La Connaissance d'amours


STC 5631
Ringler 5631 and TP 939 ('In tyme of May...'). Includes the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, paraphrased from Ovid, _Metamorphoses_ 4.55 (Ringler). UMI microfilm reel 953

Here begynneth a lyttell treatyse cleped La conusaunce damours
London: Richard Pynson,1528?.

Composition Date: 1528? [STC, CBEL].

clandestinat ='clandestine'; clandestinat not recorded in OED
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¶Here begynneth a lyttell treatyse cleped La conusaunce damours .

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¶The prologue of the author.

In tyme of May / whan Flora the fresshe quene
Through arte and crafte / of swete zephirus
Depeynted hath / feldes and medowes grene
With sondry colours / very delicious
5 White / redde / and crymoysyn amorous crymoysyn: =crimson
Tauny / youlowe / violet / and blewe
With ryght many a nother dyuers hewe

Forth gone the virgyns euerychone
Replet with ioye / and eke felicite
10 To gether floures. And some vnto one
Haue more fantasy / whan they it se
Than to all that in the medowes be
A nother shall in contrary wyse
Gether other after theyr deuyse.

15 So done clerkes / of great grauite
Chose maters / wheron they lyst to wryte
But I that am of small capacite
Toke on me this treatyse to endyte
T'auoyde ydelnesse / more than for delyte
20 And most parte therof / tolde was to me
As here-after / ye may rede and se.

Thus endeth the prologue.

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THe thyrde idus / in the moneth of Iuly
Phebus his beames / lustryng euery way
Gladdynge the hartes / of all our Hemyspery
And mouynge many / vnto sporte and playe
5 So dyd it me / the treuthe for to saye
To walke forth / I had great inclination
Per_chaunce some-where / to fynde recreation

And as I walked / euer I dyd beholde
Goodly yonge people / that them encouraged
10 In suche maner wyse / as though they wolde
Ryght gladly haue songe or daunsed
Or els some other gorgious thynge deuysed
Whose demeanynge / made me ryght ioyous
For to beholde / theyr dedes amorous.

15 To wryte all thynges of plesure / that I se
In euery place / where I passed by
In all a day rec[o]unted it can nat be recounted] recunted 1528
Who coude discryue the fresshe beauty
Of dames and pusels / attyred gorgiously
20 So swete of loke / so amiable of face
Smilyng doulcely / on suche as stande in grace

Certaynly theyr bounte / and curtesy
Ofte moueth me / for to do my payne
Some-thynge to wryte / them to magnifye
25 Aboue the sterres. But ay I may complayne
Ignoraunce / gouerneth so my brayne
That I ne dare / for nothynge presume
Out of my mouthe / to blowe suche a fume

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It is a laboure / great and hyedous hyedous: =hideous
30 Requirynge study / and moche experience
For my shulders / it is to ponderous
Whiche am priuate / of suche condigne science
It is for a man / of hygh eloquence
And worthynes / fame and memorie
35 So noble a thynge / to laude and magnifie.

But nowe to purpose / where I began
Walkyng abrode / wandryng to and fro
Beynge alone / with me was no man
Sodaynly / came in my mynde to go
40 Se. A faire pusell / and two or thre mo
Of her companions. This was myn entent
And by and by / forth thetherwarde I went.

Whan I came there / I founde at the dore
A dammusell / standyng all alone
45 Who I dyd salute / and ferthermore
Of her demaunded I / curtesly anone
Gentyll mayde where is your companion?
Syr she sayd (her hart on a mery pyn)
Ye be welcome. she is nat nowe within

50 But by her faire / and swete countenance
I perceyued lyghtly / what she ment
Dame daunger moued her to that daliaunce
But Desyre bad me go. and in I went
And sodaynly / by the hand me hent
55 This most curtes mayde / who I went to se
Sayenge welcome / most derely vnto me.

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And by the hande / than as she me had
In we went / talkynge ioyously
Into a goodly parler / she me lad
60 And caused me to sytte / curtesly
Than vnto vs / came shortly by and by
A nother / that me swetely dyd welcome
Bryngyng fresshe floures / and gaue me some.

