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He is, for man is nought amended
With gold, but if it be despended
To mannes use, wherof I rede
A tale and take therof good hede .
Of that befell by olde tide,
As telleth us the clerke Ovide. Hic loquitur contra Bachus, which is the god of wine, istos avaros et narrat, qualiter Mida rex Accordant unto his divine Frigie Cillenum Ba- A preft, the which Cillenus hight, chi sacerdotem,quema pa rustici vinculis ferreis He had, and fell so, that by night alligarunt, dissolvit et in hofpicium fuum This prest was drunke and goth astraied, benignissime recollegit, pro quo Bachus Wherof the men were evil apaied quodcunque munus rex exigere vellet do- In Frigilond, where as he went. nare concefsit. Unde rex avaricia ductus, But ate last a cherle him hent ut quicquid tangeret With strength of other felaship, in aurum converteretur, indiscrete peciit. So that upon his drunkeship Quo facto postea contigit, quod cibos cum They bounden him with cheines faste ipse sumere vellet in aurum conversos And forth they lad him also faste manducare non potuit. Et fic percipi- Unto the king, which highte Mide. ens aurum pro tunc non poffe mbi valere But he that wolde his vice hide illud auferri et tunc Thismurteie ea, que victui fufficeThis curteis king toke of him hede rent neceflaria, itera- And bad, that men him shulde lede. tis precibus a deo mitissime postulavit. Into a chambre for to kepe,
Till he of leiser hadde slepe.
And tho this prest was sone unbound
And up a couche fro the ground
To slepe he was laid soft inough.
And whan he woke, the king him drough
To his presence and did him chere,
So that this prest in such manere,
While that him liketh, ther he dwelleth
And al this he to Bachus telleth,
Whan that he cam to him ayein.
And whan that Bachus herde sain,
How Mide hath done his curtesy,
Him thenketh, it were a vilany,
But he reward him for his dede,
So as he might of his godhede.
Unto this king this god appereth
And clepeth, and that other hereth.
This god to Mide thonketh faire
Of that he was so debonaire
Toward his prest, and bad him say
What thinge it were he wolde pray,
He Thulde it have of worldes good.
This king was glad and stille stood
And was of his axinge in doubte
And all the worlde he cast aboute,
What thing was best for his estate.
And with him self stood in debate
Upon thre pointes, which I finde
Ben levest unto mannes kinde.
The first of hem it is delite,
The two ben worship and profite.
And than he thought, if that I crave
Delite, though I delite may have,
Delite shall passen in my age
That is no siker avauntage.
For every joie bodely
Shall ende in wo, delite forthy
Woll I nought chese, and if worship
I axe and of the world lordship,
That is an occupation
Of proude ymagination,
Which maketh an herte vein withinne,
There is no certain for to winne,
For lorde and knave is all o wey,
Whan they be bore, and whan they deie.
And if I profite axe wolde,
I not in what maner I sholde
Of worldes good have sikernelle,
For every thefe upon richesse
Awaiteth for to robbe and stele.
Such good is cause of harmes fele,
And also though a man at ones
Of all the world within his wones
The tresor might have every dele,
Yet had he but one mannes dele
Toward him self, so as I thinke
Of clothing and of mete and drinke,
For more out take vanite
There hath no lord in his degre.
And thus upon these points diverse
Diverselich he gan reherce,
What point it thought him for the best.
But pleinly for to get him rest
He can no siker waie cast,
And netheles yet ate laste
He fell upon the covetise
Of gold, and than in sondry wise
He thought, as I have said to-fore,
How tresor may be sone lore,
And hadde an inly great desir
Touchende of such recoverir,
How that he might his cause availe
To gete him gold withoute faile.
Within his hert and thus he preiseth
The gold and faith, how that he peiseth
Above all other metal most,
The gold, he faith, may lede an hoste
To make werre ayein a king,
The gold put under alle thing,
And set it whan him list above,
The gold can make of hate love
And werre of pees and right of wrong
And long to short and short to long,
Withoute gold may be no fest,
Gold is the lord of man and best
And may hem bothe beie and selle,
So that a man may sothly telle
That all the world to golde obeieth.
Forthy this king to Bachus preieth
To graunt him gold, but he excedeth
Mesure more than him nedeth.
Men tellen, that the malady,
Which cleped is ydropesy
Resembled is unto this vice
By way of kinde of avarice,
The more ydropesy drinketh,
The more him thursteth, for him thinketh,
That he may never drink his fille.
So that there may no thing fulfille
The lustes of his appetite..
And right in such a maner plite
Stant avarice and ever stood,
The more he hath of worldes good,
The more he wolde it kepe streite
And ever more and more coveite,
And right in such condicion
Withoute good discrecion
This king with avarice is smitte,
That all the worlde it mighte witte.
For he to Bachus thanne preide,
That therupon his honde he leide,
It Thulde through his touche anone
Become gold, and therupon
This god him graunteth as he bad.
Though was this kinge of Frige glad.
And for to put it in assay
With all the haste that he may
He toucheth that, he toucheth this,
And in his hond all gold it is,
The stone, the tre, the leef, the gras,
The flour, the fruit all gold it was.
Thus toucheth he, while he may laste
To go, but hunger ate laste
Him toke so, that he must nede
By wey of kinde his hunger fede.
The cloth was laid, the bord was set
And all was forth to-fore him set