The Comfort of Lovers

Hawes, Stephen

STC 12942.5
Ringler 12942.5 and TP1734. Order no. P43506; UMI microfilm reel 961

The conforte of louers
London: Wynkyn de Worde,1515.

Composition Date: c.1510.

sig: [A1]
ref.ed: 93
The comforte of louers
The comforte of louers made and compyled by Steuen_Hawes somtyme grome of the honourable chambre of our late souerayne lorde kynge Henry the seuenth (whose soule god pardon). In the seconde yere of the reygne of our most naturall souerayne lorde kynge Henry the eyght.
sig: [A1v]

¶The prohemye.

THe gentyll poetes / vnder cloudy fygures
Do touche a trouth / and cloke it subtylly
Harde is to construe poetycall scryptures
They are so fayned / and made sentencyously
5 For som do wryte of loue by fables pryuely
Some do endyte / vpon good moralyte
Of chyualrous actes / done in antyquyte

Whose fables and storyes ben pastymes pleasaunt
To lordes and ladyes / as is theyr lykynge
10 Dyuers to moralyte / ben oft attendaunt
And many delyte to rede of louynge
Youth loueth aduenture / pleasure and lykynge
Aege foloweth polycy / sadnesse and prudence
Thus they do dyffre / eche in experyence

15 I lytell or nought / experte in this scyence
Compyle suche bokes / to deuoyde ydlenes
Besechynge the reders / with all my delygence
Where as I offende / for to correct doubtles
Submyttynge me to theyr grete gentylnes
20 As none hystoryagraffe / nor poete laureate
But gladly wolde folowe / the makynge of Lydgate

Fyrst noble Gower / moralytees dyde endyte
And after hym C[hau]cers / grete bokes delectable Chaucers] Cauncers 1515
Lyke a good phylozophre / meruaylously dyde wryte
25 After them Lydgate / the monke commendable
Made many wonderfull bokes moche profytable
But syth the[y] are deed / and theyr bodyes layde in chest they] the 1515
I pray to god to gyue theyr soules good rest

Finis prohemii.
sig: A2
ref.ed: 94
WHan fayre was phebus / with his bemes bryght
Amyddes of gemyny / aloft the fyrmament
Without blacke cloudes / castynge his pured lyght
With sorowe opprest / and grete incombrement
5 Remembrynge well / my lady excellent
Saynge o fortune helpe me to preuayle
For thou knowest all my paynfull trauayle

I went than musynge / in a medowe grene
Myselfe alone / amonge the floures in-dede
10 With god aboue / the futer tens is sene
To god I sayd / thou mayst my mater spede
And me rewarde / accordynge to my mede
Thou knowest the trouthe / I am to the true
Whan that thou lyst / thou mayst them all subdue

15 Who dyde preserue the yonge edyppus
Whiche sholde haue be slayne by calculacyon
To deuoyde grete thynges / the story sheweth vs
That were to come / by true reuelacyon
Takynge after theyr hole operacyon
20 In this edyppus / accordynge to affecte
Theyr cursed calkynge / holly to abiecte

Who dyde preserue / Ionas and moyses
Who dyde preserue yet many other mo
As the byble maketh mencyon doub[t]les doubtles] doubles 1515
25 Who dyde kepe Charles frome his euyll fo
Who was he / that euer coude do so
But god alone / than in lyke wyse maye he
Kepe me full sure / frome all inyquyte

sig: [A2v]
Thus as I called to my remembraunce
30 Suche trewe examples / I tenderly dyde wepe
Remembrynge well / goddes hyghe ordynaunce
ref.ed: 95
Syghynge full oft / with inwarde teres depe
Tyll at the last / I fell in-to a slepe
And in this slepe / me-thought I dyde repayre
35 My-selfe alone / in-to a garden fayre

This goodly gardyn / I dyde well beholde
Where I sawe a place / ryght gaye and gloryous
With golden turrettes / paynted many-afolde
Lyke a place of pleasure moste solacyous
40 The wyndowes glased / with crystall precyous
The golden fanes / with wynde and melody
By dulcet sounde / and meruaylous armony

The knottes flagraunt / with aromatyke odoure
With goodly sprynges / of meruaylous mountaynes
45 I dyde than tast / the redolent lycoure
Moost clere and swete / of the goodly vaynes
Whiche dyde me ease / somwhat of my paynes
Tyll to me came / a lady of goodly age
Apareyled sadly / and demure of vysage

50 To me she sayd / me-thynke ye are not well
Ye haue caught colde / and do lyue in care
Tell me your mynde / now shortly euerydele
To layne the trouthe / I charge you to beware
I shall for you / a remedy prepare
55 Dyspeyre you not / for no thynge that is past
Tell me your mynde / and be nought agast

sig: A3
Alas madame / vnto her than I sayd
It is no wonder / of myne inwarde payne
Yf that my herte be meruayllously dysmayde
60 My trouthe and loue / therof is cause certayne
Dyuers yeres ago / I dyde in mynde retayne
A lady yonge / a lady fayre of syght
Good / wyse / and goodly / an holsome sterre of lyght

ref.ed: 96
I durst not speke vnto her of my loue
65 Yet vnder coloure I dyuers bokes dyde make
Full pryuely / to come to my aboue
Thus many nyghtes / I watched for her sake
To her and to hers / my trouthe well to take
Without ony spotte / of ony maner yll
70 God knoweth all my herte / my mynde and my wyll

The hygh dame nature / by her grete myght and power
Man / beest / and foule / in euery degre
Fro whens they came at euery maner houre
Dooth trye the trouthe / without duplycyte
75 For euery thynge must shewe the properte
Gentyll vngentyll / dame nature so well tryet[h] tryeth] tryet 1515
That all persones it openly espyeth

