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And halted, as he were encloied,
Ha, gode suster, yet I prey,
Madame, whilom I was one, That to my fader hadde a king. But I was slowe and for no thing Me liste nought to love obey, And that I now full sore abey, For I whilom no love hadde, My hors is now feble and badde And all to-tore is min array, And every yere this fresshe may These lusty ladies ride aboute, And I must nedes fue her route In this maner, as ye now se And truffe her halters forth with me And am but as her horse knave. None other office I ne have, Hem thenketh I am worthy no more, For I was sowe in loves lore, Whan I was able for to lere And wolde nought the tales here
Of hem, that couthen love teche.
Now tell me than, I you beseche, Wherof that riche bridel serveth? With that her chere away she swerveth And gan to wepe and thus she tolde : This bridel, which ye now beholde, So riche upon min horse hed, Madame, afore er I was dede, Whan I was in my lusty life, There fell into min hert a strife Of love, which me overcome, So that therafter hede I nome And thought I wolde love a knight, That lafte well a fourtenight, For it no lenger mighte laste, So nigh my life was ate laste. But nowe alas to late ware That I ne had him loved ere, For deth cam so in haste byme, Er I therto had any time, That it ne mighte ben acheved. But for all that I am releved Of that my will was good therto That love suffreth it be so, That I shall such a bridel were. Nowe have ye herd all min answere, To god, madame, I you betake, And warneth alle for my fake, Of love that they be nought idel And bid hem thenke upon my bridel.
And with that worde all fodeinly
That she no halters wolde bere.
How idelnesse is for to drede,
For as the lady was chastised,
To love, he may parcas deserve
They shulden take ensample of this, Whiche I have tolde forsoth it is. My lady Venus, whom I serve, What woman woll her thank deserve She may nought thilke love eschue Of paramours, but she mot sue Cupides lawe, and netheles Men sene such love selde in pees, That it nis ever upon aspie Of jangling and of fals envie, Full ofte medled with disese. But thilke love is well at ese, Which set is upon mariage, For that dare Thewen the visage In alle places openly. A great merveile it is forthy, How that a maiden wolde lette, That she her time ne besette To haste unto that ilke feste, Wherof the love is all honeste. Men may recover loss of good, But so wise man yet never stood, Which may recover time ilore. So may a maiden well therfore Ensample take, of that the straungeth Her love and longe er that she chaungeth Her herte upon her lustes grene To mariage, as it is sene. For thus a yere or two or thre She lefte, er that she wedded be,