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they consider well. For, from such a nest, they cattle appears as Martha was, a better house
will too late bring forth young birds, which are good works, that they may fly toward heaven. Job calleth a religious house a nest; and saith, as if he were a recluse: "In nidulo meo moriar;"' that is, "I shall die in my nest, and be as dead therein;" for this relates to anchorites; and, to dwell therein until she die; that is, I will never cease, while my soul is in my body, to endure things hard outwardly, as the nest is, and to be soft within.
Hear now, as I promised, many kinds of comfort against all temptations, and, with God's grace, thereafter the remedies.
Whosoever leadeth a life of exemplary piety may be certain of being tempted. This is the first comfort. For the higher the tower is, it hath always the more wind. Ye yourselves are the towers, my dear sisters, but fear not while ye are so truly and firmly cemented all of you to one another with the lime of sisterly love. Ye need not fear any devil's blast, except the lime fail; that is to say, except your love for each other be impaired through the enemy. As soon as any of you undoeth her cement, she is soon swept forth; if the other do not hold her she is soon cast down, as a loose stone is from the coping of the tower, down into the deep pitch of some foul sin.
Here is another encouragement which ought greatly to comfort you when ye are tempted. The tower is not attacked, nor the castle, nor the city, after they are taken; even so the warrior of hell attacks, with temptation, none whom he hath in his hand; but he attacketh those whom he hath not. Wherefore, dear sisters, she who is not attacked may fear much lest she be already taken.
wife than anchoress; nor can she in any wise be Mary, with peacefulness of heart. For then she must think of the cow's fodder, and of the herdsman's hire, flatter the heyward,1 defend herself when her cattle is shut up in the pinfold, and moreover pay the damage. Christ knoweth, it is an odious thing when people in the town complain of anchoresses' cattle. If, however, any one must needs have a cow, let her take care that she neither annoy nor harm any one, and that her own thoughts be not fixed thereon. An anchoress ought not to have any thing that draweth her heart outward. Carry ye on no traffic. An anchoress that is a buyer and seller selleth her soul to the chapman of hell. Do not take charge of other men's property in your house, nor of their cattle, nor their clothes, neither receive under your care the church vestments, nor the chalice, unless force compel you, or great fear, for oftentimes much harm has come from such care-taking.
Because no man seeth you, nor do ye see any man, ye may be well content with your clothes, be they white, be they black; only see that they be plain, and warm, and well made-skins wel! tawed; 2 and have as many as you need, for bed, and also for back. Next your flesh ye shall wear no flaxen cloth, except it be of hards3 and of coarse canvass. Whoso will may have a stamin, and whoso will may be without it. Ye shall sleep in a garment and girt. Wear no iron, nor haircloth, nor hedgehog-skins; and do not beat yourselves therewith, nor with a scourge of leather thongs, nor leaded; and do not with holly nor with briars cause yourselves to bleed without leave of your confessor; and do not, at one time, use too many flagellations. Let your shoes be thick and warm. In summer The sixth comfort is, that our Lord, when He ye are at liberty to go and sit barefoot, and to suffereth us to be tempted, playeth with us, wear hose without vamps,5 and whoso liketh as the mother with her young darling: she flies may lie in them. A woman may well enough from him, and hides herself, and lets him sit wear an undersuit of haircloth very well tied alone, and look anxiously around, and call with the strapples reaching down to her feet, Dame! dame! and weep a while, and then leap-laced tightly. If ye would dispense with wimeth forth laughing, with outspread arms, and ples, have warm capes, and over them black embraceth and kisseth him, and wipeth his veils. She who wishes to be seen, it is no great eyes. In like manner, our Lord sometimes leav-wonder though she adorn herself; but, in the eth us alone, and withdraweth His grace, His eyes of God, she is more lovely who is uncomfort, and His support, so that we feel no adorned outwardly for his sake. Have neither delight in any good that we do, nor any satis-ring, nor broach, nor ornamented girdle, nor faction of heart; and yet, at that very time, gloves, nor any such thing that is not proper our dear Father loveth us never the less, but for you to have. does it for the great love that He hath to us.
