The Northern Way

Song and Legend From the Middle Ages

French Literature

Page 15

Of cloth of Gaunt; without(e) ween (49)

Well seemed by her apparel

She was not wont to great travail,

For when she kemp (50) was fetisely

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

To graith (54) her well and uncouthly. (55)

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.

And she to me was nought unmeek (57)

Ne of her answer dangerous (58)

But fair answered and said(e) thus:

"Lo, sir, my name is Idleness;

So clepe (59) men me, more and less. (60)

Full mighty and full rich am I,

And that of one thing, namely (61)

For I entend(e) (62) to no thing

But to my joy, and my playing,

And for to kemb (63) and tress(e) (64) me.

Acquainted am I and privy

With Mirth(e), lord of this garden,

That from the land of Alexander

Made the trees hither be fet (65)

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

He did 'em both entail (68) and paint.

That neither by jolyf (69) nor quaint, (70)

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

And eke with him cometh his meiny (71)

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,

Although he sought one in till (73) Inde. (74)

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.

* * * * * *

And forth without(e) word(e)s mo, (76)

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

Among a thousand thing(e)s mo (78)

A roser (79) charged full of roses,

That with an hedge about enclosed is.

Tho (80) had I such lust (81) and envy,

That for Paris nor for Pavie,

Nolde (82) I have left to go at see

There greatest heap of roses be.

When I was with this rage hent (83)

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.

And if I had ne (86) endoubted (87) me

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,

And lest it grieved or forethought (90)

Endnotes

49. Doubt.  (back)

50. Combed, ironed.  (back)

51. Day's work.  (back)

52. In fine form. (back)

53. Pleasant.  (back)

54. Dress.  (back)

55. Unusually, elegantly.  (back)

56. Was called.  (back)

57. Bold.  (back)

58. Sparing.  (back)

59. Name.  (back)

60. Great and small.  (back)

61. Chiefly.  (back)

62. Attend.  (back)

63. Comb.  (back)

64. Plait.  (back)

65. Fetched.  (back)

66. Were grown to a height.  (back)

67. The pictures on the outside of the wall.  (back)

68. Carve.  (back)

69. Joyful, pleasant.  (back)

70. Unusual, queer.  (back)

71. Retinue.  (back)

72. Pleasure.  (back)

73. To.  (back)

74. India. (back)

75. Fairest of all.  (back)

76. More.  (back)

77. Then.  (back)

78. More.  (back)

79. Rose-bush.  (back)

80. Then.  (back)

81. Desire.  (back)

82. Would not.  (back)

83. Seized.  (back)

84. Ruined.  (back)

85. There from.  (back)

86. Not.  (back)

87. Feared.  (back)

88. Willingly.  (back)

89. Company.  (back)

90. Caused to repent.  (back)

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