Heirefter followis the quair maid be King James of Scotland the first callit the kingis quair and maid quhan his majestee wes in Ingland
Heigh in the hevynnis figure circulere
The rody sterres twynklyng as the fyre,
And, in Aquary, Citherea the clere
Rynsid hir tressis like the goldin wyre
That late tofore in fair and fresche atyre
Through Capricorn heved hir hornis bright,
North northward approchit the mydnyght,
Quhen, as I lay in bed allone waking,
New partit out of slepe a lyte tofore,
Fell me to mynd of many diverse thing,
Of this and that, can I noght say quharfore,
Bot slepe for craft in erth myght I no more,
For quhich as tho coude I no better wyle,
Bot toke a boke to rede apon a quhile,
Of quhich the name is clepit properly
Boece, eftir him that was the compiloure,
Schewing the counsele of Philosophye,
Compilit by that noble senatoure
Of Rome, quhilom that was the warldis floure,
And from estate by Fortunes quhile
Forjugit was to povert in exile,
And thereto here this worthy lord and clerk,
His metir suete, full of moralitee,
His flourit pen so fair he set awerk,
Discryving first of his prosperitee,
And out of that his infelicitee,
And than how he, in his poetly report,
In philosophy can him to confort;
For quhich, thogh I in purpose at my boke
To borowe a slepe at thilke tyme began,
Or ever I stent, my best was more to loke
Upon the writing of this noble man,
That in himself the full recover wan
Of his infortune, povert, and distresse,
And in tham set his verray sekernesse.
And so the vertew of his youth before
Was in his age the ground of his delytis.
Fortune the bak him turnyt, and therfore
He makith joye and confort that he quit is
Of their unsekir warldis appetitis;
And so aworth he takith his penance,
And of his vertew maid it suffisance
With mony a noble resoun, as him likit,
Enditing in his fair Latyne tong,
So full of fruyte and rethorikly pykit,
Quhich to declare my scole is over yong.
Therfore I lat him pas, and in my tong
Procede I will agayn to my sentence
Of my mater, and leve all incidence.
The long nyght beholding, as I saide,
Myn eyne gan to smert for studying.
My buke I schet and at my hede it laide
And doun I lay but ony tarying,
This mater new in my mynd rolling:
This is to seyne, how that eche estate,
As Fortune lykith, thame will translate.
For sothe it is that on hir tolter quhele,
Every wight cleverith in his stage,
And failyng foting oft, quhen hir lest rele –
Sum up, sum doun – is non estate nor age
Ensured, more the prynce than the page,
So uncouthly hir werdes sche devidith,
Namly in youth, that seildin ought providith.
Among thir thoughtis rolling to and fro,
Fell me to mynd of my fortune and ure:
In tender youth how sche was first my fo
And eft my frende, and how I gat recure
Of my distresse; and all myn aventure
I gan ovr-hayle, that langer slepe ne rest
Ne myght I nat, so were my wittis wrest.
Forwakit and forwalowit, thus musing,
Wery forlyin, I lestnyt sodaynlye,
And sone I herd the bell to matyns ryng
And up I rase, no langer wald I lye.
Bot now (how trowe ye?) suich a fantasye
Fell me to mynd that ay me thoght the bell
Said to me, “Tell on, man, quhat thee befell.”
Thoght I tho to myself, “Quhat may this be?
This is myn awin ymagynacioun,
It is no lyf that spekis unto me,
It is a bell; or that impressioun
Of my thoght causith this illusioun
That dooth me think so nycely in this wise.”
And so befell as I schall you devise.
Determyt furth therwith in myn entent,
Sen I thus have ymagynit of this soun
(And in my tyme more ink and paper spent
To lyte effect), I tuke conclusioun
Sum new thing to write. I set me doun
And furthwithall my pen in hand I tuke
And maid a cross and thus begouth my buke.
Thou sely youth, of nature indegest,
Unrypit fruyte, with windis variable,
Like to the bird that fed is on the nest
And can noght flee, of wit wayke and unstable,
To fortune both and to infortune hable,
Wist thou thy payne to cum and thy travaille,
For sorow and drede wele myght thou wepe and waille.
Thus stant thy confort in unsekernesse
And wantis it that suld thee reule and gye,
Ryght as the schip that sailith stereles
Upon the rok most to harmes hye
For lak of it that suld bene hir supplye,
So standis thou here in this warldis rage
And wantis that suld gyde all thy viage.
I mene this by myself, as in partye,
Though nature gave me suffisance in youth,
The rypenesse of resoun lakit I
To governe with my will, so lyte I couth,
Quhen stereles to travaile I begouth,
Amang the wawis of this warld to drive,
And how the case anon I will discrive.
With doutfull hert amang the rokkis blake,
My feble bote full fast to stere and rowe,
Helples, allone, the wynter nyght I wake,
To wayte the wynd that furthward suld me throwe.
O empti saile, quhare is the wynd suld blowe
Me to the port, quhar gynneth all my game?
Help, Calyope, and wynd, in Marye name!
The rokkis clepe I the prolixitee
Of doubilnesse that doith my wittis pall:
The lak of wynd is the deficultee
In enditing of this lytill trety small;
The bote I clepe the mater hole of all;
My wit, unto the saile that now I wynd
To seke connyng, though I bot lytill fynd.
At my begynnyng first I clepe and call
To yow, Cleo, and to yow, Polymye,
With Thesiphone, goddis and sistris all,
In nowmer nyne, as bokis specifye;
In this processe my wilsum wittis gye,
And with your bryght lanternis wele convoye
My pen, to write my turment and my joye.
In Ver, that full of vertu is and gude,
Quhen Nature first begynneth hir enprise,
That quhilum was be cruell frost and flude
And schouris scharp opprest in many wyse,
And Synthius gynneth to aryse
Heigh in the est, a morow soft and suete,
Upward his course to drive in Ariete,
Passit bot mydday four greis evin,
Of lenth and brede his angel wingis bryght
He spred upon the ground doun fro the hevin.
That, for gladnesse and confort of the sight
And with the tiklyng of his hete and light,
The tender flouris opnyt thame and sprad
And in thair nature thankit him for glad.
Noght ferr passit the state of innocence
Bot nere about the nowmer of yeris thre –
Were it causit throu hevinly influence
Of Goddis will or othir casualtee
Can I noght say – bot out of my contree,
By thair avise that had of me the cure
Be see to pas tuke I myn aventure.
Purvait of all that was us necessarye,
With wynd at will, up airly by the morowe,
Streight unto schip, no longer wold we tarye,
The way we tuke, the tyme I tald toforowe.
With mony “fare wele” and “Sanct Johne to borowe”
Of falowe and frende, and thus with one assent
We pullit up saile and furth oure wayis went.
Upon the wawis weltering to and fro,
So infortunate was us that fremyt day
That maugrй, playnly, quhethir we wold or no,
With strong hand, by forse, schortly to say,
Of inymyis takin and led away
We weren all, and broght in thair contree:
Fortune it schupe non othir wayis to be.
Quhare as in strayte ward and in strong prisoun,
So ferforth of my lyf the hevy lyne,
Without confort, in sorowe abandoun,
The secund sister lukit hath to twyne
Nere by the space of yeris twise nyne;
Till Jupiter his merci list advert
And send confort in relesche of my smert.
