The Text      

GP 1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
GP 2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
GP 3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
GP 4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
GP 5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
GP 6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
GP 7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
GP 8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
GP 9 And smale foweles maken melodye,
GP 10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
GP 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
GP 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
GP 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
GP 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
GP 15 And specially from every shires ende
GP 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
GP 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
GP 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
GP 19 Bifil that in that seson on a day,
GP 20 In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
GP 21 Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
GP 22 To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
GP 23 At nyght was come into that hostelrye
GP 24 Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
GP 25 Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
GP 26 In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
GP 27 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
GP 28 The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
GP 29 And wel we weren esed atte beste.
GP 30 And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
GP 31 So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
GP 32 That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
GP 33 And made forward erly for to ryse,
GP 34 To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
GP 35 But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
GP 36 Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
GP 37 Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
GP 38 To telle yow al the condicioun
GP 39 Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
GP 40 And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
GP 41 And eek in what array that they were inne;
GP 42 And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
GP 43 A KNYGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
GP 44 That fro the tyme that he first bigan
GP 45 To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
GP 46 Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
GP 47 Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
GP 48 And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
GP 49 As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
GP 50 And evere honoured for his worthynesse;
GP 51 At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
GP 52 Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
GP 53 Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;
GP 54 In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
GP 55 No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.
GP 56 In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
GP 57 Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
GP 58 At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,
GP 59 Whan they were wonne, and in the Grete See
GP 60 At many a noble armee hadde he be.
GP 61 At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
GP 62 And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene
GP 63 In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
GP 64 This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
GP 65 Somtyme with the lord of Palatye
GP 66 Agayn another hethen in Turkye;
GP 67 And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
GP 68 And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
GP 69 And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
GP 70 He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
GP 71 In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
GP 72 He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
GP 73 But for to tellen yow of his array,
GP 74 His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
GP 75 Of fustian he wered a gypon
GP 76 Al bismotered with his habergeon,
GP 77 For he was late ycome from his viage,
GP 78 And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
GP 79 With hym ther was his sone, a yong SQUIER,
GP 80 A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
GP 81 With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.
GP 82 Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
GP 83 Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
GP 84 And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.
GP 85 And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie
GP 86 In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,
GP 87 And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
GP 88 In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
GP 89 Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
GP 90 Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
GP 91 Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;
GP 92 He was as fressh as is the month of May.
GP 93 Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
GP 94 Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.
GP 95 He koude songes make and wel endite,
GP 96 Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.
GP 97 So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale
GP 98 He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
GP 99 Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,
GP 100 And carf biforn his fader at the table.
GP 101 A YEMAN hadde he and servantz namo
GP 102 At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,
GP 103 And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
GP 104 A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,
GP 105 Under his belt he bar ful thriftily
GP 106 (Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly;
GP 107 His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
GP 108 And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
GP 109 A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
GP 110 Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.
GP 111 Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,
GP 112 And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
GP 113 And on that oother syde a gay daggere
GP 114 Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;
GP 115 A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
GP 116 An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;
GP 117 A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
GP 118 Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
GP 119 That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
GP 120 Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
GP 121 And she was cleped madame Eglentyne.
GP 122 Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
GP 123 Entuned in hir nose ful semely;
GP 124 And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
GP 125 After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
GP 126 For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
GP 127 At mete wel ytaught was she with alle;
GP 128 She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
GP 129 Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
GP 130 Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
GP 131 That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
GP 132 In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
GP 133 Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
GP 134 That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
GP 135 Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
GP 136 Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
GP 137 And sikerly she was of greet desport,
GP 138 And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
GP 139 And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
GP 140 Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
GP 141 And to ben holden digne of reverence.
GP 142 But for to speken of hire conscience,
GP 143 She was so charitable and so pitous
GP 144 She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
GP 145 Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
GP 146 Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
GP 147 With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
GP 148 But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
GP 149 Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
GP 150 And al was conscience and tendre herte.
GP 151 Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
GP 152 Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
GP 153 Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed.
GP 154 But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
GP 155 It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
GP 156 For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
GP 157 Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
GP 158 Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
GP 159 A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,
GP 160 And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
GP 161 On which ther was first write a crowned A,
GP 162 And after Amor vincit omnia.
GP 163 Another NONNE with hire hadde she,
GP 164 That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
GP 165 A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
GP 166 An outridere, that lovede venerie,
GP 167 A manly man, to been an abbot able.
GP 168 Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
GP 169 And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
GP 170 Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
GP 171 And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle
GP 172 Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.
GP 173 The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit --
GP 174 By cause that it was old and somdel streit
GP 175 This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,
GP 176 And heeld after the newe world the space.
GP 177 He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
GP 178 That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
GP 179 Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
GP 180 Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees --
GP 181 This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
GP 182 But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
GP 183 And I seyde his opinion was good.
GP 184 What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
GP 185 Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
GP 186 Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
GP 187 As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?
GP 188 Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!
GP 189 Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
GP 190 Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
GP 191 Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
GP 192 Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
GP 193 I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
GP 194 With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
GP 195 And for to festne his hood under his chyn,
GP 196 He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
GP 197 A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
GP 198 His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
GP 199 And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
GP 200 He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
GP 201 His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
GP 202 That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
GP 203 His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
GP 204 Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
GP 205 He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
GP 206 A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
GP 207 His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
GP 208 A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
GP 209 A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
GP 210 In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
GP 211 So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
GP 212 He hadde maad ful many a mariage
GP 213 Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
GP 214 Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
GP 215 Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
GP 216 With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
GP 217 And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
GP 218 For he hadde power of confessioun,
GP 219 As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
GP 220 For of his ordre he was licenciat.
GP 221 Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
GP 222 And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
GP 223 He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
GP 224 Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
GP 225 For unto a povre ordre for to yive
GP 226 Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
GP 227 For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
GP 228 He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
GP 229 For many a man so hard is of his herte,
GP 230 He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
GP 231 Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
GP 232 Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
GP 233 His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
GP 234 And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
GP 235 And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
GP 236 Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
GP 237 Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
GP 238 His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
GP 239 Therto he strong was as a champioun.
GP 240 He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
GP 241 And everich hostiler and tappestere
GP 242 Bet than a lazar or a beggestere,
GP 243 For unto swich a worthy man as he
GP 244 Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
GP 245 To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
GP 246 It is nat honest; it may nat avaunce,
GP 247 For to deelen with no swich poraille,
GP 248 But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
GP 249 And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
GP 250 Curteis he was and lowely of servyse;
GP 251 Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
GP 252 He was the beste beggere in his hous;
GP 252a [And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt;
GP 252b Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;]
GP 253 For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
GP 254 So plesaunt was his " In principio, "
GP 255 Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
GP 256 His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
GP 257 And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
GP 258 In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
GP 259 For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
GP 260 With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
GP 261 But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
GP 262 Of double worstede was his semycope,
GP 263 That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
GP 264 Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
GP 265 To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;
GP 266 And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
GP 267 His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght
GP 268 As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
GP 269 This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.
GP 270 A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
GP 271 In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
GP 272 Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
GP 273 His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
GP 274 His resons he spak ful solempnely,
GP 275 Sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng.
GP 276 He wolde the see were kept for any thyng
GP 277 Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle.
GP 278 Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
GP 279 This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
GP 280 Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
GP 281 So estatly was he of his governaunce
GP 282 With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
GP 283 For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
GP 284 But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
GP 285 A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,
GP 286 That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
GP 287 As leene was his hors as is a rake,
GP 288 And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
GP 289 But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
GP 290 Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy,
GP 291 For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
GP 292 Ne was so worldly for to have office.
GP 293 For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
GP 294 Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
GP 295 Of Aristotle and his philosophie
GP 296 Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
GP 297 But al be that he was a philosophre,
GP 298 Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
GP 299 But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
GP 300 On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
GP 301 And bisily gan for the soules preye
GP 302 Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
GP 303 Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
GP 304 Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
GP 305 And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
GP 306 And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
GP 307 Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
GP 308 And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
GP 309 A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
GP 310 That often hadde been at the Parvys,
GP 311 Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
GP 312 Discreet he was and of greet reverence --
GP 313 He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
GP 314 Justice he was ful often in assise,
GP 315 By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
GP 316 For his science and for his heigh renoun,
GP 317 Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
GP 318 So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
GP 319 Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
GP 320 His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
GP 321 Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
GP 322 And yet he semed bisier than he was.
GP 323 In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
GP 324 That from the tyme of kyng William were falle.
GP 325 Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
GP 326 Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
GP 327 And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
GP 328 He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
GP 329 Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
GP 330 Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
GP 331 A FRANKELEYN was in his compaignye.
GP 332 Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
GP 333 Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
GP 334 Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
GP 335 To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
GP 336 For he was Epicurus owene sone,
GP 337 That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
GP 338 Was verray felicitee parfit.
GP 339 An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
GP 340 Seint Julian he was in his contree.
GP 341 His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
GP 342 A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
GP 343 Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous,
GP 344 Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous
GP 345 It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke;
GP 346 Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke,
GP 347 After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
GP 348 So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
GP 349 Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
GP 350 And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
GP 351 Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
GP 352 Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
GP 353 His table dormant in his halle alway
GP 354 Stood redy covered al the longe day.
GP 355 At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
GP 356 Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
GP 357 An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
GP 358 Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
GP 359 A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
GP 360 Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.
GP 361 AN HABERDASSHERE and a CARPENTER,
GP 362 A WEBBE, a DYERE, and a TAPYCER --
GP 363 And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
GP 364 Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
GP 365 Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
GP 366 Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
GP 367 But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
GP 368 Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
GP 369 Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
GP 370 To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
GP 371 Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
GP 372 Was shaply for to been an alderman.
GP 373 For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
GP 374 And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
GP 375 And elles certeyn were they to blame.
GP 376 It is ful fair to been ycleped " madame, "
GP 377 And goon to vigilies al bifore,
GP 378 And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
GP 379 A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones
GP 380 To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
GP 381 And poudre-marchant tart and galyngale.
GP 382 Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale.
GP 383 He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
GP 384 Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
GP 385 But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
GP 386 That on his shyne a mormal hadde he.
GP 387 For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
GP 388 A SHIPMAN was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
GP 389 For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
GP 390 He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
GP 391 In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
GP 392 A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
GP 393 Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
GP 394 The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
GP 395 And certeinly he was a good felawe.
GP 396 Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
GP 397 Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
GP 398 Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
GP 399 If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,
GP 400 By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
GP 401 But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
GP 402 His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
GP 403 His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
GP 404 Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
GP 405 Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
GP 406 With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
GP 407 He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
GP 408 Fro Gootlond to the cape of Fynystere,
GP 409 And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
GP 410 His barge ycleped was the Maudelayne.
GP 411 With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
GP 412 In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
GP 413 To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
GP 414 For he was grounded in astronomye.
GP 415 He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
GP 416 In houres by his magyk natureel.
GP 417 Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
GP 418 Of his ymages for his pacient.
GP 419 He knew the cause of everich maladye,
GP 420 Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
GP 421 And where they engendred, and of what humour.
GP 422 He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
GP 423 The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
GP 424 Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
GP 425 Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
GP 426 To sende hym drogges and his letuaries,
GP 427 For ech of hem made oother for to wynne --
GP 428 Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
GP 429 Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
GP 430 And Deyscorides, and eek Rufus,
GP 431 Olde Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
GP 432 Serapion, Razis, and Avycen,
GP 433 Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
GP 434 Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
GP 435 Of his diete mesurable was he,
GP 436 For it was of no superfluitee,
GP 437 But of greet norissyng and digestible.
GP 438 His studie was but litel on the Bible.
GP 439 In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
GP 440 Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
GP 441 And yet he was but esy of dispence;
GP 442 He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
GP 443 For gold in phisik is a cordial,
GP 444 Therefore he lovede gold in special.
GP 445 A good WIF was ther OF biside BATHE,
GP 446 But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.
GP 447 Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt
GP 448 She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.
GP 449 In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
GP 450 That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
GP 451 And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
GP 452 That she was out of alle charitee.
GP 453 Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
GP 454 I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
GP 455 That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
GP 456 Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
GP 457 Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
GP 458 Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
GP 459 She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:
GP 460 Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
GP 461 Withouten oother compaignye in youthe --
GP 462 But thereof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
GP 463 And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
GP 464 She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
GP 465 At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
GP 466 In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.
GP 467 She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
GP 468 Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
GP 469 Upon an amblere esily she sat,
GP 470 Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
GP 471 As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
GP 472 A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
GP 473 And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
GP 474 In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.
GP 475 Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,
GP 476 For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
GP 477 A good man was ther of religioun,
GP 478 And was a povre PERSOUN OF A TOUN,
GP 479 But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
GP 480 He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
GP 481 That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
GP 482 His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
GP 483 Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
GP 484 And in adversitee ful pacient,
GP 485 And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
GP 486 Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
GP 487 But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
GP 488 Unto his povre parisshens aboute
GP 489 Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
GP 490 He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
GP 491 Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
GP 492 But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
GP 493 In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
GP 494 The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
GP 495 Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
GP 496 This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
GP 497 That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
GP 498 Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte,
GP 499 And this figure he added eek therto,
GP 500 That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
GP 501 For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
GP 502 No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
GP 503 And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
GP 504 A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
GP 505 Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
GP 506 By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
GP 507 He sette nat his benefice to hyre
GP 508 And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
GP 509 And ran to Londoun unto Seinte Poules
GP 510 To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
GP 511 Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
GP 512 But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
GP 513 So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
GP 514 He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
GP 515 And though he hooly were and vertuous,
GP 516 He was to synful men nat despitous,
GP 517 Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
GP 518 But in his techyng discreet and benygne.
GP 519 To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
GP 520 By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
GP 521 But it were any persone obstinat,
GP 522 What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
GP 523 Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
GP 524 A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
GP 525 He waited after no pompe and reverence,
GP 526 Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
GP 527 But Cristes loore and his apostles twelve
GP 528 He taughte; but first he folwed it hymselve.
GP 529 With hym ther was a PLOWMAN, was his brother,
GP 530 That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother;
GP 531 A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
GP 532 Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
GP 533 God loved he best with al his hoole herte
GP 534 At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
GP 535 And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
GP 536 He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
GP 537 For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
GP 538 Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
GP 539 His tithes payde he ful faire and wel,
GP 540 Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
GP 541 In a tabard he rood upon a mere.
GP 542 Ther was also a REVE, and a MILLERE,
GP 543 A SOMNOUR, and a PARDONER also,
GP 544 A MAUNCIPLE, and myself -- ther were namo.
GP 545 The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones;
GP 546 Ful byg he was of brawn, and eek of bones.
GP 547 That proved wel, for over al ther he cam,
GP 548 At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
GP 549 He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
GP 550 Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
GP 551 Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
GP 552 His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
GP 553 And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
GP 554 Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
GP 555 A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys,
GP 556 Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
GP 557 His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
GP 558 A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
GP 559 His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
GP 560 He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
GP 561 And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
GP 562 Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
GP 563 And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
GP 564 A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
GP 565 A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
GP 566 And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
GP 567 A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
GP 568 Of which achatours myghte take exemple
GP 569 For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
GP 570 For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
GP 571 Algate he wayted so in his achaat
GP 572 That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
GP 573 Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace
GP 574 That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
GP 575 The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
GP 576 Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
GP 577 That weren of lawe expert and curious,
GP 578 Of which ther were a duszeyne in that hous
GP 579 Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
GP 580 Of any lord that is in Engelond,
GP 581 To make hym lyve by his propre good
GP 582 In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),
GP 583 Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
GP 584 And able for to helpen al a shire
GP 585 In any caas that myghte falle or happe.
GP 586 And yet this Manciple sette hir aller cappe.
GP 587 The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
GP 588 His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
GP 589 His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
GP 590 His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
GP 591 Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
GP 592 Ylyk a staf; ther was no calf ysene.
GP 593 Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
GP 594 Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
GP 595 Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
GP 596 The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
GP 597 His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
GP 598 His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
GP 599 Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
GP 600 And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
GP 601 Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
GP 602 Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
GP 603 Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
GP 604 That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
GP 605 They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
GP 606 His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
GP 607 With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
GP 608 He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
GP 609 Ful riche he was astored pryvely.
GP 610 His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
GP 611 To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
GP 612 And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
GP 613 In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster:
GP 614 He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
GP 615 This Reve sat upon a ful good stot
GP 616 That was al pomely grey and highte Scot.
GP 617 A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
GP 618 And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
GP 619 Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
GP 620 Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
GP 621 Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
GP 622 And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
GP 623 A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
GP 624 That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
GP 625 For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
GP 626 As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
GP 627 With scalled browes blake and piled berd.
GP 628 Of his visage children were aferd.
GP 629 Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
GP 630 Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
GP 631 Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
GP 632 That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
GP 633 Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
GP 634 Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
GP 635 And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
GP 636 Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
GP 637 And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
GP 638 Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
GP 639 A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
GP 640 That he had lerned out of som decree --
GP 641 No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
GP 642 And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
GP 643 Kan clepen " Watte " as wel as kan the pope.
GP 644 But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
GP 645 Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
GP 646 Ay " Questio quid iuris " wolde he crie.
GP 647 He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
GP 648 A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
GP 649 He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
GP 650 A good felawe to have his concubyn
GP 651 A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
GP 652 Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
GP 653 And if he foond owher a good felawe,
GP 654 He wolde techen him to have noon awe
GP 655 In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,
GP 656 But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
GP 657 For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
GP 658 " Purs is the ercedekenes helle, " seyde he.
GP 659 But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
GP 660 Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
GP 661 For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,
GP 662 And also war hym of a Significavit.
GP 663 In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
GP 664 The yonge girles of the diocise,
GP 665 And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
GP 666 A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
GP 667 As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
GP 668 A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake.
GP 669 With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER
GP 670 Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
GP 671 That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
GP 672 Ful loude he soong " Com hider, love, to me! "
GP 673 This Somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
GP 674 Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
GP 675 This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
GP 676 But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
GP 677 By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
GP 678 And therwith he his shuldres overspradde;
GP 679 But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.
GP 680 But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
GP 681 For it was trussed up in his walet.
GP 682 Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
GP 683 Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
GP 684 Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
GP 685 A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
GP 686 His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
GP 687 Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot.
GP 688 A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
GP 689 No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
GP 690 As smothe it was as it were late shave.
GP 691 I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
GP 692 But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware
GP 693 Ne was ther swich another pardoner.
GP 694 For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
GP 695 Which that he seyde was Oure Lady veyl;
GP 696 He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
GP 697 That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente
GP 698 Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
GP 699 He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
GP 700 And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
GP 701 But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
GP 702 A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
GP 703 Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
GP 704 Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
GP 705 And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
GP 706 He made the person and the peple his apes.
GP 707 But trewely to tellen atte laste,
GP 708 He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.
GP 709 Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
GP 710 But alderbest he song an offertorie;
GP 711 For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
GP 712 He moste preche and wel affile his tonge
GP 713 To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
GP 714 Therefore he song the murierly and loude.
GP 715 Now have I toold you soothly, in a clause,
GP 716 Th' estaat, th' array, the nombre, and eek the cause
GP 717 Why that assembled was this compaignye
GP 718 In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
GP 719 That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
GP 720 But now is tyme to yow for to telle
GP 721 How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
GP 722 Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
GP 723 And after wol I telle of our viage
GP 724 And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
GP 725 But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
GP 726 That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
GP 727 Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
GP 728 To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
GP 729 Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
GP 730 For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
GP 731 Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
GP 732 He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
GP 733 Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
GP 734 Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
GP 735 Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
GP 736 Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
GP 737 He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
GP 738 He moot as wel seye o word as another.
GP 739 Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
GP 740 And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
GP 741 Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
GP 742 The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.
GP 743 Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
GP 744 Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
GP 745 Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde.
GP 746 My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
GP 747 Greet chiere made oure Hoost us everichon,
GP 748 And to the soper sette he us anon.
GP 749 He served us with vitaille at the beste;
GP 750 Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
GP 751 A semely man OURE HOOSTE was withalle
GP 752 For to been a marchal in an halle.
GP 753 A large man he was with eyen stepe --
GP 754 A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe --
GP 755 Boold of his speche, and wys, and wel ytaught,
GP 756 And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
GP 757 Eek therto he was right a myrie man;
GP 758 And after soper pleyen he bigan,
GP 759 And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
GP 760 Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges,
GP 761 And seyde thus: " Now, lordynges, trewely,
GP 762 Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
GP 763 For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
GP 764 I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
GP 765 Atones in this herberwe as is now.
GP 766 Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.
GP 767 And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
GP 768 To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.
GP 769 " Ye goon to Caunterbury -- God yow speede,
GP 770 The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
GP 771 And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
GP 772 Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
GP 773 For trewely, confort ne myrthe is noon
GP 774 To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
GP 775 And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
GP 776 As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
GP 777 And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
GP 778 For to stonden at my juggement,
GP 779 And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
GP 780 Tomorwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
GP 781 Now, by my fader soule that is deed,
GP 782 But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
GP 783 Hoold up youre hondes, withouten moore speche. "
GP 784 Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
GP 785 Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
GP 786 And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
GP 787 And bad him seye his voirdit as hym leste.
GP 788 " Lordynges, " quod he, " now herkneth for the beste;
GP 789 But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
GP 790 This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
GP 791 That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
GP 792 In this viage shal telle tales tweye
GP 793 To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
GP 794 And homward he shal tellen othere two,
GP 795 Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
GP 796 And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle --
GP 797 That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
GP 798 Tales of best sentence and moost solaas --
GP 799 Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
GP 800 Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
GP 801 Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
GP 802 And for to make yow the moore mury,
GP 803 I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde,
GP 804 Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
GP 805 And whoso wole my juggement withseye
GP 806 Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
GP 807 And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
GP 808 Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
GP 809 And I wol erly shape me therfore. "
GP 810 This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
GP 811 With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
GP 812 That he wolde vouche sauf for to do so,
GP 813 And that he wolde been oure governour,
GP 814 And of oure tales juge and reportour,
GP 815 And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
GP 816 And we wol reuled been at his devys
GP 817 In heigh and lough; and thus by oon assent
GP 818 We been acorded to his juggement.
GP 819 And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
GP 820 We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
GP 821 Withouten any lenger taryynge.
GP 822 Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge,
GP 823 Up roos oure Hoost, and was oure aller cok,
GP 824 And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok,
GP 825 And forth we riden a litel moore than paas
GP 826 Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas;
GP 827 And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste
GP 828 And seyde, " Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste.
GP 829 Ye woot youre foreward, and I it yow recorde.
GP 830 If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
GP 831 Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
GP 832 As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
GP 833 Whoso be rebel to my juggement
GP 834 Shal paye for al that by the wey is spent.
GP 835 Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
GP 836 He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
GP 837 Sire Knyght, " quod he, " my mayster and my lord,
GP 838 Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
GP 839 Cometh neer, " quod he, " my lady Prioresse.
GP 840 And ye, sire Clerk, lat be youre shamefastnesse,
GP 841 Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man! "
GP 842 Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
GP 843 And shortly for to tellen as it was,
GP 844 Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
GP 845 The sothe is this: the cut fil to the Knyght,
GP 846 Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght,
GP 847 And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
GP 848 By foreward and by composicioun,
GP 849 As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
GP 850 And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
GP 851 As he that wys was and obedient
GP 852 To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
GP 853 He seyde, " Syn I shal bigynne the game,
GP 854 What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
GP 855 Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye. "
GP 856 And with that word we ryden forth oure weye,
GP 857 And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
GP 858 His tale anon, and seyde as ye may heere.
KnT 859 Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
KnT 860 Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
KnT 861 Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
KnT 862 And in his tyme swich a conquerour
KnT 863 That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
KnT 864 Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
KnT 865 What with his wysdom and his chivalrie,
KnT 866 He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
KnT 867 That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
KnT 868 And weddede the queene Ypolita,
KnT 869 And broghte hire hoom with hym in his contree
KnT 870 With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
KnT 871 And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
KnT 872 And thus with victorie and with melodye
KnT 873 Lete I this noble duc to Atthenes ryde,
KnT 874 And al his hoost in armes hym bisyde.
KnT 875 And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
KnT 876 I wolde have toold yow fully the manere
KnT 877 How wonnen was the regne of Femenye
KnT 878 By Theseus and by his chivalrye;
KnT 879 And of the grete bataille for the nones
KnT 880 Bitwixen Atthenes and Amazones;
KnT 881 And how asseged was Ypolita,
KnT 882 The faire, hardy queene of Scithia;
KnT 883 And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
KnT 884 And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
KnT 885 But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.
KnT 886 I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
KnT 887 And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
KnT 888 The remenant of the tale is long ynough.
KnT 889 I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
KnT 890 Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
KnT 891 And lat se now who shal the soper wynne;
KnT 892 And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
KnT 893 This duc, of whom I make mencioun,
KnT 894 Whan he was come almoost unto the toun,
KnT 895 In al his wele and in his mooste pride,
KnT 896 He was war, as he caste his eye aside,
KnT 897 Where that ther kneled in the heighe weye
KnT 898 A compaignye of ladyes, tweye and tweye,
KnT 899 Ech after oother clad in clothes blake;
KnT 900 But swich a cry and swich a wo they make
KnT 901 That in this world nys creature lyvynge
KnT 902 That herde swich another waymentynge;
KnT 903 And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten
KnT 904 Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.
KnT 905 " What folk been ye, that at myn hom-comynge
KnT 906 Perturben so my feste with criynge? "
KnT 907 Quod Theseus. " Have ye so greet envye
KnT 908 Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?
KnT 909 Or who hath yow mysboden or offended?
KnT 910 And telleth me if it may been amended,
KnT 911 And why that ye been clothed thus in blak. "
KnT 912 The eldeste lady of hem alle spak,
KnT 913 Whan she hadde swowned with a deedly cheere,
KnT 914 That it was routhe for to seen and heere;
KnT 915 She seyde, " Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven
KnT 916 Victorie, and as a conqueror to lyven,
KnT 917 Nat greveth us youre glorie and youre honour,
KnT 918 But we biseken mercy and socour.
KnT 919 Have mercy on oure wo and oure distresse!
KnT 920 Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,
KnT 921 Upon us wrecched wommen lat thou falle,
KnT 922 For, certes, lord, ther is noon of us alle
KnT 923 That she ne hath been a duchesse or a queene.
KnT 924 Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene,
KnT 925 Thanked be Fortune and hire false wheel,
KnT 926 That noon estaat assureth to be weel.
KnT 927 And certes, lord, to abyden youre presence,
KnT 928 Heere in this temple of the goddesse Clemence
KnT 929 We han ben waitynge al this fourtenyght.
KnT 930 Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy myght.
KnT 931 " I, wrecche, which that wepe and wayle thus,
KnT 932 Was whilom wyf to kyng Cappaneus,
KnT 933 That starf at Thebes -- cursed be that day! --
KnT 934 And alle we that been in this array
KnT 935 And maken al this lamentacioun,
KnT 936 We losten alle oure housbondes at that toun,
KnT 937 Whil that the seege theraboute lay.
KnT 938 And yet now the olde Creon -- weylaway! --
KnT 939 That lord is now of Thebes the citee,
KnT 940 Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,
KnT 941 He, for despit and for his tirannye,
KnT 942 To do the dede bodyes vileynye
KnT 943 Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe,
KnT 944 Hath alle the bodyes on an heep ydrawe,
KnT 945 And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,
KnT 946 Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,
KnT 947 But maketh houndes ete hem in despit. "
KnT 948 And with that word, withouten moore respit,
KnT 949 They fillen gruf and criden pitously,
KnT 950 " Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,
KnT 951 And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte. "
KnT 952 This gentil duc doun from his courser sterte
KnT 953 With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
KnT 954 Hym thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
KnT 955 Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so maat,
KnT 956 That whilom weren of so greet estaat;
KnT 957 And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
KnT 958 And hem conforteth in ful good entente,
KnT 959 And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
KnT 960 He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght
KnT 961 Upon the tiraunt Creon hem to wreke
KnT 962 That al the peple of Grece sholde speke
KnT 963 How Creon was of Theseus yserved
KnT 964 As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
KnT 965 And right anoon, withouten moore abood,
KnT 966 His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
KnT 967 To Thebes-ward, and al his hoost biside.
KnT 968 No neer Atthenes wolde he go ne ride,
KnT 969 Ne take his ese fully half a day,
KnT 970 But onward on his wey that nyght he lay,
KnT 971 And sente anon Ypolita the queene,
KnT 972 And Emelye, hir yonge suster sheene,
KnT 973 Unto the toun of Atthenes to dwelle,
KnT 974 And forth he rit; ther is namoore to telle.
KnT 975 The rede statue of Mars, with spere and targe,
KnT 976 So shyneth in his white baner large
KnT 977 That alle the feeldes glyteren up and doun;
KnT 978 And by his baner born is his penoun
KnT 979 Of gold ful riche, in which ther was ybete
KnT 980 The Mynotaur, which that he wan in Crete.
KnT 981 Thus rit this duc, thus rit this conquerour,
KnT 982 And in his hoost of chivalrie the flour,
KnT 983 Til that he cam to Thebes and alighte
KnT 984 Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoughte to fighte.
KnT 985 But shortly for to speken of this thyng,
KnT 986 With Creon, which that was of Thebes kyng,
KnT 987 He faught, and slough hym manly as a knyght
KnT 988 In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flyght;
KnT 989 And by assaut he wan the citee after,
KnT 990 And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;
KnT 991 And to the ladyes he restored agayn
KnT 992 The bones of hir freendes that were slayn,
KnT 993 To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
KnT 994 But it were al to longe for to devyse
KnT 995 The grete clamour and the waymentynge
KnT 996 That the ladyes made at the brennynge
KnT 997 Of the bodies, and the grete honour
KnT 998 That Theseus, the noble conquerour,
KnT 999 Dooth to the ladyes, whan they from hym wente;
KnT 1000 But shortly for to telle is myn entente.
KnT 1001 Whan that this worthy duc, this Theseus,
KnT 1002 Hath Creon slayn and wonne Thebes thus,
KnT 1003 Stille in that feeld he took al nyght his reste,
KnT 1004 And dide with al the contree as hym leste.
KnT 1005 To ransake in the taas of bodyes dede,
KnT 1006 Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
KnT 1007 The pilours diden bisynesse and cure
KnT 1008 After the bataille and disconfiture.
KnT 1009 And so bifel that in the taas they founde,
KnT 1010 Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,
KnT 1011 Two yonge knyghtes liggynge by and by,
KnT 1012 Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
KnT 1013 Of whiche two Arcita highte that oon,
KnT 1014 And that oother knyght highte Palamon.
KnT 1015 Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were,
KnT 1016 But by hir cote-armures and by hir gere
KnT 1017 The heraudes knewe hem best in special
KnT 1018 As they that weren of the blood roial
KnT 1019 Of Thebes, and of sustren two yborn.
KnT 1020 Out of the taas the pilours han hem torn,
KnT 1021 And han hem caried softe unto the tente
KnT 1022 Of Theseus; and he ful soone hem sente
KnT 1023 To Atthenes, to dwellen in prisoun
KnT 1024 Perpetuelly -- he nolde no raunsoun.
KnT 1025 And whan this worthy duc hath thus ydon,
KnT 1026 He took his hoost, and hoom he rit anon
KnT 1027 With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
KnT 1028 And ther he lyveth in joye and in honour
KnT 1029 Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1030 And in a tour, in angwissh and in wo,
KnT 1031 This Palamon and his felawe Arcite
KnT 1032 For everemoore; ther may no gold hem quite.
KnT 1033 This passeth yeer by yeer and day by day,
KnT 1034 Till it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
KnT 1035 That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
KnT 1036 Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
KnT 1037 And fressher than the May with floures newe --
KnT 1038 For with the rose colour stroof hire hewe,
KnT 1039 I noot which was the fyner of hem two --
KnT 1040 Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
KnT 1041 She was arisen and al redy dight,
KnT 1042 For May wole have no slogardie anyght.
KnT 1043 The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
KnT 1044 And maketh it out of his slep to sterte,
KnT 1045 And seith " Arys, and do thyn observaunce. "
KnT 1046 This maked Emelye have remembraunce
KnT 1047 To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
KnT 1048 Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse:
KnT 1049 Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse
KnT 1050 Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
KnT 1051 And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
KnT 1052 She walketh up and doun, and as hire liste
KnT 1053 She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
KnT 1054 To make a subtil gerland for hire hede;
KnT 1055 And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
KnT 1056 The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
KnT 1057 Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun
KnT 1058 (Ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun
KnT 1059 Of which I tolde yow and tellen shal),
KnT 1060 Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
KnT 1061 Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
KnT 1062 Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,
KnT 1063 And Palamoun, this woful prisoner,
KnT 1064 As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
KnT 1065 Was risen and romed in a chambre an heigh,
KnT 1066 In which he al the noble citee seigh,
KnT 1067 And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
KnT 1068 Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
KnT 1069 Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
KnT 1070 This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
KnT 1071 Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro
KnT 1072 And to hymself compleynynge of his wo.
KnT 1073 That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, " allas! "
KnT 1074 And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
KnT 1075 That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
KnT 1076 Of iren greet and square as any sparre,
KnT 1077 He cast his eye upon Emelya,
KnT 1078 And therwithal he bleynte and cride, " A! "
KnT 1079 As though he stongen were unto the herte.
KnT 1080 And with that cry Arcite anon up sterte
KnT 1081 And seyde, " Cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
KnT 1082 That art so pale and deedly on to see?
KnT 1083 Why cridestow? Who hath thee doon offence?
KnT 1084 For Goddes love, taak al in pacience
KnT 1085 Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be.
KnT 1086 Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
KnT 1087 Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
KnT 1088 Of Saturne, by som constellacioun,
KnT 1089 Hath yeven us this, although we hadde it sworn;
KnT 1090 So stood the hevene whan that we were born.
KnT 1091 We moste endure it; this is the short and playn. "
KnT 1092 This Palamon answerde and seyde agayn,
KnT 1093 " Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
KnT 1094 Thow hast a veyn ymaginacioun.
KnT 1095 This prison caused me nat for to crye,
KnT 1096 But I was hurt right now thurghout myn ye
KnT 1097 Into myn herte, that wol my bane be.
KnT 1098 The fairnesse of that lady that I see
KnT 1099 Yond in the gardyn romen to and fro
KnT 1100 Is cause of al my criyng and my wo.
KnT 1101 I noot wher she be womman or goddesse,
KnT 1102 But Venus is it soothly, as I gesse. "
KnT 1103 And therwithal on knees doun he fil,
KnT 1104 And seyde, " Venus, if it be thy wil
KnT 1105 Yow in this gardyn thus to transfigure
KnT 1106 Bifore me, sorweful, wrecched creature,
KnT 1107 Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
KnT 1108 And if so be my destynee be shapen
KnT 1109 By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
KnT 1110 Of oure lynage have som compassioun,
KnT 1111 That is so lowe ybroght by tirannye. "
KnT 1112 And with that word Arcite gan espye
KnT 1113 Wher as this lady romed to and fro,
KnT 1114 And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
KnT 1115 That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,
KnT 1116 Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or moore.
KnT 1117 And with a sigh he seyde pitously,
KnT 1118 " The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
KnT 1119 Of hire that rometh in the yonder place;
KnT 1120 And but I have hir mercy and hir grace,
KnT 1121 That I may seen hire atte leeste weye,
KnT 1122 I nam but deed; ther nis namoore to seye. "
KnT 1123 This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
KnT 1124 Dispitously he looked and answerde,
KnT 1125 " Wheither seistow this in ernest or in pley? "
KnT 1126 " Nay, " quod Arcite, " in ernest, by my fey!
KnT 1127 God helpe me so, me list ful yvele pleye. "
KnT 1128 This Palamon gan knytte his browes tweye.
KnT 1129 " It nere, " quod he, " to thee no greet honour
KnT 1130 For to be fals, ne for to be traitour
KnT 1131 To me, that am thy cosyn and thy brother
KnT 1132 Ysworn ful depe, and ech of us til oother,
KnT 1133 That nevere, for to dyen in the peyne,
KnT 1134 Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
KnT 1135 Neither of us in love to hyndre oother,
KnT 1136 Ne in noon oother cas, my leeve brother,
KnT 1137 But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
KnT 1138 In every cas, as I shal forthren thee --
KnT 1139 This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
KnT 1140 I woot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
KnT 1141 Thus artow of my conseil, out of doute,
KnT 1142 And now thow woldest falsly been aboute
KnT 1143 To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
KnT 1144 And evere shal til that myn herte sterve.
KnT 1145 Nay, certes, false Arcite, thow shalt nat so.
KnT 1146 I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo
KnT 1147 As to my conseil and my brother sworn
KnT 1148 To forthre me, as I have toold biforn.
KnT 1149 For which thou art ybounden as a knyght
KnT 1150 To helpen me, if it lay in thy myght,
KnT 1151 Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn. "
KnT 1152 This Arcite ful proudly spak ageyn:
KnT 1153 " Thow shalt, " quod he, " be rather fals than I;
KnT 1154 And thou art fals, I telle thee outrely,
KnT 1155 For paramour I loved hire first er thow.
KnT 1156 What wiltow seyen? Thou woost nat yet now
KnT 1157 Wheither she be a womman or goddesse!
KnT 1158 Thyn is affeccioun of hoolynesse,
KnT 1159 And myn is love as to a creature;
KnT 1160 For which I tolde thee myn aventure
KnT 1161 As to my cosyn and my brother sworn.
KnT 1162 I pose that thow lovedest hire biforn;
KnT 1163 Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
KnT 1164 That `who shal yeve a lovere any lawe?'
KnT 1165 Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,
KnT 1166 Than may be yeve to any erthely man;
KnT 1167 And therfore positif lawe and swich decree
KnT 1168 Is broken al day for love in ech degree.
KnT 1169 A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed;
KnT 1170 He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,
KnT 1171 Al be she mayde, or wydwe, or elles wyf.
KnT 1172 And eek it is nat likly al thy lyf
KnT 1173 To stonden in hir grace; namoore shal I;
KnT 1174 For wel thou woost thyselven, verraily,
KnT 1175 That thou and I be dampned to prisoun
KnT 1176 Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
KnT 1177 We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon;
KnT 1178 They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon.
KnT 1179 Ther cam a kyte, whil that they were so wrothe,
KnT 1180 And baar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.
KnT 1181 And therfore, at the kynges court, my brother,
KnT 1182 Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.
KnT 1183 Love, if thee list, for I love and ay shal;
KnT 1184 And soothly, leeve brother, this is al.
KnT 1185 Heere in this prisoun moote we endure,
KnT 1186 And everich of us take his aventure. "
KnT 1187 Greet was the strif and long bitwix hem tweye,
KnT 1188 If that I hadde leyser for to seye;
KnT 1189 But to th' effect. It happed on a day,
KnT 1190 To telle it yow as shortly as I may,
KnT 1191 A worthy duc that highte Perotheus,
KnT 1192 That felawe was unto duc Theseus
KnT 1193 Syn thilke day that they were children lite,
KnT 1194 Was come to Atthenes his felawe to visite,
KnT 1195 And for to pleye as he was wont to do;
KnT 1196 For in this world he loved no man so,
KnT 1197 And he loved hym als tendrely agayn.
KnT 1198 So wel they lovede, as olde bookes sayn,
KnT 1199 That whan that oon was deed, soothly to telle,
KnT 1200 His felawe wente and soughte hym doun in helle --
KnT 1201 But of that storie list me nat to write.
KnT 1202 Duc Perotheus loved wel Arcite,
KnT 1203 And hadde hym knowe at Thebes yeer by yere,
KnT 1204 And finally at requeste and preyere
KnT 1205 Of Perotheus, withouten any raunsoun,
KnT 1206 Duc Theseus hym leet out of prisoun
KnT 1207 Frely to goon wher that hym liste over al,
KnT 1208 In swich a gyse as I you tellen shal.
KnT 1209 This was the forward, pleynly for t' endite,
KnT 1210 Bitwixen Theseus and hym Arcite:
KnT 1211 That if so were that Arcite were yfounde
KnT 1212 Evere in his lif, by day or nyght, oo stounde
KnT 1213 In any contree of this Theseus,
KnT 1214 And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
KnT 1215 That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed.
KnT 1216 Ther nas noon oother remedie ne reed;
KnT 1217 But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde.
KnT 1218 Lat hym be war! His nekke lith to wedde.
KnT 1219 How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
KnT 1220 The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte;
KnT 1221 He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously;
KnT 1222 To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
KnT 1223 He seyde, " Allas that day that I was born!
KnT 1224 Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
KnT 1225 Now is me shape eternally to dwelle
KnT 1226 Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
KnT 1227 Allas, that evere knew I Perotheus!
KnT 1228 For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus,
KnT 1229 Yfetered in his prisoun everemo.
KnT 1230 Thanne hadde I been in blisse and nat in wo.
KnT 1231 Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
KnT 1232 Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
KnT 1233 Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
KnT 1234 O deere cosyn Palamon, " quod he,
KnT 1235 " Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
KnT 1236 Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure --
KnT 1237 In prison? Certes nay, but in paradys!
KnT 1238 Wel hath Fortune yturned thee the dys,
KnT 1239 That hast the sighte of hire, and I th' absence.
KnT 1240 For possible is, syn thou hast hire presence,
KnT 1241 And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
KnT 1242 That by som cas, syn Fortune is chaungeable,
KnT 1243 Thow maist to thy desir somtyme atteyne.
KnT 1244 But I, that am exiled and bareyne
KnT 1245 Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir
KnT 1246 That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
KnT 1247 Ne creature that of hem maked is,
KnT 1248 That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
KnT 1249 Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse.
KnT 1250 Farwel my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
KnT 1251 " Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
KnT 1252 On purveiaunce of God, or of Fortune,
KnT 1253 That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
KnT 1254 Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
KnT 1255 Som man desireth for to han richesse,
KnT 1256 That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse;
KnT 1257 And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
KnT 1258 That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
KnT 1259 Infinite harmes been in this mateere.
KnT 1260 We witen nat what thing we preyen heere;
KnT 1261 We faren as he that dronke is as a mous.
KnT 1262 A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
KnT 1263 But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
KnT 1264 And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
KnT 1265 And certes, in this world so faren we;
KnT 1266 We seken faste after felicitee,
KnT 1267 But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
KnT 1268 Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
KnT 1269 That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
KnT 1270 That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
KnT 1271 Thanne hadde I been in joye and parfit heele,
KnT 1272 Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
KnT 1273 Syn that I may nat seen you, Emelye,
KnT 1274 I nam but deed; ther nys no remedye. "
KnT 1275 Upon that oother syde Palamon,
KnT 1276 Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
KnT 1277 Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
KnT 1278 Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
KnT 1279 The pure fettres on his shynes grete
KnT 1280 Weren of his bittre, salte teeres wete.
KnT 1281 " Allas, " quod he, " Arcita, cosyn myn,
KnT 1282 Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
KnT 1283 Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
KnT 1284 And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
KnT 1285 Thou mayst, syn thou hast wisdom and manhede,
KnT 1286 Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
KnT 1287 And make a werre so sharp on this citee
KnT 1288 That by som aventure or some tretee
KnT 1289 Thow mayst have hire to lady and to wyf
KnT 1290 For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
KnT 1291 For, as by wey of possibilitee,
KnT 1292 Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
KnT 1293 And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
KnT 1294 Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
KnT 1295 For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
KnT 1296 With al the wo that prison may me yive,
KnT 1297 And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
KnT 1298 That doubleth al my torment and my wo. "
KnT 1299 Therwith the fyr of jalousie up sterte
KnT 1300 Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
KnT 1301 So woodly that he lyk was to biholde
KnT 1302 The boxtree or the asshen dede and colde.
KnT 1303 Thanne seyde he, " O crueel goddes that governe
KnT 1304 This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
KnT 1305 And writen in the table of atthamaunt
KnT 1306 Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
KnT 1307 What is mankynde moore unto you holde
KnT 1308 Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
KnT 1309 For slayn is man right as another beest,
KnT 1310 And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
KnT 1311 And hath siknesse and greet adversitee,
KnT 1312 And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
KnT 1313 " What governance is in this prescience,
KnT 1314 That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
KnT 1315 And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
KnT 1316 That man is bounden to his observaunce,
KnT 1317 For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
KnT 1318 Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
KnT 1319 And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;
KnT 1320 But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
KnT 1321 Though in this world he have care and wo.
KnT 1322 Withouten doute it may stonden so.
KnT 1323 The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
KnT 1324 But wel I woot that in this world greet pyne ys.
KnT 1325 Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
KnT 1326 That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
KnT 1327 Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne.
KnT 1328 But I moot been in prisoun thurgh Saturne,
KnT 1329 And eek thurgh Juno, jalous and eek wood,
KnT 1330 That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
KnT 1331 Of Thebes with his waste walles wyde;
KnT 1332 And Venus sleeth me on that oother syde
KnT 1333 For jalousie and fere of hym Arcite. "
KnT 1334 Now wol I stynte of Palamon a lite,
KnT 1335 And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
KnT 1336 And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.
KnT 1337 The somer passeth, and the nyghtes longe
KnT 1338 Encressen double wise the peynes stronge
KnT 1339 Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
KnT 1340 I noot which hath the wofuller mester.
KnT 1341 For, shortly for to seyn, this Palamoun
KnT 1342 Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
KnT 1343 In cheynes and in fettres to been deed;
KnT 1344 And Arcite is exiled upon his heed
KnT 1345 For everemo, as out of that contree,
KnT 1346 Ne nevere mo ne shal his lady see.
KnT 1347 Yow loveres axe I now this questioun:
KnT 1348 Who hath the worse, Arcite or Palamoun?
KnT 1349 That oon may seen his lady day by day,
KnT 1350 But in prison he moot dwelle alway;
KnT 1351 That oother wher hym list may ride or go,
KnT 1352 But seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1353 Now demeth as yow liste, ye that kan,
KnT 1354 For I wol telle forth as I bigan.
KnT 1355 Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen was,
KnT 1356 Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde " Allas! "
KnT 1357 For seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1358 And shortly to concluden al his wo,
KnT 1359 So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature
KnT 1360 That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.
KnT 1361 His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,
KnT 1362 That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;
KnT 1363 His eyen holwe and grisly to biholde,
KnT 1364 His hewe falow and pale as asshen colde,
KnT 1365 And solitarie he was and evere allone,
KnT 1366 And waillynge al the nyght, makynge his mone;
KnT 1367 And if he herde song or instrument,
KnT 1368 Thanne wolde he wepe, he myghte nat be stent.
KnT 1369 So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe,
KnT 1370 And chaunged so, that no man koude knowe
KnT 1371 His speche nor his voys, though men it herde.
KnT 1372 And in his geere for al the world he ferde
KnT 1373 Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
KnT 1374 Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye,
KnT 1375 Engendred of humour malencolik
KnT 1376 Biforen, in his celle fantastik.
KnT 1377 And shortly, turned was al up so doun
KnT 1378 Bothe habit and eek disposicioun
KnT 1379 Of hym, this woful lovere daun Arcite.
KnT 1380 What sholde I al day of his wo endite?
KnT 1381 Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
KnT 1382 This crueel torment and this peyne and wo,
KnT 1383 At Thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
KnT 1384 Upon a nyght in sleep as he hym leyde,
KnT 1385 Hym thoughte how that the wynged god Mercurie
KnT 1386 Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.
KnT 1387 His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
KnT 1388 An hat he werede upon his heris brighte.
KnT 1389 Arrayed was this god, as he took keep,
KnT 1390 As he was whan that Argus took his sleep;
KnT 1391 And seyde hym thus: " To Atthenes shaltou wende,
KnT 1392 Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende. "
KnT 1393 And with that word Arcite wook and sterte.
KnT 1394 " Now trewely, hou soore that me smerte, "
KnT 1395 Quod he, " to Atthenes right now wol I fare,
KnT 1396 Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
KnT 1397 To se my lady, that I love and serve.
KnT 1398 In hire presence I recche nat to sterve. "
KnT 1399 And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
KnT 1400 And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,
KnT 1401 And saugh his visage al in another kynde.
KnT 1402 And right anon it ran hym in his mynde,
KnT 1403 That, sith his face was so disfigured
KnT 1404 Of maladye the which he hadde endured,
KnT 1405 He myghte wel, if that he bar hym lowe,
KnT 1406 Lyve in Atthenes everemoore unknowe,
KnT 1407 And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
KnT 1408 And right anon he chaunged his array,
KnT 1409 And cladde hym as a povre laborer,
KnT 1410 And al allone, save oonly a squier
KnT 1411 That knew his privetee and al his cas,
KnT 1412 Which was disgised povrely as he was,
KnT 1413 To Atthenes is he goon the nexte way.
KnT 1414 And to the court he wente upon a day,
KnT 1415 And at the gate he profreth his servyse
KnT 1416 To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
KnT 1417 And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
KnT 1418 He fil in office with a chamberleyn
KnT 1419 The which that dwellynge was with Emelye,
KnT 1420 For he was wys and koude soone espye,
KnT 1421 Of every servaunt, which that serveth here.
KnT 1422 Wel koude he hewen wode, and water bere,
KnT 1423 For he was yong and myghty for the nones,
KnT 1424 And therto he was long and big of bones
KnT 1425 To doon that any wight kan hym devyse.
KnT 1426 A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
KnT 1427 Page of the chambre of Emelye the brighte,
KnT 1428 And Philostrate he seyde that he highte.
KnT 1429 But half so wel biloved a man as he
KnT 1430 Ne was ther nevere in court of his degree;
KnT 1431 He was so gentil of condicioun
KnT 1432 That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
KnT 1433 They seyden that it were a charitee
KnT 1434 That Theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
KnT 1435 And putten hym in worshipful servyse,
KnT 1436 Ther as he myghte his vertu excercise.
