Anonymous Olde English


Here Begynneth A Lyttell Treatyse Cleped La Conusaunce Damours - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

Forth gone the virgyns euerychone
Replet with ioye/and eke felicite
To gether floures. And some vnto one
Haue more fantasy/whan they it se
Than to all that in the medowes be
Another shall incontrary wyse
Gether other after theyr deuyse.


So done clerkes/of great grauite
Chose maters/wheron they lyst to wryte
But I that am of small capacite
Toke on me this treatyse to endyte
Tauoyde ydelnesse/more than for delyte
And most parte therof/tolde was to me
As here after/ye may rede and se.


Thus endeth the prologue.

The thyrde idus/in the moneth of July
Phebus his beames/lustryng euery way
Gladdynge the hartes/of all our Hemyspery
And mouynge many/vnto sporte and playe
So dyd it me/the treuthe for to saye
To walke forth/I had great inclination
Per chaunce some where/to fynde recreation


And as I walked/ever I dyd beholde
Goodly yonge people/that them encouraged
In suche maner wyse/as though they wolde
Ryght gladly have songe or daunsed
Or els some other gorgious thynge deuysed
Whose demeanynge/made me ryght ioyous
For to beholde/theyr dedes amorous.


To wryte all thynges of plesure/that I se
In euery place/where I passed by
In all a day recunted it can nat be
Who coude discryue the fresshe beauty
Of dames and pusels/attyred gorgiously
So swete of loke/so amiable of face
Smilyng doulcely/on suche as stande in grace


Certaynly theyr boute/and curtesy
Ofte moueth me/for to do my payne
Some thynge to wryte/them to magnifye
Aboue the sterres. But ay I may complayne
Ignoraunce/gouerneth so my brayne
That I ne dare/for nothynge presume
Out of my mouthe/to blowe suche a fume


It is a laboure/great and hyedous
Requirynge study/and moche experience
For my shulders/it is to ponderous
Whiche am priuate/of suche condigne science
It is for a man/of hygh eloquence
And worthynes/fame and memorie
So noble a thynge/to laude and magnifie.


But nowe to purpose/where I began
Walkyng abrode/wandryng to and fro
Beynge alone/with me was no man
Sodaynly/came in my mynde to go
Se. A faire pusell/and two or thre mo
Of her companions. This was myn entent
And by and by/forth thetherwarde I went.


Whan I came there/I founde at the dore
A dammusell/standyng all alone
Who I dyd salute/and ferthermore
Of her demaunded I/curtesly anone
Gentyll mayde where is your companion?
Syr she sayd (her hart on a mery pyn)
ye be welcome. she is nat nowe within


But by her faire/and swete countenance
I perceyued lyghtly/what she ment
Dame daunger moued her to that daliaunce
But Desyre bad me go. and in I went
And sodaynly/by the hand me hent
This most curtes mayde/who I went to se
Sayenge welcome/most derely vnto me.


And by the hande/than as she me had
In we went/talkynge joyously
Into a goodly parler/she me lad
And caused me to sytte/curtesly
Than vnto vs/came shortly by and by
Another/that me swetely dyd welcome
Bryngyng fresshe floures/and gave me some.


Than we began/to talke and deuyse
Of one and other/of olde acqueyntaunce
For comonly/of maydens is the gyse
Somtyme to demaunde for pastaunce
If that a man be in loues daunce
Or stande in grace/of any dammusell
Under suche maner/in talkynge we fell


We spake of loue/yet none of vs all
Knoweth perfectly/what loue shulde be
The one affyrmed/people veneriall
Folowynge the course/of their natiuite
Endure great sorowe/and moche aduersite
And many suffre/suche peyne and turment
That as mad folke/them selfe all to rent


Thus sayd one/and vp helde it styffely
That loue was of suche maner nature
That it myght rather be called a mad fury
Than any maner thynge of pleasure
To whiche wordes/thother mayden demure
Replyed. Prayeng vs/to gyue her licence
In this matter/to shewe forth her sentence


Gladly (we sayd (therto we assent
In this to here/your opinion
Forsoth (sayd she) ye shall nat be myscontent
All though therin/I make obiection
Where as nowe/ye haue made conclusion
Sayeng loue was a fury or a madnesse
Without all grauite/measure/or sadnesse


Nay surely/your reason is defectyue
For this ye knowe very perfectly
That they that loue/and hate for to stryue
Lyue a thousande tymes more quietly
Than they/that hate eche other mortally
For where as is no loue/nor tranquillite
There is myschef/langour/and all aduersite.