Quhare as in ward full oft I wold bewaille
My dedely lyf, full of peyne and penance,
Saing ryght thus, “Quhat have I gilt, to faille
My fredome in this warld and my plesance?
Sen every wight has therof suffisance
That I behold, and I a creature
Put from all this, hard is myn aventure!
“The bird, the beste, the fisch eke in the see,
They lyve in fredome, everich in his kynd;
And I a man, and lakkith libertee!
Quhat schall I seyne? Quhat resoun may I fynd
That Fortune suld do so?” Thus in my mynd
My folk I wold argewe – bot all for noght,
Was non that myght, that on my peynes rought.
Than wold I say, “Gif God me had devisit
To lyve my lyf in thraldome thus and pyne,
Quhat was the cause that he me more comprisit
Than othir folk to lyve in suich ruyne?
I suffer allone amang the figuris nyne,
Ane wofull wrecche that to no wight may spede,
And yit of every lyvis help hath nede.”
The long dayes and the nyghtis eke
I wold bewaille my fortune in this wise,
For quhich, agane distresse confort to seke,
My custom was on mornis for to ryse
Airly as day – O happy exercise,
By thee come I to joye out of turment!
Bot now to purpose of my first entent.
Bewailing in my chamber thus allone,
Despeired of all joye and remedye,
Fortirit of my thoght and wo begone,
And to the wyndow gan I walk in hye
To se the warld and folk that went forby;
As for the tyme, though I of mirthis fude
Myght have no more, to luke it did me gude.
Now was there maid fast by the touris wall
A gardyn fair, and in the corneris set
Ane herber grene with wandis long and small
Railit about; and so with treis set
Was all the place, and hawthorn hegis knet,
That lyf was non walking there forby
That myght within scarse ony wight aspye,
So thik the bewis and the leves grene
Beschadit all the aleyes that there were.
And myddis every herber myght be sene
The scharp grene suete jenepere,
Growing so fair with branchis here and there,
That, as it semyt to a lyf without,
The bewis spred the herber all about.
And on the small grene twistis sat
The lytill suete nyghtingale and song
So loud and clere the ympnis consecret
Of lufis use, now soft, now lowd among,
That all the gardyng and the wallis rong
Ryght of thair song and of the copill next
Of thair suete armony; and lo the text:
“Worschippe, ye that loveris bene, this May,
For of your blisse the kalendis ar begonne,
And sing with us, ‘Away, winter, away!
Cum, somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne!’
Awake, for schame! that have your hevynnis wonne,
And amorously lift up your hedis all:
Thank Lufe that list you to his merci call.”
Quhen thai this song had song a lytill thrawe,
Thai stent a quhile and therwith unaffraid,
As I beheld and kest myn eyne a lawe,
From beugh to beugh thay hippit and thai plaid,
And freschly in thair birdis kynd arraid
Thair fetheris new, and fret thame in the sonne,
And thankit Lufe that had thair makis wonne.
This was the plane ditee of thair note,
And therwithall unto myself I thoght,
“Quhat lyf is this, that makis birdis dote?
Quhat may this be? How cummyth it of ought?
Quhat nedith it to be so dere ybought?
It is nothing, trowe I, bot feynit chere,
And that men list to counterfeten chere.”
Eft wald I think, “O Lord, quhat may this be,
That Lufe is of so noble myght and kynde,
Lufing his folk? And suich prosperitee,
Is it of him, as we in bukis fynd?
May he oure hertes setten and unbynd?
Hath he upon oure hertis suich maistrye?
Or all this is bot feynyt fantasye?
“For gif he be of so grete excellence
That he of every wight hath cure and charge,
Quhat have I gilt to him or doon offense
That I am thrall and birdis gone at large,
Sen him to serve he myght set my corage?
And gif he be noght so, than may I seyne,
‘Quhat makis folk to jangill of him in veyne?’
“Can I noght elles fynd, bot gif that he
Be lord, and as a god may lyve and regne
To bynd and louse and maken thrallis free,
Than wold I pray his blisfull grace benigne
To hable me unto his service digne,
And evermore for to be one of tho
Him trewly for to serve in wele and wo.”
And therwith kest I doun myn eye ageyne,
Quhare as I sawe, walking under the tour,
Full secretly new cummyn hir to pleyne,
The fairest or the freschest yong floure
That ever I sawe, me thoght, before that houre;
For quhich sodayn abate anon astert
The blude of all my body to my hert.
And though I stude abaisit tho a lyte
No wonder was, forquhy my wittis all
Were so overcom with plesance and delyte,
Onely throu latting of myn eyen fall,
That sudaynly my hert became hir thrall
Forever, of free wyll; for of manace
There was no takyn in hir suete face.
And in my hede I drewe ryght hastily
And eft sones I lent it forth ageyne
And sawe hir walk, that verray womanly,
With no wight mo, bot onely wommen tueyne.
Than gan I studye in myself and seyne,
“A, suete, ar ye a warldly creature
Or hevinly thing in liknesse of nature?
“Or ar ye god Cupidis owin princesse
And cummyn ar to louse me out of band?
Or ar ye verray Nature the goddesse
That have depaynted with your hevinly hand
This gardyn full of flouris, as they stand?
Quhat sall I think? Allace, quhat reverence
Sall I minster to your excellence?
“Gif ye a goddesse be, and that ye like
To do me payne, I may it noght astert.
Gif ye be warldly wight that dooth me sike,
Quhy lest God mak you so, my derrest hert,
To do a sely prisoner thus smert
That lufis yow all and wote of noght bot wo?
And therfore merci, suete, sen it is so.”
Quhen I a lytill thrawe had maid my moon,
Bewailling myn infortune and my chance,
Unknawing how or quhat was best to doon,
So ferr I fallyng into Lufis dance
That sodeynly my wit, my contenance,
My hert, my will, my nature, and my mynd,
Was changit clene ryght in anothir kynd.
Of hir array the form gif I sall write
Toward, hir goldin hair and rich atyre
In fret wise couchit with perllis quhite
And grete balas lemyng as the fyre,
With mony ane emeraut and fair saphire;
And on hir hede a chaplet fresch of hewe,
Of plumys partit rede and quhite and blewe.
Full of quaking spangis bryght as golde,
Forgit of schap like to the amorettis,
So new, so fresch, so plesant to beholde,
The plumys eke like to the flour jonettis,
And othir of schap like to the flour burnettis,
And above all this there was, wele I wote,
Beautee eneuch to mak a world to dote.
About hir nek, quhite as the fyne amaille,
A gudely cheyne of smale orfeverye
Quhareby there hang a ruby, without faille,
Lyke to ane hert schapin verily,
That, as a sperk of lowe, so wantonly
Semyt birnyng upon hir quhyte throte.
Now gif there was gud partye, God it wote!
And for to walk that fresche Mayes morowe
An huke sche had upon hir, tissew quhite,
That gudeliar had noght bene sene toforowe,
As I suppose, and girt sche was alyte,
Thus halflyng louse for haste. Lo suich delyte
It was to see hir youth in gudelihede
That for rudenes to speke therof I drede.
