Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  England  Index  Previous  Next 

The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at


Book 5

 Sche hadde seyd, and torned the cours of
 hir resoun to some othere thingis to ben treted
 and to ben ispedd. Thanne seide I, "Certes
 ryghtful is thin amonestynge and ful digne by
 auctorite. But that thou seydest whilom that
 the questioun of the devyne purveaunce is enlaced
 with many othere questiouns, I undirstande
 wel and prove it by the same thing.
 But I axe yif that thou wenest that hap be
10 anything in any weys; and yif thou wenest
 that hap be anything, what is it?"
 Thanne quod sche, "I haste me to yelden
 and assoilen to the the dette of my byheste, and
 to schewen and openen the the
 wey, by whiche wey thou maist comen ayein to thi contre. But
 al be it so that the thingis whiche that thou axest
 ben ryght profitable to knowe, yit ben thei
 divers somwhat fro the path of my purpos; and
 it is to douten that thou ne be makid weery
20 by mysweyes, so that thou ne maist nat
 suffise to mesuren the ryghte weie."
 "Ne doute the therof nothing," quod I; "for
 for to knowen thilke thingis togidre, in the
 whiche thinges I delite me gretly -- that schal
 ben to me in stede of reste, syn it nis nat to
 douten of the thingis folwynge, whan every syde
 of thi disputesoun schal han ben stedfast to me
 by undoutous feyth."
 "Thanne," seide sche, "that manere wol
30 I don the," and bygan to speken ryght thus:
 "Certes," quod sche, "yif any wyght
 diffynisse hap in this manere, that is to seyn that
 `hap is bytydynge ibrought forth by foolisshe
 moevynge and by no knyttynge of causes,' I
 conferme that hap nis ryght naught in no wise;
 and I deme al outrely that hap nis but an idel
 voys (as who seith, but an idel word), withouten
 any significacioun of thing summitted
 to that voys. For what place myght ben
40 left or duellynge to folie and to disordenaunce,
 syn that God ledeth and
 constreyneth alle thingis by ordre? For this
 sentence is verray and soth, that `no thing hath
 his beynge of naught,' to the whiche sentence
 noon of thise oolde folk ne withseide nevere; al
 be it so that they ne undirstoden ne meneden it
 nat by God, prince and bygynnere of wirkynge,
 but thei casten as a maner foundement of subject
 material (that is to seyn, of the nature of
50 alle resouns). And yif that any thing is
 woxen or comen of no causes, thanne schal
 it seme that thilke thing is comen or woxen of
 nawght; but yif this ne mai nat ben don, thanne
 is it nat possible that hap be any swich thing as
 I have diffynysschid a litil herebyforn."
 "How schal it thanne be?" quod I. "Nys ther
 thanne nothing that by right may ben clepid
 other hap or elles aventure of fortune; or is ther
 awght, al be it so that it is hidd fro the
60 peple, to whiche thing thise wordes ben
 "Myn Aristotle," quod sche, "in the book of
 his Phisic diffynysseth this thing by schort
 resoun, and nyghe to the sothe."
 "In whiche manere?" quod I.
 "As ofte, quod sche, "as men don any thing
 for grace of any other thing, and another thing
 than thilke thing that men entenden to don
 bytideth by some causes, it is clepid hap.
70 Ryght as a man dalf the erthe bycause of
 tylyinge of the feld, and founde ther a
 gobet of gold bydolven; thanne wenen folk
 that it is byfalle by fortunous bytydynge. But
 forsothe it nis nat of naught, for it hath his
 propre causes, of whiche causes the cours unforseyn
 and unwar semeth to han makid hap.
 For yif the tiliere of the feeld ne dulve nat in the
 erthe, and yif the hidere of the gold ne hadde
 hyd the gold in thilke place, the gold ne
80 hadde nat ben founde. Thise ben thanne
 the causes of the abregginge of fortuit hap,
 the whiche abreggynge of fortuit hap cometh of
 causes encontrynge and flowynge togidere to
 hemself, and nat by the entencioun of the doere.
 For neither the hidere of the gold ne the delvere
 of the feeld ne undirstoden nat that the gold
 sholde han ben founde; but, as I seide, it bytidde
 and ran togidre that he dalf thare as that oothir
 had hid the gold. Now mai I thus diffinysshen
90 hap: hap is an unwar betydinge
 of causes assembled in thingis that ben
 doon for som oothir thing; but thilke ordre,
 procedinge by an uneschuable byndinge togidre,
 whiche that descendeth fro the welle of
 purveaunce that ordeyneth alle thingis in hir
 places and in hir tymes, makith that the causes
 rennen and assemblen togidre.
 "Tigrys and Eufrates resolven and springen
 of o welle in the cragges of the roche of the
 contre of Achemenye, ther as the fleinge bataile
 ficcheth hir dartes retorned in the breestis
 of hem that folwen hem. And sone aftir the
 same ryverys, Tigris and Eufrates, unjoignen
 and departen hir watres. And if thei comen togidre
 and ben assemblid and clepid togidre
 into o cours, thanne moten thilke thingis
10 fleten togidre whiche that the watir of
 the entrechaungynge flood bryngeth. The
 schippes and the stokkes araced with the flood
 moten assemblen; and the watris imedled
 wrappeth or emplieth many fortunel happes
 or maneris; the whiche wandrynge happes
 natheles thilke enclynynge lowenesse of the
 erthe and the flowinge ordre of the slydinge
 watir governeth. Right so fortune, that semeth
 as it fletith with slakid or ungoverned
20 bridles, it suffreth bridelis (that is to seyn,
 to ben governed), and passeth by thilke
 lawe (that is to seyn, by the devyne ordenaunce)."
 "This undirstonde I wel," quod I, "and I accorde
 me that it is ryght as thou seist. But I
 axe yif ther be any liberte of fre wille in this
 ordre of causes that clyven thus togidre in
 hemself, or elles I wolde witen yif that the
 destinal cheyne constrenith the moevynges of
 the corages of men."
