Here begynneth the chorle & the byrde

PRoblemes of olde lykenes and fygures
¶Whiche prouyd ben fructuous of sentence
¶And auctorytates grounded on scryptures
¶By resemblaūce of notable apparence
¶With moralytees concludynge on prudence
¶Lyke as the byble reherceth by wrytynge
¶How trees chese hem somtyme a kynge
¶Fyrst in theyr chose they named tholyue
¶To regne amonge them (Iudiciū) doth expres
¶But he hym selfe gan e [...]cusen blyue
¶He myght not forsaken his fattenesse
¶Ne the fyge tree his amerouse swetenesse
¶Ne the vygne his holsome carage
¶Whiche gyueth comfort to all maner age
¶And semblably poetes laureate
¶By derke parables full conuenyent
¶Fayne that byrdes and bestes of astate
¶As ryall egles and lyons by assent
¶Sente out wryttes to holde a parleament
¶And made decrees bryefly for to seye
¶Some to haue lordshyp & some to obeye
¶Egles in thayre hyghest to make the flyght
¶Power of lyons on the grounde is sene
¶Cedre amonge trees hyghest is of syght
¶And the laurere of nature is aye grene
¶Of floures all flora ay goddesse & quene
[Page]¶Thus of all thynges ther ben dyuersytees
¶Some of astate and some of lowe degrees
¶Poetes wryte wonderfull lykenes
¶And vnder couerte kepe hem self close
¶They take bestes and foules to wytnes
¶Of whos faynynge fables fyrste arose
¶And here I caste to my pourpose
¶Out of Frensshe a tale to translate
¶Whiche in a paunflete I rede & sawe late
¶This tale whiche I make of mencyon
¶In groos rehersyd playnly to declare
¶Thre prouerbes payed for a raunson
¶Of a byrde whiche was take in a snare
¶Wonder desyrouse to scape fro her care
¶Of myn auctours folowynge the processe
¶So as it befell in ordre I shall expresse
¶Whylom ther was in a small vyllage
¶As myn auctour maketh rehersayll
¶A chorle whiche had luste & grete courage
¶Within hym self by dylygent trauayll
¶To make a gardyn of ryche entayll
¶Of lengthe & brede lyche square and longe
¶Hegged and dyched to make it sure & stronge
¶All the aleys were made playne with sonde
¶The benches couerde with newe turues grene
[Page]¶Swete herbes with conduytes at the honde
¶That wyl hit vp agayne the sonne shene
¶Lyke syluer stremes as ony crystall clene
¶The burbyll wawes in theyr vp boyllynge
¶Rounde as berell theyr bemes out shewynge
¶Mydde in the gardyn stode a fresshe lauryre
¶Theron an byrde syngynge daye and nyght
¶With shynyng fethers bryghter than golde wyre
¶Whiche with her songe made heuy hertes lyght
¶That to beholde hit was an heuenly syght
¶How towarde euen and in the dawenynge
¶She dyde her payne moost amerously to synge
¶Esperus enforced strongly her courage
¶Towarde euen whan Phebus gan to weste
¶Amonge the braunches to her auantage
¶To synge her complyne & than go to reste
¶And at rysynge of quene alceste
¶To synge agayne as it was her dewe
¶Erly on morowe the daye sterre to salewe
[...]t was a very heuenly melodye
¶Euen and morn to here the byrdes songe
¶And the swete fugred armonye
¶Of vncoute werblys & tewnes drawe a longe
¶That all the gardyn of the noyse ronge
¶Tyll on a morowe whan Tytan shone clere
¶This birde was trapped & caught with a pantere
The chorle was glad whan he this byrde had take
¶Mery of chere of loke and of vysage
¶And in all haste he purposed to make
¶Within his house a preaty lytyll cage
¶And with her songe to reioyse his courage
¶Tyll at the laste the sely byrde abreyde
¶And sobrely thus to the chorle she sayde
¶I am now take and stande vnder dangere
¶Holden streyght that I may not flee
¶A deu my songe and all my notes clere
¶Now that I haue loste my lybertee
¶Now I am thrall where somtyme he was free
¶And truste well whyle I am in dystresse
¶I can not synge nor make no gladnesse
¶And though my cage forged where of golde
¶And the pynacles of berell and crystall
¶I remembre a prouerbe sayd of olde