The lorde and knyght / delyteth for to here
Cronycles and storyes / of noble chyualry
80 The gentyll-man gentylnes / for his passe-tyme clere
The man of lawe / to here lawe truely
The yeman delyteth to talke of yomanry
The ploman his londe for to ere and sowe
Thus nature werketh / in hye degre and lowe

sig: [A3v]
85 For yf there were one of the gentyll blode
Conuayde to yomanry for nourysshement
Dyscrecyon comen he sholde chaunge his mode
Though he knewe not / his parentes verament
Yet nature wolde werke / so by entendyment
90 That he sholde folowe / the condycyons doubtles
Of his true blode / by outwarde gentylnes

In all this worlde / ben but thynges twayne
As loue and hate / the trouth for to tell
And yf I sholde hate my lady certayne
95 Than worthy I were / to dye of deth cruell
Seynge all ladyes / that she doth excell
In beaute / grace / prudence and mekenes
What man on lyue / can more in one expres

ref.ed: 97
Yf she with me sholde take dyspleasure
100 Whiche loueth her by honoures desyre
What sholde she do / with suc[he] a creature suche] suceh 1515
That hateth her / by inwarde fraude and yre
I yet a louer / do not so atyre
My fayth and hope / I put in her grace
105 Releace to graunt me / by good tyme and space

Thretened with sorowe / of ma[n]y paynes grete many] may 1515
Thre yeres ago my ryght hande I dyde bynde
Fro my browes for fere / the dropes doune dyde sweet
God knoweth all it was nothynge my mynde
110 Vnto no persone / I durst my hert[e] vntwynde herte] her to 1515
Yet the trouthe knowynge / the good gretest P
Maye me releace / of all my / p / p / p / thre

sig: [A4]
Now ryght fayre lady / so sadde and demure
My mynde ye knowe / in euery maner thynge
115 I trust for trouthe / ye wyll not me dyscure
Sythe[n]s I haue shewed you without lesynge Sythens] Sythes 1515
At your request / the cause of my mournynge
Whiche abyde in sorowe / in my remembraunce
Without good conforte / saufe of esperaunce

120 Fayre sone sayd she / sythens I knowe your thought
Your worde and dede / and her[t]e to be one herte] here 1515
Dyspayre you not / for it auayleth nought
Ioye cometh after / whan the payne is gone
Conforte yourselfe / and muse not so alone
125 Doubt ye no-thynge / but god wyll so agre
That at the last / ye shall your lady se

Be alwaye meke / let wysdome be your guyde
Aduenture for honoure / and put your-selfe in preace
Clymbe not to fast / lest sodenly ye slyde
130 Lete god werke styll / he wyll your mynde encrece
Begynne no warre / be gladde to kepe the peace
Prepence no-thynge / agaynst the honoure
Of ony lady / by fraudolent fauoure

ref.ed: 98
Alas madame / vnto her than sayd I
135 Aboue .xx. woulues / dyde me touse and rent
Not longe agone / delynge moost shamefully
That by theyr tuggynge / my lyfe was nere spent
I dyde perceyue / somwhat of theyr entente
As the trouthe is knowen / vnto god aboue
140 My ladyes fader they dyde lytell loue

sig: [A4v]
Seynge theyr falshode / and theyr subtylte
For fere of deth / where as I loued best
I dyde dysprayse / to knowe theyr cruelte
Somwhat to wysdome / accordynge to behest
145 Though that my body had but lytell rest
My herte was trewe unto my ladyes blood
For all theyr dedes I thought no-thynge but good

Some had wende the hous for to swepe
Nought was theyr besom / I holde it set on fyre
150 The inwarde wo in-to my herte dyde crepe
To god aboue / I made my hole desyre
Saynge o good lorde of heuenly empyre
Let the mou[n]t with all braunches swete
Entyerly growe / god gyue vs grace to mete

155 Som[e] had wened for to haue made an ende Some] Soma 1515
Of my bokes / before [t]he[y] hadde begynnynge he] they 1515
But all vayne they dyde so comprehende
Whan they of them lacke vnderstandynge
Vaynfull was and is theyr mysse-contryuynge
160 Who lyst the trouthe of them for to ens[ue] ensue] ensuse 1515
For the reed and whyte they wryte full true

Well sayd this lady I haue perceueraunce
Of [y]our bokes / whiche that ye endyte your] our 1515
So as ye saye is all the cyrcumstaunce
ref.ed: 99
165 Vnto the hyghe pleasure of the reed and the whyte
Which hath your trouth / and wyll you acquyte
Doubte ye no thynge / but at the last ye maye
Of your true mynde yet fynde a Ioyfull daye

sig: [A5]
Forsothe I sayd / dysdayne and straungenesse
170 I fere them sore / and fals reporte
I wolde they were / in warde all doutles
Lyke as I was / without conforte
Than wolde I thynke / my lady wolde resorte
Vnto dame mercy / my payne to consyder
175 God knoweth all / I wolde we were togyder

Though in meane season / of grene grasse I fede
It wolde not greue me / yf she knewe my heuynesse
My trauayle is grete / I praye god be my spede
To resyste the myght / of myn enmyes subtylnesse
180 Whiche awayte to take / me by theyr doublenesse
My wysedome is lytel / yet god may graunt me grace
Them to defende / in euery maner of cace

Lerne this she sayd / yf that you can by wytte
Of foes make frendes / they wyll be to you sure
185 Yf that theyr frendshyp / be vnto you knytte
It is oft stedfast / and wyll longe endure
Yf alwaye malyce / they wyll put in vre
No doubte it is / tha[t] god so hygh[e] and stronge that] than 1515; hyghe] hyght 1515
Ful meruaylously / wyl soone reuenge theyr wronge

190 And now she sayd come on your waye with me
Vnto a goodly toure whiche is solacyous
Beholde it yonder / full of felycyte
Quadrant it was / me-thought full meruaylous
With golden turrettes / gaye and gloryous
195 Gargayled with greyhoundes / and with many lyons
Made of fyne golde / with dyuers sondry dragons

sig: [A5v]
ref.ed: 100
The wyndowes byrall / without resplendysshaunt
The fayre yuery / coloured with grene
And all aboute there was dependaunt
200 Grete gargeyles of golde / full meruaylously besene
Neuer was made / a fayrer place I wene
The ryght excellent lady toke her intresse
Ryght so dyde I / by meruaylous swetnesse

