(Balade de Bon Conseyl)
   by Geoffrey Chaucer
(ca. 1386)
   The lyric poem Truth, also called the Balade de bon conseyl or the “Ballade of Good Counsel,” is one of CHAUCER’s so-called “Boethian” lyrics, a set of short poems concerned with moral and philosophical subjects (which also includes Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastness, and The Former Age), written in the 1380s, when Chaucer was involved with his translation of BOETHIUS’s CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY. It is one of the best known of Chaucer’s lyrics, and, in his own time, seems to have been the most popular, surviving in 24 manuscripts.
   The poem is a BALLADE of three RHYME ROYAL stanzas, concerned with the moral principle of “truth,” a term that in the 14th century implied not only fidelity, but personal integrity and devotion to God— and, as a corollary to that, ethical right conduct in the world. Chaucer’s “good counsel” consists chiefly of not following the crowd or becoming overly concerned with the baubles offered by Fortune, but keeping one’s eyes on the heavenly reward. Each stanza ends with the refrain “And trouthe thee shal delivere, it is no drede”—that is, “truth shall free you, there is no fear,” a clear allusion to Christ’s words in John 8.32, that “the truth shall set you free.” In one manuscript the poem contains a final stanza, an envoi addressing a certain “Vache,” a word that means “cow” but likely refers to the courtier Sir Philip de la Vache, who had lost his position in court about 1386. Puns on Vache’s name, including the line “Forth, beste, out of thy stal!” (l. 18), add a typically Chaucerian humorous undertone to this profoundly serious poem.
   ■ Benson, Larry D., et al., eds. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
   ■ Ruud, Jay. “Many a Song and Many a Leccherous Lay”: Tradition and Individuality in Chaucer’s Lyric Poetry. Garland Studies in Medieval Literature, 6. New York: Garland, 1992.
   ■ Scattergood, V. J., ed. Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Shorter Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Truth — • Defines ontological, logical, and moral truth Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Truth     Truth     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • truth — W2S1 [tru:θ] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(true facts)¦ 2¦(being true)¦ 3¦(important ideas)¦ 4 in truth 5 if (the) truth be known/told 6 to tell (you) the truth 7 nothing could be further from the truth 8 the truth will out ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ [: Old English; Ori …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • truth — [ truθ ] noun *** 1. ) uncount the actual facts or information about something, rather than what people think, expect, or make up: The truth may never be known. truth about: We finally learned the shocking truth about Gina s past. tell (someone)… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • TRUTH — (Heb. אֱמֶת, ʾemet). The Bible often speaks of God as the God of truth (e.g., Jer. 10:10; Ps. 31:6), as does the Talmud where this synonymity climaxes in the famous dictum: The Seal of God is truth (Shab. 55a; TJ, Sanh. 1:5). The same idea is… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Truth — Truth, n.; pl. {Truths}. [OE. treuthe, trouthe, treowpe, AS. tre[ o]w?. See {True}; cf. {Troth}, {Betroth}.] 1. The quality or being true; as: (a) Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been; or shall be. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • truth — I noun accuracy, actuality, authenticity, candor, conformity to fact, correctness, exactness, fact, genuineness, honesty, integrity, precision, probity, realism, reality, right, sincerity, veracity, veritas, verity associated concepts:… …   Law dictionary

  • truth — truth; truth·ful; truth·less; un·truth; un·truth·ful; un·truth·ful·ness; truth·ful·ly; truth·ful·ness; truth·less·ness; …   English syllables

  • truth — ► NOUN (pl. truths) 1) the quality or state of being true. 2) (also the truth) that which is true as opposed to false. 3) a fact or belief that is accepted as true. ● in truth Cf. ↑in truth …   English terms dictionary

  • truth — [tro͞oth] n. pl. truths [tro͞othz, tro͞oths] [ME treuthe < OE treowth: see TRUE & TH1] 1. the quality or state of being true; specif., a) Obs. loyalty; trustworthiness b) sincerity; genuineness; honesty …   English World dictionary

  • truth — [n1] reality, validity accuracy, actuality, authenticity, axiom, case, certainty, correctness, dope*, exactitude, exactness, fact, facts, factualism, factuality, factualness, genuineness, gospel*, gospel truth*, honest truth*, infallibility,… …   New thesaurus

  • truth — O.E. triewð (W.Saxon), treowð (Mercian) faithfulness, quality of being true, from triewe, treowe faithful (see TRUE (Cf. true)). Meaning accuracy, correctness is from 1560s. Unlike LIE (Cf. lie) (v.), there is no primary verb in English or most… …   Etymology dictionary

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