 "Yis," quod sche, "ther is liberte of fre wil,
 ne ther ne was nevere no nature of resoun
10 that it ne hadde liberte of fre wil. For every
 thing that may naturely usen resoun,
 it hath doom by whiche it discernith and demeth
 every thing; thanne knoweth it by itself
 thinges that ben to fleen and thinges that ben
 to desiren. And thilke thing that any wight
 demeth to ben desired, that axeth or desireth
 he; and fleeth thilke thing that he troweth be
 to fleen. Wherfore in alle thingis that resoun
 is, in hem also is liberte of willynge and of
20 nillynge. But I ne ordeyne nat (as who
 seith, I ne graunte nat) that this liberte be
 evenelyk in alle thinges. Forwhy in the sovereynes
 devynes substaunces (that is to seyn,
 in spiritz) jugement is more cleer, and wil nat
 icorrumped, and myght redy to speden thinges
 that ben desired. But the soules of men moten
 nedes be more fre whan thei loken hem in the
 speculacioun or lokynge of the devyne thought;
 and lasse fre whan thei slyden into the bodyes;
30 and yit lasse fre whan thei ben gadrid
 togidre and comprehended in erthli
 membres; but the laste servage is whan that
 thei ben yeven to vices and han ifalle fro the
 possessioun of hir propre resoun. For aftir that
 thei han cast awey hir eyghen fro the lyght
 of the sovereyn sothfastnesse to lowe thingis
 and derke, anon thei derken by the cloude of
 ignoraunce and ben troubled by felonous talentz;
 to the whiche talentz whan thei approchen
40 and assenten, thei helpen and
 encrecen the servage whiche thei han
 joyned to hemself; and in this manere thei ben
 caytifs fro hir propre liberte. The whiche thingis
 natheles the lokynge of the devyne purveaunce
 seth, that alle thingis byholdeth and seeth fro
 eterne, and ordeyneth hem everiche in here
 merites as thei ben predestinat; and it is seid in
 Greke that `alle thinges he seeth and alle thinges
 he herith.'
 "Homer with the hony mouth (that is to seyn,
 Homer with the swete ditees) singeth that the
 sonne is cler by pure light; natheles yit ne
 mai it nat, by the infirme light of his bemes,
 breken or percen the inward entrayles of the
 erthe or elles of the see. So ne seth nat God,
 makere of the grete werld. To hym, that loketh
 alle thinges from an hey, ne withstondeth
 no thinges by hevynesse of erthe, ne the
10 nyght ne withstondeth nat to hym by the
 blake cloudes. Thilke God seeth in o strok
 of thought alle thinges that ben, or weren, or
 schollen comen; and thilke God, for he loketh
 and seeth alle thingis alone, thou maist seyn
 that he is the verrai sonne."
 Thanne seide I, "Now am I confowndide by
 a more hard doute than I was."
 "What doute is that?" quod sche, "for certes I
 conjecte now by whiche thingis thou art trubled."
 "It semeth," quod I, "to repugnen and to
 contrarien gretly, that God knoweth byforn alle
 thinges and that ther is any fredom of liberte.
 For yif so be that God loketh alle thinges
 byforn, ne God ne mai nat ben desceyved
10 in no manere, thanne moot it nedes ben that
 alle thinges betyden the whiche that the
 purveaunce of God hath seyn byforn to comen.
 For whiche, yif that God knoweth byforn nat
 oonly the werkes of men, but also hir conseilles
 and hir willes, thanne ne schal ther be no liberte
 of arbitrie; ne certes ther ne may be noon
 othir dede, ne no wil, but thilke whiche that the
 devyne purveaunce, that ne mai nat ben disseyved,
 hath felid byforn. For yif that thei
20 myghten writhen awey in othere manere
 than thei ben purveyed, thanne ne sholde
 ther be no stedefast prescience of thing to
 comen, but rather an uncerteyn opynioun; the
 whiche thing to trowen of God, I deme it felonye
 and unleveful.
 "Ne I ne proeve nat thilke same resoun (as who
 seith, I ne allowe nat, or I ne preyse nat, thilke
 same resoun) by whiche that som men wenen
 that thei mowe assoilen and unknytten the
30 knotte of this questioun. For certes thei
 seyn that thing nis nat to comen for that the
 purveaunce of God hath seyn byforn that it is to
 comen, but rathir the contrarie; and that is this:
 that, for that the thing is to comen, that therfore
 ne mai it nat ben hidd fro the purveaunce of
 God; and in this manere this necessite slideth
 ayein into the contrarie partie: ne it ne byhoveth
 nat nedes that thinges betiden that ben
 ipurveied, but it byhoveth nedes that thinges
40 that ben to comen ben ipurveied -- but as
 it were Y travailed (as who seith, that
 thilke answere procedith ryght as though men
 travaileden or weren besy) to enqueren the
 whiche thing is cause of the whiche thing, as
 whethir the prescience is cause of the necessite
 of thinges to comen, or elles that the necessite of
 thinges to comen is cause of the purveaunce. But
 I ne enforce me nat now to schewen it, that
 the bytidynge of thingis iwyst byforn is
50 necessarie, how so or in what manere that
 the ordre of causes hath itself; although
 that it ne seme naught that the prescience bringe
 in necessite of bytydinge to thinges to comen.
 "For certes yif that any wyght sitteth, it byhoveth
 by necessite that the opynioun be soth of
 hym that conjecteth that he sitteth. and
 ayeinward also is it of the contrarie: yif the
 opinioun be soth of any wyght for that he sitteth,
 it byhoveth by necessite that he sitte.
60 Thanne is here necessite in the toon and in
 the tothir; for in the toon is necessite of
 syttynge, and certes in the tothir is necessite of
 soth. But therfore ne sitteth nat a wyght for that
 the opynioun of the sittynge is soth, but the
 opinioun is rather soth for that a wyght sitteth
 byforn. And thus, althoughe that the cause of the
 soth cometh of that other side (as who seith,
 that althoughe the cause of soth cometh of the
 sittynge, and nat of the trewe opinioun),
70 algatis yit is ther comune necessite in that
 oon and in that othir. Thus scheweth it that
 Y may make semblable skiles of the purveaunce
 of God and of thingis to comen. For althoughe
 that for that thingis ben to comen therfore ben
 thei purveied, and nat certes for thei be purveied
 therfore ne bytide thei nat; yit natheles byhoveth
 it by necessite that eyther the thinges to comen
 ben ipurveied of God, or elles that the thinges
 that ben ipurveyed of God betyden. And
80 this thing oonly suffiseth inow to destroien
 the fredom of oure arbitre (that is to seyn,
 of our fre wil).
 "But certes now schewith it wel how fer fro
 the sothe and how up-so-doun is this thing that
 we seyn, that the betydynge of temporel thingis
 is cause of the eterne prescience. But for to
 wenen that God purveieth the thinges to comen
 for thei ben to comen -- what oothir thing is it
 but for to wene that thilke thinges that
90 bytidden whilom ben cause of thilke
 soverein purveaunce that is in God? And
 herto I adde yit this thing: that ryght as whanne
 that I woot that a thing is, it byhoveth by
 necessite that thilke selve thing be; and eek
 whan I have knowen that any thing schal
 betyden; so byhovith it by necessite that thilke
 same thing betide; so folweth it thanne that the
 betydynge of the thing iwyste byforn ne may nat
 ben eschued. And at the laste, yif that any
100 wyght wene a thing to ben oothir weyes
 than it is, it nis nat oonly unscience, but it
 is desceyvable opynioun ful divers and fer fro
 the sothe of science. Wherfore, yif any thing be
 so to comen that the betidynge of it ne be nat
 certein ne necessarie, who mai witen byforn that
 thilke thing is to comen? For ryght as science ne
 may nat ben medled with falsnesse (as who
 seith, that yif I woot a thing, it ne mai nat
 ben fals that I ne woot it), ryght so thilke
110 thing that is conceyved by science ne may
 nat ben noon other weies than as it is
 conceyved. For that is the cause why that science
 wanteth lesynge (as who seith, why that
 wytynge ne resceyveth nat lesynge of that it
 woot); for it byhoveth by necessite that every
 thing be ryght as science comprehendeth it
 to be.
