Modern English version
Richard Brodie & Ellin Anderson
Book 6 - The Sin of Gluttony
see also Prologue, Book 1, Book 2, Book 4, Book 5, Book 7, and Book 8
© Copyright 2009 Richard Brodie
(Middle English text from MacAulay)
The Intoxication of Love
Jupiter's Two Casks
Prayer of Bacchus in the Desert
Tristan and Isolde
Pirithous and Hippodamia,
Galba and Vitellius,
Indulgence in Exotic Dishes
Lazarus and the Rich Man
The Delicacies of Love
Nero's Pernicious Pleasures
The Black Arts
Ulysses and Telegonus
Saul and the Samarian Sibyl
The King and the Philosopher
Color coding is used instead of margin indications to identify speakers in dialogue mode:
Blue for Amans
Orange for Genius
Teal for second recension rearrangements and/or additions
In the third recension Indulgence in Exotic Dishes is immediately followed by The Delicacies of Love. The earlier recension used here inserts Lazarus and the Rich Man between them. This makes more sense, inasmuch as that story is about food delicacy, while Nero's Pernicious Pleasures is about love delicacy. The first six lines in The Delicacies of Love do not appear in the third recension.
See MacAulay, Volume II, Page 198
The grete Senne original,
Which every man in general
Upon his berthe hath envenymed,
In Paradis it was mystymed:
Whan Adam of thilke Appel bot,
His swete morscel was to hot,
Which dedly made the mankinde.
And in the bokes as I finde,
This vice, which so out of rule
Hath sette ous alle, is cleped Gule;
Of which the branches ben so grete,
That of hem alle I wol noght trete,
Bot only as touchende of tuo
I thenke speke and of no mo;
Wherof the ferste is Dronkeschipe,
Which berth the cuppe felaschipe.
Ful many a wonder doth this vice,
He can make of a wisman nyce,
And of a fool, that him schal seme
That he can al the lawe deme,
And yiven every juggement
Which longeth to the firmament
Bothe of the sterre and of the mone;
And thus he makth a gret clerk sone
Of him that is a lewed man.
Ther is nothing which he ne can,
Whil he hath Dronkeschipe on honde,
He knowth the See, he knowth the stronde,
He is a noble man of armes,
And yit no strengthe is in his armes:
Ther he was strong ynouh tofore,
With Dronkeschipe it is forlore,
And al is changed his astat,
And wext anon so fieble and mat,
That he mai nouther go ne come,
Bot al togedre him is benome
The pouer bothe of hond and fot,
So that algate abide he mot.
And alle hise wittes he foryet,
The which is to him such a let,
That he wot nevere what he doth,
Ne which is fals, ne which is soth,
Ne which is dai, ne which is nyht,
And for the time he knowth no wyht,
That he ne wot so moche as this,
What maner thing himselven is,
Or he be man, or he be beste.
That holde I riht a sori feste,
Whan he that reson understod
So soudeinliche is woxe wod,
Or elles lich the dede man,
Which nouther go ne speke can.
Thus ofte he is to bedde broght,
Bot where he lith yit wot he noght,
Til he arise upon the morwe;
And thanne he seith, "O, which a sorwe
It is a man be drinkeles!"
So that halfdrunke in such a res
With dreie mouth he sterte him uppe,
And seith, "Nou baillez ça the cuppe."
That made him lese his wit at eve
Is thanne a morwe al his beleve;
The cuppe is al that evere him pleseth,
And also that him most deseseth;
It is the cuppe whom he serveth,
Which alle cares fro him kerveth
And alle bales to him bringeth:
In joie he wepth, in sorwe he singeth,
For Dronkeschipe is so divers,
It may no whyle stonde in vers.
He drinkth the wyn, bot ate laste
The wyn drynkth him and bint him faste,
And leith him drunke be the wal,
As him which is his bonde thral
And al in his subjeccion.
The greatest sin of all, by far,
Through which all men corrupted are
From birth, in Paradise was first
Committed, so that man was cursed:
When Adam of the apple ate,
That hot, sweet morsel sealed the fate
Of mankind, for our deadly fall.
And those who wrote the scriptures call
This great sin gluttony, which renders
All of us repeat offenders.
Branches so diverse exist,
I cannot cover all the list,
So only two, not three or four
I’ll speak of, and then speak no more.
The first of these is drunkenness.
When people party to excess,
This vice does many a magic thing:
Wise men will out the window fling
Good sense, and many a fool will feign
That he can all the laws explain,
And give advice that he deems wise,
Pertaining to the mystic skies,
Both from the stars and from the moon.
Great scholarship is claimed right soon
By one who’s still a vulgar man.
All things that he would grasp, he can
While there is drunkenness at hand.
He knows the sea, he knows the land,
A noble knight, beyond all harms –
And yet, no strength is in his arms,
Though he was strong enough before;
With swilling ale, he’s strong no more,
And all has changed, as to his state.
He waxes feeble, slow of gait,
That he may neither go nor come.
His hands and feet are feeble, numb,
And of all power they’re bereft.
He sits at home, with no strength left,
And all his wits he’s forfeited,
And this condition stops him dead,
So that he knows not what to do,
Nor what is false, nor what is true,
Nor when it’s day, nor when it’s night.
At such times, not the smallest mite
Of wit has he; no wit is his
To know what his own selfhood is,
And whether he is man or beast.
I hold it a right sorry feast,
When he that reason understood
Acts like his head is made of wood,
Quite mad, or like a dead man, so
He can no longer speak or go,
So that to bed he must be brought,
But where he’s lying he knows not.
When he rises on the morrow,
He cries out, “How great a sorrow
’Tis to be a drinkless man!”
Half drunk, as briskly as he can,
And with a dry mouth, he jumps up
And says, “It’s my turn, pass the cup.”
So now, in that which drove him mad,
He places all his trust – How sad!
The cup’s the thing that’s sure to please,
The cure that brings the most disease.
It is the cup that he must serve:
It causes every care to swerve
Towards him, with the ills it brings;
In joy he weeps, in sorrow sings.
But drunkenness is so diverse,
It may in no wise live in verse.
He drinks the wine, but at the last,
The wine drinks him, and binds him fast
And leaves him lying by the wall
So that he lives in drinking’s thrall,
And lingers on in slavery.
|The Intoxication of Love|
And lich to such condicion,
As forto speke it other wise,
It falleth that the moste wise
Ben otherwhile of love adoted,
And so bewhaped and assoted,
Of drunke men that nevere yit
Was non, which half so loste his wit
Of drinke, as thei of such thing do
Which cleped is the jolif wo;
And waxen of here oghne thoght
So drunke, that thei knowe noght
What reson is, or more or lesse.
Such is the kinde of that sieknesse,
And that is noght for lacke of brain,
Bot love is of so gret a main,
That where he takth an herte on honde,
Ther mai nothing his miht withstonde:
The wise Salomon was nome,
And stronge Sampson overcome,
The knihtli David him ne mihte
Rescoue, that he with the sihte
Of Bersabee ne was bestad,
Virgile also was overlad,
And Aristotle was put under.
Forthi, mi Sone, it is no wonder
If thou be drunke of love among,
Which is above alle othre strong:
And if so is that thou so be,
Tell me thi Schrifte in privite;
It is no schame of such a thew
A yong man to be dronkelew.
Of such Phisique I can a part,
And as me semeth be that art,
Thou scholdest be Phisonomie
Be schapen to that maladie
Of lovedrunke, and that is routhe.
Ha, holi fader, al is trouthe
That ye me telle: I am beknowe
That I with love am so bethrowe,
And al myn herte is so thurgh sunke,
That I am verrailiche drunke,
And yit I mai bothe speke and go.
Bot I am overcome so,
And torned fro miself so clene,
That ofte I wot noght what I mene;
So that excusen I ne mai
Min herte, fro the ferste day
That I cam to mi ladi kiththe,
I was yit sobre nevere siththe.
Wher I hire se or se hire noght,
With musinge of min oghne thoght,
Of love, which min herte assaileth,
So drunke I am, that mi wit faileth
And al mi brain is overtorned,
And mi manere so mistorned,
That I foryete al that I can
And stonde lich a mased man;
That ofte, whanne I scholde pleie,
It makth me drawe out of the weie
In soulein place be miselve,
As doth a labourer to delve,
Which can no gentil mannes chere;
Or elles as a lewed Frere,
Whan he is put to his penance,
Riht so lese I mi contienance.
And if it nedes to betyde,
That I in compainie abyde,
Wher as I moste daunce and singe
The hovedance and carolinge,
Or forto go the newefot,
I mai noght wel heve up mi fot,
If that sche be noght in the weie;
For thanne is al mi merthe aweie,
And waxe anon of thoght so full,
Wherof mi limes ben so dull,
I mai unethes gon the pas.
For thus it is and evere was,
Whanne I on suche thoghtes muse,
The lust and merthe that men use,
Whan I se noght mi ladi byme,
Al is foryete for the time
So ferforth that mi wittes changen
And alle lustes fro me strangen,
That thei seie alle trewely,
And swere, that it am noght I.
For as the man which ofte drinketh,
With win that in his stomac sinketh
Wext drunke and witles for a throwe,
Riht so mi lust is overthrowe,
And of myn oghne thoght so mat
I wexe, that to myn astat
Ther is no lime wol me serve,
Bot as a drunke man I swerve,
And suffre such a Passion,
That men have gret compassion,
And everich be himself merveilleth
What thing it is that me so eilleth.
Such is the manere of mi wo
Which time that I am hire fro,
Til eft ayein that I hire se.
Bot thanne it were a nycete
To telle you hou that I fare:
For whanne I mai upon hire stare,
Hire wommanhede, hire gentilesse,
Myn herte is full of such gladnesse,
That overpasseth so mi wit,
That I wot nevere where it sit,
Bot am so drunken of that sihte,
Me thenkth that for the time I mihte
Riht sterte thurgh the hole wall;
And thanne I mai wel, if I schal,
Bothe singe and daunce and lepe aboute,
And holde forth the lusti route.
Bot natheles it falleth so
Fulofte, that I fro hire go
Ne mai, bot as it were a stake,
I stonde avisement to take
And loke upon hire faire face;
That for the while out of the place
For al the world ne myhte I wende.
Such lust comth thanne unto mi mende,
So that withoute mete or drinke,
Of lusti thoughtes whiche I thinke
Me thenkth I mihte stonden evere;
And so it were to me levere
Than such a sihte forto leve,
If that sche wolde yif me leve
To have so mochel of mi wille.
And thus thenkende I stonde stille
Withoute blenchinge of myn yhe,
Riht as me thoghte that I syhe
Of Paradis the moste joie:
And so therwhile I me rejoie,
Into myn herte a gret desir,
The which is hotere than the fyr,
Al soudeinliche upon me renneth,
That al mi thoght withinne brenneth,
And am so ferforth overcome,
That I not where I am become;
So that among the hetes stronge
In stede of drinke I underfonge
A thoght so swete in mi corage,
That nevere Pyment ne vernage
Was half so swete forto drinke.
For as I wolde, thanne I thinke
As thogh I were at myn above,
For so thurgh drunke I am of love,
That al that mi sotye demeth
Is soth, as thanne it to me semeth.
And whyle I mai tho thoghtes kepe,
Me thenkth as thogh I were aslepe
And that I were in goddes barm;
Bot whanne I se myn oghne harm,
And that I soudeinliche awake
Out of my thought, and hiede take
Hou that the sothe stant in dede,
Thanne is mi sekernesse in drede
And joie torned into wo,
So that the hete is al ago
Of such sotie as I was inne.
And thanne ayeinward I beginne
To take of love a newe thorst,
The which me grieveth altherworst,
For thanne comth the blanche fievere,
With chele and makth me so to chievere,
And so it coldeth at myn herte,
That wonder is hou I asterte,
In such a point that I ne deie:
For certes ther was nevere keie
Ne frosen ys upon the wal
More inly cold that I am al.
And thus soffre I the hote chele,
Which passeth othre peines fele;
In cold I brenne and frese in hete:
And thanne I drinke a biter swete
With dreie lippe and yhen wete.
Lo, thus I tempre mi diete,
And take a drauhte of such reles,
That al mi wit is herteles,
And al myn herte, ther it sit,
Is, as who seith, withoute wit;
So that to prove it be reson
In makinge of comparison
Ther mai no difference be
Betwen a drunke man and me.
Bot al the worste of everychon
Is evere that I thurste in on;
The more that myn herte drinketh,
The more I may; so that me thinketh,
My thurst schal nevere ben aqueint.
God schilde that I be noght dreint
Of such a superfluite:
For wel I fiele in mi degre
That al mi wit is overcast,
Wherof I am the more agast,
That in defaulte of ladischipe
Per chance in such a drunkeschipe
I mai be ded er I be war.
For certes, fader, this I dar
Beknowe and in mi schrifte telle:
Bot I a drauhte have of that welle,
In which mi deth is and mi lif,
Mi joie is torned into strif,
That sobre schal I nevere worthe,
Bot as a drunke man forworthe;
So that in londe where I fare
The lust is lore of mi welfare,
As he that mai no bote finde.
Bot this me thenkth a wonder kinde,
As I am drunke of that I drinke,
So am I ek for falte of drinke;
Of which I finde no reles:
Bot if I myhte natheles
Of such a drinke as I coveite,
So as me liste, have o receite,
I scholde assobre and fare wel.
Bot so fortune upon hire whiel
On hih me deigneth noght to sette,
For everemore I finde a lette:
The boteler is noght mi frend,
Which hath the keie be the bend;
I mai wel wisshe and that is wast,
For wel I wot, so freissh a tast,
Bot if mi grace be the more,
I schal assaie neveremore.
Thus am I drunke of that I se,
For tastinge is defended me,
And I can noght miselven stanche:
So that, mi fader, of this branche
I am gultif, to telle trouthe.
Mi Sone, that me thenketh routhe;
For lovedrunke is the meschief
Above alle othre the most chief,
If he no lusti thoght assaie,
Which mai his sori thurst allaie:
As for the time yit it lisseth
To him which other joie misseth.
Forthi, mi Sone, aboven alle
Thenk wel, hou so it the befalle,
And kep thi wittes that thou hast,
And let hem noght be drunke in wast:
Bot natheles ther is no wyht
That mai withstonde loves miht.
Bot why the cause is, as I finde,
Of that ther is diverse kinde
Of lovedrunke, why men pleigneth
After the court which al ordeigneth,
I wol the tellen the manere;
Nou lest, mi Sone, and thou schalt hiere.
A like condition one can see
Though stated in another way,
Befalling the most wise, when they
Are oftentimes in love so doting,
So besotted, while they’re floating
In that state, they’re more befuddled
Than a drunk whose mind’s been muddled
By the bottle. They do so
From what is called the joyful woe,
And so they wax, from their own thought
So very drunk, that they know not
What reason may be, more or less;
Such is the way of that sickness.
And that is not for lack of brain,
But Love’s so great in might and main,
That when he takes a heart in hand,
Then nothing may his might withstand.
Entrapped was Solomon the wise;
Strong Samson was cut down to size;
The knightly David could not fight
Against its power – at the sight
Of fair Bathsheba, he gave in.
Nor could the mighty Virgil win,
And Aristotle was pulled under.
Therefore, son, it is no wonder
If you’re drunk among that throng,
For Love’s above all others strong:
And if it’s thus that you must be,
Tell me your shrift in privacy:
Young men should not be too ashamed
Of lustful tendencies untamed.
Of Physick I do know some part;
It seems to me that, per this art,
You are by physiognomy
Well-shaped to have that malady
Of love-drunks, and their path of rue.
Ah, holy father, all is true
That you have told me; long I’ve known
By love I’m fully overthrown
And all my heart is so well sunk
That I am positively drunk,
And yet I may both speak and go.
But still, I’m overcome, and so
Far from myself, as you have seen,
I often don’t know what I mean.
You know I never could deny
My heart, from that first day when I
Began to know my lady well.
I’m never sober, you can tell,
Whether I see or see her not.
With musings of my inmost thought
Of love, which have my heart assailed,
So drunk am I, my wits have failed
And all my brain is overturned,
As is my nature. I have yearned
So I forget all that I’ve known,
And stand like one amazed. I’ve grown
So different, that when I should play,
It makes me draw out of the way
In lonely places on my own,
Like workers gone to dig alone,
Whom genteel fellows raise no higher.
Or, I’m just like some lewd friar,
Told the penance he must make.
Likewise, my manners I forsake
If by necessity I’m tied
And must in company abide
Where I am forced to dance and sing,
With fancy steps and caroling,
Or else to foot the latest dance.
To lift my foot, there’s not a chance
If she cannot be found, wherefore
All of my mirth flies out the door,
And soon I wax so full of thought
My limbs grow limp, in stupor caught;
I cannot stay or go, because
That’s how it is, and always was.
While I upon such thoughts do muse,
The lusty mirth that I would choose,
When I don’t see my lady, I’m
Inclined to forfeit for a time,
And from that point my wits must change,
And all my joys from me must range,
So all declare what’s true thereby,
And swear to me I am not I.
For as the man who often drinks
A wine that in his stomach sinks,
Gets drunk and witless for a while,
Love’s liquor wipes away my smile,
And in my mind, I must relate,
I grow so weak, as to my state,
My arms and legs can barely serve,
And like a drunken man I swerve,
And from love’s painful passion reel.
Pity for me is what men feel,
And each one wonders what he will
What thing it is that made me ill.
Such is the manner of my woe
At times when I from her must go,
Until I look on her again.
Pure foolishness it would be, then,
To tell you more of how I fare,
For when upon her I may stare,
Her womanhood, her graciousness,
My heart is full of such gladness
It overpowers all my wits,
So I don’t know where reason sits.
I get so drunk, just from that sight,
I think that just one time I might
Start up and jump right through the wall,
And I may well, in passion’s thrall
Both sing and dance and leap about,
As if to start a lusty rout.
And often it will happen that
I cannot budge from where she sat:
As though I were a driven stake.
I wonder what advice to take
As I look on my love’s fair face,
And all the while, out of that place
For all the world, I may not wend;
Such joy, as I can’t comprehend,
That though I’ve had no food or drink,
The pleasurable thoughts I think
I know that I could stand forever.
Were it up to me, I’d never
From the sight of her take leave,
Provided I could then receive
Permission to have all my will.
And thinking of this, I stand still
Without the blinking of an eye,
For in my thoughts I seem to spy
The greatest joy of paradise.
And all the while, I can entice
Into my heart, a great desire
That is as hot as any fire.
Quite suddenly, through me it runs,
My thoughts burn like a thousand suns,
And then, I am so overcome,
I don’t know where I’m coming from.
And overwhelmed by blazing heat,
Instead of drink, a thought so sweet
Will saturate my mind and heart.
No liquor can such bliss impart,
No earthly vintage, blush or pink,
Could be so sweet, because I think
That I am in the heaven above;
So fully drunk am I on love,
That everything my stupor deems
Is truth, is so – or so it seems.
And while those fancies I can keep,
I feel as though I am asleep,
And that God holds me to his breast.
