|TITLE:||CHAUCER'S ADAPTATION OF BOCCACCIO'S TEMPLE OF VENUS IN The Parliament of Fowls|
|SOURCE:||The Review of English Studies ns56 1-36 F 2005|
This article sets out to explain the subtlety and coherence of Chaucer's adaptation of Boccaccio's description of the temple of Venus in the Teseida as a central element in his own representation of love in The Parliament of Fowls. Whether or not Chaucer had access to and read Boccaccio's own glosses to the temple (and there is and can be no decisive evidence to suggest that he had not), it is evident that he is entirely familiar and at ease with the philosophical matter that is contained in the glosses. What makes interpretation problematic, however, is Chaucer's habitual creativity in the use of sources of even such technical difficulty, for he allows himself the freedom to add to, omit, adapt, or simply reproduce the matter of Boccaccio's text as his own poetic purpose requires.
Di sua potenza segue spesso morte,
se forte la vertù fosse impedita,
la quale aita la contraria via.
(Cavalcanti, Rime, XXVII. 35-7)(FN1)
Vostra apprensiva da esser verace
tragge intenzione, e dentro a voi la spiega,
si che l'animo ad essa volger face;
e se, rivolto, inver' di lei si piega,
quel piegare è amor, quell' è natura
che per piacer di novo in voi si lega.
(Dante, Purgatorio, XVIII. 22-7)(FN2)
It is not hard for the modern reader to accept the proposition put forward by Aristotle in the Poetics (9) that poetry is ordered to the expression of the universal truth of philosophy rather than the particular truth of history. Medieval poets and commentators go further, however, in classifying poetry as a branch of moral philosophy. Thus Dante assigns the Commedia to ethics, and is followed in so doing by his son Pietro, and by Boccaccio, among others.(FN3) How technical the philosophical concerns of poetry can become even in the domain of love is evident from Guido Cavalcanti's Canzone d'amore. It is as a master of philosophy and not as a supplicant in love that Cavalcanti presents himself to his audience, and it is as such that he is interpreted by Dino del Garbo in a Latin commentary on the Canzone.(FN4) Accordingly del Garbo explains that the poem depends for its understanding on a reader who is both intelligent and intellectually subtle, and at ease with the principles of natural science, moral science, and astrology.(FN5) No one who has read either Cavalcanti's poem or del Garbo's commentary can doubt the need for both intellectual effort and learning. Cavalcanti's poem is full of technical scholastic terms such as accidente (1. 2), vertute (l. 11), essenza (l. 12), piacimento (l. 13), and possibile intelletto (1. 22). Understanding of both text and exposition requires a knowledge of the Aristotelian system of faculty psychology as formulated by Aristotle himself in the De anima and as elaborated by such medieval commentators as Avicenna (whose own Liber de anima is especially influential in systematizing the account of the interior senses),(FN6) Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas.(FN7) Without reference to this system of knowledge Cavalcanti's poem and the philosophical poetry of the tradition to which it belongs becomes simply unintelligible.
At the centre of this same tradition is Boccaccio's elaborate description of the temple of Venus in the Teseida (VII. 50-66). Both the specific meanings and the ordered relationships of the allegorical personifications that are found outside and inside the temple are drawn from the distinctions of Aristotelian faculty psychology, and it is the Aristotelian system that lends both subtlety and coherence to the poetic account. It is thus for good reasons that Boccaccio supplies his own glosses (chiose) to his description. Indeed he recognizes that the glosses may be incompete in not providing an explanation of the process of sense cognition that is presupposed to the passion of love (Cupid) and the concupiscible appetite (Venus), and refers the interested reader to Cavalcanti's poem and del Garbo's commentary.(FN8) It is in the commentary of del Garbo and the glosses of Boccaccio that we shall find the sources for understanding the meaning of Chaucer's representation of the temple of Venus in The Parliament of Fowls. It was once held that Chaucer knew the text of the Teseida, but not the glosses. This view on the whole seems now to have been set aside.(FN9) But whether or not Chaucer had before him the text of Boccaccio's glosses (a possibility by no means inherently unlikely, and not to be set aside on grounds of mere convenience or preference), it is certain that he is to be numbered among the learned intellects capable of understanding the significance of the allegorical figures and their relationships. Such a conclusion is evident from the subtle modifications that he has introduced into Boccaccio's version on his own initiative. And indeed, in the absence of a knowledge of Aristotelian faculty psychology his own poem lacks meaning and coherence. Perhaps the supposition of Chaucer's ignorance of Boccaccio's glosses has been born of a desire to preserve an image of the poet free from the imprint of scholastic philosophy.(FN10) At any rate justice has still to be done to Usk' s description of Chaucer as 'the noble philosophical poete in Englissh'.(FN11) The purpose of the present article is to attempt to do so in part by demonstrating the philosophical subtlety and coherence of the account of the temple of Venus in The Parliament of Fowls.
Boccaccio's account of the temple of Venus is entirely organized in terms of the goddess as the object of Palemone's prayer. In The Parliament of Fowls the temple of Venus is placed in the wider setting of a paradisal park. The park is no mere preparation for the temple but has a universal value independent of Venus, and in terms of that value the meaning of Venus herself is ultimately to be comprehended. The difference of perspective is illustrated from the first in the absence from Chaucer's poem of any reference to the situation of Venus's temple on Mount Cithaeron amidst pines ('fra altissimi pini'), for this is the starting-point of Boccaccio's description (VII. 50). The setting of Chaucer's poem is filled with trees, but in the celebrated list (ll. 176-82) the pine is significantly not to be found. Chaucer emphasizes the functional value of the trees, for example, 'the byldere ok' (l. 176), 'the saylynge fyr' (l. 179)(FN12), and hence the purposiveness of nature, but in the process has detached the trees from their reference to Venus. Boccaccio explains that Mount Cithaeron is sacred to Venus and has the kind of temperate climate that is suitable for sexual activities. The pine-trees are present because they help to arouse the concupiscible appetite.(FN13) Chaucer knows all about these things, as is evident from his description of the temple of Venus in the Knight's Tale (A1936-59), but he has excluded them from the description of the paradisal park in The Parliament of Fowls because that park is not to be limited to a mere setting for the temple of Venus. Likewise he has eliminated Boccaccio's reference to the myrtles that abound in the place (VII. 51), for, as the gloss explains, flowers and myrtles 'hanno a confortare l'odorato, e massimamente la mortine, la quale scrivono i poeti essere albero di Venere, perciò che il suo odore è incitativo molto'.(FN14) Instead of the reference to the odoriferous myrtles, Chaucer has:
...colde welle-stremes, nothyng dede, That swymmen ful of smale fishes lighte, With fynnes rede and skales sylver bryghte.
Chaucer's reference here lies within the economy of his own poem, for these lines take up the challenge of the black verses of despair over the entrance to the park:
This strem yow ledeth to the sorweful were There as the fish in prysoun is al drye.
The description of the park is an account of an earthly paradise, and it is built upon the principles of plenitude (ll. 172-82),(FN15) fecundity (ll. 187-96), and harmony (ll. 197-210). Moreover, Chaucer has managed to show the interconnection of these ideas, for plenitude and fecundity are at once suggested by the 'trees clad with leves that ay shal laste' (l. 173) and fecundity and harmony in the linking of male and female of the fallow deer and of the red deer (l. 195): 'The dredful ro, the buk, the hert and hynde'.(FN16) What is being expressed here is the natural goodness of the created world. Hence, instead of the pines and myrtles associated with Venus, Chaucer introduces a specific reference to the author of nature, 'God, that makere is of al and lord' (l. 199).
The entrance into the park is the entrance into life itself with its dual potentialities of good and evil. The personified figures that are found within the park together constitute a complex statement of the elements involved in the exercise of choice between good and evil, namely, the causes and nature of the psychological acts that lead up to it and the moral effects of virtue and vice that flow from it. Chaucer has supplied a more comprehensive account of these psychological and moral ideas than Boccaccio by placing them within the perspective of created nature as a whole. It is indeed in these terms that natural and rational love are distinguished within the scholastic system, for rational love is the exercise of choice by an intellectual being in the light of the necessity of its natural inclination to the good.(FN17) The natural movement of love in the soul is the starting-point of the psychological process, and hence is represented by Boccaccio in the figure of Vaghezza, whom Palemone's prayer first encounters on Mount Cithaeron (VII. 50).(FN18) Chaucer omits the figure of Vaghezza from his own narrative, but retains the idea represented by her in the response of the dreamer upon first entering the park: 'But, Lord, so I was glad and wel begoon!' (l. 171). Thus is the soul 'creato ad amar presto' ('created quick to love').(FN19)
The spontaneous reaction of delight on the part of the dreamer reflects the unconstraining necessity of natural love. But even in respect of this natural necessity human beings are capable of misjudgement. So much is apparent from the dreamer's hesitation at the entrance to the park, for he stands before it overwhelmed by the responsibility of choice:
No wit hadde I, for errour, for to chese To entre or flen, or me to save or lese.
In his perplexity he thinks that he has arrived already at the moment of choice. But it is futile to question the terms on which God has established the necessity of nature, and fittingly, therefore, the decision to enter the park is taken out of his hands by Africanus (ll. 153-4). This initial impetus in loving is a proper expression of the most fundamental principle of human nature.(FN20) The denial of the instinct to love is a mark not of sophistication but of an unwholesome and diseased condition.(FN21) Not to love is to be like one who has lost his taste, 'As sek man hath of swete and bytternesse' (l. 161).
In the presentation of Cupid and his train (ll. 211-45) and the temple of Venus itself (ll. 246-94) Chaucer has followed Boccaccio in close detail. But the attention with which Chaucer has scrutinized his source is revealed above all by the detailed modifications that he has introduced into it, for he has used Boccaccio in the manner of a creative poet, adding to, omitting, adapting, and simply reproducing the matter of Boccaccio's text in the light of his own related but distinct poetic conception.
A modern reader attempting to understand the meaning of Cupid and Venus might well begin with the knowledge of Cupid as the son of Venus. But that relationship is invoked neither by Boccaccio nor by Chaucer, for it has no philosophical (and hence no poetic) relevance. Instead Cupido/Cupide (VII. 54. 2; l. 212) is seen not as a son, but as the father of Voluttà (VII. 54.4) or of Wille (l. 214), and as a lord (l. 212). In order to understand these values we undoubtedly need the help of the glosses, and they do indeed prove to be helpful, for we learn from them that Cupid is 'una passione nata nell'anima per alcuna cosa piaciuta' ('a passion that arises in man's soul for an object that...one likes'),(FN22) and that Venus 'represents...the concupiscible appetite' ('consistere...nel concupiscibile')(FN23). Venus is thus to be understood as the simple desire for and delight in an object that is delightful to the senses. The passions of love, desire, and delight are the three stages of the concupiscible appetite in its movement towards the sensible good, that is, they refer not merely to the power but to the actualization or operation of that power.(FN24)
Chaucer's closeness to his source and at the same time his creative independence from it are at once in evidence in his account of Cupid and Will fashioning and sharpening arrows. The derivation of Cupid and Will as father and daughter from Boccaccio's Cupido and 'sua figlia Voluttà' (VII. 54. 2 and 4) seems straightforward enough, but is by no means so on closer analysis. Voluttà is linked by Boccaccio with Ozio and Memoria (VII. 54. 6 and 7) as together perfecting the arrows that Cupido makes.(FN25) Voluttà perfects the arrows by tempering or hardening them in the spring, and Ozio and Memoria by binding the shafts with iron. This is a carefully worked-out sequence. Cupido as the passion of love is strengthened by Voluttà or delight in the hope of attaining the loved object,(FN26) and by Ozio or leisure and Memoria in having the time, free from the distraction of other concerns, to call to mind the appearance and manners of the loved object. These are familiar ideas in medieval courtly poetry, for Ydelnesse is the porter who admits the young man into the garden of Myrthe or delight in The Romaunt of the Rose (ll. 509-644). It is familiar territory that Chaucer has no longer any special interest in revisiting.
Cupid and his bow and arrows are sufficient in themselves to establish the power of the passion of love. These are images that retain their vitality throughout the Middle Ages, for the metaphor is apt in suggesting the suddenness and stunning impact of the passion of love and its truth is born out again and again in the experience of many individuals. The dreamer knows all about Cupid's 'myrakles and...crewel yre' and 'his strokes...so sore' (ll. 11, 13), and here (in Chaucer's important addition) he acknowledges him as 'oure lord' (1. 212). No argument is necessary, therefore, to establish the power of love. It is everywhere apparent, and above all in its destructive effects. Bows and arrows are deadly weapons in the hands of English and Welsh archers (men such as the Yeoman who 'wel koude...dresse his takel yemanly'; General Prologue, A106), as those aware of the course of the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) will well know. Chaucer therefore removes Boccaccio's references to leisure and memory and puts in their place a reference to the destructive effect of the arrows of love: 'after they shulde serve | Some for to sle, and some to wounde and kerve' (ll. 216-17). These are chilling words and they are such as to put the bookish dreamer's pieties in a proper perspective. The metaphor is exact, for love itself (it is not to be doubted) can damage the lover's physical constitution even to the point of death. How this can come about is explained at length and in technical detail by Dino del Garbo in his glosses on the Canzone d'amore, 32-7:
For di salute giudicar mantene,
ché la'ntenzione per ragione vale:
discerne male in cui è vizio amico.
