The House of Fame

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Book I: Incipit liber primus.[edit]

1God turne us every dreem to gode!
2For hit is wonder, be the rode,
3To my wit, what causeth swevens
4Either on morwes, or on evens;
5And why the effect folweth of somme,
6And of somme hit shal never come;
7Why that is an avisioun,
8And this a revelacioun,
9Why this a dreem, why that a sweven,
10And nat to every man liche even;
11Why this a fantom, these oracles,
12I noot; but who-so of these miracles
13The causes knoweth bet than I,
14Devyne he; for I certeinly
15Ne can hem noght, ne never thinke
16To besily my wit to swinke,
17To knowe of hir signifiaunce
18The gendres, neither the distaunce
19Of tymes of hem, ne the causes,
20For-why this more than that cause is;
21As if folkes complexiouns
22Make hem dreme of reflexiouns;
23Or ellis thus, as other sayn,
24For to greet feblenesse of brayn,
25By abstinence, or by seeknesse,
26Prison, stewe, or greet distresse;
27Or elles by disordinaunce
28Of naturel acustomaunce,
29That som man is to curious
30In studie, or melancolious,
31Or thus, so inly ful of drede,
32That no man may him bote bede;
33Or elles, that devocioun
34Of somme, and contemplacioun
35Causeth swiche dremes ofte;
36Or that the cruel lyf unsofte
37Which these ilke lovers leden
38That hopen over muche or dreden,
39That purely hir impressiouns
40Causeth hem avisiouns;
41Or if that spirites have the might
42To make folk to dreme a-night
43Or if the soule, of propre kinde
44Be so parfit, as men finde,
45That hit forwot that is to come,
46And that hit warneth alle and somme
47Of everiche of hir aventures
48Be avisiouns, or by figures,
49But that our flesh ne hath no might
50To understonden hit aright,
51For hit is warned to derkly; --
52But why the cause is, noght wot I.
53Wel worthe, of this thing, grete clerkes,
54That trete of this and other werkes;
55For I of noon opinioun
56Nil as now make mensioun,
57But only that the holy rode
58Turne us every dreem to gode!
59For never, sith that I was born,
60Ne no man elles, me biforn,
61Mette, I trowe stedfastly,
62So wonderful a dreem as I
63The tenthe day dide of Decembre,
64The which, as I can now remembre,
65I wol yow tellen every del,
 
 The Invocation
 
66But at my ginninge, trusteth wel,
67I wol make invocacioun,
68With special devocioun,
69Unto the god of slepe anoon,
70That dwelleth in a cave of stoon
71Upon a streem that cometh fro Lete,
72That is a flood of helle unswete;
73Besyde a folk men clepe Cimerie,
74Ther slepeth ay this god unmerie
75With his slepy thousand sones
76That alway for to slepe hir wone is --
77And to this god, that I of rede,
78Prey I, that he wol me spede
79My sweven for to telle aright,
80If every dreem stonde in his might.
81And he, that mover is of al
82That is and was, and ever shal,
83So yive hem Ioye that hit here
84Of alle that they dreme to-yere,
85And for to stonden alle in grace
86Of hir loves, or in what place
87That hem wer levest for to stonde,
88And shelde hem fro poverte and shonde,
89And fro unhappe and eche disese,
90And sende hem al that may hem plese,
91That take hit wel, and scorne hit noght,
92Ne hit misdemen in her thoght
93Through malicious entencioun.
94And who-so, through presumpcioun,
95Or hate or scorne, or through envye,
96Dispyt, or Iape, or vilanye,
97Misdeme hit, preye I Iesus god
98That (dreme he barfoot, dreme he shod),
99That every harm that any man
100Hath had, sith that the world began,
101Befalle him therof, or he sterve,
102And graunte he mote hit ful deserve,
103Lo! with swich a conclusioun
104As had of his avisioun
105Cresus, that was king of Lyde,
106That high upon a gebet dyde!
107This prayer shal he have of me;
108I am no bet in charite!
109    Now herkneth, as I have you seyd,
110What that I mette or I abreyd.
 