But then I realize I’m distressed,
And so I suddenly awake
Out of my thoughts, and heed I take
Of how my dreams don’t match the facts.
That’s when my frightened heart reacts
And all my joy is turned to woe,
So that the heat of love must go
From all the dreams that I was in.
And then I inwardly begin
To have for love a newfound thirst,
Which causes me the grief that’s worst,
For fevers make me pale as snow,
Then chills that make me shiver so
Will cause a blizzard in my chest;
I wonder, when I’m so distressed,
How I can wander from death’s vice.
For there were never floes of ice,
Nor frozen water on the wall
More cold than I am in love’s thrall.
I suffer chills like burning chains
That far surpass all other pains;
I burn in cold, and freeze in heat:
And then I drink a bitter sweet
With dry lips and with wetted eye;
Thus a new diet I will try,
And take a draught of such release,
That all my reason seems to cease,
And my poor heart, there, where it sits,
Has, as they say, lost all its wits.
The parallels are very plain,
No differences, as I maintain,
Are there, as you can clearly see,
Between a drunken man and me.
But all the worst of everything
I thirst for, never varying:
The more of love my heart will drink,
The more I want, which makes me think
The end of thirst shall not be found.
May God ensure I am not drowned
From such a superfluity,
For then I feel, to some degree,
That all my mind is overcast
With shadow, and I am aghast
To think, without my lady’s love,
Such binges I’ll be guilty of
That I could sink down in death’s pit.
For, father, this I dare admit,
And to you in confession tell:
Such draughts I’ve drawn out of that well,
In which my death is, and my life.
My joy is so turned into strife,
That sober I shall never be,
But always on this drunken spree;
Wherever by this fate I’m tossed,
All interest in my health I’ve lost,
As one who no relief may seek.
There is this paradox unique:
I may get drunk from drinking, though
From lack of drink I drunken grow.
For this I can find no redress,
But yet, if I might, nonetheless,
Taste such sweet drink as I do covet,
Which I lack, although I love it,
Sober I’d become, and well.
But Fortune, on her wheel from hell,
Deigns not to set me up on high;
My love she always will deny.
The butler is no friend to me,
Who always holds the wine-case key;
Though I can wish, it’s such a waste,
For well I know, so fresh a taste,
Should grace apply a sweeter salve,
Is something I shall never have.
Thus I am drunk from what I see,
For tasting is denied to me,
And can’t restrain myself, or win:
So that, my father, of this sin
I’m guilty, and I tell the truth.
My son, I think that’s sad, forsooth;
Love-drunkenness must stand above
All other mischief caused by love.
If no lewd thoughts are put in play
Which may love’s sorry thirst allay,
Time can relieve all wounds, my boy,
If you’ve missed out on other joy.
Therefore, my son, this over all:
Think well, howso it may befall,
To keep the wits with which you’re graced,
And let them not be drunk in waste.
Yet nonetheless, there is no wight
Who may stand up against love’s might;
But what the cause is, as one finds,
Of why there are a hundred kinds
Of love-drunks, come to plead in court,
Where saints and sinners all report,
I’ll tell to you, in a manner clear;
Now listen, son, and you shall hear.
|Jupiter's Two Casks|
For the fortune of every chance
After the goddes pourveance
To man it groweth from above,
So that the sped of every love
Is schape there, er it befalle.
For Jupiter aboven alle,
Which is of goddes soverein,
Hath in his celier, as men sein,
Tuo tonnes fulle of love drinke,
That maken many an herte sinke
And many an herte also to flete,
Or of the soure or of the swete.
That on is full of such piment,
Which passeth all entendement
Of mannes witt, if he it taste,
And makth a jolif herte in haste:
That other biter as the galle,
Which makth a mannes herte palle,
Whos drunkeschipe is a sieknesse
Thurgh fielinge of the biternesse.
Cupide is boteler of bothe,
Which to the lieve and to the lothe
Yifth of the swete and of the soure,
That some lawhe, and some loure.
Bot for so moche as he blind is,
Fulofte time he goth amis
And takth the badde for the goode,
Which hindreth many a mannes fode
Withoute cause, and forthreth eke.
So be ther some of love seke,
Whiche oghte of reson to ben hole,
And some comen to the dole
In happ and as hemselve leste
Drinke undeserved of the beste.
And thus this blinde Boteler
Yifth of the trouble in stede of cler
And ek the cler in stede of trouble:
Lo, hou he can the hertes trouble,
And makth men drunke al upon chaunce
Withoute lawe of governance.
If he drawe of the swete tonne,
Thanne is the sorwe al overronne
Of lovedrunke, and schalt noght greven
So to be drunken every even,
For al is thanne bot a game.
Bot whanne it is noght of the same,
And he the biter tonne draweth,
Such drunkeschipe an herte gnaweth
And fiebleth al a mannes thoght,
That betre him were have drunke noght
And al his bred have eten dreie;
For thanne he lest his lusti weie
With drunkeschipe, and wot noght whider
To go, the weies ben so slider,
In which he mai per cas so falle,
That he schal breke his wittes alle.
And in this wise men be drunke
After the drink that thei have drunke:
Bot alle drinken noght alike,
For som schal singe and som schal syke,
So that it me nothing merveilleth,
Mi Sone, of love that thee eilleth;
For wel I knowe be thi tale,
That thou hast drunken of the duale,
Which biter is, til god the sende
Such grace that thou miht amende.
Bot, Sone, thou schalt bidde and preie
In such a wise as I schal seie,
That thou the lusti welle atteigne
Thi wofull thurstes to restreigne
Of love, and taste the swetnesse;
As Bachus dede in his distresse,
Whan bodiliche thurst him hente
In strange londes where he wente.
What luck may chance to come our way
Depends on what the gods purvey
To man, as governed from above,
So that the course of every love
Is shaped there, as it shall befall.
For Jupiter, who over all
The gods is sovereign, and holds sway,
Has in his cellar, as men say,
Two barrels full of love’s own drink,
Which have made many a heart to sink,
While others float, upon love’s power,
For one is sweet and one is sour.
The one is filled with such sweet wine,
Surpassing all the most divine
That man has known, if he should taste:
It makes a joyful heart, with haste.
The other brew is bitter gall:
Upon men’s hearts, it casts a pall
Of drunkenness that breeds distress,
And sickens with its bitterness.
Blind Cupid must serve up these brews:
Strong potions no one can refuse.
The sour and the sweet go down
To make some laugh, and others frown;
But insomuch as he is blind,
He often will mistake the kind
Of wine, and serves the bad for good
So lovers don’t feast as they should,
Without a cause, while others gain:
Then, some are lovesick and in pain
When they have reason to be whole.
The undeserving find love’s bowl
By chance, and like a fool in jest,
Drink, without merit, of the best.
And thus the purblind butler will
Pour cloudy wine for clear, and fill
The cup with clear, where gloom should bubble:
See how he can cause heart trouble!
Laws of chance make all men fools,
Without the governance of rules:
If Cupid taps the sweeter one,
Then sorrow’s cup is made to run
And flow with love, so none shall grieve
If they should fall down drunk at eve.
For then it’s no more than a game,
But when the drink is not the same,
And from the bitter cask he draws,
Such drunkenness fills hearts, and gnaws
At thought, enfeebling what men think,
So that it’s best they did not drink,
And all their bread had eaten dry,
For then their spirits can’t be high
From drinking, and they know not where
To go – the paths are slippery there,
On which, perhaps, they’ll take a fall
And go to pieces, wits and all.
Men thus are made intoxicated
By the drink with which they’re sated:
But no two may drink alike,
For some shall sing, while others strike.
So, nothing more surprises me.
My son, love is your malady,
For by your tale of how you fare,
I know you’ll drink, between the pair,
Of bitterness, till God can send
Such grace as puts you on the mend.
But first, you shall beseech and pray
In such a manner as I say,
And from the well of joy partake,
That you this woeful thirst can slake
With love, and taste a good sweetness,
As Bacchus did in his distress,
When thirst of body left him spent
In those strange countries where he went.
|Prayer of Bacchus in the Desert|
This Bachus Sone of Jupiter
Was hote, and as he wente fer
Be his fadres assignement
To make a werre in Orient,
And gret pouer with him he ladde,
So that the heiere hond he hadde
And victoire of his enemys,
And torneth homward with his pris,
In such a contre which was dreie
A meschief fell upon the weie.
As he rod with his compainie
Nyh to the strondes of Lubie,
Ther myhte thei no drinke finde
Of water nor of other kinde,
So that himself and al his host
Were of defalte of drinke almost
Destruid, and thanne Bachus preide
To Jupiter, and thus he seide:
"O hihe fader, that sest al,
To whom is reson that I schal
Beseche and preie in every nede,
Behold, mi fader, and tak hiede
This wofull thurst that we ben inne
To staunche, and grante ous forto winne,
And sauf unto the contre fare,
Wher that oure lusti loves are
Waitende upon oure hom cominge."
And with the vois of his preiynge,
Which herd was to the goddes hihe,
He syh anon tofore his yhe
A wether, which the ground hath sporned;
And wher he hath it overtorned,
Ther sprang a welle freissh and cler,
Wherof his oghne boteler
After the lustes of his wille
Was every man to drinke his fille.
And for this ilke grete grace
Bachus upon the same place
A riche temple let arere,
Which evere scholde stonde there
To thursti men in remembrance.
Forthi, mi Sone, after this chance
It sit thee wel to taken hiede
So forto preie upon thi nede,
As Bachus preide for the welle;
And thenk, as thou hast herd me telle,
Hou grace he gradde and grace he hadde.
He was no fol that ferst so radde,
For selden get a domb man lond:
Tak that proverbe, and understond
That wordes ben of vertu grete.
Forthi to speke thou ne lete,
And axe and prei erli and late
Thi thurst to quenche, and thenk algate,
The boteler which berth the keie
Is blind, as thou hast herd me seie;
And if it mihte so betyde,
That he upon the blinde side
Per cas the swete tonne arauhte,
Than schalt thou have a lusti drauhte
And waxe of lovedrunke sobre.
And thus I rede thou assobre
Thin herte in hope of such a grace;
For drunkeschipe in every place,
To whether side that it torne,
Doth harm and makth a man to sporne
And ofte falle in such a wise,
Wher he per cas mai noght arise.
This Bacchus, son of Jupiter
Was bidden, as it did occur,
By his own father’s royal decree,
To make war in far Araby.
A mighty force he did command,
So that he had the upper hand
With foes, the victory to claim,
And homeward with his spoils he came.
In such a country as was dry,
A mishap crossed their path, whereby
As he rode with his company,
Near Libya’s deserted sea,
There was no drink for them to find,
Of water, or another kind,
So that himself and all his host
From lack of water were almost
Destroyed, and Bacchus, in this way
For help from Jupiter did pray:
“Oh, lofty father, who sees all,
Which is the reason that I call,
Beseech, and pray, in every need,
Behold, my father, and take heed:
This woeful thirst that we are in
To stanch, and grant that we shall win,
And safely to our homeland fare,
For all our joyous loves are there,
And wait upon our homecoming.”
And then the sound of his praying
Was heard by all the gods on high.
And there before him, he did spy
A ram who on the ground had pawed,
And where it had upturned the sod,
There sprang a well both fresh and clear,
Where one could bottle his own cheer,
As to the fancy of his will,
And every man soon drank his fill.
And for this very same great grace,
Lord Bacchus, on this very place,
A fine, rich temple had them raise,
To stand there till the end of days
For thirsty men, in veneration.
Therefore, Son, this illustration
It would suit you well to heed,
So that you pray when you have need,
As Bacchus prayed to find a well;
And think, as you have heard me tell,
How grace he sought, and grace he got.
He was no fool, whom counsel taught,
For seldom do the mute get land.
This proverb grasp, and understand
That words possess a virtue great.
Before you speak, don’t hesitate,
But late and early, ask and pray
Thy thirst to quench, and these words weigh:
The butler carrying the key
Is blind, as you have learned of me,
And if it happens that the hand
He reaches out, perchance, might land
Upon the cask with wine so sweet,
Then you shall have a pleasant treat;
From drunk to sober, you will heal.
And thus, I counsel you to steel
Your heart, in hopes of such a grace,
For drunkenness, in every place,
Whichever way a man shall turn,
Does harm, and goodness he shall spurn,
And often fall, so that he lies
Where he, perchance, may not arise.
|Tristan and Isolde|
And forto loke in evidence
Upon the sothe experience,
So as it hath befalle er this,
In every mannes mouth it is
Hou Tristram was of love drunke
With Bele Ysolde, whan thei drunke
The drink which Brangwein hem betok,
Er that king Marc his Eem hire tok
To wyve, as it was after knowe.
And ek, mi Sone, if thou wolt knowe,
As it hath fallen overmore
In loves cause, and what is more
Of drunkeschipe forto drede,
As it whilom befell in dede,
Wherof thou miht the betre eschuie
Of drunke men that thou ne suie
The compaignie in no manere,
A gret ensample thou schalt hiere.
As evidence that this is so
In real life, it's truth we know
From something that before occurred,
That nearly every man has heard:
How Tristan was so drunk with love
For fair Isolde, when they of
The drink partook which Brangäne brought,
Before king Mark, his uncle, got
Her for a wife, as was made known.
And if, my son, you would be shown
Another case to underscore
This lesson, proving even more
How drunkenness one ought to shun,
Not by some storyteller spun,
From which you hopefully might learn
Away from drunken men to turn
And of such company stay clear,
A good example you shall hear.
|Pirithous and Hippodamia|
This finde I write in Poesie
Of thilke faire Ipotacie,
Of whos beaute ther as sche was
Spak every man, - and fell per cas,
That Pirotos so him spedde,
That he to wyve hire scholde wedde,
Wherof that he gret joie made.
And for he wolde his love glade,
Ayein the day of mariage
Be mouthe bothe and be message
Hise frendes to the feste he preide,
With gret worschipe and, as men seide,
He hath this yonge ladi spoused.
And whan that thei were alle housed,
And set and served ate mete,
Ther was no wyn which mai be gete,
That ther ne was plente ynouh:
Bot Bachus thilke tonne drouh,
Wherof be weie of drunkeschipe
The greteste of the felaschipe
Were oute of reson overtake;
And Venus, which hath also take
The cause most in special,
Hath yove hem drinke forth withal
Of thilke cuppe which exciteth
The lust wherinne a man deliteth:
And thus be double weie drunke,
Of lust that ilke fyri funke
Hath mad hem, as who seith, halfwode,
That thei no reson understode,
Ne to non other thing thei syhen,
Bot hire, which tofore here yhen
Was wedded thilke same day,
That freisshe wif, that lusti May,
On hire it was al that thei thoghten.
And so ferforth here lustes soghten,
That thei the whiche named were
Centauri, ate feste there
Of on assent, of an acord
This yonge wif malgre hire lord
In such a rage awei forth ladden,
As thei whiche non insihte hadden
Bot only to her drunke fare,
Which many a man hath mad misfare
In love als wel as other weie.
Wherof, if I schal more seie
Upon the nature of the vice,
Of custume and of exercice
The mannes grace hou it fordoth,
A tale, which was whilom soth,
Of fooles that so drunken were,
I schal reherce unto thine Ere.
In poetry I find it written
All redblooded men were smitten
By the grace and beauty of
Fair Hippodamia; In love
With her Pirithous fell, and she
Was by him wedded soon to be;
He was one very happy knight.
And since his love he would delight,
In preparation for the day
Of marriage, he without delay
His friends unto the feast invites
Respectfully, as he recites
His wedding vows to his young spouse.
And when they all were in the house,
And seated, and with food were served,
The liquor that had been reserved,
They could not possibly go through;
But Bacchus from that vessel drew
By which the guests with drunkenness
Were overcome, which did suppress
Their reason, which was shot to hell;
An interest Venus took as well,
She tempted them to take a sip
Whereon each lifted to his lip
That cup which appetite excites
For lust, in which a man delights.
Thus doubly were they kindled by
Those fiery sparks, like timbers dry,
Half-crazed, their lustful flames ascend,
That they no reason comprehend,
There is no other thing that they
Can see but her, who that same day
Before their very eyes was wedded
That young virgin not yet bedded,
All their fancy was for her.
So driven by their lusts they were,
That those who at the feast were known
As Centaurs, had so lustful grown,
That they, with lusting all aflame,
This young wife, to her husband's shame,
In such a rage forth led away,
As drunken creatures who display
No other interest or concern
Than with this wife to take their turn.
Misfortunes like this are not rare;
Of drunkenness I shall declare
More on the nature of this vice,
Indulgence in which has a price,
Which is the loss of manly grace.
There is a tale about the case
Of fools who in a stupor fell
Of drunkenness, that I'll now tell.
|Galba and Vitellius|
I rede in a Cronique thus
Of Galba and of Vitellus,
The whiche of Spaigne bothe were
The greteste of alle othre there,
And bothe of o condicion
After the disposicion
Of glotonie and drunkeschipe.
That was a sori felaschipe:
For this thou miht wel understonde,
That man mai wel noght longe stonde
Which is wyndrunke of comun us;
For he hath lore the vertus,
Wherof reson him scholde clothe;
And that was seene upon hem bothe.
Men sein ther is non evidence,
Wherof to knowe a difference
Betwen the drunken and the wode,
For thei be nevere nouther goode;
For wher that wyn doth wit aweie,
Wisdom hath lost the rihte weie,
That he no maner vice dredeth;
Nomore than a blind man thredeth
His nedle be the Sonnes lyht,
Nomore is reson thanne of myht,
Whan he with drunkeschipe is blent.
And in this point thei weren schent,
This Galba bothe and ek Vitelle,
Upon the cause as I schal telle,
Wherof good is to taken hiede.
For thei tuo thurgh her drunkenhiede
Of witles excitacioun
Oppressede al the nacion
Of Spaigne; for of fool usance,
Which don was of continuance
Of hem, whiche alday drunken were,
Ther was no wif ne maiden there,
What so thei were, or faire or foule,
Whom thei ne token to defoule,
Wherof the lond was often wo:
And ek in othre thinges mo
Thei wroghten many a sondri wrong.
Bot hou so that the dai be long,
The derke nyht comth ate laste:
God wolde noght thei scholden laste,
And schop the lawe in such a wise,
That thei thurgh dom to the juise
Be dampned forto be forlore.
Bot thei, that hadden ben tofore
Enclin to alle drunkenesse,-
Here ende thanne bar witnesse;
For thei in hope to assuage
The peine of deth, upon the rage
That thei the lasse scholden fiele,
Of wyn let fille full a Miele,
And dronken til so was befalle
That thei her strengthes losten alle
Withouten wit of eny brain;
And thus thei ben halfdede slain,
That hem ne grieveth bot a lyte.
Mi Sone, if thou be forto wyte
In eny point which I have seid,
Wherof thi wittes ben unteid,
I rede clepe hem hom ayein.
I schal do, fader, as ye sein,
Als ferforth as I mai suffise:
Bot wel I wot that in no wise
The drunkeschipe of love aweie
I mai remue be no weie,
It stant noght upon my fortune.
Bot if you liste to comune
Of the seconde Glotonie,
Which cleped is Delicacie,
Wherof ye spieken hier tofore,
Beseche I wolde you therfore.
