Chaucer's translation of Boethius's "De consolatione philosphiæ"
Richard Morris
[fol. 24b]

INCIPIT LIBER QUARTUS.

HEC CUM PHILOSOPHIA DIGNITATE UULTUS.

Whanne philosophie hadde songen softly and delitably þe forseide þinges kepynge þe dignitee of hir choere in þe weyȝte of hir wordes. I þan þat ne hadde nat al outerly forȝeten þe wepyng and mournyng þat was set in myne herte for-brek þe entencioun of hir þat entended[e] ȝitte to seyne oþer þinges. ¶ Se quod I. þou þat art gideresse of verray lyȝte þe þinges þat þou Page  109hast seid [me] hider to ben to me so clere and so shewyng by þe deuyne lokyng of hem and by þi resouns þat þei ne mowe nat ben ouercomen. ¶ And þilke þingus þat þou toldest me. al be it so þat I hadde som tyme fo[r]ȝeten hem for [the] sorwe of þe wronge þat haþ ben don to me. ȝit naþeles þei ne were nat alouterly vnknowen to me. but þis same is namly a gret cause of my sorwe. þat so as þe gouernoure of þinges is goode. yif þat yuelys mowen ben by any weyes. or ellys yif þat yuelys passen wiþ outen punyssheinge. þe whiche þinge oonly how worþi it is to ben wondred vpon. þou considerest it weel þi self certeynly. but ȝitte to þis þing þere is an oþer þing y-ioigned more to ben ywondred vpon. ¶ For felonie is emperisse and flowreþ ful of rycchesse. and vertues nis nat al oonly wiþ outen medes. but it is cast vndir and fortroden vndir þe feet of felonous folk. and it abieþ þe tourmentes in sted of wicked felouns ¶ Of al[le] whiche þing þer nis no wyȝt þat [may] merueyllen ynouȝ ne compleyne þat swiche þinges ben don in þe regne of god þat alle þinges woot. and alle þinges may and ne wool nat but only goode þinges. ¶ þan seide she þus. certys quod she þat were a grete meruayle and an enbaissynge wiþouten ende. and wel more horrible þan alle monstres yif it were as þou wenest. þat is to sein. þat in þe ryȝt ordeyne house of so mochel a fader and an ordenour of meyne. þat þe vesseles þat ben foule and vyle sholde ben honoured and heried. and þe precious uesseles sholde ben defouled and vyle. but it nis nat so. For yif þe þinges Page  110þat I haue concluded a litel here byforne ben kept hoole and vnraced. þou shalt wel knowe by þe auctorite of god. of þe whos regne I speke þat certys þe good[e] folk ben alwey myȝty. and shrewes ben alwey yuel and feble. ne þe vices ben neuere mo wiþ outen peyne.̉ ne þe vertues ne ben nat wiþ outen mede. and þat blisfulnesses comen alwey to goode folke. and infortune comeþ alwey to wicked folke. ¶ And þou shalt wel knowe many[e] þinges of þis kynde þat sholle cessen þi pleyntes. and stedfast þe wiþ stedfast saddenesse. ¶ And for þou hast seyn þe forme of þe verray blisfulnesse by me þat [haue] somtyme I-shewed it þe. And þou hast knowen in whom blysfulnesse is set. alle þinges I treted þat I trowe ben nessessarie to put[te] furþe ¶ I shal shewe þe. þe weye þat shal brynge þe aȝeyne vnto þi house and I shal ficche feþeres in þi þouȝt by whiche it may arysen in heyȝte. so þat al tribulacioun don awey þou by my gidyng & by my paþe and by my sledes shalt mowen retourne hool and sounde in to þi contre.

SUNT ETENIM PENNE. ET CETERA.

I Haue for soþe swifte feþeres þat surmounten þe heyȝt of þe heuene whan þe swifte þouȝt haþ cloþed it self. in þo feþeres it dispiseþ þe hat[e]ful erþes. and surmounteþ þe heyȝenesse of þe greet[e] eyir. and it seiþ þe cloudes by-hynde hir bak and passeþ þe heyȝt of þe regioun of þe fire þat eschaufiþ by þe swifte moeuyng of þe firmament. til þat she a-reisiþ hir in til þe houses þat Page  111beren þe sterres. and ioygneþ hir weyes wiþ þe sonne phebus. and felawshipeþ þe weye of þe olde colde saturnus. and she ymaked a knyȝt of þe clere sterre. þat is to seyne þat þe soule is maked goddys knyȝt by þe sekyng of treuþe to comen to þe verray knowlege of god. and þilke soule renne[þ] by þe cercle [fol. 25] of þe sterres in alle þe places þere as þe shynyng nyȝt is depeynted. þat is to seyne þe nyȝt þat is cloudeles. for on nyȝtes þat ben cloudeles it semeþ as þe heuene were peynted wiþ dyuerse ymages of sterres. and whan þe soule haþ gon ynouȝ she shal forleten þe last[e] poynt of þe heuene. and she shal pressen and wenden on þe bak of þe swifte firmament. and she shal ben maked perfit of þe dredefulle clerenesse of god. ¶ þere haldeþ þe lorde of kynges þe ceptre of his myȝt and attempereþ þe gouernementes of þis worlde. and þe shynynge iuge of þinges stable in hym self gouerneþ þe swifte carte. þat is to seyne þe circuler moeuyng of [the] sonne. and yif þi weye ledeþ þe aȝeyne so þat þou be brouȝt þider. þan wilt þou seye now þat þat is þe contre þat þou requeredest of whiche þou ne haddest no mynde. but now it remenbreþ me wel here was I born. here wil I fastne my degree. here wil I dwelle. but yif þe lyke þan to loken on þe derkenesse of þe erþe þat þou hast for-leten. þan shalt þou seen þat þise felonous tyrauntes þat þe wrecched[e] poeple dredeþ now shule ben exiled from þilke faire contre.

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TUNC EGO PAPE INQUAM. ET CETERA.

