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The Twelve Properties or Conditions of a Lover

To love one alone and contemn all other for that one.
To think him unhappy that is not with his love.
To adorn himself for the pleasure of his love.
To suffer all things, though it were death, to be with his love.
To desire also to suffer harm for his love, and to think that hurt sweet.
To be with his love ever as he may, if not in deed, yet in thought.
To love all things that pertaineth unto his love.
To covet the praise of his love, and not to suffer any dispraise.
To believe of his love all things excellent, and to desire that all folk should think the same.
To weep often with his love: in presence for joy, in absence for sorrow.
To languish ever, and ever to burn in the desire of his love.
To serve his love, nothing thinking of any reward or profit.
The Twelve Properties we have at length more openly Expressed in Balade as it Followetb.
The first point is to love but one alone, And for that one all others to forsake: For whoso loveth many loveth none: The flood that is in many channels take In each of them shall feeble streams make: The love that is divided among many Uneath sufficeth that any part have any.
So thou that hast thy love set unto God
In thy remembrance this imprint and grave:
As He in sovereign dignity is odd,
So will He in love no parting fellows have:
Love Him therefore with all that He thee gave:
For body, soul, wit, cunning, mind and thought,
Part will He none, but either all or naught.
The Second Property.

Of his love, lo, the sight and company To the lover so glad and pleasant is, That whoso hath the grace to come thereby He judgeth him in perfect joy and bliss: And whoso of that company doth miss, Live he in never so prosperous estate, He thinketh him wretched and infortunate.
So should the lover of God esteem that he Which all the pleasure hath, mirth and disport, That in this world is possible to be, Yet till the time that he may once resort Unto that blessed, joyful, heavenly port Where he of God may have the glorious sight, Is void of perfect joy and sure delight.
The Third Property.
The third point of a perfect lover is
To make him fresh to see that all things been
Appointed well and nothing set amiss
But all well fashioned, proper, goodly, clean:
That in his person, there be nothing seen
In speech, apparel, gesture, look or pace
That may offend or diminish any grace.
So thou that wilt with God get into favor Garnish thyself up in as goodly wise As comely be, as honest in behaviour, As it is possible for thee to devise: I mean not hereby that thou shouldest arise And in the glass upon thy body prowl, But with fair virtue to adorn thy soul.
The Fourth Property.
If love be strong, hot, mighty and fervent, There may no trouble, grief, or sorrow fall, But that the lover would be well content All to endure and think it also too small,
Though it were death, so he might therewithal The joyful presence of that person get On whom he hath his heart and love set.
Thus should of God the lover be content Any distress or sorrow to endure, Rather than to be from God absent, And glad to die, so that he may be sure By his departing hence for to procure, After this valley dark, the heavenly light, And of his love the glorious blessed sight.
The Fifth Property.
Not only a lover content is in his heart But coveteth also and longeth to sustain Some labor, incommodity, or smart,
Loss, adversity, trouble, grief, or pain: And of his sorrow joyful is and fain, And happy thinketh himself that he may take Some misadventure for his lover’s sake.
Thus shouldest thou, that lovest God also, In thine heart wish, covet and be glad For Him to suffer trouble, pain and woe: For Whom if thou be never so woe bestead, Yet thou ne shalt sustain (be not adread) Half the dolour, grief and adversity That He already suffered hath for thee.
The Sixth Property.
The perfect lover longeth for to be
In presence of his love both night and day,
And if it haply so befall that he
May not as he would, he will yet as he may
Ever be with his love, that is to say,
Where his heavy body will not be brought
He will be conversant in mind and thought.
Lo in like manner the lover of God should,
At the least in such wise as he may,
If he may not in such wise as he would,
Be present with God and conversant always;
For certes, whoso list, he may purvey,
Though all the world would him therefrom bereaven
To bear his body in earth, his mind in heaven.
The Seventh Property.
There is no page or servant, most or least, That doth upon his love attend and wait, There is no little worm, no simple beast, Nor none so small a trifle or conceit, Lace, girdle, point, or proper glove strait, But that if to his love it has been near, The lover hath it precious, lief and dear.
So every relic, image or picture
That doth pertain to God’s magnificence,
The lover of God should with all busy cure
Have it in love, honor and reverence
And specially give them pre-eminence
Which daily done His blessed body wurche,
The quick relics, the ministers of His Church.
The Eighth Property.

A very lover above all earthly things
Coveteth and longeth evermore to hear
The honour, laud, commendation and praising,
And everything that may the fame clear
Of his love: he may in no manner
Endure to hear that therefrom mighten vary
Or anything sound into the contrary.
The lover of God should covet in likewise
To hear His honor, worship, laud and praise,
Whose sovereign goodness none heart may comprise,
Whom hell, earth, and all the heaven obeys,
Whose perfect lover ought by no manner ways
To suffer the cursed words of blasphemy,
Or anything spoken of God unreverently.
The Ninth Property.
A very lover believeth in his mind
On whomsoever he hath his heart bent,
That in that person men may nothing find
But honorable, worthy and excellent,
And also surmounting far in his intent
All other that he hath known by sight or name:
And would that every man should think the same.
Of God likewise, so wonderful and high, All things esteem and judge his lover ought, So reverence, worship, honor and magnify, That all the creatures in this world wrought In comparison should he set at nought, And glad be if he might the mean devise That all the world would thinken in likewise.