 The Dream
 
111Of Decembre the tenthe day,
112Whan hit was night, to slepe I lay
113Right ther as I was wont to done,
114And fil on slepe wonder sone,
115As he that wery was for-go
116On pilgrimage myles two
117To the corseynt Leonard,
118To make lythe of that was hard.
119    But as I sleep, me mette I was
120Within a temple y-mad of glas;
121In whiche ther were mo images
122Of gold, stondinge in sondry stages,
123And mo riche tabernacles,
124And with perre mo pinacles,
125And mo curious portreytures,
126And queynte maner of figures
127Of olde werke, then I saw ever.
128For certeynly, I niste never
129Wher that I was, but wel wiste I,
130Hit was of Venus redely,
131The temple; for, in portreyture,
132I sawgh anoon-right hir figure
133Naked fletinge in a see.
134And also on hir heed, parde,
135Hir rose-garlond whyt and reed,
136And hir comb to kembe hir heed,
137Hir dowves, and daun Cupido
138Hir blinde sone, and Vulcano,
139That in his face was ful broun.
140    But as I romed up and doun,
141I fond that on a wal ther was
142Thus writen, on a table of bras:
143'I wol now singe, if that I can,
144The armes, and al-so the man,
145That first cam, through his destinee,
146Fugitif of Troye contree,
147In Itaile, with ful moche pyne,
148Unto the strondes of Lavyne.'
149And tho began the story anoon,
150As I shal telle yow echoon.
151    First saw I the destruccioun
152Of Troye, through the Greek Sinoun,
153That with his false forsweringe,
154And his chere and his lesinge
155Made the hors broght into Troye,
156Thorgh which Troyens loste al hir Ioye.
157And after this was grave, allas!
158How Ilioun assailed was
159And wonne, and King Priam y-slayn,
160And Polites his sone, certayn,
161Dispitously, of dan Pirrus.
162    And next that saw I how Venus,
163Whan that she saw the castel brende,
164Doun fro the hevene gan descende,
165And bad hir sone Eneas flee;
166And how he fledde, and how that he
167Escaped was from al the pres,
168And took his fader, Anchises,
169And bar him on his bakke away,
170Cryinge, 'Allas, and welaway!'
171The whiche Anchises in his honde
172Bar the goddes of the londe,
173Thilke that unbrende were.
174    And I saw next, in alle this fere,
175How Creusa, daun Eneas wyf,
176Which that he lovede as his lyf,
177And hir yonge sone Iulo,
178And eek Ascanius also,
179Fledden eek with drery chere,
180That hit was pitee for to here;
181And in a forest, as they wente,
182At a turninge of a wente,
183How Creusa was y-lost, allas!
184That deed, but noot I how, she was;
185How he hir soughte, and how hir gost
186Bad him to flee the Grekes ost,
187And seyde he most unto Itaile,
188As was his destinee, sauns faille;
189That hit was pitee for to here,
190Whan hir spirit gan appere,
191The wordes that she to him seyde,
192And for to kepe hir sone him preyde.
193Ther saw I graven eek how he,
194His fader eek, and his meynee,
195With his shippes gan to sayle
196Toward the contree of Itaile,
197As streight as that they mighte go.
198    Ther saw I thee, cruel Iuno,
199That art daun Iupiteres wyf,
200That hast y-hated, al thy lyf,
201Al the Troyanisshe blood,
202Renne and crye, as thou were wood,
203On Eolus, the god of windes,
204To blowen out, of alle kindes,
205So loude, that he shulde drenche
206Lord and lady, grome and wenche,
207Of al the Troyan nacioun,
208Withoute any savacioun.
209    Ther saw I swich tempeste aryse,
210That every herte mighte agryse,
211To see hit peynted on the walle.
212    Ther saw I graven eek withalle,
213Venus, how ye, my lady dere,
214Wepinge with ful woful chere,
215Prayen Iupiter an hye
216To save and kepe that navye
217Of the Troyan Eneas,
218Sith that he hir sone was.
219    Ther saw I Ioves Venus kisse,
220And graunted of the tempest lisse.
221Ther saw I how the tempest stente,
222And how with alle pyne he wente,
223And prevely took arrivage
224In the contree of Cartage;
225And on the morwe, how that he
226And a knight, hight Achatee,
227Metten with Venus that day,
228Goinge in a queynt array,
229As she had ben an hunteresse,
230With wind blowinge upon hir tresse;
231How Eneas gan him to pleyne,
232Whan that he knew hir, of his peyne;
233And how his shippes dreynte were,
234Or elles lost, he niste where;
235How she gan him comforte tho,
236And bad him to Cartage go,
237And ther he shulde his folk finde
238That in the see were left behinde.
239    And, shortly of this thing to pace,
240She made Eneas so in grace
241Of Dido, quene of that contree,
242That, shortly for to tellen, she
243Becam his love, and leet him do
244That that wedding longeth to.
245What shulde I speke more queynte,
246Or peyne me my wordes peynte,
247To speke of love? hit wol not be;
248I can not of that facultee.
249And eek to telle the manere
250How they aqueynteden in-fere,
251Hit were a long proces to telle,
252And over long for yow to dwelle.
253    Ther sawgh I grave how Eneas
254Tolde Dido every cas,
255That him was tid upon the see.
256    And after grave was, how shee
257Made of him, shortly, at oo word,
258Hir lyf, hir love, hir luste, hir lord;
259And dide him al the reverence,
260And leyde on him al the dispence,
261That any woman mighte do,
262Weninge hit had al be so,
263As he hir swoor; and her-by demed
264That he was good, for he swich semed.
265Allas! what harm doth apparence,
266Whan hit is fals in existence!
267For he to hir a traitour was;
268Wherfor she slow hir-self, allas!
269    Lo, how a woman doth amis,
270To love him that unknowen is!
271For, by Crist, lo! thus hit fareth;
272'Hit is not al gold, that glareth.'
273For, al-so brouke I wel myn heed,
274Ther may be under goodliheed
275Kevered many a shrewed vyce;
276Therfor be no wight so nyce,
277To take a love only for chere,
278For speche, or for frendly manere;
279For this shal every woman finde
280That som man, of his pure kinde,
281Wol shewen outward the faireste,
282Til he have caught that what him leste;
283And thanne wol he causes finde,
284And swere how that she is unkinde,
285Or fals, or prevy, or double was.
286Al this seye I by Eneas
287And Dido, and hir nyce lest,
288That lovede al to sone a gest;
289Therfor I wol seye a proverbe,
290That 'he that fully knoweth therbe
291May saufly leye hit to his ye';
292Withoute dreed, this is no lye.
293    But let us speke of Eneas,
294How he betrayed hir, allas!
295And lefte hir ful unkindely.
296So whan she saw al-utterly,
297That he wolde hir of trouthe faile,
298And wende fro hir to Itaile,
299She gan to wringe hir hondes two.
300    'Allas!' quod she, 'what me is wo!
301Allas! is every man thus trewe,
302That every yere wolde have a newe,
303If hit so longe tyme dure,
304Or elles three, peraventure?
305As thus: of oon he wolde have fame
306In magnifying of his name;
307Another for frendship, seith he;
308And yet ther shal the thridde be,
309That shal be taken for delyt,
310Lo, or for singular profyt.'
311    In swiche wordes gan to pleyne
312Dido of hir grete peyne,
313As me mette redely;
314Non other auctour alegge I.
315'Allas!' quod she, 'my swete herte,
316Have pitee on my sorwes smerte,
317And slee me not! go noght away!
318O woful Dido, wel away!'
319Quod she to hir-selve tho.
320'O Eneas! what wil ye do?
321O that your love, ne your bonde,
322That ye han sworn with your right honde,
323Ne my cruel deeth,' quod she,
324"May holde yow still heer with me!
325O, haveth of my deeth pitee!
326Y-wis, my dere herte, ye
327Knowen ful wel that never yit,
328As fer-forth as I hadde wit,
329Agilte I yow in thoght ne deed.
330O, have ye men swich goodliheed
331In speche, and never a deel of trouthe?
332Allas, that ever hadde routhe
333Any woman on any man!
334Now see I wel, and telle can,
335We wrecched wimmen conne non art;
336For certeyn, for the more part,
337Thus we be served everichone.
338How sore that ye men conne grone,
339Anoon as we have yow receyved!
340Certeinly we ben deceyved;
341For, though your love laste a sesoun,
342Wayte upon the conclusioun,
343And eek how that ye determynen,
344And for the more part diffynen.
345    'O, welawey that I was born!
346For through yow is my name lorn,
347And alle myn actes red and songe
348Over al this lond, on every tonge.
349O wikke Fame! for ther nis
350Nothing so swift, lo, as she is!
351O, sooth is, every thing is wist,
352Though hit be kevered with the mist.
353Eek, thogh I mighte duren ever,
354That I have doon, rekever I never,
355That I ne shal be seyd, allas,
356Y-shamed be through Eneas,
357And that I shal thus Iuged be --
358'Lo, right as she hath doon, now she
359Wol do eftsones, hardily;'
360Thus seyth the peple prevely.' --
361But that is doon, nis not to done;
362Al hir compleynt ne al hir mone,
363Certeyn, availeth hir not a stre.
364    And when she wiste sothly he
365Was forth unto his shippes goon,
366She in hir chambre wente anoon,
367And called on hir suster Anne,
368And gan hir to compleyne thanne;
369And seyde, that she cause was
370That she first lovede Eneas,
371And thus counseilled hir therto.
372But what! when this was seyd and do,
373She roof hir-selve to the herte,
374And deyde through the wounde smerte.
375But al the maner how she deyde,
376And al the wordes that she seyde,
377Who-so to knowe hit hath purpos,
378Reed Virgile in Eneidos
379Or the Epistle of Ovyde,
380What that she wroot or that she dyde;
381And nere hit to long to endyte,
382By god, I wolde hit here wryte.
383    But, welaway! the harm, the routhe,
384That hath betid for swich untrouthe,
385As men may ofte in bokes rede,
386And al day seen hit yet in dede,
387That for to thenken hit, a tene is.
388    Lo, Demophon, duk of Athenis,
389How he forswor him ful falsly,
390And trayed Phillis wikkedly,
391That kinges doghter was of Trace,
392And falsly gan his terme pace;
393And when she wiste that he was fals,
394She heng hir-self right by the hals,
395For he had do hir swich untrouthe;
396Lo! was not this a wo and routhe?
397    Eek lo! how fals and reccheles
398Was to Breseida Achilles,
399And Paris to Enone;
400And Iason to Isiphile;
401And eft Iason to Medea;
402And Ercules to Dyanira;
403For he left hir for Iole,
404That made him cacche his deeth, parde.
405    How fals eek was he, Theseus;
406That, as the story telleth us,
407How he betrayed Adriane;
408The devel be his soules bane!
409For had he laughed, had he loured,
410He moste have be al devoured,
411If Adriane ne had y-be!
412And, for she had of him pitee,
413She made him fro the dethe escape,
414And he made hir a ful fals Iape;
415For aftir this, within a whyle
416He lefte hir slepinge in an yle,
417Deserte alone, right in the see,
418And stal away, and leet hir be;
419And took hir suster Phedra tho
420With him, and gan to shippe go.
421And yet he had y-sworn to here,
422On al that ever he mighte swere,
423That, so she saved him his lyf,
424He wolde have take hir to his wyf;
425For she desired nothing elles,
426In certein, as the book us telles.
427    But to excusen Eneas
428Fulliche of al his greet trespas,
429The book seyth, Mercurie, sauns faile,
430Bad him go into Itaile,
431And leve Auffrykes regioun,
432And Dido and hir faire toun.
433    Tho saw I grave, how to Itaile
434Daun Eneas is go to saile;
435And how the tempest al began,
436And how he loste his steresman,
437Which that the stere, or he took keep,
438Smot over-bord, lo! as he sleep.
439    And also saw I how Sibyle
440And Eneas, besyde an yle,
441To helle wente, for to see
442His fader, Anchises the free.
443How he ther fond Palinurus,
444And Dido, and eek Deiphebus;
445And every tourment eek in helle
446Saw he, which is long to telle.
447Which who-so willeth for to knowe,
448He most rede many a rowe
449On Virgile or on Claudian,
450Or Daunte, that hit telle can.
451    Tho saw I grave al tharivaile
452That Eneas had in Itaile;
453And with King Latine his tretee,
454And alle the batailles that he
455Was at him-self, and eek his knightes,
456Or he had al y-wonne his rightes;
457And how he Turnus refte his lyf,
458And wan Lavyna to his wyf;
459And al the mervelous signals
460Of the goddes celestials;
461How, maugre Iuno, Eneas,
462For al hir sleighte and hir compas,
463Acheved al his aventure;
464For Iupiter took of him cure
465At the prayere of Venus;
466The whiche I preye alwey save us,
467And us ay of our sorwes lighte!
468    Whan I had seyen al this sighte
469In this noble temple thus,
470'A, Lord!' thoughte I, 'that madest us,
471Yet saw I never swich noblesse
472Of images, ne swich richesse,
473As I saw graven in this chirche;
474But not woot I who dide hem wirche,
475Ne wher I am, ne in what contree.
476But now wol I go out and see,
477Right at the wiket, if I can
478See o-wher stering any man,
479That may me telle wher I am.'
480    When I out at the dores cam,
481I faste aboute me beheld.
482Then saw I but a large feld,
483As fer as that I mighte see,
484Withouten toun, or hous, or tree,
485Or bush, or gras, or ered lond;
486For al the feld nas but of sond
487As smal as man may see yet lye
488In the desert of Libye;
489Ne I to maner creature,
490That is y-formed by nature,
491Ne saw, me for to rede or wisse.
492'O Crist,' thoughte I, 'that art in blisse,
493Fro fantom and illusioun
494Me save!' and with devocioun
495Myn yen to the heven I caste.
496    Tho was I war, lo! at the laste,
497That faste be the sonne, as hye
498As kenne mighte I with myn ye,
499Me thoughte I saw an egle sore,
500But that hit semed moche more
501Then I had any egle seyn.
502But this as sooth as deeth, certeyn,
503Hit was of golde, and shoon so bright,
504That never saw men such a sighte,
505But-if the heven hadde y-wonne
506Al newe of golde another sonne;
507So shoon the egles fethres brighte,
508And somwhat dounward gan hit lighte.
 
 Explicit liber primus.

Book II: Incipit liber secundus.[edit]

 Proem.
 
509    Now herkneth, every maner man
510That English understonde can,
511And listeth of my dreem to lere;
512For now at erste shul ye here
513So selly an avisioun,
514That Isaye, ne Scipioun,
515Ne King Nabugodonosor,
516Pharo, Turnus, ne Elcanor,
517Ne mette swich a dreem as this!
518Now faire blisfull, O Cipris,
519So be my favour at this tyme!
520And ye, me to endyte and ryme
521Helpeth, that on Parnaso dwelle
522By Elicon the clere welle.
523    O Thought, that wroot al that I mette,
524And in the tresorie hit shette
525Of my brayn! now shal men see
526If any vertu in thee be,
527To tellen al my dreem aright;
528Now kythe thyn engyne and might!
 
 The Dream.
 
