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There wyste no wyghte in Christentè
Howe welle he loved that lady fre.
He loved her more then seven yere,
Yet was he of her love never the nere.
He was not ryche of golde and fe,
A gentyll man forsuth was he.
To no man durst he make his mone,
But fyghed fore hym felfe alone.
And evermore, whan he was wo,
Into his chambre would he goo;
And through the chambre he toke the waye,
Into the gardyn, that was full gaye;
And in the garden, as i wene,
Was an arber fayre and grene,
And in the arber was a tre,
A fayrer in the world might none be;
The tre it was of cypresse,
The fyrst tre that Jesu chese;
The sother-wood, and fykamoure,
The reed rose, and the lyly-floure,
'The boxe, the beche, and the larel-tre,
The date, also the damyfè,
The fylbyrdes hangyng to the ground,
The fygge-tre, and the maple round,
And other trees there was mané ane,
The pyany, the popler, and the plane,
With brode braunches all aboute,
Within the arbar, and eke withoute ;
On every braunche fate byrdes thre,
Syngynge with great melody,
The lavorocke, and the nightyngale,
The ruddocke, the woodwale,
The pee, and the popinjaye,
The thrustele fange both nyght and daye,
The marlyn, and the wrenne alfo,
The fwalowe whippynge to and fro,
The jaye jangled them amonge,
The larke began that mery longe,
The sparowe spredde her on her fpraye,
The mavys fonge with notes full gaye,
The nuthake with her notes newe,
The sterlynge set her notes full trewe,
The goldefynche made full mery chere,
Whan she was bente upon a brere,
And many other foules mo,
The ofyll, and the thrushe also ;
And they fange wyth notes clere,
In confortynge that squyere ;
And evermore, whan he was wo,
In to that arber wolde he go,
And under a bente he layde hym lowe,
Ryght even under her chambre wyndowe;
And lened hys backe to a thorne,
And sayd, Alas, that i was borne !
That i were ryche of golde and fe,
That i myght wedde that lady fre!
Of golde good, or some treasure,
That i myght wedde that lady floure !
Or elles come of fo gentyll kynne,
The ladyes love that i myght wynne !
Wolde god that i were a kynges fonne,
That ladyes love that i myght wonne !
Or els so bolde in eche fyght,
As was fyr Lybius that gentell knyght,
Or els fo bolde in chyvalry,
As fyr Gawayne, or fyr Guy!
Or els fo doughty of my hande
As was the gyaunte fyr Colbrande!
And [it] were put in jeoperdè,
What man shoulde wynne that lady fre,
Than should no man have her but i,
The kinges doughter of Hungry.
But ever he fayde, Wayleawaye !
For poverte passeth all my paye !
And, as he made thys rufull chere,
He fowned downe in that arbére.
That lady herde his mournyng all,
Ryght under the chambre wall;
In her oryall there she was,
Closed well with royall glas,
Fulfylled it was with ymagery,
Every wyndowe by and by,
On eche fyde had there a gynne,
Sperde with many a dyvers pynne.
Anone that lady, fayre and fre,
Undyd a pynne of yverè,
And wyd the windowes she open fet,
The sunne shone in at her closet,
In that arber fayre and gaye
She sawe where that squyre lay.
The lady fayd to hym anone,
Syr, why makest thou that mone?
And whi thou mournest night and day?
Now tell me, squyre, i thee pray;
And, as i am a true lady,
Thy counsayl shall i never dyscry;
And, yf it be no reprefe to thee,
Thy bote of bale yet shall i be :
And often was he in wele and wo,
But never fo well as he was tho..
The squyer set hym on hys kne,
And sayde, Lady, it is for thee,
I have thee loved this seven yere,
And bought thy love, lady, full dere.
Ye are so ryche in youre aray,
That one word to you i dare not say,
And come ye be of fo hye kynne,
No worde of love durft i begynne.
My wyll to you yf i had fayde, .
And ye therwith not well apayde,
Ye might have bewraied me to the kinge,
And brought me fone to my endynge.
Therfore, my lady, fayre and fre,
I durst not shewe my harte to thee;
But i am here, at your wyll,
Whether ye wyll me fave or spyll;
For all the care i have in be
A worde of you might comfort me;
And, yf ye wyll not do so,
Out of this land i must nedes go ;