Di sua potenza segue spesso morte,
se forte la vertù fosse impedita,
la quale aita la contraria via.(FN27)
The passion of love is seated not in the rational part of the soul but in the sensitive appetite, and so, unless regulated by reason, follows a judgement of sense cognition (estimation) whereby something is judged to be pleasing and lovable (amicum et diligenduni) that is not in fact so in the light of reason, for 'iudicium quod est in amore non est iudicium sanum, imo est corruptum.'(FN28) The false judgement whereby something harmful is loved is signified in the fiction by the 'welle' (ll. 211, 215) in which Will tempers the arrowheads, for, as Boccaccio explains, this is the 'fonte della nostra falsa estimazione, quando...giudichiamo che la cosa piaciuta sia da preporre ad ogni altra cosa o temporale o divina'.(FN29) By such a false judgement Criseyde is 'likynge to Troilus | Over alle thing' (TC I. 309-10). The essence of this passion of love is the vehement desire in the appetite for the thing loved: 'essentia amoris in hoc consistat: quod est passio quedam in qua appetitus est cum uehementi desiderio circa rem quam amat, ut scilicet coniungatur rei amate'.(FN30) This love is, of course, the disease of love, 'the loveris maladye | Of Hereos' (Knight's Tale, A1374-5), and hence Dino del Garbo proceeds to supply the familiar medical definitions of Avicenna and Haly Abbas, that is, of love as a 'sollicitudo melanconica, similis melanconie'.(FN31) The issue, then, has become one not of the strengthening of the passion of love by delight, leisure, and memory, but rather the pathological strength of the passion by reason of the intention firmly lodged in the memory. The passion of love results in death when it is so intense that it interferes with the normal operation of the vegetative powers by which life is preserved, as in the case of those in whom the desire aroused by love remains unfulfilled. The process, as observed by physicians no less than by poets, is that the body becomes desiccated and eventually fails.(FN32)
When Chaucer wrote The Parliament of Fowls (possibly in 1380-2) he was not in the first flush of youth and was unlikely to be seduced (if he ever was) by the ephemeral pleasures of passionate love affairs. The translation of The Romaunt of the Rose is now long in the past,(FN33) and he has begun to assimilate the learning and absorb the lessons of the great Italian masters. He has seen enough of the world and has had enough experience of love (unlike his fictional narrator) to know that the outcome of passionate loves and desires is more often ruin and destruction than joy and fulfilment. This is not so much a matter of morality (although the issues are profoundly moral in their bearing) as of the experience of life itself. Chaucer is too intelligent a poet to set in the midst of his poem in celebration of St Valentine's Day a moral exhortation against lust and excess in love. Instead he embodies in it a terrible and unmistakable warning against yielding to the specious attractions of the service of Cupid and Venus. The image of Cupid is not of a passive figure in repose, like Boccaccio's Cupido 'avendo alli suoi piè l'arco posato' (VII. 54. 3), but of an ever-present threat, for 'at his fet his bowe al redy lay' (l. 213). We are soon to learn that this weapon will wreak havoc and destruction (ll. 216-17). Chaucer has thus made clear at once the high stakes for which lovers play, and he never loses sight of the end in view.(FN34) The description of the temple of Venus reaches its predetermined conclusion with an impressive array of compelling examples (ll. 288-92) and a summarizing statement of 'al here love, and in what plyt they dyde' (1. 294). It is Chaucer who has produced this conclusion by transposing the description of Venus herself (Teseida, VII. 63-6; PF 260-80) and of the paintings on the wall of the temple illustrating respectively the defeats of Diana and the victories of Venus (VII. 61-2, and 11. 281-94). Chaucer has absorbed a vast amount of figurative detail here, but he seldom if ever loses control of his own poem.
The consequence of these changes is that 'Cupide, oure lord' and 'Wille, his doughter' (ll. 212, 214) stand in a subtly different relationship from that in which Boccaccio has set them. The clear distinction between Cupido making the arrows ('fabricar saette', VII. 54. 2) and Voluttà selecting some of them and tempering them in the water ('selette | nell' onde temperava', VII. 54. 4-5) is rejected by Chaucer for his present purposes. Cupid and Will are both identified by Chaucer with the sharpening of the arrows. Cupid is seen by the dreamer both to 'forge and file' (l. 212) his arrows, and Will at the same time ('al this while', l. 214) to temper 'the hevedes' (l. 215) in the well. In other words, Cupid fashions arrows and sharpens them and Will strengthens them for their purpose. When Will has tempered the arrow-heads 'with hire wile | She touchede hem' (ll. 215-16). Chaucer's meaning here is by no means evident, and such uncertainty is perhaps the cause of the textual variation at this point. 'Wile' (l. 215) is glossed by Davis and DiMarco as 'skill', but MED supplies no support for such a non-pejorative use of the word.(FN35) The textual evidence strongly favours file. It is the reading of all five manuscripts of Group B (F, B, T, Lt, and D), and of one Group A manuscript (R). But R (MS Trinity College, Cambridge R 3.19) has the voiced form vyle for fyle, and since w appears for v in Gg (MS Cambridge University Library Gg 4.27, also a Group A manuscript), it is possible that Gg's wile is also a spelling for file.(FN36) The repetition of file in rhyme here may be surprising to some readers, but it is a characteristic means of emphasis on Chaucer's part of key words and ideas; thus we have welle (ll. 211, 215), sykeslsikes (ll. 246, 248), and aray (ll. 317, 318). If 'file' is the correct sense for wile (1. 215), then the reading touchede for couchede (1. 216), although poorly attested by only two manuscripts (R and B) and by Caxton's printed edition of 1477-8, has obvious merits.(FN37) Brewer understands touchede in the sense 'gave finishing touches to',(FN38) but it is recorded by MED in the sense 'to test metal', and the cognate noun has e its 'the process of rubbing a metal object on a touchstone in order to determine its quality'.(FN39) Thus, having hardened the metal heads in the water, Will proceeds with her file to judge their penetrative power. Not all arrows, by any means, are capable of penetrating the targets they strike. The boar that is the object of the second day's hunt in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is struck time and again by the arrows of the bowmen (ll. 1454-5):
Bot be poyntez payred at be pyth pat py3t in his scheldez, And pe barbez of his browe bite non wolde--þag pe schauen schaft schyndered in pecez, ge hede hypped agayn were-so-euer hit hitte.
The bowmen are capable of maddening the boar, but not of killing it (ll. 1460-1).
By these means, then, Chaucer emphasizes the special closeness of the relationship between Cupid and Will, and further clarifies it by the addition of Plesaunce at the beginning of the following stanza (l. 218). Clearly Will cannot be, as is Boccaccio's Voluttà 'pleasure' or 'delight', but is to be distinguished from pleasure (as also from Delyt, l. 224). As Cupid is the passion of love, so Will is the passion of desire that arises directly from it (on the basis of actual occurrence, that is, not of intention).(FN41) But the apprehended good of the senses is a particular good, and it is known only as it pleases.(FN42) The presence of pleasure or pain in the act of judgement is a characteristic of sense cognition as distinct from intellectual cognition.(FN43) Aquinas explains that this act of perceiving pleasure and pain is an act of the common sense which is a kind of medium between the particular senses.(FN44) Hence he goes on to identify three stages in the movement from sense-object to sense appetition:
Patet igitur, quod motus sensibilis in sensum procedit quasi triplici gradu. Nam primo apprehendit ipsum sensibile ut conveniens vel nocivum. Secundo ex hoc sequitur delectatio et tristitia. Tertio autem sequitur desiderium vel fuga.(FN45)
The passion of love therefore presupposes the presence of pleasure, and hence in encountering Cupid and Will the dreamer was 'war of Plesaunce anon-ryght' (l. 218). Dante, too, fixes upon that element of pleasure that is inseparable from the inclination that is the passion of love: 'quel piegare è amor, quell' è natura | che per piacer di novo in voi si lega' (Purgatorio, XVIII. 26-7). In Froissart's Paradis D'Amour, a source for the opening lines of The Book of the Duchess, Plaisance is 'la souverainne | Dou saisir' 46(ll. 503-4) or 'the principal agent' in lovers 'at the moment when they fell in love',(FN46) and perhaps such a passage influenced Chaucer in his choice of the form Plesaunce here and also in the description of the temple of Venus in the Knight's Tale (A1925). Plesaunce is thus the principal agent when Troilus falls in love with Criseyde, for the carriage and demeanour of Criseyde are wonderfully pleasing to him: 'To Troilus right wonder wel with alle | Gan for to like hire mevynge and hire chere' (I. 288-9).
Chaucer turns from the passions of love and desire as vehement and destructive in the figures of Cupid and Will (ll. 211-17) to a consideration of the causes of love in the following two stanzas (ll. 218-31). Boccaccio identifies 'Bellezza, Giovaneza, Leggiadria, Gentileza, Piacevolezza, e simiglianti' as 'cagioni eccitative'(FN47) and describes such personifications as Addornezza, Affabilitate, and Cortesia as 'certe cose accidentali, le quali sono induttive allo effetto del disiderio nato da questa passione'(FN48). Love itself is an accident, so that what we have to do with here are accidents in respect of an accident.(FN49) Such accidents are known technically as ircumstances,(FN50) and indeed Chaucer himself identifies 'Aray, and Lust' (1. 219) as circumstances in his description of the temple of Venus in the Knight's Tale:
Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal, By ordre weren peynted on the wal, And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
The very identification of accidents, however, presupposes the distinction of substance and accident, and so also of the essential and circumstantial causes of an act.(FN51) Now the essential cause of love as its sole or proper cause is the good.(FN52) Hence by his inclusion of Pleasance at the beginning of the series of personifications Chaucer announces the presence of the perceived good as the essential cause of love.(FN53) His method is more systematic and complete than that of Boccaccio.
The allegorical personifications that accompany Pleasance, namely, Array, Lust, Courtesy, Craft, and Gentilesse (ll. 219-24), are circumstantial causes of love, in this case, as Boccaccio's glosses confirm, causes that enable the lover to gain the object of his love. Thus Boccaccio explains that Addornezza, or elegance of dress, is effective 'perciò che per l'essere ornato molte volte l'amante viene in piacere de la cosa amata'.(FN54) Chaucer's word is 'aray' (l. 219), and his Squire in the General Prologue is a perfect example, for he is 'embrouded...as it were a meede | Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede' (A89-90).
In the sequence 'Aray, and Lust, and Curteysie' (1. 219), Chaucer has Lust where Boccaccio has Affabilitate (VII. 55. 2). The reason for the change would seem to be the difficulty of maintaining a precise distinction between affability and courtesy. The virtue of courtesy is a virtue of outward conduct, namely, the conduct which is suitable or proper to the person and the occasion. Aristotle says of the virtue of affability that it is what is proper in our dealings with others.(FN55) Courtesy includes affability, and Chaucer therefore avoids the possibility of reduplication.(FN56) The figure of Lust cannot mean 'pleasure' here, since as a circumstantial cause of love it is to be distinguished from Pleasance, but the sense 'vigour' or 'energy' would suit well.(FN57) The Squire is 'a lovyere and a lusty bacheler', and hence 'wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe' (General Prologue, A80, 84), and the 'lusty squier' Aurelius in the Franklin's Tale is 'yong, strong' (F937, 933). The Wife of Bath is rightly unimpressed by her three old husbands, for although 'goode men, and riche', they run out of steam in the bedroom (Prologue, D197-202). She 'sette hem so a-werke... | That many a nyght they songen "Weilawey!"' (D215-16). Vigour in a lover is a necessity, not an optional extra. Chaucer's description of Craft (ll. 220-2) corresponds closely to Boccaccio's 'l'Arti c'hanno potestate | di fare altrui a forza far follia' (VII. 55.4-5),(FN58) and presumably has reference to the same magic arts which, as Boccaccio explains in his gloss, 'con varie trasformazioni spaventano, e con forze di diversi incantamenti inducono molte volte e gli uomini e le donne ad amare ciò che, se quelle non fossero, non amerebbono'.(FN59) The presence of Gentilesse in the company of Delight signifies the 'nobility of birth or rank'(FN60) as a circumstantial cause that bears directly on the gaining of the object of one's love. Dino del Garbo explains in his commentary that 'hec passio amoris, ut plurimum, reperitur in hominibus nobilibus'(FN61) because (among other reasons) noblemen have the wealth and power to gain the objects of their desire.(FN62) Chaucer has placed Delight 'under an ok' (l. 223) in order to suggest the idea of chivalric nobility. The oak is used proverbially of stoutness and strength,(FN63) and indeed has already been used by Chaucer as an appropriate setting for the Black Knight's complaint in The Book of the Duchess (ll. 443-86).
The series of personifications from Array to Gentilesse outlines the course of a sophisticated and successful love affair characterized by the refinement of manners that for many modern readers has come to be associated with 'courtly love'. In turning from these personifications to Beauty and Youth we come to circumstantial causes of love of a more elemental and universal kind. The contrast is immediately apparent, for instead of Array (l. 219) we have 'Beute withouten any atyr' (l. 225). A problem arises in respect of Beauty as a circumstantial cause of love, for the good and the beautiful are really identical.(FN64) Nevertheless there is a notional distinction between the two. Whereas the good is the object of desire or appetite, the beautiful is the object of knowledge or contemplation. Thus the beautiful is that of which the sight is pleasing, whereas the good is simply pleasing. As such Beauty can be considered apart from Pleasance as an accidental cause of love, and so may be included among the circumstances. No difficulty would seem to be involved in accounting for the presence of Youth among the circumstantial causes, for youth is the period of life in which the desires and pleasures of the senses are most keenly felt. At the same time the description of Youth as 'ful of game and jolyte' (l. 226) can be read somewhat blandly as a reference to youthful gaiety and high spirits. Thus game is glossed by MED as 'amusement' and jolyte as 'cheerful or joyous behavior, gaiety'.(FN65) These glosses are altogether too genial for this particular context. Game is better glossed as 'amorous play, love-making', and jolyte as 'vigor, strength; fervor' or even 'playfulness' (2(c)),(FN66) a euphemism, it would seem, for lasciviousness. Chaucer is directing our attention here to the inordinacy of youthful desires, and in particular to the indecorous expression of them, for in such 'game and jolyte' Youth is at one with Venus 'in disport' (l. 260). Indeed, where Boccaccio has Venus holding Lascivia by the hand,(FN67) Chaucer has set two young lovers reverently petitioning Venus for aid:
And, as I seyde, amyddes lay Cypride, To whom on knees two yonge folk ther cryde To ben here helpe.
