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English and Scottish Poetry 

1250- 1600 










On Love 


The Fox and the Fisherman . 
Apostrophe to Freedom 

The Mutability of Fortune 







English Maidenhood . 


St. Valentine's Day 


How Creseid fell in love with Troilus 


Troilus's Lament for the absent Creseid 


bolus's Trumpet of Slander . 


The Daisy .... 


The Prioress .... 


The poor Scholar 


The Parson .... 


The Widow's Cock Chaunticleer 


Palamon sees Emilie in the Prison Garden 


True Gentility .... 


The Story of Ugolino . 


Caged Birds .... 


To his empty Purse 


Truth ..... 



DOUGLAS, gawain; Ixii 

Morning in May 

Sleep .... 

Spring .... 

To Love the Enslaver . 

Ballad in Conamendation of Honour 




The Merle and the Nightingale 

Christ's Nativity . 

To a Lady 

Advice to Lovers 

The Changes of Life 

No Treasure without Gladness 

Meditation written in Winter 

The World's Instability 

Lament for the Makers 

A May Day-Dream 

Opening Stanzas of " The Thistle and the Rose 

Dame Nature crowns the Scottish Lion " King of 

Beasts " . 
The King and Queen of Flowers 
On Content 

The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins 
The Devil's Inquest 
Of Life 

Amends to the Tailors and Soutars 
How shall I govern me ? 






Affirming his Constancy 


May ..... 


Amantium Irre 


Wisdom .... 


Women .... 


Music ..... 





The Arraignment of 

T. Lover . 


A Lullaby 

. 358 

Sonnet on his Love 


Echo Verses 

. 361 

Good-Morrow . 



■ 365 

The Praise of Philip 

Sparrow . 

. 368 

The Two Glasses 



Ode to Mars . 


To the Tune of Apelles 
Harpalus and Phillida 
The Fly and the Candle 
Out of Sight, out of Mind 



The Envious Man and the Miser 
Alexander and the Robber 
The Stoiy of Phoebus and Daphne 
The Tale of the Coffers 


A True Love . 
Description of Virtue . 
On Friendship 
In Praise of Measure keeping 



Sonnet on Isabella Markham . 


The Character of a True Knight 
In Praise of Moderation 



1 84 


iii INDEX. 


The Abbey Walk .... 

The Garment of Good Ladies . 

The Three Death's Heads 

Tale of the Upland Mouse and-the Burgess Mouse 

The last meeting of Troilus and Cresseid 

A Vision of yEsop .... 

The Praise of Are .... 





Look ere you leap ..... 383 

HEYWOOD, JOHN ; xlviii 

A Praise of his Lady ..... 257 


Lament for Chaucer and Gower ... 65 

Health ...... 67 


Description of his Prison Garden ... 80 

Description of his Love as seen from his Prison Window 83 

King James's Good Counsel .... 87 


The Gaberlunzie Man ..... 322 


The Praise of Age . . . . .152 


On the Priesthood ..... 



The Hope of Immortality .... 190 

The Creation of Adam .... 192 

The Building of the Tower of Babel . . . 193 

Meldrum's Duel with the English Champion Talbart . 195 
A Carman's Account of a Law-suit . . .197 

The Pardoner's Song ..... 198 

The Confessional ..... 199 

LYDGATE, JOHN ; xxxviii 

London Lickpenny ..... 68 

Description of a Mediaeval Schoolboy ... 72 

Conclusion of Lydgate's " Testament " . . 74 

A Sylvan Retreat ..... 75 

Sunrise ...... 76 

God's Providence ..... 77 

As straight as a Ram's Horn . . . . 7^ 


The Creation and Paradise Lost . . . 241 


Praise of good Women .... 5 


How Edward the King came in Braband . . 9 


Remember the end . . . . .150 


Epigram on a New-married Student . . . 189 


To his Posterity ..... 387 


Cautions ...... 256 


What is in Heaven .... .6 

Dame Fortune's Wheel .... 7 

The Broad and Narrow Way .... 8 



Sorrow . 
Winter . 


Allegorical Characters . 




Hence, Heart . 

Rondel of Love 

The Eagle and the Robin 

Lament when his Wife left him 


To Isabell .... 

Upon a Dead Man's Skull 

To Mistress Margery Wentworth 

His Reply to the Question, " Why wear ye 

Embroidered with Letters of Gold ? " 
The Complaint of a Rustic against the Clergy 
Lament for Phillip Sparrow 
To Mistress Margaret Hussey . 
On Time .... 






The Oak and the Briar 


Daphnaida ..... 


Amoretti ..... 


Epithalamion ..... 


Upon a Day ..... 


The Red-Cross Knight and Una 


Una and the Lion .... 


Faith, and Hope .... 


Charity ..... 


Phredria and Cymochles on the Idle Lake 


Ministering Angels .... 


Harmony ..... 


Love ...... 


Mutability ..... 





I cannot eat but little Meat .... 385 


Description and praise of his Love, Geraldinc . 286 

Complaint of his Lady .... 287 

How no Age is Content .... 288 

Complaint of a Lover rebuked . . . 290 

Prisoned in Windsor, he recounteth his Pleasure there 291 

How Each Thing receiveth Pleasure in Spring . 293 

Spring ...... 294 

A Vow to love faithfully, howsoever he be rewarded . 295 

The Beauties of the Morning .... 296 

A Praise of his Love ..... 297 

The Happy Life ..... 298 

The Lover unbeloved laments by night . . 299 

Love's Patience ..... 300 

On the Death of Sir Thomas Wyat . . . 302 

Death of Laocoon ..... 304 


The Lover confesseth himself to be in Love . . 343 
The Lover, to his Lady, who gazed much up to the 

Skies . .... 344 

The assured Promise of a constant Lover . . 345 

In Praise of Lady Anne, Countess of Warwick . 346 

That all things are as they are used . , . 350 
Of a deaf Plaintiff, a deaf Defendant, and a deaf 

Judge ...... 352 

The Miser and the Mouse .... 354 


Sonnet to his Wife ..... 336 

Good-Husband and Unthrift .... 337 

Moral Reflections ..... 340 
Time and the Year . . . . .341 

Principal Points of Religion .... 342 


The Minion Wife ..... 384 


VAUX, LORD ; Ixxv 

The Assault of Cupid . 

The aged Lover renounceth Love 

Grey Hairs 

Death in Life . 

Of a contented Mind . 




Go, Heart 
Leave me not . 




A Supplication ..... 260 

The Lover's Appeal . . . . .261 

Death's Bounties ..... 262 

A Description of such a one as he would love . 263 

The Careful Lover and the Happy Lover . . 264 

The Complaint of a Deserted Lover . . . 265 

The Re-cured Lover exulteth in his freedom . . 267 

A Renouncing of Love .... 269 

The Lover forsaketh his unkind Love. . . 270 

The Lover complaineth the unkindness of his Love . 271 

The Lover determineth to serve faithfully . . 273 

The Lover's Lute cannot be blamed . . . 275 

Comparison of Love to an Alpine Stream . . 277 

Of his Love that pricked her finger with a needle . 278 

That Pleasure is mixed with every Pain . . 279 

The Courtier's Life ..... 280 

Yea or Nay ...... 281 

Disdain me not ..... 282 

On the mean and sure Estate .... 283 

Macbeth and the Witches 





A Love Ditty ..... 


A little Geste of Robin Hood 


A Ballad on Money .... 


Against Niggardliness 


Ad ancient Love Song .... 


Care away for evermore . . . . 


Gossip mine ...... 


I had both Money and a Friend 


Love Song to Mistress Alysoun 


May Song ..... 


My Sweet Sweeting .... 


On the uncertainty of this Life 


Robin Hood rescuing the ^Vidow's Three Sons 


Rondeau ..... 


Sir Penny ..... 


Spring Song ..... 


The Nut-brown Maid .... 


The earliest English Sea-Song 


The Clown's Courtship 


The Lover laments .... 


Trust in Women , . . • 



Section I.— Chaucer's Predecessors. 

' M ^HE long period of European history known as the 
I Dark Ages was drawing to a close. With the 

A beginning of the thirteenth century came the dawn 

of a new and brighter day. Man's intellect seemed 
to arouse itself from long slumber, and to apply once again 
to study with renewed vigour. Nor are the causes which 
brought this about far to seek. The two great ^barriers to 
the wider diffusion of learning were the inadequacy of 
the vernacular for literary composition, and the want of 
books. The removal of the first of these obstacles had 
begun ; the second remained until the introduction of the 
art of printing, more than a century later, multiplied copies, 
and brought the means of enlightenment within the reach of 
all. Formerly Latin, the language of the schools, was the 
sole vehicle of literary composition, and in this dress all the 
higher kinds of knowledge were communicated. The ver- 
nacular being used only in everyday affairs, learning became 
the possession of a privileged few. But the use of the tongue 
of the common people in literature now became more frequent, 
and, as a necessary result, that tongue became gradually 


better adapted for the expression of abstract ideas. Cause 
and effect reacted on one another, and the more the vernacular 
was used to express hterary ideas, the more capable it became 
of so doing. Other causes which contributed to this revival 
of letters were the establishment of the great monastic orders, 
and the foundation of schools and universities at which the 
monks were educated ; also the patronage afforded to learning 
by the princes and nobility. 

The English language dates from about the year 1250. The 
century and a half previous was a transition period. Norman- 
French was still the language of the law, the court, and the 
nobility ; but nevertheless the native vernacular, spoken solely 
by the larger mass of the despised commonalty, more than 
held its own, until at length the hostile tongues — like the 
antagonistic races of conquerors and conquered, — Anglo- 
Norman and Anglo-Saxon, became fused and welded into 
one, the noble English language. Three stages, Latin, French, 
and Earliest English, are well typified in three celebrated 
works — ^first, the Historia Brita7inorum, in nine books, written 
in Latin by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the historian of Arthur, 
Lear, and Cymbeline, about the year 1130 ; second, the Brut 
(TAiigleterre, a translation of this work by Wace into 15,000 
French lines some forty years later ; third, another transla- 
tion, at about an equal interval of time, into Earliest 
English, by a Worcestershire priest named Layamon. This, 
the most noteworthy production of the latter portion of 
the transition period, is entitled The Brut ; it extends to some 
32,000 lines, and is characterised by both alliteration and 
rime. The language is almost entirely Saxon — a remarkable 
fact when we bear in mind Layamon's French original. In 
fact, Layamon was the last of the Saxon poets, and his work 
may be termed the lastjgreat Anglo-Saxon, rather than the 
Earliest English poem of any length. It is uninteligible to 


the ordinary English reader. Another remarkable poem of 
this period, second in importance to The Brut only, was The 
Onnuhnn, so named after its author Ormin, a series of 
homilies on the New Testament lessons in the daily service of 
the Church. It exists in a single incomplete MS., containing 
but the homily for a single Sunday. This numbers some 10,000 
lines of fifteen syllables each : if the work was completed on 
the same scale, it must have been one of the very longest 
poems in any language. It differs from Layamon's poem is 
having neither alliteration nor rime, but it possesses rhythm 
and accent, and may therefore be considered the forerunner of 
our blank verse. In language it is much more modern than 
The Brut. Other poems of this period deserving mention are 
an original Moral Ode {Cir. 1200), and The Owl and the 
Nightingale {Cir. 1250), by Nicholas de Guildford, numbering 
nearly 1800 lines, and relating a contention between the two 
birds — a favourite device of the older poets, which culminated 
in Dunbar's Merle and Nightingale {infra, p. Ix.). 

As a rule, the first attempts at literary composition in any 
language are of the metrical or poetical kind, and the subjects 
first treated are Love and Nature. We have specimens of 
both descriptions dating from the very beginning of Enghsh 

The first extract in the present volume is a short poem 
descriptive of Spring, said to be the most ancient English song 
with musical notes attached. This may be approximately 
dated a.d. 1300, and is apparently contemporaneous with the 
love ditties which follow it. 

\^ Nor was satire wanting at this early stage in the history of 
our poetry. At the end of the thirteenth, or early in the four- 
teenth century, was composed a famous satirical poem on the 
vices of the clergy and the prevalent corruptions of the Church. 
It is entitled The Land of Cockayne — an ideal Fools' and 



Gluttons' Paradise. Similar pieces are to be found in the litera- 
tures of various European countries, and this poem is thought 
by some to be merely a free paraphrase of a French fabliau on 
the same subject. Its authorship has been ascribed to the 
first Irishman who wrote English verses — one Michael of 
Kildare ; but this is very doubtful. 

Towards the close of the thirteenth century a new form of 
narrative poetry made its appearance in English literature. 
This was the metrical Romance of Chivalry, which continued 
to flourish till the close of the fifteenth century. Its birthplace 
was France, and its parents were the trouvcrcs and trouba- 
dours ; therefore our earlier efforts of this description are 
mostly, if not entirely, translations of early French fabliaux. 
These romances, which are exceedingly numerous and long — 
histories rather than poems — are all similar in style. They are 
the work of unknown authors, and have been divided, accord- 
ing to subject, into five classes : — ist. Arthur and his knights ; 
2nd. Charlemagne ; 3rd. The Siege of Troy ; 4th. Alexander 
the Great (whence "Alexandrine" metre is so named); 5th. 
Those which properly belong to none of these classes. The 
heroes and heroines of the first cycle once more live, thanks to 
Tennyson, in the hearts of all lovers of true poetry. To enter 
further into these poems is not possible in the present sketch; I 
shall therefore merely give a short outline of Havclok the Dane 
as a specimen, and refer any reader desirous of further informa- 
tion to Ellis' English Metrical Romances. Havelok, the child 
of a Danish king, and an orphan, is given by his faithless guard- 
ian to a fisherman named Grim, to be drowned. The fisherman 
does not drown the child, but takes him to England. Landing 
in Lincolnshire, he founds the town of Grimsby. Another 
false guardian compels an English princess to marry the 
supposed child of the fisherman ; his royal descent is then 
revealed, and he wins back his father's kingdom. 


The first English poet of the fourteenth century, Robert 
Mannyng {Cir. 1260-1340), often called Robert De Brunne, 
from his birthplace in Lincolnshire, was a canon of the Gilber- 
tine order, who lived for many years in the priory of Sempring- 
ham. The only particulars of his personal history now known 
are such as he has himself furnished. His earliest extant pro- 
duction, which is dated 1303, he entitled The Handly7tg Synne 
{i.e., Sinner's Manual), a very free rendering of the title of its 
French original, Le Manuel des Pechiez. This poem is in- 
valuable, owing to its pictures of much of the life of the middle- 
class England of its day, in its comments on, and stories illus- 
trative of the Seven Deadly Sins, and of the Decalogue (p. 5). 
Mannyng's longest work, however, is his metrical Chronicle 
of England. It is divided into two parts, and is throughout 
a translation from the French of Wace and of Peter Langtoft, 
a canon of Yorkshire, and one of Mannyng's contemporaries. 
In both portions the translator has adopted the metre of his 
original. Notwithstanding that some critics have judged him 
to be our best poet before Chaucer, Mannyng's works possess 
but little literary merit. According to Ellis, his chief talent lay 
in " his extraordinary facility of riming." 

Passing by Adam Davie {Cir. 1312), who wrote a series of 
poems on sacred subjects, and of whose life nothing whatever 
seems to be known, the only other predecessors of Chaucer re- 
quiring notice are Richard Rolle, a somewhat voluminous writer 
of religious pieces, both in prose and verse, and Laurence Minot. 

Richard Rolle {Cir. 1 290-1 349), known as "The Hermit of 
Hampole," was a natjve of Yorkshire, and wrote in the northern 
dialect. His compositions, which are devoid of imagination or 
elegance, consist of metrical paraphrases of divers portions of 
Scripture, and a prolix moral poem, entitled The Pricke of Con- 
science, containing about 10,000 lines divided into seven books. 
A fair notion of this work may be formed from the list of sub- 


jects treated in these seven books ; they are as follows : — i, Of 
the beginning of Man's Life ; 2, Of the Unstableness of this 
World ; 3, Of Death, and why Death is to be dreaded ; 4, Of 
Purgatory ; 5, Of Domesday ; 6, Of the Pains of Hell ; and 
7, Of the Joys of Heaven (p. 6). 

In the war-lyrics of our earliest national poet Laurence 
Minot {Cir. 1300-1352), — who may be appropriately termed 
the laureate of Edward the Third's reign, as all his extant 
works celebrate the victories of that monarch, — we, for the 
first time in the history of our poetry, meet with original inven- 
tion combined with vigorous expression. Of Minot nothing is 
known save his name. His poems, eleven in number, are all 
short, and, in their direct and bald simplicity, resemble 
our old heroic ballads. In subject they treat of contemporary 
events : the battles of Bannockburn, Halidon Hill, Crecy, and 
Nevil's Cross ; the sea fight of Sluys, and another with the 
Spaniards off Winchelsea ; the sieges of Tournai, of Calais, and 
of Guines Castle, and King Edward's expedition into Brabant 
(p. 9). This last is in the same stanza as Chaucer's Sir TJiopas. 
The facility which Minot displays in the use of very various 
metres, and his comparative freedom from obscurity and 
obsoleteness of language, fully entitle him to be classed among 
the earliest English writers deserving the title of poet. 

We now sum up the most notable features of this first period 
of the history of our poetry. Two facts were accomplished : 
—Authors began to write, not in French or Latin, but in 
English ; and the feeling of nationality was born. The 
productions of the period are, as a whole, marked by four 
distinctive characteristics : — (i) The poems are, as a rule, of 
great length ; (2) they were written chiefly by ecclesiastics ; 
(3) though containing much that is original, they are, 
for the most part, translations or imitations, hence their 
similarity to early French productions ; (4) they employ 


alliteration. Rime, although known to and sometimes used 
by the Anglo-Saxons, did not come into general use until after 
the Norman Conquest. The Anglo-Saxons invariably employed 
alliteration, which consists of the frequent occurrence of words 
beginning with the same letter (called the rime-letter), gener- 
ally two in the first line, and at least one in the second line 
of each couplet, each short line having at least two strong 
accents, thus : — 

" And on a ^/ay il/orning 
On Malvern Hills. 
Under a j5road j5ank 
By a j5urn's side." 

Another peculiarity of Anglo-Saxon poetry was that it was 
written as prose for the eye, the division of the lines being 
marked with a dot. Sometimes, as in Layamon's Brut, and 
in The Owl and the Nightingale, riming couplets were inter- 
mingled with alliterative couplets. Alliteration survived into 
the fifteenth century, and, indeed, its use in a modified form 
will never cease while poetry is written. 

The finest extant example of alliterative verse is the poem 
which stands at the beginning pf the next section, viz., The 
Vision of Piers Plowman. 

Section II.— Chaucer : His Contemporaries and 

We have already seen (in \h& Land of Cockayne) \}a?X the 
increasingly corrupt state of the church and the immorality of 
the clergy had become the object of the poet's satire. The 
example thus set was speedily followed by almost all the 
writers of the period, including Chaucer himself. It reached 
its climax in the work of an obscure ecclesiastic, the most 
important poem in our language previous to the Canterbury 


Talcs. The name of this sath^ist was WiUiam Langland or 
Langley, and his poem was the Vision of William concerning 
Piers the Ploivman. Of its author Httle appears to be known, 
save that his wife's name was Kitty and his daughter's Calote, 
and that he Hved in Cornhill, London. Whether he was a 
Wicldiffite in name is not of much cpnsequence ; it is clear 
from his poem that at heart he sympathised with the efforts of 
the reformer. The Vision has moreover considerable political 
significance. It is a protest, not only against the sale of 
pardons by the pound, but also against the political oppression 
of the many by the few ; it is the cry of the enslaved masses 
for liberty, civil as well as religious ; in it the pent-up feelings 
of the nation find voice. Being addressed to the Saxon portion 
of the people, the form of versification used is Saxon, which 
would endear it to its auditors. That the poem was extremely 
popular is abundantly evident from the number of MSS. still 
in existence ; from the fact that the name Piers Ploughman 
henceforward became a favourite appellation of the English 
sans-czilottc ; from the imitations which appeared, notably 
Piers the Plowmatis Crede ; and from numerous allusions in 
writers of the next two centuries, including Lydgate, Skelton, 
Gascoigne, Drayton, and Spenser. The probability is that the 
author twice re-wrote the entire of this truly national work. It 
consists of some 14,000 lines, divided into a prologue and twenty 
distinct passus or sections, containing nine visions in the alle- 
gorical style, which had been rendered fashionable by the 
Roman de la Rose. Langland begins his poem by wandering 
out among the Malvern Hills as a shepherd, 

" In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne." 

He grows weary, and lying down beside a stream, he sleeps 
and dreams. In his dream he sees a large meadow, on one 
side the town of Truth, on the other the dungeon of Wrong. 


The Lady Holy Church appears ; then the Lady Mede 
(Worldly Reward), with all her virtues and vices. Other 
allegorical figures are introduced ; Sir Inwit, with his five 
sons, See-well, Say-well, Hear-well, Sir Godfi-ey Go-well, and 
Sir Work-well-with-thine-hand ; also some characters drawn 
from real life, such as Hawkin, the active man. The name 
Piers (Petrus = a rock) is a reference to ist Corinthians x. 4. 
He is at first the type of the humble and honest Christian 
labourer, who finally becomes identified with Christ, Both in 
matter and in manner this poem reminds us of the great prose 
allegory of our literature, The Pilgriiiis Progress; and for 
lifelike portraiture it is hardly inferior to its great successor. 
Here and there also the well-sustained allegory is enlivened by 
vivid and picturesque touches of external nature, and through- 
out by the keenest satire ; but unhappily its vigour often 
degenerates into repulsive coarseness. One portion of the 
work, containing a description of Nature sending forth dis- 
eases from the planets at the command of Conscience and his 
attendants. Age and Death, is especially interesting, as having 
possibly been present to the m.ind of Milton in his description 
of the Lazar-house (Par. L. xi.). The metre of Mr W. Morris's 
drama, Love is enojigh, is modelled on that of Piers Plozunian. 

Langland and Chaucer treat of the same period, but, as IVIr 
Minto has pointed out, so different are these two poets " in tl e 
spirit of their pictures, that it needs an effort of reflection to 
discover the shadows of the one and the lights of the other." 
According to the same critic, Langland is a Puritan of the 
fourteenth century, differing trom the author of the Canterbury 
Tales as Roundhead from Cavaher. Langland excels in moral, 
Chaucer in poetic power. Langland cares more for the 
purpose, Chaucer for the form of his work. 

As Langland was the poet of the people, so Geoffrey 
Chaucer (1340-1400) was the poet of the court, The son cf 


a London vintner, we find him, at the age of seventeen, in 
the household of Prince Lionel, son of Edward III. It is 
not known whether any university can rightly number 
"the Poet of the Dawn" among its alumni. He served 
in Edward's expedition into France in 1359, and in 1367 
became valet of the king's chamber, receiving a yearly 
pension for life of twenty marks, which was afterwards 
increased. Chaucer was subsequently employed on several 
diplomatic missions abroad, and may have met Petrarch. 
Although he held a succession of Government appointments, 
and in 1386 sat as M.P. for Kent, he died in comparative 
poverty. His wife's name was Philippa, and for his son, 
Lewis, he wrote a prose treatise on the astrolabe, entitled 
Bread and Milk for Babes (1391). 

In politics Chaucer belonged to the party of John of 
Gaunt, the death of whose wife called forth what was 
probably the poet's first work of any length, entitled 
The Death of Blanche tlie Duchess (1369) ; some 1330 
lines in riming octo-syllabic couplets — the metre of the 
Roman de la Tose, and of much early English poetry. More 
than half this poem is introductory, employing the usual 
mediccval machinery of a dream and a May morning. The 
story is derived from Ovid {A/el. xi.), perhaps through the 
version of Machault, the famous French troiivere. To the 
same period of Chaucer's poetical history belong several minor 
poems, and The Complaints of Venus and Mars, supposed to 
be sung by a bird on St Valentine's Day, a subject to which 
Chaucer (who seems to have been very partial to the feathered 
kind) recurs in his charming Parliament of Fowls (? 1374). 
This bright and amusing allegory, possibly alluding to the 
marriage of Anne of Bohemia and Richard II., contains a 
catalogue of trees, copied almost verbatim by Spenser. It 
extends to ninety-nine stanzas, — including sixteen taken from 


Boccaccio's Tcseide^ — in what has been variously called 
'■Chaucer's Stanza," " Troilus Verse," and "Rime-Royal." 
This, the favourite form of stanza in early English poetry, 
consists of seven five-accent lines riming thus : a b a b b c c. 
Chaucer employed this stanza in several of his Tales, espe- 
cially those of a pathetic nature, and in the chief poem 
of his earlier period, Troylus a;td Cryseyde (? 1380), a 
story which afterwards attracted Shakspere himself (p. 25). 
Chaucer's poem, though veiy far from being a mere trans- 
lation, and containing many long original passages, was 
founded, as Lydgate informs us, upon Boccaccio's Filo- 
strafo, itself borrowed from Colonna and Benoit de St Maure. 
This " litel tragedie" numbers 8253 lines — about as much as 
Virgil's A£neid — divided into five books. It is, with the excep- 
tion of his masterpiece, Chaucer's longest and noblest poem. 
As Sidney said, " Chaucer undoubtedly did excellently well 
in his Troilus and Cresseid." Its skilful narrative, its purity 
of style, its deep insight in human nature, entitle it to be 
ranked along with the Hero and Leandcr of Marlowe and 
Chapman, and the Venus and Adonis of Shakspere, whilst in 
its high moral tone it excels them. In this last respect, and 
also in the nobility of the characters, it contrasts favourably 
with the great dramatist's version of the tale. Henryson wrote 
a continuation, which, together with Chaucer's poem, was trans- 
lated into Latin rimes by Kynaston in the reign of Charles I. 

As in Troylus and Ciyseyde, Chaucer gave ample proof of his 
pathetic power, so in his description of the House of Rumour 
and its occupants in the House of Fame Q 1384) he afforded a 
sample of his genial humour. This poem, an ambitious and 
lengthy allegory in three books, contains some personal 
allusions to the poet's habits and appearance. It is, on the 
whole, superior to the Lege7id of Good Women {? 13S6), a 


rather perfunctory amende honorable for all the bitter things he 
had said about the fair sex. Chaucer's 

" Goode women, maidenes, and wives, 
That weren true in loving all their lives, 

are Cleopatra, Thisbe, Medea, Lucretia, Ariadne, Philomene, 
Phillis, Hypermnestra— all classical, chiefly from Ovid. The 
idea of this collection, originally intended to have numbered 
nineteen stories, is borrowed from Boccaccio. The metre is 
the five-accent couplet, used in many of the Ca?tferbury Tales. 
As two of the latter, viz., Palamon and Arcite (Knight's Tale), 
and St Cecilia (2nd Nun's Tale), are mentioned by name, it is 
clear that Chaucer had now set to work upon the masterpiece 
of his life-work, which occupied him till his death. The year 
1386 has been taken as the central date of the entire work. 

The Canterbicry Talcs is a great work for all time, and is the 
great poem of Early English Literature ; to it almost exclusively 
Chaucer owes his fame as an unrivalled story-teller, and it 
exemplifies all his poetical faculties at their best. 

The idea of the general framework in which the various tales 
are set, probably an after-thought, somewhat resembles, but is 
greatly superior to that of the Decameron. The general Pro- 
logue — an admirable gallery of life-like portraits, the finest 
thing Chaucer ever penned — introduces some thirty pilgrims 
bound for the shrine of " the holy blissful martyr " St Thomas 
at Canterbury. They have assembled at the Tabard Inn at 
Southwark, and the host, burly and jovial Harry Baily, is per- 
suaded to preside over the merry company. A canon and his 
yeoman, who afterwards pick up with the party, and Chaucer 
himself, bring the total number of pilgrims up to thirty-four, 
three being women. It is agreed that each pilgrim, in order to 
beguile the tedium of the journey, shall tell two tales both going 
and returning, the prize for the best tale being a supper at the 
expense of the rest. Chaucer did not live to carry out more than 


one fourth part of this plan. We possess in all but twenty-two 
tales in some 17,000 ten and eleven syllable lines, and two 
tales in prose. Of these tales thirteen are humorous, eight are 
pathetic love stories, and three are moral lectures. Three, the 
Cook's, the Squire's, and Chaucei-'s first tale, are incomplete. 
Chaucer was a great reader in several languages ; his love 
of books almost equalled his love of nature and human 
nature, and as in Shakspere's case, almost every one of these 
stories has been traced to a foreign original ; notwithstanding 
this, they all fit in admirably with the characters of the narra- 
tors. The various tales are connected by short chatty pro- 
logues, describing the incidents of the journey. 

The telling of the first tale fell by lot to the Knight, 
who chose the love story of Palamon and Arcite, told at great 
length in the Tescide of Boccaccio. Chaucer's version is for 
the most part original, differing in several important particu- 
lars from the Italian. He has copied the celebrated descrip- 
tion of the Temple of Mars from Statius. Next follows a 
coarse tale of an old carpenter and his wife, told " in Pilate's 
Voice" by the Miller, " dronken of ale." This gives offence 
to Oswald the Reeve {i.e., bailiff), a slender coleric man, 
and a carpenter by trade, who, in revenge, tells the story 
of Symkyn, the thievish Miller of Trompington, founded 
on Boccaccio. Next comes the unfinished Cook's tale of 
Perkin the Revellour, followed by the Man of Law's touch- 
ing story of Constance, also given by Gower and by Trivet. 
The Shipman then tells a tale of a duped merchant, from 
Boccaccio. Mr Furnivall suggests that this may have 
been written as the second tale of the Wife of Bath. 
Her first story of the Knight Florent seeking what women 
most desire — i.e., their own way — is borrowed from Gower. 
It is introduced by a long and amusing prologue, and 
followed by the Pardoner's tale. After the Prioress's 


tragic tale of the murder by Asiatic Jews of a Christian 
child for singing Alma Redeviptoris Mater, Chaucer 
himself begins "The Rime of Sir Thopas," a burlesque 
on the style of the popular romances of chivalry. Ere 
long the Host stops him with an impatient "No more 
of this, for God's sake," whereupon the poet substitutes the 
extremely tedious " Moral Tale of the Virtuous Meliboeus," 
a direct translation from the French. This is one of 
the two prose tales ; the other is that told by the Parson, 
which, though called " a merry tale," is, in fact, a long 
and incomplete sermon on Jeremiah vi. i6, probably told 
last of all on the eve of their visit to the shrine. Partly 
derived from a French treatise on Vices and Virtues, it 
is important as bearing on the question, " Was Chaucer a 
Wickliffite?" The Monk's tale, which follows that of 
Meliboeus, has been well described as a miniature Mirt'or of 
Magistrates. It relates the " tragedies " or downfalls of 
various illustrious personages, from Lucifer to Croesus, where 
the list is cut short by a " Ho, sir, no more of this," from the 
Knight. Sir John, the Nun's Priest, follows with the amusing 
fable of the Cock and the Fox, from the Roman de Renart 
and the fables of Marie de France. The Doctor of Physic, 
whose " study was but little on the Bible," tells of Appius 
and Virginia, also in Gower ; and next comes a tale of 
three brothers seeking to kill Death, and finding him at last 
in a treasure hidden under a tree. This story, told by the 
Pardoner (a character afterwards copied by Heywood and 
Lindsay), may be found in the Cento Novelle Antiche. The 
cherub-faced Sompneur {i.e., Summoner) and the lean Friar 
now have a mutual hit at each other ; the former tells a 
story of a sick man giving alms to a greedy Friar, the latter 
retaliating by relating how a Summoner taught the devil a trick, 
and soon found himself in hell. Next comes the Clerk's exqui- 


sitely pathetic tale of Grisclda, founded on Petrarch's Latui 
Version of the last story in the Decameron^ and consisting of 
six parts, followed by a bantering Envoy which advises — 

" No wedded man so hardy be to assail 
His wife's patience in hope to find 
Griseldis, for in certain he shall fail." 

This well-known tale, dramatised in Elizabeth's day by Chettle, 
Dekker, and Haughton, has passed into a proverb. The Mer- 
chant's tale of January and May, derived from Boccaccio, is 
succeeded by the Squire's " half-told " tale of oriental magic, of 
"the virtuous ring," which enabled its wearer to hear the speech 
of the birds, of the " glass " that showed coming disaster, and 
of " the wondrous horse of brass " which transported its rider 
with magic rapidity to any distant place. This tale is referred 
to by Milton and by Spenser. In the Franklin's tale of Arvi- 
ragus and his faithful wife Dorigen, we have more magic in the 
shape of removing rocks. This idea occurs twice in Boccaccio. 
The Second Nun gives the Legend of St Cecilia from the Le- 
geiida Aurea, and this is followed by a satire against alchemical 
impostors by the Canon's Yeoman, which, says Ward, has 
suggested to Jonson one of the most effective scenes in The 
Alchemist. The party having now arrived at a place bearing the 
curious name of Bob-up-and-Down, the Manciple relates the 
well-known fable of the Crow who was turned from white into 
black for telling a lie; told by a number of authors from Ovid to 
Gower. We have none of the tales told on the return journey. 
Lydgate wrote his Siege of Thebes as a supplemental Canter- 
bury Tale, and also the Merry Adventure of the Friar and 
the Tapster at the Canterbury Inn. Several tales have been 
modernised by Dryden, Pope, and Wordsworth. The remain- 
ing pilgrims who tell no tales are the Prioress's three Chaplains, 
the Haberdasher, Carpenter, Webster, Dyer, Tapster, and Host, 


It is to be remarked that the pilgrims inckide no foreigners, 
but, as Blake has finely said, they " are the characters which 
compose all ages and nations. As Newton numbered the stars, 
and as Linna:us numbered the plants, so Chaucer numbered the 
classes of men." They are portraits of the genus rather than of 
the individual, and represent all sorts and conditions of men of 
that time. Chaucer's descriptions are always vivid and fresh, 
his imagery is always bright. He is never dull, never prosy, 
like Gower ; and is much less given to descriptive enumerations, 
in the " catalogue or inventory style," than his contemporaries. 
Of the two qualities, pathos and humour — both so requisite in 
any great writer — " old Dan Geoffrey," 

" in whose gentle sprite 
The pure well-head of poesy did dwell" — 

possessed an ample share ; but of the two, good-humoured 
gaiety and harmless fun predominated. It is, says Minto, the 
most universally patent and easily recognised of his gifts. 
Living in the fourteenth century, Chaucer was a great descrip- 
tive and narrative poet ; a couple of centuries later, he would 
undoubtedly, with his unequalled power of characterisation, 
have adopted the dramatic form. After the lapse of half a 
millennium we feel that we know the characters and manners 
of the Canterbury pilgrims better than we do those of many 
of our intimate acquaintances. They are not merely life-like, 
they are living. 

Although influenced by the French, and in a lesser degree 
by the Italian poets, Chaucer is essentially a medieval English- 
man. He has been rightly dubbed the Father of English 
Poetry, but, as Ward points out, he is not only the first great 
poet of his own nation, but is also a great poet for all time; 
he is our first love-poet and the first great painter of character, 
especially female character. He towers above all his English 
contemporaries— except Langkmd — as the poet surrounded by 


dwarfish poetasters, and can only be compared with his world- 
famed contemporaries Dante and Petrarch. 

Chaucer was the first great writer who stamped his genius 
on our language. As Lowell says, he " found his native 
tongue a dialect and left it a language." All English versifiers 
who came after acknowledged him as " the first finder of our 
fair language ; " and Spenser, his great successor, in his earliest 
and latest work, celebrates his master as the 

" Well of English undefiled, 
On Fame's eternal bead-roll worthy to be filed," — 

a position he now shares with Spenser himself, Milton, T)ry- 
den. Pope, Byron, Burns, and Tennyson. Even to-day one of 
our leading poets exclaims — 

" Thou art my master . . . 

. . . Thou whose dreamy eyes, 
Beheld the flush to Cresseid's cheek arise, 
As Troilus rode up the praising street." 

— W. Morris, "Jason" B. xxii. 

The poems already mentioned, together with some minor 
pieces, and a prose translation of Boethius's popular De Conso- 
lationc PhilosopJiice, constitute the entire of the extant un- 
questioned works of Chaucer. But in addition to this volumin- 
ous list, a number of other poems have been attributed to his pen. 
These may be divided into two classes : first, works in verse and 
prose, by Lydgate and others, which though contained in early 
printed editions, are undoubtedly not by Chaucer ; these in- 
clude four spurious Canterbury Tales, /.£"., The Ploughman's, a 
clerical satire in imitation of Langland, and probably by the 
writer of The Plowman^ s Credej The Merchant's second Tale 
of Beryn ; The Pilgrim's Tale, and the Cook's Tale of Gamelin, 
which furnished Shakspere with the character of Old Adam 
in As You Like It. Secondly, a number of pieces included in 
all editions, and until recently universally accepted as genuine. 


Of these the more important are (i.) The Roniaunt of the Rose, 
a translation of the celebrated work of Lorris and Meun, 
which exercised a vast influence on European literature. 
Chaucer was undoubtedly deeply affected by this "irrepressible " 
work, and, as Lydgate tells us, he translated it. It depicts 
allegorically the difficulties encountered by a lover in gaining his 
mistress, who is symbolised as a rose. In it we find the original 
of the May morning and dream with which so many early Eng- 
lish poems open. (2.) The Flozuer and the Leaf, apparently 
written about 1450 by a woman. The plot is briefly as follows : 
— A lady in an arbour sees approach two companies of knights 
and ladies, one in green, the other in white. The latter wor- 
ship the laurel-leaf, which typifies virtue and lasting qualities, 
the former reverence the flowers, that is, fading beauty and 
pleasure. Dryden paraphrased this poem, and Keats wrote a 
sonnet upon it. (3.) Chaucer's Dream, a poor poem in two 
visions, possibly referring to the marriage of John of Gaunt 
with Blanche. It may be a version of some French lai. (4.) 
The Cuckoo and the Nightingale, a dialogue on the nature of 
love, and based on the idea that those who hear the nightingale 
before the cuckoo will be fortunate in love during the year, and 
vice versa. It somewhat resembles the original poem of The 
Owl and the Nightingale, written 200 years before, and also 
Dunbar's Merle and Nightitigale. Though of the same type 
as the Assembly of Fowls, this piece is very un-Chaucerian. It 
probably had a French original. Another piece containing 
one of the popular bird scenes is, (5.) The Court of Love (? 1500), 
in Chaucer's stanza, and thought by many to be his first 
original work. It contains some Scotticisms ; could it have 
been written by Dunbar? 

These and some minor poems have all been pronounced not 
to be Chaucer's by Bradshaw, Skeat, Furnivall, and (with the 
exception of the first) Ten Brink, Chaucer's German critic. 


The principal ground of this decision is that these poems all 
contravene the laws of rime as observed by Chaucer elsewhere. 
Moreover there is no external evidence in their favour ; they 
are not named as his by Chaucer himself, or by any of his con- 
temporaries, or by any good MSS. No doubt these arguments 
are entitled to very great weight, but, on the other hand, if 
these poems be not Chaucer's, by whom were they written? 
The case of the doubtful plays of Shakspere is not at all analo- 
gous ; that great dramatist had many famous contemporaries : 
the "day-star of our poetry" stood alone in his generation. 
Surely at least the name of a poet capable of writing such 
skilful imitations of Chaucer would have survived ? 

Both the anti-clerical and the political element are also to bo 
found in the works of Chaucer's third great contemporary — the 
most noteworthy from a purely literary point of view — John 
Gower (1325-1408). Of his personal history little is known; 
his birthplace, university, profession, are all uncertain ; but 
one thing is certain — that he was a thorough scholar. His 
three long poems, each written in a different language, 
display a vast accumulation of medijEval knowledge of all 
kinds. In the year of Chaucer's death, Gower became blind 
from old age, and probably ceased to write. He survived 
his illustrious friend and fellow-poet some eight years, and 
was buried in the church of St Saviour's, Southwark, which 
he had richly endowed. A costly monument was there erected 
in his honour ; and from it we derive some interesting parti- 
culars as to his personal appearance. He is portrayed as 
having long curling auburn hair, and a small forked beard ; h|e 
is clad in a robe of purple damask, closely buttoned, and 
reaching to his feet ; round his neck is a collar of S.S., from 
which depends a swan. Near this monument hung formerly a 
tablet granting 1500 days' pardon to all who prayed devoutly 
for his soul. Under his head are three volumes representing 


his three chief poems. Of these the earliest in point of date, 
the Speculum MeditaJitis (The Meditative Man's Looking- 
Glass), written in French — probably one of the last works 
written in that language by an Englishman — appears to have 
been a dull didactic treatise on the virtues and vices ; as no copy 
has yet been discovered, we pass on, merely remarking that Mr 
Henry Morley conjectures that from this book the poet earned 
the very appropriate epithet "moral" (first applied to him by 
Chaucer in the dedication of his Troylus and Cryseyde)^ which 
has stuck to him to the present day, Gower further showed 
his skill in French versification by composing fifty ballades, or 
short love poems in that language. The second volume on 
which the poet's head rests is his Vox Clamantis (Voice of one 
Crying), an allusion to John the Baptist. This poem, the ist 
book of which has reference to the recent insurrection of Wat 
Tyler, is written in Latin elegiacs, and numbers seven books. 
It has been recently printed for the first time. The author 
is clearly, if not an avowed and open follower of Wickliffe — 
whose disciples he elsewhere designates as " This newe sect 
of Lollardie" — at any rate, a sympathiser with the objects of 
the reformer and his brother-poet, the creator of Piers. He 
afterwards wrote a Latin supplement to this poem, in three 
books, entitled Cronica Tripartita. The third volume, the 
Confessio A mantis (Confession of a Lover, p. 53), is that 
by which Gower is best known. Dr Pauli conjectures 
that it may have been undertaken in English owing to 
the great success of Chaucer's English works. In date 
it immediately precedes the immortal Canterbury Tales, 
some of which may have been suggested by stories in 
Gower's poem. Written at the request of King Richard, it 
is in the form of a dialogue between Confessor and Penitent 
extending to over 30,000 octo-s)llabic lines (about twice as 
long as the Canterbury Talcs'), divided into a Prologue and 


eight books. The outHne of the plot is as follows : — An 
unhappy lover wanders out to the woods on a May morning, 
complaining that he is dying of love ; Venus appears and sends 
for her Confessor Genius to shrive him. The Confessor then 
questions him as to the use of his five senses, and explains the 
delusions of these senses, whilst the lover urges his great love 
for an unknown beauty, by whom he is cruelly treated. The 
Confessor then illustrates each of the seven deadly sins with 
apposite tales culled from the Classics, the Chronicles, the 
Romances, the Gesta Romano7-uin (that favourite storehouse of 
our early writers), and a variety of other sources in divers lan- 
guages. Further instructions from Genius follow, and a final 
appeal of the Lover to Venus, which is refused by the goddess, 
who reminds him of his advanced age. At the intercession ot 
some old servants to Love, Cupid draws the dart out of the 
aged Lover's breast, and Venus anoints the wound with cooling 
ointment ; and the poem concludes with the absolution of the 
Lover and a compliment to Chaucer. In the course of the 
work we meet many strange and amusing anachronisms : thus 
Ulysses is a clerk, accomplished in all arts and sciences, 
including magic, learned from Zoroaster, and divination, 
learned from the prophet Daniel ! Among astrological writers 
mentioned are Noah, Abraham, and Moses ! Shakspere is 
indebted to the Confcssio^ in Pericles, where ancient Gower, 
from ashes come, acts as a chorus before each act ; and pos- 
sibly also in the story of the three caskets in the Merchant of 
Venice (p. 60). 

The most interesting fact in connection with Gower is his 
intimacy with Chaucer. According to tradition, that intimacy 
began at Oxford, and they were also fellow-students in the 
Inner Temple. , It is to be regretted that this friendship 
appears not to have continued to their lives' end. Their names 
are always linked together in the history of the literature of 


the time, not indeed as equals, for one is immeasurably 
superior to the other, hut as the first two writers of formed 
English. Both were well versed in French and Italian litera- 
ture, especially Petrarch and Boccaccio, and both were in- 
fluenced thereby. Their differences may all be summed when 
we say, " Chaucer was a poet and Gower was not." Gower 
was a moralist, not a humorist ; Chaucer was a humorist, 
not a moralist. Gower is nothing if not didactic, senten- 
tious, moral ; he is sadly wanting in that love of external 
nature in which Chaucer abounds. Chaucer was a soldier, 
courtier, diplomatist, man of business, mixing in all the life 
and bustle of the time ; Gower was a scholarly recluse, whose 
shadowy personages never had a real existence, whilst Chaucer's 
pilgrims are living at this moment. But the most obvious 
defect in Gower is his absolute want of originality and inven- 
tive power ; for this his imitative fluency is but a poor substi- 
tute. Though once of high repute, I fear that now-a-days 
most readers will, in the main, agree with the amusing criticism 
by Professor Lowell — " Gower has positively raised tedious- 
ness to the precision of science : he has made dulness an 
heirloom for the students of our literary history. As you slip 
to and fro on the frozen levels of his verse, which give no foot- 
hold to the mind, as your nervous ear awaits the inevitable 
recurrence of his rhyme, regularly pertinacious as the tick ot 
an eight-day clock, and reminding you of Wordsworth's 

' Once more the ass did lengthen out 
The hard, dry, sea-saw of his horrible bray,' — 

you learn to dread, almost to respect, the powers of this inde- 
fatigable man. He is the undertaker of the fair medieeval 
legend, and his style has the hateful gloss, the seemingly un- 
natural length, of a coffin. Love, beauty, passion, nature, art, 
life, the natural and the theological virtues — there is nothing 


beyond his power to disenchant, nothing out of which the 
tremendous hydraulic press of his allegory (or whatever it is, 
for I am not sure if it be not something even worse) will not 
squeeze all feeling and freshness and leave it a juiceless pulp. 
It matters not where you try him, whether his story be Chris- 
tian or Pagan, borrowed from history or fable, you cannot 
escape him. Dip in at the middle or the end, dodge back to 
the beginning, the patient old man is there to take you by the 
button and go on with his imperturbable narrative. You may 
have left off with Clytemnestra, and you may begin again with 
Samson ; it makes no odds, for you cannot tell one from 
t'other ! " {My Study Windows : Chaucer.) 

Of the immediate successors of Chaucer and Gower in the 
earher half of the fifteenth century, two only are entitled to a 
passing notice — Thomas Hoccleve, or Occleve (1370- 14 54.?), 
and John Lydgate (1373 ?-i46o?). Of the two, Hoccleve is the 
worst writer. They both declared themselves devoted disciples 
of Chaucer, and Hoccleve in his principal work, De Regiinine 
Prindpum, or The Governail of Princes, inserts a rather grace- 
ful and pathetic lament for the death of " his master dear and 
father reverent" (p. 65) ; and, further, he has apparently, with 
his own hand, adorned the margin of one of the MS. copies of 
this work (now in the British Museum) with the famous 
coloured drawing of Chaucer with his beads, the best authentic 
portrait now in existence, a copy of which adorns the binding 
of the present volume. This poem, written about 141 2, is a 
metrical English version, in 5000 or 6000 lines in rime-royal, 
of a Latin paraphrase of the spurious Aristotelian Sccrctuni 
Secretorum, combined with another Latin book on Chess, and 
is addressed to Prince Hal, afterwards Henry V. The greater 
portion is feeble, consisting mainly of politics and common- 
place morals versified ; but from the long autobiographical 
prologue, in the form of a dialogue between the author 


and an old man, and from his Male Regie (Misrule, 
p. 67), we derive all our knowledge of this genial but im- 
pecunious Clerk of the Privy Seal. The latter poem is a 
warning to youth against follies of all kinds, written evi- 
dently from considerable personal experience. The author, 
whenever his salary was in arrear, wrote a poem begging 
prompt payment of the same. Many of his minor pieces have 
never been printed, and probably the world has suffered no 
loss thereby, as Hoccleve is called a poet by courtesy only, 
being almost devoid of all true poetic feeling. The best thing 
that can be said of either him or Lydgate is, that they carried 
on the linguistic improvements begun by Chaucer and Cower. 
Equally at home in satirical ballads and in devotional 
hymns, John Lydgate, of the Benedictine Abbey of Bury, was 
the most voluminous and versatile writer our language had 
yet produced. In addition to numerous prose works, this 
"eternal scribbler," as he has been termed, has left poems on 
every subject and in every style. The most notable of the 
immediate successors of Chaucer, he has none of his great 
master's conciseness or briUiancy of expression. He is too 
much of a mere mechanical versifier, never indulging in 
flights of fancy or in touching pathos. His chief excellence 
lies in flowing and diffuse descriptions of scenery. Notwith- 
standing this, and the roughness of his verse, his verbose pro- 
ductions are interesting to the student of our language ; and 
he is superior in all respects to Hoccleve. Many of his defects 
may be due to the fact that Lydgate manufactured most of his 
rimes to order, and was, it is said, the first Englishman 
that wrote for hire. Of the two hundred and fifty works 
attributed to him by Ritson, the three principal are 
translations or paraphrases from Latin or French, with 
numerous original prologues and baladcs interpolated. The 
Story of Thebes was the earliest in date : the Falls of Princes is 


the most important and most readable. It is entitled, "The 
Tragedies gathered by Jhon Bochas of all such Princes as fell 
from theyr Estates through the mutability of Fortune since the 
creation of Adam until his time ; wherein may be seen what 
vices bring menne to destruccion, with notable warnings howe 
the like may be avoyded ;" this gives a very good notion of the 
scope and nature of the poem. The plan, subsequently more 
fully developed in The Mirror for Magistrates^ is dramatic. 
A number of persons, including Dante, Petrarch, and Boc- 
caccio, are supposed to appear in turn before the author, each 
to relate his experience and sufferings. 

The Story of Thebes {Cir. 1420) was constructed as an addi- 
tional Canterbury Tale. The poet, on recovering from a severe 
illness, visits the shrine of St Thomas a Becket at Canterbury. 
He puts up at the Inn where Chaucer's pilgrims are staying. 
The host asks him to supper, thinks him lean for a monk, and 
prescribes nut-brown ale at supper, and annis, or coriander, or 
cummin seed afterwards at bedtime. Most of all, however, he 
prescribes cheerful company. So the monk is persuaded to 
return along with the rest of the pilgrims, and on the way, 
in accordance with the rule that each pilgrim should tell a tale, 
he recites the destruction of Thebes. The metre is the ten- 
syllable riming couplet of Chaucer's KniglWs Tale. The 
same metre is used in The Troy Book, on a subject also treated 
by Barbour, a portion of whose version has recently been dis- 
covered in a MS. of Lydgate's work. An amusing point in 
connection with this poem is the manner in which Lydgate 
apologises for those passages which satirise women ; laying the 
blame on his original, Guido of Colonna, on whom, were he 
alive, he would impose a bitter penance. The work contains a 
rather eloquent tribute to his " maister Chaucer, chefe poete of 
Bretayne," and includes many poetic descriptions of rural 
beauty (p. 75). 


Of Lydgate's very numerous minor poems, the best are (i) 
London Lickpcnny (p. 68). This forcible satire on the prevaiUng 
greed for money, relating the adventures of a countryman in 
London, affords a curious picture of the customs and manners 
of the citizens of that day : it is the best known of all Lydgate's 
poems. (2) Bycorne aitd Chichevache, an extraordinary pro- 
duction, a kind of dramatic allegory. Bycorne and Chiche- 
vache represent two beasts, one fat, the other lean. The fat 
one lives on patient husbands, the lean on patient wives. This 
popular old French fable is referred to in Chaucer's Tale of 
Griselda, but Chichevache says that — 

" It is more than thirty Mays, 
That I have sought from lend to lond, 
But yet one Gresield never I fond " — 

(3) Lydgate's Testament (p. 74), somewhat resembling Hoc- 
cleve's Male Regie in subject ; (4) a Dance of Deaths from the 
French ; and (5) The Te^nple of Glass, printed by Caxton in 
1479, which recalls Chaucer's House of Fame and Assetnbly 
of Fowls. The portraits of Lydgate in his MSS. represent 
him as an old, baldheaded man, in a black monkish habit. 
Popular, and of considerable reputation in his own day, more 
recent critics have varied greatly in their verdicts of Lydgate's 
poems ; this may be partly owing to his marked ineciuality. The 
poet Gray considered that in " choice of expression and the 
smoothness of his verse he far surpassed Cower and Hoccleve." 
Ritson, on the contrary, was very severe on poor " Dan John" 
— he styled him " a most prolix and voluminous poetaster, a 
prosaic and drivelling monk ; " and speaks of " his stupid and 
fatiguing productions, which by no means deserve the name of 
poetry ; " " his elaborate drawlings, in which there are scarcely 
three lines together of pure and accurate metre ;" "and their still 
more stupid and disgusting author," and so on in the same style. 
The period at which we are now arrived was, more especially 

INTR OD UCriON. xli . 

after 1450, remarkably barren in the annals of our poetry. 
Chaucer, Gower, Langland, had passed away with the four- 
teenth century. No ^eat poet had arisen to fill their place, 
but though no single writer of pre-eminent excellence, and 
not a single work of great literary genius, adorns this epoch, 
poetry, as an art, was cultivated ; as already shown, Lydgate 
and Hoccleve endeavoured to follow in the immediate foot- 
steps of their beloved master, Chaucer ; and, slightly later, 
Skelton, Hawes, Barclay, and several other now justly-forgotten 
versifiers made the like attempt. Mr Skeat attributes to this 
era several of the anonymous Romances, such as the Morte 
Arthur e^ the Troy-Book^ Alexander^ &c. ; which, he says, 
compare favourably with the poems of Chaucer's successors. 
From this period, again, date many of our old ballads, 
handed down orally for generations, till at length rescued from 
impending oblivion by the printing press. They vary greatly 
in subject ; some are historical, such as the famous Chevy 
Chase, so much admired by Sir Philip Sydney : some are 
political, some are love songs. Of the last mentioned, the most 
important is Tlie Nut-Brown Maid (p. 212), printed in 1502, 
though written considerably earlier, probably by a woman, 
some say. From this poem Prior derived the groundwork of 
his Henry and Emma. Others deal with the adventures of 
semi-fabulous popular heroes, especially Robin Hood. The 
traditions which gathered around the name of this reputed 
Earl of Huntingdon became extremely numerous, and a whole 
cycle of ballads describe his exploits, as champion of the poor 
man's rights, in various encounters with sheriffs and prelates 
and potentates of divers degrees. The earliest of these now 
known is A Lytell Geste of Rohyn Hood (p. 202), printed by 
Wynkyn de Worde about the year 1489. This " lytell geste " 
numbers nearly two thousand lines, and was probably the 
oridnal ballad on our hero. 


Though this fifteenth century does not stand high in our 
poetic annals, it was marked by many notable events. It was 
signalised by the great revival of classical learning in England 
and the opening of many colleges and schools for the study of 
that long-buried hterature of antiquity, which " rose like a shin- 
ing cloud on the horizon of a world dark with monkish super- 
stition and narrow-mindedness." Moreover, it was an age of 
enterprise ; and the discovery of the New World by Cabot and 
Columbus opened up to Europe strange countries and unknown 
races of men. 

But by far the greatest — the greatest event in the history of 
literature, an event whose influence is daily felt by millions over 
all the habitable globe — was the invention of the art of print- 
ing. The blessings conferred by this mighty instrument of 
enlightenment, " furnishing thought with never-resting wings," 
may, justly, be termed " countless." It infused a new life into 
all branches of human learning and literature. Try and 
picture the world without the printing-press ! It is almost 
impossible. So long as all books were in manuscript, pro- 
duced with great expenditure of labour and time, and pur- 
chaseable only at great cost, libraries were very few and far 
between indeed, and books strictly limited in number. Many 
monastic libraries did not contain more than twenty volumes ; 
one hundred volumes would apparently be considered a very 
large collection ! But by the introduction of printing, and the 
substitution of paper for parchment, copies were multiplied 
ad infinitum, and prices reduced. Thus was the growth of 
libraries greatly fostered, and the circle of readers enormously 
widened and enlarged. The second great obstacle to the pro- 
gress of knowled:;e— the scarcity of books— was removed for 
ever, and, once more to quote D'Israeli, books became "mere 
objects of commerce, and dispersed the treasures of the 
human mind free as air, and cheap as bread." 

INTR on UCTION. xliii 

" The only writer deserving the name of a poet in the reign 
of Henry VII.," says Warton, "is Stephen Hawes " (1483- 
151 2?); and, if we take Barclay as belonging rather to the 
next reign, the statement is correct. Hawes travelled con- 
siderably, and had apparently a fair acquaintance with the 
works of foreign poets ; he, however, avowedly, and with fair 
success, imitated 

" My master Lydgate, 
The eloquent poet and monk of Bury," 

an expression which occurs in two of his minor poems — viz. : 
a ''joyful Meditacion on the Coronation of Henry VII I, , and the 
Conversion of Swearers (1509), in octave-stanzas, with Latin 
leviinaia. But Hawes's chief work — by which he is now re- 
membered, and which is compared by Hallam to Bunyan — is 
his tiresome and didactic allegorical and scientific romance in 
the seven-line stanza of Chaucer, entitled The Pastime of Plea- 
sure, invented by Stephen Hawes, groom of King Henry the 
Seventh his chamber (p. 183) — a title which, says Mr Minto, is 
a pious fraud, as " the design of the writer is to entice young 
men, by the promise of pastime and pleasure, into a course of 
valuable instruction in the seven sciences and in moral habits." 
This poem is a history of the life and death of the hero Grande 
Amoure, or Great Love. From Fame he hears a glowing 
description of La Belle Pucelle, or the Fair Maid. He visits, 
by Fame's direction, the Tower of Doctrine, and is there 
taught by Fame's seven daughters, the seven sciences — 
Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and 
Astronomy. In the chamber of Music he first meets his lady 
love. La Belle Pucelle, but before he can win her he must over- 
come many monsters. He visits the Tower of Chivalry and 
the Temple of Venus, in order to ciualify himself for his com- 
ing adventures. Then he encounters a three-headed beast, 


twelve feet high, and clad in brass, having a streamer from 
each head with the names written thereon — Falsehood, 
Imagination, Perjury. Him he slays with his sword Clarapru- 
dence. After this he returns to the palace of La Belle Pucelle, 
where he is met by Peace, Mercy, Justice, Reason, Grace, and 
Memory. The lovers are then happily married by Lex 
Ecclesiae, and live together till Old Age enters the Hero's 
chamber, and strikes his breast ; Age is followed by Policy and 
Avarice. Death then appears, he is buried by Dame Mercy 
and Charity, and his epitaph is engraved by Fame. The whole 
closes with an exhortation by Time and Eternity, and an 
epilogue by the poet. This is a brief outline of the work which 
Southey pronounced to be " the best English poem of its 
century ! " and which Warton declares to have been unjustly 
neglected, and to be " almost the only effort of imagination 
and invention which had yet appeared in our poetry since 
Chaucer." The latter remark is true : it is one of the very 
few original poems in this age of bad translations and feeble 
imitations ; its personifications show considerable inventive 
power. Hawes in his language displays an evident advance ; 
with him we have almost reached the fixed form of Elizabeth's 
day. The Pastinie of Pleasure is termed by Mrs Browning 
" one of the four columnar marbles, the four allegorical poems " 
(the other three being Piers Plowtnan, Chaucer's , Pfotise of 
Fame., and Lydgate's Temple of Glass), " on whose foundations 
is exalted into light the great allegorical poem of the world, 
Spenser's Faerie Queen. There was a force of suggestion 
which preceded Sackville's, and Hawes uttered it." The same 
critic points out a fine passage descriptive of man's life and 
death, concluding thus : — 

"After the day there ccuneth the dark night ; 
For though the day appear ever so long, 
At last the bell ringeth to evensong." 


No poet would be ashamed to own this last couplet. Accord- 
ing to Warton, here is the " one fine line " which Hawes wrote. 
A fresh impetus was given to learning in England by 
the accession of Henry VIII. He patronised literature; he 
himself attempted authorship, fostered the infant Press, and 
best of all, attracted to his court some of the greatest 
scholars and authors of the day. Amongst these was one 
John Skelton (1460), Rector of Diss in Norfolk, a man of a 
high reputation throughout Europe for extensive and laborious 
scholarship. He was known as a translator from Greek, 
Latin, and French ; and was poet-laureate of three Univer- 
sities — Oxford, Cambridge, and Louvain. In his day this 
dignity did not resemble the modern laureateship, but was a 
recognised degree in grammar, rhetoric, and versification. 
Ample proof of Skelton's fame is found in the fact that he 
was chosen by Henry VII. to be tutor to his son Henry; 
and Erasmus, in dedicating a Latin ode to the Prince, then a 
boy of nine, congratulates him on having such an instructor, 
" who can not only excite your studies, but complete them," 
terming Skelton " Unum Britannicarum literarum lumen et 
decus " (the sole light and ornament of British scholarship). 
On the accession of Henry VIII., he was appointed orator 
royal, and became a court poet. Although this witty and 
eccentric parson had originally a friend in Wolsey, his piquant 
and trenchant satires, Colin Clout (p. 160) and Why come ye 
not to Couft ? belabouring the corrupt clergy, and abounding 
in open personalities and scurrilous invective, soon drew upon 
him the wrath of the mighty object of his daring attack, and he 
was compelled to take sanctuary with his friend. Abbot John 
Islip, at Westminster, where he died in 1529. His audaciously 
satirical disposition embroiled him all his life in literary 
quarrels, chiefly with Alexander Barclay (1476-1552), our first 
writer of Eclogues, still remembered as the translator of 


Brandt's Narrenscliiff, a work of European celebrity, then 
recently published. Barclay's adaptation, The Ship of Fools., 
contains considerable additions, and is almost an original 
poem. It abounds in trite proverbial phrases, and is ex- 
cessively prosy (p. 1 87). 

Skelton's poems are to be divided into two main classes, 
serious, and comic or satiric. The former includes a couple 
of elegies on Edward IV. and on the Earl of Northumberland; 
these are now deservedly forgotten. To the latter class belong 
all of his most interesting and characteristic works ; mostly 
written in that peculiar, headlong, rigmarole style of doggerel 
versification which has been named after him, "Skeltonical ;" 
consisting of short lines of six, five, or even four syllables only ; 
an unfixed number of lines, often as many as five or six, 
riming together, and abounding in accent and alliteration, 
somewhat after the fashion of the Anglo-Saxon versification. 
His extraordinary command of the vernacular (including slang), 
the ease with which he pours forth breathless torrents of jing- 
ling rimes, the number of new words which he coins or 
adapts from foreign and dead languages, the frequent intro- 
duction of scraps of Latin — (a favourite device with writers of 
that time, e.g.., Dunbar) — have naturally caused him to be 
compared to his contemporary, Rabelais ; just as his coarse 
and often disgusting, but always powerful and vivacious, satire 
have reminded many of his critics of Swift. Many passages 
call to mind Piers Plowman ; like Langland, Skelton took the 
side of the common people against spiritual wickedness in high 
places, with this difference, that he was much bolder and more 
outspoken in his vituperation. These poems, the first political 
satires in the language, are imique in style, and display inex- 
haustible versatility and keen observation, combined with great 
natural humour. Of those written in his peculiar metre, the 
principal, besides those already mentioned, are the Tiiiming 


of Elincur Rummy iig, a piece of low burlesque, a kind of 
poetical Dutch interior, which has earned for its author the 
epithet " beastly" from Pope ; and The Book of PJiillip Spar- 
7-ozu (p. 164), or the lament of Jane Scrope for her bird, killed by 
a cat. Here we see Skelton at his best. This playful elegy, 
abounding in graceful fancies and humorous pathos, was pro- 
bably suggested to Skelton by CatuUus's dirge on a like occasion. 
It counts nearly 1400 lines, and forms, in every respect, the most 
complete contrast to the description of the ale-wife's brewing. 
Other poems by Skelton requiring mention are his Wolseyan 
satire. Speak Parrot, his allegorical Boiige (Fare) of Court, 
and his somewhat egotistic Crown of Laurel, containing several 
charming little lyrics (p. 154). A number of pranks and 
"merrie tales" have been fathered on Skelton, probably 
without foundation. One specimen will suffice — " Once 
coming to an inn, calling for drink, and not being attended 
to, he cried ' Fire ! ' in order to arouse attention, and pointed 
to his throat when asked by a terrified crowd where the con- 
flagration was." 

One other production of Skelton's deserves notice — his 
solitary dramatic attempt now extant, a Morality play, entitled 
Magnificence, one of the best existing specimens of this kind 
of drama. Skelton is said to have written another drama, The 
Necromancer, wherein the Devil kicked the Necromancer for 
waking him too early in the morning ; it concluded with a 
dance by these two personages, who finally disappeared to- 
gether in smoke and fire. This play is lost. 