KnT 1437 And thus withinne a while his name is spronge,
KnT 1438 Bothe of his dedes and his goode tonge,
KnT 1439 That Theseus hath taken hym so neer
KnT 1440 That of his chambre he made hym a squier,
KnT 1441 And gaf hym gold to mayntene his degree.
KnT 1442 And eek men broghte hym out of his contree,
KnT 1443 From yeer to yeer, ful pryvely his rente;
KnT 1444 But honestly and slyly he it spente,
KnT 1445 That no man wondred how that he it hadde.
KnT 1446 And thre yeer in this wise his lif he ladde,
KnT 1447 And bar hym so, in pees and eek in werre,
KnT 1448 Ther was no man that Theseus hath derre.
KnT 1449 And in this blisse lete I now Arcite,
KnT 1450 And speke I wole of Palamon a lite.
KnT 1451 In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
KnT 1452 Thise seven yeer hath seten Palamoun
KnT 1453 Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
KnT 1454 Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
KnT 1455 But Palamon, that love destreyneth so
KnT 1456 That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
KnT 1457 And eek therto he is a prisoner
KnT 1458 Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
KnT 1459 Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely
KnT 1460 His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I;
KnT 1461 Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
KnT 1462 It fel that in the seventhe yer, of May
KnT 1463 The thridde nyght (as olde bookes seyn,
KnT 1464 That al this storie tellen moore pleyn),
KnT 1465 Were it by aventure or destynee --
KnT 1466 As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be --
KnT 1467 That soone after the mydnyght Palamoun,
KnT 1468 By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
KnT 1469 And fleeth the citee faste as he may go.
KnT 1470 For he hadde yeve his gayler drynke so
KnT 1471 Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
KnT 1472 With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
KnT 1473 That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
KnT 1474 The gayler sleep; he myghte nat awake.
KnT 1475 And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may.
KnT 1476 The nyght was short and faste by the day
KnT 1477 That nedes cost he moot hymselven hyde,
KnT 1478 And til a grove faste ther bisyde
KnT 1479 With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamon.
KnT 1480 For, shortly, this was his opinion:
KnT 1481 That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
KnT 1482 And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
KnT 1483 To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
KnT 1484 On Theseus to helpe him to werreye;
KnT 1485 And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif
KnT 1486 Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf.
KnT 1487 This is th' effect and his entente pleyn.
KnT 1488 Now wol I turne to Arcite ageyn,
KnT 1489 That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
KnT 1490 Til that Fortune had broght him in the snare.
KnT 1491 The bisy larke, messager of day,
KnT 1492 Salueth in hir song the morwe gray,
KnT 1493 And firy Phebus riseth up so bright
KnT 1494 That al the orient laugheth of the light,
KnT 1495 And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
KnT 1496 The silver dropes hangynge on the leves.
KnT 1497 And Arcita, that in the court roial
KnT 1498 With Theseus is squier principal,
KnT 1499 Is risen and looketh on the myrie day.
KnT 1500 And for to doon his observaunce to May,
KnT 1501 Remembrynge on the poynt of his desir,
KnT 1502 He on a courser, startlynge as the fir,
KnT 1503 Is riden into the feeldes hym to pleye,
KnT 1504 Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
KnT 1505 And to the grove of which that I yow tolde
KnT 1506 By aventure his wey he gan to holde
KnT 1507 To maken hym a gerland of the greves,
KnT 1508 Were it of wodebynde or hawethorn leves,
KnT 1509 And loude he song ayeyn the sonne shene:
KnT 1510 " May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
KnT 1511 Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May,
KnT 1512 In hope that I som grene gete may. "
KnT 1513 And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
KnT 1514 Into the grove ful hastily he sterte,
KnT 1515 And in a path he rometh up and doun,
KnT 1516 Ther as by aventure this Palamoun
KnT 1517 Was in a bussh, that no man myghte hym se,
KnT 1518 For soore afered of his deeth was he.
KnT 1519 No thyng ne knew he that it was Arcite;
KnT 1520 God woot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
KnT 1521 But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,
KnT 1522 That " feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres. "
KnT 1523 It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
KnT 1524 For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.
KnT 1525 Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,
KnT 1526 That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
KnT 1527 For in the bussh he sitteth now ful stille.
KnT 1528 Whan that Arcite hadde romed al his fille,
KnT 1529 And songen al the roundel lustily,
KnT 1530 Into a studie he fil sodeynly,
KnT 1531 As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
KnT 1532 Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,
KnT 1533 Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
KnT 1534 Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,
KnT 1535 Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
KnT 1536 Right so kan geery Venus overcaste
KnT 1537 The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
KnT 1538 Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.
KnT 1539 Selde is the Friday al the wowke ylike.
KnT 1540 Whan that Arcite had songe, he gan to sike
KnT 1541 And sette hym doun withouten any moore.
KnT 1542 " Allas, " quod he, " that day that I was bore!
KnT 1543 How longe, Juno, thurgh thy crueltee,
KnT 1544 Woltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
KnT 1545 Allas, ybroght is to confusioun
KnT 1546 The blood roial of Cadme and Amphioun --
KnT 1547 Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man
KnT 1548 That Thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,
KnT 1549 And of the citee first was crouned kyng.
KnT 1550 Of his lynage am I and his ofspryng
KnT 1551 By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
KnT 1552 And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
KnT 1553 That he that is my mortal enemy,
KnT 1554 I serve hym as his squier povrely.
KnT 1555 And yet dooth Juno me wel moore shame,
KnT 1556 For I dar noght biknowe myn owene name;
KnT 1557 But ther as I was wont to highte Arcite,
KnT 1558 Now highte I Philostrate, noght worth a myte.
KnT 1559 Allas, thou felle Mars! Allas, Juno!
KnT 1560 Thus hath youre ire oure lynage al fordo,
KnT 1561 Save oonly me and wrecched Palamoun,
KnT 1562 That Theseus martireth in prisoun.
KnT 1563 And over al this, to sleen me outrely
KnT 1564 Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly
KnT 1565 Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte
KnT 1566 That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
KnT 1567 Ye sleen me with youre eyen, Emelye!
KnT 1568 Ye been the cause wherfore that I dye.
KnT 1569 Of al the remenant of myn oother care
KnT 1570 Ne sette I nat the montance of a tare,
KnT 1571 So that I koude doon aught to youre plesaunce. "
KnT 1572 And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
KnT 1573 A longe tyme, and after he up sterte.
KnT 1574 This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
KnT 1575 He felte a coold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
KnT 1576 For ire he quook; no lenger wolde he byde.
KnT 1577 And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
KnT 1578 As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
KnT 1579 He stirte hym up out of the buskes thikke
KnT 1580 And seide: " Arcite, false traytour wikke,
KnT 1581 Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
KnT 1582 For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
KnT 1583 And art my blood, and to my conseil sworn,
KnT 1584 As I ful ofte have told thee heerbiforn,
KnT 1585 And hast byjaped heere duc Theseus,
KnT 1586 And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus!
KnT 1587 I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
KnT 1588 Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,
KnT 1589 But I wol love hire oonly and namo;
KnT 1590 For I am Palamon, thy mortal foo.
KnT 1591 And though that I no wepene have in this place,
KnT 1592 But out of prison am astert by grace,
KnT 1593 I drede noght that outher thow shalt dye,
KnT 1594 Or thow ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
KnT 1595 Chees which thou wolt, or thou shalt nat asterte! "
KnT 1596 This Arcite, with ful despitous herte,
KnT 1597 Whan he hym knew, and hadde his tale herd,
KnT 1598 As fiers as leon pulled out his swerd,
KnT 1599 And seyde thus: " By God that sit above,
KnT 1600 Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,
KnT 1601 And eek that thow no wepne hast in this place,
KnT 1602 Thou sholdest nevere out of this grove pace,
KnT 1603 That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
KnT 1604 For I defye the seurete and the bond
KnT 1605 Which that thou seist that I have maad to thee.
KnT 1606 What! Verray fool, thynk wel that love is free,
KnT 1607 And I wol love hire maugree al thy myght!
KnT 1608 But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght
KnT 1609 And wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille,
KnT 1610 Have heer my trouthe; tomorwe I wol nat faille,
KnT 1611 Withoute wityng of any oother wight,
KnT 1612 That heere I wol be founden as a knyght,
KnT 1613 And bryngen harneys right ynough for thee;
KnT 1614 And ches the beste, and leef the worste for me.
KnT 1615 And mete and drynke this nyght wol I brynge
KnT 1616 Ynough for thee, and clothes for thy beddynge.
KnT 1617 And if so be that thou my lady wynne,
KnT 1618 And sle me in this wode ther I am inne,
KnT 1619 Thow mayst wel have thy lady as for me. "
KnT 1620 This Palamon answerde, " I graunte it thee. "
KnT 1621 And thus they been departed til amorwe,
KnT 1622 Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
KnT 1623 O Cupide, out of alle charitee!
KnT 1624 O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
KnT 1625 Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe
KnT 1626 Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.
KnT 1627 Wel fynden that Arcite and Palamoun.
KnT 1628 Arcite is riden anon unto the toun,
KnT 1629 And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
KnT 1630 Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,
KnT 1631 Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
KnT 1632 The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne;
KnT 1633 And on his hors, allone as he was born,
KnT 1634 He carieth al the harneys hym biforn.
KnT 1635 And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
KnT 1636 This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
KnT 1637 To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;
KnT 1638 Right as the hunters in the regne of Trace,
KnT 1639 That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
KnT 1640 Whan hunted is the leon or the bere,
KnT 1641 And hereth hym come russhyng in the greves,
KnT 1642 And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
KnT 1643 And thynketh, " Heere cometh my mortal enemy!
KnT 1644 Withoute faille, he moot be deed, or I,
KnT 1645 For outher I moot sleen hym at the gappe,
KnT 1646 Or he moot sleen me, if that me myshappe. "
KnT 1647 So ferden they in chaungyng of hir hewe,
KnT 1648 As fer as everich of hem oother knewe.
KnT 1649 Ther nas no good day, ne no saluyng,
KnT 1650 But streight, withouten word or rehersyng,
KnT 1651 Everich of hem heelp for to armen oother
KnT 1652 As freendly as he were his owene brother;
KnT 1653 And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
KnT 1654 They foynen ech at oother wonder longe.
KnT 1655 Thou myghtest wene that this Palamon
KnT 1656 In his fightyng were a wood leon,
KnT 1657 And as a crueel tigre was Arcite;
KnT 1658 As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,
KnT 1659 That frothen whit as foom for ire wood.
KnT 1660 Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.
KnT 1661 And in this wise I lete hem fightyng dwelle,
KnT 1662 And forth I wole of Theseus yow telle.
KnT 1663 The destinee, ministre general,
KnT 1664 That executeth in the world over al
KnT 1665 The purveiaunce that God hath seyn biforn,
KnT 1666 So strong it is that, though the world had sworn
KnT 1667 The contrarie of a thyng by ye or nay,
KnT 1668 Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day
KnT 1669 That falleth nat eft withinne a thousand yeer.
KnT 1670 For certeinly, oure appetites heer,
KnT 1671 Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
KnT 1672 Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
KnT 1673 This mene I now by myghty Theseus,
KnT 1674 That for to hunten is so desirus,
KnT 1675 And namely at the grete hert in May,
KnT 1676 That in his bed ther daweth hym no day
KnT 1677 That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde
KnT 1678 With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde.
KnT 1679 For in his huntyng hath he swich delit
KnT 1680 That it is al his joye and appetit
KnT 1681 To been hymself the grete hertes bane,
KnT 1682 For after Mars he serveth now Dyane.
KnT 1683 Cleer was the day, as I have toold er this,
KnT 1684 And Theseus with alle joye and blis,
KnT 1685 With his Ypolita, the faire queene,
KnT 1686 And Emelye, clothed al in grene,
KnT 1687 On huntyng be they riden roially.
KnT 1688 And to the grove that stood ful faste by,
KnT 1689 In which ther was an hert, as men hym tolde,
KnT 1690 Duc Theseus the streighte wey hath holde.
KnT 1691 And to the launde he rideth hym ful right,
KnT 1692 For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
KnT 1693 And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
KnT 1694 This duc wol han a cours at hym or tweye
KnT 1695 With houndes swiche as that hym list comaunde.
KnT 1696 And whan this duc was come unto the launde,
KnT 1697 Under the sonne he looketh, and anon
KnT 1698 He was war of Arcite and Palamon,
KnT 1699 That foughten breme as it were bores two.
KnT 1700 The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro
KnT 1701 So hidously that with the leeste strook
KnT 1702 It semed as it wolde felle an ook.
KnT 1703 But what they were, no thyng he ne woot.
KnT 1704 This duc his courser with his spores smoot,
KnT 1705 And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,
KnT 1706 And pulled out a swerd and cride, " Hoo!
KnT 1707 Namoore, up peyne of lesynge of youre heed!
KnT 1708 By myghty Mars, he shal anon be deed
KnT 1709 That smyteth any strook that I may seen.
KnT 1710 But telleth me what myster men ye been,
KnT 1711 That been so hardy for to fighten heere
KnT 1712 Withouten juge or oother officere,
KnT 1713 As it were in a lystes roially. "
KnT 1714 This Palamon answerde hastily
KnT 1715 And seyde, " Sire, what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1716 We have the deeth disserved bothe two.
KnT 1717 Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
KnT 1718 That been encombred of oure owene lyves;
KnT 1719 And as thou art a rightful lord and juge,
KnT 1720 Ne yif us neither mercy ne refuge,
KnT 1721 But sle me first, for seinte charitee!
KnT 1722 But sle my felawe eek as wel as me;
KnT 1723 Or sle hym first, for though thow knowest it lite,
KnT 1724 This is thy mortal foo, this is Arcite,
KnT 1725 That fro thy lond is banysshed on his heed,
KnT 1726 For which he hath deserved to be deed.
KnT 1727 For this is he that cam unto thy gate
KnT 1728 And seyde that he highte Philostrate.
KnT 1729 Thus hath he japed thee ful many a yer,
KnT 1730 And thou hast maked hym thy chief squier;
KnT 1731 And this is he that loveth Emelye.
KnT 1732 For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
KnT 1733 I make pleynly my confessioun
KnT 1734 That I am thilke woful Palamoun
KnT 1735 That hath thy prisoun broken wikkedly.
KnT 1736 I am thy mortal foo, and it am I
KnT 1737 That loveth so hoote Emelye the brighte
KnT 1738 That I wol dye present in hir sighte.
KnT 1739 Wherfore I axe deeth and my juwise;
KnT 1740 But sle my felawe in the same wise,
KnT 1741 For bothe han we deserved to be slayn. "
KnT 1742 This worthy duc answerde anon agayn,
KnT 1743 And seyde, " This is a short conclusioun.
KnT 1744 Youre owene mouth, by youre confessioun,
KnT 1745 Hath dampned yow, and I wol it recorde;
KnT 1746 It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
KnT 1747 Ye shal be deed, by myghty Mars the rede! "
KnT 1748 The queene anon, for verray wommanhede,
KnT 1749 Gan for to wepe, and so dide Emelye,
KnT 1750 And alle the ladyes in the compaignye.
KnT 1751 Greet pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
KnT 1752 That evere swich a chaunce sholde falle,
KnT 1753 For gentil men they were of greet estaat,
KnT 1754 And no thyng but for love was this debaat;
KnT 1755 And saugh hir blody woundes wyde and soore,
KnT 1756 And alle crieden, bothe lasse and moore,
KnT 1757 " Have mercy, Lord, upon us wommen alle! "
KnT 1758 And on hir bare knees adoun they falle
KnT 1759 And wolde have kist his feet ther as he stood;
KnT 1760 Til at the laste aslaked was his mood,
KnT 1761 For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
KnT 1762 And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
KnT 1763 He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
KnT 1764 The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
KnT 1765 And although that his ire hir gilt accused,
KnT 1766 Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
KnT 1767 As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
KnT 1768 Wol helpe hymself in love, if that he kan,
KnT 1769 And eek delivere hymself out of prisoun.
KnT 1770 And eek his herte hadde compassioun
KnT 1771 Of wommen, for they wepen evere in oon,
KnT 1772 And in his gentil herte he thoughte anon,
KnT 1773 And softe unto hymself he seyde, " Fy
KnT 1774 Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,
KnT 1775 But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,
KnT 1776 To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,
KnT 1777 As wel as to a proud despitous man
KnT 1778 That wol mayntene that he first bigan.
KnT 1779 That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
KnT 1780 That in swich cas kan no divisioun
KnT 1781 But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon. "
KnT 1782 And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
KnT 1783 He gan to looken up with eyen lighte
KnT 1784 And spak thise same wordes al on highte:
KnT 1785 " The god of love, a benedicite!
KnT 1786 How myghty and how greet a lord is he!
KnT 1787 Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles.
KnT 1788 He may be cleped a god for his myracles,
KnT 1789 For he kan maken, at his owene gyse,
KnT 1790 Of everich herte as that hym list divyse.
KnT 1791 Lo heere this Arcite and this Palamoun,
KnT 1792 That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
KnT 1793 And myghte han lyved in Thebes roially,
KnT 1794 And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
KnT 1795 And that hir deth lith in my myght also,
KnT 1796 And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
KnT 1797 Broght hem hyder bothe for to dye.
KnT 1798 Now looketh, is nat that an heigh folye?
KnT 1799 Who may been a fool but if he love?
KnT 1800 Bihoold, for Goddes sake that sit above,
KnT 1801 Se how they blede! Be they noght wel arrayed?
KnT 1802 Thus hath hir lord, the god of love, ypayed
KnT 1803 Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
KnT 1804 And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
KnT 1805 That serven love, for aught that may bifalle.
KnT 1806 But this is yet the beste game of alle,
KnT 1807 That she for whom they han this jolitee
KnT 1808 Kan hem therfore as muche thank as me.
KnT 1809 She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,
KnT 1810 By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!
KnT 1811 But all moot ben assayed, hoot and coold;
KnT 1812 A man moot ben a fool, or yong or oold --
KnT 1813 I woot it by myself ful yore agon,
KnT 1814 For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
KnT 1815 And therfore, syn I knowe of loves peyne
KnT 1816 And woot hou soore it kan a man distreyne,
KnT 1817 As he that hath ben caught ofte in his laas,
KnT 1818 I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespaas,
KnT 1819 At requeste of the queene, that kneleth heere,
KnT 1820 And eek of Emelye, my suster deere.
KnT 1821 And ye shul bothe anon unto me swere
KnT 1822 That nevere mo ye shal my contree dere,
KnT 1823 Ne make werre upon me nyght ne day,
KnT 1824 But been my freendes in all that ye may.
KnT 1825 I yow foryeve this trespas every deel. "
KnT 1826 And they hym sworen his axyng faire and weel,
KnT 1827 And hym of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
KnT 1828 And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:
KnT 1829 " To speke of roial lynage and richesse,
KnT 1830 Though that she were a queene or a princesse,
KnT 1831 Ech of you bothe is worthy, doutelees,
KnT 1832 To wedden whan tyme is; but nathelees --
KnT 1833 I speke as for my suster Emelye,
KnT 1834 For whom ye have this strif and jalousye --
KnT 1835 Ye woot yourself she may nat wedden two
KnT 1836 Atones, though ye fighten everemo,
KnT 1837 That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,
KnT 1838 He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;
KnT 1839 This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
KnT 1840 Al be ye never so jalouse ne so wrothe.
KnT 1841 And forthy I yow putte in this degree,
KnT 1842 That ech of yow shal have his destynee
KnT 1843 As hym is shape, and herkneth in what wyse;
KnT 1844 Lo, heere youre ende of that I shal devyse.
KnT 1845 My wyl is this, for plat conclusioun,
KnT 1846 Withouten any repplicacioun --
KnT 1847 If that you liketh, take it for the beste:
KnT 1848 That everich of you shal goon where hym leste
KnT 1849 Frely, withouten raunson or daunger,
KnT 1850 And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,
KnT 1851 Everich of you shal brynge an hundred knyghtes
KnT 1852 Armed for lystes up at alle rightes,
KnT 1853 Al redy to darreyne hire by bataille.
KnT 1854 And this bihote I yow withouten faille,
KnT 1855 Upon my trouthe, and as I am a knyght,
KnT 1856 That wheither of yow bothe that hath myght --
KnT 1857 This is to seyn, that wheither he or thow
KnT 1858 May with his hundred, as I spak of now,
KnT 1859 Sleen his contrarie, or out of lystes dryve,
KnT 1860 Thanne shal I yeve Emelya to wyve
KnT 1861 To whom that Fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
KnT 1862 The lystes shal I maken in this place,
KnT 1863 And God so wisly on my soule rewe
KnT 1864 As I shal evene juge been and trewe.
KnT 1865 Ye shul noon oother ende with me maken,
KnT 1866 That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
KnT 1867 And if yow thynketh this is weel ysayd,
KnT 1868 Seyeth youre avys, and holdeth you apayd.
KnT 1869 This is youre ende and youre conclusioun. "
KnT 1870 Who looketh lightly now but Palamoun?
KnT 1871 Who spryngeth up for joye but Arcite?
KnT 1872 Who kouthe telle, or who kouthe it endite,
KnT 1873 The joye that is maked in the place
KnT 1874 Whan Theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
KnT 1875 But doun on knees wente every maner wight,
KnT 1876 And thonked hym with al hir herte and myght,
KnT 1877 And namely the Thebans often sithe.
KnT 1878 And thus with good hope and with herte blithe
KnT 1879 They taken hir leve, and homward gonne they ride
KnT 1880 To Thebes with his olde walles wyde.
KnT 1881 I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
KnT 1882 If I foryete to tellen the dispence
KnT 1883 Of Theseus, that gooth so bisily
KnT 1884 To maken up the lystes roially,
KnT 1885 That swich a noble theatre as it was
KnT 1886 I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
KnT 1887 The circuit a myle was aboute,
KnT 1888 Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
KnT 1889 Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
KnT 1890 Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
KnT 1891 That whan a man was set on o degree,
KnT 1892 He letted nat his felawe for to see.
KnT 1893 Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
KnT 1894 Westward right swich another in the opposit.
KnT 1895 And shortly to concluden, swich a place
KnT 1896 Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
KnT 1897 For in the lond ther was no crafty man
KnT 1898 That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
KnT 1899 Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
KnT 1900 That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages
KnT 1901 The theatre for to maken and devyse.
KnT 1902 And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
KnT 1903 He estward hath, upon the gate above,
KnT 1904 In worshipe of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 1905 Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
KnT 1906 And on the gate westward, in memorie
KnT 1907 Of Mars, he maked hath right swich another,
KnT 1908 That coste largely of gold a fother.
KnT 1909 And northward, in a touret on the wal,
KnT 1910 Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
KnT 1911 An oratorie, riche for to see,
KnT 1912 In worshipe of Dyane of chastitee,
KnT 1913 Hath Theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
KnT 1914 But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
KnT 1915 The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
KnT 1916 The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures
KnT 1917 That weren in thise oratories thre.
KnT 1918 First in the temple of Venus maystow se
KnT 1919 Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
KnT 1920 The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
KnT 1921 The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
KnT 1922 The firy strokes of the desirynge
KnT 1923 That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
KnT 1924 The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
KnT 1925 Plesaunce and Hope, Desir, Foolhardynesse,
KnT 1926 Beautee and Youthe, Bauderie, Richesse,
KnT 1927 Charmes and Force, Lesynges, Flaterye,
KnT 1928 Despense, Bisynesse, and Jalousye,
KnT 1929 That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
KnT 1930 And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
KnT 1931 Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
KnT 1932 Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
KnT 1933 Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
KnT 1934 By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
KnT 1935 And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
KnT 1936 For soothly al the mount of Citheroun,
KnT 1937 Ther Venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
KnT 1938 Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
KnT 1939 With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
KnT 1940 Nat was foryeten the porter, Ydelnesse,
KnT 1941 Ne Narcisus the faire of yore agon,
KnT 1942 Ne yet the folye of kyng Salomon,
KnT 1943 Ne yet the grete strengthe of Ercules --
KnT 1944 Th' enchauntementz of Medea and Circes --
KnT 1945 Ne of Turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
KnT 1946 The riche Cresus, kaytyf in servage.
KnT 1947 Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
KnT 1948 Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
KnT 1949 Ne may with Venus holde champartie,
KnT 1950 For as hir list the world than may she gye.
KnT 1951 Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
KnT 1952 Til they for wo ful ofte seyde " allas! "
KnT 1953 Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
KnT 1954 And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
KnT 1955 The statue of Venus, glorious for to se,
KnT 1956 Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
KnT 1957 And fro the navele doun al covered was
KnT 1958 With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
KnT 1959 A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
KnT 1960 And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
KnT 1961 A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
KnT 1962 Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
KnT 1963 Biforn hire stood hir sone Cupido;
KnT 1964 Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
KnT 1965 And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
KnT 1966 A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
KnT 1967 Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
KnT 1968 The portreiture that was upon the wal
KnT 1969 Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
KnT 1970 Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
KnT 1971 Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
KnT 1972 That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
KnT 1973 In thilke colde, frosty regioun
KnT 1974 Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
KnT 1975 First on the wal was peynted a forest,
KnT 1976 In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
KnT 1977 With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
KnT 1978 Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
KnT 1979 In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
KnT 1980 As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
KnT 1981 And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
KnT 1982 Ther stood the temple of Mars armypotente,
KnT 1983 Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
KnT 1984 Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
KnT 1985 And therout came a rage and swich a veze
KnT 1986 That it made al the gate for to rese.
KnT 1987 The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
KnT 1988 For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
KnT 1989 Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
KnT 1990 The dore was al of adamant eterne,
KnT 1991 Yclenched overthwart and endelong
KnT 1992 With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
KnT 1993 Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
KnT 1994 Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
KnT 1995 Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
KnT 1996 Of Felonye, and al the compassyng;
KnT 1997 The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede;
KnT 1998 The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede;
KnT 1999 The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
KnT 2000 The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
KnT 2001 The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
KnT 2002 The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
KnT 2003 Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
KnT 2004 Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
KnT 2005 The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther --
KnT 2006 His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer --
KnT 2007 The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght;
KnT 2008 The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
KnT 2009 Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
KnT 2010 With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
KnT 2011 Yet saugh I Woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
KnT 2012 Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
KnT 2013 The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
KnT 2014 A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
KnT 2015 The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
KnT 2016 The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
KnT 2017 Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
KnT 2018 The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
KnT 2019 The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
KnT 2020 The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
KnT 2021 Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte.
KnT 2022 The cartere overryden with his carte --
KnT 2023 Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
KnT 2024 Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
KnT 2025 The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
KnT 2026 That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
KnT 2027 And al above, depeynted in a tour,
KnT 2028 Saugh I Conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
KnT 2029 With the sharpe swerd over his heed
KnT 2030 Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
KnT 2031 Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
KnT 2032 Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
KnT 2033 Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
KnT 2034 Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
KnT 2035 By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
KnT 2036 So was it shewed in that portreiture,
KnT 2037 As is depeynted in the sterres above
KnT 2038 Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
KnT 2039 Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
KnT 2040 I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
KnT 2041 The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
KnT 2042 Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
KnT 2043 And over his heed ther shynen two figures
KnT 2044 Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
KnT 2045 That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus --
KnT 2046 This god of armes was arrayed thus.
KnT 2047 A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
KnT 2048 With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
KnT 2049 With soutil pencel was depeynted this storie
KnT 2050 In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
KnT 2051 Now to the temple of Dyane the chaste,
KnT 2052 As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
KnT 2053 To telle yow al the descripsioun.
KnT 2054 Depeynted been the walles up and doun
KnT 2055 Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
KnT 2056 Ther saugh I how woful Calistopee,
KnT 2057 Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
KnT 2058 Was turned from a womman til a bere,
KnT 2059 And after was she maad the loode-sterre.
KnT 2060 Thus was it peynted; I kan sey yow no ferre.
KnT 2061 Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
KnT 2062 Ther saugh I Dane, yturned til a tree --
KnT 2063 I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
KnT 2064 But Penneus doghter, which that highte Dane.
KnT 2065 Ther saugh I Attheon an hert ymaked,
KnT 2066 For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked;
KnT 2067 I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
KnT 2068 And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
KnT 2069 Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
KnT 2070 How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
KnT 2071 And Meleagre, and many another mo,
KnT 2072 For which Dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
KnT 2073 Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
KnT 2074 The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
KnT 2075 This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
KnT 2076 With smale houndes al aboute hir feet,
KnT 2077 And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone --
KnT 2078 Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
KnT 2079 In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
KnT 2080 With bowe in honde and arwes in a cas.
KnT 2081 Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun
KnT 2082 Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
KnT 2083 A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
KnT 2084 But for hir child so longe was unborn,
KnT 2085 Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle
KnT 2086 And seyde, " Help, for thou mayst best of alle! "
KnT 2087 Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
KnT 2088 With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
KnT 2089 Now been thise lystes maad, and Theseus,
KnT 2090 That at his grete cost arrayed thus
KnT 2091 The temples and the theatre every deel,
KnT 2092 Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
KnT 2093 But stynte I wole of Theseus a lite,
KnT 2094 And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2095 The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
KnT 2096 That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
KnT 2097 The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
KnT 2098 And til Atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
KnT 2099 Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
KnT 2100 Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
KnT 2101 And sikerly ther trowed many a man
KnT 2102 That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
KnT 2103 As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
KnT 2104 As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
KnT 2105 Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
KnT 2106 For every wight that lovede chivalrye
KnT 2107 And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
KnT 2108 Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
KnT 2109 And wel was hym that therto chosen was,
KnT 2110 For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
KnT 2111 Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
KnT 2112 That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
KnT 2113 Were it in Engelond or elleswhere,
KnT 2114 They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there --
KnT 2115 To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
KnT 2116 It were a lusty sighte for to see.
KnT 2117 And right so ferden they with Palamon.
KnT 2118 With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
KnT 2119 Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
KnT 2120 And in a brestplate and a light gypoun;
KnT 2121 And som wol have a paire plates large;
KnT 2122 And som wol have a Pruce sheeld or a targe;
KnT 2123 Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
KnT 2124 And have an ax, and som a mace of steel --
KnT 2125 Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
KnT 2126 Armed were they, as I have yow told,
KnT 2127 Everych after his opinioun.
KnT 2128 Ther maistow seen, comynge with Palamoun,
KnT 2129 Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of Trace.
KnT 2130 Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
KnT 2131 The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
KnT 2132 They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
KnT 2133 And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
KnT 2134 With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
KnT 2135 His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
KnT 2136 His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
KnT 2137 And as the gyse was in his contree,
KnT 2138 Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
KnT 2139 With foure white boles in the trays.
KnT 2140 In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
KnT 2141 With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
KnT 2142 He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
KnT 2143 His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
KnT 2144 As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
KnT 2145 A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
KnT 2146 Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
KnT 2147 Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
KnT 2148 Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
KnT 2149 Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
KnT 2150 To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
KnT 2151 And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
KnT 2152 Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
KnT 2153 An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
KnT 2154 Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
KnT 2155 With Arcita, in stories as men fynde,
KnT 2156 The grete Emetreus, the kyng of Inde,
KnT 2157 Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
KnT 2158 Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
KnT 2159 Cam ridynge lyk the god of armes, Mars.
KnT 2160 His cote-armure was of clooth of Tars
KnT 2161 Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
KnT 2162 His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
KnT 2163 A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
KnT 2164 Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
KnT 2165 His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
KnT 2166 And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
KnT 2167 His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
KnT 2168 His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
KnT 2169 A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
KnT 2170 Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
KnT 2171 And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
KnT 2172 Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
KnT 2173 His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
KnT 2174 His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
KnT 2175 Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
KnT 2176 A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
KnT 2177 Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
KnT 2178 An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
KnT 2179 An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
KnT 2180 Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
KnT 2181 Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
KnT 2182 For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
KnT 2183 Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
KnT 2184 For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
KnT 2185 Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
KnT 2186 Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
KnT 2187 And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
KnT 2188 Been on the Sonday to the citee come
KnT 2189 Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
KnT 2190 This Theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
KnT 2191 Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
KnT 2192 And inned hem, everich at his degree,
KnT 2193 He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
KnT 2194 To esen hem and doon hem al honour
KnT 2195 That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
KnT 2196 Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
KnT 2197 The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
KnT 2198 The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
KnT 2199 The riche array of Theseus paleys,
KnT 2200 Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
KnT 2201 What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
KnT 2202 Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
KnT 2203 Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
KnT 2204 What haukes sitten on the perche above,
KnT 2205 What houndes liggen on the floor adoun --
KnT 2206 Of al this make I now no mencioun,
KnT 2207 But al th' effect; that thynketh me the beste.
KnT 2208 Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
KnT 2209 The Sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
KnT 2210 Whan Palamon the larke herde synge
KnT 2211 (Although it nere nat day by houres two,
KnT 2212 Yet song the larke) and Palamon right tho
KnT 2213 With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
KnT 2214 He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
KnT 2215 Unto the blisful Citherea benigne --
KnT 2216 I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
KnT 2217 And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
KnT 2218 Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
KnT 2219 And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
KnT 2220 And herte soor he seyde as ye shal heere:
KnT 2221 " Faireste of faire, O lady myn, Venus,
KnT 2222 Doughter to Jove and spouse of Vulcanus,
KnT 2223 Thow gladere of the mount of Citheron,
KnT 2224 For thilke love thow haddest to Adoon,
KnT 2225 Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
KnT 2226 And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
KnT 2227 Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
KnT 2228 Th' effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
KnT 2229 Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
KnT 2230 I am so confus that I kan noght seye
KnT 2231 But `Mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
KnT 2232 My thought and seest what harmes that I feele!'
KnT 2233 Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
KnT 2234 As wisly as I shal for everemoore,
KnT 2235 Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
KnT 2236 And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
KnT 2237 That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
KnT 2238 I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
KnT 2239 Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
KnT 2240 Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
KnT 2241 Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
KnT 2242 But I wolde have fully possessioun
KnT 2243 Of Emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
KnT 2244 Fynd thow the manere hou and in what wyse:
KnT 2245 I recche nat but it may bettre be
KnT 2246 To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
KnT 2247 So that I have my lady in myne armes.
KnT 2248 For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
KnT 2249 Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
KnT 2250 That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
KnT 2251 Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
KnT 2252 And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
KnT 2253 I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
KnT 2254 And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
KnT 2255 Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
KnT 2256 That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
KnT 2257 Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
KnT 2258 Though that Arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
KnT 2259 This is th' effect and ende of my preyere:
KnT 2260 Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere. "
KnT 2261 Whan the orison was doon of Palamon,
KnT 2262 His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
KnT 2263 Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
KnT 2264 Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
KnT 2265 But atte laste the statue of Venus shook,
KnT 2266 And made a signe, wherby that he took
KnT 2267 That his preyere accepted was that day.
KnT 2268 For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
KnT 2269 Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone,
KnT 2270 And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
KnT 2271 The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
KnT 2272 Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
KnT 2273 Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye
KnT 2274 And to the temple of Dyane gan hye.
KnT 2275 Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
KnT 2276 Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
KnT 2277 Th' encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
KnT 2278 That to the sacrifice longen shal;
KnT 2279 The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse --
KnT 2280 Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
KnT 2281 Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
KnT 2282 This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
KnT 2283 Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
KnT 2284 But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
KnT 2285 But it be any thing in general;
KnT 2286 And yet it were a game to heeren al.
KnT 2287 To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
KnT 2288 But it is good a man been at his large.
KnT 2289 Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
KnT 2290 A coroune of a grene ook cerial
KnT 2291 Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
KnT 2292 Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
KnT 2293 And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
KnT 2294 In Stace of Thebes and thise bookes olde.
KnT 2295 Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
KnT 2296 Unto Dyane she spak as ye may heere:
KnT 2297 " O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
KnT 2298 To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
KnT 2299 Queene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
KnT 2300 Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
KnT 2301 Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
KnT 2302 As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
KnT 2303 That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
KnT 2304 Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
KnT 2305 Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
KnT 2306 Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
KnT 2307 I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
KnT 2308 A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
KnT 2309 And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
KnT 2310 And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
KnT 2311 Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
KnT 2312 Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
KnT 2313 For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
KnT 2314 And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
KnT 2315 And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore,
KnT 2316 This grace I preye thee withoute moore,
KnT 2317 As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
KnT 2318 And fro me turne awey hir hertes so
KnT 2319 That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
KnT 2320 And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
KnT 2321 Be queynt, or turned in another place.
KnT 2322 And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
KnT 2323 Or if my destynee be shapen so
KnT 2324 That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
KnT 2325 As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
KnT 2326 Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
KnT 2327 The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
KnT 2328 Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
KnT 2329 My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
KnT 2330 And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve. "
KnT 2331 The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
KnT 2332 Whil Emelye was thus in hir preyere.
KnT 2333 But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
KnT 2334 For right anon oon of the fyres queynte
KnT 2335 And quyked agayn, and after that anon
KnT 2336 That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
KnT 2337 And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
KnT 2338 As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
KnT 2339 And at the brondes ende out ran anon
KnT 2340 As it were blody dropes many oon;
KnT 2341 For which so soore agast was Emelye
KnT 2342 That she was wel ny mad and gan to crye,
KnT 2343 For she ne wiste what it signyfied,
KnT 2344 But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
KnT 2345 And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
KnT 2346 And therwithal Dyane gan appeere,
KnT 2347 With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
KnT 2348 And seyde, " Doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
KnT 2349 Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
KnT 2350 And by eterne word writen and confermed,
KnT 2351 Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
KnT 2352 That han for thee so muchel care and wo,
KnT 2353 But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
KnT 2354 Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
KnT 2355 The fires which that on myn auter brenne
KnT 2356 Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
KnT 2357 Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas. "
KnT 2358 And with that word, the arwes in the caas
KnT 2359 Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
KnT 2360 And forth she wente and made a vanysshynge;
KnT 2361 For which this Emelye astoned was,
KnT 2362 And seyde, " What amounteth this, allas?
KnT 2363 I putte me in thy proteccioun,
KnT 2364 Dyane, and in thy disposicioun. "
KnT 2365 And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
KnT 2366 This is th' effect; ther is namoore to seye.
KnT 2367 The nexte houre of Mars folwynge this,
KnT 2368 Arcite unto the temple walked is
KnT 2369 Of fierse Mars to doon his sacrifise,
KnT 2370 With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
KnT 2371 With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
KnT 2372 Right thus to Mars he seyde his orisoun:
KnT 2373 " O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
KnT 2374 Of Trace honoured art and lord yholde,
KnT 2375 And hast in every regne and every lond
KnT 2376 Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
KnT 2377 And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
KnT 2378 Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
KnT 2379 If so be that my youthe may deserve,
KnT 2380 And that my myght be worthy for to serve
KnT 2381 Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
KnT 2382 Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
KnT 2383 For thilke peyne and thilke hoote fir
KnT 2384 In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
KnT 2385 Whan that thow usedest the beautee
KnT 2386 Of faire, yonge, fresshe Venus free,
KnT 2387 And haddest hire in armes at thy wille --
KnT 2388 Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
KnT 2389 Whan Vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las
KnT 2390 And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! --
KnT 2391 For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
KnT 2392 Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
KnT 2393 I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
KnT 2394 And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
KnT 2395 That evere was any lyves creature,
KnT 2396 For she that dooth me al this wo endure
KnT 2397 Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
KnT 2398 And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
KnT 2399 I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
KnT 2400 And wel I woot, withouten help or grace
KnT 2401 Of thee ne may my strengthe noght availle.
KnT 2402 Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
KnT 2403 For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
KnT 2404 As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
KnT 2405 And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
KnT 2406 Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
KnT 2407 Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
KnT 2408 Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
KnT 2409 In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
KnT 2410 And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
KnT 2411 And alle the armes of my compaignye,
KnT 2412 And everemo, unto that day I dye,
KnT 2413 Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
KnT 2414 And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
KnT 2415 My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
KnT 2416 That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
KnT 2417 Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
KnT 2418 And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
KnT 2419 Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
KnT 2420 Yif me [victorie]; I aske thee namoore. "
KnT 2421 The preyere stynt of Arcita the stronge,
KnT 2422 The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
KnT 2423 And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
KnT 2424 Of which Arcita somwhat hym agaste.
KnT 2425 The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte
KnT 2426 That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
KnT 2427 A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
KnT 2428 And Arcita anon his hand up haf,
KnT 2429 And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
KnT 2430 With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
KnT 2431 The statue of Mars bigan his hauberk rynge,
KnT 2432 And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
KnT 2433 Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, " Victorie! "
KnT 2434 For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie.
KnT 2435 And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
KnT 2436 Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
KnT 2437 As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
KnT 2438 And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
KnT 2439 For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
KnT 2440 Bitwixe Venus, the goddesse of love,
KnT 2441 And Mars, the stierne god armypotente,
KnT 2442 That Juppiter was bisy it to stente,
KnT 2443 Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
KnT 2444 That knew so manye of aventures olde,
KnT 2445 Foond in his olde experience an art
KnT 2446 That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
KnT 2447 As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage;
KnT 2448 In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
KnT 2449 Men may the olde atrenne and noght atrede.
KnT 2450 Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
KnT 2451 Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
KnT 2452 Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
KnT 2453 " My deere doghter Venus, " quod Saturne,
KnT 2454 " My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
KnT 2455 Hath moore power than woot any man.
KnT 2456 Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
KnT 2457 Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
KnT 2458 Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
KnT 2459 The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
KnT 2460 The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
KnT 2461 I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
KnT 2462 Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
KnT 2463 Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
KnT 2464 The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
KnT 2465 Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
KnT 2466 I slow Sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
KnT 2467 And myne be the maladyes colde,
KnT 2468 The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
KnT 2469 My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
KnT 2470 Now weep namoore; I shal doon diligence
KnT 2471 That Palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
KnT 2472 Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
KnT 2473 Though Mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
KnT 2474 Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
KnT 2475 Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
KnT 2476 That causeth al day swich divisioun.
KnT 2477 I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
KnT 2478 Weep now namoore; I wol thy lust fulfille. "
KnT 2479 Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
KnT 2480 Of Mars, and of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 2481 And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
KnT 2482 The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
KnT 2483 Greet was the feeste in Atthenes that day,
KnT 2484 And eek the lusty seson of that May
KnT 2485 Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
KnT 2486 That al that Monday justen they and daunce,
KnT 2487 And spenden it in Venus heigh servyse.
KnT 2488 But by the cause that they sholde ryse
KnT 2489 Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
KnT 2490 Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
KnT 2491 And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
KnT 2492 Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
KnT 2493 Ther was in hostelryes al aboute,
KnT 2494 And to the paleys rood ther many a route
KnT 2495 Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
KnT 2496 Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
KnT 2497 So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
KnT 2498 Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
KnT 2499 The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
KnT 2500 Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
KnT 2501 Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
KnT 2502 Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
KnT 2503 Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
KnT 2504 Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge --
KnT 2505 There as nede is they weren no thyng ydel;
KnT 2506 The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
KnT 2507 Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
KnT 2508 With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
KnT 2509 Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
KnT 2510 With shorte staves, thikke as they may goon;
KnT 2511 Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
KnT 2512 That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
KnT 2513 The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
KnT 2514 Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
KnT 2515 Dyvynynge of thise Thebane knyghtes two.
KnT 2516 Somme seyden thus, somme seyde " it shal be so " ;
KnT 2517 Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
KnT 2518 Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
KnT 2519 Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte:
KnT 2520 " He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte. "
KnT 2521 Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
KnT 2522 Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
KnT 2523 The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
KnT 2524 With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
KnT 2525 Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche
KnT 2526 Til that the Thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
KnT 2527 Honured, were into the paleys fet.
KnT 2528 Duc Theseus was at a wyndow set,
KnT 2529 Arrayed right as he were a god in trone.
KnT 2530 The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
KnT 2531 Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
KnT 2532 And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
KnT 2533 An heraud on a scaffold made an " Oo! "
KnT 2534 Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
KnT 2535 And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
KnT 2536 Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille:
KnT 2537 " The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
KnT 2538 Considered that it were destruccioun
KnT 2539 To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
KnT 2540 Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
KnT 2541 Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
KnT 2542 He wol his firste purpos modifye.
KnT 2543 No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
KnT 2544 No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf
KnT 2545 Into the lystes sende or thider brynge;
KnT 2546 Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
KnT 2547 No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
KnT 2548 Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
KnT 2549 But o cours with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
KnT 2550 Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
KnT 2551 And he that is at meschief shal be take
KnT 2552 And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
KnT 2553 That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
KnT 2554 But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
KnT 2555 And if so falle the chieftayn be take
KnT 2556 On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
KnT 2557 No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
KnT 2558 God spede you! Gooth forth and ley on faste!
KnT 2559 With long swerd and with mace fighteth youre fille.
KnT 2560 Gooth now youre wey; this is the lordes wille. "
KnT 2561 The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
KnT 2562 So loude cride they with murie stevene,
KnT 2563 " God save swich a lord, that is so good
KnT 2564 He wilneth no destruccion of blood! "
KnT 2565 Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
KnT 2566 And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
KnT 2567 By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
KnT 2568 Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
KnT 2569 Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
KnT 2570 Thise two Thebans upon either syde,
KnT 2571 And after rood the queene and Emelye,
KnT 2572 And after that another compaignye
KnT 2573 Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
KnT 2574 And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
KnT 2575 And to the lystes come they by tyme.
KnT 2576 It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
KnT 2577 Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
KnT 2578 Ypolita the queene, and Emelye,
KnT 2579 And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
KnT 2580 Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
KnT 2581 And westward, thurgh the gates under Marte,
KnT 2582 Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
KnT 2583 With baner reed is entred right anon;
KnT 2584 And in that selve moment Palamon
KnT 2585 Is under Venus, estward in the place,
KnT 2586 With baner whyt and hardy chiere and face.
KnT 2587 In al the world, to seken up and doun,
KnT 2588 So evene, withouten variacioun,
KnT 2589 Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye,
KnT 2590 For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
KnT 2591 That any hadde of oother avauntage
KnT 2592 Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
KnT 2593 So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
KnT 2594 And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
KnT 2595 Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
KnT 2596 That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
KnT 2597 Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
KnT 2598 " Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude! "
KnT 2599 The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
KnT 2600 Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
KnT 2601 Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
KnT 2602 In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
KnT 2603 In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
KnT 2604 Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
KnT 2605 Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
KnT 2606 He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
KnT 2607 Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
KnT 2608 Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
KnT 2609 The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
KnT 2610 Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
KnT 2611 With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
KnT 2612 He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
KnT 2613 Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al,
KnT 2614 He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
KnT 2615 He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
KnT 2616 And he hym hurtleth with his hors adoun;
KnT 2617 He thurgh the body is hurt and sithen ytake,
KnT 2618 Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake;
KnT 2619 As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
KnT 2620 Another lad is on that oother syde.
KnT 2621 And some tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
KnT 2622 Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
KnT 2623 Ful ofte a day han thise Thebanes two
KnT 2624 Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
KnT 2625 Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
KnT 2626 Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
KnT 2627 Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
KnT 2628 So crueel on the hunte as is Arcite
KnT 2629 For jelous herte upon this Palamon.
KnT 2630 Ne in Belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
KnT 2631 That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
KnT 2632 Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
KnT 2633 As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite.
KnT 2634 The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
KnT 2635 Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
KnT 2636 Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
KnT 2637 For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
KnT 2638 The stronge kyng Emetreus gan hente
KnT 2639 This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
KnT 2640 And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte,
KnT 2641 And by the force of twenty is he take
KnT 2642 Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake.
KnT 2643 And in the rescus of this Palamoun
KnT 2644 The stronge kyng Lygurge is born adoun,
KnT 2645 And kyng Emetreus, for al his strengthe,
KnT 2646 Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
KnT 2647 So hitte him Palamoun er he were take.
KnT 2648 But al for noght; he was broght to the stake.
KnT 2649 His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
KnT 2650 He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
KnT 2651 By force and eek by composicioun.
KnT 2652 Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
KnT 2653 That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
KnT 2654 And whan that Theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
KnT 2655 Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
KnT 2656 He cryde, " Hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
KnT 2657 I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
KnT 2658 Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie,
KnT 2659 That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne. "
KnT 2660 Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
KnT 2661 For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle
KnT 2662 It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
KnT 2663 What kan now faire Venus doon above?
KnT 2664 What seith she now? What dooth this queene of love,
KnT 2665 But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
KnT 2666 Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
KnT 2667 She seyde, " I am ashamed, doutelees. "
KnT 2668 Saturnus seyde, " Doghter, hoold thy pees!
KnT 2669 Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
KnT 2670 And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone. "
KnT 2671 The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
KnT 2672 The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
KnT 2673 Been in hire wele for joye of daun Arcite.
KnT 2674 But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
KnT 2675 Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
KnT 2676 This fierse Arcite hath of his helm ydon,
KnT 2677 And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
KnT 2678 He priketh endelong the large place
KnT 2679 Lokynge upward upon this Emelye;
KnT 2680 And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
KnT 2681 (For wommen, as to speken in comune,
KnT 2682 Thei folwen alle the favour of Fortune)
KnT 2683 And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
KnT 2684 Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
KnT 2685 From Pluto sent at requeste of Saturne,
KnT 2686 For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
KnT 2687 And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
KnT 2688 And er that Arcite may taken keep,
KnT 2689 He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
KnT 2690 That in the place he lay as he were deed,
KnT 2691 His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
KnT 2692 As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
KnT 2693 So was the blood yronnen in his face.
KnT 2694 Anon he was yborn out of the place,
KnT 2695 With herte soor, to Theseus paleys.