Loue is the very true manocorde
That euery wyght shulde harpe vpon
Louyng well eche other by very concorde
To this reason/byndeth vs euerychone
And this maner loue/is nat in vs alone
For bestes that haue/sence and vnderstandynge
By companies go/to gether right louynge


Whiche doyng I repute very perfect loue
Whan by no crafte/nor male engyn
From their amite/wyll nat remoue
The one to socour other shall neuer blyn
Who can depart true louyng folkes at wyn?
Father/children/and frendes of aliaunce/
And good neyghbours helpe other i eche chauce.


This maner frendshyp/very loue I call
Other than this/or lyke no man can fynde
Abyde (sayd the other) I thynke ye shall
Here my reason/contrary to your mynde
I trowe none hence to the lande of Inde
Can be founde. Whiche hath nat tasted
Other loue/than ye haue nowe rehersed


Harde you neuer tell/of yonge Pyramus/
And his swete loue/called fayre Thysby:
In all Babylon/the moost swete and gracious
Bothe shynyng/full of fresshe beauty
Dwellynge also/togyder very nye
Wherby the more/as I haue herde tell
Fro day to day/in feruent loue they fell


They wold both/ryght fayne haue bespoused
After suche lawe/as in that tyme they vse
But by theyr parentes/they were alway letted
Who of theyr myschief/I may well accuse
Neuer wolde one/the other of them refuse
The strayter they were kept/and inclosed
The more feruently/in loue they burned


And whan they coude nat to gyther speke
They made signes/tokyn and lokynge
By suche meanes/theyr myndz wolde they breke
That one of other had perfect vnderstandynge
Nowe it happed/as loue is euer sekynge
To fynde remedye/what therof befall
So at last they founde/a chenke in a wall


At whiche place/oft these louers two
Mette and talked/of their wo and payne
Many tymes/theder wolde they go
And on the wall/piteously complayne
That he stode/betwene them louers twayne
Nat openyng to them so moche space
To come to gether/eche other to enbrace


These and like wordes/ofte wolde they say
O enuious wall certes thou doest amysse
If thou wylt nat suffre/that we may
Ioyne our bodies/suffre vs to kysse
Agaynst the/we neuer dyd amysse
Wherfore be nat thou/to vs vnkynde
Opyn thy selfe/and obey to our mynde.


And whan they shulde part eche other fro
They toke leaue/and that ryght curtesly
yet alway/before or they wolde go
On eche syde/they kyst the wall swetely
Syghyng a lytell/very amorously
So wolde they stande/all many a longe nyght
Tyll Aurora/exild them with her lyght


And whan Phebus gan/his bemes downespred
Dryeng vp the dewes/in the medowes grene
Than wolde they stele priuely to bed
That they shulde/of no persone be sene
Where most of all/theyr sorowe sharpe and kene
At the hart/gan to prycke a pace
That they ne coude/rest in any place.


Nowe languysshe they/with syghes profoude
Nowe sorowe they/nowe they turne and wynde
Nowe fresshely bledeth/their incurable woude
Nowe cast they/right busely in mynde
Nowe they may/some crafte and maner fynde
Theyr kepers to deceyue/by some wyle
And to stele out/in the nyght by gyle.


After they had/fixed theyr myndes heron
They agreed/at theyr metyng place
That they wolde/into the feldes gon
The next nyght/and mete at a certayn place
And which, of them two/were first per case
Theder come/shulde no ferther go
Tyll the other/were ycome also.


Their metyng place/I vnderstande shulde be
At the supulchre/or tombe of kyng Ninus
(Kyng of Assiriens) vnder a goodly hye tre
Bearyng white aples/the tre cleped Morus
Growyng fast by/a fountayne delicious
In the sayd place/couenaunted to mete
yonge Pyram/and gracious Thysby swete.


Whan the longe day/was gone and past
And nyght come/every thynge at rest
The tendre mayde/hyed her ryght fast
To the dore she goth/redely and prest
And put therto/her doulce and softe brest
Openynge itso/for feare lest it shulde crake
And therwith/some of her kepars wake.