529    This egle, of which I have yow told,
530That shoon with fethres as of gold,
531Which that so hye gan to sore,
532I gan beholde more and more,
533To see hir the beautee and the wonder;
534But never was ther dint of thonder,
535Ne that thing that men calle foudre,
536That smoot somtyme a tour to poudre,
537And in his swifte coming brende,
538That so swythe gan descende,
539As this foul, whan hit behelde
540That I a-roume was in the felde;
541And with his grimme pawes stronge,
542Within his sharpe nayles longe,
543Me, fleinge, at a swappe he hente,
544And with his sours agayn up wente,
545Me caryinge in his clawes starke
546As lightly as I were a larke,
547How high I can not telle yow,
548For I cam up, I niste how.
549For so astonied and a-sweved
550Was every vertu in my heved,
551What with his sours and with my drede,
552That al my feling gan to dede;
553For-why hit was to greet affray.
554    Thus I longe in his clawes lay,
555Til at the laste he to me spak
556In mannes vois, and seyde, 'Awak!
557And be not so a-gast, for shame!'
558And called me tho by my name,
559And, for I sholde the bet abreyde --
560Me mette -- 'Awak,' to me he seyde,
561Right in the same vois and stevene
562That useth oon I coude nevene;
563And with that vois, soth for to sayn,
564My minde cam to me agayn;
565For hit was goodly seyd to me,
566So nas hit never wont to be.
567    And herewithal I gan to stere,
568And he me in his feet to bere,
569Til that he felte that I had hete,
570And felte eek tho myn herte bete.
571And tho gan he me to disporte,
572And with wordes to comforte,
573And sayde twyes, 'Seynte Marie!
574Thou art noyous for to carie,
575And nothing nedeth hit, parde!
576For al-so wis god helpe me
577As thou non harm shalt have of this;
578And this cas, that betid thee is,
579Is for thy lore and for thy prow; --
580Let see! darst thou yet loke now?
581Be ful assured, boldely,
582I am thy frend.' And therwith I
583Gan for to wondren in my minde.
584'O god,' thoughte I, 'that madest kinde,
585Shal I non other weyes dye?
586Wher Ioves wol me stellifye,
587Or what thing may this signifye?
588I neither am Enok, ne Elye,
589Ne Romulus, ne Ganymede
590That was y-bore up, as men rede,
591To hevene with dan Iupiter,
592And maad the goddes boteler.'
593    Lo! this was tho my fantasye!
594But he that bar me gan espye
595That I so thoghte, and seyde this: --
596'Thou demest of thy-self amis;
597For Ioves is not ther-aboute --
598I dar wel putte thee out of doute --
599To make of thee as yet a sterre.
600But er I bere thee moche ferre,
601I wol thee telle what I am,
602And whider thou shalt, and why I cam
603To done this, so that thou take
604Good herte, and not for fere quake.'
605'Gladly,' quod I. -- 'Now wel,' quod he: --
606'First I, that in my feet have thee,
607Of which thou hast a feer and wonder,
608Am dwellinge with the god of thonder,
609Which that men callen Iupiter,
610That dooth me flee ful ofte fer
611To do al his comaundement.
612And for this cause he hath me sent
613To thee: now herke, by thy trouthe!
614Certeyn, he hath of thee routhe,
615That thou so longe trewely
616Hast served so ententifly
617His blinde nevew Cupido,
618And fair Venus goddesse also,
619Withoute guerdoun ever yit,
620And nevertheles has set thy wit --
621Although that in thy hede ful lyte is --
622To make bokes, songes, dytees,
623In ryme, or elles in cadence,
624As thou best canst, in reverence
625Of Love, and of his servants eke,
626That have his servise soght, and seke;
627And peynest thee to preyse his art,
628Althogh thou haddest never part;
629Wherfor, al-so god me blesse,
630Ioves halt hit greet humblesse
631And vertu eek, that thou wolt make
632A-night ful ofte thyn heed to ake,
633In thy studie so thou wrytest,
634And ever-mo of love endytest,
635In honour of him and preysinges,
636And in his foIkes furtheringes,
637And in hir matere al devysest,
638And noght him nor his folk despysest,
639Although thou mayst go in the daunce
640Of hem that him list not avaunce.
641    'Wherfor, as I seyde, y-wis,
642Iupiter considereth this,
643And also, beau sir, other thinges;
644That is, that thou hast no tydinges
645Of Loves folk, if they be glade,
646Ne of noght elles that god made;
647And noght only fro fer contree
648That ther no tyding comth to thee,
649But of thy verray neyghebores,
650That dwellen almost at thy dores,
651Thou herest neither that ne this;
652For whan thy labour doon al is,
653And hast y-maad thy rekeninges,
654In stede of reste and newe thinges,
655Thou gost hoom to thy hous anoon;
656And, also domb as any stoon,
657Thou sittest at another boke,
658Til fully daswed is thy loke,
659And livest thus as an hermyte,
660Although thyn abstinence is lyte.
661    'And therfor Ioves, through his grace,
662Wol that I bere thee to a place,
663Which that hight THE HOUS OF FAME,
664To do thee som disport and game,
665In som recompensacioun
666Of labour and devocioun
667That thou has had, lo! causeles,
668To Cupido, the reccheles!
669And thus this god, thorgh his meryte,
670Wol with som maner thing thee quyte,
671So that thou wolt be of good chere.
672For truste wel, that thou shalt here,
673When we be comen ther I seye,
674Mo wonder thinges, dar I leye:
675Of Loves folke mo tydinges,
676Both soth-sawes and lesinges;
677And mo loves newe begonne,
678And longe y-served loves wonne,
679And mo loves casuelly
680That been betid, no man wot why,
681But as a blind man stert an hare;
682And more Iolytee and fare,
683Whyl that they finde love of stele,
684As thinketh hem, and over-al wele;
685Mo discords, mo Ielousyes,
686Mo murmurs, and mo novelryes,
687And mo dissimulaciouns;
688And feyned reparaciouns;
689And mo berdes in two houres
690Withoute rasour or sisoures
691Y-maad, then greynes be of sondes;
692And eke mo holdinge in hondes,
693And also mo renovelaunces
694Of olde forleten aqueyntaunces;
695Mo love-dayes and acordes
696Then on instruments ben cordes;
697And eke of loves mo eschaunges
698Than ever cornes were in graunges;
699Unnethe maistow trowen this?' --
700Quod he. 'No, helpe me god so wis!' --
701Quod I. 'No? why?' quod he. 'For hit
702Were impossible, to my wit,
703Though that Fame hadde al the pyes
704In al a realme, and al the spyes,
705How that yet she shulde here al this,
706Or they espye hit.' 'O yis, yis!'
707Quod he to me, 'that can I preve
708By resoun, worthy for to leve,
709So that thou yeve thyn advertence
710To understonde my sentence.
711    'First shalt thou heren wher she dwelleth,
712And so thyn owne book hit telleth;
713Hir paleys stant, as I shal seye,
714Right even in middes of the weye
715Betwixen hevene, erthe, and see;
716That, what-so-ever in al these three
717Is spoken, in privee or aperte,
718The way therto is so overte,
719And stant eek in so Iuste a place,
720That every soun mot to hit pace,
721Or what so comth fro any tonge,
722Be hit rouned, red, or songe,
723Or spoke in seurtee or in drede,
724Certein, hit moste thider nede.
725    'Now herkne wel; for-why I wille
726Tellen thee a propre skile,
727And worthy demonstracioun
728In myn imagynacioun.
729    'Geffrey, thou wost right wel this,
730That every kindly thing that is,
731Hath a kindly stede ther he
732May best in hit conserved be;
733Unto which place every thing,
734Through his kindly enclyning,
735Moveth for to come to,
736Whan that hit is awey therfro;
737As thus; lo, thou mayst al day see
738That any thing that hevy be,
739As stoon or leed, or thing of wighte,
740And ber hit never so hye on highte,
741Lat goo thyn hand, hit falleth doun.
742    'Right so seye I by fyre or soun,
743Or smoke, or other thinges lighte,
744Alwey they seke upward on highte;
745Whyl ech of hem is at his large,
746Light thing up, and dounward charge.
747    'And for this cause mayst thou see,
748That every river to the see
749Enclyned is to go, by kinde.
750And by these skilles, as I finde,
751Hath fish dwellinge in floode and see,
752And trees eek in erthe be.
753Thus every thing, by this resoun,
754Hath his propre mansioun,
755To which hit seketh to repaire,
756As ther hit shulde not apaire.
757Lo, this sentence is knowen couthe
758Of every philosophres mouthe,
759As Aristotle and dan Platon,
760And other clerkes many oon;
761And to confirme my resoun,
762Thou wost wel this, that speche is soun,
763Or elles no man mighte hit here;
764Now herkne what I wol thee lere.
765    'Soun is noght but air y-broken,
766And every speche that is spoken,
767Loud or privee, foul or fair,
768In his substaunce is but air;
769For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke,
770Right so soun is air y-broke.
771But this may be in many wyse,
772Of which I wil thee two devise,
773As soun that comth of pype or harpe.
774For whan a pype is blowen sharpe,
775The air is twist with violence,
776And rent; lo, this is my sentence;
777Eke, whan men harpe-stringes smyte,
778Whether hit be moche or lyte,
779Lo, with the strook the air to-breketh;
780Right so hit breketh whan men speketh.
781Thus wost thou wel what thing is speche.
782    'Now hennesforth I wol thee teche,
783How every speche, or noise, or soun,
784Through his multiplicacioun,
785Thogh hit were pyped of a mouse,
786Moot nede come to Fames House.
787I preve hit thus -- tak hede now --
788Be experience; for if that thou
789Throwe on water now a stoon,
790Wel wost thou, hit wol make anoon
791A litel roundel as a cercle,
792Paraventer brood as a covercle;
793And right anoon thou shalt see weel,
794That wheel wol cause another wheel,
795And that the thridde, and so forth, brother,
796Every cercle causinge other,
797Wyder than himselve was;
798And thus, fro roundel to compas,
799Ech aboute other goinge,
800Caused of othres steringe,
801And multiplying ever-mo,
802Til that hit be so fer ygoo
803That hit at bothe brinkes be.
804Al-thogh thou mowe hit not y-see,
805Above, hit goth yet alway under,
806Although thou thenke hit a gret wonder.
807And who-so seith of trouthe I varie,
808Bid him proven the contrarie.
