PROVERBS OF CHAUCER.
should these clothes thus manifold,
Lo! this hot summer's day?
After great heate cometh cold;
No man cast his pilche* away.
*pelisse, furred cloak
Of all this world the large compass
Will not in mine arms twain;
Who so muche will embrace,
Little thereof he shall distrain.*
The world so wide, the air so remuable,*
The silly man so little of stature;
The green of ground and clothing so mutable,
The fire so hot and subtile of nature;
The water *never in one* -- what creature
*never the same*
That made is of these foure <2> thus flitting,
May steadfast be, as here, in his living?
The more I go, the farther I am behind;
The farther behind, the nearer my war's end;
The more I seek, the worse can I find;
The lighter leave, the lother for to wend; <3>
The better I live, the more out of mind;
Is this fortune, *n'ot I,* or infortune;*
*I know not* *misfortune
Though I go loose, tied am I with a loigne.*
Notes to Proverbs of Chaucer
1. (Transcriber's Note: Modern scholars believe that Chaucer's
may have been the author of the
first stanza of this poem, but
was not the author of the second and third).
2. These foure: that is, the four elements, of which man was
believed to be composed.
3. The lighter leave, the lother for to wend: The more easy
(through age) for me to depart, the less willing I am to go.