedded turtel, with her herte trewe'; Parl. Foules, 355.
83. Phebus; here used, in an extraordinary manner, of the Holy Spirit, as being the spirit of wisdom; perhaps suggested by the mention of the columbe (or dove) in l. 79.
87. Here Thynne prints dyametre, but the Sloane MS. corrects him.
88. Fewe feres, few companions; i.e. few equals.92, 93. loupe; cf. F. loupe, an excrescence, fleshy kernel, knot in wood, lens, knob. It was also a term in jewellery. Littré has: 'pierre précieuse que la nature n'a pas achevée. Loupe de saphir, loupe de rubis, certaines parties imparfaites et grossières qui se trouvent quelquefois dans ces pierres.' Hence it is not a very happy epithet, but Lydgate must have meant it in a good sense, as expressing the densest portion of a jewel; hence his 'stable (i.e. firm) as the loupe.' Similarly he explains ewage as being 'fresshest of visage,' i.e. clearest in appearance. Ewage was a term applied to a jacinth of the colour of sea-water; see New E. Dict. and P. Plowman, B. ii. 14; but it is here described as blue, and must therefore refer to a stone of the colour of water in a lake.
98. Read hértè for the scansion; but it is a bad line. It runs:—And hém . recéyvest . wíth . hértè . ful tréwe.
99. gladded, gladdened; referring to the Annunciation.
102. obumbred, spread like a shadow; 'uirtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi'; Luke, i. 35. This explains to thee, which answers to tibi.
106. This stanza refers to Christ rather than to Mary; see l. 112. But Mary is referred to as the ground on which He built (l. 111).
107. Cf. Isaiah, xi. 1; Jerem. xxiii. 5.
110. corn, grain; 'suscitabo Dauid germen iustum'; Jer. xxiii. 5. Cf. 'ex semine Dauid uenit Christus; John, vii. 42.
111. ground; the ground upon which it pleased Him to build. Referring to Mary.
113. vytre, glass; Lat. uitreum. The Virgin was often likened to glass; sun-rays pass through it, and leave it pure.
114. Tytan, sun; curiously applied. Christ seems to be meant; see l. 116. But thy in l. 115 again refers to Mary. Hence, in l. 114 (as in 116) we should read his for thy.
118. Sunamyte, Shunammite; Lat. Sunamitis, 2 Kings, iv. 25. She was an emblem of the Virgin, because her son was raised from the dead.
119. Mesure, moderate, assuage. Margaryte, pearl; as an epithet of the Virgin.
121. punical pome, pomegranate; Pliny has Punicum malum in this sense; Nat. Hist. xiii. 19.
122. bouk and boon, body and bone; see Bouk in the New E. Dict.
123. agnelet, little lamb; not in the New E. Dict., because this stanza is now first printed.
126. habounde, abundant; of this adj. the New E. Dict, gives two examples.
128. Cockle, shell; referring to the shell in which the pearl was supposed to be generated by dew. See note to I. ii. 12. 47, p. 475.
129. 'O bush unbrent'; C. T., B 1658; see the note, fyrles, set on fire without any fire (i.e. without visible cause).
132. Referring to Gideon's fleece; Judges, vi. 39.
133. Referring to Aaron's rod that budded; Heb. ix. 4.134. misty, mystic; cf. 'mysty, misticus,' in Prompt. Parv.
arke, ark; the ark of the covenant.
probatik; certainly the right reading (as in MS. Sl.), instead of probatyf or probatyfe, as in A. and Thynne. The reference is to the O.F. phrase piscine probatique, which Godefroy explains as being a cistern of water, near Solomon's temple, in which the sheep were washed before being sacrificed. The phrase was borrowed immediately from the Vulgate version of John v. 2: 'Est autem Ierosolymis probatica piscina, quae cognominatur hebraice Bethsaida'; i.e. the reference is to the well-known pool of Bethesda. The Greek has: . The etymology is obvious, from Gk. , a sheep. We may translate the phrase by 'sheep-cleansing pool.' Cotgrave explains it very well; he has: 'piscine probatique, a pond for the washing of the sheep that were, by the Law, to be sacrificed.'
135. Aurora, dawn; mentioned in Ch. L. G. W. 774. Cf. 'al the orient laugheth'; C. T., A 1494. And cf. 'Th'olyve of pees'; Parl. Foules, 181.
136. 'Column, with its base, which bears up (or supports) out of the abysmal depth.'
137. 'Why could I not be skilful?'
140. I make up this line as best I can; the readings are all bad.
Note that, at this point, the MS. copies come to an end, and so does the alliteration. Poem no. XI is joined on to no. X in Thynne without any break, but is obviously a different piece, addressed to an earthly mistress.
1. Imitated from C. T., B 778: 'I ne have noon English digne,' &c. Cf. l. 41. And see the Introduction.
8. 'For if I could sing what I feel in love, I would (gladly do so).'
14. 'I have all my trust in thee.' The scansion is got by grouping the syllables thus: J'áy . en vóus . tóute . má . fiáunce. It is a line of the Lydgate type, in which the first syllable in the normal line, and the first syllable after the cæsura, are alike dropped.
17. thou knette, mayst thou knit; the subj. or optative mood.
21. This quotation is most interesting, being taken from the first line in 'Merciless Beauty'; Ch. Minor Poems; no. XI. Cf. l. 54.
23. it is; pronounced either as it's or 't is. The latter sounds better.
26. The substitution of ginne for beginne much improves the line.
on esperaunce, in hope.
44. in o degree, (being) always in one state.
49. 'Weep for me, if a lover pleases you.'
56. 'So much it grieves to be away from my lady.'
59. 'Now my heart has what it wished for.'64. were, should be, ought to be (subjunctive).
68. go love, go and love, learn to love. wher, whether.
77. and also, including. The 'fair' Rosamond is mentioned in P. Plowman, B. xii. 48; which shews that her name was proverbial.
98. 'Embrace me closely with a joyful heart.'
100. 'The ardent hope that pricks my heart, is dead; the hope—to gain the love of her whom I desire.'
103. 'And I know well that it is not my fault; (the fault of me) who sing for you, as I may, by way of lament at your departure.' O.F. sai, I know, is a correct form.
107. sad, fixed, resolute, firm, constant.
7. Cf. Prov. xvii. 20: 'He that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.'
15. equipolent, equal in power; used by Hoccleve (New E. Dict.).
16. peregal, the same as paregal, fully equal; Troil. v. 840.
22. I follow the order of stanzas in MS. H. (Harl. 2251), which is more complete than any other copy, as it alone contains ll. 71-7. Th. and Ff. transpose this stanza and the next one.
23. amorous is evidently used as a term of disparagement, i.e. 'wanton.'
33. this is; pronounced as this, as often elsewhere.
40. deslavee, loose, unchaste; see Gloss. to Chaucer.
45. Accent dévourour on the first syllable.
60. dissolucioun, dissolute behaviour.
71-7. In Harl. 2251 only. In l. 71, read is; the MS. has in.
73. The missing word is obviously mene, i.e. middling; missed because the similar word men happened to follow it.
78. prudent seems here to be used in a bad sense; cf. mod. E. 'knowing.'
86. In the course of ll. 86-103, Lydgate contrives to mention all the Nine Worthies except Godfrey of Bouillon; i.e. he mentions David, Joshua, Judas Maccabaeus, Hector, Julius Caesar, Alexander, Charles (Charlemagne), and King Arthur. His other examples are Solomon, Troilus, Tullius Cicero, Seneca, and Cato; all well known.
96. Thynne has—'With al Alisaundres.' The word al is needless, and probably due to repeating the first syllable of Alisaundre.
107. We now come to examples of famous women. Hestre is Esther, and Griseldes, the Grisildis of Chaucer's Clerkes Tale. Others are Judith (in the Apocrypha), Polyxena, Penelope, Helen, Medea, Marcia the daughter of Marcus Cato Uticensis (see note to Legend of Good Women, 252), and Alcestis. They are all taken from Chaucer; Esther, Polyxena, Penelope, Helen, 'Marcia Catoun,' are all mentioned in the 'Balade' in Legend of Good Women, Prologue, B-text, 249-69;and Alcestis is the heroine of the same Prologue. The Legend contains the story of Medea at length; and Judith is celebrated in the Monkes Tale. See the similar list in IX. 190-210.
110. For Policenes, Ff. has Penilops (!); but Penelope is mentioned in l. 113. Policenes is right; see IX. 190.
115. For Eleynes, the printed editions have the astonishing reading Holynesse, a strange perversion of Heleynes.
121. kerve, cut; suggested by Chaucer's use of forkerveth in the Manciple's Tale, H 340. This is tolerably certain, as in l. 129 he again refers to the same Tale, H 332-4.
130. Chaucer does not mention Cato; he merely says—'Thus lerne children whan that they ben yonge.' Both Chaucer and Lydgate had no doubt been taught some of the sayings of Dionysius Cato in their youth; for see Troil. iii. 293-4. This particular precept occurs in the third distich in Cato's first book; i.e. almost at the very beginning. See note to C. T., H 332 (vol. v. p. 443).
This piece is gently ironical throughout, as, for example, in ll. 15, 23, 31, 39, 47, &c.
30. abit, abideth, abides, remains, is constant.
32 (footnote). The remark in the margin—'Per antifrasim'—simply means that the text is ironical.
48. tache, defect; this is Shakespeare's touch, in the same sense; Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3. 175.
51. sliper, slippery; A.S. slipor; as in XVI. 262. Cf. HF. 2154, and the note.
55. 'Who can (so) guide their sail as to row their boat with craft.' Not clearly put. Is there a reference to Wade's boat? Cf. C. T., E 1424, and the note. The irony seems here to be dropped, as in ll. 71, 79.
75. sys and sink, six and five, a winning throw at hazard; see C. T., B 124, and the note. avaunce, get profit, make gain.
77, 78. Here sette seems to mean 'lay a stake upon,' in the game of hazard; when, if the player throws double aces (ambes as), he loses; see the note on C. T., B 124 as above; and see Ambs-Ace in the New E. Dict. It is amusing to find that Stowe so wholly misunderstood the text as to print lombes, as (see footnote on p. 293); for lombes means 'lambs'!
83. innocence is, I suppose, to be taken ironically; but the constancy of Rosamond and Cleopatra is appealed to as being real. For the ballad of 'Fair Rosamond,' see Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry.
'Her chiefest foes did plaine confesse
She was a glorious wight.'
89, 90. sengle, single. oo-fold, one-fold, as distinct from double. See the whimsical praise of 'double' things in Hood's Miss Kilmansegg, in the section entitled 'Her Honeymoon.'
6. see at y, see by the outward appearance; cf. C. T., G 964, 1059. This Balade resembles no. XIII. Cf. l. 4 with XIII. 63, 81.
7. et, eateth, eats. This contracted form evidently best suits the scansion. The copy in MS. T. had originally ette, mis-spelt for et, with ettyth written above it, shewing that the old form et was obsolescent. Et (eateth) occurs in P. Plowman, C. vii. 431; and again, in the same, B. xv. 175, the MSS. have eet, eteth, ette, with the same sense. 'The blind eat many flies' is given in Hazlitt's Collection of Proverbs. Skelton has it, Works, ed. Dyce, i. 213; and Hazlitt gives four more references.
9. geson, scarce, rare, seldom found; see note to P. Plowman, B. xiii. 270.
19. Remember to pronounce this is (this's) as this.
25. A common proverb; see note to C. T., G 962.
26. 'But ay fortune hath in hir hony galle'; C. T., B 3537.
29. The proverbial line quoted in T. is here referred to, viz. 'Fallere, flere, nere, tria sunt hec in muliere.' In the margin of the Corpus MS. of the C. T., opposite D 402, is written—'Fallere, flere, nere, dedit Deus in muliere.' See that passage in the Wife's Preamble.
33. sleight; pronounced (sleit), riming with bait; shewing that the gh was by this time a negligible quantity.
36. The reference is to the proverb quoted in the note to C. T., B 2297 (vol. v. p. 208):—
'Vento quid leuius? fulgur; quid fulgure? flamma.
Flamma quid? mulier. Quid muliere? nichil.'
Hence light in l. 37 should be leit, as it means 'lightning'; which explains 'passeth in a throw,' i.e. passes away instantly. We also see that Lydgate's original varied, and must have run thus:—
'Aëre quid leuius? fulgur; quid fulgure? uentus.
Vento quid? mulier. Quid muliere? nichil.'
43. Curiously imitated in the modern song for children:—
'If all the world were paper, And all the sea were ink,
And all the trees were bread and cheese, What should we do for drink?'
The Baby's Bouquet, p. 26.
(A). 2. Honour, i.e. advancement. The Lat. proverb is—'Honores mutant mores'; on which Ray remarks—'As poverty depresseth and debaseth a man's mind, so great place and estate advance and enlarge it, but many times corrupt and puff it up.' outrage, extravagant self-importance.
1-28. The first four stanzas are original; so also are the four at the end. These stanzas have seven lines; the rest have eight.
10. Read called as call'd; Bell-e and Dam-e are dissyllabic.
11. Aleyn; i.e. Alain Chartier, a French poet and prose writer, born in 1386, who died in 1458. He lived at the court of Charles VI and Charles VII, to whom he acted as secretary. Besides La Belle Dame sans Merci, he wrote several poems; in one of these, called Le Livre de Quatre Dames, four ladies bewail the loss of their lovers in the battle of Agincourt. He also wrote some prose pieces, chiefly satirical; his Curial, directed against the vices of the court, was translated by Caxton. Caxton's translation was printed by him in 1484, and reprinted by the Early English Text Society in 1888. The best edition of Chartier's works is that by A. Duchesne (Paris, 1617); a new edition is much wanted.
45. I here quote the original of this stanza, as it settles the right reading of l. 47, where some MSS. have eyen or eyn for pen.
'Qui vouldroit mon vouloir contraindre
A ioyeuses choses escrire,
Ma plume n'y sçauroit attaindre,
Non feroit ma langue à les dire.
