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The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at


Book 3

 By this sche hadde ended hir song, whan the
 swetnesse of here dite hadde thurw-perced me,
 that was desyrous of herknynge, and I astoned
 hadde yit streyghte myn eres (that is to seyn, to
 herkne the bet what sche wolde seye). So that
 a litel herafter I seide thus: "O thow that art
 sovereyne confort of angwyssous corages, so
 thow hast remounted and norysshed me with
 the weyghte of thi sentences and with delyt
10 of thy syngynge; so that I trowe nat
 nowe that I be unparygal to the strokes of
 Fortune (as who seith, I dar wel now suffren
 alle the assautes of Fortune and wel defende
 me fro hir). And tho remedies whiche that
 thou seydest herbyforn that weren ryght
 scharpe, nat oonly that I ne am nat agrisen of
 hem now, but I, desiros of herynge, axe gretly
 to heren tho remedies."
 Thanne seyde sche thus: "That feeled I
20 ful wel," quod sche, "whan that thow ententyf
 and stille ravysschedest my wordes,
 and I abood til that thou haddest swich habite
 of thi thought as thou hast now, or elles til that
 I myself hadde maked to the the same habite,
 whiche that is a more verray thyng. And certes
 the remenant of thynges that ben yet to seie
 ben swiche that first whan men tasten hem they
 ben bytynge; but whan they ben resceyved
 withynne a wyght, thanne ben thei swete.
30 But for thou seyst that thow art so desyrous
 to herkne hem, with how greet brennynge
 woldestow glowen, yif thow wistest whider I
 wol leden the!"
 "Whider is that?" quod I.
 "To thilke verraye welefulnesse," quod sche,
 "of whiche thyn herte dremeth. but forasmoche
 as thi syghte is ocupyed and destourbed by
 imagynacioun of erthly thynges, thow mayst
 nat yit seen thilke selve welefulnesse."
40 "Do," quod I, "and schewe me what is
 thilke verray welefulnesse, I preie the,
 withoute taryinge."
 "That wol I gladly do," quod sche, "for the
 cause of the. But I wol first marken the by
 woordes, and I wol enforcen me to enforme the,
 thilke false cause of blisfulnesse that thou more
 knowest; so that whanne thow hast fully byhoolden
 thilke false goodes and torned thin
 eighen to the tother syde, thow mowe
50 knowe the cleernesse of verray blisfulnesse.
 "Whoso wole sowe a feld plentevous, let hym
 first delyvren it of thornes, and kerve asondir
 with his hook the bussches and the feern, so
 that the corn may comen hevy of erys and of
 greynes. Hony is the more swete, if mouthes
 han first tasted savours that ben wykke. The
 sterres schynen more aggreablely whan the
 wynd Nothus leteth his plowngy blastes; and
 aftir that Lucifer, the day-sterre, hath
10 chased awey the dirke nyght, the day the
 fairere ledeth the rosene hors (of the
 sonne). And ryght so thow, byhooldyng ferst the
 false goodes, bygyn to withdrawe thy nekke
 fro the yok (of erthely affeccions); and
 afterward the verray goodes schullen entren into
 thy corage."
 Tho fastnede sche a litel the syghte of hir
 eyen, and withdrowghe hir ryght as it were into
 the streyte seete of here thought, and bygan to
 speke ryght thus: "Alle the cures," quod sche,
 "of mortel folk, whiche that travailen hem in
 many manere studies, gon certes by diverse
 weyes; but natheles thei enforcen hem alle to
 comyn oonly to oon ende of blisfulnesse. And
 blisfulnesse is swiche a good, that whoso
10 that hath geten it, he ne may over that
 nothyng more desire. And this thyng forsothe
 is the soverayn good that conteneth in
 hymself alle maner goodes; to the whiche goode
 if ther fayled any thyng, it myghte nat ben
 sovereyn good, for thanne wer ther som good
 out of thilke sovereyn good, that myghte ben
 desired. Now is it cleer and certeyne thanne,
 that blisfulnesse is a parfyt estat by the congregacioun
 of alle goodes; the whiche blisfulnesse,
20 as I have seyd, alle mortel folk enforcen
 hem to geten by diverse weyes.
 Forwhy the covetise of verray good is naturely
 iplauntyd in the hertes of men, but the myswandrynge
 errour mysledeth hem into false
 goodes. Of the whiche men, some of hem
 wenen that sovereyn good be to lyven withoute
 nede of any thyng, and travaylen hem to ben
 habundaunt of rychesses. And some othere
 men demen that sovereyn good be for to be
30 ryght digne of reverence, and enforcen
 hem to ben reverenced among hir neyghbours
 by the honours that thei han igeten. And
 some folk ther ben that holden that ryght heye
 power be sovereyn good, and enforcen hem for
 to reignen or elles to joygnen hem to hem that
 reignen. And it semeth to some other folk, that
 noblesse of renoun be the sovereyn good, and
 hasten hem to geten hem gloryouse name by the
 artz of werre or of pees. And many folk
40 mesuren and gessen that the sovereyne
 good be joye and gladnesse, and wenen
 that it be ryght blisful thyng to plowngen hem
 in voluptuous delyt. And ther ben folk that
 entrechaungen the causes and the endes of
 thyse forseyde goodes, as they that desiren
 rychesses to han power and delitz, or elles they
 desiren power for to have moneye or for cause
 of renoun. In thise thynges and in swiche other
 thynges is torned al the entencioun of desyrynges
50 and werkes of men; as thus:
 noblesse and favour of peple, whiche that
 yyveth to men, as it semeth hem, a maner
 cleernesse of renoun; and wyf and children,
 that men desiren for cause of delyt and myrynesse.
 But forsothe freendes ne schulde nat ben
 rekned among the goodes of fortune, but of
 vertu, for it is a ful hooly maner thyng; alle
 thise othere thinges forsothe ben taken for
 cause of power or elles for cause of delyt.
60 Certes now am I redy to referren the
 goodes of the body to thise forseide thynges
 aboven; for it semeth that strengthe and gretnesse
 of body yyven power and worthynesse,
 and that beaute and swyftnesse yyven noblesse
 and glorie of renoun; and heele of body semeth
 yyven delyt. In alle thise thynges it semeth
 oonly that blisfulnesse is desyred; forwhy thilk
 thing that every man desireth moost over alle
 thynges he demeth that it be the sovereyn
70 good; but I have diffyned that blisfulnesse
 is the sovereyn good; for whiche every
 wyght demeth that thilke estat that he desireth
 over alle thynges, that it be blisfulnesse.
 "Now hastow thanne byforn thyne eien almest
 al the purposede forme of the welefulnesse
 of mankynde: that is to seyn rychesses,
 honours, power, glorie, and delitz. The whiche
 delit oonly considered Epicurus, and juggid
 and establissyde that delyt is the soverayn
80 good, for as moche as alle othere thynges,
 as hym thoughte, byrefte awey joye and
 myrthe from the herte. But I retorne ayen to
 the studies of men, of whiche men the corage
 alwey reherceth and seketh the sovereyne good,
 al be it so that it be with a dyrkyd memorie;
 but he not by whiche path, ryght as a dronke
 man not nat by whiche path he may retourne
 hom to his hous. Semeth it thanne that folk
 foleyen and erren, that enforcen hem to
90 have nede of nothyng? Certes ther nys
 noon other thyng that mai so wel performe
 blisfulnesse, as an estat plentevous of alle godes,
 that ne hath nede of noon other thyng, but
 that it is suffisant of hymself unto hymself.
 And foleyen swiche folk, thanne, that wenen
 that thilk thyng that is ryght good, that it be
 eek ryght worthy of honour and of reverence?
 Certes, nay. For that thyng nis neither foul ne
 worthy to ben despysed that wel neyghe al
100 the entencioun of mortel folk [travayleth.
 for to geten it. And power, aughte nat that
 ek to ben rekned amonge goodes? What elles?
 For it nys nat to wene that thilke thyng that is
 most worthy of alle thynges be feble and
 withoute strengthe. And cleernesse of renoun,
 aughte that to ben despysed? Certes ther may no
 man forsake, that alle thyng that is right
 excellent and noble, that it ne semeth to ben
 ryght cleer and renomed. For certes it
110 nedeth nat to saie that blisfulnesse be
 [n'] [angwyssous] ne drery, ne subgit to
 grevaunces ne to sorwes; syn that in ryght litele
 thynges folk seken to haven and to usen that may
 delyten hem. Certes thise ben the thinges that
 men wolen and desiren to geten, and for this
 cause desiren they rychesses, dignytes, reignes,
 glorie, and delices; for therby wenen they to
 han suffysaunce, honour, power, renoun, and
 gladnesse. Thanne is it good that men
120 seken thus, by so manye diverse studies; in
 whiche desir it mai lyghtly be schewyd how
 greet is the strengthe of nature. For how so that
 men han diverse sentences and discordynge,
 algates men accorden alle in lovynge the eende
 of good.
 "It liketh me to schewe by subtil soong, with
 slakke and delytable sown of strenges, how
 that Nature, myghty, enclyneth and flytteth the
 governementz of thynges, and by whiche lawes
 sche, purveiable, kepith the grete world; and
 how sche, byndynge, restreyneth alle thynges
 by a boond that may nat be unbownde. Al be
 it so that the lyouns of the contre of Pene beren
 the fayre chaynes, and taken metes of the
10 handes of folk that yeven it hem, and
 dreden hir stourdy [maistre] of whiche thei
 ben wont to suffre betynges; yif that hir horrible
 mouthes ben bybled (that is to seyn, of
 beestes devoured), hir corage of tyme passed,
 that hath ben idel and rested, repeireth ayen,
 and thei roren grevously, and remembren on
 hir nature, and slaken hir nekkes from hir
 cheynes unbownde; and hir mayster fyrst,
 totorn with blody tooth, assaieth the wode
20 wratthes of hem (this to seyn, thei freten
 hir maister). And the janglynge brid that
 syngeth on the heghe braunches (that is to
 seyn, in the wode), and after is enclosed in a
 streyte cage, althoughe that the pleyinge bysynes
 of men yeveth [hym] honyed drynkes and large
 metes with swete studye, yit natheles yif thilke
 bryd skippynge out of hir streyte cage seith the
 agreables schadwes of the wodes, sche defouleth
 with hir feet hir metes ischad, and seketh
30 mornynge oonly the wode, and twytereth
 desyrynge the wode with hir swete voys.
