Treasure Trove Modernised From The Fifth Book Of Gower's "Confessio Amantis."

In ancient Chronicle I read:-
About a King, as it must need,
There was of Knights and of Squiers
Great rout, and eke of Officers.
Some for a long time him had served,
And thought that they had well deserved
Advancement, but had gone without;
And some also were of the Rout
That only came the other day
And were advanced without delay.
Those Older Men upon this thing,
So as they durst, against the King
Among themselves would murmur oft.
But there is nothing said so soft
That it shall not come out at last,
The King soon knew what Words had passed.
A King he was of high Prudence,
He shaped therefore an Evidence
Of them that plained them in that case,
To know of whose Default it was.
And all within his own intent,
That not a man knew what it meant,
He caused two Coffers to be made
Alike in Shape, and Size, and Shade,
So like that no man, by their Show,
The one may from the other know.
They were into his Chamber brought,
But no man knew why they were wrought;
Yet from the King Command hath come
That they be set in private Room,
For he was in his Wisdom keen.
When he thereto his time had seen,
Slily, away from all the rest,
With his own hands he filled one Chest,
Full of fine Gold and Jewelry
The which out of his Treasury
Was taken; after that he thrust
Into the other Straw and Dust,
And filled it up with Stones also;
Full Coffers are they, both the two.

And early then upon a day
He bade within doors where he lay
That there should be before his Bed
A Board set up and fairly spread.
The Coffers then he let men get,
And on the Board he had them set.
Full well he knew the Names of those
Whose Murmurings against him rose,
Both of his Chamber and his Hall,
And speedily sent for them all,
And said unto them in this wise:

"There shall no man his Hap despise;
I know well that ye long have served,
And God knows what ye have deserved.
Whether it is along of me
That ye still unadvanced be,
Or whether it belong of you,
The Sooth is to be proved now,
Wherewith to stop your Evil Word.
Lo here two Coffers on the Board,
Of both the two choose which you will,
And know that ye may have your fill
Of Treasure heaped and packed in one,
That if ye happen thereupon
Ye shall be made Rich Men for ever.
Now choose and take which you is liever.
But be well ware, ere that ye take, -
For of the one I undertake
There is no manner good therein
Whereof ye might a Profit win.
Now go together of one assent
And take your own Advisement.
Whether I you this day advance
Stands only on your Choice and Chance.
No question here of Royal Grace,
It shall be showed in this place
Upon you all, and well and fine,
If Fortune fails by Fault of mine."

They all kneel down, and with one voice
They thank the King for this free Choice;
And after this they up arise
And go aside and them advise,
And at the last they all accord;
Whereof their Finding to record
To what Issue their Voices fall,
A Knight shall answer for them all.

He kneeleth down unto the King
And saith, that they upon this thing
Or for to win or for to lose
Are all decided how to choose.
Then took this Knight a Rod in hand
And goes to where the Coffers stand,
And with the Assent of every one
He layeth his Rod upon one,
And tells the King they only want
Him that for their Reward to grant,
And pray him that they might it have.
The King, who would his Honour save,
When he hath heard the common Voice,
Hath granted them their own free Choice,
And gave them thereupon the Key.
But as he would that men might see
What Good they got, as they suppose,
He bade anon the Coffer unclose, -
Which was filled full with Straw and Stone;
Thus are they served, the Luck's their own.

"Lo," saith the King, "now may ye see
That there is no Default in me;
Therefore myself I will acquit,
Bear ye the Blame now, as is fit,
For that which Fortune you refused."
Thus was this wise old King excused,
And they left off their evil Speech,
And Mercy of their King beseech.

Touching like matter to the quick,
I find a Tale how Frederick,
At that time Emperor of Rome,
Heard, as he went, a Clamour come
From two poor Beggars on the way.
The one of them began to say,
"Ha, Lord, the man is rich indeed
To whom a King's Wealth brings his Speed!"
The other said, "It is not so,
But he is rich and well-to-do
To whom God pleases Wealth to send."
And thus their Words went without end,
Whereto this Lord hath given ear
And caused both Beggars to appear
Straight at his Palace, there to eat;
And bade provide them for their Meat
Two Pasties which men were to make,
And in the one a Capon bake,
And in the other, Wealth to win,
Of Florins all that may within
He bade them put a great Richesse,
And just alike, as one may guess,
Outward they were, to Sight of Men.

This Beggar was commanded then,
He that had held him to the King,
That he first choose upon this thing.
He saw them, but he felt them not,
So that upon his single Thought
He chose the Capon, and forsook
That other, which his Fellow took.

But when he wist how that it fared,
He said aloud, that men it heard:
"Now have I certainly conceived
That he may lightly be deceived
Who puts his trust in Help of Man.
He's rich whom God helps, for he can
Stand ever on the safer side
That else on Vain Hope had relied.
I see my Fellow well supplied,
And still a Poor Man I abide."
Thus spake the Beggar his intent,
And poor he came, and poor he went;
Of all the Riches that he sought
His evil Fortune gave him nought.

And right as it with those men stood,
Of evil Hap in worldly Good,
As thou hast heard me tell above,
Right so, full oft, it stands by Love;
Though thou desire it evermore
Thou shalt not have a whit the more,
But only what is meant for thee,
Of all the rest not worth a Pea.
And yet a long and endless Row
There be of Men who covet so
That whereas they a Woman see,
To ten or twelve though there may be,
The Love is now so little wise
That where the Beauty takes his Eyes
Anon the Man's whole Heart is there
And whispers Tales into her Ear,
And says on her his Love is set,
And thus he sets him to covet.
A hundred though he saw a day,
So would he have more than he may;
In each of them he finds somewhat
That pleaseth him, or this or that.
Some one, for she is white of skin,
Some one, for she is noble of kin,
Some one, for she hath a ruddy cheek,
Some one, for that she seemeth meek,
Some one, for that her eyes are gray,
Some one, for she can laugh and play,
Some one, for she is long and small,
Some one, for she is lithe and tall,
Some one, for she is pale and bleach,
Some one, for she is soft of speech,
Some one, for that her nose turns down,
Some one, for that she hath a frown,
Some one, for she can dance and sing;
So that of what he likes something
He finds, and though no more he feel
But that she hath a little heel,
It is enough that he therefore
Her love; and thus an hundred score
While they be new he would he had,
Whom he forsakes, she shall be bad.
So the Blind Man no Colour sees,
All's one to take as he may please;
And his Desire is darkly minded
Whom Covetise of Love hath blinded.
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