Whan we came in / I dyde aboute beholde
205 The goodly temple / with pynacles vp sette
Wherin were ymages / of kynges all of golde
With dyuers scryptures / without ony lette
Aloft the roofe / were emeraudes full grette
Set in fyne golde / with amyable ru[b]yes rubyes] rudyes 1515
210 Endented with dyamondes / and ma[ny] turkyes many] mayn 1515

The wyndowes hystoried / with many noble kynges
The pyllers Iasper / dyuersed with asure
By pendaunt penacles / of many noble rynges
The pauement calcedony / beynge fayre and sure
215 The aras golde / with the story pure
Of the syche of thebes / with actes auenturous
Of ryght noble knygh[t]es hardy and chyualrous knyghtes] knyghees 1515

Than sayd this lady / I must now go hence
Passe ye tyme here / accordynge to your lykynge
220 It maye fortune / your lady of excellence
Wyll passe her tyme here / soone by walkynge
Than maye she se / your dolefull mournynge
And fare ye well / I maye no lenger tary
Marke well my lesson / and from it do not vary

sig: [A6]
225 Whan she was gone / the temple all alonge
I went my-selfe / with sygh[es] grete and feruent syghes] syghtes 1515
Alas I sayd / with inwarde paynes stronge
My herte doth blede / now all to_torne and rent
For lacke of conforte / my herte is almost spent
230 O meruelous fortune / whiche hast in loue me brought
Where is my conforte / that I so longe haue sought
ref.ed: 101
O wonderfull loue / whiche fell vnto my lotte
O loue ryght clene / without ony thought vntrue
Syth thy fyrst louynge / not blemyssed with spotte
235 But euermore / the falsehede to extue falsehede] falseshede 1515
O dolorous payne / whiche doste renue
O pyteous herte / where is the helthe and boote
Of thy lady / that perst the at the roote

What thynge is loue / that causeth suche turment
240 From whens cometh it / me-thynke it is good questyon
Yf it be nature / from nature it is sent
Loue maye come of kynde by true affeccyon
Loue may appetyte / by naturall eleccyon naturall] natururall 1515
Than must loue nedes be / I perceyue it in mynde
245 A thynge fyrst gyuen / by the god of kynde

Alas o nature / why mayst not thou truely
Cause my lady loue / as thou hast me constrayned
Hath she power to domyne the vtterly
Why mayst not thou / cause her be somwhat payned
250 With natures moeuynge / for loue is not fayned
Alas for sorowe / why madest thou her so fayre
Without to loue / that she lyst soone repayre

sig: [A6v]
Two thynges me conforte / euer in pryncypall
The fyrst be bokes / made in antyquyte
255 By Gower and Chaucer / poetes rethorycall Chaucer] Chauncers 1515
And Lydgate eke / by good auctoryte
Makynge mencyon / of the felycyte
Of my lady and me / by dame fortunes chaunce
To mete togyders / by wonder[f]ull ordynaunce wonderfull] wonderull 1515

260 The seconde is / where fortune dooth me brynge
In many placys / I se by prophecy
As in the storyes / of the olde buyldynge
Letters for my lady / depeynted wonderly
And letters for me / besyde her meruayllously
265 Agreynge well / vnto my bokes all
In dyuers placys / I se it in generall

ref.ed: 102
O loue moost dere / o loue nere to my harte
O gentyll floure / I would you knewe my wo
How that your beaute / perst me with the darte
270 With your vertue / and your mekenes also
Sythens ye so dyde / it is ryght longe ago
My herte doth se you / it is for you bebledde
Myne eyen with teeres / ben often made full redde

Where are ye now / the floure of Ioye and grace
275 Whiche myght me conforte / in this inwarde sorowe
Myne excellent lady / it is a ryght pyteous case
Good be my guyde / and saynt George vnto borowe
O clere Aurora / the sterre of the morowe
Whiche many yeres / with thy bemes mery
280 Hath me awaked / to se thyne emyspery

sig: B1
Thus as I mourned / I sawe than appere
Thre goodly myrours dependaunt on the wall
Set in fyne golde bordred with stones clere
The glasses pure / they were of crystall
285 Made longe ago to be memoryall
And vnder the fyrst glasse ryght fayre wryten was
Beholde thy-selfe / and thy fautes or thou passe

By a sylken threde / small as ony heere
Ouer I sawe hange / a swerde full ponderous
290 Without a scauberde / full sharpe for to fere
The poynt dounwarde / ryght harde and asperous
All this I sawe / with hert full dolorous
Yet at auenture / to se the mystery
In the myroure / I loked than full sodenly

295 In this glasse I sawe / how I had ledde my lyfe
Sythens the tyme of my dyscrecyon
As vnto wyldnesse / alwaye affyrmatyfe
Folowynge the pleasure / of wylfull amonycyon
Not vnto vertue hauynge intencyon
300 Ihesu sayd I / thou hast me well preserued
From this swerdes fall / whiche I haue oft deserued

ref.ed: 103
O ye estates / aloft on fortunes whele
Remembre this swerde / whiche ouer you dependeth
Beware the fall / before that ye it fele
305 Se your one euyll / se what vengeaunce ensueth
Correcte none other / whan that your fautes renueth
Calke not goddes power / bryef not the tens future Calke not] Calke not not 1515
Beholde this glasse / se how he may endure

sig: [B1v]
Many one weneth / the future tens to brefe
310 By calculacyon goddes power to withstande
Bathynge theyr swerdes / in blode by myschefe
Tyll at the last as I do vnderstande
This swerde doth fal by the myght of goddes hande
Vpon them all / whiche wolde his power abate
315 Than they repent but than it is to late