The disturbing implications of the wantonness of Youth are developed in the series of personifications that follow--Foolhardiness, Flattery, Desire, Messagerie, and Meed (ll. 227-8).
Those who are young and in love are often prompted by warm-hearted thoughts to impetuous actions which advance their love affairs but in ways the outcomes of which are difficult to foresee. At the time these outcomes may not seem to matter very much when confronted by the urgency of present desires. As Boccaccio explains, the daring (ardire) or, more correctly, the rashness (temerità), of lovers is at odds with wise advice, for 'il savio consiglio non concede mai altrui se non quello di che vede il fine'.(FN68) Thus in Chrétien's Chevalier de la Charrete the knight on his quest to rescue the Queen drives his first horse to the point of exhaustion and death (ll. 270-3, 279-81, 296-8), and in his impetuosity he does not take care to choose the better of the two horses offered him by Gauvain (ll. 290-5). Soon he is impelled without much weighing of consequences to step into the ignominious cart that defines him as a knight (ll. 345-77). No wonder that he is later compared to Pyramus (ll. 38024).(FN69)
Few, if any, lovers are prepared to ignore the advantages of flattery as a means to securing the end they desire, and we may not be predisposed to blame them unduly for flattering the object of their love. The dreamer at any rate is not so embarrassed by the presence of flattery here as to think it unmentionable like the 'other thre' (l. 228). Dante places the flatterers (adulatori, lusingatori) 'in uno sterco | che da li uman privadi parea mosso' (Inferno, XVIII. 113-14),(FN70) in the second bolgia or ditch of Malebolge (XVIII. 100-36) after the panders (ruffiani) and seducers (seduttori) in the first bolgia (XVIII. 22-99). Not all flatteries, however, are of this loathsome and odious kind. Aquinas distinguishes between the mortal sin of flattery (adulatio) which is contrary to charity, and the venial sin, prompted by the mere desire to please, or to avoid some harm, or to gain some advantage, which is not.(FN71) Lovers, then, have at all times obtained the object of their desires by flattery, and we would not place them in the second bolgia of Malebolge merely on that account. Indeed, the servants of Cupid, being impelled by the false belief that the pleasing object of their desires is to be preferred to all other things, must take their own flatteries for the very truth.
At all times evident in the impetuous actions and pleasing compliments of lovers is the strength of desire that urges them on, and such desire in itself (unless it is threatening in some way) can become a factor in advancing the cause of the lover. In other words the beloved object is pleased by the thought that she is wanted or desired. Thus Criseyde is moved by Troilus above all by the reflection that his distress is wholly on her account: 'But moost hire favour was, for his distresse | Was al for hire' (II. 663-4). But when she sees her lover in earnest to kill himself for love and, in consequence, the likelihood of her own suicide (IV 1212-41), she begins at once the process of withdrawal: 'But hoo, for we han right ynough of this...' (IV 1242).
The abstract noun Messagerye (PF 228) on the evidence of MED is a hapax legomenon, but the sense of 'the sending of messages' is surely not in doubt, for the writing of love-letters or billets-doux has been the resort of lovers down the ages. Hence it is a key stage in Pandarus's stratagem for winning Criseyde on Troilus's behalf, and its importance is evident from the space that is devoted to it, some 350 lines in the narrative of Book II of Troilus and Criseyde (ll. 1002-1351). The heroic course of action for a lover, no doubt, is to submit his cause to the beloved by a bold and open declaration of love. We shall expect nothing less from one who is in fact a hero, and such heroic expectations are certainly fulfilled by the royal tercel eagle in the conviction of his claim on the formel's love (PF 416-20). But there are obvious dangers in such boldness. The royal tercel remains in limbo along with his two inferior rival claimants, while the formel requires time (a great deal of time) to reach a decision. The lover's humiliation can be much worse. In the Franklin's Tale, the declaration of love by Aurelius in desperation after more than two years of intense suffering (F935-78) is followed at once by Dorigen's direct and humiliating rebuff (F979-87), and the lover's pain is by no means assuaged by the promise born of womanly compassion that afterwards threatens Dorigen' s own happiness and well-being (F988-1011). Such humiliation is intolerable for a 'fierse and proude knight' (TC I. 225) such as Troilus, even in the contemplation of it.
The practice of letter-writing naturally recommends itself to timid lovers. Troilus cannot face the confrontation of his feelings with those of his beloved, and 'as a dredful lovere' (II. 1045) is pleased by Pandarus's advice to write a letter (II. 1002-44). Indeed, he has to be spurred on by Pandarus even to find that lesser kind of courage that is necessary for letter-writing (II. 1046-59). The great advantage of the letter is that it enables the lover to present his case in his own absence and hence to be judged in his absence. It is not a course of action free from anxiety, since the verdict may still be unfavourable, but at least the lover will be able to come to terms with that verdict in private rather than in public. But a price has to be paid for courtship by way of correspondence. No woman of substance and style can much admire so half-hearted and insidious an approach. It is the conduct of one with a 'wrecched mouses herte' (III. 736), even if he is a great champion on the field of battle, and it earns for the lover (in the first place at any rate) the woman's contempt rather than her admiration. Before she is able to bring herself to reply to Troilus's letter Criseyde has to set aside some of that instinctive contempt, for she 'gan hire herte unfettre | Out of desdaynes prisoun but a lite' (II. 1216-17). None the less there can be no doubt that the writing of letters can be effective in insinuating oneself into the affections of a woman, even a high-spirited woman, and in this way a lover can maintain at second hand and at a distance the presence of himself in the mind of the beloved. It is potentially at any rate a foot in at the door without the danger of knocking at the door.
Meede (PF 228) is sometimes glossed as 'bribery',(FN72) but a pejorative meaning is unlikely here, for the idea of love bought and sold would surely elicit a protest from our bookish dreamer. After, or even perhaps along with, the love-letter will come the bouquet of red roses, the bottle of perfume, and the box of chocolates, or, in the case of Absolon, not much noted for his largesse (see Miller's Tale, A3348-51), 'pyment, meeth, and spiced ale, | And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede' (A3378-9). Meede is better considered here in the sense of 'a gift...a suitor's blandishments',(FN73) for there is nothing to be said in favour of a miserly lover. Generosity is a virtue in lovers, and rightly so as a mean between avarice and prodigality.
Gower considers the gift-giving of lovers under parsimony or niggardliness, one of the species of the deadly sin of avarice. The Confessor assures Amans that gift-giving is praiseworthy in a lover, and a means of success in love:
For thus men sein, in every nede He was wys that ferst made mede; For where as mede mai noght spede, I not what helpeth other dede.(FN74)
Indeed, those who neglect to give gifts (mede,V. 4798, 4799) are ignorant of 'Cupides art' (V 4802). As a warning to Amans against the vice of parsimony the Confessor tells the story of Babio and Croceus (V 4781-4873). Through his meanness Babio loses the love of Viola, a 'yonge lusty wyht' (V 4823), 'full of youthe and ful of game' (V 4812), to 'a freissh, a fre, a frendly man' (V 4833) called Croceus, who was 'large of his despence, | And amorous and glad of chiere' (V. 4838-9). Certainly a generous lover deserves success and a parsimonious suitor to fall short. Who can admire stinginess in a person, let alone love it? But there is a point at which the giving and taking of gifts become morally unacceptable, and this point is explored with much delicacy and finesse by the Gawain-poet when the lady of the household at Hautdesert seeks to prevail upon Gawain to give and receive gifts that are not proper for him to give and receive (ll. 1796-1869). A gift, such as a glove, for example (ll. 1799-1807) ought not to imply more than it should by way of love and affection. It ought to be one of those 'menskful þingez' (l. 1809) as to do honour to the one who receives it, and yet not of such 'wele ful hoge' (l. 1820) as to cause embarrassment to the receiver by its material value.
The distinction of propriety in giving and receiving is considered in detail by Langland in an important addition in the C-text (III. 285-405a), where he tries to fix the distinction linguistically in the use of mercede and mede and to reinforce it by the grammatical analogy of direct and indirect relation.(FN75) The distinction of true and false reward is to be made by reference to the fitness or unfitness of the relation between giver and receiver. The giving and receiving of gifts demands love in the giver and righteousness in the receiver (CIII. 314-16), but a gift degenerates into a bribe as an offence of the giver when there is a giving of a material inducement that implies a hidden and unlawful contract (CIII. 302-3) and as an offence of the receiver when there is an improper soliciting of payment (CIII. 298-301).(FN76) The word mede is used in ME for both 'gift' and 'bribe' so that it must be left to the context to determine its precise force. Gower's Confessor clearly has the sense of 'gift' in mind for mede (CAV 4720, 4721) in commending gift-giving to Amans, and indeed uses it as a synonym for 'yifte' (V 4712, 4715). But the lovesick Absolon of the Miller's Tale is not so fastidious as to rely on love and righteousness alone, and, moved by the consideration that Alison 'was of town, he profred meede' (A3380), that is, a financial inducement or incentive, 'for som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse' (A3381). The resort to meede in the sense of 'bribery' is ruled out by the wicked judge of the Physician's Tale because it is rendered inefficacious by the fact that the knight's maiden daughter was 'confermed... in... soverayn bountee' (C133, 136). The precise meaning of Meede in The Parliament of Fowls must to some extent, therefore, remain uncertain. We shall share the dreamer's expectation and hope that a servant of Cupid will be generous to his lady, but we shall also know that as he increasingly comes to despair of success his methods will become less scrupulous. What this entails is hinted at in the figure of aposiopesis (praecisio) that follows: 'and other thre--| Here names shul not here be told for me' (ll. 228-9).
Here the dreamer legitimates the search on the reader's part for these unutterable methods of prosecuting a love affair and it is not difficult to begin by supplying some possibilities from common experience and observation, namely, importunity and harassment (the medieval word is bisynesse), lies and deceptions (lesynges), procurement (bauderie), and violence or rape (force). All these names will be found in the list supplied by Chaucer in the description of the temple of Venus in the Knight's Tale:
Plesaunce and Hope, Desir, Foolhardynesse, Beautee and Youthe, Bauderie, Richesse, Charmes and Force, Lesynges, Flaterye, Despense, Bisynesse, and Jalousye.
The focus in the Knight's Tale is on the unpleasant and indeed unsavoury aspects of the service of Venus, just as, in the description of the temple of Mars (A1967-2050), the emphasis is on the grimness of the service of the god of war. Nevertheless, the names have attracted some resolutely optimistic glosses; bauderie is 'mirth, jollity' or 'gaiety', and bisynesse is 'attentiveness'.(FN77) It is as if the word baude did not exist in ME in its common acceptation of 'bawd, pimp' or as if 'jolly or gay person' were one of its possible senses. The gloss 'mirth' or 'gaiety' is a euphemism arrived at by means other than lexical, especially when we note that it corresponds to the Italian Ruffiania (Teseida, VII. 56. 8), that is, 'procurement'. The characteristic posture of Pandarus as a go-between or procurer is one of bisynesse. Troilus in his misery and impatience wants to know when Pandarus will 'be ayein at hire fro me' (TC II. 984), and Pandarus assures him that he 'wol be ther at pryme' (II. 992). He stresses to Troilus not only the wisdom of writing a letter, but the urgency of it, and bids him 'leve it nought for slouthe' (II. 1008). He is so eager to be 'ayein at' Criseyde that he has to explain away the indecent earliness of his visit ('bytyme I A-morwe', II. 1093-4) by insisting 'that it was passed prime' (II. 1095) and concocting the fiction of 'a Greek espie' with 'tydynges' of the progress of the war (II. 1111-13). He presses on immediately after Troilus's contrived ride past (II. 1247-74), for he 'felte iren hoot' and so 'bygan to smyte' (II. 1276). After the success of this visit he hastens back 'ful faste homward' (II. 1303) and urges the distracted lover on his part to 'do forthwith al thi bisynesse' (II. 1316). As Troilus continues to suffer, so Pandarus 'bisily with al his herte caste I Som of his wo to slen' (II. 1357-8), and sets about the next stage of his plan by bringing Criseyde into the very presence of the lover in the house of Deiphoebus 'er it be dayes two' (II. 1362). As soon as he has laid the groundwork with the unsuspecting Deiphoebus (II. 1401-59), he 'took his leve, and nevere gan to fyne, | But to his neces hous, as streyght as lyne, | He com' (II. 1460-2). He continues in this relentless fashion, and even as he ushers Criseyde into Troilus's bedroom he impresses upon her the dangers of delay in terms that he knows will provoke in her the utmost alarm: 'In titeryng, and pursuyte, and delayes, | The folk devyne at waggyng of a stree' (II. 1744-5). This is bisynesse, and it is altogether a less pleasant and a darker thing than a lover's solicitude. As Pandarus is at Criseyde, so the lady at Hautdesert is relentless in pursuit of Gawain: 'Ful erly ho watz hym ate | His mode for to remwe' (SGGK 1474-5). For all his fabled courtesy, Gawain is reduced, on the third day in the bedroom (as it happens, just before he makes, through fear, his ill-considered concession), to insisting that the lady cease from her importunity: 'And berfore, I pray yow, displese yow nogt, | And lettez be your bisinesse, for | bayþe hit yow neuer | to graunte' (ll. 1839-41). The reluctance to accept this dark and unworthy side to the service of love goes beyond the glossing of one or two key terms. The dreamer in The Parliament of Fowls is too loyal a servant of 'Cupide, oure lord' (l. 212) to want to reveal these dark secrets to an unsympathetic audience. He is not alone. Although Boccaccio provides an extensive gloss to the temple of Venus, he has nothing to say about Ruffiania and passes lightly over Lusinghe, Promesse e Arte (Teseida, VII. 56. 8, 58. 8): 'Dice ancora che v'erano Lusinghe e Promesse e Arte, le quali cose variamente e in varii tempi possono, come coloro sanno che giá l'hanno provato'.(FN78) The moral realities underlying Pandarus's conduct as a go-between are lucidly exposed by Chaucer in the significant matter that he adds after Criseyde's departure from the house of Deiphoebus and Eleyne and Deiphoebus have also retired, leaving Pandarus and Troilus at last alone with their true thoughts (III. 232-424). Although Pandarus protests on his own behalf that all his 'bisynesse' (III. 244) was motivated not by 'coveitise... | But oonly for t'abregge that distresse | For which wel neigh thow deidest, as me thoughte' (III. 261-3), his conscience is deeply troubled by what he has done to his niece, so much so that he is unable to bring himself to put a name to it:
'That is to seye, for the am I bicomen, Bitwixen game and ernest, swich a meene As maken wommen unto men to comen; Al sey I nought, thow wost wel what I meene'.