The Morality play was the second form of dramatic repre- 
sentation in England. It succeeded the earlier Mysteries or 
Miracle plays founded on Scriptural subjects. In the Morality 
the characters are all mere impersonations of virtues and vices. 
The great defect of these dramas was the entire absence 
of human interest, arising from the lack of real characters. 


Skelton is the only poet of any note who is now known to have 
written a MoraHty. He describes his play as an Interlude — a 
title usually applied to the earliest form of English comedy, 
which consists of a kind of short farce in one act, containing 
but little plot and very few characters, mostly representing 
various professions or callings, and acted during the intervals 
of a banquet. The principal writer, and perhaps the inventor, 
of these "merry interludes" was John Heywood (1500?-! 565) ; 
usually known as The Epigrammatist, from his Six Centuries 
of Epigrams, which are much praised by his contemporaries. 
His best performance in drama is The Four P^s — i.e., a Palmer, 
a Pardoner, a 'Poticary, and a Pedlar. The first three debate 
which sends most souls to Heaven, and then compete in tell- 
ing the biggest lie, the Pedlar acting as umpire. The 'Poticary, 
who asserts that of the 300,000 he has seen in his travels he 
never yet knew one woman out of patience, is adjudged the 
winner ! This play contains plenty of broad, farcical humour, 
more than can be said of its author's long and feeble burlesque, 
The Spider and the Fly, an allegory of the Protestant and 
Catholic parties — somewhat after the manner of Dryden's Hind 
and Panther. Heywood also wrote a curious poem containing 
all the proverbs in the English language, and some minor 
pieces (p. 257). In his day he was celebrated as a musician 
and as a wit, and occupied the position of jester to Henry VIII. 
D'Israeli has preserved one of his "quick answers" : — Having 
been absent some time from the Court, he returned thither 
suddenly. Asked by the queen, " What wind blew him there ? " 
"Two specially — the one to see your majesty!" he replied. 
" We thank you for that," said the queen ; " but I pray you 
what is the other ? " " That your grace might see me ! " One 
of John Heywood's sons, Jasper, translated three of Seneca's 
plays into English, and contributed several poems to The 
Paradise of Dainty Devices (p. 383). 


Another favouiite and eccentric humorist of the reign was 
one Andrew Borde, physician to the king ; and a memorial 
of him is still preserved in the term " Merry Andrew." His 
principal production, partly in prose and partly in verse, is en- 
titled Tlie Introduction of Kitowlcdi^c. 

In glancing back over this second period, the first fact that 
strikes us is the continued development of English as a literary 
language ; and hand-in-hand with this development goes the 
steady growth of the national life and love of freedom — freedom 
of thought as well as of person, religious as well as national 
freedom. As the natural outcome of this spirit of nationality 
we find that hearty love and appreciation of the scenic 
beauties of fatherland. Again, the great middle class begins to 
assert its claims, and take part not only in the nation's politics 
but in its literature — take part, not merely as readers, but as 
writers, thus infusing into that literature a life and interest 
such as the recluse ecclesiastic could never impart. Lastly, 
the famous Roman de la Rose has attracted the admiration of 
all Europe ; the love of didactic allegory is the prevailing 
literary characteristic of the age, and continues so till it reaches 
its climax (in English poetry) in the Faerie Queen. 

Meanwhile in Italy a bright constellation shone — Dante, 
Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Their influence is visible even in 
Chaucer, notwithstanding his deep nationality. But that in- 
fluence does not reach its height until the next period— that of 
Wyat and Surrey. Before entering on it let us glance at a 
group of poets who belong in some respects to both this period 
and that which was to follow, and who thus form a natural link 
between the two — I mean the early Scottish school of Dunbar, 

Section III.— Early Scottish Poetry. 

We see that after Chaucer's death the English poets were of 
but small account ; for one cause or another the voice of poetry 



was almost silent in the land. But in the kingdom north of the 
Border we meet with a school of poets of very considerable ex- 
cellence. First, however, I must ask my readers to retrace their 
steps some centuries, in order to glance over the previous 
poetical literature of Scotland. 

Literature had flourished in the North, in the time of Cjcdmon 
and Beda, long before it appeared in the South. But it was 
swept away by the incursions of the Danes, and was slow ift re- 
appearing. Beowulf and Layamon had no Scottish contempo- 
raries. The name of the half-mythical Thomas the Rhymer of 
Ercildoune is usually placed at the head of the long list of 
Scottish poets. He owes his fame to his prophecies rather 
than to his poems, and as no undoubtedly authentic rehcs of 
the latter are in existence, he may be dismissed with a very 
brief notice. One of his prophecies respecting the bridge over 
the Don, 

•' Biigof Balgownie, wicht's thy wa' 
Wi' a mave's ae foal and a wife's ae son 
Down shah thou fa' " — 

is reported to have impressed itself so forcibly on the mind 
of Lord Byron, as relating to himself, that he insisted on 
crossing the bridge ! The popular account of the disap- 
pearance of this Scottish Merlin is thus given by Scott : — 
" Thomas was making merry with his friends in the Tower of 
Ercildoune, when a person came running in with fear and 
astonishment, and told that a hart and hind had left the 
neighbouring forest, and were composedly and slowly parading 
the street of the village. The poet arose instantly and followed 
the animals to the forest, whence he was never seen to return. 
According to the popular belief, he still undergoes his doom in 
Fairy Land, and is expected at some future day to revisit the 

The chief work of our poet-prophet was a metrical romance 


on the chivalric story of Tristram and Iseult, versified in recent 
times by Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and Swinburne, and 
dramatised by Wagner. Whether the romance of Sir Tristram 
we now possess be the work of Thomas or not, is still matter 
of dispute. The latest editor believes that it is. Two other 
early Scottish poems of this description deserve mention, 
Gawen and Gologras, and Goloran of Galoway, a couple 
of Arthurian stories, usually attributed to " Gude Schir Hew 
of Eglintoun," as Dunbar styles him {Lament, p. 123). To this 
writer are also ascribed the Pystyl of Sivete Snsatie, founded 
on the Apocryphal story of Susanna, and a popular humorous 
tale of Ralph the Collier, which attained great popularity. All 
these poems abound in alliteration. 

The beginning of the fourteenth century was eventful in 
Scottish history, marked as it was by the romantic struggles — 
under Wallace and Bruce — to maintain the national inde- 
pendence. Ere long the heroes had each a poet-laureate. 
The first in order of time (and of merit) was John Barbour 
(i3i6.?-i395), who is justly termed The Father of Scottish 
Poetry. Of the personal history of this scholar-patriot but 
little is known, save that he became Archdeacon of Aberdeen, 
his native place. So great was his zeal for knowledge, that on 
four several occasions we find him obtaining passports permit- 
ting him to travel for the purpose of studying at Oxford and in 
France. He appears to have been a person of considerable 
importance in his day, and his anniversary mass was regularly 
celebrated in Aberdeen Cathedral until the Reformation. He 
is the author of the earliest hei'oic poem in our language, 
usually styled shortly The Bruce. In the choice of his subject 
Barbour was most happy ; possessing a knightly spirit, he is 
the poet of Scottish chivalry, and his fine old epic is truly 
national. The fact that it has been reprinted over twenty 
times since its first publication in 1570 bears sufficient testi- 


mony to its intrinsic merit. The metre of this " romaunt," as 
the author terms it, is the eight-syllable rimed couplet, of 
which there are some 7000, a fairly long poem even for those 
days of diffuseness. Although Barbour deservedly claims the 
merit of telling " a soothfast story," he frequently embellishes 
his narrative with poetical fictions. In style he combines a 
simple and energetic terseness with a picturesque minuteness 
of detail. This is especially noticable in the vigorous and 
Homeric descriptions of battles, as of Bannockburn, and 
suggests (remarks Ellis) that they were possibly compiled from 
the relations of eye-witnesses. It is in these animated descrip- 
tions of combats and m the reflective passages that Barbour's 
strength lies. Of the latter the best is his well-known 
apostrophe to Freedom (p. 17) — the first of the long series of 
English poems on Liberty. The Bruce is the only poem of its 
century which bears comparison with the masterpieces of 
Chaucer ; whom its author resembles further, as the first to 
embody for all time, in a poetical form, the manners and 
characters, the habits and customs of his nation. 

In the beautiful and romantic Loch Leven, the scene of the 
captivity of Mary Queen of Scots, is the small islet or Inch of 
St Serf, on which may still be seen the ruins of the ancient 
priory of St Servianus. Of this monastery, from 1395 to 1413, 
the prior was the rhyming chronicler, 

" Andrew of Wyntowne 
Of Sanct Androwys a chanone 

And amidst these lovely surroundings he compiled the greater 
portion of his Original Chronicle of Scotland^ finished 
about 1420. Regarding the title of this quaint and amusing 
work, the writer himself explains that he wishes it to be called 
" original; for that beginning shall make clear," and he accord- 


ingly starts with the creation of mankind, or even before it (as 
was then the approved fashion with historians and poets). 
The whole is divided into nine books in honour of the nine 
orders of Holy Angels ! Having filled five books with the 
history of the world terrestrial and celestial, he devotes the re- 
maining four to Scotland. Among the subjects treated in the 
earlier portion, which contains much of the marvellous and 
fabulous, are the nature of angels, the primaeval race of giants, 
the confusion of tongues, the Amazons ; but most marvellous 
of all are the legends and miracles related of his patron, St 
Serf and his wonderful ram. The metre is that of Barbour's 
great epic, but Wyntoun is greatly his inferior in every 
way, frequently degenerating into mere doggerel. He is, 
however, as good a poet as his English contemporary, 
Hoccleve — which, assuredly, is not saying much! His 
ponderous work is now valuable for its historical rather than 
for its poetical worth. Its author is first an historian, and only 
in the second place does he aim at being a poet. With him 
what he tells is of more importance than how he tells it. The 
most interesting part of his Chronicle to modern readers is 
the story of Macbeth (p. 64), to which Shakspere has im- 
parted an undying interest. In Wyntoun the whole scene of 
the interview between Macbeth and the weird sisters is a 

Barbour was a poet and an historian ; Wyntoun was an his- 
torian and a poet ; the laureate of Wallace cannot be tnaly 
said to have been either the one or the other. 

More than half a century elapsed between the death of Bar- 
bour and the appearance of Henry the Minstrel (fl. 1460), 
popularly known as Blind Harry, to celebrate the second great 
national hero in twelve books, containing 12,000 ten-syllable 
lines of heroic riming couplets. This rude patriotic epic, The 
Wallace, is a farrago of exaggerations and floating traditionary 


stories ; and is, from an historical point of view, quite worth- 
less. The hero, whose gigantic physical prowess is brought 
into stong prominence throughout, is a kind of cross between 
a Scotch Jack the Giant Killer and the bibhcal Samson. The 
author intended his work to be a companion poem to The 
Bruce, but he falls far short of his predecessor ; only occasion- 
ally, as in his battle-scenes, does he approach him. Still The 
Wallace enjoyed a long-continued popularity ; it has been 
modernised and paraphrased several times, and influenced 
both Scott and Burns, whose "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace 
bled" was probably inspired by it. In one respect Henry 
differs greatly from both Barbour and Wyntoun, that whereas 
they never suffer their patriotism to hinder them from bestow- 
ing due praise on the valour of the enemies of their country, 
Henry is quite unable to allow them a single redeeming quality. 
Bearing in mind the author's blindness, it is remarkable that 
his work contains several vivid descriptions of natural scenery 
which he could never have beheld (p. io6). 

With Blind Harry closes the earliest group of Scottish poets, 
which may be termed The School of Barbour. They were 
followed by the most brilliant period in the history of the 
Caledonian muse. Before proceeding to that period, a 
few remarks on the language of these early Scottish writers 
may prove acceptable. The early English dialects have been 
classified by Mr Morris into Southern, Midland, and Northern ; 
and, properly speaking, the language generally used in the 
Lowlands of Scotland down to the end of the fourteenth cen- 
tury was not Scotch, but " Inglis " (English) of the Northern 
Icile (form), differing in no important respect from that then 
spoken in the north-east counties of England. This is the 
dialect of Barbour, Wyntoun, Henry the Minstrel, James I. 
(the language of whose Kins;^s Quairxs merely Chaucer's Eng- 
lish Scottified^, Dunbar, and Lindsay, Avho all speak of their 


languajje as " Inglis." Gavvain Douglas would appear to have 
been the first writer who called his language " Scotch," and 
rejected the term "English." The peculiarities of the Scottish 
writers are in reality but few and trifling in extent, nevertheless 
they have deterred many readers, and it has resulted that, 
whilst the merit of the earlier poems is always acknowledged, 
they are never read. The principal are, the substitution of the 
vowels ti or a and o for o and e in such words as biikc, book ; 
b^ne, b^ine ; sch^, sh^ ; the terminations and and it for ing 
and ed in the present and past participles ; such strong forms 
as sell for sh^ quh for wh^ and gif ioxif. In the selections I 
have substituted the modern English form wherever possible. 
Dr Murray thus classifies the changes in the Scottish variety 
of the northern dialect under three heads : — (A) Those of 
native growth and due to Celtic influences : these were scanty 
in number, and were chiefly terms relating to Gaelic cus- 
toms and names of places. (B) Those due to the close 
intimacy with France : these were the most numerous, and 
many have survived to the present day ; e.g., the eliding of 
the final letters, in such words as fa' — fall, etc. (not found 
in the earliest writers) ; the use of " ane " for the indefinite 
article (Fr. tme) ; such plural forms as " the quhilkis persons " 
(Fr. les-quels), etc. (C) Those of classical origin : many of 
these are direct borrowings from the Latin, e.g., matutine, cel- 
situde, prepotent, pulchritude, immundicitie, etc. The Com- 
plaint 0/ Scotland (TpYinted 1549) complains of " lang-taillit " 
Latin terms, such as "honorificabilitudinitatibus !" It is a 
curious fact that the very oldest poets of this period are 
easier to read, and much more nearly resemble their English 
contemporaries than those of a later date. 

All the Scottish versifiers yet mentioned belonged to the 
class of grave chroniclers and annalists, " who furnish us 
with the history of the entire globe in endless octo-syllabic 


verses." There now arose, however, a distinguished school 
of Chaucerian imitators, forming the golden age of Scottish 
poetr)', which is fittingly opened by the name of King James I. 
— the Chaucer of Scotland. The history of our first royal 
bard is a romantic one. Born at Dunfermline in 1394, his 
father, Robert III., fearing lest he should share the tragic 
fate of his eldest brother David (as related in Scott's Fair 
Maid of PertJi)^ in 1405 shipped his second son James, then a 
boy of eleven, off to France, in order that he might complete 
his education there in safety. The ship was intercepted by an 
English man-of-war off Flamborough Head, and James was 
carried as a prisoner to Windsor Castle. Looking out of the 
window one day he espied, walking in the little garden adjoining 
his prison. Lady Jane Beaufort, the fair grand-daughter of 
" Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster," in whose veins 
ran the blood-royal of England. Taking her for heroine, he 
set to work and produced one of the most celebrated poems 
of his century, widely known by name, though now but little 
read. The King's Quair {i.e., little book). This poem, 
which, in its personifications and elaborate allegories, ex- 
hibits a curious mixture of Christianity and Pagan myth- 
ology, is in the seven-line stanza of Chaucer's Troylus and 
Cryseyde, henceforth known as "rime-royal." As this is an 
epoch-making poem in the history of Scottish verse, I give the 
following brief outline : — The poet, having waked from sleep, 
is reading Boethius's De Consolatione PJiilosophicF, and be- 
wailing his own hard fate : the matin bell rings and the birds 
begin to sing. He looks out of his window and sees " the 
fairest and freshest younge flower" that he had ever beheld, of 
whom he instantly becomes enamoured. She disappears, and 
he half swoons, half dreams : he is transported in imagination 
to the sphere of Venus, whose court is then described at full 
length. Venus herself and her attendants, Fair-calling and 


Secrecy, welcome him ; and as his case is desperate, she 
directs him to Minerva under the escort of Good Hope. They 
are admitted into Minerva's palace by Patience, the porter. 
Minerva questions him as to the sincerity of his love, dis- 
courses him on the abstruse doctrines of Necessity and Free- 
Will, and sends him back to earth on a journey in quest of 
Fortune. This goddess and her dwelling are minutely de- 
scribed ; she places him on her wheel and takes him by the 
ear so earnestly that he wakes from his vision. The last brief 
canto tells how a white turtle dove of Venus lights on his 
hand with a message of cheering comfort written on a bunch 
of red gillyflowers in her bill ; and the poem concludes with 
an epithalamium on his own marriage. The work as a whole 
resembles Hawes's great poem ; it displays considerable re- 
finement throughout, and in some passages great beauty ; that 
describing the heroine is the gem (p. 83). James subsequently 
married his heroine, and regained his liberty. 

Many of the productions of this royal bard have probably 
perished for ever ; two extant humorous pieces, very similar in 
choice and treatment of subject, have been attributed to his 
pen — Chrisfs Kirk on the Green and Peblis at the Play. 
These droll and burlesque descriptions of national rustic 
merry-makings are, however, in the language of a later 
century, and they are much more probably the work of a 
subsequent king of the same name, the reputed author of the 
Gaberlunzie Man (p. 322). If they really be by James I., 
they prove him to have possessed great versatility, excelling 
equally in comic and serious poetry. As spirited pictures of 
the manners and amusements of the people, among whom the 
king is reported to have often mingled in disguise, they call to 
mind the productions of Burns. The life of this king, poet, 
scholar, musician, legislator, began sadly ; it ended tragically. 
He had been spending the Christmas of 1436 in the Carthusian 


Monastery near Perth. There he passed the evening of the 
20th February 1437, with the queen and her attendant ladies, 
in reading, games, and music. 

" But Death even then took aim as he sang 
With an arrow deadly bright." 

Shrouded by the darkness of the night, three hundred 
Highland outlaws, headed by Sir Robert Grahame, silently 
surround the walls. A plank is thrown across the moat, 
and the gate is opened by some traitor within. The assassins, 
having slain the king's cup-bearer in the passage, rush 
upon their victim. For a moment a frail barrier is inter- 
posed ; Catherine Douglas, one of the maids-of-honour, im- 
mortalises her name, supplying the place of a bolt, clandes- 
tinely removed from the door, by thrusting her own fair arm 
into the staples. But the slender impediment is soon crushed 
and broken ; the king is dragged from his hiding-place, and 
after a brief struggle — during which his faithful queen twice 
receives the murderous daggers in her person — 

" Our King lay slain 
With sixteen wounds in his breast." 

Rossetti, " The King's Tragedy." 

Thus "was foully done to death" one of the most highly gifted 
and accomplished monarchs the world ever saw ; celebrated 
alike for skill in all manly exercises, and for proficiency in 
"those gay, elegant, and gentle arts, which soften and refine 
the character of a people and wreathe a grace round the lofti- 
ness of a proud and warlike spirit" (Irving, Sketch Book) 

While James yet reigned, the earliest and best Scottish 
fabulist, Robert Henryson {Cir. 1425-1500), was born. We 
know the man only by his works. Of these the principal are 
thirteen Fables of /Esop^ in which he proves himself a capital 
story-teller of very considerable humour and skill in the 


delineation of character. His best fable is the "Town and 
Country (or, to use the Scottish terms, the " Borrowstoun and 
Landvvort") Mouse," with its finely expressed moral (p. 94). 
This tale, originally told by Horace, has been versified by Wyat 
(p. 283) and Cowley also, but neither of them have excelled the 
version of the old Scot. The most notable amongst Henryson's 
other works are Orpheus and Eurydice and The Testament 
of Crcsseid, a sequel to Chaucer's Troylus and Cryseyde, re- 
lating the wretched end of that faithless dame. The last 
silent meeting between Troilus and the leprosy-stricken 
Cresseid (p. 99) is full of heart-moving pathos, and is almost 
equal to the best work of Chaucer himself. Like most of his 
contemporaries, Henryson abounds in quaint anachronisms, 
such as picturing Troilus as a mediceval knight talking of a 
*kirk,' making Mercury speak of the 'Parliament,' etc. Owing 
to its place in Percy's Reliques, Henryson is now best known 
as the author of Robin and Maky7ie, the earliest, and, I may 
add, one of the most charming, of the many Scottish Pastorals. 
In his later years, he turned to the composition of grave 
religious pieces of a highly moral and didactic tone. They 
are frequently fitted with a refrain. The best are The Abbey 
Walk and the quaint Garmetit of Good Ladies (pp. 88, 90). 

If James I. be the Chaucer of Scotland, William Dunbar 
may well be termed the Burns of his century. Indeed, with 
the exception of the Ayrshire Ploughman at his best, Dunbar 
is, perhaps, the greatest poet that Scotland has ever produced. 
No English poet from Chaucer to Spenser approaches him, 
and in some respects I would rank him above the latter. 
Wyat and Surrey are not to be spoken of in the same breath 
with this " darling of the Scottish muse," as Scott termed him. 
Born about the middle of the fifteenth century, he began life 
as a travelling Franciscan friar and pardoner, and he has given 
us an amusing poetical account of " how he was in a dream 


desired to be a friar," by a spirit who turned out to be a fiend 
in the guise of St Francis. The life apparently did not suit 
him, as we soon find him at the Court, where he quickly 
became a prime favourite, and many of his pieces prove him to 
have been on very familiar terms with the king and queen. 
The queen may have regarded him with special favour on 
account of his fine allegorical poem, The Thistle ajtd the Rose^ 
composed in celebration of her nuptials. Chaucer's influence 
is manifest throughout this noble Prothalamium. It opens 
with the usual " fair, fresh May" morning. The poet dreams 
that May leads him to a garden ; Dame Nature appears, and 
summons all the beasts, birds, and flowers ; they are collected 
by the roe, the swallow, and the yarrow respectively. The 
Lion (of Scotland) is crowned King of Beasts, the Eagle, King 
of Birds, and the " awful Thistle with his bush of spears," King 
of Flowers. The Rose, " of colour red and white " (Margaret), 
Queen of Flowers, is then wedded to the Thistle (James) ; 
whereon the birds for joy sing so loud that they wake the poet. 
The opening stanzas, as is usual in these early allegorical 
pieces, are among the most beautiful in the poem (p. 130). 

Dunbar's poems, which are very numerous, and show a rare 
versatility, may be divided into four classes — (i) Allegorical ; 
(2) Moral ; (3) Personal ; (4) Comic and Satiric. To the first 
class (besides the Thistle and the Rose) belongs his most 
elaborate work The Golden Terge—i.e., the Shield of Reason. 
The object of this poem is to show that Reason is powerless 
against the assault of Love. Although it contains some vivid 
passages, it is as a whole inferior to The Thistle and the Rose. 
In the second, or Moral class, his most striking poem is The 
Merle afid the Nightingale (p. 107), an apologue, resembling 
Chaucer's Cuckoo and Nightingale. Many of the short 
serious pieces have a burden-line at the end of each stanza. 
The poems of the third or Personal class are many in number, 


chiefly supplications to the king for a benefice, which poor 
Dunbar long sighed for, but never obtained. Perhaps the only 
poem in which he displays true pathos is the Lainoit for the 
Makars (p. 123). It is, however, in the Comic and satiric that 
we have Dunbar at his best. Unrestrained by reverence, he 
vigorously lashes the vices and follies of clergy and laity. In 
these pieces, and those of Lindsay, we have the Scottish 
counterpart to the attacks of Langland and Gower on the 
sensuality of the clergy. To this class belongs Dunbar's most 
truly remarkable and original work. The Dance of the Seven 
Deadly Sins (p. 1 38), a striking and animated description of 
the Revels in the domain of IMahoun — His Satanic Majesty. 
The stanza used is that of Chaucer's Sir Tliopas. 

One John Damian, a French c^uack, who had been created 
Abbot of Tungland, made an attempt to fly with wings from 
the ramparts of Stirling Castle ; on this grotesque incident 
our poet founded two satires. Duiibar also wrote Macaronic 
pieces, or somewhat after the manner of Skelton ; in several of 
these the Litanies and other portions of the Breviary are 

To sum up : — this master alike of the comic and serious muse 
produced a great number of a widely differing pieces, many of 
a merely temporary interest, none of any considerable length. 
They are characterised by great skill in arrangement, variety 
of metres, aptitude in the delineation of life and manners, and 
frequently excessive coarseness and indelicacy, the fault of 
the age. They proved their author, though he lacked the 
pathos of Chaucer, to have possessed a brilliant and inventive 
imagination, great command of language, considerable lyric 
grace, genuine love of nature, and, above all, caustic wit and 
rich humour ; and they justify the encomium of Scott, " the 
genius of Dunbar and Douglas alone is sufficient to illuminate 
whole centuries of ignorance." 


" The Reverend Father in God, Master Gawain Douglas, 
Bishop of Dunkeld," of whom it is written 

" In a barbarous age, 
He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page," 

— Alarmion, Canto VI. 

was the third son of Archibald Douglas, the great earl of 
Angus, dubbed Bell-the-Cat (1475- 1522). He was renowned for 
political as well as for literary talents. About 1 500 he produced 
his earliest and longest original work now extant, The Palace 
of Honour (p. 181), a complex allegory, somewhat in the style 
of Hawes and Lydgate. "Its object" (says Warton) "is to 
show the instability and insufficiency of worldly pomp, and 
prove that a constant and undeviating habit of virtue is the 
only way to true Honour and Happiness, who reside in a 
magnificent palace situated on the summit of a high and 
inaccessible mountain." In carrying out this original design, 
the author displays very considerable learning, but the blend- 
ing of Christian subjects with heathen mythology is amusing. 
Amongst the personages introduced are the Sibyls, Deborah, 
Aristotle, Solomon, Ulysses, Job, Cicero, Melchisedek, Virgil, 
and Enoch ; and " a nymph of Calliope's train expounding the 
scheme of redemption " — (Small). Catiline attempts to enter 
the Palace of Honour by a window, but Cicero repels him by a 
severe blow on his head with a huge folio. Douglas's much 
shorter poem King Hart {i.e., Heart of Man), is on the whole 
superior to his earlier work. It is an allegory of the progress 
of human life, and may be compared with The Purple Island 
of Phineas Fletcher. Mr Ross has remarked, " It is in its 
essence and purpose a sermon on the text, ' Remember now 
thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come 
not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no 
pleasure in them.'" Douglas is thought by some to have 
written part of the famous lament after Flodden, The Flowers 


of the Forest. His life was passed in hunting after every 
rich ecclesiastical ' plum ' in the Scottish church. A celebrated 
historical witticism is attributed to him. The leaders of the 
two great rival factions of the Douglasses and the Hamiltons 
had met together at Edinburgh to hold a conference for the 
reconciling of their differences. Bishop Douglas endeavoured 
to persuade Archbishop Beaton (of the Hamilton faction) to 
assist to a peaceful solution. Beaton, protesting that he knew 
nothing of the warlike designs of his party, said, striking his 
breast, " By my conscience, I know nothing of the mattter." 
The vehemence of the stroke made a coat of mail, which the 
wily cleric had concealed under his robes, resound, where- 
upon Douglas replied, " Your conscience, my lord, is not 
sound, for I hear it clatters " {i.e., tells tales). 

It remains to speak of Douglas's last and altogether most 
remarkable work, his translation of Virgil into the heroic 
couplet — our earliest metrical translation of any classical 
author. The most interesting portions of this interesting 
work, which includes the additional thirteenth book by 
Maphaeus Vegius, are the highly original and poetical prologues 
prefixed to the several books (p. 173). These are chiefly de- 
scriptive of Scottish landscapes, and are no mere feeble imita- 
tions of Chaucer, but real, genuine pictures of northern scenery, 
painted by an enthusiastic and observant eye-witness. Accord- 
ing to Mr Ross, the poet's great claim to remembrance is his 
choice of a subject. It is the first sign that the rising wave 
of the Renaissance had at length reached the remote shore of 
Scotland. Some of the modernisations of ideas are very comic. 
Thus, the Sibyl becomes a nun, Bacchantes are " the nuns of 
Bacchus," i^neas is " a gentle baron," who counts his beads ; and 
Douglas occasionally gives amusing explanations, such as : — 

" By running strandes nymphs and naides 
(Such as we call wenches and damosels)." 

— Prolosnie lo Book XII, 


I shall briefly glance at another intrepid satirist, slightly 
later in date, and very inferior in poetical merits to either 
Dunbar or Douglas, but exceeding them in the severity with 
which he attacks the prevalent disorders of the Church and its 
clergy — one who, as Dryden has it, literally "lashed vice into 
reformation," and who is justly entitled, The Poet of the 
Scottish Reformation — Sir David Lindsay of the Mount 
(1490-1557). All his works (save one) refer to the then burn- 
ing question ; he is a kind of Scottish Langland, and advocate 
of poor "Jack Upland." He lacks imagination and pathos, 
but he abounds in coarse, pungent humour (like that of Swift), 
is a vigorous delineator of character, and has considerable 
fluency of versification. To the historian of Scottish manners 
his writings are invaluable. He was early appointed Master 
Usher to the infant James V., and he tells us that the monarch's 
first syllables were, " Pa, Da. Lyn." — Play, David Lindsay. 
He subsequently became Lord Lyon King-at-Arms. Of 
his numerous works, the most important are, The Dreatn, 
Squire Meldr-iim, The Monarchy, and The Three Estates. 
The first is a kind of prose Scottish Divina Comvicdia, and is 
modelled on Dante, and also partly on ^neas's visit to the 
Shades, which he probably read in Douglas's recent translation. 
Lindsay finds the principal inhabitants in "the painfull poisonit 
pit " of Hell, are clergy of all kinds in full canonicals, and 
herein lies the point of the satire. Other inhabitants are Nero, 
Pharaoh, Herod, Mahomet, &c. He next visits Purgatory and 
Limbo, and the " christalline " heaven of heavens, where he 
sees St Peter as " lieutenant-general ! " From Paradise, by a 
rapid transition, he returns to Scotland, and hears much of 
the lamentable state of that realm from " John the Common- 
weal." Sqtdre Meldrum, Lindsay's most agreeable production, 
is a burlesque metrical romance on the life of a real contem- 
porary Fifeshire squire. It differs from his other works in that 

INTR on UCTION. 1 x v 

it contains no allusions to prevalent abuses. Lindsay's longest 
effort, The Monarchy (p. 190), is one of those early colossal 
poems which attempt to give a complete history of mankind 
from the creation to the day of judgment and after. The 
author terms it "a little quire of matter miserable." It is a 
dialogue between a Courtier and a very gloomy gentleman, 
named Experience, on the trite subject, "the miserable estate 
of this world." As the book is meant for " Jok and Tom," it 
is in the vernacular : Moses, says the author, gave the law in 
Hebrew, and St Jerome translated the Bible into Latin ; but 
had he been born in Argyle, he would have compiled it in the 
Erse (Gaelic) tongue ! The whole bears a distinct family 
resemblance to Gower's Confessio Aniantis. 

A Pleasant Satire of The Three Estates is the earliest speci- 
men, now extant, of Scottish dramatic writing. The three 
estates are the Landholders, IMerchants, and Clergy. It is a 
kind of Morality play, "in commendation of Virtue and vitupe- 
ration of Vice," and took from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to perform, 
being divided into two parts, that the audience may " go take 
a drink and make coUatioun with ale and claret wine." It is 
without regular plot. Between the parts is an interlude of The 
Poor Man and Sir Robert Rome-iaker the Pardoner, who com- 
plains that the sale of his goods is much injured by the circu- 
lation of the New Testament in English. The scene ends by 
the Poor Man's upsetting the relics into the water (p. 19S). 
This portion somewhat resembles Heywood's Four P.'s. This 
play is the masterpiece of early Scottish satire. It had an 
immediate effect ; for after its performance the king sent 
for the chief of the clergy and directed them to reform. 
Lindsay was, till Bums appeared, the poet of the Scottish 
people, and " Ye'll no find that in Davie Lindsay," was final. 
He was a prime favourite with Sir Walter Scott, but I fear 
that the reader who, after perusing MarviioH, turns to 



Lindsay's own poems, will experience considerable disappoint- 
ment. " Hout, awa' wi' your daft nonsense," said an expiring 
man to his pious neighbour, who was reading, for his edifica- 
tion, a chapter from the Bible, "hout awa' ! bring me Davie 
Lindsay." On one occasion the poet requested the king to 
appoint him "master-tailor." His Majesty replied, with surprise, 
that he could neither cut out nor sew ; he retorted, " Sir, that 
makes no matter, for you have given benefices to many who 
can neither teach nor preach ! " 

The minor Scottish poets of this early period deserving 
notice are Alexander Scot (fl. 1550), whose refined amatory 
poems have gained for him the title of The Scottish Anacreon. 
Although but little known, Scot is one of the very best lyrists 
we possess previous to the Elizabethan period (p. 246); Quintin 
Shaw, Patrick Johnston, Mersar, and Kennedy (p. 152), with 
whom Dunbar had a ' flyting.' Later in date came Maitland 
(p. 241), the celebrated collector of early Scottish poems, who 
shares Lindsay's feelings on the subject of ladies' dress, 
and adds another name to the list of blind poets ; Moffat 
(p. 150), the supposed author of a celebrated humorous ballad. 
The Wife of Auchtermuchty ; Alexander Arbuthnot, Principal 
of Aberdeen (p. 396) ; and lastly, the three Wedderburn 
brothers, John, Robert, and James, who flourished about 
1550, and whose most remarkable productions are to be 
found in a collection entitled Ane Compendimis Book of Godly 
and Spiritual Songs (p. 253). This extraordinary volume con- 
tains numerous adaptations and parodies of popular songs, 
turning them into hymns, and frequently retaining the 
first line or the burden of the secular ditty, such as, "John, 
come kiss me now," " The hunt's up," " Hay trix, trim go trix, 
under the greenwood tree," " I'll never leave thee," etc. The 
intention of the compilers was that the maids-of-honour and 
courtiers should sing these instead of love-sonnets ; "but," as 


old Anthony-a-Wood informs us, " they did not, save a 
few." Shakspere alludes to this favourite practice of the 
early Reformers : — " They do no more adhere and keep 
pace together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune oi 
'Green Sleeves'" {Merry Wives, ii. i) ; and again, "but one 
Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes" 
{Winta's Tale, iv. 2). In the reigns of Edward VI. and 
Elizabeth it exceeded all bounds, being fostered by the 
Puritans, who are reported to have even moralised Ovid ! 

Pinkerton says that the seven classic poets of Scotland are 
Barbour, BHnd Harry, James I., Dunbar, Lindsay, Douglas, 
and Drummond ; and beyond doubt we must regard James I. 
and Dunbar as the real successors of Chaucer. They carried 
on the stream of poesy in these islands till the appearance of 
Wyat, Surrey, and Spenser heralded in a new epoch. 

Let us now briefly summarise the chief characteristics, 
merits, and defects of these bards 

" Of the North countrie, 
A nation famed for song." 

The first thing to be noted is, that, although all are ardent 
admirers and imitators of Chaucer and Gower, their produc- 
tions have a distinctly national flavour, and every one of them 
is filled with the spirit of patriotism. They exhibit the 
common-sense, the shrewd wit, the moralising seriousness, 
which are still characteristic of the Scotch people all the world 
over ; but in pathos, in imagination, in power of character- 
painting, they are all sadly deficient. It is a remarkable fact 
that no one of these poets has given to the w'orld any single 
character which has lived in the minds of men. Moreover, their 
most refined efforts are marked with a certain indescribable 
harshness. With the exception of Dunbar, they only occasion- 
ally venture into the realms of poetry proper, and their vvoiks 


are now remembered as rhymed descriptions of the manners 
and customs of their day rather than as poems. 

Section IV. — Renaissance. 

Turning our attention once more to the southern kingdom, 
we find a new epoch dawning in our Hterature — the EHza- 
bethan. This golden age of Enghsh poetry is not confined to 
great Ehza's glorious days, but extends also to the reign of her 
immediate successor, James I. With the introduction of 
ItaHan style into English writing came the first foreshadow- 
ings of the "giant race" of poets who were soon to dazzle the 
world. At this time the leading poet of Europe was Petrarch ; 
his favourite poems were his sonnets on Laura : these ere 
long were reproduced in an English dress by two men, 
whose names, like those of Beaumont and Fletcher, are for 
ever inseparably united — Wyat and Surrey. They avowedly 
took Petrarch as their model, and in many instances were 
most happy in their imitations. They thus, as it were, struck 
a new poetical lode. A whole cluster of poets almost imme- 
diately followed, who produced their " Songs and Sonnets " in 
boundless profusion. It is impossible, in the space at my 
disposal, to more than notice very briefly a few of the principal 
names of the earliest group. 

The year before Elizabeth ascended the throne was marked 
by the appearance of the first printed English anthology, or 
collection of poems by various authors. This most interesting 
little book, which, as Mrs Masson remarks, " appears like a 
landmark dividing the poetry of the earlier Tudors from that 
of Elizabeth's reign," was fully entitled thus : — Soiiges ami Son- 
ettes, written by the Ryght Honorable Lorde Hemy Haward, 
late Earle of Surrey, and other. Apud Richardum Tottel. 
1557 ; and is shortly known as Tottel' s Miscellany, so called 


after its first publisher. The venture was eminently success- 
ful ; a second edition, containing considerable alterations and 
additions, was called for within two months of the first, and was 
rapidly followed by half-a-dozen more. Tottel's example 
was soon followed by others, so that ere long these mis- 
cellanies of verse became the leading item in the poetical 
annals of the period, from which we derive our best informa- 
tion respecting the general tone and features of the poetry of 
the age, and in which are preserved many of its brightest 
gems. The titles of some of these volumes are very quaint ; 
here are a few of the earlier ones : — A Gorgeous Gallery of 
Galhvit Inventions J A Handful of Pleasant Delites ; A 
Small Handful of Fragrant Flowers; The Phcenix Nest ; 
The Arbor of Amorous Devises. The four greatest and most 
valuable collections are TottePs Miscellany, Edwards's Paj'adise 
of Dainty Devises (1576), England s Helico7i (1600), and 
Davison's Poetical Rapsody (1602). Concerning these it 
has been well remarked that they display a curious progress 
from the mournful passion and cast of thought, which reflect 
the troubled times of early Reformation, as portrayed in the 
first two, to the festive gaiety of Elizabeth's reign, as reflected 
in the fanciful contents of England's Helicon, which is much 
the best and richest of all these miscellanies, and includes 
amongst its contributors most of the celebrated poets of the 
day — Spenser, Surrey, Sidney, Greene, Marlowe, Lodge, and 
even Shakspere, Properly speaking, the present sketch has 
only to do with the first — Tottel's Miscellany — to which, 
therefore, I return. 

The greater proportion of the pieces comprised in this 
volume were posthumous ; it even includes Chaucer's Good 
Counsel. Although, doubtless owing to his rank, Surrey's 
name appears on the title-page, and his poems come first in 
order, he was not the principal contributor in point of number, 


Sir Thomas Wyat having ninety-six to Surrey's forty. The 
only other known contributor of any considerable number of 
pieces is Nicholas Grimoald, who also supplies forty. The 
remainder of the volume is made up of two poems by Thomas 
Lord Vaux (a portion of one of these, p. 309, is sung by the 
gravedigger in Shakspere's Hamlet), one by John Heywood, 
one by Edward Somerset, and one hundred and thirty by 
" unknown authors." 

Sir Thomas Wyat the elder ( 1 503- 1 542), the principal contribu- 
tor, and the earliest in date, is described as having been hand- 
some in face and elegant in manners ; dexterous in martial 
exercises, a form (says Surrey) where force and beauty met, an 
accomplished performer on the lute (the favourite instrument 
of his times), and a linguist, speaking French, Spanish, and 
Italian with fluency. This " delight of the muses and of man- 
kind," as Anthony-a-Wood calls him, is reported to have 
cherished a Platonic passion for Queen Anne Boleyn, some- 
what like that of Surrey for Fair Geraldine. According to the 
same authority, he visited Italy in 1526, and if so, his study of 
the Italian poets received probably a considerable impetus 
from this visit. In 1541 he was arrested on a malicious and 
unfounded charge of high treason, and at his trial produced 
his celebrated defence, which gained him an acquittal. After 
this he retired from public life, and devoted himself to the 
composition of three Satires and translations of the seven 
Penitential Psalms. 

Probably the best known name in the list of English poets 
between Chaucer and Spenser is that of England's first noble 
poet, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1518 ?-iS47). He has 
been ckamed by both Oxford and Cambridge, and is said to 
have early shown great talent, and to have excelled in manly 
exercises — to have been, in short, "a scholar, courtier, soldier." 
A romantic halo has been spread round Surrey by his half- 


mythical love for a certain Fair Lady Geraldine, to whom 
several of his poems are dedicated (p. 286). The real name of 
the lady was Elizabeth Fitzgerald, second daughter of Gerald, 
ninth Earl of Kildare, and it is generally, (and I believe rightly) 
supposed that the attachment was a purely Platonic one, as 
the lady in question was only about twelve years of age, whereas 
Surrey was married. Upon this very slight foundation cjuite 
an elaborate fabric has been built, and the story of their loves 
forms the subject of one of Drayton's Heroical Epistles 
— Howard to Geraldine. In the end the lady married a 
gentleman of the unpoetical name of ' Brown.' Surrey would 
appear to have been of violent and petulant temper, and on 
several occasions was imprisoned in the Fleet — once for 
taking part in a night riot in London, and breaking citizens' 
windows with a crossbow, his defence being that his object was 
to suggest to the dissolute citizens at their feasts the sudden- 
ness of divine judgments, and so to awaken them to repent- 
ance ! In 1546, he was charged with high treason, as having 
set up and borne the arms of Edward the Confessor. He was 
tried at Guildhall, condemned, and executed on Tower Hill. 

These "chief lanterns of light" (as old Puttenham terms 
them), Wyat and Surrey, were the founders of that school of 
courtly 'makers' which subsequently boasted a Spenser, a 
Daniel, a Waller, and a Herrick ; and their graceful lyrics 
— almost the first in the language — exercised a marked 
influence on the literature of their age and country. Modern 
English poetry may be said to date from them. They 
both attempted successfully the improvement of our poetical 
diction and our poetical forms. Both were enthusiastic 
students of the Italian masters, and by translating the sonnets 
of Petrarch they naturalised that form of versification — that 
" scanty plot of ground " — which has been essayed by almost 
every English poet of note. They introduced new and artificial 


involutions into their verses ; they broke loose from the 
pedantic and diffuse school of Lydgate — a school which de- 
scribes all objects by the same epithets, and takes twenty lines 
to say that the poem was begun in October ! They abandoned 
the use of quaint Latin polysyllables and prolix similes ' long- 
drawn-out,' rejecting the 'aureate and mellifluate,' but quite 
meaningless terms such as "aromatic," " full solacious," etc., 
which the earlier writers had applied with impartial hand to 
such divers objects as flowers, winds, eloquence, and parts of 
speech (Nott). They returned to simple and current English. 
Along with this reformation of our language they improved our 
versification, substituting a metrical system for the rhythmical 
one which had previously prevailed, and which, paying less 
attention to the number of syllables than to the number of 
beats in a verse, had done very well so long as poetry was 
heard rather than read. When contrasted together, Surrey 
is, on the whole, superior to his brother poet. Their works, 
no doubt, are very similar in style and subject; — indeed, 
like Petrarch, they have but one subject, sentimental love, 
which is twisted and turned into a thousand different shapes ; 
— still there is a perceptible difference. " The deep-witted 
Wyat," of " visage stern and mild," is more lofty and didactic, 
oft-times melancholy : grave moralist rather than amatory 
poet ; diplomatist rather than soldier. He has at command 
a great variety of metres and a vigorous style, but his language 
is more frequently obscured by unnatural and fantastic con- 
ceits and antitheses. He lacks the originality and vivacity 
of his less learned but more artistic companion. Surrey 
possesses more marks of a genuine poet, more love of Nature, 
more harmony, a greater wealth of words, more pathos, more 
imagination. In short, Surrey excels Wyat both in matter 
and in manner. In one respect they are alike praise-worthy 
— in freedom from all indelicacy. 


As Wyat was the first polished satirist, so Surrey was the 
first to introduce into the English language that noble form 
of versification afterwards adopted by Shakspere and Milton. 
This he did in his translation of the second and fourth 
books of Virgil's ^E>ictd — our earliest decasyllabic blank verse 
poem. He is supposed to have derived the idea from the 
Italian poets. 

Our next writer of blank verse was Nicholas Grimoald 
(1519 P-I562), a Huntingdonshire man, the third principal 
contributor to TottcPs Miscellany : in which appeared his two 
unrhymed pieces on the deaths of Cicero and Zoroas, the 
Egyptian astronomer, translated from Beza and Guatier. 
Grimoald's blank verse shows a slight improvement on that of 
Surrey. He is supposed by Mr Arber to have been the chief 
editor, if not the originator, of Tottel's collection. 

One of the many beneficial and natural results of the revival 
of classical learning was the rage for the translation into 
English of the classics of Greece, Rome, and Italy. The more 
important authors were translated before 1600, by leading Eng- 
lish poets of the time, who were beneficially influenced by the 
consequent familiarity with the literary masterpieces of the 
ancient world. Most of the early translations were naturally 
from the Latin poets. Caxton had published in 1490 what 
purported to be a prose translation of Virgil, but his paraphrase 
(or parody rather) was merely a kind of romance from the 
French of Guillaume de Roy, and made out of a small por- 
tion of the ALneid. Douglas, who is very severe on Caxton's 
book, was the first British metrical translator of the Mantuan 
bard. Surrey's translation soon followed, which, very superior 
to the rugged Scottish version, was probably suggested 
thereby ; from it Surrey borrows freely, not only particular 
phrases and expressions, but often whole lines, especially in the 
second book. 


Probably the oddest translation of an ancient classic in any 
language, is that of the first four books of the jE7ieid by an 
Irishman, Richard Stanyhiirst, in lumbering English hexa- 
meters, after the manner of Gabriel Harvey.* Stanyhurst's 
diction is exceedingly amusing, abounding in ' thrasonical 
huffesnuffe ' (Nash), and in such terms and phrases as 
" thwick - thwack," " rif-raf," " robel - hobble," " cock - sure," 
" break the ice," " in the wrong box," " be-blubbered," and in 
mimetic lines, such as — 

" Like bandog grinning, with gnash tusk greedelye snarring." 

" Whear curs barck bawling, with yolp yalpe snarrye rebounding." 

" Like wrastling meere winds with blaste contrarius huzing." 

He translates " parvulus ^Eneas," as " a cockney, a dandiprat 
hop-thumb ! " Campbell has said somewhat unjustly of him, 
that if Chaucer is the well of English undefiled, Stanyhurst may 
be called the common sewer of the language. 

In 1567 appeared George Turbervile's translation of Ovid's 
Heroical Epistles, partly in blank verse and partly in rime. 
This Dorsetshire man was a voluminous sonneteer and trans- 
lator. In the same year he produced English versions of 

* And here, perhaps, I should explain that a hexameter line consists 

of six feet, the first four either dactyls (- u o) or spondees ( ), the 

fifth being almost always a dactyl, and the sixth always a spondee or 
a trochee (- v^). Thus (to use Spedding's example) — 

<« Virgil my model is : accent, caesura, division, 

His practice regulates ; his laws my quantity obeyeth.' 

This attempt to introduce into English rhythms the 
"Lumber of Liddell and Scott; O musical chaff of old Athens," 

— C lough. 

has been attempted at various epochs in the story of our literature, 
from Harvey to Longfellow ; but, as a rule, such attempts have fully 
merited the verdict of Lamb — 

" O begone measure, half-Latin, half-English, then." 


the Latin Eclogues of Alantuanus, and, in 1576, ten tragical 
tales in verse, from the Italian novelists. While acting as 
secretary to the embassy in Russia he wrote three poetical 
epistles giving amusing descriptions of the manners and 
customs of that country, which were printed in Hackluyt's 
Voyages. His chief original work is entitled Epitaphs, Epi- 
grajns, Songs, and Sonnels, published in 1567 ; several of these 
pieces, written in imitation of Surrey's, possess considerable 
merit (p. 343). 

Turning for a moment to Italy, we find that all her great 
poets save Dante had, before 1600, found their way into 
English dress : portions of Petrarch, by Lord Morley about 
1555, and by Surrey ; Ariosto, by Sir John Harrington in 1591 ; 
portions of Tasso, by Richard Carew, 1594, and complete 
by Fairfax in 1600 ; various portions of Boccaccio, by divers 

The second poetical miscellany. The Paradise of Dainty 
Devices, was put together by a Somersetshire man, Richard 
Edwards (1523?-! 566). Although not published till 1576, its 
contents were mostly written in the reign of Mary. The tone 
of this collection is monotonously lugubrious. It is very in- 
ferior to Tottel's. Edwards was both a lyrist and a dramatist ; 
and his comedy, Damo7i aiid Pythias, is amongst our earliest 
dramas. One of his numerous contributions to The Paraaise 
is quoted in Romeo a7id'Juliet (p. 335). His poem, Aniantium 
Irce, has been much admired (p. 329). Other contributors to 
The Paradise were Lord Vaux (p. 306), Edward Vere, Earl of 
Oxford, and William Hunnis. 

Contemporary with Edwards was Thomas Tusser, "The 
British Varro," and one of the earliest English didactic 
poets. Born in Essex about 1520, he went to school at Eton, 
where he was under the severe rule of Udall, the author oi 
our first comedy. In his piece, The Author's Lije, Tusser 


refers to Udall's administering fifty-three stripes castiga- 
tion, " for fault but small, or none at all ! " Tusser soon 
abandoned literature for farming. His one production of 
note, which Southey thought deserving of republication, is 
a practical, homely attempt to teach agriculture in verse ; 
valuable for the light it throws on the English farming 
methods of his day rather than as a poem. This once 
popular "old English Georgic" (Warton) is entitled in its 
first edition (published the same year as Tottel's collec- 
tion). One Htmdred Points of Good Husbandry. It was 
subsequently enlarged to Five Hundred Points (p, 337). 
Each "point" contains four lines, and is complete in itself; 
and the whole is divided into twelve months, beginning in 
September and ending in August. The author of this highly 
moral and sententious, if not very exciting work, was, accord- 
ing to Fuller, a regular "rolling stone, and gathered little or 
no moss ; he spread his bread with all sorts of butter, yet 
none would stick thereon. His plough and his poetry were 
alike unprofitable," and accordingly he died in poverty in 
London, A.D. 1580. Tusser's work went through a great many 
editions, and was parodied in A Hundred Points of Evil Hus- 
wifry m 1565. In 17 10 appeared Tusser Redivivus, with a 
prose commentary by Hilman. 

Another writer on agricultural topics, but superior in poetic 
genius to Tusser, was Barnaby Googe (1540-1594), a translator 
of some diligence. As the author of the earliest English pas- 
torals, Googe claims a place in the history of our poetry. 
These appeared in 1563, under the title oi Eglogs, Epytnphes, 
and Sonnettes ; the volume contains eight eclogues, four 
epitaphs, and a number of sonnets. The very pretty and 
graceful pastoral, Harpalus and Phillida, in Tottel's volume, 
is attributed with probability to Googe (p. 376). 

George Gascoigne (1525 ?-i577), soldier and scholar, "Tarn 


Marti quam Mercuric," deserves to be remembered as the 
writer of TJte Steel Glass, the first non-dramatic blank verse 
poem of any length in the language. Many details of his 
'well-employed' life have been preserved in a poetical Remem- 
brance thereof by a contemporary, George Whetstone. Origin- 
ally intended for the law, he soon abandoned that pursuit for 
the army, and served in Holland as a captain under William, 
Prince of Orange. He has given us the result of these 
experiences in his Fruits of War, a poem in seven-line 
stanzas. On his return this martial bard devoted himself to 
poetry. Before his death he became penitent, continually 
bewailing the errors of his unthrifty youth. His numerous 
works show great versatility of talent. He figures as dramatist, 
as lyrist, as satirist, as one of our earliest literary critics (in 
his Notes on Making Verse, 1575), as prose pamphleteer, 
novelist, and translator. His two plays were written for per- 
formance at Gray's Inn in 1566. T/ie Supposet^, a translation 
from Ariosto, is said to be our earliest prose comedy, and 
supplied Shakspere with a hint for the Taming of the Shrew. 
His 'woful tragedie of focasta' (p. 372), a somewhat languid 
version of the Phanissa' of Euripides, is our second blank verse 
drama — the first being Sackville's Gorboduc. 

Gascoigne's shorter pieces, though abounding in conceits, 
are many of them lively, graceful, and display consider- 
able harmony and variety of versification. Most of them 
are included in his Posies (1575), a collection in three parts : 
1st, Flowers, "because being invented upon a very light 
occasion, they have yet in them some rare invention and 
method before not commonly used ; " 2nd, Herbs, " being 
indeed moral discourses and reformed inventions, and 
therefore more profitable than pleasant ; " 3rd, Weeds which 
"might seem to some judgments neither pleasant nor yet pro- 
fitable, and therefore meet to be cast away. ... 1 pray thee 


to smell unto these posies as Flowers to comfort, Herbs to 
cure, and Weeds to be avoided " (p. 356). Several of his works 
have quaint titles, such as the Droome of Doomesday, and 
Delicate Diet for dainty mouthed Drunkards. Satire, how- 
ever, was his forte. In his longest work, The Steel Glas 
(p. 370), a poem of some 11,000 blank verse lines, published 
the year before his death, we have an interesting picture 
of the time, its manners and habits, its vices and follies. 
To this volume are prefixed the earliest known verses of Sir 
Walter Raleigh. Gascoigne was apparently a favourite with 
his contemporaries, although a political opponent once branded 
him as a " scandalous rimer, a notorious ruffian, an atheist, 
a manslaughterer, and an extensive debtor," which, to 
say the least of it, seems a pretty strong indictment ! Mr 
Minto has pointed out several points of similarity of life and 
works between Gascoigne and Byron. 

Some two years after the publication of TotteVs Miscellany 
appeared a poetical collection of an altogether different 
nature, entitled The Myrroure for Magistrates. The projection 
of this singular work has usually been attributed to Thomas 
Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (1536.?-! 60S), but Mr Hazlewoodhas 
demonstrated that this popular theory is not quite correct, and 
that the idea originated with one Wayland, a printer, who was 
engaged at a new edition of Lydgate's Falls of Princes — a para- 
phrase of Boccaccio's De Casibus (see p. xxxix., ante). Way- 
land's intention was " to have the story continued from whereas 
Bochas left unto this present time, chiefly of such as Fortune 
hath dallied with here in this island, which might be a mirror 
to all men, as well nobles as others." From this extract the 
reader can gain some insight into the nature of the contents of 
this stupendous and sombre production. As originally designed, 
it was to give, as a sequel to Lydgate and Boccaccio, a kind of 
poetical and biographical chronicle of the misfortunes of all the 


illustrious Englishmen since the Conquest. Each was to 
tell his own sad history. There was no finality, no fixed 
limit to the work, but it went on gaining accretions year after 
year, from all sides, " like," says Professor Craik, " a sort of 
continually growing monument or cairn, to which every man 
added his stone." The greater portion of this " crude abortion 
of the grand epic " (Minto) was the work of minor and now 
forgotten writers — such as William Baldwin, an ecclesiastic 
(who wrote the prose introduction and conversations between 
the poems), and George Ferrers, a lawyer. These men contri- 
buted twelve and three legends respectively to the first edition 
in 1559, which contained nineteen stories in all, beginning with 
Tresilian, and chiefly relating to the period of the Wars of the 
Roses. The poet Churchyard, Phaer, the translator of Virgil, 
and Skelton are all said to have contributed. In the fourth 
edition, by John Higgins, appeared sixteen additional lives, 
from the mythical Brutus to the commencement of the Christian 
era, prefaced by a new introduction in eight-line stanzas. In 
this portion is found the legend of Cordelia. Blennerhasset, 
in 1578, added a dozen fresh legends, "from the conquest of 
Caesar to the coming of William the Conqueror ; " and finally, 
in 1610, the entire collection, with considerable additions, 
alterations, and modernisations, numbering some ninety 
legends in all, was republished by Richard Nichols. Various 
editions and numerous contemporary references and imita- 
tions testify to the popularity of the work. The very title, 
* Mirror,' became quite frequent. 

Of all the various " builders," Sackville is by far the most 
distinguished, and his contributions alone deserve remem- 
brance. These are — The Ifiduction, or prefatory poem 
(p. 3S8), and the Coinplai7it of Henry Stafford, Duke of 
Buckingham, which was to have formed the conclusion of the 
series (p. 390). The Complaint, though containing passages 


of considerable beauty, is on the whole tedious, lacking the 
vitality and vividness of The Induction. The main idea of 
the latter is copied from Dante's Inferno and the visit to the 
shades in Virgil. It is, as Campbell has said, " a landscape on 
which the sun never shines." The metre is the seven-line 
stanza of Chaucer. The whole, notwithstanding occasional 
stiffness, is marked by majestic dignity and solemnity of 
thought and language, and is, all things considered, our most 
important poetical production between the Caiiterbiiry Tales 
and the Faerie Queen. Spenser is considerably indebted to 
the Mirror for Magistrates., which afforded him many hints for 
his allegorical personages ; a fact to which he alludes in a 
prefatory sonnet. It was, moreover, a storehouse of plots for 
future dramatists. But Sackville, by his one other literary 
production of importance, contributed still more directly to 
the drama of his country. In his Gorboduc, published the 
year after Shakspere's birth, we have the first extant English 
tragedy, and our first drama in blank verse. To describe this 
play is beyond the scope of the present sketch ; suffice it to 
say that it fully justifies the bestowal on Sackville of the proud 
title, " Founder of English Tragedy." 

The only two non-dramatic poets before the seventeenth 
century whose works can be said still to live and to be 
generally read, are Chaucer and Spenser. Edmund Spenser 
(?I552), "The Heavenly Spenser," like his great predecessor, 
a native of London, received his education at the Merchant 
Taylor's School, and entered as sizar at Pembroke Hall, Cam- 
bridge, in 1569, taking his M. A. degree in 1576. He had already 
contributed anonymously some poetic translations of Petrarch 
and Du Bellay in Vander Noodt's Theatre of Worldlings. 
Whilst at Cambridge he formed a close intimacy with the 
celebrated Gabriel Harvey and with Edward Kirke (E. K.), 
the commentator on Spenser's first undoubted poem, The 


Shepheardcs Calaidar, published anonymously, under the 
pseudonym " Immerito," in 1579-80, and dedicated to Sir Philip 
Sidney. This — our first English pastoral poem of note, 
and possibly still our greatest — consists of twelve eclogues 
in the Latin-Italian manner, one for each month of the 
year. They exhibit a variety of metres and subjects, being 
divided by E. K. into three classes — i. Plaintive (i., vi., 
xi., and xii.), inspired by the love of one Rosahnd, possibly 
a sister of the poet Daniel ; 2. Recreative (iii., iv., and viii.) ; 
3. Moral (ii., v., vii., ix., and x.). An argument and a 'gloss' 
or commentary, together with what are called the 'emblems' 
of the various speakers, are appended by E. K. to each 
poem. Many contemporaries are introduced under dis- 
guised names as shepherds — Gabriel Harvey as Hobbinol ; 
Edward Kirke as Cuddie ; Archbishop Grindal as Algrind ; 
Bishop Aylmer as Morrell ; Spenser himself as Colin Clout, a 
title borrowed from Skelton's poem, and subsequently adopted 
in Colin CloiWs co)ne home agaiti, written apparently in 1591 on 
Spenser's return to Ireland from England, and full of interest- 
ing references to the personal history of the poet, and of his 
many great contemporaries. In the second, and best eclogue 
occurs the fable of the Oak and the Briar (p. 397), said by 
Spenser to be derived from Tityrus, i.e., Chaucer, Though not 
really derived from this source, it is distinctly in Chaucer's 
narrative manner. Another fable, the Fox and the Kid (v.), 
told in alliterative verse by Piers, is satirically applied to the 
corruptions and greed of the clergy ; a subject resumed in 
the seventh and ninth eclogues. Hence Campbell says that 
Spenser's shepherds are parsons in disguise. Several of these 
eclogues are translations or imitations — the third from Bion, the 
eighth and tenth (in which " is set out the perfect pattern of a 
poet ") from Theocritus and Virgil, the ele\'enth (Spenser's own 
favourite) and twelfth from Marot. 


Most of Spenser's minor poems were published in a volume 
entitled Coinplaiiits (1591). This collection contained, besides 
the F/j'Zf7?i' already mentioned, The Ruins of Time; The Tears 
of the Muses (full of personal and literary allusions, including, 
as is supposed, one to Shakspere, " our pleasant Willy ") ; an 
admirable translation of Virgil's Culcx; The Fate of the Butter- 
fly j last, and most noteworthy of all, Prosopopoia, or Mother 
Hubberd's Tale of the Fox and the Ape — a powerful satire, 
numbering nearly 1400 lines, on the mean intrigues in Church 
and State, of which Craik says that there is nothing else nearly 
so truly Chaucerian in our later English poetry. In this poem 
occurs the famous description of ' the brave courtier,' thought 
to be a portrait of Sidney, on whose death Spenser wrote an 
elegy Astrophel. 

Spenser's collected works also include, amongst other pieces, 
Daphnaida, a beautiful elegy in a prologue and seven fits or parts, 
on the death of Lady Douglas Howard (p. 402) ; Foter Hymns 
in honour of Love and Beauty, Earthly and Heavenly ; and 
a Prothalamion (1596), or "spousal verses" on the marriage 
of the Earl of Worcester's daughters. Spenser's own court- 
ship and marriage with Elizabeth, a fair Irish girl, inspired him 
to eighty-eight somewhat frigid Avioretti SoJinets (p. 406), and 
a magnificent and exultant Epithalamion (1595), the finest 
wedding song in our language (p. 408). His sole extant 
prose work is a dialogue on The State of Ireland (^ i ^^6). 
Several spurious poems have been attributed to his pen. He 
is supposed to have written a number of other pieces, including 
nine comedies, and a prose tract, The English Poet, which have 

In 1580, Spenser accompanied Lord Grey ot Wilton to Ire- 
land as secretary, where he spent almost all the rest 01 his 
life, holding various State appointments. He lived in the 
Earl of Desmond's forfeited castle at Kilcolman, Co. Cork, till 


it was burned down in Tyrone's Rebellion of 1598. Spenser 
and his wife escaped. The poet died in considerable want at 
Westminster in January 1599, and was buried, near Chaucer, 
in the Abbey. A contemporary describes him as " a little 
man who wore short hair, little band, and little cuffs." 
It was at Kilcolman, 

"Amongst the cooly shade 
Of the green alders by the Mulla's shore," 

that he wrote the great classic of his age. The Faerie Queen, 
" the first creation of English imaginative power since 
Chaucer" (Church). The great poetical allegory of our lan- 
guage was published in two instalments, the first three books 
in 1590, the second three in 1595-6. It met with an enthusiastic 
reception. Although one of the longest poems in the world, — 
numbering some 35,000 verses, and far exceeding the combined 
length of the I/iaJ, Odyssey, and JEneid, — still, like the Canter- 
bury Tales of Chaucer, Spenser's immortal work remained 
unfinished at his death. As originally planned, it was to consist 
of twenty-four books of twelve cantos apiece, each canto num- 
bering some seventy or eighty nine-line stanzas. Of this vast 
project we possess but the first six books, and two cantos 
and a couple of stray stanzas of a seventh published long after 
his death (p. 428). The author states that the object of his 
work is " to represent all the moral virtues, assigning to every 
virtue a knight to be patron and defender of the same, in whose 
actions and feats of arms and chivalry the operation of that 
virtue, whereof he is the protector, are to be expressed, and 
the vices and unruly appetites that oppose themselves against 
the same, to be beaten down and overcome." Spenser's 
design was to set forth in the figures of these twelve knights 
the traits of "a gentleman of noble person, fashioned in 
virtuous and gentle discipline." " I have laboured to pourtray 


in King Arthur the image of a brave knight, perfected in the 
twelve private moral virtues, as Aristotle hath devised ; the 
which is the purpose of these twelve books ; which if I find 
to be well accepted, I may be encouraged to frame the other 
part of politic virtues in his person after he came to be king." 