So out at the dore/gote preuely is she
And through the towne/alone is went
Into the fyldes/towarde the foresayd tre
O swete Thysbe/howe true was your entent
Howe curtesly your hart dyd assent
For the loue of gentyll Pyramus
To enterprise/a thynge so perillous.


Myghty loues power/here may we beholde
Proued on this goodly damosell
What but loue coude make her so bolde?
She feared nat/the sauage beestes fell
Wherto shulde I any longer dwell?
Upon her way she went styll apace
Castyng euer/towarde the appointed place.


One myght demaunde/who was her gyde
Bycause it was in the quyet nyght
I answere none/but the hygh lorde Cupide
Whose souerayne puysaunce/and great myght
Turneth obscure darkenesse/vnto lyght
He leadeth folkes/that way as he wyll
In great parilles/redy for to spyll.


So this lorde/of his myght and grace
Conduced Thysbe/in the wylde felde
Tyll she came vnto the foresayd place
Where she sate downe/vnder Morus selde
And as she sate/a ferre of she behelde
Towarde the wode/by lyght of the mone
A lyonesse/whiche towarde her dyd come.


This lyones/in the wode had slayne
A beest before/and deuoured hym also
And came to drynke/at the sayd fountayne
Where Thysbe sate alone with her no mo
For feare wherof/lyghtly she to go
Into a denne/that was there besyde
Swete Thysbe ran/her for to hyde.


(In moche perill/and great ieopardye
Thysbe was brought/by this sodayne fraye
For in that denne/wylde beestes vsed to lye)
For hast she fell/her kerchefe by the way
Whiche the lyones (as I haue harde say)
Founde. And in her blody mouthe toke
Rent/tore/and out agayne it shoke.


Than forthwith she ran into the wode
And as soone as euer she was gone
Pyram came/and founde the cloth all blode
His hart gan to be/as colde as any stone
Sayeng these wordes/with most pitous mone
O nyght thou losest/and art distruction
Of two yonge louers of Babylon.


Of whiche two/she that most worthy was
For to haue lyued/is deed fyrst of all
I am the cause/swete Thysbe (her alas)
That you ben slayne/of this beest truculentall
If I had come fyrst/than had it nat befall
O wretche that I am/to suffre swete Thysbe
To come alone/and here for to dye.


O ye moost cruell/and rabbysshe lions fell
Come nowe and teare/the corps of Pyramus
ye sauage beestes/that in these rockes dwell
If blode to you be so delicious
Come and gnawe/my wretched body dolorous
And on the kerchef/with face pale and tryst
He loked ofte/and it right swetely kyst.


With deedly syghes/his swerde out he drewe
Under the vmbre/of the forsayd tre
Wherwith shortly/hym owne selfe he slewe
Sayeng/take drynke nowe the blode of me
With whiche stroke/the blode (as it had be
Water spoutynge/out of a condite heed)
Spouted vp/whan he fell downe deed.


And with the blode/in suche wyse sprynklyng
The frute of the tre/whiche that before
Was white. Turned as blacke as any thynge
And the blode/that sanke to the more
Depeinted it/a fayre purple colore
Whiche vnto this day/so remayne
But nowe to Thysby/turne I wyll agayne.


All though her feare were neuer the las
yet bycause she wolde nat breke promesse
She came softly/towarde thappoynted place
Bothe mynde and eye/lokyng without cesse
For yonge Pyram/the floure of gentylnesse
She loked euer/her swete hart to se
Tyll she approched/and came vnder the tre.


Whan she behelde/the transformacion
Of the tre. She was right sore abasshed
And bycause it was in suche condicion
She thought it was nat/the place appoynted
But at last/as she more nerer loked
She sawe a corps/vpon the grounde lye
Newly slayne/tremblyng and all blody.


Wherwith she gan/to be as pale as leed
And stepped backe/a lyttell sodaynly
Incontinent she perceyued the corps deed
Was her owne swete hart/the noble Pyramy
O howe she gan moost piteously to crye
Her handes strayne/and her fyngers wrynge
Enragiously/her armes out castynge.


She rent and tore/her goodly youlowe heare
And toke the corps/in her armes twayne
Desperously/wepynge many a teare
Amonge the blode/of her louer slayne
Her bytter teares/lay as thycke as rayne
And ofte she kyssed/his deedly colde visage
Styll cryeng/as though she wolde enrage.