809And right thus every word, y-wis,
810That loude or privee spoken is,
811Moveth first an air aboute,
812And of this moving, out of doute,
813Another air anoon is meved,
814As I have of the water preved,
815That every cercle causeth other.
816Right so of air, my leve brother;
817Everich air in other stereth
818More and more, and speche up bereth,
819Or vois, or noise, or word, or soun,
820Ay through multiplicacioun,
821Til hit be atte House of Fame; --
822Tak hit in ernest or in game.
823    'Now have I told, if thou have minde,
824How speche or soun, of pure kinde,
825Enclyned is upward to meve;
826This, mayst thou fele, wel I preve.
827And that the mansioun, y-wis,
828That every thing enclyned to is,
829Hath his kindeliche stede:
830That sheweth hit, withouten drede,
831That kindely the mansioun
832Of every speche, of every soun,
833Be hit either foul or fair,
834Hath his kinde place in air.
835And sin that every thing, that is
836Out of his kinde place, y-wis,
837Moveth thider for to go
838If hit a-weye be therfro,
839As I before have preved thee,
840Hit seweth, every soun, pardee,
841Moveth kindely to pace
842Al up into his kindely place.
843And this place of which I telle,
844Ther as Fame list to dwelle,
845Is set amiddes of these three,
846Heven, erthe, and eek the see,
847As most conservatif the soun.
848Than is this the conclusioun,
849That every speche of every man,
850As I thee telle first began,
851Moveth up on high to pace
852Kindely to Fames place.
853    'Telle me this feithfully,
854Have I not preved thus simply,
855Withouten any subtiltee
856Of speche, or gret prolixitee
857Of termes of philosophye,
858Of figures of poetrye,
859Or colours of rethoryke?
860Pardee, hit oghte thee to lyke;
861For hard langage and hard matere
862Is encombrous for to here
863At ones; Wost thou not wel this?'
864And I answerde, and seyde,'Yis.'
865    'A ha!' quod he, 'lo, so I can,
866Lewedly to a lewed man
867Speke, and shewe him swiche skiles,
868That he may shake hem by the biles,
869So palpable they shulden be.
870But tel me this, now pray I thee,
871How thinkth thee my conclusioun?'
872Quod he. 'A good persuasioun,'
873Quod I, 'hit is; and lyk to be
874Right so as thou hast preved me.'
875'By god,' quod he, 'and as I leve,
876Thou shalt have yit, or hit be eve,
877Of every word of this sentence
878A preve, by experience;
879And with thyn eres heren wel
880Top and tail, and everydel,
881That every word that spoken is
882Comth into Fames Hous, y-wis,
883As I have seyd; what wilt thou more?'
884And with this word upper to sore
885He gan, and seyde, 'Be Seynt Iame!
886Now wil we speken al of game.' --
887    'How farest thou?' quod he to me,
888'Wel,' quod I. 'Now see,' quod he,
889'By thy trouthe, yond adoun,
890Wher that thou knowest any toun,
891Or hous, or any other thing.
892And whan thou hast of ought knowing,
893Loke that thou warne me,
894And I anoon shal telle thee
895How fer that thou art now therfro.'
896    And I adoun gan loken tho,
897And beheld feldes and plaines,
898And now hilles, and now mountaines,
899Now valeys, and now forestes,
900And now, unethes, grete bestes;
901Now riveres, now citees,
902Now tounes, and now grete trees,
903Now shippes saillinge in the see.
904    But thus sone in a whyle he
905Was flowen fro the grounde so hye,
906That al the world, as to myn ye,
907No more semed than a prikke;
908Or elles was the air so thikke
909That I ne mighte not discerne.
910With that he spak to me as yerne,
911And seyde: 'Seestow any toun
912Or ought thou knowest yonder doun?'
913    I seyde, 'Nay.' 'No wonder nis,'
914Quod he, 'for half so high as this
915Nas Alexander Macedo;
916Ne the king, dan Scipio.
917That saw in dreme, at point devys,
918Helle and erthe, and paradys;
919Ne eek the wrecche Dedalus,
920Ne his child, nyce Icarus,
921That fleigh so highe that the hete
922His winges malt, and he fel wete
923In-mid the see, and ther he dreynte,
924For whom was maked moch compleynte.
925    'Now turn upward,' quod he, 'thy face,
926And behold this large place,
927This air; but loke thou ne be
928Adrad of hem that thou shalt see;
929For in this regioun, certein,
930Dwelleth many a citezein,
931Of which that speketh dan Plato.
932These ben the eyrish bestes, lo!'
933And so saw I al that meynee
934Bothe goon and also flee.
935'Now,' quod he tho, 'cast up thyn ye;
936See yonder, lo, the Galaxye,
937Which men clepeth the Milky Wey,
938For hit is whyt: and somme, parfey,
939Callen hit Watlinge Strete:
940That ones was y-brent with hete,
941Whan the sonnes sone, the rede,
942That highte Pheton, wolde lede
943Algate his fader cart, and gye.
944The cart-hors gonne wel espye
945That he ne coude no governaunce,
946And gonne for to lepe and launce,
947And beren him now up, now doun,
948Til that he saw the Scorpioun,
949Which that in heven a signe is yit,
950And he, for ferde, loste his wit,
951Of that, and leet the reynes goon
952Of his hors; and they anoon
953Gonne up to mounte, and doun descende
954Til bothe the eyr and erthe brende;
955Til Iupiter, lo, atte laste,
956Him slow, and fro the carte caste.
957Lo, is it not a greet mischaunce,
958To lete a fole han governaunce
959Of thing that he can not demeine?'
960    And with this word, soth for to seyne,
961He gan alway upper to sore,
962And gladded me ay more and more,
963So feithfully to me spak he.
964    Tho gan I loken under me,
965And beheld the eyrish bestes,
966Cloudes, mistes, and tempestes,
967Snowes, hailes, reines, windes,
968And thengendring in hir kindes,
969And al the wey through whiche I cam;
970'O god,' quod I, 'that made Adam,
971Moche is thy might and thy noblesse!'
972    And tho thoughte I upon Boece,
973That writ, 'a thought may flee so hye,
974With fetheres of Philosophye,
975To passen everich element;
976And whan he hath so fer y-went,
977Than may be seen, behind his bak,
978Cloud, and al that I of spak.'
979    Tho gan I wexen in a were,
980And seyde, 'I woot wel I am here;
981But wher in body or in gost
982I noot, y-wis; but god, thou wost!'
983For more cleer entendement
984Nadde he me never yit y-sent.
985And than thoughte I on Marcian,
986And eek on Anleclaudian,
987That sooth was hir descripcioun
988Of al the hevenes regioun,
989As fer as that I saw the preve;
990Therfor I can hem now beleve.
991    With that this egle gan to crye:
992'Lat be,' quod he, 'thy fantasye;
993Wilt thou lere of sterres aught?'
994'Nay, certeinly,' quod I, 'right naught;
995'And why? for I am now to old.'
996'Elles I wolde thee have told,'
997Quod he, 'the sterres names, lo,
998And al the hevenes signes to,
999And which they been.' 'No fors,' quod I.
1000'Yis, pardee,' quod he; 'wostow why?
1001For when thou redest poetrye,
1002How goddes gonne stellifye
1003Brid, fish, beste, or him or here,
1004As the Raven, or either Bere,
1005Or Ariones harpe fyn,
1006Castor, Pollux, or Delphyn,
1007Or Atlantes doughtres sevene,
1008How alle these arn set in hevene;
1009For though thou have hem ofte on honde,
1010Yet nostow not wher that they stonde.'
1011'No fors,' quod I, 'hit is no nede;
1012I leve as wel, so god me spede,
1013Hem that wryte of this matere,
1014As though I knew hir places here;
1015And eek they shynen here so brighte,
1016Hit shulde shenden al my sighte
1017To loke on hem.' 'That may wel be,'
1018Quod he. And so forth bar he me
1019A whyl, and than he gan to crye,
1020That never herde I thing so hye,
1021'Now up the heed; for al is wel;
1022Seynt Iulyan, lo, bon hostel!
1023See here the Hous of Fame, lo!
1024Maistow not heren that I do?'
1025'What?' quod I. 'The grete soun,'
1026Quod he, 'that rumbleth up and doun
1027In Fames Hous, full of tydinges,
1028Bothe of fair speche and chydinges,
1029And of fals and soth compouned.
1030Herke wel; hit is not rouned.
1031Herestow not the grete swogh?'
1032'Yis, pardee,' quod I, 'wel y-nogh.'
1033'And what soun is it lyk?' quod he.
1034'Peter! lyk beting of the see,'
1035Quod I, 'again the roches holowe,
1036Whan tempest doth the shippes swalowe;
1037And lat a man stonde, out of doute,
1038A myle thens, and here hit route;
1039Or elles lyk the last humblinge
1040After the clappe of oo thundringe,
1041Whan Ioves hath the aire y-bete;
1042But hit doth me for fere swete.'
1043'Nay, dred thee not thereof,' quod he,
1044'Hit is nothing wil byten thee;
1045Thou shalt non harme have, trewely.'
1046    And with this word bothe he and I
1047As nigh the place arryved were
1048As men may casten with a spere.
1049I niste how, but in a strete
1050He sette me faire on my fete,
1051And seyde, 'Walke forth a pas,
1052And tak thyn aventure or cas,
1053That thou shalt finde in Fames place.'
1054    'Now,' quod I, 'whyl we han space
1055To speke, or that I go fro thee,
1056For the love of god, tel me,
1057In sooth, that wil I of thee lere,
1058If this noise that I here
1059Be as I have herd thee tellen,
1060Of folk that doun in erthe dwellen,
1061And cometh here in the same wyse
1062As I thee herde or this devyse;
1063And that ther lyves body nis
1064In al that hous that yonder is,
1065That maketh al this loude fare?'
1066'No,' quod he, 'by Seynte Clare,
1067And also wis god rede me!
1068But o thinge I wil warne thee
1069Of the which thou wolt have wonder.
1070Lo, to the House of Fame yonder
1071Thou wost how cometh every speche,
1072Hit nedeth noght thee eft to teche.
1073But understond now right wel this;
1074Whan any speche y-comen is
1075Up to the paleys, anon-right
1076Hit wexeth lyk the same wight,
1077Which that the word in erthe spak,
1078Be hit clothed red or blak;
1079And hath so verray his lyknesse
1080That spak the word, that thou wilt gesse
1081That hit the same body be,
1082Man or woman, he or she,
1083And is not this a wonder thing?'
1084'Yis,' quod I tho, 'by hevene king!'
1085And with this worde, 'Farwel,' quod he,
1086'And here I wol abyden thee;
1087And god of hevene sende thee grace,
1088Som good to lernen in this place,'
1089And I of him took leve anoon,
1090And gan forth to the paleys goon.
 