Than we began / to talke and deuyse
65 Of one and other / of olde acqueyntaunce
For comonly / of maydens is the gyse
Somtyme to demaunde for pastaunce
If that a man be in loues daunce
Or stande in grace / of any dammusell
70 Under suche maner / in talkynge we fell

We spake of loue / yet none of vs all
Knoweth perfectly / what loue shulde be
The one affyrmed / people veneriall
Folowynge the course / of their natiuite
75 Endure great sorowe / and moche aduersite
And many suffre / suche peyne and turment
That as mad folke / them-selfe all to_rent

Thus sayd one / and vp-helde it styffely
That loue was of suche maner nature
80 That it myght rather be called a mad fury
Than any maner thynge of pleasure
To whiche wordes / th'other mayden demure
Replyed. Prayeng vs / to gyue her licence
In this matter / to shewe forth her sentence

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85 Gladly (we sayd[)] therto we assent
In this to here / your opinion
Forsoth (sayd she) ye shall nat be myscontent
All-though therin / I make obiection
Where-as nowe / ye haue made conclusion
90 Sayeng loue was a fury or a madnesse
Without all grauite / measure / or sadnesse

Nay surely / your reason is defectyue
For this ye knowe very perfectly
That they that loue / and hate for to stryue
95 Lyue a thousande tymes more quietly
Than they / that hate eche other mortally
For where-as is no loue / nor tranquillite
There is myschef / langour / and all aduersite.

Loue is the very true manocorde manocorde: =manichord, or perhaps an error for monochord.
100 That euery wyght shulde harpe vpon
Louyng well eche other by very concorde
To this reason / byndeth vs euerychone
And this maner loue / is nat in vs alone
For bestes that haue / sence and vnderstandynge
105 By companies go / to_gether right louynge

Whiche doyng I repute very perfect loue
Whan by no crafte / nor male engyn
From their amite / wyll nat remoue
The one to socour other shall neuer blyn
110 Who can depart true louy[n]g folkes atwyn?
Father / children / and frendes of aliaunce /
And good neyghbours helpe other in eche chaunce.

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This maner frendshyp / very loue I call
Other than this / or lyke no man can fynde
115 Abyde (sayd the other) I thynke ye shall
Here my reason / contrary to your mynde
I trowe none hence to the lande of Inde
Can be founde. Whiche hath nat tasted
Other loue / than ye haue nowe rehersed

120 Harde you neuer tell / of yonge Pyramus /
And his swete loue / called fayre Thysby:
In all Babylon / the moost swete and gracious
Bothe shynyng / full of fresshe beauty
Dwellynge also / togyder very nye
125 Wherby the more / as I haue herde tell
Fro day to day / in feruent loue they fell

They wold both / ryght fayne haue ben spoused
After suche lawe / as in that tyme they vse
But by theyr parentes / they were alway letted
130 Who of theyr myschief / I may well accuse
Neuer wolde one / the other of them refuse
The strayter they were kept / and inclosed
The more feruently / in loue they burned

And whan they coude nat to_gyther speke
135 They made signes / tokyn and lokynge
By suche meanes / theyr myndes wolde they breke
That one of other had perfect vnderstandynge
Nowe it happed / as loue is euer sekynge
To fynde remedye / what therof befall
140 So at last they founde / a chenke in a wall

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At whiche place / oft these louers two
Mette and talked / of their wo and payne
Many tymes / theder wolde they go
And on the wall / piteously complayne
145 That he stode / betwene them louers twayne
Nat openyng to them so moche space
To come to_geder / eche other to enbrace

These and like wordes / ofte wolde they say
O enuious wall certes thou doest amysse
150 If thou wylt nat suffre / that we may
Ioyne our bodies / suffre vs to kysse
Agaynst the / we neuer dyd amysse
Wherfore be nat thou / to vs vnkynde
Opyn thy-selfe / and obey to our mynde.

155 And whan they shulde part eche other fro
They toke leaue / and that ryght curtesly
Yet alway / before or they wolde go
On eche syde / they kyst the wall swetely
Syghyng a lytell / very amorously
160 So wolde they stande / all many a longe nyght
Tyll Aurora / exild them with her lyght

And whan Phebus gan / his bemes downe spred
Dryeng vp the dewes / in the medowes grene
Than wolde they stele priuely to bed
165 That they shulde / of no persone be sene
Where most of all / theyr sorowe sharpe and kene
At the hart / gan to prycke a_pace
That they ne coude / rest in any place.

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Nowe languysshe they / with syghes profounde
170 Nowe sorowe they / nowe they turne and wynde
Nowe fresshely bledeth / their incurable wounde
Nowe cast they / right busely in mynde
Howe they may / some crafte and maner fynde
Theyr kepers to deceyue / by some wyle
175 And to stele out / in the nyght by gyle.

After they had / fixed theyr myndes heron
They agreed / at theyr metyng-place
That they wolde / into the feldes gon
The next nyght / and mete at a certayn place
180 And whiche of them two / were first per_case
Theder come / shulde no ferther go
Tyll the other / were ycome also.