This goodly myrour / I ryght well behelde
Remembrynge well / my dedes done in tymes past
I toke forwytte / than for to be my shelde
By grace well armed / not to be agast
320 Thus as I stode / I dyde se at the last
The seconde myrour / as bryght as phebus
Set rounde about / with stones precyous

Ouer whiche dyde hange / a f[l]oure of golde ryght fyne floure] foure 1515
Wherin was set / an emeraude full bryght
325 Ryght large and grete / whiche wonderfull dyde shyne
That me-thought it was / grete conforte to my syght
Bordred with dyamondes / castynge a meruaylous lyght
This floure dyde hange / by a ryght subtyll gynne
With a chayne of yron / and many a pryue pynne

330 Besyde whiche there was / a table of golde
With a goodly scrypture / enameled of grene
The sentence wherof / I dyde well beholde
ref.ed: 104
The whiche sayd thus / it is openly sene
That many a one / full pryuely dooth wene
335 To blynde an-other / by crafte and subtylnes
That ofte blyndeth hym / for all his doublenes

sig: B2
In this myrour whiche is here besyde
Thou shalt well lerne / thy-selfe for to knowe
Passe forth no ferder / but loke and abyde
340 Se what shall come / lest that thou ouer-throwe
A sodayne rysynge dooth oft fall alowe
Without the grounde / be rygh[t]e sure and perfyte ryghte] ryghe 1515
Beholde well this glasse / and take thy respyte

Whan thou hast so done / to this floure resorte
345 Laboure to gete it / from this harde yren chayne
Vn[d]o the gynnes / vnto thy grete conforte Vndo] Vnto 1515
Yf that thou canst / and take it for thy payne
To be thy helpe / in thy Iournaye certayne
Lo here the vertues vnder wryten be
350 Of this ryall floure in euery degre

This ryche emeraude / who so dooth it bere
From his fyrst werynge / his syght shal not mynysshe
Payne of the heed he nedeth not to fere
By dynt of swerde / he shall neuer perysshe
355 Ne no-thynge begyn / but he shall well fynysshe
Yf it be ryghtfull aftyr a true entent
Without resystence of grete impedyment

Of all nygromancy / and fals enchauntement
Agaynst hym wrought / he shall knowe the effecte
360 They can not blynde hym by cursed sentement
But he theyr werkes may ryght soone abiecte
No maner poyson he nedeth to susspecte
Neyther in mete no[r] yet in ale ne wyne nor] not 1515
Yf it be set well besyde a serpentyne

sig: [B2v]
ref.ed: 105
365 Yf he vntrue be vnto his gentyll lady
It wyll breke asondre / or crase than doubtlesse
It kepeth close / neue[r] the auoutry neuer] neuet 1515
This gentyll emeraude / this stone of rychesse
Hath many mo vertues / whiche I do not expresse
370 As saynt Iohan euangelyst doeth shewe openly
Who of his makynge lyst se the lapydary

Whan I had aduerted / in my remembraunce
All the maters / vnto the glasse I wente
Beholdynge it / by a longe cyrcumstaunce
375 Where as I dyde perceyue well verament
How preuy_malyce / his messengers had sent
With subtyll engynes / to lye in a wayte
Yf that they coude take me with a bayte

I sawe there trappes / I sawe theyr gynnes all
380 I thanked god than / the swete holy goost
Whiche brought me hyder so well in specyall
Without whiche myrour / I had ben but loost
In god aboue / the lorde of myghtes moost
I put my trust / for to withstande theyr euyll
385 Whiche dayly wrought / by the myght of the deuyll

I sawe theyr maysters blacke and tydyous
Made by the craft of many a nacyon
For to dystroye me / with strokes peryllous
To lette my Iournaye / as I make relacyon
390 Peryllous was the waye / and the cytuacyon
Full gladde was I of the vertu of this glasse
Whiche shewed me / what daungers I sholde passe

sig: B3
O all ye estates / of the hygh renowne
Beware these gynnes / beware theyr subtylte
395 The deuyll is grete / and redy to cast downe
By calculacyon / of the cursed cruelte
Of the subtyll beestes / full of inyquyte
In the olde tyme what snares were there sette
By fals calkynge / to dystroye lordes grete

ref.ed: 106
400 Than after this to the yron gynne
I wente anone my wyte for to proue
By lytell and lytell / to vndo euery pynne
Thus in and out / I dyde the chayne ofte moue
Yet coude I not come / vnto myne aboue
405 Tyll at the last / I dyde the crafte espy
Vndoynge the pynnes / and chayne full meruaylously

Full gladde was I than / whan I had this floure
I kyst it oft / I behelde the coloure grene
It swaged ryght well /myn inwarde doloure
410 Myn eyes conforted / with the bryghtnes I wene
This ryall floure / this emeraude so shene
Whan I had goten it by my prudence
Ryght gladde I was / of fortunes premynence

O fortune sayd I / thou arte ryght fauorable
415 For many a one / hath ben by symylytude
To wynne this floure / full gretely tendable
But they the subtylnes / myght nothynge exclude
Sythen by wysdome / I dyde this fraude conclude
This floure / I sette nere my harte
420 For perfyte loue / of my fayre ladyes darte

sig: [B3v]
So this accomplysshed / than incontynent
To the thyrde myrour I went dyrectly
Beholdynge aboute by good auysement
Seynge an ymage made full wonderly
425 Of the holy goost with flambes ardauntly
Vnder whiche I sawe with letters fayre and pure
In golde well grauen this meruaylous scrypture

Frome the fader and the sone my power procedynge
And of my-selfe I god do ryght ofte inspyre
430 Dyuers creatures with spyrytuall knowynge
Inuysyble by dyuyne flambynge fyre
The eyes I entre not it is not my desyre
I am not coloured of the terrestryall grounde
Nor entre the eres for I do not sounde

ref.ed: 107
435 Nor by the nose for I am not myxte
With ony maner of the ayry influence
Nor by the mouthe for I am not fyxte
For to be swalowed by erthly experyence
Nor yet by felynge or touchynge exystence
440 My power dyuyne can not be palpable
For I myselfe am no thynge manyable

