Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/8, ff. 201r-v: John Gower, ‘Traitié...pour essampler les amantz marietz’ (composed late 14th century, French)


Ovesque amour qant loialte sequeinte
lors sont les noeces bones et ioiouses
mais lui guilers qant il se fait pluis queint
Par falssemblant les fait souent doubtouses
A loial qant pluis resemblont amerouses
Cest en cy come de stouppes vn corde
Qant le penser a son semblant descorde
Celle espousaile est assetz forte et seinte


With love great faithfulness [will] follow,
Then, at that time, the wedding is good and joyful.
But when he, the deceiver, is knowingly more malicious,
[Then] by his cunning these unions are often made into something to be feared
When, to the eye, [it may seem] a loving [union].
It is, thus, like [the difference between] tow and a piece of cord1
When thought and its image are opposed.

This union is strong and holy,

1. Tow = a strand. Cord = a number of strands twisted or woven together

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