In hir was youth, beautee with humble aport,
Bountee, richesse, and wommanly facture –
God better wote than my pen can report;
Wisedome, largesse, estate, and connyng sure
In every poynt so guydit hir mesure
In word, in dede, in schap, in contenance,
That Nature myght no more hir childe avance.
Throw quhich anon I knew and understude
Wele that sche was a warldly creature
On quhom to rest myn eye, so mich gude
It did my wofull hert, I yow assure,
That it was to me joye without mesure.
And, at the last, my luke unto the hevin
I threwe furthwith and said thir versis sevin:
“O Venus clere, of goddis stellifyit,
To quhom I yelde homage and sacrifise;
Fro this day forth your grace be magnifyit,
That me ressavit have in suich wise,
To lyve under your law and do servise.
Now help me furth, and for your merci lede
My hert to rest, that deis nere for drede.”
Quhen I with gude entent this orisoun
Thus endit had, I stynt a lytill stound.
And eft myn eye full pitously adoun
I kest, behalding unto hir lytill hound
That with his bellis playit on the ground:
Than wold I say and sigh therwith a lyte,
“A, wele were him that now were in thy plyte!”
Anothir quhile the lytill nyghtingale
That sat apon the twiggis wold I chide,
And say ryght thus: “Quhare ar thy notis smale
That thou of love has song this morowe tyde?
Seis thou noght hir that sittis thee besyde?
For Venus sake, the blisfull goddesse clere,
Sing on agane and mak my lady chere.
“And eke I pray, for all the paynes grete
That for the love of Proigne, thy sister dere,
Thou sufferit quhilom, quhen thy brestis wete
Were, with the teres of thyne eyen clere
All bludy ronne, that pitee was to here
The crueltee of that unknyghtly dede
Quhare was fro thee bereft thy maidenhede,
“Lift up thyne hert and sing with gude entent,
And in thy notis suete the tresoun telle
That to thy sister trewe and innocent
Was kythit by hir husband false and fell;
For quhois gilt, as it is worthy wel,
Chide thir husbandis that ar false, I say,
And bid thame mend, in the twenti devil way.
“O lytill wrecch, allace, maist thou noght se
Quho commyth yond? Is it now tyme to wring?
Quhat sory thoght is fallin upon thee?
Opyn thy throte; hastow no lest to sing?
Allace, sen thou of resoun had felyng,
Now, suete bird, say ones to me ‘pepe.’
I dee for wo, me think thou gynnis slepe.
“Hastow no mynde of lufe? Quhare is thy make?
Or artow seke, or smyt with jelousye?
Or is he dede, or hath he thee forsake?
Quhat is the cause of thy malancolye
That thou no more list maken melodye?
Sluggart, for schame! Lo here thy goldin hour
That worth were hale all thy lyvis laboure!
“Gyf thou suld sing wele ever in thy lyve,
Here is, in fay, the tyme and eke the space.
Quhat wostow than? Sum bird may cum and stryve
In song with thee the maistry to purchace.
Suld thou than cesse, it were grete schame, allace!
And here, to wyn gree happily forever,
Here is the tyme to syng or ellis never.”
I thoght eke thus: gif I my handis clap
Or gif I cast, than will sche flee away.
And gif I hald me pes, than will sche nap,
And gif I crye, sche wate noght quhat I say:
Thus quhat is best wate I noght, be this day,
Bot, “Blawe wynd, blawe, and do the levis schake,
That sum twig may wag and mak hir to wake.”
With that anon ryght sche toke up a sang,
Quhare com anon mo birdis and alight.
Bot than, to here the mirth was tham amang!
Over that, to, to see the suete sicht
Of hyr ymage, my spirit was so light
Me thoght I flawe for joye without arest,
So were my wittis boundin all to fest.
And to the notis of the philomene
Quhilkis sche sang, the ditee there I maid
Direct to hir that was my hertis quene,
Withoutin quhom no songis may me glade.
And to that sanct, walking in the schade,
My bedis thus with humble hert entere
Devotly I said on this manere:
“Quhen sall your merci rew upon your man
Quhois service is yit uncouth unto yow?
Sen quhen ye go, there is noght ellis than.
Bot hert, quhere as the body may noght throu,
Folow thy hevin: quho suld be glad bot thou
That suich a gyde to folow has undertake?
Were it throu Hell, the way thou noght forsake!”
And efter this the birdis everichone
Tuke up anothir sang full loud and clere,
And with a voce said, “Wele is us begone
That with oure makis ar togider here.
We proyne and play without dout and dangere,
All clothit in a soyte full fresche and newe,
In lufis service besy, glad and trewe.
“And ye, fresche May, ay mercifull to bridis,
Now welcum be ye, flour of monethis all;
For noght onely your grace upon us bydis
Bot all the warld to witnes this we call,
That strowit hath so playnly over all
With new, fresche, suete, and tender grene,
Oure lyf, oure luste, oure governoure, oure quene.”
This was thair song, as semyt me, full heye,
With full mony uncouth suete note and schill,
And therwithall that fair upward hir eye
Wold cast amang, as it was Goddis will,
Quhare I myght se, standing allane full still,
The fair facture that Nature for maistrye
In hir visage wroght had full lufingly.
And quhen sche walkit had a lytill thrawe
Under the suete grene bewis bent,
Hir fair fresche face, as quhite as ony snawe,
Scho turnyt has and furth hir wayis went.
Bot tho began myn axis and turment:
To sene hir part and folowe I na myght.
Me thoght the day was turnyt into nyght.
Than said I thus: “Quhareto lyve I langer?
Wofullest wicht and subject unto peyne –
Of peyne? No – God wote, ya! For thay no stranger
May wirken ony wight, I dar wele seyne.
How may this be, that deth and lyf, bothe tueyne,
Sall bothe atonis in a creature
Togidder duell and turment thus nature?
“I may noght ellis done bot wepe and waile
Within thir cald wallis thus ilokin.
From hensfurth my rest is my travaile,
My drye thrist with teris sall I slokin,
And on myself bene all my harmys wrokin.
Thus bute is none, bot Venus of hir grace
Will schape remedй or do my spirit pace.
“As Tantalus I travaile ay butles
That ever ylike hailith at the well
Water to draw with buket botemles
And may noght spede, quhois penance is an hell.
So by myself this tale I may wele telle,
For unto hir that herith noght I pleyne,
Thus like to him my travaile is in veyne.”
So sore thus sighit I with myself allone
That turnyt is my strenth in febilnesse,
My wele in wo, my frendis all in fone,
My lyf in deth, my lyght into dirknesse,
My hope in feere, in dout my sekirnesse,
Sen sche is gone; and God mote hir convoye
That me may gyde to turment and to joye.
The long day thus gan I prye and pour
Till Phebus endit had his bemes bryght,
And bad go farewele every lef and flour,
This is to say, approchen gan the nyght,
And Esperus his lampis gan to light,
Quhen in the wyndow, still as any stone,
I bade at lenth and kneling maid my mone,
So lang till evin for lak of myght and mynd,
Forwepit and forpleynit pitously,
Ovrset so sorow had bothe hert and mynd,
That to the cold stone my hede on wrye
I laid, and lent amaisit verily,
Half sleping and half suoun in suich a wise;
And quhat I met I will you now devise:
Me thoght that thus all sodeynly a lyght
In at the wyndow come quhare that I lent,
Of quhich the chamber wyndow schone full bryght,
And all my body so it hath overwent
That of my sicht the vertew hale iblent;
And that withall a voce unto me saide,
“I bring thee confort and hele, be noght affrayde.”
