WITH bemys schene,tliow bricht Cytherea,
Quhilk onlie schacldomst amang stems lite,
And tlii blindit wingit son, Cupide, ȝe twa
Fosteraris of birnyng, carnale, halt delite,
Your joly wo neidlingis most I indite,
Begynnyng with ane fenȝet faynt plesance,
Continewing with lust and endit with pennance.

In fragill flesche 3our fekill seid is saw,
Rutit in delite, welth, and fyide deligate,
Nursit with sleuth, and mony vnsemelie saw.
Quhar schame is lost, thair spredis ȝour burgeonis hait ;
Oft to revolf ane vnlefull consait
Ripis ȝour perellus frutis and oncorn ;
Of vickit grane quhow sail gud schaif be schorn ?

Quhat is ȝour force bot feblinsr of the strenth ?
Ȝour curius thochtis quhat bot musardry ?
Ȝour fremmyt glaidnes lestis nocht ane houris lenth ;
Ȝour sport for scham 36 dar nocht specify ;
Ȝour frute is bot vnfructuus fantasy ;
Ȝour sary joyis bene bot jangling and japis,
And ȝour trew seruandis silly goddis apis.

Ȝour sweit myrthis ar myxt with bittirnes ;
Quhat is ȝour drery gemme ? a mery pane ;
Ȝour wark onthrift, 30ur quiet is restles,
Ȝour lust lyking in langor to remane,
Frendschip turment, ȝour traist is hot a trane :
O luif, quhiddir ar ȝow joy or fulichnes,
That makis folk sa glaid of thair distres ?

Salomonis wit, Sampsoun thow rubbist his force,
And Dauid thow byreft his prophesy ;
Men sayis thow bridillit Aristotle as ane hors,
And crelit wp the flour of poetry ;
Quhat sail I of thi myelitis notify ?
Fare weill, quhar that thi lusty dart assalis,
Wit, strenth, ryches, na tiling bot grace avails.

Thow chene of luif, ha benedicite !
How hard strenis thi baiidis every wycht ?
The God abufe, from his hie maieste,
With the ibund, law in a maid did lycht :
Thow vencust the strang gyant of gret mycht ;
Thow art mair forcy than the deid sa fell ;
Thow plenest paradise, and thow heriet hell.

Thow makis febill wycht, and lawest the hie ;
Thow knittis frendschip quhar thar bene na parage ;
Thow Jonathas confidderat with Dauy ;
Thow dantit Alexander for all his wassalage ;
Thow festinit Jacob fourteyn ȝeir in bondage
Thow techit Hercules go lerne to spyn,
Eeik Dyoniere his mais and lyon skyn.

For luffe Narcissus pereschit at the well ;
For luffe thow stervist maist dowchtie Achill ;
Theseus, for luf, his fallow socht to hell ;
The snaw quhite dow oft to the gray maik will.
Alace ! for luff quhow mony thaim self did spill !
Thy fury, luf, moderis-taucht, for dispyte,
Fyle handis in blud of thar ȝoung childer lyte.

O Lord, quhat writis myne autor of thi force,
In his Georgikis ! quhow thine vndantit mycht
Constrenis so sum tyme the stonit hors,
That, by the sent of a mere far of sycht,
He braidis brayis anon, and takis the flycht
Na bridle may him dant nor bustius dynt,
Nothir bray, hie roche, nor braid fludis stynt.

The bustius bullis oft, for the ȝowng ky,
With horn to horn wirkis vther mony ane wound,
So rummesing with hiddouis lowand cry
The feildis all doith of thar roustis resound ;
The meik hartis, in belling, oft ar found
Mak fers bargane, and rammys togiddir ryn ;
Baris twyt thar tuskis, and fret vtheris skyn.

The reuthfull smert and lamentable cace
Quhilk thar he writis of Leander ȝing,
How for thi luiff, Hero, alace, alace !
In fervent flamb of halt desyre birnyng,
By nychtis tyde, the hevynis lowd thundring,
And, all with storme trubillit, the seis flude
Bettand on the rolkis, and rowtand as it war wode,

Set he him nocht to swym our, well away !
The fyrth betwixt Sestos and Abidane,
In Europ and in Asia citeis twa ;
His fadir and modir mycht him nocht call agane ;
O God, quhat herme ! thar was he drint and slane ;
And quhen his lufe saw this mischeif, attanis
Out our the wall scho lap, and brak hir banis.

Lo, quhow Venus can hir seruandis acquyte !
Lo, how hir passionis vnbridillis all thar witt !
Lo, quhow thai tyne thaim self for schort delyte !
Lo, quhow from grace to all mischeif they flit,
Fra weill to sturt, fra pane to deid ! and ȝit
Thar bene bot few example takis of vther,
Bot wilfully fallis in the fyre, leif brother.