 "What schal I thanne seyn? In whiche manere
 knoweth God byforn the thinges to comen,
120 yif thei ne ben nat certein? For yif that he
 deme that thei ben to comen uneschewably,
 and so may be that it is possible that thei
 ne schollen nat comen, God is disseyved. But
 not oonly to trowe that God is disseyved, but for
 to speke it with mouthe, it is a felonous synne.
 But yif that God woot that ryght so as thinges
 ben to comen, so schollen they comen, so that he
 wite egaly (as who seith, indifferently) that
 thingis mowen ben doon or elles nat
130 idoon, what is thilke prescience that ne
 comprehendeth no certein thing ne stable?
 Or elles what difference is ther bytwixe the
 prescience and thilke japeworthi devynynge of
 Tyresie the divynour, that seide, `Al that I seie,'
 quod he, `either it schal be or elles it ne schal nat
 be?' Or elles how mochel is worth the devyne
 prescience more than the opinioun of mankynde,
 yif so be that it demeth the thinges
 uncertayn, as men doon, of the whiche
140 domes of men the betydinge nis nat
 certein? But yif so be that noon uncertein
 thing ne mai ben in hym that is right certeyn
 welle of alle thingis, than is the betydinge
 certein of thilke thingis whiche he hath wist
 byforn fermely to comen. For whiche it folweth
 that the fredom of the conseiles and of the
 werkis of mankynde nis noon, syn that the
 thought of God, that seeth alle thinges withouten
 errour of falsnesse, byndeth and
150 constreyneth hem to o bytidynge by
 "And yif this thing be oonys igrauntid and
 resceyved (that is to seyn, that ther nis no fre
 wil), thanne scheweth it wel how gret destruccioun
 and how gret damages ther folwen of
 thingis of mankynde. For in idel ben ther thanne
 purposed and byhyght medes to good folk, and
 peynes to badde folk, syn that no moevynge of
 fre corage and voluntarie ne hath nat
160 disservid hem (that is to seyn, neither
 mede ne peyne). And it scholde seme
 thanne that thilke thing is alther-worst whiche
 that is now demed for alther-moost just
 and moost ryghtful, that is to seyn that schrewes ben
 punysschid or elles that good folk ben
 igerdoned, the whiche folk syn that hir propre
 wil ne sent hem nat to the toon ne to that othir
 (that is to seyn, neither to good ne to harm), but
 constreyneth hem certein necessite of
170 thingis to comen. Thanne ne schulle ther
 nevere be, ne nevere were, vice ne vertu,
 but it scholde rather ben confusion of alle
 dissertes medlid withouten discrecioun. And yit
 ther folweth anothir inconvenient, of the whiche
 ther ne mai be thought no more felonous ne
 more wikke, and that is this: that, so as the ordre
 of thingis is iled and cometh of the purveaunce
 of God, ne that nothing is leveful to the
 conseiles of mankynde (as who seith that
180 men han no power to don nothing ne wilne
 nothing), thanne folweth it that oure vices
 ben referrid to the makere of alle good
 (as who seith, thanne folweth it that God
 oughte han the blame of our vices), syn he
 constreyneth us by necessite to doon vices.
 "Than nis ther no resoun to han hope in God,
 ne for to preien to God. For what scholde any
 wyght hopen to God, or why scholde he preien
 to God, syn that the ordenance of destyne
190 whiche that mai nat ben enclyned knytteth
 and streyneth alle thingis that men mai
 desiren? Thanne scholde ther be don awey
 thilke oonly alliaunce bytwixen God and men
 (that is to seyn, to hopen and to preien). But
 by the pris of ryghtwisnesse and of verray
 mekenesse we disserven the gerdon of the
 devyne grace whiche that is inestimable (that is
 to seyn, that it is so greet that it ne mai nat ben
 ful ipreysed). And this is oonly the manere
200 (that is to seyn, hope and preieris) for
 whiche it semeth that men mowen spekyn
 with God, and by resoun of supplicacion be
 conjoyned to thilke cleernesse that nis nat
 aprochid no rather or that men byseken it and
 impetren it. And yif men ne wene nat that hope
 ne preieris ne han no strengthis by the necessite
 of thingis to comen iresceyved, what thing
 is ther thanne by whiche we mowen ben
 conjoyned and clyven to thilke sovereyne
210 prince of thingis? For whiche it byhoveth
 by necessite that the lynage of mankynde,
 as thou songe a litil herebyforn, be departed and
 unjoyned from his welle, and failen of his
 bygynnynge (that is to seyn, God).
 "What discordable cause hath torent and unjoyned
 the byndynge or the alliaunce of thingis
 (that is to seyn, the conjunccions of God and
 of man)? Whiche god hath establisschid so
 gret bataile bytwixen these two sothfast or
 verreie thinges (that is to seyn, bytwyxen the
 purveaunce of God and fre wil) that thei ben
 singuler and dyvided, ne that they ne wole
 nat ben medled ne couplid togidre? But
10 ther nis no discord to the verray thinges,
 but thei clyven alwey certein to hemself;
 but the thought of man, confownded and over-throwen
 by the derke membres of the body,
 ne mai nat be fyr of his derked lookynge (that
 is to seyn, by the vigour of his insyghte while
 the soule is in the body) knowen the thynne
 sutile knyttynges of thinges. But wherfore
 eschaufeth it so by so gret love to fynden
 thilke notes of soth icovered? (That is to
20 seyn, wherfore eschaufeth the thought of
 man by so gret desir to knowen thilke notificaciouns
 that ben ihid undir the covertures of
 soth?) Woot it aught thilke thing that it angwisshous
 desireth to knowe? (As who seith,
 nay; for no man ne travaileth for to witen
 thingis that he wot. And therfore the texte
 seith thus:) But who travaileth to wite thingis
 iknowe? And yif that he ne knoweth hem nat,
 what sekith thilke blynde thoght? What is
30 he that desireth any thyng of which he wot
 right naught? (As who seith, whoso desireth
 any thing, nedes somwhat he knoweth of it,
 or elles he ne coude nat desiren it.) Or who may
 folwen thinges that ne ben nat iwist? And
 thoughe that he seke tho thingis, wher schal
 he fynde hem? What wyght that is al unkunnynge
 and ignoraunt may knowe the forme
 that is ifounde? But whanne the soule byholdeth
 and seeth the heye thought (that is to
40 seyn, God), thanne knoweth it togidre the
 somme and the singularites (that is to seyn,
 the principles and everyche by hymself)? But
 now, while the soule is hidd in the cloude and
 in the derknesse of the membres of the body,
 it ne hath nat al foryeten itself, but it withholdeth
 the somme of thinges and lesith the
 singularites. Thanne who so that sekith sothnesse,
 he nis in neyther nother habite, for he
 not nat al, ne he ne hath nat al foryeten;
50 but yit hym remembreth the somme of
 thinges that he withholdeth, and axeth conseile,
 and retretith deepliche thinges iseyn byforne
 (that is to seyn, the grete somme in his
 mynde) so that he mowe adden the parties
 that he hath foryeten to thilke that he hath
 Than seide sche, "This is," quod sche, "the
 olde questioun of the purveaunce of God. And
 Marcus Tullius, whan he devyded the divynaciouns
 (that is to seyn, in his book that he wrot
 of dyvynaciouns), he moevede gretly this questioun;
 and thou thiself hast ysought it mochel
 and outrely and longe. But yit ne hath it nat
 ben determined ne isped fermely and diligently
 of any of yow. And the cause of this dirknesse
10 and of this difficulte is, for that the
 moevynge of the resoun of mankynde ne
 may nat moeven to (that is to seyn, applien
 or joignen to) the simplicite of the devyne prescience;
 the whiche symplicite of the devyne
 prescience, yif that men myghte thinken it
 in any manere (that is to seyn, that yif
 men myghten thinken and comprehenden the
 thinges as God seeth hem), thanne ne scholde
 ther duelle outrely no doute. The whiche
20 resoun and cause of difficulte I schal assaye
 at the laste to schewe and to speden, whan
 I have first ispendid and answerd to the resouns
 by whiche thou art ymoeved.