Mi Sone, as of that ilke vice,
Which of alle othre is the Norrice,
And stant upon the retenue
Of Venus, so as it is due,
The proprete hou that it fareth
The bok hierafter nou declareth.
Old chronicles inform us thus
Of Galba and Vitellius,
Who were the mightiest to reign
Of Roman kings who came from Spain,
And they were in the same condition,
Having in their disposition
Gluttony and drunkenness.
Was this a sorry friendship? Yes!
For as you might well understand,
A man won’t last as long as planned
When drunk from wine’s accustomed use,
For he has lost, by its abuse,
The virtue Reason likes to wear,
As it was shown between this pair.
Men say there is no evidence
Whereof to know the difference
Between the drunken and the mad,
For each is never good, but bad:
For where wine washes wits away,
All wisdom’s lost, man goes astray,
And there’s no vice that he will dread.
Just as a blind man cannot thread
His needle by the sun’s bright light,
He’s void of reason, as of might,
When he from drunkenness is blind.
Thus were both rulers undermined,
Vitellius, and Galba too,
For reasons I’ll explain to you.
And here, it’s good that you take heed,
For these two, by their mindless need
Of witless drunken excitation
Sore oppressed all of that nation,
Spain; because, in foolish style,
As was the custom, all the while,
Of them who all day drunk would be,
There was no wife or maid, if she
Was fair of face, or foul, or vile,
Whom they’d not taken to defile,
Whereof the land was full of woe,
And in some other things also,
They wrought together many a wrong.
But even though the day is long,
The dark of night will come on fast:
God did not want those two to last,
And shaped the law in such a way,
Their doom was justice, so that they
Were lost, condemned to live no more.
But they, who had been heretofore
Inclined towards all drunkenness,
Thus ended, as we bear witness:
For they, in hoping to assuage
The pain of death, as they did gauge
That they the less of it should feel,
Filled up a wine-tub for their meal,
And drank away what sense they had,
Until they were completely mad,
Without the wit of any brain,
And thus, half-dead, those two were slain,
Which grieved them no more than a bit.
My son, if you can now admit
To blame, in any point I’ve made,
Whereof your wandering wits have strayed,
Please call them back, I counsel you.
As you say, father, I shall do,
With all the care I can devise,
But well I know that in no wise
Can I claim to be guiltless of
The sin of drunkenness in love:
It does not rest within my fate.
But if you’d like to, please relate
As to the second, Gluttony,
Which some have called “Delicacy,”
For you have mentioned it before;
I must beseech you so, therefore.
My son, as to that vice and curse
Which of all others is the nurse,
And serves within the retinue
Of Venus, just as she is due,
Its properties in men’s affairs
This book hereafter now declares.
|Indulgence in Exotic Dishes|
Of this chapitre in which we trete
There is yit on of such diete,
To which no povere mai atteigne;
For al is Past of paindemeine
And sondri wyn and sondri drinke,
Wherof that he wole ete and drinke:
Hise cokes ben for him affaited,
So that his body is awaited,
That him schal lacke no delit,
Als ferforth as his appetit
Sufficeth to the metes hote.
Wherof this lusti vice is hote
Of Gule the Delicacie,
Which al the hole progenie
Of lusti folk hath undertake
To feede, whil that he mai take
Richesses wherof to be founde:
Of Abstinence he wot no bounde,
To what profit it scholde serve.
And yit phisique of his conserve
Makth many a restauracioun
Unto his recreacioun,
Which wolde be to Venus lief.
Thus for the point of his relief
The coc which schal his mete arraie,
Bot he the betre his mouth assaie,
His lordes thonk schal ofte lese,
Er he be served to the chese:
For ther mai lacke noght so lyte,
That he ne fint anon a wyte;
For bot his lust be fully served,
Ther hath no wiht his thonk deserved.
And yit for mannes sustenance,
To kepe and holde in governance,
To him that wole his hele gete
Is non so good as comun mete:
For who that loketh on the bokes,
It seith, confeccion of cokes,
A man him scholde wel avise
Hou he it toke and in what wise.
For who that useth that he knoweth,
Ful selden seknesse on him groweth,
And who that useth metes strange,
Though his nature empeire and change
It is no wonder, lieve Sone,
Whan that he doth ayein his wone;
For in Phisique this I finde,
Usage is the seconde kinde.
In love als wel as other weie;
For, as these holi bokes seie,
The bodely delices alle
In every point, hou so thei falle,
Unto the Soule don grievance.
And forto take in remembrance,
A tale acordant unto this,
Which of gret understondinge is
To mannes soule resonable,
I thenke telle, and is no fable.
Of topics that we treat herein,
There’s yet one dietary sin
That rests upon no poor man’s head:
I mean repasts of fine white bread,
And sundry wines and sundry treats
Whereof a rich man drinks and eats:
His cooks are there for him, to fawn
Until his body’s waited on,
So that he lacks for no delight.
And thus, his hearty appetite
Will have hot foods that do suffice.
The label for this lusty vice
Of gluttons, is “Delicacy,”
Which likewise, the whole progeny
Of greedy folk shall undertake
To feed, as they cannot forsake
The riches therein to be found.
Of abstinence, he knows no bound,
And asks, “What profit should it yield?”
And yet this physic, which would shield
His health, brings many a restoration
Dealing with his recreation
Which to Venus would be dear.
Thus, to preserve his own career,
The cook who shall arrange each meal
Had better give it mouth-appeal,
Or else his lord he shall displease
Before they’ve even served the cheese.
Not one lack may the master name,
But that he finds it cause for blame;
If his appetite’s not sated,
Not a whit will thanks be rated.
And yet, for man’s sustenance
To keep and hold in governance
His health, for those who like to eat,
There’s none so good as simple meat.
If gourmands have the time to look
In tomes by some exotic cook,
They should read slowly, and advise
On what they used, and in what wise.
For he that dines on what he knows,
Full seldom on him sickness grows,
While he who savors meat that’s strange,
Although his nature may yet change,
It is no wonder, my dear Son,
He’s harmed himself with what he’s done.
For in all Physick, this I find:
What we are used to suits our kind
In love, and every other way;
For as these holy books do say,
The lust for delicacies all
In every point, how so they fall,
Unto the soul does grievances.
And so, for your remembrances,
Take in this story, of accord
With this, whose knowledge is reward,
To make souls rational and well;
No fable do I think to tell.
|Lazarus and the Rich Man|
Of Cristes word, who wole it rede,
Hou that this vice is forto drede
In thevangile it telleth plein,
Which mot algate be certein,
For Crist himself it berth witnesse.
And thogh the clerk and the clergesse
In latin tunge it rede and singe,
Yit for the more knoulechinge
Of trouthe, which is good to wite,
I schal declare as it is write
In Engleissh, for thus it began.
Crist seith: "Ther was a riche man,
A mihti lord of gret astat,
And he was ek so delicat
Of his clothing, that everyday
Of pourpre and bisse he made him gay,
And eet and drank therto his fille
After the lustes of his wille,
As he which al stod in delice
And tok non hiede of thilke vice.
And as it scholde so betyde,
A povere lazre upon a tyde
Cam to the gate and axed mete:
Bot there mihte he nothing gete
His dedly hunger forto stanche;
For he, which hadde his fulle panche
Of alle lustes ate bord,
Ne deigneth noght to speke a word,
Onliche a Crumme forto yive,
Wherof the povere myhte live
Upon the yifte of his almesse.
Thus lai this povere in gret destresse
Acold and hungred ate gate,
Fro which he mihte go no gate,
So was he wofulli besein.
And as these holi bokes sein,
The houndes comen fro the halle,
Wher that this sike man was falle,
And as he lay ther forto die,
The woundes of his maladie
Thei licken forto don him ese.
Bot he was full of such desese,
That he mai noght the deth eschape;
Bot as it was that time schape,
The Soule fro the bodi passeth,
And he whom nothing overpasseth,
The hihe god, up to the hevene
Him tok, wher he hath set him evene
In Habrahammes barm on hyh,
Wher he the hevene joie syh
And hadde al that he have wolde.
And fell, as it befalle scholde,
This riche man the same throwe
With soudein deth was overthrowe,
And forth withouten eny wente
Into the helle straght he wente;
The fend into the fyr him drouh,
Wher that he hadde peine ynouh
Of flamme which that evere brenneth.
And as his yhe aboute renneth,
Toward the hevene he cast his lok,
Wher that he syh and hiede tok
Hou Lazar set was in his Se
Als ferr as evere he mihte se
With Habraham; and thanne he preide
Unto the Patriarch and seide:
"Send Lazar doun fro thilke Sete,
And do that he his finger wete
In water, so that he mai droppe
Upon my tunge, forto stoppe
The grete hete in which I brenne."
Bot Habraham answerde thenne
And seide to him in this wise:
"Mi Sone, thou thee miht avise
And take into thi remembrance,
Hou Lazar hadde gret penance,
Whyl he was in that other lif,
Bot thou in al thi lust jolif
The bodily delices soghtest:
Forthi, so as thou thanne wroghtest,
Nou schalt thou take thi reward
Of dedly peine hierafterward
In helle, which schal evere laste;
And this Lazar nou ate laste
The worldes peine is overronne,
In hevene and hath his lif begonne
Of joie, which is endeles.
Bot that thou preidest natheles,
That I schal Lazar to the sende
With water on his finger ende,
Thin hote tunge forto kiele,
Thou schalt no such graces fiele;
For to that foule place of Sinne,
For evere in which thou schalt ben inne,
Comth non out of this place thider,
Ne non of you mai comen hider;
Thus be yee parted nou atuo."
The riche ayeinward cride tho:
"O Habraham, sithe it so is,
That Lazar mai noght do me this
Which I have axed in this place,
I wolde preie an other grace.
For I have yit of brethren fyve,
That with mi fader ben alyve
Togedre duellende in on hous;
To whom, as thou art gracious,
I preie that thou woldest sende
Lazar, so that he mihte wende
To warne hem hou the world is went,
That afterward thei be noght schent
Of suche peines as I drye.
Lo, this I preie and this I crie,
Now I may noght miself amende."
The Patriarch anon suiende
To his preiere ansuerde nay;
And seide him hou that everyday
His brethren mihten knowe and hiere
Of Moises on Erthe hiere
And of prophetes othre mo,
What hem was best. And he seith no;
Bot if ther mihte a man aryse
Fro deth to lyve in such a wise,
To tellen hem hou that it were,
He seide hou thanne of pure fere
Thei scholden wel be war therby.
Quod Habraham: "Nay sikerly;
For if thei nou wol noght obeie
To suche as techen hem the weie,
And alday preche and alday telle
Hou that it stant of hevene and helle,
Thei wol noght thanne taken hiede,
Thogh it befelle so in dede
That eny ded man were arered,
To ben of him no betre lered
Than of an other man alyve."
If thou, mi Sone, canst descryve
This tale, as Crist himself it tolde,
Thou schalt have cause to beholde,
To se so gret an evidence,
Wherof the sothe experience
Hath schewed openliche at ije,
That bodili delicacie
Of him which yeveth non almesse
Schal after falle in gret destresse.
And that was sene upon the riche:
For he ne wolde unto his liche
A Crumme yiven of his bred,
Thanne afterward, whan he was ded,
A drope of water him was werned.
Thus mai a mannes wit be lerned
Of hem that so delices taken;
Whan thei with deth ben overtaken,
That erst was swete is thanne sour.
Bot he that is a governour
Of worldes good, if he be wys,
Withinne his herte he set no pris
Of al the world, and yit he useth
The good, that he nothing refuseth,
As he which lord is of the thinges.
The Nouches and the riche ringes,
The cloth of gold and the Perrie
He takth, and yit delicacie
He leveth, thogh he were al this.
The beste mete that ther is
He ett, and drinkth the beste drinke;
Bot hou that evere he ete or drinke,
Delicacie he put aweie,
As he which goth the rihte weie
Noght only forto fiede and clothe
His bodi, bot his soule bothe.
Bot thei that taken otherwise
Here lustes, ben none of the wise;
Of Christ’s own words, for all to read,
How we must dread the vice of greed
The holy Gospels tell right plain,
And altogether ascertain,
For Christ himself bears witness to
This thing the scribes and clergy do
In Latin verse, both read and sing.
And yet, for further pondering
Of truths that it is good to hold,
I shall declaim it as it’s told
In English, and thus it began.
Christ said: “There was a wealthy man,
A mighty lord of great estate,
So fussy, as his major trait,
About his clothes, that every day,
Bright purple linen made him gay,
And he would eat and drink his fill,
After the longings of his will,
As delicacy will entice,
And took no heed of this same vice.
As it so happened, once there came
Unto his gate a leper lame,
Poor Lazarus, who begged for food.
But by the rich man, he was viewed
With scorn, and all his wants denied,
For he whose paunch was well supplied
With all the food he could consume,
Ignored this leper, unto whom
He neither word nor crumb would give
That this poor leprous man might live
Upon the giving of his alms.
The poor man lay beneath the palms
So cold and hungry, at the gate,
He could not go, but only wait,
He was so ill provided for.
And, as explained in holy lore,
The hounds came running from the hall,
Where this poor sick man took a fall,
And as he lay there, soon to die,
They licked his sores, as if to try
To soothe his pain, and bring him ease.
But he was so filled with disease,
That he from death could not be freed;
Then, as it had been long decreed,
Soul passed from body, forth to wend,
And He whom nothing may transcend,
The mighty God, to Heaven brought
His child, and set him where He ought:
In Abraham’s own breast, on high,
Where he all heavenly joy saw nigh,
And had all comforts that he would.
As it befell, just as it should,
The rich man that same night made moan,
With sudden death soon overthrown,
And made no detour to repent,
But straight down into Hell he went.
The fiend into the fire him drew,
Where he had pain enough for two
From flames whose heat will always last.
And as his gaze all round he cast,
Towards the heavens he did look,
And there he saw, and notice took
That Lazarus was in a place
Far up as he might see, in grace,
With Abraham; and then he pled
Unto the patriarch and said:
‘Send Lazarus down here to me,
But first, do let his finger be
Made wet with water, so a drop
Falls on my tongue, thereby to stop
The heat in which I now must burn.’
But Abraham replied in turn,
And gave his answer in this wise:
‘My son, it’s you I must advise,
To search through your own memory
How Lazarus had misery
While he was in that other life.
But you, in joy that knew no strife,
Base pleasures of the body sought.
So, for the deeds that you have wrought
Now you must take your own reward
Of all the pain you can afford
In Hell, where it shall always last,
And Lazarus, whose woes are past,
For whom all worldly pain is done,
In Heaven has his life begun
Of endless joy, and there he’ll stay.
And nonetheless, though you did pray
That Lazarus to you I’d send
With water on his finger’s end,
To cool off your hot tongue somedeal,
You never shall such graces feel;
And as to that foul place of sin,
Which you forever languish in,
No one has ever come from thither,
Nor may one of you come hither;
Thus be parted now from us.’
But still, the rich man cried out thus:
‘Oh Abraham, since it is so
That Lazarus may never go
To do my asking in this place,
I pray you for another grace.
For I have yet of brethren five,
Who with my father are alive.
Together in one house they dwell;
Since you are gracious, I compel
And pray to you, that you would send
This Lazarus, that he might wend
To warn them how the world is framed,
That afterwards they be not blamed
And suffer in such pain as I.
Lo, this I pray and this I cry,
Now I may not amended be.’
The patriarch then speedily
Unto his prayer did answer nay,
And said to him how every day,
His brethren heed and know the worth
Of mighty Moses here on earth,
And other prophets who could show
Which way was best. Thus, he said no.
‘But if there might a man arise
Up from the dead, in living guise
To tell them of the pain in store,
Then out of fear they would be more
Inclined in righteous paths to go.’
Said Abraham: ‘I still say no;
For if they will not now obey
Those showing them the sinless way,
Who all day preach and all day tell
How that it rests with Heaven and Hell,
And still those warnings will not heed,
Then even if it were, indeed,
That one back from the dead was brought,
By him they’d be no better taught
Than by some living holy man.’”
If you, my Son, believe you can
Embrace this tale, as Christ has told
In his own words, you shall behold
Such great degree of evidence
Whereof the true experience
Has shown unto your open sight
Delicacy of appetite
In he who will not give largesse,
Will make him fall into distress,
Like those grown rich from others’ labor.
He would not, unto his neighbor,
Give a single crumb of bread.
Then afterwards, when he was dead,
He was denied one drop to drink.
This story tells us what to think
Of those who have such dainties known
That when by death they’re overthrown,
What once was sweet is rendered sour.
But he who governs men with power
And worldly goods, if he is wise,
Within his heart, he will not prize
Those worldly things, though he may use
The good, and nothing will refuse,
As one who stands above such things.
The necklaces, the costly rings,
Gold cloth, fine gems, and finery
He’ll take, and yet Delicacy
He leaves behind, in spite of this.
The best of food, that brings him bliss,
He eats, and drinks the finest wines,
But howsoever this man dines,
Delicacy he’ll put away
As one that goes right, not astray,
Not just to feed and clothe, we know,
His body, but his soul also;
But those who must perversely prize
Their lusts, are not among the wise.
|The Delicacies of Love|
Bot now a dai a man mai se
The world so full of vanite,
That no man takth of reson hiede
Or forto clothe or forto fiede,
Bot al is sett unto the vice
To newe and changen his delice,
And riht so changeth his astat
He that of love is delicat:
For though he hadde to his hond
The beste wif of al the lond,
Or the faireste love of alle,
Yit wolde his herte on othre falle
And thenke hem mor delicious
Than he hath in his oghne hous:
Men sein it is nou ofte so;
Avise hem wel, thei that so do.
And forto speke in other weie,
Fulofte time I have herd seie,
That he which hath no love achieved,
Him thenkth that he is noght relieved,
Thogh that his ladi make him chiere,
So as sche mai in good manere
Hir honour and hir name save,
Bot he the surplus mihte have.
Nothing withstondende hire astat,
Of love more delicat
He set hire chiere at no delit,
Bot he have al his appetit.
Mi Sone, if it be with thee so,
Tell me. Myn holi fader, no:
For delicat in such a wise
Of love, as ye to me devise,
Ne was I nevere yit gultif;
For if I hadde such a wif
As ye speke of, what scholde I more?
For thanne I wolde neveremore
For lust of eny wommanhiede
Myn herte upon non other fiede:
And if I dede, it were a wast.
Bot al withoute such repast
Of lust, as ye me tolde above,
Of wif, or yit of other love,
I faste, and mai no fode gete;
So that for lacke of deinte mete,
Of which an herte mai be fedd,
I go fastende to my bedd.
Bot myhte I geten, as ye tolde,
So mochel that mi ladi wolde
Me fede with hir glad semblant,
Though me lacke al the remenant,
Yit scholde I somdel ben abeched
And for the time wel refreched.
Bot certes, fader, sche ne doth;
For in good feith, to telle soth,
I trowe, thogh I scholde sterve,
Sche wolde noght hire yhe swerve,
Min herte with o goodly lok
To fede, and thus for such a cok
I mai go fastinge everemo:
Bot if so is that eny wo
Mai fede a mannes herte wel,
Therof I have at every meel
Of plente more than ynowh;
Bot that is of himself so towh,
Mi stomac mai it noght defie.