Be nevir ourset, myne author teichis so,
With lust of wyne, nor werkis veneriane ;
Thai febill the strength ; rewelys secreit baith twa
Strif and debait engeneris, and feill lies slane ;
Honestie, prowes, dreid, schame and luk ar gane
Quhar thai habound ; attempir thaim forthy.
Childir to engener ois Venus, and nocht in vane ;
Haue na surphat, drink nocht bot quhen thow art dry.

Quhat ? is this luif, nys lufferis, at ȝe mene,
Or fals desait, fair ladeis to begyle ?
Thame to defoull, and schent ȝour self betwene.
Is all ȝour lyking, with mony subtell wyle.
Is that trew luif, guid faith and fame to fyle ?
Gyff luff be vertu, than is it lefull thing ;
Gyf it be vice, it is ȝour ondoing.

Lust is na luif, thocht ledis lyk it weil ;
This furius flamb of sensualite
Ar nane amoris hot fantasy ȝe feill ;
Carnale plesance, but sycht of honeste,
Hatis him self forsuith, and luffis nocht the;
Thar bene twa luffis, perfyte and imperfyte,
That ane lefull, the tother foull delite.

Luffe is ane kyndlie passioun, engenerit of heit
Kendlit in the hert, ourspredand all the cors ;
And, as thow seis sum persoun waik in spreit,
Sum hert hait brenyng as ane vnbridillit hors ;
Lyke as the pacient lies heit of our gret force,
And in ȝoung babbeis warmnes insufficient,
And in to agit failȝeis, and is out quent.

Rycht so in lufFe thou may be excessive,
Inordinatlie luiffand ony creature ;
Thi luff also it may be defective.
To luff thi awin and gyf of vtheris na cuir ;
Bot quhar that luff is rewlit with mesure,
It may be lyknit to ane haill mannis estait,
In temperat warmnes, nother to cald nor hait.

Than is thi luiff inordinat, say I,
Quhen ony creatur mair than God thow luffis ;
Or ȝit luffis ony to that fyne, quharby
Thi Self or thaim thow frawart God removis :
For till attempir thine amouris the behuffis ;
Luf euery wycht for God, and to gud end,
Thame be na wise to harm, bot to amend.

This is to knaw, luif God for his gudnes,
With hert, haill mynd, trew seruice, day and night ;
Nyxt luif thi self, eschewand wekitnes ;
Luf syne thi nychtbouris, and wyrk thame nane vnricht,
Willing that thow and thai may haif the sycht
Of hevinis blis, and tyst thaime nocht tharfra,
For, and thow do, sic luif dow nocht a stra.

Faint luif, but grace, for all thi fenȝeit layis,
Thi wantoun willis ar verray vanite ;
Graceles thow askis grace, and thus thow prayis ;
Haif mercy, lady, haif reuth and sum piete !
And scho, reuthles, agane rewis on the.
Heir is na peramouris found, bot all haterent,
Quhar nother to weill nor ressoun tak thai tent.

Callis thow that reuth, quhilk of thar self ne rekkis ?
Or is it grace to fall fra grace ? Nay, nay ;
Thow seikis mercy, and tharof mischeif makis :
Renoun and honour quhy wald thow drive away ?
A brutall appetite makis ȝong fulis forvay,
Quhilk be resoun list nocht thar heit refrane,
Halding opinioun der of a borit bane.

Sayis nocht ȝour sentence thus, scant worth a fas,
Quhat honestie or renoun is to be dram ?
Or for to droup like a fordullit as ?
Lat ws in riot leif, in sport and gam.
In Venus court, sen born thar to I am ?
My tyme weill sal I spend. Wenis thow nocht so ?
Bot all ȝour solace sall returne in gram,
Sic thewles lustis in bittir pane and wo.

Thow ald hasart lychour, fy for schame
That flotteris furtli euermair in sluggardry ;
Out on the, ald trat, agit wdfe, or dame,
Eschamis na thing in roust of syn to ly !
Thir Venus werkis in ȝoutheid ar foly,
Bot in to eild thai turne in fury rage ;
And quha schameles dowblis thar syn, ha fy !
As doith thir vantouris othir in ȝouth or age ?

Quhat nedis avant ȝow of ȝour wickitnes,
Ȝe that bene forcy alane in villance deid ?
Quhy gloir ȝe in ȝour awin onthriftynes ?
Eschame ȝe nocht rehers and blaw on breid
Ȝour awin defame, havand of God na dreid,
Nor ȝit of hell, prouokand vtheris to syn,
Ȝe that list of ȝour palȝardry neuir blyn ?