Boccaccio's Pandaro is less fastidious: 'Io son per te divenuto mezzano',(FN79) and Troilus, whose pain by now has robbed him of his moral scruples, uses the English word bauderye (III. 397), only to disown it in the present context. For Troilus the distinction of motive, between one who 'gooth for gold or for ricchesse | On swich message' and one who acts out of 'gentilesse, | Compassioun, and felawship, and trist' (III. 400-3) is all-important, and here he insists on a philosophical precision of which Aquinas himself would have been proud: 'for wyde-wher is wist | How that ther is diversite requered | Bytwixen thynges like, as I have lered' (III. 404-6). It is like the distinction that Aquinas draws between religion and holiness or between truth and simplicity, namely, that they are identical in essence but notionally distinct.(FN80) But such a distinction is unlikely to ease a troubled conscience, even though it satisfies one blinded by the pain of love. What Pandarus does is an exact account of the operation of a pimp (an ugly word) or procurer, that is, it is essentially identical with pimping, but it is notionally distinct from pimping as motivated by friendship rather than the love of money. But moral acts cannot be entirely circumscribed by motive, and Pandarus has given his very name to the act that he does not wish to name. Dante places the panders (ruffiani) in the eighth circle of hell (Malebolge) because this is where the fraudulent are to be found. Here is exposed to view by Dante's chiara favella or 'plain speech' (Inferno, XVIII. 53) the sin of Venedico Caccianemico 'che la Ghisolabella | condussi a far la voglia del marchese, | come che suoni la sconcia novella' (XVIII. 55-7)(FN81) We have come a long way down from the sin of passion of Paolo and Francesca, punished in the second circle of hell, to the sin of malice that is characterized by its cold deliberation, but there is a kind of inevitability in the progression.
It is not difficult, therefore, to supply the three names left unmentioned by the dreamer in The Parliament of Fowls, for it is the very purpose of the rhetorical figure of aposiopesis to raise a suspicion by leaving the matter unexpressed.(FN82) In the Miller's Tale the three names specified are richesse, strokes (that is, 'force'), and gentillesse (that is, 'social status'): 'For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse, | And somme for strokes, and somme for gentillesse' (A3381-2), and in the darker context of the Physician's Tale they are slyghte, force, and meede (C131, 133). Slyghte is 'slyness, cunning, craftiness; guile, trickery, deceit',(FN83) and the judge's cunning trick, executed with 'greet deliberacioun' (C139), involves a 'cherl' as intermediary bribed with 'yiftes preciouse and deere' (C148) and a trumped-up legal claim to possession of the knight's maiden daughter (C139-202). It is reminiscent of the trick of Pandarus in fabricating the threat of litigation by Poliphete against Criseyde (TC II. 1401-1624) so as to bring her to the house of Deiphoebus and into the presence of Troilus. It is 'o manere | Of sleyghte' (II. 1511-12) to cloak his real purpose. It is no wonder, then, that the dreamer in The Parliament of Fowls has suppressed details such as these, for all three, fraudulence, violence, and procurement, alone and in combination, arouse distaste rather than awe. Thus the rape of the maid by the young knight at the beginning of the Wife of Bath's Tale (D882-8) provoked 'swich clamour | And swich pursute unto the kyng Arthour' that the knight was condemned to death by course of law (D889-93). When the lady at Hautdesert points out to Gawain that '3e ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkpe, gif yow lykez | 3if any were so vilanous pat yow devaye wolde' (ll. 1496-7), the knight is moved to respond that 'þrete is vnþryuande in þede þer I lende' (l. 1499). It is, then, an unpromising path that leads the dreamer to see 'upon pilers greete of jasper longe |...a temple of bras ifounded stronge' (PF 230-1). What, we may well suppose, do the details of jasper and brass signify in this context? They clearly demand a convincing explanation.
The writing and receiving of letters (messagerye) raise questions of circumspection and propriety, and Chaucer's narrative of Troilus's first letter to Criseyde and Criseyde's reply is saturated with references to wisdom and folly. Criseyde's reservations about receiving (TC II. 1118-58), and above all about replying to (II. 1065-92), (II. 1159-62 and 1193-1218), Troilus's letter show her awareness of the unwisdom of offering any encouragement to one who writes in such passionate terms (II. 1065-92). By allowing herself to be persuaded and bullied by Pandarus into doing so she has committed an act of folly on her own account to match that of her would-be lover. Such folly is at once made clear to us by Chaucer in the details of the cushion embroidered with gold and the stone of jasper on which she sits as, full of misgivings, she hands over her reply to Pandarus:
And down she sette hire by hym on a stoon Of jaspre, upon a quysshyn gold-ybete, And seyde, 'As wisly help me God the grete, I nevere dide thing with more peyne Than writen this, to which ye me constreyne,' And took it hym.
Chaucer does not scatter details of this kind at random. The sequence of gold and jasper if extended will take us to wisdom and to the goodness of woman when we identify the reference to the distich quoted in the Tale of Melibee: 'And ther seyde oones a clerk in two vers, "What is bettre than gold ? Jaspre. What is bettre than jaspre? Wisedoom. | And what is better than wisedoom? Womman. And what is bettre than a good womman? Nothyng"' (B[sup2]297-8). This is a direct translation of the French of the Livre de Mellibee et Prudence (1337) of the Dominican friar Renaud de Louens, in its turn a translation of the Latin of Albertano of Brescia's Liber con-solationis et consilii (1246): 'Quid melius auro? Jaspis. Quid jaspide? Sensus. Quid sensu? Mulier. Quid muliere? Nihil.'(FN84) The presence of the distich in the Liber consolationis guarantees its wide diffusion in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,(FN85) and indeed Chaucer draws directly on the chapter in which it appears for the ironic encomium on marriage in the Merchant's Tale (E1267-1392).(FN86) Thus movement from jasper to gold is a movement away from wisdom, and indeed, as we have seen, there is nothing of wisdom in Criseyde's reply to Troilus's letter.
It is not by chance that the specification of Messagerye in The Parliament of Fowls (l. 228) is followed directly by the jasper columns of the temple of brass that is dedicated to Venus (ll. 230-1). The reference to jasper is Chaucer's distinctive contribution here, for Boccaccio's text has simply 'in su alte colonne | di rame un tempio'.(FN87) The copper columns establish at once the reference to Venus, for the planet Venus produces copper, but the reference to 'bras' (PF 231) has the same significance, for, as Boccaccio explains in his glosses, copper and brass are the same in kind, but different in species.(FN88) Brass or copper is aptly Venus's metal, for it welds, unites, and binds all other metals, shines like gold when polished, and has a sweet sound.(FN89) Thus as brass looks like gold but is a base metal ('vilissimo metallo'(FN90)) so sexual gratification is delightful in prospect but bitter in experience.(FN91) By characterizing the temple as a whole and not merely the columns as made of brass and also by referring to Venus within the temple as 'Cypride' (l. 277),(FN92) Chaucer indicates that the essential reality of the service of Venus is bitterness and pain, however attractively it may be disguised in outward appearance. Venus herself is to be found 'on a bed of gold' (1. 265), a detail absent from the Tiseida, where Boccaccio contents himself with 'un gran letto assai bello a vedere' (VII. 64. 8).(FN93) The emphasis on gold is further elaborated upon by Chaucer in the following stanza, where Boccaccio's 'ella avea d'oro i crini e rilegati | intorno al capo sanza treccia alcuna' (VII. 65. 1-2)(FN94) becomes 'hyre gilte heres with a golden thred I Ibounden were, untressed as she lay' (ll. 267-8). In this context the detail of the jasper columns is resonant indeed, and in this brilliant and subtle fashion Chaucer tells us that we are not to look for wisdom in the love inspired by Cupid and Venus. Cavalcanti expresses this insight directly: 'e non si giri per trovarvi gioco: né cert'à mente gran saver, né poco'.(FN95) Folly is indeed the fundamental characteristic of the vehement love signified by Cupid, and consequently Dino del Garbo has no difficulty in explaining this element of the canzone in these terms.(FN96) In other words, young and beautiful lovers are led by degrees through foolhardiness, flattery, intensity of desire, the writing of letters, and the giving of gifts (and goodness knows what else, but certainly also lies and deceptions, and perhaps even procurement and force) to obtain the joys of Venus. They seem to be golden, but are in fact made of copper.
The relationship between the psychological drama and its physical context is made clear to the reader of The Parliament of Fowls by a series of detailed references to the temple of brass as the location of love. Thus the dreamer comes to the precincts of the temple (l. 232) and sees the doves on the roof (l. 237), approaches the entrance (l. 239), crosses the threshold (l. 244), enters the temple (ll. 246, 254), penetrates its innermost recesses (l. 260) to see the goddess on her bed (l. 265), and goes yet 'ferther in' (l. 280) to view the paintings on the wall. It is an enlightening and uncomfortable journey for the dreamer to make, for the darkness of the place cannot conceal the pain and ruin of lovers who have committed themselves to the service of Venus.
The fact is that Venus here stands for the concupiscible appetite as it is at odds with reason and as it has overwhelmed the reason(FN97) The capacity of passion to upset the order of reason is suggested by the disorder of dress and hair in the women dancing round the temple:
Aboute the temple daunsedyn alwey Women inowe, of whiche some ther weere Fayre of hemself, and some of hem were gay; In kertels, al dishevele, wente they there.
But it is also possible for passions to be restrained and moderated by reason. This possibility is expressed by Chaucer in describing the whiteness and concord of the doves (ll. 237-8).(FN99) Concord signifies the harmony of wills and characterizes the love of friendship (amor amicitiae) in which the object of love is loved for its own sake. By building into his text the idea of concord in reference to 'many an hundred peyre' (l. 238) of doves, Chaucer has made smooth the transition to Peace, for peace adds to concord the notion of harmony of passion and reason within the individual will.(FN100) Peace is the effect of love when the lower powers of sensitive cognition and appetition are duly subordinated to the higher powers of reason and will. Such internal harmony is hard to achieve, and among other things requires the patient endurance of the sorrows that are the consequence of the rejection of vehement desires.
The dignity of these ideas is signified by Boccaccio by making Peace a lady, 'madonna Pace', and setting Pazienza beside her (VII. 58. 3 and 5-7). Chaucer has added to the dignity of the scene by making Patience as well as Peace a lady, 'Dame Pees' (l. 240), and 'Dame Pacience' (l. 242). In his explication of 'Donna me prega' Dino del Garbo is nothing if not systematic, and he begins by addressing the significance of the name donna. A donna or lady is a mature woman, not a child, and hence possesses perfect knowledge, is virtuous, and well born.(FN101) The ladies are appropriately found, therefore, outside the temple of Venus and not within it.
Chaucer emphasizes the virtue of these ladies by describing Dame Peace as sitting 'ful soberly' (l. 239) by contrast with Boccaccio's pianamente (VII. 58. 2), and Dame Patience as 'wonder discretly' (l. 241) in comparison with Boccaccio's simple discretamente (VII. 58.6). The Italian pianamente means 'quietly, softly, gently',(FN102) and this seems to have influenced Brewer, who glosses soberly as 'quietly'.(FN103) The leading sense of sobre is 'temperate', and particularly in relation to food and drink.(FN104) According to Aquinas the word sobrietas itself signifies 'due measure' (mensura) and hence in its broad sense is synonymous with temperance.(FN105) Peace in its strict sense as a condition of harmony within the individual soul is rightly represented by Chaucer as sober or temperate, and once again we may note that his treatment of the personifications is more precise and systematic than that of Boccaccio.(FN106)
The dignity of Patience is enhanced not only by the honorific title of 'Dame' but also by the description of her sitting 'wonder discretly', a marked strengthening of Boccaccio's discretamente. Chaucer's discretly has here its leading modern sense, and Brewer correctly glosses it 'discreetly'.(FN107) Patience is a species of the cardinal virtue of fortitude, and consists in the endurance of sorrows. She is, indeed, as Boccaccio describes her, 'palida nello aspetto' (VII. 58. 7), and rightly so, as he says in his glosses, because patience presupposes the presence of pain and anguish.(FN108) But otherwise Patience is undemonstrative. She is not given to heartrending sobs and cries of lamentation, but endures her sorrow in silence and with a noble dignity. Such restraint, like that of a Grisilde, is marvellous to behold, and especially so when one considers the intensity of the pain that afflicts lovers consumed by vehement desires. Indeed, young lovers are noted for their impatience rather than their patience; Aurelius 'withouten coppe...drank al his penaunce' (Franklin's Tale, F942) for 'two yeer and moore' (F940), but is gradually worn down by pain until he declares his love for a married woman and throws himself upon her mercy (F960-78). Chretien's Chevalier de la Charrete is soon reduced to attempting suicide by the loss of the sight of his beloved, and has to be restrained by Gauvain from throwing himself to his death from the window whence he has been gazing upon her.(FN109) Chaucer thus makes one of his most suggestive and illuminating additions to Boccaccio's text when he places Patience 'upon an hil of sond' (l. 243). The patience of lovers, as we see most strikingly in the case of Lancelot, rests upon insecure foundations, and especially so as they come close to the attainment of their desires. Within the temple of Venus itself there is no discretion. As soon as he crosses the threshold the dreamer encounters the sighs and groans of lovers:
Withinne the temple, of sykes hoote as fyr I herde a swogh that gan aboute renne, Whiche sikes were engendered with desyr.