Their metyng-place / I vnderstande shulde be
At the supulcure / or tombe of kyng Ninus
185 (Kyng of Assiriens) vnder a goodly hye tre
Bearyng white aples / the tre cleped Morus Morus: =more, 'mulberry tree', as elsewhere in this text.
Growyng fast by / a fountayne delicious
In the sayd place / couenaunted to mete
Yonge Pyram / and gracious Thysby swete.

190 Whan the longe day / was gone and past
And nyght come / euery-thynge at rest
The tendre mayde / hyed her ryght fast
To the dore she goth / redely and prest
And put therto / her doulce and softe brest
195 Openynge it so / for feare lest it shulde crake
And therwith / some of her kepars wake.

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So out at the dore / gote preuely is she
And through the towne / alone is went
Into the fyldes / towarde the foresayd tre
200 O swete Thysbe / howe true was your entent
Howe curtesly your hart dyd assent
For the loue of gentyll Pyramus
To enterprise / a thynge so perillous.

Myghty loues power / here may we beholde
205 Proued on this goodly damosell
What but loue coude make her so bolde?
She feared nat / the sauage beestes fell
Wherto shulde I any longer dwell?
Upon her way she went styll apace
210 Castyng euer / towarde the appointed place.

One myght demaunde / who was her gyde
Bycause it was in the quyet nyght
I answere none / but the hygh lorde Cupide
Whose souerayne puysaunce / and great myght
215 Turneth obscure darkenesse / vnto lyght
He leadeth folkes / that way as he wyll
In great parilles / redy for to spyll.

So this lorde / of his myght and grace
Conduced Thysbe / in the wylde felde
220 Tyll she came vnto the foresayd place
Where she sate downe / vnder Morus s[h]elde shelde] selde 1528; Morus may be a possessive form.
And as she sate / a_ferre-of she behelde
Towarde the wode / by lyght of the mone
A lyonesse / whiche towarde her dyd come.

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225 This lyones / in the wode had slayne
A beest before / and deuoured hym also
And came to drynke / at the sayd fountayne
Where Thysbe sate alone / with her no mo
For feare wherof / lyghtly she to go
230 Into a denne / that was there-besyde
Swete Thysbe ran / her for to hyde.

(In moche perill / and great ieopardye
Thysbe was brought / by this sodayne fraye
For in that denne / wylde beestes vsed to lye)
235 For hast she fell / her kerchefe by the way
Whiche the lyones (as I haue harde say)
Founde. And in her blody mouthe toke
Rent / tore / and out agayne it shoke.

Than forthwith she ran into the wode
240 And as soone as euer she was gone
Pyram came / and founde the cloth all blode
His hart gan to be / as colde as any stone
Sayeng these wordes / with most pitous mone
O nyght thou losest / and art distruction
245 Of two yonge louers of Babylon.

Of whiche two / she that most worthy was
For to haue lyued / is deed fyrst of all
I am the cause / swete Thysbe (hei alas)
That you ben slayne / of this beest truculentall
250 If I had come fyrst / than had it nat befall
O wretche that I am / to suffre swete Thysbe
To come alone / and here for to dye.

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O ye moost cruell / and rabbysshe lions fell
Come nowe and teare / the corps of Pyramus
255 Ye sauage beestes / that in these rockes dwell
If blode to you be so delicious
Come and gnawe / my wretched body dolorous
And on the kerchef / with face pale and tryst
He loked ofte / and it right swetely kyst.

260 With deedly syghes / his swerde out he drewe
Under the vmbre / of the forsayd tre
Wherwith shortly / hym owne selfe he slewe
Sayeng / take drynke nowe the blode of me
With whiche stroke / the blode (as it had be
265 Water spoutynge / out of a condite-heed)
Spouted vp / whan he fell downe deed.

And with the blode / in suche wyse sprynklyng
The frute of the tre / whiche that before
Was white. Turned as blacke as any-thynge
270 And the blode / that sanke to the more more ='mulberry tree'
Depeinted it / a fayre purple colore
Whiche vnto this day / so remayne
But nowe to Thysby / turne I wyll agayne.

All-though her feare were neuer the las
275 Yet bycause she wolde nat breke promesse
She came softly / towarde th'appoynted place
Bothe mynde and eye / lokyng without cesse
For yonge Pyram / the floure of gentylnesse
She loked euer / her swete-hart to se
280 Tyll she approched / and came vnder the tre.

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Whan she behelde / the transformacion
Of the tre. She was right sore abasshed
And bycause it was in suche condicion
She thought it was nat / the place appoynted
285 But at last / as she more nerer loked
She sawe a corps / vpon the grounde lye
Newly slayne / tremblyng and all blody.

