The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall.

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The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall.
Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400.
London :: Published for the Chaucer Society by N. Trübner,

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"The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales / edited by Frederick J. Furnivall." In the digital collection Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 25, 2024.


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[6-text p 201]

¶ Heere bigynneth Chaucers tale of Melibee .

[There are no line-numbers or breaks between the paragraphs in the MS. Tyrwhitt's breaks are kept here to prevent slight differences in the Six Texts throwing out many lines. ‖ stands for a triangular pause-mark in the MS.]

[Ellesmere MS, on leaf 157, back.]

[2157] [[Painting of Chaucer on horseback.]]

A Yong man called Melibeus myghty and riche / bigat vp on his wyf that called was Prudence / a doghter which that called was Sophie /.

[2158] Vpon a day bifel þat he / for his desport/ is went in to the feeldes hym to pleye / [2159] his wyf / and eek his doghter / hath he left inwith his hous / of which the dores / weren fast yshette [2160] ¶ thre of hise olde foes / han it espyed and setten laddres / to the walles of his hous / and by wyndowes been entred / [2161] and betten his wyf / and wounded his doghter with fyue mortal woundes in fyue sondry places [2162] ¶ this is to seyn / in hir feet. in hire handes /. in hir erys /. in hir nose /. and in hire mouth and leften hire for deed / and wenten awey

[2163] ¶ Whan Melibeus / retourned was in to his hous / and saugh al this meschief? he lyk a mad man rentynge his clothes / gan to wepe and crie

[2164] ¶ Prudence his wyf / as ferforth as she dorste / bisoghte hym / of his wepyng for to stynte / [2165] but nat for-thy / he gan to crie and wepen euere lenger the moore

[2166] ¶ This noble wyf Prudence / remembred hire / vpon the sentence of Ouide / in his book / that cleped is the remedie of loue ‖ where as he seith / [2167] he is a fool / [¶ Ouidius / de remedio amoris.] that destourbeth the mooder to wepen in the deeth of hire child / til she haue wept hir fille / as for a certein tyme [2168] ¶ And thanne / shal man doon his diligence with amyable wordes / hire to reconforte / and preyen hire of

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[6-text p 202] hir wepyng for to stynte [2169] ¶ ffor which reson this noble wyf Prudence / suffred hir housbonde for to wepe and crie / as for a certein space /. [2170] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she seyde hym in this wise ¶ Allas / my lord quod she / why make ye youre self for to be lyk a fool / [2171] for sothe / it aperteneth nat to a wys man / to maken swiche a sorwe / [2172] youre [folio 158a] doghter / with the grace of god shal warisshe and escape / [2173] And al were it so / that she right now were deed? ye ne oughte nat as for hir deeth youre self to destroye [2174] ¶ Senek [¶ Seneca] seith / the wise man / shal nat take to greet disconfort for the deeth of his children / [2175] but certes / he sholde suffren it in pacience / as wel / as he / abideth the deeth / of his owene. propre persone

[2176] ¶ This Melibeus / answerde anon and seyde [¶ Melibeus] ¶ What man quod he sholde of his wepyng stente / that hath so greet a cause for to wepe? [2177] Ihesu crist [¶ Qualiter Ihesus christus fleuit propter mortem lazari] oure lord hym self wepte for the deeth of Lazarus hys freend [2178] ¶ Prudence answerde ‖. Certes wel I woot ‖ Attempree wepyng is no thyng deffended to hym þat sorweful is amonges folk in sorwe / but it is rather graunted hym to wepe [2179] ¶ The Apostle Paul vn-to the [¶ Apostolus Pau|lus ad Romanos] Romayns writeth ‖ Man shal reioyse with hem that maken ioye and wepen / with swich folk as wepen [2180] ¶ But though attempree wepyng be ygraunted / outrageous wepyng certes is deffended / [2181] Mesure of wepyng sholde be considered / after the loore þat techeth us Senek [¶ Seneca] [2182] ¶ Whan that thy frend is deed quod he / lat nat thyne eyen to moyste been of teeris / ne to muche drye / Al though the teeris come to thyne eyen / lat hem nat falle / [2183] And whan thou hast for-goon thy freend / do dili|gence to gete another freend / and this is moore wysdom / than for to wepe for thy freend which that thou hast lorn / for ther-Inne is no boote / [2184] And therfore / if ye gouerne yow by sapience / put awey sorwe / out of youre herte [2185] ¶ Remembre yow / þat Ihesus Syrak seith [¶ Ihesus Syrak]

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[6-text p 203] ¶ A man that is ioyous and glad in herte / it hym con|serueth florissynge in his age / But soothly / sorweful herte / maketh hise bones drye [2186] ¶ He seith eek/ thus / That sorwe in herte / sleeth ful many a man [2187] ¶ Sa|lomon [¶ Salomon] seith / That right as Motthes in the shepes flees / anoyeth to the clothes / and the smale wormes to the tree / right so anoyeth sorwe to the herte / [2188] wherfore / vs oghte as wel in the deeth of oure children / as in the losse of oþere goodes temporels haue pacience

[2189] ¶ Remembre yow vp on the pacient Iob / [¶ Memorandum de lob] whan he hadde lost his children and his temporeel sub|stance / and in his body endured and receyued ful many a greuous tribulacion; yet seyde he thus [2190] ¶ Oure lord / [le m'a donné; nostre Seigneur] hath biraft it me / right as oure lord hath wold / right so it is doon / blessed be the name of oure lord [2191] ¶ To thise foreseide thynges / answerde Melibeus / vn to his wyf Prudence [¶ Melibeus] ¶ Alle thy wordes quod he been sothe / and therwith pro|fitable / but trewely / myn herte is troubled with this sorwe so greuously / that I noot what to doone [2192] ¶ Lat calle quod Prudence thy trewe freendes alle / and thy lynage / [¶ Prudence] whiche that been wise / telleth youre cas / and herkneth what they seye in conseillyng and yow gouerne after hire sentence [2193] ¶ Salomon seith / werk alle thy thynges [¶ Salomon] by conseil / and thou shalt neuer repente

[2194] ¶ Thanne by the conseil of his wyf Prudence / this Melibeus / leet callen a greet congregacion of folk/. [2195] as surgiens / Phisiciens olde folk and yonge / and somme of hise olde enemys reconsiled as by hir semblaunt to his loue / and in to his grace / [2196] and ther-with-al / ther coomen somme of hise neighebores / that diden hym reuerence / moore for drede than for loue / as it happeth ofte / [2197] ¶ Ther coomen also / ful many subtille flatereres and wise Aduocatz lerned in the lawe /

[2198] And whan this folk / togidre assembled weren / this Melibeus in sorweful wise / shewed hem his cas /

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[6-text p 204] [2199] and by the manere of his [folio 158b] speche / it semed wel / that in herte / he baar a crueel Ire / redy to doon venge|ance vp on hise foes / and sodeynly desired / that the werre sholde bigynne / [2200] but nathelees / yet axed he hire conseil vpon this matiere [2201] ¶ A Surgien by licence and assent of swiche as weren wise / vp roos / and to Melibeus / seyde / as ye may heere

[2202] ¶ Sire quod he / as to vs Surgiens aperteneth / that we do to euery wight the beste that we kan / where as we been withholde / and to oure pacientz that we do no damage / [2203] wherfore it happeth many tyme and ofte / that whan twey men / han euerich wounded oother / oon same surgien heeleth hem bothe / [2204] wherfore / vn to oure Art it is nat pertinent to norice werre ne parties to supporte ‖. [2205] But certes / as to the warisshynge of youre doghter / al be it so / that she perilously be wounded / we shullen do so ententif bisynesse fro day to nyght that with the grace of god / she shal be hool and sound / as soone as is possible [2206] ¶ Almoost / right in the same wise / the Phisiciens answerden / saue that they seyden / a fewe woordes moore / [2207] That right as maladies / been cured by hir contraries ‖ right so / shul men warisshe werre by vengeance [2208] ¶ Hise neighe|bores ful of enuye / hise feyned freendes that semeden reconsiled / and hise flatereres / [2209] maden semblant of wepyng and empeireden and agreggeden muchel of this matiere in preisynge greetly Melibee / of myght / of power / of richesse / and of freendes despisynge / the power of hise Aduersaries / [2210] and seiden outrely that he anon sholde wreken hym on hise foes and bigynne werre

[2211] ¶ Vp roos thanne an Aduocat that was wys / by leue and by conseil of othere that were wise / and seide ‖. [2212] Lordynges / the nede for which we been assembled in this place / is a ful heuy thyng and an heigh matiere / [2213] by cause of the wrong and of the wikkednesse that hath be doon / and eek by reson of the grete damages that

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[6-text p 205] in tyme comynge / been possible to fallen for this same cause / [2214] and eek by reson of the grete richesse and power of the parties bothe / [2215] for the whiche resons / it were a ful greet peril to erren in this matiere [2216] ¶ wherfore / Melibeus this is oure sentence / we conseille yow abouen alle thyng. that right anon / thou do thy diligence in kepynge of thy propre persone / in swich a wise þat thou wante noon espie / ne wacche / thy persone for to saue [2217] ¶ And after that we conseille þat in thyn hous / thou sette sufficeant garnison so that they may / as wel thy body as thyn hous defende [2218] ¶ But certes / for to moeue werre / or sodeynly for to doon vengeaunce / we may nat demen / in so litel tyme / that it were profit|able /. [2219] Wherfore we axen leyser and espace / to haue deliberacion in this cas to deme / [2220] ffor the commune prouerbe seith thus ¶ He that soone deemeth. soone shal [¶ Nota de Iudicibus & eorum Iudiciis] repente [2221] And eek men seyn / that thilke Iuge is wys that soone vnderstondeth a matiere and Iuggeth by leyser [2222] ¶ for al be it so that alle tariyng be anoyful / algates / it is nat to repreue in yeuynge of Iuggement ne in vengeance takyng whan it is sufficeant and resonable [2223] ¶ And that shewed oure lord Ihesu crist by en|sample / for whan that the womman / that was taken in Auowtrie was broght in his presence / to knowen / what sholde be doon with hire persone / al be it so that he wiste wel hym self / what that he wolde answere / yet ne wolde he nat answere sodeynly / but he wolde haue deliberacion / and in the ground [folio 159a] he wroot twies / [2224] and by thise causes / we axen deliberacion / and we shal thanne by the grace of god / conseille thee thyng / that shal be profitable /

[2225] ¶ Vp stirten thanne / the yonge folk atones / and the mooste partie of that compaignye scorned the olde wise men and bigonnen to make noyse / and seyden / that [2226] right so / as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte / right so / men sholde wreken hir wronges / while

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[6-text p 206] þat they been fresshe and newe / and with loud voys / they criden werre / werre

[2227] ¶ Vp roos tho / oon of thise olde wise / and with his hand made contenaunce / that men sholde holden hem stille and yeuen hym Audience [2228] ¶ Lordynges quod he / ther is ful many a man / that crieth werre werre / that woot ful litel what werre amounteth [2229] ¶ werre at his bigynnyng hath so greet an entryng and so large / that euery wight may entre whan hym liketh / and lightly fynde werre / [2230] but certes / what ende that shal ther-of bifalle / it is nat light to knowe ‖ [2231] ffor soothly / whan þat werre is ones bigonne / ther is ful many a child vnborn of his mooder / that shal sterue yong by cause of that ilke werre / or elles lyue in sorwe / and dye in wrecchednesse ‖. [2232] And ther fore / er þat any werre bigynne / men moste haue greet conseil and greet deliberacion [2233] ¶ And whan this olde man / wende / to enforcen his tale by resons / wel ny alle atones / bigonne they to rise for to breken his tale / and beden hym ful ofte / hise wordes for to abregge / [2234] ffor soothly / he that precheth to hem / that listen nat heeren hise wordes / his sermon hem anoieth [2235] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / that Musik in wepynge is [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] anoyous thyng‖. this is to seyn ‖ As muche auailleth to speken bifore folk / to whiche his speche anoyeth / as it is to synge / biforn hym that wepeth ‖. [2236] And this wise man / saugh that hym wanted audience / and al shamefast he sette hym doun agayn [2237] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ ther [¶ Salomon] as thou ne mayst haue noon Audience / enforce thee nat to speke [2238] ¶ I see wel quod this wise man / þat the commune prouerbe is sooth ‖ That good conseil wanteth / whan it is moost [nede]

[2239] ¶ Yet hadde this Melibeus in his conseil / many folk that priuely in his eere conseilled hym certeyn thyng. and conseilled hym the contrarie in general Audience

[2240] Whan Melibeus hadde herd / that the gretteste [¶ Melibeus]

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[6-text p 207] partie of his conseil / weren accorded þat he sholde maken werre / anoon / he consented to hir conseillyng and fully affermed hire sentence / [2241] Thanne dame Prudence / [¶ Prudence] whan þat she saugh / how that hir housbonde shoope hym for to wreken hym on hise foes / and to bigynne werre / she in ful humble wise / whan she saugh hir tyme / seide to hym thise wordes [2242] ¶ My lord quod she / I yow biseche as hertely as I dar and kan / ne haste yow nat to faste / and for alle gerdons / as yeueth me Audience [2243] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ¶ who so that dooth to [¶ Petrus] that oother good or harm / haste thee nat to quiten it. for in this wise thy freend wole abyde / and thyn enemy shal the lenger lyue in drede [2244] ¶ The prouerbe seith ‖ he hasteth wel that wisely kan abyde ‖ And in wikked haste / is no profit

[2245] This Melibee answerde vn to his wyf Prudence [¶ Melibee] ¶ I purpose nat quod he to werke by thy conseil / for many causes and resons ¶ ffor certes / euery wight wolde holde me thanne a fool [2246] ¶ this is to seyn / If I. for thy conseillyng wolde chaungen thynges that been ordeyned and affermed by so manye wyse [2247] ¶ Sec|oundly I seye / that alle wommen been wikke / and noon good of hem alle ¶ ffor of a thousand men seith Salomon / [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] I foond a good man [folio 159b] but certes of alle wommen / good womman foond I neuere [2248] ¶ And also certes / If I gouerned me by thy conseil / it sholde seme that I hadde yeue to thee ouer me the maistrie / and god forbede / that it so weere [2249] ¶ For Ihesus Syrak seith / that if the [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] wyf haue maistrie / she is contrarious to hir housbonde [2250] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ Neuere in thy lyf / to thy [¶ Salomon] wyf / ne to thy child / ne to thy freend / ne yeue no power ouer thy self ‖. ffor bettre it were / that thy children aske of thy persone / thynges that hem nedeth / than thou be thy self in the handes of thy children / [2251] ¶ And if I wolde werke by thy conseillyng? Certes / my conseillyng moste som tyme be secree / til it were tyme þat it moste be

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[6-text p 208] knowe and this / ne may noght be [2252. Car il est escript, la genglerie des femmes ne puct riens celler fors ce qu'elle ne scet. [2253] Apres, le philosophre dit, en mauvais conseil les femmes vainquent les hommes: et par ces raisons je ne dois point user de ton conseil. MS Reg. 19 C. vii, in Tyrwhitt, iv. 335. (See Prudence on Reasons 4 & 5, further on.)]