ÞAnne seide I þus. [owh] I wondre me þat þou by-hetest me so grete þinges. ne I ne doute nat þat þou ne mayst wel performe þat þou by-hetest. but I preie þe oonly þis. þat þou ne tarie nat to telle me þilke þinges þat þou hast meoued. first quod she þou most nedes knowen. þat good[e] folk ben al wey strong[e] and myȝty. and þe shrewes ben feble and desert and naked of alle strengþes. and of þise þinges certys eueryche of hem is declared and shewed by oþer. ¶ For so as good and yuel ben two contraries. yif so be þat goode be stedfast. þan sheweþ þe fieblesse of yuel al openly. and yif þou knowe clerely þe freelnesse of yuel. þe stedfastnesse of goode is knowen. but for as moche as þe fey of my sentence shal be þe more ferme and haboundaunt. I wil goon by þat oon wey and by þat oþer and I wil conferme þe þinges þat ben purposed now on þis side and now on þat syde. ¶ Two þinges þer ben in whiche þe effect of alle þe dedes of man kynde standiþ. þat is to seyn. wil and power. and yif þat oon of þise two fayleþ þere nis no þing þat may be don. for yif þat wil lakkeþ þere nys no wyȝt þat vndirtakeþ to done þat he wol not don. and yif power fayleþ þe wille nis but in ydel and stant for nauȝt. and þer of comeþ it þat yif þou se a wyȝt þat wolde geten þat he may nat geten. þou mayst nat douten þat power ne fayleþ hym to hauen þat he wolde. ¶ þis is open and clere quod I. ne it may nat ben denyed in no manere. and yif þou se a wyȝt quod she. þat haþ don þat he wolde don þou nilt nat douten þat he ne haþ had power to done it. no quod. I. and in þat. þat euery wyȝt may. in þat þat men may holden Page  113hym myȝty. as who seiþ in as moche as a man is myȝty to done a þing. in so moche men halden hym myȝty. and in þat þat he ne may. in þat men demen hym to ben feble. I confesse it wel quod I. Remembriþ þe quod she þat I. haue gadred and shewed by forseide resouns þat al þe entencioun of þe wil of mankynde whiche þat is lad by diuerse studies hastiþ to comen to blisfulnesse. ¶ It remembreþ me wel quod I þat it hath ben shewed. and recordeþ þe nat þan quod she. þat blisfulnesse is þilke same goode þat men requeren. so þat whan þat blisfulnesse is requered [fol. 25b] of alle. þat goode [also] is requered and desired of al. It recordeþ me wel quod I. for haue it gretly alwey ficche[d] in my memorie. alle folk þan quod she goode and eke badde enforcen hem wiþ oute difference of entencioun to comen to goode. þat is a uerray consequence quod I. and certeyne is quod she þat by þe getyng of goode ben men ymaked goode. þis is certeyne quod. I. ¶ þan geten goode men þat þei desiren. so semeþ it quod I. but wicked[e] folk quod she yif þei geten þe goode þat þei desiren þei [ne] mowen nat ben wicked. so is it quod .I. ¶ þan so as þat oon and þat oþer [quod she] desiren good. and þe goode folk geten good and nat þe wicked folk ¶ þan nis it no doute þat þe goode folk ne ben myȝty and þe wicked folk ben feble. ¶ who so þat euer quod I douteþ of þis. he ne may nat considre þe nature of þinges. ne þe consequence of resoun. and ouer þis quod she. ¶ yif þat þer ben two þinges þat han o same purpos by kynde. and þat one of hem pursueþ and performeþ þilke same þinge by naturel office. and þat oþer ne may nat done þilk naturel office. but folweþ by oþer manere þan is couenable to nature ¶ Hym þat Page  114acomplisiþ hys purpos kyndely. and ȝit he ne acomplisiþ nat hys owen purpos. wheþer of þise two demest þou for more myȝty. ¶ yif þat I coniecte quod .I. þat þou wilt seye algates. ȝit I desire to herkene it more pleynely of þe. þou nilt nat þan denye quod she þat þe moeuementȝ of goynge nis in men by kynde. no for soþe quod I. ne þou ne doutest nat quod she þat þilke naturel office of goynge ne be þe office of feet. I ne doute it nat quod .I. þan quod she yif þat a wyȝt be myȝty to moeue and goþ vpon hys feet. and anoþer to whom þilke naturel office of feet lakkeþ. enforceþ hym to gone crepynge vpon hys handes. ¶ whiche of þise two auȝte to ben holden more myȝty by ryȝt. knyt furþe þe remenaunt quod I. ¶ For no wyȝt ne douteþ þat he þat may gone by naturel office of feet. ne be more myȝty þan he þat ne may nat ¶ but þe souereyne good quod she þat is euenlyche purposed to þe good folk and to badde. þe good folke seken it by naturel office of uertues. and þe shrewes enforcen hem to geten it by dyuerse couetise of erþely þinges. whiche þat nis no naturel office to geten þilke same souereyne goode. trowest þou þat it be any oþer wyse. nay quod .I. for þe consequence is open and shewynge of þinges þat I haue graunted. ¶ þat nedes goode folk moten ben myȝty. and shrewes feble and vnmyȝty. ¶ þou rennest aryȝt byfore me quod she. and þis is þe iugement þat is to seyn. ¶ I iuge of þe ryȝt as þise leches ben wont forto hopen of seke folk whan þei aperceyuen þat nature is redressed and wiþstondeþ to þe maladie. ¶ But for I see þe now al redy to þe vndirstandynge I shal shewe þe more þilke and continuel resouns. ¶ For loke now Page  115how gretly shewiþ þe feblesse and infirmite of wicked folke. þat ne mowen nat come to þat hire naturel entencioun ledeþ hem. and ȝitte almost þilk naturel entencioun constreineþ hem. ¶ and what were to deme þan of shrewes. yif þilke naturel helpe hadde for-leten hem. ¶ þe whiche naturel helpe of entencioun goþ alwey byforne hem. and is so grete þat vnneþ it may be ouercomen. ¶ Considre þan how gret defaute of power and how gret feblesse þere is in grete felonous folk as who seiþ þe gretter þinges þat ben coueited and þe desire nat accomplissed of þe lasse myȝt is he þat coueiteþ it and may nat acomplisse. ¶ And forþi philosophie seiþ þus by souereyne good. ¶ Sherewes ne requere nat lyȝt[e] medes ne veyne gaines whiche þei ne may nat folwen ne holden. but þei faylen of þilke some of þe heyȝte of þinges þat is to seyne souereyne good. ne þise wrecches ne comen nat to þe effect of souereyne good. [fol. 26] þe whiche þei enforcen hem oonly to geten by nyȝtes and by dayes. ¶ In þe getyn[g] of whiche goode þe strengþe of good folk. is ful wel ysen. For ryȝt so as þou myȝtest demen hym myȝty of goynge þat goþ on hys feet til he myȝt[e] come to þilke place fro þe whiche place þere ne lay no wey forþer to be gon. Ryȝt so most þou nedes demen hym for ryȝt myȝty þat getiþ and atteiniþ to þe ende of alle þinges þat ben to desire. by-ȝonde þe whiche ende þat þer nis no þing to desire. ¶ Of whiche power of good folk men may conclude þat wicked men semen to ben bareyne and naked of alle strengþe. For whi forleten þei vertues and folwen vices. nis it nat for þat þei ne knowen nat þe goodes. Page  116¶ But what þing is more feble and more caitif þan is þe blyndenesse of ignoraunce. or ellys þei knowen ful wel whiche þinges þat þei auȝten to folwen ¶ but lecherye and couetise ouerþroweþ hem mysturned. ¶ and certis so doþ distemperaunce to feble men. þat ne mowen nat wrastle aȝeins þe vices ¶ Ne knowen þei nat þan wel þat þei foreleten þe good wilfully. and turnen hem vilfully to vices. ¶ And in þis wise þei ne forleten nat oonly to ben myȝty. but þei forleten al outerly in any wise forto ben ¶ For þei þat forleten þe comune fyn of alle þinges þat ben. þei for-leten also þerwiþ al forto ben. and perauenture it sholde semen to som folk þat þis were a merueile to seyne þat shrewes whiche þat contienen þe more partie of men ne ben nat. ne han no beynge. ¶ but naþeles it is so. and þus stant þis þing for þei þat ben shrewes I denye nat þat þei ben shrewes. but I denye and sey[e] symplely and pleynly þat þei [ne] ben nat. ne han no beynge. for ryȝt as þou myȝtest seyn of þe careyne of a man þat it were a ded man. ¶ but þou ne myȝtest nat symplely callen it a man. ¶ So graunt[e] I wel for soþe þat vicious folk ben wicked. but I ne may nat graunten absolutely and symplely þat þei ben. ¶ For þilk þing þat wiþ holdeþ ordre and kepiþ nature. þilk þing is and haþ beynge. but þat þing þat faileþ of þat. þat is to seyne he þat forletiþ naturel ordre he for-letiþ þilk beyng þat is set in hys nature. but þou wolt sein þat shrewes mowen. ¶ Certys þat ne denye I nat. ¶ but certys hir power ne descendeþ nat of strengþe but of feblesse. for þei mowen don wickednesses. þe whiche þei ne myȝten nat don yif þei myȝten dwelle in þe forme and Page  117in þe doynge of goode folke. ¶ And þilke power sheweþ ful euydently þat þei ne mowen ryȝt nauȝt. ¶ For so as I haue gadered and proued a lytel her byforn þat yuel is nauȝt. and so as shrewes mowen oonly but shrewednesse. þis conclusioun is al clere. þat shrewes ne mowen ryȝt nat to han power. and for as moche as þou vndirstonde whiche is þe strengþe þat is power of shrewes. I haue diffinised a lytel here byforn þat no þing nis so myȝty as souereyne good ¶ þat is soþe quod .I. [and thilke same souereyn good may don non yuel // Certes no quod I] ¶ Is þer any wyȝt þan quod she þat weniþ þat men mowen don alle þinges. No man quod .I. but yif he be out of hys witte. ¶ but certys sherewes mowen don̄ yuel quod she. ¶ ȝe wolde god quod I þat þei ne myȝten don none. þat quod she so as he þat is myȝty to done oonly but good[e] þinges may don alle þinges. and þei þat ben myȝty to done yuel[e] þinges ne mowen nat alle þinges. þan is þis open þing and manifest þat þei þat mowen don yuel ben of lasse power. and ȝitte to proue þis conclusioun þere helpeþ me þis þat I haue shewed here byforne. þat al power is to be noumbred amonge þinges þat men auȝten requere. and haue shewed þat alle þinges þat auȝten ben desired ben referred to good ryȝt as to a manere heyȝte of hyr nature. ¶ But for to mowen don yuel and felonye ne may nat ben referred to good. þan nis nat yuel of þe noumbre of þinges þat auȝten. [fol. 26b] be desired. but al power auȝt[e] ben desired and requered. ¶ þan is it open and cler þat þe power ne þe moeuyng of shrewes nis no powere. and of alle þise þinges it sheweþ wel þat Page  118þe goode folk ben certeynly myȝty. and þe shrewes ben douteles vnmyȝty ¶ And it is clere and open þat þilke sentence of plato is uerray and soþe. þat seyþ þat oonly wisemen may [doon] þat þei desiren. and shrewes mowen haunten þat hem lykeþ. but þat þei desiren þat is to seyne to comen to souereyne good þei ne han no power to acomplissen þat. ¶ For shrewes don þat hem list whan by þo þinges in whiche þei deliten þei wenen to atteyne to þilke good þat þei desiren. but þei ne geten ne atteynen nat þer to. ¶ for vices ne comen nat to blisfulnesse.

QUOS UIDES SEDERE CELSOS.

Who so þat þe couertures of her veyn apparailes myȝt[e] strepen of þise proude kynges þat þou seest sitten on heyȝe in her chayeres glyterynge in shynynge purpre envyroned wiþ sorweful armures manasyng wiþ cruel mouþe. blowyng by woodnesse of herte. ¶ He sholde se þan þat ilke lordes beren wiþ inne hir corages ful streyte cheynes for leccherye tormentiþ hem on þat oon syde wiþ gredy venyms and troublable Ire þat araiseþ in hem þe floodes of troublynges tourmentiþ vpon þat oþer side hir þouȝt. or sorwe halt hem wery or ycauȝt. or slidyng and disseyuyng hope tourmentiþ hem. And þerfore syn þou seest on heed. þat is to seyne oon tyraunt bere so many[e] tyrauntis. þan ne doþ þilk tyraunt nat þat he desiriþ. syn he is cast doune wiþ so many[e] wicked lordes. þat is to seyn wiþ so many[e] vices. þat han so wicked lordshipes ouer hym.