Wherwith she gan / to be as pale as leed
And stepped backe / a lyttell sodaynly
290 Incontinent she perceyued the corps deed
Was her owne swete-hart / the noble Pyramy
O how she gan moost piteously to crye
Her handes strayne / and her fyngers wrynge
Enragiously / her armes out-castynge. Enragiously ='passionately', cf. rageously; enragiously not recorded in OED.

295 She rent and tore / her goodly youlowe heare
And toke the corps / in her armes twayne
Desperously / wepynge many a teare Desperously ='despairingly'; desperously not recorded in OED
Amonge the blode / of her louer slayne
Her bytter teares / lay as thycke as rayne
300 And ofte she kyssed / his deedly colde visage
Styll cryeng / as though she wolde enrage.

O swete Pyram / who hath taken you me fro?
O curtesse Pyram / speke nowe vnto me
I am thyn owne Thysby / full of wo
305 Here thy dere loue / that speketh vnto the
Lyfte ones vp thyn eyes Pyram me to se
And as she lay / this tomblyng on the grounde this: =thus
At longe her kerchefe / in the blode she founde

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Than she knewe / howe he deceyued was
310 By the kerchefe / and the lyonesse
Agayne she cryed / o Pyram hei alas
For my loue / floure of gentylnesse
Haue slayne your-selfe / in peinfull distresse
O swete Pyram / syth it is for my sake
315 Of my dolorous lyfe / suche ende shall I make.

Of ioye with you / parttaker haue I be
What tyme ye lyued / most curtes Pyramus
Shulde deth than departe you and me?
With you to dye / I am ryght desyrous
320 O parentes parentes / of our deth reous reous ='guilty'; see OED s.v. reous
To you our bodyes / I bequeth and take
To bury togyther / for neuer we shall forsake.

O miserable tre / with thy bowes longe
Coueryng nowe / lyeng deed on the grounde
325 The noble Pyram / that whilom was so strounge
Thou shalt anone / of suche another wounde
Couer my corps. And in a littell stounde
She pulled the swerde out of Pyramy
And therwith slewe herselfe pyteously.


330 Than the damosell / that the storie tolde
Syghe[d] softe / and loked me vpon Syghed] Sygheh 1528
Wherwith the teares / downe on her chekes rolde
She had of theyr deth / so great compassion
That she was stryken in cogitacion
335 And stode a whyle / as one had ben dismayde
And these wordes / after to vs she sayd

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The damosell.

O curtes Pyram / and swete Thysbe also
Herde was your fortune and destanye
Your pitous deth / maketh myn hert wo
340 Yet me-thynke / I se your bodies lye
The tre and fountayne / ryght sorowfully
Unto this day / wepe and complayne
The lamentable dethe / of you louers twayne.

Here was true loue / who can it deny?
345 Here were the burnyng sparcles of Cupyde
Here were two hertes / closed in one truly
Here were two louers / nat swaruyng asyde
O cursed lyonesse / wo mote the betyde
Thou were the cause / that these louers twayne
350 Were so soone / thus miserably slayne.

O ye parentes / of these louers two
Why suffred you them / so for to spyll?
Ye caused them / thether for to go
Wherof succeded / all their myschiefe and yll
355 Ye myght haue had your goodly children styll
If ye had done / as reason doth require
To marry them / after theyr desyre.

These gentyls dyd / as christens nowe-a_day
Moost comonly / vse for to do
360 Whiche no doubt is / a moche cursed way
And causer of many yuels also
They marry / without consent of the two
Whiche mariage is nat worth an hawe
Damnable / and eke ayenst the lawe.

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365 For to receyue this hygh sacrament
Is required moche solemnite
But one moost speciall / that is fre assent
Of both persones / of hye and lowe degre
Without whiche / mariage can nat be
370 Perfectly allowed / before the glorious face
Of the hygh god / in the celestiall place.

Whan two maried / ayenst their myndes be
What is the very true consequens?
Contynuall discorde / moost comenly we se
375 Braulyng / chidyng / and other inconuenience
And another / moost poysonfull pestilence
For therof right ofte / aduoutry doth succede
Murdre / and many a myscheuous dede.

We se oft-tymes / whan two to_gether come
380 By great loue / and longe continuaunce
Yet of suche / there haue ben founde some
Whiche dayly haue ben at distaunce
To themselfe / and other great noyaunce
And coude by no meanes / togyther agre
385 And by deuorse / departed haue they be.

Than moche sooner / suche as by compulsion
Ben spoused / agaynst theyr owne fre-wyll
Shulde nat do well. But to make relacion
Particlerly / of all and euery yll
390 That cla[n]destinat mariage doth fulfyll clandestinat] clamdestinat 1528clandestinat ='clandestine'; clandestinat not recorded in OED

I shulde than / to longe tary you twayne
Where I was / turne I shall agayne

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Before this tyme / you bothe haue harde tell
395 Of the troian knyght / called Troylus
And of Creseide / the goodly damosell
On whom he was so depely amorous
For whom he was / so heuy and dolorous
That had nat ben Pandare / his trusty frende
400 Of his lyfe / he had lyghtly made an ende.