[2254] Whanne dame Prudence / ful debonairly and [¶ Prudence] with greet pacience / hadde herd / al that hir housbonde liked for to seye / thanne axed she of hym licence for to speke / and seyde in this wise [2255] ¶ My lord quod she / as to youre firste reson / certes it may lightly been answered ¶ ffor I seye / that it is no folie / to chaunge conseil ‖. whan the thyng is chaunged ¶ or elles / whan the thyng semeth / ootherweyes / than it was biforn [2256] ¶ And mooreouer I seye / that though ye han sworn and bihight to perfourne youre emprise ¶ And nathelees / ye weyue to perfourne / thilke same emprise by Iuste cause / men sholde nat seyn therfore / that ye were a lier ne forsworn [2257] ¶ ffor the book seith / þat the wise man maketh no lesyng whan he turneth his corage to the bettre [2258] ¶ And al be it so / that youre emprise be establissed and ordeyned / by greet multitude of folk / yet thar ye nat accomplice thilke ordinance / but yow like [2259] ¶ ffor the trouthe of thynges / and the profit been rather founden in fewe folk that been wise / and ful of reson / than by greet multitude of folk ther euery man crieth and clatereth / what that hym liketh ¶ Soothly / swich multitude is nat honeste [2260] ¶ As to the seconde reson /. where as ye seyn þat alle wommen been wikke? Saue youre grace / certes ye despisen alle wommen in this wyse / [car il est escript, qui tout desprist, a tous desplaist] [2261] & Senec seith / that who so wole haue sapi|ence [¶ Seneca] / shal no man despise but he shal gladly / techen the science that he kan with-outen presumpcion or pride / [2262] And swiche thynges // as he nought ne kan / he shal nat been ashamed to lerne hem and enquere of lasse

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[6-text p 209] folk / than hym self /. [2263] And sire / that ther hath been many a good womman / may lightly be preued / [2264] ¶ ffor certes sire / oure lord Ihesu crist wolde neuere haue descended to be born of a womman / if alle wommen / hadden ben wikke / [2265] And after that for the grete bountee that is in wommen oure lord Ihesu crist whan he was risen fro deeth to lyue / appeered rather to a womman / than to hise Apostles [2266] ¶ And though that salomon seith / that he ne foond neuere womman good / it folweth nat therfore / that alle wommen ben wikke [2267] ffor though that he ne foond no good womman /. certes ful many another man / hath founden / many a womman ful good and trewe [2268] ¶ Or elles per auenture / the entente of salomon was this / that as in souereyn bounte he foond no womman / [2269] this is to seyn / that ther is no wight þat hath souereyn bountee / saue god allone / as he hym self recordeth in hys Euaun|gelie / [2270] ffor ther nys no creature so good / that hym ne wanteth somwhat of the perfeccion of god / that is his maker [2271] ¶ Youre [folio 160a] thridde reson is this ¶ ye seyn / if ye gouerne yow by my conseil / it sholde seme that ye hadde yeue me the maistrie / and the lordshipe ouer youre persone ‖. [2272] sire saue youre grace / it is nat so ‖ ffor if it were so that no man sholde be conseilled / but oonly of hem that hadden lordshipe and maistrie of his persone / men wolden nat be conseilled so ofte ‖ [2273] ffor soothly / thilke man that asketh conseil of a purpos / yet hath he free choys / wheither he wole werke by that conseil or noon [2274] ¶ And as to youre fourthe reson ¶ ther ye seyn þat the Ianglerie of wommen hath hyd thynges that they wiste noght. As who seith / that a womman kan nat hyde that she woot [2275] ¶ sire thise wordes been vnder|stonde of wommen þat been Iangleresses and wikked / [2276] of whiche wommen / men seyn that thre thynges / dryuen a man out of his hous ¶ that is to seyn Smoke / [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat dryuen a man out of his hous.] droppyng of Reyn /. and wikked wyues / [2277] and

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[6-text p 210] swiche wommen seith Salomon / þat it were bettre dwelle [¶ Salomon] in desert than with a womman that is riotous [2278] ¶ And sire by youre leue / that am nat .I. / [2279] for ye haan ful ofte assayed my grete silence / and my gret pacience. ‖ And eek how wel / that I kan hyde and hele thynges / that men oghte secreely to hyde [2280] ¶ And soothly / as to youre fifthe reson / where as ye seyn / that in wikked con|seil / wommen venquisshe men ¶ god woot thilke reson stant heere in no stede [2281] ¶ ffor vnderstoond now / ye asken conseil to do wikkednesse / [2282] and if ye wole werken wikkednesse / and youre wif restreyneth thilke wikked purpos / and ouercometh yow by reson and by good conseil / [2283] certes youre wyf oghte rather to be preised / than yblamed [2284] ¶ Thus sholde ye vnder|stonde the Philosophre / that seith / In wikked conseil wommen venquisshen hir housbondes [2285] ¶ And ther as ye blamen alle wommen and hir resons ‖ I shal shewe yow by manye ensamples / that many a womman / hath ben ful good / and yet been / and hir conseils ful hoolsome and profitable [2286] ¶ Eek / som men han seyd that the conseillynge of wommen / is outher to deere / or elles to litel of pris [2287] ¶ But al be it so / þat ful many a womman is badde / and hir conseil vile and noght worth / yet han men founde / ful many a good womman / and ful discrete and wise in conseillynge [2288] ¶ Loo Iacob / by [¶ Nota de Rebekka] good conseil of his mooder Rebekka wan the benyson of Ysaak / his fader / and the lordshipe ouer alle hise bretheren [2289] ¶ Iudith by hire good conseil deliuered the Citee of [¶ de Iudith] Bethulie in which she dwelled / out of the handes of Olofernus / that hadde it biseged and wolde haue al destroyed it [2290] ¶ Abygail deliuered Nabal hir housbonde fro [¶ de Abygail] Dauid the kyng that wolde haue slayn hym / and apaysed the Ire of the kyng by hir wit and by hir good conseil|lyng [2291] ¶ Hester / enhaunced greetly by hir good con|seil [¶ de Hestere] the peple of god / in the regne of Assuerus the kyng [2292] ¶ and the same bountee in good conseillyng of

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[6-text p 211] many a good womman may men telle [2293] ¶ And moore ouer / whan oure lord hadde creat Adam oure forme fader / he seyde in this wise / [2294] It is nat good / to been a man alloone / make we to hym an helpe semblable to hym self / [2295] ¶ Heere may ye se / that if that wommen were nat goode and hir conseils goode & profitable / [2296] oure lord god of heuene / wolde neuere han wroght hem / ne called hem / help of man but rather confusion of man [2297] ¶ And ther seyde oones a clerk in [folio 160b] two vers ‖ what is bettre / than gold? Iaspre ¶ What is bettre than Iaspre? wisedoom / [2298] ¶ And what is better than wisedoom? womman ‖. And what is bettre than a good womman? no thyng [2299] ¶ And sire by manye of othre resons / may ye seen that manye wommen been goode / and hir conseils goode and profitable ‖ [2300] And therfore sire / if ye wol triste to my conseil / I shal restoore yow / youre doghter / hool and sound / [2301] And eek/ .I. wol do to yow so muche / that ye shul haue honour in this cause /

[2302] Whan Melibee hadde herd the wordes of his [¶ Melibee] wyf Prudence / he seyde thus [2303] ¶ I se wel that the word of Salomon is sooth ‖. he seith that wordes þat [¶ Salomon] been spoken discreetly by ordinaunce / been honycombes / for they yeuen swetnesse to the soule / and hoolsomnesse to the body [2304] ¶ And wyf / by cause of thy sweete wordes / and eek for I haue assayed and preued thy grete sapience / and thy grete trouthe / I wol gouerne me by thy conseil / in alle thyng /

[2305] Now sire quod dame Prudence / and syn ye [¶ Prudence] vouche sauf / to been gouerned by my conseil / I wol enforme yow / how ye shul gouerne youre self/ in chesynge of youre conseillours [2306] ¶ Ye shul first/ in alle youre werkes / mekely / biseken to the heighe god / þat he wol be youre conseillour /. [2307] And shapeth yow / to swich entente / that he yeue yow conseil and confort as taughte Thobie his sone [2308] ¶ At alle tymes / thou shalt blesse [¶ Thobias]

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[6-text p 212] god and praye hym / to dresse thy weyes / and looke / þat alle thy conseils been in hym for eueremoore [2309] Seint [¶ Sanctus Iacobus] Iame eek seith ‖. If any of yow haue nede of sapience / axe it of god [2310] ¶ And afterward / thanne shul ye taken conseil of youre [self] and examyne wel youre thoghtes / of swich thyng as yow thynketh þat is best for youre profit / [2311] And thanne shul ye dryue fro youre herte. thre [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat been contra|riouse to good conseil] thynges that been contrariouse to good conseil / [2312] That is to seyn / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse

[2313] ¶ ffirst he þat axeth conseil of hym self / certes / he moste been with-outen Ire / for manye causes / [2314] the firste is this ¶ he þat hath greet Ire and wratthe in hym self / he weneþ alwey that he may do thyng that he may nat do [2315] ¶ And secoundely / he that is Irous and wrooth / he ne may nat wel deme / [2316] and he þat may nat wel deme / may nat wel conseille [2317] ¶ The thridde is this / that he þat is Irous and wrooth as seith Senec ne may nat speke / but he blame thynges / [2318] [¶ Seneca] and with hise viciouse wordes / he stireth oother folk / to Angre and to Ire [2319] ¶ And eek sire / ye moste dryue coueitise out of youre herte / [2320] ffor the Apostle seith [¶ Apostolus] ¶ That coueitise is roote of alle harmes ‖ [2321] And trust wel / that a coueitous man ne kan noght deme ne thynke / but oonly to fulfille the ende of his coueitise / [2322] and certes / that ne may neuere been accompliced / for euere / the moore habundaunce þat he hath of richesse / the moore he desireth [2323] ¶ And sire / ye moste also / dryue out of youre herte hastifnesse / for certes / [2324] ye ne may nat deeme for the beste a sodeyn thought / that falleth in youre herte / but ye moste auyse yow on it ful ofte / [2325] ffor as ye herde biforn / The commune prouerbe is this ¶ That he þat soone deemeth / soone repenteth.

[2326] ¶ Sire / ye ne be nat alwey in lyke disposicion [2327] for certes / som thyng þat somtyme semeth to yow / that it is good for to do / Another tyme it semeth to yow the contrarie /

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[6-text p 213]

[2328] whan ye han taken conseil of youre self / and han deemed by good deliberacion swich thyng/ as you list best/ [2329] ¶ Thanne rede I yow / that ye kepe it/ [folio 161a] secree / [2330] biwrey nat youre conseil to no persone / but if so be that ye wenen sikerly / that thurgh youre biwreyyng youre condicion / shal be to yow the moore profitable [2331] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / Neither to thy [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] foo ne to thy frend discouere nat thy secree ne thy folie / [2332] for they wol yeue yow Audience and lookynge / to supportacion in thy presence / and scorne thee in thyn Absence [2333] ¶ Another clerk seith / That scarsly shaltou fynden any persone / that may kepe conseil sikerly [2334] ¶ The book seith / whil þat thou kepest thy conseil in thyn herte / thou kepest it in thy prison / [2335] and whan thou biwreyest thy conseil to any wight / he holdeth thee in his snare [2336] ¶ And therfore yow is bettre to hyde youre conseil in youre herte / than praye hem / to whom ye han biwreyed youre conseil / that he wole kepen it cloos and stille [2337] ¶ ffor Seneca seith ¶ If so be / [¶ Seneca] þat thou ne mayst nat thyn owene conseil hyde? how darstou prayen any oother wight thy conseil sikerly to kepe [2338] ¶ But nathelees / If thou wene sikerly / þat the biwreiyng of thy conseil to a persone / wol make thy condicion to stonden in the bettre plyt/ . thanne shaltou tellen hym thy conseil in this wise [2339] ¶ ffirst thou [¶ How a man shall tellen his conseil] shalt make no semblant wheither thee were leuere pees or werre / or this / or that . ne shewe hym nat thy wille and thyn entente / [2340] ffor trust wel / þat comenli thise conseillours been flatereres / [2341] namely the conseillours of grete lordes / [2342] for they enforcen hem alwey / rather to speken plesante wordes / enclynynge to the lordes lust . than wordes þat been trewe or profitable [2343] ¶ And therfore / men seyn / þat the riche man hath seeld good con|seil but if he haue it of hym self [2344] ¶ And after that thou shalt considere thy freendes and thyne enemys ‖ [2345] And as touchynge thy freendes thou shalt con|sidere

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[6-text p 214] / wiche of hem / þat been moost feithful and moost wise / and eldest and most approued in conseillyng . [2346] And of hem shalt thou aske thy conseil / as the caas requireth