 "For I axe whi thou wenest that thilke resoun
 of hem that assoilen this questioun ne be
 nat speedful inow ne sufficient; the whiche solucioun,
 or the whiche resoun, for that it demeth
 that the prescience nis nat cause of necessite
 to thinges to comen, than ne weneth it
30 nat that fredom of wil be distorbed or
 ylet be prescience. For ne drawestow nat
 argumentz fro elleswhere of the necessite of
 thingis to comen (as who seith, any oothir wey
 than thus) but that thilke thinges that the
 prescience woot byforn ne mowen nat unbetyde
 (that is to seyn, that thei moten betide)?
 But thanne, yif that prescience ne putteth
 no necessite to thingis to comen, as thou thiself
 hast confessed it and byknowen a litel
40 herebyforn, what cause or what is it (as
 who seith, ther may no cause be) by
 whiche that the endes voluntarie of thinges
 myghten be constreyned to certein bytydynge?
 For by grace of posicioun, so that thou mowe the
 betere undirstonde this that folweth, I pose that
 ther ne be no prescience. Thanne axe I," quod
 sche, "in as moche as aperteneth to that,
 scholden thanne thingis that comen of fre wil
 ben constreyned to bytiden by necessite?"
50 Boecius. "Nay," quod I.
 "Thanne ayeinward," quod sche, "I
 suppose that ther be prescience, but that it ne
 putteth no necessite to thingis; thanne trowe I
 that thilke selve fredom of wil schal duellen al
 hool and absolut and unbounden. But thou wolt
 seyn that, al be it so that prescience nis nat cause
 of the necessite of bytydynge to thingis to
 comen, algatis yit it is a signe that the thingis ben
 to bytyden by necessite. By this manere
60 thanne, althoughe the prescience ne hadde
 nevere iben, yit algate, or at the leste wey,
 it is certein thing that the endes and bytydinges
 of thingis to comen scholden ben necessarie. For
 every signe scheweth and signifieth oonly what
 the thing is, but it ne makith nat the thing that
 it signifieth. For whiche it byhoveth first to
 schewen that nothing ne bytideth that it ne
 betideth by necessite, so that it mai apiere that
 the prescience is signe of this necessite; or
70 elles, yif ther nere no necessite, certes
 thilke prescience ne myghte nat ben signe
 of thing that nis nat. But certes, it is now certein
 that the proeve of this, isusteyned by stedfast
 resoun, ne schal nat ben lad ne proeved by
 signes, ne by argumentz itaken fro withoute, but
 by causes covenable and necessarie.
 "But thou mayst seyn, `How may it be that the
 thingis ne betyden nat that ben ipurveied to
 comen? But certes, ryght as we troweden
80 that tho thingis whiche that the purveaunce
 woot byforn to comen, ne ben nat to
 bytiden!' But that ne scholde we nat demen; but
 rathir, althoughe that thei schal betyden, yit ne
 have thei no necessite of hir kynde to betyden.
 And this maystow lyghtly aperceyven by this
 that I schal seyn. For we seen many thingis whan
 thei ben done byforn oure eyen, ryght as men
 seen the cartere worken in the tornynge and in
 atemprynge or adressynge of hise cartes or
90 chariottes, and by this manere (as who
 seith, maistow undirstonden) of alle othere
 werkmen. Is ther thanne any necessite (as who
 seith, in our lookynge) that constreynith or
 compelleth any of thilke thingis to ben don so?"
 Boece. "Nay," quod I, "for in idel and in veyn
 were al the effect of craft, yif that alle thingis
 weren moeved by constreynynge (that is to seyn,
 by constreinynge of our eyen or of our sighte)."
 Philosophie. "The thingis thanne," quod
100 she, "that, whan men doon hem, ne han no
 necessite that men doon hem, eek tho same
 thingis, first or thei ben don, thei ben to comen
 withoute necessite. Forwhy ther ben some
 thingis to betyden, of whiche the eendes and the
 bytydynges of hem ben absolut and quit of alle
 necessite. For certes I ne trowe nat that any man
 wolde seyn this: that tho thingis that men don
 now, that thei ne weren to bytiden first or thei
 weren idoon; and thilke same thinges,
110 althoughe that men hadden iwyst hem
 byforn, yit thei han fre bytydynges. For
 ryght as science of thingis present ne bryngith in
 no necessite to thingis that men doon, right so
 the prescience of thinges to comen ne bryngith
 in no necessite to thinges to bytiden.
 "But thou maist seyn that of thilke same it is
 idouted, as whethir that of thilke thingis that ne
 han noon issues and bytidynges necessaries, yif
 therof mai ben any prescience. For certes
120 thei semen to discorden, for thou wenest
 that yif that thingis ben iseyn byfore, that
 necessite folwith hem; and yif necessite faileth
 hem, thei ne myghten nat ben wist byforn; and
 that nothing may be comprehended by science
 but certein. And yif tho thinges that ne han no
 certein bytydingis ben ipurveied as certein, it
 scholde ben dirknesse of opinioun, nat sothfastnesse
 of science. And thou wenest that it be
 dyvers fro the holnesse of science that any
130 man scholde deme a thing to ben otherwyse
 than it is itself.
