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Or who can drivin so a naile
To make fuere newfongilnes,
Save women, that can gie ther saile
To row ther bote with doublenes?
At every haven they can arive
Wher as they wote is gode passage;
Of innocence they can not strive
With wawis, nor no rockis rage;
So happy is ther lodemanage
With nedle' and stone ther cours to dresse,
That Salomon was not so sage
To finde in them no doublenes:
Therfore who fo doth them accuse
Of any double entencion,
To spekè rowne, othir to muse,
To pinch at ther condicion,
All is but false collusion,
I dare right wel the sothe expresse,
They have no bertir protection,
But shroud them undir doublenes.
So wel fortunid is ther chaunce,
The dice to turnin uppe so doune,
With fise and fincke they can avaunce,
And than by revolucioun
They set a fel conclufioun
Of lonibis, as in futhesafines,
Though clerkis makin mencioun
Ther kinde is fret with doublenes.
Sampfon yhad experience
That women were ful trew ifound
Whan Dalila of innocence
With sheris gan bis here to round;
To speke also of Rofamounde,
And Cleopatri's feithfulnes,
The stories plainly wil confounde
Men that apeche ther doublenes.
Single thinge ne is not ypraised,
Nor of olde is of no renoun,
In balaunce whan they be ypeised,
For lacke of waighte they be bore doune,
And for this cause of juste resoun
These women al of rightwisenes
Of chois and fre electioun
Most love eschaunge and doublenes.
O ye women! whiche ben enclined
By influence of your nature
To ben as pure as golde yfined,
And in your trouth for to endure,
your selfe in strong armure,
Left men assaile your fikirnes,
Set on your brest, your self to'assure,
A mightie shelde of doublenes.
This worke folocvinge was compiled by Chaucer, and is
caled Tbc Craft of Lovers.
Moralis a symylytude, who list ther balades fewe,
The Craft of Lovirs curious arguments,
For som bin false and som ben foundin trewe,
And som bin double of entendements;
Thus lovirs with ther moral docunients
And elo’quent langage can examplifye
The Craft of Love what it doth signifie.
Who list unto this balades have inspeccion
Thinke that Lov'is lordshipis excellente
Is remedy for difese and correccion
To wosul herte and body impotentc,
Suppose the maker that he be negligente
In his compilinge, holde him excusable,
Because his spi'rites be sory' and lamentable.
Soverain lady, surmounting your nobles,
O’intenuate jenipre' and daili delicious!
My truít, mine helth, my cordial foundresse,
O medi'cine fanatife to sores lango'rous,
Comfortable creture of lovirs amo'rous!
O’excellente herbir of loveli countinaunce !
Registir my love in your remembraunce.
Certis, Sir, your ypeintid eloquence,
So gay, so freshe, and eke so talcatife,
It doch transcende the wit of Dame Prudence
For to declare your thought or to discrive,
So gloriously glad langage ye contrive
Of your conseite, your thought, and your entente,
I wil be ware, for drede or I be fhent.
O rubi'cunde rose, and white as the lyly,
Clari'fied chriftal of worldly portraiture !
O courfin figure, resplendent with glory,
Geme of beaute'! o carbouncle thining pure!
Your fairnes excedeth the craft of Nature,
Most womanli your lovely countinaunce,
Registir my love in your remembraunce.
What availeth, Sir, your proclamacion
Of curious talking, not touching sadnes ?
It is but winde, flatering and adulacion,
Imesurable thought of worldy wildnes,
Whiche is chief cause of goftly feblenes;
Your wil, your thought, your double entendement,
I wil beware of drede or I be fhent.
My witte, my thought, and myne entencion,
Is for to plese you, my lady soveraine,
And for your love throw many a region
I would be'exiled, so ye wold not disdein
To have pity on me when I compleine,
In wele and wo to fuffre perturbaunce,
So that ye wol have me in remenibraunce. 49
What is your wil plainly ye doe expresse
That maketh this curious supplicacion;
Sey on, Sir, on hertèly tendirneffe,
Beth wel advised of veine delectacion,
At beginning think on the terminacion ;
Passe not your boundes, be not to negligente,
And er beware for dred or ye be fhente.
Your behaving, beaute, and countinaunce,
Maketh me encline to do you reverence,
Your lovely loking, glorious govirnaunce,
Oercometh my spirites, my wit, and prudence,
Some drop of grace of your magnificence
servaunt ye shewe attendaunce, And register my love in your remembraunce.
O comberous thought of manne's fragilite! O fervente wil of luftis furious! O cruel corage causinge adversite! Of women corrupcion, and contrariouse, Remembir man that chaunge is perilous, To breke the’ virginite of virgines innocente, Wherfore beware mankinde or thou be fhent. 70
My peine is prevy' impoflible to’ deserne,
My lamentabel thoughtes by casting mourninge,
O general juge Jesu! sitting superne,
Graciously converte the love of my swete thing;
О'amiable lady, gracious and benigne!
I put me wholy in your govirnaunce,
Exile me not out of your remembraunce. 77
Me femeth by langage ye be some potestate,
Or els fom curious glofir discevable;
What is your name mekely I make regrate,
Or of what science or craft commendable?
l'am a lady'excellence and honorable,
He must be gay that should be to'min eatente,
Wherfore I wil be ware or I be thent.