 The yerde of a tree, that is haled adoun by
 myghty strengthe, boweth redily the crop
 adown; but yif that the hand of hym that it bente
 leet it goon ageyn, anoon the crop loketh upryght
 to hevene. The sonne, Phebus, that falleth
 at even in the westrene wawes, retorneth
 ayen eftsones his cart, by a pryve path, there
 as it is wont t' aryse. Alle thynges seken
40 ayen to hir propre cours, and alle thynges
 rejoysen hem of hir retornynge ayen to
 hir nature. Ne noon ordenaunce is bytaken to
 thynges, but that that hath joyned the endynge
 to the bygynnynge, and hath maked the cours
 of itself stable (that it chaunge nat from his
 propre kynde).
 "Certes also ye men, that ben erthliche
 beestes, dremen alwey your bygynnynge, althoughe
 it be with a thynne ymaginacioun; and
 by a maner thought, al be it nat clerly ne parfitely,
 ye loken from afer to thilke verray fyn of
 blisfulnesse. And therfore naturel entencioun
 ledeth yow to thilke verray good, but many
 maner errours mystorneth yow therfro. Considere
 now yif that by thilke thynges by
10 whiche a man weneth to geten hym blisfulnesse,
 yif that he mai comen to thilk ende
 that he weneth to come by nature. For yif that
 moneye, or honours, or thise othere forseyde
 thynges, brynge to men swiche a thyng that no
 good ne fayle hem ne semeth faile, certes
 thanne wol I graunte that they ben maked blisful
 by thilke thynges that thei han geten. But
 yif so be that thilke thynges ne mowen nat performen
 that they byheten, and that there
20 be defaute of manye goodis, scheweth it
 nat thanne clerly that false beute of blysfulnesse
 is knowen and ataynt in thilke thynges?
 First and forward thow thiself, that haddest
 haboundances of rychesses nat longe agoon, I
 aske the yif that, in the habowndance of alle
 thilke rychesses, thow were nevere angwysous
 ne sory in thy corage of any wrong or grevance
 that bytydde the on any side?"
 "Certes," quod I, "it ne remembreth me
30 nat that evere I was so fre of my thought
 that I ne was alwey in angwyse of somwhat."
 "And was nat that," quod sche, "for that the
 lakkide somwhat that thow noldest nat han
 lakkid, or elles thou haddest that thow noldest
 nat han had?"
 "Ryght so is it," quod I.
 "Than desiredest thow the presence of the
 toon and the absence of the tothir?"
40 "I graunte wel," quod I.
 "Forsothe," quod sche, "thanne nedeth
 ther somwhat that every man desireth?"
 "Yee, ther nedeth," quod I.
 "Certes," quod sche, "and he that hath lak or
 nede of aught nys nat in every wey suffisant to
 "No," quod I.
 "And thow," quod sche, "in al the plente of
 thy richesses haddest thilke lakke of suffisaunce?"
 "What elles?" quod I.
 "Thanne mai nat richesses maken that a man
 nys nedy, ne that he be suffisaunt to hymself;
 and yit that was it that thei byhighten, as it
 semeth. And eek certes I trow that this be
 gretly to considere, that moneye ne hath nat in
 his owene kynde that it ne mai ben bynomen
 of hem that han it, maugre hem."
 "I byknowe it wel," quod I.
60 "Whi sholdestow nat byknowen it,"
 quod sche, "whan every day the strengere
 folk bynymen it fro the feblere maugre hem?
 For whennes comen elles alle thise [forense]
 compleyntes or quereles of pledynges but
 for that men axen ayen hir moneye that hath
 ben bynomen hem by force or by gyle, and
 alwey maugre hem?"
 "Right so is it," quod I.
 "Than," quod sche, "hath a man nede to
70 seken hym foreyne help by whiche he may
 defenden his moneye?"
 "Who mai seie nay?" quod I.
 "Certes," quod sche, "and hym nedide noon
 help yif he ne hadde no moneye that he myghte
 "That is douteles," quod I.
 "Than is this thyng torned into the contrarie,"
 quod sche; "for rychesses, that men
 wenen scholde maken suffisaunce, they
80 maken a man rather have nede of foreyne
 help. Whiche is the maner or the gyse,"
 quod sche, "that rychesse mai dryve awey
 nede? Riche folk, mai they neyther han hungir
 ne thurst? Thise riche men, may they fele no
 cold on hir lymes in wynter? But thow wolt
 answeren that ryche men han inoghe wherwith
 thei mai staunchen hir hungir, and slaken hir
 thurst, and don awey cold. In this wise mai
 nede be conforted by richesses, but certes
90 nede ne mai nat al outrely be doon awey;
 for thoughe this nede that is alwey gapynge
 and gredy, be fulfild with richesses, and axe any
 thyng, yit duelleth thanne a nede that myghte be
 fulfild. I holde me stille and telle nat how that
 litel thyng suffiseth to nature; but certes to
 avarice inowghe ne suffiseth nothyng. For syn
 that rychesse ne mai nat al doon awey nede, but
 richesses maken nede, what mai it thanne be that
 ye wenen that richesses mowen yyven yow
100 suffisaunce?
 "Al weere it so that a riche coveytous man
 hadde a ryver or a goter fletynge al of gold, yit
 sholde it nevere staunchen his covetise; and
 thoughe he hadde his nekke charged with precyous
 stones of the Rede See, and thoughe he
 do ere his feeldes plentevous with an hundred
 oxen, nevere ne schal his bytynge bysynesse
 forleeten hym whil he lyveth, ne the lyghte
 richesses ne schal nat beren hym companye
10 whan he is deed.
 "But dignytees, to whom thei ben comen,
 make they hym honourable and reverent? Han
 thei nat so gret strengthe that thei mai putten
 vertus in the hertes of folk that usen the lordschipes
 of hem, or elles may they don awey the
 vices? Certes thei ben nat wont to don awey
 wikkidnesse, but thei ben wont rather to
 schewen wykkydnesse. And therof cometh it
 that Y have right gret disdayn that dignytes
10 ben yyven ofte to wikkide men. For
 which thyng Catullus clepid a consul of
 Rome that hyghte Nonyus `postum' or `boch'
 (as who seith, he clepid hym a congregacioun
 of vices in his brest, as a postum is ful of corrupcioun),
 al were this Nonyus set in chayere
 of dygnite. Sestow nat thanne how grete
 vylenye dignytes don to wikkide men? Certes
 unworthynesse of wikkide men schulde ben the
 lesse isene if thei neere renomed of none
20 honours. Certes thou thiself ne myghtest
 nat ben broght, with as many perils as
 thow myghtest suffren, that thow woldest beren
 the magistrat with Decorat (that is to seyn,
 that for no peril that myghte byfallen the by
 offence of the kyng Theodorik, thou noldest nat
 be felawe in governaunce with Decorat), whan
 thow seye that he hadde wikkide corage of a
 likerous schrewe and of an accusour. Ne I ne
 mai nat for swiche honours juggen hem
30 worthy of reverence that I deme and holde
 unworthy to han thilke same honours.
 Now yif thow seie a man that were fulfild of
 wysdom, certes thou ne myghtest nat deme
 that he were unworthy to the honour or elles
 to the wisdom of whiche he is fulfild?"
 "No," quod I.
 "Certes dignytees," quod sche, "aperteignen
 properly to vertu, and vertu transporteth dignyte
 anoon to thilke man to whiche sche
40 hirself is conjoigned. And for as moche as
 honours of peple ne mai nat maken folk
 digne of honour, it is wel seyn cleerly that thei
 ne han no propre beaute of dignyte. And yet
 men aughten taken more heede in this. For yif
 a wykkyd wyght be in so mochel the fowlere
 and the more outcast that he is despysed of
 moost folk, so as dignyte ne mai nat maken
 schrewes worthy of no reverence, the whiche
 schrewes dignyte scheweth to moche folk;
50 than maketh dignyte schrewes rather so
 much more despised than preysed, and
 forsothe nat unpunyssched (that is for to seyn
 that schrewes revengen hem ayenward uppon
 dignytes), for thei yelden ayen to dignytees
 as greet gerdoun, whan they byspotten and
 defoulen dignytes with hir vylenye. And for as
 mochel as thou now knowe that thilke verray
 reverence ne mai nat comen by thise schadwy
 transitorie dignytes, undirstond now thus:
60 yif that a man hadde used and had manye
 maner dignytees of consules, and weere
 comen peraventure among straunge nacions,
 scholde thilke honour maken hym worschipful
 and redouted of straunge folk? Certes yif
 that honour of peple were a natureel yifte to
 dignytes, it ne myghte nevere cesen nowhere
 amonges no maner folk to don his office; right
 as fyer in every contre ne stynteth nat to
 eschaufen and to ben hoot. But for as
70 mochel as for to be holden honurable or
 reverent ne cometh nat to folk of hir
 propre strengthe of nature, but oonly of the false
 opynyoun of folk (that is to seyn, that weenen
 that dignytees maken folk digne of honour),
 anoon therfore, whan that thei comen there as
 folk ne knowen nat thilke dignytees, hir honours
 vanysschen away, and that anoon. But that is
 amonges straunge folk, maystow seyn. Ne
 amonges hem ther thei weren born, ne
80 duren nat thilke dignytes alwey? Certes the
 dignyte of the provostrye of Rome was
 whilom a greet power; now nys it no thyng but
 an idel name, and the rente of the senatorie a
 greet charge; and yif a wyght whilom hadde the
 office to taken heede to the vitayles of the peple,
 as of corn and othere thynges, he was holden
 amonges grete; but what thyng is now more
 outcast than thilke provostrye? And, as I have
 seyd a litel herebyforn, that thilke thyng
90 that hath no propre beute of hymself
 resceyveth somtyme prys and schynynge,
 and somtyme leeseth it, by the opinyoun of
 usaunces. Now yif that dignytes thanne ne
 mowen nat make folk digne of reverence, and if
 that dignytees waxen foule of hir wil by the
 filthe of schrewes, and yif dignytees leesen hir
 schynynge by chaungynge of tymes, and yif thei
 waxen fowle by estimacion of peple, what is it
 that they han in hemself of beaute that
100 oughte ben desired? (As who seith noon;
 thanne ne mowen they yeven no beute of
 dignyte to noone othere.)