¶Who loseth his fredom forsoth he loseth all
¶For I haue leuer vpon a braunche small
¶Merely to synge amonge the woodes grene
¶Than in a cage of syluer bryght and shene
¶Songe in pryson hath none accordaunce
¶Trowest thou I wyll synge in pryson
¶Songe procedeth of Ioye and of pleasaunce
¶And pryson causeth deth and destruccyon
¶Ryngynge of feters is no mery sowne
[Page]¶Or how sholde he be glad or Ioconde
¶Agayne his wyll that lyeth in cheynes bonde
¶What auaylleth it a lyon to be a kynge
¶Of beestes all shette in a toure of stone
¶Or an egle vnder streyte kepynge
¶Called also kynge of foules euerychone
¶Fy on lordshyd whan lyberte is gone
¶Answere herto late it not asterte
¶Who syngeth meryly that syngeth not at herte
¶And yf thou wylt reioyse of my syngynge
¶Late me goo flee fer from all daungere
¶And euery daye in the morenynge
¶I shall repayre vnto thy laurere
¶And fresshely synge with lusty notes clere
[...]nder thy chambre or a fore thyn halle
¶Euery season whan thou lyste me calle
¶To be shette vp and pynned vnder drede
¶No thynge acordeth vnto my nature
¶Though I were fed with mylke & wastell brede
¶And with cruddes brought to my pasture
¶Yet had I leuer to do my besy cure
¶Erly on morowe to scrape in the vale
¶To fynde my dyner amonge the wormes smale
¶The laborer is gladder at the plough
¶Erly on morowe to fedde hym on bacon
[Page]¶Than some man is that hath good ynough
¶And all deyntees plente and foyson
¶And hath no fredom with his possessyon
¶To goo at large but as a bere at a stake
¶To passe his boundes but yf he leue take
¶Take this answere for a full conclusyon
¶To synge in pryson yu shalt not me constrayne
¶Tyll I haue fredom in woodes vp and doun
¶To flee at large on bowhes rowhe & playne
¶And of reason thou sholdest not dysdayne
¶Of my desyre but laughe & haue game
¶But who is a chorle wolde eche man were ye same
¶Well quod the chorle syth it wyll not be
¶That I desyre as by thy talkynge
¶Magre thy wyll thou shalt chese of thre
¶Within a cage meryly to synge
¶Or to the kechyne I shall thy bodye brynge
¶Pulle thy fethers that be bryght and clere
¶And after roste or bake the to my soupere
¶Than sayd the byrde to reason saye I not naye
¶Touchynge my songe a full answere thou haste
¶And whan my fethers plucked ben awaye
¶And my bodye rosted or baken in paste
¶Thou shalt of me haue a smale repaste
¶But and thou wylt werke by my counsayll
¶Thou mayst by me haue a grete auayll
¶Yf thou wylt to my reason assente
¶And suffre me goo frely from pryson
¶Without raunson or ony other rente
¶I shall the ryue a notable gwerdon
¶Thre grete wysedoms accordynge to reason
¶More of value take hede what I profre
¶Than all the golde that shette is in thy cofre
¶Truste me well I shall the not dysceyue
¶Well sayd the chorle telle anone late see
¶Nay sayd the byrde thou muste afore conceyue
¶Who shall teche of reason muste goo free
¶Hit sytteth a mayster to haue his lybertee
¶And at large to teche his lesson
¶Haue me not suspecte I mene no treason
¶Well sayd the chorle I holde me contente
¶I truste thy promyse that thou hast made to me
¶The byrde flewe forth the chorle was of assente
¶And toke her flyght vpon the laurer tree
¶Than thought she thus now stande I free
¶With snares & panters I purpose not my lyue
¶Ne with no lyme twygges ony more to stryue
¶He is a fooll that scaped is fro daunger
¶Hath broke his fethers & fled out of pryson
¶Agayne to resorte / brente childe dredeth fyre
¶Eche man be ware by wysdome and reason
¶Suger strawed that hydeth false poyson
[Page]¶Ther is no venym so peryllous of sharpnesse
¶As whan it hath of tryacle the lykenesse
¶Who dredeth no peryll in peryll he shall falle
¶Smothe waters ben oftyme depe
¶The quayle pype can moost falsely calle
¶Tyll the quayle vnder the nette doth crepe
¶A blere eyed fowler truste not though he wepe