KnT 2696 Tho was he korven out of his harneys
KnT 2697 And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve,
KnT 2698 For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
KnT 2699 And alwey criynge after Emelye.
KnT 2700 Duc Theseus, with al his compaignye,
KnT 2701 Is comen hoom to Atthenes his citee,
KnT 2702 With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
KnT 2703 Al be it that this aventure was falle,
KnT 2704 He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
KnT 2705 Men seyde eek that Arcite shal nat dye;
KnT 2706 He shal been heeled of his maladye.
KnT 2707 And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
KnT 2708 That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
KnT 2709 Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
KnT 2710 That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
KnT 2711 To othere woundes and to broken armes
KnT 2712 Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
KnT 2713 Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
KnT 2714 They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
KnT 2715 For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
KnT 2716 Conforteth and honoureth every man,
KnT 2717 And made revel al the longe nyght
KnT 2718 Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
KnT 2719 Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
KnT 2720 But as a justes or a tourneiynge;
KnT 2721 For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
KnT 2722 For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
KnT 2723 Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
KnT 2724 Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
KnT 2725 O persone allone, withouten mo,
KnT 2726 And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
KnT 2727 And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
KnT 2728 With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves --
KnT 2729 It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
KnT 2730 Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
KnT 2731 For which anon duc Theseus leet crye,
KnT 2732 To stynten alle rancour and envye,
KnT 2733 The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
KnT 2734 And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
KnT 2735 And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
KnT 2736 And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
KnT 2737 And conveyed the kynges worthily
KnT 2738 Out of his toun a journee largely.
KnT 2739 And hoom wente every man the righte way.
KnT 2740 Ther was namoore but " Fare wel, have good day! "
KnT 2741 Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
KnT 2742 But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2743 Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore
KnT 2744 Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
KnT 2745 The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
KnT 2746 Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
KnT 2747 That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
KnT 2748 Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
KnT 2749 The vertu expulsif, or animal,
KnT 2750 Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
KnT 2751 Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
KnT 2752 The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
KnT 2753 And every lacerte in his brest adoun
KnT 2754 Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
KnT 2755 Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
KnT 2756 Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
KnT 2757 Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
KnT 2758 Nature hath now no dominacioun.
KnT 2759 And certeinly, ther Nature wol nat wirche,
KnT 2760 Fare wel phisik! Go ber the man to chirche!
KnT 2761 This al and som, that Arcita moot dye;
KnT 2762 For which he sendeth after Emelye,
KnT 2763 And Palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
KnT 2764 Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
KnT 2765 " Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
KnT 2766 Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
KnT 2767 To yow, my lady, that I love moost,
KnT 2768 But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
KnT 2769 To yow aboven every creature,
KnT 2770 Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
KnT 2771 Allas, the wo! Allas, the peynes stronge,
KnT 2772 That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
KnT 2773 Allas, the deeth! Allas, myn Emelye!
KnT 2774 Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
KnT 2775 Allas, myn hertes queene! Allas, my wyf,
KnT 2776 Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
KnT 2777 What is this world? What asketh men to have?
KnT 2778 Now with his love, now in his colde grave
KnT 2779 Allone, withouten any compaignye.
KnT 2780 Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn Emelye!
KnT 2781 And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
KnT 2782 For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
KnT 2783 " I have heer with my cosyn Palamon
KnT 2784 Had strif and rancour many a day agon
KnT 2785 For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
KnT 2786 And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,
KnT 2787 To speken of a servaunt proprely,
KnT 2788 With alle circumstances trewely --
KnT 2789 That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
KnT 2790 Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
KnT 2791 Fredom, and al that longeth to that art --
KnT 2792 So Juppiter have of my soule part,
KnT 2793 As in this world right now ne knowe I non
KnT 2794 So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
KnT 2795 That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
KnT 2796 And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
KnT 2797 Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man. "
KnT 2798 And with that word his speche faille gan,
KnT 2799 For from his feet up to his brest was come
KnT 2800 The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
KnT 2801 And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
KnT 2802 The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
KnT 2803 Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
KnT 2804 That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
KnT 2805 Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
KnT 2806 Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
KnT 2807 But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
KnT 2808 His laste word was, " Mercy, Emelye! "
KnT 2809 His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
KnT 2810 As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
KnT 2811 Therfore I stynte; I nam no divinistre;
KnT 2812 Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
KnT 2813 Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
KnT 2814 Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
KnT 2815 Arcite is coold, ther Mars his soule gye!
KnT 2816 Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.
KnT 2817 Shrighte Emelye, and howleth Palamon,
KnT 2818 And Theseus his suster took anon
KnT 2819 Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
KnT 2820 What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
KnT 2821 To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
KnT 2822 For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
KnT 2823 Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
KnT 2824 That for the moore part they sorwen so,
KnT 2825 Or ellis fallen in swich maladye
KnT 2826 That at the laste certeinly they dye.
KnT 2827 Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
KnT 2828 Of olde folk and folk of tendre yeeres
KnT 2829 In al the toun for deeth of this Theban.
KnT 2830 For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
KnT 2831 So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
KnT 2832 Whan Ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
KnT 2833 To Troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
KnT 2834 Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
KnT 2835 " Why woldestow be deed, " thise wommen crye,
KnT 2836 " And haddest gold ynough, and Emelye? "
KnT 2837 No man myghte gladen Theseus,
KnT 2838 Savynge his olde fader Egeus,
KnT 2839 That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
KnT 2840 As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
KnT 2841 Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
KnT 2842 And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
KnT 2843 " Right as ther dyed nevere man, " quod he,
KnT 2844 " That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
KnT 2845 Right so ther lyvede never man, " he seyde,
KnT 2846 " In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
KnT 2847 This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
KnT 2848 And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
KnT 2849 Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore. "
KnT 2850 And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
KnT 2851 To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
KnT 2852 The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
KnT 2853 Duc Theseus, with al his bisy cure,
KnT 2854 Caste now wher that the sepulture
KnT 2855 Of goode Arcite may best ymaked be,
KnT 2856 And eek moost honurable in his degree.
KnT 2857 And at the laste he took conclusioun
KnT 2858 That ther as first Arcite and Palamoun
KnT 2859 Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
KnT 2860 That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
KnT 2861 Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
KnT 2862 His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
KnT 2863 He wolde make a fyr in which the office
KnT 2864 Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
KnT 2865 And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
KnT 2866 The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
KnT 2867 In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
KnT 2868 His officers with swifte feet they renne
KnT 2869 And ryde anon at his comandement.
KnT 2870 And after this, Theseus hath ysent
KnT 2871 After a beere, and it al overspradde
KnT 2872 With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
KnT 2873 And of the same suyte he cladde Arcite;
KnT 2874 Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
KnT 2875 Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
KnT 2876 And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
KnT 2877 He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
KnT 2878 Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
KnT 2879 And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
KnT 2880 Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
KnT 2881 That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
KnT 2882 Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
KnT 2883 With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
KnT 2884 In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
KnT 2885 And, passynge othere of wepynge, Emelye,
KnT 2886 The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
KnT 2887 In as muche as the servyce sholde be
KnT 2888 The moore noble and riche in his degree,
KnT 2889 Duc Theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
KnT 2890 That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
KnT 2891 And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
KnT 2892 Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
KnT 2893 Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
KnT 2894 Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
KnT 2895 The thridde baar with hym his bowe Turkeys
KnT 2896 (Of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
KnT 2897 And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
KnT 2898 Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
KnT 2899 The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
KnT 2900 Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
KnT 2901 With slakke paas and eyen rede and wete,
KnT 2902 Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
KnT 2903 That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
KnT 2904 Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
KnT 2905 Upon the right hond wente olde Egeus,
KnT 2906 And on that oother syde duc Theseus,
KnT 2907 With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
KnT 2908 Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
KnT 2909 Eek Palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
KnT 2910 And after that cam woful Emelye,
KnT 2911 With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
KnT 2912 To do the office of funeral servyse.
KnT 2913 Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
KnT 2914 Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
KnT 2915 That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
KnT 2916 And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte --
KnT 2917 This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
KnT 2918 Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
KnT 2919 But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
KnT 2920 Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
KnT 2921 As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
KnT 2922 Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
KnT 2923 Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree --
KnT 2924 How they weren feld shal nat be toold for me;
KnT 2925 Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
KnT 2926 Disherited of hire habitacioun,
KnT 2927 In which they woneden in reste and pees,
KnT 2928 Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
KnT 2929 Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
KnT 2930 Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
KnT 2931 Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
KnT 2932 That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
KnT 2933 Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
KnT 2934 And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
KnT 2935 And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
KnT 2936 And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
KnT 2937 And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
KnT 2938 The mirre, th' encens, with al so greet odour;
KnT 2939 Ne how Arcite lay among al this,
KnT 2940 Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
KnT 2941 Ne how that Emelye, as was the gyse,
KnT 2942 Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
KnT 2943 Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
KnT 2944 Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
KnT 2945 Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
KnT 2946 Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
KnT 2947 Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
KnT 2948 And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
KnT 2949 And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
KnT 2950 Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
KnT 2951 Ne how the Grekes, with an huge route,
KnT 2952 Thries riden al the fyr aboute
KnT 2953 Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
KnT 2954 And thries with hir speres claterynge;
KnT 2955 And thries how the ladyes gonne crye;
KnT 2956 And how that lad was homward Emelye;
KnT 2957 Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;
KnT 2958 Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
KnT 2959 Al thilke nyght; ne how the Grekes pleye
KnT 2960 The wake-pleyes; ne kepe I nat to seye
KnT 2961 Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
KnT 2962 Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
KnT 2963 I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
KnT 2964 Hoom til Atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
KnT 2965 But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende
KnT 2966 And maken of my longe tale an ende.
KnT 2967 By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
KnT 2968 Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
KnT 2969 Of Grekes, by oon general assent.
KnT 2970 Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
KnT 2971 At Atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
KnT 2972 Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
KnT 2973 To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
KnT 2974 And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce.
KnT 2975 For which this noble Theseus anon
KnT 2976 Leet senden after gentil Palamon,
KnT 2977 Unwist of hym what was the cause and why,
KnT 2978 But in his blake clothes sorwefully
KnT 2979 He cam at his comandement in hye.
KnT 2980 Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.
KnT 2981 Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
KnT 2982 And Theseus abiden hadde a space
KnT 2983 Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
KnT 2984 His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
KnT 2985 And with a sad visage he siked stille,
KnT 2986 And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
KnT 2987 " The Firste Moevere of the cause above,
KnT 2988 Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
KnT 2989 Greet was th' effect, and heigh was his entente.
KnT 2990 Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente,
KnT 2991 For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
KnT 2992 The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
KnT 2993 In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
KnT 2994 That same Prince and that Moevere, " quod he,
KnT 2995 " Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
KnT 2996 Certeyne dayes and duracioun
KnT 2997 To al that is engendred in this place,
KnT 2998 Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
KnT 2999 Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
KnT 3000 Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t' allegge,
KnT 3001 For it is preeved by experience,
KnT 3002 But that me list declaren my sentence.
KnT 3003 Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
KnT 3004 That thilke Moevere stable is and eterne.
KnT 3005 Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
KnT 3006 That every part dirryveth from his hool,
KnT 3007 For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
KnT 3008 Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
KnT 3009 But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
KnT 3010 Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
KnT 3011 And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
KnT 3012 He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce
KnT 3013 That speces of thynges and progressiouns
KnT 3014 Shullen enduren by successiouns,
KnT 3015 And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
KnT 3016 This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
KnT 3017 " Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
KnT 3018 From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
KnT 3019 And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
KnT 3020 Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
KnT 3021 " Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
KnT 3022 Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
KnT 3023 Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
KnT 3024 The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
KnT 3025 The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
KnT 3026 Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
KnT 3027 " Of man and womman seen we wel also
KnT 3028 That nedes, in oon of thise termes two --
KnT 3029 This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age --
KnT 3030 He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
KnT 3031 Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
KnT 3032 Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
KnT 3033 Ther helpeth noght; al goth that ilke weye.
KnT 3034 Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
KnT 3035 " What maketh this but Juppiter, the kyng,
KnT 3036 That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
KnT 3037 Convertynge al unto his propre welle
KnT 3038 From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
KnT 3039 And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
KnT 3040 Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
KnT 3041 " Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
KnT 3042 To maken vertu of necessitee,
KnT 3043 And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
KnT 3044 And namely that to us alle is due.
KnT 3045 And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
KnT 3046 And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
KnT 3047 And certeinly a man hath moost honour
KnT 3048 To dyen in his excellence and flour,
KnT 3049 Whan he is siker of his goode name;
KnT 3050 Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
KnT 3051 And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
KnT 3052 Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
KnT 3053 Than whan his name apalled is for age,
KnT 3054 For al forgeten is his vassellage.
KnT 3055 Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
KnT 3056 To dyen whan that he is best of name.
KnT 3057 " The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
KnT 3058 Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
KnT 3059 That goode Arcite, of chivalrie flour,
KnT 3060 Departed is with duetee and honour
KnT 3061 Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf?
KnT 3062 Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
KnT 3063 Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
KnT 3064 Kan he hem thank? Nay, God woot, never a deel,
KnT 3065 That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
KnT 3066 And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
KnT 3067 " What may I conclude of this longe serye,
KnT 3068 But after wo I rede us to be merye
KnT 3069 And thanken Juppiter of al his grace?
KnT 3070 And er that we departen from this place
KnT 3071 I rede that we make of sorwes two
KnT 3072 O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
KnT 3073 And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
KnT 3074 Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
KnT 3075 " Suster, " quod he, " this is my fulle assent,
KnT 3076 With al th' avys heere of my parlement,
KnT 3077 That gentil Palamon, youre owene knyght,
KnT 3078 That serveth yow with wille, herte, and myght,
KnT 3079 And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
KnT 3080 That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
KnT 3081 And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
KnT 3082 Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
KnT 3083 Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
KnT 3084 He is a kynges brother sone, pardee;
KnT 3085 And though he were a povre bacheler,
KnT 3086 Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
KnT 3087 And had for yow so greet adversitee,
KnT 3088 It moste been considered, leeveth me,
KnT 3089 For gentil mercy oghte to passen right. "
KnT 3090 Thanne seyde he thus to Palamon the knight:
KnT 3091 " I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
KnT 3092 To make yow assente to this thyng.
KnT 3093 Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond. "
KnT 3094 Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
KnT 3095 That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
KnT 3096 By al the conseil and the baronage.
KnT 3097 And thus with alle blisse and melodye
KnT 3098 Hath Palamon ywedded Emelye.
KnT 3099 And God, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
KnT 3100 Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
KnT 3101 For now is Palamon in alle wele,
KnT 3102 Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
KnT 3103 And Emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
KnT 3104 And he hire serveth so gentilly,
KnT 3105 That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
KnT 3106 Of jalousie or any oother teene.
KnT 3107 Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye;
KnT 3108 And God save al this faire compaignye! Amen.
MilT 3109 Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
MilT 3110 In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
MilT 3111 That he ne seyde it was a noble storie
MilT 3112 And worthy for to drawen to memorie,
MilT 3113 And namely the gentils everichon.
MilT 3114 Oure Hooste lough and swoor, " So moot I gon,
MilT 3115 This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
MilT 3116 Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
MilT 3117 For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
MilT 3118 Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye konne,
MilT 3119 Somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3120 The Millere, that for dronken was al pale,
MilT 3121 So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
MilT 3122 He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
MilT 3123 Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
MilT 3124 But in Pilates voys he gan to crie,
MilT 3125 And swoor, " By armes, and by blood and bones,
MilT 3126 I kan a noble tale for the nones,
MilT 3127 With which I wol now quite the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3128 Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
MilT 3129 And seyde, " Abyd, Robyn, my leeve brother;
MilT 3130 Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
MilT 3131 Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily. "
MilT 3132 " By Goddes soule, " quod he, " that wol nat I;
MilT 3133 For I wol speke or elles go my wey. "
MilT 3134 Oure Hoost answerde, " Tel on, a devel wey!
MilT 3135 Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome. "
MilT 3136 " Now herkneth, " quod the Millere, " alle and some!
MilT 3137 But first I make a protestacioun
MilT 3138 That I am dronke; I knowe it by my soun.
MilT 3139 And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye,
MilT 3140 Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I you preye.
MilT 3141 For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
MilT 3142 Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
MilT 3143 How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe. "
MilT 3144 The Reve answerde and seyde, " Stynt thy clappe!
MilT 3145 Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
MilT 3146 It is a synne and eek a greet folye
MilT 3147 To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
MilT 3148 And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
MilT 3149 Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn. "
MilT 3150 This dronke Millere spak ful soone ageyn
MilT 3151 And seyde, " Leve brother Osewold,
MilT 3152 Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
MilT 3153 But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
MilT 3154 Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
MilT 3155 And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
MilT 3156 That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
MilT 3157 Why artow angry with my tale now?
MilT 3158 I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
MilT 3159 Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
MilT 3160 Take upon me moore than ynogh,
MilT 3161 As demen of myself that I were oon;
MilT 3162 I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
MilT 3163 An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
MilT 3164 Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
MilT 3165 So he may fynde Goddes foyson there,
MilT 3166 Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere. "
MilT 3167 What sholde I moore seyn, but this Millere
MilT 3168 He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
MilT 3169 But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
MilT 3170 M' athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
MilT 3171 And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
MilT 3172 For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
MilT 3173 Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
MilT 3174 Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
MilT 3175 Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
MilT 3176 And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
MilT 3177 Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
MilT 3178 For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
MilT 3179 Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
MilT 3180 And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
MilT 3181 Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
MilT 3182 The Millere is a cherl; ye knowe wel this.
MilT 3183 So was the Reve eek and othere mo,
MilT 3184 And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
MilT 3185 Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
MilT 3186 And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.
MilT 3187 Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford
MilT 3188 A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
MilT 3189 And of his craft he was a carpenter.
MilT 3190 With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,
MilT 3191 Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye
MilT 3192 Was turned for to lerne astrologye,
MilT 3193 And koude a certeyn of conclusiouns,
MilT 3194 To demen by interrogaciouns,
MilT 3195 If that men asked hym, in certein houres
MilT 3196 Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles shoures,
MilT 3197 Or if men asked hym what sholde bifalle
MilT 3198 Of every thyng; I may nat rekene hem alle.
MilT 3199 This clerk was cleped hende Nicholas.
MilT 3200 Of deerne love he koude and of solas;
MilT 3201 And therto he was sleigh and ful privee,
MilT 3202 And lyk a mayden meke for to see.
MilT 3203 A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye
MilT 3204 Allone, withouten any compaignye,
MilT 3205 Ful fetisly ydight with herbes swoote;
MilT 3206 And he hymself as sweete as is the roote
MilT 3207 Of lycorys or any cetewale.
MilT 3208 His Almageste, and bookes grete and smale,
MilT 3209 His astrelabie, longynge for his art,
MilT 3210 His augrym stones layen faire apart,
MilT 3211 On shelves couched at his beddes heed;
MilT 3212 His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed;
MilT 3213 And al above ther lay a gay sautrie,
MilT 3214 On which he made a-nyghtes melodie
MilT 3215 So swetely that all the chambre rong;
MilT 3216 And Angelus ad virginem he song;
MilT 3217 And after that he song the Kynges Noote.
MilT 3218 Ful often blessed was his myrie throte.
MilT 3219 And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente
MilT 3220 After his freendes fyndyng and his rente.
MilT 3221 This carpenter hadde wedded newe a wyf,
MilT 3222 Which that he lovede moore than his lyf;
MilT 3223 Of eighteteene yeer she was of age.
MilT 3224 Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage,
MilT 3225 For she was wylde and yong, and he was old
MilT 3226 And demed hymself been lik a cokewold.
MilT 3227 He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude,
MilT 3228 That bad man sholde wedde his simylitude.
MilT 3229 Men sholde wedden after hire estaat,
MilT 3230 For youthe and elde is often at debaat.
MilT 3231 But sith that he was fallen in the snare,
MilT 3232 He moste endure, as oother folk, his care.
MilT 3233 Fair was this yonge wyf, and therwithal
MilT 3234 As any wezele hir body gent and smal.
MilT 3235 A ceynt she werede, barred al of silk,
MilT 3236 A barmclooth as whit as morne milk
MilT 3237 Upon hir lendes, ful of many a goore.
MilT 3238 Whit was hir smok, and broyden al bifoore
MilT 3239 And eek bihynde, on hir coler aboute,
MilT 3240 Of col-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute.
MilT 3241 The tapes of hir white voluper
MilT 3242 Were of the same suyte of hir coler;
MilT 3243 Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye.
MilT 3244 And sikerly she hadde a likerous ye;
MilT 3245 Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two,
MilT 3246 And tho were bent and blake as any sloo.
MilT 3247 She was ful moore blisful on to see
MilT 3248 Than is the newe pere-jonette tree,
MilT 3249 And softer than the wolle is of a wether.
MilT 3250 And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether,
MilT 3251 Tasseled with silk and perled with latoun.
MilT 3252 In al this world, to seken up and doun,
MilT 3253 There nys no man so wys that koude thenche
MilT 3254 So gay a popelote or swich a wenche.
MilT 3255 Ful brighter was the shynyng of hir hewe
MilT 3256 Than in the Tour the noble yforged newe.
MilT 3257 But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne
MilT 3258 As any swalwe sittynge on a berne.
MilT 3259 Therto she koude skippe and make game,
MilT 3260 As any kyde or calf folwynge his dame.
MilT 3261 Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth,
MilT 3262 Or hoord of apples leyd in hey or heeth.
MilT 3263 Wynsynge she was, as is a joly colt,
MilT 3264 Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt.
MilT 3265 A brooch she baar upon hir lowe coler,
MilT 3266 As brood as is the boos of a bokeler.
MilT 3267 Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye.
MilT 3268 She was a prymerole, a piggesnye,
MilT 3269 For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
MilT 3270 Or yet for any good yeman to wedde.
MilT 3271 Now, sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas
MilT 3272 That on a day this hende Nicholas
MilT 3273 Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
MilT 3274 Whil that hir housbonde was at Oseneye,
MilT 3275 As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;
MilT 3276 And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,
MilT 3277 And seyde, " Ywis, but if ich have my wille,
MilT 3278 For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille. "
MilT 3279 And heeld hire harde by the haunchebones,
MilT 3280 And seyde, " Lemman, love me al atones,
MilT 3281 Or I wol dyen, also God me save! "
MilT 3282 And she sproong as a colt dooth in the trave,
MilT 3283 And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,
MilT 3284 And seyde, " I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey!
MilT 3285 Why, lat be! " quod she. " Lat be, Nicholas,
MilT 3286 Or I wol crie `out, harrow' and `allas'!
MilT 3287 Do wey youre handes, for youre curteisye! "
MilT 3288 This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
MilT 3289 And spak so faire, and profred him so faste,
MilT 3290 That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,
MilT 3291 And swoor hir ooth, by Seint Thomas of Kent,
MilT 3292 That she wol been at his comandement,
MilT 3293 Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie.
MilT 3294 " Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie
MilT 3295 That but ye wayte wel and been privee,
MilT 3296 I woot right wel I nam but deed, " quod she.
MilT 3297 " Ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas. "
MilT 3298 " Nay, therof care thee noght, " quod Nicholas.
MilT 3299 " A clerk hadde litherly biset his whyle,
MilT 3300 But if he koude a carpenter bigyle. "
MilT 3301 And thus they been accorded and ysworn
MilT 3302 To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn.
MilT 3303 Whan Nicholas had doon thus everideel
MilT 3304 And thakked hire aboute the lendes weel,
MilT 3305 He kiste hire sweete and taketh his sawtrie,
MilT 3306 And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodie.
MilT 3307 Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,
MilT 3308 Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,
MilT 3309 This goode wyf went on an haliday.
MilT 3310 Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,
MilT 3311 So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.
MilT 3312 Now was ther of that chirche a parissh clerk,
MilT 3313 The which that was ycleped Absolon.
MilT 3314 Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,
MilT 3315 And strouted as a fanne large and brode;
MilT 3316 Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode.
MilT 3317 His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos.
MilT 3318 With Poules wyndow corven on his shoos,
MilT 3319 In hoses rede he wente fetisly.
MilT 3320 Yclad he was ful smal and proprely
MilT 3321 Al in a kirtel of a lyght waget;
MilT 3322 Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.
MilT 3323 And therupon he hadde a gay surplys
MilT 3324 As whit as is the blosme upon the rys.
MilT 3325 A myrie child he was, so God me save.
MilT 3326 Wel koude he laten blood, and clippe and shave,
MilT 3327 And maken a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.
MilT 3328 In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce
MilT 3329 After the scole of Oxenforde tho,
MilT 3330 And with his legges casten to and fro,
MilT 3331 And pleyen songes on a smal rubible;
MilT 3332 Therto he song som tyme a loud quynyble;
MilT 3333 And as wel koude he pleye on a giterne.
MilT 3334 In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne
MilT 3335 That he ne visited with his solas,
MilT 3336 Ther any gaylard tappestere was.
MilT 3337 But sooth to seyn, he was somdeel squaymous
MilT 3338 Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous.
MilT 3339 This Absolon, that jolif was and gay,
MilT 3340 Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,
MilT 3341 Sensynge the wyves of the parisshe faste;
MilT 3342 And many a lovely look on hem he caste,
MilT 3343 And namely on this carpenteris wyf.
MilT 3344 To looke on hire hym thoughte a myrie lyf,
MilT 3345 She was so propre and sweete and likerous.
MilT 3346 I dar wel seyn, if she hadde been a mous,
MilT 3347 And he a cat, he wolde hire hente anon.
MilT 3348 This parissh clerk, this joly Absolon,
MilT 3349 Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge
MilT 3350 That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;
MilT 3351 For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.
MilT 3352 The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,
MilT 3353 And Absolon his gyterne hath ytake;
MilT 3354 For paramours he thoghte for to wake.
MilT 3355 And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,
MilT 3356 Til he cam to the carpenteres hous
MilT 3357 A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,
MilT 3358 And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe
MilT 3359 That was upon the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3360 He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,
MilT 3361 " Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,
MilT 3362 I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me, "
MilT 3363 Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge.
MilT 3364 This carpenter awook, and herde him synge,
MilT 3365 And spak unto his wyf, and seyde anon,
MilT 3366 " What! Alison! Herestow nat Absolon,
MilT 3367 That chaunteth thus under oure boures wal? "
MilT 3368 And she answerde hir housbonde therwithal,
MilT 3369 " Yis, God woot, John, I heere it every deel. "
MilT 3370 This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than weel?
MilT 3371 Fro day to day this joly Absolon
MilT 3372 So woweth hire that hym is wo bigon.
MilT 3373 He waketh al the nyght and al the day;
MilT 3374 He kembeth his lokkes brode, and made hym gay;
MilT 3375 He woweth hire by meenes and brocage,
MilT 3376 And swoor he wolde been hir owene page;
MilT 3377 He syngeth, brokkynge as a nyghtyngale;
MilT 3378 He sente hire pyment, meeth, and spiced ale,
MilT 3379 And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede;
MilT 3380 And, for she was of town, he profred meede;
MilT 3381 For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
MilT 3382 And somme for strokes, and somme for gentillesse.
MilT 3383 Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
MilT 3384 He pleyeth Herodes upon a scaffold hye.
MilT 3385 But what availleth hym as in this cas?
MilT 3386 She loveth so this hende Nicholas
MilT 3387 That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
MilT 3388 He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn.
MilT 3389 And thus she maketh Absolon hire ape,
MilT 3390 And al his ernest turneth til a jape.
MilT 3391 Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
MilT 3392 Men seyn right thus: " Alwey the nye slye
MilT 3393 Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth. "
MilT 3394 For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,
MilT 3395 By cause that he fer was from hire sight,
MilT 3396 This nye Nicholas stood in his light.
MilT 3397 Now ber thee wel, thou hende Nicholas,
MilT 3398 For Absolon may waille and synge " allas. "
MilT 3399 And so bifel it on a Saterday,
MilT 3400 This carpenter was goon til Osenay;
MilT 3401 And hende Nicholas and Alisoun
MilT 3402 Acorded been to this conclusioun,
MilT 3403 That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle
MilT 3404 This sely jalous housbonde to bigyle;
MilT 3405 And if so be the game wente aright,
MilT 3406 She sholde slepen in his arm al nyght,
MilT 3407 For this was his desir and hire also.
MilT 3408 And right anon, withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3409 This Nicholas no lenger wolde tarie,
MilT 3410 But dooth ful softe unto his chambre carie
MilT 3411 Bothe mete and drynke for a day or tweye,
MilT 3412 And to hire housbonde bad hire for to seye,
MilT 3413 If that he axed after Nicholas,
MilT 3414 She sholde seye she nyste where he was;
MilT 3415 Of al that day she saugh hym nat with ye;
MilT 3416 She trowed that he was in maladye,
MilT 3417 For, for no cry hir mayde koude hym calle,
MilT 3418 He nolde answere for thyng that myghte falle.
MilT 3419 This passeth forth al thilke Saterday,
MilT 3420 That Nicholas stille in his chambre lay,
MilT 3421 And eet and sleep, or dide what hym leste,
MilT 3422 Til Sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste.
MilT 3423 This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle
MilT 3424 Of Nicholas, or what thyng myghte hym eyle,
MilT 3425 And seyde, " I am adrad, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3426 It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas.
MilT 3427 God shilde that he deyde sodeynly!
MilT 3428 This world is now ful tikel, sikerly.
MilT 3429 I saugh today a cors yborn to chirche
MilT 3430 That now, on Monday last, I saugh hym wirche.
MilT 3431 " Go up, " quod he unto his knave anoon,
MilT 3432 " Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon.
MilT 3433 Looke how it is, and tel me boldely. "
MilT 3434 This knave gooth hym up ful sturdily,
MilT 3435 And at the chambre dore whil that he stood,
MilT 3436 He cride and knokked as that he were wood,
MilT 3437 " What, how! What do ye, maister Nicholay?
MilT 3438 How may ye slepen al the longe day? "
MilT 3439 But al for noght; he herde nat a word.
MilT 3440 An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord,
MilT 3441 Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe,
MilT 3442 And at that hole he looked in ful depe,
MilT 3443 And at the laste he hadde of hym a sight.
MilT 3444 This Nicholas sat evere capyng upright,
MilT 3445 As he had kiked on the newe moone.
MilT 3446 Adoun he gooth, and tolde his maister soone
MilT 3447 In what array he saugh this ilke man.
MilT 3448 This carpenter to blessen hym bigan,
MilT 3449 And seyde, " Help us, Seinte Frydeswyde!
MilT 3450 A man woot litel what hym shal bityde.
MilT 3451 This man is falle, with his astromye,
MilT 3452 In some woodnesse or in som agonye.
MilT 3453 I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
MilT 3454 Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3455 Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man
MilT 3456 That noght but oonly his bileve kan!
MilT 3457 So ferde another clerk with astromye;
MilT 3458 He walked in the feeldes for to prye
MilT 3459 Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
MilT 3460 Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle;
MilT 3461 He saugh nat that. But yet, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3462 Me reweth soore of hende Nicholas.
MilT 3463 He shal be rated of his studiyng,
MilT 3464 If that I may, by Jhesus, hevene kyng!
MilT 3465 Get me a staf, that I may underspore,
MilT 3466 Whil that thou, Robyn, hevest up the dore.
MilT 3467 He shal out of his studiyng, as I gesse. "
MilT 3468 And to the chambre dore he gan hym dresse.
MilT 3469 His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
MilT 3470 And by the haspe he haaf it of atones;
MilT 3471 Into the floor the dore fil anon.
MilT 3472 This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
MilT 3473 And evere caped upward into the eir.
MilT 3474 This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
MilT 3475 And hente hym by the sholdres myghtily,
MilT 3476 And shook hym harde, and cride spitously,
MilT 3477 " What! Nicholay! What, how! What, looke adoun!
MilT 3478 Awak, and thenk on Cristes passioun!
MilT 3479 I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes. "
MilT 3480 Therwith the nyght-spel seyde he anon-rightes
MilT 3481 On foure halves of the hous aboute,
MilT 3482 And on the thresshfold of the dore withoute:
MilT 3483 " Jhesu Crist and Seinte Benedight,
MilT 3484 Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
MilT 3485 For nyghtes verye, the white pater-noster!
MilT 3486 Where wentestow, Seinte Petres soster? "
MilT 3487 And atte laste this hende Nicholas
MilT 3488 Gan for to sik soore, and seyde, " Allas!
MilT 3489 Shal al the world be lost eftsoones now? "
MilT 3490 This carpenter answerde, " What seystow?
MilT 3491 What! Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynke. "
MilT 3492 This Nicholas answerde, " Fecche me drynke,
MilT 3493 And after wol I speke in pryvetee
MilT 3494 Of certeyn thyng that toucheth me and thee.
MilT 3495 I wol telle it noon oother man, certeyn. "
MilT 3496 This carpenter goth doun, and comth ageyn,
MilT 3497 And broghte of myghty ale a large quart;
MilT 3498 And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,
MilT 3499 This Nicholas his dore faste shette,
MilT 3500 And doun the carpenter by hym he sette.
MilT 3501 He seyde, " John, myn hooste, lief and deere,
MilT 3502 Thou shalt upon thy trouthe swere me heere
MilT 3503 That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye,
MilT 3504 For it is Cristes conseil that I seye,
MilT 3505 And if thou telle it man, thou art forlore;
MilT 3506 For this vengeaunce thou shalt han therfore,
MilT 3507 That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood. "
MilT 3508 " Nay, Crist forbede it, for his hooly blood! "
MilT 3509 Quod tho this sely man, " I nam no labbe,
MilT 3510 Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.
MilT 3511 Sey what thou wolt, I shal it nevere telle
MilT 3512 To child ne wyf, by hym that harwed helle! "
MilT 3513 " Now John, " quod Nicholas, " I wol nat lye;
MilT 3514 I have yfounde in myn astrologye,
MilT 3515 As I have looked in the moone bright,
MilT 3516 That now a Monday next, at quarter nyght,
MilT 3517 Shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood
MilT 3518 That half so greet was nevere Noes flood.
MilT 3519 This world, " he seyde, " in lasse than an hour
MilT 3520 Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour.
MilT 3521 Thus shal mankynde drenche, and lese hir lyf. "
MilT 3522 This carpenter answerde, " Allas, my wyf!
MilT 3523 And shal she drenche? Allas, myn Alisoun! "
MilT 3524 For sorwe of this he fil almoost adoun,
MilT 3525 And seyde, " Is ther no remedie in this cas? "
MilT 3526 " Why, yis, for Gode, " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3527 " If thou wolt werken after loore and reed.
MilT 3528 Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;
MilT 3529 For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe:
MilT 3530 `Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe.'
MilT 3531 And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
MilT 3532 I undertake, withouten mast and seyl,
MilT 3533 Yet shal I saven hire and thee and me.
MilT 3534 Hastow nat herd hou saved was Noe,
MilT 3535 Whan that oure Lord hadde warned hym biforn
MilT 3536 That al the world with water sholde be lorn? "
MilT 3537 " Yis, " quod this Carpenter, " ful yoore ago. "
MilT 3538 " Hastou nat herd, " quod Nicholas, " also
MilT 3539 The sorwe of Noe with his felaweshipe,
MilT 3540 Er that he myghte gete his wyf to shipe?
MilT 3541 Hym hadde be levere, I dar wel undertake,
MilT 3542 At thilke tyme, than alle his wetheres blake
MilT 3543 That she hadde had a ship hirself allone.
MilT 3544 And therfore, woostou what is best to doone?
MilT 3545 This asketh haste, and of an hastif thyng
MilT 3546 Men may nat preche or maken tariyng.
MilT 3547 " Anon go gete us faste into this in
MilT 3548 A knedyng trogh, or ellis a kymelyn,
MilT 3549 For ech of us, but looke that they be large,
MilT 3550 In which we mowe swymme as in a barge,
MilT 3551 And han therinne vitaille suffisant
MilT 3552 But for a day -- fy on the remenant!
MilT 3553 The water shal aslake and goon away
MilT 3554 Aboute pryme upon the nexte day.
MilT 3555 But Robyn may nat wite of this, thy knave,
MilT 3556 Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;
MilT 3557 Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
MilT 3558 I wol nat tellen Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3559 Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
MilT 3560 To han as greet a grace as Noe hadde.
MilT 3561 Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute.
MilT 3562 Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.
MilT 3563 " But whan thou hast, for hire and thee and me,
MilT 3564 Ygeten us thise knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3565 Thanne shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,
MilT 3566 That no man of oure purveiaunce espye.
MilT 3567 And whan thou thus hast doon as I have seyd,
MilT 3568 And hast oure vitaille faire in hem yleyd,
MilT 3569 And eek an ax to smyte the corde atwo,
MilT 3570 Whan that the water comth, that we may go
MilT 3571 And breke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,
MilT 3572 Unto the gardyn-ward, over the stable,
MilT 3573 That we may frely passen forth oure way,
MilT 3574 Whan that the grete shour is goon away.
MilT 3575 Thanne shaltou swymme as myrie, I undertake,
MilT 3576 As dooth the white doke after hire drake.
MilT 3577 Thanne wol I clepe, `How, Alison! How, John!
MilT 3578 Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon.'
MilT 3579 And thou wolt seyn, `Hayl, maister Nicholay!
MilT 3580 Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day.'
MilT 3581 And thanne shul we be lordes al oure lyf
MilT 3582 Of al the world, as Noe and his wyf.
MilT 3583 " But of o thyng I warne thee ful right:
MilT 3584 Be wel avysed on that ilke nyght
MilT 3585 That we ben entred into shippes bord,
MilT 3586 That noon of us ne speke nat a word,
MilT 3587 Ne clepe, ne crie, but be in his preyere;
MilT 3588 For it is Goddes owene heeste deere.
MilT 3589 " Thy wyf and thou moote hange fer atwynne,
MilT 3590 For that bitwixe yow shal be no synne,
MilT 3591 Namoore in lookyng than ther shal in deede.
MilT 3592 This ordinance is seyd. Go, God thee speede!
MilT 3593 Tomorwe at nyght, whan men ben alle aslepe,
MilT 3594 Into oure knedyng-tubbes wol we crepe,
MilT 3595 And sitten there, abidyng Goddes grace.
MilT 3596 Go now thy wey; I have no lenger space
MilT 3597 To make of this no lenger sermonyng.
MilT 3598 Men seyn thus, `sende the wise, and sey no thyng.'
MilT 3599 Thou art so wys, it needeth thee nat teche.
MilT 3600 Go, save oure lyf, and that I the biseche. "
MilT 3601 This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.
MilT 3602 Ful ofte he seide " Allas and weylawey, "
MilT 3603 And to his wyf he tolde his pryvetee,
MilT 3604 And she was war, and knew it bet than he,
MilT 3605 What al this queynte cast was for to seye.
MilT 3606 But nathelees she ferde as she wolde deye,
MilT 3607 And seyde, " Allas! go forth thy wey anon,
MilT 3608 Help us to scape, or we been dede echon!
MilT 3609 I am thy trewe, verray wedded wyf;
MilT 3610 Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf. "
MilT 3611 Lo, which a greet thyng is affeccioun!
MilT 3612 Men may dyen of ymaginacioun,
MilT 3613 So depe may impressioun be take.
MilT 3614 This sely carpenter bigynneth quake;
MilT 3615 Hym thynketh verraily that he may see
MilT 3616 Noees flood come walwynge as the see
MilT 3617 To drenchen Alisoun, his hony deere.
MilT 3618 He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory cheere;
MilT 3619 He siketh with ful many a sory swogh;
MilT 3620 He gooth and geteth hym a knedyng trogh,
MilT 3621 And after that a tubbe and a kymelyn,
MilT 3622 And pryvely he sente hem to his in,
MilT 3623 And heng hem in the roof in pryvetee.
MilT 3624 His owene hand he made laddres thre,
MilT 3625 To clymben by the ronges and the stalkes
MilT 3626 Unto the tubbes hangynge in the balkes,
MilT 3627 And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe,
MilT 3628 With breed, and chese, and good ale in a jubbe,
MilT 3629 Suffisynge right ynogh as for a day.
MilT 3630 But er that he hadde maad al this array,
MilT 3631 He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also,
MilT 3632 Upon his nede to London for to go.
MilT 3633 And on the Monday, whan it drow to nyght,
MilT 3634 He shette his dore withoute candel-lyght,
MilT 3635 And dressed alle thyng as it sholde be.
MilT 3636 And shortly, up they clomben alle thre;
MilT 3637 They seten stille wel a furlong way.
MilT 3638 " Now, Pater-noster, clom! " seyde Nicholay,
MilT 3639 And " Clom! " quod John, and " Clom! " seyde Alisoun.
MilT 3640 This carpenter seyde his devocioun,
MilT 3641 And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,
MilT 3642 Awaitynge on the reyn, if he it heere.
MilT 3643 The dede sleep, for wery bisynesse,
MilT 3644 Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse,
MilT 3645 Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel moore;
MilT 3646 For travaille of his goost he groneth soore,
MilT 3647 And eft he routeth, for his heed myslay.
MilT 3648 Doun of the laddre stalketh Nicholay,
MilT 3649 And Alisoun ful softe adoun she spedde;
MilT 3650 Withouten wordes mo they goon to bedde,
MilT 3651 Ther as the carpenter is wont to lye.
MilT 3652 Ther was the revel and the melodye;
MilT 3653 And thus lith Alison and Nicholas,
MilT 3654 In bisynesse of myrthe and of solas,
MilT 3655 Til that the belle of laudes gan to rynge,
MilT 3656 And freres in the chauncel gonne synge.
MilT 3657 This parissh clerk, this amorous Absolon,
MilT 3658 That is for love alwey so wo bigon,
MilT 3659 Upon the Monday was at Oseneye
MilT 3660 With compaignye, hym to disporte and pleye,
MilT 3661 And axed upon cas a cloisterer
MilT 3662 Ful prively after John the carpenter;
MilT 3663 And he drough hym apart out of the chirche,
MilT 3664 And seyde, " I noot; I saugh hym heere nat wirche
MilT 3665 Syn Saterday; I trowe that he be went
MilT 3666 For tymber, ther oure abbot hath hym sent;
MilT 3667 For he is wont for tymber for to go
MilT 3668 And dwellen at the grange a day or two;
MilT 3669 Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn.
MilT 3670 Where that he be, I kan nat soothly seyn. "
MilT 3671 This Absolon ful joly was and light,
MilT 3672 And thoghte, " Now is tyme to wake al nyght,
MilT 3673 For sikirly I saugh hym nat stirynge
MilT 3674 Aboute his dore, syn day bigan to sprynge.
MilT 3675 " So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,
MilT 3676 Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe
MilT 3677 That stant ful lowe upon his boures wal.
MilT 3678 To Alison now wol I tellen al
MilT 3679 My love-longynge, for yet I shal nat mysse
MilT 3680 That at the leeste wey I shal hire kisse.
MilT 3681 Som maner confort shal I have, parfay.
MilT 3682 My mouth hath icched al this longe day;
MilT 3683 That is a signe of kissyng atte leeste.
MilT 3684 Al nyght me mette eek I was at a feeste.
MilT 3685 Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or tweye,
MilT 3686 And al the nyght thanne wol I wake and pleye. "
MilT 3687 Whan that the firste cok hath crowe, anon
MilT 3688 Up rist this joly lovere Absolon,
MilT 3689 And hym arraieth gay, at poynt-devys.
MilT 3690 But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,
MilT 3691 To smellen sweete, er he hadde kembd his heer.
MilT 3692 Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer,
MilT 3693 For therby wende he to ben gracious.
MilT 3694 He rometh to the carpenteres hous,
MilT 3695 And stille he stant under the shot-wyndowe --
MilT 3696 Unto his brest it raughte, it was so lowe --
MilT 3697 And softe he cougheth with a semy soun:
MilT 3698 " What do ye, hony-comb, sweete Alisoun,
MilT 3699 My faire bryd, my sweete cynamome?
MilT 3700 Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!
MilT 3701 Wel litel thynken ye upon my wo,
MilT 3702 That for youre love I swete ther I go.
MilT 3703 No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;
MilT 3704 I moorne as dooth a lamb after the tete.
MilT 3705 Ywis, lemman, I have swich love-longynge
MilT 3706 That lik a turtel trewe is my moornynge.
MilT 3707 I may nat ete na moore than a mayde. "
MilT 3708 " Go fro the wyndow, Jakke fool, " she sayde;
MilT 3709 " As help me God, it wol nat be `com pa me.'
MilT 3710 I love another -- and elles I were to blame --
MilT 3711 Wel bet than thee, by Jhesu, Absolon.
MilT 3712 Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston,
MilT 3713 And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey! "
MilT 3714 " Allas, " quod Absolon, " and weylawey,
MilT 3715 That trewe love was evere so yvel biset!
MilT 3716 Thanne kysse me, syn it may be no bet,
MilT 3717 For Jhesus love, and for the love of me. "
MilT 3718 " Wiltow thanne go thy wey therwith? " quod she.
MilT 3719 " Ye, certes, lemman, " quod this Absolon.
MilT 3720 " Thanne make thee redy, " quod she, " I come anon. "
MilT 3721 And unto Nicholas she seyde stille,
MilT 3722 " Now hust, and thou shalt laughen al thy fille. "
MilT 3723 This Absolon doun sette hym on his knees
MilT 3724 And seyde, " I am a lord at alle degrees;
MilT 3725 For after this I hope ther cometh moore.
MilT 3726 Lemman, thy grace, and sweete bryd, thyn oore! "
MilT 3727 The wyndow she undoth, and that in haste.
MilT 3728 " Have do, " quod she, " com of, and speed the faste,
MilT 3729 Lest that oure neighebores thee espie. "
MilT 3730 This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie.
MilT 3731 Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
MilT 3732 And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
MilT 3733 And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
MilT 3734 But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
MilT 3735 Ful savourly, er he were war of this.
MilT 3736 Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
MilT 3737 For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
MilT 3738 He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
MilT 3739 And seyde, " Fy! allas! what have I do? "
MilT 3740 " Tehee! " quod she, and clapte the wyndow to,
MilT 3741 And Absolon gooth forth a sory pas.
MilT 3742 " A berd! A berd! " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3743 " By Goddes corpus, this goth faire and weel. "
MilT 3744 This sely Absolon herde every deel,
MilT 3745 And on his lippe he gan for anger byte,
MilT 3746 And to hymself he seyde, " I shal thee quyte. "
MilT 3747 Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes
MilT 3748 With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes,
MilT 3749 But Absolon, that seith ful ofte, " Allas! "
MilT 3750 " My soule bitake I unto Sathanas,
MilT 3751 But me were levere than al this toun, " quod he,
MilT 3752 " Of this despit awroken for to be.
MilT 3753 Allas, " quod he, " allas, I ne hadde ybleynt! "
MilT 3754 His hoote love was coold and al yqueynt;
MilT 3755 For fro that tyme that he hadde kist hir ers,
MilT 3756 Of paramours he sette nat a kers,
MilT 3757 For he was heeled of his maladie.
MilT 3758 Ful ofte paramours he gan deffie,
MilT 3759 And weep as dooth a child that is ybete.
MilT 3760 A softe paas he wente over the strete
MilT 3761 Until a smyth men cleped daun Gerveys,
MilT 3762 That in his forge smythed plough harneys;
MilT 3763 He sharpeth shaar and kultour bisily.
MilT 3764 This Absolon knokketh al esily,
MilT 3765 And seyde, " Undo, Gerveys, and that anon. "
MilT 3766 " What, who artow? " " It am I, Absolon. "
MilT 3767 " What, Absolon! for Cristes sweete tree,
MilT 3768 Why rise ye so rathe? Ey, benedicitee!
MilT 3769 What eyleth yow? Som gay gerl, God it woot,
MilT 3770 Hath broght yow thus upon the viritoot.
MilT 3771 By Seinte Note, ye woot wel what I mene. "
MilT 3772 This Absolon ne roghte nat a bene
MilT 3773 Of al his pley; no word agayn he yaf;
MilT 3774 He hadde moore tow on his distaf
MilT 3775 Than Gerveys knew, and seyde, " Freend so deere,
MilT 3776 That hoote kultour in the chymenee heere,
MilT 3777 As lene it me; I have therwith to doone,
MilT 3778 And I wol brynge it thee agayn ful soone. "
MilT 3779 Gerveys answerde, " Certes, were it gold,
MilT 3780 Or in a poke nobles alle untold,
MilT 3781 Thou sholdest have, as I am trewe smyth.
MilT 3782 Ey, Cristes foo! What wol ye do therwith? "
MilT 3783 " Therof, " quod Absolon, " be as be may.
MilT 3784 I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day " --
MilT 3785 And caughte the kultour by the colde stele.
MilT 3786 Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,
MilT 3787 And wente unto the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3788 He cogheth first, and knokketh therwithal
MilT 3789 Upon the wyndowe, right as he dide er.
MilT 3790 This Alison answerde, " Who is ther
MilT 3791 That knokketh so? I warante it a theef. "
MilT 3792 " Why, nay, " quod he, " God woot, my sweete leef,
MilT 3793 I am thyn Absolon, my deerelyng.
MilT 3794 Of gold, " quod he, " I have thee broght a ryng.
MilT 3795 My mooder yaf it me, so God me save;
MilT 3796 Ful fyn it is, and therto wel ygrave.
MilT 3797 This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse. "
MilT 3798 This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,
MilT 3799 And thoughte he wolde amenden al the jape;
MilT 3800 He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.