The beginning of the story was to be told in the twelfth 
book, describing how the Faery Queen (who never appears 
in the extant poem) kept a feast twelve days, upon which 
twelve several adventures happened, undertaken by twelve 
several knights, in the twelve books discussed. At the begin- 
ning of the feast a tall clownish young man presents himself, 
and desiring to be sent on an adventure, is armed, whereon 
he seems the goodliest in the company. He sets forth with 
a fair lady to release her parents from the castle of a huge 
dragon, " where beginneth the first book," the Legend of the 
Red Cross Knight or Holiness (p. 416). The remaining five 
books treat respectively of Sir Guyon or Temperance ; the Lady 
Knight, Britomart, or Chastity ; Cambel and Triamond, or 
Friendship ; Artegall, or Justice ; Calidore, or Courtesy. The 
two posthumous cantos are on Mutability, and probably form 
portion of the Legend of Constancy. 

Spenser has shared with Keats the title of " The Poets' Poet," 
and certainly the Faerie Queeti is not, as a whole, known to 'the 
general.' It is distinctly recognised by all as a great English 
classic, but is read by comparatively few. It does not seem 
'taking' somehow, and any reader approaching it for the first 
time can hardly fail to feel disappointment. This results partly 
from the largeness of the design and the want of a definite 
well-planned plot or story ; there is hardly any connection be- 
tween the various cantos ; they are more like separate poems 
than parts of a connected whole. Hence its charm greatly 
consists in isolated passages. " As a whole, it is confusing ; 
but we need not treat it as a whole. Its continued interest 


soon breaks down. We can hardly lose our way in it, for there 
is no way to lose" — (Church). Its diffuse descriptions are 
wearisome, and as the same critic aptly remarks, when Spenser 
"gets on a story or scene, he never knows where to stop ; his 
duels go on stanza after stanza till there is no sound part left in 
either champion. His palaces, landscapes, pageants, feasts, 
are taken to pieces in all their parts, and all these parts 
are likened to some other thing." Again, the artificial and 
affected Arcadianism is frequently jarring to the modern reader. 
As Cervantes represented the comic, so Spenser portrayed the 
serious side of knight-errantry, and he evidently went out of 
his way to render his work antique in language and in idea. 
It so appeared even to his contemporaries. He 

" Sings of knights and Pallandines, 
In aged accents and untimely words," 


and is frequently harder to understand than Chaucer. 

Various historical events and personages are referred to 
under the guise of everlasting allegory, clear to contem- 
porary readers but obscure now-a-days. Thus, Mary Queen 
of Scots is portrayed in the false Florimel, in the fierce 
Amazonian Queen Radegund ; in Duessa : whilst Queen Eliza- 
beth is represented by Gloriana (nobleness), Belphcebe (beauty), 
Britomart (purity), Mercilla (grace). Thus there runs through- 
out a double allegory — moral and historical. 

Notwithstanding all drawbacks, however, Spenser's poem is 
a work for all time. To dwell on its many beauties and excel- 
lences, even were it possible in my limited space, is unnecessary; 
its richness and luxuriance, its stateliness, its luscious sweet- 
ness and melody of verse, and the harmony of its rhythm, have 
rarely been approached — very rarely been equalled in the 
history of English poesy. 


Spenser, a great master of metre and form, contrived for his 
masterpiece a new stanza, which has ever since borne his 
name. Formed by adding a line to the eight-line chant-royal 
of the French poets (used by Chaucer in his Malik's Tale, and 
by Dunbar), it consists of two quatrains of ten-syllable lines 
with alternate rimes, the second rime of the first quatrain 
agreeing with the first rime of the second quatrain, closed by 
an Alexandrine line of twelve syllables ; in which, says Lowell, 
the melody of one stanza seems forever longing and feeling 
forward after that which is to follow. It is probably the 
finest stanza in English poetry, and is used in some of our 
noblest poems, notably Childe Harold and The Eve of St 
Agnes. The accusation of cloying sweetness and monotony 
has been brought against this stanza, but, as Dean Church 
finely says, it is " the grand monotony of the sea-shore, where 
billow follows billow, each swelling diversely and broken into 
different curves and waves upon its mounting surface, till at 
last it falls over, and spreads and rushes up in a broken long 
line of foam upon the beach." 

But the greatest claim of the Faerie Qucc7J to our admiration 
is the noble aim of the entire poem, and its manly, elevated, 
ennobling moral tone throughout, which, says Dean Church, 
"will never appeal to English readers in vain, till we have 
learned a new language and adopted new canons of art, of 
taste, and of morals. It is not merely that Spenser has 
left imperishable images which have taken their place among 
the consecrated memorials of poetry and the household 
thoughts of all cultivated men. But he has permanently lifted 
the level of English poetry, by a great and sustained effort of 
rich and varied art, in which one main purpose rules, loyalty to 
what is noble and pure, and in which this main purpose subor- 
dinates to itself every feature and every detail, and harmonises 
some that by themselves seem least in keeping with it." 


As the chief characteristics of this fourth period — the period 
of extraneous literary influences — we find that tedious trivial- 
ities and commonplaces have been to a great extent superseded 
by artistic arrangement of ideas and choice of diction : English 
poetry now appears for the first time clad in a fitting garb, 
now first has become an art. The imaginary courts and 
elaborate cavalcades which abound in the works of the 
earlier poets have disappeared with the chivalry which gave 
them birth ; and, on the other hand, short poems — lyricS' — 
sonnets — have become the fashion. The sole subject is Love, 
but it is treated in a more exalted manner ; coarseness and 
indecency are dying out. Finally, writers view all things with 
reference to themselves ; their poetry is strictly subjective, 
intuitive, reflective. 

In the foregoing pages I have endeavoured to trace the 
meanderings of the stream of English poetry from its rise in 
Layamon, through the triumvirate, ' Masters Gower, Chaucer, 
and Lydgate,' through " Angry Skelton's breathless rimes," 
thence to Scotland, and once again back to the English Wyat, 
Surrey, and Sackville, worthy forerunners of Spenser, and 
heralds of 

"Those melodious bursts, that fill 
The spacious times of great Elizabeth 
With sounds that echo still." 

( Tennyson. ) 

Spenser is our last mediaeval, he is our first great modern 
poet. With him my allotted period closes, and I can only 
gaze fondly on those golden fields of poesy which I must not 


The present volume aims at giving typical specimens from the English 
poets from Layamon to Spenser. The text is based on that of the 
standard editions, such as Pauli's Gozuer, Dyce's Skeltou, Laing's 
Uemyson, Dunbar, and Lyndsay, Small's Douglas, Hazlitt's Gas- 
coigne, The Q\o\it. Spetiser. Ample use has also been made of the pub- 
lications of the Early English, Chaucer, and Scottish Text Societies, 
The Clarendon Press Series, and Mr Arber's Reprints ; and I here 
acknowledge, once for all, my indebtedness to those previous writers, 
of the result of whose labours I have freely availed myself. All 
obsolete words or phrases have been scrupulously retained and ex- 
plained in footnotes. No attempt has been made to substitute 
modern equivalents. The archaic spelling has been preserved 
wherever it is essential to the metre, rime, alliteration, poetic 
flavour, or meaning ; except in such cases, the modern system of 
uniform orthography has been adopted. Words still in everyday use, 
but whose meaning has changed, are printed in the text in italics, lest 
they should prove misleading, and are explained in footnotes. 

Wherever a vowel usually silent should be sounded, it is marked 
with a diaeresis, e.g., ocean. Where the accentuation of a word differs 
from the modern usage, attention is drawn to the fact by an acute 
accent, e.g, sentence. 

Readers should bear in mind that in the earlier writers ed, en, es, 
final, are usually sounded, and monosyllables ending in vowels, e.g., 
the negative ne, the, to, are frequently slurred over and run into the 
succeeding word, thus, / nas — I was not. To- and for- are intensi- 
tive prefixes, as io-broken, for-pined. -En or -e marks the infinitive, 
and -eth the imperative mood respectively : as tellen = to tell, listencth 
= listen ! The prefix y- (German ge) indicates the past participle ; 
whilst the present participle frequently ends in -and — ing. 


Jfirit T,oth, iS88. 

Early English Poetry. 



Summer is y-comen in, 

Loude sing, cucku : 

Groweth seed, 
And bloweth mead 
And spring'th the woode nu, 

Sing, cucku ! 
Ewe bleateth after lamb, 
Loweth alter calve cu ; 

Bullock starteth, 

Bucke verteth, 

Merry sing, cucku ! 

Cucku, cucku ! 
Well singest thu, cucku ! 
Ne svvic thu never nu. 
Sing, cucku, nu, sing, cucku, 
Sing, cucku, sing, cucku, nu ! 

— Circa 1250 a.d. 
Verteth, departeth. Ne sivic, nor cease. 



Between March and Averil, 

When spray beginneth to spring, 
The httle fowle hath her will 

On her lud to sing. 
I live in love-longing, 
For seemliest of alle thing 
She may me blisse bring, 

I am in her bandoun. 
An handy hap I have y-hent, 
I wot from Heaven it is me sent, 
From all women my love is lent, 

And 'light on Alysoun. 

In hue her hair is fair enough, 
Her browe brown, her eye black ; 

With lovesome cheer she on me lough, 
With middle small and well y-mak. 

But she me will to her take. 

For to been her owne make. 

Long to live I shall forsake, 
And, feye, shall fall adown. 

An handy hap, etc. 

— Circa 1250 a.d. 

Lud, song. BanJoiin, dominion. Y-hent, caught. 

Lough, laughed. Make, mate. Feye, dead. 



For her love I cark and care, 
For her love I droop and dare^ 
For her love my bliss is bare, 

And all I waxe wan. 
For her love in sleep I slake, 
For her love all night I wake. 
For her love mourning I make, 

More than any man. 

— Circa 1300 a.d. 
Dare, pine. Slake, fail. 



Winter wakeneth all my care, 

Now these leaves waxeth bare ; 

Oft I sigh and mourne sare, 
When it cometh in my thought, 
Of this world's joy, how it go'th to nought. 

Now it is and now it n' is, 
All so it ne'er ne were, i-wis. 
That many man saith, sooth it is, 

All goeth, but Goddes will : 

All we shall die, tho' us like ill. 

— Circa 1300 a.d. 

NHs, is not. I-wis, truly. 




For nothing is to man so dear 
As woman's love in good manner. 
A goode woman is mannes bliss, 
Where her love right and steadfast is. 
There is no solace under heaven, 
Of alle that a man may neven, 
That should a man so muche glew. 
As a good woman that loveth true ; 
Ne dearer is none in Goddes hurd 
Than a chaste woman with lovely word. 

— Handling Sin, 1. 1904. 
Neven, name Glew, gladden, Iliird, family. 





All manner of joyes are in that stede : 

There is life without any death ; 

And there is youth without any eild ; 

And there is aU kind of weaUh to weild ; 

And there is rest without any travail ; 

And there is all good that never shall fail ; 

And there is peace without any strife ; 

And there is all manner of liking of life ; 

And there is aye summer full bright to see, 

And never more winter in that countrie : 

And there is more worship and honour, 

Than ever had king or emperor, 

And there is great melody of angels' song, 

And there is praising them among : 

And there is all manner friendship that may be. 

And there is ever perfect love and charitie. 

And there is wisdom without folly, 

And there is honesty without villany. 

All these a man may joys of Heaven call ; 

But yet the most sovereign joy of all 

Is sight of Goddes brighte face, 

In whom resteth all manner grace. 

— Prick of Conscience, 

Stede, place. Eild, age. 



But with the world comes Dame Fortune, 
That either hand may change soon ; 
For she aye turns about her wheel, 
Up and down, as many may feel ; 
When she her wheel lets round about go, 
She turns some down from weal to woe. 
And, oft, againward from woe to weal ; 
Thus turns she oft about her wheel. 
The which the clerks nought else calls 
But hap or chance that suddenly falls, 
And that men holdes here nought else. 
But wealth and anger in which men dwells. 
Therefore worldly hap is aye in doubt 
Whilst Dame Fortune turns her wheel about. 

— Prick of Conscience^ 1. 1273. 



(in the original form.) 

This world es the way and passage 
Thurgh whilk lyes our pilgrymage ;• 
By this way by-hoves us al gang, 
Bot be we war we ga noght wrang ; 
For in this world liggis twa ways 
Als men may fynd that tham assays : 
The tane es way of the dede calde, 
The tother es way of lyfe to halde. 
The way of dede seems large and eesy 
And that may lede us ouer-lightly, 
Un-til the grysly land of mirknes, 
Thar sorow and pyn ever-mare es. 
The way of lyfe semes narow and harde, 
That ledes us til our contre-warde ; 
That es the kyngdom of heven bright, 
Whare we sal won ay in Goddes sight ; 
And Goddes awen sons than be calde, 
If we the way of lyfe here halde. 

— Prick of Conscience ^\. 1394. 
Liggis, lies. 7^ane, one. Dede, death. Won, dwell. 





Edward our comely king, 
In Brabant has his woning, 

With many comely knight ; 
And in that land truly to tell, 
Ordains he still for to dwell, 

Till time he thinks to fight. 

Now God that is of mightes most, 
Grant him grace of the Holy Ghost, 

His heritage to win ; 
And Mary, mother of mercy free, 
Save our king and his menie 

From sorrow, shame, and sin. 

Thus in Brabant has he been. 
Where he before was seldom seen, 

For to prove their japes ; 
Now no longer will he spare. 
But unto France fast will he fare. 

To comfort him with grapes. 

Woning, dwelling. Menie, retinue. Japes, artilices. Fare, go. 


Forth he fared into France : 
God save him from mischance, 

And all his company ! 
The noble Duke of Braband, 
With him went into that land, 

Ready to live or die. 

Then the rich flower de lis 
Won there full little prize. 

Fast he fled for feard ; 
The right heir of that country 
Is come with all his knightes free 

To shake him by the beard. 

Sir Philip the Valayse 
With his men in those days, 

To battle had he thought ; 
He bad his men them purvey 
Withouten longer delay, 

But he ne held it nought 

He brought folk full great wone, 
Aye, seven against one, 

That full well weapon'd were ; 
But soon when he heard ascry 
That King Edward was thereby, 

Then durst he not come near. 

In that morning fell a mist, 

And when our Englishmen it wist, 

It changed all their cheer : 
Our king unto God made his boon, 
And God sent him good comfort soon ; 

The weather wax'd full clear. 

Feard, fear. Wone, number. Ascry, reported. Boon, prayer. 


Our king and his men held the field, 
Stalworthy with spear and shield, 

And thought to win his right, 
With lordes and with knightes keen, 
And with other doughty men bydene 

That were full frek to fight. 

When Sir Philip of France heard tell, 
That King Edward in field would dwell, 

Then gained him no glee ; 
He trusted of no better boot, 
But both on horse and on foot 

He hasted him to flee. 

It seemed he was 'feared for strokes 
When he did fell his greate oaks 

About his pavilion ; 
Abated was then all his pride. 
For longer there durst he not bide, 

His boast was brought all down. 

The king of Berne has cares cold, 
That was full hardy and bold, 

A steede to bestride ; 
He and the king als of Naverne, 
Were fain for feare in the fern 

Their heades for to hide. 

Believe well, it is no lie, 
The field, it hat Flemangrye, 

That King Edward was in, 
With princes that were stiff and bold, 
And dukes that were doughty told 

In battle to begin. 

Bydene^ besides. Frek, eager. Boot, remedy. 

Berne, Bohemia. Bat, was named. 


The princes that were rich on row, 
Great nakers strike and trumpets blow, 

And made mirth at their might ; 
Both alblast, and many a bow, 
Were ready rail'd upon a row 

And full frek for to fight. 

Gladly they gave meat and drink, 
So that they should the better swink 

The wight men that they were 
Sir Philip of France fled for doubt, 
And hied him home with all his rout : 

Coward, God give him care ! 

For there then had the lily flower 
Lorn all wholly his honour 

That so gat fled for feard ; 
But our King Edward came full still 
When that he trowed no harm him till. 

And keeped him in the beard. 

On row, in rank. Nakers, drums. Alblast, cross-bow. 

Swink, strive. Wight, valiant. Keeped, encountered. 




In earth it is a little thing, 
And reignes as a riche king, 

Where he is known in land : 
Sir Penny is his name call'd : 
He makes both the young and aid 

Bow unto his hand. 

Popes, kings, and emperors, 

Bishops, abbots, and priors. 

Parson, priest, and knight, 

Dukes, earls, and each baroun, 

To serven him they are full boun 

Both by day and night. 
* » ♦ 

He may buy both heaven and liell, 
And ilka thing that is to sell, 

In earth has he such grace : 
He may lose, and he may bind. 
The poor are aye put behind 

Where he comes in place. 
* * 

Where strife was. Penny makes peace, 
Of all anger he may release, 

In land where he will lend ; 

Ilka, each. Bciui, ready. 


Of foes may he make friendes sad, 
Of counsel there them never be rad, 

That may have him to friend. 

* * « 

Penny is a good fellaw 

Men welcome him in deed and saw., 

Come he never so oft ; 

He is not welcom'd as a guest, 

But evermore served with the best, 

And made to sit full soft. 
* * * » 

Sir Penny may full mickle avail. 

To them that has need of counsail. 

As seen is in assize : 
He lengthens life, and saves from dead. 
But love it not overwell, I rede, 

For sin of covetise ! 

If thou have hap treasure to win, 
Delight thee not too mickle therein, 

Nor nything thereof be : 
But spend it as well as thou can, 
So that thou love both God and man 

In perfect charity. 

God grant us grace, with heart and will. 
The goods that he has given us till. 

Well and wisely to spend ; 
And so our lives here for to lead, 
That we may have his bliss to meed. 

Ever withouten end. 

— Circa 1400 a.d 

l^ad, void. Saw, words. Assize, Courts of Justice. 

Dead, death. Rede, counsel. Nything, niggardly. 




A FISHER whilom lay 
Beside a river, for to get 
His nettes that he there had set. 
A little lodge there had he made ; 
And there-within a bed he had, 
And eke a little fire also. 
A door there was, withouten mo'. 
At night, his nettes for to see, 
He rose ; and there well long dwelt he, 
And when that he had done his deed, 
Toward his lodge again he yed ; 
And, with the light of the little fire. 
That in the lodge was burning schyr, 
Intil his lodge a fox he saw, 
That fast 'gan on a salmon gnaw. 
Then to the door he went in hy. 
And drew a sword deliverly : 
And said *• Traitor ! thou must here out !"' 
The fox, that was in full great doubt, 
Looked about, some hole to see ; 
But none issue perceive could he, 
But where the man stood sturdily. 
A Louthian mantle then him by 
I>ying upon the bed he saw ; 
And with his teeth he 'gan it draw 

Yed, hied. Schyr, clearly. Intil, within. 

Hy, haste. Deliverly, quickly. 


Out o'er the fire : and when the man 
Saw his mantle lie burning than, 
To rid it ran he hastily. 
The fox got out then in great hy, 
And held his way his warren ////. 
The man leit him beguiled ill, 
That he his good salmon had tynt, 
And also had his mantle burnt ; 
And the fox scaithless got away. 

— The BrUie, B. xix., 1. 650 
Zi'//, to. Leit considered. Tynt, lost. 



Ah ! freedom is a noble thing ! 
Freedom makes a man to have liking ! 
Freedom all solace to man gives : 
He lives at ease, that freely lives ! 
A noble heart may have nane ease, 
Na ellys nocht tliat may him please, 
If freedom fail ; for free liking 
Is yearned o'er all other thing. 
Nay, he that a)e has lived free. 
May not know well the property. 
The anger, nor the wretched doom, 
That is coupled with foul thraldom. 
But, if he had assayed it, 
Then all perquier he should it wit : 
And should think freedom more to prize 
Than all the gold in world that is. 
Thus contrar thinges evermare 
Discoverings of the t'other are. 

— T/ie Bruce, B. i,, 1. 22 c. 

Liking, liberty. Na ellys nocht, nor anything else. 

y earned, desired. Perquier, thoroughly. 




And now is Religion a rider, a roamer about, 

A leader of love days, and a land-buyer, 

A pricker on a palfrey from manor to manor, 

A heap of hounds at his [heels] as he a Lord were ; 

And but if his knave kneel that shall his cope bring, 

He low'reth on him and asketh him who taught him 

courtesy ? 
Little had lords to do to give land from their heirs 
To Religious, that have no ruth though it rain on their 

In many places there they be parsons by themselves at 

case ; 
Of the poor have they no pity : and that is their charity ! 
And they letten them as lords, their lands lie so broad. 
But there shall come a king and confess you, Religiouses, 
And beat you, as the Bible telleth, for breaking of your 

And amend monials, monks, and canons, 
And put them to their penance. 

•A- * * * * * » 

And then shall the Abbot of Abingdon and all his issue 

for ever. 
Have a knock of a king, and incurable the wound. 

— Piers Ploiviiian, P. x., 1. 30. 

Love days, arbitration days. But, unless. Letten, esteem. 

Monials, nuns. 





She had so steadfast countenance, 
So noble port and maintenance ; * * 
I saw her dance so comely, 
Carol and sing so sweetely, 
Laugh and play so womanly, 
And looke so debonairly, 
So goodly speak, and so friendly, 
That, certes, I trow that evermore 
N'as seen so blissful a treasore : — 
For every haire on her head, 
Sooth to say, it was not red, 
Ne neither yellow nor brown it n'as, 
Methought most like to gold it was, 
And whichc eyen my lady had ! 
Debonaire, goode, glad and sad, 
Simple, of good muchel, not too wide, 
Thereto her look was not aside. * * * 
She n'as too sober, ne too glad 
In alle thinges more measure 
Had never, I trow, creature. 

— Book of the Duchess, 1. 833. 

l^'as, was not. Whuhe, what. 



[The birds assemble to choose their mates.] 

And in a lawn, upon an hill of flowers, 
Was set this noble gocldesse Natiire ; 
Of branches were her halles and her bowers 
Y-wrought, after her craft and her measure; 
Ne was there fowl that coraeth of engendrure, 
That there ne were prest, in her presence, 
To take her doom, and give her audience. 

For this was on Saint Valentine's Day, 
When every fowl cometh to choose his make^ 
Of every kinde that men thinke may, 
And that so huge a noise 'gan they make, 
That earth, and air, and tree, and every lake, 
So full was that unnethe was there space, 
For me to stand : so full was all the place. 

That is to say, the fowles of ravine, 
Were highest set ; and then the fowles small, 
That eaten as them Nature would encline 
Of worm or thing of which I tell no tale ; 
And water-fowl sat lowest in the dale, 
But fowl that live by seed sat on the green. 
And that so fele that wonder was to seen. 

Prcst, ready. Doom, judgment. Make, mate. 

Uiinelhe, hardly. Fcle^ many. 


There mighte men the royal eagle find, 
That with his sharpe look pierceth the sun ; 
And other eagles of a lower kind, 
Of which that clerkes well devisen con ; 
There was the tyrant, with his feathers dun 
And grey, — I mean the goshawk that doth pine 
To birds, for his outrageous ravine. 

The gentle falcon, that with his feet distraineth 
The kinges hand ; the hardy sparhawk eke, 
The quailes foe ; the merlion that paineth 
Himself full oft the larke for to seek ; 
There was the dove, with her eyen meek ; 
The jealous swan, against his death that singeth ; 
The owl eke, that of death the bode bringeth. 

The crane giant, with his trumpe's soun' 
The thief the chough, and eke the jangling pie ; 
The scorning jay, the ell's foe the heroun ; 
The false lapwing, full of treachery ; 
The starling, that the counsel can betray ; 
The tame ruddock, and the coward kite ; 
The cock, that horologe is of thorpes lite. 

The sparrow, Venus' son ; the nightingale 
That clepeth forth the greene leaves new : 
The swallow, murd'rer of the bees smale, 
That honey make of flowers fresh of hue ; 
The wedded turtle, with her hearte true ; 
The peacock, with his angels' feathers bright ; 
The pheasant, scorner of the cock by night. 

Pine, torment. Bode, omen. Euddock, robin. 

Thorpes Hie, little villages. Clepeth, calleth. 


The waker goose; the cuckoo most unkind ; 

The popinjay, full of delicacy; 

The drake, destroyer of his owen kind ; 

The stork, the wreaker of adultery ; 

The hote cormorant, full of gluttony ; 

The raven, wise ; the crow, with voice of care ; 

The throstle old, the frosty fieldefare. 

What should I say ? of fowles every kind, 
That in this world have feathers and stature, 
Men mighten in that place assembled find, 
Before that noble goddess of Nature ; 
And cache of them did his busy cure 
Benignly for to choose, or for to take, 

By their accord, his formel or liis make. 
* * * * * 

[Three eagles claim a beautiful formel eagle as their mate, pleading 
somewhat longwindedly.] 

The goose, the cuckow, and the duck also, 

So cried, " Kek, kek, Kukkow, Quek, quek," hie. 

That through mine ears the noise wente thro'. 

The goose said, " All this n'is not worth a fly ! 

But I can shape hereof a remedy. 

And I will say my verdict, fair and swythe, 

For water fowl, whoso be wroth or blithe." 


And for these water fowles then began 

The goose to speak, and in her cackeling. 

She saide, " Peace now, take keep every man, 

And harken which a reason I shall forth bring ! 

My wit is sharp, I love no tarrying ! 

I say I rede him, though he were my brother, 

But she will love him, let him love another." 

Formel, female. Hie, loudly. Sivythe, speedily. 

Rede, rad, counsel. But, except. 


" Lo ! here a perfect reason of a goose ! "' 
Quoth the sparhawke, " Never may she thee ! 
Lo, such it is to have a tongue loose ! 
Now, parde, fool, yet were it bet' for thee 
Have held thy peace, than shewed thy 'nicety ; 
It lieth not in his wit, nor in his will ; 
But sooth is said, a fool can not be still." 

The laughter arose of gentle fowles all, 

And right anon the seed-fowl chosen had 

The turtle true, and 'gan her to them call ; 

And prayed her to say the soothe sad 

Of this matter, and asked what she rad. 

And she answer'd, that plainly her entent 

She would it show, and soothly what she meant. 

" Nay, God forbid a lover shoulde change ! " 
The turtle said, and wex for shame all red : 
"Though that his lady evermore be strange, 
Yet let him serve her till that he be dead. 
Forsooth, I praise not the goose's rede ; 
For though she died, I would none other make ; 
I will be her's till that the death me take." 

" Well bourded," quoth the (kicke, " by my hat ! 

That men should alway loven causeless, 

Who can a reason find, or wit in that ? 

Danceth he merry that is mirtheless ? 

Who shoulde reck of that is reckeless ? 

Quek ! quek ! yet," quoth the duck, " full well and fair ! 

There be mo' starres, God wot, than a pair." 


Thee, thrive. Nicety, folly. Make, mate. Bourded, jested. 


" Now peace," quoth Nature, " I commande here, 

For I have heard all your opinion. 

And in effect yet be we ne'er the near \ 

But finally, this is my conclusion, — 

That she herself shall have the election 

Of whom her hst, who-so be wroth or blithe. 

Him that she choseth, he shall her have swythe." 

And when this work all brought was to an end. 
To every fowle Nature gave his make 
By even accord, and on their way they wend : 
And, Lord ! the bliss and joye that they make ! 
For each 'gan other in his wings to take, 
And with their neckes each 'gan other wind. 
Thanking alway the noble queen of Kind, 

But first were chosen fowles for to sing, — 
As year by year was alway their usance, 
To sing a roundel at their departing. 
To do to Nature honour and pleasance ; 
The note, I trow, y-maked was in France ; 
The words were such as you may here find 
The nexte verse, as I now have in mind. 
Qui bien aime, tard oublie. 

" Now welcome, summer, with thy sunne soft, 
That hast these winter weathers overshake ; 
And driven away the longe nightes blake ; 

Saint Valentine, that art full high a-loft. 
Thus singen smalle fowles for thy sake. 

Well have they cause for to gladden oft. 
Since each of them recovered hath his make, 
Full blisful may they sing when they awake." 

— The Parliament of Fowls, 1. 302. 

Swytiie, speedily. 



With this he took his leave, and home he went ; 
Ah, Lord ! how he was glad and well begone ! 
Creseid arose, no longer she ne stent, 
But straight into her closet went anon, 
And set her down, as still as any stone. 
And every word 'gan up and down to wind, 
That he had said, as it come her to mind, 

And wox somedeal astonied in her thought, 

Right for the newe case \ but when that she 

Was full advised, then found she right naught 

Of peril, why she ought a-feardd be : 

For man may love of possibility 

A woman so, his hearte may to-brist, 

And she not love again, but if her list. 

But as she sat alone and thoughte thus, 

A cry arose at skirmish all without, 

And men cried in the street, " See, Troilus 

Hath right now put to flight the Greekes rout ! " 

With that 'gan all her meyne for to shout : 

" Ah ! go we see, cast up the gates wide, 

For through this street he must to palace ride." 

This Troilus sat on his baye steed 

All armed save his head full richely. 

And wounded was his horse, and 'gan to bleed, 

On which he rode a pace full softely : 

S!evt, remained. Somedeal^ somewhat. To-brist, break 

Meync, attendants. 


But such a knightly sight, lo ! truely 
As was on him, was not, withouten fail, 
To look on Mars, that god is of batail. 

So like a man of armes and a knight. 
He was to see, fulfiU'd of high prowess ; 
For both he had a body and a might 
To do that thing, as well as hardiness ; 
And eke to see him in his gear him dress, 
So fresh, so young, so wieldy, seemed he, 
It was an heaven upon him for to see. 

His helm to-hewen was in twenty places, 
That by a tissue hung his back behind. 
His shield to-dash^d was with swords and maces. 
In which men mighte many an arrow find, 
That thirled had both horn, and nerve, and rind, 
And aye the people cried, " Here com'th our joy, 
And, next his brother, holder up of Troy ! " 

For which he wax'd a little red for shame, 

When he so heard the people on him crien, 

That, to behold, it was a noble game. 

How soberly he cast adown his eyen : 

Creseid anon 'gan all his chere espyen, 

And let so soft it in her hearte sink. 

That to herself she said, " Who gave me drink ? " 

For of her owen thought she wox all red, 
Rememb'ring her right thus, " Lo, this is he. 
Which that mine uncle swear'th he must be dead, 
But I on him have mercy and pity : " 

Thirled, pierced. Chere, countenance. But, except. 


And with that thought, for pure shame she 
'Gan in her head to pull, and that as fast, 
While he and all the people forth-by past. 

And 'gan to cast, and rollen up and down 
Within her thought his excellent prowess, 
And his estate, and also his renown, 
His wit, his shape, and eke his gentleness; 
But most her favour was for his distress 
Was all for her, and thought it as a ruth 
To slay such one, if that he meante truth. 

Now mighte some envious jangle thus, 
" This was a sudden love, how might it be 
That she so lightly loved Troilus, 
Right for the firste sighte ? " Yea, pard^ ? 
Now whoso saith so, may he ne'er y-the ! 
For everything a 'ginning hath it need 
Ere all be WTOught, withouten any dread. 

For 1 say not that she so suddenly 
Gave him her love, but that she 'gan incHne 
To like him first, and I have told you why ; 
And after that, his manhood and his pine 
Make love within her hearte for to mine ; 
For which by process, and by good servise, 
He gat her love, and in no sudden wise. 

— Troyhis and Cryseyde, B. ii., 1. 596. 

Y-lhe, thrive. Fine, pain. 



" How shall I do ? When shall she come again ? 

I n'ot, alas ! why let I her to go ? 

As woulde God I had as then been slain ! 

O hearte mine, Cresseid ! O sweete foe ! 

O lady m.ine ! that I love and no mo', 

To whom for evermore mine heart I vow, 

See how I die ; ye n'ill me not rescow ! 

" Who seeth you now, my righte lodestar ? 
Who sitteth now or stands in your presence ? 
Who can comfdrten now your heartes war, 
Now I am gone ? whom give ye audience ? 
Who speaketh for me now in my absence ? 
Alas ! no wight, and that is all my care, 
For well wote I, as ill as I ye fare. 

" How should I thus ten dayes full endure, 
When I the first night haven all this tene ? 
How shall she do eke, sorrowful creature? 
For tenderness, how shall she thus sustain 
Such woe for me? O ! piteous, pale, and green, 
Shall be your fresh womanly face 
For languor ere ye turn into this place." 

And when he fell on any slumberings 
Anon begin he shoulde for to groan, 
And dreamen of the dreadfulleste things 
That mighte be ; as, mete he were alone 

A'V/', l:now not. N'ill, will not. Tcue, sorrow. Mete, dreams. 


In place horrible, making aye his moan, 
Or meten that he was amongest all 
His enemies, and in their handes fall. 

And therewithal his body shoulde start, 
And with the start all suddenly awake ; 
And such a tremor feel about his heart, 
That of the fear his body shoulde quake : 
And therewithal he should a noise make. 
And seem as though he should y fallen deep, 
From high aloft ; and then he woulde weep. 

" Oh star ! of which I lost have all the light, 
With hearte sore, well ought I to bewail. 
That ever dark in torment, night by night. 
Toward my death with wind I steer and sail. 
For which the tenneth night if that I fail 
The guiding of thy beanies bright an hour. 
My ship and me Charybdis will devour." 

This song when he thus sungen hadde, soon 

He fell again into his sighes old. 

And every night, as was his wont to doen, 

He stoode the bright moone to behold, 

And all his sorrow to the moone told. 

And said; "I-wis, when thou art horned new 

1 shall be glad, if all the world be true." 

— Troy I US and Cryseyde, B. v., 1. 232 

I-wis, truly. 



Alas, thought I, what aventures 

Have these sorry creatures, 

That they amongest all the press 

Should thus be shamed, guilteless ? 

But what it must needs be. 

What did this ^olus ? but he 

Took out his blacke trump of brass, 

That fouler than the devil was, 

And 'gan this trumpe for to blow 

As all the world't should overthrow. 

That throughout every regioun 

Went this foule trumpet's soun' 

As swift as pellet out of gun 

When fire is in the poAvder run, 

And such a smoke began out wend 

Out of his foule trumpet's end. 

Black, blue, and greenish, swart and red, 

As doeth where that men melt lead, 

Lo ! all on high from the tewel ; 

And thereto one thing saw I well. 

That aye the farther that it ran 

The greater waxen it began. 

As doth the river from a well. 

And it stank as the pit of hell. 

Alas ! thus was their shame y-rung, 

And guilteless, on ev'ry tongue. 

— The House of Fame ^ B. iii., 1. 1631. 

Teivel, funnel. 



Now have I then such a conditioun, 
That above all the flowers in the mead 
Then love I most these flowers white and red, 
Such as men callen Daisies in our town ; 
To them have I so great affectioun, 
As I said erst, when comen is the May, 
That in my bed there dawneth me no day 
That I n'am up and walking in the mead 
To see this flower against the sunne spread, 
When it upriseth early by the morrow ; 
That blissful sight softeneth all my sorrow ; 
So glad am I when that I have presence 
Of it, to doen it all reverence, 
As she that is of all flowe'rs the flower, 
Fulfilled of all virtue and honour. 
And ever alike fair and fresh of hue. 
And I love it and ever I like new ; 
And ever shall till that mine hearte die, 
AP swear I not of this, I will not lie. 

My busy ghost, that thirsteth alway new 
To see this flower so young, so fresh of hue. 
Constrained me with so greedy desire, 
That in mine heart I feele yet the fire 
That made me for to rise ere it were day, — 
And this was now the first morrow of May, — 
With dreadful heart and glad devotion, 
For to be at the resurrection 

N'a/n, am not. AT, although. Ghost, spirit. 

Dreadful, timorous. 


Of this flower, when that it should unclose 
Against the sun, that rose as red as rose ; * * * 
And down on knees, anon, right I me set, 
And as I could this freshe flower I gret, 
Kneeling alway, till it unclosed was. 
Upon the small and soft and sweete grass, 
That was with flowers sweet embroider'd all, 
That for to speak of gum, or herb, or tree, 
Comparison may none y-maked be ; 
For it surmounteth plainly all odours. 
And of rich beauty the most gay of flowers. 
— Prologue to the Legend of Good IFome/?, 1. 40. 

Gie/, greeted. 



There was also a Nun, a Prioress, 

That of her smiling was full simple and coy, 

Her greatest oath ne was but "by Saint Loy" ; 

And she was cleped Madame Eglentine. 

Full well she sang the service divine, 

Entuned in her nose full seemely ; 

And French she spake full fair and fetysly, 

After the school of Stratford atte Bow, 

For French of Paris was to her unknow. 

At meate well y-taught was she withal; 

She let no morsel from her lippes fall, 

Ne wet her fingers in her sauce deep. 

Well could she carry a morsel and well keep. 

That no drop ne fell upon her breast. 

In courtesy was set full much her lest, 

Her over lippe wiped she so clean. 

That in her cup there was no ferthing seen 

Of grease, when she drunken had her draught. 

Full seemely after her meat she raught. 

And sikerly she was of great disport, 

And full pleasaunt and amiable of port ; 

And pained her to countcrfeite cheer 

Of Court, and been cstately of manner, 

And to be holden digne of reverence. 

But for to sjjcaken of her conscience ; 

She was so charitable and so piteous 

She woulde weep if that she saw a mouse 

Fetysly, neatly. /.cst, pleasure. l-erthin^, atom. 

Kau^ht, rcaclieii. Sikerly, surely. .^4'"''> \vorthy. 



Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bled. 

Of smalle houndes had she, that she fed 

With roasted flesh, or milk and wastel-bread ; 

But sore wept she if one of them were dead, 

Or if men smote it with a yerde smart : 

And all was conscience and tender heart. 

Full seemely her wimple pinched was ; 

Her nose tretys ; her eyen grey as glass : 

Her mouth full small, and thereto soft and red. 

But sikerly she had a fair forehead, 

It was almost a spanne broad, I trow, 

For hardely she was not undergrow. 

Full fetys was her cloak, as I was 'ware. 

Of small coral about her arm she bare 

A pair of beades gauded all with green ; 

And thereon hung a broach of gold full sheen. 

On which there was first writ a crowned A, 

And, after, Amor vhicit omnia. 

— The Prologue, 1. ii8, 
Yerde, staff. Wimple, neck-kerchicf. Trdys, well shaped. 



A Clkrk there was of Oxenford also, 

That unto logic liaddc long y-go. 

As leanii was his horse as is a rake, 

And he was not right fat, I undertake ; 

But looked hollow, and thereto soberly. 

Full threadbare was his overest courtcpy. 

For he had gotten him yet no benefice, 

Ne was so worldly for to have office. 

For him was liefer have at his bed's head 

Twenty bookes, clad in black or red, 

Of Aristotle and his philosophy, 

Than robes rich, or fiddle, or gay psall'ry. 

But all be that he was a philosopher, 

Yet hadde he but little gold in coffer ; 

But all that he might of his friendcs hcnte, 

On bookes and on learning he it spent ; 

And busily 'gan for the soules pray 

Of them that gave him wherewith to schol.iy. 

Of study took he most cure and most heed. 

Not a word spake he more than was need, 

And that was said in form and reverence 

And short and quick, and full of high sentence. 

Sounding in moral virtue was his speech, 

And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach. 

—T}ie Prologue, 1. 285. 
CouiUpy, slioit cloak. IJcnte, get. Schclay, study. 



A GOOD man was there of religioun, 

And was a poore Parson of a town ; 

But rich he was of holy thought and werk. 

He was also a learned man, a Clerk, 

That Christes gospel truely would preach ; 

His parishens devoutly would he teach. 

Benign he was, and wonder diligent, 

And in adversity full patient ; 

And such he was y-proved often sithes. 

Full loath were him to curse for his tithes. 

But rather would he given, out of doubt, 

Unto his poore parishens about, 

Of his off' ring, and eke of his substance ; 

He could in little thing have sufifisance. 

Wide was his parish, and houses far asunder. 

But he ne lefte not for rain ne thunder, 

In sickness nor in mischief for to visite 

The farthest in his parish, much and lite, 

Upon his feet, and in his hand a staff. 

This noble ensample to his sheep he gave, 

That first he wrought, and afterward he taught. 

Out of the Gospel he the wordes caught, 

And this figure he added eke thereto. 

That if gold ruste, what shall iron do ? 

For if a priest be foul, on whom we trust, 

No wonder is a lewed man to rust; 

And shame it is, if that a priest take keep. 

To [see a filthy] shepherd and a cleane sheep ; 

Sithes, times. Lite, little. Lewed, ignorant. 


Well ought a priest ensample for to give, 

By his cleanness, how that his sheep should live. 

He sette not his benefice to hire, 

And left his sheep cncomb'red in the mire. 

And ran to London, unto Sainte Poules, 

To seeken him a chaunterie for souls, 

Or with a brotherhood to be withhold ; 

But dwelt at home, and kceped well his fold, 

So that the wolf ne made it not miscarry, — 

He was a shepherd and no mercenary. 

And though he holy were and virtuous. 

He was to sinful man not dispiteous, 

He of his sjicechc dangerous ne digne, 

But in his teaching discreet and benign. 

To drawen folk to heaven with fairness 

By good ensample, this was his business : 

But it were any person obstinate, 

What so he were, of high or low estate. 

Him would he snubbe sharply for the nones. 

A better priest, I trow, there nowhere none is. 

He waited after no pomp and reverence, 

Ne makcd him a spict^d conscience, 

But Christes lore, and his apostles' twelve. 

He taught, but first he follow'd it himselvc. 

— The Prologue, I. 477 

Dattgerctis, hauglUy. Digne, disdainful. A'cnis, occasion. 

SpicM, artificial. 



A YARD she had, enclosed all about 
With stickes and a drye ditch without, 
In which she had a cock hight Chaunticleer, 
In all the land of crowing n'as his peer. 
His voice was merrier than the merry orgon 
On masse days that in the churches gone : 
Well sikerer was his crowing in his lodge, 
Than is a clock or an abbey horloge. 

His comb was redder than the fine coral, 
Embattelled as it were a castle wall. 
His bill was black, and as the jet it shone, 
Like azure were his legges and his tone, 
His nailes whiter than the lily flower, 
And like the burnish'd gold was his colour. 

This gentle cock had in his governance 
Sev'n hennes, for to do all his pleasance. . . . 
Of which the fairest hued on her throat. 
Was clep^d fair Damoiselle Pertelote. 
Courteous she was, discreet and debonair, 
And companidble, and bare herself so fair, 
Sithen the day that she was sevennight old, 
That tru^ly she hath the heart in hold 
Of Chaunticleer, locked in every lith. 
He loved her so, that well was him therewith ; 
But such a joy it was to hear them sing, — 
When that the brighte sun began to spring, — 

Hight, called. N^as, was not. Sikerer, more certain. 

Tone, toes. Clep&d, named. Lith, limb. 


In sweet accord, " My love is flir in land." 
For thilke time, as I have understand, 
Beastes and birdes coulde speak and sing. 

And so befell that in a dawening 
As Ciiaunticleer among his wives all 
Sat on his perche, that was in the hall, 
And next him sat his faire Pertclote, 
This Chaunticleer 'gan groancn in his throat, 
As man that in his dream is dretched sore ; 

And when that Pertelote thus heard him roar, 
She was aghast and saide, " Hearte dear ! 
What aileth you to groan in this manner ? 
Ye be a very sleeper ; fy, for shame ! " 
And he answer'd and saide thus ; " Madame, 
I pray you that you take it not a grief 
By God, me thought, I was in such mischief, 
Right now, that yet mine heart is sore afright. 
Now God (quoth he) my sweven read aright,'' 
And keep my body out of foul prisoun. 
" Mc mett how that I roamdd up and down 
Within our yard, whereas I saw a beast 
Was like a hound, and would have made arrest 
Upon my body, and have had me dead : 
His colour was betwixt yellow and red. 
And tipped was his tail and both his ears 
With black, unlike the remnant of his hairs: 
His snout was small, with glowing cycn tway ; 
Yet for his look for fear almost I dey : 
This caused me my groaning doubteless." 
" Away ! (quoth she) fy on you, hearteless ! 

Thilke, at tliat. Dretched, oppressccl. Mett, dreamed. 

Sweveti, dream. 


Alas ! (quoth she) for, by that God above ! 

Now have ye lost mine heart and all my love : 

I cannot love a coward, by my faith ! 

For certes, whatso any woman saith, 

We all desiren, if it mighte be, 

To have a husband hardy, wise, and free." 

" Now, let us speak of mirth, and stint all this. 

Madame Pertelote, so have I bliss. 

Of one thing God hath sent me large grace. 

For when I see the beauty of your face. 

Ye be so scarlet red about your eyen, 

It maketh all my dreade for to dien, 

For all so siker as ' In principio^ 

Mulier est hominis confusio^ 

(Madam, the sentence of this Latin is, 

' Woman is mannes joy and mannes bliss ' ;) 

For when I feel a-night your softe side, . . . 

I am so full of joy and of solace. 

That I defie bothe sweven and dream." 

And with that word he flew down from the beam, 

For it was day, and eke his hennes all ; 

And with a ' chuk ' he 'gan them for to call. 

For he had found a corn lay in the yard. 

—The Ntm's Pries fs Tale, 1. 27. 
Stint, stop. Siker, sure. 



Thus passeth year by year, and day by day, 

Till it fell ones in a morrow of May 

That Eniilie, that fairer was to seen 

Than is the lily on her stalke green, 

And fresher than the May with flowers new ; — 

For with the rose-colour strove her hue, 

I n'ot which was the fairer of them two ; — 

Ere it was day, as she was wont to do. 

She was arisen and already dight ; 

For May will have no sluggardry anight. 

The season pricketh every gentle heart. 

And maketh him out of his sleep to start, 

And saith, " Arise, and do thine observance." 

This maketh Emilie have remembrance 
To do honour to May and for to rise : 
YclothOd was she fresh for to devise ; 
Her yellow hair was braided in a tress 
Behind her back, a yarde long, I guess. 
And in the garden at the sun uprist 
She walketh up and down, and as her list 
She galherelh liowers, party white and red, 
To make a subtle garland for her head ; 
And as an angel heavenly she song. 

The greale tower that was so thick and strong. 
Which of the castle was the chief dungeon 
(I'hcre as these knightes weren in prisdn, 

A'W, know not. Di^ht, dressed. PricJUt/i, urgelh. 

Uprist, uprising. 


Of which I tolde you, and tellen shall), 
Was even joinant to the garden wall, 
There-as this Emilie had her playing. 

Bright was the sun and clear on that moiTiing ; 
And Palamon, this woful prisoner, 
As was his wont, by leave of his gaoler, 
Was risen, and roamed in a chanib'r on high, 
In which he all the noble city seigh, 
And eke the garden, full of branches green, 
There-as this freshe Emilie, the sheen 
Was in her walk, and roamed up and down. 

This sorrowful prisoner, this Palamon, 
Go'th in the chamber, roaming to and fro, 
And to himself complaining of his woe : 
That he was born, full oft he said, " Alas !" 

And so befell, by adventure or cas 
That through a window, thick of many a bar 
Of iron, great and square as any spar. 
He cast his eyen upon Emilia. 
And therewithal he bleynte, and cried, " Ah !" 
As that he stungen were unto the heart. 

—The Kmghfs Tale, 1. 175. 

Seigh, saw. Sheen, fair. Cas, chance. 

Bleynte, started. 



But for ye speaken of sucli gcntiless 

As is descended out of old richess ; 

That therefore shoulden ye be gentlemen, 

Such arrogance is not worth an hen. 

Look whoso is most virtuous ahvay, 

Trivy and apert, and most intendeth aye 

To do the gentle deedes that he can ; 

And take him for the greatest gentleman. 

Christ wills we claim of him our gentiless ; 

Not of our ciders for their old richess ; 

For though they gave us all our heritage, 

For which we claim to been of high parage, 

Yet may they not bequeathe for no thing 

To none of us, their virtuous living, 

That made them gentlemen y-called be. 

And bade us follow them in such degree. 

Well can the wise poet of Florence, 

That Dante highte, speak in this sentence ; 

Lo, in such manner of rhyme is Dante's tale: 

Full seld upriseth by his branches small 

Prowess of man ; for God of His goodness. 

Wills that we claim of Him our gentleness ; 

For of our elders may we no thing claim 

But temporal thing, that man may hurt and maim. 

— The Wife of BaUCs Tale, 1. 1109. 

Apirt, openly. J^ara^f, kindrcfl. Ui^ht, cnllcd. 

Seld, seldom. 



Of the Earl Hugolin of Pisa the langoiir 
There may no tongue telle for pity ! 
But little out of Pisa stands a tower, 
In whiche tower in prison put was he ; 
And with him be his little children three. 
The eldest scarcely five years was of age ; 
Alas ! fortune ! it was great cruelty 
Such birdes for to put in such a cage. 

[Con]demned he was to die in that prison, 
For Roger which that bishop was of Pise, 
Had on him made a false suggestion, 
Through which the people 'gan upon him rise. 
And putte him in prison, in such wise 
As ye have heard ; and meat and drink he had 
So small, that well unneth it might suffice 
And therewithal it was full poor and bad. 

And on a day befell, that in that hour 
When that his meate wont was to be brought, 
The gaoler shut the doores of the tower. 
He heard it well, but he ne spake right not ; 
And in his heart anon there fell a thought, 
That they for hunger woulde do him dien. 
" Alas ! " quoth he, " alas that I was wrought ! " 
Therewith the teares felle from his eyen. 

Suggestion, accusation. Uniieih, scarcely. 


His youngest son, that three years was of age, 
Unto him said, " Father, why do ye weep? 
When will the goalcr bring us our pottage ? 
Is there no morsel bread that ye do keep ? 
I am so hungry that I may not sleep. 
Now woulde God that I might sleep for ever ! 
Then should not hunger in my hearte creep. 
There is no thing, save bread, that we were liever." 

Thus day by day this child began to cry, 
Till in his father's barm adown he lay, 
And saide, " Farewell, father, I must die ! " 
And kiss'd his father, and died the same day. 
And wlien the woful father did it sey, 
For woe his armcs two he 'gan to bite. 
And said, " Alas ! fortiSne, and well-away ! 
To thy false wheel my woe all may I wite." 

His children ween'd that it for hunger was. 
That he his amies gnaw'd, and not for woe. 
And saide, *' Father, do not so, alas ! 
But rather eat the flesh upon us two. 
Our flesh thou gav'st us, take our flesh us fro'. 
And eat enough." Right thus they to him said, 
And after that, within a day or two, 
They laid them in his lap adown and died. 

Himself, despaired, eke for hunger starved. 

— The Monk's Tale, 1. 3597. 
Dcum, lap. Sdjf, sec. IVite, impute. 



But, God it wot, there may no man embrace 

As to destroy a thing, which that Nature 

Hath naturally set in a creature. 

Take any bird, and put it in a cage, 

And do all thine intent and thy courage, 

To foster it tenderly with meat and drink. 

And with all dainties that thou can'st bethink. 

And keep it all so kindly as thou may ; 

Although his cage of gold be ne'er so gay, 

Yet had this bird by twenty thousand fold, 

Liefer to be in forest, wild and cold. 

Go eate wormes ; and such wretchedness ; 

For ever this bird will do his business 

To 'scape out of his cage when that he may : 

His liberty the bird desireth aye. 

— The Mauiicipk's Tale, 1. 56. 



To you, my purse, and to none other wight 
Complain I, for yc be my lady dear ! 
I am so sorry now that yc been light, 
For certes, ye now make me heavy cheer, 
Me were as lief be laid upon my bier. 
For which unto your mercy thus I cr)' — 
Be heavy again or else must I die ! 

Now vouchesafe this day, ere it be night, 
That I of you the blissful sound may hear. 
Or see your colour like the sunne bright, 
That of yellowness hadde never peer. 
Ye be my life ! ye be mine heartes steer ! 
Queen of comfort and of good company! 
Be heavy again, or else must I die. 

Now, purse, that be to me my life's light 
And Saviour, as down in this world here, 
Out of this towne help me through your might. 
Since that ye will not be my treasurere \ 
For I am shav'd as high as any frere. 
But yet I pray unto your courtesy, 
Be heavy again, or else must I die ! 

L'envov to the King. 

O conqueror of Brutus' Albion, 
Which that by line and free election. 
Been very King, this song to you I send. 
And ye that mayen all mine harm amend, 
Have mind upon my supplication ! 

SUer, helm. J'tere, friar. 



Flee from the press, and dwell with soothfastness ; 
Suffice thee thy good, though it be small, 
For hoard hath hate, and climbing tickleness, 
Press hath envy, and weal is blind o'er all ; 
Savour no more than thee behove shall ; 
Rede well thyself that other folk can'st rede. 
And Truth thee shall deliver 't is no dread. 

Paine thee not each crooked to redress 
In trust of her that turneth as a ball, 
Great rest standeth in little busyness ; 
Beware also to spurn against an awl ; 
Strive not as doth a crocke with a wall ; 
Daunte thyself that dauntest others' deed ; 
And Truth thee shall deliver 't is no dread. 

That thee is sent, receive in buxomness ; 

The wrestling of this world asketh a fall. 

Here is no home, here is but wilderness ; 

Forth, pilgrim, forth ! forth, beast, out of thy stall ! 

Look up on high, and thank thy God of all ; 

Waive thy lusts, and let thy ghost thee lead, 

And Truth shall thee deliver 't is no dread. 

Kede, counsel. Ghost, spirit. 


L' Envoy. 

Therefore, tliou vache, leave thine old wretchedness ; 

Unto tlie worlde leave now to be thrall ; 

Cry him mercy, that of his high goodness 

Made thee of nought ; and, in especial, 

Draw unto him, and jiray in general 

For thee, and eke for other, heavenly mead ; 

And Truth shall thee deliver, 't is no dread. 

y'uc/u; cow. 



Your two eyn will slay me suddenly, 
I may the beauty of them not sustene, 
So wendeth it throughout my hearte keen. 

And but your words will healen hastily 
My heartes wound, while that it is green, 
Your two eyn will slay me suddenly. 

Upon my truth, I say you vow faithfully. 
That ye been of my life and death the queen ; 
For with my death the truth shall be y-seen. 
Your two eyn, etc. 



So hath your beauty fro' your hearte chased 
Pity, that me n' availeth not to 'plain ; 
For danger hath your mercy in his chain. 

(Guiltless my death that have ye purchased, 
I say you sooth, me needeth not to fain : 
So hath your beauty fro' 'your heartS chased. 

Danger, pride. 


Alas, that nature hath in you compassed 
So great beauty that no man may attain 
To mercy, though he sterve for the pain. 
So hath your beauty, etc. 


Sin' I fro' love escaped am so fat, 

I ne'er thinke to been in his prison lean ; 

Sin' I am free, I count him not a bean. 

He may answer, and saye this and that, 
I do no force, I speak right as I mean ; 
Sin' I fro' love escaped am so fat. 

Ix)ve hath my name y-sirikc out of his sclat, 
And he is strike out of my bookes clean ; 
For ever mo', there is none other mean, 
Sin' 1 fro' love escaped, etc. 

Stcrvi, die. 



A FULL great fool he is, iwis, 
That rich, and poor, and niggard is. 
A Lord may have no manner vice 
That grieveth more than avarice ; 
For niggard ne'er with strength of hand 
May win him great lordship or land ; 
For friendes all too few hath he 
To do his will performed be ; 
And whoso will have friendes here, 
He may not hold his treasure dear ; 
For by example tell I this ; 
Right as an adamant, iwis, 
Can drawen to him subtlely 
The iron that is laid thereby \ 
So draweth folke's hearts, iwis, 
Silver and gold that given is. 

— Romaiint of the Rose. 

Iwis, in truth. 




Of Jupiter thus I find y-writ, 
How wliilom that he would wit, 
Upon the jilaints whicli he heard 
Among the men, how tliat it fared, 
As of their wrong condition 
To do justification ; 
And for that cause down he sent 
An angel, that aboute went, 
That he the sooth know may. 
So it befell upon a day, 
This angel which him should inform 
Was clothed in a man's form. 
And overtook, I understand, 
Two men that wenten over land ; 
Through which he thoughte to espy 
His cause, and go'th in company. 
This angel with his wordes wise 
Opposeth them in sundry wise ; 
Now loudt; wordes and now soft, 
That made them to disputen oft. 
And each of them his reason had, 
And thus with tales he them led, 
With good examination, 
Till he knew the condition. 
What men they were both two ; 

Opf'osfth, questions. 


And saw well ate laste tho, 
That one of them was covetous, 
• And his fellow was envious. 

And thus, when he had knowledging, 
Anon he feigned departing, 
And said he must algate wend; 
But hearken now what fell at end ! 
For then he made them understand, 
That he was there of Goddes sond. 
And said them for the kindeship, 
That they have done him fellowship, 
He would do them some grace again, 
And bade that one of them should sain, 
What thing is him liefest to crave. 
And he it shall of gifte have. 
And over that he forth with all 
He saith, that other have shall 
The double of that his fellow axeth : 
And thus to them his grace he taxeth. 
The Covetous was wonder glad ; 
And to that other man he bade. 
And saith, that he first aske should ; 
For he supposeth that he would 
Make his asking of worldes good ; 
For then he knew well how it stood ; 
That he himself by double weight 
Shall after take, and thus by sleight 
Because that he woulde win, 
He bade his fellow first begin. 
This Envious, though it be late 
When that he saw he might, algate, 

llio, then. Algate, always. Sond, sending. 

Sain, say. Lcves', desires most. 


Make his asking first, lie thought 
If he worship and profit sought, 
It shall be doubled to his fere, 
That would he choose in no manner. 
But then he showeth what he was 
Towrlrd envy, and in this case, 
Unto this angel thus he said, 
And for his gifte thus he pray'd, 
To make him blind of his one eye, 
So that his fellow nothing see. 
This word was not so soonii spoke, 
That his one eye anon was loke : 
And his fellow forthwith also 
Was blind on both his eyen two. 
Then was that other glad enough : 
That one wept, and that other lough. 
He set his one eye at no cost, 
Whereof that other two hath lost. 

— Con/essio A man/is, B. i1. 

Fere, companion. Loke, blind. I-otigh, laughed. 



Of hira, whom all this earthe dradde, 

When he the world so overlaid 

Through war, as it fortuned is, 

King Alisaundre I reade this. 

How in a niarche, where he lay, 

It fell perchance upon a day, 

A rover of the sea was nome, 

Which many a man had overcome, 

And slain and ta'en their goods away. 

This pilour, as the bookes say, 

A famous man in sundry stede 

Was of the workes which he dide. 

This prisoner, tofore the king 

Was brought, and there upon this thing 

In audidnce he was accused ; 

And he his deed had nought excused, 

And prayed the king to do him right, 

And said, " Sire, if I were of might, 

I have a heart like unto thine, 

For if thy power were mine, 

My will is most in special 

To rifle and geten over all 

The large worldes goods about. 

But for I lead a pover rout, 

And am, as who saith, at mischief, 

The name of pilour and of thief 

TJarche, borderland. Nome, taken. Pilour, pillager. 

Stede, place. Tofore, before. Pover rout, poor company. 


I bear ; and thou, which routes great 
Might lead, and take thy beyete, 
And dost right as I woulde do, 
Thy name is nothing clepcd so, 
But thou art named cmperour. 
Our dee les be of one colour, 
And in cflect of one desert ; 
But thy riches and my povcrt 
They be not taken evenhch, 
And na'theless he that is rich 
This day, to-mor\ve he may be pover, 
And in contrary also recover, 
A poor man to great riches. 
Men say forthy, let rightwiseness 
Be poised even in the balance." 

The king his hardy countenance 
Beheld, and heard his wordes wise. 
And said unto him in this wise : 
"Thine answer I have understond ; 
Whereof my will is, that thou stond 
In my service and still abide." 

— Cotifessio Amanlis, B. iii. 

BeyttCf gain. Cleped, called. Eveitlic/i, equally. 

Forthy, therefore. 



A MAIDEN whilom there was one 

Which Daphne hight ; and such was none 

Of beauty then, as it was said. 

Phoebus his love hath on her laid ; 

And thereupon, to her he sought 

In his fool-haste, and so besought 

That she with him no reste had. 

For ever upon her love he grad ; 

And she said ever unto him, "Nay." 

So it befell upon a day, 

Cupide, which hath every chance 

Of love under his governance, 

Saw Phoebus hasten him so sore ; 

And, for he should him hasten more, 

And yet not speeden at the last, 

A dart throughout his heart he cast, 

Which was of gold and all a-fire. 

That made him many-fold desire 

Of love more than he did. 

To Daphne eke in that same stede 

A dart of lead he cast and smote, 

Which was all cold and nothing hot. 

And thus Phoebus in love brenneth 

And in his haste aboute renneth 

To look if that he mighte win ; 

But he was ever to begin. 

For ever away fro' him she fled, 

So that he never his love sped. 

Tli^ht, called. Grad, cried. Stede, place. 

Breiinelh, buineth. 


And, for to make liim full believe 
That no fool-haste might achieve 
To getten love in such degree, 
This Daphne into a laurel tree 
Was turned ; which is ever green, 
In token, as yet it may be seen, 
That she shall dwell a maiden still. 
And Phcebus failen of his will. 
By such ensamples as they stond. 
My sone, thou might understond 
To hasten love is thing in vain, 
When that Fortune is there again', 
To take where a man hatii leave 
Good is, and else must he leave. 
For when a niannes happcs failen 
There is none haste that may availen. 

— Confessio Amautis, B. iii. 



In a chronique this I read : 
About a kinge, as must need, 
There was of knightes and squires 
Great rout, and eke of officers : 
Some of long time him hadde served, 
And thoughten that they have deserved 
Advancement, and gone without : 
And some also been of the rout, 
That comen but a while agon. 
And these advanced were anon. 
These olde men u^Don this thing, 
So as they durst, against the king 
Among themselves complainen oft : 
But there is nothing said so soft, 
That it ne cometh out at last : 
The king it wist anon as fast 
As he, which was of high prudence : 
He shope therefore an evidence 
Of them that 'plainen in that case, 
To know in whose default it was. 
And all within his own intent. 
That no man wiste what it meant. 
Anon he let two coffers make. 
Of one sembMnce, and of one make. 
So like, that no life thilke throw. 
That one may from that other know : 
They were into his chamber brought, 
But no man wot why they be wrought, 

Shape, contrived. Life thilke thyow, person then li\ ing. 


And natheless the king hath bede 
That they be set in privy stede, 
As he that was of wisdom sly ; 
When he thereto his time sih, 
All privily, that none it wist, 
His owne handes that one chest 
Of fine gold, and fine pcrric, 
The which out of his treasury 
Was take, anon he filled full ; 
Tliat other coffer of straw and mull, 
With stones mcind he filled also : 
Thus be they fulle bothe two. 
So that early upon a day 
He bade within, where that he lay, 
There shoulde be, tofore his bed, 
A board up set and faire spread : 
And then he let the cofiers fct 
Upon the board, and did them set. 
He knew the names well of tho\ 
The which against him grutched so, 
Both of his chamber and of his hall : 
Anon he sente for them all ; 
And saide to them in this wise ; 
"There shall no man his hap despise : 
I wot well ye have longe served, 
And God wot what ye have deserved ; 
But if it is along on me 
Of that ye unadvanced be. 
Or else if it be 'long on you, 
The soothe shall be proved now : 

Stedt, place. Sih, saw. Porie, precious stones. 

Mull, rul>l)isli. Mtiiiil, mixed. /■"<•/, fetcliol. 

Thj, ihoso. Grutched, murmured. Along on, because of. 


To stoppe with your evil word. 

Lo ! here two coffers on the board ; 

Choose which you list of bothe two j 

And witteth well that one of tho' 

Is with treasure so full begon, 

That if ye happe thereupon, 

Ye shall be riche men for ever: 

Now choose and take which you is liefer. 

But be well 'ware, ere that ye take ; 

For of that one, I undertake 

There is no manner good therein, 

Whereof ye mighten profit win. 

Now go together of one assent, 

And taketh your advisement ; 

For but I you this day advance. 

It stands upon your owne chance, 

All only in default of grace ; 

So shall be showed in this place 

Upon you alle well and fine. 

That no defaulte shall be mine." 

They kneelen all, and with one voice 
The king they than ken of this choice : 
And after that they up arise. 
And go aside and them advise, 
And at the laste they accord 
(Whereof there tale to record 
To what issue they be fall) 
A knight shall speake for them all. 
He kneeleth down unto the king, 
And saith, that they upon this thing, 
Or for to win, or for to lose. 
Be all advised for to choose. 

Tho\ them. Begon, adorned. 

JOrfN GOU'ER. 6,^ 

Then took this knight a yerd in hand, 

And go'th there as the cofTers stand, 

And with assent of every one 

He lay'th liis yerde upon one, 

And saith [to] the king how thilke same 

They choose in reguerdon by name, 

And i)ray"th him that they might it have. 

Tlic king, whicli would his honour save, 

\\'hen he had heard the common voice. 

Hath granted them there owne choice, 

And took them thereupon the key ; 

But for he woulde it were see 

What good they have, as they suppose. 

He bad anon the coffer unclose. 

Which was fulfill'd with straw and stones : 

Thus be they served all at ones. 

