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For I am content to fulfill your will
In every maner, be it good or ill,
Of this condicion; that ye shall release
Me first of my wo and great distresse;
For I my selfe have thought many a daye
you to speake, but for feare of a nay
I durst never of the matter meve
Unto your person, lest it should you greve.
Nay, nay, quod he, with all my whole entente,
I shall obeye to your commaundement.
Well then, quod she, I shall you nowe tell
Howe the case standeth, truely, every dele:
For you knowe well that some women do long
After nyce thynges, be it ryght or wrong.
Ryght so must I upon your backe nowe ryde,
In your mouthe also a brydle you to guyde.
And so a brydle she put in his mouthe,
Upon his backe she rode both north and south,
About a chamber as some clarkes wene,
Of many persones it was openly sene!
Lo! what is love, that can so sore blynde
A philosopher to bryng hym out of kynde?
For love doth passe any maner of thyng, ́
It is harde and privy in workyng.
So on the grounde Aristotle crept,
And in his teeth she long the brydle kept,
Till she therof had inough her fyll;
And yet for this he never had his wyll.
She dyd nothing but for to mocke and scorne
This true lover whiche was for love forlorne:
But when he knewe the poynt of the case,
The fyry angre dyde hys herte enbrace,
That he him selfe dyd anone well knowe,
His angre dyd his love so overthrowe,
And ryght anone, as some poets wryte,
He the gret mockage dyd her well acquyte.
Dyd not a woman the famouse Vyrgyle
By her greate fraude full craftely begyle?
For on a day, for hys owne dysporte,
To the court of Rome he gan to resorte,
Amonge the ladyes the tyme for to passe;
Tyl at the last, lyke Phebus in the glasse,
So dyd a lady wyth her beaute clere
Shyne throughe his hert wyth suche love so dere,
That of great force he must nedes obey,
She of his mynde bare bothe the locke and the kay: So was his hart set upon a fyre
Wyth fervent love to attayne hys desyre.
She had him caught in suche a wyly snare,
Great was his payne and muche more his care,
To fynde a tyme whan it should be meved
To her of love and he nothynge repreved.
Thus every day, by ymagynacyon,
In his mynde was suche perturbacyon,
And at the last he had found a tyme
Hym thought to speke, and unto hym no cryme.
Mercy! lady, nowe, in all humble wyse,
To her he sayd: for yf ye me dyspyse
So hath your beaute my true hart aryed,
It is no mervayle thoughe I be afrayde
To you to speake it, that you deny
My purpose truely I am marde utterly.
So do I love now wyth all my heart entere,
Wyth inwarde care I by your beauty dere,
I must abyde wyth all my hole entente
Of lyfe or death your onely judgement.
Wyth fayned eares of perfyte audyence
She did him here, gyvyng this sentence:
Vyrgyl, she sayd, I wolde fayne you ease
Of your trouble, and of your great disease;
But I wote not howe that it should be,
Without tournynge us to great dyshoneste;
If it be knowen, than bothe you and I
Shall be reheited at full shamefully.
But what for that? I have me bethought
A praty craft by me shalbe wrought.
Ye knowe my chambre joyneth to a wall,
Beynge right hyghe and a wyndowe wythall.
Soone at nyght, when all folke be at reast.
I shall take a basket as me thynketh beast,
And therto I shall a longe corde well tye,
And from the wyndowe let it downe pryvely.
Right so, whan it is downe on the grounde,
Ye may well entre in it, both hole and sound,
And my two maydens the whiche secrete be
Shall anone helpe to hale you up with me.
Lo! in this wyse you may have ryght well
Your owne desyre in short space every deel.
At xi. of the clocke, in the nyght so darke,
They did appoynt for to fulfyll this worke.
He often thanked her gentlines,
And so departed with great gladnes;
And so he went unto his study,
Passyng the tyme himselfe full merely,
Tyll that the clocke did strike aleven,
Then to the wall he went full even,
And founde the basket at the grounde already, And entred into it full sodaynly,
Waggyng the rope, which the lady espied,
Whiche to the wyndowe ryght anone her hyed.
With her two maydens she did him up wynde,
Amiddes the wall, and left hym there behynde,
That was fyve fadom and more from the grounde.
When him selfe in suche a case he founde,
Alas! he sayde, myne owne lady, save
Myne honestye, and what ye list to have,
Ye shall have it at your owne desire.
Nowe wynde me up, my hart is on fyre.
Thou shalt, quod she, in that place abyde,
That all the cytie so ryght long and wyde
May the beholde and the matter knowe,
For myne honestie, and thy shame, I trowe.
So there he hong tyll noone of the daye,
That every persone whiche went by the waye
Myght hym well se and also beholde,
And unto them the very cause she tolde.
Lo, howe with shame she her love rewarded.
His payne and sorowe she nothyng regarded;
Thus at the last he adowne was brought,
Replete with shame, it vayleth hym ryght nought.
Thus with great anger he his love confounded,
Healyng the stroke whiche that she hath wounded.
And by his craft he in Rome did drenche
Every fyre for he left none to quenche,
And towarde Rome a great circuite aboute,
There was no fyre that was un-put-out.
Thus all the cytie upon her did wonder,
For perfite sorowe her harte was nere asunder;
And thus Vyrgyle, with crafty subtilnes,
Rewarded her falshode and doublenes.
All this I tell though that I be a fole,
To the, yong knight, for thou maist go to schole, In tyme commyng of true love to learne.
Beware of that for thou canst not decerne
Thy ladies mynde: though that she speake the fayre,
Her harte is false, she wyll no truthe repayre.
Nay, quod I, they are not all disposed
So for to do as ye have here disclosed.
Aha! quod he, I trowe well ye be
A true lover: so mote I thrive and the,
Let not thy lady of thy harte be rother;
When thou art gone, she wyll sone have another. Thus forth we rode tyll we sawe afarre
A royall tower as bryght as any starre,
To whiche we rode as fast as we myght.
When we came there, adowne my stede I lyght,
So dyd this Godfrey Gobilive also;
Into the temple after me gan go.
There sate dame Venus and Cupide her sonne,
Whiche had their parliament ryght newly begone.
To redresse lovers of their payne and wo,
Whiche in the temple did walke to and fro.
And every one his byll did present
Before Venus in her hyghe parliament.