 "And the cause of this errour is that of alle the
 thingis that every wyght hath iknowe,
 thei wenen that tho thingis ben iknowe al only by the
 strengthe and by the nature of the thinges that
 ben iwyst or iknowe. And it is al the contrarye;
 for al that evere is iknowe, it is rather
 comprehendid and knowen, nat aftir his
 strengthe and his nature, but aftir the
140 faculte (that is to seyn, the power and the
 nature) of hem that knowen. And, for
 that this schal mowen schewen by a schort
 ensaumple, the same rowndnesse of a body,
 otherweys the sighte of the eighe knoweth it,
 and otherweys the touchynge. The lookynge, by
 castynge of his bemys, waiteth and seeth fro afer
 al the body togidre, withoute moevynge of
 itself; but the touchynge clyveth and conjoyneth
 to the rounde body, and moeveth aboute
150 the envyrounynge, and comprehendeth by
 parties the roundnesse. And the man
 hymself, ootherweys wit byholdeth hym, and
 ootherweys ymaginacioun, and otherweyes
 resoun, and ootherweies intelligence. For the
 wit comprehendith withoute-forth the figure of
 the body of the man that is establisschid in the
 matere subgett; but the ymaginacioun comprehendith
 oonly the figure withoute the
 matere; resoun surmountith ymaginacioun
160 and comprehendith by an universel lokynge
 the comune spece that is in the
 singuler peces. But the eighe of intelligence is
 heyere, for it surmountith the envyrounynge of
 the universite, and loketh over that bi pure
 subtilte of thought thilke same symple forme of
 man that is perdurablely in the devyne thought.
 In whiche this oughte gretly to ben considered,
 that the heyeste strengthe to comprehenden
 thinges enbraseth and contienith the
170 lowere strengthe; but the lower strengthe
 ne ariseth nat in no manere to the heyere
 strengthe. For wit ne mai no thing comprehende
 out of matere ne the ymaginacioun ne loketh nat
 the universel speces, ne resoun ne taketh nat the
 symple forme so as intelligence takith it; but
 intelligence, that lookith as aboven, whanne it
 hath comprehended the forme, it knowith and
 demyth alle the thinges that ben undir that
 foorme; but sche knoweth hem in thilke
180 manere in the whiche it comprehendith
 thilke same symple forme that ne may
 nevere ben knowen to noon of that othere (that
 is to seyn, to none of tho thre forseyde strengthis
 of the soule). For it knoweth the universite of
 resoun, and the figure of ymaginacioun, and the
 sensible material conceyved by wit; ne it ne
 useth nat nor of resoun ne of ymaginacioun ne
 of wit withoute-forth; but it byholdeth alle
 thingis, so as I schal seie, by o strook of
190 thought formely (withoute discours or
 collacioun). Certes resoun, whan it lokith
 any thing universel, it ne useth nat of
 ymaginacioun, nor of wit; and algatis yit it
 comprehendith the thingis ymaginable and
 sensible. For reson is she that diffynyscheth the
 universel of here conceyte ryght thus: man is a
 resonable two-foted beest. And how so that this
 knowynge is universel, yit nis ther no wyght that
 ne wot wel that a man is a thing ymaginable
200 and sensible; and this same considereth wel
 resoun; but that nis nat by ymaginacioun
 nor by wit, but it lookith it by resonable
 concepcioun. Also ymaginacioun, albeit so that
 it takith of wit the bygynnynges to seen and to
 formen the figures, algates althoughe that wit ne
 were nat present, yit it envyrowneth and
 comprehendith alle thingis sensible, nat by
 resoun sensible of demynge, but by resoun
 ymaginatyf. Seestow nat thanne that alle
210 the thingis in knowynge usen more of hir
 faculte or of hir power than thei don of the
 faculte or power of thingis that ben iknowe? Ne
 that nis nat wrong; for so as every jugement is
 the dede or the doyng of hym that demeth, it
 byhoveth that every wyght performe the werk
 and his entencioun, nat of foreyne power, but of
 his propre power.
 "The porche (that is to seyn, a gate of the
 toun of Athenis there as philosophris hadden
 hir congregacioun to desputen) -- thilke porche
 broughte somtyme olde men, ful dirke in hir
 sentences (that is to seyn, philosophris that
 hyghten Stoycienis), that wenden that ymages
 and sensibilities (that is to seyn, sensible ymaginaciouns
 or ellis ymaginaciouns of sensible
 thingis) weren enprientid into soules fro
10 bodyes withoute-forth (as who seith that
 thilke Stoycienis wenden that the sowle
 had ben nakid of itself, as a mirour or a clene
 parchemyn, so that alle figures most first
 comen fro thinges fro withoute into soules,
 and ben emprientid into soules); (Textus)
 ryght as we ben wont somtyme by a swift
 poyntel to fycchen lettres emprientid in the
 smothnesse or in the pleynesse of the table of
 wex or in parchemyn that ne hath no figure
20 ne note in it. (Glose. But now argueth
 Boece ayens that opynioun and seith
 thus:) But yif the thryvynge soule ne unpliteth
 nothing (that is to seyn, ne doth nothing) by his
 propre moevynges, but suffrith and lith subgit
 to the figures and to the notes of bodies
 withoute-forth, and yeldith ymages ydel and
 vein in the manere of a mirour, whennes
 thryveth thanne or whennes comith thilke
 knowynge in our soule, that discernith and
30 byholdith alle thinges? And whennes is
 thilke strengthe that byholdeth the singuler
 thinges? Or whennes is the strengthe that
 devydeth thinges iknowe; and thilke strengthe
 that gadreth togidre the thingis devyded; and
 the strengthe that chesith his entrechaunged
 wey? For somtyme it hevyth up the heved (that
 is to seyn, that it hevyth up the entencioun) to
 ryght heye thinges, and somtyme it descendith
 into ryght lowe thinges; and whan
40 it retorneth into hymself it reproveth and
 destroyeth the false thingis by the trewe
 thinges. Certes this strengthe is cause more
 efficient, and mochel more myghty to seen and
 to knowe thinges, than thilke cause that suffrith
 and resceyveth the notes and the figures
 empressid in manere of matere. Algatis the
 passion (that is to seyn, the suffraunce or the wit)
 in the quyke body goth byforn, excitynge and
 moevynge the strengthes of the thought,
50 ryght so as whan that cleernesse smyteth
 the eyen and moeveth hem to seen, or
 ryght so as voys or soun hurteleth to the eres
 and commoeveth hem to herkne; than is the
 strengthe of the thought imoevid and excited,
 and clepith forth to semblable moevyngis the
 speces that it halt withynne itself, and addith
 tho speces to the notes and to the thinges
 withoute-forth, and medleth the ymagis of
 thinges withoute-forth to the foormes ihidd
60 withynne hymself.
