John Gower’s Traitié

(Traitié Selonc Les Auctours Pour Essampler Les Amantz Marietz)

Edited and Translated by Peter Nicholson

From the Introduction:

“The Traitié is Gower’s defense of marriage. In form, it is virtually unprecedented, offering its argument in a sequence of eighteen ballades, each consisting of three seven-line stanzas sharing the same rhymes and linked by a refrain. While the ballade was the most popular form of lyric in French during the fourteenth century, the only earlier work that is in any way comparable to the Traitié is the Livre des cent ballades, in which the included poems are much more varied but which presents, in the voices of two different characters, a debate on the not unrelated question of fidelity in love.  Gower folds the argument in favor of fidelity in love into an argument on fidelity in marriage, and love together with fidelity constitute the two most important foundations of marriage as he describes it.”

From the Translator/Editor:

“The following edition and translation of Gower’s Traitié is offered as a supplement to my edition and translation of the Cinkante Balades, and as in that edition, I welcome comments, suggestions, and corrections (”

John Gower’s Traitié
Edited from the Trentham MS
British Library Add. MS 59495
Edited and translated by Peter Nicholson



The Poem and its Glosses
The Choice of Manuscript
The Edition
The Translation


Edition of the Text (French)

Textual Notes

Translation (Modern English)

Explanatory Notes


Gower, John. Traitié. Edited and translated by Peter Nicholson, Apr. 2022, John Gower Society,