¶Esche we his thombe of wepyng take none hede
¶That smale byrdes can nype by the hede
¶And now that I suche daungere am escaped
¶I wyll beware and a fore prouyde
¶That of no fowler I wyll nomore be Iaped
¶Fro theyr lyme twygges I wyll flee fer a syde
¶Where peryll is peryll is to abyde
¶Come nere thou chorle and herke to my speche
¶Of thre wysedoms that I shall the teche
¶Yeue not of wysdome to hastely credence
¶To euery tale ne to euery tydynge
¶But conceyue of reason and of prudence
¶Amonge many tales in many a lesynge
¶Hastely credence hath caused grete hyndrynge
¶Reporte of tales and tydynges tolde of newe
¶Maketh many a man to beholde vntrewe
¶For one parte take this for my raunson
¶Lerne the seconde grounded on scrypture
[Page]¶Desyre not thou by noo condycyon
¶Thynge whiche is impossyble to recure
¶Worldly desyres stande all in auenture
¶And who desyred to clymbe hyghe a lofte
¶Be sodayne tourne falleth ofte vnsofte▪
¶The thyrde is this beware bothe eue & morowe
¶Forgete it not but lerne this of me
¶For treasour lost make neuer to grete sorowe
¶Whiche in no wyse may recouered be
¶For who soroweth for losse in that degre
¶Rekene fyrste his losse and after his peyne
¶Of one sorowe he maketh sorowes tweyne
¶After this lesson the byrde began a songe
¶Of her escape gretely reioyssynge
¶And remembred her also of the wronge
¶Done by the chorle fyrste at her takynge
¶Of her affraye & of her enprysonynge
¶Glad that she was at large & out of drede
¶Sayd to hym hoouynge aboue his hede
¶Thou were sayd she a veray naturall foole
¶To suffre me departe of thy lowdenes
¶Thou oughtest of right complayn & make doole
¶And in thyn herte to haue grete he [...]ynes
¶That thou haste loste so passynge grete ryches
¶Whiche myght suffyse by valewe in rekenynge
¶To paye the raunson of a myghty kynge
¶Ther is a stone whiche called is a Iagonce
¶Of olde engendred within myn entrayll
¶Whiche of fyne golde peyseth an vnce
¶Cytryne of colour lyke garnettes of entayll
¶Whiche maketh men vyctoryous in batayll
¶And who so euer bere on hym this stoon
¶Is full assured agayne his mortall foon
¶Who hath this stone in his possessyon
¶Shall suffre no pouerte ne none Indygence
¶But of all treasour haue plente and foyson
¶And euery man shall do hym reuerence
¶And enemye shall do hym none offence
¶But fro thyn handes now that I am gone
¶Playne yf thou wylt for thy parte is none
¶It causeth loue it maketh men gracyous
¶And fauorable in euery mannes syght
¶It maketh accorde bytwene folke enuyous
¶Conforteth sorowfull maketh heuy hertes lyght
¶Lyke topasyon of colour sonnesshe bryght
¶I am a fooll to telle all attones
¶Or teche a chorle the pryce of precyous stones
¶Men sholde not put a precyous margaryte
¶As rubyes saphyres and other stones ynde
¶Emerawdes and other perles whyte
¶A fore rude swyne that loue draf of kynde
¶For a sowe delyteth as I fynde
[Page]¶More in drafte her pygges for to glade
¶Than in all the perry yt cometh out of garnade
¶Eche thynge draweth to his semblable
¶Fysshes in the see beestes on the stronde
¶The ayer for foules by nature is couenable
¶And to the plough man for to tylle the londe
¶And to a chorle a dongforke in his honde
¶I lose my tyme ony more to tarye
¶For to telle a chorle of the lapydarye
¶That thou haddest thou getest nomore agayn
¶Thy lyme twygges and panters I defye
¶To late me gone thou were foull ouer seyn
¶To lose thy ryches only of folye
¶I am now free to syngen and to flye
¶Where that me lyste and he is a fooll at all
¶That is at large and maketh hym self thrall
¶To here of wysdome thyn eres ben half deef
¶Lyke an asse that lystneth on an harpe
¶Thou mayst goo pypen in an yuy leef
¶Better is to me to synge on thornes sharpe
¶Than in a cage with a chorle to carpe
¶For it was sayd of folkes yeres agoon
¶A chorles chorle is ofte woo begoon