 "But what yif that in bodyes to ben feled
 (that is to seyn, in the takynge of knowlechynge
 of bodily thinges), and albeit so that the
 qualites of bodies that ben object fro withoute-forth
 moeven and entalenten the instrumentz
 of the wittes, and albeit so that the passioun
 of the body (that is to seyn, the wit or the suffraunce)
 goth toforn the strengthe of the wirkynge
 corage, the whiche passioun or
10 sufraunce clepith forth the dede of the
 thought in hymself and moeveth and exciteth
 in this menewhile the formes that resten
 within-forth, and yif that in sensible bodies,
 as I have seid, our corage nis nat ytaught or
 empriented by passioun to knowe thise thinges,
 but demeth and knoweth of his owne strengthe
 the passioun or suffrance subject to the body --
 moche more than tho thingis that ben absolut
 and quit fro alle talentz or affecciouns of
20 bodyes (as God or his aungelis) ne folwen
 nat in discernynge thinges object fro withoute-forth,
 but thei acomplissen and speden
 the dede of hir thought. By this resoun,
 thanne, ther comen many maner knowynges to
 dyverse and differynge substaunces. For the
 wit of the body, the whiche wit is naked and
 despoiled of alle oothre knowynges -- thilke
 wit cometh to beestis that ne mowen nat
 moeven hemself her and ther, as oistres
30 and muscles and oothir swich schellefyssche
 of the see that clyven and ben norisschid
 to roches. But the ymaginacioun cometh
 to remuable bestis, that semen to han talent to
 fleen or to desiren any thing. But resoun is al
 oonly to the lynage of mankynde, ryght as
 intelligence is oonly the devyne nature. Of
 whiche it folweth that thilke knowynge is more
 worth than thise oothre, syn it knoweth by his
 propre nature nat oonly his subget (as who
40 seith, it ne knoweth nat al oonly that apertenith
 properly to his knowinge) but it knoweth
 the subjectz of alle othre knowynges.
 "But how schal it thanne be, yif that wit and
 ymaginacioun stryven ayein resonynge and seyn
 that, of thilke universel thingis that resoun
 weneth to seen, that it nis ryght naught? For wit
 and ymaginacioun seyn that that that is sensible
 or ymaginable, it ne mai nat ben universel;
 thanne is either the jugement of resoun
50 soth, ne that ther nis no thing sensible; or
 elles, for that resoun woot wel that many
 thinges ben subject to wit and to ymaginacioun,
 thanne is the concepcioun of resoun veyn and
 fals, whiche that lokith and comprehendith that
 that is sensible and singuler as universel. And yif
 that resoun wolde answere ayein to thise two
 (that is to seyn, to wit and to ymaginacioun),
 and seyn that sothly sche hirselve (that is to
 seyn, resoun) lokith and comprehendith,
60 by resoun of universalite, bothe that that is
 sensible and that that is ymaginable;
 and that thilke two (that is to seyn, wit and
 ymaginacioun) ne mowen nat strecchen ne
 enhaunsen hemself to knowynge of universalite,
 for that the knowynge of hem ne mai exceden ne
 surmounten the bodily figures: certes of the
 knowynge of thinges, men oughten rather yeven
 credence to the more stidfast and to the mor
 parfit jugement; in this manere stryvynge,
70 thanne, we that han strengthe of resonynge
 and of ymagynynge and of wit (that is to
 seyn, by resoun and by imagynacioun and by
 wit), we scholde rathir preise the cause of resoun
 (as who seith, than the cause of wit and of
 "Semblable thing is it, that the resoun of
 mankynde ne weneth nat that the devyne
 intelligence byholdeth or knoweth thingis to
 comen, but ryght as the resoun of
80 mankynde knoweth hem. For thou arguist
 and seist thus: that if it ne seme nat to men
 that some thingis han certeyn and necessarie
 bytydynges, thei ne mowen nat ben wist byforn
 certeinly to betyden, and thanne nis ther no
 prescience of thilke thinges; and yif we trowe
 that prescience be in thise thingis, thanne is ther
 nothing that it ne bytydeth by necessite. But
 certes yif we myghten han the jugement of
 the devyne thoght, as we ben parsoners of
90 resoun, ryght so as we han demyd that it
 byhovith that ymaginacioun and wit ben
 bynethe resoun, ryght so wolde we demen that
 it were ryghtfull thing that mannys resoun
 oughte to summytten itself and to ben bynethe
 the devyne thought. For whiche yif that we
 mowen (as who seith that, if that we mowen,
 I conseile that) we enhaunse us into the heighte
 of thilke soverein intelligence; for ther schal
 resoun wel seen that that it ne mai nat
100 byholden in itself, and certes that is this:
 in what manere the prescience of God
 seeth alle thinges certeins and diffinyssched,
 althoughe thei ne han no certein issues or
 bytydyngis; ne this nis noon opinioun, but it is
 rather the simplicite of the soverein science,
 that nis nat enclosed nor ischet withinne none
 "The beestes passen by the erthes be ful
 diverse figures. For some of hem han hir bodyes
 straught, and crepyn in the dust, and drawen
 aftir hem a traas or a furwe icontynued (that
 is to sein, as naddres or snakes); and oothre
 beestis by the wandrynge lyghtnesse of hir
 wynges beten the wyndes, and overswymmen
 the spaces of the longe eir by moyst fleynge;
 and oothere beestes gladen hemself to diggen
10 hir traas or hir steppys in the erthe
 with hir goinges or with hir feet, and to
 gon either by the grene feeldes or elles to
 walken undir the wodes. And al be it so that
 thou seest that thei alle discorden by diverse
 foormes, algatis hir faces enclyned hevyeth hir
 dulle wittes. Only the lynage of man heveth
 heyest his heie heved, and stondith light with
 his upryght body, and byholdeth the erthes
 undir hym. And, but yif thou, erthly man,
20 waxest yvel out of thi wit, this figure
 amonesteth the, that axest the hevene with
 thi ryghte visage and hast areised thi forheved,
 to beren up an hye thi corage, so that thi thought
 ne be nat ihevyed ne put lowe undir fote, syn
 that thi body is so heyghe areysed.
 "Therfore thanne, as I have schewed a litel
 herebyforne that alle thing that is iwist nis nat
 knowen by his nature propre, but by the nature
 of hem that comprehenden it, lat us loke
 now, in as mochil as it is leveful to us (as who
 seith, lat us loke now as we mowen) whiche that
 the estat is of the devyne substaunce; so that
 we mowe eek knowen what his science is. The
 comune jugement of alle creatures resonables
10 thanne is this: that God is eterne.