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VIDES NE IGITUR QUANTO.

Seest þou nat þan in how gret filþe þise shrewes ben ywrapped. and wiþ whiche cleernesse þise good folk shynen. In þis sheweþ it wel þat to good folk ne lakkeþ neuer mo hir medes. ne shrewes ne lakken neuer mo tourmentis. for of alle þinges þat ben ydon þilke þing for whiche any þing is doon. it semeþ as by ryȝt þat þilke þing be þe mede of þat. as þus. ¶ yif a man renneþ in þe stadie or in þe forlonge for þe corone. þan lieþ þe mede in þe corone for whiche he renneþ. ¶ And I haue shewed þat blisfulnesse is þilke same good for whiche þat alle þingus ben don. þan is þilke same good purposed to þe werkes of mankynde ryȝt as a comune mede. whiche mede ne may ben disseuered fro good folk. for no wyȝt as by ryȝt fro þennes forþe þat hym lakkiþ goodnesse ne shal ben cleped good. For whiche þing folk of good[e] maneres her medes ne forsaken hem neuer mo. For al be it so þat sherewes waxen as wood as hem list aȝeynes good[e] folk. ȝitte neuer þe les þe corone of wise men ne shal nat fallen ne faden. ¶ For foreine shrewednesse ne bynymeþ nat fro þe corages of good[e] folk hire propre honoure. but yif þat any wyȝt reioiseþ hem of goodnesse þat þei had[de] taken fro wiþoute. as who seiþ yif [þat] any wyȝt had[de] hys goodnesse of any oþer man þan of hym self. certys he þat ȝaf hym þilke goodnesse or ellys som oþer wyȝt myȝt[e] bynym[e] it hym. but for as moche as to euery wyȝt hys owen propre bounte ȝeueþ hym hys mede. þan at arst shal he faylen of mede whan he forletiþ to ben good. and at þe laste so as alle medes ben requered for men wenen þat þei ben Page  120good[e]. who is he þat wolde deme þat he þat is ryȝt myȝty of goode were partles of mede. [fol. 27] and of what mede shal he be gerdoned. certys of ryȝt faire mede and ryȝt greet abouen alle medes. ¶ Remembre þe of þilk noble corolarie þat I ȝaf þe a lytel here byforne. and gadre it to gidre in þis manere. so as god hym self is blisfulnesse. þan is it clere and certeyn. þat alle good folk ben makid blisful for þei ben good[e]. and þilke folk þat ben blisful it accordiþ and is couenable to ben godde[s]. þan is þe mede of goode folk swiche. þat no day [ne] shal enpeyren it. ne no wickednesse shal endirken it. ne power of no wyȝt ne shal nat amenusen it þat is to seyn to ben maked goddes. ¶ and syn it is þus þat goode men ne faylen neuer mo of hire medes. ¶ certys no wise man ne may doute of þe vndepartable peyne of shrewes. ¶ þat is to seyn þat þe peyne of shrewes ne departiþ nat from hem self neuer mo. ¶ For so as goode and yuel and peyne and medes ben contrarie it mot nedes ben þat ryȝt as we seen by-tiden in gerdoun of goode. þat also mot þe peyne of yuel answere by þe contrarie partye to shrewes. now þan so as bounte and prowesse ben þe medes to goode folk. also is shrewednesse it self torment to shrewes ¶ þan who so þat euer is entecched and defouled wiþ yuel. yif shrewes wolen þan preisen hem self may it semen to hem þat þei ben wiþ outen partye of tourment. syn þei ben swiche þat þe [vtteriste wikkednesse / þat is to seyn wikkede thewes / which þat is the] outereste and þe w[or]ste kynde of shrewednesse ne defouliþ nat ne entecehiþ nat hem oonly but infectiþ and enuenemyþ hem gretely ¶ And al so loke on shrewes þat ben þe Page  121contrarie partye of goode men. how grete peyne felawshipeþ and folweþ hem. ¶ For þou hast lerned a litel here byforn þat al þing þat is and haþ beynge is oon. and þilke same oon is good. þan is þis consequence þat it semeþ wel. þat al þat is and haþ beynge is good. þis is to seyne. as who seiþ þat beynge and vnite and goodnesse is al oon. and in þis manere it folweþ þan. þat al þing þat faileþ to ben good. it styntiþ forto be. and forto haue any beynge. wher fore it is þat shrewes stynten forto ben þat þei weren. but þilke oþer forme of mankynde. þat is to seyne þe forme of þe body wiþ oute. shewiþ ȝit þat þise shrewes were somtyme men. ¶ wher fore whan þei ben peruerted and torned in to malice. certys þan han þei forlorn þe nature of mankynde. but so as oonly bounte and prowesse may enhawnse euery man ouer oþer men. þan mot it nedes be þat shrewes whiche þat shrewednesse haþ cast out of þe condicioun of mankynde ben put vndir þe merite and þe deserte of men. þan bitidiþ it þat yif þou seest a wyȝt þat be transformed in to vices. þou ne mayst nat wene þat he be a man. ¶ For ȝif he [be] ardaunt in auarice. and þat he be a rauynour by violence of foreine rychesse. þou shalt seyn þat he is lyke to a wolf. and yif he be felonous and wiþ out reste and exercise hys tonge to chidynges. þou shalt lykene hym to þe hounde. and yif he be a preue awaitour yhid and reioyseþ hym to rauysshe by wyles. þou shalt seyne hym lyke to þe fox whelpes. ¶ And yif he be distempre and quakiþ for ire men shal wene þat he bereþ þe corage of a lyoun. and yif he be dredeful and fleynge and dredeþ þinges þat ne auȝten nat ben dred. men Page  122shal holde hym lyke to þe herte. and yif he be slowe and astoned and lache. he lyueþ as an asse. and yif he be lyȝt and vnstedfast of corage and chaungeþ ay his studies. he is lickened to briddes. ¶ and yif he be plounged in foule and vnclene luxuries. he is wiþholden in þe foule delices of þe foule soowe. ¶ þan folweþ it þat he þat forletiþ bountee and prowesse. he forletiþ to ben a man. syn he ne may nat passe in to þe condicioun of god. he is tourned in to a beest.

[fol. 27b]

V[E]LA NARICII DUCIS.

Evrus þe wynde aryueþ þe sayles of vlixes duc of þe contre of narice. and hys wandryng shippes by þe see in to þe isle þere as Circe þe fayre goddesse douȝter of þe sonne dwelleþ þat medlyþ to hir newe gestes drynkes þat ben touched and maked wiþ enchauntmentȝ. and after þat hir hande myȝty of þe herbes had[de] chaunged hir gestes in to dyuerse maneres. þat oon of hem is couered his face wiþ forme of a boor. þat oþer is chaunged in to a lyoun of þe contre of marmorike. and his nayles and his teþe wexen. ¶ þat oþer of hem is newliche chaunged in to a wolf. and howeliþ whan he wolde wepe. þat oþer goþ debonairly in þe house as a tigre of Inde. but al be it so þat þe godhed of mercurie þat is cleped þe bride of arcadie haþ had mercie of þe duc vlixes byseged wiþ diuerse yueles and haþ vnbounden hym fro þe pestilence of hys oosteresse algates þe rowers and þe maryners hadden by þis ydrawen in to hir mouþes and dronken þe wicked[e] Page  123drynkes þei þat were woxen swyne hadden by þis chaunged hire mete of brede forto ete acorns of ookes. non of hir lymes ne dwelliþ wiþ hem hoole. but þei han lost þe voys and þe body. Oonly hire þouȝt dwelleþ wiþ hem stable þat wepiþ and bywailiþ þe monstruous chaungynge þat þei suffren. ¶ O ouer lyȝt hand. as who seiþ. ¶ O feble and lyȝt is þe hand of Circes þe enchaunteresse þat chaungeþ þe bodies of folk in to bestes to regarde and to comparisoun of mutacioun þat is makid by vices. ne þe herbes of circes ne ben nat myȝty. for al be it so þat þei may chaungen þe lymes of þe body. ¶ algates ȝit þei may nat chaunge þe hertes. for wiþ inne is yhid þe strengþe and þe vigour of men in þe secre toure of hire hertys. þat is to seyn þe strengþe of resoun. but þilke uenyms of vices todrawen a man to hem more myȝtily þan þe venym of circes. ¶ For vices ben so cruel þat þei percen and þoruȝ passen þe corage wiþ inne. and þouȝ þei ne anoye nat þe body. ȝitte vices wooden to distroien men by wounde of þouȝt.

TUNC EGO FATEOR INQUAM.

