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"Bot, jueler gente, if thou schal lose
Thy joy for a gemme that the wacz lef,10
Me thynk the put 11 in a mad porpose,
And busyez the aboute a raysoun bref ;
For that thou lestez 13 wacz bot a rose,
That flowred and fayled as kynde 14 hit gef;
Now thurgh kynde 14 of the kyste 15 that hyt
To a perle of prys hit is put in pref;
And thou hacz called thy wyrde 18 a thef,
That oght of noght hacz mad the cler; 19
Thou blamez the bote 20 of thy meschef,
Thou art no kynde jueler."
That jewel in gems so wondrous wrought
Up lifted her face with eyes of grey,
Set on her crown of pearls far-sought,
And soberly after began to say:
"Oh, sir, your mind is all distraught
To say that your pearl hath passed away,
That into so comely a coffer is brought
As in this garden gracious-gay,
Herein to dwell for ever and play,
Where moan or mourning none shall
Here were a casket for thee, in say, If thou, my jeweller, wert kind.
"But, jeweller gentle, if thus is crossed Thy joy for a gem that was dear to thee, Methinks thou art by madness tossed, O'er a trifle to fret so busily;
It was only a rose that thou hast lost,
Which flowered and faded naturally;
By charm of the chest that it embossed
It was changed to a pearl of price, dost see?
Thou callest a thief thy destiny,
That aught of naught has made thee.
Thou blam'st of thy hurt the remedy;
My jeweller, thou art not kind!”
"O spotless pearl, in pearls so pure, That the priceless pearl," quoth I, “dost bear, Who formed for thee thy beauty's lure,
Or wrought thee the weeds that thou dost wear? Nature was never so cunning, sure;
Pygmalion to paint thee would never dare;
Aristotle, for all his literature,
Could never recount thy virtues rare;
Than the fleur de lys thou art more fair,
In gracious bearing the angels' mate.
Tell me what troth in heaven there
Is pledged to the pearl immaculate?"
clearly made for thee something of nothing remedy 22 who spotless garment 24 face 25 described thy beauties of nature 27 inform 28 what office or position
"My spotless Lamb, who far and wide
Heals all - my Master dear," quoth she,
Me all unworthy chose for his bride;
Oh! long that waiting seemed to me,
When I from your damp world did glide!
He called me to his charity:
'Come hither, sweetheart, to my side,
For mote or spot is none in thee.'
Beauty and strength he gave to me,
In his blood he washed me, with sin
He crowned me clean in virginity,
And decked me with pearls immacu-
'Spotless maid, so mild and meek," Then said I to that flower bright, "Me to thy palace bring, and eke Of thy blissful bower give me sight." Sweetly - God shield her! - did she speak : "That tower may enter no earthly wight; But of the Lamb did I favour seek
That thou from afar shouldst see its light; From without that cloister see aright Thou mayest indeed; but within, step not;
To walk in the street thou hast no might,
Unless thou wert clean, without a spot."
good- tained 21 from without 22 within 23 wished to doubt 24 u dais
appearance 25 looks beautiful company supplied and laden 28 thought 29 valley 30 she 31 companions white 33 caused
Jason, which sih his fader old,
Upon Medea made him bold
Of art magique, which sche couthe,29
And preith hire that his fader 30 youthe
Sche wolde make ayeinward
And sche, that was toward him trewe,
Behihte him that sche wolde it do
Whan that sche time sawh therto.
Bot 33 what sche dede in that matiere
It is a wonder thing to hiere,
Bot yit for the novellerie 34
I thenke tellen a partie.35
Ther as my perle to grounde strayd;
I raxled 26 and fel in gret affray,"
And sykyng 28 to myself I sayd:
"Now al be to that pryncez paye." 16
Delight me drove in eye and ear;
My earthly mind was maddened nigh.
When I saw my darling, I would be near,
Beyond the water that she stood by:
"Nothing," methought, "can harm me here,
Deal me a blow and low make lie;
To wade the stream have I no fear,
Or to swim the deeps,, though I should die." 1160
But from that purpose withheld was I;
As unto the stream I started still,
Clean from that plan I was turned
It was not at my Prince's will.