 Lat us considere thanne what is eternite;
 for certes that schal schewen us togidre the
 devyne nature and the devyne science. Eternite,
 thanne, is parfit possessioun and al togidre
 of lif interminable; and that scheweth. more
 cleerly by the comparysoun or collacioun of
 temporel thinges. For alle thing that lyveth in
 tyme, it is present and procedith fro preteritz
 into futures (that is to seyn, fro tyme passed
20 into tyme comynge), ne ther nis nothing
 establisshed in tyme that mai enbrasen togidre
 al the space of his lif. For certis yit ne
 hath it nat taken the tyme of tomorwe, and it
 hath lost that of yusterday, and certes in the
 lif of this dai ye ne lyve namore but right
 as in this moevable and transitorie moment.
 Thanne thilke thing that suffreth temporel condicioun,
 althoughe that it nevere bygan to
 be, ne thoughe it nevere ne cese for to be,
30 as Aristotile deemed of the world, and
 althoughe that the lif of it be strecchid with
 infinite of tyme; yit algatis nis it no swich thing
 that men mighten trowen by ryght that it is
 eterne. For althouhe that it comprehende and
 embrase the space of lif infinit, yit algatis ne
 enbraseth it nat the space of the lif al togidre; for
 it ne hath nat the futuris (that ne ben nat yit),
 ne it ne hath no lengere the preteritz (that
 ben idoon or ipassed). But thilke thing,
40 thanne, that hath and comprehendith
 togidre al the plente of the lif interminable,
 to whom ther ne faileth naught of the future, and
 to whom ther nis noght of the preteryt escaped
 nor ipassed, thilke same is iwitnessed and
 iproevid by right to ben eterne; and it byhovith
 by necessite that thilke thing be alwey present to
 hymself and compotent (as who seith, alwey
 present to hymselve and so myghty that al be
 right at his plesaunce), and that he have al
50 present the infinit of the moevable tyme.
 "Wherfore som men trowen wrongfully
 that, whan thei heren that it semede to Plato that
 this world ne hadde nevere bygynnynge of
 tyme, ne that it nevere schal han failynge, thei
 wenen in this manere that this world be makid
 coeterne with his makere. (As who seith, thei
 wene that this world and God ben makid
 togidre eterne, and that is a wrongful wenynge.)
 For other thing is it to ben ilad
60 by lif interminable, as Plato grauntide to
 the world, and oothir is it to enbrace
 togidre al the presence of the lif intermynable,
 the whiche thing it is cleer and manyfest that it
 is propre to the devyne thought. Ne it ne
 scholde nat semen to us that God is eldere than
 thinges that ben imaked by quantite of tyme, but
 rathir by the proprete of his simple nature. For
 this ilke infinit moevyng of temporel thinges
 folweth this presentarie estat of the lif
70 inmoevable; and, so as it ne mai nat
 contrefetin it ne feynen it, ne be evene lik
 to it, [fro] the immoevablete (that is to sein, that
 is in the eternite of God) it faileth and fallith into
 moevynge, [and] fro the simplicite of the
 presence of [God] disencresith into the infinit
 quantite of future and of preterit; and so as it ne
 mai nat han togidre al the plente of the lif,
 algates yit, for as moche as it ne ceseth nevere for
 to ben in som manere, it semyth somdel to
80 us that it folwith and resembleth thilke
 thing that it ne mai nat atayne to ne
 fulfillen, and byndeth itself to som maner
 presence of this litle and swift moment, the
 whiche presence of this litle and swifte moment,
 for that it bereth a maner ymage or liknesse of
 the ai duellynge presence of God, it grauntith to
 swich manere thinges as it betydith to that it
 semeth hem that thise thinges han iben and ben.
 And for that the presence of swiche litil
90 moment ne mai nat duelle, therfore it
 ravysschide and took the infynit wey of
 tyme (that is to seyn, by successioun). And by
 this manere is it idoon for that it sholde contynue
 the lif in goinge, of the whiche lif it ne myght nat
 enbrace the plente in duellinge. And forthi yif
 we wollen putten worthi names to thinges and
 folwen Plato, lat us seyen thanne sothly that God
 is `eterne,' and that the world is `perpetuel.'
 "Thanne, syn that every jugement knoweth
100 and comprehendith by his owne nature
 thinges that ben subgect unto hym,
 ther is sothly to God alweys an eterne
 and presentarie estat; and the science of hym, that
 overpasseth alle temporel moevement, duelleth
 in the simplicite of his presence, and embraceth
 and considereth alle the infynit spaces of tymes
 preteritz and futures, and lokith in his simple
 knowynge alle thinges of preterit ryght as thei
 weren idoon presently ryght now. Yif
110 thou wolt thanne thinken and avise the
 prescience by whiche it knoweth alle
 thinges, thou ne schalt naught demen it as
 prescience of thinges to comen, but thou schalt
 demen more ryghtfully that it is science of
 presence or of instaunce that nevere ne faileth.
 For whiche it nis nat ycleped `previdence,' but it
 sholde rathir ben clepid `purveaunce,' that is
 establisshed ful fer fro ryght lowe thinges, and
 byholdeth fro afer alle thingis, right as it
120 were fro the heye heighte of thinges.
 "Why axestow thanne, or whi desputestow
 thanne, that thilke thingis ben doon
 by necessite whiche that ben yseyn and knowen
 by the devyne sighte, syn that forsothe men ne
 maken nat thilke thinges necessarie whiche that
 thei seen ben idoon in hir sighte? For addith thi
 byholdynge any necessite to thilke thinges that
 thou byholdest present?"
 "Nay," quod I.
130 Philosophie. "Certes, thanne, yif men
 myghte maken any digne comparysoun or
 collacioun of the presence devyne and of the
 presence of mankynde, ryght so as ye seen some
 thinges in this temporel present, ryght so seeth
 God alle thinges by his eterne present.
 "Wherfore this devyne prescience ne chaungeth
 nat the nature ne the proprete of thinges,
 but byholdeth swiche thingis present to hym-ward
 as thei shollen betyde to yow-ward
140 in tyme to comen. Ne it ne confowndeth
 nat the jugementz of thingis; but by o
 sight of his thought he knoweth the thinges
 to comen, as wel necessarie as nat necessarie.
 Ryght so as whan ye seen togidre a man walke
 on the erthe and the sonne arisen in the
 hevene, albeit so that ye seen and byholden the
 ton and the tothir togidre, yit natheles ye demen
 and discerne that the toon is voluntarie
 and the tothir is necessarie. Ryght so
150 thanne the devyne lookynge, byholdynge
 alle thinges undir hym, ne trowbleth nat
 the qualite of thinges that ben certeinly present
 to hym-ward but, as to the condicioun of tyme,
 forsothe thei ben futur. For which it folwith that
 this nis noon opynioun, but rathir a stidfast
 knowynge istrengthid by soothnesse that, whan
 that God knoweth any thing to be, he ne unwot
 not that thilke thing wantith necessite to be.
 (This is to sein that whan that God knoweth
160 any thing to betide, he wot wel that it ne
 hath no necessite to betyde.)
