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And that the very truth it is which I
Good Nightingale ! thou speakest wondrous
fair, Yet for all that, the truth is found elsewhere; For Love in young folk is but rage, I wis; And Love in old folk a great dotage is; Who most it useth, him 'twill most impair. 170
For thereof come all contraries to gladness; Thence sickness comes, and overwhelming sad
ness, Mistrust and jealousy, despite, debate, Dishonour, shame, envy importunate, Pride, anger, mischief, poverty, and madness.
Loving is aye an office of despair,
And, therefore, Nightingale! do thou keep
nigh, For trust me well, in spite of thy quaint cry, If long time from thy mate thou be, or far, Thou 'lt be as others that forsaken are; Then shalt thou raise a clamour as do I. 185
Fie, quoth she, on thy name, Bird ill beseen!
189 Who had been nought, if Love had never been.
XXXIX For evermore his servants Love amendeth, And he from every blemish them defendeth ; And maketh them to burn, as in a fire, In loyalty, and worshipful desire, And, when it likes him, joy enough them sendeth.
Thou Nightingale! the Cuckoo said, be still, For Love no reason hath but his own will; For to th' untrue he oft gives ease and joy; True lovers doth so bitterly annoy,
199 He lets them perish through that grievous ill.
XLI. With such a master would I never be ;! For he, in sooth, is blind, and may not see, And knows not when he hurts and when he
heals; Within this court full seldom Truth avails, So diverse in his wilfulness is he.
Then of the Nightingale did I take note,
| From a manuscript in the Bodleian, as are also stanzas 44 and 45, which are necessary to complete the sense.
Alas, alas ! my very heart will break,
wise, That vengeance on this Cuckoo I may wreak. 215
And so methought I started up anon,
And as he flew, the Cuckoo, ever and aye,
Then straightway came the Nightingale to me,
Well satisfied, I thanked her, and she said,
Yet if I live it shall amended he,
And one thing will I counsel thee also,
Yea, hath it? use, quoth she, this medicine;
And mind always that thou be good and true,
And soon as she had sung it to the end,
wend; And, God of Love, that can right well and
may, Send unto thee as mickle joy this day, As ever he to Lover yet did send.
Thus takes the Nightingale her leave of me;
Forth then she flew, the gentle Nightingale,
LIV. The Cuckoo'tis not well that I should hide How she and I did each the other chide, And without ceasing, since it was daylight; And now I pray you all to do me right Of that false Bird whom Love can not abide, 270
Then spake one Bird, and full assent all gave;
And thereat shall the Eagle be our Lord,
And all this shall be done without a nay,