Chaucer's focus on the sighs of jealous lovers is much more emphatic than that of Boccaccio's 'di Sospiri |...un tumulto' (VII. 59.1-2). Not only does Chaucer use the word sykes twice in the space of three lines, but places the word swogh between them as a further reinforcement 110 of the essential idea. Swogh itself has the sense 'a deep 1sigh, 1moan, groan',(FN110) and is a much more precise word than the Italian tumulto(FN111) These sighs are indeed the groans of tormented lovers, not the pleasant sighs of those who are happy in love, as Boccaccio makes plain in his gloss.(FN112) This distinction is reproduced by Chaucer in reference to the delightful sighs that Troilus experiences in the sexual consummation of his love for Criseyde:
And wel a thousand tymes gan he syke--Naught swiche sorwfull sikes as men make For wo, or elles when that folk ben sike, But esy sykes, swiche as ben to like, That shewed his affeccioun withinne; Of swiche sikes koude he nought bilynne.
Such sighs are few and far between for Troilus and the servants of Cupid. Thus when Troilus seeks out the solitude of his chamber after first catching sight of Criseyde 'he gan to sike, and eft to grone' (I. 360). The interior of the temple of Venus, then, is characterized by the sighs and lamentations not the joys of lovers, and this is how the description of the temple of Venus in the Knight's Tale begins:
First in the temple of Venus maystow se Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde, The broken slepes, and the sikes colde, The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge, The firy strokes of the desirynge That loves servantz in this lyf enduren.
In The Parliament of Fowls Chaucer has emphasized the distinction between the dignity, composure, and restraint of Peace and Patience immediately outside the temple and the disorder and misery of those who have lost their peace of mind and the courage to sustain it immediately within the temple. At the same time he recognizes, as does Boccaccio, that the distinction between the two is exceedingly fine, no more indeed than the cortina (VII. 58. 3) or 'curtyn' in Dame Peace's hand (l. 240). The real and unbearable suffering begins as soon as the threshold is crossed.
Within the temple will be found neither patience nor peace, but rather the restlessness of desires that have no natural limit. It is such desires that impel lovers to the step of the the of the temple and so to the decisive abandonment of the good of reason. The means that are adopted to get within the temple, namely, 'Byheste and Art' (l. 245), that is, subterfuges of various kinds and false promises, add one further testimony to the nature of the love represented by Venus.
The immediate appearance of jealousy within the temple (ll. 246-52) announces the fact that the love of Venus is the love of desire (amor concupiscentiae) by which the object of love is loved and desired not for its own sake but for the sake of the pleasure that can be derived from it.(FN113) Jealousy arises, as Aquinas explains, 'ex intensione amoris',(FN114) for its power depends upon the completeness of the lover's attachment to the object of desire. The condition of jealousy is in itself a sufficient indication that the vehemence of desire has overwhelmed the reason, and hence Chaucer has altered Boccaccio's description of Gelosia as 'una donna cruda e ria' (VII. 59.7)(FN115) to 'the bittere goddesse' (l. 252).
It is for the same reason that Chaucer specifies in the text of his poem that Priapus is 'the god Priapus' (l. 253), 'iddio degli orti' ('god of gardens'),(FN116) as Boccaccio discloses in his gloss (but only in his gloss). Priapus stands revealed in the nakedness of his lust, frustrated by the braying of Silenus's ass in his attempt to ravish the fair Lotis.(FN117) Chaucer gives to the naked Priapus a 'sceptre in honde' (l. 256) as a mark of his lordship, and sets on his head a garland of 'freshe floures newe' (l. 259) as a sign of his triumph.(FN118) By such humorous touches Chaucer shows that ridicule is more effective than moral indignation in response to lust. Boccaccio's gloss identifies Priapus as a male object of lust to correspond to the female object of lust in Venus.(FN119) No sexual partisanship is intended by either Boccaccio or Chaucer, for the meaning of virtue and vice in love as in other matters goes beyond the distinction of masculine and feminine.
Venus is here identified by Chaucer no less than by Boccaccio in terms of the gratification of inordinate desires of the senses, for in Venus pleasure has become an end in itself rather than the accompaniment of some fitting good. She is immediately attended by 'hire porter Richesse' (l. 261) for, as Boccaccio explains, 'voluttuosa vita senza riccheza non potersi avere né lungamente seguire'.(FN120) Boccaccio explains further that Venus is to be found 'in più secreta | parte del tempio' (VII. 63.2-3) and in a place that is 'oscur nel primo gire' ('dark on first entering'),(FN121) because 'coloro li quali adoperano male, odiano la luce'.(FN122) Chaucer's mastery of these imaginative facts is once more expressed poetically, for he emphasizes the darkness metrically by an initial trochaic rather than iambic foot ('Derk was that place...', l. 263) and uses the strongly pejorative adjective 'prive' (l. 260) to describe the secrecy of Venus.(FN123) The Venus whom the dreamer at last encounters in this dark, secluded, and oppressive place is not the 'Cytherea', that 'blysful lady swete' (l. 113) so optimistically invoked at the beginning of his dream.(FN124) It is instead the Venus whose triumph over Diana (which Chaucer here anticipates) is nothing other than a victory for sloth. Hence Chaucer focuses on her recumbent posture with an unmistakable emphasis (the rhetorical figure is traductio): 'on a bed of gold she lay to reste' (l. 265), 'untressed as she lay' (l. 268), 'amyddes lay Cypride' (l. 277), and 'thus I let hire lye' (l. 279). Only the first example corresponds to anything in the text of the Teseida (VII. 64), and Chaucer has added to it the line, 'Til that the hote sonne gan to weste' (l. 266) in order to remind us that Venus takes her ease during the day. We are not intended to confuse such ease with the natural refreshment of sleep.
But yet the dreamer, like many lovers, is still unable to credit what he sees. Here Chaucer makes us aware of his presence and reactions so as to produce an effect quite different from that of Boccaccio's brief description of Venus (VII. 65). The dreamer is pleased to see that the lower parts of Venus are 'wel kevered' (l. 271), but one wonders what 'a subtyl coverchef of Valence' (l. 272) leaves to the imagination.(FN125) Boccaccio himself is not so fastidious: 'e l'altra parte d'una I veste tanto sottil si ricopria, I che quasi nulla appena nascondia' (VII. 65. 6-8).(FN126) Indeed, Chaucer's modifications of Boccaccio's description of Venus at this point are considerable, and produce a harshness of effect not to be found in the Italian original. Thus where Boccaccio makes us aware of the sensuousness of Venus in 'le braccia e 'l petto e' pomi rilevati I si vedean tutti' (VII. 65. 5-6),(FN127) Chaucer has the spare, even brutal 'And naked from the brest unto the hed | Men myghte hire sen' (ll. 269-70) as of an object available to the common view. Further, Chaucer has removed entirely Boccaccio's reference to the incomparable beauty of her face: 'il suo viso era tal, che' più lodati I hanno a rispetto bellezza nessuna' (VII. 65. 3-4).(FN128) The harshness of Chaucer's representation of Venus underscores the gap between the objective reality of lust and the dreamer's subjective willingness to believe the best of things. Such is the credulity of lovers who, like Troilus, cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the fact of infidelity until the evidence is irrefutable, 'for with ful yvel wille list hym to leve | That loveth wel, in swich cas, though hym greve' (TC V. 1637-8).
The same kind of contrast between the reality of the love of Venus and the innocence of lovers is also to be found in the treatment of Bacchus and Ceres (PF 275-7). Chaucer follows Boccaccio in setting Venus between Bacchus and Ceres, for, as Boccaccio explains, the presence of these two signifies 'la gulosità la quale sommamente seguono i voluttuosi'.(FN129) But it is Chaucer who adds the references to Bacchus as 'god of wyn' (l. 275) and to Ceres as the goddess 'that doth of hunger boote' (l. 276). The suggestion of drunkenness is at once countered by a reference to the necessary provision of food. Here the dreamer presses gallantly on in the teeth of the evidence. Suppositions of agricultural yields or famine relief are simply not credible in the innermost recesses of the temple of Venus. Moreover, Venus is set between them in her guise as Cypride (l. 277) not Cytherea, indisputably copper, not gold. The two young lovers who petition her for help (ll. 278-9) will come, like Troilus when Criseyde leaves Troy for the Greek camp and Diomede, to curse her and her two associates:
And in his throwes frenetik and madde He corseth Jove, Appollo, and ek Cupide; He corseth Ceres, Bacus, and Cipride, His burthe, hymself, his fate, and ek nature, And, save his lady, every creature.
It is not to be doubted that the great end of the service of Venus and Cupid is sexual consummation or union with the beloved, and so much is made explicit by Boccaccio in his glosses where, in reference to the baseness of brass as a metal, he explains that 'i congiugnimenti, prima che provati sieno, paiono dovere avere in sé somma dilettazione, dove, dopo il fatto, si truovano pieni di grave amaritu-dine'.(FN130) Shakespeare puts the matter not much differently. Such love (or, rather, lust) is: 'A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe, I Before, a joy proposed, behind, a dream'.(FN131) Thus all the bisynesse of Pandarus is crowned with success when the lovers are brought to bed together, albeit with great difficulty and contrivance up to the moment of consummation itself (TC III. 1184-1554). Only those who 'han ben at the feste' can judge 'of hire delit or joies oon the leeste' (III. 1312 and 1310). Experience shows, however, that 'swych present gladnesse' (III. 1244) gives way all too quickly to the sorrow of parting. At Troilus's departure Criseyde cannot speak for sorrow, 'so soore gan his partyng hire distreyne', and Troilus himself is 'as wo-bygon as she was', since 'so harde hym wrong of sharp desir the peyne | For to ben eft there he was in plesaunce' (III. 1528 and 1530-2). The passion of love signified by Cupid seeks its natural outlet in sexual gratification, and such gratification is often in the event long postponed or even thwarted. The servants of Cupid soon learn that the pleasures of sexual love are short-lived and attended by pain, even if in some few moments of ecstasy they seem to justify the golden claims made on their behalf.
It is not likely that the servants of Cupid will be much enamoured of the virtue of chastity, for it will be seen by them as an obstacle to the attainment of their most intense desires. The dreamer in The Parliament of Fowls who has enthusiastically acknowledged Cupid as 'oure lord' (l. 212) continues to manifest his bias when he comes to tell of the followers of 'Dyane the chaste' (l. 281), for they are 'maydenes swiche as gonne here tymes waste/In hyre servyse' (ll. 283-4). There is no such overt censure in Boccaccio's brief reference to the 'cori di Diana' (VII. 61.).(FN132) The dreamer's hostility is further displayed in his lack of interest in the names and stories of these maidens; there was 'ful many a story' and 'many a mayde of which the name I wante' (ll. 285, 287). Here Chaucer passes by (unusually for him) the rich descriptive detail of Boccaccio's stanza; of Callisto, who was stellified as Ursa Minor and hence identified with the North Star (VII. 61. 3-4);(FN133) of Atalanta, whom Hippomenes obtained as wife by beating her in a running contest with the aid of the three golden apples given to him by Venus (VII. 61. 4-5); and of that second Atalanta, who wounded the Calydonian boar, and had by Meleager, the son of Oeneus, a son called Parthenopaeus, the most handsome of men, who was killed before Thebes (VII. 61. 6-8). Chaucer refers in the description of the temple of Diana in the Knight's Tale to 'how Atthalante hunted the wilde boor, | And Meleagre' (A2070-1), and tells also of Meleager and the slaying of the Calydonian boar in Cassandre's exposition of Troilus's dream of the boar (V 1464-79).(FN134) He knows from Ovid (Metamorphoses, VIII. 271-83) that the offended goddess is not Venus, as in Boccaccio's gloss,(FN135) but 'Diane' (TC V.1464), and hence he includes the story as one of the examples of the 'vengeaunce' of Diana in the description of the temple of Diana (Knight's Tale, A2055-6, 2065-6, 2071-2). He undoubtedly knows, too, of Parthenopaeus as one of the seven against Thebes, and indeed Cassandre tells how 'ded Parthonope of wownde' (TC V 1503).(FN136) It is unlikely, therefore, that Boccaccio's reference to 'quell'altra altiera | che partori il bel Partonopeo' (VII. 61.6-7)(FN137) is so 'oblique' that it 'defeated Chaucer',(FN138) and I conclude rather that the abbreviation of Boccaccio's account of the servants of Diana is once again a matter of artistic choice. Chaucer gives us the barest of references to 'Calyxte' and conflates the stories of the two Atalantas in the single reference to 'Athalante' (l. 286) because the dreamer, as a servant of Cupid, has no interest in the subject of chaste maidens.
In the end even lovers have to confront the truth about the service of Venus that their misjudgements and desires have done so much to disguise, and if not in one way then in another. Often only the bitterness of personal experience will suffice to convince lovers that they have taken a false path in life, for the pain of loss is an irrefutable testimony of an error of some kind. Sometimes even pain of this magnitude is insufficient. Thus Troilus cannot bring himself to accept the fact of Criseyde's infidelity, though she has long delayed her return to Troy, until the evidence of the brooch on the collar of Diomede's captured surcoat makes the conclusion of infidelity impossible to resist: 'But now ful wel he wiste, | His lady nas no lenger on to triste' (V. 1665-6). Even so Troilus goes to his death still in ignorance of the true causes of his suffering. The dreamer in The Parliament of Fowls is more fortunate than Troilus in that he has the opportunity to learn this lesson at second hand. Hence Chaucer not only sets the list of ruined lovers at the end of his account of the temple of Venus (ll. 288-92), but has expanded the list to such an extent as to reveal not merely an individual misfortune but a common pattern. Each illustrious example is a hammer blow designed to cure the bookish dreamer of his delusions.
