Song and Legend From the Middle Ages
Of cloth of Gaunt; without(e) ween (49)
Well seemed by her apparel
She was not wont to great travail,
And well arrayed and rich(e)ly
Then had she done all her journey; (51)
For merry and well begun (52) was she.
She had a lusty (53) life in May,
She had no thought by night nor day,
Of no thing but if it were only
When that this door had opened me
This May, seemly for to see,
I thanked her as I best might,
And asked her how that she hight (56)
And what she was, I asked eek.
Ne of her answer dangerous (58)
But fair answered and said(e) thus:
"Lo, sir, my name is Idleness;
Full mighty and full rich am I,
For I entend(e) (62) to no thing
But to my joy, and my playing,
Acquainted am I and privy
With Mirth(e), lord of this garden,
That from the land of Alexander
That in this garden be i-set.
And when the trees were waxen on height (66)
This wall, that stands here in thy sight,
Did Mirth enclose(n) all about;
And these images (67) all without
But they be full of sorrow and woe
As thou hast seen a while ago.
"And oft(e) time him to solace,
Sir Mirth(e) cometh into this place
That live in lust (72) and jollity,
And now is Mirth therein to hear
The bird(e)s, how they sing(en) clear
The mavis and the nightingale,
And other jolly bird(e)s small,
And thus he walketh to solace
Him and his folk; for sweeter place
To play(en) in he may not find,
The alther fairest (75) folk to see
That in this world may found(e) be
Hath Mirth(e) with him in is rout,
That follow him always about.
* * * * * *
In at that wicket went I tho, (77)
That idleness had opened me,
Into that garden fair to see.
After wandering about the garden hearing the birds and getting acquainted with the inhabitants, he saw
A roser (79) charged full of roses,
That with an hedge about enclosed is.
That for Paris nor for Pavie,
Nolde (82) I have left to go at see
There greatest heap of roses be.
That caught hath many a man and shent, (84)
Toward the roser I gan go.
And when I was not far therefro, (85)
The savor of the roses sweet
Me smote right to the heart(e) root
As I had all embalmed be.
To have been hated or assailed,
Me thank(e)s, (88) would I not been failed
To pull a rose of all that rout, (89)
To bear(en) in my hand about
And smell(en) to it where I went;
But ever I dreaded me to repent,