Lo, such is the delicacie
Of love, which myn herte fedeth;
Thus have I lacke of that me nedeth.
Bot for al this yit natheles
I seie noght I am gylteles,
That I somdel am delicat:
For elles were I fulli mat,
Bot if that I som lusti stounde
Of confort and of ese founde,
To take of love som repast;
For thogh I with the fulle tast
The lust of love mai noght fiele,
Min hunger otherwise I kiele
Of smale lustes whiche I pike,
And for a time yit thei like;
If that ye wisten what I mene.
Nou, goode Sone, schrif thee clene
Of suche deyntes as ben goode,
Wherof thou takst thin hertes fode.
Mi fader, I you schal reherce,
Hou that mi fodes ben diverse,
So as thei fallen in degre.
O fiedinge is of that I se,
An other is of that I here,
The thridde, as I schal tellen here,
It groweth of min oghne thoght:
And elles scholde I live noght;
For whom that failleth fode of herte,
He mai noght wel the deth asterte.
Of sihte is al mi ferste fode,
Thurgh which myn yhe of alle goode
Hath that to him is acordant,
A lusti fode sufficant.
Whan that I go toward the place
Wher I schal se my ladi face,
Min yhe, which is loth to faste,
Beginth to hungre anon so faste,
That him thenkth of on houre thre,
Til I ther come and he hire se:
And thanne after his appetit
He takth a fode of such delit,
That him non other deynte nedeth.
Of sondri sihtes he him fedeth:
He seth hire face of such colour,
That freisshere is than eny flour,
He seth hire front is large and plein
Withoute fronce of eny grein,
He seth hire yhen lich an hevene,
He seth hire nase strauht and evene,
He seth hire rode upon the cheke,
He seth hire rede lippes eke,
Hire chyn acordeth to the face,
Al that he seth is full of grace,
He seth hire necke round and clene,
Therinne mai no bon be sene,
He seth hire handes faire and whyte;
For al this thing withoute wyte
He mai se naked ate leste,
So is it wel the more feste
And wel the mor Delicacie
Unto the fiedinge of myn yhe.
He seth hire schapthe forth withal,
Hire bodi round, hire middel smal,
So wel begon with good array,
Which passeth al the lust of Maii,
Whan he is most with softe schoures
Ful clothed in his lusti floures.
With suche sihtes by and by
Min yhe is fed; bot finaly,
Whan he the port and the manere
Seth of hire wommanysshe chere,
Than hath he such delice on honde,
Him thenkth he mihte stille stonde,
And that he hath ful sufficance
Of liflode and of sustienance
As to his part for everemo.
And if it thoghte alle othre so,
Fro thenne wolde he nevere wende,
Bot there unto the worldes ende
He wolde abyde, if that he mihte,
And fieden him upon the syhte.
For thogh I mihte stonden ay
Into the time of domesday
And loke upon hire evere in on,
Yit whanne I scholde fro hire gon,
Min yhe wolde, as thogh he faste,
Ben hungerstorven al so faste,
Til efte ayein that he hire syhe.
Such is the nature of myn yhe:
Ther is no lust so deintefull,
Of which a man schal noght be full,
Of that the stomac underfongeth,
Bot evere in on myn yhe longeth:
For loke hou that a goshauk tireth,
Riht so doth he, whan that he pireth
And toteth on hire wommanhiede;
For he mai nevere fulli fiede
His lust, bot evere aliche sore
Him hungreth, so that he the more
Desireth to be fed algate:
And thus myn yhe is mad the gate,
Thurgh which the deyntes of my thoght
Of lust ben to myn herte broght.
Riht as myn yhe with his lok
Is to myn herte a lusti coc
Of loves fode delicat,
Riht so myn Ere in his astat,
Wher as myn yhe mai noght serve,
Can wel myn hertes thonk deserve
And fieden him fro day to day
With suche deyntes as he may.
For thus it is, that overal,
Wher as I come in special,
I mai hiere of mi ladi pris;
I hiere on seith that sche is wys,
An other seith that sche is good,
And som men sein, of worthi blod
That sche is come, and is also
So fair, that nawher is non so;
And som men preise hire goodli chiere:
Thus every thing that I mai hiere,
Which souneth to mi ladi goode,
Is to myn Ere a lusti foode.
And ek min Ere hath over this
A deynte feste, whan so is
That I mai hiere hirselve speke;
For thanne anon mi faste I breke
On suche wordes as sche seith,
That full of trouthe and full of feith
Thei ben, and of so good desport,
That to myn Ere gret confort
Thei don, as thei that ben delices.
For al the metes and the spices,
That eny Lombard couthe make,
Ne be so lusti forto take
Ne so ferforth restauratif,
I seie as for myn oghne lif,
As ben the wordes of hire mouth:
For as the wyndes of the South
Ben most of alle debonaire,
So whan hir list to speke faire,
The vertu of hire goodly speche
Is verraily myn hertes leche.
And if it so befalle among,
That sche carole upon a song,
Whan I it hiere I am so fedd,
That I am fro miself so ledd,
As thogh I were in paradis;
For certes, as to myn avis,
Whan I here of hir vois the stevene,
Me thenkth it is a blisse of hevene.
And ek in other wise also
Fulofte time it falleth so,
Min Ere with a good pitance
Is fedd of redinge of romance
Of Ydoine and of Amadas,
That whilom weren in mi cas,
And eke of othre many a score,
That loveden longe er I was bore.
For whan I of here loves rede,
Min Ere with the tale I fede;
And with the lust of here histoire
Somtime I drawe into memoire
Hou sorwe mai noght evere laste;
And so comth hope in ate laste,
Whan I non other fode knowe.
And that endureth bot a throwe,
Riht as it were a cherie feste;
Bot forto compten ate leste,
As for the while yit it eseth
And somdel of myn herte appeseth:
For what thing to myn Ere spreedeth,
Which is plesant, somdel it feedeth
With wordes suche as he mai gete
Mi lust, in stede of other mete.
Lo thus, mi fader, as I seie,
Of lust the which myn yhe hath seie,
And ek of that myn Ere hath herd,
Fulofte I have the betre ferd.
And tho tuo bringen in the thridde,
The which hath in myn herte amidde
His place take, to arraie
The lusti fode, which assaie
I mot; and nameliche on nyhtes,
Whan that me lacketh alle sihtes,
And that myn heringe is aweie,
Thanne is he redy in the weie
Mi reresouper forto make,
Of which myn hertes fode I take.
This lusti cokes name is hote
Thoght, which hath evere hise pottes hote
Of love buillende on the fyr
With fantasie and with desir,
Of whiche er this fulofte he fedde
Min herte, whanne I was abedde;
And thanne he set upon my bord
Bothe every syhte and every word
Of lust, which I have herd or sein.
Bot yit is noght mi feste al plein,
Bot al of woldes and of wisshes,
Therof have I my fulle disshes,
Bot as of fielinge and of tast,
Yit mihte I nevere have o repast.
And thus, as I have seid aforn,
I licke hony on the thorn,
And as who seith, upon the bridel
I chiewe, so that al is ydel
As in effect the fode I have.
Bot as a man that wolde him save,
Whan he is seck, be medicine,
Riht so of love the famine
I fonde in al that evere I mai
To fiede and dryve forth the day,
Til I mai have the grete feste,
Which al myn hunger myhte areste.
Lo suche ben mi lustes thre;
Of that I thenke and hiere and se
I take of love my fiedinge
Withoute tastinge or fielinge:
And as the Plover doth of Eir
I live, and am in good espeir
That for no such delicacie
I trowe I do no glotonie.
And natheles to youre avis,
Min holi fader, that be wis,
I recomande myn astat
Of that I have be delicat.
Mi Sone, I understonde wel
That thou hast told hier everydel,
And as me thenketh be thi tale,
It ben delices wonder smale,
Wherof thou takst thi loves fode.
Bot, Sone, if that thou understode
What is to ben delicious,
Thou woldest noght be curious
Upon the lust of thin astat
To ben to sore delicat,
Wherof that thou reson excede:
For in the bokes thou myht rede,
If mannes wisdom schal be suied,
It oghte wel to ben eschuied
And that whilom was schewed eke,
If thou these olde bokes seke,
Als wel be reson as be kinde,
Of olde ensample as men mai finde.
But nowadays a man may see
The world's so full of vanity,
There's very little reason seen
Regarding clothing or cuisine;
Familiar things breed discontent,
On change does everyone seem bent,
They'll even range around in love ,
Since change they're so enamoured of;
And though he had within his hand
The very best wife in the land,
Who was the sweetest wife of all,
Yet would his eyes on others fall
And for them more attraction feel
Than what in his own house was real.
Men say now this is oft the case;
Of those who on themselves disgrace
Reflect. Put in different way,
I many times have heard men say,
He who by love has not been thrilled,
Regards himself as unfulfilled;
Although his lady nice may be,
She may desire propriety
To keep her honor and repute,
While he gets the remaining fruit.
But not withstanding her estate,
He'd rather have a fuller plate,
That she is nice is not so great,
If he can't all his hunger sate.
My son, if with you this is so
Tell me. My holy father, no:
For chafed by love in such a way
As you've described to me this day,
I never have been guilty of;
For had I such a wife to love,
Whatever could I more desire?
For then I never would require
Another woman to pursue
To feed for lust a heart untrue.
And if I did, it would not last.
But with no hope of such repast
Of lust, as you portrayed above,
With any woman I could love,
I fast, because my plate is bare,
So that with no delicious fare,
On which a man's heart may be fed,
I must go fasting to my bed.
But I just might, like you have said,
Sometimes be by my lady fed
By her alluring looks, although
No other morsel will she throw,
And if I had a mini-feast
And my great hunger briefly ceased,
Then it was not because of her;
For in good faith I can aver
That although I should starve, I swear
She would not condescend to share,
And feed my heart one goodly look;
Thus for the want of such a cook
I may forever fasting go.
Were it the case that any woe
Could make a man's heart sated feel,
Of that I have at every meal
A plate with plenty, full enough;
The problem is that it's so tough,
My stomach cannot it digest.
Such is love's fare, demurely dressed,
On which my famished heart must feed;
Thus I'm deprived of what I need.
In spite of all this, nonetheless
I recognize I too transgress
By being carnally inclined.
For elsewise I might lose my mind,
Unless some chance I find to know
The comfort of love's wondrous glow,
By tasting some of love's repast;
For though I don't completely fast,
I feast not from love's full buffet;
Still I my hunger will allay
With small bites of which I partake
And for a time they my heart's ache
Will cure, if you know what I mean.
Confess now, son, of that cuisine,
Those morsels to which you allude,
That you consume for your heart's food.
My father, I'll to you rehearse
How that my foods are all diverse,
Arranging them by their degree.
One banquet is that which I see,
Another that which strikes my ear,
The third, that I would have you hear
About, arises from my thought,
And otherwise I'd come to naught;
For whose heart does no loving crave,
He might as well be in his grave.
Of love's refreshment sight's the source,
Served by my eyes, of my first course;
And on the plate a pleasing spread
Of food by which I'm amply fed.
Whenever I approach the place
Where I shall see my lady's face,
My eye's, which do not care to fast,
Feel hunger, such that when has passed
A single hour, it seems like four,
Until I see her at the door.
And then to please my appetites
I take in such delicious bites,
That no more tidbits do I need.
These are the sights on which I feed:
I see the color of her flesh,
Than which no flower is as fresh,
I see her forehead smooth and wide,
That has no blemishes to hide,
I see her eyes, a heavenly hue,
I see her nose that's straight and true
Upon her rosy cheeks I gaze,
Her lips more red than rose bouquets.
Her chin well complements her face;
All that I see is full of grace,
I see her pretty neck wherein
No bone is seen beneath her skin,
I see her hands all white and fair;
I'm able sans offense to stare
On all these features naked, which
Does all the more that food enrich,
And more felicity supplies
To that on which I feast my eyes.
Those eyes her shapely body taste,
And also see her slender waist.
Her bloom exceeds in every way,
All the luxuriance of May,
When earth is fully, from soft showers,
Clothed with bright and fragrant flowers.
Sights like these served up, my eyes
Will feed; but in the end I prize
Her bearing and behavior more;
When I her female mien adore,
Then on such loveliness I feed,
I think that I shall never need
To feast upon such fare again,
For all necessities I then
Would have if she could be my wife,
And all fulfilled would be my life;
Thence would I never go away,
But there until my final day
I would continue, if I might,
To stay and feed upon the sight.
For though I might survive until
The Day of Judgment I would still
Upon her look eternally,
For if away from her I'd be,
My eyes as though from fasting would
Begin to tear until I could
Another time with her unite.
Such is the nature of my sight.
On love's plate there's no dainty fare,
On which a man might want to stare,
But what my eye for that thing yearns.
For look at how a falcon turns,
The huntress holding him to spy,
Well, it's the same way with my eye,
As on her womanhood I peer.
My eye may never feed, I fear,
My passions fully, still I feel
A hunger, with a fuller meal
Desiring always to be fed.
And thus unto my heart is led
The passion stirring in my being
Through the portal of my seeing.
As my eye is, with its look
Unto my heart a cordial cook
Of love's sweet pleasurable food;
But for those things that can't be viewed,
My ears do my heart's thanks deserve
For fare that my eyes may not serve,
As they supply my heart's buffet
With all such morsels as they may.
For thus it is, whenever I
Am someplace where good friends are nigh,
They'll to my lady tributes pay;
That she is wise I hear one say,
That she is genuine say some
While others say that she is come
Of noble blood, and is so fair
That with her no one can compare;
While some her goodly manners cheer.
Thus all the things that I may hear,
That to her righteousness redound
Are to my ears a feast of sound.
And too, my ears a dainty treat
Devour when with her I meet
And can of her own voice partake.
For then at once my fast I break
On all the words that she may speak,
That are so full of truth, so meek,
And are so soothing and so sweet,
That to my ears they are replete
With comfort, like a tasty treat.
For there's no condiment nor cake,
That any master chef could bake,
That would so pleasurable be
Nor so restorative for me,
Of health and vigor, strength and life,
As are her words with nurture rife.
For as the cooling southern breeze
Blows gently from the southern seas,
So when to fairly speak she deigns,
Her speech, like sweet refreshing rains,
It's virtue on my thirsting heart
Pours down. And then if she should start
A lilting melody to sing,
Such joy does it to my heart bring,
That as with some enchanting spice,
I'm wafted into paradise.
For honestly, when her sweet voice
I hear, it makes my heart rejoice,
For it's a heavenly bliss most choice.
But sometimes, too, in other ways,
It happens that on other trays
My ear with a delicious course
Is served, romantic tales the source,
Like Amadas and Ydoine,
Whose circumstances were like mine,
And many another pair as well,
Before I came on earth to dwell.
For when I read about their love
My ear devours the fare thereof;
And as upon their love I ponder
Oft my mind begins to wander
Thinking how their sorrow ceased;
And so some hope I have, at least,
When that's the whole of my repast.
And though a short while it will last,
Just like a harvest season brief,
It counts for something, since relief
At least it fleetingly affords
To my heart's frayed and tattered cords.
For pleasant stories that I hear
Are like a banquet to my ear;
With words the food for my desire,
No other fare do I require.
Lo thus, my father, so say I,
The lusty morsels that my eye
Has seen, and that my ear has heard
Have bliss within my heart bestirred.
To these two we can add a third,
Which deep within my heart resides
And many a dainty dish provides
Of lusty food for my delight;
His nourishments are served at night
When I'm deprived of all my sight,
And too my hearing's absent quite;
He'll then step in and fill the lack,
To fix for me a midnight snack,
Which for my heart will hit the spot.
This lusty cook is known as Thought
Whose pots are always nice and hot,
With love a-boiling on the fire
With fantasy and with desire.
From which he frequently has fed
My heart, while I've lain in my bed;
He'll then upon my platter spread
Both every sight and every word
Of pleasure which I've seen or heard.
Still, is my feast not flat and bland?
My unfilled desires and wishes –
Those mirages fill my dishes,
But of touching and real taste
Such fare is ne'er before me placed.
And thus you'd think that I was born
To lick my honey off the thorn,
Or that I at the bit in vain
Am champing, never to obtain
That which is figured by my food.
But as a sick man might conclude
That medicine his life could save,
Just so love's famine I may brave
By venturing in every way
To feed and hasten on the day,
When I partake of that great feast,
And from my hunger am released.
Lo such are all all my pleasures three:
That which I think and hear and see;
Of love I feed without so much
As one true taste or one true touch:
And as the plover feeds on air
That's also true of me, I swear,
As to the delicacies of love
No gluttony I'm guilty of.
And therefore I would have you know,
My wise and holy father, though
To feed on pleasure I've been prone,
I nonetheless restraint have shown.
My son I'm sure you've been sincere
Concerning all you've told me here,
And as I think upon it, all
The pleasures you have had are small,
When you by love's food have been feted.
If you knew how overrated
Though, the feast is you've awaited,
You might not be so inflamed,
With lust that for you lies unclaimed,
As of such fare to be so fond,
That reason you would go beyond.
For in the books that you might read,
If on men's wisdom you would feed
That's one indulgence you don't need.
And this was proven in the past,
As you might come to see at last,
By intuition and by thought,
From tales that are with wisdom fraught.
|Nero's Pernicious Pleasures|
What man that wolde him wel avise,
Delicacie is to despise,
Whan kinde acordeth noght withal;
Wherof ensample in special
Of Nero whilom mai be told,
Which ayein kinde manyfold
Hise lustes tok, til ate laste
That god him wolde al overcaste;
Of whom the Cronique is so plein,
Me list nomore of him to sein.
And natheles for glotonie
Of bodili Delicacie,
To knowe his stomak hou it ferde,
Of that noman tofore herde,
Which he withinne himself bethoghte,
A wonder soubtil thing he wroghte.
Thre men upon eleccioun
Of age and of complexioun
Lich to himself be alle weie
He tok towardes him to pleie,
And ete and drinke als wel as he.
Therof was no diversite;
For every day whan that thei eete,
Tofore his oghne bord thei seete,
And of such mete as he was served,
Althogh thei hadde it noght deserved,
Thei token service of the same.
Bot afterward al thilke game
Was into wofull ernest torned;
For whan thei weren thus sojorned,
Withinne a time at after mete
Nero, which hadde noght foryete
The lustes of his frele astat,
As he which al was delicat,
To knowe thilke experience,
The men let come in his presence:
And to that on the same tyde,
Acourser that he scholde ryde
Into the feld, anon he bad;
Wherof this man was wonder glad,
And goth to prike and prance aboute.
That other, whil that he was oute,
He leide upon his bedd to slepe:
The thridde, which he wolde kepe
Withinne his chambre, faire and softe
He goth now doun nou up fulofte,
Walkende a pass, that he ne slepte,
Til he which on the courser lepte
Was come fro the field ayein.