MilT 3801 And up the wyndowe dide he hastily,
MilT 3802 And out his ers he putteth pryvely
MilT 3803 Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;
MilT 3804 And therwith spak this clerk, this Absolon,
MilT 3805 " Spek, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art. "
MilT 3806 This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart
MilT 3807 As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
MilT 3808 That with the strook he was almoost yblent;
MilT 3809 And he was redy with his iren hoot,
MilT 3810 And Nicholas amydde the ers he smoot.
MilT 3811 Of gooth the skyn an hande-brede aboute,
MilT 3812 The hoote kultour brende so his toute,
MilT 3813 And for the smert he wende for to dye.
MilT 3814 As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,
MilT 3815 " Help! Water! Water! Help, for Goddes herte! "
MilT 3816 This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,
MilT 3817 And herde oon crien " water! " as he were wood,
MilT 3818 And thoughte, " Allas, now comth Nowelis flood! "
MilT 3819 He sit hym up withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3820 And with his ax he smoot the corde atwo,
MilT 3821 And doun gooth al; he foond neither to selle,
MilT 3822 Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle
MilT 3823 Upon the floor, and ther aswowne he lay.
MilT 3824 Up stirte hire Alison and Nicholay,
MilT 3825 And criden " Out " and " Harrow " in the strete.
MilT 3826 The neighebores, bothe smale and grete,
MilT 3827 In ronnen for to gauren on this man,
MilT 3828 That yet aswowne lay, bothe pale and wan,
MilT 3829 For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm.
MilT 3830 But stonde he moste unto his owene harm;
MilT 3831 For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
MilT 3832 With hende Nicholas and Alisoun.
MilT 3833 They tolden every man that he was wood;
MilT 3834 He was agast so of Nowelis flood
MilT 3835 Thurgh fantasie that of his vanytee
MilT 3836 He hadde yboght hym knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3837 And hadde hem hanged in the roof above;
MilT 3838 And that he preyed hem, for Goddes love,
MilT 3839 To sitten in the roof, par compaignye.
MilT 3840 The folk gan laughen at his fantasye;
MilT 3841 Into the roof they kiken and they cape,
MilT 3842 And turned al his harm unto a jape.
MilT 3843 For what so that this carpenter answerde,
MilT 3844 It was for noght; no man his reson herde.
MilT 3845 With othes grete he was so sworn adoun
MilT 3846 That he was holde wood in al the toun;
MilT 3847 For every clerk anonright heeld with oother.
MilT 3848 They seyde, " The man is wood, my leeve brother " ;
MilT 3849 And every wight gan laughen at this stryf.
MilT 3850 Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf,
MilT 3851 For al his kepyng and his jalousye,
MilT 3852 And Absolon hath kist hir nether ye,
MilT 3853 And Nicholas is scalded in the towte.
MilT 3854 This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!
RvT 3855 Whan folk hadde laughen at this nyce cas
RvT 3856 Of Absolon and hende Nicholas,
RvT 3857 Diverse folk diversely they seyde,
RvT 3858 But for the moore part they loughe and pleyde.
RvT 3859 Ne at this tale I saugh no man hym greve,
RvT 3860 But it were oonly Osewold the Reve.
RvT 3861 By cause he was of carpenteris craft,
RvT 3862 A litel ire is in his herte ylaft;
RvT 3863 He gan to grucche, and blamed it a lite.
RvT 3864 " So theek, " quod he, " ful wel koude I thee quite
RvT 3865 With bleryng of a proud milleres ye,
RvT 3866 If that me liste speke of ribaudye.
RvT 3867 But ik am oold; me list not pley for age;
RvT 3868 Gras tyme is doon; my fodder is now forage;
RvT 3869 This white top writeth myne olde yeris;
RvT 3870 Myn herte is also mowled as myne heris,
RvT 3871 But if I fare as dooth an open-ers --
RvT 3872 That ilke fruyt is ever lenger the wers,
RvT 3873 Til it be roten in mullok or in stree.
RvT 3874 We olde men, I drede, so fare we:
RvT 3875 Til we be roten, kan we nat be rype;
RvT 3876 We hoppen alwey whil that the world wol pype.
RvT 3877 For in oure wyl ther stiketh evere a nayl,
RvT 3878 To have an hoor heed and a grene tayl,
RvT 3879 As hath a leek; for thogh oure myght be goon,
RvT 3880 Oure wyl desireth folie evere in oon.
RvT 3881 For whan we may nat doon, than wol we speke;
RvT 3882 Yet in oure asshen olde is fyr yreke.
RvT 3883 " Foure gleedes han we, which I shal devyse --
RvT 3884 Avauntyng, liyng, anger, coveitise;
RvT 3885 Thise foure sparkles longen unto eelde.
RvT 3886 Oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde,
RvT 3887 But wyl ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth.
RvT 3888 And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth,
RvT 3889 As many a yeer as it is passed henne
RvT 3890 Syn that my tappe of lif bigan to renne.
RvT 3891 For sikerly, whan I was bore, anon
RvT 3892 Deeth drough the tappe of lyf and leet it gon,
RvT 3893 And ever sithe hath so the tappe yronne
RvT 3894 Til that almoost al empty is the tonne.
RvT 3895 The streem of lyf now droppeth on the chymbe.
RvT 3896 The sely tonge may wel rynge and chymbe
RvT 3897 Of wrecchednesse that passed is ful yoore;
RvT 3898 With olde folk, save dotage, is namoore! "
RvT 3899 Whan that oure Hoost hadde herd this sermonyng,
RvT 3900 He gan to speke as lordly as a kyng.
RvT 3901 He seide, " What amounteth al this wit?
RvT 3902 What shul we speke alday of hooly writ?
RvT 3903 The devel made a reve for to preche,
RvT 3904 Or of a soutere a shipman or a leche.
RvT 3905 Sey forth thy tale, and tarie nat the tyme.
RvT 3906 Lo Depeford, and it is half-wey pryme!
RvT 3907 Lo Grenewych, ther many a shrewe is inne!
RvT 3908 It were al tyme thy tale to bigynne. "
RvT 3909 " Now, sires, " quod this Osewold the Reve,
RvT 3910 " I pray yow alle that ye nat yow greve,
RvT 3911 Thogh I answere, and somdeel sette his howve;
RvT 3912 For leveful is with force force of-showve.
RvT 3913 " This dronke Millere hath ytoold us heer
RvT 3914 How that bigyled was a carpenteer,
RvT 3915 Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon.
RvT 3916 And, by youre leve, I shal hym quite anoon;
RvT 3917 Right in his cherles termes wol I speke.
RvT 3918 I pray to God his nekke mote to-breke;
RvT 3919 He kan wel in myn eye seen a stalke,
RvT 3920 But in his owene he kan nat seen a balke. "
MLT 1 Oure Hooste saugh wel that the brighte sonne
MLT 2 The ark of his artificial day hath ronne
MLT 3 The ferthe part, and half an houre and moore,
MLT 4 And though he were not depe ystert in loore,
MLT 5 He wiste it was the eightetethe day
MLT 6 Of Aprill, that is messager to May;
MLT 7 And saugh wel that the shadwe of every tree
MLT 8 Was in lengthe the same quantitee
MLT 9 That was the body erect that caused it.
MLT 10 And therefore by the shadwe he took his wit
MLT 11 That Phebus, which that shoon so clere and brighte,
MLT 12 Degrees was fyve and fourty clombe on highte,
MLT 13 And for that day, as in that latitude,
MLT 14 It was ten of the clokke, he gan conclude,
MLT 15 And sodeynly he plighte his horse aboute.
MLT 16 " Lordynges, " quod he, " I warne yow, al this route,
MLT 17 The fourthe party of this day is gon.
MLT 18 Now for the love of God and of Seint John,
MLT 19 Leseth no tyme, as ferforth as ye may.
MLT 20 Lordynges, the tyme wasteth nyght and day,
MLT 21 And steleth from us, what pryvely slepynge,
MLT 22 And what thurgh necligence in oure wakynge,
MLT 23 As dooth the streem that turneth nevere agayn,
MLT 24 Descendynge from the mountaigne into playn.
MLT 25 Wel kan Senec and many a philosophre
MLT 26 Biwaillen tyme moore than gold in cofre;
MLT 27 For `Los of catel may recovered be,
MLT 28 But los of tyme shendeth us,' quod he.
MLT 29 It wol nat come agayn, withouten drede,
MLT 30 Nomoore than wole Malkynes maydenhede,
MLT 31 Whan she hath lost it in hir wantownesse.
MLT 32 Lat us nat mowlen thus in ydelnesse.
MLT 33 " Sire Man of Lawe, " quod he, " so have ye blis,
MLT 34 Telle us a tale anon, as forward is.
MLT 35 Ye been submytted, thurgh youre free assent,
MLT 36 To stonden in this cas at my juggement.
MLT 37 Acquiteth yow now of youre biheeste;
MLT 38 Thanne have ye do youre devoir atte leeste. "
MLT 39 " Hooste, " quod he, " depardieux, ich assente;
MLT 40 To breke forward is nat myn entente.
MLT 41 Biheste is dette, and I wole holde fayn
MLT 42 Al my biheste, I kan no bettre sayn.
MLT 43 For swich lawe as a man yeveth another wight,
MLT 44 He sholde hymselven usen it, by right;
MLT 45 Thus wole oure text. But nathelees, certeyn,
MLT 46 I kan right now no thrifty tale seyn
MLT 47 That Chaucer, thogh he kan but lewedly
MLT 48 On metres and on rymyng craftily,
MLT 49 Hath seyd hem in swich Englissh as he kan
MLT 50 Of olde tyme, as knoweth many a man;
MLT 51 And if he have noght seyd hem, leve brother,
MLT 52 In o book, he hath seyd hem in another.
MLT 53 For he hath toold of loveris up and doun
MLT 54 Mo than Ovide made of mencioun
MLT 55 In his Episteles, that been ful olde.
MLT 56 What sholde I tellen hem, syn they been tolde?
MLT 57 " In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcione,
MLT 58 And sitthen hath he spoken of everichone,
MLT 59 Thise noble wyves and thise loveris eke.
MLT 60 Whoso that wole his large volume seke,
MLT 61 Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupide,
MLT 62 Ther may he seen the large woundes wyde
MLT 63 Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tesbee;
MLT 64 The swerd of Dido for the false Enee;
MLT 65 The tree of Phillis for hire Demophon;
MLT 66 The pleinte of Dianire and of Hermyon,
MLT 67 Of Adriane, and of Isiphilee --
MLT 68 The bareyne yle stondynge in the see --
MLT 69 The dreynte Leandre for his Erro;
MLT 70 The teeris of Eleyne, and eek the wo
MLT 71 Of Brixseyde, and of the, Ladomya;
MLT 72 The crueltee of the, queene Medea,
MLT 73 Thy litel children hangynge by the hals,
MLT 74 For thy Jason, that was of love so fals!
MLT 75 O Ypermystra, Penelopee, Alceste,
MLT 76 Youre wifhod he comendeth with the beste!
MLT 77 " But certeinly no word ne writeth he
MLT 78 Of thilke wikke ensample of Canacee,
MLT 79 That loved hir owene brother synfully --
MLT 80 Of swiche cursed stories I sey fy! --
MLT 81 Or ellis of Tyro Appollonius,
MLT 82 How that the cursed kyng Antiochus
MLT 83 Birafte his doghter of hir maydenhede,
MLT 84 That is so horrible a tale for to rede,
MLT 85 Whan he hir threw upon the pavement.
MLT 86 And therfore he, of ful avysement,
MLT 87 Nolde nevere write in none of his sermons
MLT 88 Of swiche unkynde abhomynacions,
MLT 89 Ne I wol noon reherce, if that I may.
MLT 90 " But of my tale how shal I doon this day?
MLT 91 Me were looth be likned, doutelees,
MLT 92 To Muses that men clepe Pierides --
MLT 93 Methamorphosios woot what I mene;
MLT 94 But nathelees, I recche noght a bene
MLT 95 Though I come after hym with hawebake.
MLT 96 I speke in prose, and lat him rymes make. "
MLT 97 And with that word he, with a sobre cheere,
MLT 98 Bigan his tale, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 99 O hateful harm, condicion of poverte!
MLT 100 With thurst, with coold, with hunger so confoundid!
MLT 101 To asken help thee shameth in thyn herte;
MLT 102 If thou noon aske, with nede artow so woundid
MLT 103 That verray nede unwrappeth al thy wounde hid!
MLT 104 Maugree thyn heed, thou most for indigence
MLT 105 Or stele, or begge, or borwe thy despence!
MLT 106 Thow blamest Crist and seist ful bitterly
MLT 107 He mysdeparteth richesse temporal;
MLT 108 Thy neighebor thou wytest synfully,
MLT 109 And seist thou hast to lite and he hath al.
MLT 110 " Parfay, " seistow, " somtyme he rekene shal,
MLT 111 Whan that his tayl shal brennen in the gleede,
MLT 112 For he noght helpeth needfulle in hir neede. "
MLT 113 Herkne what is the sentence of the wise:
MLT 114 " Bet is to dyen than have indigence " ;
MLT 115 " Thy selve neighebor wol thee despise. "
MLT 116 If thou be povre, farwel thy reverence!
MLT 117 Yet of the wise man take this sentence:
MLT 118 " Alle the dayes of povre men been wikke. "
MLT 119 Be war, therfore, er thou come to that prikke!
MLT 120 If thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee,
MLT 121 And alle thy freendes fleen from thee, allas!
MLT 122 O riche marchauntz, ful of wele been yee,
MLT 123 O noble, o prudent folk, as in this cas!
MLT 124 Youre bagges been nat fild with ambes as,
MLT 125 But with sys cynk, that renneth for youre chaunce;
MLT 126 At Cristemasse myrie may ye daunce!
MLT 127 Ye seken lond and see for yowre wynnynges;
MLT 128 As wise folk ye knowen al th' estaat
MLT 129 Of regnes; ye been fadres of tidynges
MLT 130 And tales, bothe of pees and of debaat.
MLT 131 I were right now of tales desolaat,
MLT 132 Nere that a marchant, goon is many a yeere,
MLT 133 Me taughte a tale, which that ye shal heere.
MLT 134 In Surrye whilom dwelte a compaignye
MLT 135 Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,
MLT 136 That wyde-where senten hir spicerye,
MLT 137 Clothes of gold, and satyns riche of hewe.
MLT 138 Hir chaffare was so thrifty and so newe
MLT 139 That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
MLT 140 With hem, and eek to sellen hem hire ware.
MLT 141 Now fil it that the maistres of that sort
MLT 142 Han shapen hem to Rome for to wende;
MLT 143 Were it for chapmanhod or for disport,
MLT 144 Noon oother message wolde they thider sende,
MLT 145 But comen hemself to Rome; this is the ende.
MLT 146 And in swich place as thoughte hem avantage
MLT 147 For hire entente, they take hir herbergage.
MLT 148 Sojourned han thise merchantz in that toun
MLT 149 A certein tyme, as fil to hire plesance.
MLT 150 And so bifel that th' excellent renoun
MLT 151 Of the Emperoures doghter, dame Custance,
MLT 152 Reported was, with every circumstance,
MLT 153 Unto thise Surryen marchantz in swich wyse,
MLT 154 Fro day to day, as I shal yow devyse.
MLT 155 This was the commune voys of every man:
MLT 156 " Oure Emperour of Rome -- God hym see! --
MLT 157 A doghter hath that, syn the world bigan,
MLT 158 To rekene as wel hir goodnesse as beautee,
MLT 159 Nas nevere swich another as is shee.
MLT 160 I prey to God in honour hire susteene,
MLT 161 And wolde she were of al Europe the queene.
MLT 162 " In hire is heigh beautee, withoute pride,
MLT 163 Yowthe, withoute grenehede or folye;
MLT 164 To alle hire werkes vertu is hir gyde;
MLT 165 Humblesse hath slayn in hire al tirannye.
MLT 166 She is mirour of alle curteisye;
MLT 167 Hir herte is verray chambre of hoolynesse,
MLT 168 Hir hand, ministre of fredam for almesse. "
MLT 169 And al this voys was sooth, as God is trewe.
MLT 170 But now to purpos lat us turne agayn.
MLT 171 Thise marchantz han doon fraught hir shippes newe,
MLT 172 And whan they han this blisful mayden sayn,
MLT 173 Hoom to Surrye been they went ful fayn,
MLT 174 And doon hir nedes as they han doon yoore,
MLT 175 And lyven in wele; I kan sey yow namoore.
MLT 176 Now fil it that thise marchantz stode in grace
MLT 177 Of hym that was the Sowdan of Surrye;
MLT 178 For whan they cam from any strange place,
MLT 179 He wolde, of his benigne curteisye,
MLT 180 Make hem good chiere, and bisily espye
MLT 181 Tidynges of sondry regnes, for to leere
MLT 182 The wondres that they myghte seen or heere.
MLT 183 Amonges othere thynges, specially,
MLT 184 Thise marchantz han hym toold of dame Custance
MLT 185 So greet noblesse in ernest, ceriously,
MLT 186 That this Sowdan hath caught so greet plesance
MLT 187 To han hir figure in his remembrance,
MLT 188 That al his lust and al his bisy cure
MLT 189 Was for to love hire while his lyf may dure.
MLT 190 Paraventure in thilke large book
MLT 191 Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was
MLT 192 With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
MLT 193 That he for love sholde han his deeth, allas!
MLT 194 For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
MLT 195 Is writen, God woot, whoso koude it rede,
MLT 196 The deeth of every man, withouten drede.
MLT 197 In sterres, many a wynter therbiforn,
MLT 198 Was writen the deeth of Ector, Achilles,
MLT 199 Of Pompei, Julius, er they were born;
MLT 200 The strif of Thebes; and of Ercules,
MLT 201 Of Sampson, Turnus, and of Socrates
MLT 202 The deeth; but mennes wittes ben so dulle
MLT 203 That no wight kan wel rede it atte fulle.
MLT 204 This Sowdan for his privee conseil sente,
MLT 205 And, shortly of this matiere for to pace,
MLT 206 He hath to hem declared his entente,
MLT 207 And seyde hem, certein, but he myghte have grace
MLT 208 To han Custance withinne a litel space,
MLT 209 He nas but deed; and charged hem in hye
MLT 210 To shapen for his lyf som remedye.
MLT 211 Diverse men diverse thynges seyden;
MLT 212 They argumenten, casten up and doun;
MLT 213 Many a subtil resoun forth they leyden;
MLT 214 They speken of magyk and abusioun.
MLT 215 But finally, as in conclusioun,
MLT 216 They kan nat seen in that noon avantage,
MLT 217 Ne in noon oother wey, save mariage.
MLT 218 Thanne sawe they therinne swich difficultee
MLT 219 By wey of reson, for to speke al playn,
MLT 220 By cause that ther was swich diversitee
MLT 221 Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn
MLT 222 They trowe that no " Cristen prince wolde fayn
MLT 223 Wedden his child under oure lawe sweete
MLT 224 That us was taught by Mahoun, oure prophete. "
MLT 225 And he answerde, " Rather than I lese
MLT 226 Custance, I wol be cristned, doutelees.
MLT 227 I moot been hires; I may noon oother chese.
MLT 228 I prey yow hoold youre argumentz in pees;
MLT 229 Saveth my lyf, and beth noght recchelees
MLT 230 To geten hire that hath my lyf in cure,
MLT 231 For in this wo I may nat longe endure. "
MLT 232 What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
MLT 233 I seye, by tretys and embassadrie,
MLT 234 And by the popes mediacioun,
MLT 235 And al the chirche, and al the chivalrie,
MLT 236 That in destruccioun of mawmettrie,
MLT 237 And in encrees of Cristes lawe deere,
MLT 238 They been acorded, so as ye shal heere:
MLT 239 How that the Sowdan and his baronage
MLT 240 And alle his liges sholde ycristned be,
MLT 241 And he shal han Custance in mariage,
MLT 242 And certein gold, I noot what quantitee;
MLT 243 And heer-to founden sufficient suretee.
MLT 244 This same accord was sworn on eyther syde;
MLT 245 Now, faire Custance, almyghty God thee gyde!
MLT 246 Now wolde som men waiten, as I gesse,
MLT 247 That I sholde tellen al the purveiance
MLT 248 That th' Emperour, of his grete noblesse,
MLT 249 Hath shapen for his doghter, dame Custance.
MLT 250 Wel may men knowen that so greet ordinance
MLT 251 May no man tellen in a litel clause
MLT 252 As was arrayed for so heigh a cause.
MLT 253 Bisshopes been shapen with hire for to wende,
MLT 254 Lordes, ladies, knyghtes of renoun,
MLT 255 And oother folk ynowe; this is th' ende;
MLT 256 And notified is thurghout the toun
MLT 257 That every wight, with greet devocioun,
MLT 258 Sholde preyen Crist that he this mariage
MLT 259 Receyve in gree and spede this viage.
MLT 260 The day is comen of hir departynge;
MLT 261 I seye, the woful day fatal is come,
MLT 262 That ther may be no lenger tariynge,
MLT 263 But forthward they hem dressen, alle and some.
MLT 264 Custance, that was with sorwe al overcome,
MLT 265 Ful pale arist, and dresseth hire to wende;
MLT 266 For wel she seeth ther is noon oother ende.
MLT 267 Allas, what wonder is it thogh she wepte,
MLT 268 That shal be sent to strange nacioun
MLT 269 Fro freendes that so tendrely hire kepte,
MLT 270 And to be bounden under subjeccioun
MLT 271 Of oon, she knoweth nat his condicioun?
MLT 272 Housbondes been alle goode, and han ben yoore;
MLT 273 That knowen wyves; I dar sey yow na moore.
MLT 274 " Fader, " she seyde, " thy wrecched child Custance,
MLT 275 Thy yonge doghter fostred up so softe,
MLT 276 And ye, my mooder, my soverayn plesance
MLT 277 Over alle thyng, out-taken Crist on-lofte,
MLT 278 Custance youre child hire recomandeth ofte
MLT 279 Unto youre grace, for I shal to Surrye,
MLT 280 Ne shal I nevere seen yow moore with ye.
MLT 281 " Allas, unto the Barbre nacioun
MLT 282 I moste anoon, syn that it is youre wille;
MLT 283 But Crist, that starf for our redempcioun
MLT 284 So yeve me grace his heestes to fulfille!
MLT 285 I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille!
MLT 286 Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
MLT 287 And to been under mannes governance. "
MLT 288 I trowe at Troye, whan Pirrus brak the wal
MLT 289 Or Ilion brende, at Thebes the citee,
MLT 290 N' at Rome, for the harm thurgh Hanybal
MLT 291 That Romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre,
MLT 292 Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee
MLT 293 As in the chambre was for hire departynge;
MLT 294 But forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or synge.
MLT 295 O firste moevyng! Crueel firmament,
MLT 296 With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay
MLT 297 And hurlest al from est til occident
MLT 298 That naturelly wolde holde another way,
MLT 299 Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array
MLT 300 At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage,
MLT 301 That crueel Mars hath slayn this mariage.
MLT 302 Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
MLT 303 Of which the lord is helplees falle, allas,
MLT 304 Out of his angle into the derkeste hous!
MLT 305 O Mars, o atazir, as in this cas!
MLT 306 O fieble moone, unhappy been thy paas!
MLT 307 Thou knyttest thee ther thou art nat receyved;
MLT 308 Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.
MLT 309 Imprudent Emperour of Rome, allas!
MLT 310 Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?
MLT 311 Is no tyme bet than oother in swich cas?
MLT 312 Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
MLT 313 Namely to folk of heigh condicioun?
MLT 314 Noght whan a roote is of a burthe yknowe?
MLT 315 Allas, we been to lewed or to slowe!
MLT 316 To shippe is brought this woful faire mayde
MLT 317 Solempnely, with every circumstance.
MLT 318 " Now Jhesu Crist be with yow alle! " she sayde;
MLT 319 Ther nys namoore, but " Farewel, faire Custance! "
MLT 320 She peyneth hire to make good contenance;
MLT 321 And forth I lete hire saille in this manere,
MLT 322 And turne I wole agayn to my matere.
MLT 323 The mooder of the Sowdan, welle of vices,
MLT 324 Espied hath hir sones pleyn entente,
MLT 325 How he wol lete his olde sacrifices;
MLT 326 And right anon she for hir conseil sente,
MLT 327 And they been come to knowe what she mente.
MLT 328 And whan assembled was this folk in-feere,
MLT 329 She sette hire doun, and seyde as ye shal heere.
MLT 330 " Lordes, " quod she, " ye knowen everichon,
MLT 331 How that my sone in point is for to lete
MLT 332 The hooly lawes of our Alkaron,
MLT 333 Yeven by Goddes message Makomete.
MLT 334 But oon avow to grete God I heete,
MLT 335 The lyf shal rather out of my body sterte
MLT 336 Or Makometes lawe out of myn herte!
MLT 337 " What sholde us tyden of this newe lawe
MLT 338 But thraldom to oure bodies and penance,
MLT 339 And afterward in helle to be drawe,
MLT 340 For we reneyed Mahoun oure creance?
MLT 341 But, lordes, wol ye maken assurance,
MLT 342 As I shal seyn, assentynge to my loore,
MLT 343 And I shal make us sauf for everemoore? "
MLT 344 They sworen and assenten, every man,
MLT 345 To lyve with hire and dye, and by hire stonde,
MLT 346 And everich, in the beste wise he kan,
MLT 347 To strengthen hire shal alle his frendes fonde;
MLT 348 And she hath this emprise ytake on honde,
MLT 349 Which ye shal heren that I shal devyse,
MLT 350 And to hem alle she spak right in this wyse:
MLT 351 " We shul first feyne us cristendom to take --
MLT 352 Coold water shal nat greve us but a lite! --
MLT 353 And I shal swich a feeste and revel make
MLT 354 That, as I trowe, I shal the Sowdan quite.
MLT 355 For thogh his wyf be cristned never so white,
MLT 356 She shal have nede to wasshe awey the rede,
MLT 357 Thogh she a font-ful water with hire lede. "
MLT 358 O Sowdanesse, roote of iniquitee!
MLT 359 Virago, thou Semyrame the secounde!
MLT 360 O serpent under femynynytee,
MLT 361 Lik to the serpent depe in helle ybounde!
MLT 362 O feyned womman, al that may confounde
MLT 363 Vertu and innocence, thurgh thy malice,
MLT 364 Is bred in thee, as nest of every vice!
MLT 365 O Sathan, envious syn thilke day
MLT 366 That thou were chaced from oure heritage,
MLT 367 Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way!
MLT 368 Thou madest Eva brynge us in servage;
MLT 369 Thou wolt fordoon this Cristen mariage.
MLT 370 Thyn instrument so -- weylawey the while! --
MLT 371 Makestow of wommen, whan thou wolt bigile.
MLT 372 This Sowdanesse, whom I thus blame and warye,
MLT 373 Leet prively hire conseil goon hire way.
MLT 374 What sholde I in this tale lenger tarye?
MLT 375 She rydeth to the Sowdan on a day,
MLT 376 And seyde hym that she wolde reneye hir lay,
MLT 377 And cristendom of preestes handes fonge,
MLT 378 Repentynge hire she hethen was so longe,
MLT 379 Bisechynge hym to doon hire that honour,
MLT 380 That she moste han the Cristen folk to feeste --
MLT 381 " To plesen hem I wol do my labour. "
MLT 382 The Sowdan seith, " I wol doon at youre heeste, "
MLT 383 And knelynge thanketh hire of that requeste.
MLT 384 So glad he was, he nyste what to seye.
MLT 385 She kiste hir sone, and hoom she gooth hir weye.
MLT 386 Arryved been this Cristen folk to londe
MLT 387 In Surrye, with a greet solempne route,
MLT 388 And hastifliche this Sowdan sente his sonde
MLT 389 First to his mooder, and al the regne aboute,
MLT 390 And seyde his wyf was comen, out of doute,
MLT 391 And preyde hire for to ryde agayn the queene,
MLT 392 The honour of his regne to susteene.
MLT 393 Greet was the prees, and riche was th' array
MLT 394 Of Surryens and Romayns met yfeere;
MLT 395 The mooder of the Sowdan, riche and gay,
MLT 396 Receyveth hire with also glad a cheere
MLT 397 As any mooder myghte hir doghter deere,
MLT 398 And to the nexte citee ther bisyde
MLT 399 A softe paas solempnely they ryde.
MLT 400 Noght trowe I the triumphe of Julius,
MLT 401 Of which that Lucan maketh swich a boost,
MLT 402 Was roialler ne moore curius
MLT 403 Than was th' assemblee of this blisful hoost.
MLT 404 But this scorpioun, this wikked goost,
MLT 405 The Sowdanesse, for al hire flaterynge,
MLT 406 Caste under this ful mortally to stynge.
MLT 407 The Sowdan comth hymself soone after this
MLT 408 So roially that wonder is to telle,
MLT 409 And welcometh hire with alle joye and blis.
MLT 410 And thus in murthe and joye I lete hem dwelle;
MLT 411 The fruyt of this matiere is that I telle.
MLT 412 Whan tyme cam, men thoughte it for the beste
MLT 413 That revel stynte, and men goon to hir reste.
MLT 414 The tyme cam, this olde Sowdanesse
MLT 415 Ordeyned hath this feeste of which I tolde,
MLT 416 And to the feeste Cristen folk hem dresse
MLT 417 In general, ye, bothe yonge and olde.
MLT 418 Heere may men feeste and roialtee biholde,
MLT 419 And deyntees mo than I kan yow devyse;
MLT 420 But al to deere they boghte it er they ryse.
MLT 421 O sodeyn wo, that evere art successour
MLT 422 To worldly blisse, spreynd with bitternesse,
MLT 423 The ende of the joye of oure worldly labour!
MLT 424 Wo occupieth the fyn of oure gladnesse.
MLT 425 Herke this conseil for thy sikernesse:
MLT 426 Upon thy glade day have in thy mynde
MLT 427 The unwar wo or harm that comth bihynde.
MLT 428 For shortly for to tellen, at o word,
MLT 429 The Sowdan and the Cristen everichone
MLT 430 Been al tohewe and stiked at the bord,
MLT 431 But it were oonly dame Custance allone.
MLT 432 This olde Sowdanesse, cursed krone,
MLT 433 Hath with hir freendes doon this cursed dede,
MLT 434 For she hirself wolde al the contree lede.
MLT 435 Ne ther was Surryen noon that was converted,
MLT 436 That of the conseil of the Sowdan woot,
MLT 437 That he nas al tohewe er he asterted.
MLT 438 And Custance han they take anon, foot-hoot,
MLT 439 And in a ship al steerelees, God woot,
MLT 440 They han hir set, and bidde hire lerne saille
MLT 441 Out of Surrye agaynward to Ytaille.
MLT 442 A certein tresor that she thider ladde,
MLT 443 And, sooth to seyn, vitaille greet plentee
MLT 444 They han hire yeven, and clothes eek she hadde,
MLT 445 And forth she sailleth in the salte see.
MLT 446 O my Custance, ful of benignytee,
MLT 447 O Emperoures yonge doghter deere,
MLT 448 He that is lord of Fortune be thy steere!
MLT 449 She blesseth hire, and with ful pitous voys
MLT 450 Unto the croys of Crist thus seyde she:
MLT 451 " O cleere, o welful auter, hooly croys,
MLT 452 Reed of the Lambes blood ful of pitee,
MLT 453 That wessh the world fro the olde iniquitee,
MLT 454 Me fro the feend and fro his clawes kepe,
MLT 455 That day that I shal drenchen in the depe.
MLT 456 " Victorious tree, proteccioun of trewe,
MLT 457 That oonly worthy were for to bere
MLT 458 The Kyng of Hevene with his woundes newe,
MLT 459 The white Lamb, that hurt was with a spere,
MLT 460 Flemere of feendes out of hym and here
MLT 461 On which thy lymes feithfully extenden,
MLT 462 Me kepe, and yif me myght my lyf t' amenden. "
MLT 463 Yeres and dayes fleet this creature
MLT 464 Thurghout the See of Grece unto the Strayte
MLT 465 Of Marrok, as it was hire aventure.
MLT 466 On many a sory meel now may she bayte;
MLT 467 After hir deeth ful often may she wayte,
MLT 468 Er that the wilde wawes wol hire dryve
MLT 469 Unto the place ther she shal arryve.
MLT 470 Men myghten asken why she was nat slayn
MLT 471 Eek at the feeste? Who myghte hir body save?
MLT 472 And I answere to that demande agayn,
MLT 473 Who saved Danyel in the horrible cave
MLT 474 Ther every wight save he, maister and knave,
MLT 475 Was with the leon frete er he asterte?
MLT 476 No wight but God that he bar in his herte.
MLT 477 God liste to shewe his wonderful myracle
MLT 478 In hire, for we sholde seen his myghty werkis;
MLT 479 Crist, which that is to every harm triacle,
MLT 480 By certeine meenes ofte, as knowen clerkis,
MLT 481 Dooth thyng for certein ende that ful derk is
MLT 482 To mannes wit, that for oure ignorance
MLT 483 Ne konne noght knowe his prudent purveiance.
MLT 484 Now sith she was nat at the feeste yslawe,
MLT 485 Who kepte hire fro the drenchyng in the see?
MLT 486 Who kepte Jonas in the fisshes mawe
MLT 487 Til he was spouted up at Nynyvee?
MLT 488 Wel may men knowe it was no wight but he
MLT 489 That kepte peple Ebrayk from hir drenchynge,
MLT 490 With drye feet thurghout the see passynge.
MLT 491 Who bad the foure spirites of tempest
MLT 492 That power han t' anoyen lond and see,
MLT 493 Bothe north and south, and also west and est,
MLT 494 " Anoyeth neither see, ne land, ne tree " ?
MLT 495 Soothly, the comandour of that was he
MLT 496 That fro the tempest ay this womman kepte
MLT 497 As wel whan she wook as whan she slepte.
MLT 498 Where myghte this womman mete and drynke have
MLT 499 Thre yeer and moore? How lasteth hire vitaille?
MLT 500 Who fedde the Egipcien Marie in the cave,
MLT 501 Or in desert? No wight but Crist, sanz faille.
MLT 502 Fyve thousand folk it was as greet mervaille
MLT 503 With loves fyve and fisshes two to feede.
MLT 504 God sente his foyson at hir grete neede.
MLT 505 She dryveth forth into oure occian
MLT 506 Thurghout oure wilde see, til atte laste
MLT 507 Under an hoold that nempnen I ne kan,
MLT 508 Fer in Northhumberlond the wawe hire caste,
MLT 509 And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste
MLT 510 That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde;
MLT 511 The wyl of Crist was that she sholde abyde.
MLT 512 The constable of the castel doun is fare
MLT 513 To seen this wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
MLT 514 And foond this wery womman ful of care;
MLT 515 He foond also the tresor that she broghte.
MLT 516 In hir langage mercy she bisoghte,
MLT 517 The lyf out of hir body for to twynne,
MLT 518 Hire to delivere of wo that she was inne.
MLT 519 A maner Latyn corrupt was hir speche,
MLT 520 But algates therby was she understonde.
MLT 521 The constable, whan hym lyst no longer seche,
MLT 522 This woful womman broghte he to the londe.
MLT 523 She kneleth doun and thanketh Goddes sonde;
MLT 524 But what she was she wolde no man seye,
MLT 525 For foul ne fair, thogh that she sholde deye.
MLT 526 She seyde she was so mazed in the see
MLT 527 That she forgat hir mynde, by hir trouthe.
MLT 528 The constable hath of hire so greet pitee,
MLT 529 And eek his wyf, that they wepen for routhe.
MLT 530 She was so diligent, withouten slouthe,
MLT 531 To serve and plesen everich in that place
MLT 532 That alle hir loven that looken in hir face.
MLT 533 This constable and dame Hermengyld, his wyf,
MLT 534 Were payens, and that contree everywhere;
MLT 535 But Hermengyld loved hire right as hir lyf,
MLT 536 And Custance hath so longe sojourned there,
MLT 537 In orisons, with many a bitter teere,
MLT 538 Til Jhesu hath converted thurgh his grace
MLT 539 Dame Hermengyld, constablesse of that place.
MLT 540 In al that lond no Cristen dorste route;
MLT 541 Alle Cristen folk been fled fro that contree
MLT 542 Thurgh payens, that conquereden al aboute
MLT 543 The plages of the north, by land and see.
MLT 544 To Walys fledde the Cristyanytee
MLT 545 Of olde Britons dwellynge in this ile;
MLT 546 Ther was hir refut for the meene while.
MLT 547 But yet nere Cristene Britons so exiled
MLT 548 That ther nere somme that in hir privetee
MLT 549 Honoured Crist and hethen folk bigiled,
MLT 550 And ny the castel swiche ther dwelten three.
MLT 551 That oon of hem was blynd and myghte nat see,
MLT 552 But it were with thilke eyen of his mynde
MLT 553 With whiche men seen, after that they ben blynde.
MLT 554 Bright was the sonne as in that someres day,
MLT 555 For which the constable and his wyf also
MLT 556 And Custance han ytake the righte way
MLT 557 Toward the see a furlong wey or two,
MLT 558 To pleyen and to romen to and fro,
MLT 559 And in hir walk this blynde man they mette,
MLT 560 Croked and oold, with eyen faste yshette.
MLT 561 " In name of Crist, " cride this blinde Britoun,
MLT 562 " Dame Hermengyld, yif me my sighte agayn! "
MLT 563 This lady weex affrayed of the soun,
MLT 564 Lest that hir housbonde, shortly for to sayn,
MLT 565 Wolde hire for Jhesu Cristes love han slayn,
MLT 566 Til Custance made hire boold, and bad hire wirche
MLT 567 The wyl of Crist, as doghter of his chirche.
MLT 568 The constable weex abasshed of that sight,
MLT 569 And seyde, " What amounteth al this fare? "
MLT 570 Custance answerde, " Sire, it is Cristes myght,
MLT 571 That helpeth folk out of the feendes snare. "
MLT 572 And so ferforth she gan oure lay declare
MLT 573 That she the constable, er that it was eve
MLT 574 Converteth, and on Crist made hym bileve.
MLT 575 This constable was nothyng lord of this place
MLT 576 Of which I speke, ther he Custance fond,
MLT 577 But kepte it strongly many a wyntres space
MLT 578 Under Alla, kyng of al Northhumbrelond,
MLT 579 That was ful wys, and worthy of his hond
MLT 580 Agayn the Scottes, as men may wel heere;
MLT 581 But turne I wole agayn to my mateere.
MLT 582 Sathan, that evere us waiteth to bigile,
MLT 583 Saugh of Custance al hire perfeccioun,
MLT 584 And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while,
MLT 585 And made a yong knyght that dwelte in that toun
MLT 586 Love hire so hoote, of foul affeccioun,
MLT 587 That verraily hym thoughte he sholde spille,
MLT 588 But he of hire myghte ones have his wille.
MLT 589 He woweth hire, but it availleth noght;
MLT 590 She wolde do no synne, by no weye.
MLT 591 And for despit he compassed in his thoght
MLT 592 To maken hire on shameful deeth to deye.
MLT 593 He wayteth whan the constable was aweye,
MLT 594 And pryvely upon a nyght he crepte
MLT 595 In Hermengyldes chambre, whil she slepte.
MLT 596 Wery, forwaked in hire orisouns,
MLT 597 Slepeth Custance, and Hermengyld also.
MLT 598 This knyght, thurgh Sathanas temptaciouns,
MLT 599 Al softely is to the bed ygo,
MLT 600 And kitte the throte of Hermengyld atwo,
MLT 601 And leyde the blody knyf by dame Custance,
MLT 602 And wente his wey, ther God yeve hym meschance!
MLT 603 Soone after cometh this constable hoom agayn,
MLT 604 And eek Alla, that kyng was of that lond,
MLT 605 And saugh his wyf despitously yslayn,
MLT 606 For which ful ofte he weep and wroong his hond,
MLT 607 And in the bed the blody knyf he fond
MLT 608 By Dame Custance. Allas, what myghte she seye?
MLT 609 For verray wo hir wit was al aweye.
MLT 610 To kyng Alla was toold al this meschance,
MLT 611 And eek the tyme, and where, and in what wise
MLT 612 That in a ship was founden this Custance,
MLT 613 As heer-biforn that ye han herd devyse.
MLT 614 The kynges herte of pitee gan agryse,
MLT 615 Whan he saugh so benigne a creature
MLT 616 Falle in disese and in mysaventure.
MLT 617 For as the lomb toward his deeth is broght,
MLT 618 So stant this innocent bifore the kyng.
MLT 619 This false knyght, that hath this tresoun wroght,
MLT 620 Berth hire on hond that she hath doon thys thyng.
MLT 621 But nathelees, ther was greet moornyng
MLT 622 Among the peple, and seyn they kan nat gesse
MLT 623 That she had doon so greet a wikkednesse,
MLT 624 For they han seyn hire evere so vertuous,
MLT 625 And lovynge Hermengyld right as hir lyf.
MLT 626 Of this baar witnesse everich in that hous,
MLT 627 Save he that Hermengyld slow with his knyf.
MLT 628 This gentil kyng hath caught a greet motyf
MLT 629 Of this witnesse, and thoghte he wolde enquere
MLT 630 Depper in this, a trouthe for to lere.
MLT 631 Allas! Custance, thou hast no champioun,
MLT 632 Ne fighte kanstow noght, so weylaway!
MLT 633 But he that starf for our redempcioun,
MLT 634 And boond Sathan (and yet lith ther he lay),
MLT 635 So be thy stronge champion this day!
MLT 636 For, but if Crist open myracle kithe,
MLT 637 Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swithe.
MLT 638 She sette hire doun on knees, and thus she sayde:
MLT 639 " Immortal God, that savedest Susanne
MLT 640 Fro false blame, and thou, merciful mayde,
MLT 641 Marie I meene, doghter to Seint Anne,
MLT 642 Bifore whos child angeles synge Osanne,
MLT 643 If I be giltlees of this felonye,
MLT 644 My socour be, for ellis shal I dye! "
MLT 645 Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face,
MLT 646 Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad
MLT 647 Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace,
MLT 648 And swich a colour in his face hath had
MLT 649 Men myghte knowe his face that was bistad
MLT 650 Amonges alle the faces in that route?
MLT 651 So stant Custance, and looketh hire aboute.
MLT 652 O queenes, lyvynge in prosperitee,
MLT 653 Duchesses, and ye ladyes everichone,
MLT 654 Haveth som routhe on hire adversitee!
MLT 655 An Emperoures doghter stant allone;
MLT 656 She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
MLT 657 O blood roial, that stondest in this drede,
MLT 658 Fer been thy freendes at thy grete nede!
MLT 659 This Alla kyng hath swich compassioun,
MLT 660 As gentil herte is fulfild of pitee,
MLT 661 That from his eyen ran the water doun.
MLT 662 " Now hastily do fecche a book, " quod he,
MLT 663 " And if this knyght wol sweren how that she
MLT 664 This womman slow, yet wol we us avyse
MLT 665 Whom that we wole that shal been oure justise. "
MLT 666 A Britoun book, written with Evaungiles,
MLT 667 Was fet, and on this book he swoor anoon
MLT 668 She gilty was, and in the meene whiles
MLT 669 An hand hym smoot upon the nekke-boon,
MLT 670 That doun he fil atones as a stoon,
MLT 671 And bothe his eyen broste out of his face
MLT 672 In sighte of every body in that place.
MLT 673 A voys was herd in general audience,
MLT 674 And seyde, " Thou hast desclaundred, giltelees,
MLT 675 The doghter of hooly chirche in heigh presence;
MLT 676 Thus hastou doon, and yet holde I my pees! "
MLT 677 Of this mervaille agast was al the prees;
MLT 678 As mazed folk they stoden everichone,
MLT 679 For drede of wreche, save Custance allone.
MLT 680 Greet was the drede and eek the repentance
MLT 681 Of hem that hadden wrong suspecioun
MLT 682 Upon this sely innocent, Custance;
MLT 683 And for this miracle, in conclusioun,
MLT 684 And by Custances mediacioun,
MLT 685 The kyng -- and many another in that place --
MLT 686 Converted was, thanked be Cristes grace!
MLT 687 This false knyght was slayn for his untrouthe
MLT 688 By juggement of Alla hastifly;
MLT 689 And yet Custance hadde of his deeth greet routhe.
MLT 690 And after this Jhesus, of his mercy,
MLT 691 Made Alla wedden ful solempnely
MLT 692 This hooly mayden, that is so bright and sheene;
MLT 693 And thus hath Crist ymaad Custance a queene.
MLT 694 But who was woful, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 695 Of this weddyng but Donegild, and namo,
MLT 696 The kynges mooder, ful of tirannye?
MLT 697 Hir thoughte hir cursed herte brast atwo.
MLT 698 She wolde noght hir sone had do so;
MLT 699 Hir thoughte a despit that he sholde take
MLT 700 So strange a creature unto his make.
MLT 701 Me list nat of the chaf, ne of the stree,
MLT 702 Maken so long a tale as of the corn.
MLT 703 What sholde I tellen of the roialtee
MLT 704 At mariage, or which cours goth biforn;
MLT 705 Who bloweth in a trumpe or in an horn?
MLT 706 The fruyt of every tale is for to seye:
MLT 707 They ete, and drynke, and daunce, and synge, and pleye.
MLT 708 They goon to bedde, as it was skile and right;
MLT 709 For thogh that wyves be ful hooly thynges,
MLT 710 They moste take in pacience at nyght
MLT 711 Swiche manere necessaries as been plesynges
MLT 712 To folk that han ywedded hem with rynges,
MLT 713 And leye a lite hir hoolynesse aside,
MLT 714 As for the tyme -- it may no bet bitide.
MLT 715 On hire he gat a knave child anon,
MLT 716 And to a bisshop, and his constable eke,
MLT 717 He took his wyf to kepe, whan he is gon
MLT 718 To Scotlond-ward, his foomen for to seke.
MLT 719 Now faire Custance, that is so humble and meke,
MLT 720 So longe is goon with childe, til that stille
MLT 721 She halt hire chambre, abidyng Cristes wille.
MLT 722 The tyme is come a knave child she beer;
MLT 723 Mauricius at the fontstoon they hym calle.
MLT 724 This constable dooth forth come a messageer,
MLT 725 And wroot unto his kyng, that cleped was Alle,
MLT 726 How that this blisful tidyng is bifalle,
MLT 727 And othere tidynges spedeful for to seye.
MLT 728 He taketh the lettre, and forth he gooth his weye.
MLT 729 This messager, to doon his avantage,
MLT 730 Unto the kynges mooder rideth swithe,
MLT 731 And salueth hire ful faire in his langage:
MLT 732 " Madame, " quod he, " ye may be glad and blithe,
MLT 733 And thanketh God an hundred thousand sithe!
MLT 734 My lady queene hath child, withouten doute,
MLT 735 To joye and blisse to al this regne aboute.
MLT 736 " Lo, heere the lettres seled of this thyng,
MLT 737 That I moot bere with al the haste I may.
MLT 738 If ye wol aught unto youre sone the kyng,
MLT 739 I am youre servant, bothe nyght and day. "
MLT 740 Donegild answerde, " As now at this tyme, nay;
MLT 741 But heere al nyght I wol thou take thy reste.
MLT 742 To-morwe wol I seye thee what me leste. "
MLT 743 This messager drank sadly ale and wyn,
MLT 744 And stolen were his lettres pryvely
MLT 745 Out of his box, whil he sleep as a swyn;
MLT 746 And countrefeted was ful subtilly
MLT 747 Another lettre, wroght ful synfully,
MLT 748 Unto the kyng direct of this mateere
MLT 749 Fro his constable, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 750 The lettre spak the queene delivered was
MLT 751 Of so horrible a feendly creature
MLT 752 That in the castel noon so hardy was
MLT 753 That any while dorste ther endure.
MLT 754 The mooder was an elf, by aventure
MLT 755 Ycomen, by charmes or by sorcerie,
MLT 756 And every wight hateth hir compaignye.
MLT 757 Wo was this kyng whan he this lettre had sayn,
MLT 758 But to no wight he tolde his sorwes soore,
MLT 759 But of his owene hand he wroot agayn,
MLT 760 " Welcome the sonde of Crist for everemoore
MLT 761 To me that am now lerned in his loore!
MLT 762 Lord, welcome be thy lust and thy plesaunce;
MLT 763 My lust I putte al in thyn ordinaunce.
MLT 764 " Kepeth this child, al be it foul or feir,
MLT 765 And eek my wyf, unto myn hoom-comynge.
MLT 766 Crist, whan hym list, may sende me an heir
MLT 767 Moore agreable than this to my likynge. "
MLT 768 This lettre he seleth, pryvely wepynge,
MLT 769 Which to the messager was take soone,
MLT 770 And forth he gooth; ther is na moore to doone.
MLT 771 O messager, fulfild of dronkenesse,
MLT 772 Strong is thy breeth, thy lymes faltren ay,
MLT 773 And thou biwreyest alle secreenesse.
MLT 774 Thy mynde is lorn, thou janglest as a jay,
MLT 775 Thy face is turned in a newe array.
