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Whan thou art come into the place, Where now they maken great manace And upon thy coming abide, They wol anone the same tide Oppose the of thine answere. I wot thou wolt no thing forbere Of that thou wenest be thy beste, And if thou might so finde reste Wel is, for than is ther no more. And elles this shall be my lore, That thou shalt saie : upon this molde That alle women levest wolde Be soverein of mannes love, For what woman is so above She hath as who faith all her wille, And elles may she nought fulfille What thinge her were levest have. With this answere thou shalt fave Thy self and other wise nought. And whan thou hast thy ende wrought, Come here ayein, thou shalt me finde, And let nothinge out of thy minde. He goth him forth with hevy chere, As he that not in what manere He may this worldes joie atteigne. For if he deie he hath a peine, And if he live he mote him binde To suche one, which of alle kinde Of women is the unsemlieste. Thus wot he nought what is the beste.
But be him lief or be him loth
And whan that this matrone herde The maner how this knight answerde, She said : ha treson, wo the be, That hast thus tolde the privete, Whiche alle women most desire, I wolde that thou were a fire. But netheles in suche a plite Florent of his answere is quite. And tho began his forwe newe, For he mot gone or ben untrewe To her, which his trouthe hadde. But he, which al shame dradde, Goth forth in stede of his penaunce And taketh the fortune of his chaunce As he, that was with trouth affaited. This olde wight him hath awaited In place where as he her lefte. Florent his wofull hed up lifte And figh this vecke where that she sat, Which was the lothliest what, That ever man cast on his eye. Her nase bass, her browes high, Her eyen smal and depe fet, Her chekes ben with teres wet And revelin as an empty skin Hangend down unto the chin, Her lippes shrunken ben for age, There was no grace in her visage, Her front was narwe, her lockes hore, She loketh forth as doth a more,
. Her necke is short, her shulders courbe, That might a mannes lust distourbe Her body great and no thing small, And shortly to descrive her all She hath no lith without a lack, But liche unto the wolle sack She profreth her unto this knight And bad him, as he hath behight So as the hath by his warrant, That he her holde covenaunt. And by the bridell The him seseth, But god wot how that she him pleseth, Of such wordes as she speketh Him thenketh wel nigh his herte breketh For forwe, that he may nought fle, But if he wolde untrewe be. Loke, how a feke man for his hele Taketh baldemoin with canele And with the mirre taketh the sucre, Right upon such a maner lucre Stant Florent, as in this diete He drinketh the bitter with the swete, He medleth sorwe with liking And liveth so as who saith dying. His youthe shall be cast awey Upon suche one, which as the wey Is olde and lothly overall. But nede he mot that nede shall He wolde algate his trouthe holde As every knight therto is holde
What hap to him is ever befalle, Though ibe be the foulest of alle, Yet to thonour of womanhed Him thought he thulde taken heed, So that for pure gentilesse, As he ber couthe best adresse Ia rasses, as she was to-tore, He iet her on his hors to-fore And forth he taketh his way softe. No wonder though he fiketh ofte. But as an oule fleeth by nighte Out of all other briddes fighte, Right to this knight on daies brode In close him held and shope his rode On nightes time, till the tide That he come there he wolde abide And prively withoute noise He bringeth this foule great coise To his cartell in suche a wise, That no man might her shape avise, Til the into the chambre came, Where he his prive counseil name Of suche men as he most truste And told hem, that he nedes muste This befte wedde to his wife, For elles had he lost his life. The prive women were assent, That tholden ben of his assent. Her ragges they anone of drawe And as it was that time lawe