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And toke hem therupon the keie;
But for he woldè it were seie!
What good they have as they suppose,
He bad anon the cofre unclose,
Which was fulfild with straw and stones:
Thus be they served all at ones.

This king than, in the same stede,
Anon that other cofre undede,
Where as they sihen gret richesse,
Wel more than they couthen gesse.

Lo! seith the king, now may ye se
Chat ther is no defalte in me;
Forthy? my self I wol aquite,
And bereth ye your ownè wites
Of that+ fortune hath you refused.

Thus was this wise king excused:
And they lefte off her evil speche,
And mercy of her king beseche,




Right as myn eyè, with his loke,
Is to myn herte a lusty cooke
Of lovès foodè delicate;
Right so myn eare in his estate,

i Seen.

- Therefore.

3 Blame.

4 i. e. that which.

Wher as myn eye may nought serve,
Can wel myn hertès thonk 1 deserve;
And feden him, fro day to day,
With such deynties as he may.

For thus it is that, over all
Wher as I come in speciall,
I may heare of my lady price:
I heare one say that she is wise ;
Another saith that she is good;
And, some men sain, of worthy blood
That she is come; and is also
So fair that no wher is none so:
And some men praise hir goodly chere.
Thus every thing that I may heare,
Which souneth to my lady goode,
Is to myn eare a lusty foode.

And eke myn eare hath, over this,
A deyntie feste whan so is
That I may heare hirselvè speke;
For than anon my fast I breke
On suchè wordes as she saith,
That ful of trouth and ful of faith
They ben, and of so good disport,
That to myn earè great comfort
They don, as they that ben delices
For all the meates, and all the spices,

Lombard couthè make,
Ne be so lusty for to take,
Ne so far forth restauratif,
(I say as for myn ownė lif,)

1 Thank. Praise,

As ben the wordès of hir mouth.
For as the windès of the South
Ben most of allè debonaire ;
So, whan her list to speke faire,
The vertue of hir goodly speche
Is verily myn hertès leche.

And if it so befalle amongs
That she carol upon a song,
Whan I it hear, I am so fedd,
That I am fro miself so ledd
As though I were in Paradis ;
For, certes, as to myn avis,
Whan I heare of her voice the steven,
Me thinketh it is a blisse of heven.

And eke in other wise also, Full oftè time it falleth so, Myn eare with a good pitànce Is fedd of reding of romance Of Ydoine and of Amadas, That whilom weren in my cas ; And eke of other many a scorè, That loveden ' long ere I was bore. For whan I of her loves rede, Myn eare with the tale I fede, And with the lust of her histoire Somtime I draw into memoire, How sorrow may not ever last; And so hope cometh in at last.

1 Loved.

2 Born.


Was born at a place of that name in Suffolk, about the year 1370. His translation (taken through the medium of Laurence's version) of Boccaccio's Fall of Princes, was begun while Henry VI. was in France, where that king never was, but when he went to be crowned at Paris, in 1432. Lydgate was then above threescore. He was a monk of the Benedictine order, at St. Edmund's Bury, and in 1423 was elected prior of Hatfield Brodhook, but the following year had licence to return to his convent again. His condition, one would imagine, should have supplied him with the necessaries of life, yet he more than once complains to his patron, Humphry, Duke of Gloucester, of his wants; and he shews distinctly in one passage, that he did not dislike a little more wine than his convent allowed him. He was full thirty years of age when Chaucer died, whom he calls his master, and who probably was so in a literal sense. His Fall of Princes is rather a paraphrase than a translation of his original. He disclaims the idea of writing “ a stile briefe and compendious.” A great story he compares to a great oak, which is not to be attacked with a single stroke, but by a long processe."

Gray has pointed out beauties in this writer which had eluded the research, or the taste, of former critics. “ I pretend not,” says Gray, " to set him on a level with Chaucer, but he certainly comes the nearest to him of any contemporary writer I am acquainted with. His choice of expression and the smoothness of his verse, far surpass both Gower and Occleve. He wanted not art in raising the more tender emotions of the mind.” Of these he gives several examples. The finest of these, perhaps, is the following passage, descriptive of maternal agony and tenderness.




Out of her swoone when she did abbraide,
Knowing no mean but death in her distresse,
To her brother full piteouslie she said,
“ Cause of my sorrowe, roote of my heavinesse,
That whilom were the sourse of my gladnèsse,
When both our joyes by wille were so disposed,
Under one key our hearts to be enclosed.-

This is mine end, I


it not astarte;
O brother mine, there is no more to saye;
Lowly beseeching with mine whole heart
For to remember specially, I praye,
If it befall my littel sonne to dye,
That thou mayst after some mynd on us have,
Suffer us both be buried in one grave.

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