 "And yif thou seist here that thilke thing that
 God seeth to betide, it ne may nat unbytide (as
 who seith, it moot bytide), and thilke thing that
 ne mai nat unbytide, it mot bytiden by necessite,
 and that thou streyne me to this name of
 necessite, certes I wol wel confessen and
 byknowen a thing of ful sad trouthe. But
 unnethe schal ther any wight mowe seen it
170 or come therto, but yif that he be
 byholdere of the devyne thought. For I wol
 answeren the thus: that thilke thing that is futur,
 whan it is referred to the devyne knowynge,
 than is it necessarie; but certis whan it is
 undirstonden in his owene kynde, men seen it
 outrely fre and absolut fro alle necessite.
 "For certes ther ben two maneris of
 necessites: that oon necessite is symple, as thus:
 that it byhovith by necessite that alle men
180 ben mortal or dedly; anothir necessite is
 condicionel, as thus: yif thow wost that a
 man walketh, it byhovith by necessite that he
 walke. Thilke thing, thanne, that any wight hath
 iknowe to be, it ne mai ben noon oothir weys
 thanne he knowith it to be. But this condicion ne
 draweth nat with hir thilke necessite simple; for
 certes this necessite condicionel -- the propre
 nature of it ne makith it nat, but the adjeccioun
 of the condicioun makith it. For no necessite
190 ne constreyneth a man to gon that
 goth by his propre wil, al be it so that whan
 he goth that it is necessarie that he goth. Ryght
 on this same manere thanne, yf that the
 purveaunce of God seeth any thyng present,
 than moot thilke thing ben by necessite,
 althoghe that it ne have no necessite of his owne
 nature. But certes the futures that bytiden by
 fredom of arbitrie, God seth hem alle togidre
 presentz. Thise thinges thanne, yif thei ben
200 referrid to the devyne sighte, than ben they
 maked necessarie by the condicioun of the
 devyne knowynge. But certes yif thilke thingis
 ben considered by hemself, thei ben absolut of
 necessite, and ne forleten nat ne cesen nat of
 the liberte of hir owne nature. Thanne certes
 withoute doute alle the thinges shollen ben
 doon whiche that God woot byforn that thei ben
 to comen. But some of hem comen and bytiden
 of fre arbitrie or of fre wil, that, al be it so
210 that thei bytiden, yit algates ne lese thei nat
 hir propre nature in beinge, by the whiche,
 first or that thei weren idon, thei hadden power
 noght to han bytyd."
 Boece. "What is this to seyn thanne," quod I,
 "that thinges ne ben nat necessarie by hir propre
 nature, so as thei comen in alle maneris in the
 liknesse of necessite by the condicioun of the
 devyne science?"
 Philosophie. "This is the difference,"
220 quod sche, "that tho thinges that I purposide
 the a litil herbyforn -- that is to seyn,
 the sonne arysynge and the man walkynge --
 that ther-whiles that thilke thinges ben idoon,
 they ne myghte nat ben undoon; natheles that
 oon of hem, or it was idoon, it byhovide by
 necessite that it was idoon, but nat that oothir.
 Ryght so is it here, that the thinges that God
 hath present, withoute doute thei shollen ben.
 But some of hem descendith of the nature
230 of thinges (as the sonne arysynge); and
 some descendith of the power of the doeris
 (as the man walkynge). Thanne seide I no wrong
 that, yif that thise thinges ben referred to the
 devyne knowynge, thanne ben thei necessarie;
 and yif thei ben considered by hemself, than ben
 thei absolut fro the boond of necessite. Right so
 as alle thingis that apiereth or scheweth to the
 wittes, yif thou referre it to resoun, it is
 universel; and yif thou loke it or referre it
240 to itself, than is it singuler.
 "But now yif thou seist thus: that, `If it be
 in my power to chaunge my purpos, than schal
 I voiden the purveaunce of God, whan paraventure
 I schal han chaungid the thingis that
 he knoweth byforn,' thanne schal I answeren
 the thus: `Certes thou maist wel chaungen thi
 purpos; but for as mochil as the present
 sothnesse of the devyne purveaunce byholdeth
 that thou maist chaunge thi purpos, and
250 whethir thou wolt chaunge it or no, and
 whider-ward that thou torne it, thou ne
 maist nat eschuen the devyne prescience, ryght
 as thou ne maist nat fleen the sighte of the
 present eye, althoghe that thou torne thiself by
 thi fre wil into diverse acciouns.' But thou maist
 sein ayein: `How schal it thanne be -- schal nat
 the devyne science ben chaunged by my
 disposicioun whan that I wol o thing now and
 now anothir? And thilke prescience -- ne
260 semeth it nat to entrechaunge stoundis of
 knowynge?'" (As who seith, ne schal it nat
 seme to us that the devyne prescience entrechaungith
 hise diverse stoundes of knowynge,
 so that it knowe somtyme o thing, and somtyme
 the contrarie?)
 "No, forsothe," quod she, "for the devyne
 sighte renneth toforn and seeth alle futures, and
 clepith hem ayen and retorneth hem to the
 presence of his propre knowynge; ne he ne
270 entrechaungith nat, so as thou wenest, the
 stoundes of foreknowynge, as now this,
 now that; but he ay duellynge cometh byforn,
 and enbraseth at o strook alle thi mutaciouns.
 And this presence to comprehenden and to seen
 alle thingis -- God ne hath nat taken it of the
 bytidynge of thinges to come, but of his propre
 symplicite. And herby is assoiled thilke thing
 that thou puttest a litel herebyforn; that is to
 seyn, that it is unworthy thing to seyn that
280 our futures yeven cause of the science of
 God. For certis this strengthe of the devyne
 science, whiche that embraseth alle thinges by
 his presentarie knowynge, establissheth manere
 to alle thinges, and it ne oweth nawht to lattere
 "And syn that thise thinges ben thus (that is
 to seyn, syn that necessite nis nat in thinges by
 the devyne prescience), thanne is ther fredom of
 arbitrie, that duelleth hool and unwemmed
290 to mortal men; ne the lawes ne purposen
 nat wikkidly medes and peynes to the
 willynges of men that ben unbownden and quyt
 of alle necessite; and God, byholdere and
 forwytere of alle thingis, duelleth above, and the
 present eternite of his sighte renneth alwey with
 the diverse qualite of our dedes, dispensynge
 and ordeynynge medes to gode men and
 tormentz to wikkide men. Ne in ydel ne in veyn
 ne ben ther put in God hope and preyeris
300 that ne mowen nat ben unspedful ne
 withouten effect whan they been ryghtful.
 "Withstond thanne and eschue thou vices;
 worschipe and love thou vertues; areise thi
 corage to ryghtful hopes; yilde thou humble
 preieres an heyhe. Gret necessite of prowesse
 and vertu is encharged and comaunded to yow,
 yif ye nil nat dissimulen; syn that ye worken and
 don (that is to seyn, your dedes or your werkes)
 byforn the eyen of the juge that seeth and
310 demeth alle thinges."

Next: Book 1