O swete Pyram/who hath taken you me fro?
O curtesse Pyram/speke nowe vnto me
I am thyn owne Thysby/full of wo
Here thy dere loue/that speketh vnto the
Lyfte ones vp thyn eyes Pyram me to se
And as she lay/this tomblyng on the grounde
At longe her kerchefe/in the blode she founde


Than she knewe/howe he deceyued was
By the kerchefe/and the lyonesse
Agayne she cryed/o Pyram her alas
For my loue/doure of gentylnesse
Haue slayne your selfe/in peinfull distresse
O swete Pyram/syth it is for my sake
Of my dolorous lyfe/suche ende shall I make.


Of ioye with you/parttaker haue I be
What tyme ye lyued/most curtes Pyramus
Shulde deth thau departe you and me?
With you to dye/I am ryght desyrous
O parentz parentz/of our deth reous
To you our bodyes/I bequeth and take
To bury togyther/for neuer we shall forsake.


O miserable tre/with thy bowes longe
Coueryng nowe/lyeng deed on the grounde
The noble Pyram/that whilom was so strouge
Thou shalt anone/of suche another wounde
Couer my corps. And in a littell stounde
She pulled the swerde out of Pyramy
And therwith slewe herselfe pyteously.


Thautor.


Than the damosell/that the storie tolde
Sygheh softe/and loked me vpon
Wherwith ye teares/downe on her chekes rolde
She had of theyr deth/so great compassion
That she was stryken in cogitacion
And stode a whyle/as one had ben dismayde
And these wordes/after to vs she sayd


The damosell.


O curtes Pyram/and swete Thysbe also
Herde was your fortune and destanye
your pitous deth/maketh myn hert wo
yet me thynke/I se your bodies lye
The tre and fountayne/ryght sorowfully
Unto this day/wepe and complayne
The lamentable dethe/of you louers twayne.


Here was true loue/who can it deny?
Here were the burnyng sparcles of Cupyde
Here were two hertes/closed in one truly
Here were two louers/nat swaruyng asyde
O cursed lyonesse/wo mote the betyde
Thou were the cause/that these louers twayne
Were so soone/thus miserably slayne.


O ye parentes/of these louers two
Why suffred you them/so for to spyll?
ye caused them/thether for to go
Wherof succeded/all their myschiefe and yll
ye myght haue had your goodly children styll
If ye had done/as reason doth require
To marry them/after theyr desyre.


These gentyls dyd/as christens nowe a day
Moost comonly/vse for to do
Whiche no doubt is/a moche cursed way
And causer of many yuels also
They marry/without consent of the two
Whiche mariage is nat worth an hawe
Damnable/and eke ayenst the lawe.


For to receyue this hygh sacrament
Is required moche solemnite
But one moost speciall/that is fre assent
Of both persones/of hye and lowe degre
Without whiche/mariage can nat be
Perfectly allowed/before the glorious face
Of the hygh god/in the celestiall place.


Whan two maried/ayenst their myndes be
What is the very true consequens?
Contynuall discorde/moost comenly wese
Braulyng/chidyng/and other inconuenience
And another/moost poysonfull pestilence
For therof right ofte/aduoutry doth succede
Murdre/and many a myscheuous dede.


We se oft tymes/whan two to gether come
By great loue/and longe continuaunce
yet of suche/there haue ben founde some
Whiche dayly haue ben at distaunce
To them selfe/and other great noyaunce
And coude by no meanes/togyther agre
And by deuorse/departed haue they be.


Than moche sooner/suche as by compulsion
Ben spoused/agaynst theyr owne fre wyll
Shulde nat do well. But to make relacion
Particlerly/of all and euery yll
That clamdestinat mariage doth fulfyll
I shulde than/to longe tary you twayne
Where I was/turne I shall agayne


Before this tyme/you bothe haue harde tell
Of the trojan knyght/called Troylus
And of Creseide/the goodly damosell
On whom he was so depely amorous
For whom he was/so heuy and dolorous
That had nat ben Pandare/his trusty frende
Of his lyfe/he had lyghtly made an ende.