This king then in that same stede 

Anon that other coffer undid, 

Where as they sawcn great riche'ss, 

Well more than they couldon guess. 

" Lo ! " sailh the king, " now may ye see 

That there is no default in me ; 

Forlhy myself I will acquite, 

.And bearclh ye your ownii wite 

Of that Fortune hath you refused." 

Thus was this wise king excused : 

And they left off their evil speech, 

And mercy of their king beseech. 

— Coii/tssio A ma litis, \\. v. 

YerJ, ro'1. Thilke^ that. Rci^ueidon, reward. 

Stede, l-'oitlty, tliercforc. Wile, Maine. 




One night he thought in his dreaming 

That sitting he was beside the king 

At a seat in hunting: so 

In his leash had greyhounds two. 

He thought, while he was so sitting, 

He saw three women by going ; 

And these women then thought he 

Three weird sisters most like to be. 

The first he heard say, going by, 

" Lo ! yonder the thane of Crumbauchty ! " 

The t'other woman said again, 

" Of Moray, yonder I see the thane." 

The third then said, " I see the king." 

All this he heard in his dreaming. 

Soon after that, in his youth-head, 

Of these thanedoms he thane was made ; 

Syne he next thoughte to be king. 

Era' Duncan's days had ta'en ending. 

The fantasy thus of his dream 

Moved him most to slay his eme, 

As he did all forth indeed, 

As before ye heard me rede. 

And Dame Gruok his erne's wife 

Took, and led with her his life. 

And held her both his wife and queen. 

— Chronicle oj Scotland 

Syne, then. Eiiic, uncle. Rede, counsel. 




My dearii master — God his soul acquit ! — 
And father, Chaucer, fain would have me taught ; 
lUit I was dull, and learned lite or naught. 

Alas, my worthy master honorable, 
This landes very treasure and richcsse, 
Death, by thy death, hath harm irreparable 
Unto us done : his vengeable duresse 
Despoiled hath this land of the sweetness 
Of rhetoric ; for unto TuUius 
Was never man so like amongest us. 

Also, who was ni;j;her in philosophy 

To Aristotle in our tongue, but thou ? 

The steppes of Virgile in poesie 

Thou fol'wedest eke : men wote well enow 

That cumber-world that hath my master slowe. 

Would I slain were ! death was too hastifc 

To run on thee and reave thee of thy life. 
• • • • • « 

She might have tarried her vengeance a while 

Till that some man had equal to thee be : 

Nay, let that be : she knew well that this isle 

May never man forth bringe like to thee ; 

Lite, little. \'en:;cable duresse, revengeful cruelly. 

Sieve, slain. Haslife, hxsty. Reave, bereave. 


And her office needes do must she \ 
God bade her so, I trust for all the best. 
O master, master, God thy soule rest ! 
• * * * 

But well away ! so is mine hearte woe, 
That the honour of English tongue is dead, 
Of which I was wont have counsel and rede. 

O master dear and father reverent, 

My master Chaucer ! flower of eloquence, 

Mirror of fructuous intendeuient, 

O universal father in science, 

Alas ! that thou thine excellent prudence 

In thy bed mortal mightest not bequeathe ; 

What ailed Death ? alas, why would he slay thee ? 

O Death, that didst not harme singular 

In slaughter of him, but all this land it smarteth ; 

But natheless yet hast thou no power 

His name to slay ; his high virtue asterteth 

Unslain fro' thee, which aye us lively herteth 

With bookes of his ornate enditing. 

That is to all this land enlumining. 

Hast thou not eke my master Govver slain ? 
Whose virtue I am insufficient 
For to describe : I wot well in certain, 
For to slay all this world thou hast y-meant. 
But since our Lord Christ was obedient 
To thee, in faith I can no better say, 
His creatures musten thee obey. 

— De Regimine Principiim. 

liedc, advice. Asterteth, escapes. Hertet]i, encourages. 



O PRECIOUS treasure incompardble, 

O ground and root of all prosperity, 

O excellent richesse commendable, 

Aboven alle that in earthe be, 

Who may sustaine thine adversity ? 

What wight may him avaunt of worldly wealth, 

But i/he fully stand in grace of thee, 

Karthcly God, pillar of life, thou Health 1 

While thy power and excellent vigour, 
As was pleasdnt unto thy worthiness, 
Reigned in me and was my governour. 
Then was I well, then felt I no duress, 
Then farced was I with my heart's gladness ; 
And now my body empty is and bare 
Of joy, and full of sickly heaviness, 
All poor of ease, and rich of evil fare. 

• ♦ • • e- 

God, O Health, unto thine ordinance, 
Wealeful lord, meekly submit I me ! 

1 am contrite, and of full repentance 
That e'er I swimmed in such nicety 
As was displeasant to thy deity : 

Now kythe on me thy mercy and thy grace I 
It fits a God be of his grace free ; 
Forgive ! and never will I aft' trespass. 

— Aftsrule. 

Hu! if, except. Duress, constraint. Farced, stulfcil. 

Nicety, folly. Kythe, make known. 




To London once my steps I bent, 
Where truth in no wise should be faint ; 
To Westminster-ward I forthwith went, 
To a Man of Law to make complaint. 
I said, " For Mary's love, that holy saint. 
Pity the poor that would proceed ! " 

But, for lack of money, 1 could not speed. 

And, as I thrust the press among, 
By froward chance my hood was gone ; 
Yet for all that I stayed not long 
Till to the King's Bench I was come. 
Before the Judge I kneeled anon, 
And pray'd him for God's sake take heed. 
But, for lack of money, I might not speed. 

Beneath them sat clerks, a great rout. 
Which fast did write by one assent; 
There stood up one and cried about 
" Richard, Robert, and John of Kent !" 
I wist not well what this man meant. 
He cried so thickly there indeed. 

But he that lack'd money might not speed. 

Proceed, go to lav/. Rout, crowd. 


To the Common Pleas I yodii tho, 

There sat one with a silken hood : 

I 'gan him reverence for to do, 

And told my case as well as I could ; 

How my goods were defrauded me by falsehood ; 

I got not a mum of his mouth fur my meed, 

And, for lack of money, I might not speed. 
♦ • • • • 

In Westminster Hall I found out one. 
Which went in a long gown of ray ; 
I crouched and knelt before him ; anon, 
For Mary's love, for help I him pray. 
" I wot not what thou mcan'st," 'gan he say ; 
To get me thence he did me bid. 

For lack of money I could not speed. 

Within this Hall, neither rich nor yet poor 
Would do for me aught, although I should die ; 
Which seeing, I gat me out of the door ; 
Where Flemings began on me for to cry, — 
" Master, what will you copen or buy ? 
Fine felt hats, or spectacles to read ? 
Lay down your silver, and here you may speed." 

To Westminster Gate I presently went, 
When the sun was at high prime ; 
Cooks to me they took good intent. 
And i)roflered me bread, with ale and wine, 
Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine ; 
A faire cloth they 'gan for to spread, 

But, wanting money, I might not then speed. 

Ythie tho, went tlicn. MeeJ, reward. Kay, bUipcJ uuUciial. 

Cop£H, barter. Intent, notice. 


Then unto London I did me hie, 
Of all the land it beareth the prize ; 
" Hot peascods ! " one began to cry ; 
" Strawberries ripe ! " and " Cherries in the rise ! " 
One bade me come near and buy some spice ; 
Pepper and saffrone they 'gan me bede ; 
But, for lack of money, I might not speed. 

Then to the Cheap I 'gan me drawn, 
Where much people I saw for to stand ; 
One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn ; 
Another he taketh me by the hand, 
" Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land ; " 
I never was used to such things indeed ; 
And, wanting money, I might not speed. 

Then went I forth by London stone, 

Throughout all the Can wick Street ; 

Drapers much cloth me offered anon ; 

Then comes me one cried, " Hot sheep's feet !" 

One cried "Mackarel!" "Rushes green!" another 'gan 

One bade me buy a hood to cover my head ; 
But, for want of money, I might not be sped. 

Then I hied me into East Cheap : 
One cries, " Ribs of beef, and many a pie ! " 
Pewter pots they clattered on a heap ; 
There was harpe, pipe, and minstrelsy : 
" Yea, by cock ! " " Nay, by cock ! " some began cry ; 
Some sung of " Jenkin and Julian " for their meed ; 
But, for lack of money, I might not speed. 

A'l'se, bough. Bede, offer. O'redi, cry. 


Then into Cornhill anon I yode, 

Where there was much stolen gear anong ; 

I saw where luing my owne liood, 

Tliat I had lost among the throng : 

To buy my own hood I thought it wrong ; 

I knew it as well as I did my creed ; 

But, for lack of money, I could not speed. 

The Tavemer took me by the sleeve ; 
" Sir," saith he, " will you our wine assay r ' 
I answered, " That cannot much me grieve ; 
A penny can do no more than it may." 
I drank a pint, and for it did pay ; 
Yet, soon a-hunger'd from thence I ycde ; 
And, wanting money, I could not speed. 

Then Iiicd I me to Billings-gate, 
And one cried, " Ho, go we hence ! " 
I prayed a bargeman, for God's sake. 
That he would spare me my expense. 
"Thou 'scajj'st not here," quoth he, "under twopence; 
I list not yet bestow my almesdeed." 
Thus, lacking money, I could not speed. 

Tlien I conveyed me into Kent ; 
For of the law would I meddle no more. 
Because no man to me took intent, 
1 dight me to do as I did before. 
Now Jesus that in Bethlem was bore. 
Save London, and send true lawyers ilicir meed ! 
For whoso wants money with them shall not speed. 

Yode, went. Intent, notice. Dight, set. 



Void of reason ; given to wilfulness ; 
Froward to virtue ; of thrift gave little heed ; 
Loth to learne ; loved no business 
Save play or mirthe ; strange to spell or read ; 
Foll'wing all appetites 'longing to childhead ; 
Lightly turning ; wild, and seldom sad ; 
Weeping for nought, and anon after glad. 

For little wroth, to strive with my fellaw 
As my passions did my bridle lead \ 
Of the yarde sometime I stood in awe 
To be scored ; for that was all my dread. 
Loth toward school, I lost my time indeed, 
Like a young colt that ran withoute bridle ; 
Made my friendes their good to spend in idle. 

I had in custom to come to school late, 
Not for to learn but for a countenance. 
With my fellows ready to debate. 
To jangle and jape was set all my pleasaunce, 
Whereof rebuked this was my chevisaunce 
To forge a lesyng and thereupon to muse, 
When I trepassed myselfe to excuse. 

To my letters I did no reverence ; 
Of my sovereigns gave x^o force at all ; 
Waxed obstinate by inobedience ; 

Yarde, rod. In idle, uselessly. Chevisaunce, treaty. 

Lesyng, lie. Sovereit^ns, governors. Force, lieed. 


Ran into gardens, apples there I stall ; 
To gather fruilcs spared hedge nor wall ; 
To plucke grapes in other mennes vines 
Was more ready, than for to say matines. 

My lust was all to scorn folk and to jape, 
Shrewd turnes ever among to use ; 
At scofi" and now like a wanton ape \ 
When I did evil, others I did accuse. 
My wittiis five in waste I did abuse ; 
Readier cherry stones for to tell, 
Than go to church or hear the sacry bell. 

Loth to rise ; lother to bed at eve ; 
With unwashed handes ready to dinner; 
My Paternoster, my Creed, or my Believe, 
Cast at the cook ; lo ! this was my manner ; 
Waved with each wind, as doth a reede-spear ; 
Snibbed of my friends such taches for to amend. 
Made deaf eare, list not to them attend. 

— Testa men.'. 

Stall, stole. StiiliheJ, rclmked. Tcuhcs, faults. 



Tarry no longer, toward thy heritage 
Haste on thy way, and be of right good cheer. 
Go each day onward on thy pilgrimage. 
Think how short time thou shalt abide here. 
Thy place is built above the starres clear, 
None earthly place is wrought so stately wise. 
Come on, my friend, my brother most enteere, 
For thee I offered my blood in sacrifice. 

Enteere, entire. 



Till at the last, among the boughes glade, 
Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade ; 
Full smooth and plain and lusty for to seen, 
And soft as velvet was the younge green : 
Where from my horse I did alight as fast, 
And on a bough aloft his rein I cast. 
So faint and mate of weariness I was, 
That I me laid adown upon the grass. 
Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell, 
Beside the river of a crystal well ; 
And the water as I reherse can, 
Like quicke silver in his streames ran, 
Of which the gravel and the brighte stone, 
As any gold, against the sun y-shone. 

— Deslrudion of Troy. 

i\fafe, slupcfietl. 



When tliat the rowes and the rayes red 
Eastward to us full early 'ginnen spread, 
E'en at the twilight in the dawneing ; 
When that the lark of custom 'ginneth sing, 
For to salute in her heavenly lay 
The lusty goddess of the morning gray — 
I mean Aurora — which afore the sun 
Is wont to chase the blacke skyes dun, 
And all the darkness of the dimmy night : 
And fresh Phoebus, with comfort of his light. 
And with the brightness of his beames sheen, 
Hath overgilt the huge hilles green ; 
And flowers eke, again the morrow- tide. 
Upon their stalks 'gan playn their leaves wide. 

— Destruction of IVoy. 

Rowesy streaks of light. Ftajii, display. 



God hath a thousand handes to chastise ; 

A thousand dartcs of punicion ; 

A thousand bowcs made in divers wise ; 

A thousand arlblasts bent in his dongedn, 

Ordain'd each one for castigation ; 

But where he findes meekness and repentance, 

Mercy is mistress of his ordinance. 

— The Fall of Princes, B. i. 

Punicion, punishment. Arlblasts, cross-bows. 

Don^eoii, fortress. 



All rightwiseness now doth proceed, 

Sit crowned like an empress, 
Law hath defied guerdon and all mead. 

Set up truth on height as a goddess ; 
Good faith hath contraried doubleness, 

And prudence seeth all things aforn, 
Keeping the order of perfect stableness, 

Conveyed by line right as a ram's horn. 

Princes of custom maintain right in deed, 

And prelates live in perfectness, 
Knighthood will suffer no falsehood, 

And priesthood hath refused all riches ; 
Religious of very holiness, 

With virtues been on height up-borne, 
Envy in cloisters hath none entresse. 

Conveyed by line right as a ram's horn. 

Merchant of lucre takes now no heed. 

And usury lieth fettered in distress, 
And, for to speak and write of womanhood, 

They banished have from them newfangleness ; 
And labourers do truly their business, 

That of the day they will none hour be lorn, 
With sweat and travail avoiding idleness. 

Conveyed by line right as a ram's horn. 

Mead, recompense. Dozihleness, doublc-dealinc;. 

Aforn, beforehand. Stableness, stability. 

Entresse, business. Lorn, idle. 

JOny FA'DGATE. 79 

Poor folks 'j)lain thorn for no need, 

That rich men doth so great ahnes, 
Plenty each day doth the hungry feed, 

Clothe the naked in their wretchedness ; 
And Charity is now a chief mistress, 

Slander from his tongue hath plucked out the thorn, 
Detraction his language doth repress, 

Conveyed by line right as a ram's horrt 
• • • • • 

Out of this land and ellys, God forbede ! 

Feigning outlawed, and also falseness ; 
Flattery is tkd for very shame and dread ; 

Rich and poor have chosen them to sadness ; 
Women left pride, and taken them to meekness , 

Whose patience is new wat and shorn, 
Their tongues have carriage of sharpness, 

Conveyed by line right as a ram's horn. 

Prince ! remember, and prudently take heed, 

How virtue is of vices a duchess. 
Our faith not halteth, but leaneth on his creed, 

'Ihou art right believe the deed beareth witness. 
Heretics have left their frowardness, 

Weeded the cockle from the pured corn, 
Thus each estate is governed in soothness, 

Conveyed by line light as a ram's horn. 

Weeii, clulhiug. Eilys, bounds. //a/, liimiucJ. 

Cockle, vsctds. 




The longe dayes and the nightes eke, 
I would bewail my fortune in this wise ; 
For which, against distress comfort to seek, 
My custom was on mornes for to rise 
Early as day : O happy exercise ! 
By thee came I to joy out of torment ; — 
But now to purpose of my first intent. 


Bewailing in my chamber thus alone. 
Despaired of all joy and remedy, 
For-tired of my thought, and woe-begone, 
Unto the window 'gan I walk in hye, 
To see the world and folk that went forby ; 
As, for the time (though I of mirthes food 
Might have no more), to look it did me good. 


IViow was there made, fast by the Tower's wall, 
A garden fair, and in the corners set 
An arbour green, wjth wandes long and small 
Railed about ; and so with trees set 

Hye, haste. Fo7by, past. 


Was all the ijlace, and hawthorn hedges knct, 
That life was none walking there forby, 
That might within scarce any wight espy. 


So thick the boughes and the leaves green, 
Beshaded all the alleys that were there ; 
And midst of every arbour mii^ht be seen 
The sharpe, grcene, swcete, juniper, 
Growing so fair, with branches here and there ; 
That, as it seemed to a life without. 
The boughes spread the arbour all about. 


And on the smalle greene twistis sat 
The little swectii nightingale, and sung 
So loud, and clear the hymnes consecrat 
Of Loves use ; now soft, now loud among, 
That all the garden and the walles rung 
Right of their song ; and of the couple next 
Of their sweet harmony : and lo the text ! 


"Worshippe, ye that lovers been, this May, 
For of your bliss the kalends are begun ; 
And sing with us, ' Away, winter, away ! 
Come, summer, come, the sweet season and sun !' 
Awake, for shame ! that have your heavens won, 
And amorously lift up your heades all ; 
Thank Love, that list you to his mercy call." 

K'tul, knitted close. Life, person. Twistis, twiys. 

Amongy promiscuously. 


When they this song had sung a Httle throw. 

They stent awhile, and therewith, unaffraid. 

As I beheld, and cast my eyne a-low, 

From bough to bough they hopped and they played 

And freshly in their birdes kind arrayed 

Their feathers new, and fret them in the sun, 

And thanked Love that had their makis won. 

— The Kifig's Qtiair. 

Throw, time. Stent, ceased. Fret, pecked. 

Makis, males. 




And therewith cast I down mine eye again, 
Where as I saw, walking under the Tower, 
Full secretly, new comen her to playn, 
The fairest and the freshest younge flower 
That e'er I saw (mcthought) before that hour : 
For which sudden abate, anon astart 
The blood of all my body to my heart. 


And though I stood abased then a liie. 
No wonder was ; for xvhy my wittes all 
Were so o'ercome with pleasance and delight, 
Only through letting of mine eyen fall, 
That suddenly my heart became her thrall 
For ever ; of free will ; for of menace 
There was no token in her sweete face. 


And in my head I drew right hastily. 
And eft-sooniis I lean'd it out again, 
And saw her walk that very womanly, 
With no wight mo' but only women twain. 
Then gan I study in myself, and say'n, 
" Ah, sweet ! arc yc a worldly credture. 
Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature ? 

Abate, shock. Astarl, fly. Lite, little. 

For why, because. Mcnuce, prulc. 



" Or are ye god Cupide's own princess, 
And comen are to loose me out of band ? 
Or are ye very Nature, the goddess 
That have depainted with your heavenly hand 
This garden full of flowers as they stand ? 
What shall I think, alas ! what reverence 
Shall I minister to your excellence ? 


" If ye a goddess be, and that ye like 

To do me pain, I may it not astart ; 

If ye be worldly wight, that doth me sike, 

Why list God make you so, my dearest heart, 

To do a selly prisoner this smart. 

That loves you all, and wots of nought but woe ? 

And therefore mercy, sweet ! sin' it is so." 


When I a little thraw had make my moan, 
Bewailing mine infortune and my chance, 
Unknowing how or what was best to doon 
So far I'd fallen into love's dance 
That suddenly my wit, my countenance, 
My heart, my will, my nature, and my mind, 
Were changed clean right in another kind. 

Sike, cause to sigh. Selly, wretched. Thraw, while. 

Doon, do. 



Of her array the form if I shall write, 
Ttnvard her golden hair and rich attire, 
In fret-wise couched was with pearles white. 
And grcate balas [g]leaming as the fire, 
With many an emeraut and fair sapphire ; 
And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue, 
Of plumes parted red and white and blue ; 


All full of quaking spangles bright as gold, 
Forged of shape like to the amorettes, 
So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold ; 
The plumes eke like to the flower jonettes. 
And other of shape like to the flower jonettes, 
And, above all this, there was, well I wot, 
Beauty enough to make a world to doat I 


About her neck, white as the fair amaille 
A goodly chain of small orfeverye, 
Whereby there hung a ruby, without fail. 
Like to an heart y-shapen verily. 
That as a spark of lowe so wantonly 
Seemed burning upon her white throat ; 
Now if there was good party, God it wote. 

Toward, in front. Couched, Irimmcd, Balas, rubies. 

AmoreUes, love-knots. Amaillf, enamel. C)//ttrrjr, gold work. 

Lowe, lire. 



And for to walk that freshe Maye's morrow, 
A hook she had upon her tissue white, 
That goodUer had not been seen to-forow, 
As I suppose ; and girt she was a Hte 
Thus halfling loose for haste ; to such dehght 
It was to see her youth in goodUhead, 
That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread. 


In her was youth, beaut)^, with humble port, 
Bounty, riches, and womanly 'facture, 
(God better wot than my pen can report) 
Wisdom, largess, estate, and cunning sure, 
In every point so guided her measure. 
In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance, 
That Nature might no more her child advance. 

And, when she walked, had a little throw 
Under the sweete, greene boughes bent. 
Her fair fresh face, as white as any snow, 
She turned has, and forth her wayes went ; 
But then began mine access and torment : 
To see her part, and follow I ne might, 
Methought the day was turned into night. 

— The King's Qicair. 

To-foroiv, heretofore. Lite, little. Haljling, half. 

Ciiiiiiiiigy knowlcdi^e. I'hiow, space. 



Since true virtue increases dignity, 

And virtue is flower and root of nobl'ness aye, 

Of any wit or what estate thou be, 

His steppes follow, and dread for none efTray : 

Exile all vice, and follow truth alway ; 

Love most thy God, that first thy love began, 

And for ilk inch He will thee 'quite a span. 

Be not o'er proud in thy prosperity. 

For as it comes, so will it pass away ; 

The time to 'compt is short, thou niay'st well see, 

For of green grass soon comes wallowit hay. 

Labour in truth, while light is of the day ; 

Trust most in God, for He best guide thee can, 

And for ilk inch he will thee 'quite a span. 

Since word is thrall, and thought is only free. 
Thou dant thy tongue, that power has, and may 
Thou steik thine cync from worlde's vanity, 
Refrain thy hist, and harken what I say. 
Grip ere thou slide, and keep forth the high way ; 
Thou hold thee fast upon thy God and man. 
And for ilk inch he will thee 'quite a span. 

— Glide and God lie Ballates. 
Wallmvit, wilhcrcd. Daitt, restrain. Sldk, shut. 




Alone as I went up and down 
In an abbey was fair to see, 
Thinking what consolation 
Was best unto adversity ; 
By chance I cast on side mine e'e, 
And saw this written upon a wall : 
" Of what estate, Man, that thou be, 
Obey, and thank thy God for all ! " 

Thy kingdom and thy great empire, 
Tliy royalty nor rich array, 
Shall nought endure at thy desire, 
But, as the wind, will wend away ; 
Thy gold and all thy goodis gay, 
When fortune list, will fra' thee fall : 
Since thou such samples see'st ilk day. 
Obey, and thank thy God for all ! 

Job was most rich, in Writ we find, 

Tobe most full of charity; 

Job wox poor, and Tobe blind, 

Both tempted with adversity. 

Since blindness was infirmity. 

And poverty was natural ; 

Therefore right patiently both he and he 

Obey'd, and thanked God for all. 

Though thou be blind, or have an halt. 
Or in thy face deformed ill. 
So it come not through thy default. 
No man shall thee reprove by skill ; 


Blame not thy Lord, so is His will ; 
Spurn not thy foot against the wall, 
But with mock heart, and prayer still, 
Obey, and thank thy God for all. 

God of his justice mon correct, 
And of his mercy pity have ; 
He is a judge to none suspect, 
To punish sinful man and save. 
Though thou be lord attour the lave 
And afterward made bound and thrall, 
A beggar poor with scrip and stave. 
Obey, and thank thy God for all. 

This changing, and great variance 
Of earthly states, up and down, 
Is not but casualty and chance, 
(As some men say, without rcasoun), 
But by the great provisioun 
Of God above that rule thee shall ! 
Therefore, ever thou make thee boun, 
To obey, and thank thy God for all ! 

In wealth be meek, high not thyself; 
Be glad in wilful poverty ; 
Thy power, and thy worldis pelf. 
Is nought but very vanity. 
Remember, him that died on tree 
For thy sake tasted bitter gall : 
Who highs low hearts, and lowers hie. 
Obey, and thank thy God for all ! 

Moil, must. A/lour III,- l.ivc, above ihc rest. Bonn, reaily. 

/lie, high. 



Would my good lady love me best, 
And work after my will, 
I should a garment goodliest 
Gar make her body ////. 

Of high honour should be her hood, 
Upon her head to wear, 
Garnish'd with governance so good. 
No deeming should her deir. 

Her sark should be her body next, 
Of chastity so white : 
With shame and dread together mix'd. 
The same should be perfite. 

Her kirtle should be of clean Constance, 

Laced with lesum love ; 

The mailyheis of continuance. 

For never to remove. 

Her gown should be of goodliness, 
Well ribbon'd with renown ; 
Purfillit with pleasure in ilk place, 
Furred with fine fashioun. 

Gar, cause. Till, to. Deeming, censuring. 

Deir, injure. SarJz, shift. Pei-Jite, perfect. 

Lesum, lawlul. Mailyheis, eye-holes. rurfillil, embroidered. 


Her belt should be of benignity, 
About her middle meet ; 
Her mantle of humility, 
To thole both wind and weit. 

Her hat should be of fair hot'nig. 
And her tippet of truth j 
Her patelet of good pansing, 
Her hals ribbon of ruth. 

Her sleeves should be of esperancc, 
To keep her from despair ; 
Her gloves of the good governance, 
To hide her fingers fair. 

Her shoen should be of sickerness. 
In sign that she not slide ; 
Her hose of honesty, I guess, 
I should for her provide. 

Would she put on this garment gay, 
I durst swear by my seill, 
That she wore never green or gray, 
That set her half so wccl. 

ThoU, endure. Having, carriage. PaleUi, ruffet. 

Pausing', thinking. Hals, neck. Sukerntss, security. 

J)W//, knowledge. Set, became. 



O SINFUL man ! unto this mortal see 
Which is the vale of mourning and of care, 
With ghastly sight behold our heades three, 
Our holkit eyne, our peeled powis bare ! 
As ye are now, so in this world we were, 
As fresh, as fair, as lusty to behold ; 
When thou lookest on this sooth exemplair, 
Of thyself, Man, thou may'st be right un-bold. 

O wanton youth ! as fresh as lusty May, 
Fairest with flowers renewed white and red, 
Behold our heads, oh lusty gallants gay ! 
Full loathly thus shall lie thy lusty head, 
Holkit and how and wallowit as the weed, 
Thy hair crampland and eke they chrystal eyne, 
Full carefully conclude shall doleful deid ; 
Thy example here by us it may be seen. 

O ladies white ! in clothes corruscant, 
Polish'd with pearl and many a precious stone. 
With handes white, and hals so elegant, 
Circled with gold and sapphires many a one ; 
Your fingers small, white as the whales bone, 
Arrayed with rings and many rubies red ; 
As we lie thus, so shall ye lie ilk one 
With peeled powis and holkit thus your head ! 

See, state. Holkit, hollowed. Peeled poivis, bald skulls. 

Hoiv, hollow. Walloiuit, withered. Crampland, curling. 

Deid, death. Conuscanl, dazzling. Hals, necks. 


This question who can absolve, let see, 
What physnamour or perfect psalmistcr, 
Who was fairest or foulest of us three ? 
Or which of us of kin was gentillcr? 
Or most excellent in science or in lare, 
In art, music, or in astronomy? 
Herein should be your study and repair, 
And think, as thus, all your hcades must be ! 

L'lre, lore. 



Esop, mine author, makes mention 

Of twa mice, and they were sisters dear, 

Of whom the eldest dwelt in a borough's town ; 

The other wynnit uponland, well near ; 

Right solitar, whiles under bush and briar, 

Whiles in the corn, and other mennes scaithe, 

As outlaws does and lives on their waith. 

This rural mouse in all the winter tide, 
Had hunger, cold, and tholit great distress ; 
The other mouse that in the burgh can hide, 
Was gild-brother and made a free burgess ; 
Toll free also, from custom more or less, 
And freedom had to go where'er she list, 
Among the cheese in ark, and meal in chist. 

One time when she was full and unfoot-sair, 
She took in mind her sister uponland, 
And longed for to hear of her welfare. 
To see what life she had tinder the wand ; 
Barefoot alone, with pikestaff in her hand, 
As poor pilgrim she passed out of town. 
To seek her sister both o'er dale and down. 

Wynnit, dwelt. Scaithe, damage. Waith, windfalls. 

Tholit, suffered. Under the wand, in subjection. 


The heartly joy, Lord God ! if ye had seen, 
Was kithit when that these two sisters met; 
And great kindness was showcn them between, 
For whiles they laugli, and whiles for joy they gret, 
Whiles kissed sweet, and whiles in amies plet ; 
And thus they fare till sobered was their mood, 
Syne foot for foot unto the chamber yude. 

When they were lodged thus, these silly mice, 

The youngest sister unto her buttery hied, 

And brought forth nuts and pease instead of spice : 

If this was good fare, I do it on them beside. 

The burgess mouse prompit forth in pride, 

And said, " Sister, is this your daily food ? " 

" Why not," quoth she, " is not this meat right good ? " 

" Let be this hole, and come in to my place, 

I shall to you show by experience, 

My good Friday is better nor your Pace ; 

My dish washings is worth your whole expense ; 

I have houses enow of great defence \ 

Of cat nor fall trap, I have no dread." 

" I grant," quoth she ; and on together they hied. 

In stubble array through rankest grass and corn, 
And under bushes privily could they creep. 
The eldest was the guide and went beforn, 
The younger to her waycs took g(iod keep. 

Kithit, shown. Gret, wept. Plet, folded. Syne, then. 

Yuile, went. Prompit, promised. l\uf, li.nstcr. A"/, lieed. 


In night they ran, and in the day can sleep ; 
Till in the morning ere the Laverock sang. 
They found the town, and in blithely could gang. 

After when they disposed were to dine, 
Withouten grace they wash'd, and went to meat, 
With all the courses that cooks could define, 
Mutton and beef strikin in tailyeis great ; 
And lordes fare thus could they counterfeit, 
Except one thing, they drank the water clear 
Instead of wine, but yet they made good cheer. 

With blithe upcast and merry countenance, 

The eldest sister sperit at her guest. 

If that she by reason found difference 

Betwixt that chamber and her sorry nest ? 

" Yea, dame," quoth she, "how long will this lest?" 

" For evermore, I wot, and longer too." 

" If that be so you are at ease," quoth scho. 


Thus made they merry till they might na mair. 

And, Hail, yule, hail ! cried upon hie; 

Yet, after joy ofttimes comes care. 

And trouble after great prosperity : 

Thus as they sat in all their jollity, 

The Spenser came with keyes in his hand, 

Opened the door, and them at dinner fand, 

They tarried not to wash as I suppose, 
But on to go who that might foremost win. 
The burgess had a hole, and in she goes, 

Laverock, lark. Strikin in tailyeis, cut off in pieces. 

Sperit at, inquired of. Lest, last. Scho, she. 

Hie, high. Spenser, butler. Land, iound. 


Her sister had no hole to hide her in. 
To see that silly mouse, it was great sin, 
So desolate and wild of all good rede, 
For very dread she fell in swoon near dead. 

But as God would, it fell a happy case, 

The Spenser had no leisure for to bide, 

Neither to seek nor search, to scare nor chase, 

15ut on he went antl left the door up wide. 

The bold burgess his passing well has spied, 

Out of her hole she came, and cried on hie, 

" How fare ye, sister ; cry ' Peip,' where e'er ye be ? 

" Why lie ye thus ? rise up ray sister dear : 

Come to your meat, this peril is over past." 

The other answered her with heavy cheer, 

" I may not eat, so sore I am aghast ; 

I had liefer these forty dayes last, 

With water kail, and to gnaw beans or pease. 

Than ail your feast, in this dread and disease. 

" Were I in to the kith that I came fro', 
For weil or woe, I should ne'er come again." 
With that she took her leave and forth 'gan go. 
Whiles through the corn, and whiles through the plain, 
When she was forth and free, she was full fain. 
And merrily merkit unto the moor; 
I can not tell how afterward she fure. 

Sin, pity. A'dh; counsel. A7///, home. 

I'ain, glad. Merkit, hastened. J-'ure, fared. 



But I heard say she passed to her den, 

As warm as wool, suppose it was not great. 

Full bonnily stuffed [was] both but and ben, 

Of beans and nuts, and pease, and rye, and wheat ; 

When ever she list she had enough to eat. 

In quiet and ease, withouten any dread, 

But to her sister's feast no more she gaed. 


Blessed be simple life, withouten dreid \ 

Blessed be sober feast in quiete ; 

Who has enough, of no more has he need. 

Though it be little into quantity. 

Great aboundance, and blind prosperity, 

Ofttimes make an evil conclusion ; 

The sweetest life, therefore, in this country, 

Is sikerness, with small possession. 

Bui and ben, within and without. Sikerness, security. 



Thus chiding with her dreary destiny, 
Weeping, she woke the night from end to end, 
But all in vain : her dole, her careful cry, 
Might not remeid, nor yet her mourning mend. 
A leper lady rose and to her went, 
And said, "Why spurnest thou against the wall, 
To slay thyself, and mend no thing at all ? 

" Since thy weeping redoubles but thy woe, 

I counsel thee make virtue of a need ; 

Go learn to clap thy clapper to and fro, 

And learn after the law of leper leid." 

There was no help, but forth with them she gaed 

From place to place, while cold and hunger sair 

Compelled her to be a rank beggar. 

That same time of Troy the garrisoun, — 
Which had to chieftain worthy Troilus, — 
Through jeopardy of war had stricken down 
Knightes of Greece in number marvellous, 
With great triumph and laud victorious, 
Again to Troy right royally they rode. 
The way where Cresseicl with the lepers 'bode. 

Seeing that company they come all with a stevin. 
They gave a cry, and shook cuppes, good speed ; 
Said, " Worthy lordes, for Goddes love of heaven, 
To us lepers part of your almes deed ! " 

Remeid, remedy. Leid, language. Stevin, noise. 


Then to their cry noble Troilus took heed, 
Having pity ; near by the place 'gan pass, 
Where Cresseid sat, not witting what she was. 

Then upon him she cast up both her een, 
And with a blink it came into his thought, 
That he some time her face before had seen : 
But she was in such plight he knew her not ; 
Yet then her look into his mind it brought 
The sweet visage and amorous blenking 
Of fair Cresseid, sometime his own darling. 

A spark of love then to his heart did spring, 
And kindled all his body in a fire ; 
With hot fever, a sweat and trembiling 
Him took, while he was ready to expire ; 
To bear his shield, his breast began to tire ; 
Within a while he changed many a hue. 
And nevertheless not one another knew. 

For knightly pity and memorial 

Of fair Cresseid, a gircle 'gan he take. 

A purse of gold, and many a gay jewel, 

And in the skirt of Cresseid down 'gan shake ; 

Then rode away, and not a word he spake. 

Pensive in heart, v/hile' he came to the town ; 

And for great care oft-syis almost fell down. 

— The Testament of Cresseid, 1. 470. 
Blenking, glancing. Syis, times. 



In midst of June, that jolly sweet seasoun, 
When that fair Phcebus, with his beames bright, 
Had dried up the dew from dale and down, 
And all the land made with his gleames light ; 
On one morning, betwixt mid-day and night, 
I rose, and put all sleep and sloth aside, 
And to a wood I went alone but guide. 

Sweet was the smell of flowers white and red, 

The noise of birdes right delicious ; 

The boughes broad bloomed above my head, 

The ground growing with grasses gracious : 

Of all pleasance that place was plenteous. 

With odours sweet and birdes harmony, 

The morning mild, my mirth was more forthy. 

Me to conserve then from the sunnes heat, 

Under the shadow of a hawthorn green, 

I leaned down among the flowers sweet ; 

Syne made a cross and closed both my een. 

On sleep I fell among these boughes bene ; 

And, in my dream, methought came through the shaw 

The fairest man that ever before I saw. 

But, without, Forthy, therefore. Syne, then. 

Bene, pleasant. Shaw, wood. 



His gown was of a cloth as white as milk, 

His chimeris was of cambelote purplur-brown ; 

His hood of scarlet, bordered well with silk, 

Unheklit-wise, unto his girdle down ; 

His bonnet round and of the old fashoun ; 

His beard was white, his eyne were great and gray. 

With lokker hair, which o'er his shoulders lay. 

A roll of paper in his hand he bare, 
A swanes pen sticking under his ear, 
An ink-horn, with a pretty gilt pennair, 
A bag of silk, all at his belt did bear ; 
Thus was he goodly graithit in his gear. 
Of stature large, and with di fearful {a.ce, 
Even where I lay he came a sturdy pace. 

And said, " God speed, my son ; " and I was fain 
Of that couth word, and of his company. 
With reverence I saluted him again, 
" Welcome, father ; " and he sat me down by. 
" Displease you not, my good maste'r, though I 
Demand your birth, your faculty, and name, 
Why ye came here, or where ye dwell at hame? ' 

"My son," said he, "I am of gentle blood, 
My native land is Rome withouten nay ; 
And in that town first to the schools I yude. 
In civil law studied full many a day, 

Chwieris, short light gown. Unheklit, unfastened. 

Lokker, curled. Pennair, pencase. Graithit, arrayed. 

Fearful, majestic. Fain, glad. Couth, kindly. 

Yude, went. 


And now my wonning is in heaven for aye. 

^sop I hecht ; my writing and my werk 

Is couth and ken'd to many a cunning clerk." 

" O master ^sop, poet laureate ! 

God wot ye are full dear welcome to me ; 

Are ye not he that all those Fables wrate 

Which, in effect, suppose they feigned be, 

Are full of prudence and morality ? " 

" Fair son," said he, " I am that same man." 

God wot if that my heart was merry than. 

— Prologue to the Fables. 
Wonningy dwelling. Hccht, am called. TAau, then. 



Within a garth, under a red rosere, 

An old man and decrepit, heard I sing ; 

Gay was the note, sweet was the voice and clear ; 

It was great joy to hear of such a thing. 

And, as me thought, he said in his 'diting, 

" For to be young I would not, for my wiss 

Of all this world to make me lord and king ; 

The more the age, the nearer heaven's bliss. 

" False is this world, and full of variance, 

Beset with sin and other slightes mo' ; 

Truth is all tynt, gile has the governance. 

And wretchedness has turned all from weill to woe ; 

Freedom is tynt, and flemit the lords fro', 

And covetise is all the cause of this : 

I am content that youthhead is ago ; 

The more of age, the nearer heaven's bliss. 

*' The slate of youth I repute for no good. 
For in that state great peril now I see ; 
None can gainstand the raging of his blood 
Nor yet be stabil till he aged be ; 
Then of the thing before that joyed he, 
Nothing remains for to be called his ; 
For why ? it was but very vanity ; 
The more of age, the nearer heaven's bliss. 

Garth, garden. Rosere, rosebush. Wiss, wish, 

lynt, lost. Flemit, departed. ^go, gone. 


This wretched world should no man trust ; for why ? 

Of earthly joy aye sorrow is the end ; 

The state of it can no man certify, 

This day a king, the morn have not to spend ! 

What have we here but grace us to defend ? 

The which God grant us to amend our miss, 

That to his joy he may our soulis send ; 

The more of age, the nearer heaven's bliss. 




The merry day sprang fra' the orient, 

With beams bright illumined the Occident. 

After Titan, Phoebus uprised fair, — 

High in the sphere the signes made declare. 

Zepherus began his morrow course ; 

The sweet vapour thus fra' the ground resource ; 

The humid breath down from the heaven avail, 

In every mead, both firth, forest, and dale ; 

The clear rede among the rockes rang, 

Through green branches, where birdes blithely sang 

With joyous voice, in heavenly harmony. 

— The Wallace. 

Resource, rose again. Avail, descend. Rede, voice. 




In May, as that Aurora did upspring, 
With crystal een chasing the cloudes sable, 
I heard a Merle, with merry notes, sing 
A song of love, with voice right comfortable, 
Against the orient beames, amiable, 
Upon a blissful branch of laurel green ; 
This was her sentence, sweet and delectable, 
"A lusty hfe in Love's service been." 

Under this branch ran down a river bright. 
Of balmy liquor, crystalline of hue. 
Against the heavenly azure skyes light ; 
Where did, upon the other side, pursue 
A Nightingale, with sugared notes new, 
Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone ; 
This was her song, and of a sentence true, 
" All love is lost but upon God alone." 

With notes glad, and glorious harmony, 
This joyful merle, so salute(d) she the day, 
While rung the woodes of her melody. 
Saying, " Awake, ye lovers of this May ; 
Lo, fresh Flora has flourish'd every spray, 
As nature has her taught, the noble queen, 
The fields be clothed in a new array ; 
A lusty life in Love s service been ! " 


Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with Hving man, 
Nor made this merry-gentle nightingale ; 
Her sound went with the river as it ran, 
Out through the fresh and flourish'd lusty vale ; 
" O Merle ! " quoth she, " O fool ! stint of thy tale, 
For in thy song good sentence is there none, 
For both are tynt, the time and the travail, 
Of every love but upon God alone." 

" Cease," quoth the Merle, " thy preaching, Nightingale 
Shall folk their youth spend into holiness ? 
Of young saintis, grow old fiendis, but fable • 
Fie ! hypocrite, in yearis' tenderness, 
Against the law of kind thou goest express. 
That crooked age makes one with youth serene, 
Whom nature of conditions made diverse : 
A lusty life in Love's service been." 

The Nightingale said, " Fool, remember thee. 
That both in youth and eld and every hour. 
The love of God most dear to man should be ; 
That him, of nought, wrought like his own figure, 
And died himself, fro' death him to succour; 
Oh, whether was kythit there true love or none ? 
He is most true and steadfast paramour. 
And love is lost but upon him alone." 

The Merle said, " Why put god so great beauty 
In ladies, with such womanly having. 
But if he would that they should loved be ? 
To love eke Nature gave them inclining, 

Tynt, lost. But, without. Kythit, shown. 


And he of Nature that worker was and king, 
Would nothing frustir put, nor let be seen, 
Into his creature of his own making ; 
A lusty life in Love's service been." 

The Nightingale said, '• Not to that behoof 
Put God such beauty in a lady's face. 
That she should have the thank therefor or love, 
But He, the worker, that put in her such grace ; 
Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space. 
And every goodness that be to come or gone, 
The thanks rebound to him in every place : 
All love is lost but upon God alone." 

" O Nightingale ! it were a story nice, 
That love should not depend on charity ; 
And, if that virtue contrar' be to vice, 
Then love mon be a virtue, as thinks me ; 
For, aye, to love envy mon contrar' be : 
God bade eke love thy neighbours fro' the spleen^ 
And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be ? 
A lusty Ufe in Love's service been ! " 

The Nightingale said, "Bird, why dost thou rave? 
Man may take in his lady such delight. 
Him to forget that her such virtue gave. 
And for his heaven receive her colour white : 
Her golden tressed hairis redomite. 
Like to Apollo's beamis though they shone, 
Should not him blind fro' love that is perfite ; 
All love is lost but upon God alone," 

Frusii}-, useless. Spleen, heart. Redomilc, cnciickd. 


The Merle said, " Love is cause of honour aye, 
Love makes cowards manhood to purchase, 
Love makes knightis hardy at essay, 
Love makes wretches full of largeness, 
Love makes sweir folk full of business. 
Love makes sluggards fresh and well besene, 
Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness ; 
A lusty life in Love's service been." 

The Nightingale said, " True is the contrary ; 

Such frustir love it blindis men so far, 

Into their minds it makes them to vary ; 

In false vain-glory they so drunken are, 

Their wit is went, of woe they are not 'ware. 

Till that all worship away be fro' them gone. 

Fame, goods, and strength ; wherefore well say I dare, 

All love is lost but upon God alone." 

Then said the Merle, " Mine error I confess : 
This frustir love all is but vanity ; 
Blind ignorance me gave such hardiness, 
To argue so against the verity ; 
Wherefore I counsel every man, that he 
With love not in the fiendis net be tone. 
But love the lave that did for his love die ; 
All love is lost but upon God alone." 

Then sang they both with voices loud and clear ; 
The Merle sang, " Man, love God that has thee wrought." 
The Nightingale sang, " Man, love the Lord most dear. 
That thee and all this world made of nought." 

Sweir, slothful. Besene, busy. Frtistir, useless. Tom, tal<en. 


The Merle said, " Love Him that thy love has sought 
From heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone." 
The Nightingale sang, " And with His death thee bought j 
All love is lost but upon Him alone." 

Then flew these birds over the boughis sheen, 

Singing of love among the leaves small ; 

Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis green, 

Both sleeping, waking, in rest and in travail ; 

Me to recomfort most it does avail, 

Again for love, when love I can find none, 

To think how sung this Merle and Nightingale ; 

" All love is lost but upon God alone." 

Sheen, bright. Eidant, diligent. 



Now gladdeth every living creature, 
With bliss and comfortable gladness, 
The heavenes King is clad in our nature. 
Us fro' the death with ransom to redress ; 
The lamp of joy that chases all darkness, 
Ascended is to be the vvorldes light. 
Fro' every bale our boundes for to bless, 
Born of the glorious Virgin Mary bright. 

Above the radious heaven ethereal. 

The Court of Stars, the course of sun and moon. 

The potent Prince of Joy Imperial, 

The high surmounting Emperor abone, 

Is coming, fro' His mighty Father's throne. 

On earth, with an inestimable light. 

And [praised] of angels with a sweet intone ; 

Born of the glorious Virgin Mary bright. 

Who ever in earth heard so blithe a story, 
Or tidings of so great felicity ? 
As how the garthe of all grace and glory. 
For love and mercy hath ta'en humanity ; 
Maker of angels, man, earth, heaven and sea, 
And to o'ercome our foe, and put to flight, 
Is coming a babe, full of benignity, 
Born of the glorious Virgin Mary bright. 

Bale, SOI row. Abone, above. Garthe, garden. 


The sovereign Senior of all celsitude, 

That sits above the ordered cherubin, 

Which all things creat, and all things does include, 

That never end shall, never did begin, 

But whom is naught, fro' whom no time does rin, 

With whom all good is, with whom is every wight, 

Is with His wounds come for to wash our sin \ 

Corn of the most chaste Virgin Mary bright. 

Wherefore sing all with comfort and gladness, 
And cast away all care and covetise. 
Devoid all woe, and live in merriness. 
Exercise virtue and banish every vice ; 
Despise Fortune, right runs on cinque and size ; 
And in the honour of the blissful might 
All welcome we the Prince of Paradise, 
Born of the most chaste Virgin Mary bright. 

Btit^ without. Devoid, lay aside. 



Sweet Rose of Virtue and of gentleness, 
Delightsome Lily of every lustiness, 
Richest in bounty and in beauty clear 
And every virtue that to heaven is dear, 
Except only that ye are merciless ! 

Into your garth this day I did pursue ; 
There saw I flowers that freshe were of hue, 
Both white and red most lusty were to seen, 
And wholesome herbis upon stalkis green ; 
Yet flower nor leaf find could I none of Rue. 

I doubt that March, with his cold blastis keen, 
Has slain this gentle herb that I of mene : 
Whose piteous death does to my heart such pain 
That I would make to plant his root again. 
So comforting his leaves unto me been. 

Cajih, garden. Of mene, moan for. Been, were. 



If ye would love and loved be, 
In mind keep well these thingis three, 
And sadly in thy breast imprent, — 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

For he that patience cannot leir, 
He shall displeasance have, perquier, 
Though he had all this worldis rent : 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

For who that secret cannot be, 
Him all good fellowship shall flee, 
And credence none shall him be lent : 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

And he that is of heart untrue, 
Fro' he be ken'd, farewell ! adieu ! 
Fie on him ! fie ! his fame is went : 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

Thus he that wants ane of these three 
Ane lover glad may never be, 
But aye in some thing discontent : 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

Nought with thy tongue thyself discure 
The things that thou hast of nature ; 
For if thou dost, thou shalt repent : 
Be secret, true and patient ! 

r.eir, learn. Perquier, truly. Went, gone. 

Discure, discover. 



I SEEK about this world unstable, 
To find one sentence convenable \ 
But I can not, in all my wit. 
So true a sentence find of it, 
As say it is deceivable. 

For yesterday I did declare 
How that the time was soft and fair, 
Come in as fresh as peacock feather ; 
This day it stingis like an adder, 
Concluding all in my contrair. 

Yesterday fair upsprang the flowers. 
This day they are all slain with showers ; 
And fowls in forest that sang clear, 
Now weepes with a dreary cheer. 
Full cold are both their beds and bowers. 

So next to Summer, Winter been ; 

Next after comfort, cares keen ; 

Next after dark night, the mirthful morro\v ■ 

Next after joy, aye comes sorrow : 

So is this world and aye has been. 



Be merry, man ! and take not sore in mind 
The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow ! 
To God be humble and to thy friend be kind, 
And with thy neighbours gladly lend and borrow : 
His chance to-night, it may be thine to-morrow ; 
Be blithe in heart for any adventure ; 
Full oft with wise men, 't has been said aforrow, 
Without gladness availis no treasure. 

Make thee good cheer of it that God thee sendes. 
For worldis wrack but welfare nought availes. 
No good is thine save only that thou spendes ; 
Remanent all thou brookis but with bales. 
Seek to solace when sadness thee assailes ; 
In dolour long thy life may not endure, 
Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sailes ; 
Without gladne'ss availis no treasure. 

Follow on pity, flee trouble and debate, 
With/amous folkis hold thy company ; 
Be charitable and humble in thine estate, 
For worldly honour lastes but a cry : 
For trouble in earth take no melancholy ; 
Be rich in patience, if thou in goods be poor ; 
Who lives merry he lives mightily : 
Without gladness availis no treasure. 

Aforrow, afore. Wrack buf, goods witliout. 

Famous, of good repute. Cry, short time. 


Thou seest these wretches set with sorrow and care 
To gather goods in all their lives space ; 
And, when their bags are full, their selves are bare, 
And of their riches but the keeping has ; 
While others come to spend it, that has grace, 
Which of thy winning no labour had nor cure; 
Take thou example, and spend with merriness : 
Without gladness availis no treasure. 

Though all the werk that e'er had living wight 
Were only thine, no more thy part does fall 
But meat, drink, clothes, and of the lave a sight, 
Yet, to the Judge, thou shalt give 'compt of all. 
A reckoning right comes of a ragment small. 
Be just and joyous, and do to none injure, 
And truth shall make thee strong, as any wall : 
Without gladness availis no treasure. 

Cure, care. Werk, possessions. Lave, rest. 

Ragment, account. 



In these dark and drublie days, 
When sable all the heaven arrays, 
With misty vapours, clouds and skies, 
Nature all courage me denies 
Of songes, ballades, and of plays. 

When that the night does lengthen hours, 
With wind, with hail, and heavy showers, 
My dull spirit does lurk forschoir : 
My heart for languor is forlore, 
For lack of summer with his flowers. 

I wake, I turn ; sleep can I nought -, 
I- vexed am with heavy thought ; 
This world all o'er I cast about : 
And aye the mair I am in doubt, 
I'he mair that I remeid have sought. 

I am assay'd on every side. 
Despair says aye, " In time provide, 
And get something whereon to live ; 
Or, with great trouble and mischief, 
Thou shall into this court abide." 

Then Patience says, '■ Be not aghast ; 
Hold hope and truth within thee fast : 

Drublie, troubled. Forschoir, dejected. Mair, more. 

Remeid, remedy. 


And let Fortune work forth her rage ; 
When that no reason may assuage, 
Till that her glass be run and past." 

And Prudence in my ear says aye, 
"Why would you hold what will away? 
Or crave what you may have no space, 
Thou tending to another place 
A journey going every day ? " 

And then says Age, " My friend, come near, 
And be not strange I thee requeir ; 
Come, brother, by the hand me take ! 
Remember, thou hast 'compt to make 
Of all the time thou spended here ! " 

Syne Death casts up his gates wide, 
Saying, " These open shall thee 'bide : 
Albeit that thou were ne'er so stout. 
Under this lintel shall thou lout : 
There is none other way beside." 

For fear of this all day I droop ; 
No gold in chest, nor wine in coop, 
No lady's beauty, nor loves bliss, 
May let me to remember this. 
How glad that ever I dine or sup. 

Yet when the night begins to short, 
It does my spirit some part comfort. 
Of thought oppressed with the showers. 
Come, lusty summer, with thy flowers, 
That 1 may live in some disport ! 

Rcqiticr, vequiie. Syne, then. Lout, stoop. Coop, cup. 




This wavering world's wretchedness 
The failing, fruitless business ; 
The mis-spent time, the service vain ; 
For to consider is a pain. 

The sliding joy, the gladness short ; 
The feigned love, the false comfort, 
The sweet abayd, the flitchful trai7i ; 
For to consider is a p.iin. 

The sugared mouths, with minds therefrae 
The figured speech, with faces tway ; 
The pleasant tongues with hearts unplain ; 
For to consider is a pain. 

The labour lost and leal service, 
The long avail on humble wise, 
And the little reward again ; 
For to consider is a pain. 

The change of world frae weal to woe ; 
The honourable uses all ago. 
In hall, in bower, in burgh, and plain ; 
Which to consider is a pain. 

Ahayd, delayed. Flichtful train, changeful snare. 

Avail, abasement. Uses all ago, customs all gone. 


Belief does hope, trust does not tarry, 
Office does flit, and courts do vary, 
Purpose does change, as wind or rain ; 
Which to consider is a pain. 

I know not how the kirk is guided, 
But benefices are not well divided ; 
Some men have seven and I not ane ; 
Which to consider is a pain. 

* * « * ft 

I wot it is for me provided ; 
But so doom tiresome it is to bide it, 
It breaks my heart and bursts my brain ; 
Which to consider is a pain. 

Great Abbey's graith I n'ill to gather, 
But a kirk scant, covered with heather ; 
For I of little would be fain ; 

Which to consider is a pain. 
« » * * » 

Experience does me so inspire, 
Of this false, failing world I tire, 
That evermore flits like a vane ; 
Which to consider is a pain. 

The foremost hope yet that I have 
In all this world, so God me save, 
Is in your grace, both crop and grain ; 
Which is a less'ning of my pain. 

Graith In'' ill, substance I wish not. Scant, humble. 
Fain, glad. Vatte, weathercock. 




I THAT in heil was and gladness, 
Am troubled now with great sickness, 
And feebled with infirmity : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Our pleasance here is all vain glory, 
This false world is but transitory, 
The flesh is brukle, the Fiend is slye : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

The state of man does change and vary. 
Now sound, now sick, now blithe, now sary, 
Now dancing merry, now like to die : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

No state in earth here standes sicker : 
As with the wind waves the wicker, 
So waves this world's vanity : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Unto the Death goes all estates, 
Princes, Prelates, and Potestates, 
Both rich and poor of all degree : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Heil, health. Brukle, brittle. Sary, sorrowful. 

Sicker, secure. Wicker, osier. Potestates, potenlates. 


He takes the knightes in the field, 
Enarmed under helm and shield \ 
Victor he is at all melee ; 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

That strong unmerciful tyrant 
Takes, on the mother's breast suckand, 
The babe, full of benignity : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

He takes the champion in the stour, 
The captain closed in the tower, 
The lady in bower full of beaut)^ : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

He spares no lord for his puissence, 
Nor clerk for his intelligence ; 
His awful stroke may no man flee j 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Art-magicians, and astrologes, 
Rethors, logicians, thcologes, 
Them helpes no conclusions slye ; 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

In medicine the most practicians, 
Leeches, surgeons, and physicians, 
Themselves from death may not supplye 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Alelee, conflict. Htukand, sucking. Stour, fight. 


I see that makars among the lave, 
Plays here their pageants, syne goes to grave, 
Spared is not their faculty : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

He has done piteously devour, 
The noble Chaucer of makars flower, 
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

The good Sir Hugh of Eglintoun, 
And eke Heriot, and Wyntoun, 
He has ta'en out of this countrie ; 

Timor mortis conturbat me. 

* * * ♦ 

Holland and Barbour he has bereaved, 
Alas ! that he not with us leaved 
Sir Mungo Lockhart of the Lee : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Clerk of Tranent eke he has ta'en, 
That made the adventures of Gawaine ; 
Sir Gilbert Hay ended has he : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

He has Blind Harry, and Sandy Traill, 
Slain with his shot of mortal hail, 
Which Patrick Johnstown might not flee : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Lave, rest. Syne, then. 


He has ta'en RouU of Aberdeen, 
And gentle Roull of Corstorphine ; 
Two better fellows did no man see 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

In Dumferline he has ta'en Broun, 
With Master Robert Henrysoun ; 
Sir John of Ross embrac'd has he ; 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

And he has now ta'en last of a'. 
Good gentle Stobo and Quintin Schaw, 
Of whom all wightes has pity : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Good Master Walter Kennedy 
At point of death lies verily, 
Great ruth it were that so should be : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Since he has all my brethren ta'en. 
He will not let me live alane, 
On force I must his next prey be ; 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

Since for the Death remeid is none, 
Best is that we for death dispone, 
After our death that live may we : 
Timor mortis conturbat me. 

On force, needs. Remeid, remedy. Dispone, prepare. 



Bright as the starn of day began to shine, 
When gone to bed were Vesper and Lucine, 
I rose, and by a rosere did me rest. 
Up sprang the golden candle matutine, 
With clear depurit beames crystalline, 
Gladding the merry fowles in their nest : 
Ere Phcebus was in purpur cape revest, 
Up rose the lark, the heavens' minstrel fine. 
In May, intill a morrow mirthfulest. 

Full angel-like these birdes sang their hoiirs 
Within their curtains green, into their bowers, 
Ajiparelled white and red with bloomes sweet ; 
Enamelled was the field with all colours ; 
The pearly droppes shook in silver showers. 
While all in balm did branch and leavesy?^^/ .• 
To part fi-om Phoebus did Aurora g7-eet. 
Her chrystal tears I saw hang on the flowers, 
Which he, for love, all drank up with his heat. 

For mirth of May, with skippes and with hoppis, 
The birdes sang upon the tender croppis 
With curious notes, as Venus' chapel-clerks : 
The roses young, new spreading of their knoppis, 
Were powdered bright with heavenly beryl droppis, 

Rosere, rose-bush. Depurit, purified. Inlil/, upon. 

flours, matins. Fleet, flow. Greel, weep. 

Croppis, branches. Knoppis, buds. 


Through beames red, burning as ruby sparks : 
The skies rang for shouting of the larks : 
The purpur heaven, o'er-scaled in silver sloppis, 
O'er-gilt the trees, branches, leaves, and barks. 

Down through the ryce a river ran with streams. 

So lustily against those likand leams, 

That all the lake as lamp did leam of light ; 

Which shadowed all about with twinkling gleams, 

The boughes bathed were in fecond beams 

Through the reflex of Phoebus' visage bright ; 

On every side the hedges rose on height ; 

The bank was green ; the brook was full of breams ; 

The stanneris clear as stars in frosty night. 

The chrystal air, the sapphire firmament, 
The ruby skies of the orient. 
Cast beryl beams on emerant boughes green ; 
The rosy garth, depaint and redolent 
With purpur, azure, gold, and gules gent, 
Arrayed was by dame Flora, the queen. 
So nobly that joy was for to seen ; 
The rock again the river resplendent. 
As low elumined all the leaves sheen. 

What through the merry fowles' harmony, 
And through the river's sound that ran me by, 
On Flora's mantle I slepped as I lay ; 
Where soon into my dreames fantasy, 
I saw approach against the orient sky 

Sloppis, streaks. Ryce, bushes. Likand leams, pleasant gleams. 
Breams, fish. Stanneris, pebbles. Garth, garden. 

Again, on the edge of. Loio, tire. Sheen, bright. 


A sail as white as blossom upon spray, 
With merse of gold, bright as the starn of day, 
Which tended to the land full lustily, 
As falcon swift desirous of her prey. 

And, hard on board, unto the bloomed meads, 
Among the greene rispis, and the reeds. 
Arrived she ; wherefrom, anon, there lands 
A hundred ladies, lusty in their 7veeds, 
As fresh as flowers that in May upspreads, 
In kirtles green, withouten kell or bands : 
Their bright haires hang glittering on the strands, 
In tresses clear wyppit with golden threads ; 
With pappis white and middles small as wands. 

— The Golden Taro^e. 

Merse, mast. Rispis, rushes. Weeds, clothes. 

Kell, cap. Wyppit, tied. 



When Marche was with varying windes past, 
And April had, with her silver showers, 
Ta'en leave at Nature, with an orient blast, 
And lusty May, that mother is of flowers, 
Had made the birdes to begin their hours 
Among the tender odours red and white, 
Whose harmony it was to her delight : 

In bed at morrow, sleeping as I lay, 
Methought Aurora, with her chrystal eyne 
In at the window looked by the day, 
And halsit me, with visage pale and green ; 
On whose hand a lark sang fro' the spleen, 
" Awake, lovers, out of your slumbering. 
See how the lusty morrow does up spring ! " 

Methought fresh May before my bed upstood, 
In 7veed depaint of many divers hue. 
Sober, benign, and full of mansuetude. 
In bright attire of flowers forged new. 
Heavenly of colour, white, red, brown, and blue, 
Balmed in dew, and gilt with Phoebus' beams \ 
While all the house illumined of her learns. 

Hours, matins. Hahif, hailed. Spleen, heart. 

Weed, garments. Leanis, rays. 


" Sluggard," she said, " awake anon for shame, 
And in my honour something thou go write : 
The lark has done the merry day proclaim, 
To raise up loveres with comfort and delight ; 
Yet nought increases thy courage to indite. 
Whose heart sometime has glad and blissful been, 
Songes to make under the leaves green." 



All present were in twinkling of an e'e, 

Both beast and bird and flower, before the Queen. 

And first the Lion, greatest of degree, 

Was called there ; and he, most fair to seen, 

With a full hardy countenance, and keen, 

Before Dame Nature came and did incline, 

With visage bold and courage leonine. 

This awful beast full terrible was of cheer, 
Piercing of look, and stout of countenance. 
Right strong of corpse, of fashion fair hut fear, 
Lusty of shape, light of deliverance, 
Red of his colour as is the ruby glance \ 
On field of gold he stood full mightily, 
With fleur-de-lyses circled lustily. 

This Lady lifted up his cluvis clear, 
And let him listly lean upon her knee ; 
And crowned him with diadem full dear 
Of radious stones, most royal for to see. 
Saying, "The King of Beastes make I thee, 
And the protector chief in woods and shaws ; 
To thy lieges go forth, and keep the laws. 

Cheer, face. But, without. Chmis, hoofs. 

Shaws, coverts. 


" Exerce justice with mercy and conscience ; 
And let no small beast suffer scaith nor scorns 
Of great beastes that been of more puissance ; 
Do law alike to apes and unicorns ; 
And let no bogle with his busteous horns 
The meek plough-ox oppress, for all his pride, 
But in the yoke go peaceable him beside." 

— The Thistle and the Rose. 
Exerce, exercise. Bogle, goblin. Busteous, rough. 



Then called she all flowers that grew on field ; 
Discerning all their fashions and effeirs : 
Upon the awful Thistle she beheld, 
And saw him keepit with a bush of spears. 
Considering him so able for the wars, 
A radiant crown of rubies she him gave, 
And said, " In field go forth and 'fend the lave. 

" Nor hold none other flower in sic dainty 
As the fresh Rose, of colour red and white ; 
For, if thou does, hurt is thine honesty ; 
Considering that no flower is so perfite, 
So full of virtue, pleasance, and delight, 
So full of blissful angelic beauty. 
Imperial birth, honour, and dignity." 

Then to the Rose she turned her visage, 

And said, "■ O lusty daughter, most bening. 

Above the Lily, illuster of lineage. 

From the stalk royal rising fresh and ying, 

But any spot or macuU doing spring : 

Come, bloom of joy, with gemmes to be crowned, 

For, o'er the lave thy beauty is renowned ! " 

Effeirs, qualities. Fend the lave, defend the rest. 

Fe7'fUe, perfect. Bening, benign. Illuster, greater. 