 "Al be it so that the proude Nero, with al his
 wode luxure, kembde hym and apparayled
 hym with faire purpres of Tyrie and with white
 peerles, algates yit throf he haatful to alle folk
 (this is to seyn that, al was he byhated of alle
 folk, yit this wikkide Nero hadde gret lordschipe),
 and yaf whilom to the reverentz senatours
 the unworschipful seetis of dignytees.
 (Unworschipful seetes he clepeth here, for that
10 Nero, that was so wikkide, yaf tho dignytees.)
 Who wolde thanne resonably
 wenen that blisfulnesse were in swiche honours
 as ben yyven by vycious schrewes?
 "But regnes, and familiarites of kynges, mai
 thei maken a man to ben myghti? How elles,
 whan hir blisfulnesse dureth perpetuely? But
 certes the olde age of tyme passed, and ek the
 present tyme now, is ful of ensaumples how
 that kynges han chaungyd into wrecchidnesse
 out of hir welefulnesse. O, a noble thyng and
 a cleer thyng is power, that is nat fownden
 myghty to kepe itself! And yif that power
10 of remes be auctour and makere of blisfulnesse,
 yif thilke power lakketh on any syde,
 amenuseth it nat thilke blisfulnesse and bryngeth
 in wrecchidnesse? But yit, al be it so that
 the remes of mankynde strecchen broode, yit
 moot ther nede ben moche folk over whiche
 that every kyng ne hath no lordschipe ne
 comaundement. And certes uppon thilke syde
 that power fayleth, whiche that maketh folk blisful,
 ryght on that same syde noun-power
20 entreth undirnethe, that maketh hem
 wrecches. In this manere thanne moten
 kynges han more porcioun of wrecchidnesse
 than of welefulnesse. A tyraunt, that was kyng
 of Sysile, that hadde assayed the peril of his
 estat, schewede by simylitude the dredes of
 remes by gastnesse of a swerd that heng over
 the heved of his familyer. What thyng is
 thanne this power, that mai nat done awey the
 bytynges of bysynesse, ne eschewe the
30 prykkes of drede? And certes yit wolde
 thei lyven in sykernesse, but thei may nat,
 and yit they glorifien hem in hir power. Holdestow
 thanne that thilke man be mighty, that
 thow seest that he wolde doon that he may nat
 done? And holdestow thanne hym a myghti
 man, that hath envyrowned his sydes with men
 of armes or sergeantz, and dredeth more hem
 that he maketh agast thanne thei dreden hym,
 and that is put in the handes of hise servauntz
40 for he scholde seme myghty? But of
 familiers or servantz of kynges, what
 scholde I telle the any thyng, syn that I myself
 have schewyd the that rewmes hemself ben
 ful of greet feblesse? The whiche famylieres,
 certes, the real power of kynges, in hool estat
 and in estaat abated, ful ofte throweth adoun.
 Nero constreynede Senek, his familyer and his
 mayster, to chesen on what deeth he wolde
 deye. Antonyus comaundede that knyghtes
50 slowen with here swerdes Papynian (his
 famylier) [whiche] that had ben long
 tyme ful myghty amonges hem of the court.
 And yet certes thei wolden bothe han renounced
 hir power; of whiche two Senek enforcede
 hym to yeven to Nero his richesses, and
 also to han gon into solitarie exil. But whan the
 grete weyghte (that is to seyn, of lordes power
 or of fortune) draweth hem that schullen falle,
 neither of hem ne myghte don that he
60 wolde. What thyng is thanne thilke powere,
 that though men han it, yit thei ben agast;
 and whanne thow woldest han it, thou nart nat
 siker; and yif thou woldest forleeten it, thow
 mayst nat eschuen it? But whethir swiche men
 ben freendes at nede, as ben [consyled] by fortune
 and nat be vertu? Certes swiche folk as
 weleful fortune maketh frendes, contraryous
 fortune maketh hem enemys. And what pestilence
 is more myghty for to anoye a wyght
70 than a famylier enemy?
 "Whoso wol ben myghti he moot daunten his
 cruel corages, ne putte nat his nekke, overcomen,
 undir the foule reynes of leccherie. For
 al be it so that thi lordschipe strecche so fer
 that the contre of Ynde quaketh at thy comaundementz
 or at thi lawes, and that the laste
 ile in the see that highte Tyle be thral to the,
 yit yif thou maist nat putten awey thi foule
 dirke desires, and dryven out fro the
10 wrecchide compleyntes, certes it nys no
 power that thow hast.
 "But glorie, how deceyvable and how foul is
 it ofte! For which thyng nat unskilfully a tragedien
 (that is to seyn, a makere of dytees that
 highten tragedies) cride and seide: `O glorie,
 glorie,' quod he, `thow nart nothyng elles to
 thousandes of folk but a greet swellere of eres!'
 For manye han had ful greet renoun by the
 false opinyoun of the peple, and what thyng
 mai ben thought foulere than swiche preysynge?
10 For thilke folk that ben preysed
 falsly, they mote nedes han schame of hire
 preysynges. And yif that folk han geten hem
 thonk or preysynge by here dissertes, what
 thyng hath thilke pris echid or encresed to the
 conscience of wise folk, that mesuren hir good,
 nat by the rumour of the peple, but by the
 sothfastnesse of conscience? And yif it seme a
 fair thyng a man to han encreced and sprad his
 name, thanne folweth it that it is demed to
20 ben a foul thyng yif it ne be yspradde and
 encreced. But, as I seide a litil herebyforn,
 that syn ther moot nedes ben many folk to
 whiche folk the renoun of [o] man ne mai nat
 comen, it byfalleth that he that thow wenest be
 glorious and renomed semeth in the nexte
 partie of the erthes to ben withouten glorie and
 withouten renoun. And certes amonges thise
 thynges I ne trowe nat that the pris and the
 grace of the peple nys neyther worthi to
30 ben remembred, ne cometh of wys jugement,
 ne is ferme perdurably.
 "But now of this name of gentilesse, what
 man is it that ne may wele seen how veyn and
 how flyttynge a thyng it es? For yif the name
 of gentilesse be referred to renoun and cleernesse
 of lynage, thanne is gentil name but a
 foreyne thyng (that is to seyn, to hem that gloryfien
 hem of hir lynage.) For it semeth that
 gentilesse be a maner preisynge that cometh
40 of the dessertes of auncestres; and yif
 preisynge make gentilesse, thanne mote
 they nedes ben gentil that been preysed. For
 whiche thing it folweth that yif thou ne have no
 gentilesse of thiself (that is to seyn, prys that
 cometh of thy deserte), foreyne gentilesse ne
 maketh the nat gentil. But certes yif ther be
 ony good in gentilesse, I trowe it be al only
 this, that it semeth as that a maner necessite
 be imposed to gentil men for that thei ne
50 schulde nat owtrayen or forlynen fro the
 vertus of hir noble kynrede.
 "Alle the lynage of men that ben in erthe ben
 of semblable byrthe. On allone is fadir of
 thynges; on allone mynystreth alle thynges.
 He yaf to the sonne his bemes, he yaf to the
 moone hir hornes, he yaf the men to the erthe,
 he yaf the sterres to the hevene. He encloseth
 with membres the soules that comen from his
 heye sete. Thanne comen alle mortel folk of
 noble seed. Why noysen ye or bosten of
10 your eldres? For yif thow loke youre bygynnyng,
 and God your auctour and yowr
 makere, thanne nis ther none forlyned wyght or
 ongentil, but if he noryssche his corage unto
 vices and forlete his propre byrthe.
 "But what schal I seye of delyces of body, of
 whiche delices the desirynges ben ful of anguyssch,
 and the fulfillynges of hem ben ful of
 penance? How grete seknesses and how grete
 sorwes unsuffrable, ryght as a maner fruyt
 of wykkidnesse, ben thilke delices wont to
 bryngen to the bodyes of folk that usen hem!
 Of whiche delices I not what joie mai ben had
 of here moevynge, but this woot I wel, that
10 whosoevere wol remembren hym of hise
 luxures, he schal wel undirstonden that the
 issues of delices ben sorweful and sorye. And
 yif thilke delices mowen maken folk blisful,
 thanne by the same cause moten thise beestis
 ben clepid blisful, of whiche beestis al the entencioun
 hasteth to fulfille here bodily jolyte.
 And the gladnesse of wyf and children were an
 honest thyng, but it hath ben seyd that it is
 overmochel ayens kynde that children han
20 ben fownden tormentours to here fadris, I
 not how manye; of whiche children how
 bytynge is every condicioun, it nedeth nat to
 tellen it the that hast er this tyme assayed it,
 and art yit now angwysshous. In this approve
 I the sentence of my disciple Euripidis, that
 seide that he that hath no children is weleful
 by infortune.
 "Every delit hath this, that it angwisscheth
 hem with prykkes that usen it. It resembleth
 to thise flyenge flyes that we clepen ben; that,
 aftir that the be hath sched hise agreable honyes,
 he fleeth awey, and styngeth the hertes of hem
 that ben ysmyte, with bytynge overlonge holdynge.
 "Now is it no doute thanne that thise weyes
 ne ben a maner mysledynges to blisfulnesse, ne
 that they ne mowen nat leden folk thider as
 thei byheeten to leden hem. But with how grete
 harmes thise forseide weyes ben enlaced, I
 schal schewe the shortly. Forwhy yif thou enforcest
 the to assemble moneye, thow must byreven
 hym his moneye that hath it; and yif
 thow wolt schynen with dignytees, thow
10 must bysechen and supplyen hem that
 yyven tho dignytees; and yif thow coveytest
 be honour to gon byfore othere folk, thow
 schalt defoule thiself thurw humblesse of axynge.