For one syght he had/of that fresshe may
As he walked within the temple wyde
He loked as his hart/had ben pulde away
And coude nat moche longer there abyde
The fyrie dart/of the hygh lorde Cupyde
Had made in hym/so great and large a wounde
That lytell lacked/he fell nat to the grounde.


There was none so expert phisician
That coude cure or helpe his maladye
To serche the wounde/myght no surgian
It was impossible/to come therby
None coude cure/saue the faire lady
Creseide. On whom he loked oft
Syghyng depe/and gronyng lowe and softe.


What shulde I herof/longer processe make
Theyr great loue is wrytten all at longe
And howe he dyed onely for her sake
Out ornate Chaucer/other bokes amonge
In his lyfe dayes/dyd vnderfonge
To translate:and that most plesantly
Touchyng the mater/of the sayd story.


Of Cannace/somwhat wyll I tell
And of her brother/cleped Machareus
Howe Aeolous/her father ryght cruell
Made her dye a deth full pitous
But first she wrote/a pistoll dolorous
To her brother/of her wofull chaunce
These were her wordes to my remembraunce.


Cannace doughter/of Aeolous the kynge
Greteth Machare/her owne brother dere
In owne hande/a naked swerde holdynge
With the other writyng/as doth appere
In this epistoll that she sendeth here
Howe by naught els saue deth she can fynde
To content her fathers cruell mynde.


O my father most innaturall
This swerde to me his daughter hath he sende
With whiche swerde/shortly anone I shall
Of my lyfe and sorowe make an ende
To other pite/he wyll nat condiscende
Wherfore his fierce mynde to content
To slee my selfe I must nedes assent.


Thautor.


Than spake I/and wolde suffre her no more
Of this wofull mater/forther for to tell
Suche lamentable louers/greueth my hart sore
And also we coude nat moche longer dwell
Ryght glad was I/that it so happy fell
To here the hole of wofull Pyramus
Of her tolde/with gesture dolorous.


She wolde haue tolde/of many other mo
The great loue/and fatall destenye
Howe Phillis desolate/ofte alone wolde go
By hylles and dales/mornyng tenderly
For Demophon/and howe she dyd dye
But styll I prayed her to kepe silence
And leaue of her tragicall sentence.


A man that sweteth/and is very hote
Brought to the fyre/is nat well content
What I meane/euery man doth wote
yet for this/I wolde nothyng assent
That she had declared/appert and euydent
To our fyrst purpose/what loue shulde be
And wherupon/we gan to argue all thre.


The fyrst damosell/proued loue by reason
The other spake all by auctorite
Declaryng olde stories/of antique season
But to neyther of them wolde I agre
Without experience/proued can nat be
What is the myghty power of Cupyde
Whiche regneth through the great worlde wyde


Experience (sayd they) we desyre to here
What therby to proue/you entende
Than loked I on them/with sad chere
Castyng howe for to make an ende
Of our argument/and nat offende
Nother of them/through my negligence
For one of them/was myn experience.


Forsoth (I sayd) I nat howe it may be
But ones I behelde/with great affection
A fayre pusell/whiche happed yll for me
For neuer syth/by no compulsion
I coude nat put her in obliuion
Nor my mynde pulle from her away
Nor neuer shall/to myn endyng day.


With her regarde/and swete countenaunce
She gave me a great mortall wounde
Through whiche deth/dayly both auaunce
Towarde me/onely to confounde
My wretched corps:whiche in the grounde
Must of foule wormes be eate and gnawe
So condemned/by cruell loues lawe.


This lorde Cupide/lyst of his cruelte
Without reason/my body to turment
To mount an hylle/he constrayneth me
With his arowes/sharpe and violent
And me burnyng/with his brande ardent
yet vp the hyll/no way can be sought
To geat alone:so lowe am I brought.


O Hyppomenes/howe happy thou were?
What tyme thou wast so moche amorous
On Atalanta/that curtes damosell dere
For whose loue/ne had nat ben Venus
Thou shuldest haue dyed a deth ryght greuous
But by.iii.balles (that she the gaue) of golde
Thou gotest thy loue of truthe/as it is tolde


Clas suche socour/no where fynde I may
That me wyll helpe in myn heuynesse
And more encreaseth my sorowe day by day
Cruell thought on me doth neuer cesse
With feare and drede/my body to manesse
And with Dispeare/I haue so great stryfe
That gladly I wolde be reft of my lyfe


And than call I vnto the systers thre
To come out of their furious selle
And from my peyne to delyuer me
I care nat/though I with them shulde dwell
Or rauenyng wolues/hungry/fierse/and felle
My body gnawe/and to peces rent
To be losed/of my great turment.