For one syght he had / of that fresshe may
As he walked within the temple wyde
He loked as his hart / had ben pulde away
And coude nat moche longer there abyde
405 The fyrst dart / of the hygh lorde Cupyde
Had made in hym / so great and large a wounde
That lytell lacked / he fell nat to the grounde.

There was none so expert phisician
That coude cure or helpe his maladye
410 To serche the wounde / myght no surgian
It was impossible / to come therby
None coude cure / saue the faire lady
Creseide. On whom he loked oft
Syghyng depe / and gronyng lowe and softe.

415 What shulde I herof / longer processe make
Theyr great loue is wrytten all at longe
And howe he dyed onely for her sake
Our ornate Chaucer / other bokes amonge
In his lyfe-dayes / dyd vnderfonge
420 To translate: and that most plesantly
Touchyng the mater / of the sayd story.

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Of Cannace / somwhat wyll I tell
And of her brother / cleped Machareus
Howe Aeolous / her father ryght cruell
425 Made her dye a deth full pitous
But first she wrote / a pistoll dolorous
To her brother / of her wofull chaunce
These were her wordes to my remembraunce.

Cannace doughter / of Aeolous the kynge
430 Greteth Machare / her owne brother dere
In [her] owne hande / a naked swerde holdynge her] 1528 omits
With the other writyng / as doth appere
In this epistoll that she sendeth here
Howe by naught els saue deth she can fynde
435 To content her fathers cruell mynde.

O my father most innaturall
This swerde to me his daughter hath he sende
With whiche swerde / shortly anone I shall
Of my lyfe and sorowe make an ende
440 To other pite / he wyll nat condiscende
Wherfore his fierce mynde to content
To slee my-selfe I must nedes assent.


Than spake I / and wolde suffre her no more
Of this wofull mater / forther for to tell
445 Suche lamentable louers / greueth my hart sore
And also we coude nat moche longer dwell
Ryght glad was I / that it so happy fell
To here the hole of wofull Pyramus
Of her tolde / with gesture dolorous.

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450 She wolde haue tolde / of many other mo
The great loue / and fatall destenye
Howe Phillis desolate / ofte alone wolde go
By hylles and dales / mornyng tenderly
for Demophon / and howe she dyd dye
455 But styll I prayed her to kepe silence
And leaue of her tragicall sentence.

A man that sweteth / and is very hote
Brought to the fyre / is nat well content
What I meane / euery man doth wote
460 Yet for this / I wolde nothyng assent
That she had declared / appert and euydent
To our fyrst purpose / what loue shulde be
And wherupon / we gan to argue all thre.

The fyrst damosell / proued loue by reason
465 The other spake all by auctorite
Declaryng olde stories / of antique season
But to neyther of them wolde I agre
Without experience / proued can nat be
What is the myghty power of Cupyde
470 Whiche regneth through the great worlde wyde

Experience (sayd they) we desyre to here
What therby to proue / you entende
Than loked I on them / with sad chere
Castyng howe for to make an ende
475 Of our argument / and nat offende
Nother of them / through my negligence
For one of them / was myn experience.

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Forsoth (I sayd) I nat howe it may be
But ones I behelde / with great affection
480 A fayre pusell / whiche happed yll for me
For neuer syth / by no compulsion
I coude nat put her in obliuion
Nor my mynde pulle from her away
Nor neuer shall / to myn endyng-day.

485 With her regarde / and swete countenaunce
She gaue me a great mortall wounde
Through whiche deth / dayly doth auaunce
Towarde me / onely to confounde
My wretched corps: whiche in the grounde
490 Must of foule wormes be eate and gnawe
So condemned / by cruell loues lawe.

This lorde Cupide / lyst of his cruelte
Without reason / my body to turment
To mount an hylle / he constrayneth me
495 With his arowes / sharpe and violent
And me burnyng / with his brande ardent
Yet vp the hyll / no way can be sought
To geat alone: so lowe am I brought.