Ie n'ay bouche qui puisse rire
Que les yeulx ne la desmentissent:
Car le cueur l'en vouldroit desdire
Par les lermes qui des yeulx issent.'
53. The original French is clearer:—
'Je laisse aux amoureulx malades,
Qui ont espoir d'allegement,
Faire chansons, ditz, et ballades.'
65, 66. forcer, casket; unshet, opened; sperd, fastened, locked up.
103 (footnote). deedly, inanimate, dull, sleepy; an unusual use of the word. Only in Thynne, who seems to be wrong.
105, 106. som, i.e. some male guests. their juges, (apparently) the ladies who ruled them, whom they wooed; cf. l. 137. demure, serious, grave; an early example of the word; cf. XX. 459, XXI. 82.105. most fresshest, who had most newly arrived; 'Tels y ot qui à l'heure vinrent.'
137. scole-maister, i.e. his mistress who ruled him; cf. her in l. 139.
145. The right reading is shot, as in Thynne and MS. Ff., which are usually better authorities than MSS. F. and H. The original has:—
'I'apperceu le trait de ses yeulx
Tout empenné d'humbles requestes.'
154, 156. mes, dish or course of meats. entremes, ill-spelt entremass in Barbour's Bruce, xvi. 457; on which my note is: 'it is the O.F. entremes, now spelt entremets, [to mark its connection with F. mettre; but] mets, O.F. mes, is the Lat. missum [accusative of missus], a dish as sent in or served at table (Brachet). An entremes is a delicacy or side-dish (lit. a between-dish)'; and I added a reference to the present passage. It is here used ironically.
166. chase, chose; apparently, a Northern form.
174. apert, as in MS. Ff., is obviously right; pert, as still in use, is due to the loss of the former syllable. prevy nor apert, neither secretly nor openly, i.e. in no way; just as in Ch. C. T., F 531.
176. frounter; answering here, not to O.F. frontier, forehead, but to O.F. frontiere, front rank of an army, line of battle; whence the phrase faire frontiere a, to make an attack upon (Godefroy). So here, the lady's beauty was exactly calculated to make an attack upon a lover's heart. Sir R. Ros has 'a frounter for'; he should rather have written 'a frounter on.' The original has:—'Pour faire au cueur d'amant frontiere'; also garnison in the preceding line.
182. 'Car ioye triste cueur traueille.' Sir R. Ros actually takes triste with ioye instead of with cueur. There are several other instances in which he does not seem to have understood his original. See below.
184. trayle, trellis-work, or lattice-work, intertwined with pliant thick-leaved branches; Godefroy has O.F. 'treille, traille, treillis, treillage'; cf. l. 195. The original has:—'Si m'assis dessoubz une treille.' A note explains dessoubz as derriere.
198. neer, nearer; as in l. 201. sought, attacked (him).
230. 'Et se par honneur et sans blasme Ie suis vostre.' That is, if I am yours, with honour to myself. But the translator transfers the worship, i.e. the honour, to the lady.
259. 'Which promised utterly to deprive me of my trust.'
265. Other or me, me or some one else. But the French is:—'Se moy ou autre vous regarde,' if I or some one else look at you; which is quite a different thing.
269-72. Obscure, and perhaps wrong; the original is:—
'S'aucun blesse autruy d'auenture
Par coulpe de celuy qui blesse,
Quoi qu'il n'en peult mais par droicture,
Si en a il dueil et tristesse.'
'Que peu de chose peult trop plaire
Et vous vous voulez deceuoir.'
300. 'It were less harm for one to be sad than two.'
303. Read sory: 'D'ung dolent faire deux joyeulx.'
324. rechace, chasing it back, which gives small sense; and the reading richesse is worse, and will not rime. The French has rachatz = mod. F. rachat, redemption, ransom; which has been misunderstood.
340. 'Preuue ses parolles par oeuure.'
348. their is an error for his (Love's), due to the translator. 'Lors il [Amour] descouure sa fierté.'
'Tant plus aspre en est la poincture,
Et plus desplaisant le deffault.'
357. oon, one; i.e. the same. MS. Ff. has wone, a very early example of the prefixed sound of w, as in modern English. See Zupitza's notes to Guy of Warwick.
393. Something is wrong. The French is:—'La mesure faulx semblant porte'; meaning (I suppose) moderation has a false appearance.
400. As think, i.e. pray think; see As in the Gloss. in vol. vi.
443. 'A constrained reward, and a gift offered by way of thanks, cannot agree'; i.e. are quite different.
449. wanteth, is wanting, is lacking.
468. 'Qui soit donné à autre office.'
469. 'D'assez grant charge se cheuit,' he gets rid of a great responsibility. The translator gives the contrary sense.
506. 'D'en donner à qui les reffuse.'
509. That He, not Who, should begin the line, is certain by comparison with the French:—'Il ne doit pas cuider muser.'
514. me mistook, that I mistook myself, that I made a mistake.
519, 520. prevayl you, benefit you; after, according to.
523-4. after-game, return-match, a second game played by one who has lost the first. I believe l. 524 to mean 'who cannot thoroughly afford to double his stakes.' To set often means to stake. The French is:—
'Et celuy pert le ieu d'attente
Qui ne scet faire son point double.'
531. it ar, they are. This use of ar with it is due to the pl. sb. fantasyes (i.e. vain fancies) immediately following; other counsayl is equivalent to 'as for any other counsel,' which implies that there are more alternatives than one.
536. 'Who would like to conduct himself,' i.e. to regulate his conduct. 'Qui la veult conduire et ne peult.'
538. Read sute: 'Desespoir le met de sa suite.'
555. 'Ne de l'aprendre n'ay-ie cure.'
559. 'Et le deuoir d'amours payer Qui franc cueur a, prisé et droit.'
566. That is a mere conjunction; the reading Which alters the sense, and gives a false meaning.583. let, makes as though he knew not; French, 'scet celler.'
594, 595. Hath set; 'Mettroit en mes maulx fin et terme.' Line 595 should begin with Then rather than Yet, as there is no contrast.
605. 'De tous soit celuy deguerpiz.'
608. or anything at al, &c.; 'et le bien fait De sa Dame qui l'a reffait Et ramené de mort a vie'; i.e. and the kindness of his Lady, who has new made him, and brought him back from death to life. The English follows some different reading, and is obscurely expressed.
614. 'A qui l'en puisse recourir'; to whom he could have recourse. But recourir has been read as recovrir, giving no good sense.
627. The reading high is right; 'Que iamais hault honneur ne chiet.'
634. reclaymed, taught to come back; a term in falconry; French, 'bien reclamez.' Opposed to hem to withholde, i.e. to keep themselves from coming back.
'Et si bien aprins qu'ils retiennent
A changer dés qu'ils ont clamez.'
651. fol, foolish; F. text, 'fol plaisir.'
667. To have better, to get a better lover. But the sense is wrongly given. In the French, this clause goes with what follows:—'D'auoir mieulx ne vous affiez,' i.e. expect to get nothing better.
667. to have better, to get a better lover.
668. 'Et prenez en gré le reffus.'
673. The original shews that she really refers to Pity, denoted by it in l. 671, not to the Lady herself.
680. 'Et iamais á bout n'en vendrez.'
706. By; French, De; hence By should be Of. Read defame of cruelty, an ill name for cruelty. The mistake is the translator's.
741. Male-bouche, Slander; a name probably taken from the Rom. de la Rose, 2847; called Wikked-Tonge in the English version, 3027.
750. playn, (all equally) flat. 'La terre n'est pas toute unie.'
757. be nought, are naughty, are wicked; as in K. Lear, ii. 4. 136.
788. 'Que si tost mis en obli a.'
814. avantours, boasters; see l. 735. F. text, 'venteus'; cf. 'Vanteux, vaunting'; Cotgrave.
817. Refus, i.e. Denial; personified. 'Reffuz a ses chasteaulx bastiz.'
829. The last four stanzas are original. Note the change from the 8-line to the 7-line stanza.
This sequel to Chaucer's 'Troilus,' written by Robert Henryson of Dunfermline, is in the Northern dialect of the Scottish Lowlands. Thynne has not made any special attempt to alter the wording of this piece, but he frequently modifies the spelling; printing so instead of sa (l. 3), whan for quhen (l. 3), right for richt (l. 4), and so on. I follow the Edinburgh edition of 1593. See further in the Introduction.1. Ane, a; altered by Thynne to a, throughout.
dooly (Th. doly), doleful, sad; from the sb. dool, sorrow.
4-6. Here fervent seems to mean 'stormy' or 'severe,' as it obviously does not mean hot. Discend is used transitively; can discend means 'caused to descend.' This is an earlier example than that from Caxton in the New Eng. Dictionary. Aries clearly means the influence of Aries, and implies that the sun was in that sign, which it entered (at that date) about the 12th of March; see vol. iii. p. 188 (footnote). Lent is 'spring'; and the Old Germanic method is here followed, which divided each of the seasons into three months. In this view, the spring-months were March, April, and May, called, respectively, foreward Lent, midward Lent, and afterward Lent; see A Student's Pastime, p. 190. Hence the phrase in middis of the Lent does not mean precisely in the middle of the spring, but refers to the month of April; indeed, the sun passed out of Aries into Taurus on the 11th of the month. The date indicated is, accordingly, the first week in April, when the sun was still in Aries, and showers of hail, with a stormy north wind, were quite seasonable.
10. sylit under cure, covered up, (as if) under his care. The verb to syle is precisely the mod. E. ceil; which see in the New E. Dict.
12. unto, i.e. over against. The planet Venus, rising in the east, set her face over against the west, where the sun had set.
20. shill, shrill. Shille occurs as a variant of schrille in C. T., B 4585; see schil in Stratmann.
32. douf (spelt doif in the old edition) is the Northern form of 'deaf,' answering to the Icel. daufr; thus a nut without a kernel is called in the South 'a deaf nut,' but in Scotland 'a douf nit'; see Jamieson. For deaf in the senses of 'dull' and 'unproductive,' see the New E. Dict.
39. cut, curtail; illustrated from Lydgate in the New E. Dict.
42. Read lusty, to avoid the repetition of worthy; cf. l. 41. It should have been stated, in the footnotes, that the readings are: E. worthy; Th. lusty.
43. Referring to Troil. bk. v. In l. 92, we are told how Diomede led Criseyde away. Note particularly that, in l. 45, Henryson quotes Chaucer rather closely. Cf. 'For which wel neigh out of my wit I breyde'; Troil. v. 1262. And cf. ll. 47-9 with—'Betwixen hope and drede his herte lay'; Troil. v. 1207.
48. Quhill, till. The reading Esperus in E. is comic enough. Even Thynne has misread esperans, and has turned it into esperous. There can be little doubt that esperans here means 'hope,' as it is opposed to wanhope in the line above. The word was known to Henryson, as we find, in st. 8 of his Garment of Gude Ladyis: 'Hir slevis suld be of esperance, To keip hir fra dispair.' Cf. l. 49.
50. behest, promise; because she had promised to return to Troy within ten days; Troil. iv. 1595.
65. this narratioun, i.e. the sequel of the story, which he is aboutto tell. He does not tell us whence he derived it, but intimates that it is a fiction; I suppose he invented it himself.
74. lybel of répudy, Lat. 'libellum repudii,' as in Matt. xix. 7.
77. 'And, as some say, into the common court'; i.e. she became a courtesan.
78. A-per-se, i.e. the first letter of the alphabet, standing alone. A letter that was also a word in itself, as A, or I, or O, was called 'per se,' because it could stand alone. Of these, the A-per-se was a type of excellence. One of Dunbar's Poems (ed. Small, i. 276) begins:—'London, thou art of townes A-per-se.'
79. fortunait, the sport of fortune; oddly used, as it implies that she was 'an unfortunate.' Cf. l. 89.
94. but, without; and Thynne actually prints without in place of it.
97. quhair, where her father Calchas (was). He was living among the Greeks; Troil. i. 80, 87.
106. In the medieval legend, Calchas was not a priest of Venus, but of Apollo, as Chaucer notes; see Troil. i. 66-70. So also in Lydgate, Siege of Troy, bk. ii. c. 17. Henryson probably altered this intentionally, because it enabled him to represent Criseyde as reproaching her father's god; see ll. 124, 134.
129. outwaill, outcast; one who is chosen out and rejected; from the verb wail, wale, to choose. There seems to be no other example of the word, though Jamieson gives 'outwailins, leavings, things of little value.'
140. forlane can hardly mean 'left alone.' If so, it would be a word invented for the occasion, and improperly formed from lane, which is itself a docked form of alane. In all other passages forlane or forlain is the pp. of forliggen; and the sense of 'defiled' is quite applicable. And further, it rimes with slane, which means 'slain.'
143. 'And, as it seemed, she heard, where she lay,' &c.
147. The seven planets; which, in the order of the magnitude of their orbits, are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. And to this order the author carefully adheres throughout ll. 151-263.
155. fronsit, wrinkled; frounse is the mod. E. flounce, which formerly meant 'a pleat'; see frounce, frouncen in Stratmann, and the Gloss. to Chaucer. Misprinted frosnit in E.
'His complexion was like lead.' Lead was Saturn's metal; see C. T., G 828, and the note.
164. That gyte is the correct reading, is obvious from ll. 178, 260, where Thynne has preserved it. It is a Chaucerian word; see the Glossary in vol. vi. It seems to mean 'mantle.' The Edinburgh printer altered it to gyis, which is too general a term, at least in l. 260.
182. 'To ward off from us the wrath of his father (Saturn).'
198. Compare Ch. C. T., F 1031—'god and governour Of every plaunte, herbe, tree, and flour.'
205. Alluding to Phaethon's misguidance of the chariot of the sun;'And that his faders cart amis he dryve'; Troil. v. 665. Laing prints unricht; but omits to say that E. has upricht.
211. soyr, sorrel-coloured, reddish-brown; see Sorrel in my Etym. Dict.