[2347] ¶ I seye / þat first / ye shul clepe to youre con|seil youre freendes that been trewe [2348] ¶ ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That right as the herte of a man deliteth in sauour þat is soote / right so / the conseil of trewe freendes / yeueth swetenesse to the soule; [2349] He seith also ¶ ther may no thyng be likned to the trewe freend ‖ [2350] for certes gold ne siluer / beth nat so muche worth as the goode wyl of a trewe freend [2351] ¶ And eek he seith / that a trewe freend / is a strong deffense / who so þat hym fyndeth / certes / he fyndeth a greet tresour [2352] ¶ Thanne shul ye eek considere / if that youre trewe freendes / been discrete and wise / ¶ ffor the book seith / Axe alwey thy conseil / of hem þat been wise / [2353] And by this same reson / shul ye clepen to youre conseil of youre freendes that been of age / swiche as han seyn and been expert in manye thynges / and been approued in conseillynges [2354] ¶ ffor the book seith / that in the olde men is the Sapience / and in longe tyme the prudence [2355] ¶ And Tullius seith / that grete thynges / ne been nat ay accompliced by strengthe / ne by deliuernesse of body / but by good conseil / by Auctoritee of persones and by science / the whiche thre thynges / ne been nat fieble by age / but certes / they enforcen and en|creescen day by day / [2356] And thanne / shul ye kepe this / for a general reule ¶ ffirst shul ye clepen to youre conseil / a fewe of youre freendes that been especiale / [2357] for Salomon seith ¶ Manye freendes haue thou / [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] but among a thousand chese thee oon / to be thy conseil|lour / [2358] ffor al be it so / that thou first ne [folio 161b] telle thy conseil / but to a fewe / thou mayst afterward telle it to mo folk if it be nede / [2359] but looke alwey / that thy conseillours / haue thilke thre condicions þat I haue seyd

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[6-text p 215] bifore / that is to seyn / that they be trewe / wise / and of oold experience [2360] ¶ And werke nat alwey in euery nede / by oon counseillour allone ¶ ffor somtyme bihooueth it to been conseilled by manye ‖ [2361] ffor Salomon seith [¶ Salomon] ¶ Saluacion of thynges / is / where as ther been manye conseillours

[2362] Now / sith I haue toold yow / of which folk / ye sholde been counseilled / now wol I teche yow which conseil / ye oghte to eschewe [2363] ¶ ffirst ye shul eschue the conseillyng of fooles ‖ ffor Salomon seith / taak no con|seil [¶ Salomon] of a fool / for he ne kan noght conseille / but after his [¶ Of conseillours þat a man oghte to eschue] owene lust and his affeccion [2364] ¶ The book seith / that the propretee of a fool is this ¶ he troweth lightly harm of euery wight / and lightly troweth alle bountee in hym self [2365] ¶ Thou shalt eek eschue / the conseillyng of flatereres / swiche as enforcen hem / rather to preise youre persone by flaterye than for to telle yow / the sooth|fastnesse of thynges

[2366] ¶ Wherfore Tullius seith ¶ Amonges alle the [¶ Tullius] pestilences that been in freendshipe / the gretteste is flaterie / And therfore is it moore nede þat thou eschue and drede flatereres / than any oother peple [2367] ¶ The book seith / thou shalt rather drede and flee / fro the sweete wordes / of flaterynge preiseres / than fro the egre wordes of thy freend / that seith thee thy sothes ‖ [2368] Salomon seith / that the wordes of a flaterere / is a snare to chacche with Innocentz [2369] ¶ He seith also / that he þat speketh to his freend / wordes of swetnesse and of plesaunce / setteth a net biforn his feet to cacche hym [2370] ¶ And therfore seith Tullius / Enclyne nat thyne eres to flatereres / ne taaketh no conseil of the wordes of flaterye ‖. [2371] And Caton seith ¶ Auyse thee wel / and [¶ Cato] eschue the wordes / of swetnesse and of plesaunce [2372] ¶ And eek thou shalt eschue / the conseillyng of thyne olde enemys / that been reconsiled [2373] ¶ The book seith /. that no wight retourneth saufly / in-to the

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[6-text p 216] grace of his olde enemy [2374] ¶ And Isope seith / Ne trust nat to hem / to whiche thou hast had som tyme werre or enemytee / ne telle hem nat thy conseil [2375] ¶ And Seneca telleth the cause why ¶ It may nat be seith he / [¶ Seneca] that where greet fyr / hath longe tyme endured / that ther ne dwelleth som vapour of warmnesse [2376] And therfore seith Salomon ¶ In thyn olde foo trust neuere [¶ Salomon] [2377] ¶ ffor sikerly / though thyn enemy / be reconsiled and maketh thee chiere of humylitee / and lowteth to thee with his heed ne trust hym neuere [2378] ¶ ffor certes / he maketh thilke feyned humilitee / moore for his profit than for any loue of thy persone / by cause that he deem|eth / to haue victorie ouer thy persone / by swich feyned contenance / the which victorie / he myghte nat wynne / by strif or werre [2379] And Peter Alfonce seith /. Make no [¶ Petrus Alfonce] felawshipe / with thyne olde enemys ‖ ffor if thou do hem bountee / they wol peruerten it / in to wikkednesse [2380] And eek thou most eschue / the conseillyng of hem / that been thy seruantz and beren thee greet reuerence / for perauenture / they doon it moore / for drede than for loue [2381] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre / in this [¶ Philosophus] wise ‖. Ther is no wight parfitly trewe / to hym þat he to soore dredeth [2382] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ Ther nys no [¶ Tullius] myght so greet of any Emperour / that longe may endure / but if he haue / moore lo [folio 162a] ue of the peple / than for drede [2383] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseiling of folk that been dronkelewe ‖ for they kan no conseil hyde [2384] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Ther is no priuetee / ther as [¶ Salomon] regneth dronkenesse [2385] ¶ Ye shul also / han in suspect the conseillyng of swich folk. as conseille yow . a thyng priuely / and conseille yow / the contrarie openly [2386] ¶ ffor Cassidorie seith /. that it is a manere sleighte to [¶ Cassidorus] hyndre / whan he sheweth to doon a thyng openly / and werketh priuely the contrarie [2387] ¶ Thou shalt also / haue in suspect. the conseillyng of wikked folk ‖. ffor the book seith / The conseillyng of wikked folk. is alwey ful

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[6-text p 217] of fraude ‖. [2388] And Dauid seith ¶ blisful is that man / [¶ Dauid] þat hath nat folwed / the conseilyng of sherewes [2389] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseillyng of yong folk . for hir conseil is nat rype

[2390] NOw sire / sith I have shewed yow / of which folk ye shul take youre conseil / and of which folk ye shul folwe the conseil? [2391] now wol I teche yow / how ye shal examyne youre conseil / after the doctrine of Tullius [2392] ¶ In the examynynge thanne of youre conseillour [¶ how a man shal examine his conseillours after the doctrine of Tullius] ye shul considere manye thynges [2393] ¶ Alderfirst thou shalt considere / þat in thilke thyng that thou purposest / and vpon what thyng thou wolt haue conseil / þat verray trouthe / be seyd and conserued / this is to seyn / telle trewely thy tale [2394] ¶ ffor he that seith fals / may nat wel be conseilled / in that cas of which he lieth [2395] ¶ And after this / thou shalt considere the thynges þat acorden to that thou purposest / for to do / by thy conseil|lours if reson accorde therto /. [2396] And eek / if thy myght may atteine ther-to / And if the moore part and the bettre part of thy conseillours acorde ther-to / or noon [2397] ¶ Thanne shaltou considere / what thyng shal folwe / after hir conseillyng. as hate / pees / werre / grace / profit or damage / and manye othere thynges [2398] ¶ Thanne / of alle thise thynges / thou shalt chese the beste / and weyue alle othere thynges [2399] ¶ Thanne shaltow considere of what roote is engendred the matiere of thy conseil / and what fruyt it may conserue and engendre [2400] ¶ Thou shalt eek considere alle thise causes / fro whennes they been sprongen [2401] ¶ And whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I have seyd / and which partie is the bettre and moore profitable / and hast approued it by manye wise folk and olde [2402] ¶ thanne shaltou considere / it thou mayst parfourne it and maken of it a good ende [2403] ¶ ffor certes reson wol nat that any man / sholde bigynne a thyng. but if he myghte / parfourne it as hym oghte [2404] ¶ Ne no wight sholde

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[6-text p 218] take vp on hym so heuy a charge / that he myghte nat bere it [2405] ¶ ffor the prouerbe seith ‖. he that to muche [¶ prouerbe] embraceth / distreyneth litel [2406] And Caton seith [¶ Cato] ¶ Assay to do swich thyng. as thou hast power to doon / lest that the charge oppresse thee / so soore / that thee bihoueth / to weyue thyng that thou hast bigonne / [2407] And if so be / þat thou be in doute / wheither thou mayst parfourne a thing or noon / chese rather / to suffre than bigynne [2408] ¶ And Piers Alphonce seith ¶ If [¶ Petrus Alfonce] thou hast myght to doon a thyng of which thou most repente thee / it is bettre / nay than ye [2409] ¶ this is to seyn / that thee is bettre / holde thy tonge stille / than for to speke [2410] ¶ Thanne may ye vnderstonde / by strenger resons / that if thou hast po [folio 162b] wer / to parfourne a werk of which thou shalt repente / thanne is it bettre / that thou suffre than bigynne [2411] ¶ wel seyn they þat defenden euery wight to assaye any thyng of which he is in doute / wheither he may parfourne it or noon ‖ [2412] And after / whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I haue seyd biforn / and knowen wel / that ye may par|fourne youre emprise / conferme it thanne sadly til it be at an ende

[2413] NOw is it reson and tyme þat I shewe yow / whanne and wherfore / that ye may chaunge youre conseil|lours / with-outen youre repreue [2414] ¶ Soothly / a man [¶ How a man may chaungen hise conseillours with-outen repreue] may chaungen his purpos and his conseil if the cause cesseth / or whan a newe caas bitydeth [2415] ¶ ffor the lawe seith that vpon thynges þat newely bityden / bihoueth newe conseil [2416] ¶ And senec/ seith ‖. If thy conseil [¶ Seneca] is comen / to the eeris of thyn enemy chaunge thy conseil [2417] ¶ Thou mayst also chaunge thy conseil / If so be / that thou mayst fynde / that by errour / or by oother cause / harm or damage may bityde [2418] ¶ Also / if thy conseil be dishonest. or ellis cometh of dishoneste cause / chaunge thy conseil ‖. [2419] ffor the lawes seyn ¶ that alle bihestes that been dishoneste / been of no value

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[6-text p 219] [2420] ¶ And eek/ If so be / þat it be inpossible / or may nat goodly be parfourned or kept

[2421] ¶ And take this / for a general reule / that euery conseil þat is affermed so strongly / that it may nat be chaunged for no condicion that may bityde ¶ I seye / þat thilke conseil is wikked.

[2422] This Melibeus / whanne he hadde herd the doctrine of [¶ Melibeus] his wyf dame Prudence / answerde in this wyse [2423] ¶ Dame quod he as yet in to this tyme / ye han wel and couenablely taught me as in general / how I shal gouerne me in the chesynge / and in the withholdynge of my conseillours ‖ [2424] but now wolde I fayn / that ye wolde condescende in especial / [2425] and telle me / how liketh yow / or what semeth yow by oure conseillours / that we han chosen in oure present nede

[2426] My lord quod she / I biseke yow in al hum|blesse [¶ Prudence] / that ye wol nat wilfully replie agayn my resons / ne distempre youre herte / thogh I speke thyng that yow displese ‖ [2427] ffor god woot that as in myn entente I speke it for youre beste / for youre honour / and for youre profite eke / [2428] And soothly I hope / that youre be|nyngnytee / wol taken it in pacience [2429] ¶ Trusteth me wel quod she / that youre conseil as in this caas ne sholde nat as to speke properly / be called a conseillyng but a mocion or a moeuyng of folye / [2430] in which conseil / ye han erred in many a sondry wise

[2431] ¶ ffirst / and forward / ye han erred in thassem|blynge of youre conseillours ‖ [2432] ffor ye sholde first haue cleped a fewe folk / to youre conseil / and after ye myghte han shewed it to mo folk / if it hadde been nede [2433] ¶ But certes / ye han sodeynly cleped to youre con|seil a greet multitude of peple ful chargeant and ful anoyous for to heere [2434] ¶ Also / ye han erred / for there as ye sholden oonly haue cleped to youre conseil youre trewe frendes olde and wise / [2435] ye han ycleped straunge folk / and yong folk. false flatereres / and enemys

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[6-text p 220] reconsiled / and folk / þat doon yow reuerence withouten loue [2436] ¶ And eek also / ye haue erred / for ye han broght with yow to youre conseil / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse / [2437] the whiche thre thinges been con|trariouse to euery conseil / honeste and profitable / [2438] the whiche thre / ye han nat anientissed or destroyed hem / neither in youre self ne in youre conseillours as yow oghte [2439] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han shewed [folio 163a] to youre conseillours / youre talent and youre affeccion / to make werre anon / and for to do vengeance / [2440] they han espied by youre wordes to what thyng ye been enclyned ‖ [2441] And therfore / han they rather conseilled yow to youre talent than to youre profit [2442] ¶ Ye han erred also / for it semeth / þat it suffiseth / to han been con|seilled by thise conseillours oonly / and wiþ litel Auys / [2443] where-as in so greet and so heigh a nede / it hadde been necessarie mo conseillours / and moore deliberacion to parfourne youre emprise [2444] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat examyned youre conseil / in the forseyde manere ne in due manere as the caas requireth [2445] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat maked no diuision bitwixe youre conseillours ¶ this is to seyn / bitwixen youre trewe freendes / and youre feyned conseillours; [2446] ne ye han nat knowe the wil of youre trewe freendes / olde and wise [2447] but ye han cast alle hire wordes in an hochepot and enclyned youre herte to the moore partie / and to the gretter nombre / and there been ye condescended [2448] ¶ And sith ye woot wel þat men shal alwey / fynde a gretter nombre of fooles / than of wise men / [2449] and therfore / the conseils that been at congregacions and mul|titudes of folk. there as men take moore reward to the nombre / than to the sapience of persones / [2450] ye se wel / that in swiche conseillynges / fooles han the maistrie [2451] Melibeus answerde agayn / and seyde / I graunte wel that [¶ Melibeus] I haue erred ‖ [2452] but there as thou hast toold me heer|biforn / þat he nys nat to blame þat chaungeth hise con|seillours

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[6-text p 221] in certein caas / and for certeine Iuste causes [2453] ¶ I am al redy to chaunge my conseillours / right as thow wolt deuyse / [2454] ¶ The prouerbe seith /. that [¶ Prouerbe] for to do synne is mannyssh / but certes / for to perseuere longe in synne / is werk of the deuel