And furth anon it passit sodeynly
Quhere it come in, the ryght way ageyne;
And sone, me thoght, furth at the dure in hye
I went my weye, nas nothing me ageyne,
And hastily by bothe the armes tueyne
I was araisit up into the air,
Clippit in a cloude of cristall clere and fair,
Ascending upward ay fro spere to spere
Through air and water and the hote fyre
Till that I come unto the circle clere
Of Signifer, quhare fair, bryght, and schire
The signis schone; and in the glade empire
Of blisfull Venus ane caryit now
So sudaynly, almost I wist noght how.
Of quhich the place quhen I com there nye
Was all, me thoght, of cristall stonis wroght.
And to the port I liftit was in hye,
Quhare sodaynly – as quho sais, “at a thoght” –
It opnyt and I was anon in broght
Within a chamber large, rowm, and fair,
And there I fand of peple grete repair.
This is to seyne, that present in that place
Me thoght I sawe of every nacioun
Loveris that endit thair lyfis space
In lovis service, mony a mylioun.
Of quhois chancis maid is mencioun
In diverse bukis, quho thame list to se,
And therfore here thair namys lat I be.
The quhois aventure and grete labour
Above thair hedis writin there I fand:
This is to seyne, martris and confessour
Ech in his stage, and his make in his hand,
And therwithall, thir peple sawe I stand
With mony a solempt contenance,
After as lufe thame lykit to avance.
Of gude folkis that fair in lufe befill
There saw I sitt in order by thame one
With hedis hore, and with thame stude Gude Will
To talk and play; and after that anon
Besyde thame and next there saw I gone
Curage amang the fresche folkis yong,
And with thame playit full merily and song.
And in ane othir stage endlong the wall
There saw I stand in capis wyde and lang
A full grete nowmer, bot thair hudis all –
Wist I noght quhy – atour thair eyen hang,
And ay to thame come Repentance amang
And maid thame chere, degysit in his wede;
And dounward efter that yit I tuke hede.
Ryght overthwert the chamber was there drawe
A trevesse thin and quhite, all of plesance,
The quhich behynd, standing there I sawe
A warld of folk, and by thair contenance
Thair hertis semyt full of displesance,
With billis in thair handis, of one assent,
Unto the juge thair playntis to present.
And therwithall apperit unto me
A voce, and said, “Tak hede, man, and behold,
Yonder there thou seis the hiest stage and gree
Of agit folk with hedis hore and olde;
Yone were the folk that never change wold
In lufe, bot trewly servit him alway
In every age unto thair ending day.
“For fro the tyme that thai coud understand
The exercise of lufis craft, the cure,
Was non on lyve that toke so moch on hand
For lufis sake, nor langer did endure
In lufis service, for, man, I thee assure,
Quhen thay of youth ressavit had the fill,
Yit in thair age tham lakkit no gude will.
“Here bene also of suich as in counsailis
And all thare dedis were to Venus trewe.
Here bene the princis faucht the grete batailis,
In mynd of quhom ar maid the bukis newe.
Here ben the poetis that the sciencis knewe,
Throwout the warld, of lufe in thair suete layes,
Suich as Ovide and Omer in thair dayes.
“And efter thame, down in the next stage,
There as thou seis the yong folkis pleye,
Lo, thise were they that in thair myddill age
Servandis were to lufe in mony weye,
And diversely happinnit for to deye,
Sum soroufully for wanting of thare makis
And sum in armes for thair ladyes sakis.
“And othir eke by othir diverse chance,
As happin folk all day, as ye may se:
Sum for dispair without recoverance,
Sum for desyre surmounting thair degree,
Sum for dispite and othir inmytee,
Sum for unkyndenes without a quhy,
Sum for to moch, and sum for jelousye.
“And efter this upon yone stage doun
Tho that thou seis stond in capis wyde,
Yone were quhilum folk of religioun
That from the warld thair governance did hide,
And frely servit lufe on every syde
In secrete, with thair bodyis and thair gudis.
And lo, quhy so thai hingen doun thair hudis,
“For though that thai were hardy at assay
And did him service quhilum prively,
Yit to the warldis eye it semyt nay
So was thair service half cowardy,
And for thay first forsuke him opynly
And efter that therof had repenting,
For schame thair hudis ovr thair eyne thay hyng.
“And seis thou now yone multitude on rawe
Standing behynd yone traverse of delyte?
Sum bene of tham that haldin were full lawe
And take by frendis, nothing thay to wyte,
In youth from lufe into the cloister quite,
And for that cause ar cummyn recounsilit,
On thame to pleyne that so tham had begilit.
“And othir bene amongis thame also
That cummyn ar to court on Lufe to pleyne,
For he thair bodyes had bestowit so,
Quhare bothe thair hertes gruchen there ageyne,
For quhich in all thair dayes, soth to seyne,
Quhen othir lyvit in joye and plesance
Thair lyf was noght bot care and repentance.
“And quhare thair hertis gevin were and set
Were coplit with othir that coud noght accord.
Thus were thai wrangit that did no forfet,
Departing thame that never wold discord.
Of yong ladies fair and mony lord,
That thus by maistry were fro thair chose dryve,
Full redy were thair playntis there to gyve.”
And othir also I sawe compleynyng there
Upon Fortune and hir grete variance
That, quhere in love so wele they coplit were,
With thair suete makis coplit in plesance,
So sodeynly maid thair disseverance
And tuke thame of this warldis companye
Withoutin cause, there was non othir quhy.
And in a chiere of estate besyde
With wingis bright, all plumyt bot his face,
There sawe I sitt the blynd god Cupide
With bow in hand that bent full redy was.
And by him hang thre arowis in a cas
Of quhich the hedis grundyn were full ryght
Of diverse metals forgit fair and bryght.
And with the first that hedit is of gold
He smytis soft and that has esy cure;
The secund was of silver, mony fold
Wers than the first and harder aventure;
The thrid of stele is schot without recure.
And on his long yalow lokkis schene
A chaplet had he all of levis grene.
And in a retrete lytill of compas,
Depeyntit all with sighis wonder sad –
Noght suich sighis as hertis doith manace
Bot suich as dooth lufaris to be glad –
Fond I Venus upon hir bed, that had
A mantill cast over hir schuldris quhite:
Thus clothit was the goddesse of delyte.
Stude at the dure Fair Calling, hir uschere,
That coude his office doon in connyng wise,
And Secretee, hir thrifty chamberere,
That besy was in tyme to do servise,
And othir mo that I can noght on avise.
And on hir hede, of rede rosis full suete,
A chapellet sche had, fair, fresch, and mete.
With quaking hert astonate of that sight,
Unnethis wist I quhat that I suld seyne;
Bot at the last, febily as I myght,
With my handis on bothe my kneis tueyne,
There I begouth my caris to compleyne.