212-6. The names of the four horses are curiously corrupted from the names given in Ovid, Met. ii. 153, viz. Eöus, Æthon, Pyröeis, and Phlegon. As Eous means 'belonging to the dawn,' we may consider the words into the Orient, i.e. in the East, as explanatory of the name Eoy; 'called Eoy, (which signifies) in the East.' As to the name of the last horse, it was obviously meant to take the form Philegoney, in order to rime with sey (sea), and I have therefore restored this form. The two authorities, E. and Th., give it in the amazing form Philologie (Philologee), which can only mean 'philology'!
231. lauch and weip are infinitives, but appear to be meant for past tenses. If so, the former should be leuch; weip may answer to the strong pt. t. weep in Chaucer (A.S. wēop).
246. He seems to be thinking of Chaucer's Doctor of Phisyk; cf. Ch. Prol. A 425-6, 439.
254. 'The last of all (in order), and swiftest in her orbit.'
256. Thynne has tapere = to appear; this passage is curiously cited, in Richardson's Dictionary, in illustration of the sb. taper!
261. churl, man; this is Chaucer's cherl, in Troil. i. 1024. See the note to that line.
263. na nar, no nearer; the moon's orbit, being the least, was the most remote from the outer heaven that enclosed the primum mobile.
273. shew, shewed; but it is false grammar, for the verb to shew (or show) was weak. Formed by analogy with blew, grew, knew; cf. rew, mew, sew, old strong preterites of row, mow, and sow.
290. As Henryson usually refrains from the addition of a syllable at the cæsura, we should probably read injure, not injury; see Troil. iii. 1018.
297, 298. hyest, i.e. Saturn; lawest (lowest), i.e. Cynthia.
299. modify, determine, specify; not here used in the modern sense.
318. Heat and moisture characterised the sanguine temperament (see vol. v. p. 33); coldness and dryness characterised the melancholy temperament (see P. Plowman, B-text, p. xix). Cf. l. 316.
343. 'With cup and clapper, like a leper.' It was usual for lepers to carry a cup (for their own use), and a clapper or clap-dish, which was used in order to give warning of their approach, and also as a receptacle for alms, to prevent actual contact; cf. l. 479 below. Compare the following:—
'Coppe and claper he bare ...
As he a mesel [leper] were.'—Sir Tristrem, 3173.
'Than beg her bread with dish and clap' (referring to Criseyde).
Turbervile's Poems: The Lover in utter dispaire.
See further under Clapper in the New Eng. Dict. lazarous is formed as an adj. in -ous from the sb. lazar, a leper; see l. 531.
350. wa, woful; 'God knows if she was woful enough.'
382. The accent on the second syllable of hospital was not uncommon; hence its frequent contraction to spittal or spittel-house; for which see l. 391 below.
386. Read bevar or bever (Th. has beuer); the reading bawar in E. gives no sense. I see no connection with Lowl. Sc. bevar, 'one who is worn out with age,' according to Jamieson, who merely guesses at the sense, as being perhaps allied to bavard, which he also explains as 'worn out'; although, if from the F. bavard, it rather means talkative, babbling, or idle. I believe that bevar hat simply means 'beaver hat,' formerly used by women as well as by men. Even Dickens alludes to 'farmer's wives in beaver bonnets,' in Martin Chuzzlewit, ch. 5. No doubt a beaver hat was, when new, an expensive luxury, as worn by Chaucer's 'Merchant' (Prol. l. 272); but they wore well and long, and were doubtless gladly used by beggars when cast off by their original owners.
407. The metre, in ll. 407-69, is borrowed from Chaucer's Anelida.
410. blaiknit, is not a derivative of M.E. blak, black, but of M.E. blāk, bleik, bleak, pallid, cheerless. It is here used in the sense of 'rendered cheerless'; and bair means 'bare' or 'barren.' See blākien in Stratmann.
413. 'Thy bale is in the growth,' or is sprouting. See Braird, the first shoots of corn or grass, in the New E. Dict., where two more examples of this phrase are cited from Henryson.
417. 'With goodly bed, and convenient embroidered bench-covers.' Burelie (mod. E. burly, prov. E. bowerly) answers to an A.S. form būr-līc, i.e. suitable for a lady's bower. This explains why it was appropriately used as an epithet for a bed. Cf. 'Quhair ane burely bed was wrocht in that wane'; Rauf Coilyear, 264. Hence 'a burly knight' was one suitable for a lady's bower, and therefore handsome, strong, well-grown, large; and by a degradation of meaning, huge, corpulent. The changes in sense are curious and instructive. In the New E. Dict., the etymology is not given. For bene, see bain in the New E. Dict.; and for bankouris, see banker.
421. saipheroun sals, saffron sauce. Saffron and salt were often used together in medieval cookery; see Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books, ed. Austin (E. E. T. S.). The Glossary to that book gives the spellings safroun, saferon, saferoun, and sapheron.
423. This is a very early mention of lawn. It is also mentioned in st. 10 of Lydgate's 'London Lickpeny.'
429. walk, wake. The history of this spelling is not quite clear; but the l was, in any case, mute; another spelling is wauk. I suspect that it originated in the misunderstanding of a symbol. The scribe, who wished to write wakk, used a symbol resembling lk, where the l was really the first k, indicated by its down-stroke only. For example,the word rokke was (apparently) written rolke. See my article on Ghost-words; Phil. Soc. Trans. 1885, p. 369.
tak the dew, gather May-dew. The old custom of bathing the face with fresh dew on the 1st of May is referred to in Brand's Popular Antiquities. He gives an example as late as 1791. See Pepys' Diary, May 28, 1667, May 11, 1669; where we find that any day in May was then considered suitable for this health-giving operation.
433. I take on every grane to mean 'in every particular'; cf. 'a grain of sense.' We may also note the Fr. teindre en graine, to dye in grain, to dye of a fast colour; and we occasionally find grain in the sense of 'tint.' Godefroy cites 'ung couvertoer d'une graigne vermeille'; and 'une manche vermeille, ne sçay se c'est graine ou autre taincture.' Grane also means 'groan,' and 'groin,' and 'fork of a tree'; but none of these senses suit.
438. 'Take this leper-lodge in place of thy stately bower.'
450. In l. 407, we have sop of sorrow, i.e. sop, or sup, of sorrow. So here sowpit in syte, sopped, or drenched, in sorrow; an expression which Jamieson illustrates from Holland's Houlate, i. 4, and Douglas's Vergil, prologue to Book viii, l. 5.
463. This expression is imitated from Chaucer's Boethius, bk. iii. pr. 6. 3—'O glorie, glorie, thou art nothing elles but a greet sweller of eres!' See note to I. ii. 8. 68 (p. 472).
480. leir (Th. lerne); surely miscopied from l. 479. Read live.
490. lipper seems to be used collectively; so also in l. 494.
492. shuik coppis, shook their cups; it implies that they waved them aloft, to attract attention. They also used their clappers.
501. ply, plight. I know of no other example of ply in this sense; but ply (usually, a fold) and plight (incorrect spelling of M.E. plyte) are closely related; the former represents Lat. plicitum, the latter, Lat. plicita; from plicare, to fold (whence E. ply, verb, to bend).
541. 'With many a sorrowful cry and cold or sad (cry of) O hone!' Here cald = sad; and Ochane is the Irish and Scotch cry of O hone! or Och hone! See O hone in the Century Dict., s.v. O.
543. will of wane, lit. wild of weening, at a loss what to do. See Gloss. to Barbour's Bruce, s.v. Will.
550. 'And climbed so high upon the fickle wheel' (of Fortune). Cf. Troil. iv. 6, 11.
567. 'For they (women) are as constant as a weathercock in the wind.' Cf. 'unsad ... and chaunging as a vane'; Ch. C. T., E 995.
588. wellis, streams, rills; as in Book Duch. 160.
589. broche and belt; Criseyde gave Diomede the brooch she had received from Troilus; see Troil. v. 1661, 1669, 1688. The belt is Henryson's addition.
600. 'His heart was ready to burst.'
In this piece, the final -e is much used as forming a distinct syllable; indeed, more freely than in Chaucer.
1, 2. Quoted from the Knightes Tale, A 1785-6.
4. The word of is inserted in Th., Ff. and S., and seems to be right; but as hy-e should be two syllables, perhaps the words And of were rapidly pronounced, in the time of a single syllable. Or omit And.
11-5. The lines of this stanza are wrongly arranged in Thynne, and in every printed edition except the present one; i.e. the lines 12 and 13 are transposed. But as the rime-formula is aabba, it is easy to see that suffyse, devyse, agryse rime together on the one hand, and nyce, vyce, on the other. The pronunciation suffice is comparatively modern; in Chaucer, the suffix -yse was pronounced with a voiced s, i.e. as z. Note the rimes devyse, suffyse in the Book of the Duch. 901-2; suffyse, wyse, devyse, in the C. T., B 3648-9; &c. The MSS. Ff., F., and B. all give the right arrangement.
18. whom him lyketh, him whom it pleases him (to gladden or sadden).
20, 23. May; cf. Troil. ii. 50-63; Rom. Rose, 51-2, 74-6, 85-6; Legend of Good Women, 108; C. T., A 1500-2.
36. of feling, from experience. Spek-e is dissyllabic.
39. hoot, hot, i.e. hopeful; cold, full of despair; acces, feverish attack, as in Troil. ii. 1315, 1543, 1578.
41. fevers whyte, feverish attacks (of love) that turn men pale; the same as blaunche fevere in Troil. i. 916; see note to that line.
48. a comune tale, a common saying. As a fact, one would expect to hear the cuckoo first. Prof. Newton, in his Dict. of Birds, says of the cuckoo, that it 'crosses the Mediterranean from its winter-quarters in Africa at the end of March or beginning of April. Its arrival is at once proclaimed by the peculiar ... cry of the cock.' Of the nightingale he says—'if the appearance of truth is to be regarded, it is dangerous to introduce a nightingale as singing in England before the 15th of April or after the 15th of June.'
As the change of style makes a difference of 12 days, this 15th of April corresponds to the 3rd of April in the time of Chaucer. It is remarkable that Hazlitt, in his Proverbs, p. 305, gives the following:—'On the third of April, comes in the cuckoo and the nightingale'; which may once have been correct as regards the latter. Hazlitt also says that, in Sussex, the 14th of April is supposed to be 'first cuckoo-day'; whereas it would better apply to the nightingale. And again, another proverb says (p. 380)—'The nightingale and the cuckoo sing both in one month.' It is clear that, whatever the facts may be, our ancestors had a notion that these birds arrived nearly at the same time, and attached some importance, by way of augury, to the possibility of hearing the nightingale first. They must frequentlyhave been disappointed. See Milton's sonnet, as quoted in the Introduction.
54. of, during; exactly as in l. 42.
62. Read inne, the adverbial form; for the sake of the grammar and scansion. See Inne in the Gloss. in vol. vi. p. 135. been gives a false rime to gren-e and sen-e; shewing that grene and sene are here monosyllabic (really green and seen), instead of being dissyllabic, as in Chaucer. Sene is the adj., meaning visible, not the pp., which then took the form seyn.
70. For began, which is singular, substitute the pl. form begonne. to don hir houres, to sing their matins, &c.; referring to the canonical hours of church-service. Bell has the reading to don honoures, for which there is no early authority. Morris unluckily adopts the meaningless reading found in MSS. F. and B.
71. 'They knew that service all by rote,' i.e. by heart. Bell actually explains rote as a hurdy-gurdy; as to which see Rote (in senses 2 and 3) in the Gloss. in vol. vi. p. 218.
80. Feverere seems to have been pronounced Fev'rer'. Surely it must be right. Yet all the MSS. (except T.) actually have Marche (written Mars in Ff.), followed by upon, not on. Even Th. and T. have upon, not on; but it ruins the scansion, unless we adopt the reading March. It looks as if the author really did write Marche!
82, 85. ron, mon, for ran, man, are peculiar. As such forms occur in Myrc and Audelay (both Shropshire authors) and in Robert of Gloucester, they are perfectly consistent with the supposition that they are due to Clanvowe's connection with Herefordshire.
87. swow, swoon; cf. Book Duch. 215.
90. As brid is a monosyllable (cf. ll. 212, 260, 270, 271), it is necessary to make lew-ed-e a trisyllable; as also in l. 103. But it becomes lew'de in ll. 50, 94. Chaucer has lew-ëd, P. F. 616, &c.
105. him; the cuckoo is male, but the nightingale, by way of contrast, is supposed to be female.
118. playn, simple, having simple notes; cf. 'the plain-song cuckoo,' Mids. Nt. Dr. iii. 1. 134.
119. crakel, 'trill or quaver in singing; used in contempt'; New E. Dict.
124. I seems to be strongly accented. It is a pity that there is no authority for inserting For before it. Otherwise, read I hav-ë.
In Old French, oci oci, represented the cry of the nightingale; Godefroy gives examples from Raoul de Houdenc, Froissart, and Deschamps. Moreover, oci was also the imperative of the O.F. verb ocire, to kill; with which it is here intentionally confused. Accordingly, the nightingale retorts that oci means 'kill! kill!' with reference to the enemies of love.
135. grede, exclaim, cry out. Not used by Chaucer, though found in most dialects of Middle-English. Clanvowe may have heard it in Herefordshire, as it occurs in Langland, Layamon, Robert ofGloucester, and in the Coventry Mysteries, and must have been known in the west. But it was once a very common word. From A.S. grǣdan.
137. to-drawe, drawn asunder; cf. Havelok, 2001; Will. of Palerne, 1564.
140. yok, yoke; cf. Ch. C. T., E 113, 1285.
142. unthryve, become unsuccessful, meet with ill luck. A very rare word; but it also occurs in the Cursor Mundi (Fairfax MS.), l. 9450, where it is said of Adam that 'his wyf made him to unthryve.'