[2455] ¶ To this sentence answereth anon dame Pru|dence [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2456] ¶ Examineth quod she youre con|seil / and lat vs see / the whiche of hem / han spoken most resonablely / and taught yow best conseil ‖. [2457] And for as muche as þat the examynacion is necessarie / lat vs bigynne at the surgiens and at the phisiciens / that first speeken in this matiere [2458] ¶ I sey yow / that the surgiens and phisiciens / han seyd yow in youre conseil discreetly / as hem oughte [2459] ¶ And in hir speche seyd ful wisely / that to the office of hem aperteneth to doon to euery wight honour and profit / and no wight for to anoye / [2460] and in hir craft / to doon greet diligence vn-to the cure of hem / whiche þat they han in hir gouern|aunce / [2461] And sire / right as they han answered wisely and discreetly / [2462] right so rede I that they been heighly and souereynly gerdoned for hir noble speche / [2463] and eek for they sholde do / the moore ententif bisynesse in the curacion of youre doghter deere ‖ [2464] ffor al be it so / þat they been youre freendes / therfore shal ye nat suffren / that they serue yow for noght / [2465] but ye oghte the rather gerdone hem and shewe hem youre largesse [2466] ¶ And as touchynge the proposicion which that the Phisiciens encreesceden in this caas / this is to seyn / [2467] that in maladies / that oon contrarie is warisshed by another contrarie /. [2468] I wolde fayn knowe / hou ye vnderstonde this text / and what is youre sentence [2469] ¶ Certes quod Melibeus / I. [¶ Melibeus] vnderstonde it in this wise [2470] ¶ that right as they han doon me a contrarie / right so / sholde I doon hem another ‖ [2471] ffor right as they han [folio 163b] venged hem on me / and doon me wrong; Right so / shal I venge me vpon hem /

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[6-text p 222] and doon hem wrong . [2472] and thanne haue I cured oon contrarie by another

[2473] Lo. lo quod dame Prudence / how lightly is [¶ Prudence] euery man enclined to his owene desir / and to his owene plesaunce [2474] ¶ Certes quod she the wordes of the Phisiciens / ne sholde nat han been vnderstonden in thys wise ‖. [2475] ffor certes / wikkednesse / is nat contrarie to wikkednesse / ne vengeance to vengeaunce / ne wrong to wrong · but they been semblable [2476] ¶ And ther|fore / o vengeaunce / is nat warisshed by another venge|aunce / ne o wroong by another wroong. [2477] but euerich of hem encreesceth and aggreggeth oother [2478] ¶ But certes / the wordes of the Phisiciens / sholde been vnderstonden in this wise [2479] ¶ ffor good and wikked|nesse / been two contraries and pees and werre / venge|aunce and suffraunce / discord and accord and manye othere thynges ‖ [2480] But certes / wikkednesse / shal be warisshed by goodnesse / discord by accord / werre by pees / and so forth of othere thynges [2481] And heer-to accordeth Seint Paul the Apostle / in manye places [2482] ¶ He [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus] seith Ne yeldeth nat harm for harm / ne wikked speche / for wikked speche / [2483] But do wel / to hym þat dooth thee harm / and blesse hym þat seith to thee harm [2484] ¶ And in manye othere places he amonesteth pees and accord [2485] ¶ But now wol I speke to yow / of the con|seil / which þat was yeuen to yow / by the men of lawe / and the wise folk [2486] that seyden alle by oon accord / as ye han herd bifore [2487] ¶ That ouer alle thynges / ye sholde doon youre diligence to kepen youre persone / and to warnestoore youre hous [2488] ¶ And seyden also that in this caas / yow oghten for to werken ful auysely and with greet deliberacion [2489] ¶ And sire / as to the firste point. that toucheth to the kepyng of youre persone / [2490] ye shul vnderstonde / that he þat hath werre shal eueremoore / mekely and deuoutly / preyen biforn alle thynges / [2491] that Ihesus crist of his grete mercy wol

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[6-text p 223] han hym in his proteccion / and been his souereyn helpyng at his nede ‖. [2492] ffor certes / In this world ther is no wight that may be conseilled ne kept sufficeantly with|outen the kepyng of oure lord Ihesu crist [2493] ¶ To this sentence accordeth the prophete dauid / that seith ‖ [2494] [¶ Dauid propheta] If god ne kepe the Citee / in ydel waketh he that it kepeth [2495] Now sire / thanne shul ye committe / the kepyng of youre persone to youre trewe freendes / that been approued and knowe / [2496] and of hem / shul ye axen helpe / youre persone for to kepe ¶ ffor Caton seith ¶ If thou hast [¶ Cato] nede of help / axe it of thy freendes ‖ [2497] ffor ther nys noon so good a Phisicien / as thy trewe freend [2498] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow fro alle straunge folk / and fro lyeres / and haue alwey in suspect hire compaignye [2499] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ‖ Ne [¶ Petrus Alfonce] taak / no compaignye by the weye of straunge men but if so be þat thou haue knowe hym of a lenger tyme [2500] ¶ And if so be / that he be falle in-to thy compaignye par|auenture withouten thyn assent ./ [2501] enquere thanne / as subtilly as thou mayst of his conuersacion / and of his lyf bifore / and feyne thy wey ‖. seye that thou goost thider as thou wolt nat go / [2502] and if he bereth a spere / hoold thee on the right syde / and if he bere a swerd / hoold thee on his lift syde. [2503] ¶ And after this / thanne / shul ye kepe yow wisely from all swich manere peple as I haue seyd bifore / And hem and hir conseil eschewe / [2504] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow in swich manere / [2505] that for any presumpcion of youre strengthe / that ye ne dispise nat ne acounte [folio 164a] nat the myght of youre Aduersarie / so litel / that ye lete / the kepyng of youre persone / for youre presumpcion / [2506] for euery wys man / dredeth his enemy [2507] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ weleful is he / that of alle hath drede / [¶ Salomon] [2508] for certes / he that thurgh the hardynesse of his herte / and thurgh the hardynesse of hym self / hath to greet presumpcion / hym shal yuel bityde [2509] ¶ Thanne /

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[6-text p 224] shul ye eueremoore countrewayte embusshementz and alle espiaille [2510] ¶ ffor senec seith ¶ That the wise man / [¶ Seneca] he dredeth harmes / . . . . . [no gap] [2511] ne he ne falleth in-to perils / that perils eschueth ‖ [2512] And al be it so / þat it seme that thou art in siker place / yet shaltow alwey do thy diligence in kepynge of thy persone [2513] ¶ this is to seyn Ne be nat necligent to kepe thy persone / nat oonly / for thy gretteste enemys / but for thy leeste enemy [2514] [Car seneque dit il appartient a homme bien enseigne qui[l] doubte son petit ennemy [MS Reg. 19 C vii folio 133a] ] [2515] ¶ Ouyde [¶ Ouidius] seith ‖ that the litel wesele / wol slee the grete bole / and the wilde hert [2516] ¶ And the book / seith ‖ A litel thorn / may prikke a greet kyng ful soore ‖. And an hound / wol holde the wilde boor [2517] ¶ But nathelees / I sey nat thou shalt be coward / that thou doute / ther / wher as is no drede [2518] ¶ The book seith / that somme folk. han greet lust to deceyue / but yet they dreden hem to be de|ceyued [2519] ¶ Yet shaltou drede / to been empoisoned And kepe yow / from the compaignye of Scorneres [2520] ¶ ffor the book seith; with scorneres make no compaignye / but flee hire wordes as venym

[2521] ¶ Now as to the seconde point ¶ Where as youre wise conseillours conseilled yow to warnestoore youre hous / with gret diligence [2522] ¶ .I. wolde fayn knowe / how that ye vnderstonde / thilke wordes / and what is youre sentence

[2523] Melibeus answerde and seyde ¶ Certes I vnder|stande [¶ Melibeus] it in this wise ¶ That I shal warnestoore myn hous / with toures / swiche as han Castelles / and othere manere edifices / and Armure and Artelries / [2524] by whiche thynges / I may my persone and myn hous so kepen and deffenden that myne enemys / shul been in drede / myn hous for to Approche

[2525] TO this sentence / answerde anon Prudence ‖. [¶ Prudence] Warnestooryng quod she of heighe toures and of grete edifices / [appartient aucunes fois à orgueil. [2526] L'en fait les tours et les grans édifices (Le Ménagier, i. 209)] with grete

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[6-text p 225] costages and with greet trauaille / and whan that they been accompliced / yet be they nat worth a stree / but if they be defended by trewe freendes that been / olde and wise [2527] [¶ Nota / of the strongeste garny|sone that may be.] ¶ And vnderstoond wel / that the gretteste and strongeste garnyson / that a riche man may haue / as wel to kepen his persone as hise goodes; is / [2528] that he be biloued / amonges hys subgetz and with hise neighebores [2529] ¶ ffor [¶ Tullius] thus seith Tullius ¶ That ther is a manere garnyson / that no man may venquysse ne disconfite / and that is / [2530] a lord to be biloued of hise Citezeins / and of his peple

[2531] NOw sire / as to the thridde point. where as youre olde / and wise conseillours seyden ¶ That yow ne oghte nat sodeynly ne hastily proceden in this nede / [2532] but that yow oghte purueyen and apparaillen yow in this caas with greet diligence and greet deliberacion [2533] ¶ trewely / I trowe that they seyden right wisely and right sooth [2534] ¶ ffor Tullius seith / In euery [¶ Tullius] nede / er thou bigynne it / Apparaille thee with greet diligence [2535] ¶ Thanne seye I / that in vengeance takyng In werre / in bataille / and in warnestooryng [2536] er thow bigynne / .I. rede / þat thou apparaille thee ther to / and do it with greet deliberacion; [2537] [folio 164b] ffor Tullius seith ¶ The longe apparaillyng biforn the bataille / [¶ Tullius] maketh short victorie ‖. [2538] And Cassidorus seith ¶ The [¶ Cassidorus] garnyson is stronger / whan it is longe tyme auysed

[2539] But now lat vs speken / of the conseil that was accorded by youre neighebores / swiche as doon yow reuerence withouten loue / [2540] youre olde enemys recon|siled / youre flatereres / [2541] that conseilled yow cer|teyne thynges priuely / and openly / conseilleden yow the contrarie [2542] ¶ The yonge folk also / that conseilleden yow to venge yow / and make werre anon [2543] ¶ And certes sire / as I haue seyd biforn / ye han greetly erred / to han cleped / swich manere folk to youre conseil / [2544] which conseillours been ynogh repreued by the resons aforeseyd / [2545] but nathelees / lat vs now descende to

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[6-text p 226] the special ¶ Ye shuln first procede / after the doctrine of Tullius [2546] ¶ Certes / the trouthe of this matiere / or of this conseil / nedeth nat diligently enquere / [2547] for it is wel wist whiche they been / that han doon to yow this trespas and vileynye / [2548] and how manye trespassours and in what manere / they han to yow doon / al this wrong and all this vileynye [2549] ¶ And after this thanne / shul ye examyne the seconde condicion / which that the same Tullius / addeth in this matiere [2550] ¶ ffor Tullius put a thyng. which that he clepeth consentynge/this is to seyn ‖. [2551] who been they and how manye / [Et quelx ilz sont] that consenten to thy conseil / in thy wilfulnesse / to doon hastif vengeance [2552] ¶ And lat vs considere also who been they and how manye been they / and whiche been they / that consenteden to youre Aduersaries [2553] ¶ And certes / as to the firste poynt It is wel knowen / whiche folk been they / that consenteden / to youre hastif wilful|nesse / [2554] for trewely / alle tho that conseilleden yow / to maken sodeyn werre / ne been nat youre freendes [2555] ¶ Lat vs now considere / whiche been they / that ye holde so greetly youre freendes as to youre persone ‖ [2556] ffor al be it so / that ye be myghty and riche / certes / ye ne been nat but allone / [2557] for certes / ye ne han no child but a doghter / [2558] ne ye ne han bretheren ne cosyns germayns / ne noon ooþer neigh kynrede / [2559] wherfore that youre enemys for drede sholde stinte / to plede with yow / or to destroye youre persone [2560] ¶ Ye knowen also that youre richesses / mooten been dispended / in diuerse parties / [2561] and whan þat euery wight hath his part. they ne wollen taken but litel reward to v[e]nge thy deeth ‖. [2562] But thyne enemys / been thre / and they han manie children / bretheren / cosyns / and oother ny kynrede / [2563] And though so were that thou haddest slayn of hem .ijo. or .iije. yet dwellen ther ynowe to wreken hir deeth / and to sle thy persone ‖. [2564] And though so be that youre kynrede be moore siker and stedefast. than

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[6-text p 227] the kyn of youre aduersarie ‖ [2565] yet nathelees youre kynrede / nys but a fer kynrede / they been / but litel syb to yow / [2566] and the kyn of youre enemys been ny syb to hem / And certes / as in that hir condicion / is bet than youres [2567] ¶ Thanne / lat vs considere also / if the conseillyng of hem þat conseilleden yow / to taken sodeyn vengeance / wheither it accorde to reson; [2568] And certes / ye knowe wel nay ‖ [2569] for as by right and reson / ther may no man taken vengeance on no wight / but the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion of it [2570] whan it is graunted hym / to take thilke vengeance hastily or at|temprely as the lawe requireth [2571] ¶ And yet moore ouer / of thilke word / that Tullius clepeth consentynge /. [2572] thou shalt considere / if thy myght and [folio 165a] thy power/ may consenten and suffise / to thy wilfulnesse / and to thy conseillours; [2573] And certes / thou mayst wel seyn / that nay [2574] ¶ ffor sikerly / as for to speke proprely / we may do no thyng. but oonly swich thyng as we may doon rightfully; [2575] And certes rightfully ne mowe ye take no vengeance / as of youre propre Auctoritee [2576] ¶ thanne mowe ye seen / that youre power ne consenteth nat ne accordeth nat with youre wilfulnesse [2577] ¶ Lat vs now examyne the thridde point that Tullius clepeth Consequent [2578] ¶ Thou shalt vnderstonde that the vengeance that thou purposest for to take / is the conse|quent ‖. [2579] And ther-of / folweth another vengeance / peril / and werre / and othere damages with-oute nombre / of whiche / we be nat war / as at this tyme [2580] ¶ And as touchynge the fourthe point. that Tullius clepeth en|gendrynge; [2581] thou shalt considere / that this wrong which that is doon to thee / is engendred of the hate of thyne enemys / [2582] and of the vengeance takynge / vpon that wolde engendre another vengeance / and muchel sorwe and wastynge of richesses as I seyde

