The minor poems of the Vernon ms. ... (with a few from the Digby mss. 2 and 86) ...
Horstmann, Carl, b. 1851., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.

14. Truth ever is best.

(9 stanxas of 8, abab bcbc.)

HOse wolde him wei a-vyse
Of þis wrecched world, I weene,
I hope ful wel he schulde dispise
Þe foule falshede þat þer-in bene.
Certes, sum day schal be sene,
Much eorþly labour schal be lest;
Whon good and vuel vr dedes schal deme,
We schal wel fynde þat treuþe is best.
Treuþe is best for kyng and kniht,
Certes, hose riȝt wol rede;
Among þis ladyes feir and briht
Hit schulde be loued in vch a leode;
Þis Marchauns worþli vnder wede,
To buyȝe & selle þei ben ful prest,
Among hem alle schuld no falshede,
But vsen trouþe, þat euere i[s] best.
Sikerli, I dar wel say,
In al þis world nis heo ne he,
Þat þei wolde fayn, ȝif þat þei may,
Leden heore lyf in prosperite,
And als swiþe as þei schulde dyȝe,
Til heuene þat þei mote come ful prest.
Þat noble plase þei neiȝe ner neih
But ȝif þei meyntene trouþe for best.
Trouþe schal deme vs alle be-dene,
He wol do trewely and no wrong; Page  700
I hope we schal boþe seye and sene
Þat we han contraried him al to long.
And þerfore, lordes boþe stout and strong
Þat may deeme her riht as þé lest,
ffor Godes loue wis þou so among,
Þat trouþe be meyntened for þe best.
And þerfore haue þis in ȝour muynde,
Hose medleþ wiþ þe lawe:
Let neuer falshed aȝeynes vnkuynde
ffordon trouþe ne soþ sawe.
ffor falshed euermore schal stonde awe
On trouþe þauȝ he be neuer so prest.
ffor godes loue let neuer gold þe drawe
Aȝeynes trouþe þat euer is best.
Wolde we rule us al wiþ trouþe,
And mak him hollych vr gouernour,
We schulde keuere out of synne & slouþe,
And of Chiualrye bere þe flour:
ffor trouþe in were may most endour,
And euer is biggest at þe lest.
ffor godes loue, graunt we him socour,
And mayntene trouþe þat euer is best.
Trouþe was sum tyme here a lord;
wiþ him alle vertues, as I wene;
Ȝit Spayne, Brutayne wol bere record,
And oþer diuerse londes be-dene,
Þat we endouwed hem as þei schulde bene,
And made hem lordes to lyue in rest:
Þer dorste no falshede with hem be sene,
So loued þei trouþe, þat euer is best.
Wolde we ȝit lete trouþe aȝeyn
Be lord, and bere his heritage,
Al oþer londes schuld be ful fayn
To don vs feute and homage: Page  701
Baldelych þis dar I wage,
And falshede & his lore weore lest,
Þei schulde not dure vn-to a page
To werre with trouþe þat euer is best.
ffalshed may wel regne a while
Þorw Meyntenaunce of couetise;
Atte last his grount wol him be-gyle,
A while þouȝ he be neuer so wyse.
ffalshed haþ ben most in pris
Boþe bi North and eke bi West:
We schul him hunte as Cat doþ mys,
Whon trouþe him cheues þat euer is best.