O Hyppomenes / howe happy thou were?
500 What tyme thou wast so moche amorous
On Atalanta / that curtes damosell dere
For whose loue / ne had nat ben Uenus
Thou shuldest haue dyed a deth ryght greuous
But by .iii. balles (that she the gaue) of golde
505 Thou gotest thy loue of truthe / as it is tolde

sig: C3
Elas suche socour / no-where fynde I may
That me wyll helpe in myn heuynesse
And more encreaseth my sorowe day by day
Cruell thought on me doth neuer cesse
510 With feare and drede / my body to manesse
And with Dispeare / I haue so great stryfe
That gladly I wolde be reft of my lyfe

And than call I vnto the systers thre
To come out of their furious selle
515 And from my peyne to delyuer me
I care nat / though I with them shulde dwell
Or rauenyng wolues / hungry / fierse / and felle
My body gnawe / and to peces rent
To be losed / of my great turment.

520 O Pole wheron the great worlde rounde
Turneth about / by cours naturall
If a place may / vnder the be founde
I wolde gladly / therin that I shulde fall
O ye dogges / whiche to peces small
525 Tare Acteon / for Diana sake
I pray you of me an ende to make.

O crowes / rauons / and foules euerychone
What tyme my lyfe ended thus shalbe
Come than and take eche of you a bone
530 And do beare them into what countre
Pleaseth you / for all is one to me
So I be out of this greuous payne
For any longer / I can it nat sustayne.

sig: [C3v]
Wherwith dame Reason cometh vnto me
535 Uery swetely lokynge in my face
With whom cometh other two or thre
Good Esperaunce / and the lady Grace
And reason begynneth for to chace
The lordens away / whiche before
540 Turmented my wretched body sore

Fyrst Reason to Disperaunce doth speke
Hym banysshyng out of our company
On hym she wolde gladly her angre wreke
But lady pacience standyng by
545 Sayeth to her very curtesly
Ye must swetely shewe your-selfe vntyll
This pacient here redy for to spyll.

Than by the hande Reason doth me take
Sayeng / what though the gentyle Hypsiphyle
550 Distroyed her-selfe for prue Iasons sake
That ayenst his promes / dyd her begyle
Leape nat thou / tyll thou come to the style
For thou hast here nowe before thy face
(Whiche she lacked) the goodly lady Grace.


555 Thou knowest after our hygh religion
Who that slee them-[s]elfe wylfully selfe] felfe 1528
By iuste sentence / of lastyng damnacion
Of helle. Be in great ieopardye
Wherfore I aduise the / loke theron wysely
560 Take nat example of Dido and Myrra.
Nor yet of Phillis / Scylla / and Phedra.

sig: [C4]
I say to the as I sayd before
They lacked Grace / ye and me also
Whiche thou hast / and shalt haue euer-more
565 In case that thou gladly woldest do
As we shall shewe the or that we go
Principally beware of Dispayre
In no wyse abyde that sower ayre.

A nother / thou shalt kepe moderacion
570 In all thynges / that thou gost about
Both in gladnesse / and lamentacion
Beware of thought / the villayn bolde and stout
Of heuynesse / with theyr cruell route
Feare / drede / discomfort / and mystrust
575 Incline the neuer after their peruers lust.

What foly is it for a womans sake
Nat knowyng your corage nor entent
Suche lamentacion / and sorowe for to make
Perauenture her swete hart wolde assent
580 In all honour be at your commaundement
Wherfore fyrst / ye shulde by my counsell
Knowe the pleasure of the damosell.


To whiche counsell / accorden an[d] agre and] an 1528
Desyre / and curtes esperaunce
585 They two promesse / for to go with me
Dame Fauour sayth she wyll so auaunce
With the helpe of prudent Gouernaunce
To solicite my mater in best wyse
And dame Discrecion shall it deuyse.

sig: [C4v]
590 The good holsome lady Remembraunce
Sayth recorde / was nat worthy Theseus
The hye conquerour / delyuered from myschaunce
By socour of two ladyes gratious
For hym they were / so moche pitous
595 That they put them-selfe / in daunger of moche yll
Hym for to saue / that he shulde nat spyll.

For he had ben put to the Minataurus
Without prouise / of these ladies twayne
Within the mase / made by Dedalus
600 All-though he had / the hidous monstre slayne
Yet coude he neuer come out therof agayne
But by the ladies subtile inuencion
He slewe the beest / and came out anone.

Thou hast redde / ryght many an history
605 Of ladies and damosels great bounte
And howe soone they ben inclyned to mercy
As was the curtes lady / Hypermestre
For nothyng perswaded wolde she be
For all her father myght do or say
610 She conueyed her loue and lorde away.

And bycause this lady wolde nat do
Scelerously / as dyd her systers all
Afterwarde she suffred moche wo
But no punyishement / to her myght fall
615 That she ne thought the peyne very small
Suche ioye she had / of her spouse delyueraunce
That all her payne / to her was no greuaunce

sig: D[1]
Thus tender pite / in the hart feminall
Ronneth alway / vnto mannes defence
620 Theyr gentyll hertes / swete and liberall
Be lyghtly turned / with great diligence
To mannes socour / and beneuolence
They speke / they praye / they labour and they go
Ryght tenderly / mannes profite for to do.