146. The first syllable of the line is deficient. Accent What strongly. Cf. 153-8 below.
151. The sentiment that love teaches all goodness, is common at this time; see Schick's note to Lydgate's Temple of Glas, l. 450.
152. The true reading is doubtful.
153-8. Here the author produces a considerable metrical effect, by beginning all of these lines with a strong accent. There are three such consecutive lines in the Wyf of Bathes Tale, D 869-71. Cf. ll. 161, 232, 242, 252, 261, 265, 268, 270, 278.
180. Bell and Morris read haire, without authority, and Bell explains it by 'he may full soon have the hair (!) which belongs to age, scil., grey hair, said to be produced by anxiety.' But the M.E. form of 'hair' is heer, which will not give a true rime; and the word heyr represents the mod. E. heir. As the h was not sounded, it is also written eir (as in MS. T.) and air (as in MS. S.). The sense is—'For he who gets a little bliss of love may very soon find that his heir has come of age, unless he is always devoted to it.' This is a mild joke, signifying that he will soon find himself insecure, like one whose heir or successor has come of age, and whose inheritance is threatened. On the other hand, 'to have one's hair of age' is wholly without sense. Compare the next note.
185. 'And then you shall be called as I am.' I. e. your loved one will forsake you, and you will be called a cuckold. This remark is founded on the fact that the O.F. coucou or cocu had the double sense of cuckoo and cuckold. See cocu in Littré. This explains l. 186.
201-5. Bell, by an oversight, omits this stanza.
203. This reading (from the best MS., viz. Ff.) is much the best. The sense is—'And whom he hits he knows not, or whom he misses'; because he is blind.
216-25. All the early printed editions crush these two stanzas into one, by omitting ll. 217-9, and 224-5, and altering thoughte me (l. 223) to me aloon. This is much inferior to the text.
237. leve, believe; yet all the authorities but S. have the reading loue! Cf. l. 238.
243. dayesye, daisy. Cf. Legend of Good Women, 182-7, 201-2, 211.
266. Ye witen is the right reading; turned into ye knowe in F. and B. The old printed editions actually read The cuckowe!
267. A syllable seems lacking after I; such lines are common inLydgate. The reading y-chid would render the line complete; or we may read hav-ë, as perhaps in l. 124.
275. An obvious allusion to Chaucer's Parlement of Foules, in which he gives 'the royal egle' the first place (l. 330).
284. The quene; queen Joan of Navarre, second wife of Henry IV, who received the manor of Woodstock as part of her dower.
285. lay, lea; not a common word in M.E. poetry, though occurring in P. Plowman. The parliament of birds required a large open space.
289. Terme: during the whole term of my life; cf. C. T., G 1479.
1. lewde book, unlearned book. It is not known to what book this refers. It has nothing to do with the preceding poem. My guess, in vol. i. p. 40, that this piece might be Hoccleve's, is quite untenable. His pieces are all known, and the metrical form is of later date. See the next note.
11. Too long; perhaps servant should be struck out. So in l. 13 we could spare the word als. But ll. 17, 18, 19, 20, are all of an unconscionable length.
22-7. I believe I was the first to detect the obvious acrostic on the name of Alison; see vol. i. p. 40. The sense of ll. 25-6 (which are forced and poor) is—'I beseech (you) of your grace, let your writing (in reply) alleviate the sighs which I pour out in silence.'
I give numerous references below to 'A. L.', i.e. the Assembly of Ladies, printed at p. 380. The two poems have much in common.
1-2. Imitated from C. T., F 671; see note in vol. v. p. 386.
3. Bole, Bull, Taurus. The sun then entered Taurus about the middle of April; hence the allusion to April showers in l. 4. Compare the opening lines of Chaucer's Prologue. But we learn, from l. 437, that it was already May. Hence the sun had really run half its course in Taurus. certeinly; used at the end of the line, as in A. L. 85.
10. very good; this adverbial use of very is noticeable; cf. ll. 35, 315, 409, and A. L. 479. I believe Chaucer never uses very to qualify an adjective. It occurs, however, in Lydgate.
20. Cf. 'more at hertes ese'; A. L. 672.
25. Cf. 'at springing of the day'; A. L. 218.
26. Cf. 'That ye wold help me on with myn aray'; A. L. 241.
27-8. This rime of passe with was occurs again below (114-6); and in A. L. 436-8.
30. Chaucer has hew-ë, new-ë; but here hew, new rime with the pt. t. grew. So, in A. L. 65-8, hew, new rime with the pt. t. knew.31-2. Copied from the Book of the Duch. 419-20:—
'And every tree stood by him-selve
Fro other wel ten foot or twelve.'
35. 'The young leaves of the oak, when they first burst from the bud, are of a red, cinereous colour'; Bell.
37. Cf. 'this proces for to here'; A. L. 27. And again, 'pitous for to here; A. L. 718.
39-42. This seems to be a direct allusion to the Cuckoo and the Nightingale, ll. 52-4:—
'I wolde go som whider to assay
If that I might a nightingale here;
For yet had I non herd of al this yere.'
43-5. From the Book of the Duch. 398-401:—
'Doun by a floury grene wente
Ful thikke of gras, ful softe and swete,...
And litel used, it semed thus.'
Cf. A. L. 47; 'into a strait passage,' and the context.
47. parde; a petty oath (being in French), such as a female writer might use; so in A. L. 753.
49, 50. For the herber and benches, see A. L. 48-9; also L. G. W. 203-4. For the phrase wel y-wrought, see A. L. 165.
53. Bell and Morris read wool, which is obviously right; but neither of them mention the fact that both Speght's editions have wel; and there is no other authority! Clearly, Speght's MS. had wol, which he misread as wel.
56. eglantere, eglantine, sweet-briar. Entered under eglatere in the New E. Dict., though the earlier quotations, in 1387 and 1459, have eglentere. I find no authority for the form eglatere except Speght's misprint in this line, which he corrects in l. 80 below. Tennyson's eglatere (Dirge, 23) is clearly borrowed from this very line.
58. by mesure; a tag which reappears in A. L. 81.
59. by and by; another tag, for which see A. L. 87, 717.
60. I you ensure; yet another tag; see l. 457, and A. L. 52, 199, 495, 517.
62. The final e in peyn-e is suppressed; so in A. L. 359, 416.
68. Cf. 'And as they sought hem-self thus to and fro'; A. L. 43.
75. Here espyed rimes with syde, wyde; in A. L. 193, it rimes with asyde and gyde.
89. The goldfinch is afterwards opposed to the nightingale. Hence he replaces the cuckoo in the poem of the Cuckoo and Nightingale. Just as the Cuckoo and Nightingale represent the faithless and the constant, so the goldfinch and the nightingale are attached, respectively, to the bright Flower and the long-lasting Leaf. This is explicitly said below; see ll. 439, 444.98. in this wyse; appears also at the end of a line in A. L. 589; cf. in her gyse, A. L. 603; in ful pitous wyse, A. L. 584; in no maner wyse, A. L. 605.
99, 100. These lines correspond to the Cuckoo and Nightingale, 98-100.
113. inly greet, extremely great; cf. inly fair, A. L. 515.
115. 'Ye wold it thinke a very paradyse'; A. L. 168.
118. Better I set me doun, as in A. L. 77.
121. 'Withouten sleep, withouten mete or drinke'; L. G. W. 177 (note the context).
134. Here begins the description of the adherents of the Leaf, extending to l. 322, including the Nine Worthies, ll. 239-94. The reader must carefully bear in mind that the followers of the Leaf are clad in white (not in green, as we should now expect), though the nine Worthies are crowned with green laurel, and all the company gather under a huge Laurel-tree (l. 304). On the other hand the followers of the Flower, shortly described in ll. 323-50, are clad in green, though wearing chaplets of white and red flowers; for green was formerly an emblem of inconstancy.
137. Cf. 'to say you very right'; A. L. 750.
144. oon and oon, every one of them. This phrase is rare in Chaucer; it seems only to occur once, in C. T., A 679; but see A. L. 368, 543, 710.
146. purfil occurs in A. L. 87, in the same line with by and by; and in A. L. 522-4, we find colour, sleves, and purfyl close together.
148. Cf. 'With grete perles, ful fyne and orient'; A. L. 528. For diamonds, see A. L. 530.
150. Borrowed from Chaucer, Parl. Foules, 287: 'of whiche the name I wante.' Hence wante, i.e. lack, is the right reading. The rime is imperfect.
155. The missing word is not branches, as suggested by Sir H. Nicolas, nor floures, as suggested by Morris, but leves; as the company of the Leaf is being described; cf. l. 259. The epithets fresh and grene are very suitable. The leaves were of laurel, woodbine, and agnus-castus.
160. For were read ware; see ll. 267, 329, 335, 340; the sense is wore. Chaucer's form is wered, as the verb was originally weak; Gower and Lydgate also use the form wered. The present is perhaps one of the earliest examples of the strong form of this preterite.
agnus-castus; 'from Gk. , the name of the tree, confused with , chaste, whence the second word Lat. castus, chaste. A tree, species of Vitex (V. Agnus Castus), once believed to be a preservative of chastity, called also Chaste-tree and Abraham's Balm'; New E. Dict. The same Dict. quotes from Trevisa: 'The herbe agnus-castus is alwaye grene, and the flowre therof is namly callyd Agnus Castus, for wyth smelle and vse it makyth men chaste as a lombe.'
163. For But Morris reads And, which is simpler.164. oon, one. She was the goddess Diana (see l. 472), or the Lady of the Leaf.
171. Cf. 'That to beholde it was a greet plesaunce'; A. L. 59.
172. Cf. 'though it were for a king'; A. L. 158.
177-8. Speght has Suse le foyle de vert moy in l. 177, and Seen et mon joly cuer en dormy in l. 178. I see little good in guessing what it ought to be; so I leave it alone, merely correcting Suse and foyle to Sus and foyl; as the O.F. foil was masculine.
Bell alters de vert to devers, and for Seen puts Son; and supplies est after cuer; but it all gives no sense when it is done. We should have to read Sus le foyl devers moy sied, et mon joli cuer est endormi; sit down upon the foliage before me, and my merry heart has gone to sleep. Which can hardly be right. The Assembly of Ladies has the same peculiarity, of presenting unintelligible scraps of French to the bewildered reader.
180. smal, high, treble; chiefly valuable for explaining the same word in Chaucer's Balade to Rosemounde.
188-9. A parallel passage occurs in A. L. 384-5.
201. the large wones, the spacious dwellings; cf. Ch. C. T., D 2105.
202. Speght has Pretir, an obvious error for Prester. The authoress may easily have obtained her knowledge of Prester John from a MS. of Mandeville's Travels; see cap. 27 of that work. And see Yule's edition of Marco Polo. He was, according to Mandeville, one of the greatest potentates of Asia, next to the Great Khan.
209. cereal; borrowed from Chaucer:—'A coroune of a grene ook cerial'; C. T., A 2290. And Chaucer took it from Boccaccio; see note in vol. v. p. 87.
210. trumpets, i.e. trumpeters; as several times in Shakespeare. Cf. l. 213.
212. tartarium, thin silk from Tartary. Fully explained in my note to P. Plowman, C. xvii. 299 (B. xv. 163), and in the Glossary to the same. bete, lit. beaten; hence, adorned with beaten gold; see note to C. T., A 978 (vol. v. p. 64). were, (all of which) were; hence the plural.
213. Read bere, as in l. 223; A.S. bǣron, pt. t. pl.
220. kinges of armes, kings-at-arms; who presided over colleges of heralds. Sir David Lyndsay was Lord Lion king-at-arms.
224. Cf. 'Set with saphyrs'; A. L. 480.
233. vel-u-et is trisyllabic; as in The Black Knight, 80.
234. 'And certainly, they had nothing to learn as to how they should place the armour upon them.'
238. in sute, in their master's livery.
240. The celebrated Nine Worthies; see notes to IV. 281, XII. 86.
243. Cf. 'and furred wel with gray'; A. L. 305.
252. henshmen, youths mounted on horseback, who attended their lords. See numerous quotations for this word in A Student's Pastime, §§ 264, 272, 415-8. Each of them is called a child, l. 259.
253. For every on, it is absolutely necessary to read the first upon;for the sense. Each of the nine worthies had three henchmen; of these three, the first bore his helmet, the second his shield, and the third his spear.
257. Bell and Morris alter nekke to bakke; but wrongly. The shields were carried by help of a strap which passed round the neck and over the shoulders; called in Old French a guige. The convenience of this arrangement is obvious. See note to C. T., A 2504 (vol. v. p. 88).
272. In Lydgate's Temple of Glas, 508, we are told that hawthorn-leaves do not fade; see ll. 551-3 below.
274. Read hors, not horses; hors is the true plural; see l. 293.
275. Cf. 'trompes, that ... blowen blody sounes'; C. T., A 2511-2.
286-7. 'That to beholde it was a greet plesaunce'; A. L. 59. And again—'I you ensure'; A. L. 52.
289. I. e. the Nine Worthies; see ll. 240, 249.
293. The reading ninth (as in Speght) is an absurd error for nine; yet no one has hitherto corrected it. How could the ninth man alight from their horses? The 'remnant' were the twenty-seven henchmen and the other knights.
295. Cf. 'See how they come togider, twain and twain'; A. L. 350.
302. Cf. 'Ful womanly she gave me,' &c.; A. L. 196.
305. 'Laden with leaves, with boughs of great breadth.'
323. Here begins the description of the company of the Flower. They were clad in green.
330. Cf. 'Her gown was wel embrouded'; A. L. 85.
348. bargaret, a pastoral; a rustic song and dance; O.F. bergerete, from berger, a shepherd. Godefroy notes that they were in special vogue at Easter.
350. We have here the refrain of a popular French pastoral. Warton suggests it may have been Froissart's; but the refrain of Froissart's Ballade de la Marguerite happens to be different: 'Sur toutes flours j'aime la margherite'; see Spec. of O. French, ed. Toynbee, p. 302. In fact, Warton proceeds to remark, that 'it was common in France to give the title of Marguerites to studied panegyrics and flowery compositions of every kind.' It is quite impossible to say if a special compliment is intended; most likely, the authoress thought of nothing of the kind. She again mentions margarettes in A. L. 57.