 Yif thou desirest power, thow schalt, be
 awaytes of thy subgetis, anoyously ben cast undir
 by manye periles. Axestow glorye? Thow
 schalt so bien distract by aspere thynges that
 thow schalt forgon sykernesse. And yif thow
 wolt leden thi lif in delyces, every wyght
20 schal despysen the and forleeten the, as
 thow that art thral to thyng that is right
 foul and brutyl (that is to seyn, servaunt to thi
 body). Now is it thanne wel yseyn how litil
 and how brotel possessioun thei coveyten that
 putten the goodes of the body aboven hir
 owene resoun. For maystow surmounten thise
 olifauntes in gretnesse or weighte of body? Or
 maistow ben strengere than the bole? Maystow
 ben swyftere than the tigre? Byhoold the
30 spaces and the stablenesse and the swyft
 cours of the hevene, and stynt somtyme to
 wondren on foule thynges. The whiche hevene
 certes nys nat rathere for thise thynges to ben
 wondryd upon, than for the resoun by whiche it
 is governed. But the schynynge of thi forme
 (that is to seyn, the beute of thi body), how
 swyftly passynge is it, and how transitorie!
 "Certes it es more flyttynge than the mutabilite
 of floures of the somer sesoun. For so as
40 Aristotle telleth, that if that men hadden
 eyghen of a beeste that highte lynx, so that
 the lokynge of folk myghte percen thurw the
 thynges that withstonden it, whoso lokide
 thanne in the entrayles of the body of Alcibiades,
 that was ful fair in the superfice withoute,
 it schulde seme ryght foul. And forthi yif
 thow semest fair, thy nature ne maketh nat
 that, but the deceyvaunce or the feblesse of the
 eighen that loken. But preise the goodes of
50 the body as mochil as evere the lyst, so that
 thow knowe algatis that, whatso it be (that
 is to seyn, of the godes of the body) whiche that
 thou wondrist uppon, mai ben destroied or dissolvid
 by the heete of a fevere of thre dayes.
 Of alle whiche forseide thynges Y mai reducen
 this schortly in a somme: that thise worldly
 goodes, whiche that ne mowen nat yeven that
 they byheeten, ne ben nat parfite by the congregacioun
 of alle goodis, that they ne ben
60 nat weyes ne pathes that bryngen men to
 blisfulnesse, ne maken men to ben blisful.
 "Allas! Whiche folie and whiche ignorance
 mysledeth wandrynge wrecchis fro the path of
 verray good! Certes ye ne seke no gold in
 grene trees, ne ye gadere nat precyous stones in
 the vynes, ne ye ne hiden nat yowre gynnes in
 heye mountaignes to kacchen fyssche of whiche
 ye mai maken riche festes. And if yow liketh
 to hunte to roos, ye ne gon nat to the foordes
 of the watir that highte Tyrene. And over
10 this, men knowen wel the krikes and the
 cavernes of the see yhidde in the flodes,
 and knowen ek whiche watir is moost plentevous
 of white peerlis, and knowen whiche watir
 haboundeth moost of reed purpre (that is to
 seyn, of a maner schellefyssche with whiche men
 deien purpre), and knowen whiche strondes
 habounden most of tendre fysches, or of scharpe
 fyssches that hyghten echynnys. But folk suffren
 hemselve to ben so blynde, that hem
20 ne reccheth nat to knowe where thilke
 goodes ben yhud whiche that thei coveyten,
 but ploungen hem in erthe, and seken
 there thilke good that surmounteth the hevene
 that bereth the sterris. What preyere mai I
 make, that be digne to the nyce thoughtes of
 men? But I preie that thei coveyten rychesses
 and honours, so that, whanne thei han geten
 tho false goodes with greet travaile, that therby
 they mowen knowen the verray goodes.
 "It suffiseth that I have schewyd hiderto the
 forme of fals welefulnesse, so that yif thou loke
 now cleerly, the ordre of myn entencioun requireth
 from hennes forth to schewe the verray
 "Forsothe," quod I, "I se wel now that suffisaunce
 may nat comen by rychesse, ne power
 by remes, ne reverence by dignites, ne gentilesse
 by glorie, ne joie be delices."
10 "And hastow wel knowen the causes,"
 quod sche, "whi it es?"
 "Certes me semeth," quod I, "that Y see hem
 ryght as thoughe it were thurw a litil clyfte, but
 me were levere knowen hem more opynly of
 "Certes," quod sche, "the resoun is al redy.
 For thilke thyng that symply is o thyng withouten
 ony devysioun, the errour and folie of
 mankynde departeth and divideth it, and
20 mysledeth it and transporteth from verray
 and parfit good to godes that ben false and
 inparfit. But seye me this. Wenestow that he
 that hath nede of power, that hym ne lakketh
 "Nay," quod I.
 "Certes," quod sche, "thou seyst aryght; for
 if so be that ther is a thyng that in ony partie
 be feblere of power, certes, as in that, it moot
 nedes be nedy of foreyne help."
30 "Ryght so is it," quod I.
 "Suffisaunce and power ben thanne of
 o kynde?"
 "So semeth it," quod I.
 "And demestow," quod sche, "that a thyng
 that is of this manere (that is to seyn, suffisaunt
 and myghty) oughte ben despised, or ellis that
 it be right digne of reverence aboven alle
 "Certes," quod I, "it nys no doute that it
40 nys right worthy to ben reverenced."
 "Lat us," quod sche, "adden thanne reverence
 to suffisaunce and to power, so that we
 demen that thise thre thynges be al o thyng."
 "Certes," quod I, "lat us adden it, yif we
 wiln graunten the sothe."
 "What demestow thanne," quod sche, "is
 that a dirk thyng and nat noble that is suffisaunt,
 reverent, and myghty; or elles that it is
 ryght noble and ryght cleer by celebrete of
50 renoun? Considere thanne," quod sche, "as
 we han grauntide hirbyfore that he that ne
 hath nede of no thyng and is moost myghty
 and moost digne of honour, if hym nedeth ony
 cleernesse of renoun, whiche clernesse he myght
 nat graunten of hymself; so that for lak of
 thilke cleernesse he myghte seme the feblere
 on any side, or the more outcast." (Glose. This
 to seyn, nay; for whoso that is suffisaunt,
 myghty, and reverent, clernesse of renoun
60 folweth of the forseyde thynges; he hath it
 al redy of his suffysaunce.)
 Boece. "I mai nat," quod I, "denye it, but I
 moot granten, as it is, that this thyng be ryght
 celebrable by clernesse of renoun and noblesse."
 "Thanne folweth it," quod sche, "that we
 adden clernesse of renoun to the thre forseyde
 thynges, so that there ne be amonges hem no
 "This a consequence," quod I.
70 "This thyng thanne," quod sche, "that ne
 hath nede of no foreyne thyng, and that
 may don alle thynges by hise strengthis, and
 that is noble and honourable, nys nat that a
 myry thyng and a joyful?"
 Boece. "But whennes," quod I, "that any sorwe
 myghte comen to this thyng that is swiche,
 certes I mai nat thynke."
 Philosophie. "Thanne mote we graunten,"
 quod sche, "that this thing be ful of gladnesse,
80 if the forseide thynges ben sothe;
 and certes also mote we graunten that suffisaunce,
 power, noblesse, reverence, and gladnesse
 be oonly diverse by names, but hir substaunce
 hath no diversite."
 Boece. "It moot nedly ben so," quod I.
 Philosophie. "Thilke thyng thanne," quod
 sche, "that is oon and symple in his nature, the
 wikkidnesse of men departeth it and divideth
 it; and whanne thei enforcen hem to gete
90 partie of a thyng that ne hath no part, thei
 ne geten hem neyther thilke partie that nis
 noon, ne the thyng al hool that thei ne desire
 Boece. "In whiche manere?" quod I.
 Philosophie. "Thilke man," quod sche, "that
 seketh richesse to fleen poverte, he ne travaileth
 hym nat for to geten power, for he hath
 lever ben dirk and vyl; and eek withdraweth
 from hymself manye naturel delites, for he
100 nolde leese the moneie that he hath assembled.
 But certes in this manere he ne
 geteth hym nat suffisance, that power forleteth,
 and that moleste prikketh, and that filthe maketh
 outcaste, and that dirknesse hideth. And
 certes he that desireth oonly power, he wasteth
 and scatereth rychesse, and despyseth delices
 and eek honour that is withoute power, ne he
 ne preiseth glorie nothyng. Certes thus seestow
 wel that manye thynges failen to hym, for
110 he hath som tyme defaute of manye necessites,
 and manye anguysshes byten hym;
 and whan he ne mai nat do tho defautes awey,
 he forletith to ben myghty, and that is the
 thyng that he moost desireth. And ryght thus
 mai I make semblable resouns of honours, and
 of glorie, and of delyces; for so as every of
 thise forseide thinges is the same that thise
 othere thynges ben (that is to seyn, al oon
 thyng), whoso that evere seketh to geten
120 the toon of thise, and nat the tothir, he ne
 geteth nat that he desireth."
 Boece. "What seystow thanne, yif that a
 man coveyte to geten alle thise thynges togidre?"
 Philosophie. "Certes," quod sche, "I wolde
 seye that he wolde geten hym sovereyn blisfulnesse;
 but that schal he nat fynde in tho
 thynges that I have schewed that ne mowen
 nat yeven that thei byheeten?"
130 Boece. "Certes no," quod I.
 "Thanne," quod sche, "ne sholde men
 nat by no weye seken blisfulnesse in siche
 thynges as men wenen that they ne mowen
 yeven but o thyng sengly of al that men
 Boece. "I graunte wel," quod I, "ne no
 sothere thyng ne may be seyd."
 Philosophie. "Now hastow thanne," quod
 sche, "the forme and the causes of fals
140 welefulnesse. Now torne and flytte the
 eighen of thi thought, for ther shaltow
 seen anoon thilke verray blisfulnesse that I
 have behyght the."
 Boece. "Certes," quod I, "it is cler and opene,
 theyghe it were to a blynd man; and that
 schewedestow me ful wel a litel herbyforn,
 whan thow enforcedest the to schewe me the
 causes of the fals blisfulnesse. For, but if I be
 begiled, thanne is thilke the verray parfit
150 blisfulnesse that parfitly maketh a man suffisaunt,
 myghty, honourable, noble, and
 ful of gladnesse. And for thow schalt wel
 knowe that I have wel undirstonden thise
 thinges withynne myn herte, I knowe wel that
 thilke blisfulnesse that may verrayly yeven on
 of the forseyde thynges, syn thei ben alle oon
 -- I knowe dowtelees that thilke thyng is the
 ful blysfulnesse."
 Philosophie. "O my nory," quod sche,
160 "by this opynyoun I seie that thow art
 blisful, yif thow putte this therto that I
 schal seyn."