Yin^, young. But, without. Macull, blemish. 


A costly crown, with clarified stones bright, 
This comely Queen did on her head enclose, 
While all the land illumined of the light ; 
Wherefore, methought, all Flowers did rejoice, 
Crying at once, " Hail, be thou richest Rose ! 
Hail, Herbes' Empress, freshest Queen of Flowers ! 
To thee be glory and honour at all hours ! " 

— T/ie Thistle and the Rose. 



Who thinkes he has sufiicience, 

Of goodes has no indigence ; 
Though he have neither land nor rent, 

Great might, nor high magnificence, 
He has enough that is content. 

Who had riches unto Inde 

And were not satisfied in mind, 

With poverty I hold him schent : 
Of covetise such is the kind. 
He has enough that is content. 

Therefore I pray you, brother dear. 
Not to delight in dainties sere : 

Thank God of it is to thee sent ; 
And of it gladly make good cheer. 
He has enough that is content. 

Defy the world, feigned and false ! 

With gall in heart and honied hals. 
Who most it serves shall soon'st repent ; 

Of whose subjects sour is the salse : 
He has enough that is content. 

If thou hast might, be gentle and free ; 

And if thou stand'st in poverty, 
Of thine own will to it consent. 

And riches shall return to thee. 
He has enough that is content. 

Schent, ruined. Sere, strange. Hals, throat. S-jlse, sauce. 


And ye and I, my brethren all, 

That in this life has lordship small, 

Let languor not in us imprint : 
If we not climb, we take no fall. 
He has enough that is content. 

For who in world most covetous is, 

In world is poorest man, i-wis, 
And most needy in his intent; 

P'or of all goodes nothing is his, 
That of nothing can be content. 

I-wis, truly. 



(original form.) 

Off Februar the fyiftene nycht, 
Full lang befoir the dayis lycht, 

I lay in till a trance ; 
And than I saw baith Hevin and Hell : 
Me thocht, amangis the feyndis fell, 

Mahoun gart cry ane Dance 
Oif Schrewis that were nevir schrevin, 
Aganiss the feist of Fasternis evin 

To mak thair observance ; 
He bad gallandis ga graith a gyiss 
And kast up gamountis in the skyiss 

As varlotis dois in France. 

Lat se, quoth he, now quha begynnis, 
With that the fowll Sevin Deidly synnis 

Begowth to leip at anis. 
And first of all in dance was Pryd, 
With bair wyld bak, and bonet on syd, 

Lyk to mak vaistie wanis j 
And round abowt him, as a quheill, 
Hang all in rumpillis to the heill 

His kethat for the nanis : 
Mony prowd trumpour with him trippit 
Throw skaldand fyre, ay as thay skii)pit 

Thay gyrnd with hyddouss granis. 


Heilie harlottis on hawtane wyiss 
Come in with mony sindrie gyiss, 

Bot yit lache nevir Mahoun ; 
Quhill preistis come in with bair schevin nekkis 
Than all the feyndis lewche, and maid gekkis, 

Blak Belly and Bawsy Broun. 

Than Yre come in with sturt and stryfe ; 
His hand wes ay upoun his knyfe, 

He brandeist lyk a beir: 
Bostaris, braggaris, and barganeris, 
Eftir him passit in to pairis, 

All bodin in feir of weir ; 
In jakkis, and stryppis, and bonettis of steill. 
Thair leggis wer chenyeit to the heill, 

Ffrawart was thair afifeir : 
Sum upoun uder with brandis beft, 
Sum jaggit uthiris to the heft 

With knyvis that scherp cowd scheir. 

Nixt in the Dance followit Invy, 
Fild full of feid and fellony, 

Hid malyce and dispyte. 
Ffor pryvie hatrent that tratour trymlit ; 
Him followit mony freik dissymlit 

With fenyeit wirdis quhyte ; 
And llattereris in to menis facis ; 
And bak-byttaris in secreit placis, 

To ley that had delyte : 
And rownaris of fals lesingis, 
AUace ! that coutis of noble kingis 

Of thame can nevir be quyte. 


Nixt him in Dans come Cuvatyce 
Rute of all evill, and grund of vyce, 

That nevir cowd be content : 
Catyvis, wrechis, and okkeraris, 
Hud-pykis, hurdaris, and gadderaris, 

All with that warlo went : 
Out of thair throttis thay schot on udder 

Hett moltin gold, me thocht, a fudder 

As fyre-flawcht maist fervent ; 
Ay as thay tomit them of schot, 
Ffeyndis fild thame new up to the thrott 

With gold of allkin prent. 

Syne Sweirnes, at the secound bidding, 
Come lyk a sow out of a midding, 

Full slepy wes his grunyie, 
Mony sweir bumbard belly huddroun, 
Mony slute daw, and slepy duddroun, 

Him servit ay with sounyie ; 
He drew thame furth in till a chenyie 
And Belliall with a brydill renyie 

Evir lascht thame on the lunyie : 
In Dance thay war so slaw of feit, 
They gaif thame in the fyre a heit, 

And made tham quicker of counyie. 

1'han Lichery, that lathly corss, 
Berand lyk a bagit horss, 

And ydilness did him leid ; 
Thair was with him ane ugly sort, 
And mony stynkand fowU tramort. 

That had in svn bene deid. 


Than the fowll monstir Gluttony 
Of vvame unsasiable and gredy, 

To dance he did him dress : 
Him foUowit mony fowll drunckart, 
With can and collep, cop and quart, 

In surffet and excess ; 
Full mony a waistless wally-drag, 
With wamiss unweildable, did furth wng, 

In creische that did incress. 
Drynk ! ay thay cryit with many a gaip, 
The Feyndis gaif thame hait leid to laip 

Thair loverly wes na less. 

Na menstrallis playit to thame but dowt, 
Ffor gle-men thair wer haldin owt, 

Be day, and eik by nycht : 
Except a menstrall that slew a man, 
Swa till his heretage he wan, 

And entirt be brief of richt. 

Than cryd Mahoun for a Heleand Padyane : 
Syne ran a Feynd to fetche Makfadyane, 

Far northwart in a nuke ; 
Be he the Correnoch had done schout, 
Erschemen so gadderit him abowt, 

In Hell grit rowme thay tuke ; 

Thae tarmegantis, with tag and tatter, 
Ffull lowd in Ersche begowth to clatter 
And rowp lyk revin and ruke. 
The Devill sa devit wes with thair yell, 
That in the dupest pot of hell, 

He smorit thame with smuke. 



This night in my sleep I was aghast ; 
Methought the Devil was tempting fast 

The people with oaths of cruelty ; 
Saying, as through the market he pass'd, 

"Renounce thy God and come to me." 

Methought, as he went through the way 
A priest sweared, " By God, very," 

While at the altar received he. 
" Thou art my clerk," the Devil 'gan say, 

"Renounce thy God and come to me.'' 

Then swore a courtier, mickle of pride, 
"By Christe's wounds, bloody and wide, 

And by Elis harms was rent on tree." 
Then spake the Devil, hard him beside, 

" Renounce thy God and come to me." 

A merchant, his gear as he did sell, 
Renounced his part of heaven for hell. 

The Devil said, " Welcome may thou be ; 
Thou shall be merchant for mysel' ; 

Renounce thy God and come to me." 

A goldsmith said, " The gold is so fine, 
That all the workmanship I tyne ; 

The fiend receive me if I lie." 
" Think on," quoth the Devil, " that thou art mine ; 

Renounce thy God and come to me." 

Harms, sorrows. Tync, lose. 


A tailor said, " In all this town 
Ee there a better well-made gown, 

I give me to the fiend all free." 
"Gramercy, tailor," said Mahoun, 

"Renounce thy God and come to me." 

A soutar said, " In good effec', 
Nor I be hanged by the neck, 

If better boots of leather may be." 
" Fly ! " quoth the fiend, " thou sairis of black ; 

Go cleanse thee clean, and come to me." 

A baxter said, " I forsake God, 
And all His works, even and odd. 

If fairer bread there needs to be." 
The Devil said, and on him could nod, 

"Renounce thy God and come to me." 

A flesher swore by the sacrament, 
And by Christ's blood most innocent, 

" Ne'er fatter flesh saw men with e'e." 
The Devil said, " Hold on thy intent. 

Renounce thy God and come to me.' 

The maltman says, " I God forsake, 
And may the Devil cf hell me take. 

If any better malt may be ; 
And of this kill I have in lack" 

" Renounce thy God and come to me." 

Soiiia?-, shoemaker. Sairis, smellest. In lack, deficiency 


'• By God's blood," quoth the taverner, 
" There is such wine in cellar, 

Has never come in this country." 
"Tut !" quoth the Devil, "thou sell'st o'er dear; 

Eenounce thy God and come to me." 

A brewster swore the malt was ill, 
Both red and reekit on the kill, 

" That it will be no ale for me ; 
One boll will not six gallons fill : " 

"Renounce thy God and come to me." 

The smith swore by rood and rape, 
" Into a gallows might I gape, 

If I ten days won pennies three, 
For with that craft I cannot thraip." 

" Renounce thy God and come to me." 

A minstrel said, " The fiend me rive, 
If I do ought but drink and swyfe; " 

The Devil said, " Then I counsel thee, 
Exerc'se that craft in all thy life; 

Renounce thy God and come to me.' 

A dicer said, with words of strife. 

The Devil might stick him with a knife, 

But he cast up fair sixes three ; 
The Devil said, " Ended is thy life : 

Renounce thy God and come to me." 

Reekit, smoked. Rape, rope. Thraip, thrive. Swyfe, sine 


A thief said, " God that ever I 'scape, 
Nor ane stark widdy gar me gape, 

But I in hell for gear would be." 
The Devil said, " Welcome in a rape, 

Renounce thy God and come to me. ' 

The fishwives flett, and swore with groanes, 
And to the Fiend, soul, flesh, and bones, 

They gave them, with a shout on hie. 
The Devil said, " Welcome all at ones ; 

Renounce thy God and come to me." 

The rest of craftes great oathes sware, 
Their work and craft had no compare. 

Ilk ane unto their quality. 
The Devil said, " Then, withouten mair ; 

Renounce thy God and come to me." 

Widdy, halter. Fleti, scolded. Hie, high. Mair, more. 




What is this life but a straight way to deid, 
Which has a time to pass and none to dwell ; 

A sliding wheel us lent to seek remeid ; 
A free choice given to Paradise or Hell ; 
A prey to death, whom vain is to repell ; 

A short torment for infinite gladness, 

As short a joy for lasting heaviness. 

Deid, death. Remeid, remedy. 



Betwixt twal' houris and eleven, 
I dreamed an angel came fra' heaven, 
With pleasant stevin, saying on hie, 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

In heaven high ordained is your place, 
Above all saints in great solace, 
Next God, greatest in dignity : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

The cause to you is not unkend, 
What God mismakes ye do amend, 
By craft and great agility : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

Soutars, with shoen well made and meet. 
Ye mend the faults of ill-made feet ; 
Wherefore to Heaven your souls will flee ; 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

» ;;- * » * * 

And ye Tailoris, with well-made clothes, 
Can mend the worst-made man that goes, 
And make him seemly for to see : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

Stevin, sound. Ilie, high. Unkend, unknown. 


Though God make a misfashioned man, 
Ye can him all shape new again, 
And fashion him better be sic three : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

Though a man have a broken back, 
Have ye a good crafty tailor, what rack ! — 
That can it cover with craftes slye : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

Gf God great kindness ye may claim, 
That helps his people frae crook and lame. 
Supporting faults with your supplye : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

In earth ye kyth such miracles here. 
In Heaven ye shall be Saints full clear. 
Though ye be knaves in this countrie : 
Tailors and Soutars, blest be ye ! 

Rack, matter. Slye, artful, Kyili, produce. 



How should I rule me, or what wise, 
I would some wise man would devise ; 

I cannot live in no degree, 
But some will my manneris despise : 

Lord God, how shall I govern me ? 

If I be gallant, lusty, and blithe, 
Then will they say on me full swythe. 

That out. of mind yon man is he, 
Or some has done him comfort kythe : 

Lord God, how shall I govern me ? 

If I be sorrowful and sad, 

Then will they say that I am mad, 

I do but droop as I would die ; 
Thus will they say, both man and lad : 

Lord God, how shall I govern me ? 

I would my guiding were devised ; 
If I spend little I am despised, 

If I be noble, gentle, and free, 
A prodigal man I am so prized : 

Lord God, how shall I govern me ? 

Now judge they me, both good and ill, 
And I may no man's tongue hold still ; 

To do the best my mind shall be. 
Let every man say what he will, 
The gracious God may govern me ! 

Swyihe, quickly. Kylhe, shown. 

1 50 67^ JOHN MOFFA T. 



Brother, be wise, I reid you now 

With ladies, if it happens you, 

That wealth in no way your wit make blind ; 

Obey, and for the better bow ; 

Remember what may come behind. 

****** y. 

Though thou be stark as Hercules, 
Sampson, Hector, or Achilles, 
By force, though thou may loose and bind 
Pentagora to proof in press ; 
Remember what may come behind. 

****** ;^ 

Though thou be wise as Solomon, 
Or fair of feir as Absolom, 
Or rich as Croesus out of kind. 
Or princes' peer Ipomedon ; 
Remember what may come behind. 

If thou be wise, so is there mo' ; 
If thou be stark, there is also ; 
If thou be good, good shalt thou find ; 
If thou be ill, thou find'st thy foe ; 
Remember what may come behind. 

Neici, counsel. Stark, strong. Feir, face. 


Thus shall thou stand in no degree 
Sover forout perplexity ; 
Though thou be never so noble of kind, 
Nor 'gree so great of dignity \ 
Remember what may come behind. 

In all thy doings have good skill : 
Continue in good, reform thy ill, 
Do so that dolour may be dynd ; 
Thus may thou think, if that thou will, 
Of good and ill what comes behind. 

Mo\ more. Sover /o7-otif, secure without. Dynd, overcome. 




At matin hour, in midest of the night, 
Waked of sleep, I saw beside me sone, 
An aged man, seemed sixty years by sight. 
This sentence said, and sung it in good tone : — 
O thryn-fold and eterne God in throne ! 
To be content and love thee I have cause, 
That my light youthhead is o'er-pas't and done ; 
Honour with age to every virtue draws. 

Green youth, to age thou must obey and bow. 
Thy foolish lust lasts scant a May ; 
That then was wit, is natural folly now, 
Worldly wit, honour, riches, or fresh array : 
Defy the devil, dread death and domesday. 
For all shall be accused, as thou knaws ; 
Blessed be God, my youthhead is away j 
Honour with age to every virtue draws. 

O bitter youth ! that seem'd delicious ; 
O sweetest age ! that sometime seemed sour ; 
O reckless youth ! high, hot, and vicious ; 
O holy age ! fulfilled with honour : 

Sone, soon. Natural, foolish. Knaws, knowest. 


O flowing youth ! fruitless and fading flower, 
Contrair to conscience, lotli to love good laws, 
Of all vain gloir the lanthorn and mirrour ; 
Honour with age to every virtue draws. 

This world is set for to deceive us even ; 
Pride is the net, and covetise the train ; 
For no reward, except the joy of heaven, 
Would I be young into this world again. 
The shijD of faith, tempestuous winds and rain 
Of Lollardry, driving in the skys her blaws ; 
My youth is gone, and I am glad and fain. 
Honour with age to every virtue draws. 

Law, love, and lawtie, graven law they lye ; 
Dissimulance has borrowed conscience' clathes ; 
Writ, wax, and seals are no ways set by ; 
Flattery is fostered both with friends and faes. 
The son, to drink that which his father has. 
Would see him dead ; Sathanas such seed saws ; 
Youthhead, adieu, one of my mortal faes, 
Honour with age to every virtue draws. 

Gloir, glory. Train, snare. Fain, glad. Latvtic, loyalty. 




My maiden Isabell, 

Reflaring rosabell, 

The fragrant camomeil, 
The ruddy rosary, 

The sovereign rosemary, 

The pretty strawberry, 
The columbine, the nept, 

The gillyflower well set, 

The proper violet : 
Ennewed your colour 

Is, like the daisy-flower, 

After the April shower ! 
Star of the morrow grey. 

The blossom on the spray. 

The freshest flower of May ! 
Maidenly, demure, 

Of womanhood the lure ! 

Wherefore, I you assure, 
It were an heavenly health, 

It were an endless wealth, 

A life for God himself, 

Rosary, rose-bush. Nept, cats-mint. Proper, prelty. 


To hear this nightingale 
Among the birdes small 
WarbHng in the vale ! 

Dug, dug ! 

Jug, jug ! 
Good year ! and good luck ! 

With chuck, chuck ! 

Chuck, chuck ! 

— The Garland of Lauiel, 1. 973. 




Your ugly token 
My mind hath broken 
From worldly lust ; 
For I have discussed 
We are but dust 
And die we must. 

It is general 
To be mortal : 
I have well espied 
No man may him hide 
From Death, hollow-eyed, 
With sinews withered, 
With bones shidered, 
With his worm-eaten maw, 
And his ghastly jaw 
Gasping aside ; 
Naked of hide, 
Neither flesh nor fell 

Then, by my counsel. 
Look that ye spell 
Well thy gospel ; 
For, whereso we dwell, 
Death will us quell, 
And with us mell. 

Shidered, split. Fell, skin. Mell, meddle. 


For all our pampered paunches, 

There may no franchise, 

Nor worldly bliss, 

Redeem us from this : 

Our days be dated. 

To be checkmated 

With draughts of Death, 

Stopping our breath. 


To whom then shall we sue 
For to have rescue, 
But to sweet Jesu 
On us for to me ? 

O goodly child 
Of Mary mild ! 
Then be our shield 
That we not be exil'd 
To the dun dale 
Of bootless bale, 
Nor to the lake 
Of fiendes black. 

But grant us grace 
To see thy face. 
And to purchase 
Thine heavenly place ; 
And thy palace. 
Full of solace, 
Above the sky 
• That is so high. 

To behold and see 
The Trinity. 


Hue, take pily. 



With Marjoram gentle 

The flower of goodlyhood, 
Embroidered the mantle 

Is of your maidenhood. 
Plainly I cannot glose ; 

Ye be, as I divine, 
The pretty primrose, 

Tine goodly columbine. 
With marjoram gentle, etc. 

Benign, courteous, and meek, 

With wordes well devised ; 
In you, who list to seek, 

Be virtues well comprised. 
With marjoram gentle, 

The flower of goodlihood 
Embroidered the mantle 

Is of your maidenhood. 

— The GarliDid oj Laurel^ 1. 906. 
Glose, flatter. 






As ye may see 

Regent is she 

Of poets all, 
Which gave to me 
The high degree 
Laureat to be 

Of fame royal ; 
Whose name enrol'd 
With silk and gold 
I dare be bold 

Thus for to wear. 
Of her I hold 
And her household : 
Though I wax old 

And some deal sere, 
Yet is she fain, 
Void of disdain, 
Me to retain 

Her servitour. 
With her certain 
I will remain, 
As ray sov'rain 

Most of pleasure, 
Maulgre to us malheureux. 

Fain, glad. 



What can it avail 
To drive forth a snail? 
Or to make a sail 
Of a herring's tail ? 
To rhyme or to rail, 
To write or to indite, 
Either for delight, 
Or else for despite, 
Or books to compile 
Of divers manners style 
Vice to revile 
And sin to exile? 
To teach and to preach 
As reason will reach ? 

Say this and say that : — 
" His head is so fat, 
He wotteth never what. 
Nor whereof he speaketh : 
He cried and he creaketh, 
He pryeth and he peeketh, 
He chides and he chatters, 
He prates and he patters. 
He clitters and he clatters. 
He meddles and he smatters, 
He gloses and he flatters." 
Or if he speak plain, 
Then, — " He lacketh brain, 


He is but a fool, 
Let him go to school 
On a three-foot stool 
That he may down sit, 
For he lacketh wit." 

And, if ye stand in doubt 
Who brought this rhyme about, 
My name is Colin Clout: 
I purpose to shake out 
All my cunning-bag 
Like a clerkly hag. 
For though my rhyme be ragged. 
Tattered and jagged, 
Rudely rain-beaten, 
Rusty and moth-eaten, 
If ye take well therewith, 
It hath in it some pith. 

For, as far as I can see, 
It is wrong with each degree : 
For the Temporality 
Accuseth the Spirituahty ; 
The Spiritual again 
Doth grudge and complain 
Upon temporal men. 
Thus each the other blother 
The tone against the t'other \ 
Alas, they make me shudder ! 
For in hudder-mudder 

Ouuun,-has, bag of wisdom. Hag, fellow. Blotkcr, gabble 



The Church is put in faut ; 
The prelates been so haut, 
They say, and look so high 
As though they would fly 
Above the starry sky. 

And whilst the heads do this, 
The remenant is amiss 
Of the clergy all 
Both great and small. 
I wot never how they wark, 
But thus the people bark, 
And surely thus they say : — 
Bishops if they may 
Small houses would keep, 
But slumber forth and sleep 
And assay to creep 
Within the noble walls 
Of the kinges halls, 
To fat their bodies full. 
Their soules lean and dull, 
And have full little care 
How evil their sheep fare. 

Yet take they cure of souls 
And wotteth never what they read. 
Paternoster, Ave nor Creed, 
Construe not worth a whistle 
Neither Gospel nor 'Pistle, 
Their matins madly said, 
Nothing devoutly prayed ; 

Faiit^ fault. Haut, haughty. Wark, work. 


Their learning is so small, 
Their primes and houres fall 
And leap out of their lips 
Like saw-dust or dry chips. 
I speak not now of all, 
But the most part in general. 
• ♦ » * » 

A priest without a letter, 
Without his virtue be greater, 
Doubtless were much better 
Upon him for to take 
A mattock or a rake. 
Alas, for very shame ! 
Some cannot decline their name ; 
Some cannot scarcely read. 
And yet he will not dread 
For to keep a cure. 
» * * « * 

Thus I, Colin Clout, 
As I go about. 
And wandering as I walk, 
I hear the people talk. 

— Coli?i Clout. 



When I remember again 

How my Phillip was slain, 

Never half the pain 

Was between you twain, 

Py ramus and Thisbe, 

As then befell to me : 

I wept and I wailed, • 

The tears down hailed, 

Bat nothing it availed 

To call Phillip again, 

Whom Gib, our cat, hath slain. 


I sighed and I sobbed, 
For that I was robbed 
Of my sparrow's life. 

maiden, widow, wife, 
Of what estate ye be. 
Of high or low degree. 
Great sorrow ye might see, 
And learn to weep of me ! 

* * * * * 

So fervently I shake, 

1 feel my body quake ; 
So urgently I am brought 
Into careful thought ; 

Like Andromec, Hector's wife. 
Was weary of her life, 
When she had lost her joy. 
Noble Hector of Troy : 


In like manner also 
Encreaseth my deadly woe, 
For my sparrow is go. 

It was so pretty a fool, 
It would sit on a stool, 
And learn after my school 
For to keep his cut, 
With, " Phillip, keep you cut." 

It had a velvet cap, 
And would sit upon my lap ; 
And seek after small worms, 
And sometimes white bread crumbs. 

Sometimes he would gasp 
When he saw a wasp, 
A fly or a gnat 
He would fly at that ; 
And prettily he would pant 
When he saw an ant. 
Lord ! how he would pry 
After the butterfly ! 
Lord ! how he would hop 
After the grasshop ! 
And when I said, " Phip, Phip ! " 
Then he would leap and skip. 
And take me by the lip. 
Alas, it will me slo 
That Phillip is gone me fro', 
St in-i-qui-ta-tes^ 
Alas, I was ill at ease ! 

'ichool, instruction. Slo, slay. 


De pro-fim-dis da-ma-vi, 
When I saw my sparrow die. 

I took my sampler once, 
Of purpose, for the nonce, 
To sew, with stitches of silk, 
My sparrow white as milk ; 
That by representation 
Of his image and fashion, 
To me it might import 
Some pleasure and comfort, 
For my solace and sport. 
But when I was sewing his beak, 
Methought my sparrow did speak, 
And open his pretty bill, 
Saying, " Maid, ye are in will 
Again me for to kill ; 
Ye prick me in the head." 
With that my needle waxed red, 
Methought of Phillip's blood ; 
Mine hair right upstood, 
And was in such a fray 
My speech was taken away. 
I cast down that there was. 
And said, " Alas, alas ! 
How Cometh this to pass ? " 
My fingers, dead and cold, 
Could not my sampler hold ; 
My needle and my thread 
I threw away for dread. 
The best now that I niiiy. 
Is for his soul to pray. 


A porta inferi, 
Good Lord have mercy 
Upon my sparrow's soul, 
Written in my bead-roll. 
* * * * 

Vengeance I ask and cry, 
By way of exclamation, 
On all the whole nation 
Of cats, wild and tame ; 
God send them sorrow and shame ! 
That cat specially 
That slew so cruelly 
My little pretty sparrow 
That I brought up at Carow. 

O cat of churlish kind, 
The fiend was in thy mind. 

When thou my bird tmhvined, 

I would thou had'st been blind ! 

The leopardes savage, 

The lions in their rage, 

Might catch thee in their paws. 

And gnaw thee in their jaws ! 

The serpents of Libany 

Might sting thee venomously ; 

The dragons with their tongues 

Might poison thy liver and lungs ! 

The manticors of the mountains 

Might feed them on thy brains ! 

Of Arcady the bears 

Might pluck away thine ears 

Untwined, tore in pieces. 

c t 


The wild wolf Lycaon 
Bite asunder thy back-bone ! 
Of Etna the burning hill, 
That day and night burneth still, 
Set in thy tail a blaze ; 
That all the world may gaze, 
And wonder upon thee, 
From Ocean, the great sea, 
Unto the Isles of Orcady, 
From Tilbury Ferry 
To the plain of Salisbury. 
So traitorously my bird to kill, 
That never owed thee evil will ! 
Was never bird in cage 
More gentle ot courage. 
In doing his homage 
Unto his sovereign. 
Alas ! I say again, 
Death hath parted us tv/ain. 
The false cat hath thee slain. 

Farewell, Phillip, adieu ! 
Our Lord thy soul rescue! 
Farewell without restore. 
Farewell for evermore ! 
» * * ♦ 

For Phillip Sparrow's soul, 
Set in our bead-roll. 
Let us now whisper 
A Pater-noster ! 



Merry Margaret, 

As midsummer flower, 

Gentle as falcon, 

Or hawk of the tower : 

With solace and gladness, 

Much mirth and no madness, 

All good and no badness ; 

So joyously, 

So maidenly, 

So womanly, 
Her demeaning, 
In everything, 
Far, far passing. 
That I can indite. 
Or suffice to write, 
Of merry Margaret, 
As midsummer flower, 
Gentle as falcon 
Or hawk of the tower. 
As patient and as still. 
And as full of good-will, 
As fair Isiphil, 

Sweet Pomander, 
Good Cassander; 
Steadfast of thought, 
Well made, well wrought. 
Far may be sought, 


Ere you can find 

So courteous, so kind, 

As merry Margaret, 

This midsummer flower, 

Gentle as falcon. 

Or hawk of the tower, 

— The Garla?id of Laitre/, 1. 1004. 



Ye may liear now, in this rhyme, 
How everytliing must have a time. 

Time is a thing that no man may resist, 

Time is transitory and irrevocable ; 

Who saith the contrary ? time passeth as hmn hst, 

Time must be taken in season convenable. 

Take time when time is, for time is aye mutable : 

All thing hath time, who can for it provide, 

Bide for time who will, for time will no man bide. 

Time to be sad, and time to play and sport. 
Time to take rest by way of recreation, 
Time to study and time to use comfort. 
Time of pleasure, and time of consolation ; 
Thus time hath his time, of divers manner fashion, 
Time for to eat and drink for thy repast, 
Time to be liberal, and time to make no waste. 

Time to travail, and time for to rest, 

Time for to speak, and time for to hold thy peace, 

Time would be used, when time is best, 

Time to begin, and time for to cease, 

And when time is, put thyself in prease, 

And when time is, to hold thyseli a-back. 

For time well spent can never have lack. 

Convenable, fit. 

Prease, press. Lack, blame. 


The roots take their sap in time of Ver ; 
In time of Summer, flowers fresh and green ; 
In time of Harvest, men their corn shear : 
In time of Winter, the north wind waxeth keen, 
So bitterly biting, the flowers be not seen, 
The kalend of Janus, with his frostes hoar. 
That time is, when people must live upon the store. 

Ver, spring. 




Nyctimene, affrayed of the light, 

AVent under covert, for gone was the night ; 

As fresh Aurore, to mighty Tithon spouse, 

Issued of her saffron bed and ivory house, 

In crimson clad and grained violet. 

With sanguine cape, the selvage purpurat, 

Unshut the windows of her large hall 

Spread all with roses and full of balm royal ; 

And eke the heavenly portals crystaline 

Upwarpes broad, the world to illumine. 

The twinkling streamers of the orient 

Spread purpur sprangs with gold and azure ment, 

Piercing the sable barm kin nocturnal 

Beat down the skye's cloudy mantle-wall. 

* * » » » 

Phoebus' red fowl his coral crest 'gan steer 
Oft stretching forth his heckle, crowing clear, 
Amid the wortes and the rootes gent. 
Picking his meat in alleys where he went. 
His wives, Toppa and Pertelot, him by, 
As bird all time that haunt'is bigamy : 

Nyctimene, the owl. Upiuarpes, throws open. Sp7-anqs, streaks. 

Ment, mixed. Barmkin, rampart. Hukle, spur. 

IVortes, plants. Gent, neat. 


The painted povne, pacing with plumes gim, 
Cast up his tail, a proud pleasant wheel-rim, 
Y-shrouded in his feathering bright and sheen, 
Shaping the print of Argus' hundred eyne. 

On salt streams walked Dorida and Thetis, 
By running strandes, nymphs and naiades, 
Such as we clepe wenches and damosels. 
In grassy groves wandering by spring wells, 
Of bloomed branches and flowers white and red 
Plaiting their lusty chaplets for their head. 
Some sang songes, dances, ledes, and rounds, 
With voices shrill while all the dale resounds. 
Whereso they walk unto their carolling. 
For amorous lays doth all the rockes ring. 
One sang, " The ship sails over the salt foam. 
Will bring those merchants and my lover home : " 
Some other sings, " I will be blithe and light, 
My heart is lent upon so goodly wight." 
And thoughtful lovers roames to and fro, 
To lose their pain and 'plain their jolly woe ; 
After their guise, now singing, now in sorrow, 
With heartes pensive the long summer's morrow. 
Some ballads list indite of his lady ; 
Some lives in hope ; and some all utterly 
Despaired is, and so quite out of grace, 
His purgatory he finds in every place. 

* * * * 

Dame Nature's minstrels, on that other part. 

Their blissful lay intoning every art, 
* * » 

With merry notes mirthfully forth burst. 

* » * * 

Povne, peacock. Givi, smart. Clepe, call. Ledes, lays. 


In warbles duke of heavenly harmonies, 
The larkes, loud releshand in the skies, 
Loves their liege, with tones curious ; 
Both to Dame Nature and the fresh Venus, 
Rendering high laudes in their observance ; 
Whose sugar'd throates made glad heartes dance ; 
And all small fowles singes on the spray : — 


" Welcome, the Lord of Light and Lamp of Day ; 
Welcome, forst'rer of tender herbes green ; 
Welcome, quickener of flourished flowers sheen ; 
Welcome, support of every root and vein ; 
Welcome, comfort of all kind fruit and grain ; 
Welcome, the birdes bield upon the brier ; 
Welcome, master and ruler of the year ; 
Welcome, welfare of husbands at the ploughs ; 
Welcome, repairer of woodes, trees, and boughs ; 
Welcome, depainter of the bloomed meads ; 
Welcome, the life of everything that spreads ; 
Welcome, storer of all kind bestial ; 
Welcome be thy bright beames, gladding all ; 
Welcome, celestial mirror, and espy, 
Atteaching all that hauntes sluggardy." 

— Prologue to yEneid^ Bk. xii. 

Releshand, singing. Beiid, shelter. 



What sorrow dreis Queen Dido all the night, 
And how Mercuir bade Eneas take the flight. 

The night follows, and every weary wight 
Throughout the earth has caught anon right 
The sound, pleasant sleep them liked best ; 
Woodes and raging seas were at rest ; 
And the stars their mid course rolled down ; 
All fieldes still but other noise or soun' ; 
And beasts and bird of divers colours sere, 
And whatsoever in the broad lochs were, 
Or amang bushes harsh leyndis under the spray 
Through nightes silence sleeped where they lay 
Mesing their busy thought and cares smart, 
All irksome labour forgot and out of heart. 
But the unrestless fey spirit did not so 
Of this unhappy Phenician Dido : 
For never more may she sleep a wink 
Nor nightes rest in eyne or breast let sink : 
The heavy thoughts multiply ever onane ; 
Strong love begins to rage and rise again, 
And felon storms of ire 'gan her to shake : 
Thus finally she out bradis, alack ! 
Rolling alone sere thinges in her thought. 

— The /Eneid, Bk. iv., C. lo. 

Dreis, suffers. Bui, without. Soun\ sound. 

Sere, several. Leyndis, dwells. Mesing, diminishing 

Fey, unhappy. Onane, one another. Bradis, starts. 



Cr.AD is the ground of the tender flowers green, 

Birdes the boughes and their shawes sheen, 

The weary hunter to find his happy prey, 

The falconer the rich river o'er to flene, 

The clerk rejoices his bookes o'er to seyne, 

The lover to behold his lady gay, 

Young folk them schurtis with game, solace, and play ; 

What most delightes or likes every wight. 

Thereto stiris their courage day or night, 

Knightes delight to essay stirring steeds, 
Wanton gallants to traill in sumptuous weeds ; 
Ladies desire to behold and be seen ; 
Who would be thrifty courtiers say few creeds ; 
Some pleasure takes in romances he reads. 
And some has lust to that was never seen : 
How many heads so many conceits been ; 
Two appetites uneith accordes with other ; 
This likes thee, perchance, and not thy brother. 

Pleasure and joy right wholesome and perfect is, 

So that the wise thereof in proverb writis, 

" A blithe spirit makes green and flowering age." 

Mine author eke in Bucolikis enditis. 

The young infant first with laughter delightis 

Flcne, fly over. Seyne, see. Schurtis, divert. 

Weeds, clothes. Uneith, scarcely. 



To know his mother, when he is Httle page ; 
Who laughes not, quoth he, in his barnage, 
Genius, the God, dehghteth not their table, 
Nor Juno them to keep in bed is able. 

— Prologue to ^^neid, 13k. v. 

Baj-nage, childhood. 



What is your force but feebling of the strength ? 
Your curious thoughtes what but musardry ? 
Your fremit gladness lasts not one hour's length ; 
Your sport for shame ye dare not specify ; 
Your fruit is but unfructuous fantasy; 
Your sorry joys been but jangling and japes ; 
And your true servants silly goddes-apes. 

Your sweet mirthes are mixed with bitterness ; 
What is your dreary game? a merry pain! 
Your work unthrift ; your quiet is restless ; 
Your lust liking in languor to remain ; 
Friendship torment, your trust is but a train. 
O Love, whether are you joy or foolishness, 
That makes folk so glad of their distress ? 

Solomon's wit, Samson thou rob'st his force, 
And David thou bereft his prophecy ; 
Men say thou bridled Aristotle as a horse, 
And crelit up the flower of poetry. 
What shall I of thy mightes notify? 
Farewell ! Where that thy lusty dart assails. 
Wit, strength, riches, nothing, but grace, avails. 

Musardry, musing. Fremit, strange. J'^P^^y jests. 

Goddes apes, idiots. Train, snare. Crelit, caged. 


Thou chain of love, ha, benedicite ! 

How hard straines thy bandes every wight I 

The God above, from his high majesty, 

With thee y-bound, low on a maid did light : 

Thou vanquish'd the strong giant of great might : 

Thou art more forcy than is death so fell ; 

Thou plenest Paradise, and thou herriet Hell ! 

— Prologue to ^netd, Bk. iv. 
Forcy, mighty. Plenest, fillest. Herriet, invadest. 



HIE honour, sweet heavenly flower degest, 
Gem virtuous, most precious, goodliest. 

For high renown thou art guerdon conding, 
Of worship kend the glorious end and rest, 
But whom in right no worthy wight may lest. 
Thy great puissance may most advance all thing, 
And poveraile to mickle avail soon bring, 

1 thee require since thou but peer art best, 
That after this in thy high bliss we ring. 

Of grace thy face in every place so shines, 

That sweet all spirit both head and feet inclines, 

Thy glore afore for to implore remeid. 

He docht right nought, which out of thought thee tynes ; 

Thy name but blame, and royal fame divine is ; 

Thou port, in short, of our comfort and reid 

To bring all things to gladding after dead, 

All wight but sight of thy great might aye crynis ; 

O sheen I mean, none may sustain thy feid. 

Hail, rose most choice till close thy foes great might. 
Hail, stone which shone upon the throne of light, 
Virtue, whose true sweet dew o'erthrew all vice, 
Was aye ilk day gar say the way of light ; 

Degest, grave. Cotidiitg, suitable. But, without. 

Ring, reign. Lest, endure. Foverailc, the poor. 

Remeid, remedy. Docht, avails. lynes, loses. 

Reid, counsel. Ciynis, diminishes. I^eid, hatred. 


Amend, offend, and send our end aye right, 
Thou stand'st, ordained as sanct, oi grant most wise. 
Till be supply, and the high 'gree of price. 
Delight thee tite me quite of site to dicht, 
For I apply shortly to thy devise. 

— The Palace of Honour. P. iii. 
Grant, giving. Tite, quickly. Site, shame. 




For knighthood is not in the feats of war, 
As for to fight in quarrel right or wrong, 
But in a cause which truth can not defarre. 
He ought himself for to make sure and strong. 
Justice to keep, mixed with mercy among, 
And no quarrel a knight ought to take 
But for a truth, or for a woman's sake. 

For first good hope his leg harness should be, 

His habergion, of perfect righteousness 

Girt fast with the girdle of chastity. 

His rich /Ar^Trtr^ should be of good business 

Broider'd with almes so full of largess ; 

The helmet, meekness, and the shield, good faith, 

His sword, God's word, as Saint Paul saith. 

Also true widows, he ought to restore 

Unto their right, for to attain their dower ; 

And to uphold, and maintain evermore 

The wealth of maidens, with his mighty power, 

And to his soverain at every manner hour 

To be ready, true, and eke obeysant, 

In stable love fix't, and not variant. 

— Pastime of Pleasure. 

Defarre, undo. Placara, breastplate. 



Where that is measure, there is no lacking ; 
Where that is measure, whole is the body ; 
Where that is measure, good is the living ; 
Where that is measure, wisdom is truely ; 
Where that is measure, work is directly ; 
Where that is measure, nature's working ; 
Nature increaseth by right good knowledging. 

Where lacketh measure, there is no plenty \ 
Where lacketh measure, sick is the courage ; 
Where lacketh measure, there is iniquity; 
Where lacketh measure, there is great outrage ; 
Where lacketh measure, is none advantage ; 
Where lacketh measure, there is great gluttony ; 
Where lacketh measure, is most unhappy. 

For there is no high nor great estate 
Without measure can keep his dignity, 

It doth preserve him both early and late, 
Keeping him from the pit of poverty. 
Measure is moderate to all bounty, 

Greatly needful for to take the charge, 

Man for to rule that he go not at large. 

Who loveth measure cannot do amiss, 

So perfect is the high operation ; 
Among all things so wonderful it is 


That it is full of all delectation, 

And to virtue hath inclination ; 
Measure also doth well exemplify 
The hasty doom to 'suage and modify. 

Without measure, woe worth the judgment ; 
Without measure, woe worth the temperance ; 
Without measure, woe worth the punishment ; 
Without measure, woe worth the purveyance ; 
Without measure, woe worth the sustenance ; 
Without measure, woe worth the sadness ; 
And without measure, woe worth the gladness. 

Measure, mesuring, mesuratly taketh ; 
Measure, mesuring, mesuratly doeth all ; 
Measure, mesuring, mesuratly maketh ; 
Measure, mesuring, mesuratly guide shall ; 
Measure, mesuring, mesuratly doth call ; 
Measure, mesuring, to right high pre-eminence, 
For always measure is the ground of excellence 

Measure mesureth measure in effect ; 
Measure mesureth every quantity; 
Measure mesureth all way the aspect ; 
Measure mesureth all in certainty ; 
Measure, mesureth in the stability ; 
Measure mesureth in every doubtful case ; 
And measure is the load-star of all grace. 

T'effect of measure is long continuance ; 
Quantity without measure is nought; 
Aspect of measure denudeth repentance ; 

Doom, judgment. Denudeth, renders unnecessary. 


Certain would weigh all things thought ; 
Stability upon a perfect ground is wrought ; 
Case doubtful may yet a while abide ; 
Grace may in space a remedy provide. 

Countenance causeth the promotion ; 
Nought availeth service without attendance ; 
Repentance is after all abusion ; 
Thought afore would have had perseverance ; 
Wrought how should be by deed the mischance ; 
Abide nothing till thou do the deed ; 
Provide in mind how thou may'st have meed. 

Promotion groweth after good governance ; 
Attendance doth attain good favour ; 
Abusion is causer of all variance ; 
Perseverance causeth great honour ; 
Mischance alway is root of dolour ; 
Deed done, cannot be called again ; 
Need will rewarded both with joy and pain. 

Pastime of Plea sure y Canto xii. 
Abusion, abuse. 




We daily prove by example and evidence, 

That many be made fools, mad and ignorant, 

By the broad world, putting trust and confidence 

In Fortune's wheel, imsure and inconstant : 

Some assay the wheel, thinking it pleasant, _ 

But while they so climb up have pleasure and desire 

Their feet them faileth, so fall they in the mire. 

Promote a yeoman, make him a gentleman, 

And make a baiUff of a butcher's son. 

Make of a squire, kniyht ; yet will they, if they can. 

Covet in their minds higher promotion : 

And many in the world have this condition, 

In hope of honour by treason to conspire, 

But oft they slide and so fall in the mire. 

Such look so high, that they forget their feet. 
On Fortune's wheel, which turneth as a ball, 
They seek degrees for their small might unmeet, 
Their foolish hearts and blind see not their fall, 
Some fooles purpose to have realm royal, 
Or climb by Fortune's wheel to an empire, 
The wheel then turneth, leaving them m the mire. 


O blind man say, what is thine intent ? 

To worldly honours so greatly to intejid, 

Or here to make thee high, rich, and excellent, 

Since that so shortly thy life must have an end : 

None is so worthy nor can so high ascend. 

Nor nought is so sure, if thou the truth enquire, 

But that he may doubt to fall down to the mire. 

There is no lord, duke, king, or other estate 
But die they must, and from this world go : 
All worldly things which God hath here create, 
Shall not aye bide, but have an end also. 
What mortal man hath been promoted so 
In worldly wealth or uncertain dignity 
That ever of life had hour of certainty. 

In stormy winds lowest trees are most sure. 
And houses surest which are not builded high. 
Whereas high buildings may no tempest endure 
Without they be founded sure and steadfastly ; 
So greatest men have most fear and jeopardy, 
Better is poverty, though it be hard to bear, 
Than is an high degree in jeopardy and fear. 

The hills are high, the valleys are but low. 
In valleys is corn, the hills are barren, 
On highest place most grass doth not aye grow : 
A merry thing is measure, and easy to sustain, 
The highest in great fear, the lowest live in pain. 
Yet better lie on ground, having no name at all. 
Than high on a differing alway to fall. 

— The S/iiJ) of Fools. 

Intend, be intent upon. 




A STUDENT at his book so placed 
That wealth he might have won, 

From book to wife did fleet in haste, 
From wealth to woe to run. 

Now who hath played a feater cast, 

Since juggling first begun ? 
In knitting of himself so fast 

Himself he hath undone. 

Feater, neater. 




All creature that ever God create, 
As writes Paul, they wish to see that day 
When the children of God, predestinate, 
Shall do appear in their new fresh array ; 
When corruption is cleansed clean away. 
And changed is their mortal quality 
In the great glore of immortahty. 

And, moreover, all dead things corporal, 
Under the concave of the Heaven's empire, 
That now to labour subject are and thrall, 
Sun, moon, and stars, earth, water, air, and fire, 
In one manner they have one hot desire, 
Wishing that day, that they may be at rest, 
As Erasmus expoundes manifest. 

We see the great Globe of the Firmament 
Continually in moving marvellous ; 
The seven Planets, contrary their intent, 
Are reft about, with course contrarious ; 
The wind and sea, with stormes furious. 
The troubled air, with frostes, snow, and rain. 
Unto that day they travel e'er in pain. 

Glofc, glory. 


And all the Angels of the Orders Nine, 
Having compassion of our miseries, 
They wish after that day, and to \}i\z.\. fine, 
To see us freed from our infirmities, 
And cleansed from these great calamities 
And troublous life, which never shall have end 
Until that day, I make it to thee kend. 

— The Monarchy. 
Fine, end. Kciul, known. 



When God had made the heavens bright, 
The sun and moon for to give hght, 
The starry heaven and ChrystaUine, 
And, by his sapience divine, 
The planets, in their circles round 
Whirling about with merry sound. 
* * * * * 

He clad the earth with herbs and trees ; 
All kinds of fishes in the seas ; 
All kind of beasts he did prepare ; 

With fowles flying in the air. 

» « * * * 

When heaven and earth, and their contents, 

Were ended, with their ornaments, 

Then, last of all, the Lord began 

Of most vile earth to make the man ; 

Not of the Lilly, nor the Rose, 

Nor Syper-tree, as I suppose, 

Neither of gold nor precious stones, 

Of earth he made flesh, blood and bones. 

To that intent God made him thus, 

That man should not be glorious, 

Nor in himself no thing should see, 

But matter of humility. 

— The Alonarcliy. 
Syper, Cypress. 



Their great fortress then did they found, 
And cast till they gat sure ground. 
All fell to work, both man and child, 
Some hoiked clay, some burnt the tyld. 
Nimrod that curious champion, 
Deviser was of that dungeon. 
Nothing they spared their labours, 
Like busy bees upon the flowers. 
Or emmets travelling into June ; 
Some under wrought, and some aboon, 
With strong ingenious masonry, 
Upward their work to fortify. 

» » * » * 

The land about was fair and plain, 
And it rose hke a high mountain. 
These foolish people did intend 
That to the heaven it should ascend : 
So great a strength was never seen 
In all the world with men's e'en. 

Then the great God omnipotent. 
To whom all things be present, 
He, seeing the ambition. 
And the prideful presumption, 
How these proud people did pretend 
Up through the heavens to ascend, * * * 

Hoiked, excavated. Tyld, bricks. Aboou, above. 



Such languages on them he laid, 

Tiiat none wist what another said ; 

Where was but one language afore, 

God sent them languages three-score ; 

Afore that time all spake Hebrew, 

Then some began for to speak Grew, 

Some Dutch, some language Saracen, 

And some began to speak Latin. 

The master men 'gan to go wild. 

Crying for trees, they brought them tyld. 

Some said, " Bring mortar here at once," 

Then brought they to them stocks and stones ; 

And Nimrod, their great champion, 

Ran raging like a wild lion, 

Menacing them with wordes rude, 

But never one word they understood. 

— The Monarchy, 
Grezv, Greek. "^yld, bricks. 

S//^ DA VID LINDSA V. 195 


Then clarions and trumpets blew, 
And warriors many hither drew ; 
On every side came many a man 
To behold who the battle wan. 
The field was in the meadow green, 
Where every man might well be seen : 
The heralds put them so in order. 
That no man passed within the border ; 
Nor press'd to come within the green, 
But heralds, and the champions keen : 
The order and the circumstance 
Were long to put in remembrance. 
Then these two noble men of war 
Were well accoutred in their geir, 
And in their handes strong burdouns ; 
Then trumpets blew and clarions, 
And heralds cried high on height, 
" Now let them go ; God show the right !' 

Then trumpets blew triumphantly, 
And these two champions eagerly. 
They spurr'd their horse with spear on breast. 
Pertly to prove their pith they press'd. 
« ♦ * » * 

IVati, should win. Burdouns, spears. Pertly, boldly. 


The trenchour of the Squire's spear 
Stuck still into Sir Talbart's gear. 
Then every man into that stead 
Did all believe that he was dead. 
The Squire lap right hastily 
From his courser deliverly, 
And to Sir Talbart made support, 
And humblily did him comfort. 
When Talbart saw into his shield 
An otter in a silver field, 
" This race," said he, " I sore may rue, 
For I see well my dream was true ; 
Methought yon otter gart me bleed 
And bore me backward from my steed ; 
But here I vow to God soverain, 
That I shall never joust again." 
And sweetly to the Squire said, 
" Thou know'st the cimning that we made, 
Which of us two should tyne the field. 
He should both horse and armour yield 
To him that won, wherefore I will 
My horse and armour give thee till." 
Then said the Squire, courteously, 
" Brother, I thank you heartfully ; 
Of you, forsooth, nothing I crave. 
For I have gotten that I would have." 

— History of Squire Meldrum. 

Trenchour, head. Stead, place. Deliverly, actively. 

(7a;-/, caused. Ctmnuig, agreement. Tyne, lose. 



Marry. I lent my gossip my mare, to fetch liome coals, 

And he her drowned into the quarry holes; 

And I ran to the Consistory, for to 'plain. 

And there I happened among a greedy meine. 

They gave me first a thing they call Citandum ; 

Within eight days, I got but Libellandum ; 

Within a month, I got Ad oppenendum ; 

In half a year, I got Interloquendum ; 

And syne I got — how call ye it? — Ad replicandum. 

But I could never one word yet understand them ; 

And then, they gart me cast out many placks, 

And gart me pay for four-and-twenty acts. 

But, ere they came half gait to Concludendum, 

The fiend one plack was left for to defend him. 

Thus they postponed me two years, with their train. 

Syne, Hcdie ad octo, bad me come again. 

And then, these rooks, they roupit wonder fast, 

For sentence silver, they cried at the last. 

Of Pronunciandum they made me wonder fain ; 

But I got never my good grey mare again. 

— The Three Estates. 

Meine, compnny. Syne, then. Gart, made. 

riacks, a Scottish coin. Gait, way. Train, quibbles. 

Rotipit, croaked. 



My patent pardons, ye may see, 
Come fro' the Khan of Tartary, 

Well sealed with oyster shells ; 
Though ye have no contrition, 
Ye shall have full remission, 

With help of books and bells. 
Here is a relic, long and braid, 
Of Fin MacouU the right chaft-blaid. 

With teeth and all togidder : 
Of CoUing's cow, here is an horn. 
For eating of Mackonnal's corn 

Was slain at Balquhidder. 
Here is a cord both great and long, 
Which hanged Johnnie the Armstrong, 

Of good hemp, soft and sound ; 
Good, holy people, I stand for't, 
Who e'er beis hanged with this cord 

Needs never to be drown'd. 
The culum of Saint Bryd's cow, 
The gruntill of Saint Antony's sow, 

Which bear his holy bell ; 
Who e'er he be hears this bell clinck, 
Give me a ducat for to drink. 

He shall never go to Hell, 
Without he be of Belial born : 
Masters, trow ye, that this be scorn ! 

Come, win this pardon, come. 

— The Three Estates. 

Braid, liroad. Chafi-hlaid, jaw-bone. Culum, tail 

Gruntill, snout. 



He me absolved for a plake, 

Though he no price with me would make ; 

And mickle Latin he did mumble, 

I heard nothing but hummill-bummill. 

He show'd me nought of Codes word, 

Which sharper is than any sword. 

He counsel'd me not to abstain, 
And lead an holy life and clean : 
Of Christes blood nothing he knew, 
Nor of his promises full true. 
That saves all that will believe, 
That Satan shall us never grieve. 

He teached me not for to trust 
The comfort of the Holy Ghost : 

He bade me not to Christ be kind ; 

To keep his law with heart and mind, 

And love, and thank his great mercy. 

From sin and hell that saved me ; 

And love my neighbour as my sell, — 

Of this no thing he could me tell. 

But gave me penance, ilk a day 

An Ave Marie for to say : 

And Fridays five no fish to eat, 

But butter and eggs are better meat ; 

And with a plake to buy a mass. 

From drunken Sir John Latinless. 

— Kittiti Confession. 

Flake, a Scottish coin. HumirMl-biimmiU, muttering. Sell, self. 




When these things following be done to our intent, 
Then put in women trust and confident. 

When nettles in winter bring forth roses red, 

And all manner of thorn trees bear figs naturally, 

And geese bear pearls in every mead, 
And laurel bear cherries abundantly, 
And oaks bear dates very plenteously, 
And kisks give of honey superfluence, 
Then put in women trust and confidence. 

Wlien box bear paper in every land and town. 
And thistles bear berries in every place, 

And pikes have naturally feathers in their crown. 
And bulls of the sea sing a good bass, 
And men be the ships fishes trace, 
And in women be found no insipience, 
Then put in them trust and confidence. 

When whitings do walk forests to chase harts, 
And herrings their horns in forests boldly blow 

And marmsets morn in moors and lakes, 
And gurnards shoot rooks out of a crossbow, 
And goslings hunt the wolf to overthrow. 
And sprats bear spears in amies of defence, 

Then put in women trust and confidence. 

Kisks, hemlock stalks. 


When swine be cunning in all points of music, 

And asses be doctors of every science, 
And cats do heal men by practising of physic, 

And buzzards to scripture give any credence, 
And merchants buy with horn, instead of groats and pence, 

And pyes be made poets for their eloquence, 

Then put in women trust and confidence. 

When sparrows build churches on a height, 

And wrens carry sacks unto the mill, 
And curlews carry timber houses to dight, 

And fomalls bear butter to market to sell, 

And woodcocks bear woodknives cranes to kill. 
And greenfinches to goslings do obedience, 

Then put in women trust and confidence. 

When crows take salmon in woods and parks, 
And be take with swifts and snails. 

And camels in the air take swallows and larks, 

And mice move mountains by wagging of their tails. 

And shipmen take a ride instead of sails, 

And when wives to their husbands do no offence, 
Then put in women trust and confidence. 

When antelopes surmount eagles in flight, 

And swans be swifter than hawks of the tower, 

And wrens set gos-hawks by force and might, 
And muskets make verjuice of crabbes sour, 
And ships sail on dry land, silt give flower, 

And apes in Westminster give judgment and sentence, 
Then put in women trust and confidence. 

— Circa 14S0. 

Dight, build. Silt, mud. 


(the fifth fit.) 

Lythe and listen, gentlemen, 
And hearken what I shall say, 

How the proud sheriff of Nottingham 
Did cry'a full fair play ; 

That all the best archers of the North 

Should come upon a day, 
And he that shooteth alder best 

The game shall bear away. 

He that shooteth alder best 

Furthest fair and low, 
At a pair of finely butts. 

Under the greenwood shaw, 

A right good arrow he shall have, 

The shaft of silver white. 
The head and the feathers of lich red gold, 

In England is none like. 

This then heard good Robin, 

Under his trystell tree, 
" Make you ready, ye wight young men, 

That shooting will I see. 

Alder, of all. Shaw, shade. Trysiell, trysting. 

Wight, strong. 


" Busk you, my merry young men, 

Ye shall go with me ; 
And I will wete the sheriffs faith, 

True and if he be." 

When they had their bows y-bent, 
Their tackles feathered free, 

Seven score of wight young men 
Stood by Robin's knee. 

When they came to Nottingham, 
The butts were fair and long, 

Many was the bold archer 

That shooted with bows strong. 

There shall but six shoot with me, 
The others shall keep my head, 

And stand with good bows bent 
That I be not deceived. 

The fourth outlaw his bow 'gan bent, 
And that was Robin Hood, 

And that beheld the proud sheriff, 
All by the butt he stood. 

Thrice Robin shot about. 

And always he slic'd the wand, 

And so did good Gilbert, 
With the white hand. 

M^e/e, know. IV''£^^, fine. 


Little John and good Scathelock 
Were archers good and free ; 

Litde Much and good Reynold, 
The worst would they not be. 

When they had shot about, 
These archers fair and good. 

Evermore was the best, 
Forsooth, Robin Hood. 

Him was delivered the good arrow. 
For best worthy was he ; 

He took the gift so courteously, 
To greenwood would he. 

They cried out on Robin Hood, 
And great horns 'gan they blow. 

'• Woe worth thee, treason ! " said Robin, 
" Full evil thou art to know. 

" And woe be thou, thou proud sheriff, 

Thus gladding thy guest, 
Otherwise thou behote me. 

In yonder wild forest. 

*•' But had I thee in greenwood, 

Under my trystell tree, 
Thou shouldest leave me a better wedde 

Than thy true loy'lty." 

CLhhi'in^; cnteitaining. Behoie, promised. IVcddc, pledge. 


Full many a bow there was bent, 

And arrows let they glide, 
Many a kirtle there was rent, 

And hurt many a side. 

The outlaws' shot was so strong, 
That no man might them drive, 

And the proud sheriff's men 
They fled away full blyve. 

Robin saw the bushment to-broke, 
In greenwood he would have be, 

Many an arrow there was shot 
Among that company. 

Little John was hurt full sore, 

With an arrow in his knee. 
That he might neither go nor ride ; 

It was full great pity. 

" Master," then said Little John, 

" If ever thou lovest me. 
And for that ilk Lord's love, 

That died upon a tree, 

" And for the meeds of my service, 

That I have served thee, 
Let never the proud Sheriff 

Alive now finde me ; 

Blyve, fast. Bushment to-broke, ambush broken. ///■, same. 


" Eut take out thy browne sword, 
And smite all off my head, 

And give me woundes dead and wide, 
That I after eat no bread." 

" I would not that," said Robin, 
" John, that thou wert slaw, 

For all the gold in merry England, 
Though it now lay on a raw." 

" God forbid," said little Much, 

" That died on a tree. 
That thou shouldest, little John, 

Part our company." 

Up he took him on his back, 
And bare him well a mile, 

Many a time he laid him down, 
And shot another while. 

Then was there a fair castel, 

A little within the wood, 
Double-ditched it was about. 

And walled, by the rood ! 

And there dwelled that gentle knight. 

Sir Richard at the Lee, 
That Robin had lent his goods, 

Under the greenwood tree. 

Slati), slain. Jiaw, row. 


In he tooke good Robin, 

And all his company ; 
" Welcome be thou ; Robin Hood, 

Welcome art thou to me ; 

" And much I thank thee of thy comfort, 

And of thy courtesy, 
And of thy great kindeness. 

Under the greenwood tree. 

" I love no man in all the world 

So much as I do thee ; 
For all the proud sheriff of Nottingham, 

Right here shalt thou be. 

" Shut the gates and draw the bridge, 

And let no man come in ; 
And arm you well, and make you ready, 

And to the wall ye win. 

" For one thing, Robin, I thee behote, 

I swear by Saint Quintin, 
These twelve days thou wonnest with me, 

To suppe, eat, and dine." 

Boards were laid and clothes spread, 

Readily and anone; 
Robin Hood and his merry men 

To meate 'gan them gone. 

Win, get. Behote, promise. Wonnest. dwellest. 



There are twelve months in all the year, 

As I hear many say, 
But the merriest month in all the year 

Is the merry month of May, 

Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone, 

With a link-a-down and a day, 
And there he met a silly woman, 

Was weeping on the way. 

"What news? what news? thou silly old woman, 

What news hast thou for me ? " 
Said she, " There's three squires in Nottingham town 

To-day are condemned to die." 

" Oh have they parishes burnt," he said, 

" Or have they ministers slain ? " 
" They have no parishes burnt, good sir, 

Nor yet have ministers slain." 

" Oh what have they done ? " said Robin Hood, 

" I pray thee tell to me." 
" It's for slaying of the king's fallow deer. 

Bearing their long bows with thee." 

" Dost thou not mind, old woman," he said, 
" Since thou made me sup and dine ? 

By the truth of my body," quoth bold Robin Hood, 
"You could not tell it in better time." 


Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone, 

With a Hnk-a-down and a day. 
And there he met with a silly old palmer, 

Was walking along the highway. 

" What news ? what news ? thou silly old man. 

What news, I do thee pray?" 
Said he, " Three squires in Nottingham town, 

Are condemn'd to die this day." 

" Come change thy apparel with me, old man, 

Come changg^ thy apparel for mine ; 
Here is forty shillings in good silver, 

Go drink it in beer or wine." 

" Oh, thine apparel is good," he said, 

" And mine is ragged and torn , 
Wherever you go, wherever you ride. 

Laugh ne'er an old man to scorn." 

" Come change thy apparel with me, old churl, 

Come change thy apparel with mine ; 
Here are twenty pieces of good broad gold. 

Go feast thy brethren with wine." 

Then he put on the old man's hat. 

It stood full high on the crown ; 
" The first bold bargain that I come at, 

It shall make thee come down." 

Then he put on the old man's cloak, 

Was patch'd black, blue, and red ; 
He thought it no shame all the day long, 

To wear the bags of bread. 


Then he put on the old man's hose, 

Were patched from knee to wrist : 
'* By the truth of my body," said bold Robin Hood, 

" I'd laugh if I had my Hst." 

Then he put on the old man's shoes, 
Were patched both beneath and aboon ; 

Then Robin Hood swore a solemn oath, 
It's good habit that makes a man. 

Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone, 

With a link-a-down and a dotmt, 
And there he met with the proud sheriff. 

Was walking along the town. 

" Oh, Christ you save, oh sheriff," he said, 

" Oh Christ you save and see ! 
And what will you give to a silly old man 

To-day will your hangman be ? " 

" Some suits, some suits," the sheriff he said, 

" Some suits I'll give to thee ; 
Some suits, some suits, and pence thirteen, 

To-day's a hangman's fee." 

Then Robin Hood he turns him round about, 

And jumps from stock to stone : 
" By the truth of my body," the sherifi' he said, 

"That's well jump'd, thou nimble old man." 

" I was ne'er hangman in all my life, 

Nor yet intends to trade ; 
But curst be he," said bold Robin, 

" That first a hangman was made." 

Aboon^ above. 


" I've a bag for meal, and a bag for malt, 

And a bag for barley and corn ; 
A bag for bread and a bag for beef, 

And a bag for my little small horn. 

" I have a horn in my pocket, 

I got it from Robin Hood, 
And still when I set it to my mouth. 

For thee it blows little good." 

" Oh, wind thy horn, my proud fellow. 

Of thee I have no doubt \ 
I wish that thou give such a blast, 

Till both thine eyes fall out." 

The first loud blast that he did blow, 

He blew both loud and shrill ; 
A hundred and fifty of Robin Hood's men 

Came riding over the hill. 

The next loud blast that he did give, 

He blew both loud and amain ; 
And quickly sixty of Robin Hood's men 

Came shining over the plain. 

" Oh, who are those," the sheriff he said, 

" Come tripping over the lee ? " 
" They're my attendants," brave Robin did say, 

" They pay a visit to thee." 

They took the gallows from the slack, 

They set it in the glen. 
They hang'd the proud sheriff on that. 

Released their own three men. 

Slack, valley. 



Be it right, or wrong, these men among 

On women do complain ; 

Affirming this, how that it is 

A labour spent in vain 

To love them wele ; for never a dele 

They love a man again : 

For let a man do what he can 

Their favour to attain, 

Yet, if a new to them pursue. 

Their first true lover than 

Laboureth for nought ; and from her thought 

He is a banished man. 

I say not nay, but that all day 

It is both writ and said 

That woman's faith is, as who saith, 

All utterly decayed ; 

But nevertheless, right good witness 

In this case might be laid. 

That they love true, and continue, 

Record the Nut-Brown Maid : 

Which, from her love, when her to prove, 

He came to wake his moan, 

Would not depart, for in her heart 

She loved but him alone. 

Wek, well. Dck, bit. Than, then. 


Then between us let us discuss 

What was all the manere 

Between them two : we will also 

Tell all the pain in fere 

That she was in. Now I begin 

See that ye me answere : 

Wherefore, all ye, that present be, 

I pray you give an ear. 

1 am the Knight. I come by night, 

As secret as I can ; 

Saying, "Alas ! thus standeth the case, 

I am a banished man." 

And I your will for to fulfil 

In this will not refuse ; 

Trusting to shew, in wordes {&n, 

What men have an ill use 

(To their own shame) women to blame. 

And causeless them accuse : 

Therefore to you I answer now, 

All women to excuse, — 

*' Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer? 

I pray you tell anone : 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" It standeth so : a deed is do 
Whereof much harm shall grow ; 
My destiny is for to die 
A shameful death, I trow ; 

In fere, altogether. 


Or else to flee. The one must be, 

None other way I know, 

But to withdraw as an outlaw, 

And take me to my bow. 