Wald God ȝe purchest bot ȝour awin mischance.
And war na banareris for to perische mo !
God grant sum tyme ȝe turne ȝow to penance,
Refrenyng lustis inordinat, and cry ho !
And thar affix ȝour luif, and myndis also,
Quhar euer is verray joy without offence,
That all sic beistlie fury ȝe lat go hence.

Of brokaris and of sic bawdry quhow suld I write,
Of quhom the filth stinkis in Godis neis ?
With Venus henvifis quhat wyse may I flite,
That strakis thir wenchis hedis thaim to pleis ?
Dochtir, for thi luif this man hes gret diseis,
Quod the bismeir with the slekit speche :
Rew on him, it is merit his pane to meis.
Sic poyd makrellis for Lucifer bene leche.

Eschame, ȝing virginis, and fair damicellis,
Furth of wedlok for to distene ȝour kellis !
Traist nocht all talis that wantoun woweris tellis,
Ȝow to difflour purposing, and nocht ellis ;
Abhor sic price or prayer wirschip sellis ;
Quhar schame is lost quyte schent is womanheid.
Quhat of bewte, quhar honestie lyis deid ?

Rew on ȝour self, ladyis and madynis ȝing,
Grant na sic reuth for evir may cans ȝow rew.
Ȝe fresche gallandis, in hait desyr brening,
Refrene ȝour curage sic peramouris to persew ;
Ground ȝour amouris on cherite all new ;
Found ȝow on resoun ; quhat nedis mair to preche ?
God grant ȝow grace in luif, as I ȝow teche !

Fy on desait and fals dissimulance,
Contrar to kynd wyth fenȝeit cheir smyling,
Wndir the cloke of luffis obseruance,
The venom of the serpent redy to sting !
Bot all sic crymes in luffis cans I resing
To the confessioun of morall Ihon Gower ;
For I mon follow the text of our mater.

Thy dowble wound, Dido, to specify,
I mene thine amouris, and thi funerale fait,
Quhay may endite, but teris, with ene dry ?
Augustyne confessis him self wepit, God wait,
Reding thi lamentable end infortunate.
By the will I repeit this vers agane,
Temporall joy endis with wo and pane.

Allace, thi dolorus cace and hard myschance !
From blis to wo, fra sorow to fury rage,
Fra nobillnes, welth, prudence and temperance,
In brutall appetite fall, and wild dotage ;
Danter of Affrik, Quene fundar of Cartage,
Vmquhile in riches and schynyng gloir ryngyng,
Throw fuliche lust wrocht thi awin vndoing.

Lo ! with quhat thocht, quhat bitternes and pane
Luif vnseilly breidis in euery wycht !
How schort quhile dois his fals plesance remane !
His restles blis how sone takis the flycht !
His kyndnes alteris in wraith within a nycht :
Quhat is, bot turment, all his langsum fair,
Begun with feir, and endit in dispair ?

Quhat sussy, cuir, and strang ymagyning,
Quhat wayis vnlefull, his purpois to attene,
Has this fals lust at his first bigynnyng !
Quhow subtell wills, and mony quiet mene !
Quhat slycht dissait quently to flat and fene ;
Syne in a throw can nocht him selfin hyde,
Nor at his first estate no quhile abyde !

Thow swelth, deuorer of tyme vnrecouerable,
O lust, inferiiale furnis, inextinguible,
Thy self consumyng worthis insaciable,
Quent feyndis net, to God and man odible !
Of thi trigittis quhat toung can tell the trible ?
With the to wersill, thow waxis euirmoir wycht ;
Eschew thine hant, and mynnis sall thi mycht.

Se, quhow blind luifis inordinat desyre
Degradis honour, and resoun doith exile !
Dido, of Cartage flour, and lamp of Tyre,
Quhais hie renoun no strenth nor gift mycht file,
In hir faynte lust so mait, within schort quhile.
That honestie baith and gud fame wer adew,
Syne for disdene, alace ! her selfin slew.

O! quhat avalit thi bruit and glorious name,
Thi moblis, tressour, and werkis infinite,
Thi ceteis beilding, and thi riall hame,
Thi realmis, conquest, weilfare and delite ?
To stint all thing salue thine awin appetite.
So was in luif thi frawart destanie ;
Alace the quhile thow knew the strang Enee !

And sen I suld thi trigidy endite,
Heir nedis nane vther inuocatioun :
Be the command I lusty ladyis quhite,
Be war with strangeris of vncouth nacioun
Wirk na sic wondris to their dampnacioun ;
Bott till atteyne wild amoris at the thai leir ;
Thi lusty pane begouth on this maneir.

Finis Prologi Quarti Libri.