Nero thanne, as the bokes sein,
These men doth taken alle thre
And slouh hem, for he wolde se
The whos stomak was best defied:
And whanne he hath the sothe tryed,
He fond that he which goth the pass
Defyed best of alle was,
Which afterward he usede ay.
And thus what thing unto his pay
Was most plesant, he lefte non:
With every lust he was begon,
Wherof the bodi myhte glade,
For he non abstinence made;
Bot most above alle erthli thinges
Of wommen unto the likinges
Nero sette al his hole herte,
For that lust scholde him noght asterte.
Whan that the thurst of love him cawhte,
Wher that him list he tok a drauhte,
He spareth nouther wif ne maide,
That such an other, as men saide,
In al this world was nevere yit.
He was so drunke in al his wit
Thurgh sondri lustes whiche he tok,
That evere, whil ther is a bok,
Of Nero men schul rede and singe
Unto the worldes knowlechinge,
Mi goode Sone, as thou hast herd.
For evere yit it hath so ferd,
Delicacie in loves cas
Withoute reson is and was;
For wher that love his herte set,
Him thenkth it myhte be no bet;
And thogh it be noght fulli mete,
The lust of love is evere swete.
Lo, thus togedre of felaschipe
Delicacie and drunkeschipe,
Wherof reson stant out of herre,
Have mad full many a wisman erre
In loves cause most of alle:
For thanne hou so that evere it falle,
Wit can no reson understonde,
Bot let the governance stonde
To Will, which thanne wext so wylde,
That he can noght himselve schylde
Fro no peril, bot out of feere
The weie he secheth hiere and there,
Him recheth noght upon what syde:
For oftetime he goth beside,
And doth such thing withoute drede,
Wherof him oghte wel to drede.
Bot whan that love assoteth sore,
It passeth alle mennes lore;
What lust it is that he ordeigneth,
Ther is no mannes miht restreigneth,
And of the godd takth he non hiede:
Bot laweles withoute drede,
His pourpos for he wolde achieve
Ayeins the pointz of the believe,
He tempteth hevene and erthe and helle,
Hierafterward as I schall telle.
Whoever would be well advised,
Delicacy's to be despised,
When common sense it goes against;
There is a tale, somewhat condensed,
Of Nero, that I'd like to tell,
Which illustrates this point quite well;
To many a strange extreme he went,
Till God misfortune on him sent;
Most people know enough of him
That through it I shall simply skim.
And so where gluttony's at stake
From alimentary intake,
To know just how digestions works
Through one of his capricious quirks
Of thought, his most demented mind
A shrewd experiment designed.
He chose three men of his own age,
Whose constitutions he did gauge
As like his own in every way,
And with them he began to play;
The same as he they drank and ate,
And from this did not deviate.
For every day when time to eat,
They at his table took a seat,
And of such meat as he was served,
Although such fare they'd not deserved,
Still all of them consumed the same.
But soon enough this little game
Was into deadly earnest turned;
For when from lunch they had adjourned,
A little bit of time went by,
When Nero, his grim plan to ply,
His morbid curiosity
To satisfy, as only he
Could conjure with his twisted thought,
Had these three men unto him brought.
He bade the first one to proceed
To mount up on a stately steed,
And in the field to ride around;
Wherein this man great honor found,
And spurred his horse to prance about.
The second, while the first was out,
To sleep upon his bed he laid .
The third he in his chamber made
To stay, wherein he walked around
As though on soft and grassy ground,
While sleeping was to him denied,
Till that one who the horse did ride
Had from the field returned again.
And as the books say, Nero then
All these three men did take and slay,
And slit their stomachs to display
Which one had best its contents churned.
And when he had the truth discerned,
The one who walked but did not rest
Had, of them all, digested best,
A fact which afterwards he used.
And thus whatever him amused,
He rested not till he possessed.
With every lust he was obsessed
Whereof the body might partake,
He no indulgence would forsake;
But of all earthly pleasures Nero
In on women most did zero,
Setting on them his whole heart,
Such lust from him would not depart.
By love's thirst he was stricken oft.
Wherever he would take a draught,
No wife nor virgin did he spare,
In this none other could compare,
If one should search the whole world round.
His lack of sense was so profound
Through all his dithyrambic reign,
While books upon this earth remain,
Forever men shall read and sing
About this crazed discordant king.
My son, one fact we can't erase
Is that it's always been the case,
Whenever men love's pleasures chase,
Then reason out the window goes;
For when his heart with passion glows,
Of luck there is no guaranty,
And though it may not proper be
The lure of love is always sweet.
Lo, thus together these two meet:
Lewd thoughts and insobriety,
Away from which good sense will flee,
And cause the wisest man to err
Wherever love is in the air,
No matter then how he might fare
The mind with reason won't be steered,
Which makes it so the way is cleared
For lust unfettered to direct.
Thus he cannot himself protect
From any peril; without cause
He'll flail about and grasp at straws,
With no regard for what is right.
In search of sensual delight
He'll do things without feeling fear
Which to him dreadful should appear.
But when with love he is half crazed
It matters not how he's been raised;
Whate'er his latest lust might be,
No man may make him reason see.
And of God's law he takes no heed,
But rather makes up his own creed,
His purposes to justify;
For him faith's doctrine's don't apply
He'll challenge heaven, earth and hell,
As I here afterward shall tell.
|The Black Arts|
Who dar do thing which love ne dar?
To love is every lawe unwar,
Bot to the lawes of his heste
The fissch, the foul, the man, the beste
Of al the worldes kinde louteth.
For love is he which nothing douteth:
In mannes herte where he sit,
He compteth noght toward his wit
The wo nomore than the wele,
No mor the hete than the chele,
No mor the wete than the dreie,
No mor to live than to deie,
So that tofore ne behinde
He seth nothing, bot as the blinde
Withoute insyhte of his corage
He doth merveilles in his rage.
To what thing that he wole him drawe,
Ther is no god, ther is no lawe,
Of whom that he takth eny hiede;
Bot as Baiard the blinde stede,
Til he falle in the dich amidde,
He goth ther noman wole him bidde;
He stant so ferforth out of reule,
Ther is no wit that mai him reule.
And thus to telle of him in soth,
Ful many a wonder thing he doth,
That were betre to be laft,
Among the whiche is wicchecraft,
That som men clepen Sorcerie,
Which forto winne his druerie
With many a circumstance he useth,
Ther is no point which he refuseth.
The craft which that Saturnus fond,
To make prickes in the Sond,
That Geomance cleped is,
Fulofte he useth it amis;
And of the flod his Ydromance,
And of the fyr the Piromance,
With questions echon of tho
He tempteth ofte, and ek also
Aeremance in juggement
To love he bringth of his assent:
For these craftes, as I finde,
A man mai do be weie of kinde,
Be so it be to good entente.
Bot he goth al an other wente;
For rathere er he scholde faile,
With Nigromance he wole assaile
To make his incantacioun
With hot subfumigacioun.
Thilke art which Spatula is hote,
And used is of comun rote
Among Paiens, with that craft ek
Of which is Auctor Thosz the Grek,
He worcheth on and on be rowe:
Razel is noght to him unknowe,
Ne Salomones Candarie,
His Ydeac, his Eutonye;
The figure and the bok withal
Of Balamuz, and of Ghenbal
The Seal, and therupon thymage
Of Thebith, for his avantage
He takth, and somwhat of Gibiere,
Which helplich is to this matiere.
Babilla with hire Sones sevene,
Which hath renonced to the hevene,
With Cernes bothe square and rounde,
He traceth ofte upon the grounde,
Makende his invocacioun;
And for full enformacioun
The Scole which Honorius
Wrot, he poursuieth: and lo, thus
Magique he useth forto winne
His love, and spareth for no Sinne.
And over that of his Sotie,
Riht as he secheth Sorcerie
Of hem that ben Magiciens,
Riht so of the Naturiens
Upon the Sterres from above
His weie he secheth unto love,
Als fer as he hem understondeth.
In many a sondry wise he fondeth:
He makth ymage, he makth sculpture,
He makth writinge, he makth figure,
He makth his calculacions,
He makth his demonstracions;
His houres of Astronomie
He kepeth as for that partie
Which longeth to thinspeccion
Of love and his affeccion;
He wolde into the helle seche
The devel himselve to beseche,
If that he wiste forto spede,
To gete of love his lusti mede:
Wher that he hath his herte set,
He bede nevere fare bet
Ne wite of other hevene more.
Mi Sone, if thou of such a lore
Hast ben er this, I red thee leve.
Min holi fader, be youre leve
Of al that ye have spoken hiere
Which toucheth unto this matiere,
To telle soth riht as I wene,
I wot noght o word what ye mene.
I wol noght seie, if that I couthe,
That I nolde in mi lusti youthe
Benethe in helle and ek above
To winne with mi ladi love
Don al that evere that I mihte;
For therof have I non insihte
Wher afterward that I become,
To that I wonne and overcome
Hire love, which I most coveite.
Mi Sone, that goth wonder streite:
For this I mai wel telle soth,
Ther is noman the which so doth,
For al the craft that he can caste,
That he nabeith it ate laste.
For often he that wol beguile
Is guiled with the same guile,
And thus the guilour is beguiled;
As I finde in a bok compiled
To this matiere an old histoire,
The which comth nou to mi memoire,
And is of gret essamplerie
Ayein the vice of Sorcerie,
Wherof non ende mai be good.
Bot hou whilom therof it stod,
A tale which is good to knowe
To thee, mi Sone, I schal beknowe.
Who dares do things love does not dare?
Of every law, love’s unaware,
But to love’s law, at his behest,
Fish, fowl, man, beast and all the rest
Of this world’s creatures will bow low,
For love fears nothing, as we know:
In man’s own heart, wherein love sits,
Man counts no more among his wits
What’s well than any woeful ill,
No more what’s hot than what will chill,
No more what’s wet than what is dry,
No more to live long than to die.
So, looking forward or behind,
He nothing sees, but being blind
Of insight, heart and soul to gauge,
He will do marvels in his rage.
Whatever thing to him he’ll draw,
There is no god, there is no law
Of which he will take any heed,
But like Bayard, the blinded steed,
Until he falls down in a ditch,
He goes where no one bids him, which
Makes him so far out of control,
There is no wisdom rules his soul.
And thus, to tell of love what’s true,
Full many a wondrous thing he’ll do
That was far better left undone.
Among them Witchcraft is just one,
Which some men have called Sorcery,
That for to win his jewel, he
In many a circumstance will use:
There is no aspect he’ll refuse.
The craft that came from Saturn’s hand,
Of making markings in the sand,
That’s known as Geomancy: this
Full often he will use amiss;
Of waters, his Hydromancy,
And of the fire, Pyromancy,
With questions for each one of those
He’ll probe quite often, and he knows
Aeromancy, to whose judgment
In love, he brings his own assent,
And all these crafts, as I do find,
A man may do by way of kind
Objectives, yet while good intent
Was his, that’s not the way it went.
For rather than his hopes should fail,
With Necromancy he’ll assail
His target, making incantations,
Incense for his fumigations.
Scapula, which you may note
Is used quite commonly by rote
Among the pagans, he may seek;
Crafts authored by old Toz the Greek
He works on, moving down the row:
Razel’s not one he does not know,
Nor Solomon’s nine candlesticks,
Eutonie, Ydeac: those tricks
In books of figures, and withal,
From Balamuz, and from Ghenbal,
The seal whereon an image is
Of Thebith, his advantages
He takes, and something of Gibiere,
Which is of help in his affair.
Great Babylon, with planets seven,
Which renounced was by God’s heaven,
Using figures square and round,
He traces often on the ground
When he will make an invocation;
And to get full information,
That school which Honorius
Wrought, he pursues; and then, lo, thus
Its magic he will use to win
His love, and sparing naught for sin,
And for love’s folly, swamped he’ll be,
Just as he seeks out Sorcery
Of those who claim to be Magicians.
Right so, of the Naturicians
In the stars far up above,
A way he’ll seek to get to love,
As far as he can understand them.
Sundry ways, he’ll come to mayhem:
He makes paintings, he makes sculptures,
He writes spells, and he makes figures,
He will make his calculations,
He will make his demonstrations;
Books of astronomic art
He’ll keep, as they concern that part
Belonging to his close inspection
Of his love and his affection;
He’ll seek out the deepest reach
Of Hell, the Devil to beseech
If he desires to make speed
And get of love his lusty need,
Whereon his heart is firmly set.
He thinks there is no better bet,
Nor does he know of Heaven more.
My son, if schooled in such a lore
You’ve been ere this, I bid thee leave.
My holy father, please believe
Of all that you have spoken here
To touch this matter, and make clear
You tell the truth, as I deem good,
Not one word have I understood.
I won’t say, though it sounds uncouth,
I would not, in my lusty youth,
Beneath in Hell, and up above,
To win out with my lady love,
Have done all that I ever might,
For I had not the least insight
What state I’d afterwards be in,
Just so I’d overcome, and win
Her love, which I’d most coveted.
My Son, on harsh paths you were led,
But this I may well tell, forsooth,
A man who does these things, in truth,
For all the spells of craft he’ll cast,
He will not have his wish, at last,
For he that will to guile descend
By his own trickery is penned,
And the beguiler is beguiled,
As I find in a book compiled
About this thing: a history,
Which comes now to my memory;
A great example you may see
Against the vice of Sorcery,
Whereof no ending may be good.
But how in days long gone it stood,
A tale that it is good to know,
On you, my Son, I shall bestow.
|Ulysses and Telegonus|
Among hem whiche at Troie were,
Uluxes ate Siege there
Was on be name in special;
Of whom yit the memorial
Abit, for whyl ther is a mouth,
For evere his name schal be couth.
He was a worthi knyht and king
And clerk knowende of every thing;
He was a gret rethorien,
He was a gret magicien;
Of Tullius the rethorique,
Of king Zorastes the magique,
Of Tholome thastronomie,
Of Plato the Philosophie,
Of Daniel the slepi dremes,
Of Neptune ek the water stremes,
Of Salomon and the proverbes,
Of Macer al the strengthe of herbes,
And the Phisique of Ypocras,
And lich unto Pictagoras
Of Surgerie he knew the cures.
Bot somwhat of his aventures,
Which schal to mi matiere acorde,
To thee, mi Sone, I wol recorde.
This king, of which thou hast herd sein,
Fro Troie as he goth hom ayein
Be Schipe, he fond the See divers,
With many a wyndi storm revers.
Bot he thurgh wisdom that he schapeth
Ful many a gret peril ascapeth,
Of whiche I thenke tellen on,
Hou that malgre the nedle and ston
Wynddrive he was al soudeinly
Upon the strondes of Cilly,
Wher that he moste abyde a whyle.
Tuo queenes weren in that yle
Calipsa named and Circes;
And whan they herde hou Uluxes
Is londed ther upon the ryve,
For him thei senden als so blive.
With him suche as he wolde he nam
And to the court to hem he cam.
Thes queenes were as tuo goddesses
Of Art magique Sorceresses,
That what lord comth to that rivage,
Thei make him love in such a rage
And upon hem assote so,
That thei wol have, er that he go,
Al that he hath of worldes good.
Uluxes wel this understod,
Thei couthe moche, he couthe more;
Thei schape and caste ayein him sore
And wroghte many a soutil wyle,
Bot yit thei mihte him noght beguile.
Bot of the men of his navie
Thei tuo forschope a gret partie,
Mai non of hem withstonde here hestes;
Som part thei schopen into bestes,
Som part thei schopen into foules,
To beres, tigres, Apes, oules,
Or elles be som other weie;
Ther myhte hem nothing desobeie,
Such craft thei hadde above kinde.
Bot that Art couthe thei noght finde,
Of which Uluxes was deceived,
That he ne hath hem alle weyved,
And broght hem into such a rote,
That upon him thei bothe assote;
And thurgh the science of his art
He tok of hem so wel his part,
That he begat Circes with childe.
He kepte him sobre and made hem wilde,
He sette himselve so above,
That with here good and with here love,
Who that therof be lief or loth,
Al quit into his Schip he goth.
Circes toswolle bothe sides
He lefte, and waiteth on the tydes,
And straght thurghout the salte fom
He takth his cours and comth him hom,
Where as he fond Penolope;
A betre wif ther mai non be,
And yit ther ben ynowhe of goode.
Bot who hir goodschipe understode
Fro ferst that sche wifhode tok,
Hou many loves sche forsok
And hou sche bar hire al aboute,
Ther whiles that hire lord was oute,
He mihte make a gret avant
Amonges al the remenant
That sche was on of al the beste.
Wel myhte he sette his herte in reste,
This king, whan he hir fond in hele;
For as he couthe in wisdom dele,
So couthe sche in wommanhiede:
And whan sche syh withoute drede
Hire lord upon his oghne ground,
That he was come sauf and sound,
In al this world ne mihte be
A gladdere womman than was sche.
The fame, which mai noght ben hidd,
Thurghout the lond is sone kidd,
Here king is come hom ayein:
Ther mai noman the fulle sein,
Hou that thei weren alle glade,
So mochel joie of him thei made.
The presens every day be newed,
He was with yiftes al besnewed;
The poeple was of him so glad,
That thogh non other man hem bad,
Taillage upon hemself thei sette,
And as it were of pure dette
Thei yeve here goodes to the king:
This was a glad hom welcomyng.
Thus hath Uluxes what he wolde,
His wif was such as sche be scholde,
His poeple was to him sougit,
Him lacketh nothing of delit.
Bot fortune is of such a sleyhte,
That whan a man is most on heyhte,
Sche makth him rathest forto falle:
Ther wot noman what schal befalle,
The happes over mannes hed
Ben honged with a tendre thred.
That proved was on Uluxes;
For whan he was most in his pes,
Fortune gan to make him werre
And sette his welthe al out of herre.
Upon a dai as he was merie,
As thogh ther mihte him nothing derie,
Whan nyht was come, he goth to bedde,
With slep and bothe his yhen fedde.
And while he slepte, he mette a swevene:
Him thoghte he syh a stature evene,
Which brihtere than the sonne schon;
A man it semeth was it non,
Bot yit it was as in figure
Most lich to mannyssh creature,
Bot as of beaute hevenelich
It was most to an Angel lich:
And thus betwen angel and man
Beholden it this king began,
And such a lust tok of the sihte,
That fain he wolde, if that he mihte,
The forme of that figure embrace;
And goth him forth toward the place,
Wher he sih that ymage tho,
And takth it in his Armes tuo,
And it embraceth him ayein
And to the king thus gan it sein:
"Uluxes, understond wel this,
The tokne of oure aqueintance is
Hierafterward to mochel tene:
The love that is ous betuene,
Of that we nou such joie make,
That on of ous the deth schal take,
Whan time comth of destine;
It may non other wise be."
Uluxes tho began to preie
That this figure wolde him seie
What wyht he is that seith him so.
This wyht upon a spere tho
A pensel which was wel begon,
Embrouded, scheweth him anon:
Thre fisshes alle of o colour
In manere as it were a tour
Upon the pensel were wroght.
Uluxes kneu this tokne noght,
And preith to wite in som partie
What thing it myhte signefie,
"A signe it is," the wyht ansuerde,
"Of an Empire:" and forth he ferde
Al sodeinly, whan he that seide.