With ane humble and lamentable chere,
Thus salute I that goddesse bryght and clere:
“Hye quene of lufe, sterr of benevolence,
Pitouse princes, and planet merciable,
Appesar of malice and violence,
By vertew pure of your aspectis hable,
Unto your grace lat now ben acceptable
My pure request, that can no forthir gone
To seken help, bot unto yow allone.
“As ye that bene the socour and suete well
Of remedye, of carefull hertes cure,
And in the huge weltering wawis fell
Of lufis rage, blisfull havin and sure,
O anker and keye of oure gude aventure,
Ye have your man with his gude will conquest.
Merci, therfore, and bring his hert to rest!
“Ye knaw the cause of all my peynes smert
Bet than myself, and all myn aventure
Ye may convoye, and, as yow list, convert
The hardest hert that formyt hath Nature.
Sen in your handis all hale lyith my cure,
Have pitee now, o bryght blisfull goddesse,
Of your pure man, and rew on his distresse.
“And though I was unto your lawis strange
By ignorance and noght by felonye,
And that your grace now likit hath to change
My hert to serven yow perpetualye,
Forgeve all this and schapith remedye
To saven me, of your benigne grace,
Or do me sterven furthwith in this place.
“And with the stremes of your percyng lyght
Convoy my hert that is so wo begone
Ageyne unto that suete, hevinly sight
That I within the wallis cald as stone
So suetly saw on morow walk and gone,
Law in the gardyn ryght tofore myn eye.
Now merci, quene, and do me noght to deye!”
Thir wordis said, my spirit in dispair,
A quhile I stynt, abiding efter grace.
And therwithall hir cristall eyen fair
Me kest asyde, and efter that a space
Benignely sche turnyt has hir face
Towardis me full plesantly conveide,
And unto me ryght in this wise sche seide:
“Yong man, the cause of all thyne inward sorowe
Is noght unknawin to my deitй;
And thy request, bothe now and eke toforowe,
Quhen thou first maid professioun to me,
Sen of my grace I have inspirit thee
To knawe my lawe, contynew furth; for oft
There as I mynt full sore, I smyte bot soft.
“Paciently thou tak thyne aventure,
This will my son Cupide and so will I:
He can the stroke, to me langis the cure,
Quhen I se tyme. And therfore humily
Abyde and serve and lat Gude Hope thee gye.
Bot, for I have thy forehede here present,
I will thee schewe the more of myn entent.
“This is to say, though it to me pertene
In lufis lawe the septre to governe –
That the effectis of my bemes schene
Has thair aspectis by ordynance eterne
With otheris to bynd and meynes to discerne –
Quhilum in thingis bothe to cum and gone
That langis noght to me to writh allone.
“As in thyne awin case now may thou se,
Forquhy, lo, that otheris influence
Thy persone standis noght in libertee.
Quharfore, though I geve thee benevolence,
It standis noght yit in myn advertence
Till certeyne courses endit be and ronne,
Quhill of trew servis thow have hir iwone.
“And yit, considering the nakitnesse
Bothe of thy wit, thy persone, and thy myght,
It is no mach of thyne unworthynesse
To hir hie birth, estate, and beautee bryght:
Als like ye bene as day is to the nyght,
Or sek cloth is unto fyne cremesye,
Or foule doken onto the fresche dayesye.
Unlike the mone is to the sonne schene,
Eke Januarye is like unto May,
Unlike the cukkow to the phylomene,
Thair tavartis ar noght bothe maid of one array,
Unlike the crow is to the papejay,
Unlike in goldsmythis werk a fischis eye
To preese with perll or maked be so heye.
“As I have said, unto me belangith
Specialy the cure of thy seknesse;
Bot now thy mater so in balance hangith
That it requerith to thy sekernesse
The help of othir mo that bene goddes,
And have in thame the menes and the lore
In this mater to schorten with thy sore.
And for thou sall se wele that I entend
Unto thy help, thy welefare to preserve,
The streight weye thy spirit will I send
To the goddesse that clepit is Mynerve;
And se that thou hir hestis wele conserve,
For in this case sche may be thy supplye
And put thy hert in rest als wele as I.
“Bot for the way is uncouth unto thee
There as hir duelling is and hir sojurne,
I will that Gud Hope servand to thee be,
Your alleris frend, to letten thee to murn,
Be thy condyt and gyde till thou returne,
And hir besech that sche will in thy nede
Hir counsele geve to thy welefare and spede.
“And that sche will, as langith hir office,
Be thy gude lady, help, and counseilour,
And to thee schew hir rype and gude avise,
Throw quhich thou may, be processe and labour,
Atteyne unto that glad and goldyn flour
That thou wald have so fayn with all thy hart.
And forthirmore, sen thou hir servand art,
“Quhen thou descendis doun to ground ageyne,
Say to the men that there bene resident
How long think thay to stand in my disdeyne
That in my lawis bene so negligent
From day to day, and list tham noght repent
Bot breken louse and walken at thair large?
Is ther none that therof gevis charge?
“And for,” quod sche, “the angir and the smert
Of thair unkyndenesse dooth me constreyne,
My femynyne and wofull tender hert,
That than I wepe, and to a token pleyne,
As of my teris cummyth all this reyne
That ye se on the ground so fast ybete
Fro day to day, my turment is so grete!
“And quhen I wepe and stynten othir quhile
For pacience that is in womanhede,
Than all my wrath and rancour I exile;
And of my cristall teris that bene schede
The hony flouris growen up and sprede
That preyen men, in thair flouris wise,
Be trewe of lufe and worschip my servise.
“And eke in takin of this pitouse tale,
Quhen so my teris dropen on the ground,
In thair nature the lytill birdis smale
Styntith thair song and murnyth for that stound;
And all the lightis in the hevin round
Of my grevance have suich compacience
That from the ground they hiden thair presence.
“And yit in tokenyng forthir of this thing,
Quhen flouris springis and freschest bene of hewe,
And that the birdis on the twistis sing,
At thilke tyme ay gynnen folk to renewe
That servis unto love, as ay is dewe,
Most commonly has ay his observance,
And of thair sleuth tofore have repentance.
“Thus maist thou seyne that myn effectis grete,
Unto the quhich ye aught and maist weye,
No lyte offense to sleuth is or forget.
And therfore in this wise to tham seye
As I thee here have bidden, and conveye
The mater all the better tofore said:
Thus sall on thee my charge bene ilaid.
“Say on than, quhare is becummyn for schame
The songis new, the fresch carolis and dance,
The lusty lyf, the mony change of game,
The fresche array, the lusty contenance,
The besy awayte, the hertly observance
That quhilum was amongis thame so ryf?
Bid tham repent in tyme and mend thair lyf.
“Or I sall, with my fader old Saturne
And with al hale oure hevinly alliance,
Oure glad aspectis from thame writh and turne,
That all the warld sall waile thair governance.
Bid thame be tyme that thai have repentance,
And thair hertis hale renew my lawe,
And I my hand fro beting sall withdrawe.
“This is to say, contynew in my servise,
Worschip my law and my name magnifye
That am your hevin and your paradise,
And I your confort here sall multiplye,
And for your meryt here, perpetualye
Ressave I sall your saulis, of my grace,
To lyve with me as goddis in this place.”
