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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 4490
IMEV 2820
NIMEV 2820
Right as poverty causeth soberness
On the Evils of Prosperity — eight lines
Note: Same as lines 83-90 of the Prologue to Walton’s Boethius: see 2677; see also 1423.
Subjects: wealth, dangers of
Versification: — eight-line — ababbcbc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 24 (SC 3354), f. 119
First Lines:
Richt as pouert causith sobirnes
And febilnes enforcith contenence…
Last Lines:
…Thare is no mare perilous pestilence
Than hie estate gevin vnto schrewis
Attributed Author: Quod Chaucere (f. 119)
Editions:
Nicolas, Nicholas Harris, and Richard Morris, eds. The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Aldine Edition of the British Poets. 6 vols; orig. ed., 1845; rev. ed. London: Bell and Daldy, 1866: 6.296.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 1.47, 7.449.
2.Source: London, British Library Addit. 29729, f. 288v
Transcription:
As poverte causithe sobernes
& febulnes enforsyth contynenc
right so prosperite & sikernes
þe mother is of vice & necligence
& oft tymes honor changeth good thewes
ther is no more perilous pestilence
then high estate geuen vnto shrewes
Note: Seven lines
3.Source: London, British Library Harley 2251, f. 152v
First Lines:
Right as pouerte causith sobrenes
And febilnes enforchith continence…
Last Lines:
…Wherfor ther is none so parilous pestilence
As highestate graunted vnto shrewis
4.Source: London, British Library Royal 20 B.XV, f. 1v
Editions:
Brusendorff, Aage. The Chaucer Tradition. Copenhagen, 1925; repr. Oxford: Clarendon, 1967: 436.
5.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 75v
First Lines:
Rycht as pouerte causs sobirnes
and febilnes anseris countenance…
Last Lines:
…Thair is no moir perrellus pestilence
Nor he estait gevin vnto schrewis
Editions:
Murdoch, James Barclay. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 vols. in 11 parts, paged continuously. Hunterian Club 16, 32, 40, 46, 50, 55-56, 64-67 Glasgow: Anderson, 1873-1896: 204.
Ritchie, W. Tod, ed. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 parts in 4 vols. Scottish Text Society 3rd ser. 5 (1928); n.s. 22 (1928); n.s. 23 (1930); n.s. 26 (1934) Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1928-34; ed. by Ritchie et al: 2.186-7.
6.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library 163 [olim Wagstaff 9, prior Petworth 8], f. 29
First Lines:
Ryght as pouerte causeth sobrenesse
And feblenesse enforceth contynence…
Last Lines:
…Ther is no more perelyouse pestelence
Then hye estate yeven vn to schrewes
Note: Immediately followed by 5330 and 3811 as if three stanzas; headed ‘Nota’
Editions:
Lass, Roger. “Three Middle English Cautionary Lyrics from a Yale University Ms.” Anglia 83 (1965): 172-5: 173-4.
7.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Lat. 201, f. 130
First Lines:
Ryȝt as pouerte cawsyth soburnesse
And febelnesse enforsyth contynence
Ryȝt so prosperite & sykernesse
Be modur of vice & necligence…
Last Lines:
…Ther is no more perilous pestilense
Than hiȝ astat ȝeuon vn to schrewys
Note: Immediately follows 6369 and precedes 4354
Editions:
Fawtier, E. C., and R. Fawtier. “From Merlin to Shakespeare: Adventures of an English Prophecy.” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 5 (1918-20): 388-92: 389.
8.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library EL 26.A.13 [olim Bridgewater], f. iii
First Lines:
As þat pouert causeþe soburnesse
And feobulnesse enforceþe continence…
Last Lines:
…Þere is no more perayllous pestylence
Þane hye estate graunted vn to shrewes
Note: Stanza 11 only; with colophon, ‘To yowe Chaucier’ (f. iii)
Attributed Title: Boece (as heading, f. iii)
9.Source: Princeton, Princeton University Library Taylor Medieval 5 [olim Phillipps 8192], f. 193vb
Transcription:
ffor Right as pouerte causith soubrenes
And feblenes enforseth continence
Right so prosperite & wilfulnes
The modre been of vice & negligence
And power also causeth Insolence
And often honur chuseth gode thewes
Ther is no more perillous pestilence
Than hye Astate yeven vnto shrewes
Note: Formerly listed as a separate record, 1383.