Uluxes out of slep abreide,
And that was riht ayein the day,
That lengere slepen he ne may.
Men sein, a man hath knowleching
Save of himself of alle thing;
His oghne chance noman knoweth,
Bot as fortune it on him throweth:
Was nevere yit so wys a clerk,
Which mihte knowe al goddes werk,
Ne the secret which god hath set
Ayein a man mai noght be let.
Uluxes, thogh that he be wys,
With al his wit in his avis,
The mor that he his swevene acompteth,
The lasse he wot what it amonteth:
For al his calculacion,
He seth no demonstracion
Al pleinly forto knowe an ende;
Bot natheles hou so it wende,
He dradde him of his oghne Sone.
That makth him wel the more astone,
And schop therfore anon withal,
So that withinne castel wall
Thelamachum his Sone he schette,
And upon him strong warde he sette.
The sothe furthere he ne knew,
Til that fortune him overthreu;
Bot natheles for sikernesse,
Wher that he mihte wite and gesse
A place strengest in his lond,
Ther let he make of lym and sond
A strengthe where he wolde duelle;
Was nevere man yit herde telle
Of such an other as it was.
And forto strengthe him in that cas,
Of al his lond the sekereste
Of servantz and the worthieste,
To kepen him withinne warde,
He sette his bodi forto warde;
And made such an ordinance,
For love ne for aqueintance,
That were it erly, were it late,
Thei scholde lete in ate gate
No maner man, what so betydde,
Bot if so were himself it bidde.
Bot al that myhte him noght availe,
For whom fortune wole assaile,
Ther mai be non such resistence,
Which mihte make a man defence;
Al that schal be mot falle algate.
This Circes, which I spak of late,
On whom Uluxes hath begete
A child, thogh he it have foryete,
Whan time com, as it was wone,
Sche was delivered of a Sone,
Which cleped is Thelogonus.
This child, whan he was bore thus,
Aboute his moder to ful age,
That he can reson and langage,
In good astat was drawe forth:
And whan he was so mochel worth
To stonden in a mannes stede,
Circes his moder hath him bede
That he schal to his fader go,
And tolde him al togedre tho
What man he was that him begat.
And whan Thelogonus of that
Was war and hath ful knowleching
Hou that his fader was a king,
He preith his moder faire this,
To go wher that his fader is;
And sche him granteth that he schal,
And made him redi forth withal.
It was that time such usance,
That every man the conoiscance
Of his contre bar in his hond,
Whan he wente into strange lond;
And thus was every man therfore
Wel knowe, wher that he was bore:
For espiaile and mistrowinges
They dede thanne suche thinges,
That every man mai other knowe.
So it befell that ilke throwe
Thelogonus as in this cas;
Of his contre the signe was
Thre fisshes, whiche he scholde bere
Upon the penon of a spere:
And whan that he was thus arraied
And hath his harneis al assaied,
That he was redy everydel,
His moder bad him farewel,
And seide him that he scholde swithe
His fader griete a thousand sithe.
Thelogonus his moder kiste
And tok his leve, and wher he wiste
His fader was, the weie nam,
Til he unto Nachaie cam,
Which of that lond the chief Cite
Was cleped, and ther axeth he
Wher was the king and hou he ferde.
And whan that he the sothe herde,
Wher that the king Uluxes was,
Al one upon his hors gret pas
He rod him forth, and in his hond
He bar the signal of his lond
With fisshes thre, as I have told;
And thus he wente unto that hold,
Wher that his oghne fader duelleth.
The cause why he comth he telleth
Unto the kepers of the gate,
And wolde have comen in therate,
Bot schortli thei him seide nay:
And he als faire as evere he may
Besoghte and tolde hem ofte this,
Hou that the king his fader is;
Bot they with proude wordes grete
Begunne to manace and threte,
Bot he go fro the gate faste,
Thei wolde him take and sette faste.
Fro wordes unto strokes thus
Thei felle, and so Thelogonus
Was sore hurt and welnyh ded;
Bot with his scharpe speres hed
He makth defence, hou so it falle,
And wan the gate upon hem alle,
And hath slain of the beste fyve;
And thei ascriden als so blyve
Thurghout the castell al aboute.
On every syde men come oute,
Wherof the kinges herte afflihte,
And he with al the haste he mihte
A spere cauhte and out he goth,
As he that was nyh wod for wroth.
He sih the gates ful of blod,
Thelogonus and wher he stod
He sih also, bot he ne knew
What man it was, and to him threw
His Spere, and he sterte out asyde.
Bot destine, which schal betide,
Befell that ilke time so,
Thelogonus knew nothing tho
What man it was that to him caste,
And while his oghne spere laste,
With al the signe therupon
He caste unto the king anon,
And smot him with a dedly wounde.
Uluxes fell anon to grounde;
Tho every man, "The king! the king!"
Began to crie, and of this thing
Thelogonus, which sih the cas,
On knes he fell and seide, "Helas!
I have min oghne fader slain:
Nou wolde I deie wonder fain,
Nou sle me who that evere wile,
For certes it is right good skile."
He crith, he wepth, he seith therfore,
"Helas, that evere was I bore,
That this unhappi destine
So wofulli comth in be me!"
This king, which yit hath lif ynouh,
His herte ayein to him he drouh,
And to that vois an Ere he leide
And understod al that he seide,
And gan to speke, and seide on hih,
"Bring me this man." And whan he sih
Thelogonus, his thoght he sette
Upon the swevene which he mette,
And axeth that he myhte se
His spere, on which the fisshes thre
He sih upon a pensel wroght.
Tho wiste he wel it faileth noght,
And badd him that he telle scholde
Fro whenne he cam and what he wolde.
Thelogonus in sorghe and wo
So as he mihte tolde tho
Unto Uluxes al the cas,
Hou that Circes his moder was,
And so forth seide him everydel,
Hou that his moder gret him wel,
And in what wise sche him sente.
Tho wiste Uluxes what it mente,
And tok him in hise Armes softe,
And al bledende he kest him ofte,
And seide, "Sone, whil I live,
This infortune I thee foryive."
After his other Sone in haste
He sende, and he began him haste
And cam unto his fader tyt.
Bot whan he sih him in such plit,
He wolde have ronne upon that other
Anon, and slain his oghne brother,
Ne hadde be that Uluxes
Betwen hem made acord and pes,
And to his heir Thelamachus
He bad that he Thelogonus
With al his pouer scholde kepe,
Til he were of his woundes depe
Al hol, and thanne he scholde him yive
Lond wher upon he mihte live.
Thelamachus, whan he this herde,
Unto his fader he ansuerde
And seide he wolde don his wille.
So duelle thei togedre stille,
These brethren, and the fader sterveth.
Lo, wherof Sorcerie serveth.
Thurgh Sorcerie his lust he wan,
Thurgh Sorcerie his wo began,
Thurgh Sorcerie his love he ches,
Thurgh Sorcerie his lif he les;
The child was gete in Sorcerie,
The which dede al this felonie:
Thing which was ayein kynde wroght
Unkindeliche it was aboght;
The child his oghne fader slowh,
That was unkindeschipe ynowh.
Forthi tak hiede hou that it is,
So forto winne love amis,
Which endeth al his joie in wo:
For of this Art I finde also,
That hath be do for loves sake,
Wherof thou miht ensample take,
A gret Cronique imperial,
Which evere into memorial
Among the men, hou so it wende,
Schal duelle to the worldes ende.
Among the men found at Troy’s siege,
Ulysses, that great lord and liege,
Was one who bore a special name,
Of whom the memory and fame
Abides, for while our mouths intone,
Forever shall his name be known.
He was a worthy knight and king,
A scholar who knew everything;
And he was great at rhetoric,
At spells, and every magic trick;
As eloquent as Tullius,
Like Zoroaster, a Magus;
He knew the stars like Ptolemy,
And Plato’s wise philosophy;
Like Daniel, he deciphered dreams,
Like Neptune, sailed the ocean streams,
Of Solomon, wise proverbs knew,
Of Macer, every herb that grew;
The physick of Hippocrates,
And Pythagoras’ remedies
And surgery he knew, and cures.
But something of his adventures
With which my theme is in accord,
For you, my Son, I will record.
This king, of whom you’ve heard me tell,
Went home to Troy, where he did dwell,
By ship, and found the seas diverse,
With storms that put him in reverse.
But through wise deeds Ulysses shaped,
Full many great perils he escaped,
Of which I think to tell you now:
Despite his compass working, how
Wind-driven he was, suddenly
Upon the strands of Sicily,
Where he was forced to stay a while.
Two queens were living on that isle:
Calypso one was named, and Circe.
Hearing he was at their mercy,
Landed on their shores so white,
They sent for him, quick as they might.
And then, with such as he would name,
Unto their court Ulysses came.
These queens were like two goddesses
Of magic, each a sorceress,
So that whomever they’d engage,
They’d make him love with such mad rage,
And with their spells assault him so,
That they would have, before he’d go,
All that he had of worldly good.
Ulysses this well understood;
While they knew much, he knew far more;
They shaped and cast their spells full sore,
And wrought full many a subtle wile,
Yet him they never could beguile.
But of the men of his navy,
They transformed a great company,
For none withstood these queens’ behests.
Some were shaped into beasts, these guests,
Some were reshapen into fowls,
And bears and tigers, apes and owls,
Or else bewitched some other way:
So that no man could disobey;
Such craft they had, above our kind.
But still, no magic could they find
By which Ulysses was deceived;
Each one was of her might relieved.
He brought them into such a rout,
That on him they both laid their clout,
And through the science of his art,
So well he took of them his part,
That he made Circe great with child.
He stayed quite sober, made them wild,
And set himself so far above
Those two, that with their goods and love
And no regrets – like him or not –
Away into his ship he got.
With Circe swollen on both sides,
He left, and waited for the tides,
And sailing through the salty foam,
He set a course that took him home,
Where he would find Penelope:
A better wife there could not be,
Although enough of them are good.
But she, who goodness understood,
Since first her wifely vows she took:
How many lovers she forsook,
And how she barred herself about
At home, that time her lord was out;
He might well make the greatest boast,
Among the remnant of that host,
That she was overall the best.
Well might he set his heart at rest,
This king, who found her pure and whole;
What he knew, as to wisdom’s role,
So she knew, as to womanhood.
And when she saw Ulysses stood
Once more upon his native ground,
That he had come home, safe and sound,
In all this world, there might not be
More glad a woman than was she.
This news, which no man there could hide,
Throughout the land spread far and wide:
Their king had come back home again;
No man might to the full explain
To what degree it made them glad,
And how much joy in him they had.
New presents would each day begin,
With gifts, Ulysses was snowed in.
So glad of him were people made,
Though no one this decree had bade,
Taxation on themselves they set,
And, as if purely out of debt,
They gave their own goods to the king:
This was a joyous homecoming.
And so Ulysses had it good:
A wife who acted as she should,
His people’s loyalty, as his right,
So that he lacked for no delight.
But Fortune’s cunning is so sly,
When on her wheel a man rides high,
She’ll rashly make him take a fall:
There’s no one can foresee it all.
Events that hang above our heads
Are hanging by the thinnest threads;
Upon Ulysses this was proved,
For when he was at peace, there moved
Dame Fortune, come to make her point,
And put his fortunes out of joint.
On a day he was so merry
That no harm might make him wary,
When night came, he went to bed,
With sleep, his tired eyes he fed,
And while he slept, he had a dream:
He thought he saw a figure gleam
That shone more brightly than the sun;
A man it seemed, though it was none,
And yet it was, as to its figure,
Very like a mannish creature,
But of beauty heavenly,
Most like an angel for to see:
And thus, between angel and man.
As he beheld it, he began
To take such rapture at the sight
That fain he would, if so he might,
That figure’s form rush to embrace;
And he went forth towards the place
Where he had seen the image there,
And took it in his two arms, where
It could embrace him the same way,
And to the king, this it did say:
“Ulysses, understand me thus:
This meeting’s token is, for us,
Hereafter, but the greatest grief:
The love between us two is brief,
Of which we now such joy do make:
But one of us cruel death shall take
When Time fulfills our destiny;
No other outcome can there be.”
Ulysses then began to pray
The figure would go on to say
What man it was that told him so.
Upon a spear, the wight did show
A pennant that was finely sewn,
Embroidered, as was further shown:
Three fishes of one color, bright
As flags flown from a tower’s height
Upon the pennant there were wrought.
Ulysses knew this token not,
And prayed to know, at least in part,
What it might signify at heart.
“It is a sign,” the wight replied,
“Of a far empire.” Forth he hied
All suddenly, when this he spake.
Ulysses started bolt awake,
And that was right about at day;
No longer sleeping could he stay.
Man’s knowledge may hold glimmerings
Save of himself, among all things;
His own fate he may never know,
Save hints that Fortune deigns to throw.
There never was so wise a clerk
That he might know of all God’s work;
And with the secrets God has set
Against man, none’s prevailed as yet.
Ulysses, though he was so wise,
With all that wisdom might advise,
The more he reckoned what he’d dreamed,
The less it added up, it seemed.
And so, for all his calculation,
He could see no demonstration
Plainly for to know an end,
But howsoever things might wend,
It gave him dread of his own son,
A thought that simply served to stun;
He made his plans thereby, withal,
So that within a castle wall
Telemachus his son he’d get,
And on him mighty guards he’d set.
The further truth, he never knew,
That man whom Fortune overthrew.
But for his safety, nonetheless,
Where he had sought to know, or guess,
What place was safest in the land,
There, he had made, of lime and sand,
A stronghold wherein he would dwell;
No man has ever yet heard tell
Of such another as it was.
And then to strengthen it, he does
Of all his land, the trustiest
Of servants, and the worthiest,
Command, to watch the castle yard,
And keep his body under guard;
And then he made an ordinance,
That not for love, nor acquaintance,
If it was early, or was late,
Should they let enter through the gate
Whatever man, whatso betide,
Which he alone might override.
But this was all to no avail;
With those whom Fortune will assail,
There may no such resistance stand
That might make their defenses, and
All that shall be, befalls by fate.
Circe, of whom I spoke, of late,
On whom Ulysses did beget
A child, though this he did forget,
When the time came, as often done,
She was delivered of a son,
Called by the name Telegonus.
The child who had been born was thus
Raised by his mother, to the age
When he could reason like a sage,
And was of good estate, from birth,
Well bred, and of sufficient worth
That he could stand in manhood’s stead.
Circe his mother often said
That he should to his father go,
And told him all that he should know:
What man it was that him begat.
And when Telegonus of that
Was told, and had full reckoning
Of how his father was a king,
He prayed she would accomplish his
Wish to go where his father is,
And so she granted that he would,
And made him ready so he could.
It was the custom in that day
When any man should make his way
To some strange place, he’d take in hand
An emblem of his native land;
And thus was every man therefore
Well known, wherever this he bore;
Because of spying and mistrust
They did such things then, as they must,
That every man might others know.
As things befell, it happened so
Likewise, unto Telegonus;
His country’s sign, presented thus:
Three fishes, carried without fear
Upon the pennant of a spear.
When he was suitably arrayed,
In armor, brilliantly displayed,
Then he was ready as could be;
His mother bid farewell, and she
Said hasten, and, as in old rhymes,
His father greet a thousand times.
Telegonus did kiss her, too,
And took his leave, and where he knew
His father was, found that road’s name,
Until to Ithaca he came,
Which of that land the chief city
Was called, and when he reached it, he
Asked where the King was, and some word
Of how he did; the truth he heard:
Where dwelt Ulysses, in what place.
Alone on horseback, at great pace
Of speed he rode, and in his hand,
He bore the sigil of his land
With fishes three, as I have told.
And thus he went to that stronghold
In which his father chose to dwell.
His cause for coming, he did tell
Unto the keepers of the gate.
He would have come in past the grate
But curtly they did say him nay:
Yet he spoke fair, as best he may,
Beseeched and told them often, how
His father was the king, but now
With proud words they confronted him,
And threats that menaced life and limb;
But he got through the gate so fast,
Their web of chains was never cast.
From words they came to blows, and thus
Blows fell, so that Telegonus
Was sorely hurt and well nigh dead;
But he, with his own spear’s sharp head
Defended, howso it might fall,
And gained the gate against them all,
And slew the five best of these foes;
And from the rest, a cry arose
Through all the castle, round about.
On every side, more men came out,
Which caused the king’s heart to take flight,
And he, with all the haste he might
Caught up a spear, and out he went,
Near mad with rage, his mind was rent.
He saw the gates, with blood besmeared,
Telegonus, where he appeared,
He did see also, but he knew
Not who he was, and at him threw
His spear, and made him jump aside.
But destiny did woe betide,
And made it at the same time so
Telegonus did not then know
What man it was that at him cast
His spear, and his own spear, at last,
With the fish pennant thereupon,
He threw right at the king, anon,
And smote him with a deadly wound.
Ulysses hit the ground, and swooned:
Then every man, “The king! The king!”
Began to cry, and at this thing,
The son knew what had come to pass,
Fell on his knees and cried, “Alas!”
“For I have mine own father slain;
To die myself now, I would fain.
Now slay me, anyone who will,
For certainly, it’s worth your skill.”
He cried, he wept, and said, forlorn,
“Alas, that ever I was born,
That this unhappy destiny
Should come so woefully through me.”
The king, though scarce alive, it’s true,
His heart again unto him drew,
And to that voice an ear he lent,
And understood all that was meant.
And so he spoke, and said with awe,
“Bring me this man.” And when he saw
Telegonus, his thought he set
On he whom in a dream he’d met,
And asked him if he might then see
His spear, on which the fishes three
He saw upon its pennant wrought.
He knew the dream had failed him not,
And prayed to know some part of why,
And what thing it might signify.
Telegonus, with woe full sore,
As best he might, told more and more
Unto Ulysses: thus he does
Tell how Circe his mother was,
And so on; told him all those things,
How that his mother sent greetings,
And for what purpose he was sent.
Ulysses then knew what it meant,
And hugged his son, which made hearts soften;
Through the blood, he kissed him often,
And he said, “Son, as I live,
This sad misfortune I forgive.”
And for his other son, in haste,
He sent, and to him this son raced,
And came unto his father’s sight.
But seeing him in such a plight,
He would have run upon the other,
Swiftly slaying his own brother.
Yet Ulysses bade him cease,
Between them made accord and peace,
And to his heir Telemachus,
He bade that he Telegonus
With all his power, close should keep,
Till he was of his wounds so deep
Made whole, and that to him he’d give
Some land, whereupon he might live.
Telemachus, when this he heard,
Unto his father then deferred,
And said that he would do his will.
And so they dwell together still,
These brethren, and the father died.
Lo, what did sorcery provide?
Through sorcery, his lust he won,
Through sorcery, his woe’s begun,
Through sorcery, his love did choose,
Through Sorcery, his life did lose.
This child was got by Sorcery,
A deed that was a felony,
A thing unnaturally wrought;
Unkindly was this baby bought,
The child that his own father slew:
Unkindnesses enough for two.