 "What is that?" quod I.
 "Trowestow that ther be any thyng in this
 erthly, mortel, toumblynge thynges that may
 brynge this estat?"
 "Certes," quod I, "Y trowe it nought; and
 thow hast schewyd me wel that over thilke good
 ther nys no thyng more to ben desired."
170 Philosophie. "Thise thynges thanne,"
 quod sche (that is to seyn, erthly
 suffysaunce and power and swiche thynges),
 "outher thei semen lyknesses of verray good, or
 elles it semeth that thei yeve to mortel folk a
 maner of goodes that ne be nat parfyt. But thilke
 good that is verray and parfyt, that mai thei nat
 Boece. "I accorde me wel," quod I.
 Philosophie. "Thanne," quod sche, "for as
180 moche as thou hast knowen whiche is thilke
 verray blisfulnesse, and eek whiche thilke
 thynges ben that lyen falsly blisfulnesse (that is
 to seyn, that be deceyte semen verray goodes),
 now byhoveth the to knowe, whennes and
 where thow mowe seke thilke verrai blisfulnesse."
 "Certes," quod I "that desire I gretly and
 have abyden longe tyme to herkne it."
 "But for as moche," quod sche, "as it
190 liketh to my disciple Plato, in his book of
 In Thymeo, that in ryght litel thynges men
 schulde byseche the help of God, what juggestow
 that be now to done, so that we may
 desserve to fynde the seete of thilk sovereyn
 Boece. "Certes," quod I, "Y deme that we
 schul clepe to the Fadir of alle [thyng], for
 withouten hym nis ther no [begynnyng] founded
200 "Thow seyst aryght," quod sche, and
 bygan anoon to syngen right thus:
 "O thow Fadir, soowere and creatour of
 hevene and of erthes, that governest this world
 by perdurable resoun, that comaundest the
 tymes to gon from syn that age hadde bygynnynge;
 thow that duellest thiselve ay stedefast
 and stable, and yevest alle othere thynges to
 ben meved, ne foreyne causes necesseden the
 nevere to compoune werk of floterynge matere,
 but oonly the forme of sovereyn good iset
10 within the withoute envye, that moevede
 the frely. Thow, that art althir-fayrest,
 berynge the faire world in thy thought, formedest
 this world to the lyknesse semblable of
 that faire world in thy thought. Thou drawest
 alle thyng of thy sovereyn ensaumpler and
 comaundest that this world, parfytely ymakid,
 have frely and absolut hise parfyte parties.
 Thow byndest the elementis by nombres proporcionables,
 that the coolde thinges
20 mowen accorde with the hote thinges, and
 the drye thinges with the moyste; that the
 fuyer, that is purest, ne fle nat over-heye, ne that
 the hevynesse ne drawe nat adoun over-lowe the
 erthes that ben ploungid in the watris. Thow
 knyttest togidere the mene soule of treble
 kynde moevynge alle thingis, and divydest it
 by membrys accordynge; and whan it es thus
 divyded [and] hath assembled a moevynge
 into two rowndes, it gooth to torne ayen
30 to hymself, and envyrouneth a ful deep
 thought and turneth the hevene by semblable
 ymage. Thow by evene-lyke causes enhauncest
 the soules and the lasse lyves; and,
 ablynge hem heye by lyghte waynes or cartes,
 thow sowest hem into hevene and into erthe.
 And whan thei ben convertyd to the by thi
 benygne lawe, thow makest hem retourne ayen
 to the by ayen-ledynge fyer. O Fadir, yyve
 thou to the thought to steyen up into the
40 streyte seete; and graunte hym to enviroune
 the welle of good; and, the lyght
 ifounde, graunte hym to fycchen the clere
 syghtes of his corage in the; and skatere thou
 and tobreke the weyghtes and the cloudes of
 erthly hevynesse; and schyn thou by thi bryghtnesse,
 for thou art cleernesse, thow art pesible
 reste to debonayre folk; thow thiself art bygynnynge,
 berere, ledere, path, and terme; to looke
 on the, that is our ende.
 "For as moche thanne as thow hast seyn
 whiche is the fourme of good that nys nat parfit,
 and whiche is the forme of good that is parfit,
 now trowe I that it were good to schewe in
 what this perfeccioun of blisfulnesse is set.
 And in this thing I trowe that we schulde first
 enquere for to witen, yf that any swich maner
 good as thilke good that thow hast dyffinysshed
 a litel herebyforn (that is to seyn, sovereyn
10 good) may be founde in the nature of
 thinges, for that veyn ymagynacioun of
 thought ne desceyve us nat, and put us out of
 the sothfastnesse of thilke thing that is summytted
 to us. But it may nat be denyed that
 thilke good ne is, and that it nys ryght as a
 welle of alle goodes. For alle thing that is
 cleped inparfyt is proevid inparfit be the
 amenusynge of perfeccioun or of thing that is
 parfit. And herof cometh it that in every
20 thing general, yif that men seen any thing
 that is inparfit, certes in thilke general ther
 moot ben som thing that is parfit. For yif so be
 that perfeccioun is don awey, men may nat
 thinke ne say fro whennes thilke thing is that
 is cleped inparfyt. For the nature of thinges ne
 took nat hir begynnynge of thinges amenused
 and inparfit, but it procedith of thinges that
 ben alle hole and absolut, and descendith so
 doun into uttereste thinges and into thinges
30 empty and withouten fruyt. But, as I have
 schewid a litel herebyforn that yif ther be
 a blisfulnesse that be freel and veyn and inparfyt,
 ther may no man doute that ther nys
 som blisfulnesse that is sad, stedefast, and
 Boece. "This is concluded," quod I, "feermely
 and soothfastly."
 Philosophie. "But considere also," quod sche,
 "in whom this blissefulnes enhabiteth. The
40 comune accordaunce and conceyt of the
 corages of men proveth and graunteth that
 God, prince of alle thinges, is good. For, so as
 nothyng mai ben thought betere than God, it
 mai nat ben douted thanne that he that no
 thinge nys betere, that he nys good. Certes resoun
 scheweth that God is so good that it
 proeveth by verray force that parfyt good is in
 hym. For yif God nys swyche, he ne mai nat be
 prince of alle thinges; for certes somthing
50 possessyng in itself parfyt good schulde be
 more worthy than God, and it scholde
 semen that thilke thing were first and eldere than
 God. For we han schewyd apertely that alle
 thinges that ben parfyt ben first er thynges that
 ben inparfit; and forthy, for as moche as that
 my resoun or my proces ne go nat awey withouten
 an ende, we owe to graunte that the
 sovereyn God is ryght ful of sovereyn parfit
 good. And we han establissched that the
60 sovereyne good is verray blisfulnesse.
 Thanne moot it nedis be that verray blisfulnesse
 is set in sovereyn God."
 Boece. "This take I wel," quod I, "ne this
 ne mai nat be withseid in no manere."
 "But I preye the," quod sche, "see now how
 thou mayst proeven holily and withoute corrupcioun
 this that I have seid, that the sovereyn
 God is ryght ful of sovereyne good."
 "In whiche manere?" quod I.
70 "Wenestow aught," quod sche, "that this
 prince of alle thynges have itake thilke sovereyne
 good anywher out of hymself, of whiche
 sovereyne good men proeveth that he is ful;
 ryght as thou myghtest thenken that God, that
 hath blisfulnesse in hymself, and thilke blisfulnesse
 that is in hym, were divers in substaunce?
 For yif thow wene that God have resseyved
 thilke good out of hymself, thow mayst wene
 that he that yaf thilke good to God be more
80 worth than is God. But I am beknowe and
 confesse, and that ryght dignely, that God
 is ryght worthy aboven alle thinges. And yif
 so be that this good be in hym by nature, but
 that it is dyvers from hym by wenynge resoun,
 syn we speke of God prynce of alle thynges,
 feyne who so feyne mai who was he that
 hath conjoyned thise divers thynges togidre.
 And eek at the laste se wel that a thing that is
 divers from any thing, that thilke thing nys
90 nat that same thing fro whiche it es undirstonden
 to be diverse. Thanne folweth it
 that thilke thing that be his nature is divers
 from sovereyn good, that that thyng nys nat
 sovereyn good; but certes it were a felenous
 cursydnesse to thinken that of hym that no
 thing nys more worth. For alwey, of alle
 thinges, the nature of hem ne may nat ben betere
 thanne hir begynnynge. For whiche I mai concluden
 by ryght verray resoun that thilke
100 that is begynnynge of alle thinges, thilke
 same thing is sovereyn good in his substaunce."
 Boece. "Thow hast seyd ryghtfully," quod I.
 Philosophie. "But we han graunted," quod
 sche, "that the sovereyn good is blisfulnesse."
 "That is sooth," quod I.
 "Thanne," quod sche, "moten we nedes
 granten and confessen that thilke same sovereyn
 good be God."
110 "Certes," quod I, "Y ne may nat denye
 ne withstonde the resouns purposed; and
 I se wel that it folweth by strengthe of the
 "Loke now," quod sche, "yif this be proevid
 yet more fermely thus, that there ne mowen not
 ben two sovereyn goodis that ben divers among
 hemself. For certes the goodis that ben divers
 among hemself, the toon is nat that that the
 tothir is. thanne ne mowen neither of hem
120 ben parfit, so as eyther of hem lakketh to
 othir. But that that nys nat parfit, men
 mai seen apertely that it nys not sovereyn. The
 thinges thanne that ben sovereynly gode ne
 mowe by no weie be divers. But I have wel
 concluded that blisfulnesse and God ben the
 sovereyn good; for whiche it mote nedes be that
 sovereyne blisfulnesse is sovereyn devynite."
 "No thing," quod I, "nys more sothfaste than
 this, ne more ferme by resoun, ne a more
130 worthy thing than God mai not ben concluded."
 Philosophie. "Upon thise thynges thanne," quod
 sche, "ryght as thise geometriens whan thei han
 schewed her proposicions ben wont to bryngen
 yn thinges that thei clepen porismes or declaracions
 of forseide thinges, right so wol I yeve
 the here as a corolarie or a meede of coroune.