 Explicit liber secundus.

Book III: Incipit liber tercius.[edit]

 Invocation.
 
1091O god of science and of light,
1092Apollo, through thy grete might,
1093This litel laste book thou gye!
1094Nat that I wilne, for maistrye,
1095Here art poetical be shewed;
1096But, for the rym is light and lewed,
1097Yit make hit sumwhat agreable,
1098Though som vers faile in a sillable;
1099And that I do no diligence
1100To shewe craft, but o sentence.
1101And if, divyne vertu, thou
1102Wilt helpe me to shewe now
1103That in myn hede y-marked is --
1104Lo, that is for to menen this,
1105The Hous of Fame for to descryve --
1106Thou shalt see me go, as blyve,
1107Unto the nexte laure I see,
1108And kisse hit, for hit is thy tree;
1109Now entreth in my brest anoon!
 
 The Dream.
 
1110Whan I was fro this egle goon,
1111I gan beholde upon this place.
1112And certein, or I ferther pace,
1113I wol yow al the shap devyse
1114Of hous and site; and al the wyse
1115How I gan to this place aproche
1116That stood upon so high a roche,
1117Hyer stant ther noon in Spaine.
1118But up I clomb with alle paine,
1119And though to climbe hit greved me,
1120Yit I ententif was to see,
1121And for to pouren wonder lowe,
1122If I coude any weyes knowe
1123What maner stoon this roche was;
1124For hit was lyk a thing of glas,
1125But that hit shoon ful more clere;
1126But of what congeled matere
1127Hit was, I niste redely.
1128    But at the laste espyed I,
1129And found that hit was, every deel,
1130A roche of yse, and not of steel.
1131Thoughte I, 'By Seynt Thomas of Kent!
1132This were a feble foundement
1133To bilden on a place hye;
1134He ought him litel glorifye
1135That her-on bilt, god so me save!'
1136    Tho saw I al the half y-grave
1137With famous folkes names fele,
1138That had y-been in mochel wele,
1139And hir fames wyde y-blowe.
1140But wel unethes coude I knowe
1141Any lettres for to rede
1142Hir names by; for, out of drede,
1143They were almost of-thowed so,
1144That of the lettres oon or two
1145Was molte away of every name,
1146So unfamous was wexe hir fame;
1147But men seyn, 'What may ever laste?'
1148    Tho gan I in myn herte caste,
1149That they were molte awey with hete,
1150And not awey with stormes bete.
1151For on that other syde I sey
1152Of this hille, that northward lay,
1153How hit was writen ful of names
1154Of folk that hadden grete fames
1155Of olde tyme, and yit they were
1156As fresshe as men had writen hem there
1157The selve day right, or that houre
1158That I upon hem gan to poure.
1159But wel I wiste what hit made;
1160Hit was conserved with the shade --
1161Al this wrytinge that I sy --
1162Of a castel, that stood on hy,
1163And stood eek on so cold a place,
1164That hete mighte hit not deface.
1165    Tho gan I up the hille to goon,
1166And fond upon the coppe a woon,
1167That alle the men that ben on lyve
1168Ne han the cunning to descryve
1169The beautee of that ilke place,
1170Ne coude casten no compace
1171Swich another for to make,
1172That mighte of beautee be his make
1173Ne be so wonderliche y-wrought;
1174That hit astonieth yit my thought,
1175And maketh al my wit to swinke
1176On this castel to bethinke.
1177So that the grete craft, beautee,
1178The cast, and curiositee
1179Ne can I not to yow devyse,
1180My wit ne may me not suffyse.
1181    But natheles al the substance
1182I have yit in my remembrance;
1183For-why me thoughte, by Seynt Gyle!
1184Al was of stone of beryle,
1185Bothe castel and the tour,
1186And eek the halle, and every bour,
1187Withouten peces or Ioininges,
1188But many subtil compassinges,
1189Babewinnes and pinacles,
1190Imageries and tabernacles,
1191I saw; and ful eek of windowes,
1192As flakes falle in grete snowes.
1193And eek in ech of the pinacles
1194Weren sondry habitacles,
1195In whiche stoden, al withoute --
1196Ful the castel, al aboute --
1197Of alle maner of minstrales,
1198And gestiours, that tellen tales
1199Bothe of weping and of game,
1200Of al that longeth unto Fame.
1201    Ther herde I pleyen on an harpe
1202That souned bothe wel and sharpe,
1203Orpheus ful craftely,
1204And on his syde, faste by,
1205Sat the harper Orion,
1206And Eacides Chiron,
1207And other harpers many oon,
1208And the Bret Glascurion;
1209And smale harpers with her glees
1210Saten under hem in sees,
1211And gunne on hem upward to gape,
1212And countrefete hem as an ape,
1213Or as craft countrefeteth kinde.
1214    Tho saugh I stonden hem behinde,
1215A-fer fro hem, al by hemselve,
1216Many thousand tymes twelve,
1217That maden loude menstralcyes
1218In cornemuse and shalmyes,
1219And many other maner pype,
1220That craftely begunne pype
1221Bothe in doucet and in rede,
1222That ben at festes with the brede;
1223And many floute and lilting-horne,
1224And pypes made of grene corne,
1225As han thise litel herde-gromes
1226That kepen bestes in the bromes.
1227    Ther saugh I than Atiteris,
1228And of Athenes dan Pseustis,
1229And Marcia that lost her skin,
1230Bothe in face, body, and chin,
1231For that she wolde envyen, lo!
1232To pypen bet than Apollo.
1233Ther saugh I famous, olde and yonge,
1234Pypers of the Duche tonge,
1235To lerne love-daunces, springes,
1236Reyes, and these straunge thinges.
1237    Tho saugh I in another place
1238Stonden in a large space,
1239Of hem that maken blody soun
1240In trumpe, beme, and clarioun;
1241For in fight and blood-shedinge
1242Is used gladly clarioninge.
1243    Ther herde I trumpen Messenus,
1244Of whom that speketh Virgilius.
1245Ther herde I Ioab trumpe also,
1246Theodomas, and other mo;
1247And alle that used clarion
1248In Cataloigne and Aragon,
1249That in hir tyme famous were
1250To lerne, saugh I trumpe there.
1251    Ther saugh I sitte in other sees,
1252Pleyinge upon sondry glees,
1253Whiche that I cannot nevene,
1254Mo then sterres been in hevene,
1255Of whiche I nil as now not ryme,
1256For ese of yow, and losse of tyme:
1257For tyme y-lost, this knowen ye,
1258By no way may recovered be.
1259    Ther saugh I pleyen Iogelours,
1260Magiciens and tregetours,
1261And phitonesses, charmeresses,
1262Olde wicches, sorceresses,
1263That use exorsisaciouns,
1264And eek thise fumigaciouns;
1265And clerkes eek, which conne wel
1266Al this magyke naturel,
1267That craftely don hir ententes,
1268To make, in certeyn ascendentes,
1269Images, lo, through which magyk
1270To make a man ben hool or syk.
1271Ther saugh I thee queen Medea,
1272And Circes eke, and Calipsa;
1273Ther saugh I Hermes Ballenus,
1274Lymote, and eek Simon Magus.
1275Ther saugh I, and knew hem by name,
1276That by such art don men han fame.
1277Ther saugh I Colle tregetour
1278Upon a table of sicamour
1279Pleye an uncouthe thing to telle;
1280I saugh him carien a wind-melle
1281Under a walsh-note shale.
1282    What shuld I make lenger tale
1283Of al the peple that I say,
1284Fro hennes in-to domesday?
1285    Whan I had al this folk beholde,
1286And fond me lous, and noght y-holde,
1287And eft y-mused longe whyle
1288Upon these walles of beryle,
1289That shoon ful lighter than a glas,
1290And made wel more than hit was
1291To semen, every thing, y-wis,
1292As kinde thing of fames is;
1293I gan forth romen til I fond
1294The castel-yate on my right hond,
1295Which that so wel corven was
1296That never swich another nas;
1297And yit hit was by aventure
1298Y-wrought, as often as by cure.
1299    Hit nedeth noght yow for to tellen,
1300To make yow to longe dwellen,
1301Of this yates florisshinges,
1302Ne of compasses, ne of kervinges,
1303Ne how they hatte in masoneries,
1304As, corbetz fulle of imageries.
1305But, lord! so fair hit was to shewe,
1306For hit was al with gold behewe.
1307But in I wente, and that anoon;
1308Ther mette I crying many oon, --
1309'A larges, larges, hold up wel!
1310God save the lady of this pel,
1311Our owne gentil lady Fame,
1312And hem that wilnen to have name
1313Of us!' Thus herde I cryen alle,
1314And faste comen out of halle,
1315And shoken nobles and sterlinges.
1316And somme crouned were as kinges,
1317With crounes wroght ful of losenges;
1318And many riban, and many frenges
1319Were on hir clothes trewely.
1320    Tho atte laste aspyed I
1321That pursevauntes and heraudes,
1322That cryen riche folkes laudes,
1323Hit weren alle; and every man
1324Of hem, as I yow tellen can,
1325Had on him throwen a vesture,
1326Which that men clepe a cote-armure,
1327Enbrowded wonderliche riche,
1328Al-though they nere nought y-liche.
1329But noght nil I, so mote I thryve,
1330Been aboute to discryve
1331Al these armes that ther weren,
1332That they thus on her cotes beren,
1333For hit to me were impossible;
1334Men mighte make of hem a bible
1335Twenty foot thikke, as I trowe.
1336For certeyn, who-so coude y-knowe
1337Mighte ther alle the armes seen
1338Of famous folk that han y-been
1339In Auffrike, Europe, and Asye,
1340Sith first began the chevalrye,
1341    Lo! how shulde I now telle al this?
1342Ne of the halle eek what nede is
1343To tellen yow, that every wal
1344Of hit, and floor, and roof and al
1345Was plated half a fote thikke
1346Of gold, and that nas no-thing wikke,
1347But, for to prove in alle wyse,
1348As fyn as ducat in Venyse,
1349Of whiche to lyte al in my pouche is?
1350And they wer set as thikke of nouchis
1351Fulle of the fynest stones faire,
1352That men rede in the Lapidaire,
1353As greses growen in a mede;
1354But hit were al to longe to rede
1355The names; and therfore I pace.
1356    But in this riche lusty place,
1357That Fames halle called was,
1358Ful moche prees of folk ther nas,
1359Ne crouding, for to mochil prees.
1360But al on hye, above a dees,
1361Sitte in a see imperial,
1362That maad was of a rubee al,