1 A cattle-keeper on a common.
2 Prepared with oil, or without tan-liquor.
In this book read every day, when ye are at | love him and please him, the Lord of Life. leisure, every day, less or more; for I hope He is alone good, above all goodness; that, if ye read it often, it will be very bene- He is alone wise, above all wisdom; ficial to you, through the grace of God, or else He is alone blissful, above all bliss; I shall have ill employed much of my time. He is alone man's mildest Master; God knows, it would be more agreeable to me He is alone our Father and Comfort." to set out on a journey to Rome, than to begin to do it again. And, if ye find that ye do according to what ye read, thank God earnestly; and if ye do not, pray for the grace of God, and diligently endeavour that ye may keep it better, in every point, according to your ability. May the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the one Almighty God, keep you under his protection! May he give you joy and comfort, my dear sisters, and for all that ye endure and suffer for him may he never give you a less reward than his entire self. May he be ever exalted from world to world, for ever and ever, Amen.
As often as ye read any thing in this book, greet the Lady with an Ave Mary for him that made this rule, and for him who wrote it, and took pains about it. Moderate enough I am,
Thus quoth Alfred:
it skilleths not which.
the same shall they mow,
to his own door come.
Thus quoth Alfred:
It were better for him
Thus quoth Alfred:
who knows not thy state,
to thee is thy fate.
as would without pity
And springeth wood anew.
Loweth after calf the cow,
Bleateth after lamb the ewe, Buck doth gambol, bullock amble,Merry sing Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, Cuckoo! Well singest thou Cuckoo! nor cease thou ever now.
Sing Cuckoo now, sing Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo, sing Cuckoo now.
*See Eng. Lit., p. 42, for the Middle English, which is here somewhat modernized. The song was set to music, and the manuscript which contains the music adds the following directions, in Latin: "This part-song (rota) may be sung by four in company. It should not be sung by fewer than three, or at least two, in addition to those who sing the Foot. And it should be sung in this manner: One begins, accompanied by those who sing the Foot, the rest keeping silent. Then, when he has reached the first note after the cross [a mark on the musical score], another begins; and so on. The first line of the Foot one singer repeats as often as necessary, pausing at the end; the other line another man sings, pausing in the middle but not at the end, but immediately beginning again."
FOURTEENTH CENTURY-AGE OF CHAUCER
FROM THE PEARL (c. 1350)*
O pearl, for princes' pleasure wrought,
Never from orient realms was brought
So smooth its sides, so slender shown, Whatever gems to judge be found
I needs must set it apart, alone.
But it is lost! I let it stray
Down thro' the grass in an arbor-plot. With love's pain now I pine away, Lorn of my pearl without a spot.
Since in that spot it slipt from my hand, Oft have I lingered there and yearned For joy that once my sorrows banned And all my woes to rapture turned. Truly my heart with grief is wrung,
And in my breast there dwelleth dole; Yet never song, methought, was sung So sweet as through that stillness stole. O tide of fancies I could not stem!
O fair hue fouled with stain and blot! O mould, thou marrest a lovely gem, Mine own, own pearl without a spot. 24 This anonymous poem is allegorical; possibly the "pearl" is the poet's daughter (Eng. Lit., 44). The selection here given is translated, because the West Midland dialect of the original presents more difficulties than the East Midland of Chaucer. The whole is a very interesting piece of construction, combining the Romance elements of meter and rhyme, as employed by Chaucer, with the old Saxon alliteration which the West Midland poets, like Langland, affected. Note also the refrain-like effects.
In this translation, the exacting rhyme: scheme of the original, which permits but three rhyme sounds in a stanza, has been adhered to in the last three stanzas only. The first stanza of the original runs thus: Perle plesaunte to prynces paye,
To clanly clos in golde so clere,
Out of oryent I hardyly saye,
Ne proved I never her precios pere,
So rounde, so reken in uche a raye,
So smal, so smothe her sydez were,-
Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
Thurgh gresse to grounde hit fro me yot; I dewyne for-dokked of luf-daungere, Of that pryvy perle withouten spot.
Uprose in all her queenly array,
Pearl-dight in royal wise, perdie,
One might by grace have seen her there, When all as fresh as a fleur-de-lys
Adown the margent stepped that fair. Her robe was white as gleaming snow, Unclasped at the sides and closely set With the loveliest margarites, I trow, That ever my eyes looked on yet. Her sleeves were broad and full, I ween, With double braid of pearls made bright. Her kirtle shone with as goodly sheen, With precious pearls no less bedight.
That jewel then, with gems o'erspread,
And thus my longing did allay:
Here in this garden bright and gay,
Where comes not sin nor sorrow's blight. Such treasury 2 wouldst thou choose, parfay, Didst thou thy jewel love aright.”’*
2 Compare Matthew vi, 21.
A long religious dissertation follows and the dreamer awakes consoled.