MLT 776 Ther dronkenesse regneth in any route,
MLT 777 Ther is no conseil hyd, withouten doute.
MLT 778 O Donegild, I ne have noon Englissh digne
MLT 779 Unto thy malice and thy tirannye!
MLT 780 And therfore to the feend I thee resigne;
MLT 781 Lat hym enditen of thy traitorie!
MLT 782 Fy, mannysh, fy! -- o nay, by God, I lye --
MLT 783 Fy, feendlych spirit, for I dar wel telle,
MLT 784 Thogh thou heere walke, thy spirit is in helle!
MLT 785 This messager comth fro the kyng agayn,
MLT 786 And at the kynges moodres court he lighte,
MLT 787 And she was of this messager ful fayn,
MLT 788 And plesed hym in al that ever she myghte.
MLT 789 He drank, and wel his girdel underpighte;
MLT 790 He slepeth, and he fnorteth in his gyse
MLT 791 Al nyght, til the sonne gan aryse.
MLT 792 Eft were his lettres stolen everychon,
MLT 793 And countrefeted lettres in this wyse:
MLT 794 " The king comandeth his constable anon,
MLT 795 Up peyne of hangyng, and on heigh juyse,
MLT 796 That he ne sholde suffren in no wyse
MLT 797 Custance in-with his reawme for t' abyde
MLT 798 Thre dayes and o quarter of a tyde;
MLT 799 " But in the same ship as he hire fond,
MLT 800 Hire, and hir yonge sone, and al hir geere,
MLT 801 He sholde putte, and croude hire fro the lond,
MLT 802 And charge hire that she never eft coome theere. "
MLT 803 O my Custance, wel may thy goost have feere,
MLT 804 And, slepynge, in thy dreem been in penance,
MLT 805 Whan Donegild cast al this ordinance.
MLT 806 This messager on morwe, whan he wook,
MLT 807 Unto the castel halt the nexte way,
MLT 808 And to the constable he the lettre took;
MLT 809 And whan that he this pitous lettre say,
MLT 810 Ful ofte he seyde, " Allas and weylaway! "
MLT 811 " Lord Crist, " quod he, " how may this world endure,
MLT 812 So ful of synne is many a creature?
MLT 813 " O myghty God, if that it be thy wille,
MLT 814 Sith thou art rightful juge, how may it be
MLT 815 That thou wolt suffren innocentz to spille,
MLT 816 And wikked folk regne in prosperitee?
MLT 817 O goode Custance, allas, so wo is me
MLT 818 That I moot be thy tormentour, or deye
MLT 819 On shames deeth; ther is noon oother weye. "
MLT 820 Wepen bothe yonge and olde in al that place
MLT 821 Whan that the kyng this cursed lettre sente,
MLT 822 And Custance, with a deedly pale face,
MLT 823 The ferthe day toward hir ship she wente.
MLT 824 But nathelees she taketh in good entente
MLT 825 The wyl of Crist, and knelynge on the stronde,
MLT 826 She seyde, " Lord, ay welcome be thy sonde!
MLT 827 " He that me kepte fro the false blame
MLT 828 While I was on the lond amonges yow,
MLT 829 He kan me kepe from harm and eek fro shame
MLT 830 In salte see, althogh I se noght how.
MLT 831 As strong as evere he was, he is yet now.
MLT 832 In hym triste I, and in his mooder deere,
MLT 833 That is to me my seyl and eek my steere. "
MLT 834 Hir litel child lay wepyng in hir arm,
MLT 835 And knelynge, pitously to hym she seyde,
MLT 836 " Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee noon harm. "
MLT 837 With that hir coverchief of hir heed she breyde,
MLT 838 And over his litel eyen she it leyde,
MLT 839 And in hir arm she lulleth it ful faste,
MLT 840 And into hevene hire eyen up she caste.
MLT 841 " Mooder, " quod she, " and mayde bright, Marie,
MLT 842 Sooth is that thurgh wommanes eggement
MLT 843 Mankynde was lorn, and damned ay to dye,
MLT 844 For which thy child was on a croys yrent.
MLT 845 Thy blisful eyen sawe al his torment;
MLT 846 Thanne is ther no comparison bitwene
MLT 847 Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.
MLT 848 " Thow sawe thy child yslayn bifore thyne yen,
MLT 849 And yet now lyveth my litel child, parfay!
MLT 850 Now, lady bright, to whom alle woful cryen,
MLT 851 Thow glorie of wommanhede, thow faire may,
MLT 852 Thow haven of refut, brighte sterre of day,
MLT 853 Rewe on my child, that of thy gentillesse
MLT 854 Rewest on every reweful in distresse.
MLT 855 " O litel child, allas! What is thy gilt,
MLT 856 That nevere wroghtest synne as yet, pardee?
MLT 857 Why wil thyn harde fader han thee spilt?
MLT 858 O mercy, deere constable, " quod she,
MLT 859 " As lat my litel child dwelle heer with thee;
MLT 860 And if thou darst nat saven hym, for blame,
MLT 861 So kys hym ones in his fadres name! "
MLT 862 Therwith she looked bakward to the londe,
MLT 863 And seyde, " Farewel, housbonde routhelees! "
MLT 864 And up she rist, and walketh doun the stronde
MLT 865 Toward the ship -- hir folweth al the prees --
MLT 866 And evere she preyeth hire child to holde his pees;
MLT 867 And taketh hir leve, and with an hooly entente
MLT 868 She blisseth hire, and into ship she wente.
MLT 869 Vitailled was the ship, it is no drede,
MLT 870 Habundantly for hire ful longe space,
MLT 871 And othere necessaries that sholde nede
MLT 872 She hadde ynogh -- heryed be Goddes grace!
MLT 873 For wynd and weder almyghty God purchace,
MLT 874 And brynge hire hoom! I kan no bettre seye,
MLT 875 But in the see she dryveth forth hir weye.
MLT 876 Alla the kyng comth hoom soone after this
MLT 877 Unto his castel, of the which I tolde,
MLT 878 And asketh where his wyf and his child is.
MLT 879 The constable gan aboute his herte colde,
MLT 880 And pleynly al the manere he hym tolde
MLT 881 As ye han herd -- I kan telle it no bettre --
MLT 882 And sheweth the kyng his seel and eek his lettre,
MLT 883 And seyde, " Lord, as ye comanded me
MLT 884 Up peyne of deeth, so have I doon, certein. "
MLT 885 This messager tormented was til he
MLT 886 Moste biknowe and tellen, plat and pleyn,
MLT 887 Fro nyght to nyght, in what place he had leyn;
MLT 888 And thus, by wit and sotil enquerynge,
MLT 889 Ymagined was by whom this harm gan sprynge.
MLT 890 The hand was knowe that the lettre wroot,
MLT 891 And al the venym of this cursed dede,
MLT 892 But in what wise, certeinly, I noot.
MLT 893 Th' effect is this: that Alla, out of drede,
MLT 894 His mooder slow -- that may men pleynly rede --
MLT 895 For that she traitour was to hire ligeance.
MLT 896 Thus endeth olde Donegild, with meschance!
MLT 897 The sorwe that this Alla nyght and day
MLT 898 Maketh for his wyf, and for his child also,
MLT 899 Ther is no tonge that it telle may.
MLT 900 But now wol I unto Custance go,
MLT 901 That fleteth in the see, in peyne and wo,
MLT 902 Fyve yeer and moore, as liked Cristes sonde,
MLT 903 Er that hir ship approched unto londe.
MLT 904 Under an hethen castel, atte laste,
MLT 905 Of which the name in my text noght I fynde,
MLT 906 Custance, and eek hir child, the see up caste.
MLT 907 Almyghty God, that saveth al mankynde,
MLT 908 Have on Custance and on hir child som mynde,
MLT 909 That fallen is in hethen hand eft soone,
MLT 910 In point to spille, as I shal telle yow soone.
MLT 911 Doun fro the castel comth ther many a wight
MLT 912 To gauren on this ship and on Custance.
MLT 913 But shortly, from the castel, on a nyght,
MLT 914 The lordes styward -- God yeve hym meschance! --
MLT 915 A theef, that hadde reneyed oure creance,
MLT 916 Cam into ship allone, and seyde he sholde
MLT 917 Hir lemman be, wher-so she wolde or nolde.
MLT 918 Wo was this wrecched womman tho bigon;
MLT 919 Hir child cride, and she cride pitously.
MLT 920 But blisful Marie heelp hire right anon;
MLT 921 For with hir struglyng wel and myghtily
MLT 922 The theef fil over bord al sodeynly,
MLT 923 And in the see he dreynte for vengeance;
MLT 924 And thus hath Crist unwemmed kept Custance.
MLT 925 O foule lust of luxurie, lo, thyn ende!
MLT 926 Nat oonly that thou feyntest mannes mynde,
MLT 927 But verraily thou wolt his body shende.
MLT 928 Th' ende of thy werk, or of thy lustes blynde,
MLT 929 Is compleynyng. Hou many oon may men fynde
MLT 930 That noght for werk somtyme, but for th' entente
MLT 931 To doon this synne, been outher slayn or shente!
MLT 932 How may this wayke womman han this strengthe
MLT 933 Hire to defende agayn this renegat?
MLT 934 O Golias, unmesurable of lengthe,
MLT 935 Hou myghte David make thee so maat,
MLT 936 So yong and of armure so desolaat?
MLT 937 Hou dorste he looke upon thy dredful face?
MLT 938 Wel may men seen, it nas but Goddes grace.
MLT 939 Who yaf Judith corage or hardynesse
MLT 940 To sleen hym Olofernus in his tente,
MLT 941 And to deliveren out of wrecchednesse
MLT 942 The peple of God? I seye, for this entente,
MLT 943 That right as God spirit of vigour sente
MLT 944 To hem and saved hem out of meschance,
MLT 945 So sente he myght and vigour to Custance.
MLT 946 Forth gooth hir ship thurghout the narwe mouth
MLT 947 Of Jubaltare and Septe, dryvynge ay
MLT 948 Somtyme west, and somtyme north and south,
MLT 949 And somtyme est, ful many a wery day,
MLT 950 Til Cristes mooder -- blessed be she ay! --
MLT 951 Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse,
MLT 952 To make an ende of al hir hevynesse.
MLT 953 Now lat us stynte of Custance but a throwe,
MLT 954 And speke we of the Romayn Emperour,
MLT 955 That out of Surrye hath by lettres knowe
MLT 956 The slaughtre of cristen folk, and dishonour
MLT 957 Doon to his doghter by a fals traytour,
MLT 958 I mene the cursed wikked Sowdanesse
MLT 959 That at the feeste leet sleen bothe moore and lesse.
MLT 960 For which this Emperour hath sent anon
MLT 961 His senatour, with roial ordinance,
MLT 962 And othere lordes, God woot, many oon,
MLT 963 On Surryens to taken heigh vengeance.
MLT 964 They brennen, sleen, and brynge hem to meschance
MLT 965 Ful many a day; but shortly -- this is th' ende --
MLT 966 Homward to Rome they shapen hem to wende.
MLT 967 This senatour repaireth with victorie
MLT 968 To Rome-ward, saillynge ful roially,
MLT 969 And mette the ship dryvynge, as seith the storie,
MLT 970 In which Custance sit ful pitously.
MLT 971 Nothyng ne knew he what she was, ne why
MLT 972 She was in swich array, ne she nyl seye
MLT 973 Of hire estaat, althogh she sholde deye.
MLT 974 He bryngeth hire to Rome, and to his wyf
MLT 975 He yaf hire, and hir yonge sone also;
MLT 976 And with the senatour she ladde hir lyf.
MLT 977 Thus kan Oure Lady bryngen out of wo
MLT 978 Woful Custance, and many another mo.
MLT 979 And longe tyme dwelled she in that place,
MLT 980 In hooly werkes evere, as was hir grace.
MLT 981 The senatoures wyf hir aunte was,
MLT 982 But for al that she knew hire never the moore.
MLT 983 I wol no lenger tarien in this cas,
MLT 984 But to kyng Alla, which I spak of yoore,
MLT 985 That for his wyf wepeth and siketh soore,
MLT 986 I wol retourne, and lete I wol Custance
MLT 987 Under the senatoures governance.
MLT 988 Kyng Alla, which that hadde his mooder slayn,
MLT 989 Upon a day fil in swich repentance
MLT 990 That, if I shortly tellen shal and playn,
MLT 991 To Rome he comth to receyven his penance;
MLT 992 And putte hym in the Popes ordinance
MLT 993 In heigh and logh, and Jhesu Crist bisoghte
MLT 994 Foryeve his wikked werkes that he wroghte.
MLT 995 The fame anon thurgh Rome toun is born,
MLT 996 How Alla kyng shal comen in pilgrymage,
MLT 997 By herbergeours that wenten hym biforn;
MLT 998 For which the senatour, as was usage,
MLT 999 Rood hym agayns, and many of his lynage,
MLT 1000 As wel to shewen his heighe magnificence
MLT 1001 As to doon any kyng a reverence.
MLT 1002 Greet cheere dooth this noble senatour
MLT 1003 To kyng Alla, and he to hym also;
MLT 1004 Everich of hem dooth oother greet honour.
MLT 1005 And so bifel that in a day or two
MLT 1006 This senatour is to kyng Alla go
MLT 1007 To feste, and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 1008 Custances sone wente in his compaignye.
MLT 1009 Som men wolde seyn at requeste of Custance
MLT 1010 This senatour hath lad this child to feeste;
MLT 1011 I may nat tellen every circumstance --
MLT 1012 Be as be may, ther was he at the leeste.
MLT 1013 But sooth is this, that at his moodres heeste
MLT 1014 Biforn Alla, durynge the metes space,
MLT 1015 The child stood, lookynge in the kynges face.
MLT 1016 This Alla kyng hath of this child greet wonder,
MLT 1017 And to the senatour he seyde anon,
MLT 1018 " Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder? "
MLT 1019 " I noot, " quod he, " by God, and by Seint John!
MLT 1020 A mooder he hath, but fader hath he noon
MLT 1021 That I of woot " -- and shortly, in a stounde,
MLT 1022 He tolde Alla how that this child was founde.
MLT 1023 " But God woot, " quod this senatour also,
MLT 1024 " So vertuous a lyvere in my lyf
MLT 1025 Ne saugh I nevere as she, ne herde of mo,
MLT 1026 Of worldly wommen, mayde, ne of wyf.
MLT 1027 I dar wel seyn hir hadde levere a knyf
MLT 1028 Thurghout hir brest, than ben a womman wikke;
MLT 1029 There is no man koude brynge hire to that prikke. "
MLT 1030 Now was this child as lyk unto Custance
MLT 1031 As possible is a creature to be.
MLT 1032 This Alla hath the face in remembrance
MLT 1033 Of dame Custance, and ther on mused he
MLT 1034 If that the childes mooder were aught she
MLT 1035 That is his wyf, and pryvely he sighte,
MLT 1036 And spedde hym fro the table that he myghte.
MLT 1037 " Parfay, " thoghte he, " fantome is in myn heed!
MLT 1038 I oghte deme, of skilful juggement,
MLT 1039 That in the salte see my wyf is deed. "
MLT 1040 And afterward he made his argument:
MLT 1041 " What woot I if that Crist have hyder ysent
MLT 1042 My wyf by see, as wel as he hire sente
MLT 1043 To my contree fro thennes that she wente? "
MLT 1044 And after noon, hoom with the senatour
MLT 1045 Goth Alla, for to seen this wonder chaunce.
MLT 1046 This senatour dooth Alla greet honour,
MLT 1047 And hastifly he sente after Custaunce.
MLT 1048 But trusteth weel, hire liste nat to daunce
MLT 1049 Whan that she wiste wherfore was that sonde;
MLT 1050 Unnethe upon hir feet she myghte stonde.
MLT 1051 Whan Alla saugh his wyf, faire he hire grette,
MLT 1052 And weep that it was routhe for to see;
MLT 1053 For at the firste look he on hire sette
MLT 1054 He knew wel verraily that it was she.
MLT 1055 And she, for sorwe, as doumb stant as a tree,
MLT 1056 So was hir herte shet in hir distresse,
MLT 1057 Whan she remembred his unkyndenesse.
MLT 1058 Twyes she swowned in his owene sighte;
MLT 1059 He weep, and hym excuseth pitously.
MLT 1060 " Now God, " quod he, " and his halwes brighte
MLT 1061 So wisly on my soule as have mercy,
MLT 1062 That of youre harm as giltelees am I
MLT 1063 As is Maurice my sone, so lyk youre face;
MLT 1064 Elles the feend me fecche out of this place! "
MLT 1065 Long was the sobbyng and the bitter peyne,
MLT 1066 Er that hir woful hertes myghte cesse;
MLT 1067 Greet was the pitee for to heere hem pleyne,
MLT 1068 Thurgh whiche pleintes gan hir wo encresse.
MLT 1069 I pray yow alle my labour to relesse;
MLT 1070 I may nat telle hir wo until to-morwe,
MLT 1071 I am so wery for to speke of sorwe.
MLT 1072 But finally, whan that the sothe is wist
MLT 1073 That Alla giltelees was of hir wo,
MLT 1074 I trowe an hundred tymes been they kist,
MLT 1075 And swich a blisse is ther bitwix hem two
MLT 1076 That, save the joye that lasteth everemo,
MLT 1077 Ther is noon lyk that any creature
MLT 1078 Hath seyn or shal, whil that the world may dure.
MLT 1079 Tho preyde she hir housbonde mekely,
MLT 1080 In relief of hir longe, pitous pyne,
MLT 1081 That he wolde preye hir fader specially
MLT 1082 That of his magestee he wolde enclyne
MLT 1083 To vouche sauf som day with hym to dyne.
MLT 1084 She preyde hym eek he sholde by no weye
MLT 1085 Unto hir fader no word of hire seye.
MLT 1086 Som men wolde seyn how that the child Maurice
MLT 1087 Dooth this message unto this Emperour;
MLT 1088 But, as I gesse, Alla was nat so nyce
MLT 1089 To hym that was of so sovereyn honour
MLT 1090 As he that is of Cristen folk the flour,
MLT 1091 Sente any child, but it is bet to deeme
MLT 1092 He wente hymself, and so it may wel seeme.
MLT 1093 This Emperour hath graunted gentilly
MLT 1094 To come to dyner, as he hym bisoughte;
MLT 1095 And wel rede I he looked bisily
MLT 1096 Upon this child, and on his doghter thoghte.
MLT 1097 Alla goth to his in, and as hym oghte,
MLT 1098 Arrayed for this feste in every wise
MLT 1099 As ferforth as his konnyng may suffise.
MLT 1100 The morwe cam, and Alla gan hym dresse,
MLT 1101 And eek his wyf, this Emperour to meete;
MLT 1102 And forth they ryde in joye and in gladnesse.
MLT 1103 And whan she saugh hir fader in the strete,
MLT 1104 She lighte doun, and falleth hym to feete.
MLT 1105 " Fader, " quod she, " youre yonge child Custance
MLT 1106 Is now ful clene out of youre remembrance.
MLT 1107 " I am youre doghter Custance, " quod she,
MLT 1108 " That whilom ye han sent unto Surrye.
MLT 1109 It am I, fader, that in the salte see
MLT 1110 Was put allone and dampned for to dye.
MLT 1111 Now, goode fader, mercy I yow crye!
MLT 1112 Sende me namoore unto noon hethenesse,
MLT 1113 But thonketh my lord heere of his kyndenesse. "
MLT 1114 Who kan the pitous joye tellen al
MLT 1115 Bitwixe hem thre, syn they been thus ymette?
MLT 1116 But of my tale make an ende I shal;
MLT 1117 The day goth faste, I wol no lenger lette.
MLT 1118 This glade folk to dyner they hem sette;
MLT 1119 In joye and blisse at mete I lete hem dwelle
MLT 1120 A thousand foold wel moore than I kan telle.
MLT 1121 This child Maurice was sithen Emperour
MLT 1122 Maad by the Pope, and lyved cristenly;
MLT 1123 To Cristes chirche he dide greet honour.
MLT 1124 But I lete al his storie passen by;
MLT 1125 Of Custance is my tale specially.
MLT 1126 In the olde Romayn geestes may men fynde
MLT 1127 Maurices lyf; I bere it noght in mynde.
MLT 1128 This kyng Alla, whan he his tyme say,
MLT 1129 With his Custance, his hooly wyf so sweete,
MLT 1130 To Engelond been they come the righte way,
MLT 1131 Wher as they lyve in joye and in quiete.
MLT 1132 But litel while it lasteth, I yow heete,
MLT 1133 Joye of this world, for tyme wol nat abyde;
MLT 1134 Fro day to nyght it changeth as the tyde.
MLT 1135 Who lyved euere in swich delit o day
MLT 1136 That hym ne moeved outher conscience,
MLT 1137 Or ire, or talent, or som kynnes affray,
MLT 1138 Envye, or pride, or passion, or offence?
MLT 1139 I ne seye but for this ende this sentence,
MLT 1140 That litel while in joye or in plesance
MLT 1141 Lasteth the blisse of Alla with Custance.
MLT 1142 For Deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente,
MLT 1143 Whan passed was a yeer, evene as I gesse,
MLT 1144 Out of this world this kyng Alla he hente,
MLT 1145 For whom Custance hath ful greet hevynesse.
MLT 1146 Now lat us prayen God his soule blesse!
MLT 1147 And dame Custance, finally to seye,
MLT 1148 Toward the toun of Rome goth hir weye.
MLT 1149 To Rome is come this hooly creature,
MLT 1150 And fyndeth hire freendes hoole and sounde;
MLT 1151 Now is she scaped al hire aventure.
MLT 1152 And whan that she hir fader hath yfounde,
MLT 1153 Doun on hir knees falleth she to grounde;
MLT 1154 Wepynge for tendrenesse in herte blithe,
MLT 1155 She heryeth God an hundred thousand sithe.
MLT 1156 In vertu and in hooly almus-dede
MLT 1157 They lyven alle, and nevere asonder wende;
MLT 1158 Til deeth departeth hem, this lyf they lede.
MLT 1159 And fareth now weel! my tale is at an ende.
MLT 1160 Now Jhesu Crist, that of his myght may sende
MLT 1161 Joye after wo, governe us in his grace,
MLT 1162 And kepe us alle that been in this place! Amen
GP 1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
GP 2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
GP 3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
GP 4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
GP 5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
GP 6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
GP 7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
GP 8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
GP 9 And smale foweles maken melodye,
GP 10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
GP 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
GP 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
GP 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
GP 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
GP 15 And specially from every shires ende
GP 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
GP 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
GP 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
GP 19 Bifil that in that seson on a day,
GP 20 In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
GP 21 Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
GP 22 To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
GP 23 At nyght was come into that hostelrye
GP 24 Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
GP 25 Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
GP 26 In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
GP 27 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
GP 28 The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
GP 29 And wel we weren esed atte beste.
GP 30 And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
GP 31 So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
GP 32 That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
GP 33 And made forward erly for to ryse,
GP 34 To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
GP 35 But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
GP 36 Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
GP 37 Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
GP 38 To telle yow al the condicioun
GP 39 Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
GP 40 And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
GP 41 And eek in what array that they were inne;
GP 42 And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
GP 43 A KNYGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
GP 44 That fro the tyme that he first bigan
GP 45 To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
GP 46 Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
GP 47 Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
GP 48 And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
GP 49 As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
GP 50 And evere honoured for his worthynesse;
GP 51 At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
GP 52 Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
GP 53 Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;
GP 54 In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
GP 55 No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.
GP 56 In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
GP 57 Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
GP 58 At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,
GP 59 Whan they were wonne, and in the Grete See
GP 60 At many a noble armee hadde he be.
GP 61 At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
GP 62 And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene
GP 63 In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
GP 64 This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
GP 65 Somtyme with the lord of Palatye
GP 66 Agayn another hethen in Turkye;
GP 67 And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
GP 68 And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
GP 69 And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
GP 70 He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
GP 71 In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
GP 72 He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
GP 73 But for to tellen yow of his array,
GP 74 His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
GP 75 Of fustian he wered a gypon
GP 76 Al bismotered with his habergeon,
GP 77 For he was late ycome from his viage,
GP 78 And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
GP 79 With hym ther was his sone, a yong SQUIER,
GP 80 A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
GP 81 With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.
GP 82 Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
GP 83 Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
GP 84 And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.
GP 85 And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie
GP 86 In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,
GP 87 And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
GP 88 In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
GP 89 Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
GP 90 Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
GP 91 Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;
GP 92 He was as fressh as is the month of May.
GP 93 Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
GP 94 Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.
GP 95 He koude songes make and wel endite,
GP 96 Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.
GP 97 So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale
GP 98 He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
GP 99 Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,
GP 100 And carf biforn his fader at the table.
GP 101 A YEMAN hadde he and servantz namo
GP 102 At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,
GP 103 And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
GP 104 A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,
GP 105 Under his belt he bar ful thriftily
GP 106 (Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly;
GP 107 His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
GP 108 And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
GP 109 A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
GP 110 Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.
GP 111 Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,
GP 112 And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
GP 113 And on that oother syde a gay daggere
GP 114 Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;
GP 115 A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
GP 116 An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;
GP 117 A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
GP 118 Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
GP 119 That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
GP 120 Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
GP 121 And she was cleped madame Eglentyne.
GP 122 Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
GP 123 Entuned in hir nose ful semely;
GP 124 And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
GP 125 After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
GP 126 For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
GP 127 At mete wel ytaught was she with alle;
GP 128 She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
GP 129 Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
GP 130 Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
GP 131 That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
GP 132 In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
GP 133 Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
GP 134 That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
GP 135 Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
GP 136 Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
GP 137 And sikerly she was of greet desport,
GP 138 And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
GP 139 And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
GP 140 Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
GP 141 And to ben holden digne of reverence.
GP 142 But for to speken of hire conscience,
GP 143 She was so charitable and so pitous
GP 144 She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
GP 145 Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
GP 146 Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
GP 147 With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
GP 148 But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
GP 149 Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
GP 150 And al was conscience and tendre herte.
GP 151 Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
GP 152 Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
GP 153 Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed.
GP 154 But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
GP 155 It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
GP 156 For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
GP 157 Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
GP 158 Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
GP 159 A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,
GP 160 And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
GP 161 On which ther was first write a crowned A,
GP 162 And after Amor vincit omnia.
GP 163 Another NONNE with hire hadde she,
GP 164 That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
GP 165 A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
GP 166 An outridere, that lovede venerie,
GP 167 A manly man, to been an abbot able.
GP 168 Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
GP 169 And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
GP 170 Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
GP 171 And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle
GP 172 Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.
GP 173 The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit --
GP 174 By cause that it was old and somdel streit
GP 175 This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,
GP 176 And heeld after the newe world the space.
GP 177 He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
GP 178 That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
GP 179 Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
GP 180 Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees --
GP 181 This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
GP 182 But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
GP 183 And I seyde his opinion was good.
GP 184 What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
GP 185 Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
GP 186 Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
GP 187 As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?
GP 188 Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!
GP 189 Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
GP 190 Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
GP 191 Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
GP 192 Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
GP 193 I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
GP 194 With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
GP 195 And for to festne his hood under his chyn,
GP 196 He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
GP 197 A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
GP 198 His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
GP 199 And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
GP 200 He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
GP 201 His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
GP 202 That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
GP 203 His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
GP 204 Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
GP 205 He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
GP 206 A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
GP 207 His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
GP 208 A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
GP 209 A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
GP 210 In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
GP 211 So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
GP 212 He hadde maad ful many a mariage
GP 213 Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
GP 214 Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
GP 215 Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
GP 216 With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
GP 217 And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
GP 218 For he hadde power of confessioun,
GP 219 As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
GP 220 For of his ordre he was licenciat.
GP 221 Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
GP 222 And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
GP 223 He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
GP 224 Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
GP 225 For unto a povre ordre for to yive
GP 226 Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
GP 227 For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
GP 228 He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
GP 229 For many a man so hard is of his herte,
GP 230 He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
GP 231 Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
GP 232 Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
GP 233 His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
GP 234 And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
GP 235 And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
GP 236 Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
GP 237 Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
GP 238 His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
GP 239 Therto he strong was as a champioun.
GP 240 He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
GP 241 And everich hostiler and tappestere
GP 242 Bet than a lazar or a beggestere,
GP 243 For unto swich a worthy man as he
GP 244 Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
GP 245 To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
GP 246 It is nat honest; it may nat avaunce,
GP 247 For to deelen with no swich poraille,
GP 248 But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
GP 249 And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
GP 250 Curteis he was and lowely of servyse;
GP 251 Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
GP 252 He was the beste beggere in his hous;
GP 252a [And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt;
GP 252b Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;]
GP 253 For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
GP 254 So plesaunt was his " In principio, "
GP 255 Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
GP 256 His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
GP 257 And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
GP 258 In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
GP 259 For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
GP 260 With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
GP 261 But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
GP 262 Of double worstede was his semycope,
GP 263 That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
GP 264 Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
GP 265 To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;
GP 266 And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
GP 267 His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght
GP 268 As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
GP 269 This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.
GP 270 A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
GP 271 In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
GP 272 Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
GP 273 His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
GP 274 His resons he spak ful solempnely,
GP 275 Sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng.
GP 276 He wolde the see were kept for any thyng
GP 277 Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle.
GP 278 Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
GP 279 This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
GP 280 Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
GP 281 So estatly was he of his governaunce
GP 282 With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
GP 283 For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
GP 284 But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
GP 285 A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,
GP 286 That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
GP 287 As leene was his hors as is a rake,
GP 288 And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
GP 289 But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
GP 290 Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy,
GP 291 For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
GP 292 Ne was so worldly for to have office.
GP 293 For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
GP 294 Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
GP 295 Of Aristotle and his philosophie
GP 296 Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
GP 297 But al be that he was a philosophre,
GP 298 Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
GP 299 But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
GP 300 On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
GP 301 And bisily gan for the soules preye
GP 302 Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
GP 303 Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
GP 304 Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
GP 305 And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
GP 306 And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
GP 307 Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
GP 308 And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
GP 309 A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
GP 310 That often hadde been at the Parvys,
GP 311 Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
GP 312 Discreet he was and of greet reverence --
GP 313 He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
GP 314 Justice he was ful often in assise,
GP 315 By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
GP 316 For his science and for his heigh renoun,
GP 317 Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
GP 318 So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
GP 319 Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
GP 320 His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
GP 321 Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
GP 322 And yet he semed bisier than he was.
GP 323 In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
GP 324 That from the tyme of kyng William were falle.
GP 325 Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
GP 326 Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
GP 327 And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
GP 328 He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
GP 329 Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
GP 330 Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
GP 331 A FRANKELEYN was in his compaignye.
GP 332 Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
GP 333 Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
GP 334 Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
GP 335 To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
GP 336 For he was Epicurus owene sone,
GP 337 That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
GP 338 Was verray felicitee parfit.
GP 339 An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
GP 340 Seint Julian he was in his contree.
GP 341 His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
GP 342 A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
GP 343 Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous,
GP 344 Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous
GP 345 It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke;
GP 346 Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke,
GP 347 After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
GP 348 So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
GP 349 Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
GP 350 And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
GP 351 Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
GP 352 Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
GP 353 His table dormant in his halle alway
GP 354 Stood redy covered al the longe day.
GP 355 At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
GP 356 Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
GP 357 An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
GP 358 Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
GP 359 A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
GP 360 Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.
GP 361 AN HABERDASSHERE and a CARPENTER,
GP 362 A WEBBE, a DYERE, and a TAPYCER --
GP 363 And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
GP 364 Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
GP 365 Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
GP 366 Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
GP 367 But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
GP 368 Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
GP 369 Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
GP 370 To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
GP 371 Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
GP 372 Was shaply for to been an alderman.
GP 373 For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
GP 374 And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
GP 375 And elles certeyn were they to blame.
GP 376 It is ful fair to been ycleped " madame, "
GP 377 And goon to vigilies al bifore,
GP 378 And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
GP 379 A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones
GP 380 To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
GP 381 And poudre-marchant tart and galyngale.
GP 382 Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale.
GP 383 He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
GP 384 Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
GP 385 But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
GP 386 That on his shyne a mormal hadde he.
GP 387 For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
GP 388 A SHIPMAN was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
GP 389 For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
GP 390 He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
GP 391 In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
GP 392 A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
GP 393 Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
GP 394 The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
GP 395 And certeinly he was a good felawe.
GP 396 Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
GP 397 Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
GP 398 Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
GP 399 If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,
GP 400 By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
GP 401 But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
GP 402 His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
GP 403 His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
GP 404 Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
GP 405 Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
GP 406 With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
GP 407 He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
GP 408 Fro Gootlond to the cape of Fynystere,
GP 409 And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
GP 410 His barge ycleped was the Maudelayne.
GP 411 With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
GP 412 In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
GP 413 To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
GP 414 For he was grounded in astronomye.
GP 415 He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
GP 416 In houres by his magyk natureel.
GP 417 Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
GP 418 Of his ymages for his pacient.
GP 419 He knew the cause of everich maladye,
GP 420 Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
GP 421 And where they engendred, and of what humour.
GP 422 He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
GP 423 The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
GP 424 Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
GP 425 Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
GP 426 To sende hym drogges and his letuaries,
GP 427 For ech of hem made oother for to wynne --
GP 428 Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
GP 429 Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
GP 430 And Deyscorides, and eek Rufus,
GP 431 Olde Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
GP 432 Serapion, Razis, and Avycen,
GP 433 Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
GP 434 Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
GP 435 Of his diete mesurable was he,
GP 436 For it was of no superfluitee,
GP 437 But of greet norissyng and digestible.
GP 438 His studie was but litel on the Bible.
GP 439 In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
GP 440 Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
GP 441 And yet he was but esy of dispence;
GP 442 He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
GP 443 For gold in phisik is a cordial,
GP 444 Therefore he lovede gold in special.
GP 445 A good WIF was ther OF biside BATHE,
GP 446 But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.
GP 447 Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt
GP 448 She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.
GP 449 In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
GP 450 That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
GP 451 And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
GP 452 That she was out of alle charitee.
GP 453 Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
GP 454 I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
GP 455 That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
GP 456 Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
GP 457 Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
GP 458 Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
GP 459 She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:
GP 460 Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
GP 461 Withouten oother compaignye in youthe --
GP 462 But thereof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
GP 463 And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
GP 464 She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
GP 465 At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
GP 466 In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.
GP 467 She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
GP 468 Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
GP 469 Upon an amblere esily she sat,
GP 470 Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
GP 471 As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
GP 472 A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
GP 473 And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
GP 474 In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.
GP 475 Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,
GP 476 For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
GP 477 A good man was ther of religioun,
GP 478 And was a povre PERSOUN OF A TOUN,
GP 479 But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
GP 480 He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
GP 481 That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
GP 482 His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
GP 483 Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
GP 484 And in adversitee ful pacient,
GP 485 And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
GP 486 Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
GP 487 But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
GP 488 Unto his povre parisshens aboute
GP 489 Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
GP 490 He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
GP 491 Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
GP 492 But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
GP 493 In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
GP 494 The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
GP 495 Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
GP 496 This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
GP 497 That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
GP 498 Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte,
GP 499 And this figure he added eek therto,
GP 500 That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
GP 501 For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
GP 502 No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
GP 503 And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
GP 504 A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
GP 505 Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
GP 506 By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
GP 507 He sette nat his benefice to hyre
GP 508 And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
GP 509 And ran to Londoun unto Seinte Poules
GP 510 To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
GP 511 Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
GP 512 But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
GP 513 So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
GP 514 He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
GP 515 And though he hooly were and vertuous,
GP 516 He was to synful men nat despitous,
GP 517 Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
GP 518 But in his techyng discreet and benygne.
GP 519 To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
GP 520 By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
GP 521 But it were any persone obstinat,
GP 522 What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
GP 523 Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
GP 524 A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
GP 525 He waited after no pompe and reverence,
GP 526 Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
GP 527 But Cristes loore and his apostles twelve
GP 528 He taughte; but first he folwed it hymselve.
GP 529 With hym ther was a PLOWMAN, was his brother,
GP 530 That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother;
GP 531 A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
GP 532 Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
GP 533 God loved he best with al his hoole herte
GP 534 At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
GP 535 And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
GP 536 He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
GP 537 For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
GP 538 Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
GP 539 His tithes payde he ful faire and wel,
GP 540 Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
GP 541 In a tabard he rood upon a mere.
GP 542 Ther was also a REVE, and a MILLERE,
GP 543 A SOMNOUR, and a PARDONER also,
GP 544 A MAUNCIPLE, and myself -- ther were namo.
GP 545 The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones;
GP 546 Ful byg he was of brawn, and eek of bones.
GP 547 That proved wel, for over al ther he cam,
GP 548 At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
GP 549 He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
GP 550 Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
GP 551 Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
GP 552 His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
GP 553 And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
GP 554 Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
GP 555 A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys,
GP 556 Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
GP 557 His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
GP 558 A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
GP 559 His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
GP 560 He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
GP 561 And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
GP 562 Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
GP 563 And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
GP 564 A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
GP 565 A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
GP 566 And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
GP 567 A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
GP 568 Of which achatours myghte take exemple
GP 569 For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
GP 570 For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
GP 571 Algate he wayted so in his achaat
GP 572 That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
GP 573 Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace
GP 574 That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
GP 575 The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
GP 576 Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
GP 577 That weren of lawe expert and curious,
GP 578 Of which ther were a duszeyne in that hous
GP 579 Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
GP 580 Of any lord that is in Engelond,
GP 581 To make hym lyve by his propre good
GP 582 In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),
GP 583 Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
GP 584 And able for to helpen al a shire
GP 585 In any caas that myghte falle or happe.
GP 586 And yet this Manciple sette hir aller cappe.
GP 587 The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
GP 588 His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
GP 589 His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
GP 590 His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
GP 591 Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
GP 592 Ylyk a staf; ther was no calf ysene.
GP 593 Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
GP 594 Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
GP 595 Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
GP 596 The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
GP 597 His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
GP 598 His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
GP 599 Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
GP 600 And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
GP 601 Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
GP 602 Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
GP 603 Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
GP 604 That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
GP 605 They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
GP 606 His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
GP 607 With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
GP 608 He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
GP 609 Ful riche he was astored pryvely.
GP 610 His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
GP 611 To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
GP 612 And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
GP 613 In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster:
GP 614 He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
GP 615 This Reve sat upon a ful good stot
GP 616 That was al pomely grey and highte Scot.
GP 617 A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
GP 618 And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
GP 619 Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
GP 620 Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
GP 621 Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
GP 622 And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
GP 623 A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
GP 624 That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
GP 625 For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
GP 626 As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
GP 627 With scalled browes blake and piled berd.
GP 628 Of his visage children were aferd.
GP 629 Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
GP 630 Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
GP 631 Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
GP 632 That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
GP 633 Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
GP 634 Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
GP 635 And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
GP 636 Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
GP 637 And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
GP 638 Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
GP 639 A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
GP 640 That he had lerned out of som decree --
GP 641 No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
GP 642 And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
GP 643 Kan clepen " Watte " as wel as kan the pope.
GP 644 But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
GP 645 Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
GP 646 Ay " Questio quid iuris " wolde he crie.
GP 647 He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
GP 648 A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
GP 649 He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
GP 650 A good felawe to have his concubyn
GP 651 A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
GP 652 Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
GP 653 And if he foond owher a good felawe,
GP 654 He wolde techen him to have noon awe
GP 655 In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,
GP 656 But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
GP 657 For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
GP 658 " Purs is the ercedekenes helle, " seyde he.
GP 659 But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
GP 660 Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
GP 661 For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,
GP 662 And also war hym of a Significavit.
GP 663 In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
GP 664 The yonge girles of the diocise,
GP 665 And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
GP 666 A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
GP 667 As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
GP 668 A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake.
GP 669 With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER
GP 670 Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
GP 671 That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
GP 672 Ful loude he soong " Com hider, love, to me! "
GP 673 This Somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
GP 674 Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
GP 675 This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
GP 676 But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
GP 677 By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
GP 678 And therwith he his shuldres overspradde;
GP 679 But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.
GP 680 But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
GP 681 For it was trussed up in his walet.
GP 682 Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
GP 683 Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
GP 684 Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
GP 685 A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
GP 686 His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
GP 687 Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot.
GP 688 A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
GP 689 No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
GP 690 As smothe it was as it were late shave.
GP 691 I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
GP 692 But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware
GP 693 Ne was ther swich another pardoner.
GP 694 For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
GP 695 Which that he seyde was Oure Lady veyl;
GP 696 He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
GP 697 That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente
GP 698 Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
GP 699 He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
GP 700 And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
GP 701 But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
GP 702 A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
GP 703 Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
GP 704 Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
GP 705 And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
GP 706 He made the person and the peple his apes.
GP 707 But trewely to tellen atte laste,
GP 708 He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.
GP 709 Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
GP 710 But alderbest he song an offertorie;
GP 711 For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
GP 712 He moste preche and wel affile his tonge
GP 713 To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
GP 714 Therefore he song the murierly and loude.
GP 715 Now have I toold you soothly, in a clause,
GP 716 Th' estaat, th' array, the nombre, and eek the cause
GP 717 Why that assembled was this compaignye
GP 718 In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
GP 719 That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
GP 720 But now is tyme to yow for to telle
GP 721 How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
GP 722 Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
GP 723 And after wol I telle of our viage
GP 724 And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
GP 725 But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
GP 726 That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
GP 727 Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
GP 728 To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
GP 729 Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
GP 730 For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
GP 731 Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
GP 732 He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
GP 733 Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
GP 734 Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
GP 735 Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
GP 736 Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
GP 737 He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
GP 738 He moot as wel seye o word as another.
GP 739 Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
GP 740 And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
GP 741 Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
GP 742 The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.
GP 743 Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
GP 744 Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
GP 745 Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde.
GP 746 My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
GP 747 Greet chiere made oure Hoost us everichon,
GP 748 And to the soper sette he us anon.
GP 749 He served us with vitaille at the beste;
GP 750 Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
GP 751 A semely man OURE HOOSTE was withalle
GP 752 For to been a marchal in an halle.
GP 753 A large man he was with eyen stepe --
GP 754 A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe --
GP 755 Boold of his speche, and wys, and wel ytaught,
GP 756 And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
GP 757 Eek therto he was right a myrie man;
GP 758 And after soper pleyen he bigan,
GP 759 And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
GP 760 Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges,
GP 761 And seyde thus: " Now, lordynges, trewely,
GP 762 Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
GP 763 For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
GP 764 I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
GP 765 Atones in this herberwe as is now.
GP 766 Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.
GP 767 And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
GP 768 To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.
GP 769 " Ye goon to Caunterbury -- God yow speede,
GP 770 The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
GP 771 And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
GP 772 Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
GP 773 For trewely, confort ne myrthe is noon
GP 774 To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
GP 775 And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
GP 776 As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
GP 777 And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
GP 778 For to stonden at my juggement,
GP 779 And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
GP 780 Tomorwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
GP 781 Now, by my fader soule that is deed,
GP 782 But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
GP 783 Hoold up youre hondes, withouten moore speche. "
GP 784 Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
GP 785 Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
GP 786 And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
GP 787 And bad him seye his voirdit as hym leste.
GP 788 " Lordynges, " quod he, " now herkneth for the beste;
GP 789 But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
GP 790 This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
GP 791 That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
GP 792 In this viage shal telle tales tweye
GP 793 To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
GP 794 And homward he shal tellen othere two,
GP 795 Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
GP 796 And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle --
GP 797 That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
GP 798 Tales of best sentence and moost solaas --
GP 799 Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
GP 800 Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
GP 801 Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
GP 802 And for to make yow the moore mury,
GP 803 I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde,
GP 804 Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
GP 805 And whoso wole my juggement withseye
GP 806 Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
GP 807 And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
GP 808 Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
GP 809 And I wol erly shape me therfore. "
GP 810 This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
GP 811 With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
GP 812 That he wolde vouche sauf for to do so,
GP 813 And that he wolde been oure governour,
GP 814 And of oure tales juge and reportour,
GP 815 And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
GP 816 And we wol reuled been at his devys
GP 817 In heigh and lough; and thus by oon assent
GP 818 We been acorded to his juggement.
GP 819 And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
GP 820 We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
GP 821 Withouten any lenger taryynge.
GP 822 Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge,
GP 823 Up roos oure Hoost, and was oure aller cok,
GP 824 And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok,
GP 825 And forth we riden a litel moore than paas
GP 826 Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas;
GP 827 And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste
GP 828 And seyde, " Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste.
GP 829 Ye woot youre foreward, and I it yow recorde.
GP 830 If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
GP 831 Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
GP 832 As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
GP 833 Whoso be rebel to my juggement
GP 834 Shal paye for al that by the wey is spent.
GP 835 Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
GP 836 He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
GP 837 Sire Knyght, " quod he, " my mayster and my lord,
GP 838 Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
GP 839 Cometh neer, " quod he, " my lady Prioresse.
GP 840 And ye, sire Clerk, lat be youre shamefastnesse,
GP 841 Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man! "
GP 842 Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
GP 843 And shortly for to tellen as it was,
GP 844 Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
GP 845 The sothe is this: the cut fil to the Knyght,
GP 846 Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght,
GP 847 And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
GP 848 By foreward and by composicioun,
GP 849 As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
GP 850 And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
GP 851 As he that wys was and obedient
GP 852 To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
GP 853 He seyde, " Syn I shal bigynne the game,
GP 854 What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
GP 855 Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye. "
GP 856 And with that word we ryden forth oure weye,
GP 857 And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
GP 858 His tale anon, and seyde as ye may heere.
KnT 859 Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
KnT 860 Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
KnT 861 Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
KnT 862 And in his tyme swich a conquerour
KnT 863 That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
KnT 864 Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
KnT 865 What with his wysdom and his chivalrie,
KnT 866 He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
KnT 867 That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
KnT 868 And weddede the queene Ypolita,
KnT 869 And broghte hire hoom with hym in his contree
KnT 870 With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
KnT 871 And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
KnT 872 And thus with victorie and with melodye
KnT 873 Lete I this noble duc to Atthenes ryde,
KnT 874 And al his hoost in armes hym bisyde.
KnT 875 And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
KnT 876 I wolde have toold yow fully the manere
KnT 877 How wonnen was the regne of Femenye
KnT 878 By Theseus and by his chivalrye;
KnT 879 And of the grete bataille for the nones
KnT 880 Bitwixen Atthenes and Amazones;
KnT 881 And how asseged was Ypolita,
KnT 882 The faire, hardy queene of Scithia;
KnT 883 And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
KnT 884 And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
KnT 885 But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.
KnT 886 I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
KnT 887 And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
KnT 888 The remenant of the tale is long ynough.
KnT 889 I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
KnT 890 Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
KnT 891 And lat se now who shal the soper wynne;
KnT 892 And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
KnT 893 This duc, of whom I make mencioun,
KnT 894 Whan he was come almoost unto the toun,
KnT 895 In al his wele and in his mooste pride,
KnT 896 He was war, as he caste his eye aside,
KnT 897 Where that ther kneled in the heighe weye
KnT 898 A compaignye of ladyes, tweye and tweye,
KnT 899 Ech after oother clad in clothes blake;
KnT 900 But swich a cry and swich a wo they make
KnT 901 That in this world nys creature lyvynge
KnT 902 That herde swich another waymentynge;
KnT 903 And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten
KnT 904 Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.
KnT 905 " What folk been ye, that at myn hom-comynge
KnT 906 Perturben so my feste with criynge? "
KnT 907 Quod Theseus. " Have ye so greet envye
KnT 908 Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?
KnT 909 Or who hath yow mysboden or offended?
KnT 910 And telleth me if it may been amended,
KnT 911 And why that ye been clothed thus in blak. "
KnT 912 The eldeste lady of hem alle spak,
KnT 913 Whan she hadde swowned with a deedly cheere,
KnT 914 That it was routhe for to seen and heere;
KnT 915 She seyde, " Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven
KnT 916 Victorie, and as a conqueror to lyven,
KnT 917 Nat greveth us youre glorie and youre honour,
KnT 918 But we biseken mercy and socour.
KnT 919 Have mercy on oure wo and oure distresse!
KnT 920 Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,
KnT 921 Upon us wrecched wommen lat thou falle,
KnT 922 For, certes, lord, ther is noon of us alle
KnT 923 That she ne hath been a duchesse or a queene.
KnT 924 Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene,
KnT 925 Thanked be Fortune and hire false wheel,
KnT 926 That noon estaat assureth to be weel.
KnT 927 And certes, lord, to abyden youre presence,
KnT 928 Heere in this temple of the goddesse Clemence
KnT 929 We han ben waitynge al this fourtenyght.
KnT 930 Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy myght.
KnT 931 " I, wrecche, which that wepe and wayle thus,
KnT 932 Was whilom wyf to kyng Cappaneus,
KnT 933 That starf at Thebes -- cursed be that day! --
KnT 934 And alle we that been in this array
KnT 935 And maken al this lamentacioun,
KnT 936 We losten alle oure housbondes at that toun,
KnT 937 Whil that the seege theraboute lay.
