O ye mortal folk, what seke ye thanne blisfulnesse out of yourself, whiche
that is put in yourself? Errour and folye confoundeth yow. I shal
shewe thee shortely the poynt of sovereyne blisfulnesse. Is ther anything
more precious to thee than thyself? Thou wolt answere, "nay".
Thanne, yif it so be that thou art mighty over thyself, that is to seyn,
by tranquillitee of thy sowle,
than hast thou thing in thy power that thou
noldest never lesen, ne Fortune ne may nat beneme it thee. And that
thou mayst knowe that blisfulnesse ne may nat standen in thinges that
ben fortunous and temporel, now understonde and gader it togidere thus:
Yif blisfulnesse be the sovereyn good of nature that liveth by resoun,
ne thilke thing nis nat sovereyn good that may be taken awey in any wyse,
(for more worthy thing and more digne is thilke thing that may nat ben
taken awey), than sheweth it wel, that the unstablenesse of fortune may
nat atayne to receiven verray blisfulnesse. And yit moreover, what
man that this toumbling welefulnesse ledeth, either he woot that it is
chaungeable, or elles he woot it nat. And yif he woot it nat, what
blisful fortune may ther be in the blindnesse of ignorance? And yif
he woot that it is chaungeable, he moot alwey ben adrad that he ne lese
that thing that he ne doubteth nat but that he may lesen it; as who seith,
he mot ben alwey agast lest he lese that he wot wel he may lese it.
For which,
the continuel dreed that he hath ne suffreth him nat to ben weleful. Or
yif he lese it, he weneth to be dispysed and forleten. Certes eek, that
is a ful litel good that is born with evene herte whan it is lost; that is to seyn,
that men do no more fors of the lost than of the havinge.