England's Antiphon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about England's Antiphon.

  That thee is sent receive in buxomness:  submission
  The wrestling of this world asketh a fall. tempts destruction
  Here is no home, here is but wilderness: 
  Forth, pilgrim, forth!—­beast, out of thy stall! 
  Look up on high, and thanke God of[33] all. 
  Waive thy lusts, and let thy ghost[34] thee lead,
  And truth thee shall deliver—­it is no drede.

This needs no comment.  Even the remark that every line is worth meditation may well appear superfluous.  One little fact only with regard to the rhymes, common to this and the next poem, and usual enough in Norman verse, may be pointed out, namely, that every line in the stanza ends with the same rhyme-sound as the corresponding line in each of the other stanzas.  A reference to either of the poems will at once show what I mean.

The second is superior, inasmuch as it carries one thought through the three stanzas.  It is entitled A Balade made by Chaucer, teaching what is gentilnesse, or whom is worthy to be called gentill.

  The first stock-father of gentleness—­ ancestor of the race
    What man desireth gentle for to be [of the gentle.

  Must follow his trace, and all his wittes dress track, footsteps: 
    Virtue to love and vices for to flee; [apply.

    For unto virtue longeth dignity, belongeth.
  And not the reverse falsely dare I deem,[35]
  All wear he mitre, crown, or diadem. although he wear.

  The first stock was full of righteousness; the progenitor.
    True of his word, sober, piteous, and free;
  Clean of his ghost, and loved busi-ness, pure in his spirit.
  Against the vice of sloth in honesty;

    And but his heir love virtue as did he, except.
  He is not gentle, though he rich seem,
  All wear he mitre, crown, or diadem.

  Vicesse may well be heir to old Richesse, Vice:  Riches.
    But there may no man, as men may well see,
  Bequeath his heir his virtue’s nobleness;
    That is appropried unto no degree, rank.
    But to the first father in majesty,
  That maketh his heires them that him queme, please him.
  All wear he mitre, crown, or diadem.

I can come to no other conclusion than that by the first stock-father
Chaucer means our Lord Jesus.



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England's Antiphon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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