Of the sixteen names in Chaucer's list only five--Semiramis, Pyramus and Thisbe, Hercules, and Biblis--are derived from Boccaccio (VII. 62). Moreover, Boccaccio does not mention Semiramis by name, but only as the 'sposa di Nin' (VII. 62. 3).(FN139) Chaucer's mention of Semiramis directly recalls the celebrated list of lussuriosi in the second circle of Dante's hell, for among these also Semiramis is placed first:
A vizio di lussuria fu si rotta,
che libito fé licito in sua legge,
per tòrre il biasmo in che era condotta.
(Inferno, V. 558)(FN140)
From this same source Chaucer has added six more names--Dido, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Achilles, Paris, and Tristan (Inferno, V. 61-7). All these stand condemned as 'i peccator carnali, | che la ragion sommettono al talento' (V. 38-9).(FN141) From his own inspiration Chaucer has added five more names--'Candace' (l. 288), 'Isaude' (l. 290), 'Troylus' (l. 291), and 'Silla, and ek the moder of Romulus' (l. 292).(FN142) Candace is a queen in the early fourteenth-century English romance Kyng Alisaunder who 'loued Alisaunder pryuelik' (l. 6652) and 'for fere of loue...brast neig wood' (l. 6663).(FN143) She sends messengers to Alexander bearing a letter in which she offers the king her enormous wealth as an inducement to become her lover (ll. 6664-6723), and resorts to magic arts in order finally to secure the object of her desire (ll. 6724-33, 7678-7727). Candace is thus an example well chosen to illustrate both 'Messagerye, and Meede' (l. 228) and also 'the Craft that can and hath the myght | To don by force a wyght to don folye' (ll. 220-1).(FN144) The mention of Isolde by name immediately after that of Tristram is designed to remind readers more familiar with Arthurian romance than Italian epic of the common fate of these famous lovers and the irresistible power of love signified by the drinking of the love potion.(FN145) The presence of Troilus in this company is illuminated retrospectively for modern readers by the tragic masterpiece that Chaucer is now ready to embark upon. Here is the story of a young man inexperienced in the ways of love in whom nobility of character is undermined by false judgement and vehement desires, and who to the end of his days fails to comprehend the reasons for his sorrow. It is indeed 'th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame' (Sonnets, 129.1) and hence the 'tragedye' that Chaucer himself calls it (V 1786). Ovid's account of the impious love of Scylla for Minos (Metamorphoses, VIII. 6-151) makes plain the madness and disorder of the love represented by Venus. Readers of Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Poetria Nova will know of Scylla's treachery to her father, Nisus, for Geoffrey uses the example of Scylla to illustrate the artistic beginning of a poem by drawing on matter from its end (PN 167-72).(FN146) 'Nysus doughter stod upon the wal' at the siege of Alcathoe at the moment when she fell in love with Minos and betrayed the city,(FN147) and 'Nysus doughter song with fressh entente' on the morning of the tenth day as Troilus and Pandarus 'on the walles of the town' look in vain for Criseyde on her long-awaited return to Troy (TC V. 1110-13). The mother of Romulus is the Vestal virgin Rhea Silvia, so that his birth marks another defeat for Diana.(FN148) The identity of the father is unknown, for Romulus was of ignoble birth. Rhea Silvia was to claim, however, that Mars, the lover of Venus, was the father, and Dante refers to this claim in Paradiso,VIII. 131-2: 'e I Quirino | da si vil padre, che si rende a Marte'.(FN149)
By transposing the matter of the description of Venus and the list of lovers Chaucer concludes his account of the temple of Venus with an exemplary realization of the disastrous effects of an inordinate love. The impact of the truth that is here expressed is not merely sobering, it is disillusioning, and leaves the dreamer in need of 'solace' (l. 297). Dante the pilgrim is overwhelmed when he is brought to see how the sweetness of love can lead to the torment of hell: 'Oh lasso, | quanti dolci pensier, quanto disio I menó costoro al doloroso passo!' (Inferno, V 112-14).(FN150) The meaning of Chaucer's poem too lies not merely in the objective statement of moral realities, but also in the subjective responses of his fictional representative. And once again we can appreciate the soundness of Chaucer's artistic judgement, for the imaginative experience of the temple of Venus brings the reader moral enlightenment only at the price of sorrow.
Trinity College, Dublin
1 'Death often follows from its power, | if, perchance, its virtue is impeded | which helps the contrary way.' Reference to the text of the Canzone d'amore is to G. Favati, Guido Cavalcanti: Rime (Milan and Naples, 1957), 214-16. The translation is that of 0. Bird, 'The Canzone d'amore of Cavalcanti According to the Commentary of Dino del Garbo', Mediaeval Studies 2 (1940), 150-203 (here p. 158), and 3 (1941), 117-60.
2 'Your perception takes from outward reality an impression and unfolds it within you, so that it makes the mind turn to it; and if the mind, so turned, inclines to it, that inclination is love, that is, nature, which by pleasure is bound on you afresh' (Sinclair, ii. 233). Reference to the Commedia is to the text of G. Petrocchi, La Commedia secondo lantica vulgata, 4 vols. (Milan, 1966-7), and to the translation of J. D. Sinclair, The Divine Comedy of Dante Aligkieri, 3 vols. (London, 1971). The translation of Dante's intenzione (Purg. XVIII. 23) as 'an impression' is, however, misleading, if not actually incorrect. Dante is referring here to an intention in the technical sense of Latin intentio as a perception that cannot be perceived by the exterior sense. Such an intention is apprehended by estimation (vis aestimationis) or the cogitative power (vis cogitativa) and is stored in the memory in the same way as the form (or impression) which is perceived by the common sense is stored in the imagination. See my article, 'Natural and Spiritual Movements of Love in the Soul: An Explanation of Purgatorio, XVIII. 16-39', Modern Language Review, 80 (1985), 320-9: 325-7.
3 See J. B. Allen, The Ethical Poetic of the Later Middle Ages (Toronto, 1982), 5-10, 55-7, and A. J. Minnis and A. B. Scott, Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c.1100-c.1375: The Commentary/Tradition (Oxford, 1988), 16 (Avianus), 24 (Ovid), and 462 (Dante).
4 The text of Dino del Garbo's commentary (Glossa latino) is printed as an appendix by Favati on pages 347-78.
5 Del Garbo, Glossa, 361/4-6, and 10-14: 'Deinde subdit et al presente conoscente chero etc., idest: in presenti materia quero quod homo qui audiet ista sit cognoscens, idest intelligens, idest subtilis intellectus...Deinde subdit che se"na natural dimostramento etc., idest sine naturali demonstratione: quasi uelit dicere quod ea que dicet extraet ex principiis scientie naturalis, et non solum extraet ex principiis scientie naturalis, imo ex principiis scientie moralis et astrologie; et ideo auditor huius sermonis debet esse intelligens'.
6 By Avicenna is to be understood the Latin Avicenna of the medieval translations produced at Toledo in the second half of the 12th century. See S. van Riet, Liber de anima seu sextus de naturalibus, I-III and IV-V, 2 vols. (Louvain and Leiden, 1972 and 1968). The original of the Latin translation is the psychological part of the Shifa' or Sufficientia.
7 See, in particular, Sancti Thomae Aquinatis in Aristotelis Librum De Anima Commentarium, ed. A. M. Pirotta, 6th edn. (Turin, 1959), trans. K. Foster and S. Humphries as Aristotle's De Anima in the Version of William of Moerbeke and the Commentary of St Thomas Aquinas (London, 1951), and vol. xi, entitled Man (la 75-83), ed. T. Suttor (1970), in T. Gilby et al., St Thomas Aquinas: Summa theologiae, 61 vols. (London, 1964-81).
8 Chiose, 464/23-9. Reference to the text and glosses of the Teseida is to the edition of A. Limentani, in Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, ed. V Branca (Milan, 1964), ii. 229-664. The glosses have been translated by P. Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, Medium Aevum Monographs, ns VIII (Oxford, 1977), 200-10.
9 The opinion that 'Chaucer's manuscript of the Teseida did not contain Boccaccio's commentary' (p. 759) is no more than one of the conjectures in the influential article by R. A. Pratt, 'Conjectures Regarding Chaucer's Manuscript of the Teseida', Studies in Philology, 42 (1945), 745-63, and it is corrected and amplified in Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 113-16, 190-97. Boitani notes twenty-six examples of coincidence between Boccaccio's glosses and the Knight's Tale, and of these Chaucer's dependence on the glosses is 'practically certain' in one case and 'highly probable' in four others (p. 115). Pratt's position is supported in W. E. Coleman, 'Chaucer, the Teseida, and the Visconti Library at Pavia: A Hypothesis', Medium Aevum, 51 (1982), 92-101. But Coleman's article is itself confessedly speculative, and the best that can be said on the basis of his discussion is that Chaucer had the opportunity to visit the library of Galeazzo II Visconti at Pavia at the beginning of July or August 1378 (pp. 96-7) and the library may have contained at that time the two manuscript copies (MSS 881 and 935) of the Teseida (no longer extant) recorded in the inventory of the library made in 1426 (pp. 93, 97). No inference concerning Chaucer's knowledge of the Teseida can safely be drawn on such a basis. Coleman restates his position in replying to Boitani's arguments in 'Chaucer's MS and Boccaccio's Commentaries on Il Teseida', Chaucer Newsletter, 9 (1987), 1 and 6, but the conclusion that Chaucer used a copy of the Teseida lacking the commentary of Boccaccio (in any of its three versions) is by no means 'inevitable' (p. 6) and itself lacks irrefutable proof. For a detailed description of the sixty-three extant manuscripts see E. Agostinelli, 'A Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Il Teseida', Studi ml Boccaccio, 15 (1985-6), 1-83. Of the twelve 14th-century manuscripts of the Teseida, six, including the autograph copy (c. 1348-50), contain the commentary in part or whole (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 116). Whether Chaucer had access to Boccaccio's glosses to the Teseida as well as to his text is a matter that can only be determined by an analysis of the internal evidence of the kind that the present article seeks to supply. I am in agreement with Boitani (pp. 115-16) that Chaucer knew Boccaccio's commentary as well as his text, but that he used that commentary with the same artistic freedom that he exhibits in relation to all his sources (not least among them the Filostrato no less than the Teseidd).
10 A notable exception to this anti-scholastic bias in modern criticism is L. Roney, Chaucer's Knight's Tale and Theories of Scholastic Psychology (Tampa, Fla., 1990). But this study illustrates the difficulty of relating Chaucer's poetry to the various forms of scholastic thought, for the philosophical systems that are comprehended under the name of scholasticism are monumental and diverse, and often inadequately understood in themselves. At any rate, I remain sceptical of the view that Chaucer intends Arcite as representative of 'the intellectualist theories of the Aristotelian Thomists' or Palamon as that of 'the voluntarist theories of the Augustinian Franciscans' (Preface, p. xiv). Further, I would not claim that Chaucer is 'an important scholastic thinker' (Preface, p. xvi), worthy as such to be set beside Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham (surely an extravagant claim), but that he is familiar with the methods and leading ideas of scholastic Aristotelianism, and puts this knowledge to detailed use in his poetry. In this respect he is not unlike (although less explicit than) Dante.
11 The Testament of Love, Bk. III, Ch. IV, 249, in Chaucerian and Other Pieces, ed. W. W. Skeat (Oxford, 1897).
12 Reference is to The Riverside Chaucer, ed. L. D. Benson etal, 3rd edn. (Boston, 1987).
13 Chiose, 463/30-2.
14 Ibid. 463/43-5; 'are to excite the sense of smell, especially myrtle, which, the poets write, is Venus' tree, because its smell is very stimulating' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 201).
15 See Aquinas, In de anima, 288: 'Ubi considerandum est, quod ad hoc quod universum sit perfectum, nullus gradus perfectionis in rebus intermittitur, sed paulatim natura de imperfectis ad perfecta procedit.'
16 Compare Teseida, VII. 52. 7: 'e timidetti cervi e cavriuoli' ('together with timid young red-deer, roe-deer'). The translation is that of N. R. Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio: Sources of Troilus and the Knight's and Franklin's Tales, Chaucer Studies V (Cambridge, 1980), 129.
17 See Morgan, 'Natural and Spiritual Movements of Love in the Soul', 322-3.
18 The gloss explains that by Vagheza is understood 'quello disiderio naturale il quale ciascuno uomo e donna ha di vedere e di possedere o acquistare più tosto le belle e le care cose che l'altre' ('the natural desire of men and women to behold, to possess, and to gain beautiful and precious dear things above all') (Chiose, 464/15-17; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 202).
19 Purgatorio, XVIII. 19; Sinclair, ii. 233.
20 Natural love as the divinely implanted instinct to love and the source of all loving is distinguished from sensitive love (the passion of love) and rational love (the love that is willed) as proceeding from an external, not an internal, source of knowledge. See Morgan, 'Natural and Rational Love in Medieval Literature', Yearbook of English Studies, 7 (1977), 43-52:46.
21 Compare the foolish pride of Troilus in imagining himself to be exempt from the law of love that governs human nature (TC I.183-231).
22 Chiose, 464/30; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 202.
23 Chiose, 463/203; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 201.
24 On the concupiscible and irascible parts of the sensitive appetite as distinct powers, see Aquinas, ST la 81.2, and on the passions or emotions as movements of the sensitive appetite, see ST la 2ae 22. 3, and 23. 2.
25 'Dice adunque che Cupido fabricava queste saette, alla perfezione delle quali v'agiugne tre: cioè Voluttà e Ozio e Memoria' ('Cupid, the author says, made these arrows, and Voluptuousness, Idleness, and Memory perfected them') (Chiose, 464/37-9; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 202).