¶The chorle felte his herte parte on tweyne
¶For veray sorowe and a sonder ryue
[Page]¶Alas sayd he I maye well wepe and pleyne
¶As a wretche neuer lyke to thryue
¶But for tendure in pouerte all my lyue
¶For of folye and of wylfulnes
¶I haue now lost all holy my ryches
¶I was a lorde I crye out on fortune
¶I had grete tresour late in my kepynge
¶Whiche myght haue made me longe contune
¶With that stone / to haue lyued lyke a kynge
¶Yf I had sette it in a rynge
¶Born hit vpon me. I had good ynough
¶I sholde than nomore haue gone to the plough
¶Whan the byrde sawe the chorle thus morne
¶And how that he was heuy of his chere
¶She toke her flyght & gan agayn retorne
¶Towarde hym and sayd as ye shall here
¶O dull chorle wysedoms for to lere
¶That I the taught all is left behynde
¶Racyd awaye & clene out of thy mynde
¶Taught I not the this wysedom in sentence
¶To euery tale brought to the of newe
¶Not to hastely gyue ther to credence
¶In to tyme thou knowe that it were trewe
¶All is not golde that sheweth goldesshe hewe
¶Nor stones all be nature as I fynde
¶Be not saphyrs that shewe colour ynde
¶In this doctryne I loste my labour
¶To teche the suche prouerbes of substaunce
¶Now mayst thou see thy blynded errour
¶For all my bodye poysed in balaunce
¶Weyeth not an vnce rude is thy remembraunce
¶I to haue more poyse closed in myn entraylle
¶Than all my bodye set for the counteruaylle
¶All my bodye weyeth not an vnce
¶How myghty than I haue in me a stone
¶That peyseth more than a Iagonce
¶Thy brayne is dull thy wytte is all moost gone
¶Of thre wysedoms thou hast forgoten one
¶Thou sholdest not after my sentence
¶To euery tale to hastely gyue credence
¶I bad also beware both euen and morowe
¶For thynge loste of sodayne auenture
¶Thou sholdest not make to moche sorowe
¶Whan thou seest thou mayst it not recure
¶And here thou faylest whiche doost thy cure
¶In thy snare to catche me agayne
¶Thou art a fooll thy labour is in vayne
¶In the thyrde thou doost raue
¶I had thou sholdest in no maner wyse
¶Coueyte thynge that thou mayst not haue
¶In whiche thou haste forgone myn enpryse
¶Than may I saye playnly to deuyse
[Page]¶Thou hast of madnes forgoten all thre
¶Notable wysedoms that I taught the
¶The vynetener treateth of holsome wynes
¶Of gentyll fruyte boosteth the gardener
¶The fyssher casted out hokes and lynes
¶To catche fysshe in euery fresshe ryuer
¶Of tylthe of londe treateth the houere
¶The gentylman talketh of genterye
¶The chorle delyteth to speke rybaudrye
¶All one to the fawkone and a kyte
¶As good an owle as a popyngaye
¶A doke of the donghylle as deynte as a snyte
¶Who serueth a chorle hath many a carefull daye
¶A den syr chorle fare well I flee my waye
¶I casse my neuer hens forth me lyuynge
¶To fore a chorle ony more to syuge
¶Ye folke that shall this fable see or rede
¶Newe forged tales I counseyll you to flee
¶For losse of good take neuer grete hede
¶Be not sorowfull for none aduersyte
¶Coueyte no thynge that may not recouered be
¶And remembre where euer ye ryde or goon
¶A chorles chorle is alwaye woo be goon
¶Vnto purpose this prouerbe is full ryff
¶Rede and reported by olde remembraūce
[Page]¶A chyldes byrde and a knaues wyff
¶Haue ofte sythe grete sorowe and meschance
¶And who hath fredom hath all suffysance
¶Better is fredom with lytyll in gladnes
¶Than to be thrall with all worldly ryches
¶Goo lytyll quayer and recōmaunde me
¶Vnto my mayster with humble affeccyon
¶Beseke hym lowly of mercy and pyte
¶Of thy rude makynge to haue compassyon
¶And as touchynge thy translacyon
¶Out of frensshe / how that it Englysshed be
¶All thynge is sayd vnder correccyon
¶With supportacyon of his benygnyte
¶Explicit the chorle and the byrde. Emprynted att Westmynstre in Caxtons house by Wynken de worde.
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