Þan seide I þus I confesse and am aknowe quod I. ne I ne se nat þat men may seyn as by ryȝt. þat shrewes ne ben nat chaunged in to beestes by þe qualite of hir soules. ¶ Al be it so þat þei kepen ȝitte þe forme of þe body of mankynde. but I nolde nat of shrewes of whiche þe þouȝt cruel woodeþ alwey in to destruccioun of good[e] men. þat it were leueful to hem to done þat. ¶ Certys quod she ne it nis nat leueful to hem as I shal wel shewen þe in couenable place. ¶ But naþeles yif so were þat þilke þat men wenen ben Page  124leueful for shrewes were bynomen hem. so þat þei ne myȝten nat anoyen or don harme to goode men. ¶ Certys a gret party of þe peyne to shrewes shulde ben allegged and releued. ¶ For al be it so þat þis ne seme nat credible þing perauenture to somme folk ȝit mot it nedes be þat shrewes ben more wrecches and vnsely. whan þei may don and performe þat þei coueiten [than yif they myhte nat complyssen þat they coueyten]. ¶ For yif so be þat it be wrecchednesse to wilne to don yuel.̉ þan is it more wrecchednesse to mowen don yuel. wiþ oute whiche moeuyng þe wrecched wille sholde languisshe wiþ oute effecte. ¶ þan syn þat eueryche of þise þinges haþ hys wrecchednesse. þat is to seyne wil to done yuel. and moeuynge to done yuel. it mot nedes be. þat þei (shrewes) ben constreyned by þre vnselynesses þat wolen and mowen and performen felonyes and shrewednesses. ¶ I accorde me quod I. but I desire gretely þat shrewes losten sone þilke vnselynesses. þat is to seyne þat shrewes were despoyled of moeuyng to don yuel. ¶ so shullen þei quod she. sonnere perauenture þen þou woldest [fol. 28] or sonnere þen þei hem self wenen to lakken mowynge to done yuel. ¶ For þere nis no þing so late in so short boundes of þis lijf þat is longe to abide. namelyche to a corage inmortel. Of whiche shrewes þe grete hope and þe heye compassyngus of shrewednesse is often destroyed by a sodeyne ende or þei ben war. and þat þing establiþ to shrewes þe ende of hir shrewednesse. ¶ For yif þat shrewednesse makiþe wrecches. þan mot he nedes be most wrecched þat lengest is a shrewe. þe whiche wicked shrewes wolde ydemen aldirmost vnsely and Page  125caytifs yif þat hir shrewednes ne were yfinissed. at þe leste weye by þe outerest[e] deeþ. for [yif] I haue concluded soþe of þe vnselynesse of shrewednesse. þan sheweþ it clerely þat þilke shrewednesse is wiþ outen ende þe whiche is certeyne to ben perdurable. ¶ Certys quod I þis [conclusion] is harde and wonderful to graunte. ¶ But I knowe wel þat it accordeþ moche to [the] þinges þat I haue graunted her byforne. ¶ þou hast quod she þe ryȝt estimacioun of þis. but who so euere wene þat it be an harde þing to acorde hym to a conclusioun. it is ryȝt þat he shewe þat somme of þe premisses ben fals. or ellys he mot shewe þat þe colasioun of preposiciouns nis nat spedful to a necessarie conclusioun. ¶ and yif it be nat so. but þat þe premisses ben ygranted þer nis nat whi he sholde blame þe argument. for þis þing þat I shal telle þe nowe ne shal not seme lasse wondirful. but of þe þinges þat ben taken al so it is necessarie as who so seiþ it folweþ of þat whiche þat is purposed byforn. what is þat quod I. ¶ certys quod she þat is þat þat þise wicked shrewes ben more blysful or ellys lasse wrecches. þat byen þe tourmentes þat þei han deserued. þan yif no peyne of Iustice ne chastied[e] hem. ne þis ne seye I nat now for þat any man myȝt[e] þenk[e] þat þe maneres of shrewes ben coriged and chastised by veniaunce. and þat þei ben brouȝt to þe ryȝt wey by þe drede of þe tourment. ne for þat þei ȝeuen to oþer folk ensample to fleyen from vices. ¶ But I vndirstonde ȝitte [in] an oþer manere þat shrewes ben more vnsely whan þei ne ben nat punissed al be it so þat þere ne ben had no resoun or lawe of correccioun. ne none ensample of lokynge. ¶ And what manere Page  126shal þat ben quod I. ouþer þan haþ ben told here byforn ¶ Haue we nat graunted þan quod she þat good[e] folk ben blysful. and shrewes ben wrecches. ȝis quod I. [thanne quod she] ȝif þat any good were added to þe wrecchenesse of any wyȝt. nis he nat more blisful þan he þat ne haþ no medelyng of goode in hys solitarie wrecchednesse. so semeþ it quod I. and what seyst þou þan quod she of þilke wrecche þat lakkeþ alle goodes. so þat no goode nis medeled in hys wrecchednesse. and ȝitte ouer alle hys wickednesse for whiche he is a wrecche þat þer be ȝitte anoþer yuel anexid and knyt to hym. shal not men demen hym more vnsely þan þilke wrecche of whiche þe vnselynesse is re[le]ued by þe participacioun of som goode. whi sholde he nat quod I. ¶ þan certys quod she han shrewes whan þei ben punissed somwhat of good anexid to hir wrecchednesse. þat is to seyne þe same peyne þat þei suffren whiche þat is good by þe resoun of Iustice. And whan þilke same shrewes ascapen wiþ outen tourment. þan han þei somwhat more of yuel ȝit ouer þe wickednesso þat þei han don. þat is to seye defaute of peyne. whiche defaute of peyne þou hast graunted is yuel. ¶ For þe desert of felonye I ne may nat denye it quod I. ¶ Moche more þan quod she ben shrewes vnsely whan þei ben wrongfully delyuered fro peyne. þan whan þei beþ punissed by ryȝtful vengeaunce. but þis is open þing and clere þat it is ryȝt þat shrewes ben punissed. and it is wickednesse and wrong þat þei escapin vnpunissed ¶who myȝt[e] denye [fol. 28b] þat quod I. but quod she may any man denye. þat al þat is ryȝt nis good. and also þe contrarie. þat alle þat is wrong nis Page  127wicked. certys quod I þise þinges ben clere ynouȝ. and þat we han concludid a litel here byforne. but I preye þe þat þou telle me yif þou accordest to leten no tourment to þe soules aftir þat þe body is dedid by þe deþe. þis [is] to seyn. vndirstondest þou ouȝt þat soules han any tourment after þe deþe of þe body. ¶ Certis quod she ȝe and þat ryȝt grete. of whiche soules quod she I trowe þat somme ben tourmentid by asprenesse of peyne. and somme soules I trowe be excercised by a purging mekenesse. but my conseil nys nat to determyne of þis peyne. but I haue trauayled and told it hider to. ¶ For þou sholdest knowe þat þe mowynge [.i. myght] of shrewes whiche mowynge þe semeþ to ben. vnworþi nis no mowynge. and eke of shrewes of whiche þou pleynedest þat þei ne were nat punissed. þat þou woldest seen þat þei ne weren neuer mo wiþ outen þe torment of hire wickednesse. and of þe licence of mowynge to done yuel. þat þou preidest þat it myȝt[e] sone ben endid. and þat þou woldest fayne lerne. þat it ne sholde nat longe endure. and þat shrewes ben more vnsely yif þei were of lenger duryng. and most vnsely yif þei weren perdurable. and after þis I haue shewed þe þat more vnsely ben shrewes whan þei escapen wiþ oute ryȝtful peyne. þan whan þei ben punissed by ryȝtful uengeaunce. and of þis sentence folweþ it þat þan ben shrewes constreyned atte laste wiþ most greuous tourment. whan men wene þat þei ne ben nat ypunissed. whan I considre þi resouns quod I. I. ne trowe nat þat men seyn any þing more verrely. and yif I tourne aȝeyn to þe studies of men. who is [he] to whom it sholde seme þat [he] ne sholde nat only leuen þise þinges. but eke gladly herkene hem. Certys quod Page  128she so it is. but men may nat. for þei han hire eyen so wont to derkenesse of erþely þinges. þat þei may nat liften hem vp to þe lyȝt of clere soþefastnes. ¶ But þei ben lyke to briddes of whiche þe nyȝt lyȝtneþ hyre lookyng. and þe day blyndeþ hem. for whan men loken nat þe ordre of þinges but hire lustes and talentȝ. þei wene þat oþir þe leue or þe mowynge to done wickednesse or ellys þe escaping wiþ oute peyne be weleful. but considere þe iugement of þe perdurable lawe. for if þou conferme þi corage to þe beste þinges. þou ne hast no nede to no iuge to ȝiuen þe pris or meede. for þou hast ioigned þi self to þe most excellent þing. and yif þou haue enclined þi studies to þe wicked þinges. ne seek no foreyn wrekere out of þi self. for þou þi self hast þrest þe in to wicked þinges. ryȝt as þou myȝtest loken by dyuerse tymes þe foule erþe and þe heuene. and þat alle oþer þinges stynten fro wiþ oute. so þat þou [nere neyther in heuene ne in erthe] ne say[e] no þing more. þan sholde it semen to þe as by only resoun of lokynge. þat þou were in þe sterres. and now in þe erþe. but þe poeple ne lokeþ nat on þise þinges. what þan shal we þan approchen vs to hem þat I haue shewed þat þei ben lyke to þe bestes. (q. d. non) ¶ And what wilt þou seyne of þis ¶ yif þat a man hadde al forlorn hys syȝt. and had[de] forȝeten þat he euer saw and wende þat no þing ne fayled[e] hym of perfeccioun of mankynde. now we þat myȝten sen þe same þing wolde we nat wene þat he were blynde (q. d. sic). ne also ne accordeþ nat þe poeple to þat I shal seyne. þe whiche þing is susteyned by a stronge foundement of resouns. þat is to seyn þat more vnsely ben þei Page  129þat don wrong to oþer folk. þen þei þat þe wrong suffren. ¶ I wolde heren þilke [fol. 29] same resouns quod I ¶ Deniest þou quod she þat alle shrewes ne ben worþi to han tourment. nay quod I. but quod she I am certeyne by many resouns þat shrewes ben vnsely. it accordeþ quod I. þan [ne] dowtest þou nat quod she þat þilke folk þat ben worþi of tourment þat þei ne ben wrecches. It accordeþ wel quod I. yif þou were þan quod she yset a Iuge or a knower of þinges. wheþer trowest þou þat men sholde tourment[e] hym þat haþ don þe wronge. or hym þat haþ suffred þe wronge. I ne doute nat quod I. þat I nolde don suffissaunt satisfaccioun to hym þat had[de] suffred þe wrong by þe sorwe of hym þat had[de] don þe wronge. ¶ þan semeþ it quod she þat þe doar of wrong is more wrecche þan he þat haþ suffred þe wrong. þat folweþ wel quod [I]. þan quod she by þise causes and by oþer causes þat ben enforced by þe same roate þat filþe or synne by þe propre nature of it makeþ men wrecches. and it sheweþ wel þat þe wrong þat men don nis nat þe wrecchenesse of hym þat receyueþ þe wrong. but þe wrecchednesse of hym þat doþ þe wronge ¶ but certys quod she þise oratours or aduocatȝ don al þe contrarie for þei enforcen hem to commoeue þe iuges to han pite of hem þat han suffred and resceyued þe þinges þat ben greuous and aspre. and ȝitte men sholden more ryȝtfully han pitee on hem þat don þe greuaunces and þe wronges. þe whiche shrewes it were a more couenable þing þat þe accusours or aduocatȝ not wroþe but pitous and debonaire ladden þe shrewes þat han don wrong to þe Iugement. ryȝt as men leden seke folk to þe leche. for þat þei sholden seken out þe maladies of synne by Page  130tourmentȝ. and by þis couenaunt eyþer þe entent of þe defendours or aduocatȝ sholde fayle and cesen in al. or ellys yif þe office of aduocatȝ wolde bettre profiten to men. it sholde be tourned in to þe habit of accusacioun. þat is [to] s[e]yn þei sholden accuse shrewes. and nat excuse hem. and eke þe shrewes hem self. ȝit it were leueful to hem to seen at any clifte þe vertue þat þei han forleten. and sawen þat þei sholde putten adoun þe filþes of hire vices by [the] tourmentȝ of peynes. þei ne auȝten nat ryȝt for þe recompensacioun forto geten hem bounte and prowesse whiche þat þei han lost demen ne holden þat þilke peynes weren tourmentes to hem. and eke þei wolden refuse þe attendaunce of hir aduocatȝ and taken hem self to hire iuges and to hir accusours. for whiche it bytideþ [þat] as to þe wise folk þer nis no place ylete to hate. þat is to seyn. þat hate ne haþ no place amonges wise men. ¶ For no wyȝt wolde haten gode men. but yif he were ouer moche a fole. ¶ and forto haten shrewes it nis no resoun. ¶ For ryȝt so as languissing is maladie of body. ryȝt so ben vices and synne maladies of corage. ¶ and so as we ne deme nat þat þei þat ben seek of hire body ben worþi to ben hated. but raþer worþi of pite. wel more worþi nat to ben hated. but forto ben had in pite ben þei of whiche þe þouȝtes ben constreined by felonous wickednesse. þat is more cruel þan any languissinge of body.

