Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature John Lydgate

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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Lydgate praying at the Shrine of Edmund. Manuscript illumination, c1434-9

John Lydgate: Quotes and Quotations

All is not golde that shewyth goldishe hewe.
Chorle and Byrde

All is not golde that outward shewith bright.
On the Mutability of Human Affairs.

Ayens trouth falsehood hath no might.
The Story of Thebes, Pt. II

Love is more than great richesse.
The Story of Thebes, Pt. III

Comparisons do ofttime great grievance.
Fall of Princes, bk. iii. ch. viii.

Fortitude then stode steadfast in his might,
Defended wydowes, cherishd chastity;
Knyghtehood in prowes gave so clere a light,
Girte with his sword of truthe and equity.
Fall of Princes, bk. vii.

It may wele ryme but it accordith nought.
—MS Poem, "On Inconstancy."

Grete reste stande in lytell besynesse.

That golden world could lovë God and drede,
All the seven dedes of mercy for to use,
The rich was ready to do almës dede,
Who asked harbour, men did him not refuse;
No man of malice would other tho accuse,
Defame his neighbour, because Attemperaunce
Had in that world wholy the governaunce.
Fall of Princes, bk. vii.

He (Arthur) is a king y-crowned in —Faërie,
With sceptre and pall, and with his regalty
Shallè resort, as lord and sovereigne,
Out of —Faerie, and reignè in Bretaine,
And repair again the ouldè Roundè Table.
Fall of Princes, bk. viii. c. 24.

God hath a thousand handès to chastyse,
A thousand dartès of punicion,
A thousand bowès made in divers wyse,
A thousand arlblasts bent in his dongeon.
Fall of Princes.

For a storye which is nat pleynli told,
But constreynyd undir woordes fewe
For lak of trouthe, wher thei ben newe or olde,
Men bi reporte kan nat the mater shewe;
These ookis grete be nat doun ihewe
First at a stroke, but bi long processe,
Nor longe stories a woord may not expresse.
Fall of Princes.

[On Chaucer]
Of our language he was the lodesterre.
Fall of Princes.

In war, hunting, and love,
Men for one pleasure a thousand griefs prove.
Stans Puer ad Mensam

Know ere thou knit, and then thou mayst slack:
if thou knit ere thou know, then it is too late.
Stans Puer ad Mensam

For it ne sits not unto fresh May
For to be coupled to cold January.
Temple of Glas.

Thus in two thinges standith al the welthe
     Of sowle and body, whoso lust to sewe,
Moderat foode gevith to man his helthe,
     And al surfetis doth from him remeue,
And chariteé unto the sowle is dewe.
Lydgate's Dietary, or Rules for Health

Chaucer is dead, which that had such a name
     Of fair making, that was withouten ween
     Fairest in our tongue as the laurer green.
Flour of Curtesye

Wine and women into apostasie
Cause wise men to fall.
The Remedie of Love

Being not able to do as I would, I must do as I can.
The Serpent of Division

Ye flower of Poet in our English tung, and the first that
euer elumined our language with flowers of rethorick and
eloquence; I mean famous and worthy Chaucer.
The Serpent of Division

The froward Dame of Chaunce hath no respecte of persons,
she spareth neither Emperour nor King, but from the hiest
place of honor she makes him fall lowe, wherby his fall
is more infamous.
The Serpent of Division

Was ever wight suffred so gret woo
For man his sake suych passioun did endure?
My bloody woundis, set here in picture,
Hath hem in mynde knelyng on your kne.
The Dolerous Pyte of Crystes Passioun.

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