And of his love the glorious fight.
THE FIFTH PROPERTY.
Not only a lover content is in his heart,
Some labour, incommodity or smart,
Loss, adversity, trouble, grief or pain:
And of his sorrow joyful is and fain,
And happy thinketh himself that he may take
Some misadventure for his lover's sake.
Thus shouldst thou that lovest God also
For him to suffer trouble, pain and woe:
For whom if thou be never so woe bestead,
Yet thou ne shalt sustain (be not adread)
Half the dolour, grief and adversity
That he already suffered hath for thee.
THE .VI. PROPERTY.
The perfect lover longeth for to be
And if it haply so befall that he
May not as he would: he will yet as he may
Ever be with his love, that is to say,
Where his heavy body nill be brought
He will be conversant in mind and thought.
Lo in like manner the lover of God should
If he may not in such wise as he would,
Be present with God and conversant alway:
For certes whoso list he may purvey,
Though all the world would him therefro bereaven,
To bear his body in earth, his mind in heaven.
THE .VII . PROPERTY.
There is no page or servant most or least
Ne none so small a trifle or conceit,
Lace, girdle, point, or proper glove strait:
But that if to his love it have been near,
The lover hath it precious, lief, & dear.
So every relic, image or picture,
The lover of God should with all busy cure
Have it in love, honour and reverence:
And specially give them pre-eminence
Which daily done his blessed body nyrche,
The quick relics, the ministers of his church.
THE .VIII. PROPERTY.
A very lover above all earthly thing
T'honour, laud, commendation and praising,
And every thing that may the fame clear
Of his love: he may in no manner
Endure to hear that therefro mighten vary,
Or any thing found into the contrary.
The lover of God should covet in like wise
Whose sovereign goodness none heart may comprise,
Whom hell, earth, and all the heaven obeys:
Whose perfect lover ought by no manner ways
To suffer the cursed words of blasphemy,
Or any thing spoken of God unreverently.
THE .IX. PROPERTY.
A very lover believeth in his mind,
On whom so ever he hath his heart i-bent,
That in that person men may nothing find
But honourable, worthy and excellent,
And eke surmounting far in his intent
All other that he hath known by sight or name:
And would that every man should think the same.
Of God likewise so wonderful and high
So reverence, worship, honour & magnify,
In comparison should he set at nought:
And glad be if he might the mean devise
That all the world would thinken in like wise.
THE .X. PROPERTY.
The lover is of colour dead and pale:
He favoreth neither meat, wine, nor ale:
He mindeth not what men about him talk:
But eat he, drink he, sit, lie down or walk,
He burneth ever as it were with a fire
In the fervent heat of his desire.
Here should the lover of God ensample take
With him in prayer and meditation wake,
While other play, revel, sing, and dance:
None earthly joy, disport or vain pleasance
Should him delight, or any thing remove
His ardent mind from God his heavenly love.
THE .XI. PROPERTY.
Diversely passioned is the lovers heart:
Now perfect bliss, now bitter sorrow smart:
And whether his love be with him or elsewhere,
Oft from his eyes there falleth many a tear:
For very joy when they together be:
When they be sundered for adversity.
Like affections filleth eke the breast
When that his love liketh in him rest
With inward gladness of pleasant contemplation,
Out break the tears for joy and delectation:
And when his love list eft to part him fro,
Out break the tears again for pain & woe.
THE .XII. PROPERTY.
His joy it is and all his appetite
To pain himself in all that ever he may,
That person in whom he set hath his delight
Diligent to serve both day and night
For very love without any regard
To any profit, guerdon or reward.
So thou likewise that hast thine heart i-set
So studiously that nothing may thee let
Nor fro his service any wise dissever:
Freely look eke thou serve that thereto never
Trust of reward or profit do thee bind,
But only faithful heart & loving mind.
Wageless to serve .iii. things may us move:
Second if they whom that we serve & love
Be very good and very amiable:
Thirdly of reason be we serviceable
Without the gaping after any more
To such as have done much for us before.
Serve God for love then, not for hope of meed.
As where all turneth to thine own speed.
Who is so good, so lovely eke as he,
Who hath already done so much for thee,
As he that first thee made, and on the rood
Eft thee redeemed with his precious blood.