QUID TANTOS IUUAT.

What deliteþ it ȝow to exciten so grete moewynges of hatredes and to hasten and bisien [the] fatal disposicioun of ȝoure deeþ wiþ ȝoure propre handes. þat is to seyn by batailes or [by] contek. for yif ȝe axen þe Page  131deeþ it hastisiþ hym of hys owen wille. ne deeþ ne tarieþ nat hys swifte hors. and [the] men þat þe serpentȝ and þe lyouns. and þe tigre. and þe beere and þe boore seken to sleen wiþ her teþe. ȝit þilke same men seken to sleen eueryche of hem oþer wiþ swerde. loo for her maners ben [fol. 29b] diuerse and discordaunt ¶ þei moeuen vnryȝtful oostes and cruel batailes. and wilne to perisse by enterchaungynge of dartes. but þe resoun of cruelte nis nat ynouȝ ryȝtful. wilt þou þan ȝelden a couenable gerdoun to þe desertes of men ¶ Loue ryȝtfully goode folk.̉ and haue pite on shrewes.

HINC EGO UIDEO INQUAM. ET CETERA.

Þus see I wel quod I. eyþer what blisfulnesse or ellys what vnselinesse is estab[l]issed in þe desertys of goode men and of shrewes. ¶ but in þis ilke fortune of poeple I see somwhat of goode. and somwhat of yuel. for no wise man haþ nat leuer ben exiled pore and nedy and nameles. þan forto dwellen in hys Citee and flouren of rychesses. and be redoutable by honoure. and stronge of power for in þis wise more clerely and more witnesfully is þe office of wise men ytretid whan þe blisfulnes and [the] pouste of gouernours is as it were yshad amonges poeples þat ben neyȝboures and subgitȝ. syn þat namely prisoun lawe and þise oþer tourmentȝ of lawful peynes ben raþer owed to felonous Citeȝeins. for þe whiche felonous Citeȝeins þo peynes ben establissed. þan for goode folk. ¶ þan I merueile me gretly quod I. whi [þat] þe þinges ben so mys entrechaunged. þat tourmentȝ of felounes pressen and confounden goode folk. and shrewes rauyssen medes of Page  132vertue and ben in honours. and in grete estatis. and I desire eke to witen of þe. what semeþ þe to ben þe resoun of þis so wrongful a confusioun ¶ For I wolde wondre wel þe lasse yif I trowed[e] þat alle þise þinges were medeled by fortuouse hap. ¶ But now hepeþ and encreseþ myne astonyenge god gouernour of þinges. þat so as god ȝeueþ ofte tymes to good[e] men goodes and myrþes. and to shrewes yuel and aspre þinges. and ȝeueþ aȝeynewarde to goode folk hardnesse. and to shrewes [he] graunteþ hem her wille and þat þei desiren. what difference þan may þer be bitwixen þat þat god doþ. and þe hap of fortune. yif men ne knowe nat þe cause whi þat [it] is. it nis no merueile quod she þouȝ þat men wenen þat þer be somwhat folysche and confus whan þe resoun of þe order is vnknowe. ¶ But alle þouȝ þou ne know nat þe cause of so gret a disposicioun. naþeles for as moche as god þe good[e] gouernour attempreþ and gouerneþ þe world. ne doute þe nat þat alle þinges ne ben doon aryȝt.

SI QUIS ARCTURI*. [MS. arituri]SYDERA.

Who so þat ne knowe nat þe sterres of arctour ytourned neye to þe souereyne contre or point. þat is to seyne ytourned neye to þe souereyne pool of þe firmament and woot nat whi þe sterre boetes passeþ or gaderiþ his wey[n]es. and drencheþ his late flaumbes in þe see. and whi þat boetes þe sterre vnfoldiþ his ouer swifte arisynges. þan shal he wondren of þe lawe of þe heye eyre. and eke if þat he ne knowe nat why þat þe hornes of þe ful[le] moene waxen pale and infect by þe boundes of þe derke nyȝt ¶ and how þe moene dirk Page  133 and confuse discouereþ þe sterres. þat she had[de] ycouered by hir clere visage. þe commune errour moeueþ folk and makiþ wery hir bacines of bras by þikke strookes. þat is to seyne þat þer is a maner poeple þat hyȝt[e] coribandes þat wenen þat whan þe moone is in þe eclips þat it be enchauntid. and þerfore forto rescowe þe moone þei betyn hire basines wiþ þikke strokes. ¶ Ne no man ne wondreþ whan þe blastes of þe wynde chorus betyn þe strondes of þe see by quakynge floodes. ne no man ne wondreþ whan þe weyȝte of þe snowe yhardid by þe colde. is resolued by þe brennynge hete of phebus þe sonne. ¶ For here seen men redyly þe causes. but þe [fol. 30] causes yhid þat is to seye in heuene trouble þe brestes of men. ¶ þe mocueable poeple is a-stoned of alle þinges þat comen selde and sodeynely in oure age. but yif þe troubly errour of oure ignorance departid[e] from vs. so þat we wisten þe causes whi þat swiche þinges bitiden. certys þei sholden cesse to seme wondres.

ITA EST INQUAM.