351. in-fere, together; very common at the end of a line, as in ll. 384, 450; A. L. 407, 469, 546, 602, 719.
369. withouten fail; this tag recurs in A. L. 567, 646, in the form withouten any fail; and, unaltered, in A. L. 188, 537.
373. Those in white, the party of the Leaf.
379. oon, one of those in green; this was queen Flora; see l. 534.
403. Bell thinks this corrupt. I think it means, that, before engaging with them in jousts in a friendly manner, they procured some logs of wood and thoroughly dried them. Hence To make hir justës = in order to joust with them afterwards.
410. 'Quickly anointing the sick, wherever they went.'417. for any thing, in any case, whatever might happen; cf. C. T., A 276, and the note (vol. v. p. 30).
427. 'For nothing was lacking that ought to belong to him.'
450. Here the story ends, and the telling of the moral begins.
457. The meeting with a 'fair lady' was convenient, as she wanted information. In the Assembly of Ladies, this simple device is resorted to repeatedly; see ll. 79, 191, 260, 400.
459. We find ful demure at the end of A. L. 82.
462, 467. My doughter; this assumes that the author was a female; so in ll. 500, 547; and in A. L. throughout.
475. Referring to l. 173; so l. 477 refers to l. 160; l. 479, to l. 158.
493. some maner way, some kind of way; cf. what maner way, A. L. 234.
502. Refers to ll. 240, 249. With l. 510, cf. C. T., A 1027.
512. Speght prints bowes for boughes; but the meaning is certain, as the reference is to ll. 270-1. Bows are not made of laurel; yet Dryden fell into the trap, and actually wrote as follows:—
'Who bear the bows were knights in Arthur's reign;
Twelve they, and twelve the peers of Charlemagne;
For bows the strength of brawny arms imply,
Emblems of valour and of victory.'
This is probably the only instance, even in poetry, of knights being armed with bows and arrows.
515. For the knights of Arthur's round table, see Malory's Morte Arthure.
516. Douseperes; les douze pers, the twelve peers of Charlemagne, including Roland, Oliver, Ogier the Dane, Otuel, Ferumbras, the traitor Ganelon, and others. The names vary.
520. in hir tyme, formerly, in their day; shewing that the institution of the Knights of the Garter on April 23, 1349, by Edward III, was anything but a recent event.
530. I. e. 'Witness him of Rome, who was the founder of knighthood.' Alluding to Julius Cæsar, to whom was decreed by the senate the right of wearing a laurel-crown; Dryden mentions him by name.
550. Cf. 'De mieulx en mieulx'; Temple of Glas, 310.
551-6. Apparently imitated from The Temple of Glas, 503-16.
567. Cf. 'We thanked her in our most humble wyse'; A. L. 729.
580. Male-Bouche, Slander; borrowed from the Rom. de la Rose. See note above, to VIII. 260.
589. Cf. 'to put it in wryting'; A. L. 664; 'she put it in wryting'; A. L. 629.
590. I. e. in the hope that it will be patronised.
591. Cf. 'As for this book'; A. L. (last stanza).
592. 'How darest thou thrust thyself among the throng?' i.e. enter into contest. Cf. 'In suych materys to putte mysylff in prees'; Lydgate, Secrees of Philosophers, ed. Steele, l. 555.
For numerous references to this poem, see Notes to the preceding poem.
Though apparently written by the authoress of the Flower and the Leaf, it is of later date, and much less use is made of the final e. That the author was a woman, is asserted in ll. 7, 18, 259, 284, 370, 379-85, 407, 450, 625.
17. the mase. They amused themselves by trying to find a way into a maze, similar to that at Hampton Court. Cf. l. 32.
29. Ll. 1-28 are introductory. The story of the dream now begins, but is likewise preceded by an introduction, down to l. 77.
34. The word went is repeated; the second time, it is an error for wend, weened. 'Some went (really) inwards, and imagined that they had gone outwards.' Which shews that the maze was well constructed. So, in l. 36, those who thought they were far behind, found themselves as far forward as the best of them.
42. That is, they cheated the deviser of the maze, by stepping over the rail put to strengthen the hedge. That was because they lost their temper.
44. The authoress got ahead of the rest; although sorely tired, she had gained a great advantage, and found the last narrow passage which led straight to the arbour in the centre. This was provided with benches (doubtless of turf, Flower and Leaf, l. 51) and well enclosed, having stone walls and a paved floor with a fountain in the middle of it.
54. There were stairs leading downwards, with a 'turning-wheel.' I do not think that turning-wheel here means a turn-stile, or what was formerly called a turn-pike. It simply means that the stair-case was of spiral form. Jamieson tells us that, in Lowland Scotch, the term turn-pike was applied (1) to the winding stair of a castle, and (2) to any set of stairs of spiral form; and quotes from Arnot to shew that a spiral stair-case was called a turnpike stair, whereas a straight one was called a scale stair. The pot of marjoram may have been placed on a support rising from the newel.
It may be noted that arbours, which varied greatly in size and construction, were often set upon a small 'mount' or mound; in which case it would be easy to make a small spiral stair-case in the centre. In the present case, it could hardly have been very large, as it occupied a space in the centre of a maze. For further illustration, see A History of Gardening in England, by the Hon. Alicia Amherst, pp. 33, 52, 78, 116, 118, 314.
60. 'And how they (the daisies) were accompanied with other flowers besides, viz. forget-me-nots and remember-mes; and the poor pansies were not ousted from the place.'
61. Ne-m'oublie-mies; from O.F. ne m'oublie-mie, a forget-me-not. Littré, s.v. ne m'oubliez pas, quotes, from Charles d'Orléans, 'Desfleurs de ne m'oubliez mie'; and again, from a later source, 'Un diamant taillé en fleur de ne m'oblie mie.' The recovery of this true reading (by the help of MS. A.) is very interesting; as all the editions, who follow Thynne, are hopelessly wrong. Thynne, misreading the word, printed Ne momblysnesse; whence arose the following extraordinary entry in Bailey's Dictionary:—'Momblishness, talk, muttering; Old Word.' This ghost-word is carefully preserved in the Century Dictionary in the form:—'Momblishness, muttering talk; Bailey (1731).'
sovenez doubtless corresponds to the name remember-me, given in Yorkshire and Scotland to the Veronica chamædrys, more commonly called the germander speedwell, and in some counties forget-me-not. But we should rather, in this passage, take forget-me-not (above) to refer, as is most usual, to the Myosotis; as Littré also explains it. Here Thynne was once more at a loss, and printed the word as souenesse, which was 'improved' by Stowe into sonenesse. Hence another ghost-word, recorded by Bailey in the entry:—'Sonenesse, noise.' Cf. l. 86.
62. pensees, pansies; alluding, of course, to the Viola tricolor. The spelling is correct, as it represents the O.F. pensee, thought; and it seems to have been named, as Littré remarks, in a similar way to the forget-me-not, and (I may add) to the remember-me.
68. stremes, jets of water; there was a little fountain in the middle.
73. The authoress had to wait till the other ladies also arrived in the centre of the maze. Cf. note to l. 736.
82. sad, settled, staid. demure, sober; lit. mature.
83. blewe, blue; which was the colour of constancy; see note to C. T., F 644 (vol. v. p. 386). For the lady's name was Perseverance. It is convenient to enumerate here the officers who are mentioned. They are: Perseveraunce, usher (91); Diligence (133, 198, 728); Countenance, porter (177, 277, 295); Discretion, purveyour (263); Acquaintance, herbergeour (269); Largesse, steward (318); Belchere, marshall (322); Remembrance, chamberlain (336); Avyseness, or Advisedness, secretary (343); and Attemperance, chancellor (508). The chief Lady is Loyalty (98), dwelling in the mansion of Pleasant Regard (170).
87. Here word means 'motto.' I here collect the French mottoes mentioned, viz. Bien et loyalement (88); Tant que je puis (208); A moi que je voy (308); Plus ne purroy (364); A endurer (489). Afterwards, four ladies are introduced, with the mottoes Sans que jamais (583); Une sanz chaungier (590); Oncques puis lever (598); and Entierment vostre (616). These ladies afterwards present petitions, on which were written, respectively, the phrases Cest sanz dire (627); En dieu est (645); Soyez en sure (666); and Bien moneste (675). The words, or mottoes, were embroidered on the sleeves of the ladies (119). See Lydgate's Temple of Glas, 308-10.
224. They said a pater-noster for the benefit of St. Julian, becausehe was the patron-saint of wayfarers. 'Of this saynt Julyen somme saye that this is he that pylgryms and wey-faryng men calle and requyre for good herberowe, by-cause our lord was lodgyd in his hows'; Caxton's Golden Legend. The story occurs in the Gesta Romanorum, c. xviii., and in the Aurea Legenda. The following extract from an old translation of Boccaccio, Decam. Day 2. Nov. 2, explains the point of the allusion. 'Nevertheless, at all times, when I am thus in journey, in the morning before I depart my chamber, I say a pater-noster and an Ave-Maria for the souls of the father and mother of St. Julian; and after that, I pray God and St. Julian to send me a good lodging at night'; &c. Dunlop, in his Hist. of Fiction, discussing this Novella, says: 'This saint was originally a knight, and, as was prophecied to him by a stag, he had the singular hap to kill his father and mother by mistake. As an atonement for his carelessness, he afterwards founded a sumptuous hospital for the accommodation of travellers, who, in return for their entertainment, were required to repeat pater-nosters for the souls of his unfortunate parents.'
241. Because she was to change her dress, and put on blue; see ll. 258-9, 313-4, 413.
457. The reference is to the Legend of Good Women, which contains the story of Phyllis, Thisbe, and 'Cleopataras.' Cf. l. 465.
463. Hawes, probably the same name as Havise, which occurs in the old story of Fulke Fitzwarine. But it is remarkable that MS. A. has the reading:—'That other sydë was, how Enclusene'; and this looks like an error for Melusene, variant of Melusine. This would agree with the next line, which means 'was untruly deceived in her bath.' The story of Melusine is given in the Romance of Partenay. She was a fairy who married Raymound, son of the Earl of Forest, on the understanding that he was never to watch what she did on a Saturday. This he at last attempts to do, and discovers, through a hole in the door, that she was in a bath, and that her lower half was changed into a serpent. He tries to keep the knowledge of the secret, but one day, in a fit of anger, calls her a serpent. She reproaches him, and vanishes from his sight. See the Romans of Partenay, ed. Skeat (E.E.T.S.).
465. From Chaucer's poem of Anelida and the false Arcite; vol. i. p. 365; for her Complaint, see the same, p. 373.
471. umple (MS. T. vmpylle), smooth gauze; from O.F. omple, smooth, used as an epithet of cloth, satin, or other stuff (Godefroy). Here evidently applied to something of a very thin texture, as gauze; see l. 473.
477. stages, steps. The chair or throne was set on a platform accessible by five steps, which were made of cassidony. Cotgrave explains O.F. cassidonie as meaning not only chalcedony, but also a kind of marble; and this latter sense may be here intended.
488. Her word, her motto; her must refer to the great lady (l. 501) to whom the throne belonged.499. tapet, a hanging cloth (Halliwell); here a portion of the hangings that could be lifted up, to give entrance.
526. After a sort, of one kind, alike. vent, slit in front of a gown. 'Vente, the opening at the neck of the tunic or gown, as worn by both sexes during the Norman period, and which was closed by a brooch'; Gloss. to Fairholt's Costume in England. O.F. fente, a slit, cleft; from Lat. findere. The collar and slit were alike bordered with ermine, covered with large pearls, and sprinkled with diamonds. Cf. also: 'Wyth armynes powdred bordred at the vent'; Hawes, Pastime of Pleasure, ed. Wright, p. 80.
536. balays, a balas-ruby; 'a delicate rose-red variety of the spinel ruby'; New. E. Dict. of entail, lit. 'of cutting,' i.e. carefully cut; the usual phrase; see New E. Dict.
539. a world, worth a world; cf. a world (great quantity) of ladies; Flower and the Leaf, 137.
576-8. Alluding to the proverb: 'first come, first served'; cf. C. T., D 389, and the note (vol. v. p. 301).
581. We find that the 'bills' are petitions made by the four ladies regarding their ill success in love-affairs.
592. I. e. yet not so much as she ought to have been, as she had all the trouble; she refers to the lady herself.
598. Oncques, ever; Lat. unquam. 'I can ever rise' seems at first sight to be meant; but ne must be understood; the true sense is, 'I can never rise'; i.e. never succeed. See the context, ll. 605-9.
645. 'I trust in God'; see l. 655.
675. 'Admonish well'; from O.F. monester, to admonish, warn.
680. Here, and in l. 689, the speaker is the lady of the castle. In l. 682 (as in l. 690), the speaker appears to be the fourth lady; it is none too clear.
689. I hate you, I command you. Hate should rather be written hote; perhaps it was confused with the related pt. t. hatte, was called. The reference to Saint James of Compostella is noteworthy.
693. it, i.e. the bill, or petition; it takes the form of a Complaint.
697-8. And, if. ye wolde, i.e. ye wolde seme, (see l. 696), ye would think so. Seem is still common in Devonshire in the sense of think or suppose; usually pronounced zim.
699. her refers to the lady of the castle; at least, it would appear so from l. 705. Else, it refers to Fortune.
736. the water, water thrown in her face by one of her companions, who had by this time entered the arbour.
752. A headless line; accent the first syllable.
754-5. The Flower and the Leaf has a similar ending (ll. 582-3).
Obviously Lydgate's. See the Introduction.
1. Moder of norture, model of good breeding. The poem is evidently addressed to a lady named Margaret.
2. flour, daisy (for Margaret); see ll. 22, 23.