Yet vysyble I may be by good apparaunce
As in the lykenesse of a doue vnto chryste_Ihesu
At his baptysme I dyde it with good countenaunce
445 To shewe our godhed to be hygh and true
And at his transfyguracyon our power to ensue
In a fayre cloude with clere rayes radyaunt
Ouer hym that I was well apparaunt

sig: [B4]
Also truely yet at the feest of pentycoste
450 To the sones moder and the apostelles all
In tonges of fyre as god of myghtes moost
I dyde appere shewynge my power spyrytuall
Enflambynge theyr hertes by vertues supernall
Whiche after that by languages well
455 In euery regyon coude pronounce the gospell

And where I lyst by power dyuyne
I do enspyre oft causynge grete prophecy
Whiche is mysconstrued whan some do enclyne
Thynkynge by theyr wytte to perceyue it lyghtly
460 Or elles calke with deuylles the trouth to sertyfy
Whiche contrary be to all true saynge
For deuylles be subtyll and alwaye lyenge

Whan I had aduerted with my dylygence
All the scrypture I sawe me besyde
465 Hange a fayre swerde and shelde of meruailous excellence
Whiche to beholde I dyde than abyde
To blase the armes I dyde well prouyde
The felde was syluer / and in it a medowe grene
With an olyue-tre full meruaylously besene

ref.ed: 108
470 Two lyons of asure vpon euery syde
Couchande were truely besyde this olyue-tree
A hande of stele wherin was wryten pryde
Dyde holde this ryall swerde in certaynte
A scrypture there was whiche sayd by subtylte
475 Of a grete lady hondred yeres ago
In the hande of stele this swerde was closed so

sig: [B4v]
No maner persone maye[st hol]de this swerde copytext blotted
But one persone / chosen by god in-dede
Of this ladyes kynred / not to be aferde
480 To touche this hande / his mater for to spede
And to vndo it / and take it for his mede
But yf that he / be not of the lygnage
The hande wyll sle hym / after olde vsage

This ryall swerde / that called is preprudence
485 Who can it gette / it hath these vertues thre
Fyrst to wynne ryght / without longe resystence
Secondly encreaseth / all trouth and amyte
Thyrdly [i]f the berer through duplycyte if] of 1515
Be pryuely fals / to the ordre of chyualry
490 The swerdes crosse wyll crase / and shewe it openly

This shelde also / who so dooth it bere
Whiche of olde tyme / was called perceueraunce
Hath thre vertues / fyrst he nedeth not fere
Ony grete blodeshede / by wronge incombraunce
495 Secondly / it wolde make good apparaunce
By hete vnto hym / to gyue hym warnynge
To be redy / agay[n]st his enmyes comynge agaynst] agayst 1515

The thyrde is this / yf this calenge be ryghtfull
Neuer no swerde / shall through his harneys perce
500 Nor make hym blody / with woundes rufull
ref.ed: 109
For he there st[r]ength may ryghtfully reuerce strength] steength 1515
Yet moreouer / as I do well reherce
This ryall shelde / in what place it be borne
Shall soone be wonne / and shall not be forlorne

sig: [B5]
505 These thynges sene / to the thyrde myroure clere
I went anone / and in it loked ryght ofte
Where in my syght / dyde wonderly appere
The fyrmament / with the sonne all alofte
The wynde not grete / but blowynge fayre and softe
510 And besyde the sonne / I sawe a meruaylous sterre
with beames twayne / the whiche were cast aferre

The one turnynge towarde the sterre agayne
The other stretched ryght towarde Phebus
To beholde this sterre / I was somwhat fayne
515 But than I mused with herte full dolorous
Whyder it sygnyfyed thynges good or peryllous
Thus longe I studyed / tyll at the last I thought
What it sholde meane / as in my herte I sought

This sterre it sygnyfyeth the resynge of a knyght
520 The bowynge beame agayne so tournynge
Betokened rattonnes of them which by myght
Wolde hym resyst by theyr wronge resystynge
The beame towarde Phebus clerely shynynge
Betokened many meruaylous fyres grete
525 On them to lyght that wolde his purpose lete

In the fyre clerest of euery element
God hath appered vnto many a one
Inspyrynge them / with grete wytte refulgent
Who lyst to rede many dayes agone
530 Many one wryteth trouthe / yet conforte hath he none
Wherfore I fere me / lyke a swarme of bees
Wylde-fyre wyll lyght amonge a thousande pees

sig: [B5v]
ref.ed: 110
Sepe exp[u]gnauerunt me a iuuentute mea: et enim non potuerunt michi. Psalm 129:2

As the cantycles maketh good mencyon
They haue oft expugned me / syth my yonge age
535 Yet coude they [not] haue me / in theyr domynyon not] 1515 omits
Though many a one / vnhappely do rage
They shall haue sorowe that shytte me in a cage
In a gr[e]te dyspyte of the holy goost grete] grte 1515
He maye them brenne / theyr calkynge is but loost

Supra dorsum meum fabricauerunt peccatores: prolongauerunt iniquitatem suam. Psalm 129:3

540 Vpon my backe synners h[a]th fabrysed hath] hnth 1515
They haue prolonged theyr grete inyquyte
From daye to daye it is not mynysshed
Wherfore for vengeaunce by grete extremyte
It cryeth aboue / now vnto the deyte
545 Whiche that his mynysters haue suffred so longe
To lyue in synne and euyll wayes wronge

Whan I had perceyued euery maner thynge
Of this ryall myrour / accordynge to effecte
Remembrynge the verses / of the olde saynge
550 Whiche in my mynde I dyde well coniecte
Than to the swerde / I thought to haue respecte
Ryght so I went / than at all auenture
Vnto the hande / that helde the swerde so sure