Þvs is it quod I. but so as þou hast ȝeuen or byhyȝt me to vnwrappen þe hidde causes of þinges ¶ and to discoueren me þe resouns couered with dirknesses I preye þe þat þou diuise and Iuge me of þis matere. and þat þou do me to vndrestonden it. ¶ For þis miracle or þis wondre troubleþ me ryȝt gretely. and þan she a htel [what] smylyng seide. ¶ þou clepest me quod she to telle þing. þat is grettest of alle þinges þat mowen ben axed. ¶ And to þe whiche questioun vnneþ[e]s is þere auȝt ynow to lauen it. as who seiþ. vnneþes is þer suffisauntly any þing to answere perfitly to þi questioun. Page  134¶ For þe matere of it is swiche þat whan oon doute is determined and kut awey þer wexen oþer doutes wiþouten noumbre. ryȝt as þe heuedes waxen of ydre þe serpent þat hercules slouȝ. ¶ Ne þere ne were no manere ne noon ende. but yif þat a wyȝt constreined[e] þo doutes. by a ryȝt lyuely and a quik fire of þouȝt. þat is to seyn by vigour and strengþe of witte. ¶ For in þis matere men weren wont to maken questiouns of þe simplicite of þe purueaunce of god and of þe ordre of destine. and of sodeyne hap. and of þe knowyng and predestinacioun deuine and of þe lyberte of fre wille. þe whiche þing þou þi self aperceiust wel of what weyȝt þei ben. but for as mochel as þe knowynge of þise þinges is a manere porcioun to þe medicine to þe. al be it so þat I haue lytel tyme to don it. ȝit naþeles I wole enforcen me to shewe somwhat of it. ¶ but al þouȝ þe norissinges of dite of musike deliteþ þe þow most suffren. and forberen a litel of þilk delite while þat I weue (contexo) to þe resouns yknyt by ordre ¶ As it likeþ to þe quod I so do. ¶ þo spak she ryȝt a[s] by an oþer bygynnyn[ge] and seide þus. ¶ þe engendrynge of alle þinges quod she and alle þe progressiouns of muuable nature. and alle þat moeueþ in any manere takiþ hys causes. hys ordre. and hys formes. of þe stablenesse of þe deuyne þouȝt [and thilke deuyne thowht] þat is yset and put in þe toure. þat is to seyne in þe heyȝt of þe simplicite of god. stablisiþ many manere gyses to þinges þat ben to don. ¶ þe whiche manere whan þat men loken it in þilke pure clerenesse of þe deuyne intelligence. it is ycleped purueaunce ¶ but whan þilke manere is referred Page  135by men to þinges þat it moeueþ and disponeþ þan of olde men. it was cleped destine. ¶ þe whiche þinges yif þat any wyȝt lokeþ wel in his þouȝt. þe strengþe of þat oon and of þat oþer he shal lyȝtly mowen seen þat þise two þinges ben diuers. ¶ For purueaunce is þilke deuyne resoun þat is establissed in þe soucreyne prince of þinges. þe whiche purueaunce disponiþ alle þinges. but destine is þe disposicioun and ordenaunce cleuynge to moeuable þinges. by þe whiche disposicioun þe purueaunce knyteþ alle þinges in hire ordres. ¶ For purueaunce enbraceþ alle þinges to hepe. al þouȝ þat þei ben dyuerse and al þouȝ þei ben wiþ outen fyn. but destynie departeþ and ordeyneþ alle þinges singlerly and diuideþ. in moeuynges. in places. in formes. in tymes. departiþ [as] þus. so þat þe vnfoldyng of temporel ordenaunce assembled and ooned in þe lokyng of þe deuyne þouȝt ¶ Is purueaunce and þilke same assemblynge. and oonyng diuided and vnfolden by tymes. lat þat ben called destine. and al be [fol. 30b] it so þat þise þinges ben dyuerse. ȝitte naþeles hangeþ þat oon on þat oþer. forwhi þe ordre destinal procediþ of þe simplicite of purueaunce. for ryȝt as a werkman þat aperceiueþ in hys þouȝt þe forme of þe þing þat he wil make moeueþ þe effect of þe werke. and lediþ þat he had[de] loked byforne in hys þouȝt symply and presently by temporel þou;t. ¶ Certys ryȝt so god disponiþ in hys purueaunce singlerly and stably þe þinges þat ben to done. but he amynistreþ in many maneres and in dyuerse tymes by destyne. þilke same þinges þat he haþ disponed þan wheþir þat destine be excercised. eyþer by somme dyuyne spirites seruaunteȝ to þe deuyne purueaunce. or ellys by somme soule (animaPage  136mundi). or ellys by al nature seruynge to god. or ellys by þe celestial moeuyng of sterres. or ellys by þe vertue of aungels. or ellys by þe dyuerse subtilite of deueles. or ellys by any of hem. or ellys by hem alle þe destynal ordynaunce is ywouen or accomplissed. certys it is open þing þat þe purueaunce is an vnmoeueable and symple forme of þinges to done. and þe moeueable bonde and þe temporel ordynaunce of þinges whiche þat þe deuyne simplicite of purueaunce haþ ordeyned to done. þat is destine. For whiche it is þat alle þinges þat ben put vndir destine ben certys subgitȝ to purueaunce. to whiche purueaunce destine it self is subgit and vndir. ¶ But somme þinges ben put vndir purueaunce þat sourmounten þe ordinaunce of destine. and þo ben þilke þat stably ben yficched ney to þe first godhed þei sourmounten þe ordre of destinal moeuablite. ¶ For ryȝt as cercles þat tournen aboute a same Centre or about a poynt. þilke cercle þat is inrest or moost wiþynne ioineþ to þe symplesse of þe myddel and is as it were a Centre or a poynt to þat oþer cercles þat tournen abouten hym. ¶ and þilke þat is outerest compased by larger envyronnynge is vnfolden by larger spaces in so mochel as it is forþest fro þe mydel symplicite of þe poynt. and yif þer be any þing þat knytteþ and felawshippeþ hym selfe to þilke mydel poynt it is constreyned in to symplicite. þat is to seyn in to [vn]moeueablete. and it ceseth to ben shad and to fletin dyuersly. ¶ Ryȝt so by semblable resoun. þilke þinge þat departiþ firþest fro þe first þouȝt of god. it is vnfolden and summittid to grettere bondes of destine. and in so moche is þe þing more free and lovs fro destyne as it axeþ and Page  137holdeþ hym ner to þilke Centre of þinges þat is to seyne god. ¶ and if þe þinge cleueþ to þe stedfastnesse of þe þouȝt of god. and be wiþ oute moeuyng certys it sourmounteþ þe necessite of destyne. þan ryȝt swiche comparisoun as [it] is of skilynge to vndirstondyng and of þing þat is engendred to þing þat is. and of tyme to eternite. and of þe cercle to þe Centre. ryȝt so is þe ordre of moeueable destine to þe stable symplicite of purueaunce. ¶ þilke ordinaunce moeueþ þe heuene and þe sterres and attempreþ þe elymentȝ to gider amonges hem self. and transformeþ hem by enterchaungable mutacioun. ¶ and þilke same ordre neweþ aȝein alle þinges growyng and fallyng a-doune by sembleables progressiouns of seedes and of sexes. þat is to sein. male and female. and þis ilke ordre constreyneþ þe fortunes and þe dedes of men by a bonde of causes nat able to ben vnbounden (indissolubili). þe whiche destinal causes whanne þei passen oute fro þe bygynnynges of þe vnmoeueable purueaunce it mot nedes be þat þei ne be nat mutable. and þus ben þe þinges ful wel ygouerned. yif þat þe symplicite dwellynge [fol. 31] in þe deuyne þouȝt sheweþ furþe þe ordre of causes. vnable to be I-bowed. and þis ordre constreyneþ by hys propre stablete þe moeueable þinges. or ellys þei sholde fleten folily for whiche it is þat alle þinges semen to be confus and trouble to vs men. for we ne mowe nat considere þilke ordinaunce. ¶ Naþeles þe propre manere of euery þing dressynge hem to goode disponit hem alle. for þere nis no þinge don for cause of yuel. ne þilke þing þat is don by wicked[e] folk nis nat don for yuel þe whiche shrewes as I haue shewed [ful] plentiuously Page  138seken goode. but wicked errour mystourniþ hem. ¶ Ne þe ordre comynge fro þe poynt of souereyne goode ne declineþ nat fro hys bygynnynge. but þou mayst sein what vnreste may ben a wors confusioun þan þat goode men han somme tyme aduersite. and somtyme prosperite. ¶ and shrewes also han now þinges þat þei desiren. and now þinges þat þei haten ¶ wheþer men lyuen now in swiche hoolnesse of þouȝt. as who seiþ. ben men now so wise. þat swiche folk as þei demen to ben goode folk or shrewes þat it mot nedes ben þat folk ben swiche as þei wenen. but in þis manere þe domes of men discorden. þat þilke men þat somme folk demen worþi of mede. oþer folk demen hem worþi of tourment. but lat vs graunt[e] I pose þat som man may wel demen or knowen þe goode folk and þe badde. May he þan knowen and seen þilke inrest attemperaunce of corages. as it haþ ben wont to be said of bodyes. as who saiþ may a man speken and determine of attemperaunce in corages. as men were wont to demen or speken of complexiouns and attemperaunces of bodies (q' non). ne it [ne] is nat an vnlyke miracle to hem þat ne knowen it nat. ¶ As who seiþ. but is lyke a merueil or a miracle to hem þat ne knowen it nat. whi þat swete þinges [ben] couenable to some bodies þat ben hool and to some bodies bittre þinges ben couenable. and also whi þat some seke folk ben holpen with lyȝt medicines [and some folk ben holpen with sharppe medicynes] but naþeles þe leche þat knoweþ þe manere and þe attemperaunce of heele and of maladie ne merueileþ of it no þing. but what oþer þing semeþ hele of corages but bounte and prowesse. and what oþer þing semeþ maladie of corages but vices. who is ellys kepere of good or Page  139dryuere awey of yuel but god gouernour and leecher of þouȝtes. þe whiche god whan he haþ by-holden from þe heye toure of hys purueaunce he knoweþ what is couenable to euery wyȝt. and leneþ hem þat he wot [þat] is couenable to hem. Loo here of comeþ and here of is don þis noble miracle of þe ordre destinal. whan god þat alle knoweþ doþ swiche þing. of whiche þing [þat] vnknowyng folk ben astoned but forto constreine as who seiþ ¶ But forto comprehende and telle a fewe þinges of þe deuyne depnesse þe whiche þat mans resoun may vnderstonde. ¶ þilk man þat þou wenest to ben ryȝt Iuste and ryȝt kepyng of equite. þe contrarie of þat semeþ to þe deuyne purueaunce þat al woot. ¶ And lucan my familier telleþ þat þe victories cause liked[e] to þe goddes and causes ouercomen liked[e] to catoun. þan what so euer þou mayst seen þat is don in þis [world] vnhoped or vnwened. certys it is þe ryȝt[e] ordre of þinges. but as to þi wicked[e] oppinioun it is a confusioun. but I suppose þat som man be so wel yþewed. þat þe deuyne Iugement and þe Iugement of mankynde accorden hem to gidre of hym. but he is so vnstedfast of corage [þat] yif any aduersite come to hym he wolde for-leten perauenture to continue innocence by þe whiche he ne may nat wiþholden fortune. ¶ þan þe wise dispensacioun of god spareþ hym þe whiche manere aduersite [fol. 31b] myȝt[e] enpeyren. ¶ For þat god wil nat suffren hym to trauaile. to whom þat trauayl nis nat couenable. ¶ An oþer man is perfit in alle uertues. and is an holy man and neye to god so þat þe purueaunce of god wolde demen þat it were a felony þat he were touched wiþ any aduersites. so þat he ne Page  140wil nat suffre þat swiche a man be moeued wiþ any manere maladie. ¶ But so as seide a philosophre [the moore excellent by me]. þe aduersites comen nat (he seide in grec.̉) þere þat uertues han edified þe bodie of þe holy man. and ofte tyme it bitideþ þat þe somme of þinges þat ben to don is taken to good folk to gouerne. for þat þe malice habundaunt of shrewes sholde ben abatid. and god ȝeueþ and departiþ to oþer folk prosp[er]ites and aduersites ymedeled to hepe aftir þe qualite of hire corages and remordiþ som folk by aduersites. for þei ne sholden nat wexen proude by longe welefulnesse. and oþer folk he suffreþ to ben trauayled wiþ harde þinges. ¶ For þat þei sholden conferme þe vertues of corage by þe vsage and exercitacioun of pacience. and oþer folke dreden more þen þei auȝten þe wiche þei myȝt[en] wel beren. and þilke folk god lediþ in to experience of hem self by aspre and sorweful þinges. ¶ And many oþer folk han bouȝt honorable renoune of þis worlde by þe pris of glorious deeþ. and som men þat ne mowen nat ben ouer-comen by tourment han ȝeuen ensample to oþer folk þat vertue ne may nat be ouer-comen by aduersites. ¶ and of alle þise þinges þer nis no doute þat þei ne ben don ryȝtfully and ordeinly to þe profit of hem to whom we seen þise þinges bitide. ¶ For certys þat aduersite comeþ some tyme to shrewes. and some tyme þat þei desiren it comeþ of þise forseide causes and of sorweful þinges þat bytyden to shrewes. Certys no man ne wondreþ. For alle men wenen þat þei han wel deserued it. and þei ben of wicked merite of whiche Page  141shrewes þe tourment som tyme agasteþ oþer to done folies. and som tyme it amendeþ hem þat suffren þe tourmentis. ¶ And þe prosperite þat is ȝeuen to shrewes sheweþ a grete argument to good[e] folk what þing þei sholde demen of þilk wilfulnesse þe whiche prosperite men seen ofte serue to shrewes. in þe whiche þing I trowe þat god dispensiþ. for perauenture þe nature of som man is so ouerþrowyng to yuel and so vncouenable þat þe nedy pouerte of hys house-hold myȝt[e] raþer egren hym to done felonies. and to þe maladie of hym god puttiþ remedie to ȝiuen hym rychesse. and som oþer man byholdiþ hys conscience defouled wiþ synnes and makiþ comparisoun of his fortune and of hym self ¶ and drediþ perauenture þat hys blisfulnesse of whiche þe vsage is ioyful to hym þat þe lesynge of þilke blisfulnesse ne be nat sorweful to hym. and þerfore he wol chaunge hys maneres. and for he drediþ to lese hys fortune. he forletiþ hys wickednesse. to oþer folk is welefulnesse yȝeuen vnworþily þe whiche ouerþroweþ hem in to destruccioun þat þei han deserued. and to som oþer folk is ȝeuen power to punissen. for þat it shal be cause of continuacioun and exercisinge to good[e] folk. and cause of tourment to shrewes. ¶ For so as þer nis none alyaunce bytwixe good[e] folke and shrewes. ne shrewes ne mowen nat accorden amonges hem self and whi nat. for shrewes discorden of hem self by her vices þe whiche vices al to renden her consciences. and don oft[e] tyme þinges þe whiche þinges whan þei han don hem. þei demen þat þo þinges ne sholde nat han ben don. for whiche þinge þilke soucreyne purueaunce haþ maked oft[e] tyme Page  142[faire] miracle so þat shrewes han maked oftyme shrewes to ben good[e] men. for whan þat som shrewes [fol. 32] seen þat þei suffren wrongfully felonies of oþer shrewes þei wexen eschaufed in to hat[e] of hem þat anoien hem. and retournen to þe fruit of uertue. when þei studien to ben vnlyke to hem þat þei han hated. ¶ Certys þis only is þe deuyne myȝt to þe whiche myȝt yueles ben þan good. whan it vseþ þo yueles couenably and draweþ out þe effect of any good. as who seiþ þat yuel is good oonly by þe myȝt of god. for þe myȝt of god ordeyneþ þilk yuel to good. For oon ordre enbrasiþ alle þinges. so þat what wyȝt [þat] departiþ fro þe resoun of þe ordre whiche þat is assigned to hym. algates ȝit he slideþ in to an oþer ordre. so þat noþing nis leueful to folye in þe realme of þe deuyne purueaunce. as who seiþ no þing nis wiþouten ordinaunce in þe realme of þe deuyne purueaunce. ¶ Syn þat þe ryȝt strong[e] god gouerniþ alle þinges in þis worlde for it nis nat leueful to no man to comprehenden by witte ne vnfolden by worde alle þe subtil ordinaunces and disposiciouns of þe deuyne entent. for oonly it auȝt[e] suffice to han loked þat god hym self makere of alle natures ordeyniþ and dressiþ alle þinges to good. while þat he hastiþ to wiþhalden þe þinges þat he haþ maked in to hys semblaunce. þat is to seyn forto wiþholden þinges in to good. for he hym self is good he chaseþ oute al yuel of þe boundes of hys communalite by þe ordre of necessite destinable. For whiche it folweþ þat yif þou loke þe purueaunce ordeynynge þe þinges þat men wenen ben haboundaunt in erþes. þou ne shalt not seen in no place no þing of yuel. ¶ but I se now þat Page  143þou art charged wiþ þe weyȝte of þe questiou[n] and wery wiþ lengþe of my resoun. and þat þou abidest som swetnesse of songe. tak þan þis drauȝt and whan þou art wel refresshed and refet þou shalt ben more stedfast to stye in to heyere questiouns.