With humble thank and all the reverence
That feble wit and connyng may atteyne,
I tuke my leve; and from hir presence
Gude Hope and I togider, bothe tueyne,
Departit ar; and, schortly for to seyne,
He hath me led redy wayis ryght
Unto Minervis palace fair and bryght.
Quhare as I fand, full redy at the gate,
The maister portar callit Pacience,
That frely lete us in unquestionate.
And there we sawe the perfyte excellence,
The said renown, the state, the reverence,
The strenth, the beautee, and the ordour digne
Of hir court riall, noble, and benigne.
And straught unto the presence sodeynly
Of Dame Minerve, the pacient goddesse,
Gude Hope my gyde led me redily;
To quhom anon with dredefull humylnesse,
Of my cummyng the cause I gan expresse,
And all the processe hole unto the end
Of Venus charge, as likit hir to send.
Of quhich ryght thus hir ansuer was in bref:
“My son, I have wele herd and understond,
Be thy reherse, the mater of thy gref,
And thy request to procure and to fond
Of thy pennance sum confort at my hond,
Be counsele of thy lady Venus clere,
To be, with hir, thyne help in this matere.
“Bot in this case thou sall wele knawe and witt
Thou may thy hert ground on suich a wise,
That thy labour will be bot lytill quit.
And thou may set it in othir wise
That wil be to thee grete worschip and prise;
And gif thou durst unto that way enclyne
I will thee geve my lore and disciplyne.
“Lo, my gude sone, this is als mich to seyne
As, gif thy lufe be sett all uterly
Of nyce lust, thy travail is in veyne.
And so the end sall turne of thy folye
To payne and repentance: lo, wate thou quhy?
Gif thee ne list on lufe thy vertew set,
Vertu sal be the cause of thy forfet.
“Tak Him before in all thy governance,
That in His hand the stere has of you all,
And pray unto His hye purveyance
Thy lufe to gye, and on Him traist and call
That cornerstone and ground is of the wall
That failis noght; and trust, withoutin drede,
Unto thy purpose sone He sall thee lede.
“For lo, the werk that first is foundit sure
May better bere a pace and hyar be
Than othirwise, and langer sall endure
Be monyfald, this may thy resoun see,
And stronger to defend adversitee.
Ground thy werk therfore upon the stone
And thy desire sall forthward with thee gone.
“Be trewe and meke, and stedfast in thy thoght,
And diligent hir merci to procure:
Noght onely in thy word (for word is noght)
Bot gif thy werk and all thy besy cure
Accord therto, and utrid be mesure,
The place, the hour, the maner, and the wise,
Gif mercy sall admitten thy servise.
“‘All thing has tyme,’ thus sais Ecclesiaste,
And wele is him that his tyme wil abit.
Abyde thy tyme, for he that can bot haste
Can noght of hap, the wise man it writ;
And oft gud fortune flourith with gude wit:
Quharefore, gif thou will be wele fortunyt,
Lat wisedom ay to thy will be iunyt.
“Bot there be mony of so brukill sort
That feynis treuth in lufe for a quhile,
And setten all thair wittis and disport
The sely innocent woman to begyle,
And so to wynne thair lustis with a wile.
Suich feynit treuth is all bot trechorye
Under the umbre of heid ypocrisye.
“For as the fouler quhistlith in his throte
Diversely to counterfete the brid,
And feynis mony a suete and strange note,
That in the busk for his desate is hid,
Till sche be fast lok in his net amyd,
Ryght so the fatour, the false theif I say,
With suete tresoun oft wynnith thus his pray.
“Fy on all suich! Fy on thair doubilnesse!
Fy on thair lust and bestly appetite,
Thair wolfis hertis in lambis liknesse,
Thair thoughtis blak hid under wordis quhite!
Fy on thair labour! Fy on thair delyte,
That feynen outward all to hir honour
And in thair hert hir worschip wold devour!
“So hard it is to trusten now on dayes
The warld, it is so double and inconstant,
Of quhich the suth is kid be mony assayes.
More pitee is, for quhich the remanant
That menen wele and ar noght variant,
For otheris gilt ar suspect of untreuth
And hyndrit oft; and treuely that is reuth.
“Bot gif the hert be groundit ferm and stable
In Goddis law, thy purpose to atteyne,
Thy labour is to me agreable,
And my full help, with counsele trew and pleyne,
I will thee schewe, and this is thee certeyne.
Opyn thy hert, therfore, and lat me se
Gif thy remede be pertynent to me.”
“Madame,” quod I, “sen it is your plesance
That I declare the kynd of my loving,
Treuely and gude withoutin variance,
I lufe that flour abufe all othir thing;
And wold bene he that to hir worschipping
Myght ought availe, be Him that starf on Rude,
And nouthir spare for travaile, lyf, nor gude.
“And, forthirmore, as touching the nature
Of my lufing, to worschip or to blame,
I darr wele say and therein me assure,
For ony gold that ony wight can name
Nald I be he that suld of hir gude fame
Be blamischer in ony point or wyse,
For wele nor wo, quhill my lyf may suffise.
“This is th’effect, trewly, of myn entent,
Touching the suete that smertis me so sore.
Giff this be faynt, I can it noght repent
Allthough my lyf suld forfaut be therfore.
Blisfull princes, I can seye you no more,
Bot so desire my wittis dooth compace,
More joy in erth kepe I noght bot your grace.”
“Desire?” quod sche. “I nyl it noght deny
So thou it ground and set in Cristin wise,
And therfor, son, opyn thy hert playnly.”
“Madame,” quod I, “trew, withoutin fantise,
That day sall I never up-rise
For my delyte to covate the plesance
That may hir worschip putten in balance.
“For ovr all thing, lo, this were my gladnesse:
To sene the fresche beautee of hir face.
And gif it myght deserve, be processe,
For my grete lufe and treuth to stond in grace,
Hir worschip sauf, lo, here the blisful cace
That I wold ask, and therto attend,
For my most joye unto my lyfis end.”
“Now wele!” quod sche. “And sen that it is so,
That in vertew thy lufe is set with treuth,
To helpen thee I will be one of tho
From hensforth, and hertly without sleuth,
Of thy distresse and excesse to have reuth
That has thy hert I will pray full fair
That Fortune be no more therto contrair.
“For suth it is that all ye creaturis
Quhich under us beneth have your duellyng,
Ressaven diversely your aventuris,
Of quhich the cure and principall melling
Appertenit is, withoutin repellyng,
Onely to hir that has the cuttis two
In hand, bothe of your wele and of your wo.
“And how so be that sum clerkis trete
That all your chance causit is tofore
Heigh in the hevin, by quhois effectis grete
Ye movit ar to wrething, lesse or more,
Quhare in the warld, thus calling that therfore
‘Fortune,’ and so that the diversitee
Of thair wirking suld cause necessitee.
“Bot othir clerkis halden that the man
Has in himself the chose and libertee
To cause his awin fortune, how or quhan
That him best lest, and no necessitee
Was in the hevin at his nativitee,
Bot yit the thingis happin in commune
Efter purpose, so cleping thame ‘Fortune.’
“And quhare a persone has tofore-knawing
Of it that is to fall purposely,
Lo, Fortune is bot wayke in suich a thing,
Thou may wele wit, and here ensample quhy:
To God, it is the First Cause onely
Of everything, there may no fortune fall;
And quhy? For He foreknawing is of all.