I felte the hande / of the stel[e] so fyne stele] stell 1515
555 Me-thought it quaked / the fyngers gan to stretche
I thought by that / I came than of the lyne
Of the grete lady / that fyrst the swerde dyde fetche
The swerdes pomell / I began to ketche
The hande swerued / but yet neuer-the-lesse
560 I helde them bothe / by excellent prowes

sig: [B6]
ref.ed: 111
And at the last / I felte the hande departe
The swerde I toke / with all my besynesse
So I subdued / all the magykes arte
And founde the scauberde / of meruaylous rychesse
565 After that I toke the shelde doune doubtlesse
Kyssynge the swerde / and the shelde ofte Iwys
Thankynge god / the whiche was cause of this

Gladde was I than / of my ryall floure
Of my swerde and shelde / I reioyced also
570 It pacyfyed well / myn inwarde doloure
But fro my ladyes beaute / my mynde myght not go
I loued her surely / for I loued no mo
Thus my fayre floure / and my swerde and shelde
With eyen ryght meke / full often I behelde

575 Than sayd I (well) this is an happy chaunce
I trust now shortly / my lady for to se
O fortune sayd I / whiche brought me on the daunce
Fyrst to beholde her ryght excellent beaute
And so by chaunce / hast hyder conueyde me
580 Getynge me also / my floure my shelde and swerde
I nought mystrust the / why sholde I be aferde

O ryght fayre lady / as the bryght daye-sterre
Shyneth before the rysynge of the sonne
Castynge her beames / all aboute aferre
585 Exylynge grete wyndes / and the mystes donne
So ryght fayre lady / where as thou doost wonne
Thy beautefull bryghtnes / thy vertue and thy grace
Dooth clere Illumyne / all thy boure and place

sig: [B6v]
The gentyll herte so plonged in dystresse
590 Dooth walowe and tomble in somers nyght
Replete with wo / and mortall heuynesse
Tyll that aurora / with her beames bryght
Aboute the fyrmament / castynge her pured lyght
Ageynst the rysynge / of refulgent tytan
595 Whan that declyneth / the fayre dame dyan

ref.ed: 112
Than dooth the louer / out of this bedde aryse
With wofull mynde / beholdynge than the ayre
Alas he sayth / what nedeth to deuyse
Ony suche pastyme / here for to repayre
600 Where is my conforte / where is my lady fayre
Where is my Ioye / where is now all my boote
Where is she nowe / that persed my herte rote

This maye I saye / vnto my owne dere loue
My goodly lady / fayrest and moost swete
605 In all my bokes / fayre fortune doth moue
For a place of grace / where that we sholde mete
Also my bokes full pryuely you grete
The effectes therof / dooth well dayly ensue
By meruelous thynges / to proue them to be true

610 The more my payne / the more my loue encreaseth
The more my Ieopardy / the truer is my harte
The more I suffre / the lesse the fyr releaseth releaseth] releasheth 1515
The more I complayne the more is my smarte
The more I se her / the sharper is the darte
615 The more I wryte / the more my teeres dystyll
The more I loue / the hotter is my wyll

sig: C1
O moost fayre lady / yonge / good / and vertuous
I knewe full well / neuer your countenaunce
Shewed me ony token / to make me amerous
620 But what for that / your prudent gouernaunce
Hath enrached my herte / for to gyue attendaunce
Your excellent beaute / you coude no thynge lette
To cause my herte vpon you to be sette

My ryght fayre lady / yf at the chesse I drawe
625 My-selfe I knowe not / as a cheke frome a mate
But god aboue the whiche sholde haue in awe
By drede truely euery true estate
He maye take vengeaunce / though he tary late
He knoweth my mynde / he knoweth my remedy
630 He maye reuenge me / he knoweth my Ieoperdy

ref.ed: 113
O thou fayre fortune / torne not fro me thy face
Remembre my sorowe / for my goodly lady
My tendre herte / she dooth full oft enbrace
And as of that it is no wonder why
635 For vpon her is all my desteny
Submyttynge me / vnto her gracyous wyll
Me for to saue or sodaynly to spyll

O ryght fayre lady of grene flourynge age
You can not do but as your frendes agre
640 Your wyte is grete / you[r] mekenes / dooth not swage your] you 1515
Exyle dysdayne / and be ruled by pety
The frenshe-man sayth / that shall be shall be
Yf that I dye / louer was neuer none
Deyed in this worlde / for a fayrer persone

sig: [C1v]
645 Your beaute causeth all my amyte
Why sholde your beaute / to my dethe condyscende
Your vertue and mekenes / dyde so arest me
Why sholde ye than to dame dysdayne intende
Your prudence your goodnes / dooth mercy extende
650 Why sholde ye than enclyne to cruelte
Your grace I trust wyll non extremyte

A dere herte I maye complayne ryght longe
You here me not / nor se me not arayed
Nor cause my paynes for to be stronge cause] causes 1515
655 It was myn eyes / that made me fyrst dysmayde
With stroke of loue / that coude not [b]e delay[d]e be delayde] me delaye 1515
My ryght fayre lady / my herte is colde and faynt
Wolde now to god / that you knewe my complaynte

Thus as I mourned I herde a lady speke
660 I loked asyde I sawe my lady gracyous
My herte than fared / as it sholde breke
For perfyte Ioye whiche was solacyous
Before her grace / ryght swete and precyous
I kneled doune / saynge with all mekenesse
665 Please it your grace / and excellent noblenes

ref.ed: 114
No dyspleasure to take for my beynge here
For fortune me brought / to this place ryall
Where I haue wonne this floure so vertuous and dere
This swerde and shelde / also not peregall
670 Towa[rd]e [them] aduenture[d] to be tryumphall Towarde] Towadre 1515; them aduentured] hym aduenture 1515
And now by fortunes desteny and fate
Do here my duety vnto your hygh estate

sig: C2
Ihesu sayd she than / who hadde wende to fynde
Your-selfe walkynge / in this place all alone
675 Full lytell thought I / ye were not in my mynde
What is the cause / that ye make suche mone
I thynke some thynge / be from you past and gone
But I wonder / how that ye dyde attayne
This floure / this swerde / the shelde also certayne

