therfore if ye governe you by sapience, put away sorwe out of youre hert. Remembre you that Jhesus Sirac saith, A man that is joyous and glad in herte, it him conserveth florishinge in his age; but sothly sorweful herte maketh his boones drye. He saith eek thus, that sorwe in herte sleth ful many a man. Salamon saith, that right as mothes in shepes fleece annoyeth the clothes, and the smale wormes on the tre the fruyte, right so annoyeth sorwe the herte. Wherfore us oughte as wel in the deth of oure children, as in the losse of oure goodes temporales, have pacience. Remembre you upon the pacient Jop, whan he hadde lost his children and his temporal substance, and in his body endured and recyved ful many a grevous tribulacioun, yit sayde he thus: Oure Lord it sent unto me, oure Lord it hath raft from me; right so as oure Lord wil, right so be it doon; i-blessed be the name of oure Lord!” To these forsayde thinges answerith Melibeus unto his wif Prudens: “Alle thine wordes ben soth,” quoth he, “and therto profytable, but sothly myn herte is so troubled with this sorwe, that I know not what to do.” “Let calle,” quoth Prudence, “they trewe frendes alle, and thy linage, whiche that be trewe and wise; tell them youre grevaunce, and herken what they say in counseilynge, and you governe after there sentence. Salomon saith, Werke al thi thing by counseil, and thou shalt never rewe.”

Than, by the counseil of his wyf Prudens, this Melibeus let calle a gret congregacioun of peple, as surgiens, phisiciens, olde, and yonge, and some of his olde enemyes recounsiled (as by their appearance) to his love and to his grace; and therwithal ther come some of his neighebours, that deden him reverence more for drede than for love, as happeth ofte. Ther comen also ful many subtil flaterers, and wise advoketes lerned in the lawe. And whan these folk togidere assemblid were, this Melibeus in sorwful wyse shewed hem his case, and by the maner of his speche, it semede that in herte he bar a cruel ire, redy to do vengeance upon his foos, and sodeynly desirede that the werre shulde bygynne; but natheles yit axed he their counseil in this matier. A chirurgien, by licens and assent of suche as were wyse, up ros, and to Melibeus sayde, as ye may hiere.

“Sir,” quoth he, “as to us chirurgiens appertieneth, that we do to every wight the beste that we can, wher as we ben withholde, and to oure pacient we do no damage; wherfore it happeth many tyme and ofte, that whan tweye have each wounded other, one same surgien heleth them bothe; where unto oure art it is not perteyned to norishe werre, nor parties to supporte. But certes, as to curing of youre doughter, al be it so that she perilously be woundid, we shullen do so tentyf business fro day to night, that with the grace of God she shal be hool and sound, as soone as it is possible.” Almost right in the same wise the phisiciens answerden, save that thay sayden a fewe wordes more; that ryght as maladies be cured by their contraries, right so shal men cure werre by vengeaunce. His neygheboures ful of envy, his feyned freendes that seemede recounsiled, and his flatereres, maden semblaunt of wepyng, and added moche to this matiere, in preisyng gretly Melibe of might, of power, of riches, and of frendes, despisinge the power of his adversaries; and sayden clearly, that he anon shulde wreke him on his adversaries be bygynnynge of werre.

Up roos thanne an advocate that was wys, by leve and by counseil of othere that were wise, and sayde: “Lordynges, the need for whiche we be assemblit in this place is ful hevy thing, and an high matier, bycause of the wrong and of the wikkednes that hath ben doon, and eek by resoun of the grete damages that in tyme comyng be possible to falle for the same, and eek bycause of the grete richesse and power of the partes bothe; for the whiche resouns, it were a ful gret peril to erren in these materes. Wherfore, Melibeus, this is oure sentence; we counseile you, aboven alle thinges, that right anoon thou do diligence in kepyng of thy body in such a wyse that thou wante no spy nor watch thy body for to save. And after that, we counseile that in thin hous thou sette suffisaunt garisoun, so that thay may as wel thy body as thin hous defende. But certes for to move werre, and sodeynly for to do vengeance, we may not deme in so litel tyme that it were profitable. Wherfore we axen leysir and a space to have deliberacioun in this case to judge; for the comune proverbe saith this; he that soone judgeth, soone shal repente. And eek men sayn, that that judge is wys, that soone understondeth a matier, and judgeth by leysir. For al be it so that alle taryinge is anoyful, still it is no reproef in gevynge of judgement, nor of venguance takyng, whan it is suffisaunt and resonable. And that shewed oure Lord Jhesu Crist by ensample, for whan that the womman that was i-take in advoutrie, was brought in his presence to knowen what shulde be doon of hir persone, al be it that he wist him self what that he wolde answere, yit wolde he not answere sodenyly,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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