4. Al be I, although I am; common in Lydgate.
9. Thing, i.e. anything, everything, whatever thing.
15. Mieulx un, one (is) better; evidently cited from a motto or device. The meaning seems to be: it is better to have but one lover, and you have found one in a heart that will never shrink. In the Temple of Glas, 310, Lydgate uses the motto de mieulx en mieulx.
22-3. 'Daisy (born) of light; you are called the daughter of the sun.' Alluding to the name day's eye, which was also applied by Lydgate to the sun; see note in vol. iii. p. 291 (l. 43). Imitated from Legend of Good Women, 60-4.
29. 'When the day dawns, (repairing) to its natural place (in the east), then your father Phœbus adorns the morrow.'
34. 'Were it not for the comfort in the day-time, when (the sun's) clear eyes make the daisy unclose.' Awkward and involved; cf. Legend of Good Women, 48-50, 64-5.
43. Je vouldray, I should like; purposely left incomplete.
44. casuel, uncertain; see New E. Dict.
48-9. god saith; implying that it is in the Bible. I do not find the words; cf. Prov. xxi. 3; 1 Pet. ii. 20.
50. Cautels, artifices, deceits; a word not used by Chaucer, but found in Lydgate; see New E. Dict.
57. Quaketh my penne, my pen quakes; an expression used once by Chaucer, Troil. iv. 13, but pounced upon by Lydgate, who employs it repeatedly. See more than twenty examples in Schick's note to the Temple of Glas, 947. Cf. IX. 229.
59. Read roseth, grows rosy, grows red, as opposed to welkeneth, withers, fades. We find the pp. rosed twice in Shakespeare; 'a maid yet rosed over,' Henry V, v. 2. 423; and 'thy rosed lips'; Titus And. ii. 4. 24. The emendation seems a safe one, for it restores the sense as well as the rime.
welkeneth should probably be welketh; I find no other example of the verb welkenen, though welwen occurs in a like sense; and welketh suits the rhythm.
60. eft, once again hot. These sudden transitions from cold to heat are common; see Temple of Glas, 356:—'For thoughe I brenne with feruence and with hete.'
64. Lydgate is always deploring his lack of eloquence; cf. notes to Temple of Glas, ed. Schick, ll. 1393, 1400.
69. I can find no such word as jouesse, so I alter it to jonesse, i.e. youth. For the spelling jonesce in the 14th century, see Littré, s.v.jeunesse. The expression have more yet implies that the phrase or motto je serve jonesse is added as a postscript, and that there was some special point in it; but the application of it is now lost to us. Cf. 'Princes of youthe, and flour of gentilesse,' Temple of Glas, 970.
This poem really consists of twelve precepts, intended to redress twelve abuses. The twelve abuses are given by the Latin lines above, which should be compared throughout. The whole poem is thus easily understood.
The accent is on the first syllable of the line in most of the lines. In l. 3, the word Lord stands alone in the first foot. The lines are somewhat unsteady, quite in Lydgate's usual manner. In l. 6, jug-e is probably dissyllabic. See further in the Introduction.
This late piece abounds with imitations of Lydgate, especially of his Temple of Glas; many of the resemblances are pointed out in Schick's edition of that poem, which I refer to by the contraction 'T. G.'
1. Cf. 'With quaking hert[e] of myn inward drede'; T. G. 978.
'Another feature characteristic of Lydgate is his self-deprec[i]atory vein'; T. G., Introd. p. cxl. We have here an instance of an imitation of it.
6. Cf. 'Save that he wol conveyen his matere'; C. T., E 55.
8. He refers to Cicero's flowers of rhetoric. He may have found the name in Chaucer, P. F. 31. But he probably took the whole idea from a line of Lydgate's:—'Of rethoriques Tullius fond the floures': Minor Poems, p. 87.
9. borne, burnish, adorn; it rimes (as here) with sojorne in Troil. i. 327.
11. Galfrid, Geoffrey de Vinsauf; his 'craft' refers to his treatise on the art of poetry, entitled 'Nova Poetria'; see note to C. T., B 4537 (vol. v. p. 257). [I once thought (see vol. i. p. 43) that Galfrid here means Chaucer himself, as he also is twice called Galfrid in Lydgate's Troy-book. But I find that Dr. Schick thinks otherwise, and the use of the word craft is on his side. At the same time, this renders it impossible for Chaucer to have written 'The Court of Love'; his opinion of his namesake was the reverse of reverential.] With ll. 4-11 compare the opening lines of Benedict Burgh's Poem in Praise of Lydgate, pr. at p. xxxi of Steele's edition of Lydgate's Secrees of Philosophers.
19. Calliope; twice mentioned by Chaucer; also by Lydgate, T. G. 1303. Lydgate's Troy-book opens with an invocation to Mars, followed by one to Calliope:—'Helpe me also, o thou Callyope'; and onlyfour lines above there is a mention of 'Helicon the welle' (see l. 22 below).
22. Elicon, mount Helicon in Bœotia, sacred to Apollo and the Muses; confused by Chaucer and his followers with the fountain Hippocrene; see note in vol. i. p. 531. Hence Lydgate's expression 'Helicon the welle' in the last note and in T. G. 706, and the reference in the text to its dropes.
suger-dropes; Lydgate was fond of sugar; he has 'soote sugred armonye,' Minor Poems, p. 182; and 'sugrid melody,' ib., p. 11. Also 'sugred eloquence'; XII. 200 (p. 288); with which cf. l. 933 below. I have observed several other examples.
24. Melpomene; the muse who presided over tragedy.
28. Cf. 'This simpil tretis for to take in gre'; T. G. 1387. 'Taketh at gre the rudness of my style'; Lydgate, Secrees of Philosophers, 21.
30. metriciens, skilful in metre, poets; a word which has a remarkably late air about it. Richardson gives an example of it from Hall's Chronicle.
36. Compare the following, from T. G. 1379-81.
'I purpos here to maken and to write
A litil tretise, and a processe make
In pris of women, oonli for hir sake.'
40. man, servant, one who does her homage; cf. Chaucer, C. T., I 772; La Belle Dame, 244; T. G. 742.
42. Cf. 'So that here-after my ladi may it loke'; T. G. 1392.
45. Cf. 'Ther was enclosed rype and sad corage'; C. T., E 220.
49, 50. Here the mountain of Cithæron, in Bœotia, is confused with the island of Cythera, sacred to Venus, whence her name Cytherea was derived. The mistake arose, of course, from the similarity of the names, and occurs (as said in vol. v. p. 78, note to A 1936), in the Roman de la Rose, where we find:—
'Citeron est une montaigne ...
Venus, qui les dames espire,
Fist là son principal manoir'; ll. 15865-71.
Hence Chaucer makes the same confusion, but in a different way. Chaucer preserves the right name of the mountain, in the form Citheroun, which he rimes with mencioun (A 1936) and with Adoun (A 2223); but here we have the form Citharee, riming with see. For all this, the scribe corrects it to Citheron in l. 69, where he has no rime to deal with.
56. Cf. 'the winged god, Mercurie'; C. T., A 1385.
58. The MS. has costes that it drewe; Bell alters this to had to it drew, under the impression that drew is the pp. of draw! So again, in l. 78, he alters saphir ind, which is correct, to saphir of Inde; andin general, alters the text at will without the least hint that he has done so.
78. ind, blue; as in The Black Knight, 127.
80. Baleis Turkeis (MS. Bales turkes). Baleis is a better spelling, answering to F. balais in Littré. It also occurs as balai in O.F.; and the word was probably suggested by the mention of it in Rom. de la Rose, 20125:—'Que saphirs, rubis, ne balai.' Hence also the mention of it in the King's Quhair, st. 46, which see; and in the Assembly of Ladies, 536. Turkeis is the A. F. equivalent of O.F. Turkois, i.e. Turkish, as in C. T., A 2895, on which see the note (vol. v. p. 93).
81. shene, a misspelling of shine, intimating that the author has confused the adj. shene with the verb; or rather, that the poem was written at a time when the word shine could be used as riming to been; since we find similar examples in lines 561, 768. So also we find pretily riming with be in The Flower and the Leaf, 89. The pt. t. shoon occurs in l. 83.
82. Cf. 'As doon the sterres in the frosty night'; C. T., A 268. And again: 'bryght As sterrys in the wyntyr nyght'; Lydgate, Compleint following T. G., l. 548.
86. Cf. Compl. of Mars, 78-84, 104-5; C. T., A 2388 (and note); and T. G. 126-8.
88. Cf. 'Long as a mast,' &c.; C. T., A 3264.
92. Cf. Troil. iii. 8-21: 'In hevene and helle,' &c.; from Boccaccio; see note (vol. ii. p. 475).
105. Alceste; evidently borrowed from Ch., Legend of Good Women, 224, 293-9, 432; cf. T. G. 70-4. The quenes flour Alceste = the flower of queen Alcestis; a common idiom; see note to C. T., F 209 (vol. v. p. 376).
107. Admete, Admetus; see Troil. i. 664, and the note; T. G. 72.
108. ninetene; copied from the Legend of Good Women, 283; just as the next line is from the same, 285-9. This is the more remarkable, because Chaucer never finished the poem, but mentions ten ladies only, in nine Legends. Cf. 'the book of the nynetene Ladies'; C. T., I 1086. Hawes also refers to Chaucer's 'tragidyes ... of the xix. ladyes'; Pastime of Pleasure, ed. Wright, p. 53.
115. 'So fair was noon in alle Arras'; R. R. 1234.
116. of esier availe, of less value; see Avail in the New E. Dict.
117. saunz faile; thrice in Ch.; HF. 188, 429; C. T., B 501.
119. Helisee, Elysium; 'the feld ... That hight Elysos'; Troil. iv. 789.
120. saintes, saints, martyrs for love; cf. V. 316, above (p. 227), and the note. Cf. T. G. 414.
129. 'The king had Danger standing near him, and the queen had Disdain, who were chief of the council, to treat of affairs of state'; Bell.
138. Cf. T. G. 271, and the note, shewing how common gold hair is in Lydgate.139, 140. 'Bihinde her bak, a yerde long'; C. T., A 1050.
148. In mewet, in an inaudible voice, to myself; like mod. F. à la muette (Littré).
167. non erst; false grammar for non er, no sooner; 'no soonest' is nonsense. We find, however, the phrases not erst and never erst elsewhere; see New E. Dict., s.v. Erst, § B. 4.
170. This is the earliest quotation given in the New E. Dict., s.v. Assummon; and the next is from the poet Daniel.
177. Chaucer has the compound for-pampred; Former Age, 5. I read jolif, joyful, to make sense; the MS. has the absurd word ioylof (sic); and Stowe has ialous, jealous, which is quite out of place here.
181. 'An allusion to the monkish story of the man who brought up a youth ignorant of women, and who, when he first saw them, told him they were geese. The story is in the Promptuarium Exemplorum. It was adopted by Boccaccio, from whom it was taken by Lafontaine, liv. iii. conte 1. See Latin Stories, edited by Mr. Ṭ Wright.'—Bell.
194. From C. T., B 466: 'On many a sory meel now may she bayte.'
202. Cf. 'Comfort is noon'; Chaucer's A B C, 17.
207. how, however. Cf. 'that boghten love so dere'; Legend of Good Women, 258.
229. See the Book of the Duchess, 323-34, where the painted glass windows contain subjects from the Romance of the Rose and others. The story of Dido is common enough; but the reference to Chaucer's Anelida and the false Arcite, is remarkable, especially as it occurs also in XXI. 465 above (p. 395). 'The turtel trewe' is from the Parl. Foules, 577. See the parallel passage in T. G. 44-142, where Lydgate's first example is that of Dido, while at the same time he mentions Palamon, Emilie, and Canacee, all from Chaucer.
246. blew, blue, the colour of constancy; see l. 248.
250. 'And why that ye ben clothed thus in blak?' C. T., A 911.
255. grene only gives an assonance with here, not a rime. Green was the colour of inconstancy, and was sometimes used for despyt, to use Chaucer's phrase; see note to C. T., F 644 (vol. v. p. 386). White may refer to the White Friars or Carmelites, and russet to the hermits; cf. P. Plowman, C. prol. 3, C. xi. 1.
270. an ho, a proclamation commanding silence; see C. T., 2533. Quite distinct from hue (and cry), with which Bell confuses it. A hue and cry was only raised against fleeing criminals.
280. Clearly suggested by the God of Love's stern question in the Legend of Good Women, 315:—'What dostow heer So nigh myn owne flour, so boldely?' At the same time the phrase fer y-stope in yeres is from Chaucer's somdel stape in age, C. T., B 4011, on which see the note (vol. v. p. 248). See the next note.
288. Similarly the God of Love pardoned Chaucer (L. G. W. 450), but upon a condition (ib. 548).
290. serven, false grammar for serve.302. Here follow the twenty statutes; ll. 302-504. They are evidently expanded from the similar set of injunctions given by Venus to the Knight in The Temple of Glas, ll. 1152-213; as clearly shewn by Schick in his Introduction, p. cxxxi. The similarity extends to the first, second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, tenth, twelfth, fourteenth and eighteenth statutes, which resemble passages found in the Temple of Glas, ll. 1152-213, or elsewhere in the same poem. It is also possible that the author, or Lydgate, or both of them, kept an eye upon Ovid's Art of Love. See also Rom. Rose (Eng. version), 2355-950, which is much to the point.
305. This is also the first injunction in T. G. 1152-3, and is immediately followed by the second, which enjoins secrecy. The reader should compare the passages for himself.
311. MS. synk and flete; which must of course be corrected to 'sink or flete,' as in Anelida, 182; C. T., A 2397.
317. 'Withoute chaunge in parti or in al'; T. G. 1155.
319. The MS. has brynde, and Stowe has brinde; so I let the reading stand. Morris has blynde, and Bell blind; neither of them has a note as to the change made. Perhaps brind = brend = burnt, in the sense of 'inflamed by passion'; or it may be an error for brim = breme, furious, applied especially to the desire of the boar for the sow. The sense intended is clear enough; we should now write 'base.'