1363Which that a carbuncle is y-called,
1364I saugh, perpetually y-stalled,
1365A feminyne creature;
1366That never formed by nature
1367Nas swich another thing y-seye.
1368For altherfirst, soth for to seye,
1369Me thoughte that she was so lyte,
1370That the lengthe of a cubyte
1371Was lenger than she semed be;
1372But thus sone, in a whyle, she
1373Hir tho so wonderliche streighte,
1374That with hir feet she therthe reighte,
1375And with hir heed she touched hevene,
1376Ther as shynen sterres sevene.
1377And ther-to eek, as to my wit,
1378I saugh a gretter wonder yit
1379Upon hir eyen to beholde;
1380But certeyn I hem never tolde;
1381For as fele eyen hadde she
1382As fetheres upon foules be,
1383Or weren on the bestes foure
1384That goddes trone gunne honoure,
1385As Iohn writ in th'Apocalips.
1386Hir heer, that oundy was and crips,
1387As burned gold hit shoon to see.
1388And sooth to tellen, also she
1389Had also fele up-stonding eres
1390And tonges, as on bestes heres;
1391And on hir feet wexen saugh I
1392Partriches winges redely.
1393    But, lord! the perrie and the richesse
1394I saugh sitting on this goddesse!
1395And, lord! the hevenish melodye
1396Of songes, ful of armonye,
1397I herde aboute her trone y-songe,
1398That al the paleys-walles ronge!
1399So song the mighty Muse, she
1400That cleped is Caliopee,
1401And hir eighte sustren eke,
1402That in hir face semen meke;
1403And evermo, eternally,
1404They songe of Fame, as tho herde I: --
1405'Heried be thou and thy name,
1406Goddesse of renoun and of fame!'
1407    Tho was I war, lo, atte laste,
1408As I myn eyen gan up caste,
1409That this ilke noble quene
1410On hir shuldres gan sustene
1411Bothe tharmes and the name
1412Of tho that hadde large fame;
1413Alexander, and Hercules
1414That with a sherte his lyf lees!
1415Thus fond I sitting this goddesse,
1416In nobley, honour, and richesse;
1417Of which I stinte a whyle now,
1418Other thing to tellen yow.
1419    Tho saugh I stonde on either syde,
1420Streight doun to the dores wyde,
1421Fro the dees, many a pileer
1422Of metal, that shoon not ful cleer;
1423But though they nere of no richesse,
1424Yet they were maad for greet noblesse,
1425And in hem greet and hy sentence,
1426And folk of digne reverence,
1427Of whiche I wol yow telle fonde,
1428Upon the piler saugh I stonde.
1429    Alderfirst, lo, ther I sigh,
1430Upon a piler stonde on high,
1431That was of lede and yren fyn,
1432Him of secte Saturnyn,
1433The Ebrayk Iosephus, the olde,
1434That of Iewes gestes tolde;
1435And bar upon his shuldres hye
1436The fame up of the Iewerye.
1437And by him stoden other sevene,
1438Wyse and worthy for to nevene,
1439To helpen him bere up the charge,
1440Hit was so hevy and so large.
1441And for they writen of batailes,
1442As wel as other olde mervailes,
1443Therfor was, lo, this pileer,
1444Of which that I yow telle heer,
1445Of lede and yren bothe, y-wis,
1446For yren Martes metal is,
1447Which that god is of bataille;
1448And the leed, withouten faille,
1449Is, lo, the metal of Saturne,
1450That hath ful large wheel to turne.
1451Tho stoden forth, on every rowe,
1452Of hem which that I coude knowe,
1453Thogh I hem noght be ordre telle,
1454To make yow to long to dwelle.
1455    These, of whiche I ginne rede,
1456Ther saugh I stonden, out of drede:
1457Upon an yren piler strong,
1458That peynted was, al endelonge,
1459With tygres blode in every place,
1460The Tholosan that highte Stace,
1461That bar of Thebes up the fame
1462Upon his shuldres, and the name
1463Also of cruel Achilles.
1464And by him stood, withouten lees,
1465Ful wonder hye on a pileer
1466Of yren, he, the gret Omeer;
1467And with him Dares and Tytus
1468Before, and eek he Lollius,
1469And Guido eek de Columpnis,
1470And English Gaufride eek, y-wis;
1471And ech of these, as have I Ioye,
1472Was besy for to bere up Troye.
1473So hevy ther-of was the fame,
1474That for to bere hit was no game.
1475But yit I gan ful wel espye,
1476Betwix hem was a litil envye.
1477Oon seyde, Omere made lyes,
1478Feyninge in his poetryes,
1479And was to Grekes favorable;
1480Therfor held he hit but fable.
1481    Tho saugh I stonde on a pileer,
1482That was of tinned yren cleer,
1483That Latin poete, dan Virgyle,
1484That bore hath up a longe whyle
1485The fame of Pius Eneas.
1486    And next him on a piler was,
1487Of coper, Venus clerk, Ovyde,
1488That hath y-sowen wonder wyde
1489The grete god of Loves name.
1490And ther he bar up wel his fame,
1491Upon his piler, also hye
1492As I might see hit with myn ye:
1493For-why this halle, of whiche I rede
1494Was woxe on highte, lengthe and brede,
1495Wel more, by a thousand del,
1496Than hit was erst, that saugh I wel.
1497    Tho saugh I, on a piler by,
1498Of yren wroght ful sternely,
1499The grete poete, daun Lucan,
1500And on his shuldres bar up than,
1501As highe as that I mighte see,
1502The fame of Iulius and Pompee.
1503And by him stoden alle these clerkes,
1504That writen of Romes mighty werkes,
1505That, if I wolde hir names telle,
1506Al to longe most I dwelle.
1507    And next him on a piler stood
1508Of soulfre, lyk as he were wood,
1509Dan Claudian, the soth to telle,
1510That bar up al the fame of helle,
1511Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne,
1512That quene is of the derke pyne.
1513    What shulde I more telle of this?
1514The halle was al ful, y-wis,
1515Of hem that writen olde gestes,
1516As ben on trees rokes nestes;
1517But hit a ful confus matere
1518Were al the gestes for to here,
1519That they of write, and how they highte.
1520But whyl that I beheld this sighte,
1521I herde a noise aprochen blyve,
1522That ferde as been don in an hyve,
1523Agen her tyme of out-fleyinge;
1524Right swiche a maner murmuringe,
1525For al the world, hit semed me.
1526    Tho gan I loke aboute and see,
1527That ther come entring in the halle
1528A right gret company with-alle,
1529And that of sondry regiouns,
1530Of alleskinnes condiciouns,
1531That dwelle in erthe under the mone,
1532Pore and ryche. And also sone
1533As they were come into the halle,
1534They gonne doun on knees falle
1535Before this ilke noble quene,
1536And seyde, 'Graunte us, lady shene,
1537Ech of us, of thy grace, a bone!'
1538And somme of hem she graunted sone,
1539And somme she werned wel and faire;
1540And somme she graunted the contraire
1541Of hir axing utterly,
1542But thus I seye yow trewely,
1543What hir cause was, I niste.
1544For of this folk, ful wel I wiste,
1545They hadde good fame ech deserved,
1546Althogh they were diversly served;
1547Right as hir suster, dame Fortune,
1548Is wont to serven in comune.
1549    Now herkne how she gan to paye
1550That gonne hir of hir grace praye;
1551And yit, lo, al this companye
1552Seyden sooth, and noght a lye.
1553'Madame,' seyden they, 'we be
1554Folk that heer besechen thee,
1555That thou graunte us now good fame,
1556And let our werkes han that name;
1557In ful recompensacioun
1558Of good werk, give us good renoun.'
1559    'I werne yow hit,' quod she anoon,
1560'Ye gete of me good fame noon,
1561By god! and therfor go your wey.'
1562    'Alas,' quod they, 'and welaway!
1563Telle us, what may your cause be?'
1564    'For me list hit noght,' quod she;
1565'No wight shal speke of yow, y-wis,
1566Good ne harm, ne that ne this.'
1567And with that word she gan to calle
1568Hir messanger, that was in halle,
1569And bad that he shulde faste goon,
1570Up peyne to be blind anoon,
1571For Eolus, the god of winde; --
1572'In Trace ther ye shul him finde,
1573And bid him bringe his clarioun,
1574That is ful dyvers of his soun,
1575And hit is cleped Clere Laude,
1576With which he wont is to heraude
1577Hem that me list y-preised be:
1578And also bid him how that he
1579Bringe his other clarioun,
1580That highte Sclaundre in every toun,
1581With which he wont is to diffame
1582Hem that me list, and do hem shame.'
1583    This messanger gan faste goon,
1584And found wher, in a cave of stoon,
1585In a contree that highte Trace,
1586This Eolus, with harde grace,
1587Held the windes in distresse,
1588And gan hem under him to presse,
1589That they gonne as beres rore,
1590He bond and pressed hem so sore.
1591    This messanger gan faste crye,
1592'Rys up,' quod he, 'and faste hye,
1593Til that thou at my lady be;
1594And tak thy clarions eek with thee,
1595And speed the forth.' And he anon
1596Took to a man, that hight Triton,
1597His clariouns to bere tho,
1598And leet a certeyn wind to go,
1599That blew so hidously and hye,
1600That hit ne lefte not a skye
1601In al the welken longe an brood.
1602    This Eolus no-wher abood
1603Til he was come at Fames feet,
1604And eek the man that Triton heet;
1605And ther he stood, as still as stoon.
1606And her-withal ther com anoon
1607Another huge companye
1608Of gode folk, and gunne crye,
1609'Lady, graunte us now good fame,
1610And lat our werkes han that name
1611Now, in honour of gentilesse,
1612And also god your soule blesse!
1613For we han wel deserved hit,
1614Therfore is right that we ben quit.'
1615    'As thryve I,' quod she, 'ye shal faile,
1616Good werkes shal yow noght availe
1617To have of me good fame as now.
1618But wite ye what? Y graunte yow,
1619That ye shal have a shrewed fame
1620And wikked loos, and worse name,
1621Though ye good loos have wel deserved.
1622Now go your wey, for ye be served;
1623And thou, dan Eolus, let see!
1624Tak forth thy trumpe anon,' quod she,
1625'That is y-cleped Sclaunder light,
1626And blow her loos, that every wight
1627Speke of hem harm and shrewednesse,
1628In stede of good and worthinesse.
1629For thou shalt trumpe al the contraire
1630Of that they han don wel or faire.'
1631    'Alas,' thoughte I, 'what aventures
