Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONFESSIO AMANTIS: PROLOGUE, by JOHN GOWER

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CONFESSIO AMANTIS: PROLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Of hem, that writen us to-fore
Last Line: To feigne and blame that I write.

Of hem, that writen us to-fore,
The bokes dwelle, and we therfore
Ben taught of that was writen tho.
Forthy good is, that we also
In oure time amonge us here
Do write of-newe some matere
Ensampled of the olde wise,
So that it might in suche a wise,
Whan we be dede and elleswhere,
Beleve to the worldes ere
In time comend after this.
But for men sain, and soth it is,
That who that al of wisdom writ,
It dulleth ofte a mannes wit
To hem that shall it al day rede,
For thilke cause, if that ye rede,
I wolde go the middel wey
And write a boke betwene the twey,
Somwhat of lust, somwhat of lore,
That of the lasse or of the more
Som man may like of that I write.
And for that fewe men endite
In oure Englisshe, I thenke make
A bok for king Richardes sake,
To whom belongeth my legeaunce,
With all min hertes obeisaunce,
In al that ever a lege man
Unto his king may don or can.
So ferforth I me recommaunde
To him, which all me may commaunde,
Preiend unto the highe regne,
Which causeth every king to regne,
That his corone longe stonde.
I thenke, and have it understonde,
As it befell upon a tide,
As thing, which shulde tho betide,
Under the town of newe Troy,
Which tok of Brute his firste joy,
In Themse, whan it was flowend;
As I by bote cam rowend,
So as fortune her time sette,
My lege lord perchaunce I mette,
And so befell, as I came nigh,
Out of my bote, whan he me sigh,
He bad me come into his barge.
And whan I was with him at large,
Amonges other thinges said,
He hath this charge upon me laid
And bad me do my besinesse,
That to his highe worthynesse
Some newe thing I shulde boke,
That he himself it mighte loke
After the forme of my writing.
And thus upon his commaunding
Min herte is well the more glad
To write so as he me bad;
And eke my fere is well the lasse,
That non envie shall compasse;
Without a resonable wite
To feigne and blame that I write.

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