 Forwhy, for as moche as by the getynge of blisfulnesse
 men ben makid blisful, and blisfulnesse
140 is dyvinite, than is it manifest and
 opene that by the getynge of dyvinite men
 ben makid blisful. Right as by the getynge of
 justise [men ben maked just], and be the getynge
 of sapience thei ben maked wise, ryght so
 nedes by the semblable resoun, whan they han
 geten dyvinite thei ben maked goddes. Thanne
 is every blisful man God. But certes by nature
 ther nys but o God; but by the participacioun
 of dyvinite ther ne let ne distourbeth nothyng
150 that ther ne ben many goddis."
 "This ys," quod I, "a fair thing and a
 precious, clepe it as thou wilt, be it corolarie, or
 porisme, or mede of coroune, or declarynges."
 "Certes," quod sche, "nothing nys fairere
 than is the thing that by resoun schulde ben
 addide to thise forseide thinges."
 "What thing?" quod I.
 "So," quod sche, "as it semeth that blisfulnesse
 conteneth many thinges, it weere for
160 to witen whether that alle thise thinges
 maken or conjoynen as a maner body of
 blisfulnesse by diversite of parties or membres,
 or elles yif ony of alle thilke thinges be swich
 that it acomplise by hymself the substaunce of
 blisfulnesse, so that alle thise othere thynges
 ben referrid and brought to blisfulnesse (that
 is to seyn, as to the cheef of hem)."
 "I wolde," quod I, "that thow madest me
 clerly to undirstonde what thou seist, and
170 that thou recordidest me the forseide
 "Have I not jugged," quod sche, "that blisfulnesse
 is good?"
 "Yys for sothe," quod I, "and that sovereyn
 "Adde thanne," quod sche, "thilke good that
 is maked blisfulnesse to alle the forseide
 thinges. For thilke same blisfulnesse [is.
 demed to ben sovereyn suffisaunce, thilke
180 selve is sovereyn power, sovereyn reverence,
 sovereyn clernesse or noblesse, and
 sovereyn delyt. What seistow thanne of alle
 thise thinges, that is to seyn, suffisaunce, power,
 and thise othere thinges, -- ben thei thanne as
 membris of blisfulnesse, or ben they reffered
 and brought to sovereyne good ryght as alle
 thinges [ben] brought to the cheef of hem?"
 Boece. "I undirstonde wel," quod I, "what
 thou purposest to seke, but I desire for
190 to herkne that thow schew it me."
 Philosophie. "Tak now thus the discrecioun
 of this questioun," quod sche; "yif alle thise
 thinges," quod sche, "weren membris to felicite,
 thanne weren thei dyverse that on fro that
 othir. And swich is the nature of parties or of
 membres, that diverse membris compounen a
 "Certes," quod I, "it hath wel ben schewyd
 herebyforn that alle thise thinges ben
200 al o thyng."
 "Thanne ben thei none membres," quod
 sche, "for elles it schulde seme that blisfulnesse
 were conjoyned al of o membre allone;
 but that is a thing that mai not ben don."
 "This thing," quod I, "nys not doutous; but
 I abide to herknen the remenaunt of the question."
 "This is opene and cler," quod sche, "that
 alle othere thinges ben referrid and
210 brought to good. For therfore is suffisaunce
 requerid, for it is demyd to ben
 good; and forthy is power requirid, for men
 trowen also that it be good; and this same thing
 mowen we thinken and conjecten of reverence,
 and of noblesse, and of delyt. Thanne is sovereyn
 good the somme and the cause of al that
 oughte ben desired; forwhy thilke thing that
 withholdeth no good in itselve, ne semblance
 of good, it ne mai not wel in no
220 manere be desired ne requerid. And the
 contrarie; for thoughe that thinges by here
 nature ne ben not gode, algates yif men wene
 that thei ben gode, yet ben thei desired as
 theigh that thei were verrayliche gode; and
 therefore is it that men oughte to wene by ryghte
 that bounte be the sovereyn fyn and the cause
 of alle the thinges that ben to requiren. But
 certes thilke that is cause for whiche men
 requiren any thing, it semeth that thilke
230 same thing be moost desired. As thus: yf
 that a wyght wolde ryden for cause of hele,
 he ne desireth not so mochel the moevyng to
 ryden, as the effect of his hele. Now thanne,
 syn that alle thynges ben required for the grace
 of good, thei ne ben not desired of alle folk
 more than the same good. But we han grauntide
 that blisfulnesse is that thing for whiche that
 alle thise othere thinges ben desired; thanne
 is it thus that certes oonly blysfulnesse is
240 requered and desired. By whiche thing it
 scheweth cleerly that of good and of blisfulnesse
 is al on and the same substaunce."
 "I se nat," quod I, "wherfore that men
 myghten discorden in this."
 "And we han schewed that God and verray
 blisfulnesse is al o thing."
 "That is sooth," quod I.
 "Thanne mowen we concluden sykerly, that
 the substaunce of God is set in thilke same
250 good, and in noon other place.
 "Cometh alle to-gidre now, ye that ben
 ykaught and ybounde with wikkide cheynes by
 the desceyvable delyt of erthly thynges enhabitynge
 in yowr thought! Her schal ben the
 reste of your labours, her is the havene stable
 in pesible quiete; this allone is the open refut
 to wreches. (Glose. This to seyn, that ye that
 ben combryd and disseyvid with worldly
 affeccions, cometh now to this sovereyn
10 good, that is God, that is refut to hem
 that wolen come to hym.) Textus. Alle the
 thinges that the ryver Tagus yyveth yow with
 his goldene gravelis, or elles alle the thinges
 that the ryver Hermus yeveth with his rede
 brinke, or that Indus yyveth, that is next the
 hote partie of the world, that medleth the grene
 stones with the white, ne scholden not cleren
 the lookynge of your thought, but hiden rather
 your blynde corages withynne here derknesse.
20 Al that liketh yow here, and exciteth
 and moeveth your thoughtes, the
 erthe hath norysschid it in his lowe caves. But
 the schynynge by whiche the hevene is governed
 and whennes that it hath his strengthe, that
 eschueth the derke overthrowynge of the soule;
 and whosoevere may knowen thilke light (of
 blisfulnesse), he schal wel seyn that the white
 beemes of the sonne ne ben nat cleer."
 Boece. "I assente me," quod I, "for alle thise
 thinges ben strongly bounden with ryght ferme
 "How mychel wiltow preysen it," quod sche,
 "yif that thow knowe what thilke good is?"
 "I wol preyse it," quod I, "be pris withouten
 ende, yif it schal betyde me to knowe also togidre
 God that is good."
 "Certes," quod sche, "that schal I [undo]
10 the be verray resoun, yif that tho
 thinges that I have concluded a litel herebyforn
 duellen only in hir first grauntynge."
 Boece. "Thei dwellen graunted to the," quod
 I. (This to seyn as who seith, "I graunte thi
 forseide conclusyouns.")
 "Have I nat schewed the," quod sche, "that
 the thinges that ben required of many folk ne
 ben not verray goodis ne parfite, for thei ben
 divers that on fro that othir; and so as iche
20 of hem is lakkynge to othir, thei ne han no
 power to bryngen a good that is ful and
 absolut; but thanne at erste ben thei verraye
 good, whan thei ben gadred togidre [als] into o
 forme and into oon werkynge, so that thilke
 thing that is suffisaunce, thilke same be power,
 and reverence, and noblesse, and myrthe; and
 for sothe, but yif alle thise thinges ben alle o
 same thing, thei ne han not wherby that thei
 mowen be put in the nombre of thinges
30 that oughten ben required or desired?"
 Boece. "It is schewyd," quod I, "ne herof
 mai ther no man douten."
 Philosophie. "The thinges thanne," quod sche,
 "that ne ben none goodis whan thei ben diverse,
 and whanne thei bygynnen to ben al o thing,
 thanne ben thei goodes -- ne cometh it hem nat
 thanne be the getynge of unyte that thei ben
 maked goodes?"
 Boece. "So it semeth," quod I.
40 "But alle thing that is good," quod sche,
 "grauntestow that it be good by the participacioun
 of good, or no?"
 "I graunte it," quod I.
 "Thanne mustow graunten," quod sche, "by
 semblable resoun that oon and good be o same
 thing; for of thinges of whiche that the effect nys
 nat naturely divers, nedes the substaunce moot
 be oo same thing."
 "I ne may nat denye it," quod I.
50 "Hastow nat knowen wel," quod sche,
 "that alle thing that is hath so longe his
 duellynge and his substaunce as longe as it es
 oon, but whanne it forletith to be oon, it moot
 nedys deien and corrumpen togidres?"
 "In whiche manere?" quod I.
 "Ryght as in beestes," quod sche, "whanne
 the soule and the body ben conjoyned in oon
 and dwellen togidre, it es cleped a beeste; and
 whanne her unyte is destroyed be the
60 disseveraunce the toon fro the tothir,
 thanne scheweth it wel that it is a deed
 thing, and that it nys no lengere no beeste. And
 the body of a wyght, while it duelleth in oo
 fourme be conjunccion of membris, it is wel
 seyn that it is a figure of mankynde; and yif
 the parties of the body ben so devyded and
 disseverid the ton fro the tother that thei destroyen
 unite, the body forletith to ben that it was
 beforn. And whoso wolde renne in the
70 same manere be alle thinges, he scholde
 seen that withouten doute every thing is in
 his substaunce as longe as it is oon; and whanne
 it forletith to ben oon, it dyeth and peryssheth."
 Boece. "Whanne I considere," quod I, "manye
 thinges, I se noon other."
 "Is ther any thing thanne," quod sche, "that,
 in as moche as it lyveth naturely, that forletith
 the talent or the appetyt of his beynge and
 desireth to come to deth and to corrupcioun?"
 "Yif I considere," quod I, "the beestes
 that han any maner nature of wyllynge and of
 nyllynge, I ne fynde no beeste, but if it be
 constreyned fro withoute-forth, that forletith or
 despiseth the entencion to lyven and to duren;
 or that wole, his thankes, hasten hym to dyen.
 For every beest travaileth hym to defende and
 kepe the savacion of his lif, and eschueth deeth
 and destruccioun. But certes I doute me of
90 herbes and of trees [and] I am in a doute
 of swiche thinges [as] ne han no felyng
 soules (ne no naturel werkynges servynge to
 appetites as beestes han, whether thei han
 appetyt to duellen and to duren).
