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Wher as myn eye may nought serve,
Can wel myn hertès thonk' 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 suche 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, That any Lombard couthè make, Ne be so lusty for to take, Ne so far forth restauratif, (I say as for myn ownè lif,)

1 Thank. 9 Praise.

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

And if it so befalle among,
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.

i 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 hina 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


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.

Canace, condemned to death by her father Æolus, sends to her

guilty brother Macareus the last testimony of her unhappy passion.


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


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 may 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.

I hold him strictly twene my armès twein,
Thou and Natùre laidè on me this charge;
He, guiltlesse, mustè with me suffer paine,
And, sìth thou art at freedom and at large,
Let kindnesse ourè love not so discharge,
But have a minde, wherever that thou be,
Once on a day upon my child and me.

On thee and me dependeth the trespace
Touching our guilt and our great offence,
But, welaway! most angelik of face
Our childè, young in his pure innocence,
Shall agayn right suffer death's violence,
Tender of limbes, God wote, full guiltělesse
The goodly faire, that lieth here speechless.

A mouth he has, but wordis hath he none;
Cannot complaine alas ! for none outrage :
Nor grutcheth not, but lies here all alone
Still as a lambe, most meke of his visage.
What heart of stèle could do to him damage,
Or suffer him dye, beholding the manère
And looke benigne of his twein eyen clere.-


Writing her letter, awhapped all in drede,
In her right hand her pen ygan to quake,
And a sharp sword to make her heartè blede,
In her left hand her father hath her take,
And most her sorrowe was for her childes sake,

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