In Autumpne, whan the sonne in vyrgyne
By radyante hete enryped hath our corne,
Whan Luna, full of mutabylyte,
As Emperes the dyademe hath worne
Of our pole artyke, smylynge halfe in scorne
At our foly and our unstedfastnesse,
The tyme whan Mars to werre hym dyde dres,

pole artyke: Arcturus of the Corona Borealis
I, callynge to mynde the great auctoryte
Of poetes olde, whyche full craftely
Under as coverte termes as coude be,
Can touche a troughte and cloke it subtylly
Wyth fresshe utteraunce full sentencyonsly,
Dyverse in style, some spared not vyce to wrythe,
Some of moralyte nobly dyde endyte,

Wherby I rede theyr renome and theyr fame
Maye never dye bute evermore endure.
I was sore moved to a force the same,
But Ignoraunce full soone dyde me dyscure
And shewed that in this arte I was not sure,
For to illumyne she sayde I was to dulle,
Avysynge me my penne awaye to pulle

And not to wrythe, for he so wyll atteyne,
Excedynge ferther than his connynge is,
His hede maye be harde, but feble is his brayne!
Yet have I knowen suche er this;
But of reproche surely he maye not mys
That clymmeth hyer than he may fotynge have;
What and he slyde downe, who shall hym save?

Thus up and down my mynde was drawen and cast
That I ne wyste what to do was beste;
Soo sore enwered that I was, at the laste,
Enforsed to slepe and for to take some reste,
And to lye downe as soone as I me dreste.
At Harwyche Porte, slumbrynge as I laye
In myne hostes house, called Powers Keye,

Me thoughte I sawe a shyppe, goodly of sayle,
Come saylyng forth into that haven brood,
Her takelynge ryche and of hye apparayle;
She kyste an anker and there she laye at rode.
Marchauntes her borded to see what she had lode.
Therein they founde Royall marchaundyse,
Fraghted with plesure of what ye coude devyse.

But than I thoughte I wolde not dwell behynde,
Amonge all other I put myselfe in prece.
Than there coude I none aquentaunce fynde;
There was moche noyse, anone one cryed, cese!
Sharpely commaundynge eche man holde hys pece.
Maysters, he sayde, the shyp that ye here see,
The Bowge of Courte it hyghte for certeynte;

The awnner thereof is lady of estate,
Whoos name to tell is Dame Saunce Pere.
Her marchaundyse is ryche and fortunate,
But who wyll have it muste paye therfore dere;
This royall chaffre that is shypped here
Is called favore-to-stonde-in-her-good-grace.
Than sholde ye see there pressynge in a pace

Of one and other that wolde this lady see,
Whiche sat behynde a traves of sylke fyne,
Of golde of tessew the fynest that myghte be,
In a trone whiche fer clerer dyde shyne
Than Phebus in his spere celestyne,
Whoos beaute, honoure, goodly porte,
I have to lytyll connynge to reporte.

But of eche thynge there as I take hede,
Among all other was wrytten in her trone
In golde letters, this worde, whiche I dyde rede:
Garder le fortune que est mauelz et bone.
And as I stode redynge this verse myselfe allone,
Her chyef gentylwoman, daunger by her name,
Gave me a taunte, and sayde I was to blame

To he so perte to prese so proudly uppe.
She sayde she trowed that I had eten sause;
She asked yf ever I dranke of saucys cuppe.
And I than softly answered to that clause,
That, so to saye, I had gyven her no cause.
Than asked she me, Syr, so God the spede,
What is thy name? and I sayde it was Drede.

What movyd the, quod she, hydder to come?
Forsoth, quod I, to bye some of youre ware.
And with that worde on me she gave a glome
With browes bente and gan on me to stare
Full daynnously, and fro me she dyde fare,
Levynge me stondynge as a mased man,
To whome there came another gentylwoman.

Desyre her name was, and so she me tolde,
Sayenge to me, Broder, be of good chere,
Abasshe you not, but hardely be bolde,
Avaunce your selfe to aproche and come nere.
What though our chaffer he never so dere,
Yet I avyse you to speke for ony drede;
Who spareth to speke, in fayth, he spareth to spede.