625 So these ladies / debated with me styll
In whose company I was ryght ioyous
And at last / they sayd me all vntyll
Be mery and glad thou louer dolorous
For thy loue is so moche gracious
630 That we thynke vnto thy desyre
She wyll obey / as thou wylt requyre.


Than call I / vnto my remembraunce
The great promesses / that Paris of Troye
Made to Heleyn / yet scant it was his chaunce
635 Her loue to gette / or her to enioye
All that he sayd was of perfect foye
He was a prince / and a kynges son also
Yet longe it was / or she wolde with hym go.

Whan I mynde Echates / the woman beautious
640 All my sorowe begynneth to renewe
She and the fayre yonge man / called Hyrus
Betoken howe my loue shall neuer rewe
Nor pite me. yet as Acontius vntrue
To her wyll I vse neyther fraude ne wyle
645 Lyke as he dyd Cydippes begyle.

sig: [D1v]
Thus thought and feare / all the longe day
Turment me / tyll Phebus the hemyspery
Hath fully ronne / so that we may
Perceyue the blacke nyght aprochyng nye
650 To bedde I go / lasshe and eke wery lasshe ='relaxed'; see OED s.v. lash adj.
In hope some repose for to take
And by that meane / my payne for to slake.

Sone after / that I am downe layde
Morpheus / softely cometh to me
655 Who at the fyrst / maketh me afrayde
Tyll I knowe / what man he shulde be
He leadeth me where-as I may se
My swete loue / vnto whom I wolde
Desyrously / ryght oft my mynde haue tolde.

660 And whan I haue ben about to speke
Cruell drede / hath stepped me before
He and feare / alway my purpose breke
Yet her swete visage sheweth euermore
That of dame Pite / she knoweth well the lore
665 It can nat be / that her great beauty
Shulde be voyde / and without mercy.

Thus I stande debatyng a longe space
Than Morpheus / bryngeth me agayne
And whan I fynde me in the same place
670 Where I lay downe / with myn handes twayne
I graspe and fele / I sygh and complayne
And fynde it colde about me euery-where
And perceyue that she was nat there.

sig: D2
O howe thought taketh me by the hert
675 And heuynesse / falleth me vpon
Those two from me wyll neuer departe
Tyll they make my body as colde as stone
They say to me / remedy is none
In this behalfe ferther to pursewe
680 For on me / my loue shall neuer rewe.

Thought and heuynesse.

Thou mayst here lye / sygh / sorowe and wayle
And on thy miserable state complayne
For her beautye / frendes / and apparayle
Causeth her to haue the in disdayne
685 She forceth nat / of thy wo and payne
She is a fresshe yonge swete creature
Well bequeynted / with the lady pleasure. bequeynted ='acquainted'; bequeynt not recorded in OED

So stode the heuyns / whan thou were bore
And suche is thy fatall destenye
690 To loue one / whiche setteth lytell store
By the that art oppressed with mysery
What careth she / though thou for sorowe dye?
Or all thy lyfe / moane without a make
In wyldernesse / wandryng for her sake.

695 We haue tolde the ofte / and longe agone
That thy swete loue / fresshe and gorgious
Loketh to stande in grace of suche one
That may stipate / her port sumptuous stipate her port ='attend her train'?
To sayle forth / with fame glorious
700 Lackyng nothyng / that dame Uolunte
Wyll demaunde / longyng to Leberte.

sig: [D2v]
For all thy lorde / who thou seruest so true
Whiche is the very blynde god Cupyde
Bearyng his signe / a face pale of hewe
705 As any asshes / wherto thou doest abyde
Upholdyng it / with syghes large and wyde
Yet we two shall do so moche our payne
Of Atrapos / shortly thou shalt be slayne.


Thus many a nyght / ofte I dryue away
710 Whiche me-thynke longer than a yere
And whan I se the spryngynge of the day
Yet somwhat gladed is my chere
For busynesse to me doth appere
Byddyng me to ryse and come lyghtly
715 Fye he sayth / vpon all sluggardy.

Than I ryse / and my clothes take
As preuely and soft as it may be
Wherwith diligence begynneth to awake
Whiche ones vp / a_newe wyll turment me
720 And whan I can no other way se
With them I go / where they wyll me leade
For as than / I can no better reade.

