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No doun of fetheres ne no bleched shete
Was kid to hem, but in seurtee they slepte.
Her hertes were al oon, withoute galles,
Euerich of hem his feith to other kepte.

Vnforged was the hawberke and the plate;

The lambish peple, voided of al vyce, 50

Hadden no fantasye to debate,

But eche of hem wolde other wel cheryce;

No pryde, non enuye, non auaryce,

No lord, no taillage by no tira1mye.

Humblesse and pees, good feith the emperyce,

[Fulfilled erthe of olde curteisye].

Yit was not Jupiter the likerous,

That first was fader of delicacye,

Come in this world; ne Nembroth, desirous

To regnen, had nat maad his toures hye. 60

Allas, allas, now may men wepe and crye,

For in our dayes nis but couetyse,

Doublenesse, and tresoun, and enuye,

Poison, manslaughtre, and. mordre in sundry wyse.

Line 46. Kid, made known. 47. Al oon, all one, united, without the gall of •nvy. 56. A line is here lost in both MSS., and is supplied from conjecture. Chaucer uses to fulfil of where we now say to fill full with. 59. Nembroth. Nimrod; the usual old spelling. The reference is to his building of Babylon. 6}. The accent is on the first syllable of the line, as in other places; we need not supply And at the beginning, though it would then sound better to modern ears.


THIS wreched worldes transmutacion,
As wele and woo, now poverte, and now honour
Withouten ordre or wise discretion,
Governed ys by Fortunes erroure;
But natheles the lakke of hir favoure
Ne may not doo me synge, though that I dye,
fay tout perdue, man temps et man laboured
For fynally Fortune I diffye.

Yet ys me lefte the sighte of my resoun,
To knowen frend fro foo in thy meroure,*
So moche hath yet thy turning up and doun
Ytaughte me to knowen in an houre;
But trewely no force of thy reddoure*
To him that over himselfe hath the maistrye,
My suffisaunce shal be my socoure,
For fynally Fortune I dyffye.

0 Socrates, thou stedfast champion,
She mighte never be thy turmentoure,
Thow never dreddest hir oppression,
Ne in hir chere fonde thou noo savoure;
Thow knewe wel the deceyt of hir coloure,
And that hir mooste worshippe is to lye;

1 knowe hir eke a fals dissimuloure,
For fynally Fortune I diffye.


No man is wrechched but himselfe yt wene,
And he that hath himselfe hath suffisaunce.
Why seyst thow than I am to the so kene,
That havest thy selfe out of my governaunce?

1 This line is quoted by the Persone in his tale as' a newe Frensche song.'—See vol. ii. p. 269.

2 See also The Romaunt of the Rote, vol. iv. p. 185, note 3.

"That is,' Thy violence (redeur) is not to be accounted of by one who has the mastery over himself.'

Sey thus:—' Graunt mercy of thyn habundaunce
That thow havest lent or thisthou shalt not strive.
What wooste thou yet how I thee wol avaunce?
And eke thou havest thy best frend alyve.

I have the taught divisioun betwene
Frend of effect, and frend of countenaunce.1
The nedeth not the galle of noon hiene,"
That cureth even derke fro her penaunce;
Now seest thow clere that were in ignoraunce.
Yet halt thine ankre,3 and yet thow maist arrive
There bounty bereth the keye of my substaunce,
And eke thow havest thy best frend alyve.

How many have I refused to sustene,
Sith I have the fostred in thy plesaunce!
Wolt thow than maken a statute on thy quene,
That I shal ben aye at thin ordinaunce?
Thou borne art in my regne of variaunce,
Aboute the whele with other maist thow drive;
My loor ys bet, than wikke is thy grevaunce,*
And eke thow havest thy beste frend alyve.


Thy loor I dampne! hit is adversite!
My frend maist thow nat reve, blynde goddesse!
That I thy frende5 knowe, I thanke yt thee;
Take hem ageyn! let hem goo lie a-presse!

1 That is, 'Friend in reality and friend in appearance only.' This idea is taken from Boethins, and occurs also in the Bom. of the Rose.—Se£ vol. iv. p. 185, n' te J.

2 It appears that the gall of a hyena was a cure for sore eyes.

3 ' Your anchor still holdeth.' The poet here compares the 'best friend,' to whom frequent allusion is made, to an anchor.

4 That is, ' The wholesome lesson which I teach is sufficient to counterbalance the affliction you suffer.'

* That is,' The friends whose friendship depends on the favours of Fortune to its object.'

The negardes in kepinge hir richesse,
Pronostike ys thow wolt hire toure assayle;
Wikke appetite cometh ay before sekenesse,1
In general this rule may nat fayle.


Thou pynchest at my mutabilite,

For I thee lent a drope of my rychesse;

And now me liketh to withdrawe me,

Why shuldest thou my royaltee oppresse?

The see may ebbe and flowe more and lesse;

The welkene hath myghte to shine, reyn, and hayle;

Eight so mote I kythe my brotelnesse,

In general this rule may nat fayle.

Loo, thexecucion of the Mageste
That alle purveyth of hys ryghtwisnesse,
That same thing Fortune clepen ye,
Ye blynde beestes ful of lewdenesse!
The hevene hath property of sikernesse;
This world hath ever restelesse travayle;
The last day ys ende of myne interesse,"
In general this rule may nat fayle.


Princes! I pray yow of your gentilesse
Lat not thys man on me thus crie and pleyne,
And I shal quyte yow this besynesse.
And but yow liste releve him of his peyne,
Prayeth ye his best frende of his noblesse,
That to some better estate he may atteyne."

1 That is, 'Their niggardliness [negardes] in not imparting their riches to the poet is a prognostic that Fortune is about to become their enemy, just as an unnaturally greedy appetite is an omen of approaching sickness.'

2 Interesse appears to be a noun formed from the Lat. interesse, to have a part in a business. Fortune says that she will not cease to have a part in the affairs of men till the final day of doom, when all shall be judged by their merits.

* Who this best friend may have been it is impossible to determine: A GOODLY BALLADE OP CHAUCER.

TIT OTHER of norture, best beloved of alle,

-L'-*- And freshe floure, to whom good thrift God

Your child, if it luste you me so to calle, [sende!

Al be I unable my selfe so to pretende,

To your discrecion I recommende

Mine herte and al, with every circumstance,

Al holly to be under your governaunce.

Most desire I, and have and ever shal,
Thing which might your hertes ese amende;
Have me excused, my power is but smal;
Nathelesse, of right, ye oughte to commende
My goode wille, which faine wolde entende
To do you service; for al my suflisaunce
Is holy to be under your governaunce.

Mieulx un in herte which never shal appalle,1
Aye freshe and new, and right glad to dispende
My time in your service, what so befalle,
Beseching your excellence to defende
My simplenesse, if ignoraunce offende
In any wise; sith that mine affiaunce,
Is holy to been under your governaunce.

Daisye of light, very ground of comfort,"
The Sunnes doughter ye highte, as I rede;
For whan he westreth, farwel your disport!
By your nature anone, right for pure drede

it may have been John of Gaunt, Edward III., Richard II., or Henry IV. The poem is evidently a delicate form of petition to him, whoever he may be, and to the Council, for promotion or pecuniary assistance.

1 That is,' Better one whose love willneverpall,' or become changed by fruition.

3 The lady's name was evidently Margaret, which means in French a daisy, perhaps the Lady Margaret, Countess of Pembroke, the great patroness of learning.—See vol. iv. p. j6j, note 2.

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