SI UIS CELSI IURA.

Yif þou wolt demen in þi pure þouȝt þe ryȝtes or þe lawes of þe heye þund[ere]re. þat is to seyne of god. loke þou and bihold þe heyȝtes of souereyne heuene. ¶ þere kepen þe sterres by ryȝtful alliaunee of þinges hir olde pees. þe sonne ymoeued by hys rody fire. ne destourbiþ nat þe colde cercle of þe moone. ¶ Ne þe sterre yclepid þe bere. þat encliniþ hys rauyssynge courses abouten þe souereyne heyȝt of þe worlde. ne þe same sterre vrsa nis neuer mo wasshen in þe depe westerne see. ne coueitiþ nat to dyȝen hys flaumbes in þe see of [the] occian. al þouȝ he see oþer sterres yplounged in to þe see. ¶ And hesperus þe sterre bodiþ and telliþ alwey þe late nyȝtes. And lucifer þe sterre bryngeþ aȝeyne þe clere day. ¶ And þus makiþ loue enterchaungeable þe perdurable courses. and þus is discordable bataile yput oute of þe contre of þe sterres. þis accordaunce attempreþ by euene-lyke manere[s] þe elementes. þat þe moyste þinges striuen nat wiþ þe drye þinges. but ȝiuen place by stoundes. and þat þe colde þinges ioynen hem by feiþ to þe hote þinges. and þat þe lyȝt[e] fyre arist in to heyȝte. and þe heuy erþes aualen by her weyȝtes. ¶ by þise same cause þe floury yere ȝeldeþ swote smellys in þe fyrste somer sesoun warmynge. and þe hote somer dryeþ þe cornes. and Page  144autumpne comeþ aȝeyne heuy of apples. and þe fletyng reyne bydeweþ þe wynter. þis attemperaunce noryssiþ and brynggeþ furþe al þinge þat brediþ lyfe in þis worlde. ¶ and þilk same attemperaunce rauyssyng hideþ and bynymeþ and drencheþ vndir þe last[e] deþe alle [fol. 32b] þinges yborn. ¶ Amonges þise þinges sitteþ þe heye makere kyng and lorde. welle and bygynnynge. lawe and wise Iuge. to don equite and gouerniþ and encliniþ þe bridles of þinges. and þo þinges þat he stireþ to don by moeuynge he wiþdraweþ and arestiþ and affermiþ þe moeueable or wandryng þinges. ¶ For ȝif þat he ne clepiþ nat aȝein þe ryȝt goynge of þinges. and ȝif þat he ne constreyned[e] hem nat eftesones in to roundenesse enclined þe þinges þat ben now continued by stable ordinaunce. þei sholde deperten from hir welle. þat is to sein from hir bygynnynge and failen. þat is to sein tournen in to nauȝt. ¶ þis is þe commune loue of alle þinges. and alle þinges axen to be holden by þe fyn of good. For ellys ne myȝten þei nat lasten yif þei ne come nat eftesones aȝeine by loue retourned to þe cause þat haþ ȝeuen hem beynge. þat is to seyn to god.