[2583] ¶ Now sire / as to the point that Tullius clepeth causes / which that is the laste point. [2584] thou

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[6-text p 228] shalt vnderstonde / þat the wrong that thou hast receyued / hath certeine causes / [2585] whiche þat clerkes clepen Oriens and Efficiens / and Causa longinqua / and Causa propinqua /. this is to seyn / the fer cause and the ny cause [2586] ¶ The fer cause / is almyghty god / that is cause of alle thynges [2587] ¶ The neer cause / is thy thre enemys [2588] ¶ The cause Accidental / was hate [2589] ¶ The cause material / been the fyue woundes of thy doghter [2590] ¶ The cause formal / is the manere of hir werkynge that broghten laddres and cloumben in at thy wyndowes; [2591] The cause final / was for to sle thy doghter / It letted nat in as muche as in hem was [2592] ¶ But for to speken of the fer cause / as to what ende they shul come / or what shal finally bityde of hem in this caas / ne kan .I. nat deme ‖. but by coniectynge and by supposynge [2593] ¶ for we shul suppose / that they shul come to a wikked ende /. [2594] by cause / that the book [¶ In libro decre|talium] of decrees seith ‖. seelden or with greet peyne / been causes ybroght / to good ende / whanne they been baddely bigonne

[2595] ¶ Now sire / If men wolde axe me / why that god suffred men to do yow this vileynye; Certes / I kan nat wel answere / as for no soothfastnesse [2596] ¶ ffor thapostle seith / that the sciences and the Iuggementz of [¶ Apostolus] oure lord god almyghty been ful depe / [2597] ther may no man comprehende ne serchen hem suffisantly / [2598] ¶ Nathelees / by certeyne presumpcions and coniectynges / I holde and bileeue [2599] that god / which that is ful of Iustice and of rightwisnesse hath suffred this bityde by Iuste cause resonable ‖.

[2600] Thy name is Melibee / this is to seyn / a man that drynketh hony [2601] ¶ Thou hast ydronke so muchel hony of sweete temporeel richesses / and delices and hon|ours of this world / [2602] that thou art dronken / and hast forgeten / Ihesu crist thy creatour / [2603] thou ne hast nat doon to hym swich honour and reuerence as thee oughte / [2604] ne thou ne hast nat wel ytaken kepe / to

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[6-text p 229] the wordes of Ouide ¶ That seith ‖ [2605] vnder the hony [¶ Ouidius] of the goodes of the body / is hyd the venym / that sleeth the soule [2606] ¶ And salomon seith ¶ If thou hast [¶ Salomon] founden hony / ete of it that suffiseth / [2607] for if thou ete of it out of mesure / thou shalt spewe / and be nedy and poure / [2608] And perauenture / Crist hath thee in despit/ and hath turned awey fro thee his face and hise eeris of Misericorde [2609] ¶ And also / he hath [folio 165b] suffred / that thou hast been punysshed in the manere that thow hast ytrespassed [2610] ¶ Thou hast doon synne / agayn oure lord crist. [2611] for certes. the .iij. enemys of man|kynde / that is to seyn / the flessh / the feend and the world /. [2612] thou hast suffred hem / entre in to thyn herte wilfully by the wyndowes of thy body / [2613] and hast nat defended thy self suffisantly agayns hire assautes / and hire temptacions / so / that they han wounded thy soule / in .v. places / [2614] this is to seyn / the deedly synnes that been entred in-to thyn herte / by thy .v. wittes ‖. [2615] And in the same manere / oure lord crist hath woold and suffred / that thy .iij. enemys been entred / in-to thyn hous by the wyndowes / [2616] and han ywounded thy doghter in the foreseyde manere

[2617] ¶ Certes quod Melibee / I se wel that ye en|force [¶ Melibee] yow muchel by wordes / to ouercome me / in swich manere that I shal nat / venge me of myne enemys [2618] shewynge me the perils and the yueles / that myghten falle of this vengeance ‖ [2619] But who so wolde considere in alle vengeances the perils and yueles þat myghte sewe of vengeance takynge / [2620] a man wolde neuere take vengeance / and that were harm / [2621] for by the venge|ance takynge / been the wikked men disseuered fro the goode men [2622] ¶ And they that han wyl to do wikked|nesse / restreyne hir wikked purpos / whan they seen the punyssynge and chastisynge of the trespassours [2623] [Et a ce Respont dame prudence certes dist elle Ie t'ottroye que de vengence vient molt de maulx Et de biens;

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[6-text p 230] [2624] Mais vengence n'appartient pas a vn chascun fors seulement aux iuges Et a ceulx qui ont la iuridicion sur les malfaitteurs. (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, leaf 136.)] [2625] ¶ And yet seye I moore /. that right as a singuler persone / synneth / in takynge vengeance of another man ./ [2626] right so / synneth the Iuge / if he do no vengeance of hem / that it han disserued ‖ [2627] ffor Senec seith [¶ Seneca] thus ¶ That maister he seith is good / that proueth shrewes [2628] ¶ And as Cassidore seith ¶ A man dredeth to do [¶ Cassidorus] outrages / whan he woot and knoweth / that it displeseth to the Iuges / and souereyns [2629] ¶ Another seith ¶ The Iuge þat dredeth to do right. maketh men shrewes ‖. [2630] And Seint Paule the Apostle / seith in his epistle / [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus ad Romanos] whan he writeth vn-to the Romayns; That the Iuges beren nat the spere / with-outen cause / [2631] but they beren it to punysse the shrewes and mysdoeres / and to defende the goode men [2632] ¶ If ye wol thanne take vengeance of youre enemys / ye shul retourne / or haue youre recours to the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion vp-on hem / [2633] and he shal punysse hem / as the lawe axeth and requireth

[2634] A quod Melibee / this vengeance / liketh me [¶ Melibee] no thyng [2635] ¶ I bithenke me now and take heede / how ffortune / hath norissed me fro my childhede / and hath holpen me / to passe many a stroong paas [2636] ¶ Now wol I assayen hire trowynge with goddes helpe / that she shal helpe me / my shame for to venge

[2637] Certes quod Prudence ¶ If ye wol werke by my [¶ Prudence] conseil / ye shul nat assaye ffortune by no wey / [2638] ne ye shul nat lene or bowe / vnto hire after the word of Senec [2639] ¶ ffor thynges / that been folily doon / and [¶ Seneca] that been in hope of ffortune / shullen neuere come to good ende ‖. [2640] And as the same Senec seith ¶ The moore cleer and the moore shynyng that ffortune is / the moore brotil / and the sonner broken she is ‖ [2641] trusteth nat in hire / for she nys nat stidefast ne stable [2642] for whan thow trowest to be moost seur and siker of hire

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[6-text p 231] helpe she wol faille thee / and deceyue thee [2643] ¶ And where as ye seyn that ffortune hath norissed yow fro youre childhede /. [2644] I seye / that [folio 166a] in so muchel / shul ye / the lasse truste in hire and in hir wit ‖. [2645] ffor senec [¶ Seneca] seith ‖ what man that is norissed by ffortune / she maketh hym a greet fool [2646] ¶ Now thanne / syn ye desire / and axe vengeance / and the vengeance / that is doon after the lawe and bifore the Iuge / ne liketh yow nat [2647] And the vengeance that is doon in hope of ffortune is peril|ous and vncertein [2648] Thanne haue ye noon oother remedie / but for to haue youre recours / vnto the souereyn Iuge that vengeth / alle vileynyes and wronges /. [2649] And he shal venge yow / after that hym self witnesseth / where as he seith ‖. [2650] leueth the vengeance to me / and I shal do it

[2651] Melibee answerde ‖. If I ne venge me nat. of [¶ Melibee] the vileynye that men han doon to me [2652] .I. sompne or warne hem / that han doon to me that vileynye and alle othere / to do me another vileynye [2653] ¶ ffor it is writen ¶ If thou take no vengeance of an oold vileynye / thou somp|nest thyne Aduersaries to do thee a newe vileynye [2654] ¶ And also / for my suffrance / men wolden do to me so muchel vileynye / that I myghte neither bere it ne sus|teene / [2655] and so sholde I been put and holden ouer lowe [2656] ¶ ffor men seyn / In muchel suffrynge / shul manye thynges falle vn-to thee / whiche / thou shalt nat mowe suffre

[2657] Certes quod Prudence .I. graunte yow that [¶ Prudence] ouer muchel suffrance nys nat good / [2658] but yet ne folweth it nat ther-of / that euery persone / to whom men doon vileynye take of it vengeance / [2659] for that aper|teneth and longeth al oonly to the Iuges / for they shul venge the vileynyes and iniuries ‖. [2660] And ther-fore / tho two Auctoritees / that ye han seyd aboue / been oonly vnderstonden in the Iuges / [2661] for whan they suffren ouer muchel the wronges and the vileynyes to be doon

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[6-text p 232] withouten punysshynge / [2662] they sompne nat a man al oonly / for to do newe wronges / but they comanden it [2663] ¶ Also a wys man seith / that the Iuge that cor|recteth nat the synnere comandeth and biddeth hym do synne [2664] ¶ And the Iuges and souereyns myghten in hir land so muchel suffre of the shrewes and mysdoeres / [2665] that they sholden by swich suffrance by proces of tyme / wexen of swich power and myght / that they sholden putte out the Iuges and the souereyns / from hir places / [2666] and atte laste maken hem lesen hire lordshipes

[2667] ¶ But lat vs now putte / that ye haue leue to venge yow / [2668] I seye / ye been nat of myght and power / as now to venge yow / [2669] for if ye wole maken comparison / vn-to the myght of youre Aduersaries / ye shul fynde in manye thynges / that I haue shewed yow er this / that hire condicion / is bettre than youres [2670] ¶ And therfore seye I that it is good as now / that ye suffre and be pacient

[2671] ¶ fforthermoore / ye knowen wel / that after the comune sawe / it is a woodnesse / a man / to stryue with a strenger / or a moore myghty man / than he is hym self ‖. [2672] And for to stryue with a man of euene strengthe / that is to seyn / with as strong a man as he; it is peril /. [2673] And for to stryue with a weyker man / it is folie [2674] ¶ And therfore / sholde a man flee stryuynge / as muchel as he myghte [2675] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ It is a [¶ Salomon] greet worshipe to a man / to kepen hym fro noyse and stryf [2676] ¶ And if it so bifalle or happe / that a man of gretter myght and strengthe / than thou art. do thee grevaunce / [2677] studie / and bisye thee rather to stille / the [folio 166b] same greuaunce / than for to venge thee ‖ [2678] ffor Senec seith ‖ That he putteth hym in greet peril / that [¶ Seneca] stryueth with a gretter man / than he is hym self [2679] ¶ And Caton seith / If a man of hyer estaat or degree / or [¶ Cato] moore myghty than thou / do thee anoy or greuance / suffre hym / [2680] for he that oones hath greued thee /

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[6-text p 233] another tyme / may releeue thee and helpe; [2681] ¶ Yet sette I caas / ye haue bothe myght and licence / for to venge yow / [2682] .I. seye that ther be ful manye thynges / that shul restreyne yow / of vengeance takynge / [2683] and make yow / for to enclyne to suffre / and for to han pacience / in the thynges / that han been doon to yow [2684] ¶ ffirst and foreward / if ye wole considere the defautes / that been in youre owene persone / [2685] for whiche defautes / god hath suffred yow haue this tribulacion / as I haue seyd yow heer biforn [2686] ¶ ffor the Poete seith That we oghte paciently taken the tribu|lacions [¶ Poeta] that comen to vs whan we thynken and consideren / that we han disserued to haue hem [2687] ¶ And Seint Gregorie seith ‖ That whan a man considereth wel the [¶ Gregorius] nombre of hise defautes / and of his synnes /. [2688] the peynes and the tribulacions that he suffreth / semen / the lesse vn-to hym [2689] And in as muche / as hym thynk|eth / hise synnes moore heuy and greuous / [2690] in so muche / semeth his peyne the lighter / an[d] the esier vn-to hym [2691] ¶ Also / ye owen to enclyne and bowe youre herte / to take the pacience of oure lord Ihesu crist ‖ As seith seint Peter in hise Epistles [2692] ¶ Ihesu crist he [¶ Petrus in epis|tolis] seith / hath suffred for vs and yeuen ensample to euery man / to folwe and sewe hym / [2693] for he dide neuere synne / ne neuere cam ther a vileynous word out of his mouþ / [2694] whan men cursed hym / he cursed hem noght. And whan men betten hym / he manaced hem noght. [2695] ¶ Also / the grete pacience / which the seintes that been in Paradys / han had in tribulacions that they han ysuffred with-outen hir desert or gilt. [2696] oghte muchel stiren yow to pacience [2697] ¶ fforther|moore / ye sholde enforce yow / to haue pacience / [2698] considerynge / that the tribulacions of this world / but litel while endure / and soone passed been and goone [2699] ¶ And the ioye that a man / seketh to haue by pacience in tribulacions / is perdurable / after that the

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[6-text p 234] Apostle seith in his epistle [2700] ¶ The ioye of god / he [¶ Apostolus in epistola] seith is perdurable / that is to seyn euerelastynge [2701] ¶ Also troweþ and bileueth stedefastly / that he nys nat wel ynorissed ne wel ytaught that kan nat haue pacience / or wol nat receyue pacience; [2702] ffor Salomon seith [¶ Salomon] ¶ That the doctrine and the wit of a man / is knowen by pacience [2703] ¶ And in another place he seith ¶ that he that is pacient. gouerneth hym by greet prudence [2704] ¶ And the same Salomon seith The angry and wrathful man / maketh noyses / And the pacient man atempreth hem and stilleth [2705] ¶ He seith also / It is moore worth to be pacient than for to be right strong. [2706] And he that may haue the lordshipe of his owene herte / is moore to preyse / than he that by his force or strengthe taketh grete Citees [2707] ¶ And therfore / seith Seint Iame in his Epistle ¶ That pacience / is a greet vertu of [¶ Iacobus in epis|tola] perfeccion