680 For by a lady in the antyquyte
They were made to a meruaylous entente
That none sholde get them / but by auctoryte
Whiche onely by fortune / sholde hyder be sent
Full many knyghtes by entendement
685 Hath them aduentred / to haue them in-dede
But all was vayne / for they myght neuer spede

Wherfore surely / ye are moche fortunate
Them for to wynne by your aduenture
But it was no-thynge to you ordynate
690 And you dyde well / to put your-selfe in vre
To proue the Ieoperdy / whiche hath made you sure
Leue all your mournynge / for there is no wyght
Hath greter cause / for to be gladde and lyght

I behelde well her demure countenaunce
695 Vnto her swete wordes / gyuynge good audyence
And than I marked in my remembraunce
ref.ed: 115
Her pleasaunt apparayle / with all my dylygence
Whiche was full ryche of meruaylous excellence
Fyrst alofte her forheed / full properly was dressed
700 Vnder her orellettes / her golden heere well tressed

sig: [C2v]
About her necke whyte as ony lyly
A prety chayne of the fynest golde
Some lynkes with grene enameled truely
And some were blacke / the whiche I dyde beholde
705 The vaynes blewe / in her fayre necke well tolde
With her swete vysage tydynges to my herte
That sodynly my thoughtes were asterte

Her gowne was golde / of the clothe of tyssewe
With armyns poudred / and wyde sleues pendaunt
710 Her kyrtell grene of the fyne satyn newe
To bere her longe trayne / was well attendaunt
Gentyll dame dylygence / neuer varyaunt
Than as touchynge her noble stature
I thynke there can be / no goodlyer creature

715 As of her aege / so tendre and grene
Fayre / gracyous / prudent / and louynge humylyte
Her vertue shyneth / beynge bryght and shene
In her is nether pryde ne sybtylte
Her gentyll herte / enclyneth to bounte
720 Thus beaute / godlynesse / vertue / grace / and wytte
With bounte and mekenesse / in this lady is knytte


Thus whan my eyes hadde beholde her wele
Madame I sayd how may I now be gladde
But sygh and sorowe with herte euery dele
725 Longe haue I loued / and lytell conforte hadde
Wherfore no wonder though that I be sadde
Your tendre age / full lytell knoweth ywys
To loue vnloued / what wofull payne it is

sig: C3


[Tho]ughe that I be yonge / yet I haue perceueraunce copytext torn
730 [Th]at ther is no lady / yf that she gentyll be
[An]d ye haue with her ony acquayntaunce
And after cast / to her your amyte
Grounded on honoure / without duplycyte
I wolde thynke in mynde / she wolde condescende
735 To graunt your fauoure / yf ye none yll intende


A fayre lady I haue vnto her spoken
That I loue best / and she dooth not it knowe
Though vnto her / I haue my mynde broken
Her be[aute] clere / dooth my herte ouerthrowe beaute] beuaet 1515
740 Whan I do se her / my herte [d]ooth sobbe I trowe dooth] booth 1515
Wherfore fayre lady / all dysparate of conforte
I speke vnknowen / I must to wo resorte


Me-thynke ye speke / now vnder parable
Do ye se her here / whiche is cause of your grefe
745 Yf ye so dyde / than sholde I be able
As in this cause / t[o] be to your relefe to] te 1515
Ryght lothe I were to se your myschefe
For ye knowe well / what case that I am yn
Peryllous it wolde be / or that ye coude me wyne


750 Madame sayd I / thoughe myn eyes se her not
Made dymme with wepyn[g]e / and with grete wo togyder wepynge] wepynde 1515
Yet dooth myn herte / at this tyme I wote
Her excellent beaute / ryght inwardly concyder
Good fortune I trust / hath now brought me hyder
755 To se your mekenes / whiche doth her[e] repayre here] her 1515
Whose swete conforte / dooth kepe me fro dyspayre

sig: [C3v]
ref.ed: 117


Of late I sawe a boke of your makynge
Called the pastyme of pleasure / whiche is wond[rous] copytext torn
For I thyn[k]e and you had not ben in louynge thynke] thynge 1515
760 Ye coude neuer haue made it so sentencyous
I redde there all your passage daungerous
Wherfore I wene for the fayre ladyes sake
That ye dyd loue / ye dyde that boke so make


Forsothe madame / I dyde compyle that boke
765 As the holy goost / I call vnto wytnes
But ygnorauntly / who so lyst to loke
Many meruelous thynges in it / I do expresse
My lyue and loue / to enserche well doub[t]lesse doubtlesse] doublesse 1515
Many a one doth wryte / I knowe not what in-dede
770 Yet the effecte dooth folowe / the trouthe for to spede


I graunt you well / all that whiche you saye
But tell me who it is / that ye loue so sure
I promyse you that I wyll not bewraye
Her name truely to ony creature
775 Pyte it is / you sholde suche wo endure
I do perceyue / she is not ryght ferre hence
Whiche that ye loue / withouten neclygence


Surely madame / syth it pleaseth your hyghnesse
And your honour to speke so nobly
780 It is your grace / that hath the intresse
In my true herte / with loue so feruently
Ryght longe ago / your beaute sodanly
Entred my mynde / and hath not syth dekayde
With feruent loue / moost wofully arayde

sig: [C4]
ref.ed: 118


785 And is it I / that is cause of your loue
Yf it so be I can not helpe your payne
It sholde be harde / to gete to your aboue
Me for to loue / I dyde not you constrayne
Ye knowe what I am / I knowe not you certayne
790 I am as past your loue to specyfy
Why wyll ye loue where is no remedy