IAM NE IGITUR UIDES.

Sest þou nat þan what þing folweþ alle þe þinges þat I haue seid. what þing quod I. ¶ Certys quod she outerly þat al fortune is good. and how may þat be quod .I. ¶ Now vndirstand quod she so as [alle fortune wheyther so it be Ioyeful fortune / or aspre] fortune is ȝiuen eiþer by cause of gerdonynge or ellys of exercisynge of goode folk or ellys by cause to punissen. Page  145or ellys to chastysen shrewes. ¶ þan is alle fortune good. þe whiche fortune is certeyne þat it be eiþer ryȝtful or profitable. ¶ For soþe þis is a ful verray resoun quod I. and yif I considere þe purueaunce and þe destine þat þou tauȝtest me a litel here byforne þis sentence is susteyned by stedfast resouns. but yif it like vnto þe lat vs noumbre hem amonges þilk[e] þinges of whiche þou seidest a litel here byforne þat þei ne were nat able to ben ywened to þe poeple. ¶ whi so quod she. for þat þe comune worde of men mysusiþ quod I. þis manere speche of fortune. and sein ofte tymes [þat] þe fortune of som wyȝt is wicked. wilt þou þan quod she þat I proche a litel to þe wordes of þe poeple so it seme nat to hem þat I be ouer moche departid as fro þe vsage of man kynde. as þou wolt quod I. ¶ Demest þou nat quod she þat al þing þat profitiþ is good. ȝis quod I. certis þilk þing þat exercisiþ or corigiþ profitiþ. I confesse it wel quod I. þan is it good quod she. whi nat quod I. but þis is þe fortune [quod she] of hem þat eiþer ben put in vertue and batailen aȝeins aspre þinges. or ellys of hem þat eschewen and declinen fro vices and taken þe weye of vertue. ¶ þis ne may nat I denye quod I ¶ But what seist þou of þe myrye fortune þat is ȝeuen to good folk in gerdoun deuiniþ ouȝt þe poeples þat it is wicked. nay forsoþe quod I. but þei demen as it soþe is þat it is ryȝt good. ¶ And what seist þou of þat oþer fortune quod she. þat al þouȝ it be aspre and restreiniþ þe shrewes by ryȝtful tourment. weniþ ouȝt þe poeple þat it be good. nay quod I. ¶ But þe poeple demiþ þat it be most wrecched of alle þinges þat may ben þouȝt. war now and loke wel quod she lest þat we in folwyng þe opynioun of poeple haue confessed Page  146and concluded þing þat is vnable to be wened to þe poeple. what is þat quod I ¶ Certys quod she it folweþ or comeþ of þinges þat ben graunted þat alle fortune what so euer it be. of hem þat eyþer ben in possessioun of vertue. [or in the encres of vertu] or ellys in þe purchasynge of vertue. þat þilke fortune is good. ¶ And þat alle fortune is ryȝt wicked to hem þat dwellen in shrewednesse. as who seiþ. and þus weneþ nat þe poeple. ¶ þat is soþe quod I. ¶ Al be it so þat noman dar confessen it ne byknowen it. ¶ whi so quod she. For ryȝt as no strong man ne semeþ nat to abassen or disdaignen as [fol. 33] ofte tyme as he hereþ þe noise of þe bataile. ne also it ne semeþ nat to þe wyse man to beren it greuously as oft[e] as he is lad in to þe strif of fortune. for boþe to þat on man and eke to þat oþer þilke difficulte is þe matere to þat oon man of encrese of his glorious renoun. and to þat oþer man to conferme hys sapience. þat is to seine þe asprenesse of hys estat. ¶ For þerfore is it called uertue. for þat it susteniþ and enforceþ by hys strengþes þat it nis nat ouer-comen by aduersites. ¶ Ne certys þou þat art put in þe encrese or in þe heyȝt of uertue ne hast nat comen to fleten wiþ delices and forto welken in bodyly lust. ¶ þou sowest or plauntest a ful egre bataile in þi corage aȝeins euery fortune. for þat þe sorweful fortune ne confounde þe nat. ne þat þe myrye fortune ne corrumpe þe nat. ¶ Occupy þe mene by stedfast strengþes. for al þat euer is vndir þe mene. or ellys al þat ouer-passeþ þe mene despiseþ welefulnesses. ¶ As who seiþ. it is vicious and ne haþ no mede of hys trauaile. ¶ For it is set in ȝoure hand. as who seiþ it lieþ in ȝoure power what fortune ȝow is leuest. þat is to seyne good or yuel. ¶ For alle fortune Page  147þat semeþ sharpe or aspre yif it ne exercise nat þe good folk. ne chastisiþ þe wicked folk. it punisseþ.

BELLA BIS QUENIS. ET CETERA.

Þe wrekere attrides ¶ þat is to seyne agamenon þat wrouȝt[e] and continued[e] þe batailes by ten ȝere recouered[e] and purged[e] in wrekyng by þe destruccioun of troie þe loste chambres of mariage of hys broþer þis is to seyn þat [he] agamenon wan aȝein Eleine þat was Menelaus wif his broþer. In þe mene while þat þilke agamenon desired[e] to ȝeuen sailes to þe grekysshe nauye and bouȝt[e] aȝein þe wyndes by blode. he vncloþed[e] hym of pite as fader. and þe sory prest ȝiueþ in sacrifiynge þe wreched kuyttyng of þrote of þe douȝter. ¶ þat is to sein þat agamenon lete kuytten þe þrote of hys douȝter by þe prest. to maken alliaunce wiþ hys goddes. and for to haue wynde wiþ whiche he myȝt[e] wende to troie. ¶ Itakus þat is to sein vlixies bywept[e] hys felawes ylorn þe whiche felawes þe fiers[e] pholifemus ligginge in his grete Caue had[de] freten and dreint in hys empty wombe. but naþeles polifemus wood for his blinde visage ȝeld to vlixies ioye by hys sorowful teres. þis is to seyn þat vlixes smot oute þe eye of poliphemus þat stod in hys forhede. for whiche vlixes hadde ioie whan he saw poliphemus wepyng and blynde. ¶ Hercules is celebrable for hys hard[e] trauaile he dawntede þe proude Centauris half hors half man. and he rafte þe despoylynge fro þe Page  148cruel lyoun þat is to seyne he slouȝ þe lyoun and rafte hym hys skyn. he smot þe brids þat hyȝten arpijs [in þe palude of lyrne] wiþ certeyne arwes. he rauyssed[e] applis fro þe wakyng dragoun. and hys hand was þe more heuy for þe golde[ne] metal. He drouȝ Cerberus þe hound of helle by hys treble cheyne. he ouer-comer as it is seid haþ put an vnmeke lorde fodre to hys cruel hors ¶ þis is to sein. þat hercules slouȝ diomedes and made his hors to etyn hym. and he hercules slouȝ Idra þe serpent and brend[e] þe venym. and achelaus þe flode defouled[e] in his forhede dreint[e] his shamefast visage in his strondes. þis to sein þat achelaus couþe transfigure hym self in to dyuerse lykenesse. and as he fauȝt wiþ orcules at þe laste he turnid[e] hym in to a bole and hercules brak of oon of hys hornes. and achelaus for shame hidde hym in hys ryuer. ¶ And [he] hercules [fol. 33b] adoun Antheus þe geaunt in þe strondes of libye. and kacus apaised[e] þe wraþþes of euander. þis is to sein þat hercules slouȝ þe Monstre kacus and apaised[e] wiþ þat deeþ þe wraþþe of euander. ¶ And þe bristled[e] boor marked[e] wiþ scomes þe sholdres of hercules. þe whiche sholdres þe heye cercle of heuene sholde þreste. and þe laste of his labours was þat he sustened[e] þe heuene vpon his nekke vnbowed. and he deserued[e] eftsones þe heuene to ben þe pris of his laste trauayle ¶ Goþ now þan ȝe stronge men þere as þe heye weye of þe grete ensample ledeþ ȝou. ¶ O nice men whi nake ȝe ȝoure bakkes. as who seiþ. ¶ O ȝe Page  149slowe and delicat men whi fley ȝe aduersites. and ne fyȝten nat aȝeins hem by vertue to wynnen þe mede of þe heuene. for þe erþe ouer-comen ȝeueþ þe sterres. ¶ þis is to seyne þat whan þat erþely lust is ouer-comen. a man is maked worþi to þe heuene.

EXPLICIT LIBER QUARTUS.