Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK XVIII CHAPTER XXV

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CHAPTER XXV

How true love is likened to summer.


AND thus it passed on from Candlemass until after Easter,
that the month of May was come, when every lusty heart
beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like
as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May,
in like wise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover,
springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds.  For it giveth
unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May, in
something to constrain him to some manner of thing
more in that month than in any other month, for divers
causes.  For then all herbs and trees renew a man and
woman, and likewise lovers call again to their mind old
gentleness and old service, and many kind deeds that
were forgotten by negligence.  For like as winter rasure
doth alway arase and deface green summer, so fareth it
by unstable love in man and woman.  For in many persons
there is no stability; for we may see all day, for a little
blast of winter's rasure, anon we shall deface and lay apart
true love for little or nought, that cost much thing; this
is no wisdom nor stability, but it is feebleness of nature
and great disworship, whosomever useth this.  Therefore,
like as May month flowereth and flourisheth in many
gardens, so in like wise let every man of worship flourish
his heart in this world, first unto God, and next unto the
joy of them that he promised his faith unto; for there
was never worshipful man or worshipful woman, but
they loved one better than another; and worship in arms
may never be foiled, but first reserve the honour to God,
and secondly the quarrel must come of thy lady: and
such love I call virtuous love.

But nowadays men can not love seven night but they
must have all their desires: that love may not endure by
reason; for where they be soon accorded and hasty heat,
soon it cooleth.  Right so fareth love nowadays, soon hot
soon cold: this is no stability.  But the old love was not
so; men and women could love together seven years, and
no licours lusts were between them, and then was love,
truth, and faithfulness: and lo, in like wise was used love
in King Arthur's days.  Wherefore I liken love nowadays
unto summer and winter; for like as the one is hot and the
other cold, so fareth love nowadays; therefore all ye that
be lovers call unto your remembrance the month of May,
like as did Queen Guenever, for whom I make here a little
mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and
therefore she had a good end.