O Pole wheron the great worlde rounde
Turneth about/by cours naturall
If a place may/vnder the be founde
I wolde gladly/therin that I shulde fall
O ye dogges/whiche to peces small
Tare Acreon/for Diana sake
I pray you of me an ende to make.


O crowes/rauons/and foules euerychone
What tyme my lyfe ended thus shalbe
Come than and take eche of you abone
And do beare them into what countre
Pleaseth you/for all is one to me
So I be out of this greuous payne
For any longer/I can it nat sustayne.


Wherwith dame Reason cometh vnto me
Very swetely lokynge in my face
With whom cometh other two or thre
Good Esperaunce/and the lady Grace
And reason begynneth for to chace
The lordens away/whiche before
Turmented my wretched body sore


Fyrst Reason to Disperaunce doth speke
Hym banysshyng out of our company
On hym she wolde gladly her angre wreke
But lady pacience standyng by
Sayeth to her very curtesly
ye must swetely shewe your selfe vntyll
This pacient here redy for to spyll.


Than by the hande Reason doth me take
Sayeng/what though the gentyle Hypsiphyle
Distroyed her selfe for prue Jasons sake
That ayenst his promes/dyd her begyle
Leape nat thou/tyll thou come to the style
For thou hast here nowe before thy face
(Whiche she lacked) the goodly lady Grace.


Reason.


Thou knowest after our hygh religion
Who that slee them selfe wylfully
By iuste sentence/of lastyng damnacion
Of helle. Be in great ieopardye
Wherfore I aduise the/loke theron wysely
Take nat example of/Dido and Myrra.
Nor yet of Phillis/Scylla/and Phedra.


I say to the as I sayd before
They lacked Grace/ye and me also
Whiche thou hast/and shalt haue euer more
In case that thou gladly woldest do
As we shall shewe the or that we go
Principally beware of Dispayre
In no wyse abyde that sower ayre.


Another/thou shalt kepe moderacion
In all thynges/that thou gost about
Both in gladnesse/and lamentacion
Beware of thought/the villayn bolde and stout
Of heuynesse/with theyr cruell route
Feare/drede/discomfort/and mystrust
Incline the neuer after their peruers lust.


What foly is it for a womans sake
Nat knowyng your corage nor entent
Suche lamentacion/and sorowe for to make
Perauenture her swete hart wolde assent
In all honour be at your comaundement
Wherfore fyrst/ye shulde by my counsell
Knowe the pleasure of the damosell.


Thautor.


To whiche counsell/accorden an agre
Desyre/and the curtes esperaunce
They two promesse/for to go with me
Dame fauour sayth she wyll so auaunce
With the helpe of prudent Gouernaunce
To solicite my mater in best wyse
And dame Discrecion shall it deuyse.


The good holsome lady Remembraunce
Sayth recorde/was nat worthy Theseus
The hye conquerour/delyuered fro myschaunce
By socour of two ladyes gratious
For hym they were so moche pitous
That they put them selfe/in dauger of moche yll
Hym for to saue/that he shulde nat spyll.


For he had ben put to the Minataurus
Without prouise/of these ladies twayne
Within the mase/made by Dedalus
All though he had/the hidous monstre slayne
yet coude he neuer come out therof agayne
But by the ladies subttle inuencion
He slewe the beest/and came out anone.


Thou hast redde/ryght many an history
Of ladies and damosels great bounte
And howe soone they ben inclyned to mercy
As was the curtes lady/Hypermestre
For nothyng perswaded wolde she be
For all her father myght do or say
She conueyed her loue and lorde away.


And bycause this lady wolde nat do
Scelerously/as dyd her systers all
Afterwarde she suffred moche wo
But no punyisshement/to her myght fall
That she ne thought the peyne very small
Suche ioye she had/of her spouse delyueraunce
That all her payne/to her was no greuaunce


Thus tender pite/in the hart feminall
Ronneth alway/vnto mannes defence
Theyr gentyll hertes/swete and liberall
Be lyghely turned/with great diligence
To mannes socour/and beneuolence
They speke/they praye/they labour and they go
Ryght tenderly/mannes profite for to do.