Wherefore, adieu, my own heart true ! 

None other rede I can : 

For I must to the green wood go, 

Alone, a banished man." 


" O Lord, what is this worldes bliss, 

That changeth as the moon ! 

My summer's day in lusty May 

Is darked before the noon. 

I hear you say farewell : Nay, nay ! 

We depart not so soon. 

Why say ye so ? whither will ye go ? 

Alas ! what have ye done ? 

All my welfare to sorrow and care 

Should change, if ye were gone : 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" I can believe, it shall you grieve, 
And somewhat you distrain ; 
But, afterward, your paines hard 
Within a day or twain 
Shall soon aslake, and ye shall take 
Comfort to you again. 

Rede, counsel. 


Why should ye nought ? for, to make thought, 

Your labour were in vain. 

And thus I do ; and pray you, lo. 

As heartily as I can : 

For I must to the green wood go, 

Alone, a banished man." 


" Now, sith that ye have shewed to me 

The secret of your mind, 

I shall be plain to you again, 

Like as ye shall me find. 

Sith it is so, that ye will go, 

I will not leave behind. 

Shall never be said, the Nut-brown Maid 

Was to her love unkind : 

Make you read)^, for so am I, 

Although it were anone : 

For in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" Yet I you rede take good heed 
What men will think and say ; 
Of young, of old, it shall be told. 
That ye be gone away. 
Your wanton will for to fulfil. 
In green wood you to play ; 
And that ye might from your delight 
No longer make delay. 

Silh^ since. Rede, counsel. 


Rather than ye should thus for me 
Be called an ill wom^n, 
Yet would I to the green wood go, 
Alone, a banished man." 


" Though it be sung of old and young, 

That I should be to blame, 

Theirs be the charge that speak so large 

In hurting of my name : 

For I will prove, that faithful love 

It is devoid of shame, 

In your distress and heaviness 

To share with you the same ; 

And sure all tho' that do not so, 

True lovers are they none ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" I counsel you, remember how 

It is no maiden's law 

Nothing to doubt, but to run out 

To wood with an outlaw ; 

For ye must there in your hand bear 

A bow to bend and draw ; 

And, as a thief, thus must ye live, 

Ever in dread and awe ; 

By which to you great harm might grow ; 

Yet had I liefer than 

That I had to the green wood go. 

Alone, a banished man." 



*' I think not nay, but as ye say, 

It is no maiden's lore \ 

But love may make me for your sake, 

As ye have said before, 

To come on foot, to hunt and shoot 

To get us meat and store ; 

For so that I your company 

May have, I ask no more ; 

From which to part, it maketh my heart 

As cold as any stone : 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" For an outldw, this is the law 
That men him take and bind ; 
Without pitie, hanged to be, 
And waver with the wind. 
If I had need, (as God forbede !) 
What rescues could ye find ? 
Forsooth, I trow, you and your bow 
Should draw for fear behind. 
And no mervail ; for little avail 
Were in your counsel than : 
Wherefore I to the wood will go, 
Alone, a banished man." 


" Full well know ye, that women be 
Full feeble for to fight ; 
No womanhede it is indeed 
To be bold as a knight : 


Yet, in such fear if that ye were 

Among enemies (Jay and night, 

I would withstand, with bow in hand, 

To grieve them as I might, 

And you to save ; as women have 

From death many one ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" Yet take good heed ; for ever I drede 
That ye could not sustain 
The thorny ways, the deep valleys, 
The snow, the frost, the rain. 
The cold, the heat : for dry or wet, 
We must lodge on the plain ; 
" And, us above, none other roof 
But a brake bush or twain ; 
Which soon should grieve you, I believe ; 
And ye would gladly than 
That I had to the green wood go. 
Alone, a banished man," 


" Sith I have here been party near 

With you of joy and bliss, 

I must also part of your woe 

Endure, as reason is : 

Yet am I sure of one pleasure ; 

And, shortly it is this : 

That, where ye be, me seemeth, perd^ 

I could not fare amiss. 


Without more speech, I you beseech 
That ye were soon agone ; 
For, in my mind, of all mankind 
I love but you alone." 


" If ye go thither, ye must consider, 
When ye have lust to dine, 
There shall ne meat be for to get, 
Nor drink, beer, ale, ne wine. 
Ne sheetes clean, to lie between, 
Made of thread and twine ; 
None other house, but leaves and boughs, 
To cover your head and mine ; 
Lo mine heart sweet, this ill diet 
Should make you pale and wan : 
Wherefore I to the wood will go, 
Alone, a banished man." 


" Among the wild deer, such an archere. 

As men say that ye be, 

Ne may not fail of good vitayle, 

Where is so great plenty ; 

And water clear of the rivere 

Shall be full sweet to me ; 

With which in hele I shall right wele 

Endure, as ye shall see ; 

And, ere we go, a bed or two 

I can provide anone ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 

Hele, health. 



" Lo yet, before, ye must do more, 

If ye will go with me : 

As cut your hair up by your ear, 

Your kirtle by the knee, 

With bow in hand, for to withstand 

Your enemies, if need be : 

And this same night, before daylight, 

To woodward will I flee. 

And ye will all this fulfil, 

Do it shortly as ye can : 

Else will I to the green wood go, 

Alone, a banished man." 


" I shall as now do more for you 
Than 'longeth to womanhede; 
To short my hair, a bow to bear, 
I shoot in time of need, 

my sweet mother ! before all other 
For you have I most drede ! 

But now, adieu ! I must ensue, 

Where fortune doth me lead. 

All this make ye. Now let us flee ; 

The day come fast upon : 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

1 love but you alone." 


" Nay, nay, not so ; ye shall not go, 
And I shall tell you why, — 
Your appetite is to be light 
Of love, I well espy ; 


For, right as ye have said to me, 

In Uke wise hardily 

Ye would answere whosoever it were, 

In way of company. 

It is said of old, soon hot, soon cold ; 

And so is a woman : 

Wherefore I to the wood will go, 

Alone, a banished man." 


" If ye take heed, it is no need 

Such words to say by me ; 

For oft ye prayed, and long assayed. 

Ere I you loved, parde ; 

And though that I of ancestry 

A baron's daughter be, 

Yet have you proved how I you loved 

A squire of low degree ; 

And ever shall, whatso befall ; 

To die therefore anone ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


« A baron's child to be beguiled ! 

It were a cursed deed ; 

To be fellaw with an outlaw. 

Almighty God forbede ! 

Yet better were, the poor squyere 

Alone to forest yede. 

Yede, went. 


Than ye shall say another day, 

That by my wicked deed, 

Ye were betrayed : wherefore, good maid, 

The best rede that I can, 

Is, that I to the green wood go, 

Alone, a banished man." 


" Whatsoever befall, I never shall 

Of this thing you upbraid : 

But if ye go, and leave me so, 

Then have ye me betrayed. 

Remember you weel, how that ye deal ; 

For if ye, as ye said. 

Be so unkind to leave behind 

Your love, the Nut-brown Maid, 

Trust me truly, that I die 

Soon after ye be gone ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


"If that ye went, ye should repent \ 

For in the forest now 

I have purveyed me of a maid, 

Whom I love more than you ; 

Another fairer than ever ye were, 

I dare it well avow ; 

And of you both, each should be wroth 

With other, as I trow : 

Rede, counsel. 


It were mine ease, to live in peace ; 
So will I, if I can : 
Wherefore I to the wood will go, 
Alone, a banished man." 


" Though in the wood I understood 

Ye had a paramour, 

All this may nought remove my thought, 

But that I will be your ; 

And she shall find me soft and kind, 

And courteous every hour: 

Glad to fulfil all that she will 

Command me, to my power; 

For had ye lo ! an hundred rao', 

Yet would I be that one ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" Mine own dear love, I see the proof 

That ye be kind and true ; 

Of maid, and wife, in all my life, 

The best that ever I knew. 

Be merry and glad ; be no more sad ; 

The case is changed new ; 

For it were ruth that for your truth 

You should have cause to rue. 

Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said 

To you, when I began : 

I will not to the green wood go ; 

I am no banished man." 

Mo\ more. 



" These tidings be more glad to me 

Than to be made a queen, 

If I were sure they should endure : 

But it is often seen, 

When men will break promise they speak 

The wordes on the spleen. 

Ye shape some wile me to beguile, 

And steal from me, I ween ; 

Then were the case worse than it was, 

And I more wo-begone ; 

For, in my mind, of all mankind 

I love but you alone." 


" Ye shall not need further to drede : 

I will not disparage 

You (God defend !) sith you descend 

Of so great a linage. 

Now understand : to Westmoreland, 

Which is my heritage, 

I will you bring : and with a ring, 

By way of marriage 

I will you take, and lady make, 

As shortly as I can : 

Thus have ye won an carle's son. 

And not a banished man." 

Here may ye see, that women be 
In love, meek, kind, and stable ; 
Let never man reprove them than, 
Or call them variable ; 

Sith, since. 


But, rather, pray God that we may 

To them be comfortable. 

Which sometime proveth such as he loveth. 

If they be charitable. 

For since men would that women should 

Be meek to them each one ; 

Much more ought they to God obey, 

And serve but him alone. 



I WILL you tell a full good sport, 
How gossips gather them on a sort, 
Their sick bodies for to comfort, 
When they meet in a lane or a street. 

But I dare not, for their displeasance. 
Tell of these matters half the substance ; 
But yet somewhat of their governance, 
As far as I dare I will declare. 

" Good gossip mine, where have ye be ? 
It is so long since I you see ! 
Where is the best wine ? tell you me : 
Can you aught tell full well ? " 

" I know a draught of merry -go-down, — 
The best it is in all this town : 
But yet I would not, for my gown. 
My husband it wist, — ye may me trust. 

" Call forth your gossips by and by, — 
Elinore, Joan, and Margery, 
Margaret, Alice, and Cecily, 
For they will come both all and some. 

" And each of them will somewhat bring, - 
Goose, pig, or capon's wing. 
Pasties of pigeons, or some such thing : 
For a gallon of wine they will not wring. 


" Go before by twain and twain, 
Wisely, that ye be not seen ; 
For I must home — and come again — 
To wit, i-wis, where my husband is. 

" A stripe or two God might send me. 
If my husband might here me see." 
" She that is afear'd let her flee !" 
Quoth Alice tha7i, " I fear no man ! 

" Now be we in tavern set ; 
A draught of the best let him fett, 
To bring our husbands out of debt; 
For we will spend till God more send." 

Each of them brought forth their dish : 

Some brought flesh, and some brought fish. 

Quoth Margaret meek, " Now, with a wish, 

I would Anne were here — she would make us good cheer." 

" How say you, gossijis ? is this wine good ? " 
" That it is," quoth Elinore, " by the rood ! 
It cherisheth the heart, and comforts the blood ; 
Such junkets among shall make us live long." 

" Anne, bid fill a pot of Muscadel, 

For of all wines I love it well. 

Sweet wines keep my body in hele ; 

If I had of it nought, I should take great thought. 

I-wis, truly. Fett, fetch. Junkets^ dainties. 

Hele, health. 


" How look ye, gossip, at the board's head ? 
Not merry, gossip ? God it amend ! 
All shall be well, else God it defend : 
Be merry, and glad, and sit not so sad." 

" Would God T had done after your counsel ! 
For my husband is so fell, 
He beateth me like the devil of hell ; 
And, the more I cry, the less mercy." 

Alice with a loud voice spake f/ian : 

" I-wis," she said, " little good he can 

That beateth or striketh any woman, 

And specially his wife : — God give him short life !" 

Margaret meek said, " So might I thrive, 
I know no man, that is alive 
That give me two strokes, he shall have five ; 
I am not afear'd, though I have no beard." 

One cast down her shot, and went her way. 
" Gossip," quoth Elinore, " what did she pay ? " 
" Not but a pennj'." " Lo therefore I say 
She shall be no more of our lore. 

" Such guests we may have enow 

That will not for their shot allow. 

With whom come she? Gossip, with you?"' 

" Nay," quoth Joan, " I come alone." 

T/ian, then. Skoi, payment. 


" Now reckon our shot, and go we hence. 
\Miat ! cost it each of us but three pence ? 
Pardie ! this is but a small expense 
For such a sort, and all but sport. 

" Turn down the street where ye came out, 

And we will compass round-about." 

" Gossip," quoth Anne, "what needeth that doubt?" 

" For it may be seen where we have been." 

From the tavern be they all gone ; 
And everich of them showeth her wisdom, 
And there she telleth her husband anon 
She had been at the church. 

This is the thought that gossips take ; 
Once in the week, merry will they make. 
And all small drink they will forsake. 
But wine of the best shall have no rest. 

How say you, women, is it not so? 
Yes surely, and that ye well know ; 
And therefore let us drink all a-row. 
And of our singing make a good ending. 

Now fill the cup, and drink to me. 
And then shall we good fellows be ; — 
And of this talking leave will me. 
And speak then good of women. 

Circa, a.d. 1500. 

Everich, each one. 



Ah ! my sweet sweeting, 

My little pretty sweeting ! 
My sweeting will I love wherever I go : 

She is so proper and pure, 

Steadfast, stable, and demure, — 
There is none such, ye may be sure, 
As my sweet sweeting. 

In all this world, as thinketh me, 
Is none so pleasant to my e'e. 
That I am glad so oft to see. 

As my sweet sweeting. 

When I behold my sweeting sweet, 
Her face, her hands, her minion feet. 
They seem to me there is none so meet 
As my sweet sweeting. 

Above all others praise must I, 
And love my little pigsnye. 
For none I find so womanly 

As my sweet sweeting. 

She is so proper and pure. 
Steadfast, stable, and demure, — 
There is none such, ye may be sure, 
As my sweet sweeting. 

Minion, dainty. 



I HAD both money and a friend, 
Of neither though no store ; 

I lent my money to my friend, 
And took his bond therefor. 

I asked my money of my friend, 
But nought save words I got ; 

I lost my money to keep my friend, 
For sue him v/ould I not. 

But then if money come, 

And friend again were found, 

I would lend no money to my friend, 
Upon no kind of bond. 

But, after this, for money cometh, 
A friend with pawn to pay, 

But when the money should be had 
My friend used such delay, 

That need of money did me force. 
My friend his pawn to sell, 

And so I got my money, but 
My friend then from me fell. 


Since bond for money lent my friend, 

Nor pawn assurance is, 
But that my money or my friend, 

Thereby I ever miss ; 

If God send money and a friend, 

As I have had before, 
I will keep my money and save my friend, 

And play the fool no more. 



Money, money, now hay good day ! 

Money, where hast thou be? 
Money, money, thou go'st away, 

And wilt not bide with me. 

Above all thing thou art a king, 
And rul'st the world over all ; 

Who lacketh thee, all joy, pard)^, 
Will soon then from him fall. 

Money, etc. 

In every place thou mak'st solace, 
Great joy, and sport, and welfare ; 

When money is gone, comfort is none, 
But thought, sorrow, and care. 

Money, etc, 

» « * * * * 

With squire, and knight, and every wight, 

Money maketh men fain, 
And causeth many in some company 

Their fellows to disdain. 

Money, etc. 

In merchandise who can devise 

So good a ware, I say ? 
At all times the best ware is 

Ever ready money. 

Money, etc. 


In Westminster Hall the criers call, 
The sergeants plead apace ; 

Attorneys appear, now here, now there, 
Running in every place. 

Money, etc. 

Whatsoever he be, and if that he 
Want money to plead the law, 

Do what he can it is matter than 
Shall not prove worth a straw. 

Money, etc. 

And some for money lie by the way. 
Another man's purse to get ; 

But they that long use it among. 
Be hanged by the neck ! 

Money, etc. 

Of what degree soe'er he be. 
Or virtuous cunning he have. 

And wants money yet men will say 
That he is but a knave. 

Money, etc. 

Where indeed, so God me speed, 
Say all men what they can, 

It is always seen now-a-days, 
That money maketh the man. 

Than, then. 



Men may leave all games, 
That sailen to St James ; 
For many a man it grames 
When they begin to sail. 

For when they have take the sea, 
At Sandwich, or at Winchelsea, 
At Bristol, or where that it may be, 
Their hearts begin to fail. 

Anon the master commandeth fast, 
To his ship-men in all the hast, 
To dress them soon about the mast, 
Their tackeling to make. 

With " howe ! hissa ! " then they cry, 
"What, howte ! mate, thou stand'st too nigh, 
Thy fellow may not haul thee by ; " 
Thus they begin to crake. 

A boy or twain at once up-styen. 
And over thwart the sail-yard lyen : — 
" Y-how ! taylia ! " the remenant cryen, 
And pull with all their might. 

Grames, grieves. Crake, cry. Up-styen, ascends. 


" Bestow the boat, boat-swain, anon. 
That our pilgrims may play thereon ; 
For some are like to cough and groan, 
Ere it be full midnight." 

" Haul the bowline ! now vere the sheet ! — 
Cook, make ready anon our meat, 
Our pilgrims have no lust to eat, 
I pray God give them rest." 

'* Go to the helm ! What ho ! no near ? 
Steward, fellow ! a pot of beer ! " 
"Ye shall have, sir, with good cheer, 
Anon all of the best." 

" Y-howe ! trussa ! haul in the brayls ! 
Thou haul'st not, by God, thou fails, 
O see how well our good ship sails ! " 
And thus they say among. 

" Haul in the wartake !" " It shall be done ' 
" Steward, cover the board anon, 
And set bread and salt thereon, 
And tarry not too long." 

Then cometh one and saith, " Be merry ; 
Ye shall have a storm or a pery." 
" Hold thou thy peace ! thou canst no whery, 
Thou meddlest wonder sore." 

Thus meanwhile the pilgrims lie, 
And have their bowles fast them by. 
And cry after hot malvesy, 
• " Thou help for to restore." 

Pery, squall. Malvesy, Malmsey wine. 


And some would have a salted toast, 
For they might eat neither sode nor roast ; 
A man might soon pay for their cost, 
As for a day or twain. 

Some laid their bookes on their knee, 
And read so long they might not see, 
" Alas, mine head will cleave in three ! " 
Thus saith another certain. 

Then cometh our owner like a lord. 
And speaketh many a royal word, 
And dresseth him to an high board. 
To see all thing be well. 

Anon he calleth a carpenter, 
And biddeth him bring with him his gear, 
To make the cabins here and there, 
With many a feeble cell. 

A sack of straw were there right good, 
For some must lie them in their hood ; 
I had as lief be in a wood, 
Withoute meat or drink. 

For when that we shall go to bed. 
The pump is nigh our bedes head, 
A man were as good to be dead, 
As smell thereof the stink. 

Sode^ boiled. 



In an arbour green asleep as I lay, 

The birdes sang sweet in the mid'st of the day, 

I dreamed fast of mirth and play : 

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure. 

Methought I walked still to and fro, 
And from her company I could not go ; 
But when I waked it was not so : 

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure. 

Therefore my heart is surely pight 
Of her alone to have a sight, 
Which is my joy and heart's delight : 

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure. 

— Lusty Juventus. 
Pight, fixed. 



All that I may swink or sweat, 
My wife it will both drink and eat, 
If I say ought, she will me beat. 

Careful is my heart therefor. 

If I say ought of her but good. 
She looks on me as she were wood, 
And will me clout about the hood ; 

Careful is my heart therefor. 

If she will to the good ale ride, 

Me must trot all by her side, 

And when she drinks I must abide ; 

Careful is my heart therefor. 

If I say it shall be thus, 
She says, " Thou liest, churl, I wuss, 
Weenest thou to overcome me thus?" 
Careful is my heart therefor. 

If any man have such a wife to lead. 

He shall know how^ judicare came in the creed ; 

Of his penance God do him meed, 

Careful is my heart therefor. 

Wood, mad. Meed, reward. 



Quoth John to Joan, will thou have me : 
I prithee now, wilt ? and I'll marry thee, 
My cow, my calf, my house, my rents, 
And all my lands and tenements : 

Oh, say, my Joan, will not that do? 

I cannot come every day to woo. 

I've corn and hay in the barn hard by, 
And three fat hogs pent up in the sty, 
I have a mare and she is coal black, 
I ride on her tail to say my back. 

Then, say, etc. 

I have a cheese upon the shelf, 
And I cannot eat it all myself; 
I've three good marks that lie in a rag, 
In a nook of the chimney, instead of a bag. 

Then, say, etc. 

To marry I would have thy consent. 
But faith I never could compliment ; 
I can say nought but " Hoy, gee ho ! " 
Words that belong to the cart and the plough. 

Then, say, etc. 




God by his word his work began, 

To form this earth and heaven for man, 

The sea and water deep ; 
The sun, the moon and stars so bright, 
The day divided from the night, 
Their courses just to keep ; 
The beasts that on the ground do move, 

Arid fishes in the sea ; 
Fowls in the air to fly above, 
Of ilk kind formed he : 

Some creeping, some fleiling, 

Some flying in the air, 

So highly, so lightly 

In moving here and there. 

These works of great magnificence 
Perfected by his providence. 

According to his will : 
Next he made man ; to give him glorc, 
Did with his image him decore, 

Gave paradise him till ; 

Fhithtg, floating. Glorc, glory. Decore, adorn. 



Into that garden heavenly wrought, 

With pleasures many a one, 
The beasts of every kind were brought, 
Their names he should expone ; 
These kenning and naming, 
As them he list to call. 
For easing and pleasing 
Of man, subdued them all. 

In heavenly joy man so possessed, 
To be alone God thought not best, 

Made Eve to be his make ; 
Bad them increase and multiply. 
And of the fruit from every tree 

Their pleasure they should take, 
Except the tree of good and ill 

That in the midst does stand, 
Forbade that they should come theretill, 
Or twitch it with their hand ; 
Lest looking and plucking, 
Both they and all their seed, 
Severely, austerely, 
Should die without remeid. 

Now Adam and his lusty wife, 
In paradise leading their life. 

With pleasures infinite ; 
Wanting no thing should do them ease, 
The beasts obeying them to please. 

As they could wish in sp'rite : 

Expoiic, explain. Make, mate. 


Behold the serpent sullenly 
Envying man's estate, 
With wicked craft and subtelty 
Eve tempted with deceit ; 
Not fearing but speiring 
Why she took not her till, 
In using and choosing 
The fruit of good and ill ? 

"Commanded us" (she said), "the Lord, 
Noways thereto we should accord, 

Under eternal pain ; 
But granted us full liberty 
To eat the fruit of every tree, 

Except that tree in plain." 
" No, no, not so" (the serpent said), 

" Thou art deceived therein ; 
Eat ye thereof, ye shall be made 
In knowledge like to him. 
In seeming and deeming 
Of everything aright, 
As duly, as truly. 
As ye were gods of might," 

Eve thus with these false words allured 
Eat of the fruit and syne procured 

Adam the same to play : 
" Behold " (said she) " how precious, 
So delicate and delicious. 

Beside knowledge for aye." 

Speiring, inquiring. Sytie, then. 


Adam pufifed up in worldly glore, 

Ambition and high pride, 
Eat of the fruit ; alas therefore ! 
And so they both did slide ; 
Neglecting, forgetting, 
Th' eternal God's command, 
Who scourged and purged 
Them quite out of that land. 
« * * * » 

O dainty dame, with ears bent 
That hearken'd to that false serpent ! 

Thy bones we may sair ban ; 
Without excuse thou art to blame, 
Thou justly hast obtained that name, 

The very ivo of man : 
With tears we may bewail and greet, 

That wicked time and tide, 
When Adam was obliged to sleep, 
And thou ta'en off his side. 
No sleeping but weeping 
Thy side has found sensyne ; 
Thy eating and sweeting 
Is turned to woe and pyn. 
» * it « * 

Behold the state that man was in. 
And als how it he tint through sin, 

And lost the same for aye ; 
Yet God his promise does perform, 
Sent his son of the Virgin born, 

Our ransom dear to pay. 

Ba>i, curse. Gree/, lament. Sensyne, sines 

Pyn, pain. Ti)tt, lost. 


To that great God let us give glore, 

To us has been so good, 
Who by his grace did us restore, 
Whereof we were denude ; 
Not caring nor sparing 
His body to be rent, 
Redeeming, releiving 
Us when we were all shent. 

Skent, ruined. 




Hence heart ! with her that must depart, 

And hold thee with thy sovereign ; 
For I had hefer want a heart. 

Nor have the heart that does me pain : 
Therefore go ! with thy love remain, 

And let me live thus unmolest ; 
And see that thou come not again. 

But bide with her thou lovest best. 

Since she that I have served lang 

Is to depart so suddenly, 
Address thee now, for thou shalt gang 

And bear thy lady company : 
Fra' she be gone, heartless am I ; 

For why ? thou art with her possest ; 
Therefore my heart go hence in hye ! 

And bide with her thou lovest best. 

Though this belapped body here 

Be bound to servitude and thrall, 
My faithful heart is free enteir. 

And mind to serve my lady all : 
Would God that I were perigal 

Under that redolent rose to rest ! 
Yet at the least, my heart, thou shall 

Abide with her thou lovest best. 

Ilye, haste. Perigal, worthy. 


Since in your garth the lily white 

May not remain among the lave, 
Adieu the flower of whole delight ! 

Adieu the succour that may me save I 
Adieu the fragrand, balmy swave, 

And lamp of ladies lustiest ! 
My faithful heart she shall it have, 

To bide with her it loves best. 

Deplore, ye ladies clear of hue, 

Her absence, since she must depart, 
And specially ye lovers true, 

That wounded be with love's dart. 
For some of you shall v/ant an heart 

As well as I ; therefore at last 
Do go with mine, with mine in ward, 

And bide with her thou lovest best. 

Garth, garden. Lave, others. i>wave, kiss. 



Lo ! what it is to love, 

Learn ye that list to prove, 

By me, I say, that no ways may 

The ground of grief remove. 
But still decay, both night and day ; 

Lo ! what it is to love. 

Love is a fervent fire, 

Kindled without desire. 
Short pleasure, long displeasure ; 

Repentence is the hire ; 
A pure treasure, without measure ; 

Love is a fervent fire. 

To love and to be wise, 

To rege with good advice ; 
Now thus, now then, so goes the game. 

Uncertain is the dice : 
There is no man, I say, that can 

Both love and to be wise. 

Flee always from the snare, 

Learn at me to beware ; 
It is a pain and double train 

Of endless woe and care ; 
For to refrain that danger plain, 

Flee always from the snare. 

Ke^e, quarrel. 



The prince of all the feather'd kind, 
That with spread wings outflies the wnid, 

And soars far out of human sight 

To view the shining orb of light : 

This royal bird, though brave and great, 

And armed strong for stern debate, 

No tyrant is, but condescends 

Ofttimes to treat inferior friends. 

One day at his command did flock 

To his high palace on a rock, 

The courtiers of ilk various size 

That swiftly swim in crystal skies ; 

Thither the gallant Tersals doup 

And her rapacious Corbies croup, 

With greedy Gleds and sly Gormahs 
And dinsome pies and clattering Daws ; 
Proud peacocks, and an hundred mae, 
Brush'd up their pens that solemn day, 
Bow'd first submissive to my Lord, 
Then took their places at his board. 

Mean time while feasting on a fawn, 
And drinking blood fra' lambes drawn, 
A tuneful Robin, trig and young. 
Hard by upon a bour-tree sung. 

Tlk Z;.../, incline. Cr.«/, cvoak. 

^A^ k kes Connaks, cormorants. Mae, more. 

Gleas, kites. Boia, elder. 

Pens, wings. ^ >'''S'' "e^^- 


He sang the Eagle's royal line, 

His piercing eye and right divine, 

To sway out-ow'r the feather'd thrang, 

Who dread his marUal bill and fang ; 

His flight subhme, and eild renewed, 

His muid with clemency endued ; 

In softer notes he sang his love, 

More high, his bearing bolts for Jove. 

The monarch bird with blithness heard 

The chanting little sylvan bard, 

Call'd up a Buzzard, who was then 

His favourite and his chamberlain, 

'•■ Swift to my treasury," quoth he, 

"And to yon canty Robin gie 

As mickle of our current gear 

As may maintain liim through the year; 

We can well spar't, and it's his due." 

He bade, and forth the Judas flew, 

Straight to the branch where Robin sung. 

And with a wicked lying tongue, 

Said, " Ah ! ye sing so dull and rough. 

Ye have deaf'd our lugs more than enough, 

His Majesty has a nice ear, 

And no more of your stuff can bear ; 

Pack up your pipes, be no more seen 

At court, I warn }ou as a frien'." 

He spake, while Robin's swelling breast 
And drooping wings his grief express'd ; 
The tears ran hopping down his cheek, 
Great grew his heart, he could not speak, 

Thrang, tlirong. Eild, age. Canty, cheerful. 

Liigs, ears. 


Not for the tinsel of reward, 
But that his notes met no regard ; 
Straight to the shaw he spread his wing, 
Resolv'd again no more to sing. 
Where princely bounty is suppress'd, 
By such with whom they are oppress'd, 
Who cannot bear (because they want it) 
That aught should be to merit granted. 

— Ramsay's Evergreen. 
Shaw, wood. 



To love unloved is a pain ; 
For she that is my sovereign, 

Some wanton man so high has set her, 
That I can get no love again, 

But break my heart, and nought the better. 

When that I went with that sweet May, 
To dance, to sing, to sport, and play. 

And oft-times in my armes plet her — 
I do now mourn both night and day, 

And break my heart, and nought the better. 

Where I was wont to see her go, 
Right timely passing to and fro, 

With comely smiles when that I met her — 
And now I live in pain and woe. 

And break my heart, and nought the better. 

What ane a glaikit fool am I 
To slay myself with melancholy. 

Since well I ken I may not get her? 
Or what should be the cause, or why, 

To break my heart, and nought the better? 

My heart, since thou may not her please, 
Adieu ! as good love comes as gaes ; 

Go choose another and forget her ! 
God give him dolour and disease. 

That breaks his heart, and nought the better. 

Maj', lady. Plet, embraced. Glaikit, stupid. Gaa, goes. 




Go, heart, unto the lamp of light ; 
Go, heart, do service and honour ; 
Go, heart, and serve him day and night ; 
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour. 

Go, heart, to thy only remede, 
Descending from the heavenly tour, 
Thee to deliver from pain and deid ; 
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour. 

Go, heart, right humble and full meek. 
Go, heart, as leal and true servitour, 
To him that health is for all flesh. 
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour. 

Go, heart, with true and whole intent, 
To Christ, thy help and whole succour ; 
Thee to redeem He was all rent ; 
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour, 

To Christ, that rose from death to life, 
Go, heart, unto my latter hour, 
Whose great mercy can none descrive. 
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour. 

— Good and Godly Ballads. 

Revieie, remedy. Deid, dealh. Descrive, describe. 



Psalm xxvii. 9. 

Ah ! my Lord, leave me not, 
Leave me not, leave me not, 
Ah ! my Lord, leave me not, 

Thus mine alone : 
With ane burden on my back 
I may not bear, I am so weak, 
Lord, this burden from me take, 

Or else I am gone. 

With sins I am laden sair, 
Leave me not, leave me not, 
With sins I am laden sair. 

Leave me not alone : 
I pray thee. Lord, therefore. 
Keep not my sins in store ; 
Loose me, or I am forlore, 

And hear thou my moan. 

With Thy hands Thou hast me wrought, 

Leave me not, leave me not, 

With Thy hands Thou hast me wrought. 

Leave me not alone ; 
I was sold and Thou me bought, 
^Vith Thy blood Thou hast me coft ; 
Now am I hither sought 

To Thee, Lord, alone. 

I cry and I call to Thee, 

To leave me not, to leave me not, 

Sair, sore. I-orlore, forlorn. Cojt, purchased. 


I cry and I call to Thee, 

To leave me not alone : 
All they that laden be, 
Thou bidst them come to Thee, 
Then shall they saved be, 

Through Thy mercy alone. 

Thou savest all the penitent, 

And leav'st them not, and leav'st them not ; 

Thou savest all the penitent. 

And leav'st them not alone. 
All that will their sins repent, 
None of them shall be shent, 
Suppose Thy bow be ready bent, 

Of them Thou killest none. 

Faith, hope, and charity, 
Leave me not, leave me not : 
Faith, hope, and charity, 

Leave me not alone. 
I pray Thee, Lord, grant me, 
These godly giftes three, 
Then shall I saved be, 

Doubt have I none. 

To the Father be all glore, 
That leaves us not, that leaves us not ; 
. To the Father be all glore, 

That leaves us not alone. 
Son and Holy Ghost evermore, 
As it is and was before ; 
Through Christ our Saviour 
We are safe every one. 

Shent, confounded. Glore, glory. 




He that spendeth much, 

And getteth nought ; 
He that oweth much, 

And hath nought ; 
He that looketh in his purse 

And findeth nought, — 
He may be sorry, 

And say nought. 
* « * ft 

He that sweareth 

Till no man trust him ; 
He that lieth 

Till no man believe him ; 
He that borroweth 

Till no man will lend him ; 
Let him go where 

No man knoweth him. 

He that hath a good master. 

And cannot keep him ; 
He that hath a good servant, 

And is not content with him ; 
He that hath such conditions, 

That no man loveth him ; 
May well know other. 

But few men will know him. 

— Book of Nurtun 




Give place, you Ladies, and be gone ; 

Boast not yourselves at all ! 
For here at hand approacheth one 

Whose face will stain you all. 

The virtue of her lively looks 
Excels the precious stone ; 

I wish to have none other books 
To read or look upon. 

In each of her two crystal eyes 

Smileth a naked boy : 
It would you all in heart suffice 

To see that lamp of joy. 

I think Nature hath lost the mould 
Where she her shape did take ; 

Or else I doubt if Nature could 
So fair a creature make. 

She may be very well compared 

Unto the Phoenix kind, 
Whose like was never seen or heard 

That any man can find. 

In life she is Diana chaste. 

In truth Penelope ; 
In word and eke in deed steadfast : 

What will you more we say ? 



If all the world were sought so far, 
Who could find such a wight ? 

Her beauty twinkleth like a star 
Within the frosty night. 

Her rosiall colour comes and goes 
With such a comely grace, 

Much reddier too than doth the rose, 
Within her lively face. 

At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet, 

Ne at no wanton play. 
Nor gazing in an open street, 

Nor gadding as a stray. 

The modest mirth that she doth use 
Is mixed with shamefastness ; 

All vice she doth wholly refuse, 
And hateth idleness. 

O Lord ! it is a world to see 

How virtue can repair 
And deck in her such honesty 

Whom Nature made so fair. 

Truly she doth as far exceed 

Our women now-a-days, 
As doth the gillyflower a weed, 

And more, a thousand ways ! 

Stray, vagrant 


How might I do to get a graff 

Of this unspotted tree ? 
For all the rest are plain but chaff 

Which seem good corn to be. 

This gift alone I shall her give : 

When death doth what he can, 
Her honest fame shall ever live 

Within the mouth of man. 

26o ^Zff THOMAS IV VAT. 



Forget not yet the tried intent 
Of such a truth as I have meant ; 
My great travail so gladly spent, 
Forget not yet ! 

Forget not yet when first began 
The weary life ye know, since whan 
The suit, the service none tell can ; 
Forget not yet ! 

Forget not yet the great assays, 
The cruel wrong, the scornful ways, 
The painful patience in delays. 

Forget not yet ! 

Forget not ! O, forget not this. 
How long ago hath been, and is 
The mind that never meant amiss ; 
Forget not yet ! 

Forget not then thine own approved. 
The which so long hath thee so loved. 
Whose steadfast faith yet never moved- 
Forget not this ! 



And wilt thou leave me thus ? 
Say nay ! say nay ! for shame, 
To save thee from the blame 
Of all my grief and grame. 
And wilt thou leave me thus ? 
Say nay ! say nay ! 

And wilt thou leave me thus, 
That hath loved thee so long 
In wealth and woe among : 
And is thy heart so strong 
As for to leave me thus ? 
Say nay ! say nay ! 

And wilt thou leave me thus, 
That hath given thee my heart 
Never for to depart 
Neither for pain nor smart ; 
And wilt thou leave me thus ? 
Say nay ! say nay ! 

And wilt thou leave me thus, 
And have no more pity 
Of him that loveth thee ? 
Alas ! thy cruelty ! 
And wilt thou leave me thus ? 
Say nay ! say nay ! 



The longer life, the more offence ; 
The more offence, the greater pain ; 
The greater pain, the less defence j 
The less defence, the lesser gain ; 
The loss of gain long ill doth try. 
Wherefore come death and let me die. 

The shorter life, less count I find, 
The less account, the sooner made ; 
The account soon made, the merrier mind. 
The merrier mind doth thought evade ; 
Short life in truth this thing doth try. 
Wherefore come death and let me die. 

Come gentle death, the ebb of care, 
The ebb of care, the flood of life, 
The flood of life, the joyful fare, 
The joyful fare, the end of strife, 
The end of strife, that thing wish I, 
Wherefore come death, and let me die. 



A FACE that should content me wond'rous well 

Should not be fair, but lovely to behold ; 

Of lively look, all grief for to repel ; 

With right good grace, so would I that it should 

Speak, without word, such words as none can tell ; 

The tress also should be of crisped gold. 

With wit and these perchance I might be tried, 
And knit again with knot that should not slide. 



" Ah ! Robin ! 

Jolly Robin ! 

Tell me how thy leman doth, 

And thou shalt know of mine." 

"My lady is unkind, perdie ! " — 

" Alack, why is she so ? " — 

" She loveth another better than me, 

And yet she will say, no." — 

" I find no such doubleness ; 

I find women true. 

My lady loveth me doubtless, 

And will change for no new." — 

" Happy art thou while that doth last, 

But I say as I find : 

That women's love is but a blast. 

And turneth like the wind." 

Leman, lady. 



" How should I 
Be so pleasant 
In my semblant 
As my fellows be ? " 

No long ago 

It chanced so, 

As I did walk alone, 

I heard a man 

That now and than 
Himself did thus bemoan. 

"Alas!" he said, 
" I am betrayed 
And utterly outdone ; 

Whom I did trust, 

And think so just, 
Another man hath won. 

" My service due 
And heart so true 
On her I did bestow ; 

I never meant 

For to repent 
In wealth, nor yet in woe. 

" Each western wind 
Hath turned her mind, 
And blown it clean away ; 

Thereby my wealth, 

My mirth, and health, 
Are driven to great decay. 

Semblant, appearance. 


" Fortune did smile 
A right short while, 
And never said me nay j 
With pleasant plays 
And joyful days 
My time to pass away. 

"Alas ! alas ! 

The time so was ; 

So never shall it be, — 
Since she is gone, 
And I alone 

Am left, as you may see. 

" Where is the oath ? 

Where is the troth 

That she to me did give ? 
Such feigned words. 
With silly bourds. 

Let no wise man believe. 

" For even as I 

Thus woefully 

Unto myself complain, 
If ye then trust, 
Needs learn ye must 

To sing my song in vain 

" How should I 
Be so pleasant 
In my semblant 
As my fellows be ? " 

Boiirds, jests. 

S//? THOMAS WYAT. 267 


I AM as I am, and so will I be ; 
But how that I am none knoweth truly. 
Be it evil, be it well, be I bond, be I free, 
I am as I am, and so will I be. 

I lead my life indifferently, 
I mean no thing but honesty ; 
And though folks judge full diversely, 
I am as I am, and so will I die. 

I do not rejoice, nor yet complain. 
Both mirth and sadness I do refrain, 
And use the mean, since folks will feign , 
Yet I am as I am, be it pleasure or pain. 

Divers do judge as they do trow, 
Some of pleasure and some of woe ; 
Yet for all that no thing they know ; 
But I am as I am, wheresoever I go. 

But since judgers do thus decay, 
Let every man his judgment say ; 
I will it take in sport and play. 
For I am as I am, whosoever say nay. 

Who judgeth well, well God him send ; 
Who judgeth evil, God them amend ; 
To judge the best therefore intend ; 
For I am as I am, and so will I end. 

268 S//^ THOMAS WYAT. 

Yet some there are who take delight 
To judge folks' thoughts for envy and spite ; 
But whether they judge me wrong or right, 
I am as I am, and so do I write. 

Praying you all that this do read 
To trust it as you do your creed ; 
And not to think I change my weed, 
For I am as I am, however I speed. 

But how that is, I leave to you ; 
Judge as ye list, false or true, 
Ye know no more than afore ye knew ; 
Yet I am as I am, whatever ensue. 

And from this mind I will not flee ; 
But to you all that misjudge me 
I do protest, as ye may see, 
That I am as I am. and so will be. 



Farewell Love ! and all thy laws for ever ; 
Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more. 
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore 
To perfect wealth my wit for to endeavour. 
In blind errour when I did persever, 
Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore, 
Taught me in trifles that I set no store, 
But 'scape forth thence, since liberty is lever. 
Therefore, farewell ! go, trouble younger hearts, 
And in me claim no more authority. 
With idle youth go use thy property. 
And thereon spend thy many brittle darts ; 
For, hitherto though I have lost my time. 
Me list no longer rotten boughs to climb. 

Lever, preferable. 



My heart I gave thee, not to do it pain, 
But to preserve, lo, it to thee was taken. 
I served thee, not that I should be forsaken ; 
But, that I should receive reward again, 
I was content thy servant to remain; 
And not to be repaid on this fashion. 
Now, since in thee there is none other reason, 
Displease thee not, if that I do refrain. 
Insatiate of my woe, and thy desire ; 
Assured by craft for to excuse thy fault : 
But, since it pleaseth thee to feign default, 
Farewell, I say, departing from the fire, 
For he that doth believe, bearing in hand, 
Plougheth in the water, and soweth in the sand. 



My lute, awake ! perform the last 
Labour, that thou and I shall waste, 

And end that I have now begun : 
And when this song is sung and past, 
My lute ! be still, for I have done. 

As to be heard where ear is none ; 
As lead to grave in marble stone ; 

My song may pierce her heart as soon. 
Should we then sigh, or sing, or moan ? 
No, no, my lute ! for I have done. 

The rocks do not so cruelly 
Repulse the waves continually, 

As she my suit and affection ; 
So that I am past remedy ; 
Wherefore my lute and I have done 

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got 
Of simple hearts through Love's shot, 

By whom, unkind, thou hast them won : 
Think not he hath his bow forgot, 
Although my lute and I have done. 

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain, 
That makest but game on earnest pain ; 

Think not alone under the sun 
Unquit to cause thy lover's plain ; 
Although my lute and I have done. 

Grave, engrave. Unqtiit, unrequited. Plain, complain. 


May chance thee He withered and old 
The winter nights, that are so cold, 

Plaining in vain unto the moon. 
Thy wishes then dare not be told : 
Care then who list, for I have done. 

And then may chance thee to repent 
The time that then hast lost and spent, 

To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon : 
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent, 
And wish and want as I have done. 

Now cease, my lute ! this is the last 
Labour that thou and I shall waste ; 

And ended is that we begun : 
Now is this song both sung and past, 
My lute ! be still, for I have done. 



Since Love will needs that I shall love, 
Of very force I must agree : 
And since no chance may it remove, 
In wealth and in adversity, 
I shall alway myself apply 
To serve and suffer patiently. 

Though for good-will I find but hate, 
And cruelly my life to waste. 
And though that still a wretched state 
Should pine my days unto the last, 
Yet I profess it willingly 
To ser\'e and suffer patiently. 

For since my heart is bound to serve, 
Am I not ruler of mine own, 
Whatso befall, till that I sterve 
By proof full well it shall be known, 
That I shall still myself apply 
To serve and suffer patiently. 

Yea ! though my grief find no redress, 
But still increase before mine eyes, 
Though my reward be cruelness. 
With all the harm hap can devise, 
Yet I profess it willingly 
To serve and suffer patiently. 

Sterve, die. 


Yea ! though Fortune her pleasant face 
Should shew, to set me up aloft ; 
And straight my wealth for to deface, 
Should writhe away, as she doth oft ; 
Yet would I still myself apply 
To serve and suffer patiently. 

There is no grief, no smart, no woe, 
That yet I feel, or after shall. 
That from this mind they make me go ; 
And, whatsoever me befall, 
I do profess it willingly, 
To serve and suffer patiently. 





Blame not my Lute ! for he must sound 
Of this or that as Hketh me ; 
For lack of wit the Lute is bound 
To give such tunes as pleaseth me ; 
Though my songs be somewhat strange, 
And speak such words as touch thy change, 
Blame not my Lute ! 

My Lute ! alas ! doth not offend, 
Though that perforce he must agree 
To sound such tunes as I intend, 
To sing to them that heareth me, 
Then though my songs be somewhat plain. 
And toucheth some that use to feign. 
Blame not my Lute ! 

My Lute and strings may not deny, 
But as I strike they must obey ; 
Break not them then so wrongfully, 
But wreak thyself some other way ; 
And though the songs which I indite 
Do quit thy change with rightful spite. 
Blame not my Lute ! 

Spite asketh spite, and changing change. 
And falsed faith must needs be known ; 

Qiiii, be even with. 


The faults so great, the case so strange ; 
Of right it must abroad be blown : 
Then since that by thine own desart 
My songs do tell how true thou art, 
Blame not my Lute ! 

Blame but thyself that hast misdone, 
And well deserved to have blame ; 
Change thou thy way, so evil begone, 
And then my Lute shall sound that same ; 
But if till then my fingers play, 
By thy desert their wonted way, 
Blame not my Lute ! 

Farewell ! unknown ; for though thou break 
My strings in spite with great disdain, 
Yet have I found out for thy sake. 
Strings for to string my Lute again ; 
And if, perchance, this sely rhyme 
Do make thee blush, at any time, 
Blame not my Lute ! 

Sely, simple. 



From these high hills as when a spring doth (all, 

It trilleth down with still and subtle course, 

Of this and that it gathers aye and shall, 

Till it have just down floated to stream, Sind./one ; 

Then at the foot it rageth over all : 

So fareth love, when he hath ta'en a source, 

Rage is his rein, resistance 'vaileth none, 

The first eschew is remedy alone. 

Force, waterfall, 



She sat, and sewed, that hath done me the wrong ; 
Whereof I 'plain, and have done many a day : 
And, whilst she heard my plaint, in piteous song, 
She wish'd my heart the sampler, that it lay. 
The blind master, whom I have served so long, 
Grudging to hear what he did hear her say, 
Made her own weapon do her finger bleed. 
To feel if pricking were so good indeed. 



Venemous thorns that are so sharp and keen, 
Bear flowers, we see, full fresh and fair of hue : 
Poison is also put in medicine, 
And unto man his health doth oft renew : 
The fire that all things eke consumeth clean 
May hurt and heal : then if that this be true, 
I trust sometime my harm may be my health, 
Since every woe is joined with some wealth. 



In Court to serve, decked with fresh array, 
Of sugar'd meats feehng the sweet repast ; 
The hfe in banquets, and sundry kinds of play, 
Amid the press of lordly looks to waste ; — 
Hath with it join'd ofttimes such bitter taste, 
That whoso joys such kind of life to hold. 
In prison joys fetter'd with chains of gold. 



Madam ! withouten many words, — 
Once I am sure you will, or no : 
And if you will, then leave your boords 
And use your wit and show it so ! 

For with a beck you shall me call ; 
And if of one that burns alway 
Ye have pity or ruth at all, 
Answer him fair with Yea or Nay ! 

If it be Yea, I shall be fain ; 
If it be Nay, friends as before, 
You shall another man obtain. 
And I, mine own, be yours no more. 

Boards, jests. 



Disdain me not without desert ! 
Nor leave me not so suddenly ! 
Since well we wot that in my heart 
I mean ye nought but honesty. 

Refuse me not without cause why ! 
For think we not to be unjust ! 
Since that by lot of fantasy 
This careful knot needs knit I must. 

Mistrust me not ! though some there be 
That fain would spot my steadfastness, 
Believe them not ! since that ye see 
The proof is not as they express. 

Forsake me not till I deserve ! 
Nor hate me not till I offend ! 
Destroy me not till that I swerve, 
But since ye know what I intend ! 

Disdain me not that am your own ! 
Refuse me not that am so true ! 
Mistrust me not till all be known ! 
Forsake me not now for no new ! 

Since, after. 



My mother's maids, when they do sew and spin, 

They sing a song made of the fieldish mouse : 

That for because her livehhood was but thin, 

Would needs go see her townish sister's house. 

She thought herself endured to grievous pain, 

The stormy blasts her cave so sore did souse ; 

That when the furrows swimmed with the rain, 

She must lie cold and wet, in sorry plight ; 

And worse than that, bare meat there did remain 

To comfort her, when she her house had dight ; 

Sometime a barley corn, sometime a bean ; 

For which she laboured hard both day and night. 

In harvest time, while she might go and glean. 

And when her store was 'stroyed with the flood, 

Then wellaway ! for she undone was clean : 

Then was she fain to take, instead of food, 

Sleep if she might, her hunger to beguile. 

" My sister," quod she, " hath a living good ; 

And hence from me she dwelleth not a mile. 

In cold and storm, she lieth warm and dry 

In bed of down ; the dirt doth not defile 

Her tender foot, she labours not as I. 

Richly she feeds, and at the rich mans cost ; 

And for her meat she needs not crave nor cry , 

By sea, by land, of delicates the most. 

Her cater seeks, and spareth for no peril : 

She feeds on boil'd meat, baked meat, and on roast, 

Dight, prepared. Cater, caterer. 


And hath therefore no wit of charge nor travail. 

And when she Hst, the liquor of the grape 

Doth glad her heart, till that her belly swell ; 

And at this journey makes she but a jape," 

So forth she goes, trusting of all this wealth 

With her sister her part so for to shape. 

That if she might there keep herself in health, 

To live a lady, while her life do last. 

And to the door now is she come by stealth ; 

And with her foot anon she scrapes full fast. 

Th' other for fear durst not well scarce appear ; 

Of every noise so was the wretch aghast. 

At last she asked softly who was there ; 

And in her language as well as she could, 

"Peep," quoth the other, "Sister, I am here." 

" Peace," quoth the town mouse, " why speakest thou so 

And by the hand she took her fair and well. 
" Welcome," quod she, *' my Sister, by the rood ! " 
She feasted her, that joy it was to tell 
The fare they had, they drank the wine so clear ; 
And as to purpose now and then it fell. 
So cheered her with, " How, sister, what cheer ? " 
Amid this joy befell a sorry chance. 
That, wellaway ! the stranger bought full dear 
The fare she had. For as she look'd askance. 
Under a stool she spied two steaming eyes 
In a round head, with sharpe ears. In France 
Was never mouse zofear'd, for the unwise 
Had not y-seen such a beast before. 
Yet had nature taught her after her guise 
To know her foe, and dread him evermore. 

Jape, jest. Fear'd, terrified. 


The town mouse fled, she knew whither to go ; 

Th' other had no shift, but wonders sore ; 

Fear'd of her life, at home she wish'd her tho, 

And to the door, alas ! as she did skip, 

Th' heaven it would, lo ! and eke her chance was so 

At the threshold her sely foot did trip ; 

And ere she might recover it again, 

The traitor cat had caught her by the hip, 

And made her there against her will remain, 

That had forgot her power, surety, and rest. 

For seeming wealth, wherein she thought to reign. 

Stand, whoso list, upon the slipper wheel 
Of high estate ; and let me here rejoice, 
And use my life in quietness each dele, 
Unknown in court that hath the wanton toys : 
In hidden place my time shall slowly pass. 
And when my years be past withouten noise. 
Let me die old after the common trace : 
For gripes of death doth he too hardly pass, 
That knowen is to all, but to himself, alas. 
He dieth unknown, dased with dreadful face. 

Fear'd, terrified. Tho, then. Sely, simple. 

Slipper, slippery. Dele, portion. 




From Tuscane came my Lady's worthy race ; 
Fair Florence was sometime their ancient seat : 
The western isle, whose pleasant shore doth face 
Wild Camber's cliffs, did give her lively heat : 
Foster'd she was with milk of Irish breast : 
Her sire an Earl ; her dame of Princes' blood. 
From tender years, in Britain she doth rest. 
With Kinge's childe ; where she tasteth costly food. 
Hunsden did first present her to mine eyen : 
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight. 
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine ; 
And Windsor, alas ! doth chase me from her sight. 

Her beauty of kind; her virtues from above; 

Happy is he that can obtain her love ! 

Camber, Wales. Hight, is called. Kind, nature. 



I NEVER saw my Lady lay apart 
Her cornet black, in cold nor yet in heat, 
Sith first she knew my grief was grown so great ; 
Which other fancies driveth from my heart, 
That to myself I do the thought reserve, 
The which un'vvares did wound my woful breast 
But on her face mine eyes might never rest. 
Yet, since she knew I did her love and serve, 
Her golden tresses clad alway with black. 
Her smiling looks that hid thus evermore, 
And that restrains which I desire so sore. 
So doth this cornet govern me, alack ! 

In summer, sun ; in winter's breath, a frost; 

Whereby the light of her fair looks I lost. 

Comet, head-dress with a veil. Sith, since. 




Laid in my quiet bed, in study as I were, 

I saw within my troubled head a heap of thoughts appear ; 

And every thought did shew so lively in mine eyes. 

That now I sigh'd, and then I smiled, as cause of thought 

did rise. 
I saw the little boy in thought how oft that he 
Did wish of God, to scape the rod, a tall young man to be. 
The young man eke that feels his bones with pains opprest, 
How he would be a rich old man, to live and lie at rest. 
The rich old man that sees his end draw on so sore, 
How he would be a boy again, to live so much the more. 
Whereat full oft I smiled, to see how all these three, 
From boy to man, from man to boy, would chop and 

change degree. 
And musing thus I think, the case is very strange, 
That man from wealth, to live in woe, doth ever seek to 

Thus thoughtful as I lay, I saw my wither'd skin, 
How it doth shew my dented chews, the flesh was worn 

so thin. 
And eke my toothless chaps, the gates of my right way, 
That opes and shuts as I do speak, do thus unto me say : 
" Thy white and hoarish hairs, the messengers of age. 
That shew, like lines of true belief, that this life doth 

assuage ; 

Chews, jaws. Chaps, gums. 


Bid tliee lay hand, and feel them hanging on thy chin ; 
The which do write two ages past, the third now coming 

Hang up therefore the bit of thy young wanton time ; 
And thou that therein beaten art, the happiest life define." 
Whereat I sigh'd, and said : " Farewell ! my wonted joy ; 
Truss up thy pack, and trudge from me to every little boy ; 
And tell them thus from me j their time most happy is, 
If to their time, they reason had, to know the truth of 


TOf in addition. 



Love, that liveth and reigneth in my thought, 
That built his seat within my captive breast ; 
Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought, 
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest. 
She, that me taught to love, and suffer pain ; 
My doubtful hope, and eke my hot desire 
With shamefast cloak to shadow and restrain. 
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire. 
And coward Love then to the heart apace 
Taketh his flight ; ivhereas he lurks, and, plains 
His purpose lost, and dare not show his face. 
For my Lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pains. 
Yet from my Lord shall not my foot remove : 
Sweet is his death, that takes his end by love. 

Whereas, where. 



So cruel prison how could betide, alas, 
As proud Windsor ? where I, in lust and joy, 
With a king's son, my childish years did pass, 
In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy. 
When each sweet place returns a taste full sour. 
The large green courts, where we were wont to hove, 
With eyes cast up into the Maiden's tower, 
And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love. 
The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue ; 
The dances short, long tales of great delight ; 
With words and looks that tigers could but rue ; 
Where each of us did plead the other's right. 
The palm-play, where despoiled for the game, 
With dazzled eyes oft we by gleams of love 
Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame. 
To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above. 
The gravel'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm ; 
On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts ; 
With cheer, as though one should another whelm. 
Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts. 
With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth. 
In active games of nimbleness and strength, 
Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth. 
Our tender limbs, that yet shot up in length. 
The secret groves, which oft we made resound 
Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise ; 

Hove, hover. Palm-play, tennis court. Despoiled, stripped. 


Recording oft what grace each one had found, 
What hope of speed, what dread of long delays. 
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green ; 
With reins availed, and swift y-breathed horse, 
With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between, 
Where we did chase the fearful hart of force. 
The wild vales eke, that harbour'd us each night : 
Wherewith, alas ! reviveth in my breast 
The sweet accord : such sleeps as yet delight ; 
The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest ; 
The secret thoughts, imparted with such trust ; 
The wanton talk, the divers change of play ; 
The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just, 
Wherewith we past the winter night away. 
And with this thought the blood forsakes my face 
The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue : 
The which, as soon as sobbing sighs, alas ! 
Up-supped have, thus I my plaint renew ; 
" O place of bliss ! renewer of my woes ! 
Give me account, where is my noble fere ? 
Whom in thy walls thou dost each night enclose ; 
To other lief! but unto me most dear." 
Echo, alas ! that doth my sorrow rue, 
Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint. 
Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew, 
In prison pine, with bondage and restraint : 
And with remembrance of the greater grief. 
To banish the less, I find my chief relief. 

Holts, groves. Availed, slacked. Fere, companion. 

Lief, dear. 



When Windsor walls sustained my wearied arm ; 
My hand my chin, to ease my restless head ; 
The pleasant plot revested green with warm ; 
The blossom'd boughs, with lusty Ver y-spiead ; 
The flower'd meads, the wedded birds so late 
Mine eyes discover ; and to my mind resort 
The jolly woes, the hateless, short debate, 
The rakehell life that 'longs to love's disport, 
Wherewith, alas ! the heavy charge of care 
Heap'd in my breast breaks forth, against my will, 
In smoky sighs, that overcast the air. 
My vapour'd eyes such dreary tears distil, 

The tender spring which quicken where they fall ; 

And I half bent to throw me down withal. 

Ver, spring. Rakehell, careless. 



The soote season that bud and bloom forth brings, 
With green hath clad tlie hill and eke the vale ; 
The nightingale with feathers new she sings ; 
The turtle to her make hath told her tale. 
Summer is come, for every spray now springs. 
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale, 
The buck in brake his winter coat now flings. 
The fishes fleet with new-repaired scale : 
The adder all her slough away she flings, 
The swift swallow pursues the flies small. 
The busy bee her honey now she mings ; 
Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale. 
And thus I see, among these pleasant things. 
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs. 

SooU, sweet. Make, mate. Mings, mingles. 




Set me wliereas the sun doth parch the green, 
O where his beams doth not dissolve the ice; 
In temperate heat, where he is felt and seen ; 
In presence prest of people, mad, or wise ; 
Set me in high, or yet in low degree ; 
In longest night, or in the shortest day ; 
In clearest sky, or where clouds thickest be ; 
In lusty youth, or when my hairs are gray: 
Set me in heaven, in earth, or else in hell, 
In hill, or dale, or in the foaming flood ; 
Thrall, or at large, alive whereso I dwell, 
Sick, or in health, in evil fame or good, 
Hers will I be ; and only v/ith this thought 
Content myself, although my chance be nought. 

Thrall, in bondage. 



The Sun, when he hath spread his rays, 
And shewed his face ten thousand ways ; 
Ten thousand things do then begin, 
To shew the Hfe that they are in. 
The heaven shews Uvely art and hue, 
Of sundry shapes and colours new, 
And laughs upon the earth ; anon, 
The earth, as cold as any stone. 
Wet in the tears of her own kind, 
'Gins then to take a joyful mind. 
For well she feels that out and out 
The sun doth warm her round about, 
And dries her children tenderly ; 
And shews them forth full orderly. 
The mountains high, and how they stand ! 
The valleys, and the great main land ! 
The trees, the herbs, the towers strong, 
The castles, and the rivers long ! 

The hunter then sounds out his horn, 
And rangeth straight through wood and corn. 
On hills then shew the ewe and lamb, 
And every young one with his dam. 
Then lovers walk and tell their tale, 
Both of their bliss, and of their bale ; 
And how they serve, and how they do. 
And how their lady loves them too. 
Then tune the birds their harmony ; 
Then flock the fowl in company ; 
Then everything doth pleasure find 
In that, that comforts all their kind. 
Bale, sorrow. 



Give place, ye lovers, here before 
That spent your boasts and brags in vain 3 
My Lady's beauty passeth more 
The best of yours, I dare well sayen. 
Than doth the sun the candle light. 
Or brightest day the darkest night. 

* * * » 

I could rehearse, if that I would, 
The whole effect of Nature's plaint, 
When she had lost the perfect mould, 
The like to whom she could not paint : 
With wringing hands, how she did cry, 
And what she said, I know it, I. 

I know she swore with raging mind, 
Her kingdom only set apart, 
There was no loss, by law of kind, 
That could have gone so near her heart; 
And this was chiefly all her pain : 
"She could not make the like again." 

Sith Nature thus gave her the praise, 
To be the chiefest work she wrought ; 
In faith, methink! some better ways 
On your behalf might well be sought, 
Than to compare, as ye have done. 
To match the candle with the sun. 

A'iud, nature. Sii/i, since. 



Martial, the things that do attain 
The happy life, be these, I find : 
The riches left, not got with pain ; 
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind ; 

The equal friend ; no grudge, no strife ; 
No charge of rule, nor governance ; 
Without disease, the healthful life; 
The household of continuance ; 

The mean diet, no delicate fare ; 
True wisdom joined with simpleness ; 
The night discharged of all care, 
Where wine the wit may not oppress : 

The faithful wife, without debate ; 
Such sleeps as may beguile the night. 
Contented with thine own estate, 
Ne wish for Death, ne fear his might. 

Mean, moderate. 



Alas ! so all things now do hold their peace ! 
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing ; 
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease ; 
The nightes car the stars about doth bring. 
Calm is the sea ; the waves v/ork less and less ; 
So am not I, whom love, alas ! doth wring, 
Bringing before my face the great increase 
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing. 
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease. 
For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring, 
But by and by the cause of my disease 
Gives me a pang, that inwardly doth sting. 
When that I think what grief it is again, 
To live, and lack the thing should rid my pain. 



When raging love with extreme pain 
Most cruelly distrains my heart ; 
When that my tears, as floods of rain, 
Bear witness of my woful smart ; 
When sighs have wasted so my breathy 
That I lie at the point of death 

I call to mind the navy great 
That the Greeks brought to Troye town ; 
And how the boisterous winds did beat 
Their ships, and rent their sails adown ; 
Till Agamemnon's daughter's blood 
Appeased the gods that them withstood ; 

And how that in those ten years' war 
Full many bloody deed was done ; 
And many a lord that came full far, 
There caught his bane, alas ! too soon ; 
And many a good knight overrun, 
Before the Greeks had Helen won. 

Then think I thus : — " Since such repair, 
So long time war of valiant men. 
Was all to win a lady fair. 
Shall I not learn to suffer, then ? 
And think my life well spent to be 
Serving a worthier wight than she ? " 


Therefore I never will repent, 
But pains contented still endure ; 
For like as when rough winter spent, 
The pleasing spring straight draweth in ure ; 
So after raging storms of care, 
Joyful at length may be my fare. 

Ure, fortune. 



Wyat resteth here, that quick could never rest: 
Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain ; 
And virtue sank the deeper in his breast ; 
Such profit he by envy could obtain. 

A head, where wisdom mysteries did frame ; 
Whose hammers beat still in that lively brain, 
As on a stithe, where that some work of fame 
Was daily wrought, to turn to Britain's gain. 

A visage stern, and mild ; where both did grow 
Vice to contemn, in virtue to rejoice : 
Amid great storms, whom grace assured so, 
To live upright, and smile at fortune's choice. 

A hand, that taught what might be said in rhyme \ 
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit. 
A mark, the which (unperfected for time) 
Some may approach, but never none shall hit. 

A tongue, that served in foreign realms his king \ 
Whose courteous talk to virtue did inflame 
Each noble heart ; a worthy guide to bring 
Our English youth by travail into fame. 

Quick, alive. Slithe., anvil. 


An eye, whose judgment none affect could blind, 
Friends to allure, and foes to reconcile ; 
Whose piercing look did represent a mind 
With virtue fraught, reposed, void of guile. 

A heart, where dread was never so imprest 

To hide the thought that might tlie truth advance ! 

In neither fortune loft, nor yet represt. 

To swell in wealth, or yield unto mischance. 

A valiant corpse, where force and beauty met : 

Happy, alas ! too happy, but for foes, 

Lived, and ran the race that nature set ; 

Of manhood's shape, where she the mould did lose. 

But to the heavens that simple soul is fled. 
Which left, with such as covet Christ to know. 
Witness of faith, that never shall be dead ; 
Sent for our health, but not received so. 

Thus for our guilt this jewel have we lost ; 

The earth his bones, the heavens possess his ghost. 

Affect, art'ection. l^oft, exalted. Corpse, body. 

Ghost, spirit. 