And therefore, take you heed of this:
To win love this way is amiss,
Which ended all his joy in woe:
For of this art, I find also
What has been done for love’s own sake
Where you might an example take:
A Chronicle imperial
Which ever a memorial
Among all men, howso it wend,
Shall dwell until the world’s at end.
The hihe creatour of thinges,
Which is the king of alle kinges,
Ful many a wonder worldes chance
Let slyden under his suffrance;
Ther wot noman the cause why,
Bot he the which is almyhty.
And that was proved whilom thus,
Whan that the king Nectanabus,
Which hadde Egipte forto lede,-
Bot for he sih tofor the dede
Thurgh magique of his Sorcerie,
Wherof he couthe a gret partie,
Hise enemys to him comende,
Fro whom he mihte him noght defende,
Out of his oghne lond he fledde;
And in the wise as he him dredde
It fell, for al his wicchecraft,
So that Egipte him was beraft,
And he desguised fledde aweie
Be schipe, and hield the rihte weie
To Macedoine, wher that he
Aryveth ate chief Cite.
Thre yomen of his chambre there
Al only forto serve him were,
The whiche he trusteth wonder wel,
For thei were trewe as eny stiel;
And hapneth that thei with him ladde
Part of the beste good he hadde.
Thei take logginge in the toun
After the disposicion
Wher as him thoghte best to duelle:
He axeth thanne and herde telle
Hou that the king was oute go.
Upon a werre he hadde tho;
But in that Cite thanne was
The queene, which Olimpias
Was hote, and with sollempnete
The feste of hir nativite,
As it befell, was thanne holde;
And for hire list to be beholde
And preised of the poeple aboute,
Sche schop hir forto riden oute
At after mete al openly.
Anon were alle men redy,
And that was in the monthe of Maii,
This lusti queene in good arrai
Was set upon a Mule whyt:
To sen it was a gret delit
The joie that the cite made;
With freisshe thinges and with glade
The noble toun was al behonged,
And every wiht was sore alonged
To se this lusti ladi ryde.
Ther was gret merthe on alle syde;
Wher as sche passeth be the strete,
Ther was ful many a tymber bete
And many a maide carolende:
And thus thurghout the toun pleiende
This queene unto a pleine rod,
Wher that sche hoved and abod
To se diverse game pleie,
The lusti folk jouste and tourneie;
And so forth every other man,
Which pleie couthe, his pley began,
To plese with this noble queene.
Nectanabus cam to the grene
Amonges othre and drouh him nyh.
Bot whan that he this ladi sih
And of hir beaute hiede tok,
He couthe noght withdrawe his lok
To se noght elles in the field,
Bot stod and only hire behield.
Of his clothinge and of his gere
He was unlich alle othre there,
So that it hapneth ate laste,
The queene on him hire yhe caste,
And knew that he was strange anon:
Bot he behield hire evere in on
Withoute blenchinge of his chere.
Sche tok good hiede of his manere,
And wondreth why he dede so,
And bad men scholde for him go.
He cam and dede hire reverence,
And sche him axeth in cilence
For whenne he cam and what he wolde.
And he with sobre wordes tolde,
And seith, "Ma dame, a clerk I am,
To you and in message I cam,
The which I mai noght tellen hiere;
Bot if it liketh you to hiere,
It mot be seid al prively,
Wher non schal be bot ye and I."
Thus for the time he tok his leve.
The dai goth forth til it was eve,
That every man mot lete his werk;
And sche thoghte evere upon this clerk,
What thing it is he wolde mene:
And in this wise abod the queene,
And passeth over thilke nyht,
Til it was on the morwe liht.
Sche sende for him, and he com,
With him his Astellabre he nom,
Which was of fin gold precious
With pointz and cercles merveilous;
And ek the hevenely figures
Wroght in a bok ful of peintures
He tok this ladi forto schewe,
And tolde of ech of hem be rewe
The cours and the condicion.
And sche with gret affeccion
Sat stille and herde what he wolde:
And thus whan he sih time, he tolde,
And feigneth with hise wordes wise
A tale, and seith in such a wise:
"Ma dame, bot a while ago,
Wher I was in Egipte tho,
And radde in scole of this science,
It fell into mi conscience
That I unto the temple wente,
And ther with al myn hole entente
As I mi sacrifice dede,
On of the goddes hath me bede
That I you warne prively,
So that ye make you redy,
And that ye be nothing agast;
For he such love hath to you cast,
That ye schul ben his oghne diere,
And he schal be your beddefiere,
Til ye conceive and be with childe."
And with that word sche wax al mylde,
And somdel red becam for schame,
And axeth him that goddes name,
Which so wol don hire compainie.
And he seide, "Amos of Lubie."
And sche seith, "That mai I noght lieve,
Bot if I sihe a betre prieve."
"Ma dame," quod Nectanabus,
"In tokne that it schal be thus,
This nyht for enformacion
Ye schul have an avision:
That Amos schal to you appiere,
To schewe and teche in what manere
The thing schal afterward befalle.
Ye oghten wel above alle
To make joie of such a lord;
For whan ye ben of on acord,
He schal a Sone of you begete,
Which with his swerd schal winne and gete
The wyde world in lengthe and brede;
Alle erthli kinges schull him drede,
And in such wise, I you behote,
The god of erthe he schal be hote."
"If this be soth," tho quod the queene,
"This nyht, thou seist, it schal be sene.
And if it falle into mi grace,
Of god Amos, that I pourchace
To take of him so gret worschipe,
I wol do thee such ladischipe,
Wherof thou schalt for everemo
Be riche." And he hir thonketh tho,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
Sche wiste litel what he mente,
For it was guile and Sorcerie,
Al that sche tok for Prophecie.
Nectanabus thurghout the day,
Whan he cam hom wher as he lay,
His chambre be himselve tok,
And overtorneth many a bok,
And thurgh the craft of Artemage
Of wex he forgeth an ymage.
He loketh his equacions
And ek the constellacions,
He loketh the conjunccions,
He loketh the recepcions,
His signe, his houre, his ascendent,
And drawth fortune of his assent:
The name of queene Olimpias
In thilke ymage write was
Amiddes in the front above.
And thus to winne his lust of love
Nectanabus this werk hath diht;
And whan it cam withinne nyht,
That every wyht is falle aslepe,
He thoghte he wolde his time kepe,
As he which hath his houre apointed.
And thanne ferst he hath enoignted
With sondri herbes that figure,
And therupon he gan conjure,
So that thurgh his enchantement
This ladi, which was innocent
And wiste nothing of this guile,
Mette, as sche slepte thilke while,
Hou fro the hevene cam a lyht,
Which al hir chambre made lyht;
And as sche loketh to and fro,
Sche sih, hir thoghte, a dragoun tho,
Whos scherdes schynen as the Sonne,
And hath his softe pas begonne
With al the chiere that he may
Toward the bedd ther as sche lay,
Til he cam to the beddes side.
And sche lai stille and nothing cride,
For he dede alle his thinges faire
And was courteis and debonaire:
And as he stod hire fasteby,
His forme he changeth sodeinly,
And the figure of man he nom,
To hire and into bedde he com,
And such thing there of love he wroghte,
Wherof, so as hire thanne thoghte,
Thurgh likinge of this god Amos
With childe anon hire wombe aros,
And sche was wonder glad withal.
Nectanabus, which causeth al
Of this metrede the substance,
Whan he sih time, his nigromance
He stinte and nothing more seide
Of his carecte, and sche abreide
Out of hir slep, and lieveth wel
That it is soth thanne everydel
Of that this clerk hire hadde told,
And was the gladdere manyfold
In hope of such a glad metrede,
Which after schal befalle in dede.
Sche longeth sore after the dai,
That sche hir swevene telle mai
To this guilour in privete,
Which kneu it als so wel as sche:
And natheles on morwe sone
Sche lefte alle other thing to done,
And for him sende, and al the cas
Sche tolde him pleinly as it was,
And seide hou thanne wel sche wiste
That sche his wordes mihte triste,
For sche fond hire Avisioun
Riht after the condicion
Which he hire hadde told tofore;
And preide him hertely therfore
That he hire holde covenant
So forth of al the remenant,
That sche may thurgh his ordinance
Toward the god do such plesance,
That sche wakende myhte him kepe
In such wise as sche mette aslepe.
And he, that couthe of guile ynouh,
Whan he this herde, of joie he louh,
And seith, "Ma dame, it schal be do.
Bot this I warne you therto:
This nyht, whan that he comth to pleie,
That ther be no lif in the weie
Bot I, that schal at his likinge
Ordeine so for his cominge,
That ye ne schull noght of him faile.
For this, ma dame, I you consaile,
That ye it kepe so prive,
That no wiht elles bot we thre
Have knowlechinge hou that it is;
For elles mihte it fare amis,
If ye dede oght that scholde him grieve."
And thus he makth hire to believe,
And feigneth under guile feith:
Bot natheles al that he seith
Sche troweth; and ayein the nyht
Sche hath withinne hire chambre dyht,
Wher as this guilour faste by
Upon this god schal prively
Awaite, as he makth hire to wene:
And thus this noble gentil queene,
Whan sche most trusteth, was deceived.
The nyht com, and the chambre is weyved,
Nectanabus hath take his place,
And whan he sih the time and space,
Thurgh the deceipte of his magique
He putte him out of mannes like,
And of a dragoun tok the forme,
As he which wolde him al conforme
To that sche sih in swevene er this;
And thus to chambre come he is.
The queene lay abedde and sih,
And hopeth evere, as he com nyh,
That he god of Lubye were,
So hath sche wel the lasse fere.
Bot for he wolde hire more assure,
Yit eft he changeth his figure,
And of a wether the liknesse
He tok, in signe of his noblesse
With large hornes for the nones:
Of fin gold and of riche stones
A corone on his hed he bar,
And soudeinly, er sche was war,
As he which alle guile can,
His forme he torneth into man,
And cam to bedde, and sche lai stille,
Wher as sche soffreth al his wille,
As sche which wende noght misdo.
Bot natheles it hapneth so,
Althogh sche were in part deceived,
Yit for al that sche hath conceived
The worthieste of alle kiththe,
Which evere was tofore or siththe
Of conqueste and chivalerie;
So that thurgh guile and Sorcerie
Ther was that noble knyht begunne,
Which al the world hath after wunne.
Thus fell the thing which falle scholde,
Nectanabus hath that he wolde;
With guile he hath his love sped,
With guile he cam into the bed,
With guile he goth him out ayein:
He was a schrewed chamberlein,
So to beguile a worthi queene,
And that on him was after seene.
Bot natheles the thing is do;
This false god was sone go,
With his deceipte and hield him clos,
Til morwe cam, that he aros.
And tho, whan time and leisir was,
The queene tolde him al the cas,
As sche that guile non supposeth;
And of tuo pointz sche him opposeth.
On was, if that this god nomore
Wol come ayein, and overmore,
Hou sche schal stonden in acord
With king Philippe hire oghne lord,
Whan he comth hom and seth hire grone.
"Ma dame," he seith, "let me alone:
As for the god I undertake
That whan it liketh you to take
His compaignie at eny throwe,
If I a day tofore it knowe,
He schal be with you on the nyht;
And he is wel of such a myht
To kepe you from alle blame.
Forthi conforte you, ma dame,
Ther schal non other cause be."
Thus tok he leve and forth goth he,
And tho began he forto muse
Hou he the queene mihte excuse
Toward the king of that is falle;
And fond a craft amonges alle,
Thurgh which he hath a See foul daunted,
With his magique and so enchaunted,
That he flyh forth, whan it was nyht,
Unto the kinges tente riht,
Wher that he lay amidde his host:
And whanne he was aslepe most,
With that the See foul to him broghte
And othre charmes, whiche he wroghte
At hom withinne his chambre stille,
The king he torneth at his wille,
And makth him forto dreme and se
The dragoun and the privete
Which was betuen him and the queene.
And over that he made him wene
In swevene, hou that the god Amos,
Whan he up fro the queene aros,
Tok forth a ring, wherinne a ston
Was set, and grave therupon
A Sonne, in which, whan he cam nyh,
A leoun with a swerd he sih;
And with that priente, as he tho mette,
Upon the queenes wombe he sette
A Seal, and goth him forth his weie.
With that the swevene wente aweie,
And tho began the king awake
And sigheth for his wyves sake,
Wher as he lay withinne his tente,
And hath gret wonder what it mente.
With that he hasteth him to ryse
Anon, and sende after the wise,
Among the whiche ther was on,
A clerc, his name is Amphion:
Whan he the kinges swevene herde,
What it betokneth he ansuerde,
And seith, "So siker as the lif,
A god hath leie be thi wif,
And gete a Sone, which schal winne
The world and al that is withinne.
As leon is the king of bestes,
So schal the world obeie his hestes,
Which with his swerd schal al be wonne,
Als ferr as schyneth eny Sonne."
The king was doubtif of this dom;
Bot natheles, whan that he com
Ayein into his oghne lond,
His wif with childe gret he fond.
He mihte noght himselve stiere,
That he ne made hire hevy chiere;
Bot he which couthe of alle sorwe,
Nectanabus, upon the morwe
Thurgh the deceipte and nigromance
Tok of a dragoun the semblance,
And wher the king sat in his halle,
Com in rampende among hem alle
With such a noise and such a rore,
That thei agast were also sore
As thogh thei scholde deie anon.
And natheles he grieveth non,
Bot goth toward the deyss on hih;
And whan he cam the queene nyh,
He stinte his noise, and in his wise
To hire he profreth his servise,
And leith his hed upon hire barm;
And sche with goodly chiere hire arm
Aboute his necke ayeinward leide,
And thus the queene with him pleide
In sihte of alle men aboute.
And ate laste he gan to loute
And obeissance unto hire make,
As he that wolde his leve take;
And sodeinly his lothly forme
Into an Egle he gan transforme,
And flyh and sette him on a raile;
Wherof the king hath gret mervaile,
For there he pruneth him and piketh,
As doth an hauk whan him wel liketh,
And after that himself he schok,
Wherof that al the halle quok,
As it a terremote were;
Thei seiden alle, god was there:
In such a res and forth he flyh.
The king, which al this wonder syh,
Whan he cam to his chambre alone,
Unto the queene he made his mone
And of foryivenesse hir preide;
For thanne he knew wel, as he seide,
Sche was with childe with a godd.
Thus was the king withoute rodd
Chastised, and the queene excused
Of that sche hadde ben accused.
And for the gretere evidence,
Yit after that in the presence
Of king Philipp and othre mo,
Whan thei ride in the fieldes tho,
A Phesant cam before here yhe,
The which anon as thei hire syhe,
Fleende let an ey doun falle,
And it tobrak tofore hem alle:
And as thei token therof kepe,
Thei syhe out of the schelle crepe
A litel Serpent on the ground,
Which rampeth al aboute round,
And in ayein it wolde have wonne,
Bot for the brennynge of the Sonne
It mihte noght, and so it deide.
And therupon the clerkes seide,
"As the Serpent, whan it was oute,
Went enviroun the schelle aboute
And mihte noght torne in ayein,
So schal it fallen in certein:
This child the world schal environe,
And above alle the corone
Him schal befalle, and in yong Age
He schal desire in his corage,
Whan al the world is in his hond,
To torn ayein into the lond
Wher he was bore, and in his weie
Homward he schal with puison deie."
The king, which al this sih and herde,
Fro that dai forth, hou so it ferde,
His jalousie hath al foryete.
Bot he which hath the child begete,
Nectanabus, in privete
The time of his nativite
Upon the constellacioun
Awaiteth, and relacion
Makth to the queene hou sche schal do,
And every houre apointeth so,
That no mynut therof was lore.
So that in due time is bore
This child, and forth with therupon
Ther felle wondres many on
Of terremote universiel:
The Sonne tok colour of stiel
And loste his lyht, the wyndes blewe,
And manye strengthes overthrewe;
The See his propre kinde changeth,
And al the world his forme strangeth;
The thonder with his fyri levene
So cruel was upon the hevene,
That every erthli creature
Tho thoghte his lif in aventure.
The tempeste ate laste cesseth,
The child is kept, his age encresseth,
And Alisandre his name is hote,
To whom Calistre and Aristote
To techen him Philosophie
Entenden, and Astronomie,
With othre thinges whiche he couthe
Also, to teche him in his youthe
Nectanabus tok upon honde.
Bot every man mai understonde,
Of Sorcerie hou that it wende,
It wole himselve prove at ende,
And namely forto beguile
A lady, which withoute guile
Supposeth trouthe al that sche hiereth:
Bot often he that evele stiereth
His Schip is dreynt therinne amidde;
And in this cas riht so betidde.
Nectanabus upon a nyht,
Whan it was fair and sterre lyht,
This yonge lord ladde up on hih
Above a tour, wher as he sih
Thee sterres such as he acompteth,
And seith what ech of hem amonteth,
As thogh he knewe of alle thing;
Bot yit hath he no knowleching
What schal unto himself befalle.
Whan he hath told his wordes alle,
This yonge lord thanne him opposeth,
And axeth if that he supposeth
What deth he schal himselve deie.
He seith, "Or fortune is aweie
And every sterre hath lost his wone,
Or elles of myn oghne Sone
I schal be slain, I mai noght fle."
Thoghte Alisandre in privete,
"Hierof this olde dotard lieth":
And er that other oght aspieth,
Al sodeinliche his olde bones
He schof over the wal at ones,
And seith him, "Ly doun there apart:
Wherof nou serveth al thin art?
Thou knewe alle othre mennes chance
And of thiself hast ignorance:
That thou hast seid amonges alle
Of thi persone, is noght befalle."
Nectanabus, which hath his deth,
Yit while him lasteth lif and breth,
To Alisandre he spak and seide
That he with wrong blame on him leide
Fro point to point and al the cas
He tolde, hou he his Sone was.
Tho he, which sory was ynowh,
Out of the dich his fader drouh,
And tolde his moder hou it ferde
In conseil; and whan sche it herde
And kneu the toknes whiche he tolde,
Sche nyste what sche seie scholde,
Bot stod abayssht as for the while
Of his magique and al the guile.
Sche thoghte hou that sche was deceived,
That sche hath of a man conceived,
And wende a god it hadde be.
Bot natheles in such degre,
So as sche mihte hire honour save,
Sche schop the body was begrave.
And thus Nectanabus aboghte
The Sorcerie which he wroghte:
Thogh he upon the creatures
Thurgh his carectes and figures
The maistrie and the pouer hadde,
His creatour to noght him ladde,
Ayein whos lawe his craft he useth,
Whan he for lust his god refuseth,
And tok him to the dieules craft.
Lo, what profit him is belaft:
That thing thurgh which he wende have stonde,
Ferst him exilede out of londe
Which was his oghne, and from a king
Made him to ben an underling;
And siththen to deceive a queene,
That torneth him to mochel teene;
Thurgh lust of love he gat him hate,
That ende couthe he noght abate.
His olde sleyhtes whiche he caste,
Yonge Alisaundre hem overcaste,
His fader, which him misbegat,
He slouh, a gret mishap was that;
Bot for o mis an other mys
Was yolde, and so fulofte it is;
Nectanabus his craft miswente,
So it misfell him er he wente.
