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WHEN Leah saw that Rachel her sister made great joy of these two bastards born of Bilhah her maiden, she called forth her maiden Zilpah, to put to her husband Jacob; that she might make joy with her sister, having other two bastards gotten of her maiden Zilpah. And thus it is seemly in man's soul for to be, that from the time that reason hath refrained the great jangling of imagination, and hath put her to be underlout[63] to God, and maketh her to bear some fruit in helping of her knowing, that right so the affection refrain the lust and the thirst of the sensuality, and make her to be underlout to God, and so to bear some fruit in helping of her feeling. But what fruit may she bear, ought but that she learn to live temperately in easy things, and patiently in uneasy things? These are they, the children of Zilpah, Gad and Asher: Gad is abstinence, and Asher is patience. Gad is the sooner born child, and Asher the latter; for first it needeth that we be attempered in ourself with discreet abstinence, and after that we bear outward disease[64] in strength of patience. These are the children that Zilpah brought forth in sorrow; for in abstinence and patience the sensuality is punished in the flesh; but that that is sorrow to the sensuality turneth to much comfort and bliss to the affection. And therefore it is that, when Gad was born, Leah cried and said: "Happily"[65]; and therefore Gad is cleped in the story "Happiness," or "Seeliness."[66] And so it is well said that abstinence in the sensuality is happiness[67] in the affection. For why, ever the less that the sensuality is delighted in her lust, the more sweetness feeleth the affection in her love. Also after when Asher was born, Leah said: "This shall be for my bliss";[68] and therefore was Asher called in the story "Blessed."[69] And so it is well said that patience in the sensuality is bliss in the affection. For why, ever the more disease that the sensuality suffereth, the more blessed is the soul in the affection. And thus by abstinence and patience we shall not only understand a temperance in meat and drink, and suffering of outward tribulation, but also [in] all manner of fleshly, kindly,[70] and worldly delights, and all manner of disease, bodily and ghostly, within or without, reasonable or unreasonable, that by any of our five wits torment or delight the sensuality. On this wise beareth the sensuality fruit in help of affection, her lady. Much peace and rest is in that soul that neither is drunken in the lust of the sensuality, nor grutcheth[71] in the pain thereof. The first of these is gotten by Gad and the latter by Asher. Here it is to wete that first was Rachel's maiden put to the husband or the maiden of Leah; and this is the skill why. For truly, but if the jangling of the imagination, that is to say, the in-running of vain thoughts, be first refrained, without doubt the lust of the sensuality may not be attempered. And therefore who so will abstain him from fleshly and worldly lusts, him behoveth first seldom or never think any vain thoughts.[72] And also never in this life may a man perfectly despise the ease of the flesh, and not dread the disease, but if he have before busily beholden the meeds and the torments that are to come. But here it is to wete how that, with these four sons of these two maidens, the city of our conscience is kept wonderfully from all temptations. For all temptation either it riseth within by thought, or else without by some of our five wits. But within shall Dan deem and damn evil thoughts by sight of pain; and without shall Gad put against[73] false delights by use of abstinence. Dan waketh[74] within, and Gad without; and also their other two brethren helpen them full much: Naphtali maketh peace within with Dan, and Asher biddeth Gad have no dread of his enemies. Dan feareth the heart with ugsomeness of hell, and Naphtali cherisheth it with behighting[75] of heavenly bliss. Also Asher helpeth his brother without, so that, through them both, the wall of the city is not broken. Gad holdeth out ease, and Asher pursueth disease. Asher soon deceiveth his enemy, when he bringeth to mind the patience of his father[76] and the behighting of Naphtali, and thus oft times ever the more enemies he hath, the more matter he hath of overcoming. And therefore it is that, when he hath overcome his enemies (that is to say, the adversities of this world), soon he turneth him to his brother Gad to help to destroy his enemies. And without fail, from that he be come, soon they turn the back, and flee. The enemies of Gad are fleshly delights; but truly, from the time that a man have patience in the pain of his abstinence, false delights find no woning stead[77] in him.

[63] Underloute, participle of Underluten (O.E. Underlutan), "to stoop beneath," or "submit to." Cf. Wycliffe's Bible, Gen. xxxvii. 8: Whether thow shalt be oure kyng, oither we shal be undirloute to thi bidding?"

[64] Discomfort.

[65] Dixit: Feliciter. Gen. xxx. 11 (Vulgate).

[66] Felicitas. Harl. MS. 674 adds: "whether thou wilt."

[67] The MSS. have: "selyness."

[68] Gen. xxx. 13 (Vulgate): Hoc pro beatitudine mea.

[69] Beatus.

[70] Natural.

[71] Murmurs, complains. Cf. Chaucer, The Persones Tale, ed. Skeat SS 30: "After bakbyting cometh grucching or murmuracion; and somtyme it springeth of impacience agayns God, and somtyme agayns man. Agayns God it is, whan a man gruccheth agayn the peynes of helle, or agayns poverte, or los of catel or agayn reyn or tempest; or elles gruccheth that shrewes han prosperitee, or elles for that goode men han adversitee.

[72] Pepwell adds: at the least willingly.

[73] Pepwell reads: "put down."

[74] Watches.

[75] Promises. Latin: fovet promissis.

[76] A curious mistranslation: "Sed Aser hosti suo facile illudit dum partem quam tuetur, alta patientiae rupe munitam conspicit" (Benjamin Minor, cap. 33).

[77] Dwelling-place.

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