They whisted all, and with fixed face attent, 
When Prince ^neas from the royal seat 
Thus 'gan to speak. O Queen ! it is thy will 
I should renew a woe cannot be told : 
How that the Greeks did spoil, and overthrow 
The Phrygian wealth, and wailful realm of Troy : 
Those ruthful things that I myself beheld ; 
And whereof no small part fell to my share. 
Which to express, who could refrain from tears ? 
What Myrmidon? or yet what Dolopes? 
What stern Ulysses' waged soldier? 
And lo ! moist night now from the welkin falls ! 
And stars declining counsel us to rest. 
But since so great is thy delight to hear 
Of our mishaps, and Troyes last decay ; 
Though to record the same my mind abhors, 
And plaint eschews, yet thus will I begin. 

* »«**•;> 

Whiles Laocoon, that chosen was by lot 
Neptunus' priest, did sacrifice a bull, 
Before the holy altar ; suddenly 
From Tenedon, behold ! in circles great 
By the calm seas come fleeting adders twain. 
Which plied towards the shore (I loathe to tell) 
With reared breast lift up above the seas : 
Whose bloody crests aloft the waves were seen ; 
The hinder part swam hidden in the flood. 

Whisted, wefe silent. H\i;ed, hired. Wei/nn, sky. 


Their grisly backs were linked manifold. 

With sound of broken waves they gat the strand, 

With glowing eyen, tainted with blood and fire ; 

Whose waltring tongues did lick their hissing mouths. 

We fled away ; our face the blood forsook ; 

But they with gait direct to Lacon ran. 

And first of all each serpent doth enwrap 

The bodies small of his two tender sons ; 

Whose wretched limbs they bit, and fed thereon. 

Then raught they him, who had his weapon caught 

To rescue them ; twice winding him about, 

With folded knots and circled tails, his waist : 

Their scaled backs did compass twice his neck, 

With reared heads aloft and stretched throats. 

He with his hands strave to unloose the knots, 

(Whose sacred fillets all besprinkled were 

With filth of gory blood, and venom rank) 

And to the stars such dreadful shouts he sent, 

Like to the sound the roaring bull forth lows. 

Which from the altar wounded doth astart, 

The swerving axe when he shakes from his neck. 

The serpents twain, with hasted trail they glide 

To Pallas' temple, and her towers of height : 

Under the feet of the which goddess stern, 

Hidden behind her target's boss they crept. 

New gripes of dread then pierce our trembling breasts. 

— Translation of /Eneid, Bk. ii. 

Waltring, rolling. Gait, way. Raught^ reached. 





When Cupid scaled first the fort, 
Wherein my heart lay wounded sore, 
The battery was of such a sort, 
That I must yield, or die therefore. 

There saw I Love upon the wall. 
How he his banner did display ; 
" Alarm ! alarm ! " he 'gan to call, 
And bade his soldiers keep array. 

The arms, the which that Cupid bare, 
Were pierced hearts with tears besprent, 
In silver and sable, to declare 
The steadfast love he always meant. 

There might you see his band all drest 
In colours like to white and black ; 
With powder and with pellets, prest 
To bring the fort to spoil and sack. 

Good-will, the master of the shot, 
Stood in the rampire, brave and proud : 
For 'spence of powder he spar'd not, 
" Assault ! assault ! " to cry aloud. 

Prest, ready. 


There miglit you hear the cannons roar ; 
Each piece discharg'd a lover's look ; 
Which had the power to rend, and tore 
In any place whereas they took. 

And even with the trumpet's sozvn 
The scaling ladders were up set : 
And Beauty walked up and down, 
With bow in hand, and arrows whet. 

Then first Desire began to scale, 
And shrouded him under his targe, 
And one the worthiest of them all, 
And aptest for to give the charge. 

Then pushed soldiers with their pikes, 
And halberdiers, with handy strokes ; 
The arquebus in flash it lights, 
And dims the air with misty smokes. 

And, as it is the soldiers 7ise 
When shot and powder 'gins to want, 
I hanged up my flag of truce 
And pleaded for my life's grant. 

When Fancy thus had made her breach, 
And Beauty enter'd with her band, 
With bag and baggage (sely wretch) 
I yielded into Beauty's hand. 

Sown, sound. Use, custom. Sely, miserable. 


Then Beauty bade to blow retreat, 
And every soldier to retire, 
And Mercy mild with speed to set 
Me captive bound as prisoner. 

"Madam," quoth I, ''sith that this day 
Hath served you at all assays, 
I yield to you without delay. 
Here of the fortress all the kays. 

" And sith that I have been the mark. 
At whom you shot at with your eye, 
Needs must you with your handy-wark. 
Or salve my sore, or let me die." 

— Totters Miscellany. 
Sith, since. 



I LOATHE that I did love, 
In youth that I thought sweet, 
As time requires for my behove 
Methinks they are not meet, 

My lusts they do me leave, 
My fancies all are fled. 
And tract of time begins to weave 
Grey hairs upon my head. 

For Age with stealing steps 
Hath clawed me with his crutch. 
And lusty Life away she leaps 
As there had been none such. 

My Muse doth not delight 

Me as she did before ; 

My hand and pen are not in plight. 

As they have been of yore. 

For Reason me denies 
This youthly, idle rhyme ; 
And day by day to me she cries, 
" Leave off these toys in time." 

The wrinkles in my brow, 

The furrows in my face, 

Say, " Limping Age will lodge him now. 

Where Youth must give him place." 

The harbinger of Death 

To me I see him ride ; 

The cough, the cold, the gasping breath 

Doth bid me to provide 


A pickaxe and a spade, 
And eke a shrouding sheet, 
A house of clay for to be made 
For such a guest most meet. 

Methinks I hear the clerk, 
That knolls the careful knell. 
And bids me leave my woeful work, 
Ere Nature me compel. 

My keepers knit the knot 
That Youth did laugh to scorn. 
Of me that clean shall be forgot, 
As I had not been born. 

Thus must I Youth give up, 
Whose badge I long did wear ; 
To them I yield the wanton cup. 
That better may it bear. 

Lo, here the bared skull, 
By whose bald sign I know. 
That stooping Age away shall pull. 
Which youthful years did sow. 

For Beauty with her band 
These crooked cares hath wrought, 
And shipped me into the land 
From whence I first was brought. 

And ye that bide behind, 
Have ye none other trust : 
As ye of clay were cast by kind, 
So shall ye waste to dust. 

— Totters Miscellany. 

Knolls, tolls. Kind, nature, 



These hairs of age are messengers, 
Which bid me fast, repent, and pray ; 
They be of death the harbingers, 
Which do prepare and dress the way : 
Wherefore I joy that you may see 
Upon my head such hairs to be. 

They be the hues that lead the length 
How far my race was for to run ; 
They say my youth is fled, with strength, 
And how old age is well begun : 
The which I feel ; and you may see 
Upon my head such lines to be. 

They be the strings, of sober sound, 
Whose music is harmonical : 
Their tunes declare — a time from ground 
I came, and how thereto I shall ! 
Wherefore I joy that you may see 
Upon my head such strings to be. 

God grant to those who white hairs have, 
No worse them take than I have meant ; 
That after they be laid in grave, 
Their souls may joy, their lives well spent. 
God grant, likewise, that you may see 
Upon your head such hairs to be. 



How can the tree but waste and wither away 
That hath not sometime comfort of the sun ? 

How can the flower but fade and soon decay 
That always is with dark clouds overrun ? 

Is this a life ? Nay ! death I may it call, 

That feels each pain and knows no joy at all. 

What foodless beast can live long in good plight ? 

Or is it life where senses there be none ? 
Or what availeth eyes without their light ? 

Or else a tongue to him that is alone ? 
Is this a life ? Nay ! death I may it call, 
That feels each pain and knows no joy at all. 

Whereto serve ears if that there be no sound ? 

Or such a head where no device doth grow 
But all of plaints, since sorrow is the ground, 

Whereby the heart doth pine in deadly woe ? 
Is this a life ? Nay ! death I may it call, 
That feels each pain and knows no joy at all. 

— Paradise of Dainty Devices. 



When all is done and said, 

In th' end thus shall you find; 

He most of all doth bathe in bliss, 

That hath a quiet mind : 

And, clear from worldly cares, 

To deem can be content 

The sweetest time in all his life 

In thinking to be spent. 

« * * * 

Companion none is like 
Unto the mind alone ; 
For many have been harm'd by speech, 
Through thinking, few, or none. 
Fear oftentimes restraineth words, 
But makes not thoughts to cease ; 
And he speaks best, that hath the skill 
When for to hold his peace. 

Our wealth leaves us at death ; 
Our kinsman at the grave : 
But virtues of the mind unto 
The heavens with us have. 
Wherefore, for virtue's sake, 
I can be well content 
The sweetest time in all my life, 
To deem in thinking spent. 

—Paradise of Dainty Devices. 




What sweet relief the showers to thirsty plants we see, 
What dear delight the blooms to bees, my true Love is to 

As fresh and lusty Ver foul Winter doth exceed, 
As morning bright with scarlet sky doth pass the evening's 

As mellow pears above harsh crabs esteemed be, 
So doth my Love surmount them all whom yet I hap to see. 
The oak shall olives bear, the lamb the lion/mj. 
The owl shall match the nightingale in tuning of her lay. 
Or I my Love let slip out of mine entire heart ; 
So deep reposed in my breast is She for her desert. 
For many blessed gifts, O happy, happy land ! 
Where Mars and Pallas strive to make their glory most to 

stand ; 
Yet, land ! more is thy bliss that in this cruel age 
A Venus imp thou hast brought forth, so steadfast and so 

Among the Muses nine a tenth if Jove would make, 
And to the Graces three a fourth, Her would Apollo take. 
Let some for honour hunt, or hoard the massy gold : 
With Her so I may live and die, my weal can not be told. 

— Totter s Aliscellany. 

Ver, spring. Weed, clothing. Fray, affright. /////, child. 



What one art thou, thus in torn weed y-clad ? 
Virtue, in price whom ancient sages had. 
Why poorly 'rayed ? For fading goods past care. 
Why double faced ? I mark each fortune's fare. 
This bridle, what ? Mind's rages to restain. 
Tools why bear you ? I love to take great pain. 
Why wings ? I teach above the stars to fly. 
Why tread you death ? I only cannot die. 

— TotteVs Miscellatiy. 



Of all the heavenly gifts that mortal men commend, 
What trusty treasure in the world can countervail a friend ? 
Our health is soon decayed ; goods, casual, light, and 

vain ; 
Broke have we seen the force of power, and honour suffer 

In body's lust man doth resemble but base brute ; 
True virtue gets and keeps a friend, good guide of our 

Whose hearty zeal with ours accords, in every case ; 
No term of time, no space of place, no storm can it 

When fickle fortune fails, this knot endureth still ; 
Thy kin out of their kind may swerve, when friends owe 

thee good-will. 
What sweeter solace shall befall, than [such a] one to find 
Upon whose breast thou may'st repose the secrets of thy 

mind ? 
He waileth at thy woe, his tears with thine be shed ; 
With thee doth he all joys enjoy, so leef a life is led. 
Behold thy friend, and of thyself the pattern see^ 
One soul, a wonder shall it seem in bodies twain to be; 
In absence present, rich in want, in sickenesse sound, 
Yea, after death alive, mayst thou by thy sure friend be 

Each house, each town, each realm, by steadfast love 

doth stand; 
While foul debate breeds bitter bale in each divided land. 

Ki7id, nature. Leef, loved. 


O Friendship, flower of flowers ! O lively sprite of life ! 

O sacred bond of blissful peace, the stalworth staunch of 
strife ! 

Scipio with Lajlius didst thou conjoin in care; 

At home, in wars, for weal or woe, with equal faith to 
fare ; 

Gisippus eke with Tite ; Damon with Pythias ; 

And with Mencetius' son Achill by thee combined was ; 

Eurialus and Nisus gave Virgil cause to sing ; 

Of Pylades do many rhymes, and of Orestes ring ; 

Down Theseus went to hell, Pirith, his friend, to find ; 

O that the wives in these our days were to their mates so 
kind ! 

Cicero, the friendly man, to Atticus, his friend, 

Of friendship wrote ; such couples, lo ! doth lot but 
seldom lend. 

Recount thy race now run, how few there shalt thou see 

Of whom to say, " This same is he that never failed me." 

So rare a jewel then must needs be holden dear. 

And as thou wilt esteem thyself so take thy chosen fere ; 

The tyrant in despair no lack of gold bewails, 

But " Out, I am undone," saith he, " for all my friend- 
ship fails ! " 

Wherefore, since nothing is more kindly for our kind, 

Next wisdom, thus that teacheth us, love we the friendful 

— Jottel's Miscellany. 

Fere, companion. 



The ancient time commended not for nought 
The mean: what better thing can there be sought? 
In mean is virtue placed : on either side, 
Both right and left, amiss a man shall slide. 
Icar, with fire had'st thou the mid way flown, 
Icarian beck by name had no man known. 
If middle path kept had proud Phaeton, 
No burning brand this earth had fall'n upon. 
Ne cruel power, ne none too soft can reign : 
That keeps a mean, the same shall still remain. 
Thee, Julie, once did loo much mercy spill ! 
Thee, Nero stern, rigour extreme did kill. 
How could August so many years well pass ? 
Nor over meek, nor over fierce he was. 
Worship not Jove with curious fancies vain, 
Nor him despise ! hold right atween these twain. 
No wasteful wight, no greedy groom is prais'd : 
Stands largess just in equal balance payz'd : 
So Cato's meal surmounts Antonius' cheer, 
And better fame his sober fare hath here. 
Too slender building, bad ; as bad, too gross ; 
One, an eye-sore ; the t'other falls to loss. 
As med'cines help in measure, so (God wot) 
By overmuch the sick their bane have got. 
Unmeet meseems to utter this mo' ways : 
Measure forbids un measurable praise. 

— TottePs Miscellany. 
Beck, stream. Groom, man. Payz'd, poised. AJo', more. 




O LUSTY May, with Flora queen, 

The balmy drops from Phoebus sheen, 

Prelusant beams, before the day, 

Before the day, the day. 

By thee Diana groweth green 

Through gladness of this lusty May, 

Through gladness of this lusty May. 
* « * * 

Birds on their boughs, of every sort, 

Send forth their notes and make great mirth. 

On banks that bloom ; on every brae. 

On every brae, on every brae ; 

And fare and fly o'er field and firth. 

Through gladness of this lusty May, Etc. 

All loveres that are in care. 

To their ladies they do repair, 

In fresh mornings before the day, 

Before the day, the day ; 

And are in mirth aye mair and mair, 

Through gladness of this lusty May, Etc. 

Of every monith in the year 

To mirthful May there is no peer, 

Her glistering garments are so gay, 

Garments so gay, so gay. 

You lovers all make merry cheer, 

Through gladness of this lusty May, 

Through gladness of this lusty May. 

Mair, more. 



Adieu desert, how art thou shent ! 

Ah dropping tears, how do ye waste ! 
Ah scalding sighs, how ye be spent. 

To prick them forth that will not haste ! 
Ah ! pained heart, thou gap'st for grace, 
E'en there where pity hath no place. 

As easy it is the stony rock 

From place to place for to remove, 

As by thy plaint for to provoke 
A frozen heart from hate to love ; 

What should I say ? such is thy lot, 

To fawn on them (h^X foj'ce thee not! 

Thus may'st thou safely say and swear, 
That rigour reigneth and truth doth fail, 

In thankless thoughts thy thoughts do wear : 
Thy truth, thy faith, may not avail 

For thy good will : why should I so 

Still graft, where grace it will not grow ? 

Alas ! poor heart, thus hast thou spent 
Thy flowering time, thy pleasant years ? 

With sighing voice weep and lament, 
For of thy hope no fruit appears ! 

Thy meaning true is paid with scorn. 

That ever sow'th and reap'th no corn. 

Shent, confounded. Fone, regard. 


And where thou seekbt a quiet port, 
Thou dost but weigh against the wind : 

For where thou gladdest would'st resort, 
There is no place for thee assigned. 

The destiny hath set it so, 

That thy true heart should cause thy woe. 

— TotleFs Miscellany. 



(original forp.i.) 

The pawky auld carle came o'er the lee, 
Wi' many good e'ens and days to me, 
Saying, Goodwife, for your courtesie, 

Will you lodge a silly poor man ? 
The night was cauld, the carle was wat ; 
And down ayont the ingle he sat ; 
My daughter's shoulders he 'gan to clap, 

And cadgily ranted and sang. 

O wow ! quo' he, were I as free 
As first when I saw this countrie, 
How blythe and merry wad I be ! 

And I wad never think lang. 
He grew canty, and she grew fain. 
But little did her auld minny ken 
What thir slee twa thegither were say'ng, 

When wooing they were sae thrang. 

And O, quo' he, an' ye were as black 
As e'er the crown of my daddy's hat, 
'Tis I wad lay thee by my back, 

And awa' wi' me thou shou'd gang. 
And O, quo' she, an I were as white 
As e'er the snaw lay on the dike, 
I'd deed me braw and ladylike. 

And awa' wi' thee I wou'd gang. 


Between the twa was made a plot ; 
They rose a wee before the cock, 
And wiHly they shot the lock, 

And fast to the bent are they gane. 
Up in the morn the auld wife raise, 
And at her leisure pat on her claise ; 
Syne to the servant's bed she gaes, 

To speer for the silly poor man. 

She gaed to the bed where the beggar lay ; 
The strae was cauld, he was away, 
She clapt her hands, cry'd Waladay, 

For some of our gear will be gane ! 
Some ran to coffer and some to kist. 
But nought was stown that could be mist ; 
She danc'd her lane, cry'd Praise be blest, 

I have lodg'd a leal poor man ! 

Since naething's awa', as we can learn, 
The kirn's to kirn, and the milk to earn, 
Gae but the house, lass, and waken my bairn. 

And bid her come quickly ben. 
The servant gaed where the daughter lay. 
The sheets were cauld, she was away, 
And fast to her goodwife did say, 

She's aff with the gaberlunzie man. 

O fy gar ride, and fy gar rin, 

And haste ye find these traitors again ; 

For she's be burnt and he's be slain. 

The wearifu' gaberlunzie man. 
Some rade upo' horse, some ran a-fit. 
The wife was wud, and out o' her wit. 
She could na gang, nor yet cou'd she sit, 

But she cuis'd ay, and she bann'd. 


Meantime far 'hind out o'er the lee, 
Fu' snug in a glen, where nane cou'd see. 
The twa, with kindly sport and glee, 
Cut frae a new cheese a whang : 
The priving was good, it pleas'd them baith, 
To lo'e her for ay, he gae her his aith, 
Quo' she, To leave thee I will be laith, 
My winsome gaberlunzie man. 

O kend my minny I were wi' you, 
Ill-faurdly wad she crook her mou' ; 
Sic a poor man she'd never trow, 

After the gaberlunzie man. 
My dear, quo' he, ye're yet o'er young, 
And hae na learn'd the beggar's tongue. 
To follow me frae town to town. 

And carry the gaberlunzie on. 

Wi' cauk and keel I'll win your bread. 

And spindles and whorles for them wha need, 

Whilk is a gentle trade indeed. 

To carry the gaberlunzie on. 
I'll bow my leg, and crook my knee, 
And draw a black clout o'er my e'e ; 
A cripple or blind they will ca' me, 

While we shall be merry and sing. 




The mountains high, whose lofty tops do meet the haughty 

The craggy rock, that to the sea free passage doth deny; 
The aged oak, thou doth resist the force of blust'ring 

blast ; 
The pleasant herb, that everywhere a pleasant smell doth 

cast ; 
The lion's force, whose courage stout declares a prince-like 

might ; 
The eagle, that for worthiness is borne of kings in fight. 

These, these, I say, and thousands more, by tract of time 

And like to time do quite consume, and fade from form to 

But my true heart and service vowed shall last time out of 

And still remain as thine by doom, as Cupid hath assigned; 
My faith, lo here ! I vow to thee, my troth thou know'st too 

My goods, my friends, my life is thine ; what need I more 

to tell ? 
I am not mine, but thine ; I vow thy bests I will obey, 
And serve thee as a servant ought, in pleasing if I may ; 


And sith I have no flying wings, to serve thee as I wish, 
Ne fins to cut the silver streams, as doth the gliding 

Wherefore leave now forgetfulness, and send again to me. 
And strain thy azure veins to write, that I may greeting 

And thus farewell ! more dear to me than chiefest friend I 

Whose love in heart I mind to shrine, till death his fee do 


— Paradise of Dainty Devices. 

Sith, since. 



When May is in his prime, 

Then may each heart rejoice ; 

When May bedecks each branch with green, 

Each bird strains forth his voice. 

The lively sap creeps up, 

Into the blooming thorn ; 

The flowers, which cold in prison kept, 

Now laugh the frost to scorn. 

All Nature's iinps triumph 
While joyful May doth last ; 
When May is gone, of all the year' 
The pleasant time is past. 

May makes the cheerful hue ; 
May breeds and brings new blood ; 
May marcheth throughout every limb ; 
May makes the merry mood. 

I^Iay pricketh tender hearts 
Their warbhng notes to tune ;— 
Full strange it is, yet some, we see, 
Do make their May in June. 

Imps, sons 


Thus things are strangely wrought 
Whiles joyful May doth last : 
Take May in time ! When May is gone, 
The pleasant time is past. 

All ye that live on earth, 
And have your May at will, 
Rejoice in May, as I do now, 
And use your May with skill ! 

Use May while that you may, 
For May hath but his time ! 
When all the fruit is gone it is 
Too late the tree to climb. 

Your liking and your lust 
Is fresh whiles May doth last ; 
When May is gone, of all the year 
The pleasant time is past. 

— Paradise of Dainty Devices. 



In going to my naked bed, as one that would have slept, 
I heard a wife sing to her child that long before had wept : 
She sighed sore, and sang full sweet, to bring the babe 

to rest. 
That would not cease, but cried still, in sucking at her 

She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with her 

child ; 
She rocked it and rated it, until on her it smiled : 
Then did she say, " Now have I found the proverb true 

to prove. 
The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love." 

Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to 

In register for to remain of such a worthy wight : 

As she proceeded thus in song, unto her little brat 

Much matter utter'd she of weight, in place whereas she 

And proved plain there was no beast nor creature bearing 

Could well be known to live in love without discord and 

strife : 
Then kissed she her little babe, and swore by God above 
" The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love." 


" I marvel much, pardy," quoth she, " for to behold the 

To see man, woman, boy, and beast, to toss the world 

about ; 
Some kneel, some crouch, some beck, some check, and 

some can smoothly smile. 
And some embrace others in arms, and there think many 

a wile ; 
Some stand aloof at cap and knee, some humble and some 

Yet are they never friends indeed imtil they once fall out." 
Thus ended she her song, and said, before she did 

'•' The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love." 

— Faradae of Dainty Devices. 



Whoso will be accounted wise and truly claim the name, 
By joining Virtue to his deeds, he must achieve the same. 
But few there be that seek thereby true wisdom to attain ; 
O God, so rule our hearts therefore such fondness to 

The wisdom which we most esteem, in this thing doth 

With glorious talk to show in words our wisdom when 

we list : 
Yet not in talk but seemly deeds om- wisdom we should 

To speak so fair and do but ill doth wisdom quite disgrace. 

To bargain well and shun the loss, a wisdom counted is, 
And thereby through the greedy coin no hope of grace to 

To seek by honour to advance his name to brittle praise, 
Is wisdom which we daily see increaseth in our days. 

But heavenly wisdom sour seems, too hard for them to 

But weary of the suit they seem, when they do once begin : 
It teacheth us to frame our life, while vital breath we 

When it dissolveth earthly mass, the soul from death to 


Fondness, folly. 


By fear of God to rule our steps from sliding into vice, 
A wisdom is which we neglect, although of greater price : 
A point of wisdom also this we commonly esteem, 
That every man should be indeed that he desires to seem. 

To bridle that desire of gain which forceth us to ill, 

Our haughty stomachs, Lord, repress, to tame presuming 

will : 
This is the wisdom that we should above each thing 

O heavenly God, from sacred throne, that grace in us 

inspire ! 

And print in our repugnant hearts the rules of wisdom 

That all our deeds in worldly life may like thereof ensue : 
Thou only art the living spring from whom this wisdom 

Oh wash therewith our sinful hearts from vice that therein 

grows ! 

— Paradise of Dainty Devices. 



When women first Dame Nature wrought, 
"All good," quoth she, "none shall be naught; 
All wise shall be, none shall be fools, 
For wit shall spring from women's schools. 
In all good gifts they shall excel, 
Their nature all no tongue can tell." — 
Thus Nature said : — I heard it, I : — 
I pray you ask them if I do lie ! 

By nature's grant this must ensue, — 
No woman false, but all most true : 
None sow debate, but love maintain, 
None wish to see their lover's pain. 
As turtles true their chosen one 
They love, and pine when he is gone, 
This is most true, none can deny ; — 
I pray you ask them if I do lie ! 

No lamb so meek as women be. 

Their humble hearts from pride are free. 

Rich things they wear ; — and wot you why ? — 

Only to please their husband's eye ! 

They never strive their wills to have, 

Their husband's love, nought else they crave : 

Vain talk in them none can espy : — 

I pray you ask them if I do lie ! 


The eagle with his piercing eye 
Shall burn and waste the mountains high ; 
Huge rocks shall fleet as ship with sail ; 
The crab shall run, swim shall the snail ; 
Springs shall return from whence tliey came ; 
Sheep shall be wild, and tigers tame ; 
Ere these my words false you shall try : — 
Ha ! ha ! methinks I make a lie ! 



Where griping griefs the heart would woutid, 
And doleful dumps the mind oppress, 

There Music with her silver sound 
With speed is wont to send redress : 

Of troubled minds in every sore, 

Sweet music hath a salve in store. 

In joy it makes our mirth abound, 
In woe it cheers our heavy sprites ; 

Be-straughted heads relief hath found, 
By music's pleasant sweet delights : 

Our senses all, what say I more ? 

Are subject unto music's lore. 

The gods by music have their praise ; 

The life, the soul therein doth joy ; 
For as the Roman poet says, 

In seas, whom pirates would destroy, 
A dolphin saved from death most sharp 
Arion playing on his harp. 

O heavenly gift, that rules the mind 
E'en as the stern doth rule the ship ! 

O music, whom the gods assigned 

To comfort man, whom cares would nip ! 

Since thou both man and beast dost move. 

What beast is he, will thee disprove. 

Disprove, disapprove of. 




Seven times hath Janus ta'en New Year by the hand, 
Seven times hath blustering March blown forth his power, 
To drive out April's buds, by sea and land, 
For minion May to deck most-trim with flower ; 
Seven times hath temperate Ver like pageant play'd ; 
And pleasant ^stas eke her flowers told ; 
Seven times Autumnus' heat hath been delay'd 
With Hyem's boisterous blasts and bitter cold : 
Seven times the thirteen moons hath changed hue ; 
Seven times the sun his course hath gone about ; 
Seven times each bird his nest hath built anew : — 
Since first time you to serve I choosed out : 
Still yours am I, though thus the time hath past. 
And trust to be, as long as life shall last. 

Minion, pleasant. 



Comparing good husband with unthrift his brother, 
The better discerneth the one from the other. 

Ill husbandry braggeth 

To go with the best : 
Good husbandry baggeth 

Up gold in his chest. 

Ill husbandry trudgeth 

With unthrifts about : 
Good husbandry snudgeth 

For fear of a doubt. 

Ill husbandry spendeth 

Abroad, like a mome : 
Good husbandry tendeth 

His charges at home. 

Ill husbandry selleth 

His corn on the ground : 

Good husbandry smelleth 
No gain that way found. 

Ill husbandry loseth 
For lack of good fence : 

Good husbandry closeth 
And gaineth the pence. 

Snudgeth, move along snugly. Mome, dolt. 



Ill husbandry trusteth 

To him and to her : 
Good husbandry lusteth 

Himself for to stir. 

Ill husbandry eateth 

Himself out of door : 
Good husbandry meateth 

His friend and the poor. . 

Ill husbandry dayeth, 

Or letteth it lie : 
Good husbandry payeth, 

The cheaper to buy. 

Ill husbandry lurketh 

And stealeth a sleep : 
Good husbandry worketh 

His household to keep. 

Ill husbandry liveth 

By that and by this : 
Good husbandry giveth 

To every man his. 

Ill husbandry taketh 

And spendeth up all : 
Good husbandry maketh 

Good shift with a small. 

Ill husbandry prayeth 
His wife to make shift : 

Good husbandry sayeth, 
"Take this of my gift." 

Mealcth, feeding. Dayeth, procrastinates 


111 husbandry drowseth 

At fortune so avvk : 
Good husbandry rouseth 

Himself as a hawk. 

Ill husbandry lieth 

In prison for debt : 
Good husbandry spieth 

Where profit to get. 

Ill husbandry ways hath 

To fraud what he can : 
Good husbandry praise hath 

Of every man. 

Ill husbandry never 

Hath wealth to keep touch : 
Good husbandry ever 

Hath penny in pouch. 

Good husband his boon 

Or request hath afar : 
111 husband as soon 

Hath a toad with an R. 

Awk, awkward. 



What wisdom more, what better life, than pleaseth God to 

What worldly good, what longer use, than pleaseth God to 

What better fare than well content, agreeing with thy 

wealth ? 
What better guest than trusty friend, in sickness and in 

health ? 
What better bed than conscience good, to pass the night 

with sleep? 
What better work than daily care from sin thyself to 

keep ? 
What better thought than think on God, and daily him to 

serve ? 
What better gift than to the poor, that ready be to starve ? 
What greater praise of God and man, than mercy for to 

show ? 
Who, merciless, shall mercy find, that mercy shows to 

What worse despair than loathe to die, for fear to go to 

What greater faith than trust in God, through Christ in 

heaven to dwell? 



Of God, to thy doings, a time there is sent, 
Which endeth with time that in doing is spent ; 
For time is itself, but a time for a time. 
Forgotten full soon, as the time of a chime. 

In Spring-time we rear, we do sow, and we plant : 
In Summer get victuals, lest after we want ; 
In Harvest we carry in corn, and the fruit, 
In Winter to spend, as we need of each suit. 

The year I compare, as I find for a truth, 
The Spring unto Childhood, the Summer to Youth, 
The Harvest to Manhood, the Winter to Age, 
All quickly forgot, as a play on a stage. 

Time past is forgotten, ere men be aware ; 
Time present is thought on, with wonderful care ; 
Time coming is feared, and therefore we save, 
Yet oft ere it come we be gone to the grave. 

The lands and the riches that here we possess 
Be none of our own, if a God we profess ; 
But lent us of Him, as His ta.lent of gold. 
Which being demanded, who can it withhold ? 

God maketh no writing, that justly doth say, 
How long we shall have it, — a year or a day ; 
But leave it we must (howsoever we leave). 
When Atrop shall pluck us from hence by the sleeve. 

To Death we must stoop, be we high, be we low, 
But how, and how suddenly, few be that know ; 
What carry we then but a sheet to the grave 
To cover this carcass, of all that we have ? 



To pray to God continually ; 
To learn to know him rightfully ; 
To honour God in Trinity; 
The Trinity in Unity ; 
The Father in his majesty ; 
The Son in his humanity ; 
The Holy Ghost's benignity ; 
Three persons, in one Deity ; 
To serve him ahvay holily ; 
To ask him all thing needfully ; 
To praise him alvvay worthily ; 
To love him alvvay steadfastly; 
To dread him alway fearfully ; 
To ask him mercy heartily ; 
To trust him alway faithfully ; 
To obey him alway willingly ; 
To abide him alway patiently ; 
To thank him alway thankfully ; 
To live here alway virtuously ; 
To use thy neighbour honestly ; 
To look for death still presently ; 
To help the poor in misery ; 
To hope for heaven's felicity ; 
To have faith, hope, and charity ; 

To count this life but vanity ; 

Be points of Christianity. 




If banish'd sleep, and watchful care, 

If mind affright with dreadful dreams, 
If torments rife and pleasures rare, 

If face besmear'd with often streams. 
If change of cheer from joy to smart, 

If alter'd hue from pale to red, 
If faltering tongue with trembling heart, 

If sobbing sighs with fury fed, 
If sudden hope by fear oppress'd. 

If fear by hope suppress'd again. 
Be proofs that Love within the breast 

Hath bound the heart with fancy's chain : 
Then I, of force, no longer may 

In covert keep my piercing flame, 
Which ever doth itself bewray. 

But yield myself to fancy's frame. 

Fancy, love. Beiviay, show. 



My girl, thou gazest much 

Upon the golden skies : 
Would I were Heaven ! I would behold 

Thee then with all mine eyes ! 



When Phcenix shall have many makes, 

And fishes shun the silver lakes ; 

When wolves and lambs y-fere shall play, 

And Phoebus cease to shine by day ; 

When grass on marble stone shall grow, 

And every man embrace his foe ; 

When moles shall leave to dig the ground, 

And hares accord with hateful hound ; 

* « * * 

When Pan shall pass Apollo's skill, 

And fools of fancies have their fill ; 

When hawks shall dread the silly fowl, 

And men esteem the nightish owl ; 

When pearl shall be of little price. 

And golden Virtue friend to Vice ; 

When Fortune hath no change in store, — 

Then will I false, and not before ! 

Till all these monsters come to pass 

I am Timetus, as I was. 

My love as long as life shall last, 

Not /ora'ng any fortune's blast. 

No threat nor thraldom shall prevail 

To cause my faith one jot to fail ; 

But as I was, so will I be, 

A lover and a friend to thee. 

Makes, mates. V-fere, friendly. Monsters, wonders. 

Forcing, regarding. 



When Nature first in hand did take 
The clay to frame this Countess' corse, 

The earth a while she did forsake, 
And was compell'd of very force, 

With mould in hand, to flee to skies, 

To end the work she did devise. 

Th2 gods that then in council sate. 
Were half-amaz'd, against their kind, 

To see so near the stool of state 

Dame Nature stand, that was assign'd 

Among her worldly imps to wonne, 

As she until that day had done. 

First Jove began, " What, daughter dear, 
Hath made thee scorn thy father's will ? 

Why do I see thee. Nature, here, 
That ought'st of duty to fulfil 

Thy undertaken charge at home? 

What makes thee thus abroad to roam ? 

" Disdainful dame, how didst thou dare. 
So reckless to depart the ground 

That is allotted to thy share ? " 

And therewithal his godhead frown'd. 

"I will," quoth Nature, "out of hand, 

Declare the cause I fled the land. 

Kind, nature. Imps, children. Wonne, dwell. 


" I undertook of late a piece 

Of clay, a featured face to frame, 
To match the courtly dames of Greece, 

That for their beauty bear the name ; 
But, O good father, now I see 
This work of mine it will not be. 

"Vicegerent, since you me assign'd 

Below in earth, and gave me laws 
On mortal wights, and will'd that kind 

Should make and mar, as she saw cause .• 
Of right, I think, I may appeal, 
And crave your help in this to deal." 

When Jove saw how the case did stand, 
And that the work was well begun, 

He pray'd to have the helping hand 
Of other Gods till he had done : 

With willing minds they all agreed. 

And set upon the clay with speed. 

First Jove each limb did well dispose. 
And makes a creature of the clay ; 

Next, Lady Venus she bestows 
Her gallant gifts as best she may; 

From face to foot, from top to toe. 

She let no whit untouch'd to go. 

When Venus had done what she could 

In making of her carcase brave. 
Then Pallas thought she might be bold 

Among the rest a share to have ; 
K passing wit she did convey 
Into this passing piece of clay. 

Kind, nature. Fassing, surpassing. 


Of Bacchus she no member had, 
Save features fine zxidifeat to see ; 

Her head with hair Apollo clad, 
That Gods had thought it gold to be : 

So glist'ring was the tress in sight 

Of this new form'd and featured wight. 

Diana held her peace a space, 

Until those other Gods had done ; 

"At last," quoth she, '^ in Dian chase 
With bow in hand this nymph shall run ; 

And chief of all my noble train 

I will this virgin entertain." 

Then joyful Juno came and said, 
"Since you to her so friendly are, 

I do appoint this noble maid 
To match with Mars, his peer for war ; 

She shall the Countess Warwick be, 

And yield Diana's bow to me." 

When to so good effect it came, 
And every member had his grace, 

There wanted nothing but a name : 
By hap was Mercury then in place, 

That said, " I pray you all agree. 

Pandora grant her name to be. 

" For since your godheads forged have 
With one assent this noble dame, 

And each to her a virtue gave, 
This term agreeth to the same." 

The Gods that heard Mercurius tell 

This tale, did hke it passing well. 

Feat, neat. 


Report was sumnion'd then in haste, 
And will'd to bring his trump in hand, 

To blow therewith a sounding blast, 

That might be heard through Brutus' land. 

Pandora straight the trumpet blew, 

That each this Countess Warwick knew. 

O seely Nature ! born to pain, 

O woful, wretched kind, I say. 
That to forsake the soil were fain 

To make this Countess out of clay : 
But, O most friendly gods, that would 
Vouchsafe to set your hands to mould. 

Seel)\ simple. 



Was never aught, by Nature's art 
Or cunning skill, so wisely wrought, 

But man by practice might convart 
To worser use than Nature thought. 

Ne yet was ever thing so ill. 
Or may be of so small a price, 

But man may better it by skill, 
And change his sort by sound advice. 

So that by proof it may be seen 
That all things are as is their use. 

And man may alter Nature clean. 
And things corrupt by his abuse. 

What better may be found than flame, 
To Nature that doth succour pay ? 

Yet we do oft abuse the same 
In bringing buildings to decay : 

For those that mind to put in ure 

Their malice, moved to wrath and ire, 

To wreak their mischief will be sure 
To spill and spoil thy house with fire. 

So Physic, that doth serve for ease 
And to re-cure the grieved soul, 

The painful patient may disease, 

And make him sick that erst was whole. 

Ure, use. 


The true man and the thief are leeke, 
For sword doth serve them both at need, 

Save one by it doth safety seek, 
And t'other of the spoil to speed. 

As law and learning doth redress 
That otherwise would go to wrack, 

E'en so it doth ofttimes oppress 

And bring the true man to the rack. 

Though poison pain the drinker sore 

By boiling in his fainting breast, 
Yet is it not refused therefore, 

For cause sometime it breedeth rest : 

And mixed with medicines of proof, 

According to Machaon's art. 
Doth serve right well for our behoof, 

And succour sends to dying heart. 

Yet these and other things were made 

By Nature for the better use, 
But we of custom take a trade 

By wilful will them to abuse. 

So nothing is by kind so void 

Of vice, and with such virtue fraught, 

But it by us may be annoyed, 

And brought in track of time to nought. 

Again there is not that so ill 

Below the lamp of Phcebus' light, 

But man may better, — if he will 
Apply his wit to make it right. 

Lecke, like. Kind, nature. Annoyed, made hurtful. 



By hap a man that could not hear, 

But deaf was born by kind^ 
Another cited to the court 

Much Hke himself to find ; 

Whose hearing sense was quite bereft : 

The Judge that of the case 
Should give his verdict, was as deaf 

As deafest in the place. 

To Court they came : the Plaintiff pray'd 

To have the unpaid rent. 
Defendant said, " In grinding I 

This weary night have spent." 

The Judge beheld them both a while, 

" Is this " (at last, quoth he), 
" Of all your stirred strife the cause? 

You both her children be : 

" Then Reason wills, and Law allows 

Your mother should have aid 
At both your hands that are her sons." 

When thus the Judge had said, 

Kind, nature. 


The people laughed a good to hear 

This well discussed case, 
'Twixt two deaf men, and thought him fit 

To sit in Judge's place, 

Upon so blind a matter, that 

Was deaf as any rock : 
And thus the simple men were sham'd. 

The Justice had a mock. 



A miser's mind thou hast, 

Thou hast a prince's pelf: 
Which niakes thee wealthy to thine heir, 

A beggar to thyself. 

Asclepiad, that greedy carle, 

By fortune found a mouse 
(As he about his lodgings look'd), 

Within his niggish house. 

The chiding chuffe began to chafe, 

And (spareful of his cheer) 
Demanded of the silly beast, 

And said, " What mak'st thou here? " 

"You need not stand in fear, good friend," 

The smiling mouse replied, 
" I come not to devour your cates. 

But in your house to bide." 

No man this miser I account, 

That chid this hurtless elf : 
No mouse the mouse, but wiser than 

The patch that own'd the pelf. 

Cafes, dainties. Patch, fool. 




Whence comes my love? O heart, disclose; 
It was from cheeks that shamed the rose, 
From lips that spoil the ruby's praise, 
From eyes that mock the diamond's blaze : 
Whence comes my woe ? as freely own ; 
Ah me ! 'twas from a heart like stone. 

The blushing cheek speaks modest mind, 
The lips befitting words most kind, 
The eye does tempt to love's desire. 
And seems to say, " 'Tis Cupid's fire;" 
Yet all so fair but speak my moan, 
Since nought doth say the heart of stone. 

, Why thus, my love, so kind bespeak 
Sweet eye. sweet lip, sweet blushing cheek, 
Yet not a heart to save my pain : 
O Venus, take thy gifts again ; 
Make not so fair to cause our moan, 
Or make a heart that's like our own. 




At Beauty's bar as I did stand, 

When false suspect accused me, 

"George (quoth the Judge), hold up thy hand; 

Thou art arraigned of flattery : 

Tell, therefore, how thou wilt be tried : 

Whose judgment here wilt thou bide?" 

" My lord (quoth I), this lady here. 
Whom I esteem above the rest. 
Doth know my guilt, if any were : 
Wherefore her doom shall please me best. 
Let her be Judge and Juror both. 
To try me guiltless by mine oath." 

Quoth Beauty, " No, it fitteth not 
A prince herself to judge the cause : 
Will is our Justice, well you wot, 
Appointed to discuss our laws : 
If you will guiltless seem to go, 
God and your country quit you so." 

Then Craft the crier called a quest, 
Of whom was Falsehood foremost fere, 
A pack of pickthanks were the rest. 
Which came false witness for to bear ; 
The Jury such, the Judge unjust, 
Sentence was said I should be trussed. 

DoJin, sentence. Quest, jury. Fcie, companion. 


Jealous the jailer bound me fast, 

To hear the verdict of the bill, 

" George (quoth the Judge), now art thou cast, 

Thou must go hence to Heavy Hill, 

And there be hang'd all by the head ; 

God rest thy soul when thou art dead." 

Down fell I then upon my knee. 
All flat before Dame Beauty's face, 
And cried, " Good lady, pardon me, 
Which here appeal unto your grace ; 
You know if I have been untrue, 
It was in too much praising you. 

" And though this judge do make such haste 

To shed with shame my guiltless blood, 

Yet let your pity first be placed 

To save the man that meant you good ; 

So shall you show yourself a queen, 

And I may be your servant seen." 

Quoth Beauty, " Well : because I guess 
What thou dost mean henceforth to be, 
Although thy faults deserve no less 
Than Justice here hath judged thee. 
Wilt thou be bound to stint all strife, 
And be true prisoner all thy life ? " 

"Yea, madam," quoth I, "that I shall, 

Lo, Faith and Truth, my sureties ! " 

"Why, then," quoth she, "come when I call, 

I ask no better warranties." 

Thus am I Beauty's bounden thrall. 

At her command when she doth call. 

— Fiowers. 



Sing lullaby, as women do, 

Wherewith they bring their babes to rest ; 
And lullaby can I sing too, 

As womanly as can the best. 
With lullaby they still the child - 
And, if I be not much beguil'd. 
Full many wanton babes have T, 
Which must be still'd by lullaby. 

First lullaby my youthful years ! 

It is now time to go to bed : 
For crooked age and hoary hairs, 

Have won the haven within my head. 
Wit|i lullaby, then, youth be still. 
With lullaby content thy will ; 
Since courage quails and comes behind, 
Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind. 

Next, lullaby my gazing eyes. 

Which wonted were to glance apace : 

For every glass may now suffice 
To shew the furrows in my face. 

With lullaby, then, v/ink a while ; 

With lullaby your looks beguile ; 

Let no fair face, nor beauty bright 

Entice you eft with vain delight. 

Efl, again. 


And lullaby, my wanton will ! 

Let Reason's rule now reign thy thought, 
Since all too late I find by skill 

How dear I have thy fancies bought. 
With lullaby now take thine ease, 
With lullaby thy doubts appease. 
For, trust to this, if thou be still, 
Thy body shall obey thy will. 

Thus lullaby my youth, mine eyes, 
My will, my ware, and all that was ; 

I can no mo' delays devise. 

But, welcome pain, let pleasure pass. 

With lullaby now take your leave, 

With lullaby your dreams deceive ; 

And, when you rise with waking eye, 

Remember tlien this lullaby. 

— Floivers. 

Skill, reason. 



The stately dames of Rome their pearls did wear 
About their necks to beautify their name ; 
But she whom 1 do serve her pearls doth bear 
Close in her mouth, and, smiling, show the same. 
No wonder, then, though every word she speaks, 
A jewel seem in judgment of the wise ; 
Since that her sugar'd tongue the passage breaks 
Between two rocks, bedeck't with pearls of price. 
Her hair of gold, her front of ivory, 
(A bloody heart within so white a breast), 
Her teeth of pearl, lips ruby, crystal eye ; 
Needs must I honour her above the rest, 
Since she is formed of none other mould. 
But ruby, crystal, ivory, pearl, and gold ! 

— Fcrdinando Jeroiiiini. 



Well Echo, tell me yet 

How I might come to see 
This comely queen of whom we talk ? 

Oh were she but by thee ! 

" By thee ! " 

By me ! oh were that true, 
How might I see her face, 

How might I know her from the restj 
Or judge her by her grace? 

" Her grace? '" 

Well, then, if so mine eyes 
Be such as they have been, 

Methinks I see among them all 
This same should be the queen. 
"The queen." 



You that have spent the silent night 

In sleep and quiet rest, 
And joy to see the cheerful light 

That riseth in the east ; 
Now clear your voice, now cheer your heart, 

Come help me now to sing : 
Each willing wight come, bear a part, 

To praise the heavenly King. 

And you whom care in prison keeps, 

Or sickness doth suppress, 
Or secret sorrow breaks your sleeps, 

Or dolours do distress : 
Yet bear a part in doleful wise, 

Yea, think it good accord, 
And acceptable sacrifice, 

Each sprite to praise the Lord. 

The dreadful night with darksomeness 

Had overspread the light ; 
And sluggish sleep with drowsiness 

Had overpress'd our might : 
A glass wherein you may behold 

Each storm that stops our breath, 
Our bed the grave, our clothes like mould, 

And sleep like dreadful death. 

Sprite, spirit. 


Yet as this deadly night did last 

But for a Httle space, 
And heavenly day, now night is past, 

Doth show his pleasant face : 
So must we hope to see God's face, 

At last in heaven on high. 
When we have changed this mortal place 

For immortality. 

And of such haps and heavenly joys 

As then we hope to hold. 
All earthly sights, and worldly toys, 

Are tokens to behold. 
The day is like the day of doom, 

The sun, the Son of man ; 
The skies, the heavens ; the earth, the tomb, 

Wherein we rest till tha?t. 

The rainbow bending in the sky, 

Bedeck'd with sundry hues. 
Is like the seat of God on high, 

And seems to tell these news : 
That as thereby he promised 

To drown the world no more, 
So by the blood which Christ hath shed. 

He will our health restore. 

The misty clouds that fall sometime. 

And overcast the skies, 
Are like to troubles of our time, 

Which do but dim our eyes. 

Ihaii, ihcii. 


But as such dews are dried up quite, 
When Phoebus shows his face, 

So are such fancies put to flight 
Where God doth guide by grace. 

The carrion crow, that loathsome beast, 

Which cries against the rain, 
Both for her hue, and for the rest, 

The devil resembleth plain ; 
And as with guns we kill the crow, 

For spoiling our relief, 
The devil so must we o'erthrow, 

With gunshot of belief. 

The little birds which sing so sweet. 

Are like the angels' voice. 
Which renders God His praises meet. 

And teach us to rejoice : 
And as they more esteem that mirth. 

Than dread the night's annoy, 
So much we deem our days on earth 

But hell to heavenly joy. 

Unto which joys for to attain, 

God grant us all his grace, 
And send us, after worldly pain. 

In heaven to have a place, 
When we may still enjoy that light, 

Which never shall decay : 
Lord, for thy mercy lend us might, 

To see that joyful day ! 



When thou hast spent the ling'ring day 

In pleasure and delight, 
Or after toil and weary way, 

Dost seek to rest at night ; 
Unto thy pains or pleasures past. 

Add this one labour yet, 
Ere sleep close up thine eyes too fast, 

Do not thy God forget. 

But search within the secret thoughts, 

What deeds did thee befall. 
And if thou find amiss in aught, 

To God for mercy call. 
Yea, though thou findest nought amiss 

Which thou canst call to mind, 
Yet evermore remember this. 

There is the more behind. 

And think how well soe'er it be 

That thou hast spent the day, 
It came of God, and not of thee, 

So to direct thy way. 
Thus if thou try thy daily deeds. 

And pleasure in this pain. 
Thy life shall cleanse thy corn from weeds, 

And thine shall be the gain. 


But if thy sinful sluggish eye, 

Will venture for to wink, 
Before thy wading will may try 

How far thy soul will sink, 
Beware and wake, for else thy bed, 

Which soft and smooth is made. 
May heap more harm upon thy head 

Than blows of en'my's blade. 

Thus if this pain procure thine ease, 

In bed as thou dost lie. 
Perhaps it shall not God displease, 

To sing thus soberly ; 
*' I see that sleep is lent me here 

To ease my weary bones. 
As death at last shall eke appear, 

To ease my grievous groans. 

" My daily sports, my paunch full fed, 

Have caused my drowsy eye. 
As careless life, in quiet led. 

Might cause my soul to die : 
The stretching arms, the yawning breath, 

Which I to bedvvard use. 
Are patterns of the pangs of death, 

When life will me refuse ; 

" And of my bed each sundry part. 

In shadows, doth resemble 
The sundry shapes of death ; whose dart 

Shall make my flesh to tremble. 


My bed itself is like the grave, 

My sheets the winding-sheet, 
My clothes the mould which I must have, 

To cover me most meet. 

"The hungry fleas, which frisk so fresh. 

To worms I can compare, 
Which greedily shall gnaw my flesh, 

And leave the bones full bare : 
The waking cock that early crows. 

To wear the night away. 
Puts in my mind the trump that blows 

Before the latter day. 

" And as I rise up lustily. 

When sluggish sleep is past 
So hope I to rise joyfully. 

To judgment at the last. 
Thus will I wake, thus will I sleep, 

Thus will I hope to rise, 
Thus will I neither wail nor weep. 

But sing in godly wise : 

" My bones shall in this bed remain, 

My soul in God shall trust. 
By whom I hope to rise again, 

From death and earthly dust." 

— FioWdS. 



Of all the birds that I do know, 
Philip my Sparrow hath no ])eer : 
For sit she high, or lie she low, 
Be she far off, or be she near, 
There is no bird so fair, so fine, 
Nor yet so fresh as this of mine. 

Come in a morning merrily, 
When Philip hath been lately fed, 
Or in an evening soberly. 
When Philip Hst to go to bed : 
It is a heaven to hear my Phip, 
How she can chirp with cheery lip. 

She never wanders far abroad, 

But is at hand when I do call, 

If I command she lays on load. 

With lips, with teeth, with tongue and all : 

She chants, she ch.irps, she makes such cheer, 

That I believe she hath no peer. 

And yet besides all this good sport, 
My Philip can both sing and dance. 
With new found toys of sundry sort. 
My Philip can both prick and prance : 
As if you say but " Fend cut Phip," 
Lord, how the pet will turn and skip I 


Her feathers are so fresh of hue, 

And so well pruned every day, 

She lacks none oil, I warrant you, 

To trim her tail both trick and gay : 

And though her mouth be somewhat wide, 

Her tongue is sweet and short beside. 

And for the rest I dare compare, 
She is both tender, sweet, and soft : 
She never lacketh dainty fare. 
But is well fed and feedeth oft : 
For if my Phip have lust to eat, 
I warrant you Phip lacks no meat. 

And then if that her nieat be good 
And such as like do love alway : 
She will lay lips thereon, by the rood, 
And see that none be cast away : 
For when she once hath felt a Ut, 
Philip will cry still yet, yet, yet. 

And to tell truth he were to blame, 
Which had so fine a bird as she ; 
To make him all this goodly game. 
Without suspect or jealousy : 
He were a churl and knew no good, 
Would see her faint for lack of food. 

Wherefore I sing and ever shall, 
To praise as I have often prov'd, 
There is no bird amongst them all, 
So worthy for to be belov'd. 
Let other praise what bird they will. 
Sweet Philip shall be my bird still. 

— Weeds. 



Therefore I like this trusty glass of steel. . . . 
And therewithal, to comfort me again, 
I see a world of worthy government : 
A commonwealth with policy so ruled 
As neither laws are sold, nor justice bought, 
Nor riches sought, unless it be by right : 
No cruelty nor tyranny can reign ; 
No right revenge doth raise rebellion ; 
No spoils are ta'en although the sword prevail ; 
No riot spends the coin of commonwealth ; 
No rulers hoard the country's treasure up ; 
No man grows rich by subtilty nor sleight ; 
All people dread the magistrate's decree, 
And all men fear the scourge of mighty Jove. 
Lo this, my Lord, may well deserve the name 
Of such a land as milk and honey flows. 
And this I see, within my Glass of Steel, 
Set forth even so, by Solon, worthy wight, 
Who taught King Croesus what it is to seem, 
And what to be, by proof of happy end. 
The like Lycurgus, Lacedemon King, 
Did set to show, by view of this my glass. 
And left the same, a mirror to behold, 
To every prince of his posterity. 

But now, aye me ! the glozing Crystal Glass 
Doth make us think that realm and towns are rich 
Where favour sways the sentence of the law ; 

Closing, flattering. 


Where all is fish that cometh to the net ; 

Where mighty power doth overrule the right; 

Where injuries do foster secret grudge ; 

Where bloody sword makes every booty prize ; 

Where banqueting is counted comely cost ; 

Where officers grow rich by prince's pens, 

Where purchase comes by covine and deceit ; 

And no man dreads, but he that cannot shift, 

Nor none serve God but only tongue-tied men. 
« * * * 

But out alas ! such mists do blear our eyes, 

And crystal glass doth glister so therewith, 

That kings conceive their care is wondrous great 

Whenas they beat their busy, restless brains, 

To maintain pomp and high triumphant sights ; 

To feed their fill of dainty delicates ; 

To glad their hearts with sight of pleasant sports ; 

To fill their ears with sound of instruments ; 

To break with bit the hot courageous horse ; 

To deck their halls with sumptuous cloth of gold ; 

To clothe themselves with silks of strange device ; 

To search the rocks for pearls and precious stones ; 

To delve the ground for mines of glistering gold ; 

And never care to maintain peace and rest ; 

To yield relief when needy lack appears ; 

To stop one ear until the poor man speak ; 

To seem to sleep when Justice still doth wake ; 

To guard their lands from sudden sword and fire ; 

To fear the cries of guiltless suckling babes, 

Whose ghosts may call for vengance on their blood, 

And stir the wrath of mighty thundering Jove. 

— llie Steel Glass, 1. 252. 

Covine, fraud. 



Oh fierce and furious Mars ! whose harmful heart, 

Rejoiceth most to shed the guiltless blood, 

Whose heady will doth all the world subvert, 

And doth envy the pleasant merry mood 

Of one estate, that erst in quiet stood. 

Why dost thou thus our harmless town annoy, 

Which mighty Bacchus governed in joy. 

Father of war and death, that dost remove 

With wrathful wreck from woful mother's breast. 

The trusty pledges of their tender love, 

So grant the gods that for our final rest, 

Dame Venus' pleasant looks may please thee best, 

Whereby when thou shalt all amazed stand, 

The sword may fall out of thy trembling hand. 

And thou mayst prove some other way full well 
The bloody prowess of thy mighty spear. 
Wherewith thou raisest from the depth of hell 
The wrathful sprites of all the furies there, 
Who when they wake do wander everywhere, 
And never rest to range about the coasts, 
T' enrich the pit with spoil of damned ghosts. 

And when thou hast our fields forsaken thus, 
Let cruel Discord bear thee company. 
Engirt with snakes and serpents venomous, 
E'en she that can with red vermilion dye 
The gladsome green that flourish'd pleasantly, 
And make the greedy ground a drinking cup, 
To sup the blood of murder'd bodies up. 


Yet thou return, oh joy and pleasant Peace ! 
From whence thou didst against our will depart ; 
Nor let thy worthy mind from travail cease 
To chase disdain out of the poison'd heart, 
That raised war to all our pains and smart, 
E'en from the breast of CEdipus his son, 
Whose swelling pride hath all this jar begun. 

And thou, great God ! that dost all things decree, 
And sit'st on high above the starry skies ; 
Thou'chiefest cause of causes all that be, 
Regard not his offence, but hear our cries. 
And speedily redress our miseries ; 
For what cause we, poor woful wretches, do 
But crave thy aid, and only cleave thereto. 

— /ocasia. Act v.. 




The rushing rivers that do run, 
The valleys sweet adorning new 
That lean their sides against the sun, 
With flowers fresh of sundry hue, 
Both ash and elm, and oak so high, 
Do all lament my woeful cry. 

While winter black with hideous storms 
Doth spoil the ground of summer's green. 
While spring-time sweet the leaf returns 
That, late, on tree could not be seen. 
While summer burns, while harvest reigns, 
Still, still do rage my restless pains. 

No end I find in all my smart. 

But endless torment I sustain. 

Since first, alas ! my woeful heart 

By sight of thee was forced to plain, — 

Since that I lost my liberty, 

Since that thou mad'st a slave of me. 

My heart, that once abroad was free, 
Thy beauty hath in durance brought ; 
Once reason rul'd and guided me. 
And now is wit consumed with thought ', 
Once I rejoiced above the sky. 
And now for thee, alas ! I die. 


Once I rejoiced in company, 

And now my chief and whole delight 

Is from my friends away to fly 

And keep alone my wearied sprite. 

Thy face divine and my desire 

From flesh have me transform'd to fire. 

O Nature ! thou that first didst frame 
My Lady's hair of purest gold, 
Her face of crystal to the same. 
Her Hps of precious rubies' mould, 
Her neck of alabaster white, — 
Surmounting far each other wight : 

Why didst thou not that time devise, 
Why didst thou not foresee before, 
The mischief that thereof doth rise, 
And grief on grief doth heap with store, 
To make her heart of wax alone 
And not of flint and marble stone ? 

O Lady ! show thy favour yet : 

Let not thy servant die for thee ! 

Where Rigour rul'd let Mercy sit ! 

Let Pity conquer Cruelty ! 

Let not Disdain, a fiend of Hell, 

Possess the place where grace should dwell ! 

— Eclogues^ etc. 




Phillida was a fair maid, 

And fresh as any flower, 
Whom Harpalus the herdman pra} 'd 

To be his paramour. 

Harpalus and eke Corin 

Were herdmen, both y-fere ; 

And Philhda could twist and spin, 
And thereto sing full clear. 

But Phillida was all too coy 

For Harpalus to win ; 
For Corin was her only joy, 

Who forst her not a pin. 

How often would she flowers twine, 

How often garlands make. 
Of cowslips and of columbine, 

And all for Corin's sake ! 

But Corin, he had hawks to lure, 

And forst more the field ; 
Of lovers' law he took no cure, 

For once he was beguiled. 

Y-fej-e, companions. Forst, loved. 


ITarpalus prevailed nought ; 

His labour all was lost ; 
For he was farthest from her thought, 

And yet he loved her most. 

Therefore wax'd he both pale and lean, 

And dry as clod of clay : 
His flesh it was consumed clean, 

His colour gone away. 

His beard it had not long be shave, 

His hair hung all unkemp't : 
A man most fit e'en for the grave, 

Whom spiteful love had spent. 

His eyes were red, and all for-watch'd ; 

His face besprent with tears : 
It seemed unhap had him long hatch'd, 

In midst of his despairs. 

His clothes were black, and also bare ; 

As one forlorn was he ; 
Upon his head always he ware 

A wreath of willow tree. 

His beasts he kept upon the hill, 

And he sat in the dale ; 
And thus, with sighs and sorrows shrill, 

He 'gan to tell his tale. 

O Harpalus, — thus would he say — 

Unhappiest under sun I 
The cause of thine unhappy day 

By love was first begun ! 

For-'ivatchcd. over-watched. 


For thou went'st first by suit to seek, 

A Tiger to make tame, 
That sets not by thy love a leek, 

But makes thy grief her game. 

As easy 'twere for to convert 

The frost into a flame, 
As for to turn a froward heart, 

Whom thou so fain would'st frame. 

Corin he liveth careless, 

He leaps among the leaves ; 

He eats the fruits of thy redress, 
Thou reap'st, he takes the sheaves. 

My beasts, awhile your food refrain. 
And hark'n your herdsman's sound ; 

Whom spiteful love, alas ! hath slain, 
Through girt with many a wound. 

Oh, happy be ye beastes wild. 
That here your pasture takes ; 

I see that ye be not beguiled 
Of these your faithful makes. 

The Hart he feedeth by the Hind; 

The Buck hard by the Doe, 
The Turtle dove is not unkind 

To him that loves her so. 

The Ewe she hath by her the Ram, 
The young Cow hath the Bull ; 

The Calf with many a lusty lamb, 
Do feed their hunger full. 

Makes, mates. 


But, well-a-way ! that nature vvrouglit 

Thee, PhilHda, so fair : 
For I may say that I have bought 

Thy beauty all too dear. 

What reason is that cruelty 

With beauty should have part ? 
Or else that such great tyranny 

Should dwell in woman's heart ? 

I see therefore to shape my death 

She cruelly is prest ; 
To t' end that I may want my breath, 

My days be at the best. 

O Cupid, grant this my request, 

And do not stop thine ears ; 
That she may feel within her breast 

The pains of my despairs ! 

Of Corin that is careless, 

That she may crave her fee ; 
As I have done in great distress, 

That loved her faithfully ! 

But since that I shall die her slave, 

Her slave, and eke her thrall. 
Write you, my friends, upon my grave 

This chance that is befall : 

*' Here lieth unhappy Harpalus, 

Whom cruel love hath slain ; 
Whom Phillida unjustly thus 

Hath murdered with disdain." 

— Tot lei's Miscellany. 

frest, ready. 



Once musing as I sat, 

And candle burning by, 

When all were hush'd, I might discern 

A simple, sely fly ; 

That flew before mine eyes, 

With free rejoicing heart, 

And here and there with wings did play, 

As void of pain and smart. 

Sometime by me she sat, 
When she had play'd her fill ; 
And ever when she rested had 
About she flutter'd still. 

When I perceived her well 

Rejoicing in her place, 

" O happy fly !" (quoth I,) and eke, 

worm in happy case ! 

Which of us two is best ? 

1 that have reason ? No : 

But thou that reason art without, 
And therefore void of woe. 

Sely, foolish. 


I live, and so dost thou : 
But I live all in pain, 
And subject am to Her, alas ! 
That makes my grief her gain. 

Thou livest, but feel'st no grief; 
No love doth thee torment. 
A happy thing for me it were 
(If God were so content) 

That thou with pen wert placed here 
And I sat in thy place : 
Then I should joy as thou dost now, 
And thou shouldst wail thy case. 

— Eclogues^ etc. 



The oft'ner seen, the more I lust, 
The more I lust, the more I smart, 
The more I smart, the more I trust, 
The more I trust, the heavier heart, 
The heavy heart breeds mine unrest, 
Th)' absence therefore like I best. 

The rarer seen, the less in mind. 
The less in mind, the lesser pain, 
The lesser pain, less grief I find, 
The lesser grief, the greater gain, 
The greater gain, the merrier I, 
Therefore I wish thy sight to fly. 

The further off, the more I joy. 
The more I joy, the happier life, 
The happier life, less hurts annoy, 
The lesser hurts, pleasure most rife. 
Such pleasures rife shall I obtain 
When distance doth depart us twain. 

Eclos-iies^ etc. 




If thou in surety safe will sit, 

If thou delight at rest to dwell, 

Spend no more words than shall seem fit, 

Let tongue in silence talk expel : 

In all things that thou seest men bent, 

See all, say naught, hold thee content. 

In worldly works degrees are three, 
Mikers, Doers, and Lookers-on ; 
The Lookers-on have liberty. 
Both the others to judge upon : 
Wherefore in all, as men are bent. 
See all, say naught, hold thee content. 

The Makers oft are in fault found : 
The Doers doubt of praise or shame ; 
The Lookers-on find surest ground, 
They have the fruit yet free from blame : 
This doth persuade in all here meant. 
See all, say naught, hold thee content. 