I not what helpeth that clergie
Which makth a man to do folie,
And nameliche of nigromance,
Which stant upon the mescreance.
The High Creator of all things,
Who's King of all the other Kings,
Things woeful in this world, alas,
He will allow to come to pass:
The causes no man knows but He
Who can far in the future see.
And that was one time proven thus,
When that great king Nectanebus.
Who had in Egypt held the throne,
Because the future he was shown
Through magic and through sorcery,
He could an adversary see,
Whose army was approaching fast,
It was so mighty and so vast,
That out of his own land he fled;
For just as he was caused to dread,
It happened as his witchcraft warned,
The throne of Egypt he adorned
No more. Disguised he fled away
By ship, and sailed without delay
To Macedonia, and banned,
At Thessalonica did land.
And there he saw three yeomen stir,
Who all his faithful servants were,
In whom implicit trust he placed,
Which on their loyalty was based.
And these he trusted to transport
Those treasures carried from his court.
Which to their lodging they conveyed
When he had a decision made
Where he thought it was best to dwell.
He asked around and heard men tell
About the king who was away
Entangled in some foreign fray.
But in that city where he reigned,
Olympias his queen remained,
And then with great festivity
The feast of her nativity
Was celebrated for this queen;
And since it pleased her to be seen
And by the citizens revered,
She got prepared and then appeared
In public later that same day.
This happened in the month of May,
And when all were assembled they
Beheld the bonny queen who rode
Upon a white mule - how she glowed!
It was a joy to see this sight,
Which gave the city such delight;
With things all gay and new and bright
The noble town was decorated,
Every one with breath all bated
Waited their fair queen to see
On all sides there was mirth and glee
Where she along the street passed by,
There tambourines rang in reply
And many a maid did sing and dance.
Throughout the city's wide expanse
This queen into the parks would come
To hear the sounds of lute and drum,
And watch the diverse games they played
While celebrating her parade;
And so to tilt and joust, each man
Who could will try as best he can
To entertain this noble queen.
Nectanabus came to the green
Among the others gathered there.
But when he saw this lady fair
And by her beauty was bedazed,
He could, from that on which he gazed
Not look away, but did prefer
To stand transfixed on only her.
The foreign clothing which he wore
Made him a hard one to ignore,
And so it happened, when at last
The queen on him her eye did cast,
She fancied an exotic past;
Still he'd not turn his face away,
Nor let his eyes from her eyes stray.
She noted well his mien refined,
And wondered what he had in mind;
Her men she bade unto him go.
He came and deference did show,
And she inquired, with voice subdued,
From whence he came, what he pursued.
He said, with sober words, "Madam,
A scholar sent to you I am,
With words meant only for your ear,
Which I'm not free to speak of here;
But if you'd like to listen, we
Can only do that privately,
Where none but you and I shall be."
Thus having spoke, he said, "Good-bye."
The time went on till night drew nigh,
When every man retired from work.
But in her thoughts he still did lurk,
What was his plan? What did he mean?
And in this frame of mind the queen
Retired to bed, and passed the night,
Till morning brought the dawn's first light.
She sent for him, on waking, and
He came, his astrolabe in hand,
Which of the finest gold was made
And markings curious displayed;
He brought a book to show her too,
With illustrations one could view,
From which one could discover much
About the motions, modes, and such,
Of stars, and other heavenly orbs.
And with great interest, she absorbs
All that he thought would her excite;
And when he sensed the time was right,
He told a tale, her will to sway,
And spoke unto her in this way:
"Madam, but a short while ago,
In Egypt, I would have you know,
I went to school for a degree
In this, when it occurred to me
That to the temple I should make
A pilgrimage; there for the sake
Of sacrificing I did go;
One of the gods advised me so:
That I should warn you privately
So that you then might ready be,
And that you'd have no need to dread;
Such love he had for you, he said,
That you shall be his only thrill,
And he your paramour, until
You have conceived and are with child."
At this she felt somewhat beguiled,
And from embarrassment turned red.
"Pray tell who is this god," she said,
Who so would like to share my bed."
"His name is Hammon," he replied.
She said, "Till you some proof provide,"
"I must assume that you have lied."
"Madam," replied Nectanebus,
"As witness that it shall be thus,
This night for your enlightenment
A vision to you shall be sent.
This Hammon shall to you appear,
To teach you that you need not fear
The thing which shortly must ensue.
The joy this lord will bring to you
Shall every other joy exceed,
For when to bed him you've agreed,
He shall of you beget a son,
Who with his sword shall overrun
The length and breadth of all the world.
All earthly monarchs shall be hurled
Down from their thrones, and him installed,
The god of earth he shall be called."
"If what you say is true," the queen
Replied, "tonight it shall be seen.
And if my fortune is to be,
That I shall this god Hammon see,
And for my love he'll nobly sue.
I'll such a favor for you do,
That you forever rich will live."
His thanks to her he then did give,
And took his leave, and from her went.
She little knew his real intent,
For it was sorcery and fraud,
This prophecy about some god.
Throughout the day Nectanebus,
When he came home, continued thus:
He went unto his study where,
He many a book consulted there,
And by the craft of image art
A waxen figure formed; a chart
He checked, a planetary guide,
About how through the stars they glide;
He their conjunctions ascertained,
And how their power waxed and waned;
From their ascendancy in signs,
Their indications he divines:
"OLYMPIAS" inscribed is seen
Upon this image of a queen
Right on the forehead, as a brand.
And thus to win her love he planned,
In hopes that she his bait would bite.
And when it was well into night,
When every person soundly slept,
And when the hour was right, he kept
His rendezvous, by fate appointed.
First that figure he anointed,
Then to conjure he began
With herbs, according to his plan,
That through spells which for her were meant
This lady who was innocent
And of his guile was unaware
A dream had, in which there did glare
A light which from the heavens came
Which lit her room, as though aflame,
And as she looked around her she
A dragon saw, and scales had he
That shined just like the sun's bright face;
He with a slow, non-threatening pace
And with a kind and friendly mien
Advanced to this reclining queen
Till he came to her bedside nigh.
She laid there still and did not cry,
For he was gracious, debonair,
And courteous, and as he there
Before her stood, she was surprised
To see that he had been disguised;
A man he changed to, in his prime,
And he into her bed did climb,
And made love that was so sublime
That, although only in her dream,
By mating with this god supreme,
With child her fertile womb did teem
And of this she was really glad.
Nectanebus, the one who had
Caused all that in this dream took place,
His magic spell he did erase,
By terminating his regime
Of sorcery, then from her dream
She woke, a victim of his scheme,
Believing everything was true
This scholar said, and now with new
Enthusiasm she felt glad
Hoping the dream that she just had
Would soon be a reality.
She wished the opportunity
Would come, her dream tell unto
This false beguiling man who knew,
Unlike her, that it was not true.
The next day at the morning's sun
She left all other things undone,
And for him sent, and did attempt
To tell him all that she had dreamt.
"I now know very well," she said,
That I can trust you, for in bed
A vision came to me last night
Which made me see that you were right
In what you told me here before."
Him she did earnestly implore,
Of what she witnessed while asleep,
That all his promises he'd keep,
So that she, through what he'd devise,
Could favor find in this god's eyes,
And that awake she'd not have less
Than what in sleep she did possess.
And he the mastermind of guile
When this he heard, did crack a smile
And said, "Madam it shall be so.
I must a warning give you, though:
That this night, when he comes to play,
All others must be far away,
Except for me. At his bequest
I shall arrange that he your guest
Shall be, that nothing shall go wrong.
For this, I give you counsel strong,
Madam, that all shall private be,
So no one else except us three
May anything about this know,
And that way nothing wrong will go,
Where you might act to make him grieve."
And thus he caused her to believe,
And faith. in her his cunning bred.
She trusted everything he said;
Thus in her chamber, for the night,
She made sure everything was right,
Where this beguiler would be handy
To assure that all was dandy,
And all things were peachy keen.
And thus this high born gracious queen,
Was fooled by his false guarantee.
Night came, and from her chamber she
Sent all away; and when the time
Was right Nectanebus, his crime
To perpetrate, proceeded from
A man to change, and to become
A dragon in appearance, seeming
Like that which she saw when dreaming,
Thus he, in this way disguised,
Came to her chamber and surprised
The queen who lay in bed and saw,
And hoped, as near her he did draw,
That he from Libya had come.
Her apprehension to benumb.
And so she might be more at ease,
Yet one more time a change she sees,
As he transforms into a ram
As if to say: "How great I am,
With large horns of the finest gold
And too this crown that you behold,
With rich gems, resting on my head."
Then suddenly this form he shed;
As one whose heart with lusting burned,
His form into a man he turned,
And into bed with her he squeezed,
Where she let him do as he pleased,
Not thinking it a wrongful act
That she had done; it was a fact,
Though she of wisdom showed a dearth,
In spite of that she would give birth
Unto the worthiest of men,
That ever was or will again
Be seen, in war and chivalry;
So that through guile and sorcery
A warrior came of her loins
Who on the world his will enjoins.
And thus what was ordained occurred;
Nectanebus was undeterred:
With guile his lust he satisfied,
With guile his flesh was gratified
With guile he gets away with it.
A clever man, you must admit,
To so beguile a worthy queen,
Which afterwards is clearly seen.
But nonetheless the deed is done;
Away this false god soon does run,
As off he into hiding goes,
Till morning came, when he arose.
He waited till the queen would call,
And listened while she told him all
As one who no deceit detected;
Still, on two points she reflected.
First asking: "Will this god return
To me again? And next, I'd learn
What I should say to my true mate,
King Phillip, when he sees I'm great
With child, home he comes again."
"Madam, that's well beyond my ken;
As for the god, I guarantee
That if you for his company
At any time should have a yen,
Just let me know and he again
Shall be with you that very night;
And he has quite sufficient might
You from all calumny to keep.
Therefore fear not, and soundly sleep,
For there's no reason to be worried."
With those words away he scurried
Then he thought about a ruse,
Which would unto the king excuse
And justify her love divine;
A craft he found that would do fine:
And so a seagull he secures
And then with magic he ensures
That it would fly forth through the night
And near the king's tent would alight
With all his army camped around.
And when he slept extremely sound,
The seagull unto him he brought
And with some other charms he wrought
At home within his chamber still;
He played upon the king at will,
So that he would be made to dream
And see what would a dragon seem,
And know what had occurred between
This godly creature and his queen,
And see how, when this god arose
Up from the queen, he quickly goes
And gets a ring, wherein a stone
Was set; engraved upon it shone
A sun, in which, when he drew near
A lion and a sword appear.
And he did, in this dream surreal,
Upon the queen's womb set this seal,
And then from her his exit made.
With that the dream began to fade,
The king then wakened back to life,
And sighed with longing for his wife,
As he laid still there in his tent,
And wondered greatly what it meant.
And then he restlessly arose
And sent at once for one of those
Among them who was wise, whose name
Was Amphion, who when he came
And heard the king his dream recite,
Upon it he did shed some light
And said, "As sure as I have life,
A god in bed was with your wife,
Who made her pregnant with a son,
Who all the world shall overrun.
As king of beasts the lion's known,
So everyone shall bow down prone
To him whose sword shall conquer all
Till him the whole world king shall call."
He had his doubts that this could be,
But when back to his own land he
Returned from fighting, there he found
His wife was great with child; profound
Was then the bitterness he felt,
That made his heart with grief to melt;
But he who of all sorrows knew,
Nectanebus, the next day, through
Deceit and sorcery assumed
A dragon's form, and then presumed
To where the king sat in his hall,
To crawling come, amongst them all
With such a noise and such a roar,
That all aghast they were before
This sight, and thought they'd soon be dead.
The dragon was not phased, instead
He went toward the queen's high dais;
And when he came nigh to that place,
He silent went, and in this way
His homage unto her did pay,
As in her lap his head he laid;
A certain fondness she displayed
As round his neck her arms she flung
And thus her friendliness, among
Those present there, she shamelessly
Displays; then out of courtesy
He bows down his respects to pay,
As one who would no longer stay.
And then his shape, grotesque and strange
He did into an eagle's change,
And high up on a railing flew
Which cause the startled king to do
A double take, for there he preened
His feathers, thus himself he cleaned
Just like some hawk, and then to shake
He started, till the throne did quake
As if a tremor shook the hall.
A god was there, said one and all:
He flew out quickly, then the king,
Who saw this strange and wondrous thing,
Into his chamber came, chastised,
And to the queen apologized
And did for her forgiveness pray;
"I know that in a family way
You are, and that it's by a god.
Thus was the king, without a rod,
Admonished, and the queen excused
Of that of which she'd been accused.
So that another sign there'd be,
Sometime thereafter, when we see
King Phillip and his men one day
Out riding in the country, they
A pheasant saw up in the blue
And as above their heads it flew
An egg it laid, which fell and broke
Before their eyes; there was no yoke,
But as they watched it, all enthralled,
They saw that from the shell there crawled
A little serpent on the ground,
That crept and slithered all around,
It back inside would be returning
But because the sun was burning
Could not, and soon it was dead.
Then Amphion, the scholar, said,
"Just like this snake, who from his shell
Came out when it was hot as hell,
And could not get back in; alas!
So shall it surely come to pass:
This child's reign round the earth shall sprawl
And he'll be crowned the king of all,
And while yet of a youthful age
When all the world is his own stage,
He shall desire within his heart,
A course back to that land to chart
Where he was born, But while en route
He'll die from poisoning acute."
The king on his resolve did act
And from that day it was a fact
That jealousy was all forgotten.
He who had the child begotten,
Though, Nectanebus, covertly
With his aptitude expertly
Kept his eyes upon the stars
Until the time to pass cigars
Would come, and with the queen he kept
In touch, and as the minutes crept
Along, he monitored the same.
Until at last the baby came,
And at the moment of his birth,
Great wonders visited the earth.
There were great quakes in every clime;
The sun eclipsed was for a time;
The winds blew with such mighty power
That they toppled many a tower.
Seeing nature in such throes
The whole world more uneasy grows;
The lightning and the thunder stored
Within the sky so fiercely roared,
That every creature, tame or feral,
Thought his life was in great peril.
But the storms at last subside,
The child is cared for; they decide
To call him Alexander, and xxxx
His teacher Aristotle planned
To teach him of astronomy,
And also of philosophy;
And while he was still young he, too,
Did other disciplines pursue
Which by Nectanebus were taught.
We know, though, sorcery is fraught
With hidden perils that may well
In many cases trouble spell,
Especially when used to beguile
A lady, who suspects no vile
Intent, and no deceit is feared.
But when with guile a ship is steered,
We'll see the helmsman therein drown;
In this case that's how things went down.
Nectanebus went out one night,
When it was clear and stars were bright,
High up upon a tower where
He and young Alexander stare
At all the stars, as he points out
Their properties, as though about
All things in heaven and earth he knew;
Yet he had not the faintest clue
Of what would soon be his demise.
When done with speaking of the skies,
This young lord does a question pose,
And asks his teacher if he knows
How he himself would die. He said,
"By all the shining stars o'erhead,
In which men's destinies are shown,
By my own son I shall be thrown
Down to my death. I may not flee.
Thought Alexander privately,
"About this the old geezer lies."
So then he took him by surprise,
And that old bag of bones he threw,
So that down to his death he flew,
And said, "So now what is the worth
Of all the lore you knew on earth?
All other people's fates you knew
But not what was in store for you.
What you predicted of your fate
Did not into the truth translate."
Nectanebus, nigh unto death,
While he still had some life and breath
To Alexander spoke, "To you
I say that what I said was true."
And then to him the truth declared
How he his mother's bed had shared.
Then from the ditch his father he
Removed with sorrow somberly,
And told his mother privately
What happened to him, and when she
This heard, and knew what he'd revealed,
She for a while, her lips all sealed,
Stood there not knowing what to say
About his magic and the way
He tricked her, so that she, deceived,
Had by a man her son conceived,
When she had thought he was a god.
But to maintain a slight facade
Of dignity, as though she cared,
She for a funeral prepared.
Nectanebus in this way paid
The price for plying his base trade.
Though over all his creatures he
Through signs and charms possessed the key
To power and control, his lot
Was, for defiance, to be brought
By his creator unto nought,
When he for lust his own god spurned,
And to the devil's craft he turned.
For him, what profit did survive?
That thing through which he'd hoped to thrive,
First him out of that land did drive
Which was his own, and from a king
Turned him to a mere underling;
Then led him to deceive a queen
Which caused him anguish unforeseen;
In seeking love he netted hate,
Whose vengeance he could not abate.
His old tricks that in youth he'd learned,
Young Alexander on him turned:
His father, who him misbegot,
He slew, a payback, was it not?
So for one crime another one,
As often is the case, was done.
The old man's witchcraft went awry,
And did him in, ere he did die.
There for cursed learning is no tonic
When it makes a man moronic,
Necromancy's what I mean,
Which is a heresy obscene.
And forto se more evidence,
Zorastes, which thexperience
Of Art magique ferst forth drouh,
Anon as he was bore, he louh,
Which tokne was of wo suinge:
For of his oghne controvinge
He fond magique and tauhte it forth;
Bot al that was him litel worth,
For of Surrie a worthi king
Him slou, and that was his endyng.
Bot yit thurgh him this craft is used,
And he thurgh al the world accused,
For it schal nevere wel achieve
That stant noght riht with the believe:
Bot lich to wolle is evele sponne,
Who lest himself hath litel wonne,
An ende proveth every thing.
To see more evidence just look
At Zoroaster, who the book
Of sorcery and magic wrote;
When born he laughed, which did denote
That woe would not be far behind.
For out of his own fertile mind
He founded magic, which he taught;
But from it very little got,
For from Assyria there came
A king who his unholy game
Did end. But still his craft is plied,
And by the world he's vilified,
For it shall never turn out well
That's not of heaven, but of hell.
For just like wool, is evil spun;
Who's lost himself has little won,
That, by the denouement is shown.
|Saul and the Samarian Sibyl|
Sal, which was of Juys king,
Up peine of deth forbad this art,
And yit he tok therof his part.
The Phitonesse in Samarie
Yaf him conseil be Sorcerie,
Which after fell to mochel sorwe,
For he was slain upon the morwe.
To conne moche thing it helpeth,
Bot of to mochel noman yelpeth:
So forto loke on every side,
Magique mai noght wel betyde.
Forthi, my Sone, I wolde rede
That thou of these ensamples drede,
That for no lust of erthli love
Thou seche so to come above,
Wherof as in the worldes wonder
Thou schalt for evere be put under.
Saul, he who sat on Judah's throne,
On pain of death this art forbade
And yet use of the same he made.
The sibyl from Samaria
Gave counsel in this area,
To him, which finished off his reign,
For on the next day he was slain.
To know a lot of things is fine,
But none can boast: "All truth is mine!"
On all sides, north, south, east, and west,
Black magic may not turn out best.
And so, my son, it's my concern
That you from these examples learn,
Not, for the lust of earthly love,
To try God's laws to rise above,
For then it well might be your doom
To suffer in eternal gloom."
|The King and the Philosopher|
Mi goode fader, grant mercy,
Good father, mercy grant to me.