 "Certes," quod sche, "ne therof thar the nat
 doute. Now looke upon thise herbes and thise
 trees. They wexen first in suche places as ben
 covenable to hem, in whiche places thei mowen
 nat sone deye ne dryen, as longe as hir
100 nature mai defenden hem. For some of
 hem waxen in feeldis, and some in mountaynes,
 and othere waxen in mareys, and
 othre cleven on roches, and some wexen
 plentyvous in soondes; and yif any wyght
 enforce hym to bere hem into other places, thei
 wexen drye. For nature yeveth to every thing
 that that is convenient to hym, and travailleth
 that they ne deie nat, as longe as thei han power
 to duellen and to lyven. What wiltow seyn
110 of this, that thei drawen alle here
 norysschynges by here rootes, ryght as thei
 hadden here mouthes yplounged withynne the
 erthes, and sheden be hir maryes hir wode and
 hir bark? And what wyltow seyn of this, that
 thilke thing that is ryght softe, as the marie is,
 that it is alwey hyd in the seete al withinne, and
 that it is defended fro withoute by the
 stedfastnesse of wode, and that the outreste bark
 is put ayens the distemperaunce of the
120 hevene as a deffendour myghty to suffren
 harm? And thus certes maistow wel seen
 how greet is the diligence of nature; for alle
 thinges renovelen and publysschen hem with
 seed ymultiplied, ne ther nys no man that ne
 woot wel that they ne ben ryght as a foundement
 and edifice for to duren, noght oonly for a tyme,
 but ryght as for to dure perdurably by
 "And the thinges eek that men wenen ne
130 haven none soules, ne desire thei nat, iche
 of hem, by semblable resoun to kepyn that
 that is hirs (that is to seyn, that is accordynge
 to hir nature in conservacioun of hir beynge
 and endurynge)? For wherfore ellis bereth
 lightnesse the flaumbes up, and the weyghte
 presseth the erthe adoun, but for as moche as
 thilke places and thilke moevynges ben covenable
 to everyche of hem? And forsothe every
 thing kepeth thilke that is accordynge
140 and propre to hym, ryght as thinges that
 ben contrarious and enemys corrumpen
 hem. And yet the harde thinges, as stones,
 clyven and holden here parties togidere ryght
 faste and harde, and defenden hem in
 withstondynge that thei ne departe nat lyghtly
 atwynne. And the thinges that ben softe and
 fletynge, as is watir and eyr, thei departen
 lyghtly and yeven place to hem that breken or
 divyden hem; but natheles they retorne
150 sone ageyn into the same thinges fro
 whennes thei ben arraced; but fyer fleeth
 and refuseth alle dyvisioun.
 "Ne I ne trete not here now of willeful
 moevynges of the soule that is knowyng, but of
 the naturel entencioun of thinges, as thus: ryght
 as we swolwen the mete that we resseyven and
 ne thinke nat on it, and as we drawen our breeth
 in slepynge that we witen it nat while we slepyn.
 For certes in the beestis the love of hire
160 lyvynges ne of hire beynges ne cometh
 not of the wilnynges of the soule, but of
 the bygynnynges of nature. For certes, thurw
 constreynynge causes, wil desireth and embraceth
 ful ofte tyme the deeth that nature
 dredeth. (That is to seyn as thus: that a man
 may be constreyned so, by som cause, that his
 wille desireth and taketh the deeth whiche
 that nature hateth and dredeth ful sore.) And
 somtyme we seen the contrarye, as thus:
170 that the wil of a wyght distourbeth and
 constreyneth that that nature desireth and
 requirith alwey, that is to seyn the werk of
 generacioun, by whiche generacioun only
 duelleth and is susteyned the longe durablete of
 mortel thinges. And thus this charite and this
 love, that every thing hath to hymself, ne
 cometh not of the moevynge of the soule, but of
 the entencioun of nature. For the purveaunce of
 God hath yeven to thinges that ben creat of
180 hym this, that is a ful grete cause to lyven
 and to duren, for whiche they desiren
 naturely here lif as longe as evere thei mowen.
 For which thou mayst not drede be no manere
 that alle the thinges that ben anywhere, that thei
 ne requiren naturely the ferme stablenesse of
 perdurable duellynge, and eek the eschuynge of
 Boece. "Now confesse I wel," quod I, "that Y
 see wel now certeynly withouten doutes
190 the thinges that whilom semeden uncerteyn
 to me."
 Philosophie. "But," quod sche, "thilke thing
 that desireth to be and to duelle perdurably, he
 desireth to ben oon. For yif that oon were
 destroyed, certes, beynge schulde ther noon
 duellen to no wyght."
 "That is sooth," quod I.
 "Thanne," quod sche, "desiren alle thinges
200 "I assente," quod I.
 "And I have schewed," quod sche, "that
 thilke same oon is thilke that is good."
 Boece. "Ye, forsothe," quod I.
 "Alle thinges thanne," quod sche, "requiren
 good; and thilke good thow mayst descryven
 ryght thus: good is thilk thing that every wyght
 "Ther ne may be thought," quod I, "no more
 verraye thing. For eyther alle thinges ben
210 referrid and brought to noght, and floteren
 withouten governour, despoyled of oon as
 of hire propre heved; or elles, yif ther be any
 thing to whiche that alle thinges tenden and
 hyen to, that thing muste ben the sovereyn good
 of alle goodes."
 Philosophie. Thanne seide sche thus: "O my
 nory," quod sche, "I have greet gladnesse of
 the, for thow hast fycched in thyn herte the
 [marke] [of] [the] myddel sothfastnesse, (that
220 is to seyn, the prykke). But [in] this thing
 hath ben discoveryd to the [that] thow
 seydest that thow wistest not a litel herbyforn."
 "What was that?" quod I.
 "That thou ne wistest noght," quod sche,
 "whiche was the ende of thinges. And certes that
 is the thyng that every wyght desireth. and for
 as mochel as we han gadrid and comprehendid
 that good is thilke thing that is desired of alle,
 thanne mote we nedys confessen that good
230 is the fyn of alle thinges.
 "Whoso that seketh sooth by a deep thought,
 and coveyteth not to ben disseyvid by no mysweyes,
 lat hym rollen and trenden withynne
 hymself the lyght of his ynwarde sighte; and
 let hym gaderyn ayein, enclynynge into a compas,
 the longe moevynges of his thoughtes; and
 let hym techyn his corage that he hath enclosid
 and hid in his tresors al that he compasseth or
 secheth fro withoute. And thanne thilke
10 thing that the blake cloude of errour
 whilom hadde ycovered schal lighte more
 clerly than Phebus hymself ne schyneth.
 (Glosa. Whoso wol seke the depe ground of
 soth in his thought, and wil nat ben disseyvid
 by false proposiciouns that goon amys fro the
 trouthe, lat hym wel examine and rolle withynne
 hymself the nature and the propretes of
 the thing; and let hym yet eftsones examinen
 and rollen his thoughtes by good deliberacioun
20 or that he deme, and lat hym techyn
 his soule that it hath, by naturel principles
 kyndeliche yhud withynne itself, al the trouthe
 the whiche he ymagineth to ben in thinges
 withoute. And thanne al the derknesse of his
 mysknowynge shall [schewen] more evydently
 to the sighte of his undirstondynge then the
 sonne ne semeth to the sighte withoute-forth.)
 For certes the body, bryngynge the weighte of
 foryetynge, ne hath nat chased out of your
30 thought al the cleernesse of your knowyng;
 for certeynli the seed of soth haldeth and
 clyveth within yowr corage, and it is awaked
 and excited by the wynde and by the blastes
 of doctrine. For wherfore elles demen ye of
 your owene wil the ryghtes, whan ye ben axid,
 but if so were that the norysschynges of resoun
 ne lyvede yplounged in the depe of your herte?
 (This to seyn, how schulde men deme the sothe
 of any thing that were axid, yif ther nere a
40 rote of sothfastnesse that were yploungid
 and hyd in the naturel principles, the
 whiche sothfastnesse lyvede within the depnesse
 of the thought?) And if so be that the
 Muse and the doctrine of Plato syngeth soth,
 al that every wyght leerneth, he ne doth no
 thing elles thanne but recordeth, as men recorden
 thinges that ben foryeten."
 Thanne seide I thus: "I accorde me gretly to
 Plato, for thou recordist and remembrist me
 thise thinges yet the seconde tyme; that is to
 seye, first whan I loste my memorie be the contagious
 conjunccioun of the body with the
 soule, and eftsones aftirward, whan Y lost it
 confounded by the charge and be the burdene
 of my sorwe."
 And thanne seide sche thus: "Yif thow
10 loke," quod sche, "first the thynges that
 thou hast graunted, it ne schal nat ben
 ryght fer that thow ne schalt remembren thilke
 thing that thou seidest that thou nystist nat."
 "What thing?" quod I.
 "By whiche governement," quod sche, "that
 this world is governed."
 "Me remembreth it wel," quod I; "and I confesse
 wel that I ne wyste it nat. But al be it so
 that I see now from afer what thou purposist,
20 algates I desire yit to herknen it of
 the more pleynly."
 "Thou ne wendest nat," quod sche, "a litel
 herebyforn, that men schulde doute that this
 world nys governed by God."
 "Certes," quod I, "ne yet ne doute I it
 naught, ne I nyl nevere wene that it were to
 doute" (as who seith, "but I woot wel that God
 governeth this world"); "and I schal schortly
 answeren the be what resouns I
30 am brought to this. This world," quod I,
 "of so manye diverse and contraryous
 parties, ne myghte nevere han ben assembled
 in o forme, but yif ther ne were oon that conjoyned
 so manye diverse thinges; and the same
 diversite of here natures, that so discorden the
 ton fro that other, most departen and unjoynen
 the thinges that ben conjoynid, yif ther ne were
 oon that contenyde that he hath conjoynid and
 ybounden. Ne the certein ordre of nature ne
40 schulde not brynge forth so ordene moevynges
 by places, by tymes, by doynges, by
 spaces, by qualites, yif ther ne were on, that
 were ay stedfaste duellynge, that ordeynide and
 disponyde thise diversites of moevynges. And
 thilke thing, whatsoevere it be, by whiche that
 alle things ben ymaked and ilad, Y clepe hym
 `God,' that is a word that is used to alle folk."