26 See Chiose, 464/45 (diletto), and 464/46,465/4, and 9 (dilettazione).
27 'It maintains an unsound judgment, | for the intention is rendered valid by reason; | he, in whom reason is conquered, discerns badly what he loves. | Death often follows from its power, | if, perchance, its virtue is impeded| which helps the contrary way' (Bird, MS 2, 158).
28 Glossa, 368/36-7. See also ibid. 369/2-4: 'Nunc autem ille in quo est amor discernit male aliquid esse amicum, idest amabile, quod secundum rectam rationem non est amabile'.
29 Chiose, 465/3-6; 'spring of our false judgement, when we think that the liked object must be preferred to any worldly or divine thing' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 202-3).
30 Glossa, 371/4-6.
31 Ibid. 371/29-30. See Avicenna, Canon, III, Fen I, tract. IV, cap. 23, p. 494a.
32 Glossa, 369/15-21: 'amor tune interficit quando est adeo uehemens, quod propter ipsum impediuntur opera uirtutis uegetatiue uel uirtutis uitalis, que conseruat uitam et operationes eius in corpore humano. Uidemus ad sensum corpora illorum in quibus est amor adeo uehemens, et non consecuntur nee adimplent eorum desiderium, arefieri et desiccari et tandem consumi et mori'.
33 Fragment A is generally considered to have been composed before 1372; see The Riverside Chaucer, pp. xxix, 1104.
34 Compare TC II. 1596: 'For for o fyn is al that evere I telle'.
35 See N. Davis et al., A Chaucer Glossary (Oxford, 1979), s.v. wyle n. (p. 172), and The Riverside Chaucer, 388. D. Pearsall, Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology of Writings in English 1375-1575 (Oxford, 1999) glosses mile as 'cunning skill' (p. 8).
36 See The Riverside Chaucer, 1147 and 1148, and D. S. Brewer, The Parlement of Foulys, rev. edn. (Manchester, 1972), 108.
37 It is adopted into the text by Brewer, who points out (Parlement of Foulys, 108) the ready confusion of 'c' and 't' in the manuscript witnesses. J. Scattergood, 'Making Arrows: The Parliament of Fowls, 211-217', Notes and Queries, 49 (2002), 444-7: 446, defends the reading couchede, derived from OF cochier, in the sense 'cut a notch in the end of the shaft of an arrow', and refers it to the operation of 'the smoothing of the notch or groove with a file to take the bowstring'. But Chaucer's reference, like that of Boccaccio, is not to the arrows (l. 212) but to the arrow-heads (l.215). And it is not clear what the allegorical or psychological significance of a reference to Will's notching of arrows might be. Chaucer's subject is love, not toxophily.
38 Parlement of Foulys,166.
39 MED, s.v. touchen, v. 11(a), and touch(e, n. 5(a). Pearsall, who also reads touchede, glosses it 'filed to a point' (Chaucer to Spenser, 8).
40 Reference is to J. R. R. Tolkien and E. V Gordon, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 2nd edn., rev. N. Davis (Oxford, 1967).
41 See Aquinas, ST la 2ae 30.2 sed contra: 'concupiscentia causatur ab amore'. The passions of the concupiscible appetite are related to one another in terms of an analogy of motion; the passion of love is inclination, the passion of desire is movement towards a good loved but not yet possessed in order to attain it, and the passion of delight is rest in possession of the good loved and desired (ST la 2ae 23.4). Love and desire are closely related in the sense that inclination quickly turns to movement. Brewer notes (Parlement of Foulys, 108) that the sense 'carnal desire' is 'well attested' for mil in ME. See MED, s.v. wil(le, n. 2a(b), 'carnal desire or craving, esp. sexual lust', where the present passage is cited. K. Malone, 'Chaucer's Daughter of Cupid', Modern Language Review, 50 (1945), 63, notes further that 'OE willa repeatedly translates Latin voluptas', and that accordingly we 'need suppose only that Chaucer read Boccaccio correctly, and translated him correctly'. Such a supposition, as Boitani notes in 'Chaucer's Temples of Venus', Studi Inglesi, 2 (1975), 9-31: 23-4 n. 53, removes 'one of the major obstacles to scholars' belief in Chaucer's knowledge of Boccaccio's glosses'.
42 Aquinas, In de anima, 771: 'Nam ex apprehensione boni vel mali, non statim sequebatur desiderium vel fuga, sicut hic circa intellectum; sed sequebatur delectatio et tristitia, et ex hoc ulterius desiderium et fuga. Cuius ratio est, quia sicut sensus non apprehendit bonum universale, ita appetitus sensitivae partis non movetur a bono vel malo universali, sed a quodam determinate bono, quod est delectabile secundum sensum, et quodam determinate malo, quod est contristans secundum sensum.'
43 In de anima, 767.
44 Ibid. 768.
45 Ibid. 769. 'Thus the movement from sense-object to sense passes through three stages, as it were. There is first an awareness of the object as being in harmony or out of harmony with the sense: then a feeling of pleasure or pain; and then desire or avoidance' (Aristotle's De Anima, trans. Foster and Humphries, pp. 446-7).
46 Jean Froissart, Le Paradis D'Amour, L'Orloge amoureus, ed. P. F. Dembowski (Geneva, 1986), trans. B. A. Windeatt, Chaucer's Dream Poetry: Sources and Analogues, Chaucer Studies VII (Cambridge, 1982), 41-57:46.
47 Chiose, 464/20-1, 13; 'Other things are stimulants: Beauty, Youth, Gracefulness, Courtesy, Charm and the like' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 202).
48 Chiose, 465/16-17; 'a few accidental things that induce the effect of the desire produced by this passion' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
49 Aquinas follows Aristotle (Metaphysics, VI. 2) in distinguishing two senses of accident, namely, that which is in a thing ('quia inest ei'), as white is in Socrates, and that which coincides with something in the same subject ('quia est simul cum eo in eodem subjecto'), as white and musical may coincide in a man (ST la 2ae 7.1 ad 2). The accidents of which Boccaccio speaks are of the second kind.
50 On circumstances, see Aquinas, ST la 2ae 7.1 and 3.
51 Aquinas distinguishes between the essential and circumstantial causes of the virtue of fortitude as follows (ST la 2ae 7. 3 ad 3): 'Non enim finis, qui dat speciem actus, est circumstantia, sed aliquis finis adjunctus; sicut quod fortis fortiter agat propter bonum fortitudinis, non est circumstantia; sed si fortiter agat propter liberationem civitatis, vel propter Christum, vel aliquid hujusmodi.' Shakespeare recalls this distinction in the words of Young Clifford at the Battle of St Albans (2 Henry VI V. ii. 36-40): 'Let no soldier fly. | He that is truly dedicate to war | Hath no self-love: nor he that loves himself | Hath not essentially but by circumstance | The name of valour.' Reference is to The Second Part of King Henry VI, ed. M. Hattaway, New Cambridge Shakespeare (Cambridge, 1991).
52 ST la 2ae 27.1.
53 See ibid. 31.1.
54 Chiose, 465/18-19; 'because the lover, if elegant, may be liked by the beloved object' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
55 Ethics, IV. 61126b 22-8.
56 See Sancti Thomae Aquinatis in decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum Expositio, ed. R. M. Spiazzi, 3rd edn. (Turin, 1964), 821-2, and trans. C. I. Litzinger, St Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Notre Dame, Ind, 1993), 821-2 (pp. 261-2), and also ST 2a 2ae 168.1 and ad 3.
57 See MED, s.v. lust, n. 4(a), 'vigor, energy, life', and lusti, adj. 2(a), 'full of vigor, spirited, energetic'.
58 'the magic Arts which can force people to act foolishly' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129).
59 Chiose, 465/25-7; 'scare people with their transformations and, by virtue of their various magics, often compel men and women to love what they would not love without them' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
60 MED, s.v. gentilesse, n. 1(a).
61 Glossa, 373/11-12.
62 Del Garbo, Glossa, 373/31-4: 'Nunc autem homines nobiles et potentes facilius possunt acquirere rem amatam, et ei coniungi, quam homines populares et uiles: nam habent diuitias et uirtutes, per quas citius hoc acquirunt, quam illi qui ea non habent.'
63 See MED, s.v. ok(e, n. 2.
64 ST la 2ae 27. 1 ad 3. This is, of course, an idea with a long history. See E. Panofsky, Idea: A Concept in Art Theory, trans. J. J. S. Peake (New York, 1968), esp. pp. 39 ff. and 195 n. 13.
65 MED, s.v. game, n. 2a(b), and jolite, n. 1(b).
66 MED, s.v. game, 2d, and jolite, 2(a) and (c).
67 By lasciviousness Boccaccio understands 'il basciare, il toccare e il cianciare e 'l motteggiare e l'altre scioccheze che intorno a ciò si fanno' ('kissing, fingering, chatting, joking, and all the nonsense done on these occasions') (Chiose, 471/42-4; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 209). Such wantonness is represented by Spenser in Castle Joyeous by Malecasta's six liegemen--Gardante, Parlante, Iocante, Basciante, Bacchante, and Noctante (Faerie Queene, III. i. 45). Britomart and Red Cross are united in disdaining 'such lasciuious disport' and in loathing 'the loose demeanure of that wanton sort' (FQ, III. i. 40). Reference is to The Faerie Queene, ed. A. C. Hamilton, text ed. H. Yamashita and T. Suzuki (Harlow, 2001).
68 Chiose, 465/30-1; 'Wise advice, in fact, allows only that of which it can see the end' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
69 References are to M. Roques, Le Chevalier de la Charrete (Paris, 1972).
70 'in a filth which seemed to have come from human privies' (Sinclair, i. 233).
71 ST 2a 2ae 115.2: 'Si autem aliquis ex sola aviditate delectandi alios, vel etiam ad evitandum aliquod malum vel consequendum aliquid in necessitate, alicui adulatus fuerit, non est contra caritatem. Unde non est peccatum mortale sed veniale'.
72 So Brewer, Parlement of Foulys, 157, and Davis, A Chaucer Glossary, 94. Pearsall supplies the gloss 'giving bribes' (Chaucer to Spenser, 9).
73 MED, s.v. mede, n. (4), la(a).
74 Confessio Amantis, V 4719-22. Reference is to The English Works of John Gower, ed. G. C. Macaulay, EETS es 81-2, 2 vols. (London, 1900-1).
75 See G. Morgan, 'The Status and Meaning of Meed in the First Vision of Piers Plowman', Neophilologus, 72 (1988), 449-63:459-61.
76 References are to William Langland, Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, Cand Z Versions, ed. A.V.C. Schmidt, volume i (London and New York, 1995).
77 See The Riverside Chaucer, 51, and Davis, A Chaucer Glossary, 11.
78 Chiose, 465/33-5; 'The author mentions also Flattery, Promises, and Art, which, as those who have experience know well, are very powerful on different occasions and in different ways' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
79 Filostrato, III. 6. 1; '"It is for you that I have become a go-between'" (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 47). Reference to the text of the Filostrato is to Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, ed. V. Branca (Milan, 1964), ii. 1-228.
80 See ST 2a 2ae 81. 8: 'sanctitas...non differt a religione secundum essentiam, sed solum ratione', and 2a 2ae 111. 3 ad 2: 'virtus simplicitatis est eadem virtuti veritatis, sed differt sola ratione'.
81 'who brought Ghisolabella to do the will of the Marquis, however the vile story is told' (Sinclair, i. 229).
82 See Rhetorica ad Herennium, IV xxx. 41, trans. H. Caplan, Loeb (Cambridge, Mass, and London, 1954).
83 MED, s.v. sleight, n. 2(a).
84 V, p. 18, ll. 12-13. Reference is to Albertani Brixiensis: Liber consolationis et consilii, ed. T. Sundby, Chaucer Society, 2nd ser. 8 (London, 1873). The Latin appears as a gloss to the English translation of the distich in the Tale of Melibee; see The Riverside Chaucer, note to ll. 1107-8 (p. 925).
85 The Liber consolationis is extant in perhaps 160 or so of the 320 extant manuscripts containing the works of Albertano of Brescia, and of these thirteen 13th- and 14th-century manuscripts are of English provenance; see W. R. Askins, 'The Tale of Melibee', in R. M. Correale etal, Sources and Analogues of The Canterbury Tales, vol. i (Cambridge, 2002), 321-408: 321, 330. The Liber consolationis is known to Gower and to the scribes who supplied the Latin glosses to the Melibee, the Merchant's Tale, and the Manciple's Tale (Askins, 'Tale of Melibee', 321-2).
86 The statement in the explanatory notes to the Melibee in The Riverside Chaucer that there is 'no evidence that Chaucer knew...the Liber consolationis' (p. 923) is contradicted by the notes to lines 1362-74, 1375, and 1377 of the Merchant's Tale (p. 886). The references to 'Mardochee' (Merchant's Tàle, E1373), that is, Mordecai (Lat. Mardochaeo), to Seneca (in fact, Fulgentius) on the humility of a wife (Merchant's Tale, E1375-6), and to Cato on the need to tolerate a wife's strictures (Merchant's Tale, E1377-8) are all to be found in the Liber consolationis (V, p. 17 (l. 17), p. 18 (ll. 14-20), and p. 19 (ll. 1-3)), but they are all absent from Le Livre de Mellibee et Prudence, and in consequence absent also from the Melibee (see Askins, 'Tale of Melibee', 5.8,5.11, and 5.12, pp. 341-2).
87 Teseida,VIl. 57.1-2; 'a temple supported upon tall columns of copper' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129).
88 'il rame e l'ottone, li quali uno medesimo metallo sono in genere, come che in ispezie abbiano alcuna diversità' ('copper and brass which are the same in kind, but are different in species') (Chiose, 466/4-6; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 204).