JOHN GOWER (1325?-1408)
FROM CONFESSIO AMANTIS Bk. V
It pleased him not I should pass quite,
O'er marvellous meres, so mad arrayed;
Though in my rush I had strength and might,
Yet hastily therein I was stayed;
For as I strove to the bank aright,
My haste me of my dream betrayed;
Then waked I in that arbor bright,
My head upon that mound was laid
Where my own pearl to ground had
I roused me, with many a fear a-thrill,
And sighing to myself I said:
"Now all be at that Prince's will."
Jason, who saw his father old,
Upon Medea made so bold
Of magic art she knew, in sooth -
And prays her that his father's youth
She would bring back again as new.
And she, that was to him full true,
Promised him that she would it do
When that she saw her time thereto.
But how she wrought this for his cheer
It is a wondrous thing to hear,
Yet for the novelty of it
I think to tell you just a bit.
18 should fling 19
22 quickly sighing
23 haste 24 moved 25 fair 26
1eye 2 man's melted saw 5 gracious one she waters 20 onset strong 'kept injure 9 to fetch me an assault and take 28 roused 27 fear me lame 10 prevent " perished 12 knew purpose 13 shaken father's again 32 promised 14 intention 15 recalled 16 pleasure 17 pleased 34 novelty 35 part
Thus it befell upon a nyht Whan ther was noght bot sterreliht,1 Sche was vanyssht riht as hir liste,2 That no wyht bot hirself it wiste, And that was ate 3 mydnyht tyde. The world was stille on every side; With open hed and fot al bare, Hir her tosprad, sche gan to fare; Upon hir clothes gert sche was; Al specheles and 7 on the gras Sche glod forth as an addre doth Non otherwise sche ne goth Til sche cam to the freisshe flod, And there a while sche withstod. Thries sche torned hire aboute, And thries ek sche gan doun loute 10 And in the flod sche wette hir her, And thries on the water ther
Sche gaspeth with a drecchinge 11 onde,12
And tho 13 sche tok hir speche on honde.
Ferst sche began to clepe 14 and calle
Upward unto the sterres alle,
To Wynd, to Air, to See, to Lond
Sche preide, and ek hield up hir hond
To Echates 15 and gan to crie,
Which is godesse of sorcerie.
Sche seide, "Helpeth at this nede,
And as ye maden me to spede,16
Whan Jason cam the Flees 17 to seche,
So help me nou, I you beseche."
With that sche loketh and was war,
Doun fro the sky ther cam a char,19
The which dragouns aboute drowe.
And tho 13 sche gan hir hed doun bowe,
And up sche styh,20 and faire and wel
Sche drof forth bothe char and whel
Above in thair 21 among the skyes.2
The lond of Crete and tho parties 23
Sche soughte, and faste gan hire hye,24
And there upon the hulles 25 hyhe
Of Othrin and Olimpe also,
And ek of othre hulles mo,
Sche fond and gadreth herbes suote.26
Sche pulleth up som be the rote,
And manye with a knyf sche scherth,27
And alle into hir char sche berth.28
Thus whan sche hath the hulles sought,
The flodes 29 ther forgat 30 sche nought,
Eridian and Amphrisos,
Thus it befell upon a night,
When there was nought but starry light,
She stole away right as she list,
So that none but herself it wist,
And that was at the midnight tide,
The world was still on every side.
With head uncovered, feet all bare,
Her hair unbound, she gan to fare;
High up her clothes she girded has;
And, speechless, forth upon the grass
She glided as an adder does -
And in no other wise she goes -
Till she came to the flowing flood,
And there a while full still she stood.
Three times about she turned her now,
And thrice also she low did bow,
And in the flood she wet her hair,
And thrice upon the water there
She with a troubling breath blew fast,
And then unto her speech she passed.
First she began to cry and call
Unto the stars of heaven all;
1 starlight 2 as it pleased her at the covered her hair unbound 6 girded 7 Gower often gives and a strange position in the sentence; we should place it before al. glided stood still
To Wind, to Air, to Sea, to Land
She prayed there, holding up her hand, 3980 And unto Hecate did she cry,
Who goddess is of sorcery.
She said: "Oh, help me in this need,
And as ye once made me to speed,
When Jason came, the Fleece to seek,
So now your aid I do bespeak."
