Astrology

From Cunnan
Jump to: navigation, search

The following is is a fragment of John Gower's mid 14th century work dealing with astrology, the Liber Septimyus of the Confessio Amatis. I like it because it's at about the level that most educated people would understand the important science of Astronomy.

The source is p250-273 of Macaulay's "Collected Works of John Gower" (OUP Clarendon, 1901) ; John Gower lived between about 1328 and 1403.

Note that, like a lot of 14th/15th century stuff, it's written in rhyme. We've done some vowel shifting in the last 600 years, so some of the rhymes no longer work ...

To speak upon Astronomy,

As it is writen in the clergie,
to tell how the planets fare
Some part I think to declare.
My Son, unto thine audience,
Astronomy is the science
of wisdom and of this cunning
which makes a man have knowing
of stars in the firmament,
figures circles and movement.


Beneath all others stands the Moon,
the which has with the Sea to done,
of floods high and ebbes lowe,
upon his change it shall be know
And every fish that has a shell,
must in his governance dwell
In Almagest it telleth this
The Moons circle so low is
whereof the Sun out of his stage
Nay sees him nought with full visage
For he is with the ground be shaded,
So that the Moon is somtimes faded.
And be not fully shine clear.
But what man under his power
is born, he shall his places change
and seek many lands strange
And as of this condition
The Moon's disposition
Upon the land of Allemagne
is set and upon Britain,
which now is called England,
For they travel in every land.

Of the planets the second,
above the Moon does take his bound
Mercury, and his nature is this,
that under him who that born is,
in book he shall be studious
And in writing curious,
And sloth and lusts to travel
In thing which else might avail.
He loveth ease, he loveth rest,
so he is not the worthieste, ;
But yet with somediel business
his hearth is set upon richness.
And as this condition,
The effect and disposition,
of this Planet and of his chance
Is most in Burgundy and France.