The proverb is not south and west, 
Which hath he said long time ago, — 
Of little meddling cometh rest, 
The busy man ne'er wanted woe : 
The best way is in all world's 'se;if, 
See all, say naught, hold thee content. 

— Paradise of Dainty Devices. 
'Sail, assent. 




Who so to marry a minion wife, 
Hath had good chance and hap, 
Must love her and cherish her all his life, 
And dandle her in his lap. 

If she will fare well, if she will go gay, 
A good husband ever still, 
Whatever she list to do or to say, 
Must let her have her own will. 

About what affairs so ever he go, 

He must show her all his mind. 

None of his counsels she may be kept fro', 

Else is he a man unkind. 

— Ralph Roister Doister. 
Minion, darling. 




I CANNOT eat but little meat, 

My stomach is not good ; 

But sure I think that I can drink 

With him that wears a hood. 

Though I go bare, take ye no care, 

I nothing am a-cold ; 

I stuff my skin so full within 

Of jolly good ale and old. 

Back and side go bare, go bare ; 

Both foot and hand go cold ; 

But, belly, God send thee good ale enough. 

Whether it be new or old. 

I love no roast but a nut-brown toast, 

And a crab laid in the fire ; 

And little bread shall do me stead ; 

Much bread I nought desire. 

No frost nor snow, nor wind, I trow, 

Can hurt me if I wold ; 

I am so wrapped and thoroughly lapp'd 

Of jolly good ale and old. 

Back and side go bare, go bare, etc. 

Crab, crab-apple. WohJ, wish. 

2 B 


And Tip, my wife, that as her life 
Loveth well good ale to seek, 
Full oft drinks she till ye may see 
The tears run down her cheek : 
Then doth she troul to me the bowl. 
Even as a maltworm should, 
And saith, " Sweetheart, I took my part 
Of this jolly good ale and old." 
Back and side go bare, go bare, etc. 

Now let them drink till they nod and wink, 

Even as good fellows should do ; 

They shall not miss to have the bliss 

Good ale doth bring men to ; 

And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls, 

Or have them lustily troul'd, 

God save the lives of them and their wives, 

Whether they be young or old. 

Back and side go bare, go bare ; 

Both foot and hand go cold ; 

But, belly, God send thee good ale enough, 

Whether it be new or old. 

— Gammer Gur ton's Needle. 




Never was I less alone, than being alone, 

Here in this chamber, foul thoughts had I none : 

But always I thought to bring the mind to rest, 

But that thought of all thoughts I judge the best. 

For if my coffers had been full of pearl or gold, 

And fortune had favoured me e'en that I wold ; 

The mind out of quiet, so sage Seneca saith, 

It had been no felicity but a painful death. 

Love them who love well to stand in high degree : 

I blame him not a whit so that he follow me. 

And take his loss as quietly as when that he doth win, 

Then Fortune hath no mastery of that state he is in, 

But rules and is not ruled, and takes the better part, 

Oh, that man is blessed that learns this gentle art ; 

This was my felicity, my pastime, and my gain, 

I wish all my posterity then could come the same. 

"Si ita Deo placet, ita fiat !" 
IFold, wished. 




And straight, forth stalking with redoubled pace. 
For that I saw the night drew on so fast, 
In black all clad, there fell before my face 
A piteous wight whom woe had all forvvaste. 
Forth from her eyes the crystal tears outbrast ; 
And, sighing sore, her hands she wrung and 7^/^, 
Tare all her hair, that ruth was to behold. 

Her body small, forwithered and forspent, 
As is the stalk that summer's drought opprest ; 
Her welked face with woful tears besprent ; 
Her colour pale ; and, as it seemed her best, 
In woe and plaint reposed was her rest. 

And, as the stone that drops of water wears, 
So dented were her cheeks with fall of tears. 

Her eyes swoln, with flowing streams afloat, 
Wherewith her looks thrown up full piteously, 
Her forceless hands together oft she smote. 
With doleful shrieks that echoed in the sky ; 
That, in my doom, was never man did see 
A wight but half so woe-begone as she. 

— Induction to " Mirror for Magistrates^^ 

Wight, creature. Forwastc, wasted away. Outbrast, burst forth. 
Fold, folded. IVelkiU, clouded. Doom, judgment. 



The ^vrathful Winter, 'proching on apace, 
With blustering blasts had all y-bar'd the treen, 
And old Saturnus, with his frosty face, 
With chilling cold had pierc'd the tender green ; 
The mantles rent, wherein enwrapped been 

The gladsome groves that now lay overthrown, 
The tapets torn, and every tree down blown. 

The soil, that erst so seemly was to seen, 

Was all despoiled of her beauty's hue ; 

And soot fresh flowers, (wherewith the Summer's queen 

Had clad the earth), now Boreas' blasts down blew : 

And small fowls flocking, in their song did rue 

The winter's wrath, wherewith each thing defac'd 
In woeful wise bewail'd the summer past. 

Hawthorn had lost his motley livery, 
The naked twigs were shivering all for cold, 
And dropping down the tears abundantly ; 
Each thing (methought) with weeping eye me told 
The cruel season ; bidding me withhold 
Myself within, for I was gotten out 
Into the fields, whereas I walked about. 

— Induction to " Mirror for Magistrates.^'' 
Treen, trees. l^apits, tapestries. Soot^ sweet. 



Midnight was come, and every vital thing 
With sweet, sound sleep their weary limbs did rest ; 
The beasts were still, the little birds that sing. 
Now sweetly slept, beside their mother's breast, 
The old and all well shrouded in their nest ; 
The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease, 
The woods, and fields, and all things held their peace. 

The golden stars were whirl'd amid their race, 
And on the earth did laugh with twinkling light, 
When each thing nestled in his resting-place, 
Forgot day's pain with pleasure of the night : 
The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight, 

The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt, 
The partridge dream'd not of the falcon's foot. 

The ugly bear now minded not the stake, 

Nor how the cruel mastiffs do him tear ; 

The stag lay still unroused from the brake ; 

The foamy boar fear'd not the hunter's spear : 

All things were still, in desert, bush, and brere. 

" The quiet heart, now from their travails rest," 
Soundly they slept, in most of all their rest. 

— Mirror for Magistrates. 
Brere, briar. 



And first, within the porch and jaws of hell, 
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent 
With tears ; and to herself oft would she tell 
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, never stent 
To sob and sigh ; but ever thus lament, 
With thoughtful care \ as she that, all in vain, 
Would wear and waste continually in pain. 

Her eyes unsteadfast, rolling here and there, 

Whirl'd on each place, as place that vengeance brought, 

So was her mind continually in fear, 

Toss'd and tormented with the tedious thought 

Of those detested crimes which she had wrought ; 

With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky, 

Wishing for death, and yet she could not die. 

Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook. 
With foot uncertain, profifer'd here and there ; 
Benumb'd of speech ; and, with a ghastly look, 
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear. 
His cap borne up with staring of his hair : 
'Stoin'd and amazed at his own shade for dread, 
And fearing greater danger than was need. 

And next, within the entry of this lake. 
Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire ; 
Devising means how she may vengeance take ; 

Stent, ceased. 'Stoiti'd, astonished. 


Never in rest, till she have her desire ; 
But frets within so far fortli with the fire 
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she 
To die by death, or 'veng'd by death to be. 

When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence, 
Had show'd herself, as next in order set, 
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence, 
Till in our eyes another sight we met : 
When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet, 
Ruing, alas ! upon the woeful plight 
Of Misery, that next appear'd in sight : 

His face was lean, and somedeal pined away, 
And eke his hands consumed to the bone ; 
But what his body was I cannot say. 
For on his carcase raiment had he none, 
Sav-e clouts and patches pieced one by one ; 
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast, 
His chief defence against the winter's blast. 

His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree, 
Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share. 
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he. 
As on the which full daint'ly would he fare ; 
His drink, the running stream ; his cup, the bare 
Of his palm clos'd ; his bed, the hard cold ground 
To this poor life was Misery y-bound. 

Whose wretched state when we had well beheld, 

With tender ruth on him, and on his feres. 

In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held ; 

Fet, fetched. Feres, companions. 


And, by and by, another shape appears 
Of greedy Care, still brushing up the briers ; 
His knuckles knobb'd, his flesh deep dinted in 
With tawed hands, and hard y-tanned skin. 

The morrow gray no sooner hath begun 
To spread his light e'en peeping in our eyes, 
But he is up, and to his work y-run ; 
But let the night's black misty mantles rise, 
And with foul dark never so much disguise 
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while. 
But hath his candles to prolong his toil. 

By him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death, 
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone, 
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath ; 
Small keep took he, whom Fortune frowned on, 
Or .whom she lifted up into the throne 
Of high renown, but, as a living death, 
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath : 

The body's rest, the quiet of the heart. 
The travel's ease, the still night's fere was he, 
And of our life in earth the better part ; 
Reaver of sight, and yet in whom we see 
Things oft that are and oft that never be ; 
Without respect, esteeming equally 
King Crossus' pomp and Irus' poverty. 

And next in order sad Old Age we found : 
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind ; 
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground. 

Keep, heed. Fere, companion. 


As on the place where nature him assign'd 
To rest, when that the sisters had untwined 
His vital thread, and ended with their knife 
The fleeting course of fast declining life : 

There heard we him with broke and hollow plaint 
Rue with himself his end approaching fast. 
And all for nought his wretched mind torment 
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past. 
And fresh delights of lusty youth forwaste ; 
Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek, 
And to be young again of Jove beseek ! 

But, an the cruel fates so fixed be 

That time forepast cannot return again, 

This one request of Jove yet prayed he 

That in such wither'd plight, and wretched pain, 

As eld, accompanied with her loathsome train, 

Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief, — 

He might a while yet linger forth his life, 

And not so soon descend into the pit ; 

Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain. 

With reckless hand in grave doth cover it : 

Thereafter never to enjoy again 

The gladsome light, but, in the ground y-lain, 

In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought. 

As he had ne'er into the world been brought : 

But who had seen him sobbing how he stood 

Unto himself, and how he would bemoan 

His youth forepast — as though it wrought him good 

Forwaste, wasted utterly. 


To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone — 
He would have mused, and marvell'd much whereon 
This wretched Age should life desire so fain. 
And knows full well life doth but length his pain. 

Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken and blear-eyed ; 
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four, 
With old lame bones, that rattled by his side, 
His scalp all pild, and he with eld forelore, 
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door ; 
Fumbling, and drivelling, as he draws his breath ; 

For brief, the shape and messenger of Death. 

* * * * * 

Lastly, stood War, in glittering arms y-clad. 
With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued ; 
In his right hand a naked sword he had. 
That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued ; 
And in his left (that kings and kingdoms rued) 
Famine and fire he held, and therewithal 
He razed towns, and threw down towers and all. 

Cities he sack'd, and realms (that whilom flower'd 
In honour, glory, and rule, above the rest) 
He overwhelm'd, and all their fame devour' d, 
Consumed, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceased, 
Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd : 
His face forhew'd with wounds : and by his side 
There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide. 

Foregotie, lost. Pild, bald. Eldforlore, old age forlorn. 




He that loves lightliest, 

Shall not happen on the best ; 

He that loves longest, 

Shall have rest surest ; 

He that loves all his best, 

Shall chance upon the goodliest ; 

Whoso in love is true and plain, 

He shall be loved well again : 

Men may say whatever they please, 

In mutual love is mickle ease. 




There grew an aged Tree on the green, 
A goodly Oak sometime had it been, 
With arms full strong and largely display'd, 
But of their leaves they were disarrayed : 
The body big, and mightily pight 
Throughly rooted, and of wondrous height : 
Whilom had been the king of the field. 
And muchell mast to the husband did yield, 
And with his nuts larded many swine : 
But now the gray moss marred his rine. 
His bared boughs were beaten with storms. 
His top was bald, and wasted with worms, 
His honour decayed, his branches sere. 

Hard by his side grew a bragging Brere, 
Which proudly thrust into th' element, 
And seemed to threaten the firmament : 
It was embellish'd with blossoms fair, 
And thereto aye wonted to repair 
The shepherds' daughters to gather flowers, 
To paint their garlands with his colours ; 
And in his small bushes used to shroud 
The sweet nightingale singing so loud. 
Which made this foolish Briar wax so bold, 
That on a time he cast him to scold 
And snub the good Oak, for he was old. 

Pigh', placed. Rinc, rind. 


" Why stand'st there (quoth he) thou brutish block ? 
Nor for fruit nor for shadow serves thy stock ; 
Seest how fresh my flowers be spread, 
Dyed in Hly white and crimson red, 
With leaves engrained in lusty green ; 
Colour meet to clothe a maiden queen ? 
Thy waste bigness but cumbers the ground, 
And darks the beauty of my blossoms round : 
The mouldy moss, which thee accloyeth, 
My cinamon smell too much annoyeth : 
Wherefore soon I rede thee hence remove. 
Lest thou the price of my displeasure prove." 

So spake this bold Briar with great disdain : 
Little him answered the Oak again, 
But yielded, with shame and grief adawed, 
That of a weed he was overcrawed. 

It chanced after upon one day. 
The Husbandman self to come that way, 
Of custom for to survey his ground. 
And his trees of state to compass round. 
Him, when the spiteful Briar had espied, 
Causeless complained, and loudly cried 
Unto his lord, stirring up stern strife. 

" Oh, my liege lord ! the God of my life ! 
Pleaseth you ponder your suppliant's plaint, 
Caused of wrong, and cruel constraint. 
Which I your poor Vassal daily endure ; 
And, but your goodness the same recure, 
Am like for desperate dole to die. 
Through felonous force of mine enemy." 

Greatly aghast with this piteous plea. 
Him rested the goodman on the lea, 

Accloyeih, encumberelh. J^eJe, counsel. AJaiued, daunted. 


And bade the Briar in his plaint proceed. 
With painted words then 'gan this proud weed 
(As most usen ambitious folk :) 
His colored crime with craft to cloak. 

" Ah, my soveraign ! Lord of creatures all, 
Thou placer of plants, both humble and tall, 
Was I not planted of thine own hand, 
To be the prime rose of all thy land ; 
With flow'ring blossoms to furnish the prime, 
And scarlet berries in summer time? 
How falls it, then, that this faded Oak, 
Whose body is sere, whose branches broke. 
Whose naked arms stretch unto the fire. 
Unto such tyranny doth aspire ; 
Hindering with his shade my lovely light, 
And robbing me of the sweet sun's sight ? 
So beat his old boughs my tender side, 
That oft the blood springeth from woundes wide ; 
Untimely my flowers forced to fall. 
That be the honour of your coronal : 
And oft he lets his canker-worms light 
Upon my branches, to work me more spite ; 
And oft his hoary locks down doth cast, 
Wherewith my fresh flow'rets be defac'd : 
For this and many more such outrage, 
Craving your goodlyhead to assuage 
The rancorous rigour of his might, 
Nought ask I, but only to hold my right ; 
Submitting me to your good sufferance. 
And praying to be guarded from grievance." 

To this the Oak cast him to reply 
Well as he could ; but his enemj^ 
Had kindled such coales of displeasure, 


That the good man noulde stay his leisure, 

But home him hasted with furious heat, 

Increasing his wroth with many a threat. 

His harmful hatchet he hent in hand, 

(Alas ! that it so ready should stand !) 

And to the field alone he speedeth, 

(Ah, little help to harm there needeth !) 

Anger noulde let. him speak to the tree, 

Enaunter his rage might cooled be ; 

But to the root bent his sturdy stroke, 

And made many wounds in the vast Oak. 

The axe's edge did oft turn again. 

As half unwilling to cut the grain ; 

Seemed the senseless iron did fear, 

Or to wrong holy eld did forbear. 

For it had been an ancient tree, 

Sacred with many a mystery, 

And often cross'd with priestes crewe. 

And often hallowed with holy-water dew. 

But such fancies weren foolery, 

And broughten this Oak to this misery : 

For nought might they quitten him from decay. 

For fiercely the goodman at him did lay. 

The block oft groaned under the blow, 

And sighed to see his near overthrow. 

In fine, the steel had pierced his pith. 

Then down to the earth he fell forthwith. 

His wondrous weight made the ground to quake, 

Th' earth shrunk under him and seemed to shake 

There lieth the Oak, pitted of none ! 

Noulde, would not. Heitt, took. Enaunter, lest. 

Crewe, cruise. 


Now stands the Briar like a lord alone, 
Puffed up with pride and vain pleasance ; 
But all this glee had no continuance : 
For eftsoons Winter 'gan to approach ; 
The blust'ring Boreas did encroach, 
And beat upon that solitary Brere ; 
For now no succour was seen him near. 
Now 'gan he repent his pride too late ; 
For, naked left and disconsolate, 
The biting frost nip't his stalke dead, 
The watry wet weighed down his head. 
And heeped snow burd'ned him so sore, 
That now upright he can stand no more ; 
And, being down, is trod in the dirt, 
Of cattle, and browsed, and sorely hurt. 
Such was th' end of this ambitious Briar, 
For scorning eld. — 

— The Shepherd's Calander ; February. 

2 c 

4oa . SPENSER. 


" Ne let Elisa, royal Shepheardess, 

The praises of my parted love envy, 

For she hath praises in all plenteousness 

Pour'd upon her, like showers of Castaly 

By her own Shepherd, Colin, her own Shepherd, 

That her with heavenly hymns doth deify. 

Of rustic muse full hardly to be better'd. 

" She is the Rose, the glory of the day. 

And mine the Primrose in the lowly shade. 

Mine, ah ! not mine ; amiss I mine did say : 

Not mine, but His, which mine a while her made ; 

Mine to be His, with him to live for aye, 

O, that so fair a flower so soon should fade, 

And through untimely tempest fall away. 

" She fell away in her first age's spring, 

Whilst yet her leaf was green, and fresh her rind, 

And whilst her branch fair blossoms forth did bring, 

She fell away against all course oi kind : 

For age to die is right, but youth is wrong ; 

She fell away like fruit blown down with wind. 

Weep, Shepherd ! weep, to make my undersong. 

"What heart so stony hard but that would weep, 
And pour forth fountains of incessant tears ? 
What Timon but would let compassion creep 

Kind, nature. 


Into his breast, and pierce his frozen ears ? 
Instead of tears, whose brackish bitter well 
I wasted have, my heart-blood dropping wears, 
To think to ground how that fair blossom fell. 

" Yet fell she not as one enforc'd to die, 
Ne died with dread and grudging discontent, 
But as one toil'd with travel down doth lie. 
So lay she down, as if to sleep she went, 
And clos'd her eyes with careless quietness ; 
The whiles soft death away her spirit hent, 
And soul assoyl'd from sinful fleshliness. 

" Yet ere that life her lodging did forsake. 
She, all resolv'd and ready to remove, 
Calling to me (ah me !) this wise bespake : 
' Alcyon ! ah, my first and latest love ! 

* Ah ! why does my Alcyon weep and mourn, 

* And grieve my ghost that ill mote him behove, 
' As if to me had chanc'd some evil tourn ? 

* I, since the messenger is come for me, 

* That summons souls unto the bridal feast 

* Of his great Lord, must needs depart from thee, 

* And straight obey his soveraine beheast ; 

* Why should Alcyon then so sore lament 

* That I from misery shall be releas't, 

* And freed from wretched long imprisonment ? 

' Our days are full of dolour and disease, 
' Our life afflicted with incessant pain, 

* That nought on earth may lessen or appease : 

Nen(, took. Assoyl'd, delivered. 


' Why then should I desire here to remain ? 
' Or why should he that loves me sorry be 

* For my deliverance, or at all complain 

' My good to hear, and toward joys to see ? 

* I go, and long desired have to go ; 
' I go with gladness to my wished rest, 

' Whereas no world's sad care, nor wasting woe 
' May come, their happy quiet to molest ; 

* But Saints and Angels in celestiall thrones 

' Eternally Him praise that hath them blest : 
' There shall I be amongst those blessed ones. 

* Yet, ere I go, a pledge I leave with thee 
' Of the late love the which betwixt us past, 

' My young Ambrosia : in lieu of me, 

' Love her ; so shall our love for ever last. 

'Thus, dear ! adieu, whom I expect ere long.' — 

" So having said, away she softly past. 

Weep, Shepherd ! weep, to make mine undersong 

" Therefore, my Daphne they have ta'en away ; 
For worthy of a better place was she ; 
But me unworthy willed here to stay. 
That with her lack I might tormented be. 
Sith then they so have ord'red, I will pay 
Penance to her, according their decree, 
And to her ghost do service day by day. 

" For I will walk this wand'ring pilgrimage, 
Throughout the world from one to other end. 
And in affliction waste my better age : 

Sith, since. 


My bread shall be the anguish of my mind, 
My drink the tears which fro' mine eyes do rain, 
My bed the ground that hardest I may find ; 
So will I wilfully increase my pain. 

" And she, my love that was, my Saint that is, 
When she beholds from her celestial throne 
(In which she joyeth in eternal bliss) 
My bitter penance, will my case bemoan, 
And pity me that living thus do die ; 
For heavenly spirits have compassion 
On mortal men, and rue their miserie. 

** So when I have with sorrows satisfied 

Th' importune fates, which vengeance on me seek, 

And th' heavens with long languor pacified, 

She, for pure pity of my suffrance meek. 

Will send for me ; for which I daily long. 

And will till then my painful penance eke, 

Weep, Shepherd ! weep, to make my undersong." 

Eke, increase. 



Sweet is the Rose, but it grows upon a brere ; 

Sweet is the Juniper, but sharp his bough ; 

Sweet is the Eglantine, but .pricketh near ; 

Sweet is the Firbloom, but his branch is rough ; 

Sweet is the Cypress, but his rind is tough ; 

Sweet is the Nut, but bitter is his pill ; 

Sweet is the Broom-flower, but yet sour enough ; 

And sweet is Moly, but his root is ill. 

So every sweet with sour is temper'd still, 

That maketh it be coveted the more : 

For easy things, that may be got at will, 

Most sorts of men do set but little store. 
Why then should I account of little pain, 
That endless pleasure shall unto me gain ! 

Sonnet XX VI. 

Most glorious Lord of life ! that, on this day, 
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin ; 
And, having harrow'd hell, didst bring away 
Captivity thence captive, us to win : 
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin ; 
And grant that we, for whom thou didest die, 
Being with thy dear blood clean wash't from sin, 
May live for ever in felicit)^ ! 
And tliat thy love we weighing worthily. 
May likewise love thee for the same again ; 
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy, 
With love may one another entertain ! 

So let us love, dear love, like as we ought : 
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught. 

—Sonnet LXVIII. 


Fresh Spring, the herald of love's mighty king, 
In whose coat-armour richly are display'd 
All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring, 
In goodly colours gloriously array'd, 
Go to my love, where she is careless laid 
Yet in her winters bower, not well awake ; 
Tell her the joyous time will not be staid, 
Unless she do him by the forelock take ; 
Bid her, therefore, herself soon ready make, 
To wait on love amongst his lovely crew ; 
Where every one, that misseth then her make. 
Shall be by him amearc'd with penance due. 

Make haste, therefore, sweet love, whilst it is prime; 

For none can call again the passed time. 

— Sonnet LXX, 

Men call you fair, and you do credit it. 
For that your self ye daily such do see ; 
But the true fair, that is the gentle wit 
And virtuous mind, is much more prais'd of me : 
For all the rest, however fair it be. 
Shall turn to nought and loose that glorious hue ; 
But only that is permanent, and free 
From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensue. 
That is true beauty : that doth argue you 
To be divine, and born of heavenly seed ; 
Deriv'd from that fair Spirit, from whom all true 
And perfect beauty did at first proceed : 
He only fair, and what he fair hath made, 
All other fair, like flowers, untimely fade. 

—Sonnet LXXIX. 

Make, mate. Amearc'd, punished. Ensue, iollow. 



Ye learned sisters, which have oftentimes 
Been to me aiding, others to adorn, 
Whom ye thought worthy of your graceful rhymes, 
That e'en the greatest did not greatly scorn 
To hear their names sung in your simple lays, 
But joyed in their praise ; 
And when ye list your own mishaps to mourn, 
Which death, or love, or fortune's wreck did raise, 
Your string could soon to sadder tenor turn, 
And teach the woods and waters to lament 
Your doleful dreariment : 
Now lay those sorrowful complaints aside ; 
And having all your heads with garlands crown'd. 
Help me mine own love's praises to resound ; 
Ne let the same of any be envied : 
So Orpheus did for his own bride, 
So I unto myself alone will sing ; 
The woods shall to me answer, and my echo ring. 

Wake now, my love, awake ! for it is time ; 

The rosy Morn long since left Tithon's bed, 

All ready to her silver coach to climb ; 

And Phoebus 'gins to shew his glorious head. 

Hark ! how the cheerful birds do chaunt their lays, 

And carol of Love's praise. 

The merry Lark her matins sings aloft ; 

The Thrush replies ; the Mavis descant plays ; 

The Ouzel shrills ; the Ruddock warbles soft ; 


So goodly all agree, with sweet consent, 
To this day's merriment. 
Ah ! my dear love, why do ye sleep thus long, 
When meeter were that ye should now awake, 
T' await the coming of your joyous 7?iake, 
And hearken to the birds' love-learned song, 
The dewy leaves among ! 
For they of joy and pleasance to you sing. 
That all the woods them answer, and their echo ring. 

Now is my love all ready forth to come : 

Let all the virgins therefore well await ; 

And ye fresh boys, that tend upon her groom, 

Prepare yourselves, for he is coming strait. 

Set all your things in seemly good array. 

Fit for so joyful day : 

The joyful'st day that ever Sun did see. 

Fair Sun ! shew forth thy favourable ray, 

And let thy lifefull heat not fervent be, 

For fear of burning her sunshiny face, 

Her beauty to disgrace. 

O fairest Phoebus ! father of the Muse ! 

If ever I did honour thee aright. 

Or sing the thing that might thy mind delight, 

Do not thy servant's simple boon refuse ; 

But let this day, let this one day, be mine ; 

I^et all the rest be thine : 

Then I thy sovereign praises loud will sing, 

That all the woods shall answer, and their echo ring. 

Hark ! how the Minstrels 'gin to shrill aloud 
Their merry music that resounds from far. 

Make, mate. 


The pipe, the tabor, and the trembUng croud, 

That well agree withouten breach or jar. 

But, most of all, the Danizels do delight, 

When they their timbrels smite, 

And thereunto do dance and carol sweet, 

That all the senses they do ravish quite ; 

The whiles the boys run up and down the street, 

Crying aloud with strong confused noise, 

As if it were one voice, 

" Hymen ! lo Hymen ! Hymen !" they do shout; 

That even to the heavens their shouting shrill 

Doth reach, and all the firmament doth fill ; 

To which the people standing all about, 

As in appro vance, do thereto applaud, 

And loud advance her laud ; 

And evermore they " Hymen, Hymen," sing. 

That all the woods them answer, and their echo ring. 

Lo ! where she comes along with portly pace, 

Like Phoebe, from her chamber of the East, 

Arising forth to run her mighty race, 

Clad all in white, that seems a virgin best. 

So well it her beseems, that ye would ween 

Some Angel she had been. 

Her long loose yellow locks like golden wire, 

Sprinkled with pearl, and pearling flowers atween. 

Do like a golden mantle her attire ; 

And being crowned with a garland green, 

Seem like some maiden Queen. 

Her modest eyes, abashed to behold 

So many gazers as on her do stare. 

Croud, Addle. 


Upon the lowly ground affixed are ; 

Ne dare lift up her countenance too bold, 

But blush to hear her praises sung so loud, 

So far from being proud. 

Natheless, do ye still loud her praises sing, 

That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring. 

Open the temple gates unto my love ! 

Open them wide that she may enter in, 

And all the posts adorn as doth behove, 

And all the pillars deck with garlands trim, 

For to receive this Saint with honour due, 

That cometh in to you. 

With trembling steps, and humble reverence, 

She cometh in before th' Almighty's view : 

Of her, ye virgins, learn obedience, 

When so ye come into those holy places, 

To humble your proud faces. 

Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may 

The sacred ceremonies there partake. 

The which do endless matrimony make ; 

And let the roaring organs loudly play 

The praises of the Lord in lively notes ; 

The whiles, with hollow throats. 

The choristers the joyous anthem sing. 

That all the woods may answer, and their echo ring. 

Behold, whiles she before the altar stands, 
Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks. 
And blesseth her with his two happy hands. 
How the red roses flush up in her cheeks, 
And the pure snow, with goodly vermeil stain, 
Like crimson dyed in grain ; 


That even the Angels, which continually 

About the sacred altar do remain, 

Forget their service and about her fly, 

Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair, 

The more they on it stare. 

But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground, 

Are governed with goodly modesty, 

That suffers not one look to glance awry, 

Which may let in a little thought unsound. 

Why blush ye, love, to give me your hand, 

The pledge of all our band ? 

Sing, ye sweet Angels, Alleluia sing, 

That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring. 

Now all is done : bring home the Bride again ; 

Bring home the triumph of our victory ; 

Bring home with you the glory of her gain, 

With joyance bring her and with jollity. 

Never had man more joyful day than this, 

Whom heaven would heap with bliss. 

Make feast therefore now all this live-long day ; 

This day for ever to me holy is. 

Pour out the wine without restraint or stay, 

Pour not by cups but by the belly full. 

Pour out to all that wull. 

And sprinkle all the posts and walls with wine. 

That they may sweat, and drunken be withal. 

Crown ye god Bacchus with a coronal, 

And Hymen also crown with wreaths of vine; 

And let the Graces dance unto the rest. 

For they can do it best : 

l^Vull, will. 


The whiles the maidens do their carol sing, 
To which the woods shall answer, and their echo ring. 
* * * * 

Song ! made in lieu of many ornaments, 

With which my love should duly have been deck't, 

Which cutting off through hasty accidents, 

Ye would not stay your due time to expect, 

But promis'd both to recompense ; 

Be unto her a goodly ornament. 

And for short time an endless monument ! 



Upon a day, as Love lay sweetly slumb'ring 

All in his mother's lap, 

A gentle Bee, with his loud trumpet murm'ring, 

About him flew by hap : 

Whereof when he was wakened with the noise, 

And saw the beast so small ; 

** What's this (quoth he) that gives so great a voice. 

That wakens men withall ? 

In angry wise he flies about. 

And threatens all with courage stout." 

To whom his mother closely smiling said, 

'Twixt earnest and 'twixt game : 

" See ! thou thy self likewise art little made, 

If thou regard the same ; 

And yet thou suff''rest neither gods in sky, 

Nor men in earth, to rest j 

But when thou art disposed cruelly, 

Their sleep thou dost molest. 

Then either change thy cruelty. 

Or give like leave unto the fly." 

Nathless, the cruel boy, not so content. 

Would needs the fly pursue ; 

And in his hand, with heedless hardiment, 

Him caught for to subdue. 

But when on it he hasty hand did lay. 

The Bee him stung therefore : 

*' Now out alas, (he cried) and welaway ! 

I wounded am full sore : 

The fly that I so much did scorn. 

Hath hurt me with his little horn." 


Unto his mother straight he weeping came, 

And of his grief complained ; 

Who could not chose but laugh at his fond game, 

Though sad to see him pained. 

" Think now, (quoth she) my son how great the smart 

Of those whom thou dost wound : 

Full many thou hast pricked to the heart, 

That pity never found. 

Therefore, henceforth some pity take, 

When thou doest spoil of Lovers make." 

She took him straight full piteously lamenting, 

And wrapt him in her smock ; 

She wrapt him softly, all the while repenting 

That he the fly did mock. 

She dress'd his wound, and it embalmed well 

With salve of sovereign might ; 

And then she bath'd him in a dainty well, 

The well of dear delight. 

Who would not oft be stung as this. 

To be so bath'd in Venus bliss ? 

The wanton boy was shortly well recured 

Of that his malady : 

But he, soon after, fresh again enured 

His former cruelty : 

And since that time he wounded hath my self 

With his sharp dart of Love ; 

And now forgets, the cruel careless elf, 

His mother's hest to prove. 

So now I languish, till he please 

My pining anguish to appease. 

— Epigra7jis. 
Enured, practised. 

41 6 SPENSER. 


A GENTLE Knight was pricking on the plain, 
Y-clad in mighty arms and silver shield, 
Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain, 
The cruel marks of many a bloody field : 
Yet arms till that time did he never wield. 
His angry steed did chide his foaming bit, 
As much disdaining to the curb to yield : 
Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit, 

As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit. 

And on his breast a bloody Cross he bore, 
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord, 
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore, 
And dead, as living, ever him ador'd : 
Upon his shield the like was also scor'd, 
For sovereign hope, which in his help he had. 
Right faithful! true he was in deed and word ;• 
But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad ; 

Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was y-drad, 

Upon a great adventure he was bond, 
That greatest Gloriana to him gave, 
(That greatest Glorious Queen of Faery lond) 
To win him worship, and her grace to have. 
Which of all earthly things he most did crave : 
And ever as he rode his heart did yearn 
To prove his puissance in battle brave 
Upon his foe. and his new force to learne. 

Upon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stern. 

Pricking, riding. Y-draJ, dreaded. 

SPEiYSER. 417 

A lovely Lady rode him fair beside, 

Upon a lowly Ass more white than snow, 
Yet she much whiter ; but the same did hide 
Under a veil, that wimpled was full low ; 
And over all a black stole she did throw : 
As one that inly mourn'd, so was she sad, 
And heavy sate upon her palfrey slow ; 
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had. 

And by her, in a line, a milk-white lamb she lad. 

So pure and innocent, as that same lamb, 
She was in life and every virtuous lore ; 
And by descent from Royal lineage came 
Of ancient Kings and Queens, that had of yore 
Their sceptres stretcht from East to Western shore. 
And all the world in their subjection held; 
Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar 
Forwasted all their land, and them expell'd ; 

Whom to avenge she had this Knight from far compell'd. 

— T/ie Faery Queen, Bk. i., Co. i., St. i. 
Wimpled, plaited. Foi-wasted, utterly wasted. 

2 D 

4i8 SFENSEJi. 


One day, nigh weary of tlie irksome way, 
From her unhasty beast she did ab'ght ; 
And on the grass her dainty Hmbs did lay 
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight : 
From her fair head her fillet she imdight, 
And laid her stole aside. Her angel's face, 
As the great eye of heaven, shined bright, 
And made a sunshine in the shady place ; 

Did ever mortal eye behold such heavenly grace. 

It fortuned, out of the thickest wood 
A ramping Lion rushed suddenly, 
Hunting full greedy after salvage blood. 
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy, 
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily 
To have at once devour'd her tender corse ; 
But to the prey when as he drew more nigh, 
His bloody rage assuaged with remorse. 

And, with the sight amaz'd, forgat his furious force. 

In stead thereof he kis't her weary feet, 

And lick't her lily hands with fawning tongue, 
As he her wronged innocence did weet. 
O, how can beauty master the most strong, 
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong ! 
Whose yielded pride and proud submission, 
Still dreading death, when she had marked long, 
Her heart 'gan melt in great compassion ; 

And drizz'ling tears did shed for pure affection. 

Undigkt, took of. Weet, know. 


"The Lion, Lord of every beast in field," 

Quoth she, " his princely puissance doth abate, 
And mighty proud to humble weak does yield, 
Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late 
Him prick't, in pity of my sad estate : 
But he, my Lion, and my noble Lord, 
How does he find in cruel heart to hate 
Her, that him lov'd, and ever most ador'd 

As the God of my life ? why hath he me abhor'd ? " 

Redounding tears did choke th' end of her plaint, 
Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood ; 
And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint, 
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood : 
With pity calm'd, down fell his angry mood. 
At last, in close heart shutting up her pain, 
Arose the virgin, born of heavenly brood, 
And to her snowy Palfrey got again. 

To seek her strayed Champion if she might attain. 

The Lion would not leave her desolate, 
But with her went along, as a strong guard 
Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate 
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard : 
Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward ; 
And, when she wak't, he waited diligent. 
With humble service to her will prepar'd : 
From her fair eyes he took commandement, 

And ever by her looks conceived her intent. 

— The Faery Qtceen^ Bk. i., Co. iii., St. 4. 



Thus as they 'gan of sundry things devise. 
Lo ! two most goodly virgins came in place, 
Y-linked arm in arm in lovely wise : 
With countenance demure, and modest grace, 
They numb'red even steps and equal pace ; 
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight, 
Like sunny beams threw from her christal face 
That could have daz'd the rash beholders' sight, 

And round about her head did shine like heaven's light. 

She was arrayed all in lily white, 

And in her right hand bore a cup of gold, 

With wine and water fiU'd up to the height, 

In which a Serpent did himself enfold, 

That horror made to all that did behold ; 

But she no whit did change her constant mood : 

And in her other hand she fast did hold 

A book, that was both sign'd and seal'd with blood ; 

Wherein dark things were writ, hard to be understood. 

Her younger sister, that Speranza hight, 

Was clad in blue, that her beseemed well ; 

Not all so cheerful seemed she of sight. 

As was her sister : whether dread did dwell 

Or anguish in her heart, is hard to tell. 

Upon her arm a silver anchor lay, 

Whereon she leaned ever, as befell ; 

And ever up to heaven, as she did pray, 
Her steadfast eyes were bent, ne swerved other way. 

— The Faery Queen, Bk. i., Co. x., St. 12. 

Bight, was called. 



She v,'as a woman in her freshest age, 
Of wondrous beauty, and of bounty rare, 
With goodly grace and comely personage, 
That was on earth not easy to compare ; 
Full of great love, but Cupid's wanton snare 
As hell she hated ; chaste in work and will : 
Her neck and breasts were ever open bare. 
That aye thereof her babes might suck their fill; 

The rest was all in yellow robes arrayed still. 

A multitude of babes about her hung. 

Playing their sports, that joy'd her to behold ; 
Whom still she fed whiles they were weak and young, 
But thrust them forth still as they waxed old : 
And on her head she wore a tyre of gold, 
Adorn'd with gems and owches wondrous fair, 
Whose passing price uneath was to be told : 
And by her side there sate a gentle pair 

Of turtle doves, she sitting in an ivory chair. 

— The Faery Queen, Bk. i., Co. x., St. 30. 
Owches, jewels. Uneath, scarcely. 



" In this wide Inland sea, that hight by name 
The Idle lake, my wand'ring ship I row. 
That knows her port, and thither sails by aim, 
Ne care, ne fear I how the wind do blow, 
Or whether swift I wend, or whether slow : 
Both slow and swift alike do serve my turn ; 
Ne swelling Neptune, ne loud thund'ring Jove 
Can change my cheer, or make me ever mourn : 

My little boat can safely pass this perilous bourne." 

While thus she talked, and whiles thus she toy'd. 
They were far past the passage which he spake. 
And come unto an Island waste and void, 
That floated in the midst of that great lake ; 
There her small Gondelay her port did make, 
And that gay pair issuing on the shore, 
Disburd'ned her. Their way they forward take 
Into the land that lay them fair before, 

Whose pleasaunce she him shew'd, and plentiful great store. 

It was a chosen plot of fertile land, 

Amongst wide waves set, like a little nest, 
As if it had by Nature's cunning hand 
Been choicely picked out from all the rest, 
x\nd laid forth for ensample of the best : 

Hight, is called. 


No dainty flower or herb that grows on ground, 
No arboret with painted blossoms drest 
And smelling sweet, but there it might be found 
To bud out fair, and throw her sweet smells all around. 

No tree whose branches did not bravely spring ; 

No branch whereon a fine bird did not sit ; 

No bird but did her shrill notes sweetly sing ; 

No song but did contain a lovely ditt. 

Trees, branches, birds, and songs, were framed fit 

For to allure frail mind to careless ease ; 

Careless the man soon woxe, and his weak wit 

Was overcome of thing that did him please ; 
So pleased did his wrathful purpose fair appease. 

Thus when she had his eyes and senses fed 

With false delights, and fill'd with pleasures vain, 

Into a shady dale she soft him led. 

And laid him down upon a grassy plain ; 

And her sweet self without dread or disdain 

She set beside, laying his head disarm'd 

In her loose lap, it softly to sustain, 

When soon he slumb'red fearing not be harm'd : 

The whiles with a love lay she thus him sweetly charm'd. 

" Behold, O man ! that toilsome pains dost take. 
The flow'rs, the fields, and all that pleasant grows, 
How they themselves do thine ensample make. 
Whiles nothing envious nature then forth throws 
Out of her fruitful lap ; how no man knows, 

Arboret, little tree. Ditt, tune. Woxe, became. 



Tliey spring, they bud, they blossom fresh and fan*, 
And deck the world with their rich pompous shows ; 
Yet no man for them taketh pains or care, 
Yet no man to them can his careful pains compare. 

' ' The lily, Lady of the flow'ring field. 
The flower-deluce, her lovely paramour. 
Bid thee to them thy fruitless labours yield. 
And soon leave off this toilsome weary stoure : 
Lo, lo ! how brave she decks her bounteous boure, 
With silken curtains and gold coverlets, 
Therein to shroud her sumptuous Belamoure ; 
Yet neither spins nor cards, ne cares nor frets, 

But to her mother Nature all her care she lets. 

"Why then dost thou, O man ! that of them all 
Art Lord, and eke of nature Soveraine, 
Wilfully make thyself a wretched thrall, 
And waste thy joyous hours in needless pain, 
Seeking for danger and adventures vain ? 
What boots it all to have, and nothing use? 
Who shall him rue that swimming in the main 
Will die for thirst, and water doth refuse ? 

Refuse such fruitless toil, and present pleasures chuse." 
— The Faery Queen, Bk. ii., Co. vL, St. lo. 

Stotirs, trouble. Belamoure, lover. Lels, leaves. 



And is there care in heaven ? And is there love 
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base, 
That may compassion of their evils move? 
There is ; else much more Avretched were the case 
Of men than beasts. But O ! th' exceeding grace 
Of highest God that loves his creatures so, 
And all his works with mercy doth embrace, 
That blessed Angels He sends to and fro, 

To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe. 

How oft do they their silver bowers leave. 
To come to succour us that succour want ! 
How oft do they with golden pinions cleave 
The flitting skyes, like flying Pursuivant, 
Against foul fiends to aid us militant ! 
They for us fight, they watch and duly ward, 
And their bright Squadrons round about us plant ; 
And all for love, and nothing for reward. 

O ! why should heavenly God to men have such regard ? 

— The Faery Queen, Bk. ii., Co. viii., St. i. 

4 26 SPENSER. 


Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound, 
Of all that might delight a dainty ear, 
Such as at once might not on living ground. 
Save in this Paradise, be heard elsewhere : 
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear, 
To read what manner music that might be; 
For all that pleasing is to living ear 
Was there consorted in one harmony ; 

Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree : 

The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade, 
Their notes unto the voice attemp'red sweet ; 
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made 
To th' instruments divine respondence meet ; 
The silver sounding instruments did meet 
With the bass murmur of the waters' fall ; 
The waters' fall with difference discreet. 
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call ; 

The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. 

— The Faery Queen., Bk. ii., Co. xii,, St. 70. 

SPENSEJ^. 427 


The rugged forehead, that with grave foresight 

Wields kingdoms' caujes and affairs of state, 

My looser rhymes, I wote, doth sharply wite 

For pleasing love as I have done of late, 

And magnifying lovers' dear debate ; 

By which frail youth is oft to folly led. 

Through false allurement of that pleasing bait, 

That better were in virtues discipled, 

Than with vain poems' weeds to have their fancies fed. 

Such ones ill judge of love, that cannot love, 

Ne in their frozen hearts feel kindly flame : 

Forthy they ought not thing unknown reprove, 

Ne natural affection faultless blame 

For fault of few that have abus'd the same : 

For it of honour and all virtue is 

The root and brings forth glorious flowers of fame, 

That crown true lovers with immortal bliss, 

The meed of them that love, and do not live amiss. 

Which whoso list did look back to former ages. 

And call to count the things that then were done. 

Shall find that all the works of those wise sages, 

And brave exploits which great heroes won. 

In love were either ended or begun : 

Witness the Father of Philosophy, 

Which to his Critias, shaded oft from sun, 

Of love full many lessons did apply, 

The which these Stoic censors cannot well deny. 

— The Faery Qiieen, Bk. iv. (Introduction). 

Wite, blame. Fortliy, therefore. 



When I bethink me on that speech whilere 
Of Mutability, and well it weigh, 
Me seems, that though she all unworthy were 
Of the Heav'ns' Rule ; yet, very sooth to say, 
In all things else she bears the greatest sway : 
Which makes me loathe this state of life so tickle, 
And love of things so vain to cast away ; 
Whose flow'ring pride, so fading and so fickle, 

Short Time shall soon cut down with his consuming sickle 

Then 'gin I think on that which Nature said, 

Of that same time when no more Change shall be, 

But steadfast rest of all things, firmly staid 

Upon the pillars of Eternity, 

That is contrair to Mutability ; 

For all that moveth doth in Change delight : 

But thence-forth all shall rest eternally 

With him that is the God of Sabbaoth hight : 

! that great Sabbaoth God, grant me that Sabbath's 
sight ! 

— The Faery Queen, Bk. vii., Co. viii., St. i. 

Tickle, uncertain. Sabbaoth, hosts. Hight, called 



1. Spring Song. — The first English song set to musical notes. 

2. Love Song. — There are two more stanzas in the original. 

3. A Love Ditty. — The last often stanzas. 

4. Uncertainty of Life. — One more stanza in the original. 

8. The Broad and Narrow Way. — Original spelling save the 
thorn letter = th. 

13. Sir Penny. — I have taken only about one-half of this poem. 
There are several other pieces in praise of this knight. 

20. St. Valentine's Day, when the birds assemble to choose 
their mates. By the formel is typified Anne of Bohemia, and 
by the tercel royal, King Richard IL 1. 50, the epithet 
' waker ' is applied to the goose in allusion to the saving of the 
Roman Capitol. 

33. Prioress. — 1. 3, St. Loy, probably St. Eligius, or else St. Louis; 
1. 42, \hQ gattdies were the larger beads. 

36. Parson. — Dryden and Goldsmith (Descried Village) have both 
imitated this without improving on it. I. 34, a chatmterie ^SiXi 
endowment for singing masses for a deceased person. 

38. Chaunticleer. — 1. 27, probably some then popular song. 

43. True Gentility. — This idea of Christ as the first true gentleman 

is to be found also in Dekker. 

44. Ugolino. — This is the subject of a picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

46. Caged Birds. — Copied hoxa'Bo&ihms, zaA the Roman de la Rose. 

47. Purse. — Sometimes attributed to Hoccleve. The appeal was 

successful, as Chaucer's pension was increased by 40 marks a 

430 NOTES. 


48. Truth. — So entitled by Funiivall ; usually called The Ballad 
of Good Counsel. The Envoy exists in a single MS. only. 
Lydgate and James I. wiote poems with a similar title. St. i, 
1. 4 = wealth everywhere blinds people ; st. 2, 1. 2, i.e., Fortune. 

50-52. Attributed to Chaucer : see Introduction, p. xxvi, ante. 

56. Alexander and Robber. — 1. 25, i.e., as the saying is, in ill-luck. 

60. The Three Coffers. — This story occurs in the Gesta Roinan- 
orum, Decameron, Cento Novelle Antiche, &c. Gower copied 
it from Damascenus's Greek romance, Barlaaui and Josaphat 
(a.d. 800), given in Vincent of Beauvai's Speculum Histofiale. 

65. Lament for Chaucer. — This extract includes two separate 
passages. 1. 15, cumber-world, i.e.. Death. 

68. London Lickpenny.— 2.^. , London licker up of pence. St. 
4, a silk hood was the badge of a Sergeant-at-Law ; st. 6, 
there were formerly some small shops in Westminster Hall ; 
St. 10, Canwick, i.e.. Cannon Street, where 'London stone' 
stood ; cf. Dekker's Shoevtaker's Holiday, iv. 5. 

72. A Medieval Schoolboy. — Compare Shakspere's schoolboy 
in 'The Seven Ages of Man.' {As You Like It.) 

75. Sylvan Retreat. — "There is great softness and facility in the 
delineation of a delicious retreat." (Warton.) 

78. As Straight as a Ram's Horn. — Skelton has the phrase, 
'As right as a ram's horn.' 

80. Description of his Prison Garden. —This is copied from 
the earlier part of Chaucer's Knighfs Tale. St. xii., 1. 3, 
arbour, the original reads 'herbere' throughout, ?'.<?., a place 
for growing shrubs; st. xiv., 1. 6, i.e., with the stanza next 
following ; st. xv., 1. 5) heavens, i.e., state of bliss. 

83. Description of his Love, i.e.. Lady Jane Beaufort. St. xxviii., 
1. 5, there is clearly something wrong here : Skeat suggests 
round crokettis, a kind of curled tuft. Perhaps an allusion to 
the name Janet=Jane, is contained in \h^y^oxA jonettes. Access, 
in the 5th line of the last stanza = attack of pain. 
Rossetti thus modernises some passages in the King's Quair : 
"Worship, ye lovers, on this May ; 
Of bliss your kalends are begun : 
Sing with us, Away, Winter, away! 

Come, Summer, the sweet season and sun I 
Awake for shame, — your heaven is won, — 
And amorously your heads lift all : 
Thank Love, that you to his grace doth call ! 

NOTES. 431 


" The fairest and the freshest flower 
That ever I saw before that hour, 
The which o' the sudden made to start 
The blood of my body to my heart. 
Ah sweet, are ye a worldly creature 
Or heavenly thing in form of nature ? " 

— The King's Tragedy. 

87. Good Counsel. — Attributed to James I. An imitation of 

Chaucer's Truth. The refrain resembles the proverbial " Give 
an inch and he'll take an ell." St. i, 1. 4, i.e., fear no terror; 
St. 2, 1. 3, i.e., when thou comest to count it. 

88, The Audey Walk. — So entitled by Hailes. Sir James Inglis, 

in his Complaint, mentions a popular poem with a like title. 
Lydgate has a poem with the same refrain ; the original has 
of where the text reads for. Chaucer uses the same phrase. 
Line 5, the original has on ca!s = hy chance; st. 3, 1. 7, /le 
and he, i.e., one and the other; st. 4, 1. 4, skill, i.e., with 
reason. The last line but one is copied from Chaucer's 
Ctickoo and Nightingale : — 

" For he {i.e.. Love) can makin of lowe hertis hie, 
And of hie lowe." 

90. Garment of Good Ladies. — A kind of paraphrase of i Tim. 
ii. 9-11. 

92. Three Dead Skulls. — Attributed sometimes to Patrick John- 
ston. I have omitted stanzas 2, 5, 7, and 8. Compare Shaks- 
pere's grave digger scene in Havilet. 1. 21, ^Yhite as a whale's 
bone, i.e., ivory made from the teeth of the sea-horse ; a 
common simile, used by Surrey. 

94. The Upland and Burgess Mouse. — Cf. Wyat's poem, p. 
2S3, infra. Uponland, up-a-land, upland = country ; as dis- 
tinguished from the borough or burgh ; Jack Upland was the 
common pseudonym for a countryman; st. i, I. 7, i.e.. On 
what they can hunt up. St. 3,1. 4, Jamieson says, zuand— 
lind = in the open fields ; st. 10, The Spenser = the buller. 

99. Cresseid. — Begins at line 470. See Swinburne's Miscellanies, 

p. 6. St. 2, 1. 3, i.e., leper's warning bell. 
Id. Vision of ^sop. — Notice the alliteration in the second staoi-a. 
107. The Merle and Nightingale. — The merle is the blackbird. 

432 NOTES. 


112. Christ's Nativity.— The first line in the original has Uffis for 
living; 1. 15, original reads is iox praised; st. 5, 1. 5, i.e., five 
and six at dice, 

114. To A Lady. — 1. 4, "to heaven" is not in the original ; it was 

suggested by Pinkerton. 

115. Advice to Lovers. — Attributed to Dunbar. 

117. No Treasure without Gladness. — 1. i, Laing reads /c;- in 
place oi sore ; st. 2, 1. 4, i.e., thou possessest the rest only w'vCn. 
sorrow ; st. 5, 1. 5, raginenf, i.e., scroll or account ; from 
"ragman-roll," whence "rigmarole." 

119. Meditation in Winter. — St. 4, 1. 5, i.e.. The King's Court; 
st. 6, 1. 4, I have adopted Laing's reading. 

123. Lament for the Makars. — Dunbar clearly had the Danse 
Macabre, or Dance of Death, in mind when writing this poem. 
Lydgate has a poem with the same burden line. A seven- 
teenth century imitation of the poem in the text translates it 
thus: "This makes me dread when I shall die." Of many 
of the poets mentioned little or nothing is now known. 

127. A May Day-Dream. — These form the opening stanzas of the 
poem. Notice the extraordinary simile for the sun in 1. 4. 

134. The King and Queen of Flowers. — Thistle is spelled 
^/im«7 throughout. St. 3, 1. 3, an allusion to a former treaty 
of marriage between James L and a French princess. 

138. Seven Deadly Sins. — Mahoim, Satan. Sc/ireiuis, sinners. 
Graith a gyiss, prepare a masque. Gamoimtis, gambols. _ 
Begowth, began. Vaistie wanis, empty dwellings. KetJiai, 
cassock. Tnimpour, boaster. Granis, groans. Lac/ie, laughed. 
Gekkis, mocks. Boditt, dressed. Beft, stru6k.. Fcid, feud. 
Freik, fellow. Rownaris, whisperers. OkJceraris, usurers. 
Hud-pykis, misers. Fudder, load, Fyre-flaxvcht, wild-fire. 
Toinit, emptied. Stueirnes, sloth. Grunyie, grunt. Htiddi-oim, 
sloven. Daiv, wench. Duddroim, slut. Sounyie, care. 
Lunyie, loins. Counyie, apprehension. Bet-and, snorting. 
Trainort, corpse. Collcp, drinking-cup. Wally-drag, outcast. 
Creische, grease. Loveray, reward. Padyane, pageant. Roup, 
croaked. Dcvit, deafened. Hinorit, smothered. 

NOTES. 433 


142. The Devil's Inquest. — Very similar to The Devil's Walk. 
Three more stanzas in the original. 

147. Amends to Tailors. — A continuation of The Tailor and the 
Sotttar. St. 6, 1. 3, he sic three = \h'voi three such(?) ^'Supplie," 
in the last stanza but one, probably means "assistance." 

150. Remember the End. — The only known production of this 
author, who was one of the Pope's knights in 1500. 

154. To ISABELL. — 1. 2, i.e., odorous fair rose ; I. 8, original 
^^jeloffer ;" i.e., carnations, &c. 

156. On a Skull. — 1. 30, there is a play upon the words "check- 
mated" and " draughts," here ; 1. 31, original has ^'' dyne" for 

1 58. To Mistress Wentworth. — hlarjoram, or as it is in its origi- 
nal " Margerain," is an herb. 

164. Phillip Sparrow. — Mentioned in Barclay's Ship of Fools. 
Compare Catullus's lines, " Lactus in morte Passeris." Her- 
rick and Drummond have also written verses on the death of a 
Sparrow, cf. p. 368 infra. 1. 34, a usual phrase applied to 
sparrows; 1. 113, a fabulous beast, with the face of a man, 
body of a lion, tail of a scorpion, and voice of a serpent. 

169. To Mistress Hussey. — 1. 4, i.e., a hawk that towers aloft ; cf. 
p. 201 infra ; 1. 22, i.e., Hypsipyle ; 1. 24, i.e., perfumes com- 
pounded into a ball to be carried in the pocket. 

173. Morning in May. — Nyctimene was changed into an owl by 
Athene. 1. 19, some read Coppa from cop = z. tuft ; Partolet, 
compare p. 38, supra. Compare the song of the birds with 
the conclusion of Chaucer's Assembly of Fowls, p. 24, sitpj-a. 

177. Spring. — In the original 1. 16 has " als fell consatis." 

iSi. Ballad on Honour. — Notice the numerous internal rhymes in 
these lines : the meaning is often very obscure. 

188. Mutability of Fortune. — St. 7, 1. 7, I would suggest that 

differing is a misprint for cliff fearing. 

189. A New Married Student.— Called by Warton "the first 

pointed English epigram ; " sometimes attributed to Wyat. 
Published in Tottel's Miscellany. 
192. The Creation of Adam. — 1. 6, i.e., the music of the spheres. 

2 E 

434 NOTES. 


193. The Building of Babel. — In the original, Nimiod is called 
" Nembroth " throughout. 

200. Trust in Women. — St. 7, 1. 2, cf. Skelton, p. 169, supra, 
note I. 

202. Robin Hood. — Probably the oldest of the large cycle of Robin 
Hood Ballads. The extract is from the fifth fit or part. The 
next ballad is of considerably later date. Two lines are 
omitted in the 4th and 5th stanzas of the latter. 

212. The Nut-Brown Maid. — Nutbrown, i.e., brunette. This 
ballad was moralised as The New Nut-Bioivn Maid upon the 
Passion of Christ. St. 24, 1. 9, is defective ; one MS. supplies 
''shall" before die. 

230. My Sweet Sweeting. — "Sweeting," as a term of endearment, 

occurs several times in Shakspere, and in the " Disobedient 
Child" Interlude. St. 4, 1. 2, Pigsnie is a term of endearment, 
used by many old writers, such as Skelton : occurs in Ralph 
Roister Bolster, and in Miseries of Enforced Marriage, v. I. 
Said by Ritson to be derived from "pigs eye," which is small. 

231. I HAD BOTH Money. — In an old volume of part songs, once the 

property of Henry VIII., and afterwards of John Heywood. 

233. Ballad on Money. —Compare Lydgate's London Lickpenny, 
p. 68. 

235. Earliest Sea-Song. — Temp. Henry VIII. Cargoes of pil- 
grims were sent yearly to the shrine of St James of Compostella. 

238. Lusty Juventus : a Morality play, attributed to one R. Wever, 

temp. Edward VI. 

239. Care Away. — From an MS. of 15th century. 

240. Clown's Courtship ; set to music in the reign of Henry VIII. 
249. Eagle and Robin. — Doubtfully attributed to Scot. 

256. Cautions. — These are the concluding lines of the book, and 

form portion of " The Rule of Honest Living.^' 

257. Praise of his Lady. — Compare Surrey's poem, p. 297. 

262. Death's Bounties. — Compare the style of Out of Sight, p, 
382, infra. Most of the extracts from Wyat, and all of those 
from Surrey (save the last), are from Totters Miscellany : so are 
all those from Grimoald. 

NOTES. 435 


264. Careful Lover Complaineth. — The Clown in Twelth Night 

sings snatches of this song. There are eight more lines in the 

269. Renouncing of Love. — 1. 5, Skeat inserts my before blitid. 
275. Blame not my Lute. — St. 6, 1. i, i.e., although thou secretly 

break my strings. The moralization, which dates circa 1560, 

begins thus : — 

" Blame not my lute, though it do sound 
The rebuke of your wicked sin. 
But rather seek, as ye are bound, 
To know what case that ye are in : 
And though this song do sin confute, 
And sharply wickedness rebuke ! 
Blame not my lute." 

— Hall's " Court of Virtue." 

280. The Courtier's Life. — Compare S]jenser's lines in Mother 
Hubberd^s Tale. 

283. Mean and Sure Estate. — This extract consists of (i) the 
greater portion of Wyat's 1st satire, in ierza rima, the lines 
riming alternately by threes ; and (2) a short poem paraphrased 
from Seneca. Cf. Henryson's Fable, on p. 94, supra. 1. 53, 
steai?iii!g= stemyng = gleaming. (Skeat. ) 

287. Complaint of his Lady. — Imitated from a sonnet by Petrarch. 

290. Complaint of a Lover.— Translated from Petrarch (Sonnet 

109) by both Surrey and Wyat. 

291. Prisoned at Windsor. — 1. 3, an allusion, perhaps, to his 

early friendship with the Duke of Richmond, son to Henry 
VIIL, who was afterwards married to Surrey's sister ; 1. 16, 
i.e., watched the game from the roof; 1. 32, i.e., where the 
game was run down, not shot : could *' force " be a misprint for 
"grasse," hart of grace? I. 33, Skeat reads tuall'es for vales. 

294. Spring. — 1. Z,fee, a misprint for7?^f^'=- float. 

295. Vow to Love Faithfully: translated from Petrarch. Cf. 

Horace, Car., lib. i. 22. 

296. Beauties of Morning.— E.xtracted from a long poem in 

Tottel, somewhat doubtfully attributed to Surrey, on the 
strength of a passage in Turbervile. 

297. Praise of his Love. — Compare Heywood's poem, p. 257, and 

also Surrey's Epitaph on Wyat, p. 303. 

298. The Happy Life.— Translated from Martial. 

436 NOTES. 


304. Death of Laocoon. — The beginning of this extract was 
probably the first piece of blank verse written in the English 
language. Gawin Douglas thus translates the beginning of this 
passage : — 

" They ceased all at once in continent 
With mouthes close and visage takand tent. 
Prince iEneas from the high bed, with that, 
Into his siege-royal where he sat, 
Begouth and said." 

The incident described in the latter portion of the extract has 
been depicted in one of the celebrated pieces of ancient sculp- 
ture, and forms the subject of Lessing's book 'Laocoon.' 

306. Assault of Curio. — There are several modern versions. 

309. Aged Lover Renounceth Love. — Quoted in Hamlet, v, i. 

311. Grey Hairs. — Sometimes attributed to William Hunnis. 
St. 3, I. 3, there is a play upon words here, ' ground ' being 
an old musical term for an air on which 'divisions,' i.e., varia 
tions, were made. 

319. May Song.— Mentioned in the Complaint of Scotland, 1548. 

320. The Lover in Despair. — Line i in the original ends in 

' spent. ' 

322. TheGaberlunzie Man. — /'(ZtwZ^, artful. C(?(/^?/j', cheerfully. 
Canty, lively. T/u-atig, familiarly. Bent, i.e., are fled to the 
plain. Speer, inquire. Lane, alone. Earn, curdle. Ben, 
within. Wud, mad. Whang, slice. Friving, stolen goods (?). 
Cauk, chalk. Keel, a red substance for marking. Whorlcs, 

329. Amantium Ir/E. — I omit two stanzas. The entire of the 
apophthegm, which is from Terence, is ' Amantium irce amoris 
redintegratio est.' 

333- Women. — Ascribed to Edwards by Ellis. 

335. Music. — This song, from the Paradise of Dainty Devices, is 
quoted in Romeo and Juliet, iv. 5. The version in the text is 
that given in Percy's Reliques, which differs somewhat from 
that in the Paradise. 

337. Good-Husband and Unthrift. — The last line refers to an 
old proverb, " Over-many masters, as the toad said when under 
the harrow," i.e., getting more kicks than halfpence. 

NOTES. 437 


341. Time and the Year. — This extract contains portions of two 
separate poems. The ideas are taken from Horace. St. 3, 
1. 4, cf. Shakspere's " All tlie world's a stage," &c. 

343. The Lover Coxfesseth ; sixteen more lines in the original. 

348. May. — Cf. "Gather ye roses," and Sonnet Ixx., p. 407, infra. 

350. All Things are as they are Used. — St. 10, 1. 2, i.e., a 
famous physician, a son of ^sculapius. 

355. Sonnet. — Attributed to Sir John Harrington (1534-S2) in Kugce 
Antiqiuv, and dated cir. 1564. 

358. A Lullaby. — One stanza omitted. 

361. Echo Verses. — Attributed to Gascoigne. 

368. Praise of Philip Sparrow. — Cf. Skelton's poem, p. 164. 
St. 3, 1. 3, to lay on load, i.e., to strike violently and repeatedly. 

376. Harpalus and Phillida. — Attributed to Googe. 

384. The jMinion Wife. — From the first English comedy, Ralph 

Roister Doister. 

385. I cannot Eat but little Meat. — ' The first drinking-song 

of any merit, in our language ' (Warton) ; occurs in the second 
English comedy, Gaiutner Gwioti's Needle, printed 1575, 
written by Still. Some attribute this song to Skelton. Dyce 
gives a very full version in his edition of that poet's works. 

387. To His Posterity. — Written over his bedchamber door. 

388. Sorrow. — By a typographical error, 1, 5 of st. 3, has been 

omitted — 
"Whose plaint such sighs did straight accompany," 

391. Allegorical Characters. — The prefix /c;;' as an intensitive 
{^vcry, quite) is greatly used in this poem, e.g., 'forhewed, ' 
'forgone.' St. 11, 1. 7, Irus was a celebrated beggar of Ithaca, 
and is mentioned in Homer ; st. 17, 1. 2, i.e., sometimes went 
on a stick and sometimes on two crutches. 

420. Faith. — St. 2, I. 4, the Serpent = Satan. 

428. JNIUTABILITY. — The concluding fragment of The Faery Queen. 


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