With that she looked and saw on high
A chariot gliding from the sky,
Which, dragons drawing, downward sped,
And then she bowed adown her head,
And up she rose, drove well and fair
Both car and wheel on through the air,
Above and through the clouds of sky.
The land of Crete and parts near by
She sought, and fast began her hie;
And there upon the mountains high
Of Othrim and Olympus too,
And other mountains eke thereto,
She found and gathers herbs of boot.
She pulleth some up by the root,
And many with a knife she shears,
And all unto her car she bears.
Thus when she hath the mountains sought,
The rivers there forgot she not;
Eridian and Amphrisos,
10 bow 11 troubling 12 breath 13 then 14 cry unate 16 succeed 17 fleece 15 aware 19 chariot 20 rose
21 the air 22 clouds 23 those parts 24 hasten 25 hills
sweet cuts bears, carries 29 rivers 30 forgot
Peneie and ek Spercheidos.
To hem sche wente and ther sche nom1
Bothe of the water and the fom,
The sond and ek the smale stones,
• Whiche-as sche ches 2 out for the nones;
And of the Rede See a part
That was behovelich to hire art
Sche tok, and after that aboute
Sche soughte sondri sedes oute
In feldes and in many greves,
And ek a part sche tok of leves;
Bot thing which mihte hire most availe
Sche fond in Crete and in Thessaile.
In daies and in nyhtes nyne, With gret travaile and with gret pyne, Sche was pourveid of every piece, And torneth homward into Grece. Before the gates of Eson Hir char sche let awai to gon, And tok out ferst that was therinne; For tho sche thoghte to beginne Suche thing as semeth impossible, And made hirselven invisible, As sche that was with air enclosed And mihte of noman be desclosed. Sche tok up turves of the lond Withoute helpe of mannes hond, Al heled with the grene gras, Of which an alter mad ther was Unto Echates, the goddesse Of art magique and the maistresse, And eft an other to Juvente,
As sche which dede hir hole entente.7
Tho tok sche fieldwode and verveyne -
Of herbes ben noght betre tueine; 8
Of which anon withoute let
These alters ben aboute set. Tuo sondri puttes faste by Sche made, and with that hastely A wether which was blak sche slouh,10 And out ther-of the blod sche drouh "1 And dede 12 into the pettes tuo; Warm melk sche putte also therto With hony meynd; 13 and in such wise Sche gan to make hir sacrifice. And cride and preide forth withal To Pluto, the god infernal, And to the queene Proserpine. And so sche soghte out al the line Of hem that longen to that craft, Behinde was no name laft,14
Peneie and eke Spercheidos.
To them she went and there took some
Both of the water and the foam,
The sand and eke the little stones,
Whereof she chose out special ones;
And of the Red Sea too a part
That was behooveful for her art
She took, and, after that, about
She sought there sundry seeds then out
In many a wood and many a field;
Their leaves she made the trees to yield;
But that which best her need did meet
She found in Thessaly and Crete.
Nine days and nights had passed before,
With labour great and pain full sore,
She was purveyed with every piece,
And turneth homeward unto Greece.
At Eson's gates then did she stay,
And let her chariot go away;
But took out first what was therein,
For then her plan was to begin
Such things as seemed impossible,
And made herself invisible,
As she that was with air enclosed
And might to no man be disclosed.
She took up turfs from off the land,
Without the help of human hand,
All covered with the growing grass,
Of which an altar made she has
To Hecate, who was the goddess
Of magic art and the mistress,
And still another to Juvente,
As one fulfilling her intent.
Then took she wormwood and vervain -
Of herbs there be no better twain;
With which anon, without delay,
She set these altars in array.
Two sundry pits quite near thereby
She made, and with that hastily,
A wether which was black she slew,
And out thereof the blood she drew,
And cast in the pits without ado;
And warm milk added she thereto
With honey mixed; and in such wise
Began to make her sacrifice.
And cried and prayed aloud also
To Pluto, god of all below,
And to the queen's self, Proserpine.
And so she sought out all the line
Of those that to that craft belong
Forgot she none of all the throng
10 slew 11 drew 12 put 13 mixed 14 left