[2708] ¶ Certes quod Melibee /. I graunte yow Dame [¶ Melibee] Prudence / that pacience / is a greet vertu of perfeccion / [2709] but euery man may nat haue the perfeccion þat ye seken / [2710] ne I nam nat of the nombre / of right par|fite men / [2711] for myn [folio 167a] herte / may neuere been in pees / vn-to the tyme it be venged / [2712] And al be it so that it was greet peril to myne enemys / to do me a vileynye / in takynge vengeance vp-on me /. [2713] yet tooken they noon heede of the peril / but fulfilleden / hir wikked wyl and hir corage [2714] ¶ And therfore / me thynketh men oghten nat repreue me / though I putte me in a litel peril for to venge me / [2715] And though .I. do a greet excesse / that is to seyn / that I venge oon outrage by another

[2716] A quod dame Prudence / ye seyn youre wyl / [¶ Prudence] and as yow liketh / [2717] but in no caas of the world / a man sholde nat doon outrage ne excesse / for to vengen hym [2718] ¶ ffor Cassidore seith ‖ That as yuele dooth [¶ Cassidorus] he that vengeth hym by outrage / as he that dooth the

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[6-text p 235] outrage ‖. [2719] And therfore / ye shul venge yow / after the ordre of right / that is to seyn by the lawe / and noght by excesse ne by outrage [2720] ¶ And also / If ye wol venge yow of the outrage of youre Aduersaries in oother manere than right comandeth / ye synnen; [2721] And therfore seith Senec ‖. That a man shal neuere vengen shrewednesse / by shrewednesse [2722] ¶ And if ye seye / that right axeth / a man to defenden violence by violence / and fightyng by fightyng? [2723] Certes / ye seye sooth whan the defense is doon anon with-outen Interualle or with-outen tariyng or delay [2724] for to deffenden hym / and nat for to vengen hym; [2725] ¶ And it bihoueth / that a man putte swich attemperance in his deffense; [2726] that men haue no cause ne matiere / to repreuen hym that deffendeth hym of excesse and outrage / for ellis were it agayn reson [2727] ¶ Pardee / ye knowen wel / that ye maken no deffense as now / for to deffende yow but for to venge yow / [2728] and so sheweth it that ye han no wyl to do youre dede attemprely ‖. [2729] And therfore / me thynketh that pacience is good ‖ ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That he that is nat pacient shal haue greet harm

[2730] Certes quod Melibee / I graunte yow / that [¶ Melibee] whan a man is inpacient and wrooth / of that þat toucheth hym noght and that aperteneth nat vn-to hym / though it harme hym / it is no wonder ‖ [2731] ffor the lawe seith ‖ That he is coupable that entremetteth or medleth / with swych thyng as aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2732] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖ That he that entremetteth hym of the [¶ Salomon] noyse or strif / of another man /.is lyk to hym / that taketh an hound by the eris ‖ [2733] ffor right as he that taketh a straunge hound by the eris / is outherwhile / biten with the hound [2734] Right in the same wise is it reson / that he haue harm / that by his inpacience / medleth hym / of the noyse of another man / where-as it aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2735] ¶ But ye knowen wel / that this dede / that

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[6-text p 236] is to seyn / my grief and my disese / toucheth me right ny ‖. [2736] And therfore / though I be wrooth and in|pacient. it is no merueille / [2737] And sauynge youre grace / I kan nat seen / that it myghte greetly harme me / though I tooke vengeaunce / [2738] for I am richer / and moore myghty than myne enemys been / [2739] And wel knowen ye / that by moneye and by hauynge grete posses|sions / been alle the thynges of this world gouerned [2740] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ That alle thynges / obeyen to [¶ Salomon'] moneye /.

[2741] Whan Prudence / hadde herd hir housbonde [¶ Prudence] auanten hym of his richesse and of his moneye / dispreis|ynge the power of hise Aduersaries / she spak / and seyde in this wise [2742] ¶ Certes / deere sire I graunte yow that ye been riche and myghty / [2743] and that the richesses been goode / to hem þat han hem wel ygeten hem / and wel konne vsen hem ‖. [2744] ffor [folio 167b] right as the body of a man / may nat lyuen with-oute the soule / namoore may it lyue / with-outen temporeel goodes / [2745] And for rich|esses / may a man gete hym grete freendes [2746] ¶ And therfore seith Pamphilles ¶ If a netherdes doghter seith [¶ Pamphilles] he / be riche / she may chesen of a thousand men / [lequel quelle veult pour mary (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, lf 140)] [2747] for of a thousand men / oon wol nat forsaken hire ne refusen hire [2748] ¶ And this Pamphilles seith also ¶ If thow be right happy /. that is to seyn / If thou be right riche / thou shalt fynde a greet nombre of felawes and freendes ‖. [2749] And if thy ffortune change / that thou wexe poure / fare|wel / freendshipe and felaweshipe / [2750] for thou shalt be al alloone with-outen any compaignye / but if it be / the compaignye of poure folk [2751] ¶ And yet seith / this Pamphilles moreouer ¶ That they that been thralle and bonde of lynage shullen been maad worthy and noble by the richesses [2752] ¶ And right so / as by richesses / ther comen manye goodes /. right so by pouerte come ther manye harmes and yueles /. [2753] for greet pouerte con|streyneth

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[6-text p 237] a man / to do manye yueles /. [2754] And ther|fore / clepeth Cassidore / pouerte / the mooder of Ruyne / [¶ Cassidorus] [2755] that is to seyn / the mooder of ouerthrowynge or fallynge doun [2756] ¶ And therfore seith Piers Alfonce ‖. [¶ Petrus Alfonee] Oon of the gretteste Aduersitees of this world is / [2757] whan a free man / by kynde or by burthe is constreyned by pouerte to eten the Almesse of his enemy [2758] ¶ And the same seith Innocent in oon of hise bookes ‖. he seith / [¶ Innocencius] that sorweful and myshappy / is the condicion of a poure beggere / [2759] for if he axe nat his mete / he dyeth for hunger /. [2760] And if he axe / he dyeth for shame / And algates necessitee constreyneth hym to axe [2761] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ‖ That bet it is to dye / than [¶ Salomon] for to haue swich pouerte; [2762] ¶ And as the same Salo|mon seith ¶ Bettre it is to dye of bitter deeth than for to lyuen / in swich wise [2763] ¶ By thise resons / that I haue seid vn-to yow / and by manye othere resons that I koude seye? / [2764] I graunte yow / that richesses been goode to hem / that geten hem wel / and to hem that wel vsen tho richesses [2765] ¶ And therfore wol I shewe yow / hou ye shul haue yow / and how ye shul bere yow in gaderynge of richesses / and in what manere / ye shul vsen hem

[2766] ¶ ffirst ye shul geten hem with-outen greet desir / by good leyser sekyngly / and nat ouer hastily / [2767] ffor a man that is to desirynge to gete richesses / abaundoneth hym first to thefte / and to alle other yueles [2768] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ¶ He that hasteth [¶ Salomon] hym to bisily / to wexe riche shal be noon Innocent [2769] ¶ He seith also /. that the richesse that hastily cometh to a man / soone and lightly / gooth and passeth fro a man [2770] ¶ but that richesse / that cometh litel and litel wexeth alwey and multiplieth [2771] ¶ And sire / ye shul geten richesses / by youre wit and by youre trauaille vn-to youre profit. [2772] and that with-outen wrong or harm doynge / to any oother persone [2773] ¶ ffor the lawe

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[6-text p 238] seith / that ther maketh no man himseluen riche / if he do harm to another wight ‖ [2774] This is to seyn / that nature deffendeth and forbedeth by right that no man make hym-self riche / vn-to the harm of another persone [2775] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ þat no sorwe / ne no drede [¶ Tullius] of deeth / ne no thyng that may falle vn-to a man / [2776] is so muchel agayns nature / as a man to encressen his owene profit to the harm of another man ‖ [2777] And though the grete men [folio 168a] and the myghty men geten richesses moore lightly than thou /. [2778] yet shaltou nat been ydel ne slow to do thy profit. for thou shalt in alle wise flee ydel|nesse [2779] ¶ ffor Salomon seith /. that ydelnesse / techeth [¶ Salomon] a man to do manye yueles [2780] ¶ And the same Salomon seith ‖ That he that trauailleth and bisieth hym to tilien his land / shal eten breed [2781] but he that is ydel / and casteth hym to no bisynesse ne occupacion / shal falle in-to pouerte / and dye for hunger [2782] ¶ And he that is ydel and slow / kan neuere fynde couenable tyme for to doon his profit. [2783] ffor ther is a versifiour seith / that [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] the ydel man excuseth hym in wynter / by cause of the grete coold and in somer / by encheson of the heete ‖. [2784] ffor thise causes seiþ Caton ‖. waketh and enclyneth [¶ Cato] nat yow ouer muchel / for to slepe / for ouer muchel reste norisseth and causeth manye vices ‖. [2785] And therfore / seith Seint Ierome ‖. Dooth somme goodes / that the deuel / [¶ Sanctus Ieron|imus] which is oure enemy / ne fynde yow nat vnocupied ‖. [2786] ffor the deuel ne taketh nat lightly vn-to his werk|ynge swiche as he fyndeth occupied in goode werkes

[2787] ¶ Thanne thus / In getynge richesses / ye mosten flee ydelnesse ‖. [2788] And afterward ye shul vse the richesses / whiche ye haue geten by youre wit and by youre trauaille / [2789] in swich a manere / that men holde nat yow / to scars ne to sparynge ne to fool large / that is to seyn / ouer large a spendere / [2790] for right as men blamen an Auaricious man / by cause / of his scarsetee and chyngerie / [2791] In the same wise is he to blame

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[6-text p 239] that spendeth ouer largely ‖. [2792] And therfore seith Caton ¶ Vse he seith / thy richesses that thou hast geten [¶ Cato] [2793] in swich a manere / that men haue / no matiere ne cause / to calle thee / neiþer wrecche ne chynche / [2794] for it is a greet shame to a man / to haue a pouere herte and a riche purs [2795] ¶ He seith also / the goodes that thou hast ygeten / vse hem by mesure / that is to seyn / spende hem mesurably / [2796] for they that folily / wasten and despenden / the goodes that they han? [2797] whan they han namoore propre of hir owene / they shapen hem to take the goodes of another man [2798] ¶ I seye thanne / that ye shul fleen Auarice / [2799] vsynge youre richesses / in swich manere / that men seye nat þat youre richesses been yburyed / [2800] but þat ye haue hem in youre myght and in youre weeldynge [2801] ¶ ffor a wys man / repreueth the Auaricious man / and seith thus / in two vers [2802] ¶ Wherto and why / burieth a man hise [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] goodes by his grete Auarice / and knoweth wel that nedes moste he dye / [2803] for deeth is the ende of euery man / as in this present lyf [2804] ¶ And for what cause / or encheson ioyneth he hym / or knytteth he hym / so faste vn-to hise goodes / [2805] that alle hise wittes mowen nat disseueren hym / or departen hym from hise goodes / [2806] and knoweth wel / or oghte knowe / that whan he is deed / he shal no thyng bere with hym / out of this world [2807] ¶ And ther-fore seith seint Augustyn ‖ That [¶ Augustinus] the Auaricious man is likned vn-to helle / [2808] that the moore it swelweth / the moore desir it hath to swelwe and deuoure / [2809] And as wel / as ye wolde eschewe / to be called an Auaricious man / or chynche / [2810] as wel sholde ye kepe yow and gouerne yow / in swich a wise / that men calle yow nat fool large [2811] ¶ Therfore seith Tullius ‖. The goodes he seith of thyn hous / ne sholde [¶ Tullius] nat been hyd / ne kept so cloos [folio 168b] but that they myghte been opened by pitee and debonairetee [2812] ¶ that is to seyn / to yeuen part to hem that han greet nede /. [2813]

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[6-text p 240] ne thy goodes / shullen nat been so opene / to been euery mannes goodes [2814] ¶ Afterward / in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge hem / ye shul alwey / haue thre thynges in youre herte /. [2815] that is to seyn / Oure lord god / Conscience / and good name [2816] ¶ ffirst / ye shul haue god in youre herte / [2817] and for no richesse / ye shullen do no thyng. which may in any manere displese god / that is youre creatour and makere [2818] ¶ ffor after the word of Salomon ¶ It is bettre to haue a litel good [¶ Salomon] with the loue of god / [2819] than to haue / muchel good and tresour / and lese the loue of his lord god [2820] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖ That bettre it is / to been a [¶ Propheta] good man and haue litel good and tresour / [2821] than to been holden a shrewe / and haue grete richesses [2822] ¶ And yet seye I ferthermoore / that ye sholde alwey doon youre bisynesse to gete yow richesses / [2823] so that ye gete hem with good conscience [2824] ¶ And thapostle [¶ Apostoius] seith ‖. that ther nys thyng in this world / of which / we sholden haue so greet ioye / as whan oure Conscience bereth vs good witnesse [2825] ¶ And the wise man seith ‖ The [¶ Sapiens] substance of a man is ful good / whan synne is nat in mannes conscience [2826] ¶ Afterward in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge of hem / [2827] yow moste haue greet bisynesse and greet diligence / that youre goode name / be alwey kept and conserued ‖. [2828] ffor salo|mon [¶ Salomon] seith /. that bettre it is / and moore it auailleth a man to haue a good name / than for to haue grete richesses? [2829] And therfore / he seith in another place ¶ Do greet diligence seith Salomon / in kepyng of thy freend / and of thy goode name / [2830] for it shal lenger abide with thee / than any tresour / be it neuer so precious [2831] ¶ And certes he sholde nat be called a gentil man / that after god and good conscience / alle thynges left. ne dooth his diligence and bisynesse / to kepen his good name [2832] ¶ And Cassidore seith ¶ That it is signe of gentil [¶ Cassidorus] herte? whan a man loueth and desireth to han a good name