Thautor.


So these ladies/debated with me styll
In whole company I was ryght ioyous
And at last/they sayd me all vntyll
Be mery and glad thou louer dolorous
For thy loue is so moche gracious
That we thynke vnto thy desyre
She wyll obey/as thou wylt requyre.


Thautor.


Than call I/vnto my remembraunce
The great promesses/that Paris of Troye
Made to Heleyn/yet scant it was his chaunce
Her loue to gette/or her to enioye
All that he sayd was of perfect foye
He was a prince/and a kynges son also
yet longe it was/or she wolde with hym go.


Whan I mynde Echates/ye woman beautious
All my sorowe begynneth to renewe
She and the fayre yonge man/called Hyrus
Betoken howe my loue shall neuer rewe
Nor pite me. yet as Acontius vntrue
To her wyll I vse neyther fraude ne wyle
Lyke as he dyd Cydippes begyle.


Thus thought and feare/all the longe day
Turment me/tyll Phebus the hemyspery
Hath fally ronne/so that we may
Perceyue the blacke nyght aprochyng nye
To bedde I go/lasshe and eke wery
In hope some repose for to take
And by that meane/my payne for to slake.


Sone after/that I am downe layde
Morpheus/softely cometh to me
Who at the fyrst/maketh me afrayde
Tyll I knowe/what man he shulde be
He leadeth me where as I may se
My swete loue/vnto whom I wolde
Desyrously/ryght oft my mynde haue tolde.


And whan I haue ben about to speke
Cruell drede/hath stepped me before
He and feare/alway my purpose breke
yet her swete visage sheweth euermore
That of dame Pite/she knoweth well the lore
It can nat be/that her great beauty
Shulde be voyde/and without mercy.


Thus I stande debatyng a longe space
Than Morpheus/bryngeth me agayne
And whan I fynde me in the same place
Where I lay downe/with myn handes twayne
I graspe and fele/I sygh and complayne
And fynde it colde about me euery where
And perceyue that she was nat there.


O howe thought taketh me by the hert
And heuynesse/falleth me vpon
Those two from me wyll neuer departe
Tyll they make my body as colde as stone
They say to me/remedy is none
In this behalfe ferther to pursewe
For on me/my loue shall neuer rewe.


Thought and heuynesse.


Thou mayst here lye/sygh/sorowe and wayte
And on thy miserable state complayne
For her beautye/frendes/and apparayle
Causeth her to haue the in disdayne
She forceth nat/of thy wo and payne
She is a fresshe yonge swete creature
Well bequeynted/with the lady pleasure.


So stode the heuyns/whan thou were bore
And suche is thy fatall destenye
To loue one/whiche setteth lytell store
By the that art oppressed with mysery
What careth she/though thou for sorowe dye?
Or all thy lyfe/morne without a make
In wyldernesse/wandryng for her sake.


We haue tolde the ofte/and longe agone
That thy swete loue/fresshe and gorgious
Loketh to stande in grace of suche one
That may stipate/her port sumptuous
To sayle forth/with fame glorious
Lackyng nothyng/that dame Volunte
Wyll demaunde/longyng to Leberte.


For all thy lorde/who thou seruest so true
Whiche is the very blynde god Cupyde
Bearyng his signe/a face pale of hewe
As any ashes/wherto thou doest abyde
Vpholdyng it/with syghes large and wyde
yet we two shall do so moche our payne
Of Acrapos/shortly thou shalt be slayne.


Thautor.


Thus many a nyght/ofte I dryue away
Whiche me thynke longer than a yere
And whan I se the spryngynge of the day
yet somwhat gladed is my chere
For busynesse to me doth appere
Byddyng me to ryse and come lyghtly
Fye he sayth/vpon all sluggardy.


Than I ryse/and my clothes take
As preuely and soft as it may be
Wherwith diligence begynneth to awake
Whiche ones vp/a newe wyll turment me
And whan I can no other way se
With them I go/where they wyll me leade
For as than/I can no better reade.


Where euer I go/thought is neuer behynde
Nor heuynesse/they be alway present
To leaue them/I can no crafte fynde
For I beyng neuer so diligent
With busynesse/bothe mynde and eke entent
yet those two euer styll apeace
Come on me/my body to disease.


