Quotations are taken from the third recension of the poem, unless otherwise stated.
Bot for men sein, and soth it is, That who that al of wisdom writ It dulleth ofte a mannes wit To him that schal it aldai rede, For thilke cause, if that ye rede, I wolde go the middel weie And wryte a bok betwen the tweie, Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore.
Prologue, line 12.
But in proverbe I have herde say, That who that wel his werk beginneth, The rather a good end he winneth.
Prologue (First recension), line 86.
For loves lawe is out of reule.
Bk. 1, line 18.
It hath and schal ben everemor That love is maister wher he wile.
Bk. 1, line 34.
He hath the sor which no man heleth, The which is cleped lack of herte.
Bk. 4, line 334.
O fol of alle foles, Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles That wolde sitte and goth to grounde.
Bk. 4, line 625.
The beauté faye upon her face Non erthly thing it may desface.
Bk. 4, line 1321.
Nevere yit Was non, which half so loste his wit Of drinke, as thei of such thing do Which cleped is the jolif wo.
Bk. 6, line 31.
What is a lond wher men ben none? What ben the men whiche are alone Withoute a kinges governance? What is a king in his ligance, Wher that ther is no lawe in londe? What is to take lawe on honde, Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
In the content of his work it is interesting to notice that he is profoundly English. His romanticism, and his choice of the theme of Time and Age – both these look back to the Anglo-Saxons and forward to the nineteenth century. Yet his form is French. The heart is insular and romantic, the head cool and continental: it is a good combination.