89 Chiose, 466/7-12.
90 Ibid. 466/16-18.
91 Chiose, 466/16-18. There is a studied contrast here between Venus and the 'aray' (PF 317, 318) of Nature 'right as Aleyn in the Pleynt of Kynde, | Devyseth' (PF 316-17). Alan of Lille tells us that the golden hair of Nature is indistinguishable from the comb of gold that orders it (Deplanctu naturae, II. 9-10), and that her crown was of the purest gold, not a counterfeit gold such as to deceive the eye with its false appearance: 'Regalis autem diadematis corona ruti-lans, gemmarum scintillata choreis, in capitis supercilio fulgurabat. Cuius non adulterina auri materies, ab ipsius honore degenerans, luce sophistica oculos paralogizans sed ipsius nobilitas ministrabat essentiam' (PN II. 40-3) ('A reddish royal crown and diadem, glittering with circling gems, flashed like lightning above her head. Its material, gold, was not counterfeit, did not fall in corruption below gold's estate, did not deceive the eyes with hollow sheen; rather, the purest form of gold furnished its essence' (p. 76)). Reference is to 'Alan of Lille, De Planctu naturae', ed. N. M. Häring, Studi Medievali, 3a ser., 19/2 (1978), 797-879, trans. J. J. Sheridan, Alan of Lille: The Plaint of Nature (Toronto, 1980).
92 There is no corresponding reference to Venus in the Teseida (VII. 66). Chaucer invokes here not only her association with Cyprus as a place of her worship, but also with copper, that is, cyprium, as her metal. See C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Cambridge, 1964), 107. Hence Alan of Lille describes Paris as subdued by the wantonness of the lewd Cyprian: 'Illic Paris incestuose Cipridis frangebatur mollicie' (PN XVIII. 87). Criseyde may give thanks to Venus as 'Cipride' (TC IV 1216) as she revives from her swoon (and so preserves Troilus from suicide), but Troilus himself will soon come to curse Venus as 'Cipride' (TC V 208) at Criseyde's departure from Troy.
93 'a great bed which was most beautiful to behold' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
94 'Her hair was golden and was bound unbraided about her head' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
95 Rime, XXVII. 55-6; 'Let no one go [to it] to find joy, |SV nor certainly either great wisdom or little' (Bird, MS 2, 158).
96 Glossa, 375/9-18: 'nec etiam aliquis adhereat ei quia credat in ipso inuenire sapientiam multam uel paucam, quia in ipso nulla est sapientia neque discretio: imo potius quasi ultimo ille qui amat, cum bene est in feruore ipsius, deuenit in fatuitatem et insipientiam; et ideo dictum est, supra auctoritate auctoris, quod hec passio est sollicitudo melanconica, similis melancolie; et hoc intendit cum subdit Né certamente gran sauer né poco: et in hoc uult etiam auctor dicere quod nulla astutia atque prudentia ualet quando animus est uehementer passionatus hac passione, quoniam in totum quasi libertatem perdit et fit seruilis in cogitationibus in quibus cogitur de re amata.'
97 Boccaccio makes this significance crystal clear at the very beginning of his glosses: 'La seconda Venere è quella per la quale ogni lascivia è disiderata, e che volgarmente è chiamata dea d'amore; e di questa disegna qui l'autore il tempio e l'altre cose circustanti ad esso, come nel testo appare' ('The second is lascivious desire in general, for which Venus is generally called goddess of love. It is the temple of this Venus and its surroundings that the author describes in the text') (Chiose, 463/6-9; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 201).
98 I am tempted to take 'dishevele' (l. 235) as referring to disorder of dress as well as hair, although MED, s.v. dischevele, adj. and ppl., glosses: 'Without a headdress, bareheaded; also,with the hair hanging loose or in disorder'. Boccaccio has 'discinte, scalze, in capelli e in gone' ('barefoot and with hair and gowns flowing free') (Tiseida,VII. 57. 5; Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129).
99 Boccaccio's text refers to both sparrows and doves: 'poi sopra 'l tempio vide volitare | passere molte e colombi ruccare' ('Then above the temple she saw flocks of sparrows fluttering and doves cooing') (Teseida, VII. 57. 7-8; Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129). Chaucer omits the sparrows at this point because they are symbols of lust; 'the sparwe' is 'Venus sone' (PF 351), and the Summoner in the General Prologue is 'lecherous as a sparwe' (A626).
100 ST 2a 2ae 29.1. The definition that Boccaccio supplies for peace in his gloss is, strictly speaking, a definition of concord: 'Dice ancora che madonna Pace v'era, a dimostrare che i disideri che per forza s'hanno non sono da dire amorosi, perciò che gli amorosi richeggiono pari concordia dell'una parte e dell'altra' ('The Lady Peace was also there, and this shows that imposed desires cannot pertain to love, because amorous desires require agreement from both sides') (Chiose, 465/41-3; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
101 Glossa, 360/9-16: 'Nunc autem hoc nomen donna attribuitur mulieri cum iam habeat cognitionem perfectam, quoniam mulieri que est in etate puerili, in qua cognitio non est perfecta, non attribuitur hoc nomen donna. Iterum, etiam attribuitur mulieri digne; nam illud nomen attribuitur mulieri honeste: mu[lier] enim meretricia non dicitur donna. Et maxime attribuitur hoc nomen mulieri que est proles alicuius familie, que non est animo uiliter nata: unde dignitatem habet ex honestate et ex prole generationis sue'.
102 B. Reynolds etal, The Cambridge Italian Dictionary, vol. i (Cambridge, 1962), 566. Hence Havely translates Teseida, VII. 58. 1-4, as: 'And close by the entrance she saw Lady Peace sitting, quietly and gently holding a curtain in front of the door' (Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129).
103 Parlement of Foulys, 163. See MED, s.v. sobreli, adv., 3(a) 'calmly, dispassionately; quietly, patiently', although PF 239 is not cited thereunder.
104 MED, s.v. sobre, adj., 1(a) and (b), and sobreli, adv., 1(a) and (b).
105 ST 2a 2ae 149. 1 and ad 2.
106 Indeed at this point Boccaccio acknowledges his own lack of systematic method, for he 'ha infino a qui senza distinzione alcuna mostrate queste cose' ('having described these things indiscriminately') (Chiose, 465/44-5; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 204).
107 Brewer, Parlement of Foulys, 150. This seems to me preferable to Davis's 'courteously' (A Chaucer Glossary, 38), and Havely's 'modestly' (Chaucer's Boccaccio, 129).
108 'e ragionevolemente, perciò che pazienzia non ha luogo se non la dove pene e angoscie sono' ('with reason...because it [patience] does not exist without pain and anguish') (Chiose, 465/38-9; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 203).
109 Charrete, 560-74. Lancelot is so overwhelmed by desire that he has lost his peace of mind, and Gauvain urges him to recover his composure: 'Merci, sire, soiez an pes' (Charrete, 571).
110 MED, s.v. swough, n. (1)(b).
111 See CID, s.v. tumulto, m. 'tumult, uproar' (p. 835). MED cites swogh, however, under (a) 'a rushing sound, as of water or wind; a roaring noise, murmuring sound'. Brewer glosses it as 'low noise' (Parlement of Foulys, 164), Davis 'sound, noise as of wind' as distinct from 'sigh, groan' (A Chaucer Glossary, 149), and Pearsall as 'sound as of wind (soughing)' (Chaucer to Spenser, 9). All four seem to have been influenced here by the Italian source rather than by Chaucer's own poetic purpose.
112 'i sospiri di chi ama, senza essere geloso, sono leggieri e le più volte piacevoli; ma gelosia porge amarissime sollecitudini e infinite, le quali e sospiri e lagrime e angosciosi guai tirano spesse volte fuori de' petti de' gelosi: come coloro sanno che il pruovano o che provato l'hanno' ('the sighs of those who love without being jealous are in fact light and mostly pleasant, whereas jealousy causes infinite bitter pains that draw sighs, tears, and anguished cries out of jealous people's breasts: those who experience or have experienced it know it well') (Chiose, 466/26-30; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 204).
113 For the distinction between the love of friendship and the love of desire, see Aquinas, ST 1a 2ae 26. 4.
114 ST la 2ae 28.4.
115 'a harsh and wicked lady' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
116 Chiose, 466/33; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 204.
117 See Ovid, Fasti, I. 415-38, trans. J. G. Frazer, Loeb (Cambridge, Mass, and London, 1976).
118 Here Chaucer adapts an unconnected detail in Boccaccio's text: 'e simil per lo tempio grande | di fior diversi assai vide ghirlande' ('likewise throughout the temple she saw garlands of many different flowers') (Teseida, VII. 60.7-8; Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
119 Chiose, 467/5-8.
120 Ibid. 471/17-18; 'voluptuous life cannot be attained and maintained without wealth' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 209).
121 Teseida,VII. 64. 5; Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130.
122 Chiose, 471/19-20; 'those who do evil hate light' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 209).
123 For the pejorative associations of 'privy' and its related forms, see CT A609, C123-9, and E1953-4.
124 The name Cytherea is used by Chaucer with a discrimination similar to that of Dante, for the only reference in the Commedia to Venus as Cytherea comes when Dante the pilgrim has passed through the fire on the seventh terrace on which the sin of lust is purged, and is on the verge of entry into the Earthly Paradise on the summit of the mountain of Purgatory. Significantly, it is at a moment of sleeping and dreaming just before dawn, 'ne l'ora...che de l'or"iente I prima raggiò nel monte Citerea, I che di foco d'amor par sempre ardente' ('in the hour...when Cytherea, who seems always burning with the fire of love, first shone on the mountain from the east') (Purgatorio, XXVII. 94-6; Sinclair, ii. 355), and introduces the prophetic vision of Leah, that is, the purified active life.
125 See MED, s.v. sotil, adj. 4(b), 'of cloth, skin, etc.: delicate or fine in texture, not coarse', and valence, n. (l), 'a thin, fine cloth associated with Valence or Valenciennes, perh. openwork'. The word coverchef, as the etymology suggests, signifies a 'kerchief' or 'headscarf', not an article of clothing designed for the lower part of the body, and presumably it has been adapted for that purpose somewhat casually or negligently. Davis glosses subtyl as 'delicately woven' (A Chaucer Glossary, 147) and takes (without obvious authority for doing so) coverchef of Valence as 'bedcover' (ibid. 82).
126 'and the rest of her covered by a garment so fine it hid almost nothing' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
127 'Her arms and bosom and firm breasts were fully revealed' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
128 'Her face was such that those most highly praised have by comparison no beauty' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
129 Chiose, 471/38-9; 'the gluttony that pleasure-loving people greatly love' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 209).
130 Chiose, 466/16-18; 'couplings seem to be very delightful before one actually experiences them, but are full of bitterness when they are over' (Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 204).
131 Sonnets, 129. 11-12; reference is to the edition by G. B. Evans, New Cambridge Shakespeare (Cambridge, 1996).
132 'Diana's followers' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
133 See Boccaccio's glosses, where he refers to 'Orsa Minore, nella coda della quale è quella Stella che noi chiamiamo Tramontana' ('the Little Bear, and in the tail of the latter lies that star which we call...North Star') (Chiose, 467/46-468/2; Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 205-6) and the description of the temple of Diana in the Knight's Tale where Chaucer tells us that 'Calistopee', that is, Callisto, 'was turned from a womman til a here, | And after was she maad the loode-sterre' (A2056, 2058-9). Callisto is, however, the Great Bear (Orsa Maggiore), and it is her son Areas who is Orsa Minore. The phrasing of Boccaccio's gloss is ambiguous and may have misled Chaucer: see Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, 95-6.
134 Here he chooses not to mention Atalanta by name, but refers to her simply as 'a mayde, oon of this world the beste ypreysed' and as 'this fresshe mayden free' (TC V. 1473, 1475).
135 Chiose, 468/41-4.
136 See also Anelida and Arcite, 58.
137 'that other haughty woman who gave birth to the beautiful Parthenopaeus' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
138 Brewer, Parlement of Foulys, 111.
139 'Ninus's wife' (Havely, Chaucer's Boccaccio, 130).
140 'who was so corrupted by licentious vice that she made lust lawful in her law to take away the scandal into which she was brought; she is Semiramis' (Sinclair, i. 75).
141 'the carnal sinners who subject reason to desire' (ibid.).
142 Virgil shows Dante the pilgrim more than a thousand such lovers and mentions them by name: 'e più di mille | ombre mostrommi e nominommi a dito, | ch'amor di nostra vita dipartille' ('and he showed me more than a thousand shades, naming them as he pointed, whom love parted from...our life') (Inferno, V. 67-9; Sinclair, i. 77). Presumably Chaucer considers that the addition of five more lovers will be sufficient for his purpose.
143 Reference is to Kyng Alisaunder, ed. G.V. Smithers, EETS OS 227 and 237, 2 vols. (London, 1952, 1957).
144 The identification of Chaucer's Candace with Ovid's Canace, as by Brewer (Parlement of Foulys, 112), is thus not only textually unjustified, but also unnecessary.
145 Hence Criseyde's 'Who yaf me drynke?' (TC II. 651) on her first sight of Troilus (somewhat ironically in this new context). Chaucer uses the English forms Tristram and Isaude of the names rather than the French forms Tristan and Iseu(l)t, and may have encountered them in the ME version of the romance, Sir Tristrem, in the Auchinleck manuscript. Malory's forms of the names are regularly Trystram(s) and (La Beale) Isode.
146 Reference to the text of the Poetria Nova is to Les Arts poétiques du xiie et du xiiie siècle, ed. E. Faral (Paris, 1971), 194-262, trans. M. F. Nims, Poetria Nova of Geoffrey of Vinsauf (Toronto, 1967).
147 Legend of Good Women, F1902-Y7.
148 See Brewer, Parlement of Foulys, 113.
149 'and Quirinus comes from so base a father that he is ascribed to Mars' (Sinclair, iii. 123).
150 'Alas, how many sweet thoughts, how great desire, brought them to the woeful pass!' (Sinclair, i. 79).