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Betwene the vertue and the vice,
Which longeth unto this office.
But for my wittes ben to smale
To tellen every man his tale,
This boke upon amendement
To stonde at his commaundement,
With whom min herte is of accorde,
I sende unto min owne lorde,
Which of Lancastre is Henry named.
The highe god him hath proclamed
Full of knighthod and alle grace,
So wol I now this werke embrace
With hol truste and with hol beleve,
God graunte I mote it well acheve.
Tempus preteritum presens fortuna beatum
Linquit, et antiquas vertit in orbe vias.
Progenuit veterem concors dile&tio pacem,
Dum facies hominis nuncia mentis erat.
Legibus unicolor tunc temporis aura refulsit,
Justicie plane tuncque fuere vie.
Nuncque latens odium vultum depingit amoris,
Paceque sub fieta tempus ad arma tegit.
Inftar et ex variis mutabile cameliontis
Lex gerit, et regnis funt nova jura novis.
Climataque fuerant folidissima, ficque per orbem
Solvuntur, nec eo centra quietis habent. De statu regno- If I shall drawe into my minde rum ut dicunt secundum tempora- The time passed, than I finde lia, videlicet tempore regis Ricardi The world stode in al his welthe, fecundi, anno reg- Tho was the life of man in helthe, ni sui sextodecimo. 1
Tho was plente, tho was richesse,
Tho was the fortune of prowesse,
Tho was knighthode in pris by name,
Wherof the wide worldes fame
Write in croniques is yet witholde.
Justice of lawe tho was holde,
The privelege of regalie
Was sauf, and all the baronie
Worshiped was in his estate.
The citees knewen no debate,
The people stode in obeisaunce
Under the reule of governaunce,
And pees with rightwisnefse keste,
With charite tho stode in reste,
Of mannes herte the corage
Was shewed than in the visage.
The word was liche to the conceipte
Withoute semblaunt of deceipte,
Tho was there unenvied love,
Tho was vertue set above,
And vice was put under fote.
Now stant the crope under the rote,
The worlde is chaunged overall,
And therof moste in speciall
That love is falle into discorde.
And that I take to recorde
Of every lond for his partie
The comun vois, which may nought lie,
Nought upon one, but upon alle
It is that men now clepe and calle
And fain, that regnes ben devided,
In stede of love is hate guided,
The werre wol no pees purchace,
And lawe hath take her double face,
So that justice out of the wey
With rightwisnelle is gone awey.
And thus to loke on every halse
Men sene the fore without falve,
Whiche al the worlde hath overtake.
Ther is no regne of alle out take,
For every climat hath his dele
After the torninge of the whele,
Which blinde fortune overthroweth,
Wherof the certain no man knoweth.
The heven wot what is to done.
But we that dwelle under the mone
Stonde in this worlde upon a were,
And namely but the power
Of hem, that ben the worldes guides,
With good counseil on alle sides
Be kept upright in suche a wise,
That hate breke nought thassise
Of love, whiche is all the chefe
To kepe a regne out of mischefe.
For alle reson wolde this,
Apoftolus. Re. That unto him, which the heved is,
The membres buxom shall bowe,
And he Thulde eke here trouth alowe
With all his hert and make hem chere. Salomon. Omnia For good counseil is good to here, fac cum confilio.
All though a man be wise him selve,
Yet is the wisdome more of twelve.
And if they stonden both in one,
To hope it were than anone,
That god his grace wolde sende
To make of thilke werre an ende,
Whiche every day now groweth newe.
And that is gretely for to rewe
In speciall for Cristes fake,
Which wolde his owne life forsake
Amonge the men to yeven pees.
But nowe men tellen netheles,
That love is fro the world departed,
So ftant the pees uneven parted
With hem that liven now a daies.
But for to loke at all assaies
To him, that wolde reson seche
After the comun worldes fpeche,
It is to wonder of thilke werre,
In which none wote who hath the werre.
For every lond him self deceiveth
And of disese his parte receiveth,
And yet ne take men no kepe.
But thilke lorde, whiche al may kepe,
To whom no counseil may be hid
Upon the world, whiche is betid,
Amende that, wherof men pleine
With trewe hertes and with pleine,
And reconcile love ayeine
As he, whiche is king sovereine
Of all the worldes governaunce,
And of his highe purveiance
Afferme pees bitwene the londes
And take here cause into his hondes,
So that the world may stande appesed
And his godhede also be plesed.
Quas coluit Moses vetus, aut novus ipfe Joannes,
Hefternas leges vix colit ifta dies.
Sic prius Ecclefia bina virtute polita
Nunc magis inculta pallet utraque via.
Pacificam Petri vaginam mucro resumens
Horruit ad Christi verba cruoris iter.
Nunc tamen asiduo gladium de fanguine tinctum
Vibrat avaricia lege repente sacra.
Sic lupus eft pastor, pater hoftis, mors miserator,
Prædoque largitor, pax et in orbe timor. De ftatu cleri ut To thenke upon the daies olde dicunt fecundum spiritualia, vide. The life of clerkes to beholde licet tempore Roberti Gibbonenfis, Men sain, how that they were tho qui nomen cle. Ensample and reule of alle tho, mentis fibi fortitus est tunc Antipape. Which of wisdom the vertue foughten.
Unto the god first they besoughten
As to the substaunce of here scole,
That they ne sholden nought befole
Her witte upon none erthly werkes,
Whiche were ayein theftate of clerkes,
And that they mighten fle the vice,
Which Simon hath in his office,
Wherof he taketh the golde in honde.
For thilke time I understonde
The Lumbarde made non eschaunge
The bisshopriches for to chaunge,
Ne yet a letter for to sende
For dignite ne for provende
Or cured or withoute cure,
The chirche keie in adventure