324-5. From C. T., A 2252-3:—
'And on thyn [Venus'] auter, wher I ryde or go,
I wol don sacrifice, and fyres bete.'
329. passe forby, to pass by, i.e. to get out of his way; cf. C. T., B 1759, C 668. an ese, a relief, a way of escape. There is no difficulty, but all the editions have altered it to passe, for thereby, which will not scan.
330. daungerous, grudging, reluctant; see C. T., D 514.
332. of a sight, of what one may see. squeymous (MS. squymouse, Stowe squmous), squeamish, particular; see note to C. T., A 3337 (vol. v. p. 102). It is added that when the lady, on her part, was cruel, it was the lover's duty to toss about in bed and weep; cf. T. G. 12:—'The longe nyght walowing to and fro.' 'To walwe and wepe'; Troil. i. 699. And see Rom. Rose (Eng. version), 2553-62.
338. Cf. 'Him to complein, that he walk [read welk = walked] so sole'; T. G. 552. And cf. Book Duch. 449; Black Knight, 143; Rom. Rose, 2391-6, 2517-9.
340. Cf. 'as though he roughte nought Of life ne deth'; T. G. 939-40.
344. 'Abide awhile,' T. G. 1203; 'patiently t'endure'; T. G. 1267.
347. helden, false grammar for held. The metre shews that it was intentional.
349. 'Fulli to obeye,' T. G. 1151; cf. 1145-50.360-4. Cf. T. G. 1012-25; especially 'And when I trespas, goodli me correcte'; and 'neuyr yow offende.' And Ovid, Art. Amat. lib. ii. 199-202.
367. yern, earn; so yearne in Spenser, F. Q. vi. 1. 40; A.S. geearnian.
368-9. 'Of grace and pitè, and nought of rightwisnes'; T. G. 979.
378. a-croke (MS. a croke), awry; see Acrook in the New E. Dict.
379-81. In l. 381, the MS. has shon (shun) distinctly; yet Morris prints shoue, and Stowe showe, destroying the sense. All have knowe in l. 379, but it should rather be con, which gives a perfect rime; for con represents A.S. cunnan, to know, and is frequently spelt cun; see Con in the New E. Dict. This statute refers to 'the comfort of Sweet-Looking'; see Rom. Rose, 2893-922; Gower, C. A., iii. 26-7.
390. See T. G. 170-1, 1014.
397. 'Yeve hir giftes, and get hir grace'; Rom. Rose, 2699. 'Auro conciliatur amor'; Ovid, Art. Amat. lib. ii. 278.
403. Cf. Rom. Rose, 2568-85.
412. 'And for no tales thin herte not remue'; T. G. 1182. Cf. C. T., A 3163-4; F 1483-5; and XII. 113-9 above (p. 289).
429. 'For love ne wol nat countrepleted be'; Legend of Good Women, 476. 'Quisquis erit cui favet illa, fave'; Ovid, Art. Amat. lib. i. 146.
431. 'Whyt was this crowe'; C. T., H 133; cf. note to C. T., D 232.
456. Compare the Merchant's Tale; C. T., E 1245.
469. Cf. T. G. 1168-70: 'All trwe louers to relese of her payne,' &c.
475. 'Ai fressh and wel besein'; T. G. 1167. Cf. Rom. Rose, 2279-84. 'Munditiae placeant,' &c.; Ovid, Art. Amat. lib. i. 513.
484. 'Who loveth trewe hath no fatnesse'; Rom. Rose, 2686; 'Arguat et macies animum'; Ovid, Art. Amat. lib. i. 733.
491-504. Cf. Rom. Rose, 2419-39, 2817-20. In particular, ll. 496-7 seem to be actually copied from Rom. Rose, 2819-20: 'or of hir chere That to thee made thy lady dere.' This raises the suspicion that the Court of Love was written after 1532.
499. thou seen would be in Latin tu videatis; another example of false grammar.
523. let been, to let (them) be, to leave off.
526. kepten been (MS. bene); so in all the copies; but kepten is the pt. t. plural, as if we should say in Latin seruauerunt sunt. Unless, indeed, the -en is meant for the pp. suffix of a strong verb, as if we should make a Latin form seruatiti. The scansion shews that this false grammar came from the author.
529. 'Except God and the devil.'
536-7. Solomon and Samson; the usual stock examples. But probably in this case borrowed from Lydgate's Balade, XIV. 4 (p. 295), which is certainly quoted thrice again below.
542. This line is made up from Lydgate's Balade, XIV. 29-33, and 26; so again l. 544 resembles the same, l. 24. And Lydgate merelyversifies the medieval proverb: 'Fallere,' &c.; see note to XIV. 29; p. 516.
547. of kind, by nature; as in XIV. 29 (p. 296).
550. 'An housbond shal nat been inquisitif'; C. T., A 3163.
556. Citherea is right; see l. 50; MS. and Stowe have Cithera.
560. 'You that are provided already with a lady.'—Bell. Cf. l. 561.
561-3. eke, lyke, a permissible rime, at a time when e had gained the mod. E. sound. See note to l. 81 above.
570. See T. G. 143-6. With l. 577, cf. T. G. 50.
580. The reading blisful is certain; it is from T. G. 328:—'O blisful sterre, persant and ful of light.' The author uses persant below, in l. 849.
582. See the second of the interpolated stanzas in T. G., p. 21, ll. 6, 7:—
'Withoute desert; wherefore that ye vouche
To ponysshe hem dewely for here male-bouche.'
586. loves daunce; see references in the Glossary to vol. vi., s.v. Daunce.
589. In T. G. 144, the lovers are only many a thousand; in the Kingis Quair, st. 78, they are 'mony a' million; here they are a thousand million. Such is evolution.
591. 'redresse is elegantly put for redresser';—Bell. Then let the credit of it be Lydgate's; cf. 'Redresse of sorow, O Citheria'; T. G. 701.
592. Bell prints yheried, which is obviously right; but he does not say that both the MS. and Stowe have I hired; see Troil. ii. 973, iii. 7, 1804.
593. loves bond; founded on Boethius, lib. ii. met. 8, but doubtless taken from Troil. iii. 1766; see note in vol. ii. p. 483.
598, 603. 'Make him teschwe euere synne and vice'; T. G. 450.
611-3. Celsitude and pulcritude are words that savour of the revival of learning. Such words are common in Dunbar, who uses both of them. For celsitude, see Dunbar, ed. Small, p. 271, 76, and p. 325, 25; for pulcritude, see the same, p. 271, 74; p. 274, 2; p. 279, 5. He even rimes them together; p. 271. Hawes also uses pulchritude; Pastime of Pleasure, ed. Wright, pp. 5, 18.
614. Cf. 'Comparisoun may noon y-maked be'; Legend of Good Women, 122.
623. fere, fire (not fear); as in Troil. iii. 978.
628. Beseech, to beseech; note the anachronism in using the French infin. void-en with a suffix, and the Eng. beseech with none at all.
634. ure, destiny; from O.F. eur, Lat. augurium. A word that first appeared in Northern English; it occurs at least eight times in Barbour's Bruce. And in the Kingis Quair, st. 10, we have the whole phrase—'my fortúne and ure.' It is also used by Lydgate; see VIII. 151, 302, 482 (pp. 250, 254, 260).641. An exact repetition of l. 633 above.
642. Here, for a wonder, is an example of the final e; the author took the whole phrase 'In thilk-ë place' from some previous author; cf. 'In thilke places' (sic); Rom. Rose, 660 (Thynne). sign, assign.
648. 'Bi god and be my trouthe'; T. G. 1011.
683. 'And holden werre alwey with chastitee'; C. T., A 2236.
684. I kepen; false grammar; equivalent to Lat. ego curamus.
688. yove, gave; but in l. 690 the form is gave. I suspect that in l. 690, gave should be gan, and that image (for images) is to be taken as a genitive case; then the sense is—'And I began anon to ponder and weigh in my heart her image's fresh beauty.'
701. The idea is due to Chaucer's Compleynt to Pity; cf. l. 1324.
702. Cf. 'Him deyneth nat to wreke him on a flye'; Legend of Good Women, 381.
703. eke him, him also; but perhaps read ete him.
704. Cf. 'and tendre herte'; C. T., A 150.
725. springen; false grammar, as it is a plural form.
727. endry, suffer, endure; so again in l. 941. This ridiculous hybrid is rightly excluded from the New E. Dict., which gives, however, several similar formations. It was coined by prefixing the F. prefix en-, with an intensive force, to M.E. drien, variant of dreogen, to endure (A.S. drēogan), Lowl. Sc. dree. No other author uses it.
732. spede, succeed; Stowe's alteration to speke is unnecessary.
749. 'How are you the nearer for loving,' &c.
751. fayn, put for feyn, i.e. feign, tell an untruth.
755. heth, heath. Here, and in l. 757, the author refers to two occasions when he was in great danger of falling in love; but he does not go into details.
768. Here we must read ee (eye) for the rime; in other cases it appears as eye, ye, y, riming with words in -y. This points to a somewhat late date; see note to l. 81 above. As for stremes, it is Lydgate's word for glances of the eye; see T. G. 263, 582. And Lydgate had it from Chaucer, who mostly uses it of sunbeams, but twice applies it to the beams from the eyes of Criseyde; Troil. i. 305, iii. 129.
782. flawe, generally explained as representing Lat. flauus, yellowish, or the O.F. flave, with the same sense. Her hair was gold, so her eyebrows may have been of a similar colour. I suspect that flawe was a Northern form; cf. braw, as a Northern variant of brave.
783. mene disseverance, a moderate distance; evidently meant with reference to Criseyde, whose one demerit was that her eye-brows joined each other; Troil. v. 813.
787. milk-whyt path, the galaxy, or milky way; but surely this is quite a unique application of it, viz. to the prominent ridge of Rosial's nose.
789. smaragde, emerald. The eyes of Beatrice are called smeraldi; Dante, Purg. xxxi. 116. Juliet's nurse said that an eagle's eye was not so green as that of Paris; Romeo, iii. 5. 222. Eyes in Chaucer areusually 'as gray as glas'; the O.F. vair, an epithet for eyes, meant grayish-blue.
797. basse, kiss, buss; see Bass in the New E. Dict. ben is yet another instance of a false concord; read be, as basse is singular. See next note.
798. Cornelius Maximianus Gallus, a poet of the sixth century, wrote six elegies which have come down to us. The quotation referred to occurs in the first Elegy (ll. 97-8), which is also quoted by Chaucer; see note to C. T., C 727 (vol. v. p. 287). The lines are:—
'Flammea dilexi, modicumque tumentia labra,
Quae mihi gustanti basia plena darent.'
Hence the epithet Flaming in l. 793.
810. bend, a band, sash; see New E. Dict., s.v. Bend (2), sb., 1. a.
811. 'With hair in tresses'; like Criseyde's; see Troil. v. 810.
813. Cf. the Assembly of Ladies, 533-4 (p. 397):—
'Aboute her nekke a sort of faire rubyes
In whyte floures of right fyne enamayl.'
See also the Kingis Quair, st. 48.
815-6. See my note to Ch. Minor Poems, XXI. 20 (vol. i. p. 566).
821. Calixto, Callisto; called Calixte in Parl. Foules, 286. The story is in Ovid, Met. ii. 409, Alcmenia, Alcmene, mother of Hercules; see Ovid, Met. ix. 281; cf. Troil. iii. 1428; T. G. 123.
823. Europa, the story is in Ovid, Met. ii. 858. See Legend of Good Women, 113, and the note; T. G. 118.
824. Dane, Danae, mother of Perseus; see Ovid, Met. iv. 610. In Chaucer, C. T., A 2062, Dane means Daphne. Antiopa, mother of Amphion and Zethus; it may be noted that Jupiter's intrigues with Europa, Antiopa, Alcmene, and Danae, are all mentioned together in Ovid, Met. vi. 103-13. It follows that our author had read Ovid.
831. 'There is no lak, saue onli of pitè'; T. G. 749.
841. The word the was probably written like ye, giving, apparently, the reading ye ye; then one of these was dropped. The long passage in ll. 841-903 may be compared with the pleadings of the lover in La Belle Dame sans Merci (p. 307, above); with T. G. 970-1039; and with the Kingis Quair, st. 99. Note the expression 'of beaute rote,' T. G. 972; and 'Princes of youthe,' T. G. 970 (two lines above); see l. 843.
849. persant, piercing; common in Lydgate; T. G. 328, 756, 1341; Black Knight, 28, 358, 591, 613. Cf. 'And with the stremes of your percyng light'; Kingis Quair, 103.
852-3. Cf. T. G. 1038-9; Kingis Quair, st. 103, l. 7.
858. 'Of verrey routhe upon my peynes rewe'; T. G. 1001.
865. 'To love him best ne shal I never repente'; The Compleynt of Venus, 56, 64, 72. See note to l. 875.872-3. Referring to Ch. Troilus, and Legend of Good Women, 580. 'To ben as trewe as was Antonyus To Cleopatre'; T. G. 778.
874. thinkes; observe this Northern form.
875. 'And therfore, certes, to myn ending-day'; The Compleynt of Venus, 55. See note to l. 865.
882. expert, experienced; 'expert in love,' Troil. ii. 1367.
891. 'With al my hert I thanke yow of youre profre'; T. G. 1060.
897. Read I; this the scribe must have mistaken for the contraction for 'and.'
901. 'And I beseech you not to be disdainful.'
902. seen my wil, to see what I wish; but surely wil is an error for bill, petition; see l. 916. Then rede means 'read it.'
906. com of, be quick; see Troil. ii. 1738, 1742, 1750; and the numerous examples in Schick's note to T. G. 1272.