Maystres, quod I, I have none aquentaunce
That wyll for me be medyatoure and mene;
And this an other, I have but smale substaunce.
Pece, quod Desyre, ye speke not worth a bene!
Yf ye have not, in fayth, I wyll you lene
A precyous jewell, no rycher in this londe:
Bone aventure have here now in your honde.

Shyfte now therwith, let see, as ye can,
In Bowge of Courte chevysaunce to make;
For I dare saye that there nys erthly man
But, and he can Bone aventure take,
There can no favour nor frendshyp hym forsake.
Bone aventure may brynge you in suche case
That ye shall stonde in favoure and in grace.

But of one thynge I werne you er I goo:
She that styreth the shyp, make her your frende.
Maystres, quod I, I praye you tell me why soo,
And how I maye that waye and meanes fynde.
Forsothe, quod she, how ever blowe the wynde,
Fortune gydeth and ruleth all oure shyppe.
Whome she hateth shall over the see boorde skyp.

Whome she loveth, of all plesyre is ryche
Whyles she laugheth and hath luste for to playe,
Whome she hateth she casteth in the dyche,
For whan she fronneth, she thynketh to make a fray;
She cheryssheth him, and hym she casseth awaye.
Alas, quod I, how myghte I have her sure?
In fayth, quod she, by bone aventure.

Thus in a rowe of martchauntes a grete route
Suwed to Fortune that she would be theyre frynde.
They thronge in fast and flocked her aboute,
And I with them prayed her to have in mynde.
She promysed to us all she wolde be kynde;
Of Bowge of Court she asketh what we wold have,
And we asked favoure, and favour she us gave. 120

Thus endeth the prologue; and begynneth
the Bowge of Courte brevely compyled.


THE sayle is up, Fortune ruleth our helme,
We wante no wynde to passe now over all;
Favoure we have toughther than ony elme,
That wyll abyde and never frome us fall.
But under hony ofte tyme lyeth bytter gall,
For as me thoughte in our shyppe I dyde see
Full subtyll persones in nombre foure and thre.

The fyrste was Favell, full of flatery,
Wyth fables false, that well coude fayne a tale;
The seconde was Suspecte whiche that dayly
Mysdempte eche man, with face deedly and pale;
And Harvy Hafter, that well coude picke a male;
With other foure of theyr affynyte:
Dysdayne, Ryotte, Dyssymuler, Subtylte.

Fortune theyr frende with whome oft she dyde daunce:
They coude not faile, thei thought, they were so sure.
And oftentymes I wolde myselfe avaunce
With them to make solace and pleasure;
But my dysporte they coude not well endure;
They sayde they hated for to dele with Drede.
Than Favell gan wyth fayre speche me to fede.


Noo thynge erthely that I wonder so sore
As of your connynge that is so excellent;
Deynte to have with us suche one in store,
So vertuously that hath his dayes spente.
Fortune to you gyftes of grace hath lente:
Loo, what it is a man to have connynge!
All erthly tresoure it is surmountynge.

Ye be an apte man, as ony can be founde,
To dwell with us and serve my ladyes grace.
Ye be to her, yea, worth a thousande pounde;
I herde her speke of you within shorte space,
Whan there were dyverse that sore dyde you manace.
And though I say it I was myselfe your frende,
For here be dyverse to you that be unkynde.
But this one thynge ye maye be sure of me,
For by that lorde that bought dere all mankynde,
I can not flater, I muste be playne to the.
And ye nede ought, man, shewe to me your mynde,
For ye have me whome faythfull ye shall fynde;
Whyles I have ought, by God, thou shalt not lacke,
And yf nede be, a bolde worde I dare cracke.

Nay, naye, be sure, whyles I am on your syde
Ye maye not fall, truste me, ye maye not fayle.
Ye stonde in favoure and Fortune is your gyde,
And as she wyll so shall our grete shyppe sayle.
Thyse lewde cok wattes shall nevermore prevayle
Ageynste you hardely; therefore be not afrayde,
Farewell tyll soone, but no worde that I sayde.


Than thanked I hym for his grete gentylne