 Thanne seide sche: "Syn thou feelist thus
 thise thinges," quod sche, "I trowe that I
50 have litel more to done that thou, myghty
 of welefulnesse, hool and sound, ne see
 eftsones thi contre. But let us loken the thinges
 that we han purposed herebyforn. Have I nat
 nombrid and seid," quod sche, "that suffisaunce
 is in blisfulnesse, and we han accorded that
 God is thilke same blisfulnesse?"
 "Yis, forsothe," quod I.
 "And that to governen this world," quod
 sche, "ne schal he nevere han nede of noon
60 help fro withoute? For elles, yif he hadde
 nede of any help, he ne schulde nat have
 no ful suffisaunce?"
 "Yys, thus it moot nedes be," quod I.
 "Thanne ordeyneth he be hymself alone alle
 thinges?" quod sche.
 "That may noght ben denyed," quod I.
 "And I have schewyd that God is the same
 "It remembreth me wel," quod I.
70 "Thanne ordeigneth he alle thinges by
 thilke good," quod sche, "syn he, whiche
 that we han accordid to ben good, governeth
 alle thinges by hymself; and he is as a keye and
 a styere, by whiche that the edifice of this world
 is kept stable and withouten corrumpynge."
 "I accorde me greetly," quod I. "And I
 aperceyvede a litil herebyforn that thow woldest
 seyn thus, al be it so that it were by a
 thynne suspecioun."
80 "I trowe it wel," quod sche; "for, as I
 trowe, thou ledist now more ententyfliche
 thyn eyen to loken the verray goodes. But natheles
 the thing that I schal telle the yet ne
 scheweth not lesse to loken."
 "What is that?" quod I.
 "So as men trowen," quod sche, "and that
 ryghtfully, that God governeth alle thinges by
 the keye of his goodnesse, and alle thise same
 thinges, as I have taught the, hasten hem
90 by naturel entencioun to come to good,
 ther may no man douten that thei ne
 ben governed voluntariely, and that they ne
 converten hem of here owene wil to the wil of
 here ordeynour, as thei that ben accordynge
 and enclynynge to here governour and here
 "It moot nedes be so," quod I, "for the reume
 ne schulde nat seme blisful yif ther were a yok
 of mysdrawynges in diverse parties, ne the
100 savynge of obedient thynges ne scholde
 nat be."
 "Thanne is ther nothyng," quod sche, "that
 kepith his nature, that enforceth hym to gon
 ayen God."
 "No," quod I.
 "And yif that any thing enforcede hym to
 withstonde God, myghte it avayle at the laste
 ayens hym that we han graunted to ben almyghty
 by the ryght of blisfulnesse?"
110 "Certes," quod I, "al outrely it ne
 myghte nat avaylen hym."
 "Thanne is ther nothing," quod she, "that
 either mai or wole withstonden to this sovereyn
 "I trowe nat," quod I.
 "Thanne is thilke the sovereyn good," quod
 sche, "that alle thinges governeth strongly
 and ordeyneth hem softly?"
 Thanne seide I thus: "I delite me,"
120 quod I, "nat oonly in the eendes or in the
 somme of the resouns that thou hast concluded
 and proved, but thilke woordes that
 thou usest deliten me moche more. So that, at
 the laste, foolis that somtyme reenden grete
 thinges oughten ben asschamid of hemself
 (that is to seyn, that we foolis that reprehenden
 wikkidly the thinges that touchen Godis
 governaunce, we aughten ben asschamid of
 ourself), as I, that seide that God refuseth
130 oonly the werkis of men and ne entremettith
 nat of it."
 Philosophie. "Thow hast wel herd," quod
 sche, "the fables of the poetis, how the geauntis
 assaileden hevene with the goddis, but forsothe
 the debonayre force of God disposide hem as it
 was worthy (that is to sey, destroyed the
 geauntes, as it was worthy). But wiltow that
 we joynen togidres thilke same resouns, for
 paraventure of swiche conjunccioun may
140 sterten up som fair sparcle of soth?"
 "Do," quod I, "as the list."
 "Wenestow," quod sche, "that God ne be
 almyghty? No man is in doute of it."
 "Certes," quod I, "no wyght ne douteth it,
 yif he be in his mynde."
 "But he," quod sche, "that is almyghti, ther
 nys no thyng that he ne may?"
 "That is sooth," quod I.
 "May God don evel?" quod sche.
150 "Nay, forsothe," quod I.
 "Thanne is evel nothing," quod sche,
 "syn that he ne may not don evel, that mai
 doon alle thinges."
 "Scornestow me," quod I, "or elles, pleyestow
 or disseyvistow me, that hast so woven
 me with thi resouns the hous of Didalus,
 so entrelaced that it is unable to ben unlaced,
 thow that otherwhile entrist ther thow issist,
 and other while issist ther thow entrest?
160 Ne fooldist thou nat togidre by replicacioun
 of wordes a manere wondirful sercle
 or envirounynge of the simplicite devyne?
 For certes a litel herebyforne, whanne thou bygunne
 at blisfulnesse, thou seidest that it is
 sovereyn good, and seidest that it is set in sovereyn
 God; and seidest that God hymself is
 sovereyn good, and that God is the ful blisfulnesse;
 for whiche thou yave me as a covenable
 yifte, that is to seyn, that no wyght nis
170 blisful, but yif he be God also therwith.
 And seidest eke that the forme of good is
 the substaunce of God and of blisfulnesse; and
 seidest that thilke same oon is thilke same good
 that is required and desired of al the kynde of
 thinges. And thou provedest in disputynge that
 God governeth alle the thinges of the world by
 the governementis of bounte, and seidest that
 alle thinges wolen obeyen to hym, and seidest
 that the nature of yvel nys no thing. And
180 thise thinges ne schewedest thou naught
 with noone resouns ytaken fro withouten,
 but by proeves in cercles and homliche knowen,
 the whiche proeves drawen to hemself heer
 feyth and here accord everiche of hem of othir."
 Thanne seide sche thus: "I ne scorne the nat,
 ne pleie, ne disceyve the; but I have schewed
 the the thing that is grettest over alle thinges,
 by the yifte of God that we whelome prayeden.
 For this is the forme of the devyne substaunce,
190 that is swiche that it ne slideth nat
 into uttreste foreyne thinges, ne ne resceyveth
 noone straunge thinges in hym; but
 ryght as Parmanydes seide in Grees of thilke
 devyne substaunce -- he seide thus: that thilke
 devyne substaunce tornith the world and the
 moevable sercle of thinges, while thilke devyne
 substaunce kepith itself withouten moevynge
 (that is to seyn, that it ne moeveth nevere mo,
 and yet it moeveth alle othere thinges).
200 But natheles, yif I have styred resouns
 that ne ben nat taken from withouten the compas
 of the thing of whiche we treten, but resouns
 that ben bystowyd withinne that compas,
 ther nys nat why that thou schuldest merveillen,
 sith thow hast lernyd by the sentence
 of Plato that nedes the wordis moot be cosynes
 to the thinges of whiche thei speken.
 "Blisful is that man that may seen the clere
 welle of good! Blisful is he that mai unbynden
 hym fro the boondes of the hevy erthe! The
 poete of Trace, Orpheus, that whilome hadde
 ryght greet sorwe for the deth of his wyf, aftir
 that he hadde makid by his weeply songes the
 wodes moevable to renne, and hadde makid
 the ryveris to stonden stille, and hadde maked
 the hertes and the hyndes to joynen dreedles
10 here sydes to cruel lyouns for to herknen
 his song, and hadde maked that the
 hare was nat agast of the hound, whiche was
 plesed by his song; so, whanne the moste ardaunt
 love of his wif brende the entrayles of his
 breest, ne the songes that hadden overcomen
 alle thinges ne mighten nat asswagen hir lord
 Orpheus, he pleynid hym of the hevene
 goddis that weren cruel to hym.
 "He wente hym to the houses of helle,
20 and ther he tempride his blaundysschinge
 songes by resounynge strenges, and spak
 and song in wepynge al that evere he hadde
 resceyved and lavyd out of the noble welles of
 his modir Callyope the goddesse. And he sang
 with as mochel as he myghte of wepynge, and
 with as moche as love that doublide his sorwe
 myghte yeve hym and teche hym, and he
 commoevde the helle, and requyred and bysoughte
 by swete preyere the lordes of
30 soules in helle of relessynge, that is to seyn,
 to yelden hym his wyf. Cerberus, the porter
 of helle, with hise thre hevedes, was caught and
 al abasschid of the newe song. And the thre
 goddesses, furiis and vengeresses of felonyes,
 that tormenten and agasten the soules by anoy,
 woxen sorweful and sory, and wepyn teeris for
 pite. Tho was nat the heved of Yxion ytormented
 by the overthrowynge wheel. And Tantalus, that
 was destroied by the woodnesse of long
40 thurst, despyseth the floodes to drynken.
 The foul that highte voltor, that etith the
 stomak or the gyser of Tycius, is so fulfild of
 his song that it nil eten ne tiren no more. At the
 laste the lord and juge of soules was moevid to
 misericordes, and cryede: `We ben overcomen,'
 quod he; `yyve we to Orpheus his wif to beren
 hym compaignye; he hath wel ybought hire by
 his faire song and his ditee. But we wolen putten
 a lawe in this and covenaunt in the yifte;
50 that is to seyn that, til he be out of helle, yif
 he loke byhynde hym, that his wyf schal
 comen ageyn unto us.' But what is he that may
 yeven a lawe to loverys? Love is a grettere lawe
 and a strengere to hymself thanne any lawe that
 men mai yyven. Allas! Whanne Orpheus and his
 wif weren almest at the termes of the nyght
 (that is to seyn, at the laste boundes of helle),
 Orpheus lokede abakward on Erudyce his wif,
 and lost hire, and was deed.
60 "This fable apertenith to yow alle, whosoevere
 desireth or seketh to lede his
 thought into the sovereyn day, that is to seyn, to
 cleernesse of sovereyn good. For whoso that
 evere be so overcomen that he ficche his eien
 into the put of helle, that is to seyn, whoso sette
 his thoughtes in erthly thinges, al that evere he
 hath drawen of the noble good celestial he lesith
 it, whanne he looketh the helles, that is to seyn,
 into lowe thinges of the erthe.

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