Blisful was the first age of men! They helden hem apayed with
the metes that the trewe feldes broughten forth. They ne distroyede
nor deceivede nat hem-self with outrage. They weren wont lightly to
slaken hir hunger at even with acornes of okes. They ne coude nat
medly the yifte of Bachus to the cleer hony; that is to seyn, they coude
make no piment nor clarree;
 ne they coude nat medle the brighte fleeses
of the contree of Seriens with the venim of Tyrie; this is to seyn, they coude
nat deyen whyte fleeses of Serien contree with the blode of a maner shelfisshe that
men finden in Tyrie, with whiche blood men deyen purpur.
 They slepen
hoolsom slepes up-on the gras, and dronken of the renninge wateres;
and layen under the shadwes of the heye pyn-trees. Ne no gest ne
straungere ne carf yit the heye see with ores or with shippes; ne they ne
hadde seyn yit none newe strondes, to leden marchaundyse in-to
dyverse contrees. Tho weren the cruel clariouns ful hust and ful stille,
ne blood y-shad by egre hate ne hadde nat deyed yit armures.
For wher-to or which woodnesse of enemys wolde first moeven armes,
whan they seyen cruel woundes, ne none medes be of blood
    I wolde that oure tymes sholde torne ayein to the olde maneres!
But the anguissous love of havinge brenneth in folk more cruely than
the fyr of the mountaigne Ethna, that ay brenneth. Allas! what was
he that first dalf up the gobetes or the weightes of gold covered under
erthe, and the precious stones that wolden han ben hid? He dalf
up precious perils. That is to seyn, that he that hem first up dalf, he dalf up a
precious peril; for-why, for the preciousnesse of swiche thinge hath many man
ben in peril