KnT 938 And yet now the olde Creon -- weylaway! --
KnT 939 That lord is now of Thebes the citee,
KnT 940 Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,
KnT 941 He, for despit and for his tirannye,
KnT 942 To do the dede bodyes vileynye
KnT 943 Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe,
KnT 944 Hath alle the bodyes on an heep ydrawe,
KnT 945 And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,
KnT 946 Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,
KnT 947 But maketh houndes ete hem in despit. "
KnT 948 And with that word, withouten moore respit,
KnT 949 They fillen gruf and criden pitously,
KnT 950 " Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,
KnT 951 And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte. "
KnT 952 This gentil duc doun from his courser sterte
KnT 953 With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
KnT 954 Hym thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
KnT 955 Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so maat,
KnT 956 That whilom weren of so greet estaat;
KnT 957 And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
KnT 958 And hem conforteth in ful good entente,
KnT 959 And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
KnT 960 He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght
KnT 961 Upon the tiraunt Creon hem to wreke
KnT 962 That al the peple of Grece sholde speke
KnT 963 How Creon was of Theseus yserved
KnT 964 As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
KnT 965 And right anoon, withouten moore abood,
KnT 966 His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
KnT 967 To Thebes-ward, and al his hoost biside.
KnT 968 No neer Atthenes wolde he go ne ride,
KnT 969 Ne take his ese fully half a day,
KnT 970 But onward on his wey that nyght he lay,
KnT 971 And sente anon Ypolita the queene,
KnT 972 And Emelye, hir yonge suster sheene,
KnT 973 Unto the toun of Atthenes to dwelle,
KnT 974 And forth he rit; ther is namoore to telle.
KnT 975 The rede statue of Mars, with spere and targe,
KnT 976 So shyneth in his white baner large
KnT 977 That alle the feeldes glyteren up and doun;
KnT 978 And by his baner born is his penoun
KnT 979 Of gold ful riche, in which ther was ybete
KnT 980 The Mynotaur, which that he wan in Crete.
KnT 981 Thus rit this duc, thus rit this conquerour,
KnT 982 And in his hoost of chivalrie the flour,
KnT 983 Til that he cam to Thebes and alighte
KnT 984 Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoughte to fighte.
KnT 985 But shortly for to speken of this thyng,
KnT 986 With Creon, which that was of Thebes kyng,
KnT 987 He faught, and slough hym manly as a knyght
KnT 988 In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flyght;
KnT 989 And by assaut he wan the citee after,
KnT 990 And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;
KnT 991 And to the ladyes he restored agayn
KnT 992 The bones of hir freendes that were slayn,
KnT 993 To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
KnT 994 But it were al to longe for to devyse
KnT 995 The grete clamour and the waymentynge
KnT 996 That the ladyes made at the brennynge
KnT 997 Of the bodies, and the grete honour
KnT 998 That Theseus, the noble conquerour,
KnT 999 Dooth to the ladyes, whan they from hym wente;
KnT 1000 But shortly for to telle is myn entente.
KnT 1001 Whan that this worthy duc, this Theseus,
KnT 1002 Hath Creon slayn and wonne Thebes thus,
KnT 1003 Stille in that feeld he took al nyght his reste,
KnT 1004 And dide with al the contree as hym leste.
KnT 1005 To ransake in the taas of bodyes dede,
KnT 1006 Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
KnT 1007 The pilours diden bisynesse and cure
KnT 1008 After the bataille and disconfiture.
KnT 1009 And so bifel that in the taas they founde,
KnT 1010 Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,
KnT 1011 Two yonge knyghtes liggynge by and by,
KnT 1012 Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
KnT 1013 Of whiche two Arcita highte that oon,
KnT 1014 And that oother knyght highte Palamon.
KnT 1015 Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were,
KnT 1016 But by hir cote-armures and by hir gere
KnT 1017 The heraudes knewe hem best in special
KnT 1018 As they that weren of the blood roial
KnT 1019 Of Thebes, and of sustren two yborn.
KnT 1020 Out of the taas the pilours han hem torn,
KnT 1021 And han hem caried softe unto the tente
KnT 1022 Of Theseus; and he ful soone hem sente
KnT 1023 To Atthenes, to dwellen in prisoun
KnT 1024 Perpetuelly -- he nolde no raunsoun.
KnT 1025 And whan this worthy duc hath thus ydon,
KnT 1026 He took his hoost, and hoom he rit anon
KnT 1027 With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
KnT 1028 And ther he lyveth in joye and in honour
KnT 1029 Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1030 And in a tour, in angwissh and in wo,
KnT 1031 This Palamon and his felawe Arcite
KnT 1032 For everemoore; ther may no gold hem quite.
KnT 1033 This passeth yeer by yeer and day by day,
KnT 1034 Till it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
KnT 1035 That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
KnT 1036 Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
KnT 1037 And fressher than the May with floures newe --
KnT 1038 For with the rose colour stroof hire hewe,
KnT 1039 I noot which was the fyner of hem two --
KnT 1040 Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
KnT 1041 She was arisen and al redy dight,
KnT 1042 For May wole have no slogardie anyght.
KnT 1043 The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
KnT 1044 And maketh it out of his slep to sterte,
KnT 1045 And seith " Arys, and do thyn observaunce. "
KnT 1046 This maked Emelye have remembraunce
KnT 1047 To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
KnT 1048 Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse:
KnT 1049 Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse
KnT 1050 Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
KnT 1051 And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
KnT 1052 She walketh up and doun, and as hire liste
KnT 1053 She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
KnT 1054 To make a subtil gerland for hire hede;
KnT 1055 And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
KnT 1056 The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
KnT 1057 Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun
KnT 1058 (Ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun
KnT 1059 Of which I tolde yow and tellen shal),
KnT 1060 Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
KnT 1061 Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
KnT 1062 Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,
KnT 1063 And Palamoun, this woful prisoner,
KnT 1064 As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
KnT 1065 Was risen and romed in a chambre an heigh,
KnT 1066 In which he al the noble citee seigh,
KnT 1067 And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
KnT 1068 Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
KnT 1069 Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
KnT 1070 This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
KnT 1071 Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro
KnT 1072 And to hymself compleynynge of his wo.
KnT 1073 That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, " allas! "
KnT 1074 And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
KnT 1075 That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
KnT 1076 Of iren greet and square as any sparre,
KnT 1077 He cast his eye upon Emelya,
KnT 1078 And therwithal he bleynte and cride, " A! "
KnT 1079 As though he stongen were unto the herte.
KnT 1080 And with that cry Arcite anon up sterte
KnT 1081 And seyde, " Cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
KnT 1082 That art so pale and deedly on to see?
KnT 1083 Why cridestow? Who hath thee doon offence?
KnT 1084 For Goddes love, taak al in pacience
KnT 1085 Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be.
KnT 1086 Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
KnT 1087 Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
KnT 1088 Of Saturne, by som constellacioun,
KnT 1089 Hath yeven us this, although we hadde it sworn;
KnT 1090 So stood the hevene whan that we were born.
KnT 1091 We moste endure it; this is the short and playn. "
KnT 1092 This Palamon answerde and seyde agayn,
KnT 1093 " Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
KnT 1094 Thow hast a veyn ymaginacioun.
KnT 1095 This prison caused me nat for to crye,
KnT 1096 But I was hurt right now thurghout myn ye
KnT 1097 Into myn herte, that wol my bane be.
KnT 1098 The fairnesse of that lady that I see
KnT 1099 Yond in the gardyn romen to and fro
KnT 1100 Is cause of al my criyng and my wo.
KnT 1101 I noot wher she be womman or goddesse,
KnT 1102 But Venus is it soothly, as I gesse. "
KnT 1103 And therwithal on knees doun he fil,
KnT 1104 And seyde, " Venus, if it be thy wil
KnT 1105 Yow in this gardyn thus to transfigure
KnT 1106 Bifore me, sorweful, wrecched creature,
KnT 1107 Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
KnT 1108 And if so be my destynee be shapen
KnT 1109 By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
KnT 1110 Of oure lynage have som compassioun,
KnT 1111 That is so lowe ybroght by tirannye. "
KnT 1112 And with that word Arcite gan espye
KnT 1113 Wher as this lady romed to and fro,
KnT 1114 And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
KnT 1115 That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,
KnT 1116 Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or moore.
KnT 1117 And with a sigh he seyde pitously,
KnT 1118 " The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
KnT 1119 Of hire that rometh in the yonder place;
KnT 1120 And but I have hir mercy and hir grace,
KnT 1121 That I may seen hire atte leeste weye,
KnT 1122 I nam but deed; ther nis namoore to seye. "
KnT 1123 This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
KnT 1124 Dispitously he looked and answerde,
KnT 1125 " Wheither seistow this in ernest or in pley? "
KnT 1126 " Nay, " quod Arcite, " in ernest, by my fey!
KnT 1127 God helpe me so, me list ful yvele pleye. "
KnT 1128 This Palamon gan knytte his browes tweye.
KnT 1129 " It nere, " quod he, " to thee no greet honour
KnT 1130 For to be fals, ne for to be traitour
KnT 1131 To me, that am thy cosyn and thy brother
KnT 1132 Ysworn ful depe, and ech of us til oother,
KnT 1133 That nevere, for to dyen in the peyne,
KnT 1134 Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
KnT 1135 Neither of us in love to hyndre oother,
KnT 1136 Ne in noon oother cas, my leeve brother,
KnT 1137 But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
KnT 1138 In every cas, as I shal forthren thee --
KnT 1139 This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
KnT 1140 I woot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
KnT 1141 Thus artow of my conseil, out of doute,
KnT 1142 And now thow woldest falsly been aboute
KnT 1143 To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
KnT 1144 And evere shal til that myn herte sterve.
KnT 1145 Nay, certes, false Arcite, thow shalt nat so.
KnT 1146 I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo
KnT 1147 As to my conseil and my brother sworn
KnT 1148 To forthre me, as I have toold biforn.
KnT 1149 For which thou art ybounden as a knyght
KnT 1150 To helpen me, if it lay in thy myght,
KnT 1151 Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn. "
KnT 1152 This Arcite ful proudly spak ageyn:
KnT 1153 " Thow shalt, " quod he, " be rather fals than I;
KnT 1154 And thou art fals, I telle thee outrely,
KnT 1155 For paramour I loved hire first er thow.
KnT 1156 What wiltow seyen? Thou woost nat yet now
KnT 1157 Wheither she be a womman or goddesse!
KnT 1158 Thyn is affeccioun of hoolynesse,
KnT 1159 And myn is love as to a creature;
KnT 1160 For which I tolde thee myn aventure
KnT 1161 As to my cosyn and my brother sworn.
KnT 1162 I pose that thow lovedest hire biforn;
KnT 1163 Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
KnT 1164 That `who shal yeve a lovere any lawe?'
KnT 1165 Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,
KnT 1166 Than may be yeve to any erthely man;
KnT 1167 And therfore positif lawe and swich decree
KnT 1168 Is broken al day for love in ech degree.
KnT 1169 A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed;
KnT 1170 He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,
KnT 1171 Al be she mayde, or wydwe, or elles wyf.
KnT 1172 And eek it is nat likly al thy lyf
KnT 1173 To stonden in hir grace; namoore shal I;
KnT 1174 For wel thou woost thyselven, verraily,
KnT 1175 That thou and I be dampned to prisoun
KnT 1176 Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
KnT 1177 We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon;
KnT 1178 They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon.
KnT 1179 Ther cam a kyte, whil that they were so wrothe,
KnT 1180 And baar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.
KnT 1181 And therfore, at the kynges court, my brother,
KnT 1182 Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.
KnT 1183 Love, if thee list, for I love and ay shal;
KnT 1184 And soothly, leeve brother, this is al.
KnT 1185 Heere in this prisoun moote we endure,
KnT 1186 And everich of us take his aventure. "
KnT 1187 Greet was the strif and long bitwix hem tweye,
KnT 1188 If that I hadde leyser for to seye;
KnT 1189 But to th' effect. It happed on a day,
KnT 1190 To telle it yow as shortly as I may,
KnT 1191 A worthy duc that highte Perotheus,
KnT 1192 That felawe was unto duc Theseus
KnT 1193 Syn thilke day that they were children lite,
KnT 1194 Was come to Atthenes his felawe to visite,
KnT 1195 And for to pleye as he was wont to do;
KnT 1196 For in this world he loved no man so,
KnT 1197 And he loved hym als tendrely agayn.
KnT 1198 So wel they lovede, as olde bookes sayn,
KnT 1199 That whan that oon was deed, soothly to telle,
KnT 1200 His felawe wente and soughte hym doun in helle --
KnT 1201 But of that storie list me nat to write.
KnT 1202 Duc Perotheus loved wel Arcite,
KnT 1203 And hadde hym knowe at Thebes yeer by yere,
KnT 1204 And finally at requeste and preyere
KnT 1205 Of Perotheus, withouten any raunsoun,
KnT 1206 Duc Theseus hym leet out of prisoun
KnT 1207 Frely to goon wher that hym liste over al,
KnT 1208 In swich a gyse as I you tellen shal.
KnT 1209 This was the forward, pleynly for t' endite,
KnT 1210 Bitwixen Theseus and hym Arcite:
KnT 1211 That if so were that Arcite were yfounde
KnT 1212 Evere in his lif, by day or nyght, oo stounde
KnT 1213 In any contree of this Theseus,
KnT 1214 And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
KnT 1215 That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed.
KnT 1216 Ther nas noon oother remedie ne reed;
KnT 1217 But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde.
KnT 1218 Lat hym be war! His nekke lith to wedde.
KnT 1219 How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
KnT 1220 The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte;
KnT 1221 He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously;
KnT 1222 To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
KnT 1223 He seyde, " Allas that day that I was born!
KnT 1224 Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
KnT 1225 Now is me shape eternally to dwelle
KnT 1226 Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
KnT 1227 Allas, that evere knew I Perotheus!
KnT 1228 For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus,
KnT 1229 Yfetered in his prisoun everemo.
KnT 1230 Thanne hadde I been in blisse and nat in wo.
KnT 1231 Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
KnT 1232 Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
KnT 1233 Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
KnT 1234 O deere cosyn Palamon, " quod he,
KnT 1235 " Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
KnT 1236 Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure --
KnT 1237 In prison? Certes nay, but in paradys!
KnT 1238 Wel hath Fortune yturned thee the dys,
KnT 1239 That hast the sighte of hire, and I th' absence.
KnT 1240 For possible is, syn thou hast hire presence,
KnT 1241 And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
KnT 1242 That by som cas, syn Fortune is chaungeable,
KnT 1243 Thow maist to thy desir somtyme atteyne.
KnT 1244 But I, that am exiled and bareyne
KnT 1245 Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir
KnT 1246 That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
KnT 1247 Ne creature that of hem maked is,
KnT 1248 That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
KnT 1249 Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse.
KnT 1250 Farwel my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
KnT 1251 " Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
KnT 1252 On purveiaunce of God, or of Fortune,
KnT 1253 That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
KnT 1254 Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
KnT 1255 Som man desireth for to han richesse,
KnT 1256 That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse;
KnT 1257 And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
KnT 1258 That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
KnT 1259 Infinite harmes been in this mateere.
KnT 1260 We witen nat what thing we preyen heere;
KnT 1261 We faren as he that dronke is as a mous.
KnT 1262 A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
KnT 1263 But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
KnT 1264 And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
KnT 1265 And certes, in this world so faren we;
KnT 1266 We seken faste after felicitee,
KnT 1267 But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
KnT 1268 Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
KnT 1269 That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
KnT 1270 That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
KnT 1271 Thanne hadde I been in joye and parfit heele,
KnT 1272 Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
KnT 1273 Syn that I may nat seen you, Emelye,
KnT 1274 I nam but deed; ther nys no remedye. "
KnT 1275 Upon that oother syde Palamon,
KnT 1276 Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
KnT 1277 Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
KnT 1278 Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
KnT 1279 The pure fettres on his shynes grete
KnT 1280 Weren of his bittre, salte teeres wete.
KnT 1281 " Allas, " quod he, " Arcita, cosyn myn,
KnT 1282 Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
KnT 1283 Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
KnT 1284 And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
KnT 1285 Thou mayst, syn thou hast wisdom and manhede,
KnT 1286 Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
KnT 1287 And make a werre so sharp on this citee
KnT 1288 That by som aventure or some tretee
KnT 1289 Thow mayst have hire to lady and to wyf
KnT 1290 For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
KnT 1291 For, as by wey of possibilitee,
KnT 1292 Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
KnT 1293 And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
KnT 1294 Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
KnT 1295 For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
KnT 1296 With al the wo that prison may me yive,
KnT 1297 And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
KnT 1298 That doubleth al my torment and my wo. "
KnT 1299 Therwith the fyr of jalousie up sterte
KnT 1300 Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
KnT 1301 So woodly that he lyk was to biholde
KnT 1302 The boxtree or the asshen dede and colde.
KnT 1303 Thanne seyde he, " O crueel goddes that governe
KnT 1304 This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
KnT 1305 And writen in the table of atthamaunt
KnT 1306 Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
KnT 1307 What is mankynde moore unto you holde
KnT 1308 Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
KnT 1309 For slayn is man right as another beest,
KnT 1310 And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
KnT 1311 And hath siknesse and greet adversitee,
KnT 1312 And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
KnT 1313 " What governance is in this prescience,
KnT 1314 That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
KnT 1315 And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
KnT 1316 That man is bounden to his observaunce,
KnT 1317 For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
KnT 1318 Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
KnT 1319 And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;
KnT 1320 But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
KnT 1321 Though in this world he have care and wo.
KnT 1322 Withouten doute it may stonden so.
KnT 1323 The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
KnT 1324 But wel I woot that in this world greet pyne ys.
KnT 1325 Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
KnT 1326 That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
KnT 1327 Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne.
KnT 1328 But I moot been in prisoun thurgh Saturne,
KnT 1329 And eek thurgh Juno, jalous and eek wood,
KnT 1330 That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
KnT 1331 Of Thebes with his waste walles wyde;
KnT 1332 And Venus sleeth me on that oother syde
KnT 1333 For jalousie and fere of hym Arcite. "
KnT 1334 Now wol I stynte of Palamon a lite,
KnT 1335 And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
KnT 1336 And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.
KnT 1337 The somer passeth, and the nyghtes longe
KnT 1338 Encressen double wise the peynes stronge
KnT 1339 Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
KnT 1340 I noot which hath the wofuller mester.
KnT 1341 For, shortly for to seyn, this Palamoun
KnT 1342 Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
KnT 1343 In cheynes and in fettres to been deed;
KnT 1344 And Arcite is exiled upon his heed
KnT 1345 For everemo, as out of that contree,
KnT 1346 Ne nevere mo ne shal his lady see.
KnT 1347 Yow loveres axe I now this questioun:
KnT 1348 Who hath the worse, Arcite or Palamoun?
KnT 1349 That oon may seen his lady day by day,
KnT 1350 But in prison he moot dwelle alway;
KnT 1351 That oother wher hym list may ride or go,
KnT 1352 But seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1353 Now demeth as yow liste, ye that kan,
KnT 1354 For I wol telle forth as I bigan.
KnT 1355 Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen was,
KnT 1356 Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde " Allas! "
KnT 1357 For seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1358 And shortly to concluden al his wo,
KnT 1359 So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature
KnT 1360 That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.
KnT 1361 His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,
KnT 1362 That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;
KnT 1363 His eyen holwe and grisly to biholde,
KnT 1364 His hewe falow and pale as asshen colde,
KnT 1365 And solitarie he was and evere allone,
KnT 1366 And waillynge al the nyght, makynge his mone;
KnT 1367 And if he herde song or instrument,
KnT 1368 Thanne wolde he wepe, he myghte nat be stent.
KnT 1369 So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe,
KnT 1370 And chaunged so, that no man koude knowe
KnT 1371 His speche nor his voys, though men it herde.
KnT 1372 And in his geere for al the world he ferde
KnT 1373 Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
KnT 1374 Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye,
KnT 1375 Engendred of humour malencolik
KnT 1376 Biforen, in his celle fantastik.
KnT 1377 And shortly, turned was al up so doun
KnT 1378 Bothe habit and eek disposicioun
KnT 1379 Of hym, this woful lovere daun Arcite.
KnT 1380 What sholde I al day of his wo endite?
KnT 1381 Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
KnT 1382 This crueel torment and this peyne and wo,
KnT 1383 At Thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
KnT 1384 Upon a nyght in sleep as he hym leyde,
KnT 1385 Hym thoughte how that the wynged god Mercurie
KnT 1386 Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.
KnT 1387 His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
KnT 1388 An hat he werede upon his heris brighte.
KnT 1389 Arrayed was this god, as he took keep,
KnT 1390 As he was whan that Argus took his sleep;
KnT 1391 And seyde hym thus: " To Atthenes shaltou wende,
KnT 1392 Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende. "
KnT 1393 And with that word Arcite wook and sterte.
KnT 1394 " Now trewely, hou soore that me smerte, "
KnT 1395 Quod he, " to Atthenes right now wol I fare,
KnT 1396 Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
KnT 1397 To se my lady, that I love and serve.
KnT 1398 In hire presence I recche nat to sterve. "
KnT 1399 And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
KnT 1400 And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,
KnT 1401 And saugh his visage al in another kynde.
KnT 1402 And right anon it ran hym in his mynde,
KnT 1403 That, sith his face was so disfigured
KnT 1404 Of maladye the which he hadde endured,
KnT 1405 He myghte wel, if that he bar hym lowe,
KnT 1406 Lyve in Atthenes everemoore unknowe,
KnT 1407 And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
KnT 1408 And right anon he chaunged his array,
KnT 1409 And cladde hym as a povre laborer,
KnT 1410 And al allone, save oonly a squier
KnT 1411 That knew his privetee and al his cas,
KnT 1412 Which was disgised povrely as he was,
KnT 1413 To Atthenes is he goon the nexte way.
KnT 1414 And to the court he wente upon a day,
KnT 1415 And at the gate he profreth his servyse
KnT 1416 To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
KnT 1417 And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
KnT 1418 He fil in office with a chamberleyn
KnT 1419 The which that dwellynge was with Emelye,
KnT 1420 For he was wys and koude soone espye,
KnT 1421 Of every servaunt, which that serveth here.
KnT 1422 Wel koude he hewen wode, and water bere,
KnT 1423 For he was yong and myghty for the nones,
KnT 1424 And therto he was long and big of bones
KnT 1425 To doon that any wight kan hym devyse.
KnT 1426 A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
KnT 1427 Page of the chambre of Emelye the brighte,
KnT 1428 And Philostrate he seyde that he highte.
KnT 1429 But half so wel biloved a man as he
KnT 1430 Ne was ther nevere in court of his degree;
KnT 1431 He was so gentil of condicioun
KnT 1432 That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
KnT 1433 They seyden that it were a charitee
KnT 1434 That Theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
KnT 1435 And putten hym in worshipful servyse,
KnT 1436 Ther as he myghte his vertu excercise.
KnT 1437 And thus withinne a while his name is spronge,
KnT 1438 Bothe of his dedes and his goode tonge,
KnT 1439 That Theseus hath taken hym so neer
KnT 1440 That of his chambre he made hym a squier,
KnT 1441 And gaf hym gold to mayntene his degree.
KnT 1442 And eek men broghte hym out of his contree,
KnT 1443 From yeer to yeer, ful pryvely his rente;
KnT 1444 But honestly and slyly he it spente,
KnT 1445 That no man wondred how that he it hadde.
KnT 1446 And thre yeer in this wise his lif he ladde,
KnT 1447 And bar hym so, in pees and eek in werre,
KnT 1448 Ther was no man that Theseus hath derre.
KnT 1449 And in this blisse lete I now Arcite,
KnT 1450 And speke I wole of Palamon a lite.
KnT 1451 In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
KnT 1452 Thise seven yeer hath seten Palamoun
KnT 1453 Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
KnT 1454 Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
KnT 1455 But Palamon, that love destreyneth so
KnT 1456 That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
KnT 1457 And eek therto he is a prisoner
KnT 1458 Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
KnT 1459 Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely
KnT 1460 His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I;
KnT 1461 Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
KnT 1462 It fel that in the seventhe yer, of May
KnT 1463 The thridde nyght (as olde bookes seyn,
KnT 1464 That al this storie tellen moore pleyn),
KnT 1465 Were it by aventure or destynee --
KnT 1466 As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be --
KnT 1467 That soone after the mydnyght Palamoun,
KnT 1468 By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
KnT 1469 And fleeth the citee faste as he may go.
KnT 1470 For he hadde yeve his gayler drynke so
KnT 1471 Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
KnT 1472 With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
KnT 1473 That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
KnT 1474 The gayler sleep; he myghte nat awake.
KnT 1475 And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may.
KnT 1476 The nyght was short and faste by the day
KnT 1477 That nedes cost he moot hymselven hyde,
KnT 1478 And til a grove faste ther bisyde
KnT 1479 With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamon.
KnT 1480 For, shortly, this was his opinion:
KnT 1481 That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
KnT 1482 And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
KnT 1483 To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
KnT 1484 On Theseus to helpe him to werreye;
KnT 1485 And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif
KnT 1486 Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf.
KnT 1487 This is th' effect and his entente pleyn.
KnT 1488 Now wol I turne to Arcite ageyn,
KnT 1489 That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
KnT 1490 Til that Fortune had broght him in the snare.
KnT 1491 The bisy larke, messager of day,
KnT 1492 Salueth in hir song the morwe gray,
KnT 1493 And firy Phebus riseth up so bright
KnT 1494 That al the orient laugheth of the light,
KnT 1495 And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
KnT 1496 The silver dropes hangynge on the leves.
KnT 1497 And Arcita, that in the court roial
KnT 1498 With Theseus is squier principal,
KnT 1499 Is risen and looketh on the myrie day.
KnT 1500 And for to doon his observaunce to May,
KnT 1501 Remembrynge on the poynt of his desir,
KnT 1502 He on a courser, startlynge as the fir,
KnT 1503 Is riden into the feeldes hym to pleye,
KnT 1504 Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
KnT 1505 And to the grove of which that I yow tolde
KnT 1506 By aventure his wey he gan to holde
KnT 1507 To maken hym a gerland of the greves,
KnT 1508 Were it of wodebynde or hawethorn leves,
KnT 1509 And loude he song ayeyn the sonne shene:
KnT 1510 " May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
KnT 1511 Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May,
KnT 1512 In hope that I som grene gete may. "
KnT 1513 And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
KnT 1514 Into the grove ful hastily he sterte,
KnT 1515 And in a path he rometh up and doun,
KnT 1516 Ther as by aventure this Palamoun
KnT 1517 Was in a bussh, that no man myghte hym se,
KnT 1518 For soore afered of his deeth was he.
KnT 1519 No thyng ne knew he that it was Arcite;
KnT 1520 God woot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
KnT 1521 But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,
KnT 1522 That " feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres. "
KnT 1523 It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
KnT 1524 For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.
KnT 1525 Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,
KnT 1526 That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
KnT 1527 For in the bussh he sitteth now ful stille.
KnT 1528 Whan that Arcite hadde romed al his fille,
KnT 1529 And songen al the roundel lustily,
KnT 1530 Into a studie he fil sodeynly,
KnT 1531 As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
KnT 1532 Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,
KnT 1533 Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
KnT 1534 Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,
KnT 1535 Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
KnT 1536 Right so kan geery Venus overcaste
KnT 1537 The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
KnT 1538 Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.
KnT 1539 Selde is the Friday al the wowke ylike.
KnT 1540 Whan that Arcite had songe, he gan to sike
KnT 1541 And sette hym doun withouten any moore.
KnT 1542 " Allas, " quod he, " that day that I was bore!
KnT 1543 How longe, Juno, thurgh thy crueltee,
KnT 1544 Woltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
KnT 1545 Allas, ybroght is to confusioun
KnT 1546 The blood roial of Cadme and Amphioun --
KnT 1547 Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man
KnT 1548 That Thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,
KnT 1549 And of the citee first was crouned kyng.
KnT 1550 Of his lynage am I and his ofspryng
KnT 1551 By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
KnT 1552 And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
KnT 1553 That he that is my mortal enemy,
KnT 1554 I serve hym as his squier povrely.
KnT 1555 And yet dooth Juno me wel moore shame,
KnT 1556 For I dar noght biknowe myn owene name;
KnT 1557 But ther as I was wont to highte Arcite,
KnT 1558 Now highte I Philostrate, noght worth a myte.
KnT 1559 Allas, thou felle Mars! Allas, Juno!
KnT 1560 Thus hath youre ire oure lynage al fordo,
KnT 1561 Save oonly me and wrecched Palamoun,
KnT 1562 That Theseus martireth in prisoun.
KnT 1563 And over al this, to sleen me outrely
KnT 1564 Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly
KnT 1565 Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte
KnT 1566 That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
KnT 1567 Ye sleen me with youre eyen, Emelye!
KnT 1568 Ye been the cause wherfore that I dye.
KnT 1569 Of al the remenant of myn oother care
KnT 1570 Ne sette I nat the montance of a tare,
KnT 1571 So that I koude doon aught to youre plesaunce. "
KnT 1572 And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
KnT 1573 A longe tyme, and after he up sterte.
KnT 1574 This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
KnT 1575 He felte a coold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
KnT 1576 For ire he quook; no lenger wolde he byde.
KnT 1577 And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
KnT 1578 As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
KnT 1579 He stirte hym up out of the buskes thikke
KnT 1580 And seide: " Arcite, false traytour wikke,
KnT 1581 Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
KnT 1582 For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
KnT 1583 And art my blood, and to my conseil sworn,
KnT 1584 As I ful ofte have told thee heerbiforn,
KnT 1585 And hast byjaped heere duc Theseus,
KnT 1586 And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus!
KnT 1587 I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
KnT 1588 Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,
KnT 1589 But I wol love hire oonly and namo;
KnT 1590 For I am Palamon, thy mortal foo.
KnT 1591 And though that I no wepene have in this place,
KnT 1592 But out of prison am astert by grace,
KnT 1593 I drede noght that outher thow shalt dye,
KnT 1594 Or thow ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
KnT 1595 Chees which thou wolt, or thou shalt nat asterte! "
KnT 1596 This Arcite, with ful despitous herte,
KnT 1597 Whan he hym knew, and hadde his tale herd,
KnT 1598 As fiers as leon pulled out his swerd,
KnT 1599 And seyde thus: " By God that sit above,
KnT 1600 Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,
KnT 1601 And eek that thow no wepne hast in this place,
KnT 1602 Thou sholdest nevere out of this grove pace,
KnT 1603 That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
KnT 1604 For I defye the seurete and the bond
KnT 1605 Which that thou seist that I have maad to thee.
KnT 1606 What! Verray fool, thynk wel that love is free,
KnT 1607 And I wol love hire maugree al thy myght!
KnT 1608 But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght
KnT 1609 And wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille,
KnT 1610 Have heer my trouthe; tomorwe I wol nat faille,
KnT 1611 Withoute wityng of any oother wight,
KnT 1612 That heere I wol be founden as a knyght,
KnT 1613 And bryngen harneys right ynough for thee;
KnT 1614 And ches the beste, and leef the worste for me.
KnT 1615 And mete and drynke this nyght wol I brynge
KnT 1616 Ynough for thee, and clothes for thy beddynge.
KnT 1617 And if so be that thou my lady wynne,
KnT 1618 And sle me in this wode ther I am inne,
KnT 1619 Thow mayst wel have thy lady as for me. "
KnT 1620 This Palamon answerde, " I graunte it thee. "
KnT 1621 And thus they been departed til amorwe,
KnT 1622 Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
KnT 1623 O Cupide, out of alle charitee!
KnT 1624 O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
KnT 1625 Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe
KnT 1626 Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.
KnT 1627 Wel fynden that Arcite and Palamoun.
KnT 1628 Arcite is riden anon unto the toun,
KnT 1629 And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
KnT 1630 Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,
KnT 1631 Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
KnT 1632 The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne;
KnT 1633 And on his hors, allone as he was born,
KnT 1634 He carieth al the harneys hym biforn.
KnT 1635 And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
KnT 1636 This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
KnT 1637 To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;
KnT 1638 Right as the hunters in the regne of Trace,
KnT 1639 That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
KnT 1640 Whan hunted is the leon or the bere,
KnT 1641 And hereth hym come russhyng in the greves,
KnT 1642 And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
KnT 1643 And thynketh, " Heere cometh my mortal enemy!
KnT 1644 Withoute faille, he moot be deed, or I,
KnT 1645 For outher I moot sleen hym at the gappe,
KnT 1646 Or he moot sleen me, if that me myshappe. "
KnT 1647 So ferden they in chaungyng of hir hewe,
KnT 1648 As fer as everich of hem oother knewe.
KnT 1649 Ther nas no good day, ne no saluyng,
KnT 1650 But streight, withouten word or rehersyng,
KnT 1651 Everich of hem heelp for to armen oother
KnT 1652 As freendly as he were his owene brother;
KnT 1653 And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
KnT 1654 They foynen ech at oother wonder longe.
KnT 1655 Thou myghtest wene that this Palamon
KnT 1656 In his fightyng were a wood leon,
KnT 1657 And as a crueel tigre was Arcite;
KnT 1658 As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,
KnT 1659 That frothen whit as foom for ire wood.
KnT 1660 Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.
KnT 1661 And in this wise I lete hem fightyng dwelle,
KnT 1662 And forth I wole of Theseus yow telle.
KnT 1663 The destinee, ministre general,
KnT 1664 That executeth in the world over al
KnT 1665 The purveiaunce that God hath seyn biforn,
KnT 1666 So strong it is that, though the world had sworn
KnT 1667 The contrarie of a thyng by ye or nay,
KnT 1668 Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day
KnT 1669 That falleth nat eft withinne a thousand yeer.
KnT 1670 For certeinly, oure appetites heer,
KnT 1671 Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
KnT 1672 Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
KnT 1673 This mene I now by myghty Theseus,
KnT 1674 That for to hunten is so desirus,
KnT 1675 And namely at the grete hert in May,
KnT 1676 That in his bed ther daweth hym no day
KnT 1677 That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde
KnT 1678 With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde.
KnT 1679 For in his huntyng hath he swich delit
KnT 1680 That it is al his joye and appetit
KnT 1681 To been hymself the grete hertes bane,
KnT 1682 For after Mars he serveth now Dyane.
KnT 1683 Cleer was the day, as I have toold er this,
KnT 1684 And Theseus with alle joye and blis,
KnT 1685 With his Ypolita, the faire queene,
KnT 1686 And Emelye, clothed al in grene,
KnT 1687 On huntyng be they riden roially.
KnT 1688 And to the grove that stood ful faste by,
KnT 1689 In which ther was an hert, as men hym tolde,
KnT 1690 Duc Theseus the streighte wey hath holde.
KnT 1691 And to the launde he rideth hym ful right,
KnT 1692 For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
KnT 1693 And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
KnT 1694 This duc wol han a cours at hym or tweye
KnT 1695 With houndes swiche as that hym list comaunde.
KnT 1696 And whan this duc was come unto the launde,
KnT 1697 Under the sonne he looketh, and anon
KnT 1698 He was war of Arcite and Palamon,
KnT 1699 That foughten breme as it were bores two.
KnT 1700 The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro
KnT 1701 So hidously that with the leeste strook
KnT 1702 It semed as it wolde felle an ook.
KnT 1703 But what they were, no thyng he ne woot.
KnT 1704 This duc his courser with his spores smoot,
KnT 1705 And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,
KnT 1706 And pulled out a swerd and cride, " Hoo!
KnT 1707 Namoore, up peyne of lesynge of youre heed!
KnT 1708 By myghty Mars, he shal anon be deed
KnT 1709 That smyteth any strook that I may seen.
KnT 1710 But telleth me what myster men ye been,
KnT 1711 That been so hardy for to fighten heere
KnT 1712 Withouten juge or oother officere,
KnT 1713 As it were in a lystes roially. "
KnT 1714 This Palamon answerde hastily
KnT 1715 And seyde, " Sire, what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1716 We have the deeth disserved bothe two.
KnT 1717 Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
KnT 1718 That been encombred of oure owene lyves;
KnT 1719 And as thou art a rightful lord and juge,
KnT 1720 Ne yif us neither mercy ne refuge,
KnT 1721 But sle me first, for seinte charitee!
KnT 1722 But sle my felawe eek as wel as me;
KnT 1723 Or sle hym first, for though thow knowest it lite,
KnT 1724 This is thy mortal foo, this is Arcite,
KnT 1725 That fro thy lond is banysshed on his heed,
KnT 1726 For which he hath deserved to be deed.
KnT 1727 For this is he that cam unto thy gate
KnT 1728 And seyde that he highte Philostrate.
KnT 1729 Thus hath he japed thee ful many a yer,
KnT 1730 And thou hast maked hym thy chief squier;
KnT 1731 And this is he that loveth Emelye.
KnT 1732 For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
KnT 1733 I make pleynly my confessioun
KnT 1734 That I am thilke woful Palamoun
KnT 1735 That hath thy prisoun broken wikkedly.
KnT 1736 I am thy mortal foo, and it am I
KnT 1737 That loveth so hoote Emelye the brighte
KnT 1738 That I wol dye present in hir sighte.
KnT 1739 Wherfore I axe deeth and my juwise;
KnT 1740 But sle my felawe in the same wise,
KnT 1741 For bothe han we deserved to be slayn. "
KnT 1742 This worthy duc answerde anon agayn,
KnT 1743 And seyde, " This is a short conclusioun.
KnT 1744 Youre owene mouth, by youre confessioun,
KnT 1745 Hath dampned yow, and I wol it recorde;
KnT 1746 It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
KnT 1747 Ye shal be deed, by myghty Mars the rede! "
KnT 1748 The queene anon, for verray wommanhede,
KnT 1749 Gan for to wepe, and so dide Emelye,
KnT 1750 And alle the ladyes in the compaignye.
KnT 1751 Greet pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
KnT 1752 That evere swich a chaunce sholde falle,
KnT 1753 For gentil men they were of greet estaat,
KnT 1754 And no thyng but for love was this debaat;
KnT 1755 And saugh hir blody woundes wyde and soore,
KnT 1756 And alle crieden, bothe lasse and moore,
KnT 1757 " Have mercy, Lord, upon us wommen alle! "
KnT 1758 And on hir bare knees adoun they falle
KnT 1759 And wolde have kist his feet ther as he stood;
KnT 1760 Til at the laste aslaked was his mood,
KnT 1761 For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
KnT 1762 And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
KnT 1763 He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
KnT 1764 The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
KnT 1765 And although that his ire hir gilt accused,
KnT 1766 Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
KnT 1767 As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
KnT 1768 Wol helpe hymself in love, if that he kan,
KnT 1769 And eek delivere hymself out of prisoun.
KnT 1770 And eek his herte hadde compassioun
KnT 1771 Of wommen, for they wepen evere in oon,
KnT 1772 And in his gentil herte he thoughte anon,
KnT 1773 And softe unto hymself he seyde, " Fy
KnT 1774 Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,
KnT 1775 But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,
KnT 1776 To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,
KnT 1777 As wel as to a proud despitous man
KnT 1778 That wol mayntene that he first bigan.
KnT 1779 That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
KnT 1780 That in swich cas kan no divisioun
KnT 1781 But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon. "
KnT 1782 And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
KnT 1783 He gan to looken up with eyen lighte
KnT 1784 And spak thise same wordes al on highte:
KnT 1785 " The god of love, a benedicite!
KnT 1786 How myghty and how greet a lord is he!
KnT 1787 Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles.
KnT 1788 He may be cleped a god for his myracles,
KnT 1789 For he kan maken, at his owene gyse,
KnT 1790 Of everich herte as that hym list divyse.
KnT 1791 Lo heere this Arcite and this Palamoun,
KnT 1792 That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
KnT 1793 And myghte han lyved in Thebes roially,
KnT 1794 And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
KnT 1795 And that hir deth lith in my myght also,
KnT 1796 And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
KnT 1797 Broght hem hyder bothe for to dye.
KnT 1798 Now looketh, is nat that an heigh folye?
KnT 1799 Who may been a fool but if he love?
KnT 1800 Bihoold, for Goddes sake that sit above,
KnT 1801 Se how they blede! Be they noght wel arrayed?
KnT 1802 Thus hath hir lord, the god of love, ypayed
KnT 1803 Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
KnT 1804 And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
KnT 1805 That serven love, for aught that may bifalle.
KnT 1806 But this is yet the beste game of alle,
KnT 1807 That she for whom they han this jolitee
KnT 1808 Kan hem therfore as muche thank as me.
KnT 1809 She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,
KnT 1810 By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!
KnT 1811 But all moot ben assayed, hoot and coold;
KnT 1812 A man moot ben a fool, or yong or oold --
KnT 1813 I woot it by myself ful yore agon,
KnT 1814 For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
KnT 1815 And therfore, syn I knowe of loves peyne
KnT 1816 And woot hou soore it kan a man distreyne,
KnT 1817 As he that hath ben caught ofte in his laas,
KnT 1818 I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespaas,
KnT 1819 At requeste of the queene, that kneleth heere,
KnT 1820 And eek of Emelye, my suster deere.
KnT 1821 And ye shul bothe anon unto me swere
KnT 1822 That nevere mo ye shal my contree dere,
KnT 1823 Ne make werre upon me nyght ne day,
KnT 1824 But been my freendes in all that ye may.
KnT 1825 I yow foryeve this trespas every deel. "
KnT 1826 And they hym sworen his axyng faire and weel,
KnT 1827 And hym of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
KnT 1828 And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:
KnT 1829 " To speke of roial lynage and richesse,
KnT 1830 Though that she were a queene or a princesse,
KnT 1831 Ech of you bothe is worthy, doutelees,
KnT 1832 To wedden whan tyme is; but nathelees --
KnT 1833 I speke as for my suster Emelye,
KnT 1834 For whom ye have this strif and jalousye --
KnT 1835 Ye woot yourself she may nat wedden two
KnT 1836 Atones, though ye fighten everemo,
KnT 1837 That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,
KnT 1838 He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;
KnT 1839 This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
KnT 1840 Al be ye never so jalouse ne so wrothe.
KnT 1841 And forthy I yow putte in this degree,
KnT 1842 That ech of yow shal have his destynee
KnT 1843 As hym is shape, and herkneth in what wyse;
KnT 1844 Lo, heere youre ende of that I shal devyse.
KnT 1845 My wyl is this, for plat conclusioun,
KnT 1846 Withouten any repplicacioun --
KnT 1847 If that you liketh, take it for the beste:
KnT 1848 That everich of you shal goon where hym leste
KnT 1849 Frely, withouten raunson or daunger,
KnT 1850 And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,
KnT 1851 Everich of you shal brynge an hundred knyghtes
KnT 1852 Armed for lystes up at alle rightes,
KnT 1853 Al redy to darreyne hire by bataille.
KnT 1854 And this bihote I yow withouten faille,
KnT 1855 Upon my trouthe, and as I am a knyght,
KnT 1856 That wheither of yow bothe that hath myght --
KnT 1857 This is to seyn, that wheither he or thow
KnT 1858 May with his hundred, as I spak of now,
KnT 1859 Sleen his contrarie, or out of lystes dryve,
KnT 1860 Thanne shal I yeve Emelya to wyve
KnT 1861 To whom that Fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
KnT 1862 The lystes shal I maken in this place,
KnT 1863 And God so wisly on my soule rewe
KnT 1864 As I shal evene juge been and trewe.
KnT 1865 Ye shul noon oother ende with me maken,
KnT 1866 That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
KnT 1867 And if yow thynketh this is weel ysayd,
KnT 1868 Seyeth youre avys, and holdeth you apayd.
KnT 1869 This is youre ende and youre conclusioun. "
KnT 1870 Who looketh lightly now but Palamoun?
KnT 1871 Who spryngeth up for joye but Arcite?
KnT 1872 Who kouthe telle, or who kouthe it endite,
KnT 1873 The joye that is maked in the place
KnT 1874 Whan Theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
KnT 1875 But doun on knees wente every maner wight,
KnT 1876 And thonked hym with al hir herte and myght,
KnT 1877 And namely the Thebans often sithe.
KnT 1878 And thus with good hope and with herte blithe
KnT 1879 They taken hir leve, and homward gonne they ride
KnT 1880 To Thebes with his olde walles wyde.
KnT 1881 I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
KnT 1882 If I foryete to tellen the dispence
KnT 1883 Of Theseus, that gooth so bisily
KnT 1884 To maken up the lystes roially,
KnT 1885 That swich a noble theatre as it was
KnT 1886 I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
KnT 1887 The circuit a myle was aboute,
KnT 1888 Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
KnT 1889 Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
KnT 1890 Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
KnT 1891 That whan a man was set on o degree,
KnT 1892 He letted nat his felawe for to see.
KnT 1893 Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
KnT 1894 Westward right swich another in the opposit.
KnT 1895 And shortly to concluden, swich a place
KnT 1896 Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
KnT 1897 For in the lond ther was no crafty man
KnT 1898 That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
KnT 1899 Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
KnT 1900 That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages
KnT 1901 The theatre for to maken and devyse.
KnT 1902 And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
KnT 1903 He estward hath, upon the gate above,
KnT 1904 In worshipe of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 1905 Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
KnT 1906 And on the gate westward, in memorie
KnT 1907 Of Mars, he maked hath right swich another,
KnT 1908 That coste largely of gold a fother.
KnT 1909 And northward, in a touret on the wal,
KnT 1910 Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
KnT 1911 An oratorie, riche for to see,
KnT 1912 In worshipe of Dyane of chastitee,
KnT 1913 Hath Theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
KnT 1914 But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
KnT 1915 The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
KnT 1916 The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures
KnT 1917 That weren in thise oratories thre.
KnT 1918 First in the temple of Venus maystow se
KnT 1919 Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
KnT 1920 The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
KnT 1921 The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
KnT 1922 The firy strokes of the desirynge
KnT 1923 That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
KnT 1924 The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
KnT 1925 Plesaunce and Hope, Desir, Foolhardynesse,
KnT 1926 Beautee and Youthe, Bauderie, Richesse,
KnT 1927 Charmes and Force, Lesynges, Flaterye,
KnT 1928 Despense, Bisynesse, and Jalousye,
KnT 1929 That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
KnT 1930 And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
KnT 1931 Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
KnT 1932 Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
KnT 1933 Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
KnT 1934 By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
KnT 1935 And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
KnT 1936 For soothly al the mount of Citheroun,
KnT 1937 Ther Venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
KnT 1938 Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
KnT 1939 With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
KnT 1940 Nat was foryeten the porter, Ydelnesse,
KnT 1941 Ne Narcisus the faire of yore agon,
KnT 1942 Ne yet the folye of kyng Salomon,
KnT 1943 Ne yet the grete strengthe of Ercules --
KnT 1944 Th' enchauntementz of Medea and Circes --
KnT 1945 Ne of Turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
KnT 1946 The riche Cresus, kaytyf in servage.
KnT 1947 Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
KnT 1948 Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
KnT 1949 Ne may with Venus holde champartie,
KnT 1950 For as hir list the world than may she gye.
KnT 1951 Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
KnT 1952 Til they for wo ful ofte seyde " allas! "
KnT 1953 Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
KnT 1954 And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
KnT 1955 The statue of Venus, glorious for to se,
KnT 1956 Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
KnT 1957 And fro the navele doun al covered was
KnT 1958 With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
KnT 1959 A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
KnT 1960 And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
KnT 1961 A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
KnT 1962 Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
KnT 1963 Biforn hire stood hir sone Cupido;
KnT 1964 Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
KnT 1965 And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
KnT 1966 A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
KnT 1967 Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
KnT 1968 The portreiture that was upon the wal
KnT 1969 Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
KnT 1970 Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
KnT 1971 Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
KnT 1972 That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
KnT 1973 In thilke colde, frosty regioun
KnT 1974 Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
KnT 1975 First on the wal was peynted a forest,
KnT 1976 In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
KnT 1977 With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
KnT 1978 Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
KnT 1979 In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
KnT 1980 As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
KnT 1981 And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
KnT 1982 Ther stood the temple of Mars armypotente,
KnT 1983 Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
KnT 1984 Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
KnT 1985 And therout came a rage and swich a veze
KnT 1986 That it made al the gate for to rese.
KnT 1987 The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
KnT 1988 For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
KnT 1989 Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
KnT 1990 The dore was al of adamant eterne,
KnT 1991 Yclenched overthwart and endelong
KnT 1992 With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
KnT 1993 Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
KnT 1994 Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
KnT 1995 Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
KnT 1996 Of Felonye, and al the compassyng;
KnT 1997 The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede;
KnT 1998 The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede;
KnT 1999 The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
KnT 2000 The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
KnT 2001 The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
KnT 2002 The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
KnT 2003 Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
KnT 2004 Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
KnT 2005 The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther --
KnT 2006 His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer --
KnT 2007 The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght;
KnT 2008 The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
KnT 2009 Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
KnT 2010 With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
KnT 2011 Yet saugh I Woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
KnT 2012 Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
KnT 2013 The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
KnT 2014 A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
KnT 2015 The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
KnT 2016 The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
KnT 2017 Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
KnT 2018 The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
KnT 2019 The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
KnT 2020 The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
KnT 2021 Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte.
KnT 2022 The cartere overryden with his carte --
KnT 2023 Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
KnT 2024 Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
KnT 2025 The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
KnT 2026 That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
KnT 2027 And al above, depeynted in a tour,
KnT 2028 Saugh I Conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
KnT 2029 With the sharpe swerd over his heed
KnT 2030 Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
KnT 2031 Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
KnT 2032 Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
KnT 2033 Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
KnT 2034 Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
KnT 2035 By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
KnT 2036 So was it shewed in that portreiture,
KnT 2037 As is depeynted in the sterres above
KnT 2038 Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
KnT 2039 Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
KnT 2040 I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
KnT 2041 The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
KnT 2042 Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
KnT 2043 And over his heed ther shynen two figures
KnT 2044 Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
KnT 2045 That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus --
KnT 2046 This god of armes was arrayed thus.
