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That founded were in time of fathers old,
A markis whilom lord was of that lond,
Therwith he was, to speken of linage,
lordes name. I blame him thus, that he considered nought In time coming what might him betide, But on his lust present was all his thought, And for to hauke and hunt on every side: Wel neigh all other cures let he slide, And eke he n’old (and that was worst of all) Wedden no wif for ought that might befall.
Only that point his peple bare so sore, That flockmel on a day to him they went, And on of hem, that wisest was of lore, (Or elles that the lord wold best assent That he shuld tell him what the peple ment, Or elles coud he wel shew swiche matere) He to the markis said as ye shul here.
O noble markis, your humanitee
Al have I not to don in this matere
For certes, lord, so wel us liketh you
e mighten live in more felicitee: Save o thing, lord, if it your
wille be, That for to be a wedded man you lest, Than were your peple in soverain hertes rest. Boweth
your nekke under the blisful yok Of soveraintee, and not of servise, Which that men clepen spousaile or wedlok: And thinketh, lord, among your thoughtes wise, How that our dayes passe in sondry wise: For though we slepe, or wake, or rome, or ride, Ay fleth the time, it wol no man abide.
And though your grene youthe floure as yet, In crepeth age alway as still as ston, And deth manaseth every age, and smit In eche estat, for ther escapeth non: VOL. I.
And al so certain, as we knowe eche on
Accepteth than of us the trewe entent,
Deliver us out of all this besy drede,
Hir meke praiere and hir pitous chere
But natheles I see your trewe entent,
For God it wot, that children often ben
Bountee cometh al of God, not of the stren,
Let me alone in chesing of my wif,
ye Again my chois shul never grutch ne strive, For sith I shal forgo my libertee At your request, as ever mote I thrive, Ther as min herte is set, ther wol I wive: And but
wol assent in swiche manere, I pray you speke no more of this matere.
With hertly will they sworen and assenten To all this thing, ther saide not o wight nay: Beseching him of grace, or that they wenten, That he wold granten hem a certain day Of bis spousaile, as sone as ever he may, For yet alway the peple somwhat dred, Lest that this markis wolde no wif wed.
He granted hem a day, swiche as him lest, On which he wold be wedded sikerly, And said he did all this at hir request; And they with humble herte ful buxumly Kneling upon hir knees ful reverently Him thonken all, and thus they han an end Of hir entente, and home agen they wend.
And hereupon he to his officeres Commandeth for the feste to purvay. And to his privee knightes and squieres Swiche charge he yave, as him list on hem lay: And they to his commandement obey, And eche of hem doth al his diligence To do unto the feste al reverence.
Among this poure folk ther dwelt a man,
But for to speke of vertuous beautee,
But though this mayden tendre were of age,