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[6-text p 241] [2833] ¶ And therfore seith Seint Augustyn ¶ That ther [¶ Augustinus] been two thynges / that arn necessarie and nedefulle / [2834] and that is good Conscience and good loos / [2835] þat is to seyn / good Conscience / to thyn owene persone inward / and good loos for thy neighebore outward /. [2836] And he that trusteth hym so muchel in his goode conscience / [2837] that he displeseth / and setteth at noght his goode name or loos / and rekketh noght though he kepe nat his goode name / nys but a crueel cherl /

[2838] Sire / now haue I shewed yow / how ye shul do in getynge richesses / and how / ye shullen vsen hem / [2839] and I se wel / that for the trust that ye han in youre richesses / ye wole moeue werre and bataille [2840] ¶ I conseille yow / that ye bigynne no werre / in trust of youre richesses / for they ne suffisen noght werres to mayn|tene [2841] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre ¶ That [¶ Philosophus] man / that desireth / and wole algates han werre / shal neuere haue suffisaunce / [2842] for the richer that he is / the gretter despenses moste he make / if he wole haue wor|shipe and victorie [2843] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. That the [¶ Salomon] gretter richesses that a man hath / the mo despendours he hath [2844] ¶ And deere sire / al be it so / that for youre richesses / ye mowe haue muchel folk [2845] yet bihoueth it nat. ne it is nat good to bigynne werre / where as ye mowe in oother manere / haue pees vn-to youre worshipe and [folio 169a] profit [2846] ¶ ffor the victories of batailles that been in this world / lyen nat in greet nombre or multitude of the peple / ne in the vertu of man / [2847] but it lith in the wyl / and in the hand of oure lord god almyghty [2848] ¶ And therfore / Iudas Machabeus / which was goddes knyght. [2849] whan he sholde fighte agayn his aduersarie that hadde a greet nombre / and a gretter mul|titude of folk / and strenger than was this peple of Macha|bee /. [2850] yet he reconforted his litel compaignye / and seyde right in this wise [2851] ¶ Als lightly quod he / may oure lord god almyghty yeue victorie to a fewe folk

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[6-text p 242] as to many folk. [2852] for the victorie of a bataile comth nat by the grete nombre of peple / [2853] but it come / from oure lord god of heuene [2854] ¶ And deere sire / for as muchel / as ther is no man certein / if he be worthy / that god yeue hym victorie [ne plus que il est certain se il est digne de l'amour de Dieu (Le Ménagier, i. 226)] or naught /. After that Salomon seith / [2855] therfore / euery man sholde greetly [¶ Salomon] drede werres to bigynne / [2856] ¶ And by cause / that in batailles / fallen manye perils / [2857] and happeth outher while / that as soone is the grete man slayn as the litel man /. [2858] And as it is writen / in the seconde book of [¶ In libro Regum] kynges The dedes of batailles been auenturouse / and no thyng certeyne / [2859] for as lightly is oon hurt with a spere as another ‖. [2860] And for ther is gret peril in werre / therfore / sholde a man flee and eschue werre / in as muchel as a man may goodly ‖. [2861] ffor Salomon [¶ Salomon] seith /. He that loueth peril shal falle in peril

[2862] After that Dame Prudence / hadde spoken in [¶ Melibee] this manere / Melibee answerde and seyde [2863] ¶ I see wel dame Prudence that by youre faire wordes / and by youre resons that ye han shewed me / that the werre liketh yow no thyng. [2864] but I haue nat yet herd youre con|seil / how I shal do in this nede

[2865] Certes quod she I conseille yow / that ye [¶ Prudence] accorde with youre aduersaries / and that ye haue pees with hem [2866] ¶ ffor Seint Iame seith / in hise epistles [¶ Sanctus Iacobus in epistolis] ¶ That by concord and pees / the smale richesses wexen grete / [2867] and by debaat and discord / the grete richesses fallen doun [2868] ¶ And ye knowen wel that oon of the gretteste and moost souereyn thyng. that is in this world / is vnytee and pees [2869] ¶ And therfore / seyde oure lord [¶ Dominus Apos|tolis suis] Ihesu crist to hise Apostles in this wise [.2870] ¶ wel happy and blessed been they / that louen and purchacen pees / for they been called children of god [2871] A quod Melibee /. now se I wel / that ye louen nat myn honour / [¶ Melibee] ne my worshipe [2872] ¶ Ye knowen wel that myne

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[6-text p 243] Aduersaries / han bigonnen this debaat and bryge / by hire outrage / [2873] and ye se wel that they ne requeren ne preyen me nat of pees / ne they asken nat to be reconsiled [2874] ¶ wol ye thanne / that I go and meke me and obeye me to hem and crie hem mercy?/. [2875] ffor sothe / that were nat my worshipe [2876] ffor right as men seyn / that ouer greet hoomlynesse / engendreth dispreisynge /· so fareth it by to greet humylitee or mekenesse

[2877] Thanne bigan dame Prudence / to maken sem|blant [¶ Prudence] of wratthe / and seyde [2878] ¶ Certes sire / sauf youre grace / I loue youre honour and youre profit as I do myn owene / and euere haue doon / [2879] ne ye ne noon oother / syen neuere the contrarie [2880] ¶ And yit if I hadde seyd / that ye sholde han purchaced the pees / and the reconsiliacion /. I ne hadde nat muchel mystaken me / ne seyd amys /. [2881] ffor the wise man seiþ ¶ The dis|sension [¶ Sapiens] / bigynneth by another man / and the reconsilyng by [folio 169b] gynneth by thy self [2882] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖. [¶ propheta] fflee shrewednesse and do goodnesse / [2883] seke pees and folwe it as muchel as in thee is [2884] ¶ Yet seye I nat that ye shul rather pursue to youre Aduersaries for pees than they shuln to yow ‖. [2885] for I knowe wel / that ye been so hard-herted / that ye wol do no thyng for me [2886] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. he that hath ouer hard an [¶ Salomon] herte / atte laste / he shal myshappe and mystyde

[2887] Whanne Melibee hadde herd dame Prudence [¶ Melibee] maken semblant of wratthe / he seyde in this wise [2888] ¶ Dame I prey yow that ye be nat displesed / of thynges that I seye [2889] for ye knowe wel that I am angry and wrooth / and that is no wonder / [2890] and they that been wrothe / witen nat wel / what they don ne what they seyn [2891] ¶ Therfore / the prophete seith ¶ That [¶ propheta] troubled eyen / han no cleer sighte [2892] ¶ but seyeth and conseileth me as yow liketh / for I am redy to do right as ye wol desire / [2893] and if ye repreue me of my folye / I am the moore holden / to loue yow and preyse

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[6-text p 244] yow [2894] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. That he þat repreueth [¶ Salomon] hym that dooth folye / [2895] he shal fynde gretter grace than he / that deceyueth hym by sweete wordes

[2896] Thanne seide dame Prudence ¶ I make no semblant of wratthe ne Anger / but for youre grete profit [2897] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. He is moore worth that re|preueth [¶ Salomon] / or chideth a fool for his folye shewynge hym semblant of wratthe / [2898] than he that supporteth hym and p[r]eyseth hym in his mysdoynge and laugheth at his folye [2899] ¶ And this same Salomon / seith afterward .‖. That by the sorweful visage of a man / that is to seyn / by the sory and heuy contenance of a man / [2900] the fool correcteth and amendeth hym self

[2901] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ I shal nat konne an|swere [¶ Melibee] to so manye faire resons / as ye putten to me and shewen / [2902] seyeth shortly youre wyl and youre con|seil / and I am al redy to fulfille and parfourne it

[2903] Thanne dame Prudence / discouered al hir wyl [¶ Prudence] to hym / and seyde [2904] ¶ I conseille yow quod she abouen alle thynges / that ye make pees / bitwene god and yow / [2905] and beth reconsiled vn-to hym and to his grace ‖ [2906] ffor as I haue seyd yow heer biforn /. god hath suffred yow to haue this tribulacion and disese for youre synnes / [2907] And if ye do as I sey yow / god wol sende youre Aduersaries vn-to yow [2908] and maken hem fallen at youre feet redy to do youre wyl and youre com|andementz [2909] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. whan the con|dicion [¶ Salomon] of man is plesaunt and likynge to god /. [2910] he chaungeth the hertes of the mannes Aduersaries and con|streyneth hem / to biseken hym / of pees and of grace / [2911] and I prey yow / lat me speke with youre Aduersaries in priuee place / [2912] for they shul nat knowe / that it be of youre wyl / or youre assent. [2913] and thanne whan I knowe / hir wil and hire entente /. I may conseille yow the moore seurely

[2914] Dame quod Melibee / dooth youre wil and [¶ Melibee]

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[6-text p 245] youre likynge /. [2915] for I putte me hoolly / in youre disposicion and ordinaunce

[2916] Thanne Dame Prudence / whan she saugh the [¶ Prudence] goode wyl of hir housbonde / delibered and took auys in hir self. [2917] thinkinge / how she myghte brynge this nede / vn-to a good conclusion / and to a good ende /. [2918] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she sente for thise Aduersaries / to come vn-to hire in to a pryuee place / [2919] and shewed wisely vn-to hem / the grete goodes that comen of pees / [2920] and the grete har [folio 170a] mes and perils / that been in werre / [2921] and seyde to hem / in a goodly manere /. hou that hem oughten / haue greet re|pentaunce / [2922] of the Iniurie and wrong that they hadden doon / to Melibee hir lord / and to hire / And to hire doghter

[2923] And whan they herden the goodliche wordes of Dame Prudence / [2924] they weren so supprised and rauysshed / and hadden so greet ioye of hire / that wonder was to telle [2925] ¶ A lady quod they / ye han shewed vn-to vs / the blessynge of swetnesse / after the sawe of Dauid the prophete / [2926] for the reconsilynge / which we been nat worthy to haue in no manere / [2927] but we oghte requeren it with greet contricion and humylitee / [2928] ye of youre grete goodnesse haue presented vnto vs [2929] ¶ Now se we wel / that the science and the konnynge of Salomon is ful trewe [2930] ¶ ffor he seith ‖ That sweete wordes / multiplien and encreesen freendes / and maken shrewes / to be debonaire and meeke

[2931] ¶ Certes quod they ./ we putten oure dede and al oure matere and cause / al hoolly / in youre goode wyl / [2932] and been redy to obeye to the speche and comande|ment of my lord Melibee [2933] ¶ And therfore deere and benygne lady / we preien yow and biseke yow as mekely as we konne and mowen / [2934] that it lyke vn-to youre grete goodnesse / to fulfillen in dede / youre good|liche wordes / [2935] for we consideren and knowelichen /

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[6-text p 246] that we han offended and greued my lord Melibee out of mesure /. [2936] so ferforth / that we be nat of power / to maken hise amendes / [2937] and therfore / we oblige and bynden vs and oure freendes / to doon al his wyl and hise comandementz ‖ [2938] ¶ but perauenture / he hath swich heuynesse / and swich wratthe to vs ward / by cause of oure offense / [2939] that he wole enioyne vs swich a peyne / as we mowe nat bere ne susteene /. [2940] and therfore noble lady / we biseke / to youre wommanly pitee / [2941] to taken swich auysement in this nede / that we / ne oure freendes / be nat desherited ne destroyed / thurgh oure folye

[2942] Certes quod Prudence / it is an hard thyng and [¶ Prudence] right perilous / [2943] that a man putte hym al outrely / in the arbitracion and Iuggement. and in the myght and power of hise enemys [2944] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Leeueth [¶ Salomon] me / and yeueth credence / to that I shal seyn ¶ I seye quod he ¶ ye peple / folk and gouernours of hooly chirche [2945] ¶ to thy sone / to thy wyf / to thy freend / ne to thy broother / [2946] ne yeue thou neuere myght ne maistrie of thy body / whil thou lyuest. [2947] ¶ Now sithen he deffendeth / that man shal nat yeuen to his broother / ne to his freend / the myght of his body? [2948] by strenger reson he deffendeth / and forbedeth a man / to yeuen hym self to his enemy [2949] ¶ And nathe|lees I conseille you / that ye / mystruste nat my lord / [2950] for I woot wel / and knowe verraily / that he is / debonaire and meeke / large / curteys / [2951] and no thyng desirous ne coueitous of good ne richesse [2952] ¶ for ther nys no thyng in this world that he desireth / saue oonly / worshipe and honour [2953] ¶ fforther-moore I knowe wel / and am right seur / that he shal no thyng doon in this nede / with-outen my conseil / [2954] And I shal so werken in this cause / that by grace of oure lord god / ye shul been reconsiled vn-to vs

[2955] Thanne seyden they / with o. [folio 170b] voys ‖ worshipful

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[6-text p 247] lady we putten vs and oure goodes al fully in youre wil and disposicion / [2956] and been redy / to comen / what day þat it like vn-to youre noblesse to lymyte vs or assigne vs [2957] for to maken oure obligacion and boond as strong as it liketh vn-to youre goodnesse / [2958] that we mowe fulfille the wille of yow / and of my lord Melibee

[2959] Whan Dame Prudence / hadde herd the an|sweres [¶ Prudence] of thise men / she bad hem / goon agayn priuely / [2960] and she retourned to hir lord Melibee / and tolde hym / how she foond hise Aduersaries ful repentant [2961] knowelechynge ful lowely hir synnes and trespas / and how they were redy to suffren all peyne / [2962] requirynge and preiynge hym of mercy and pitee;

[2963] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ he is wel worthy to [¶ Melibee] haue pardon and foryifnesse of his synne þat excuseth nat his synne / [2964] but knowelecheth it and repenteth hym / axinge Indulgence [2965] ¶ ffor Senec / seith ‖. ther [¶ Seneca] is the remission and foryifnesse . where as confession is [2966] ¶ ffor Confession is neighebore to Innocence [2967] [et dit autre part: cellui est presque innocent qui a honte de son péchié et le recongnoist. (Le Ménagier, i. 231)] And therfore I assente and corforme me to haue pees / [2968] but it is good þat we do it nat with-outen the assent and wyl of oure freendes

[2969] Thanne was Prudence right glad and ioyeful / [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2970] ¶ Certes sire quod she ye han wel and goodly answered [2971] ffor right as by the conseil / assent and helpe of youre freendes / ye han been stired / to venge yow and maken werre? [2972] right so with|outen hire conseil / shul ye nat accorden yow / ne haue pees with youre Aduersaries [2973] ¶ ffor the lawe seith ‖ ther nys no thyng so good by wey of kynde / as a thyng to been vnbounde by hym þat it was ybounde