KnT 2047 A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
KnT 2048 With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
KnT 2049 With soutil pencel was depeynted this storie
KnT 2050 In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
KnT 2051 Now to the temple of Dyane the chaste,
KnT 2052 As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
KnT 2053 To telle yow al the descripsioun.
KnT 2054 Depeynted been the walles up and doun
KnT 2055 Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
KnT 2056 Ther saugh I how woful Calistopee,
KnT 2057 Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
KnT 2058 Was turned from a womman til a bere,
KnT 2059 And after was she maad the loode-sterre.
KnT 2060 Thus was it peynted; I kan sey yow no ferre.
KnT 2061 Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
KnT 2062 Ther saugh I Dane, yturned til a tree --
KnT 2063 I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
KnT 2064 But Penneus doghter, which that highte Dane.
KnT 2065 Ther saugh I Attheon an hert ymaked,
KnT 2066 For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked;
KnT 2067 I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
KnT 2068 And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
KnT 2069 Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
KnT 2070 How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
KnT 2071 And Meleagre, and many another mo,
KnT 2072 For which Dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
KnT 2073 Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
KnT 2074 The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
KnT 2075 This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
KnT 2076 With smale houndes al aboute hir feet,
KnT 2077 And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone --
KnT 2078 Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
KnT 2079 In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
KnT 2080 With bowe in honde and arwes in a cas.
KnT 2081 Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun
KnT 2082 Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
KnT 2083 A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
KnT 2084 But for hir child so longe was unborn,
KnT 2085 Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle
KnT 2086 And seyde, " Help, for thou mayst best of alle! "
KnT 2087 Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
KnT 2088 With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
KnT 2089 Now been thise lystes maad, and Theseus,
KnT 2090 That at his grete cost arrayed thus
KnT 2091 The temples and the theatre every deel,
KnT 2092 Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
KnT 2093 But stynte I wole of Theseus a lite,
KnT 2094 And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2095 The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
KnT 2096 That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
KnT 2097 The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
KnT 2098 And til Atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
KnT 2099 Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
KnT 2100 Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
KnT 2101 And sikerly ther trowed many a man
KnT 2102 That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
KnT 2103 As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
KnT 2104 As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
KnT 2105 Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
KnT 2106 For every wight that lovede chivalrye
KnT 2107 And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
KnT 2108 Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
KnT 2109 And wel was hym that therto chosen was,
KnT 2110 For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
KnT 2111 Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
KnT 2112 That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
KnT 2113 Were it in Engelond or elleswhere,
KnT 2114 They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there --
KnT 2115 To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
KnT 2116 It were a lusty sighte for to see.
KnT 2117 And right so ferden they with Palamon.
KnT 2118 With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
KnT 2119 Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
KnT 2120 And in a brestplate and a light gypoun;
KnT 2121 And som wol have a paire plates large;
KnT 2122 And som wol have a Pruce sheeld or a targe;
KnT 2123 Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
KnT 2124 And have an ax, and som a mace of steel --
KnT 2125 Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
KnT 2126 Armed were they, as I have yow told,
KnT 2127 Everych after his opinioun.
KnT 2128 Ther maistow seen, comynge with Palamoun,
KnT 2129 Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of Trace.
KnT 2130 Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
KnT 2131 The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
KnT 2132 They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
KnT 2133 And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
KnT 2134 With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
KnT 2135 His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
KnT 2136 His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
KnT 2137 And as the gyse was in his contree,
KnT 2138 Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
KnT 2139 With foure white boles in the trays.
KnT 2140 In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
KnT 2141 With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
KnT 2142 He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
KnT 2143 His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
KnT 2144 As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
KnT 2145 A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
KnT 2146 Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
KnT 2147 Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
KnT 2148 Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
KnT 2149 Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
KnT 2150 To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
KnT 2151 And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
KnT 2152 Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
KnT 2153 An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
KnT 2154 Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
KnT 2155 With Arcita, in stories as men fynde,
KnT 2156 The grete Emetreus, the kyng of Inde,
KnT 2157 Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
KnT 2158 Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
KnT 2159 Cam ridynge lyk the god of armes, Mars.
KnT 2160 His cote-armure was of clooth of Tars
KnT 2161 Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
KnT 2162 His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
KnT 2163 A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
KnT 2164 Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
KnT 2165 His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
KnT 2166 And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
KnT 2167 His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
KnT 2168 His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
KnT 2169 A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
KnT 2170 Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
KnT 2171 And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
KnT 2172 Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
KnT 2173 His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
KnT 2174 His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
KnT 2175 Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
KnT 2176 A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
KnT 2177 Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
KnT 2178 An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
KnT 2179 An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
KnT 2180 Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
KnT 2181 Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
KnT 2182 For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
KnT 2183 Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
KnT 2184 For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
KnT 2185 Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
KnT 2186 Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
KnT 2187 And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
KnT 2188 Been on the Sonday to the citee come
KnT 2189 Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
KnT 2190 This Theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
KnT 2191 Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
KnT 2192 And inned hem, everich at his degree,
KnT 2193 He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
KnT 2194 To esen hem and doon hem al honour
KnT 2195 That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
KnT 2196 Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
KnT 2197 The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
KnT 2198 The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
KnT 2199 The riche array of Theseus paleys,
KnT 2200 Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
KnT 2201 What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
KnT 2202 Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
KnT 2203 Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
KnT 2204 What haukes sitten on the perche above,
KnT 2205 What houndes liggen on the floor adoun --
KnT 2206 Of al this make I now no mencioun,
KnT 2207 But al th' effect; that thynketh me the beste.
KnT 2208 Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
KnT 2209 The Sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
KnT 2210 Whan Palamon the larke herde synge
KnT 2211 (Although it nere nat day by houres two,
KnT 2212 Yet song the larke) and Palamon right tho
KnT 2213 With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
KnT 2214 He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
KnT 2215 Unto the blisful Citherea benigne --
KnT 2216 I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
KnT 2217 And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
KnT 2218 Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
KnT 2219 And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
KnT 2220 And herte soor he seyde as ye shal heere:
KnT 2221 " Faireste of faire, O lady myn, Venus,
KnT 2222 Doughter to Jove and spouse of Vulcanus,
KnT 2223 Thow gladere of the mount of Citheron,
KnT 2224 For thilke love thow haddest to Adoon,
KnT 2225 Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
KnT 2226 And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
KnT 2227 Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
KnT 2228 Th' effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
KnT 2229 Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
KnT 2230 I am so confus that I kan noght seye
KnT 2231 But `Mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
KnT 2232 My thought and seest what harmes that I feele!'
KnT 2233 Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
KnT 2234 As wisly as I shal for everemoore,
KnT 2235 Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
KnT 2236 And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
KnT 2237 That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
KnT 2238 I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
KnT 2239 Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
KnT 2240 Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
KnT 2241 Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
KnT 2242 But I wolde have fully possessioun
KnT 2243 Of Emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
KnT 2244 Fynd thow the manere hou and in what wyse:
KnT 2245 I recche nat but it may bettre be
KnT 2246 To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
KnT 2247 So that I have my lady in myne armes.
KnT 2248 For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
KnT 2249 Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
KnT 2250 That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
KnT 2251 Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
KnT 2252 And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
KnT 2253 I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
KnT 2254 And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
KnT 2255 Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
KnT 2256 That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
KnT 2257 Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
KnT 2258 Though that Arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
KnT 2259 This is th' effect and ende of my preyere:
KnT 2260 Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere. "
KnT 2261 Whan the orison was doon of Palamon,
KnT 2262 His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
KnT 2263 Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
KnT 2264 Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
KnT 2265 But atte laste the statue of Venus shook,
KnT 2266 And made a signe, wherby that he took
KnT 2267 That his preyere accepted was that day.
KnT 2268 For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
KnT 2269 Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone,
KnT 2270 And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
KnT 2271 The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
KnT 2272 Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
KnT 2273 Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye
KnT 2274 And to the temple of Dyane gan hye.
KnT 2275 Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
KnT 2276 Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
KnT 2277 Th' encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
KnT 2278 That to the sacrifice longen shal;
KnT 2279 The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse --
KnT 2280 Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
KnT 2281 Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
KnT 2282 This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
KnT 2283 Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
KnT 2284 But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
KnT 2285 But it be any thing in general;
KnT 2286 And yet it were a game to heeren al.
KnT 2287 To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
KnT 2288 But it is good a man been at his large.
KnT 2289 Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
KnT 2290 A coroune of a grene ook cerial
KnT 2291 Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
KnT 2292 Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
KnT 2293 And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
KnT 2294 In Stace of Thebes and thise bookes olde.
KnT 2295 Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
KnT 2296 Unto Dyane she spak as ye may heere:
KnT 2297 " O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
KnT 2298 To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
KnT 2299 Queene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
KnT 2300 Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
KnT 2301 Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
KnT 2302 As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
KnT 2303 That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
KnT 2304 Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
KnT 2305 Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
KnT 2306 Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
KnT 2307 I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
KnT 2308 A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
KnT 2309 And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
KnT 2310 And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
KnT 2311 Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
KnT 2312 Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
KnT 2313 For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
KnT 2314 And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
KnT 2315 And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore,
KnT 2316 This grace I preye thee withoute moore,
KnT 2317 As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
KnT 2318 And fro me turne awey hir hertes so
KnT 2319 That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
KnT 2320 And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
KnT 2321 Be queynt, or turned in another place.
KnT 2322 And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
KnT 2323 Or if my destynee be shapen so
KnT 2324 That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
KnT 2325 As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
KnT 2326 Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
KnT 2327 The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
KnT 2328 Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
KnT 2329 My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
KnT 2330 And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve. "
KnT 2331 The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
KnT 2332 Whil Emelye was thus in hir preyere.
KnT 2333 But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
KnT 2334 For right anon oon of the fyres queynte
KnT 2335 And quyked agayn, and after that anon
KnT 2336 That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
KnT 2337 And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
KnT 2338 As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
KnT 2339 And at the brondes ende out ran anon
KnT 2340 As it were blody dropes many oon;
KnT 2341 For which so soore agast was Emelye
KnT 2342 That she was wel ny mad and gan to crye,
KnT 2343 For she ne wiste what it signyfied,
KnT 2344 But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
KnT 2345 And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
KnT 2346 And therwithal Dyane gan appeere,
KnT 2347 With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
KnT 2348 And seyde, " Doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
KnT 2349 Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
KnT 2350 And by eterne word writen and confermed,
KnT 2351 Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
KnT 2352 That han for thee so muchel care and wo,
KnT 2353 But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
KnT 2354 Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
KnT 2355 The fires which that on myn auter brenne
KnT 2356 Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
KnT 2357 Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas. "
KnT 2358 And with that word, the arwes in the caas
KnT 2359 Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
KnT 2360 And forth she wente and made a vanysshynge;
KnT 2361 For which this Emelye astoned was,
KnT 2362 And seyde, " What amounteth this, allas?
KnT 2363 I putte me in thy proteccioun,
KnT 2364 Dyane, and in thy disposicioun. "
KnT 2365 And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
KnT 2366 This is th' effect; ther is namoore to seye.
KnT 2367 The nexte houre of Mars folwynge this,
KnT 2368 Arcite unto the temple walked is
KnT 2369 Of fierse Mars to doon his sacrifise,
KnT 2370 With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
KnT 2371 With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
KnT 2372 Right thus to Mars he seyde his orisoun:
KnT 2373 " O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
KnT 2374 Of Trace honoured art and lord yholde,
KnT 2375 And hast in every regne and every lond
KnT 2376 Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
KnT 2377 And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
KnT 2378 Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
KnT 2379 If so be that my youthe may deserve,
KnT 2380 And that my myght be worthy for to serve
KnT 2381 Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
KnT 2382 Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
KnT 2383 For thilke peyne and thilke hoote fir
KnT 2384 In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
KnT 2385 Whan that thow usedest the beautee
KnT 2386 Of faire, yonge, fresshe Venus free,
KnT 2387 And haddest hire in armes at thy wille --
KnT 2388 Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
KnT 2389 Whan Vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las
KnT 2390 And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! --
KnT 2391 For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
KnT 2392 Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
KnT 2393 I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
KnT 2394 And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
KnT 2395 That evere was any lyves creature,
KnT 2396 For she that dooth me al this wo endure
KnT 2397 Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
KnT 2398 And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
KnT 2399 I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
KnT 2400 And wel I woot, withouten help or grace
KnT 2401 Of thee ne may my strengthe noght availle.
KnT 2402 Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
KnT 2403 For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
KnT 2404 As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
KnT 2405 And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
KnT 2406 Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
KnT 2407 Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
KnT 2408 Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
KnT 2409 In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
KnT 2410 And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
KnT 2411 And alle the armes of my compaignye,
KnT 2412 And everemo, unto that day I dye,
KnT 2413 Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
KnT 2414 And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
KnT 2415 My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
KnT 2416 That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
KnT 2417 Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
KnT 2418 And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
KnT 2419 Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
KnT 2420 Yif me [victorie]; I aske thee namoore. "
KnT 2421 The preyere stynt of Arcita the stronge,
KnT 2422 The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
KnT 2423 And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
KnT 2424 Of which Arcita somwhat hym agaste.
KnT 2425 The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte
KnT 2426 That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
KnT 2427 A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
KnT 2428 And Arcita anon his hand up haf,
KnT 2429 And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
KnT 2430 With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
KnT 2431 The statue of Mars bigan his hauberk rynge,
KnT 2432 And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
KnT 2433 Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, " Victorie! "
KnT 2434 For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie.
KnT 2435 And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
KnT 2436 Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
KnT 2437 As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
KnT 2438 And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
KnT 2439 For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
KnT 2440 Bitwixe Venus, the goddesse of love,
KnT 2441 And Mars, the stierne god armypotente,
KnT 2442 That Juppiter was bisy it to stente,
KnT 2443 Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
KnT 2444 That knew so manye of aventures olde,
KnT 2445 Foond in his olde experience an art
KnT 2446 That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
KnT 2447 As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage;
KnT 2448 In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
KnT 2449 Men may the olde atrenne and noght atrede.
KnT 2450 Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
KnT 2451 Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
KnT 2452 Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
KnT 2453 " My deere doghter Venus, " quod Saturne,
KnT 2454 " My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
KnT 2455 Hath moore power than woot any man.
KnT 2456 Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
KnT 2457 Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
KnT 2458 Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
KnT 2459 The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
KnT 2460 The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
KnT 2461 I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
KnT 2462 Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
KnT 2463 Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
KnT 2464 The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
KnT 2465 Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
KnT 2466 I slow Sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
KnT 2467 And myne be the maladyes colde,
KnT 2468 The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
KnT 2469 My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
KnT 2470 Now weep namoore; I shal doon diligence
KnT 2471 That Palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
KnT 2472 Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
KnT 2473 Though Mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
KnT 2474 Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
KnT 2475 Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
KnT 2476 That causeth al day swich divisioun.
KnT 2477 I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
KnT 2478 Weep now namoore; I wol thy lust fulfille. "
KnT 2479 Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
KnT 2480 Of Mars, and of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 2481 And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
KnT 2482 The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
KnT 2483 Greet was the feeste in Atthenes that day,
KnT 2484 And eek the lusty seson of that May
KnT 2485 Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
KnT 2486 That al that Monday justen they and daunce,
KnT 2487 And spenden it in Venus heigh servyse.
KnT 2488 But by the cause that they sholde ryse
KnT 2489 Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
KnT 2490 Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
KnT 2491 And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
KnT 2492 Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
KnT 2493 Ther was in hostelryes al aboute,
KnT 2494 And to the paleys rood ther many a route
KnT 2495 Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
KnT 2496 Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
KnT 2497 So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
KnT 2498 Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
KnT 2499 The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
KnT 2500 Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
KnT 2501 Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
KnT 2502 Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
KnT 2503 Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
KnT 2504 Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge --
KnT 2505 There as nede is they weren no thyng ydel;
KnT 2506 The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
KnT 2507 Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
KnT 2508 With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
KnT 2509 Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
KnT 2510 With shorte staves, thikke as they may goon;
KnT 2511 Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
KnT 2512 That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
KnT 2513 The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
KnT 2514 Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
KnT 2515 Dyvynynge of thise Thebane knyghtes two.
KnT 2516 Somme seyden thus, somme seyde " it shal be so " ;
KnT 2517 Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
KnT 2518 Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
KnT 2519 Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte:
KnT 2520 " He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte. "
KnT 2521 Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
KnT 2522 Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
KnT 2523 The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
KnT 2524 With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
KnT 2525 Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche
KnT 2526 Til that the Thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
KnT 2527 Honured, were into the paleys fet.
KnT 2528 Duc Theseus was at a wyndow set,
KnT 2529 Arrayed right as he were a god in trone.
KnT 2530 The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
KnT 2531 Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
KnT 2532 And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
KnT 2533 An heraud on a scaffold made an " Oo! "
KnT 2534 Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
KnT 2535 And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
KnT 2536 Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille:
KnT 2537 " The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
KnT 2538 Considered that it were destruccioun
KnT 2539 To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
KnT 2540 Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
KnT 2541 Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
KnT 2542 He wol his firste purpos modifye.
KnT 2543 No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
KnT 2544 No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf
KnT 2545 Into the lystes sende or thider brynge;
KnT 2546 Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
KnT 2547 No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
KnT 2548 Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
KnT 2549 But o cours with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
KnT 2550 Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
KnT 2551 And he that is at meschief shal be take
KnT 2552 And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
KnT 2553 That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
KnT 2554 But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
KnT 2555 And if so falle the chieftayn be take
KnT 2556 On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
KnT 2557 No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
KnT 2558 God spede you! Gooth forth and ley on faste!
KnT 2559 With long swerd and with mace fighteth youre fille.
KnT 2560 Gooth now youre wey; this is the lordes wille. "
KnT 2561 The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
KnT 2562 So loude cride they with murie stevene,
KnT 2563 " God save swich a lord, that is so good
KnT 2564 He wilneth no destruccion of blood! "
KnT 2565 Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
KnT 2566 And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
KnT 2567 By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
KnT 2568 Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
KnT 2569 Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
KnT 2570 Thise two Thebans upon either syde,
KnT 2571 And after rood the queene and Emelye,
KnT 2572 And after that another compaignye
KnT 2573 Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
KnT 2574 And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
KnT 2575 And to the lystes come they by tyme.
KnT 2576 It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
KnT 2577 Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
KnT 2578 Ypolita the queene, and Emelye,
KnT 2579 And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
KnT 2580 Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
KnT 2581 And westward, thurgh the gates under Marte,
KnT 2582 Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
KnT 2583 With baner reed is entred right anon;
KnT 2584 And in that selve moment Palamon
KnT 2585 Is under Venus, estward in the place,
KnT 2586 With baner whyt and hardy chiere and face.
KnT 2587 In al the world, to seken up and doun,
KnT 2588 So evene, withouten variacioun,
KnT 2589 Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye,
KnT 2590 For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
KnT 2591 That any hadde of oother avauntage
KnT 2592 Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
KnT 2593 So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
KnT 2594 And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
KnT 2595 Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
KnT 2596 That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
KnT 2597 Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
KnT 2598 " Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude! "
KnT 2599 The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
KnT 2600 Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
KnT 2601 Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
KnT 2602 In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
KnT 2603 In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
KnT 2604 Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
KnT 2605 Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
KnT 2606 He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
KnT 2607 Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
KnT 2608 Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
KnT 2609 The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
KnT 2610 Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
KnT 2611 With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
KnT 2612 He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
KnT 2613 Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al,
KnT 2614 He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
KnT 2615 He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
KnT 2616 And he hym hurtleth with his hors adoun;
KnT 2617 He thurgh the body is hurt and sithen ytake,
KnT 2618 Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake;
KnT 2619 As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
KnT 2620 Another lad is on that oother syde.
KnT 2621 And some tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
KnT 2622 Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
KnT 2623 Ful ofte a day han thise Thebanes two
KnT 2624 Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
KnT 2625 Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
KnT 2626 Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
KnT 2627 Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
KnT 2628 So crueel on the hunte as is Arcite
KnT 2629 For jelous herte upon this Palamon.
KnT 2630 Ne in Belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
KnT 2631 That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
KnT 2632 Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
KnT 2633 As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite.
KnT 2634 The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
KnT 2635 Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
KnT 2636 Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
KnT 2637 For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
KnT 2638 The stronge kyng Emetreus gan hente
KnT 2639 This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
KnT 2640 And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte,
KnT 2641 And by the force of twenty is he take
KnT 2642 Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake.
KnT 2643 And in the rescus of this Palamoun
KnT 2644 The stronge kyng Lygurge is born adoun,
KnT 2645 And kyng Emetreus, for al his strengthe,
KnT 2646 Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
KnT 2647 So hitte him Palamoun er he were take.
KnT 2648 But al for noght; he was broght to the stake.
KnT 2649 His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
KnT 2650 He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
KnT 2651 By force and eek by composicioun.
KnT 2652 Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
KnT 2653 That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
KnT 2654 And whan that Theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
KnT 2655 Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
KnT 2656 He cryde, " Hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
KnT 2657 I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
KnT 2658 Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie,
KnT 2659 That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne. "
KnT 2660 Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
KnT 2661 For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle
KnT 2662 It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
KnT 2663 What kan now faire Venus doon above?
KnT 2664 What seith she now? What dooth this queene of love,
KnT 2665 But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
KnT 2666 Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
KnT 2667 She seyde, " I am ashamed, doutelees. "
KnT 2668 Saturnus seyde, " Doghter, hoold thy pees!
KnT 2669 Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
KnT 2670 And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone. "
KnT 2671 The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
KnT 2672 The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
KnT 2673 Been in hire wele for joye of daun Arcite.
KnT 2674 But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
KnT 2675 Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
KnT 2676 This fierse Arcite hath of his helm ydon,
KnT 2677 And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
KnT 2678 He priketh endelong the large place
KnT 2679 Lokynge upward upon this Emelye;
KnT 2680 And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
KnT 2681 (For wommen, as to speken in comune,
KnT 2682 Thei folwen alle the favour of Fortune)
KnT 2683 And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
KnT 2684 Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
KnT 2685 From Pluto sent at requeste of Saturne,
KnT 2686 For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
KnT 2687 And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
KnT 2688 And er that Arcite may taken keep,
KnT 2689 He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
KnT 2690 That in the place he lay as he were deed,
KnT 2691 His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
KnT 2692 As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
KnT 2693 So was the blood yronnen in his face.
KnT 2694 Anon he was yborn out of the place,
KnT 2695 With herte soor, to Theseus paleys.
KnT 2696 Tho was he korven out of his harneys
KnT 2697 And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve,
KnT 2698 For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
KnT 2699 And alwey criynge after Emelye.
KnT 2700 Duc Theseus, with al his compaignye,
KnT 2701 Is comen hoom to Atthenes his citee,
KnT 2702 With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
KnT 2703 Al be it that this aventure was falle,
KnT 2704 He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
KnT 2705 Men seyde eek that Arcite shal nat dye;
KnT 2706 He shal been heeled of his maladye.
KnT 2707 And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
KnT 2708 That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
KnT 2709 Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
KnT 2710 That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
KnT 2711 To othere woundes and to broken armes
KnT 2712 Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
KnT 2713 Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
KnT 2714 They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
KnT 2715 For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
KnT 2716 Conforteth and honoureth every man,
KnT 2717 And made revel al the longe nyght
KnT 2718 Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
KnT 2719 Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
KnT 2720 But as a justes or a tourneiynge;
KnT 2721 For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
KnT 2722 For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
KnT 2723 Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
KnT 2724 Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
KnT 2725 O persone allone, withouten mo,
KnT 2726 And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
KnT 2727 And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
KnT 2728 With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves --
KnT 2729 It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
KnT 2730 Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
KnT 2731 For which anon duc Theseus leet crye,
KnT 2732 To stynten alle rancour and envye,
KnT 2733 The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
KnT 2734 And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
KnT 2735 And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
KnT 2736 And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
KnT 2737 And conveyed the kynges worthily
KnT 2738 Out of his toun a journee largely.
KnT 2739 And hoom wente every man the righte way.
KnT 2740 Ther was namoore but " Fare wel, have good day! "
KnT 2741 Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
KnT 2742 But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2743 Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore
KnT 2744 Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
KnT 2745 The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
KnT 2746 Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
KnT 2747 That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
KnT 2748 Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
KnT 2749 The vertu expulsif, or animal,
KnT 2750 Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
KnT 2751 Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
KnT 2752 The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
KnT 2753 And every lacerte in his brest adoun
KnT 2754 Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
KnT 2755 Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
KnT 2756 Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
KnT 2757 Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
KnT 2758 Nature hath now no dominacioun.
KnT 2759 And certeinly, ther Nature wol nat wirche,
KnT 2760 Fare wel phisik! Go ber the man to chirche!
KnT 2761 This al and som, that Arcita moot dye;
KnT 2762 For which he sendeth after Emelye,
KnT 2763 And Palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
KnT 2764 Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
KnT 2765 " Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
KnT 2766 Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
KnT 2767 To yow, my lady, that I love moost,
KnT 2768 But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
KnT 2769 To yow aboven every creature,
KnT 2770 Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
KnT 2771 Allas, the wo! Allas, the peynes stronge,
KnT 2772 That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
KnT 2773 Allas, the deeth! Allas, myn Emelye!
KnT 2774 Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
KnT 2775 Allas, myn hertes queene! Allas, my wyf,
KnT 2776 Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
KnT 2777 What is this world? What asketh men to have?
KnT 2778 Now with his love, now in his colde grave
KnT 2779 Allone, withouten any compaignye.
KnT 2780 Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn Emelye!
KnT 2781 And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
KnT 2782 For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
KnT 2783 " I have heer with my cosyn Palamon
KnT 2784 Had strif and rancour many a day agon
KnT 2785 For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
KnT 2786 And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,
KnT 2787 To speken of a servaunt proprely,
KnT 2788 With alle circumstances trewely --
KnT 2789 That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
KnT 2790 Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
KnT 2791 Fredom, and al that longeth to that art --
KnT 2792 So Juppiter have of my soule part,
KnT 2793 As in this world right now ne knowe I non
KnT 2794 So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
KnT 2795 That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
KnT 2796 And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
KnT 2797 Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man. "
KnT 2798 And with that word his speche faille gan,
KnT 2799 For from his feet up to his brest was come
KnT 2800 The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
KnT 2801 And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
KnT 2802 The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
KnT 2803 Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
KnT 2804 That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
KnT 2805 Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
KnT 2806 Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
KnT 2807 But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
KnT 2808 His laste word was, " Mercy, Emelye! "
KnT 2809 His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
KnT 2810 As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
KnT 2811 Therfore I stynte; I nam no divinistre;
KnT 2812 Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
KnT 2813 Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
KnT 2814 Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
KnT 2815 Arcite is coold, ther Mars his soule gye!
KnT 2816 Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.
KnT 2817 Shrighte Emelye, and howleth Palamon,
KnT 2818 And Theseus his suster took anon
KnT 2819 Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
KnT 2820 What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
KnT 2821 To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
KnT 2822 For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
KnT 2823 Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
KnT 2824 That for the moore part they sorwen so,
KnT 2825 Or ellis fallen in swich maladye
KnT 2826 That at the laste certeinly they dye.
KnT 2827 Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
KnT 2828 Of olde folk and folk of tendre yeeres
KnT 2829 In al the toun for deeth of this Theban.
KnT 2830 For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
KnT 2831 So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
KnT 2832 Whan Ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
KnT 2833 To Troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
KnT 2834 Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
KnT 2835 " Why woldestow be deed, " thise wommen crye,
KnT 2836 " And haddest gold ynough, and Emelye? "
KnT 2837 No man myghte gladen Theseus,
KnT 2838 Savynge his olde fader Egeus,
KnT 2839 That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
KnT 2840 As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
KnT 2841 Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
KnT 2842 And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
KnT 2843 " Right as ther dyed nevere man, " quod he,
KnT 2844 " That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
KnT 2845 Right so ther lyvede never man, " he seyde,
KnT 2846 " In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
KnT 2847 This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
KnT 2848 And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
KnT 2849 Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore. "
KnT 2850 And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
KnT 2851 To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
KnT 2852 The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
KnT 2853 Duc Theseus, with al his bisy cure,
KnT 2854 Caste now wher that the sepulture
KnT 2855 Of goode Arcite may best ymaked be,
KnT 2856 And eek moost honurable in his degree.
KnT 2857 And at the laste he took conclusioun
KnT 2858 That ther as first Arcite and Palamoun
KnT 2859 Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
KnT 2860 That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
KnT 2861 Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
KnT 2862 His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
KnT 2863 He wolde make a fyr in which the office
KnT 2864 Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
KnT 2865 And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
KnT 2866 The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
KnT 2867 In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
KnT 2868 His officers with swifte feet they renne
KnT 2869 And ryde anon at his comandement.
KnT 2870 And after this, Theseus hath ysent
KnT 2871 After a beere, and it al overspradde
KnT 2872 With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
KnT 2873 And of the same suyte he cladde Arcite;
KnT 2874 Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
KnT 2875 Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
KnT 2876 And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
KnT 2877 He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
KnT 2878 Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
KnT 2879 And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
KnT 2880 Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
KnT 2881 That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
KnT 2882 Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
KnT 2883 With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
KnT 2884 In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
KnT 2885 And, passynge othere of wepynge, Emelye,
KnT 2886 The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
KnT 2887 In as muche as the servyce sholde be
KnT 2888 The moore noble and riche in his degree,
KnT 2889 Duc Theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
KnT 2890 That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
KnT 2891 And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
KnT 2892 Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
KnT 2893 Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
KnT 2894 Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
KnT 2895 The thridde baar with hym his bowe Turkeys
KnT 2896 (Of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
KnT 2897 And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
KnT 2898 Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
KnT 2899 The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
KnT 2900 Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
KnT 2901 With slakke paas and eyen rede and wete,
KnT 2902 Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
KnT 2903 That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
KnT 2904 Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
KnT 2905 Upon the right hond wente olde Egeus,
KnT 2906 And on that oother syde duc Theseus,
KnT 2907 With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
KnT 2908 Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
KnT 2909 Eek Palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
KnT 2910 And after that cam woful Emelye,
KnT 2911 With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
KnT 2912 To do the office of funeral servyse.
KnT 2913 Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
KnT 2914 Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
KnT 2915 That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
KnT 2916 And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte --
KnT 2917 This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
KnT 2918 Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
KnT 2919 But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
KnT 2920 Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
KnT 2921 As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
KnT 2922 Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
KnT 2923 Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree --
KnT 2924 How they weren feld shal nat be toold for me;
KnT 2925 Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
KnT 2926 Disherited of hire habitacioun,
KnT 2927 In which they woneden in reste and pees,
KnT 2928 Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
KnT 2929 Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
KnT 2930 Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
KnT 2931 Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
KnT 2932 That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
KnT 2933 Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
KnT 2934 And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
KnT 2935 And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
KnT 2936 And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
KnT 2937 And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
KnT 2938 The mirre, th' encens, with al so greet odour;
KnT 2939 Ne how Arcite lay among al this,
KnT 2940 Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
KnT 2941 Ne how that Emelye, as was the gyse,
KnT 2942 Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
KnT 2943 Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
KnT 2944 Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
KnT 2945 Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
KnT 2946 Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
KnT 2947 Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
KnT 2948 And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
KnT 2949 And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
KnT 2950 Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
KnT 2951 Ne how the Grekes, with an huge route,
KnT 2952 Thries riden al the fyr aboute
KnT 2953 Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
KnT 2954 And thries with hir speres claterynge;
KnT 2955 And thries how the ladyes gonne crye;
KnT 2956 And how that lad was homward Emelye;
KnT 2957 Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;
KnT 2958 Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
KnT 2959 Al thilke nyght; ne how the Grekes pleye
KnT 2960 The wake-pleyes; ne kepe I nat to seye
KnT 2961 Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
KnT 2962 Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
KnT 2963 I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
KnT 2964 Hoom til Atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
KnT 2965 But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende
KnT 2966 And maken of my longe tale an ende.
KnT 2967 By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
KnT 2968 Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
KnT 2969 Of Grekes, by oon general assent.
KnT 2970 Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
KnT 2971 At Atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
KnT 2972 Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
KnT 2973 To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
KnT 2974 And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce.
KnT 2975 For which this noble Theseus anon
KnT 2976 Leet senden after gentil Palamon,
KnT 2977 Unwist of hym what was the cause and why,
KnT 2978 But in his blake clothes sorwefully
KnT 2979 He cam at his comandement in hye.
KnT 2980 Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.
KnT 2981 Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
KnT 2982 And Theseus abiden hadde a space
KnT 2983 Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
KnT 2984 His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
KnT 2985 And with a sad visage he siked stille,
KnT 2986 And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
KnT 2987 " The Firste Moevere of the cause above,
KnT 2988 Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
KnT 2989 Greet was th' effect, and heigh was his entente.
KnT 2990 Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente,
KnT 2991 For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
KnT 2992 The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
KnT 2993 In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
KnT 2994 That same Prince and that Moevere, " quod he,
KnT 2995 " Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
KnT 2996 Certeyne dayes and duracioun
KnT 2997 To al that is engendred in this place,
KnT 2998 Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
KnT 2999 Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
KnT 3000 Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t' allegge,
KnT 3001 For it is preeved by experience,
KnT 3002 But that me list declaren my sentence.
KnT 3003 Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
KnT 3004 That thilke Moevere stable is and eterne.
KnT 3005 Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
KnT 3006 That every part dirryveth from his hool,
KnT 3007 For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
KnT 3008 Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
KnT 3009 But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
KnT 3010 Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
KnT 3011 And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
KnT 3012 He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce
KnT 3013 That speces of thynges and progressiouns
KnT 3014 Shullen enduren by successiouns,
KnT 3015 And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
KnT 3016 This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
KnT 3017 " Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
KnT 3018 From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
KnT 3019 And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
KnT 3020 Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
KnT 3021 " Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
KnT 3022 Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
KnT 3023 Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
KnT 3024 The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
KnT 3025 The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
KnT 3026 Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
KnT 3027 " Of man and womman seen we wel also
KnT 3028 That nedes, in oon of thise termes two --
KnT 3029 This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age --
KnT 3030 He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
KnT 3031 Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
KnT 3032 Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
KnT 3033 Ther helpeth noght; al goth that ilke weye.
KnT 3034 Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
KnT 3035 " What maketh this but Juppiter, the kyng,
KnT 3036 That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
KnT 3037 Convertynge al unto his propre welle
KnT 3038 From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
KnT 3039 And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
KnT 3040 Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
KnT 3041 " Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
KnT 3042 To maken vertu of necessitee,
KnT 3043 And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
KnT 3044 And namely that to us alle is due.
KnT 3045 And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
KnT 3046 And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
KnT 3047 And certeinly a man hath moost honour
KnT 3048 To dyen in his excellence and flour,
KnT 3049 Whan he is siker of his goode name;
KnT 3050 Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
KnT 3051 And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
KnT 3052 Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
KnT 3053 Than whan his name apalled is for age,
KnT 3054 For al forgeten is his vassellage.
KnT 3055 Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
KnT 3056 To dyen whan that he is best of name.
KnT 3057 " The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
KnT 3058 Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
KnT 3059 That goode Arcite, of chivalrie flour,
KnT 3060 Departed is with duetee and honour
KnT 3061 Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf?
KnT 3062 Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
KnT 3063 Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
KnT 3064 Kan he hem thank? Nay, God woot, never a deel,
KnT 3065 That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
KnT 3066 And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
KnT 3067 " What may I conclude of this longe serye,
KnT 3068 But after wo I rede us to be merye
KnT 3069 And thanken Juppiter of al his grace?
KnT 3070 And er that we departen from this place
KnT 3071 I rede that we make of sorwes two
KnT 3072 O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
KnT 3073 And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
KnT 3074 Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
KnT 3075 " Suster, " quod he, " this is my fulle assent,
KnT 3076 With al th' avys heere of my parlement,
KnT 3077 That gentil Palamon, youre owene knyght,
KnT 3078 That serveth yow with wille, herte, and myght,
KnT 3079 And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
KnT 3080 That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
KnT 3081 And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
KnT 3082 Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
KnT 3083 Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
KnT 3084 He is a kynges brother sone, pardee;
KnT 3085 And though he were a povre bacheler,
KnT 3086 Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
KnT 3087 And had for yow so greet adversitee,
KnT 3088 It moste been considered, leeveth me,
KnT 3089 For gentil mercy oghte to passen right. "
KnT 3090 Thanne seyde he thus to Palamon the knight:
KnT 3091 " I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
KnT 3092 To make yow assente to this thyng.
KnT 3093 Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond. "
KnT 3094 Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
KnT 3095 That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
KnT 3096 By al the conseil and the baronage.
KnT 3097 And thus with alle blisse and melodye
KnT 3098 Hath Palamon ywedded Emelye.
KnT 3099 And God, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
KnT 3100 Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
KnT 3101 For now is Palamon in alle wele,
KnT 3102 Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
KnT 3103 And Emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
KnT 3104 And he hire serveth so gentilly,
KnT 3105 That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
KnT 3106 Of jalousie or any oother teene.
KnT 3107 Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye;
KnT 3108 And God save al this faire compaignye! Amen.
MilT 3109 Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
MilT 3110 In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
MilT 3111 That he ne seyde it was a noble storie
MilT 3112 And worthy for to drawen to memorie,
MilT 3113 And namely the gentils everichon.
MilT 3114 Oure Hooste lough and swoor, " So moot I gon,
MilT 3115 This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
MilT 3116 Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
MilT 3117 For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
MilT 3118 Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye konne,
MilT 3119 Somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3120 The Millere, that for dronken was al pale,
MilT 3121 So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
MilT 3122 He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
MilT 3123 Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
MilT 3124 But in Pilates voys he gan to crie,
MilT 3125 And swoor, " By armes, and by blood and bones,
MilT 3126 I kan a noble tale for the nones,
MilT 3127 With which I wol now quite the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3128 Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
MilT 3129 And seyde, " Abyd, Robyn, my leeve brother;
MilT 3130 Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
MilT 3131 Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily. "
MilT 3132 " By Goddes soule, " quod he, " that wol nat I;
MilT 3133 For I wol speke or elles go my wey. "
MilT 3134 Oure Hoost answerde, " Tel on, a devel wey!
MilT 3135 Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome. "
MilT 3136 " Now herkneth, " quod the Millere, " alle and some!
MilT 3137 But first I make a protestacioun
MilT 3138 That I am dronke; I knowe it by my soun.
MilT 3139 And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye,
MilT 3140 Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I you preye.
MilT 3141 For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
MilT 3142 Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
MilT 3143 How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe. "
MilT 3144 The Reve answerde and seyde, " Stynt thy clappe!
MilT 3145 Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
MilT 3146 It is a synne and eek a greet folye
MilT 3147 To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
MilT 3148 And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
MilT 3149 Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn. "
MilT 3150 This dronke Millere spak ful soone ageyn
MilT 3151 And seyde, " Leve brother Osewold,
MilT 3152 Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
MilT 3153 But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
MilT 3154 Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
MilT 3155 And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
MilT 3156 That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
MilT 3157 Why artow angry with my tale now?
MilT 3158 I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
MilT 3159 Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
MilT 3160 Take upon me moore than ynogh,
MilT 3161 As demen of myself that I were oon;
MilT 3162 I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
MilT 3163 An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
MilT 3164 Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
MilT 3165 So he may fynde Goddes foyson there,
MilT 3166 Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere. "
MilT 3167 What sholde I moore seyn, but this Millere
MilT 3168 He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
MilT 3169 But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
MilT 3170 M' athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
MilT 3171 And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
MilT 3172 For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
MilT 3173 Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
MilT 3174 Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
MilT 3175 Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
MilT 3176 And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
MilT 3177 Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
MilT 3178 For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
MilT 3179 Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
MilT 3180 And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
MilT 3181 Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
MilT 3182 The Millere is a cherl; ye knowe wel this.
MilT 3183 So was the Reve eek and othere mo,
MilT 3184 And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
MilT 3185 Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
MilT 3186 And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.
MilT 3187 Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford
MilT 3188 A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
MilT 3189 And of his craft he was a carpenter.
MilT 3190 With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,
MilT 3191 Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye
MilT 3192 Was turned for to lerne astrologye,
MilT 3193 And koude a certeyn of conclusiouns,
MilT 3194 To demen by interrogaciouns,
MilT 3195 If that men asked hym, in certein houres
MilT 3196 Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles shoures,
MilT 3197 Or if men asked hym what sholde bifalle
MilT 3198 Of every thyng; I may nat rekene hem alle.
MilT 3199 This clerk was cleped hende Nicholas.
MilT 3200 Of deerne love he koude and of solas;
MilT 3201 And therto he was sleigh and ful privee,
MilT 3202 And lyk a mayden meke for to see.
MilT 3203 A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye
MilT 3204 Allone, withouten any compaignye,
MilT 3205 Ful fetisly ydight with herbes swoote;
MilT 3206 And he hymself as sweete as is the roote
MilT 3207 Of lycorys or any cetewale.
MilT 3208 His Almageste, and bookes grete and smale,
MilT 3209 His astrelabie, longynge for his art,
MilT 3210 His augrym stones layen faire apart,
MilT 3211 On shelves couched at his beddes heed;
MilT 3212 His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed;
MilT 3213 And al above ther lay a gay sautrie,
MilT 3214 On which he made a-nyghtes melodie
MilT 3215 So swetely that all the chambre rong;
MilT 3216 And Angelus ad virginem he song;
MilT 3217 And after that he song the Kynges Noote.
MilT 3218 Ful often blessed was his myrie throte.
MilT 3219 And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente
MilT 3220 After his freendes fyndyng and his rente.
MilT 3221 This carpenter hadde wedded newe a wyf,
MilT 3222 Which that he lovede moore than his lyf;
MilT 3223 Of eighteteene yeer she was of age.
MilT 3224 Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage,
MilT 3225 For she was wylde and yong, and he was old
MilT 3226 And demed hymself been lik a cokewold.
MilT 3227 He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude,
MilT 3228 That bad man sholde wedde his simylitude.
MilT 3229 Men sholde wedden after hire estaat,
MilT 3230 For youthe and elde is often at debaat.
MilT 3231 But sith that he was fallen in the snare,
MilT 3232 He moste endure, as oother folk, his care.
MilT 3233 Fair was this yonge wyf, and therwithal
MilT 3234 As any wezele hir body gent and smal.
MilT 3235 A ceynt she werede, barred al of silk,
MilT 3236 A barmclooth as whit as morne milk
MilT 3237 Upon hir lendes, ful of many a goore.
MilT 3238 Whit was hir smok, and broyden al bifoore
MilT 3239 And eek bihynde, on hir coler aboute,
MilT 3240 Of col-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute.
MilT 3241 The tapes of hir white voluper
MilT 3242 Were of the same suyte of hir coler;
MilT 3243 Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye.
MilT 3244 And sikerly she hadde a likerous ye;
MilT 3245 Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two,
MilT 3246 And tho were bent and blake as any sloo.
MilT 3247 She was ful moore blisful on to see
MilT 3248 Than is the newe pere-jonette tree,
MilT 3249 And softer than the wolle is of a wether.
MilT 3250 And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether,
MilT 3251 Tasseled with silk and perled with latoun.
MilT 3252 In al this world, to seken up and doun,
MilT 3253 There nys no man so wys that koude thenche
MilT 3254 So gay a popelote or swich a wenche.
MilT 3255 Ful brighter was the shynyng of hir hewe
MilT 3256 Than in the Tour the noble yforged newe.
MilT 3257 But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne
MilT 3258 As any swalwe sittynge on a berne.
MilT 3259 Therto she koude skippe and make game,
MilT 3260 As any kyde or calf folwynge his dame.
MilT 3261 Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth,
MilT 3262 Or hoord of apples leyd in hey or heeth.
MilT 3263 Wynsynge she was, as is a joly colt,
MilT 3264 Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt.
MilT 3265 A brooch she baar upon hir lowe coler,
MilT 3266 As brood as is the boos of a bokeler.
MilT 3267 Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye.
MilT 3268 She was a prymerole, a piggesnye,
MilT 3269 For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
MilT 3270 Or yet for any good yeman to wedde.
MilT 3271 Now, sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas
MilT 3272 That on a day this hende Nicholas
MilT 3273 Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
MilT 3274 Whil that hir housbonde was at Oseneye,
MilT 3275 As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;
MilT 3276 And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,
MilT 3277 And seyde, " Ywis, but if ich have my wille,
MilT 3278 For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille. "
MilT 3279 And heeld hire harde by the haunchebones,
MilT 3280 And seyde, " Lemman, love me al atones,
MilT 3281 Or I wol dyen, also God me save! "
MilT 3282 And she sproong as a colt dooth in the trave,
MilT 3283 And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,
MilT 3284 And seyde, " I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey!
MilT 3285 Why, lat be! " quod she. " Lat be, Nicholas,
MilT 3286 Or I wol crie `out, harrow' and `allas'!
MilT 3287 Do wey youre handes, for youre curteisye! "
MilT 3288 This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
MilT 3289 And spak so faire, and profred him so faste,
MilT 3290 That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,
MilT 3291 And swoor hir ooth, by Seint Thomas of Kent,
MilT 3292 That she wol been at his comandement,
MilT 3293 Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie.
MilT 3294 " Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie
MilT 3295 That but ye wayte wel and been privee,
MilT 3296 I woot right wel I nam but deed, " quod she.
MilT 3297 " Ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas. "
MilT 3298 " Nay, therof care thee noght, " quod Nicholas.
MilT 3299 " A clerk hadde litherly biset his whyle,
MilT 3300 But if he koude a carpenter bigyle. "
MilT 3301 And thus they been accorded and ysworn
MilT 3302 To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn.
MilT 3303 Whan Nicholas had doon thus everideel
MilT 3304 And thakked hire aboute the lendes weel,
MilT 3305 He kiste hire sweete and taketh his sawtrie,
MilT 3306 And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodie.
MilT 3307 Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,
MilT 3308 Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,
MilT 3309 This goode wyf went on an haliday.
MilT 3310 Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,
MilT 3311 So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.
MilT 3312 Now was ther of that chirche a parissh clerk,
MilT 3313 The which that was ycleped Absolon.
MilT 3314 Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,
MilT 3315 And strouted as a fanne large and brode;
MilT 3316 Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode.
MilT 3317 His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos.
MilT 3318 With Poules wyndow corven on his shoos,
MilT 3319 In hoses rede he wente fetisly.
MilT 3320 Yclad he was ful smal and proprely
MilT 3321 Al in a kirtel of a lyght waget;
MilT 3322 Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.
MilT 3323 And therupon he hadde a gay surplys
MilT 3324 As whit as is the blosme upon the rys.
MilT 3325 A myrie child he was, so God me save.
MilT 3326 Wel koude he laten blood, and clippe and shave,
MilT 3327 And maken a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.
MilT 3328 In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce
MilT 3329 After the scole of Oxenforde tho,
MilT 3330 And with his legges casten to and fro,
MilT 3331 And pleyen songes on a smal rubible;
MilT 3332 Therto he song som tyme a loud quynyble;
MilT 3333 And as wel koude he pleye on a giterne.
MilT 3334 In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne
MilT 3335 That he ne visited with his solas,
MilT 3336 Ther any gaylard tappestere was.
MilT 3337 But sooth to seyn, he was somdeel squaymous
MilT 3338 Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous.
MilT 3339 This Absolon, that jolif was and gay,
MilT 3340 Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,
MilT 3341 Sensynge the wyves of the parisshe faste;
MilT 3342 And many a lovely look on hem he caste,
MilT 3343 And namely on this carpenteris wyf.
MilT 3344 To looke on hire hym thoughte a myrie lyf,
MilT 3345 She was so propre and sweete and likerous.
MilT 3346 I dar wel seyn, if she hadde been a mous,
MilT 3347 And he a cat, he wolde hire hente anon.
MilT 3348 This parissh clerk, this joly Absolon,
MilT 3349 Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge
MilT 3350 That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;
MilT 3351 For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.
MilT 3352 The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,
MilT 3353 And Absolon his gyterne hath ytake;
MilT 3354 For paramours he thoghte for to wake.
MilT 3355 And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,
MilT 3356 Til he cam to the carpenteres hous
MilT 3357 A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,
MilT 3358 And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe
MilT 3359 That was upon the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3360 He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,
MilT 3361 " Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,
MilT 3362 I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me, "
MilT 3363 Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge.
MilT 3364 This carpenter awook, and herde him synge,
MilT 3365 And spak unto his wyf, and seyde anon,
MilT 3366 " What! Alison! Herestow nat Absolon,
MilT 3367 That chaunteth thus under oure boures wal? "
MilT 3368 And she answerde hir housbonde therwithal,
MilT 3369 " Yis, God woot, John, I heere it every deel. "
MilT 3370 This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than weel?
MilT 3371 Fro day to day this joly Absolon
MilT 3372 So woweth hire that hym is wo bigon.
MilT 3373 He waketh al the nyght and al the day;
MilT 3374 He kembeth his lokkes brode, and made hym gay;
MilT 3375 He woweth hire by meenes and brocage,
MilT 3376 And swoor he wolde been hir owene page;
MilT 3377 He syngeth, brokkynge as a nyghtyngale;
MilT 3378 He sente hire pyment, meeth, and spiced ale,
MilT 3379 And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede;
MilT 3380 And, for she was of town, he profred meede;
MilT 3381 For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
MilT 3382 And somme for strokes, and somme for gentillesse.
MilT 3383 Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
MilT 3384 He pleyeth Herodes upon a scaffold hye.
MilT 3385 But what availleth hym as in this cas?