Where-euer I go / thought is neuer behynde
Nor heuynesse / they be alway present
725 To leaue them / I can no crafte fynde
For I beyng neuer so diligent
With busynesse / bothe mynde and eke entent
Yet those two euer styll apeace
Come on me / my body to disease.

sig: D3
730 These two ofte / handle me so harde
That I am made lyke vnto a stone
To busynesse / hauyng no regarde
I leaue hym / and forthwith anone
To some secrete place must I gone
735 A lytell whyle / my sorowe to complayne
From company / I do my-selfe restrayne.

Than I begyn in this maner wyse
Lowe and softe / that none shulde here me
O Uenus Uenus / is this your cruell gyse?
740 Styll to turment vnto the extremite
My pore body / whiche as you may se
Is brought into so great miserye
That for loue / shortly must I dye.

The burnyng fyre of loue / doth me assayle
745 In suche wyse / that remedy is none
To quenche it / no water can auayle
Nor yet versus of cantacion versus: =verses; cantacion ='incantation'
Of Pean / the artes euerychone
Nor of Mede / be nat worth a flye
750 I am condemned / and nedes must I dye.

Of all vnlucky / I most infortunate
Most sorowfull / most heuy and lamentable
What is my wretched body / lyfe / and state?
Nought els / but a thynge miserable
755 Replenisshed with paynes intollerable
To syghe / to sorowe / and morne tenderly
And by loue / condemned for to dye.

sig: [D3v]
Of all louers / none can be founde
Whose case may well compared be
760 Unto myn: [though] all the worlde rounde though] through 1528
Were out-sought / yet shulde ye nat se
But that they had some felicite
But nought haue I / but all miserye
And by loue / condemned to dye.

765 Troylous / of whom men so moche tell
That he so great a louer was
Unto hym / the case ryght happy fell
For in his armes ofte he dyd enbrace
His swete loue / and stode so in her grace
770 That nothyng to hym wolde she denye
But by loue / condemned I am to dye.

Many a nyght with his loue he lay
And in his armes / swetely can her holde
Of nothynge to hym sayd she nay
775 That he of her / aske or desyre wolde
His great ioy forsoth can nat be tolde
He had souerayne blysse / and I miserye
And by loue condemned for to dye.

What ioy had Paris with Heleyn the fresshe quene?
780 Deyanira / with fierce Hercules
Briseis / the lady bryght and shene
With her lorde / the hardy Achilles
And Penelope / with her spouse Ulixes
Great gladnesse they had / with som miserye
785 I haue no ioy: and am condemned to dye.

sig: [D4]
Many a nyght / the friscant Leander friscant ='lively', cf. frisk, frisky; friscant not recorded in OED.
Lay and slept with his loue Herus
To passe Hellespont / she was his lode-stere
And in all thynges to hym gracious
790 O these louers / fresshe and amorous
Ofte passed the tyme to_gether ioyously
But by loue / condemned I am to dye.

Fayre Phillis / and eke Demophon
Had togyther ryght great felicite
795 So had the lady Sapho with Phaon
So had Machare / with his syster Canace
Dido with Aene / what ioy had she?
Ryght longe hym reteynyng curtesly
No ioy haue I / and am condemned to dye.

800 Myrra that loued her owne father dere
Wyckedly / by loue abhominable
Dyd so moche / that they lay both in fere
All a_nyght. doyng the dede damnable
Se howe Cupyde was fauorable
805 To her stynkyng loue / and transgression
And wyll me slee / for loyall affeccion.

Wherby I se / it is predestinate
Unto me: most wretched creature
For to haue this miserable state
810 And infinite sorowe to endure
Or bate of all ioy / and eke pleasure
Full of luctuous syghes and misery luctuous ='mournful'
And vtterly condemned for to dye.

sig: [D4v]
Wherfore adieu / all wordly vanite
815 Adieu frayle pleasure / rollynge lyke a ball
Adieu brytell trustes / that in this worlde be
Adieu I say / disceytes great and small
Adieu slepernesse / styll redy for to fall
Lastly adieu / swete hert without mercye
820 For whose sake / I am condemned to dye.

Th'autor to the two damosels.

Lo nowe you two / haue herde to the ende
What is loue / by suche experience
As I haue had. And nowe I you commende
Unto god / for I must depart hence
825 I thanke you hertely of your pacience
Your curtesy / and eke your louyng chere
Of gentylnesse / that you haue made me here.

Your chere here (they sayd) is but small
We wolde it were moche better for your sake
830 Our ianglynge / that to vs nowe hath fall
Wolde suffre vs / no chere for to make
And so theyr leaue / swetely of me they take
At the port or gate / and in they go
And I went strayght to my home also.
¶Thus endeth la conusaunce damours . Imprinted by Rycharde_Pynson / printer to the kynges noble grace.
Cum priuilegio.