[2974] ¶ And thanne Dame Prudence with-outen delay or tariynge / sente anon hire messages for hire kyn and for hire olde freendes / whiche þat were trewe and wyse / [2975]

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[6-text p 248] and tolde hem by ordre / in the presence of Melibee al this mateere as it is abouen expressed and declared / [2976] and preyden þat they wolde yeuen hire auys and con|seil / what best were to doon in this nede [2977] ¶ And whan Melibees freendes hadde taken hire auys and deliber|acion of the forseide mateere / [2978] and hadden examyned it by greet bisynesse and greet diligence / [2979] they yaue ful conseil for to haue pees and reste / [2980] and þat Melibee / sholde receyue with good herte hise aduersaries / to foryifnesse and mercy

[2981] And whan dame Prudence hadde herd the assent of hir lord Melibee / and the conseil of hise freendes [2982] accorde with hire wille and hire entencion / [2983] she was wonderly glad in hire herte / and seyde [2984] ¶ Ther is an old prouerbe quod she seith ‖. That the [¶ Prudence] goodnesse þat thou mayst do this day / do it [2985] and abide nat ne delaye it nat til to morwe [2986] ¶ And therfore / I conseille þat ye sende youre messages swiche as been discrete and wise / [2987] vn-to youre Aduersaries / tellynge hem on youre bihalue / [2988] þat if they wole trete of pees and of accord / [2989] that they shape hem / with-outen delay or tariyng to comen vn-to vs / [2990] which thyng parfourned was in dede [2991] ¶ And whanne thise trespassours and repentynge folk of hire folies / that is to seyn / the Aduersaries of Melibee / [2992] hadden herd / what thise Messagers seyden vn-to hem / [2993] they weren right glad and ioyeful / and answereden ful mekely and benignely / [2994] yeldynge graces and thankynges to hir lord Melibee and to al his compaignye / [2995] and shopen hem with-outen delay to go with the Messagers and obeye to the comandement of hir lord Melibee

[2996] ¶ And right anon / they tooken hire wey to the Court of Melibee / [2997] and tooken with hem / somme of hire trewe freendes / to maken feith for hem and for to been hire borwes / [2998] and whan they were comen / [folio 171a] to

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[6-text p 249] the presence of Melibee / he seyde hem thise wordes [2999] It standeth thus quod Melibee / and sooth it is / [¶ Melibee] that ye [3000] causelees and with-outen skile and reson [3001] han doon grete Iniuries and wronges / to me and to my wyf Prudence; and to my doghter also / [3002] for ye han entred in to myn hous by violence [3003] and haue doon swich outrage þat alle men knowen wel þat ye haue disserued the deeth / [3004] and therfore / wol I knowe and wite of yow / [3005] wheither ye wol putte the punyssement and the chastisynge / and the vengeance of this outrage / in the wyl of me / and of my wyf Prudence / or ye wol nat

[3006] Thanne / the wiseste of hem thre answerde for hem alle and seyde [3007] ¶ Sire quod he / we knowen wel / þat we been vnworthy / to comen vn-to the Court of so greet a lord and so worthy as ye been? [3008] ffor we han so greetly mystaken vs / and han offended and agilt in swich a wise / agayn youre heigh lordshipe / [3009] that trewely / we han disserued the deeth / [3010] but yet for the grete goodnesse and debonairetee þat al the world / witnesseth in youre persone / [3011] we submytten vs / to the excellence and benignitee of youre gracious lordshipe / [3012] and been redy to obeie to alle youre comandementz / [3013] bisekynge yow / that of youre merciable pitee / ye wol considere oure grete repentance and lough submyssion [3014] and graunten vs foryeuenesse of oure outrageous trespas and offense / [3015] for wel we knowe þat youre liberal grace and mercy / strecchen hem ferther in-to good|nesse / than doon oure outrageouse giltes and trespas in-to wikkednesse / [3016] al be it þat cursedly and damp|nablely / we han agilt agayn youre heigh lordshipe

[3017] Thanne Melibee / took hem vp fro the ground ful benignely [3018] and receyued hire obligacions and hir boondes by hire othes vp-on hire plegges and borwes / [3019] and assigned hem a certeyn day / to retourne vn-to his Court . [3020] for to accepte and receyue the sentence and

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[6-text p 250] Iuggement þat Melibee wolde comande to be doon on hem by the causes aforeseyd / [3021] whiche thynges ordeyned /. euery man retourned to his hous ‖

[3022] And whan þat dame Prudence saugh hir tyme / she freyned and axed hir lord Melibee / [3023] what vengeance / he thoughte / to taken of hise Aduersaries

[3024] To which Melibee answerde and seyde ¶ Certes [¶ Melibee] quod he / I thynke and purpose me fully / [3025] to des|herite hem / of al þat euere they han / and for to putte hem / in exil for euere

[3026] Certes quod dame Prudence / this were a crueel [¶ Prudence] sentence and muchel agayn reson / [3027] ffor ye been riche ynough and han no nede of oother mennes good / [3028] and ye myghte lightly in this wise gete yow a coueitous name / [3029] which is a vicious thyng and oghte been eschued of euery good man [3030] ffor after the sawe of the word of the Apostle /. Coueitise is roote of alle harmes / [¶ Apostolus] [3031] And therfore it were bettre for yow / to lese so muchel good of youre owene / than for to taken of hir good in this manere / [3032] for bettre it is to lesen with worshipe / than it is to wynne with vileynye and shame /. [3033] And eueri man oghte to doon his diligence and his bisynesse / to geten hym a good name /. [3034] And yet shal he nat oonly bisie hym in kepynge of his good name. [3035] but he shal also enforcen hym alwey / to do som thyng by which he may renouelle his good name / [3036] for it is writen / þat the olde good loos and good name of a man / is soone goon and passed / whan it is nat newed ne re|nouelled [3037] ¶ And as touchynge / þat ye seyn / ye wole exile youre Aduersaries / [3038] that thynketh me / muchel agayn reson / and out of [folio 171a] mesure / [3039] con|sidered the power þat they han yeue yow vp-on hem self ‖. [3040] And it is writen þat he is worthy / to lesen his priuilege / þat mysuseth / the myght and the power þat is yeuen hym [3041] ¶ And I sette cas / ye myghte enioyne hem þat peyne by right and by lawe / [3042] which I

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[6-text p 251] trowe / ye mowe nat do /. [3043] I seye ye mighte nat putten it to execucion per-auenture / [3044] and thanne were it likly to retourne to the werre as it was biforn / [3045] And therfore / if ye wole þat men do yow obeis|ance / ye moste deemen moore curteisly / [3046] this is to seyn / ye moste yeuen moore esy sentences and Iuggementz [3047] ¶ ffor it is writen / þat he þat moost curteisly comandeth / to hym men moost obeyen / [3048] And ther|fore I prey yow þat in this necessitee / and in this nede / ye caste yow to ouercome youre herte [3049] ¶ ffor Senec [¶ Seneca] seith /. That he þat ouercometh his herte / ouercomeþ twies [3050] ¶ And Tullius seith ¶ Ther is no thyng so [¶ Tullius] comendable in a greet lord / [3051] as whan he is debon|aire and meeke / and appeseth lightly / [3052] And I. prey yow þat ye wole forbere now to do vengeance [3053] in swich a manere / þat youre goode name may be kept and conserued / [3054] and þat men mowe haue cause and mateere / to preyse yow of pitee and of mercy / [3055] and þat ye haue no cause to repente yow of thyng þat ye doon [3056] ¶ ffor Senec seith ¶ He ouercometh in an yuel [¶ Seneca] manere þat repenteth hym of his victorie / [3057] Wher|fore I pray yow / lat mercy been in youre mynde and in youre herte / [3058] to theffect and entente þat god almyghty haue mercy on yow in his laste Iuggement; [3059] ¶ ffor seint Iame seith in his Epistle ¶ Iuggement with|outen [¶ Iacobus in epistola] mercy shal be doon to hym / þat hath no mercy of another wight

[3060] Whanne Melibee hadde herd the grete skiles [¶ Melibee] and resons of Dame Prudence / and hire wise informacions and techynges / [3061] his herte gan enclyne to the wil of his wif considerynge hir trewe entente / [3062] and con|formed hym anon and assented fully to werken after hir conseil / [3063] and thonked god / of whom procedeþ al vertu and alle goodnesse / þat hym sente a wyf / of so greet discrecion [3064] And whan the day cam þat hise Aduer|saries sholde appieren in his presence / [3065] he spak vn|to

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[6-text p 252] hem ful goodly / and seyde in this wyse [3066] ¶ Al be it so / þat of youre pride / and presumpcion and folie / and of youre necligence and vnkonnynge / [3067] ye haue mysborn yow and trespassed vn-to me. [3068] yet for as muche / as I see and biholde youre grete humylitee / [3069] and þat ye been sory and repentant of youre giltes / [3070] it constreyneth me / to doon yow grace and mercy [3071] ¶ Therfore / I receyue yow / to my grace [3072] and foryeue yow outrely alle the offenses / Iniuries and wronges þat ye haue doon agayn me and myne / [3073] to this effect and to this ende / that god of his endelees mercy [3074] wole at the tyme of oure diynge foryeuen vs oure giltes that we han trespassed to hym in this wrecched world / [3075] ffor doutelees / if we be sory and repentant of the synnes and giltes whiche we han trespassed in the sighte of oure lord god / [3076] he is so free and so merci|able / [3077] that he wole foryeuen vs oure giltes [3078] and bryngen vs to his blisse / that neuere hath ende. Amen

¶ Heere is ended Chaucers tale of Melibee / and of Dame Prudence .

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[6-text p 253]
¶ The murye wordes of the Hoost/ to the Monk/ . [on leaf 172]
Whan ended / was my tale / of Melibee Line 3079 And of Prudence / and hire benignytee Oure hoost seyde / as I am feithful man And by that precious corpus Madrian I hadde leuere / than a barel ale That good lief my wyf / hadde herd this tale Line 3084 She nys no thyng / of swich pacience As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence By goddes bones / whan I bete my knaues She bryngeth me forth / the grete clobbed staues Line 3088 And crieth / slee the dogges euerichoon And brek/ hem / bothe bak and euery boon ¶ And if that any neighebore of myne Wol nat in chirche / to my wyf enclyne Line 3092 Or be so hardy / to hire to trespace Whan she comth [home] / she rampeth in my face And crieth / false coward / wrek thy wyf/ By corpus bones / I wol haue thy knyf/ Line 3096 And thou shalt haue my distaf and go spynne ffro day to nyght / right thus she wol bigynne Allas she seith / that euere þat I was shape To wedden a Milksope / or a coward ape Line 3100 That wol been ouerlad with euery wight Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyues right ¶ This is my lif but if that I wol fighte And out at dore / anon I moot me dighte Line 3104 Or elles I am but lost but if that I Be lik a wilde leon fool-hardy I woot wel / she wol do me slee som day Som neighebore / and thanne go my way Line 3108 ffor I am perilous / with knyf in honde Al be it that I dar hire nat withstonde

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[6-text p 254] ffor she is / byg in Armes by my feith That shal he fynde / þat hire mysdooth or seith Line 3112 But lat vs passe awey / fro this mateere ¶ My lord the Monk quod he / be myrie of cheere ffor ye shul telle a tale trewely Loo Rouchestre / stant heer faste by Line 3116 Ryde forth myn owene lord / brek nat oure game But by my trouthe / I knowe nat youre name Wher shal I calle yow / my lord daun Iohn Or daun Thomas / or elles daun Albon Line 3120 Of what hous be ye / by youre fader kyn I vowe to god / thou hast a ful fair skyn It is a gentil pasture / ther thow goost [folio 172b] Thou art nat lyk a penant or a goost Line 3124 Vpon my feith / thou art som Officer Som worthy sexteyn / or som Celerer ffor by my fader soule / as to my doom Thou art a maister / whan thou art at hoom Line 3128 No poure cloystrer/ ne no Novys But a gouernour / wily and wys And therwith-al / of brawnes and of bones A wel farynge persone / for the nones Line 3132 I pray to god / yeue hym confusioun That first thee broghte / vn-to Religioun Thou woldest han been / a tredefowel aright Haddestow / as greet a leeue / as thou hast myght Line 3136 To parfourne al thy lust/ in engendrure Thou haddest bigeten / ful many a creature Allas / why werestow / so wyd a Cope God yeue me sorwe / but and I were a pope Line 3140 Nat oonly thou / but euery myghty man Though he were shorn / ful hye vpon his pan Sholde haue a wyf / for al the world is lorn Religioun / hath take vp al the corn Line 3144 Of tredyng. and we borel men been shrympes Of fieble trees / ther comen wrecched ympes

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[6-text p 255] . . . . . . . . . . [no gap in the MS.] Line 3148 This maketh / that oure wyues wole assaye Religious folk for ye mowe bettre paye Of Venus paiementz / than mowe we God woot no lussheburgh payen ye Line 3152 But be nat wrooth / my lord for þat I pleye fful ofte in game / a sooth I haue herd seye ¶ This worthy Monk / took al in pacience And seyde I wol doon al my diligence Line 3156 As fer as sowneth / in-to honestee To telle yow a tale / or two / or three And if yow list to herkne hyderward I wol [yow] seyn the lyf / of seint Edward Line 3160 Or ellis / first Tragedies wol I telle Of whiche /I/ haue an hundred in my Celle ¶ Tragedie is to seyn / a certeyn storie As olde bookes / maken vs memorie Line 3164 Of hym / that stood / in greet prosperitee And is yfallen / out of heigh degree In to myserie / and endeth wrecchedly And they ben versified communely Line 3168 Of .vj. feet. which men clepen Exametron In prose eek / been endited many oon And eek in meetre / in many a sondry wyse Lo / this declaryng oghte ynogh suffise Line 3172 Now herkneth / if yow liketh for to heere [folio 173a] But first / I yow biseeke / in this mateere Though I by ordre / telle nat thise thynges Be it of Popes / Emperours / or kynges Line 3176 After hir ages / as men writen fynde But tellen hem / som bifore and som bihynde As it now comth / vn-to my remembraunce Haue me excused of min ignoraunce Line 3180
¶ Explicit
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