1632Han these sory creatures!
1633For they, amonges al the pres,
1634Shul thus be shamed, gilteles!
1635But what! hit moste nedes be.'
1636    What did this Eolus, but he
1637Tok out his blakke trumpe of bras,
1638That fouler than the devil was,
1639And gan this trumpe for to blowe,
1640As al the world shulde overthrowe;
1641That through-out every regioun
1642Wente this foule trumpes soun,
1643As swift as pelet out of gonne,
1644Whan fyr is in the poudre ronne.
1645And swiche a smoke gan out-wende
1646Out of his foule trumpes ende,
1647Blak, blo, grenissh, swartish reed,
1648As doth wher that men melte leed,
1649Lo, al on high fro the tuel!
1650And therto oo thing saugh I wel,
1651That, the ferther that hit ran,
1652The gretter wexen hit began,
1653As doth the river from a welle,
1654And hit stank as the pit of helle.
1655Alas, thus was hir shame y-ronge,
1656And giltelees, on every tonge.
1657    Tho com the thridde companye,
1658And gunne up to the dees to hye,
1659And doun on knees they fille anon,
1660And seyde, 'We ben everichon
1661Folk that han ful trewely
1662Deserved fame rightfully,
1663And pray yow, hit mot be knowe,
1664Right as hit is, and forth y-blowe.'
1665'I graunte,' quod she, 'for me list
1666That now your gode werk be wist;
1667And yet ye shul han better loos,
1668Right in dispyt of alle your foos,
1669Than worthy is; and that anoon:
1670Lat now,' quod she, 'thy trumpe goon,
1671Thou Eolus, that is so blak;
1672And out thyn other trumpe tak
1673That highte Laude, and blow it so
1674That through the world hir fame go
1675Al esely, and not to faste,
1676That hit be knowen atte laste.'
1677    'Ful gladly, lady myn,' he seyde;
1678And out his trumpe of golde he brayde
1679Anon, and sette hit to his mouthe,
1680And blew hit est, and west, and southe,
1681And north, as loude as any thunder,
1682That every wight hadde of hit wonder,
1683So brode hit ran, or than hit stente,
1684And, certes, al the breeth that wente
1685Out of his trumpes mouthe smelde
1686As men a pot-ful bawme helde
1687Among a basket ful of roses;
1688This favour dide he til hir loses.
1689    And right with this I gan aspye,
1690Ther com the ferthe companye --
1691But certeyn they were wonder fewe --
1692And gonne stonden in a rewe,
1693And seyden, 'Certes, lady brighte,
1694We han don wel with al our mighte;
1695But we ne kepen have no fame.
1696Hyd our werkes and our name,
1697For goddes love! for certes we
1698Han certeyn doon hit for bountee,
1699And for no maner other thing.'
1700'I graunte yow al your asking,'
1701Quod she; 'let your werk be deed.'
1702    With that aboute I clew myn heed,
1703And saugh anoon the fifte route
1704That to this lady gonne loute,
1705And doun on knes anoon to falle;
1706And to hir tho besoughten alle
1707To hyde hit gode werkes eek,
1708And seyde, they yeven noght a leek
1709For fame, ne for swich renoun;
1710For they, for contemplacioun
1711And goddes love, hadde y-wrought;
1712Ne of fame wolde they nought.
1713    'What?' quod she, 'and be ye wood?
1714And wene ye for to do good,
1715And for to have of that no fame?
1716Have ye dispyt to have my name?
1717Nay, ye shul liven everichoon!
1718Blow thy trumpe and that anoon,'
1719Quod she, 'thou Eolus, I hote,
1720And ring this folkes werk by note,
1721That al the world may of hit here.'
1722And he gan blowe hir loos so clere
1723In his golden clarioun
1724That through the world wente the soun,
1725Also kenely, and eek so softe;
1726But atte laste hit was on-lofte.
1727    Thoo com the sexte companye,
1728And gonne faste on Fame crye.
1729Right verraily, in this manere
1730They seyden: 'Mercy, lady dere!
1731To telle certein, as hit is,
1732We han don neither that ne this,
1733But ydel al our lif y-be.
1734But, natheles, yit preye we,
1735That we mowe han so good a fame,
1736And greet renoun and knowen name,
1737As they that han don noble gestes,
1738And acheved alle hir lestes,
1739As wel of love as other thing;
1740Al was us never broche ne ring,
1741Ne elles nought, from wimmen sent,
1742Ne ones in hir herte y-ment
1743To make us only frendly chere,
1744But mighte temen us on bere;
1745Yit lat us to the peple seme
1746Swiche as the world may of us deme,
1747That wimmen loven us for wood.
1748Hit shal don us as moche good,
1749And to our herte as moche availe
1750To countrepeise ese and travaile,
1751As we had wonne hit with labour;
1752For that is dere boght honour
1753At regard of our grete ese.
1754And yit thou most us more plese
1755Let us be holden eek, therto,
1756Worthy, wyse, and gode also,
1757And riche, and happy unto love.
1758For goddes love, that sit above,
1759Thogh we may not the body have
1760Of wimmen, yet, so god yow save!
1761Let men glewe on us the name;
1762Suffyceth that we han the fame.'
1763    'I graunte,' quod she, 'by my trouthe!
1764Now, Eolus, with-outen slouthe.
1765Tak out thy trumpe of gold, let see,
1766And blow as they han axed me,
1767That every man wene hem at ese,
1768Though they gon in ful badde lese.'
1769This Eolus gan hit so blowe
1770That through the world hit was y-knowe.
1771    Tho come the seventh route anoon,
1772And fel on knees everichoon,
1773And seyde, 'Lady, graunte us sone
1774The same thing, the same bone,
1775That ye this nexte folk han doon.'
1776'Fy on yow,' quod she, 'everichoon!
1777Ye masty swyn, ye ydel wrecches,
1778Ful of roten slowe tecches!
1779What? false theves! wher ye wolde
1780Be famous good, and no-thing nolde
1781Deserve why, ne never roughte?
1782Men rather yow to-hangen oughte!
1783For ye be lyk the sweynte cat,
1784That wolde have fish; but wostow what?
1785He wolde no-thing wete his clowes.
1786Yvel thrift come to your Iowes,
1787And eek on myn, if I hit graunte,
1788Or do yow favour, yow to avaunte!
1789Thou Eolus, thou king of Trace!
1790Go, blow this folk a soo grace,'
1791Quod she, 'anoon; and wostow how?
1792As I shal telle thee right now;
1793Sey: "These ben they that wolde honour
1794Have, and do noskinnes labour,
1795Ne do no good, and yit han laude;
1796And that men wende that bele Isaude
1797Ne coude hem noght of love-werne;
1798And yit she that grint at a querne
1799Is al to good to ese hir herte."'
1800    This Eolus anon up sterte,
1801And with his blakke clarioun
1802He gan to blasen out a soun,
1803As loude as belweth wind in helle.
1804And eek therwith, the sooth to telle,
1805This soun was al so ful of Iapes,
1806As ever mowes were in apes.
1807And that wente al the world aboute,
1808That every wight gan on hem shoute,
1809And for to laughe as they were wode;
1810Such game fonde they in hir hode.
1811    Tho com another companye,
1812That had y-doon the traiterye,
1813The harm, the gretest wikkednesse
1814That any herte couthe gesse;
1815And prayed hir to han good fame,
1816And that she nolde hem doon no shame,
1817But yeve hem loos and good renoun,
1818And do hit blowe in clarioun.
1819'Nay, wis!' quod she, 'hit were a vyce;
1820Al be ther in me no Iustyce
1821Me listeth not to do hit now,
1822Ne this nil I not graunte you.'
1823    Tho come ther lepinge in a route,
1824And gonne choppen al aboute
1825Every man upon the croune,
1826That al the halle gan to soune,
1827And seyden: 'Lady, lefe and dere
1828We ben swich folk as ye mowe here.
1829To tellen al the tale aright,
1830We ben shrewes, every wight,
1831And han delyt in wikkednes,
1832As gode folk han in goodnes;
1833And Ioye to be knowen shrewes,
1834And fulle of vyce and wikked thewes;
1835Wherfor we prayen yow, a-rowe,
1836That our fame swich be knowe
1837In alle thing right as hit is.'
1838    'I graunte hit yow,' quod she, 'y-wis.
1839But what art thou that seyst this tale,
1840That werest on thy hose a pale,
1841And on thy tipet swiche a belle!'
1842'Madame,' quod he, 'sooth to telle,
1843I am that ilke shrewe, y-wis,
1844That brende the temple of Isidis
1845In Athenes, lo, that citee.'
1846'And wherfor didest thou so?' quod she.
1847'By my thrift,' quod he, 'madame,
1848I wolde fayn han had a fame,
1849As other folk hadde in the toun,
1850Al-thogh they were of greet renoun
1851For hir vertu and for hir thewes;
1852Thoughte I, as greet a fame han shrewes,
1853Thogh hit be but for shrewednesse,
1854As gode folk han for goodnesse;
1855And sith I may not have that oon,
1856That other nil I noght for-goon.
1857And for to gette of Fames hyre,
1858The temple sette I al a-fyre.
1859Now do our loos be blowen swythe,
1860As wisly be thou ever blythe.'
1861'Gladly,' quod she; 'thou Eolus,
1862Herestow not what they prayen us?'
1863'Madame, yis, ful wel,' quod he,
1864And I wil trumpen hit, parde!'
1865And tok his blakke trumpe faste,
1866And gan to puffen and to blaste,
1867Til hit was at the worldes ende.
1868    With that I gan aboute wende;
1869For oon that stood right at my bak,
1870Me thoughte goodly to me spak,
1871And seyde, 'Frend, what is thy name?
1872Artow come hider to han fame?'
1873'Nay, for-sothe, frend!' quod I;
1874I cam noght hider, graunt mercy!
1875For no swich cause, by my heed!
1876Suffyceth me, as I were deed,
1877That no wight have my name in honde.
1878I woot my-self best how I stonde;
1879For what I drye or what I thinke,
1880I wol my-selven al hit drinke,
1881Certeyn, for the more part,
1882As ferforth as I can myn art.'
1883'But what dost thou here than?' quod he.
1884Quod I, 'that wol I tellen thee,
1885The cause why I stonde here: --
1886Som newe tydings for to lere: --
1887Som newe thinges, I not what,
1888Tydinges, other this or that,
1889Of love, or swiche thinges glade.
1890For certeynly, he that me made
1891To comen hider seyde me,
1892I shulde bothe here and see,
1893In this place, wonder thinges;
1894But these be no swiche tydinges
1895As I mene of.' 'No?' quod he,