“And therfore thus I say to this sentence:
Fortune is most and strangest evermore
Quhare leste foreknawing or intelligence
Is in the man; and, sone, of wit or lore
Sen thou art wayke and feble, lo, therfore,
The more thou art in dangere and commune
With hir that clerkis clepen so ‘Fortune.’
“Bot for the sake and at the reverence
Of Venus clere, as I thee said tofore,
I have of thy distresse compacience.
And in confort and relesche of thy sore
Thee schewit here myn avise therfore:
Pray Fortune help, for mich unlikly thing
Full oft about sche sodeynly dooth bring.
“Now go thy way and have gude mynd upon
Quhat I have said in way of thy doctryne.”
“I sall, madame,” quod I. And ryght anon
I tuke my leve als straught as ony lyne:
Within a beme that fro the contree dyvine
Sche, percyng throw the firmament, extendit,
To ground ageyne my spirit is descendit
Quhare, in a lusty plane, tuke I my way
Endlang a ryver plesant to behold,
Enbroudin all with fresche flouris gay,
Quhare throu the gravel bryght as ony gold
The cristall water ran so clere and cold
That in myn ere maid contynualy
A maner soun, mellit with armony,
That full of lytill fischis by the brym
Now here, now there, with bakkis blewe as lede,
Lap and playit, and in a rout can swym
So prattily and dressit tham to sprede
Thair curall fynnis as the ruby rede
That in the sonne on thair scalis bryght
As gesserant ay glitterit in my sight.
And by this ilke ryver syde alawe
Ane hye-way fand I like to bene,
On quhich on every syde a long rawe
Of treis saw I, full of levis grene,
That full of fruyte delitable were to sene.
And also, as it come unto my mynd,
Of bestis sawe I mony diverse kynd:
The lyoun king and his fere lyonesse,
The pantere like unto the smaragdyne,
The lytill squerell full of besynesse,
The slawe ase (the druggar beste of pyne),
The nyce ape, the werely porpapyne,
The percyng lynx, the lufare unicorne
That voidis venym with his evour horne.
There sawe I dresse him new out of haunt
The fery tiger full of felonye,
The dromydare, the standar oliphant,
The wyly fox (the wedowis inemye),
The clymbare gayte, the elk for alblastrye,
The herknere bore, the holsum grey for hortis,
The hair also that oft gooth to the wortis,
The bugill drawar by his hornis grete,
The martrik sable, the foynyee, and mony mo:
The chalk quhite ermyn tippit as the jete,
The riall hert, the conyng, and the ro,
The wolf that of the murthir noght say “ho,”
The lesty bever and the ravin bare,
For chamelot the camel full of hare,
With mony anothir beste diverse and strange
That cummyth noght as now unto my mynd.
Bot now to purpose: straucht furth the range
I held a way, ovrhailing in my mynd
From quhens I come and quhare that I suld fynd
Fortune the goddesse – unto quhom in hye
Gude Hope, my gyde, has led me sodeynly.
And at the last, behalding thus asyde,
A round place wallit have I found,
In myddis quhare, eftsone, I have spide
Fortune the goddesse, hufing on the ground.
And ryght before hir fete, of compas round,
A quhele, on quhich clevering I sye
A multitude of folk before myn eye.
And ane surcote sche werit long that tyde,
That semyt to me of diverse hewis.
Quhilum thus, quhen sche wald turn asyde,
Stude this goddesse of fortune and renewis:
A chapellet with mony fresche anewis
Sche had upon hir hed, and with this hong
A mantill on hir schuldris large and long
That furrit was with ermyn full quhite,
Degoutit with the self in spottis blake.
And quhilum, in hir chier thus a lyte
Louring sche was, and thus sone it wold slake
And sodeynly a maner smylyng make
And sche were glad; at one contenance
Sche held noght, bot ay in variance.
And underneth the quhele sawe I there
Ane ugly pit, depe as ony helle,
That to behald thereon I quoke for fere.
Bot o thing herd I, that quho therein fell
Com no more up agane, tidingis to telle;
Of quhich, astonait of that ferefull syght,
I ne wist quhat to done, so was I fricht.
Bot for to se the sudayn weltering
Of that ilk quhele that sloppar was to hold,
It semyt unto my wit a strong thing,
So mony I sawe that than clymben wold
And failit foting and to ground were rold,
And othir eke that sat above on hye
Were overthrawe in twinklyng of an eye.
And on the quhele was lytill void space,
Wele nere ourstraught fro lawe to hye,
And they were war that long sat in place:
So tolter quhilum did sche it to wrye
There was bot “Clymbe,” and ryght dounward “Hye!”
And sum were eke that, fallyng, had sore;
Therefor, to clymbe thair corage was no more.
I sawe also that, quhere sum were slungin
Be quhirlyng of the quhele unto the ground,
Full sudaynly sche hath up ythrungin
And set thame on agane full sauf and sound.
And ever I sawe a new swarm abound
That thoght to clymbe upward upon the quhele
In stede of thame that myght no langer rele.
And at the last, in presence of thame all
That stude about, sche clepit me be name,
And therwith apon kneis gan I fall
Full sodaynly hailsing, abaist for schame.
And, smylyng, thus sche said to me in game,
“Quhat dois thou here? Quho has thee hider sent?
Say on anon and tell me thyn entent.
“I se wele by thy chere and contenance
There is sum thing that lyis thee on hert:
It stant noght with thee as thou wald, perchance?”
“Madame,” quod I, “for lufe is all the smert
That ever I fele, endlang and overthwert;
Help of your grace me, wofull, wrechit wight,
Sen me to cure ye powere have and myght.”
“Quhat help,” quod sche, “wold thou that I ordeyne
To bringen thee unto thy hertis desire?”
“Madame,” quod I, “bot that your grace dedeyne
Of your grete myght my wittis to enspire
To win the well that slokin may the fyre
In quhich I birn; a, goddesse fortunate,
Help now my game that is in poynt to mate.”
“Of mate?” quod sche. “O verray sely wreche,
I se wele by thy dedely colour pale
Thou art to feble of thyself to streche
Upon my quhele, to clymben or to hale
Withoutin help; for thou has fundin stale
This mony day, withoutin werdis wele,
And wantis now thy veray hertis hele.
“Wele maistow be a wrechit man callit
That wantis the confort that suld thy hert glade,
And has all thing within thy hert stallit
That may thy youth oppressen or defade.
Though thy begynnyng hath bene retrograde,
Be froward, opposyt quhare till aspert;
Now sall thai turn and luken on the dert.”
And therwithall unto the quhele in hye
Sche hath me led, and bad me lere to clymbe,
Upon the quhich I steppit sudaynly.
“Now hald thy grippis,” quod sche, “for thy tyme,
An hour and more it rynnis over prime,
To count the hole the half is nere away:
Spend wele, therfore, the remanant of the day.
“Ensample,” quod sche, “tak of this tofore
That fro my quhele be rollit as a ball;
For the nature of it is evermore,
After ane hicht, to vale and geve a fall:
Thus, quhen me likith, up or doun to fall.
Fare wele,” quod sche, and by the ere me toke
So ernestly that therwithall I woke.