A madame you are cause of my languysshe
Ye maye me helpe / yf that it to you please
To haue my purpose / my herte dooth not menysshe
795 Thoughe I was seke / ye knewe not my dysease
I am not hole / your mercy maye me ease
To proue what I am / the holy goost werke styll
My lyfe and deth / I yelde nowe to your wyll


Fortune me-thynke / is meruaylous fauorable
800 To you by getynge / of this ryall floure
Hauynge this swerde / and shelde so profytable
In mortall daungers / to be your socoure
But as touchynge your loue and fauoure
I can not graunt / neyther fyrst ne last
805 Ye knowe what I am / ye knowe my loue is past


Madame the floure / the swerde and shelde also
Whiche fortune gate me / are not halfe so dere
As your persone the cause of my wo
Whose grace and beaute / shyneth so ryght clere
810 That in my herte your beaute doth appere
Nothynge is past / but that fortunes pleasure
May call it agayne / in the tyme fut[u]re future] futrure 1515

sig: [C4v]
ref.ed: 119


I denye not but that your dedes do shewe
By meruaylous prowes / truely your gentylnesse
815 To make you a carter / there were not a fewe
But tho by crafte / whiche thought you to oppresse
To accombre them-selfe applye the besynesse
Yet thynke not you / so soone to se a cradle
I graunt you loue / whan ye were golden sadle


820 Madame truely / it is oft dayly sene
Many a one dooth trust / his fortune to take
From an-other man / to make hym blynde I wene
Whiche blyndeth hym / and dooth his pompe aslake
Often some hye / do fall alowe and quake
825 Ryght so maye they / whiche dyde fyrst prepence
My wo and payne for all theyr yll scyence


To loue me so / whiche knoweth my persone
And my frendes eke / me-thynke ye are not wyse
As now of me conforte haue ye none
830 Wherfore this answere / maye to you suffyse
I can not do / but as my frendes deuyse
I can no thynge do / but as they accorde
They haue me promest / to a myghty lorde


Madame in this worlde ben but thynges twayne
835 As loue and hate / ye knowe your-selfe the trouthe
Yf I sholde hate you / deth I were worthy playne
Than had you cause / with me to be wrothe
To deserue dyspleasure / my herte wolde be lothe
Wherfore fayre lady / I yelde at this hower
840 To your mekenes / my herte my loue and power

sig: [C5]
ref.ed: 120


[I] thynke you past all chyldy ygnoraunce Part of the leaf is torn or cut away in 1515
[And] gladde I am / yf prudence be your guyde
[G]race cometh often after gouernaunce
Beware of foly / beware of inwarde pryde
845 Clymbe not to fast / but yet fortune abyde
For your loue I thanke you / yf trouthe haue it fyxte
As with yll thought / neuer for to be myxte


Surely my mynde / nor yet my purpose
In ony cause by foly dyde vary
850 Neuer doynge thyn[g]e open ne close thynge] thynke 1515
That to your honour sholde be contrary
As yet for grace I am content to tary
For myn enmyes fraude and subtylnes
Whiche pryuely begyne theyr owne vnhapynesse


855 Now of trouthe / I do vnto you tell
The thynge that to your enmyes is moost dyspleasure
Is for to gouerne you by wysdome ryght well
That causeth enuy in theyr hertes to endure
But be ye pacyent and ye shall be sure
860 Suche thynges as they ordayne vnto your gref
Wyll lyght on them to theyr owne myschefe


Surely I thynke / I suffred well the phyppe
The nette also dydde teche me on the waye
But me to bere I trowe they lost a lyppe
865 For the lyfte hand extendyd my Iournaye
And not to call me for my sporte and playe
Wherfore by foly yf that they do synne
The holy goost maye well the batayle wynne

sig: [C5v]
ref.ed: 121


Yf fortune wolde / for the payne ye haue taken
870 I wolde graunt you loue / but it may nothynge a[uayle] Part of the leaf is torn or cut away in 1515
My loue is past / it can not be forsaken
Therfore I praye you leue your trauayle
Full lothe I were / your deth to bewayle
There is no nette / nor no tempted snare
875 But ye them knowe / wherfore ye maye beware


The snares and nettes / set in sondrye maner
Doone in tyme past / made many a byrde a dawe
The tempted gynnes / were sette so cyrculer
But euermore it is an olde-sayd sawe
880 Examples past dooth teche one to withdrawe teche] theche 1515
Frome all suche perylles / wherfore than maye I
By grace of god / beware full parfytly


Ye saye the trouthe / and I do no[w] submytte now] not 1515
My wyll and thought to the lady Venus
885 As she is goddesse / and doth true loue knytte
Ryght so to determyne / the mater betwene vs
With assent of fortune / so good [and] gracyous and] 1515 omits
Besechynge you now for to holde you styll
For these two ladyes / maye your mynde fulfyll


890 My ryght dere lady / I do therto consente
Swete are your wordes they confort my thought
Of Venus and fortune / I abyde the Iugement
But ryght dere lady / whome I longe haue sought
Forgete me not / remembre loue dere bought
895 Of my herte / I wolde ye knewe the preuyte
Than as I thynke ye wolde remembre me

sig: [C6]
ref.ed: 122
[.......................................................] Part of the leaf is torn or cut away in 1515
[.................]hat came ladyes
[.................]he our talkynge / that tyme dyde surrendre
900 [.........]dame / ye do well here repayre
[.........]ly temple / for to take the ayre
With that sodaynly / I truely awoke
Takynge pen and ynke to make this lytell boke

Go lytell treatyse submyte the humbly
To euery lady / excusynge thy neclygence
Besechynge them / to remembre truely
How thou doost purpose to do thy dylygence
5 To make suche bokes by true experyence
From daye to daye theyr pastyme to attende
Rather to dye / th[a]n th[o]u wolde them offende than thou] thon thau 1515
¶Enprynted by me Wynkyn_de_Worde.
sig: [C6v]