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Sothly, doughtir, quod fhe, this is the trouth, For knightes evir fhoud be persevering To seke honour without feintise or flouth, Fro wele to bettir in all manir thing, In sign of which with levis ay lasting They be rewardid aftir ther degre, Whose lusty grene may not appairid be, 533

But ay keping ther beauty fresh and grene, For ther n'is no storme that may them deface, Ne hail nor snowe, ne wind nor frostis kene, Wherfore they have this propirty and grace; And for the Flour within a litil space Wollin be loft, so simple of nature They be that they no grevaunce may endure: 560

And every storme woll blowe them fone away, Ne they lastè not but for a seson, That is the cause [the very trouth to say] That they may not by no way of reson Be put to no such occupacion. Madame, quod I, with all mine whole servise I thank you now in my most humble wise; 56.3

For now I am ascertain'd thoroughly Of every thing I defirid to knowe. I am right glad that I have said, fothly, Ought to your plesure, (if ye will me trow.) Quod she ayen. But to whom do ye owe Your service, and which wollin ye honour [Pray tell me) this year, the Lefe or the Flour? 379 Madam, quod I, although I left worthy, Unto the Lefe I ow mine observaunce. That is, quod she, right well done certainly, And I pray God to honour you advaunce, And kepe you fro the wickid remembraunce Of Malèbouch and all his cruiltie, And all that gode and well-condition'd be ; 581

For here I may no lengir now abide, But I must follow the grete company That ye may se yondir before you ride; And forthwith as I couth most humily I toke my leve of her, and she gan hie Aftir them as fast as evir she might, And I drow homeward, for it was nigh night, 588

And put all that I had sene in writing, Undir support of them that luft it rede. O little boke! thou art so unconning, How darst thou put thy felf in prees for drede ? It is wondir that thod wexist not rede, Sith that thou woft full lite who fhall behold Thy rude langage full boyfously unfold. 595



Wiru timerous herte and trembling hand of drede,
Of cunning nakid, bare of eloquence,
Unto the four of port in womanhede
I write, as he that none intelligence
Of metris hath ne flouris of sentence,
Saufe that nie lift my writing to convey
In that i can to plese her high nobley.

The blofomes fresh of Tulius gardein sote
Present thei not, my mattir for to borne,
Poemes of Virgile takin here no rote,
Ne crafte of Galfride may not here sojourne ;)
Why n'am I cunning? 'n wel maie I morne
For lacke of science, that I can nat write
Unto the princes of my lyfe aright!

14 No termes are digne unto her excellence, So is she spronge of noble stripe and high; A world of honour and of reverence There is in her, this will testifie: Caliope, thou fistir wise and fly, And thou Minerva! guide me with thy grace, That langage rude my mattir not deface.


The Court of Love] This book is an imitation of The Romaunt of the Rose, thewing that all are subject to love, what impediments soever to the contrary, containing also those 20 Hatutes that are to be observed in The Court of Love. Urry,


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Thy fugir dropis swete of Helicon
Distil in me, thou gentle Muse! I praye,
And the Melpomene I cal anone
Of igncraunce the miste to chace awaye,
And geve me grace fo for to write and faic
That she my lady of her worthinesse
Accept in gre this litil short tretesse,

That is entitlid thus, The Courte of Love;
And ye that ben metriciens me excuse,
I you befeche, for Venus fake above,
For what I mene in this ye nede not muse;
And if so be my lady it refuse
For lake of ornate fpeche, I wolde be wo
That I prefume to her to writin fo.

But my entente and al my bufie cure
Is for to write this treteffe as I can,
Unto my lady stable, true, and fare,
Faithful and kind, fith firste that she began
Me to accept in service as her man;
To her be al the plesure of this boke,
That when her like she may it rede and loke.



When I was yong, at xviii yere of age,
Lusty and light, desirous of plesaunce,
Approching on full fadde and ripe corage,
Love artid me to do my observaunce
To his estate, and done him obeisaunce,
Commaundinge me The Court of Love to se,
A lite beside the Mounte of Cithere;

49 36

There Citherea goddesse was and quene,
Honourid highly for her majeste,
And eke her fonne, the mighty god I wene,
Cupide the blind, that for his dignite
A M. lovirs worshipp on ther kne;
There was I bid in paine of deth to pere
By Mercury, the wingid meslingere:

So than I went by strange and ferre countrees,
Enquiringe aye what coaste had to it drewe
The Court of Love, and thidirward as bees
At last I se the peple gan pursue;
Anon me thought some wight was ther that knew
Where that the Court was holdin ferre or nie,
And aftir than ful faste I ganne me hie.

Anon as I them ovirtoke I said, Heile, frendis! whithir purpose ye to wend? For soth, (quod one) that answered lyche a maid, To Lov'is Courte now go we, gentil frend! Where is that place, (quod I) my felowe hend? At Citheron, Sir, faide he, withoute doute, The kinge of Love, and al his noble route, 70

Dwelling within a castil rially. So than apace I journid forth amonge; And as he faide so fond I there truly, For I behelde the touris high and stronge, And high pinaclis large of hight and longe, With plate of gold bespred on every side, And precious stones, the lone werke for to hide. 77



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