These two ofte/handle me so harde
That I am made lyke vnto a stone
To busynesse/hauyng no regarde
I leaue hym/and forth with anone
To some secrete place must I gone
A lytell whyle/my sorowe to complayne
From company/I do my selfe restrayne.


Than I begyn in this maner wyse
Lowe and softe/that none shulde here me
O Venus Venus/is this your cruell gyse?
Styll to turment vnto the extremite
My pore body/whiche as you may se
Is brought into so great miserye
That for loue/shortly must I dye.


The burnyng fyre of loue/doth me assayle
In suche wyse/that remedy is none
To quenche it/no water can auayle
Nor yet versus of cantacion
Of Pean/the artes euerychone
Nor of Mede/be nat worth a flye
I am condemned/and nedes must I dye.


Of all vnlucky/I most infortunate
Most sorowfull/most heuy and lamentable
What is my wretched body/lyfe/and state?
Nought els/but a thynge miserable
Replenisshed with paynes intollerable
To syghe/to sorowe/and morne tenderly
And by loue/condemned for to dye.


Of all louers/none can be founde
Whose case may well compared be
Vnto myn : through all the worlde rounde
Were out sought/yet shulde ye nat se
But that they had some felicite
But nought haue I/but all miserye
And by loue/condemned to dye.


Troylous/of whom men so moche tell
That he so great a louer was
Vnto hym/the case ryght happy fell
For in his armes ofte he dyd enbrace
His swete loue/and stode so in her grace
That nothyng to hym wolde she denye
But by loue/condemned I am to dye.


Many a nyght with his loue he lay
And in his armes/swetely can her holde
Of nothynge to hym sayd she nay
That he of her/aske or desyre wolde
His great ioy forsoth can nat be tolde
He had souerayne blysse/and I miserye
And by loue condemned for to dye.


What ioy had Paris we Heleyn ye fresshe quene?
Deyanira/with fierce Hercules
Briseis/the lady bryght and shene
With her lorde/the hardy Achilles
And Penelope/with her spouse Ulixes
Great gladnesse they had/with som miserye
I haue no ioy: and am condemned to dye.


Many a nyght/the friscant Leander
Lay also slept with his loue Herus
To passe Hellespont/she was his lode stere
And in all thynges to hym gracious
O these louers/fresshe and amorous
Ofte passed the tyme to gether ioyously
But by loue/condemned I am to dye.


Fayre Phillis/and eke Demophon
Had togyther ryght great felicite
So had the lady Sapho with Phaon
So had Machare/with his syster Canace
Dido with Aene/what ioy had she?
Ryght longe hym reteynyng curtesly
No ioy haue I/and am condemned to dye.


Myrra that loued her owne father dere
Wyckedly/by loue abhominable
Dyd so moche/that they lay both infere
All a nyght. doyng the dede damnable
Se howe Cupyde was fauorable
To her stynkyng loue/and transgression
And wyll me slee/for loyall affeccion.


Wherby I se/it is predestinate
Vnto me : most wretched creature
For to haue this miserable state
And infinite sorowe to endure
Or bate of all ioy/and eke pleasure
Full of luctuous syghes and misery
And vtterly condemned for to dye.


Wherfore adieu/all worldly vanite
Adieu frayle pleasure/rollynge lyke a ball
Adieu brytell trustes/that in this worlde be
Adieu I say/disceytes great and small
Adieu slipernesse styll redy for to fall
Lastly adieu/swete hert without mercye
For whose sake/I am condemned to dye.


Thautor to the two damosels.


Lo nowe you two/haue herde to the ende
What is loue/by suche experience
As I haue had. And nowe I you comende
Unto god/for I must depart hence
I thanke you hertely of your pacience
your curtesy/and eke your louyng chere
Of gentylnesse/that you haue made me here.


your chere here (they sayd) is but small
We wolde it were moche better for your sake
Our tanglynge/that to vs nowe hath fall
Wolde suffre vs/no chere for to make
And so theyr leaue/swetely of me they take
At the port or gate/and in they go
And I went strayght to my home also.


Comments about Here Begynneth A Lyttell Treatyse Cleped La Conusaunce Damours by Anonymous Olde English

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



[Report Error]