The Tenth Property.
The lover is of color dead and pale; There will no sleep into his eyes stalk; He favoureth neither meat, wine, nor ale; He mindeth not what men about him talk; But eat he, drink he, sit, lie down or walk, He burneth ever as it were with a fire In the fervent heat of his desire.
Here should the lover of God example take To have Him continually in remembrance, With him in prayer and meditation wake, While others play, revel, sing, and dance: None earthly joy, disport, or vain plesance Should him delight, or anything remove His ardent mind from God, his heavenly love.
The Eleventh Property.
Diversely passioned is the lover’s heart: Now pleasant hope, now dread and grievous fear, Now perfect bliss, now bitter sorrow smart; And whether his love be with him, or elsewhere, Oft from his eyes there falleth many a tear, For very joy, when they together be; When they be sundered, for adversity.
Like affections feeleth also the breast
Of God’s lover in prayer and meditation:
When that his love liketh in him rest
With inward gladness of pleasant contemplation,
Out break the tears for joy and delectation;
And when his love list eft to part him fro,
Out break the tears again for pain and woe.
The Twelfth Property.
A very lover will his love obey:
His joy it is and all his appetite
To pain himself in all that ever he may,
That person in whom he set hath his delight
Diligently to serve both day and night
For very love, without any regard
To any profit, guerdon or reward.
So thou likewise that hast thine heart set Upward to God, so well thyself endeavor, So studiously that nothing may thee let Not for His service any wise dissever: Freely look also that thou serve thereto, never Trust of reward or profit do thee bind, But only faithful heart and loving mind.

Wageless to serve, three things may us move:
First, if the service self be desirable:
Second, if they whom that we serve and love
Be very good and very, amiable:
Thirdly, of reason be we serviceable
Without the gaping after any more
To such as have done much for us before.
Serve God for love, then, not for hope of meed:
What service may so desirable be
As where all turneth to thine own speed?
Who is so good, so lovely also as He
Who hath already done so much for thee,
As He that first thee made, and on the rood
Eft thee redeemèd with His precious blood?
A Prayer of Picus Mirandula Unto God
O holy God of dreadful majesty,
Verily one in three and three in one,
Whom angels serve, Whose work all creatures be,
Which heaven and earth directest all alone,
We Thee beseech, good Lord, with woeful moan,
Spare us wretches and wash away our guilt,
That we be not by Thy just anger spilt.
In strait balance of rigorous judgment If Thou shouldst our sin ponder and weigh: Who able were to bear Thy punishment? The whole engine of all this world, I say, The engine that enduren shall for aye, With such examination might not stand Space of a moment in Thine angry hand.
Who is not born in sin original? Who doth not actually sin in sundry wise? But thou, good Lord, art he that sparest all, With piteous mercy tempering justice: For as thou dost reward us device About our merit / so dost thou dispense Thy punishment far under our offence.
More is thy mercy far than all our sin, To give them also that unworthy be, More godly is and more mercy therein, Howbeit worthy enough are they pardee, Be they never so unworthy, whom that he Chooses to accept, which where so ever he taketh, Whom he unworthy findeth, worthy maketh.
Wherefore, Good Lord, that always merciful art, Unto thy grace and sovereign dignity, We silly wretches cry with humble heart Our sin forgot and our malignity, With piteous yes of thy benignity,
Friendly look on us once, thine own we be, Servants or sinners whether it liketh thee.
Sinners if thou our crime behold certain, Our crime the work of our uncourteous mind But if thy gifts thou behold again, Thy gifts noble, wonderful, and kind, Thou shalt us then the same persons find, Which are to thee and have be long space, Servants by nature, children by thy grace.
But this thy goodness wringeth us alas,
For we whom grace had made thee children dear,
Are made thy guilty folk by our trespass,
Sin hath us guilty made this many a year,
But let thy grace, thy grace that hath no peer.
Of our offence surmount all the preace,
That in our sin thine honor may increase.
For thou, thy wisdom though thy sovereign power,
May otherwise appear sufficiently,
As things which thy creatures every hour,
All with one voice declare and testify,
Thy goodness: yet thy singular mercy,
Thy piteous heart thy gracious indulgence
No thing so clearly showeth as our offence.
What but our sin hath showed that mighty love, Which able was thy dreadful majesty, To draw down into earth from heaven above, And crucify god, that we poor wretches we, Should from our filthy sin cleansed be, With blood and water of thine own side, That streamed from thy blessed wounds wide.
Thy love and pity thus, O heavenly King, Our evil maketh matter of thy goodness, O love, O pity, our wealth ay providing, O goodness serving thy servants in distress, O love, O pity, well nigh now thankless O goodness mighty gracious and wise,
And yet almost now vanquished with our vice.
Grant I thee pray such heat into mine heart, That to this love of thine may be egall: Grant me from Sathanas service to astart, With whom me rueth so long to have be thrall, Grant me good Lord and creator of all, The flame to quench of all sinful desire, And in thy love set all mine heart afire.
That when the journey of this deadly life My silly ghost hath finished and thence Departed must without his fleshly wife Alone into his lord’s high presence He may thee find: O well of indulgence, In thy lordship not as a lord: but rather As a very tender loving father.

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The Twelve Properties or Conditions of a Lover - THOMAS MORE