911. Stowe, like the MS., ends the line with why. Bell supplied makes thou straunge.
913. Cambrige; this form is not found till after 1400. Chaucer has Cant-e-brigg-e (C. T., A 3921) in four syllables, which appears as Cambrugge in the late Lansdowne MS., after 1420. See Skeat, A Student's Pastime, pp. 397-8.
922. and have, i.e. and have loved. On this construction, see Schick's note to T. G. 1275.
925-7. I ... doon; more false grammar; equivalent to Lat. ego faciamus.
929. 'And, whan I trespace, goodli me correcte'; T. G. 1018.
931-52. Compare the answers of the lady in La Belle Dame sans Merci (p. 309, &c.).
988-9. Cf. Parl. Foules, 90-1; Compl. to his Lady, 47-9.
998. dwale, an opiate, a sleeping-draught; made from the dwale or 'deadly nightshade' (Atropa belladonna). It occurs once in Chaucer; C. T., A 4161. See my note to P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 379.
1000. y-wis afrayed, (being) certainly frightened. The use of y-wis in such a position is most unusual.
1016-7. 'Right as the fressh[e] rodi rose nwe Of hir coloure to wexin she bigan'; T. G. 1042-3.
1023. Something is lost here. There is no gap in the MS.; but there was probably one in the MS. from which it was copied. I think six stanzas are lost; see the Introduction.
1032-3. 'And their fellow-furtherer,' i.e. fellow-helper.
1034. Dred is one of the personifications from the Roman de la Rose; see Rom. Rose, 3958; so in T. G. 631.
1040. 'Gall under honey'; see l. 542 above. Cf. T. G. 192.
1042. 'Lay aside your confidence (courage), for all her white (flattering) words'; cf. Troil. iii. 901.
1045. thow wot, false grammar for thou wost.
1049. The ton = thet on, the one; the toder = thet oder, the other.Oder is a remarkable form; see Halliwell. So also brodur, in Le Bon Florence of Rome, ed. Ritson, 931.
1053-4. 'Hir kind is fret with doublenesse'; XIII. 80 (p. 293).
1055. 'So I cast about to get rid of Despair's company'; hence taken, in l. 1056, is in the infin. mood.
1058. bay-window; cf. Assembly of Ladies, 163. The earliest known quotation for bay-window is dated 1428, in a prosaic document.
1060. 'As any ravenes fether it shoon for-blak'; spoken of hair; C. T., A 2144.
1065. 'Ther needeth non auctoritee allegge'; C. T., A 3000.
1072. Cf. Troil. ii. 855-61.
1083. were, wear; altered by Bell to ware, which is a form of the past tense.
1087. she seems to be spoken casually of some woman in the company; and prety man, in l. 1088, is used in a similar way.
goth on patens, walks in pattens. A very early example of the word paten. It occurs in Palsgrave (1530). fete, neat, smart; used by Lydgate; see Feat in the New E. Dict.
1095. Here the author comes back again to the Temple of Glas, 143-246, which see; and cf. The Kingis Quair, stanzas 79-93.
1096. black, Dominican friars; white, Carmelites; gray, Franciscans.
1100. From T. G. 196-206; for the nuns, see T. G. 207-8.
1104. 'In wide copis perfeccion to feine'; T. G. 204. See l. 1116.
1106. 'That on hir freendis al the wite they leide'; T. G. 208.
1116. 'In wide copis perfeccion to feine'; T. G. 204.
1134. 'Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved'; C. T., B 308.
1136. Cf. 'With sobbing teris, and with ful pitous soune'; T. G. 197.
1139. Cf. 'And other eke, that for pouertè'; T. G. 159.
1150. prang, pang (MS. prange; and so in Stowe); altered to pang by Bell and Morris. 'Pronge, Erumpna' [aerumna]; Prompt. Parv. 'Throwe [throe], womannys pronge, Erumpna'; the same. 'Prange, oppression, or constraint'; Hexham's Dutch Dict. Cf. Gothic: 'in allamma ana-pragganai,' we were troubled on every side, 2 Cor. vii. 5; where gg is written for ng, as in Greek. The mod. E. pang seems to have been made out of it, perhaps by confusion with pank, to pant.
1160, 1164. 'And pitousli on god and kynde pleyne'; T. G. 224. But the context requires the reading god of kind, i.e. God of nature. In l. 1166, leften must be meant for a pp.; if so, it is erroneously formed, just like kepten above; see note to l. 526.
1173. werdes, Fates; obviously the right reading; yet the MS., Stowe, and Morris have wordes, and Bell alters the line. The confusion between e and o at this time is endless. See Werdes, Wierdes in the Gloss. to Chaucer.
1177. he, another of the company; cf. she in l. 1087. Both Morris and Bell alter the text. Bell reminds us that the character heredescribed is that of Shakespeare's Benedict. But it is obviously copied from Troilus! see Troil. i. 904-38.
1189. The word post is from Troil. i. 1000: 'That thou shalt be the beste post, I leve, Of al his lay.'
1198. Shamefastness, Bashfulness; borrowed from Honte in the Rom. de la Rose, 2821; called Shame in the E. version, 3034. Hence the reference to roses in l. 1203, though it comes in naturally enough.
1211. were not she, if it had not been for her.
1213. returnith, turns them back again; used transitively.
1218. 'When Bashfulness is dead, Despair will be heir' (will succeed in her place). Too bold lovers would be dismissed.
1219. Avaunter, Boaster; as in Troil. iii. 308-14. The line sounds like an echo of 'Have at thee, Jason! now thyn horn is blowe!' Legend of Good Women, 1383.
1222. wowe, woo; evidently the right reading; so in Morris. Cf. The Letter of Cupid, V. 274-80 (p. 226).
1238. statut, i.e. the sixteenth statute (l. 435).
1242. 'Avauntour and a lyere, al is on'; Troil. iii. 309.
1253. sojoure, sojourn, dwell, used quite wrongly; for O.F. sojur (originally sojorn) is a sb. only, like mod. F. séjour. The O.F. verb was sojorner, sojourner, whence M.E. sojornen, sojournen, correctly used by Chaucer. The sb. sojour occurs in Rom. Rose, 4282, 5150. The mistake is so bad that even the scribe has here written soiorne; but, unluckily, this destroys the rime.
1255. 'Envy is admirably represented as rocking himself to and fro with vexation, as he sits, dark, in a corner.'—Bell. For all this, I suspect the right word is rouketh, i.e. cowers, as in C. T., A 1308. Rokken is properly transitive, as in C. T., A 4157.
1257. For the description of Envy, see Rom. Rose, 247. But the author (in l. 1259) refers us to Ovid, Met. ii. 775-82, q. v.
1259. Methamorphosose; this terrible word is meant for Metamorphoseos, the form used by Chaucer, C. T., B 93. But the true ending is -eōn, gen. pl. The scribe has altered the suffix to -ees, thus carelessly destroying the rime.
1268. Prevy Thought is taken from Doux-Pensers in the Rom. de la Rose, 2633, called Swete-Thought in the E. Version, 2799; see the passage.
1288. Cf. 'Hir person he shal afore him sette'; R. R. 2808.
1290. Cf. 'This comfort wol I that thou take'; R. R. 2821.
1295. Cf. 'Awey his anger for to dryve'; R. R. 2800.
1315. Schick refers us, for this fiction, to the Rom. Rose, 939-82, where Cupid has two sets of arrows, one set of gold, and the other set black. Gower, Conf. Amantis (ed. Pauli, i. 336), says that Cupid shot Phœbus with a dart of gold, but Daphne with a dart of lead. In the Kingis Quair, stanzas 94-5, Cupid has three arrows, one of gold, one of silver, and one of steel. But the fact is, that our author, like Gower, simply followed Ovid, Met. i. 470-1. Let Dryden explain it:—
'One shaft is pointed with refulgent gold
To bribe the love, and make the lover bold;
One blunt, and tipped with lead, whose base allay
Provokes disdain, and drives desire away.'
1317. There is here a gap in the story. The speaker is Rosial, and she is addressing Philogenet, expressing herself favourably.
1319-20. hight, promised. had, would have.
1324. she, i.e. Pity, as in l. 701.
1328. MS. tender reich; Stowe, tenderiche; which must be wrong; read tender reuth. Confusion between ch and th is common. where I found, where I (formerly) found much lack.
1332. For Pity's golden shrine, see l. 694.
1353. This notion of making the birds sing matins and lauds is hinted at in the Cuckoo and Nightingale—'That they begonne of May to don hir houres'; l. 70. It is obviously varied from Chaucer's Parl. Foules, where all the birds sing a roundel before departing. Next, we find the idea expanded by Lydgate, in the poem called Devotions of the Fowls; Minor Poems, ed. Halliwell, p. 78; the singers are the popinjay, the pelican, the nightingale, the lark, and the dove. All these reappear here, except the pelican. A chorus of birds, including the mavis, merle, lark, and nightingale, is introduced at the close of Dunbar's Thistle and Rose. The present passage was probably suggested by Lydgate's poem, but is conceived in a lighter vein.
The Latin quotations are easily followed by comparing them with The Prymer, or Lay Folks' Prayer-Book, ed. Littlehales (E. E. T. S.). They all appear in this 'common medieval Prayer-book'; and, in particular, in the Matins and Lauds of the Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Matins end at l. 1407. The Matins contain:—the opening, the Venite, a Hymn, three Psalms, an Antiphon, Versicles and Responses, three Lessons (each with Versicles and Responses), and the Te Deum. The Lauds contain:—the opening, eight Psalms (the Benedicite considered as one), Antiphon, Chapter, Hymn, the Benedictus; &c. I point out the correspondences below.
1354. Observe that the nightingale sings in a hawthorn in the Cuckoo and Nightingale, 287 (p. 358).
1356. Domine, labia mea aperies, Lord, open thou my lips; 'the opening' of Matins.
1358. bewrye, a variant of bewreye, to bewray; used by Dunbar.
1359. Venite, exultemus, Ps. xcv (Vulgate, xciv); still in use.
1362. 'The unhappy chorister who comes late skulks in behind the desks and stalls.'—Bell.
1364. Domine, Dominus noster, Ps. viii. The 'first psalm.'
1366. Celi enarrant, Ps. xix (Vulgate, xviii). The 'second psalm.'
1370. Domini est terra, Ps. xxiv (Vulgate, xxiii). The 'third psalm.' this Laten intent, this Latin signifies; intent is the contracted form of intendeth; by analogy with went for wendeth.1372. A queer reminiscence of Troil. iii. 690:—'There was no more to skippen nor to traunce.'
1373. Jube, Domine, benedicere, 'Lord, comaunde us to blesse'; versicle preceding the first lesson; which explains l. 1374.
1375. Cf. 'Legende of Martres'; Letter of Cupid, 316 (p. 227); and the note.
1380. Here follows the second lesson. The lectorn is the mod. E. lectern, which supports the book from which the lessons are read.
1384. 'The glad month of us who sing.' Cf. 'lepten on the spray'; Cuckoo and Nightingale, 77 (p. 350).
1387. Here follows the third lesson, read by the dove.
1390. This looks like an allusion to the endless joke upon cuckolds, who are said, in our dramatists, to 'wear the horn'; which the offender is said 'to give.' If so, it is surely a very early allusion. Here give an horn = to scorn, mock.
1400. Tu autem, domine, miserere nobis, 'thou, lord, have merci of us,' said at the conclusion of each lesson; to which all responded Deo gratias, 'thanke we god!' See The Prymer, p. 5.
1401. Te deum amoris; substituted for Te deum laudamus, which is still in use; which concludes the matins.
1402. Tuball, who was supposed to have been 'the first musician.' As to this error, see note in vol. i. p. 492 (l. 1162).
1408. Dominus regnavit, Ps. xciii (Vulgate, xcii); the 'first psalm' at Lauds.
1411. Jubilate deo, Ps. c (Vulgate, xcix); the 'second psalm.' The third and fourth psalms are not mentioned.
1413. Benedicite, omnia opera; still in use in our morning service; counted as the 'fifth psalm.'
1415. Laudate dominum, Ps. cxlviii; the 'sixth psalm.' The seventh and eighth are passed over.
1416. O admirabile; the anthem. The E. version is:—'O thou wonderful chaunge! the makere of mankynde, takynge a bodi with a soule of a maide vouchide sauf be bore [born]; and so, forth-goynge man, with-outen seed, yaf to us his godhede'; Prymer, p. 12. The 'chapter' and hymn are omitted.
1422. Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel; still in use in our morning service. This is the last extract from 'the hours.'
1434. 'She gadereth floures, party whyte and rede To make a sotil garland'; C. T., A 1053.
1436. This is exactly like 'the battle of the flowers,' as seen in Italy.
1437. the gold, the marigold; see C. T., A 1929.
1440. trew-love; a name for herb paris (Paris quadrifolia). But as the 'true-love' is described as being plited, i.e. folded, it must rather be supposed to mean a true lover's knot or love-knot, which was simply a bow of ribbon given as a token of affection, and frequently worn by the lover afterwards. The bestowal of this token nearly made an end of him.
Not a true virelay, as the ending -ing does not reappear in the second stanza; for a correct example, see note to Anelida and Arcite, 256 (vol. i. p. 536). But it is of the nature of a virelay, inasmuch as the rime -ate, which concludes the first stanza, reappears in the second; and similarly, the ending -ure, which concludes the second stanza, reappears in the third; and so on, with the rime-endings -ain and -aunce. Compare the poem by Lord Rivers, in the same metre, alluded to in vol. i. p. 42.
11. ure, destiny; as above, sect. XXIV. 634 (and note, p. 546).
20. The pronunciation of ende as ind is not uncommon in East Anglia, and may have been intended.
From John Walton's translation of Boethius, A.D. 1410. See the Introduction.
From the same MS. as the last.
7. don but lent, lit. 'done but lent,' i.e. merely lent (you). For this idiom, see note to Ch. C. T., B 171 (vol. v. p. 145).
5. Cf. Shak. King Lear, iii. 2. 91; see the Introduction.
This Balade, printed by Stowe, seems like a poor imitation of the style of Lydgate.