1896And I answerde, 'No, pardee!
1897For wel I wiste, ever yit,
1898Sith that first I hadde wit,
1899That som folk han desyred fame
1900Dyversly, and loos, and name;
1901But certeynly, I niste how
1902Ne wher that Fame dwelte, er now;
1903Ne eek of hir descripcioun,
1904Ne also hir condicioun,
1905Ne the ordre of hir dome,
1906Unto the tyme I hider come.'
1907'Whiche be, lo, these tydinges,
1908That thou now thus hider bringes,
1909That thou hast herd?' quod he to me;
1910'But now, no fors; for wel I see
1911What thou desyrest for to here.
1912Com forth, and stond no longer here,
1913And I wol thee, with-outen drede,
1914In swich another place lede,
1915Ther thou shalt here many oon,'
1916    Tho gan I forth with him to goon
1917Out of the castel, soth to seye.
1918Tho saugh I stonde in a valeye,
1919Under the castel, faste by,
1920An hous, that Domus Dedali,
1921That Laborintus cleped is,
1922Nas maad so wonderliche, y-wis,
1923Ne half so queynteliche y-wrought.
1924And evermo, so swift as thought,
1925This queynt hous aboute wente,
1926That never-mo hit stike stente.
1927And ther-out com so greet a noise,
1928That, had hit stonden upon Oise,
1929Men mighte hit han herd esely
1930To Rome, I trowe sikerly.
1931And the noyse which that I herde,
1932For al the world right so hit ferde,
1933As doth the routing of the stoon
1934That from thengyn is leten goon.
1935    And al this hous, of whiche I rede,
1936Was made of twigges, falwe, rede,
1937And grene eek, and som weren whyte,
1938Swiche as men to these cages thwyte,
1939Or maken of these paniers,
1940Or elles hottes or dossers;
1941That, for the swough and for the twigges,
1942This hous was also ful of gigges,
1943And also ful eek a chirkinges,
1944And of many other werkinges;
1945And eek this hous hath of entrees
1946As fele as of leves been on trees
1947In somer, whan they grene been;
1948And on the roof men may yit seen
1949A thousand holes, and wel mo,
1950To leten wel the soun out go.
1951    And by day, in every tyde,
1952Ben al the dores open wyde,
1953And by night, echoon unshette;
1954Ne porter ther is non to lette
1955No maner tydings in to pace;
1956Ne never reste is in that place,
1957That hit nis fild ful of tydinges,
1958Other loude, or of whispringes;
1959And, over alle the houses angles,
1960Is ful of rouninges and of Iangles
1961Of werre, of pees, of mariages,
1962Of reste, of labour, of viages,
1963Of abood, of deeth, of lyfe,
1964Of love, of hate, acorde, of stryfe,
1965Of loos, of lore, and of winninges,
1966Of hele, of sekenesse, of bildinges,
1967Of faire windes, of tempestes,
1968Of qualme of folk, and eek of bestes;
1969Of dyvers transmutaciouns
1970Of estats, and eek of regiouns;
1971Of trust, of drede, of Ielousye,
1972Of wit, of winninge, of folye;
1973Of plentee, and of greet famyne,
1974Of chepe, of derth, and of ruyne;
1975Of good or mis governement,
1976Of fyr, of dyvers accident.
1977    And lo, this hous, of whiche I wryte,
1978Siker be ye, hit nas not lyte;
1979For hit was sixty myle of lengthe;
1980Al was the timber of no strengthe,
1981Yet hit is founded to endure
1982Whyl that hit list to Aventure,
1983That is the moder of tydinges,
1984As the see of welles and springes, --
1985And hit was shapen lyk a cage.
1986    'Certes,' quod I, 'in al myn age,
1987Ne saugh I swich a hous as this.'
1988And as I wondred me, y-wis,
1989Upon this hous, tho war was I
1990How that myn egle, faste by,
1991Was perched hye upon a stoon;
1992And I gan streighte to him goon,
1993And seyde thus: 'I preye thee
1994That thou a whyl abyde me
1995For goddes love, and let me seen
1996What wondres in this place been;
1997For yit, paraventure, I may lere
1998Som good ther-on, or sumwhat here
1999That leef me were, or that I wente.'
2000    'Peter! that is myn entente,'
2001Quod he to me; 'therfor I dwelle;
2002But certein, oon thing I thee telle,
2003That, but I bringe thee ther-inne,
2004Ne shalt thou never cunne ginne
2005To come in-to hit, out of doute,
2006So faste hit whirleth, lo, aboute.
2007But sith that Ioves, of his grace,
2008As I have seyd, wol thee solace
2009Fynally with swiche thinges,
2010Uncouthe sightes and tydinges,
2011To passe with thyn hevinesse;
2012Suche routhe hath he of thy distresse,
2013That thou suffrest debonairly --
2014And wost thy-selven utterly
2015Disesperat of alle blis,
2016Sith that Fortune hath maad a-mis
2017The fruit of al thyn hertes reste
2018Languisshe and eek in point to breste --
2019That he, through his mighty meryte,
2020Wol do thee ese, al be hit lyte,
2021And yaf expres commaundement,
2022To whiche I am obedient,
2023To furthre thee with al my might,
2024And wisse and teche thee aright
2025Wher thou maist most tydinges here;
2026Shaltow anoon heer many oon lere.'
2027    With this worde he, right anoon,
2028Hente me up bitwene his toon,
2029And at a windowe in me broghte,
2030That in this hous was, as me thoghte --
2031And ther-withal, me thoughte hit stente,
2032And no-thing hit aboute wente --
2033And me sette in the flore adoun.
2034But which a congregacioun
2035Of folk, as I saugh rome aboute
2036Some within and some withoute,
2037Nas never seen, ne shal ben eft;
2038That, certes, in the world nis left
2039So many formed by Nature,
2040Ne deed so many a creature;
2041That wel unnethe, in that place,
2042Hadde I oon foot-brede of space;
2043And every wight that I saugh there
2044Rouned ech in others ere
2045A newe tyding prevely,
2046Or elles tolde al openly
2047Right thus, and seyde: 'Nost not thou
2048That is betid, lo, late or now?'
2049    'No,' quod the other, 'tel me what;' --
2050And than he tolde him this and that,
2051And swoor ther-to that hit was sooth --
2052'Thus hath he seyd,'-- and 'Thus he dooth' --
2053'Thus shal hit be,' -- 'Thus herde I seye' --
2054'That shal he found' -- 'That dar I leye:' --
2055That al the folk that is a-lyve
2056Ne han the cunning to discryve
2057The thinges that I herde there,
2058What aloude, and what in ere.
2059But al the wonder-most was this: --
2060Whan oon had herd a thing, y-wis,
2061He com forth to another wight,
2062And gan him tellen, anoon-right,
2063The same that to him was told,
2064Or hit a furlong-way was old,
2065But gan somwhat for to eche
2066To this tyding in this speche
2067More than hit ever was.
2068And nat so sone departed nas
2069That he fro him, that he ne mette
2070With the thridde; and, or he lette
2071Any stounde, he tolde him als;
2072Were the tyding sooth or fals,
2073Yit wolde he telle hit nathelees,
2074And evermo with more encrees
2075Than hit was erst. Thus north and southe
2076Went every word fro mouth to mouthe,
2077And that encresing ever-mo,
2078As fyr is wont to quikke and go
2079From a sparke spronge amis,
2080Til al a citee brent up is.
2081    And whan that was ful y-spronge,
2082And woxen more on every tonge
2083Than ever hit was, hit wente anoon
2084Up to a windowe, out to goon;
2085Or, but hit mighte out ther pace,
2086Hit gan out crepe at som crevace,
2087And fleigh forth faste for the nones.
2088    And somtyme saugh I tho, at ones,
2089A lesing and a sad soth-sawe,
2090That gonne of aventure drawe
2091Out at a windowe for to pace;
2092And, when they metten in that place,
2093They were a-chekked bothe two,
2094And neither of hem moste out go;
2095For other so they gonne croude,
2096Til eche of hem gan cryen loude,
2097'Lat me go first!' -- 'Nay, but let me!
2098And here I wol ensuren thee
2099With the nones that thou wolt do so,
2100That I shal never fro thee go,
2101But be thyn owne sworen brother!
2102We wil medle us ech with other,
2103That no man, be he never so wrothe,
2104Shal han that oon of two, but bothe
2105At ones, al beside his leve,
2106Come we a-morwe or on eve,
2107Be we cryed or stille y-rouned.'
2108Thus saugh I fals and sooth compouned
2109Togeder flee for oo tydinge.
2110    Thus out at holes gonne wringe
2111Every tyding streight to Fame;
2112And she gan yeven eche his name,
2113After hir disposicioun,
2114And yaf hem eek duracioun,
2115Some to wexe and wane sone,
2116As dooth the faire, whyte mone,
2117And leet hem gon. Ther might I seen
2118Wenged wondres faste fleen,
2119Twenty thousand in a route,
2120As Eolus hem blew aboute.
2121    And, lord! this hous, in alle tymes,
2122Was ful of shipmen and pilgrymes,
2123With scrippes bret-ful of lesinges,
2124Entremedled with tydinges,
2125And eek alone by hem-selve.
2126O, many a thousand tymes twelve
2127Saugh I eek of these pardoneres,
2128Currours, and eek messangeres,
2129With boistes crammed ful of lyes
2130As ever vessel was with lyes.
2131And as I alther-fastest wente
2132Aboute, and dide al myn entente
2133Me for to pleye and for to lere,
2134And eek a tyding for to here,
2135That I had herd of som contree
2136That shal not now be told for me; --
2137For hit no nede is, redely;
2138Folk can singe hit bet than I;
2139For al mot out, other late or rathe,
2140Alle the sheves in the lathe; --
2141I herde a gret noise withalle
2142In a corner of the halle,
2143Ther men of love tydings tolde,
2144And I gan thiderward beholde;
2145For I saugh renninge every wight,
2146As faste as that they hadden might;
2147And everich cryed, 'What thing is that?'
2148And som seyde, 'I not never what,'
2149And whan they were alle on an hepe,
2150Tho behinde gonne up lepe,
2151And clamben up on othere faste,
2152And up the nose and hye caste,
2153And troden faste on othere heles,
2154And stampe, as men don after eles.
2155    Atte laste I saugh a man,
2156Which that I nevene naught ne can;
2157But he semed for to be
2158A man of greet auctoritee...

[The work is unfinished.]

[The] end of "The House of Fame"

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.