O besy goste ay flikering to and fro,
That never art in quiet nor in rest
Till thou cum to that place that thou cam fro,
Quhich is thy first and verray proper nest:
From day to day so sore here artow drest
That with thy flesche ay waking art in trouble,
And sleping eke; of pyne so has thou double.
Covert myself, all this mene I to loke;
Though that my spirit vexit was tofore
In suevenyng, alssone as ever I woke,
By twenti-fold it was in trouble more,
Bethinking me with sighing hert and sore
That nan othir thingis bot dremes had,
Nor sekernes, my spirit with to glad.
And therwith sone I dressit me to ryse,
Fulfild of thoght, pyne, and adversitee.
And to myself I said in this wise:
“A, merci lord, quhat will ye do with me?
Quhat lyf is this? Quhare hath my spirit be?
Is this of my forethoght impressioun
Or is it from the hevin a visioun?
“And gif ye goddis, of your purviance,
Have schewit this for my reconforting,
In relesche of my furiouse pennance,
I yow beseke full humily of this thing
That of your grace I myght have more takenyng
Gif it sal be, as in my slepe before
Ye schewit have.” And forth withoutin more
In hye unto the wyndow gan I walk,
Moving within my spirit of this sight,
Quhare, sodeynly, a turtur quhite as calk
So evinly upon my hand gan lyght,
And unto me sche turnyt hir full ryght,
Of quham the chere in hir birdis aport
Gave me in hert kalendis of confort.
This fair bird ryght in hir bill gan hold
Of red jorofflis with thair stalkis grene
A fair branche, quhare writtin was with gold
On every list, with branchis bryght and schene,
In compas fair, full plesandly to sene,
A plane sentence, quhich as I can devise
And have in mynd, said ryght on this wise:
“Awak, awake! I bring, lufar, I bring
The newis glad that blisfull ben and sure
Of thy confort. Now lauch and play and syng,
That art besid so glad ane aventure,
For in the hevyn decretit is the cure.”
And unto me the flouris fair present,
With wyngis spred hir wayis furth sche went.
Quhilk up anon I tuke and, as I gesse,
Ane hundreth tymes or I forthir went
I have it red with hertfull glaidnese.
And, half with hope and half with dred it hent,
And at my beddis hed with gud entent
I have it fair pynnit up; and this
First takyn was of all my help and blisse.
The quhich, treuly efter, day be day,
That all my wittis maistrit had tofore,
Quhich hensferth the paynis did away,
And schortly, so wele Fortune has hir bore
To quikin treuly day by day my lore,
To my larges that I am cumin agayne
To blisse with hir that is my sovirane.
Bot for als moche as sum micht think or seyne,
“Quhat nedis me apoun so litill evyn
To writt all this?” I ansuere thus ageyne:
“Quho that from Hell war croppin onys in Hevin
Wald, efter o thank, for joy mak six or sevin!
And every wicht his awin suete or sore
Has maist in mynde; I can say you no more.
“Eke quho may in this lyfe have more plesaunce
Than cum to largesse from thraldom and peyne?
And by the mene of luffis ordinaunce,
That has so mony in his goldin cheyne,
Quhich thus to wyn his hertis sovereyne
Quho suld me wite to write tharof, lat se!”
Now sufficiaunce is my felicitee.
Beseching unto fair Venus abufe
For all my brethir that ben in this place –
This is to seyne, that servandis ar to lufe
And of his lady can no thank purchase –
His pane relesch and sone to stand in grace,
Boith to his worschip and to his first ese,
So that it hir and resoun noght displese.
And eke for tham that ar noght entrit inne
The dance of lufe bot thidder-wart on way,
In gude tyme and sely to begynne
Thair prentissehed, and forthirmore I pray
For thame that passit ben the mony affray
In lufe and cunnyng ar to full plesance,
To graunt tham all, lo, gude perseverance.
And eke I pray for all the hertis dull
That lyven here in sleuth and ignorance,
And has no curage at the rose to pull,
Thair lif to mend and thair saulis avance
With thair suete lore and bring thame to gude chance;
And quho that will noght for this prayer turn
Quhen thai wald faynest speid that thai may spurn.
To rekyn of every thing the circumstance
As hapnit me quhen lessen gan my sore
Of my rancoure and wofull chance
It war to long; I lat it be tharefor.
And thus this flour – I can seye no more –
So hertly has unto my help attendit
That from the deth hir man sche has defendit.
And eke the goddis mercifull uirking,
For my long pane and trewe service in lufe,
That has me gevin halely myn asking,
Quhich has my hert forevir sett abufe
In perfyte joy, that nevir may remufe
Bot onely deth, of quhome in laud and prise
With thankfull hert I say richt in this wise:
“Blissit mot be the goddis all,
So fair that glateren in the firmament!
And blissit be thare myght celestiall
That have convoyit hale with one assent
My lufe, and to so glade a consequent!
And thankit be Fortunys exiltree
And quhele, that thus so wele has quhirlit me!
“Thankit mot be – and fair in lufe befall –
The nychtingale that with so gud entent
Sang thare of lufe the notis suete and small,
Quhair my fair hertis lady was present,
Hir with to glad or that sche forthir went.
And thou, gerafloure, mot ithankit be
All othir flouris for the lufe of thee!
“And thankit be the fair castell wall
Quhare as I quhilom lukit furth and lent.
Thankit mot be the sanctis marciall
That me first causit hath this accident.
Thankit mot be the grene bewis bent
Throu quhom and under first fortunyt me
My hertis hele and my confort to be.”
For to the presence suete and delitable
Rycht of this floure that full is of plesance,
By processe and by menys favorable,
First of the blisfull goddis purveyance,
And syne throu long and trew contynuance
Of veray faith in lufe and trew service
I cum am, and forthir in this wise,
Unworthy, lo, bot onely of hir grace,
In lufis yok that esy is and sure,
In guerdoun of all my lufis space,
Sche hath me tak, hir humble creature.
And thus befell my blisfull aventure
In youth of lufe that now frome day to day
Flourith ay newe; and yit forthir I say:
Go litill tretis nakit of eloquence,
Causing simplese and povertee to wit,
And pray the reder to have pacience
Of thy defaute and to supporten it,
Of his gudnese thy brukilnese to knytt,
And his tong for to reule and to stere,
That thy defautis helit may ben here.
Allace, and gif thou cummyst in the presence
Quhare as of blame faynest thou wald be quite,
To here thy rude and crukit eloquens,
Quho sal be thare to pray for thy remyt?
No wicht, bot gif hir merci will admytt
Thee for gud will, that is thy gyd and stere,
To quhame for me thou pitousely requere.
And thus endith the fatall influence
Causit from Hevyn quhare powar is commytt
Of govirnance, by the magnificence
Of Him that hiest in the hevine sitt.
To quham we thank that all oure lif hath writt,
Quho couth it red agone syne mony a yere:
“Hich in the hevynnis figure circulere.”
Unto the impnis of my maisteris dere,
Gowere and Chaucere, that on the steppis satt
Of rethorike quhill thai were lyvand here,
Superlative as poetis laureate
In moralitee and eloquence ornate,
I recommend my buk in lynis sevin,
And eke thair saulis unto the blisse of Hevin. Amen.