MilT 3386 She loveth so this hende Nicholas
MilT 3387 That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
MilT 3388 He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn.
MilT 3389 And thus she maketh Absolon hire ape,
MilT 3390 And al his ernest turneth til a jape.
MilT 3391 Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
MilT 3392 Men seyn right thus: " Alwey the nye slye
MilT 3393 Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth. "
MilT 3394 For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,
MilT 3395 By cause that he fer was from hire sight,
MilT 3396 This nye Nicholas stood in his light.
MilT 3397 Now ber thee wel, thou hende Nicholas,
MilT 3398 For Absolon may waille and synge " allas. "
MilT 3399 And so bifel it on a Saterday,
MilT 3400 This carpenter was goon til Osenay;
MilT 3401 And hende Nicholas and Alisoun
MilT 3402 Acorded been to this conclusioun,
MilT 3403 That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle
MilT 3404 This sely jalous housbonde to bigyle;
MilT 3405 And if so be the game wente aright,
MilT 3406 She sholde slepen in his arm al nyght,
MilT 3407 For this was his desir and hire also.
MilT 3408 And right anon, withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3409 This Nicholas no lenger wolde tarie,
MilT 3410 But dooth ful softe unto his chambre carie
MilT 3411 Bothe mete and drynke for a day or tweye,
MilT 3412 And to hire housbonde bad hire for to seye,
MilT 3413 If that he axed after Nicholas,
MilT 3414 She sholde seye she nyste where he was;
MilT 3415 Of al that day she saugh hym nat with ye;
MilT 3416 She trowed that he was in maladye,
MilT 3417 For, for no cry hir mayde koude hym calle,
MilT 3418 He nolde answere for thyng that myghte falle.
MilT 3419 This passeth forth al thilke Saterday,
MilT 3420 That Nicholas stille in his chambre lay,
MilT 3421 And eet and sleep, or dide what hym leste,
MilT 3422 Til Sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste.
MilT 3423 This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle
MilT 3424 Of Nicholas, or what thyng myghte hym eyle,
MilT 3425 And seyde, " I am adrad, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3426 It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas.
MilT 3427 God shilde that he deyde sodeynly!
MilT 3428 This world is now ful tikel, sikerly.
MilT 3429 I saugh today a cors yborn to chirche
MilT 3430 That now, on Monday last, I saugh hym wirche.
MilT 3431 " Go up, " quod he unto his knave anoon,
MilT 3432 " Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon.
MilT 3433 Looke how it is, and tel me boldely. "
MilT 3434 This knave gooth hym up ful sturdily,
MilT 3435 And at the chambre dore whil that he stood,
MilT 3436 He cride and knokked as that he were wood,
MilT 3437 " What, how! What do ye, maister Nicholay?
MilT 3438 How may ye slepen al the longe day? "
MilT 3439 But al for noght; he herde nat a word.
MilT 3440 An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord,
MilT 3441 Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe,
MilT 3442 And at that hole he looked in ful depe,
MilT 3443 And at the laste he hadde of hym a sight.
MilT 3444 This Nicholas sat evere capyng upright,
MilT 3445 As he had kiked on the newe moone.
MilT 3446 Adoun he gooth, and tolde his maister soone
MilT 3447 In what array he saugh this ilke man.
MilT 3448 This carpenter to blessen hym bigan,
MilT 3449 And seyde, " Help us, Seinte Frydeswyde!
MilT 3450 A man woot litel what hym shal bityde.
MilT 3451 This man is falle, with his astromye,
MilT 3452 In some woodnesse or in som agonye.
MilT 3453 I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
MilT 3454 Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3455 Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man
MilT 3456 That noght but oonly his bileve kan!
MilT 3457 So ferde another clerk with astromye;
MilT 3458 He walked in the feeldes for to prye
MilT 3459 Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
MilT 3460 Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle;
MilT 3461 He saugh nat that. But yet, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3462 Me reweth soore of hende Nicholas.
MilT 3463 He shal be rated of his studiyng,
MilT 3464 If that I may, by Jhesus, hevene kyng!
MilT 3465 Get me a staf, that I may underspore,
MilT 3466 Whil that thou, Robyn, hevest up the dore.
MilT 3467 He shal out of his studiyng, as I gesse. "
MilT 3468 And to the chambre dore he gan hym dresse.
MilT 3469 His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
MilT 3470 And by the haspe he haaf it of atones;
MilT 3471 Into the floor the dore fil anon.
MilT 3472 This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
MilT 3473 And evere caped upward into the eir.
MilT 3474 This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
MilT 3475 And hente hym by the sholdres myghtily,
MilT 3476 And shook hym harde, and cride spitously,
MilT 3477 " What! Nicholay! What, how! What, looke adoun!
MilT 3478 Awak, and thenk on Cristes passioun!
MilT 3479 I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes. "
MilT 3480 Therwith the nyght-spel seyde he anon-rightes
MilT 3481 On foure halves of the hous aboute,
MilT 3482 And on the thresshfold of the dore withoute:
MilT 3483 " Jhesu Crist and Seinte Benedight,
MilT 3484 Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
MilT 3485 For nyghtes verye, the white pater-noster!
MilT 3486 Where wentestow, Seinte Petres soster? "
MilT 3487 And atte laste this hende Nicholas
MilT 3488 Gan for to sik soore, and seyde, " Allas!
MilT 3489 Shal al the world be lost eftsoones now? "
MilT 3490 This carpenter answerde, " What seystow?
MilT 3491 What! Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynke. "
MilT 3492 This Nicholas answerde, " Fecche me drynke,
MilT 3493 And after wol I speke in pryvetee
MilT 3494 Of certeyn thyng that toucheth me and thee.
MilT 3495 I wol telle it noon oother man, certeyn. "
MilT 3496 This carpenter goth doun, and comth ageyn,
MilT 3497 And broghte of myghty ale a large quart;
MilT 3498 And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,
MilT 3499 This Nicholas his dore faste shette,
MilT 3500 And doun the carpenter by hym he sette.
MilT 3501 He seyde, " John, myn hooste, lief and deere,
MilT 3502 Thou shalt upon thy trouthe swere me heere
MilT 3503 That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye,
MilT 3504 For it is Cristes conseil that I seye,
MilT 3505 And if thou telle it man, thou art forlore;
MilT 3506 For this vengeaunce thou shalt han therfore,
MilT 3507 That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood. "
MilT 3508 " Nay, Crist forbede it, for his hooly blood! "
MilT 3509 Quod tho this sely man, " I nam no labbe,
MilT 3510 Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.
MilT 3511 Sey what thou wolt, I shal it nevere telle
MilT 3512 To child ne wyf, by hym that harwed helle! "
MilT 3513 " Now John, " quod Nicholas, " I wol nat lye;
MilT 3514 I have yfounde in myn astrologye,
MilT 3515 As I have looked in the moone bright,
MilT 3516 That now a Monday next, at quarter nyght,
MilT 3517 Shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood
MilT 3518 That half so greet was nevere Noes flood.
MilT 3519 This world, " he seyde, " in lasse than an hour
MilT 3520 Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour.
MilT 3521 Thus shal mankynde drenche, and lese hir lyf. "
MilT 3522 This carpenter answerde, " Allas, my wyf!
MilT 3523 And shal she drenche? Allas, myn Alisoun! "
MilT 3524 For sorwe of this he fil almoost adoun,
MilT 3525 And seyde, " Is ther no remedie in this cas? "
MilT 3526 " Why, yis, for Gode, " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3527 " If thou wolt werken after loore and reed.
MilT 3528 Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;
MilT 3529 For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe:
MilT 3530 `Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe.'
MilT 3531 And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
MilT 3532 I undertake, withouten mast and seyl,
MilT 3533 Yet shal I saven hire and thee and me.
MilT 3534 Hastow nat herd hou saved was Noe,
MilT 3535 Whan that oure Lord hadde warned hym biforn
MilT 3536 That al the world with water sholde be lorn? "
MilT 3537 " Yis, " quod this Carpenter, " ful yoore ago. "
MilT 3538 " Hastou nat herd, " quod Nicholas, " also
MilT 3539 The sorwe of Noe with his felaweshipe,
MilT 3540 Er that he myghte gete his wyf to shipe?
MilT 3541 Hym hadde be levere, I dar wel undertake,
MilT 3542 At thilke tyme, than alle his wetheres blake
MilT 3543 That she hadde had a ship hirself allone.
MilT 3544 And therfore, woostou what is best to doone?
MilT 3545 This asketh haste, and of an hastif thyng
MilT 3546 Men may nat preche or maken tariyng.
MilT 3547 " Anon go gete us faste into this in
MilT 3548 A knedyng trogh, or ellis a kymelyn,
MilT 3549 For ech of us, but looke that they be large,
MilT 3550 In which we mowe swymme as in a barge,
MilT 3551 And han therinne vitaille suffisant
MilT 3552 But for a day -- fy on the remenant!
MilT 3553 The water shal aslake and goon away
MilT 3554 Aboute pryme upon the nexte day.
MilT 3555 But Robyn may nat wite of this, thy knave,
MilT 3556 Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;
MilT 3557 Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
MilT 3558 I wol nat tellen Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3559 Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
MilT 3560 To han as greet a grace as Noe hadde.
MilT 3561 Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute.
MilT 3562 Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.
MilT 3563 " But whan thou hast, for hire and thee and me,
MilT 3564 Ygeten us thise knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3565 Thanne shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,
MilT 3566 That no man of oure purveiaunce espye.
MilT 3567 And whan thou thus hast doon as I have seyd,
MilT 3568 And hast oure vitaille faire in hem yleyd,
MilT 3569 And eek an ax to smyte the corde atwo,
MilT 3570 Whan that the water comth, that we may go
MilT 3571 And breke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,
MilT 3572 Unto the gardyn-ward, over the stable,
MilT 3573 That we may frely passen forth oure way,
MilT 3574 Whan that the grete shour is goon away.
MilT 3575 Thanne shaltou swymme as myrie, I undertake,
MilT 3576 As dooth the white doke after hire drake.
MilT 3577 Thanne wol I clepe, `How, Alison! How, John!
MilT 3578 Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon.'
MilT 3579 And thou wolt seyn, `Hayl, maister Nicholay!
MilT 3580 Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day.'
MilT 3581 And thanne shul we be lordes al oure lyf
MilT 3582 Of al the world, as Noe and his wyf.
MilT 3583 " But of o thyng I warne thee ful right:
MilT 3584 Be wel avysed on that ilke nyght
MilT 3585 That we ben entred into shippes bord,
MilT 3586 That noon of us ne speke nat a word,
MilT 3587 Ne clepe, ne crie, but be in his preyere;
MilT 3588 For it is Goddes owene heeste deere.
MilT 3589 " Thy wyf and thou moote hange fer atwynne,
MilT 3590 For that bitwixe yow shal be no synne,
MilT 3591 Namoore in lookyng than ther shal in deede.
MilT 3592 This ordinance is seyd. Go, God thee speede!
MilT 3593 Tomorwe at nyght, whan men ben alle aslepe,
MilT 3594 Into oure knedyng-tubbes wol we crepe,
MilT 3595 And sitten there, abidyng Goddes grace.
MilT 3596 Go now thy wey; I have no lenger space
MilT 3597 To make of this no lenger sermonyng.
MilT 3598 Men seyn thus, `sende the wise, and sey no thyng.'
MilT 3599 Thou art so wys, it needeth thee nat teche.
MilT 3600 Go, save oure lyf, and that I the biseche. "
MilT 3601 This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.
MilT 3602 Ful ofte he seide " Allas and weylawey, "
MilT 3603 And to his wyf he tolde his pryvetee,
MilT 3604 And she was war, and knew it bet than he,
MilT 3605 What al this queynte cast was for to seye.
MilT 3606 But nathelees she ferde as she wolde deye,
MilT 3607 And seyde, " Allas! go forth thy wey anon,
MilT 3608 Help us to scape, or we been dede echon!
MilT 3609 I am thy trewe, verray wedded wyf;
MilT 3610 Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf. "
MilT 3611 Lo, which a greet thyng is affeccioun!
MilT 3612 Men may dyen of ymaginacioun,
MilT 3613 So depe may impressioun be take.
MilT 3614 This sely carpenter bigynneth quake;
MilT 3615 Hym thynketh verraily that he may see
MilT 3616 Noees flood come walwynge as the see
MilT 3617 To drenchen Alisoun, his hony deere.
MilT 3618 He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory cheere;
MilT 3619 He siketh with ful many a sory swogh;
MilT 3620 He gooth and geteth hym a knedyng trogh,
MilT 3621 And after that a tubbe and a kymelyn,
MilT 3622 And pryvely he sente hem to his in,
MilT 3623 And heng hem in the roof in pryvetee.
MilT 3624 His owene hand he made laddres thre,
MilT 3625 To clymben by the ronges and the stalkes
MilT 3626 Unto the tubbes hangynge in the balkes,
MilT 3627 And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe,
MilT 3628 With breed, and chese, and good ale in a jubbe,
MilT 3629 Suffisynge right ynogh as for a day.
MilT 3630 But er that he hadde maad al this array,
MilT 3631 He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also,
MilT 3632 Upon his nede to London for to go.
MilT 3633 And on the Monday, whan it drow to nyght,
MilT 3634 He shette his dore withoute candel-lyght,
MilT 3635 And dressed alle thyng as it sholde be.
MilT 3636 And shortly, up they clomben alle thre;
MilT 3637 They seten stille wel a furlong way.
MilT 3638 " Now, Pater-noster, clom! " seyde Nicholay,
MilT 3639 And " Clom! " quod John, and " Clom! " seyde Alisoun.
MilT 3640 This carpenter seyde his devocioun,
MilT 3641 And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,
MilT 3642 Awaitynge on the reyn, if he it heere.
MilT 3643 The dede sleep, for wery bisynesse,
MilT 3644 Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse,
MilT 3645 Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel moore;
MilT 3646 For travaille of his goost he groneth soore,
MilT 3647 And eft he routeth, for his heed myslay.
MilT 3648 Doun of the laddre stalketh Nicholay,
MilT 3649 And Alisoun ful softe adoun she spedde;
MilT 3650 Withouten wordes mo they goon to bedde,
MilT 3651 Ther as the carpenter is wont to lye.
MilT 3652 Ther was the revel and the melodye;
MilT 3653 And thus lith Alison and Nicholas,
MilT 3654 In bisynesse of myrthe and of solas,
MilT 3655 Til that the belle of laudes gan to rynge,
MilT 3656 And freres in the chauncel gonne synge.
MilT 3657 This parissh clerk, this amorous Absolon,
MilT 3658 That is for love alwey so wo bigon,
MilT 3659 Upon the Monday was at Oseneye
MilT 3660 With compaignye, hym to disporte and pleye,
MilT 3661 And axed upon cas a cloisterer
MilT 3662 Ful prively after John the carpenter;
MilT 3663 And he drough hym apart out of the chirche,
MilT 3664 And seyde, " I noot; I saugh hym heere nat wirche
MilT 3665 Syn Saterday; I trowe that he be went
MilT 3666 For tymber, ther oure abbot hath hym sent;
MilT 3667 For he is wont for tymber for to go
MilT 3668 And dwellen at the grange a day or two;
MilT 3669 Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn.
MilT 3670 Where that he be, I kan nat soothly seyn. "
MilT 3671 This Absolon ful joly was and light,
MilT 3672 And thoghte, " Now is tyme to wake al nyght,
MilT 3673 For sikirly I saugh hym nat stirynge
MilT 3674 Aboute his dore, syn day bigan to sprynge.
MilT 3675 " So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,
MilT 3676 Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe
MilT 3677 That stant ful lowe upon his boures wal.
MilT 3678 To Alison now wol I tellen al
MilT 3679 My love-longynge, for yet I shal nat mysse
MilT 3680 That at the leeste wey I shal hire kisse.
MilT 3681 Som maner confort shal I have, parfay.
MilT 3682 My mouth hath icched al this longe day;
MilT 3683 That is a signe of kissyng atte leeste.
MilT 3684 Al nyght me mette eek I was at a feeste.
MilT 3685 Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or tweye,
MilT 3686 And al the nyght thanne wol I wake and pleye. "
MilT 3687 Whan that the firste cok hath crowe, anon
MilT 3688 Up rist this joly lovere Absolon,
MilT 3689 And hym arraieth gay, at poynt-devys.
MilT 3690 But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,
MilT 3691 To smellen sweete, er he hadde kembd his heer.
MilT 3692 Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer,
MilT 3693 For therby wende he to ben gracious.
MilT 3694 He rometh to the carpenteres hous,
MilT 3695 And stille he stant under the shot-wyndowe --
MilT 3696 Unto his brest it raughte, it was so lowe --
MilT 3697 And softe he cougheth with a semy soun:
MilT 3698 " What do ye, hony-comb, sweete Alisoun,
MilT 3699 My faire bryd, my sweete cynamome?
MilT 3700 Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!
MilT 3701 Wel litel thynken ye upon my wo,
MilT 3702 That for youre love I swete ther I go.
MilT 3703 No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;
MilT 3704 I moorne as dooth a lamb after the tete.
MilT 3705 Ywis, lemman, I have swich love-longynge
MilT 3706 That lik a turtel trewe is my moornynge.
MilT 3707 I may nat ete na moore than a mayde. "
MilT 3708 " Go fro the wyndow, Jakke fool, " she sayde;
MilT 3709 " As help me God, it wol nat be `com pa me.'
MilT 3710 I love another -- and elles I were to blame --
MilT 3711 Wel bet than thee, by Jhesu, Absolon.
MilT 3712 Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston,
MilT 3713 And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey! "
MilT 3714 " Allas, " quod Absolon, " and weylawey,
MilT 3715 That trewe love was evere so yvel biset!
MilT 3716 Thanne kysse me, syn it may be no bet,
MilT 3717 For Jhesus love, and for the love of me. "
MilT 3718 " Wiltow thanne go thy wey therwith? " quod she.
MilT 3719 " Ye, certes, lemman, " quod this Absolon.
MilT 3720 " Thanne make thee redy, " quod she, " I come anon. "
MilT 3721 And unto Nicholas she seyde stille,
MilT 3722 " Now hust, and thou shalt laughen al thy fille. "
MilT 3723 This Absolon doun sette hym on his knees
MilT 3724 And seyde, " I am a lord at alle degrees;
MilT 3725 For after this I hope ther cometh moore.
MilT 3726 Lemman, thy grace, and sweete bryd, thyn oore! "
MilT 3727 The wyndow she undoth, and that in haste.
MilT 3728 " Have do, " quod she, " com of, and speed the faste,
MilT 3729 Lest that oure neighebores thee espie. "
MilT 3730 This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie.
MilT 3731 Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
MilT 3732 And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
MilT 3733 And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
MilT 3734 But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
MilT 3735 Ful savourly, er he were war of this.
MilT 3736 Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
MilT 3737 For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
MilT 3738 He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
MilT 3739 And seyde, " Fy! allas! what have I do? "
MilT 3740 " Tehee! " quod she, and clapte the wyndow to,
MilT 3741 And Absolon gooth forth a sory pas.
MilT 3742 " A berd! A berd! " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3743 " By Goddes corpus, this goth faire and weel. "
MilT 3744 This sely Absolon herde every deel,
MilT 3745 And on his lippe he gan for anger byte,
MilT 3746 And to hymself he seyde, " I shal thee quyte. "
MilT 3747 Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes
MilT 3748 With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes,
MilT 3749 But Absolon, that seith ful ofte, " Allas! "
MilT 3750 " My soule bitake I unto Sathanas,
MilT 3751 But me were levere than al this toun, " quod he,
MilT 3752 " Of this despit awroken for to be.
MilT 3753 Allas, " quod he, " allas, I ne hadde ybleynt! "
MilT 3754 His hoote love was coold and al yqueynt;
MilT 3755 For fro that tyme that he hadde kist hir ers,
MilT 3756 Of paramours he sette nat a kers,
MilT 3757 For he was heeled of his maladie.
MilT 3758 Ful ofte paramours he gan deffie,
MilT 3759 And weep as dooth a child that is ybete.
MilT 3760 A softe paas he wente over the strete
MilT 3761 Until a smyth men cleped daun Gerveys,
MilT 3762 That in his forge smythed plough harneys;
MilT 3763 He sharpeth shaar and kultour bisily.
MilT 3764 This Absolon knokketh al esily,
MilT 3765 And seyde, " Undo, Gerveys, and that anon. "
MilT 3766 " What, who artow? " " It am I, Absolon. "
MilT 3767 " What, Absolon! for Cristes sweete tree,
MilT 3768 Why rise ye so rathe? Ey, benedicitee!
MilT 3769 What eyleth yow? Som gay gerl, God it woot,
MilT 3770 Hath broght yow thus upon the viritoot.
MilT 3771 By Seinte Note, ye woot wel what I mene. "
MilT 3772 This Absolon ne roghte nat a bene
MilT 3773 Of al his pley; no word agayn he yaf;
MilT 3774 He hadde moore tow on his distaf
MilT 3775 Than Gerveys knew, and seyde, " Freend so deere,
MilT 3776 That hoote kultour in the chymenee heere,
MilT 3777 As lene it me; I have therwith to doone,
MilT 3778 And I wol brynge it thee agayn ful soone. "
MilT 3779 Gerveys answerde, " Certes, were it gold,
MilT 3780 Or in a poke nobles alle untold,
MilT 3781 Thou sholdest have, as I am trewe smyth.
MilT 3782 Ey, Cristes foo! What wol ye do therwith? "
MilT 3783 " Therof, " quod Absolon, " be as be may.
MilT 3784 I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day " --
MilT 3785 And caughte the kultour by the colde stele.
MilT 3786 Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,
MilT 3787 And wente unto the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3788 He cogheth first, and knokketh therwithal
MilT 3789 Upon the wyndowe, right as he dide er.
MilT 3790 This Alison answerde, " Who is ther
MilT 3791 That knokketh so? I warante it a theef. "
MilT 3792 " Why, nay, " quod he, " God woot, my sweete leef,
MilT 3793 I am thyn Absolon, my deerelyng.
MilT 3794 Of gold, " quod he, " I have thee broght a ryng.
MilT 3795 My mooder yaf it me, so God me save;
MilT 3796 Ful fyn it is, and therto wel ygrave.
MilT 3797 This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse. "
MilT 3798 This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,
MilT 3799 And thoughte he wolde amenden al the jape;
MilT 3800 He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.
MilT 3801 And up the wyndowe dide he hastily,
MilT 3802 And out his ers he putteth pryvely
MilT 3803 Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;
MilT 3804 And therwith spak this clerk, this Absolon,
MilT 3805 " Spek, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art. "
MilT 3806 This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart
MilT 3807 As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
MilT 3808 That with the strook he was almoost yblent;
MilT 3809 And he was redy with his iren hoot,
MilT 3810 And Nicholas amydde the ers he smoot.
MilT 3811 Of gooth the skyn an hande-brede aboute,
MilT 3812 The hoote kultour brende so his toute,
MilT 3813 And for the smert he wende for to dye.
MilT 3814 As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,
MilT 3815 " Help! Water! Water! Help, for Goddes herte! "
MilT 3816 This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,
MilT 3817 And herde oon crien " water! " as he were wood,
MilT 3818 And thoughte, " Allas, now comth Nowelis flood! "
MilT 3819 He sit hym up withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3820 And with his ax he smoot the corde atwo,
MilT 3821 And doun gooth al; he foond neither to selle,
MilT 3822 Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle
MilT 3823 Upon the floor, and ther aswowne he lay.
MilT 3824 Up stirte hire Alison and Nicholay,
MilT 3825 And criden " Out " and " Harrow " in the strete.
MilT 3826 The neighebores, bothe smale and grete,
MilT 3827 In ronnen for to gauren on this man,
MilT 3828 That yet aswowne lay, bothe pale and wan,
MilT 3829 For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm.
MilT 3830 But stonde he moste unto his owene harm;
MilT 3831 For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
MilT 3832 With hende Nicholas and Alisoun.
MilT 3833 They tolden every man that he was wood;
MilT 3834 He was agast so of Nowelis flood
MilT 3835 Thurgh fantasie that of his vanytee
MilT 3836 He hadde yboght hym knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3837 And hadde hem hanged in the roof above;
MilT 3838 And that he preyed hem, for Goddes love,
MilT 3839 To sitten in the roof, par compaignye.
MilT 3840 The folk gan laughen at his fantasye;
MilT 3841 Into the roof they kiken and they cape,
MilT 3842 And turned al his harm unto a jape.
MilT 3843 For what so that this carpenter answerde,
MilT 3844 It was for noght; no man his reson herde.
MilT 3845 With othes grete he was so sworn adoun
MilT 3846 That he was holde wood in al the toun;
MilT 3847 For every clerk anonright heeld with oother.
MilT 3848 They seyde, " The man is wood, my leeve brother " ;
MilT 3849 And every wight gan laughen at this stryf.
MilT 3850 Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf,
MilT 3851 For al his kepyng and his jalousye,
MilT 3852 And Absolon hath kist hir nether ye,
MilT 3853 And Nicholas is scalded in the towte.
MilT 3854 This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!
RvT 3855 Whan folk hadde laughen at this nyce cas
RvT 3856 Of Absolon and hende Nicholas,
RvT 3857 Diverse folk diversely they seyde,
RvT 3858 But for the moore part they loughe and pleyde.
RvT 3859 Ne at this tale I saugh no man hym greve,
RvT 3860 But it were oonly Osewold the Reve.
RvT 3861 By cause he was of carpenteris craft,
RvT 3862 A litel ire is in his herte ylaft;
RvT 3863 He gan to grucche, and blamed it a lite.
RvT 3864 " So theek, " quod he, " ful wel koude I thee quite
RvT 3865 With bleryng of a proud milleres ye,
RvT 3866 If that me liste speke of ribaudye.
RvT 3867 But ik am oold; me list not pley for age;
RvT 3868 Gras tyme is doon; my fodder is now forage;
RvT 3869 This white top writeth myne olde yeris;
RvT 3870 Myn herte is also mowled as myne heris,
RvT 3871 But if I fare as dooth an open-ers --
RvT 3872 That ilke fruyt is ever lenger the wers,
RvT 3873 Til it be roten in mullok or in stree.
RvT 3874 We olde men, I drede, so fare we:
RvT 3875 Til we be roten, kan we nat be rype;
RvT 3876 We hoppen alwey whil that the world wol pype.
RvT 3877 For in oure wyl ther stiketh evere a nayl,
RvT 3878 To have an hoor heed and a grene tayl,
RvT 3879 As hath a leek; for thogh oure myght be goon,
RvT 3880 Oure wyl desireth folie evere in oon.
RvT 3881 For whan we may nat doon, than wol we speke;
RvT 3882 Yet in oure asshen olde is fyr yreke.
RvT 3883 " Foure gleedes han we, which I shal devyse --
RvT 3884 Avauntyng, liyng, anger, coveitise;
RvT 3885 Thise foure sparkles longen unto eelde.
RvT 3886 Oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde,
RvT 3887 But wyl ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth.
RvT 3888 And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth,
RvT 3889 As many a yeer as it is passed henne
RvT 3890 Syn that my tappe of lif bigan to renne.
RvT 3891 For sikerly, whan I was bore, anon
RvT 3892 Deeth drough the tappe of lyf and leet it gon,
RvT 3893 And ever sithe hath so the tappe yronne
RvT 3894 Til that almoost al empty is the tonne.
RvT 3895 The streem of lyf now droppeth on the chymbe.
RvT 3896 The sely tonge may wel rynge and chymbe
RvT 3897 Of wrecchednesse that passed is ful yoore;
RvT 3898 With olde folk, save dotage, is namoore! "
RvT 3899 Whan that oure Hoost hadde herd this sermonyng,
RvT 3900 He gan to speke as lordly as a kyng.
RvT 3901 He seide, " What amounteth al this wit?
RvT 3902 What shul we speke alday of hooly writ?
RvT 3903 The devel made a reve for to preche,
RvT 3904 Or of a soutere a shipman or a leche.
RvT 3905 Sey forth thy tale, and tarie nat the tyme.
RvT 3906 Lo Depeford, and it is half-wey pryme!
RvT 3907 Lo Grenewych, ther many a shrewe is inne!
RvT 3908 It were al tyme thy tale to bigynne. "
RvT 3909 " Now, sires, " quod this Osewold the Reve,
RvT 3910 " I pray yow alle that ye nat yow greve,
RvT 3911 Thogh I answere, and somdeel sette his howve;
RvT 3912 For leveful is with force force of-showve.
RvT 3913 " This dronke Millere hath ytoold us heer
RvT 3914 How that bigyled was a carpenteer,
RvT 3915 Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon.
RvT 3916 And, by youre leve, I shal hym quite anoon;
RvT 3917 Right in his cherles termes wol I speke.
RvT 3918 I pray to God his nekke mote to-breke;
RvT 3919 He kan wel in myn eye seen a stalke,
RvT 3920 But in his owene he kan nat seen a balke. "
MLT 1 Oure Hooste saugh wel that the brighte sonne
MLT 2 The ark of his artificial day hath ronne
MLT 3 The ferthe part, and half an houre and moore,
MLT 4 And though he were not depe ystert in loore,
MLT 5 He wiste it was the eightetethe day
MLT 6 Of Aprill, that is messager to May;
MLT 7 And saugh wel that the shadwe of every tree
MLT 8 Was in lengthe the same quantitee
MLT 9 That was the body erect that caused it.
MLT 10 And therefore by the shadwe he took his wit
MLT 11 That Phebus, which that shoon so clere and brighte,
MLT 12 Degrees was fyve and fourty clombe on highte,
MLT 13 And for that day, as in that latitude,
MLT 14 It was ten of the clokke, he gan conclude,
MLT 15 And sodeynly he plighte his horse aboute.
MLT 16 " Lordynges, " quod he, " I warne yow, al this route,
MLT 17 The fourthe party of this day is gon.
MLT 18 Now for the love of God and of Seint John,
MLT 19 Leseth no tyme, as ferforth as ye may.
MLT 20 Lordynges, the tyme wasteth nyght and day,
MLT 21 And steleth from us, what pryvely slepynge,
MLT 22 And what thurgh necligence in oure wakynge,
MLT 23 As dooth the streem that turneth nevere agayn,
MLT 24 Descendynge from the mountaigne into playn.
MLT 25 Wel kan Senec and many a philosophre
MLT 26 Biwaillen tyme moore than gold in cofre;
MLT 27 For `Los of catel may recovered be,
MLT 28 But los of tyme shendeth us,' quod he.
MLT 29 It wol nat come agayn, withouten drede,
MLT 30 Nomoore than wole Malkynes maydenhede,
MLT 31 Whan she hath lost it in hir wantownesse.
MLT 32 Lat us nat mowlen thus in ydelnesse.
MLT 33 " Sire Man of Lawe, " quod he, " so have ye blis,
MLT 34 Telle us a tale anon, as forward is.
MLT 35 Ye been submytted, thurgh youre free assent,
MLT 36 To stonden in this cas at my juggement.
MLT 37 Acquiteth yow now of youre biheeste;
MLT 38 Thanne have ye do youre devoir atte leeste. "
MLT 39 " Hooste, " quod he, " depardieux, ich assente;
MLT 40 To breke forward is nat myn entente.
MLT 41 Biheste is dette, and I wole holde fayn
MLT 42 Al my biheste, I kan no bettre sayn.
MLT 43 For swich lawe as a man yeveth another wight,
MLT 44 He sholde hymselven usen it, by right;
MLT 45 Thus wole oure text. But nathelees, certeyn,
MLT 46 I kan right now no thrifty tale seyn
MLT 47 That Chaucer, thogh he kan but lewedly
MLT 48 On metres and on rymyng craftily,
MLT 49 Hath seyd hem in swich Englissh as he kan
MLT 50 Of olde tyme, as knoweth many a man;
MLT 51 And if he have noght seyd hem, leve brother,
MLT 52 In o book, he hath seyd hem in another.
MLT 53 For he hath toold of loveris up and doun
MLT 54 Mo than Ovide made of mencioun
MLT 55 In his Episteles, that been ful olde.
MLT 56 What sholde I tellen hem, syn they been tolde?
MLT 57 " In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcione,
MLT 58 And sitthen hath he spoken of everichone,
MLT 59 Thise noble wyves and thise loveris eke.
MLT 60 Whoso that wole his large volume seke,
MLT 61 Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupide,
MLT 62 Ther may he seen the large woundes wyde
MLT 63 Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tesbee;
MLT 64 The swerd of Dido for the false Enee;
MLT 65 The tree of Phillis for hire Demophon;
MLT 66 The pleinte of Dianire and of Hermyon,
MLT 67 Of Adriane, and of Isiphilee --
MLT 68 The bareyne yle stondynge in the see --
MLT 69 The dreynte Leandre for his Erro;
MLT 70 The teeris of Eleyne, and eek the wo
MLT 71 Of Brixseyde, and of the, Ladomya;
MLT 72 The crueltee of the, queene Medea,
MLT 73 Thy litel children hangynge by the hals,
MLT 74 For thy Jason, that was of love so fals!
MLT 75 O Ypermystra, Penelopee, Alceste,
MLT 76 Youre wifhod he comendeth with the beste!
MLT 77 " But certeinly no word ne writeth he
MLT 78 Of thilke wikke ensample of Canacee,
MLT 79 That loved hir owene brother synfully --
MLT 80 Of swiche cursed stories I sey fy! --
MLT 81 Or ellis of Tyro Appollonius,
MLT 82 How that the cursed kyng Antiochus
MLT 83 Birafte his doghter of hir maydenhede,
MLT 84 That is so horrible a tale for to rede,
MLT 85 Whan he hir threw upon the pavement.
MLT 86 And therfore he, of ful avysement,
MLT 87 Nolde nevere write in none of his sermons
MLT 88 Of swiche unkynde abhomynacions,
MLT 89 Ne I wol noon reherce, if that I may.
MLT 90 " But of my tale how shal I doon this day?
MLT 91 Me were looth be likned, doutelees,
MLT 92 To Muses that men clepe Pierides --
MLT 93 Methamorphosios woot what I mene;
MLT 94 But nathelees, I recche noght a bene
MLT 95 Though I come after hym with hawebake.
MLT 96 I speke in prose, and lat him rymes make. "
MLT 97 And with that word he, with a sobre cheere,
MLT 98 Bigan his tale, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 99 O hateful harm, condicion of poverte!
MLT 100 With thurst, with coold, with hunger so confoundid!
MLT 101 To asken help thee shameth in thyn herte;
MLT 102 If thou noon aske, with nede artow so woundid
MLT 103 That verray nede unwrappeth al thy wounde hid!
MLT 104 Maugree thyn heed, thou most for indigence
MLT 105 Or stele, or begge, or borwe thy despence!
MLT 106 Thow blamest Crist and seist ful bitterly
MLT 107 He mysdeparteth richesse temporal;
MLT 108 Thy neighebor thou wytest synfully,
MLT 109 And seist thou hast to lite and he hath al.
MLT 110 " Parfay, " seistow, " somtyme he rekene shal,
MLT 111 Whan that his tayl shal brennen in the gleede,
MLT 112 For he noght helpeth needfulle in hir neede. "
MLT 113 Herkne what is the sentence of the wise:
MLT 114 " Bet is to dyen than have indigence " ;
MLT 115 " Thy selve neighebor wol thee despise. "
MLT 116 If thou be povre, farwel thy reverence!
MLT 117 Yet of the wise man take this sentence:
MLT 118 " Alle the dayes of povre men been wikke. "
MLT 119 Be war, therfore, er thou come to that prikke!
MLT 120 If thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee,
MLT 121 And alle thy freendes fleen from thee, allas!
MLT 122 O riche marchauntz, ful of wele been yee,
MLT 123 O noble, o prudent folk, as in this cas!
MLT 124 Youre bagges been nat fild with ambes as,
MLT 125 But with sys cynk, that renneth for youre chaunce;
MLT 126 At Cristemasse myrie may ye daunce!
MLT 127 Ye seken lond and see for yowre wynnynges;
MLT 128 As wise folk ye knowen al th' estaat
MLT 129 Of regnes; ye been fadres of tidynges
MLT 130 And tales, bothe of pees and of debaat.
MLT 131 I were right now of tales desolaat,
MLT 132 Nere that a marchant, goon is many a yeere,
MLT 133 Me taughte a tale, which that ye shal heere.
MLT 134 In Surrye whilom dwelte a compaignye
MLT 135 Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,
MLT 136 That wyde-where senten hir spicerye,
MLT 137 Clothes of gold, and satyns riche of hewe.
MLT 138 Hir chaffare was so thrifty and so newe
MLT 139 That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
MLT 140 With hem, and eek to sellen hem hire ware.
MLT 141 Now fil it that the maistres of that sort
MLT 142 Han shapen hem to Rome for to wende;
MLT 143 Were it for chapmanhod or for disport,
MLT 144 Noon oother message wolde they thider sende,
MLT 145 But comen hemself to Rome; this is the ende.
MLT 146 And in swich place as thoughte hem avantage
MLT 147 For hire entente, they take hir herbergage.
MLT 148 Sojourned han thise merchantz in that toun
MLT 149 A certein tyme, as fil to hire plesance.
MLT 150 And so bifel that th' excellent renoun
MLT 151 Of the Emperoures doghter, dame Custance,
MLT 152 Reported was, with every circumstance,
MLT 153 Unto thise Surryen marchantz in swich wyse,
MLT 154 Fro day to day, as I shal yow devyse.
MLT 155 This was the commune voys of every man:
MLT 156 " Oure Emperour of Rome -- God hym see! --
MLT 157 A doghter hath that, syn the world bigan,
MLT 158 To rekene as wel hir goodnesse as beautee,
MLT 159 Nas nevere swich another as is shee.
MLT 160 I prey to God in honour hire susteene,
MLT 161 And wolde she were of al Europe the queene.
MLT 162 " In hire is heigh beautee, withoute pride,
MLT 163 Yowthe, withoute grenehede or folye;
MLT 164 To alle hire werkes vertu is hir gyde;
MLT 165 Humblesse hath slayn in hire al tirannye.
MLT 166 She is mirour of alle curteisye;
MLT 167 Hir herte is verray chambre of hoolynesse,
MLT 168 Hir hand, ministre of fredam for almesse. "
MLT 169 And al this voys was sooth, as God is trewe.
MLT 170 But now to purpos lat us turne agayn.
MLT 171 Thise marchantz han doon fraught hir shippes newe,
MLT 172 And whan they han this blisful mayden sayn,
MLT 173 Hoom to Surrye been they went ful fayn,
MLT 174 And doon hir nedes as they han doon yoore,
MLT 175 And lyven in wele; I kan sey yow namoore.
MLT 176 Now fil it that thise marchantz stode in grace
MLT 177 Of hym that was the Sowdan of Surrye;
MLT 178 For whan they cam from any strange place,
MLT 179 He wolde, of his benigne curteisye,
MLT 180 Make hem good chiere, and bisily espye
MLT 181 Tidynges of sondry regnes, for to leere
MLT 182 The wondres that they myghte seen or heere.
MLT 183 Amonges othere thynges, specially,
MLT 184 Thise marchantz han hym toold of dame Custance
MLT 185 So greet noblesse in ernest, ceriously,
MLT 186 That this Sowdan hath caught so greet plesance
MLT 187 To han hir figure in his remembrance,
MLT 188 That al his lust and al his bisy cure
MLT 189 Was for to love hire while his lyf may dure.
MLT 190 Paraventure in thilke large book
MLT 191 Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was
MLT 192 With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
MLT 193 That he for love sholde han his deeth, allas!
MLT 194 For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
MLT 195 Is writen, God woot, whoso koude it rede,
MLT 196 The deeth of every man, withouten drede.
MLT 197 In sterres, many a wynter therbiforn,
MLT 198 Was writen the deeth of Ector, Achilles,
MLT 199 Of Pompei, Julius, er they were born;
MLT 200 The strif of Thebes; and of Ercules,
MLT 201 Of Sampson, Turnus, and of Socrates
MLT 202 The deeth; but mennes wittes ben so dulle
MLT 203 That no wight kan wel rede it atte fulle.
MLT 204 This Sowdan for his privee conseil sente,
MLT 205 And, shortly of this matiere for to pace,
MLT 206 He hath to hem declared his entente,
MLT 207 And seyde hem, certein, but he myghte have grace
MLT 208 To han Custance withinne a litel space,
MLT 209 He nas but deed; and charged hem in hye
MLT 210 To shapen for his lyf som remedye.
MLT 211 Diverse men diverse thynges seyden;
MLT 212 They argumenten, casten up and doun;
MLT 213 Many a subtil resoun forth they leyden;
MLT 214 They speken of magyk and abusioun.
MLT 215 But finally, as in conclusioun,
MLT 216 They kan nat seen in that noon avantage,
MLT 217 Ne in noon oother wey, save mariage.
MLT 218 Thanne sawe they therinne swich difficultee
MLT 219 By wey of reson, for to speke al playn,
MLT 220 By cause that ther was swich diversitee
MLT 221 Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn
MLT 222 They trowe that no " Cristen prince wolde fayn
MLT 223 Wedden his child under oure lawe sweete
MLT 224 That us was taught by Mahoun, oure prophete. "
MLT 225 And he answerde, " Rather than I lese
MLT 226 Custance, I wol be cristned, doutelees.
MLT 227 I moot been hires; I may noon oother chese.
MLT 228 I prey yow hoold youre argumentz in pees;
MLT 229 Saveth my lyf, and beth noght recchelees
MLT 230 To geten hire that hath my lyf in cure,
MLT 231 For in this wo I may nat longe endure. "
MLT 232 What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
MLT 233 I seye, by tretys and embassadrie,
MLT 234 And by the popes mediacioun,
MLT 235 And al the chirche, and al the chivalrie,
MLT 236 That in destruccioun of mawmettrie,
MLT 237 And in encrees of Cristes lawe deere,
MLT 238 They been acorded, so as ye shal heere:
MLT 239 How that the Sowdan and his baronage
MLT 240 And alle his liges sholde ycristned be,
MLT 241 And he shal han Custance in mariage,
MLT 242 And certein gold, I noot what quantitee;
MLT 243 And heer-to founden sufficient suretee.
MLT 244 This same accord was sworn on eyther syde;
MLT 245 Now, faire Custance, almyghty God thee gyde!
MLT 246 Now wolde som men waiten, as I gesse,
MLT 247 That I sholde tellen al the purveiance
MLT 248 That th' Emperour, of his grete noblesse,
MLT 249 Hath shapen for his doghter, dame Custance.
MLT 250 Wel may men knowen that so greet ordinance
MLT 251 May no man tellen in a litel clause
MLT 252 As was arrayed for so heigh a cause.
MLT 253 Bisshopes been shapen with hire for to wende,
MLT 254 Lordes, ladies, knyghtes of renoun,
MLT 255 And oother folk ynowe; this is th' ende;
MLT 256 And notified is thurghout the toun
MLT 257 That every wight, with greet devocioun,
MLT 258 Sholde preyen Crist that he this mariage
MLT 259 Receyve in gree and spede this viage.
MLT 260 The day is comen of hir departynge;
MLT 261 I seye, the woful day fatal is come,
MLT 262 That ther may be no lenger tariynge,
MLT 263 But forthward they hem dressen, alle and some.
MLT 264 Custance, that was with sorwe al overcome,
MLT 265 Ful pale arist, and dresseth hire to wende;
MLT 266 For wel she seeth ther is noon oother ende.
MLT 267 Allas, what wonder is it thogh she wepte,
MLT 268 That shal be sent to strange nacioun
MLT 269 Fro freendes that so tendrely hire kepte,
MLT 270 And to be bounden under subjeccioun
MLT 271 Of oon, she knoweth nat his condicioun?
MLT 272 Housbondes been alle goode, and han ben yoore;
MLT 273 That knowen wyves; I dar sey yow na moore.
MLT 274 " Fader, " she seyde, " thy wrecched child Custance,
MLT 275 Thy yonge doghter fostred up so softe,
MLT 276 And ye, my mooder, my soverayn plesance
MLT 277 Over alle thyng, out-taken Crist on-lofte,
MLT 278 Custance youre child hire recomandeth ofte
MLT 279 Unto youre grace, for I shal to Surrye,
MLT 280 Ne shal I nevere seen yow moore with ye.
MLT 281 " Allas, unto the Barbre nacioun
MLT 282 I moste anoon, syn that it is youre wille;
MLT 283 But Crist, that starf for our redempcioun
MLT 284 So yeve me grace his heestes to fulfille!
MLT 285 I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille!
MLT 286 Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
MLT 287 And to been under mannes governance. "
MLT 288 I trowe at Troye, whan Pirrus brak the wal
MLT 289 Or Ilion brende, at Thebes the citee,
MLT 290 N' at Rome, for the harm thurgh Hanybal
MLT 291 That Romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre,
MLT 292 Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee
MLT 293 As in the chambre was for hire departynge;
MLT 294 But forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or synge.
MLT 295 O firste moevyng! Crueel firmament,
MLT 296 With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay
MLT 297 And hurlest al from est til occident
MLT 298 That naturelly wolde holde another way,
MLT 299 Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array
MLT 300 At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage,
MLT 301 That crueel Mars hath slayn this mariage.
MLT 302 Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
MLT 303 Of which the lord is helplees falle, allas,
MLT 304 Out of his angle into the derkeste hous!
MLT 305 O Mars, o atazir, as in this cas!
MLT 306 O fieble moone, unhappy been thy paas!
MLT 307 Thou knyttest thee ther thou art nat receyved;
MLT 308 Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.
MLT 309 Imprudent Emperour of Rome, allas!
MLT 310 Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?
MLT 311 Is no tyme bet than oother in swich cas?
MLT 312 Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
MLT 313 Namely to folk of heigh condicioun?
MLT 314 Noght whan a roote is of a burthe yknowe?
MLT 315 Allas, we been to lewed or to slowe!
MLT 316 To shippe is brought this woful faire mayde
MLT 317 Solempnely, with every circumstance.
MLT 318 " Now Jhesu Crist be with yow alle! " she sayde;
MLT 319 Ther nys namoore, but " Farewel, faire Custance! "
MLT 320 She peyneth hire to make good contenance;
MLT 321 And forth I lete hire saille in this manere,
MLT 322 And turne I wole agayn to my matere.
MLT 323 The mooder of the Sowdan, welle of vices,
MLT 324 Espied hath hir sones pleyn entente,
MLT 325 How he wol lete his olde sacrifices;
MLT 326 And right anon she for hir conseil sente,
MLT 327 And they been come to knowe what she mente.
MLT 328 And whan assembled was this folk in-feere,
MLT 329 She sette hire doun, and seyde as ye shal heere.
MLT 330 " Lordes, " quod she, " ye knowen everichon,
MLT 331 How that my sone in point is for to lete
MLT 332 The hooly lawes of our Alkaron,
MLT 333 Yeven by Goddes message Makomete.
MLT 334 But oon avow to grete God I heete,
MLT 335 The lyf shal rather out of my body sterte
MLT 336 Or Makometes lawe out of myn herte!
MLT 337 " What sholde us tyden of this newe lawe
MLT 338 But thraldom to oure bodies and penance,
MLT 339 And afterward in helle to be drawe,
MLT 340 For we reneyed Mahoun oure creance?
MLT 341 But, lordes, wol ye maken assurance,
MLT 342 As I shal seyn, assentynge to my loore,
MLT 343 And I shal make us sauf for everemoore? "
MLT 344 They sworen and assenten, every man,
MLT 345 To lyve with hire and dye, and by hire stonde,
MLT 346 And everich, in the beste wise he kan,
MLT 347 To strengthen hire shal alle his frendes fonde;
MLT 348 And she hath this emprise ytake on honde,
MLT 349 Which ye shal heren that I shal devyse,
MLT 350 And to hem alle she spak right in this wyse:
MLT 351 " We shul first feyne us cristendom to take --
MLT 352 Coold water shal nat greve us but a lite! --
MLT 353 And I shal swich a feeste and revel make
MLT 354 That, as I trowe, I shal the Sowdan quite.
MLT 355 For thogh his wyf be cristned never so white,
MLT 356 She shal have nede to wasshe awey the rede,
MLT 357 Thogh she a font-ful water with hire lede. "
MLT 358 O Sowdanesse, roote of iniquitee!
MLT 359 Virago, thou Semyrame the secounde!
MLT 360 O serpent under femynynytee,
MLT 361 Lik to the serpent depe in helle ybounde!
MLT 362 O feyned womman, al that may confounde
MLT 363 Vertu and innocence, thurgh thy malice,
MLT 364 Is bred in thee, as nest of every vice!
MLT 365 O Sathan, envious syn thilke day
MLT 366 That thou were chaced from oure heritage,
MLT 367 Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way!
MLT 368 Thou madest Eva brynge us in servage;
MLT 369 Thou wolt fordoon this Cristen mariage.
MLT 370 Thyn instrument so -- weylawey the while! --
MLT 371 Makestow of wommen, whan thou wolt bigile.
MLT 372 This Sowdanesse, whom I thus blame and warye,
MLT 373 Leet prively hire conseil goon hire way.
MLT 374 What sholde I in this tale lenger tarye?
MLT 375 She rydeth to the Sowdan on a day,
MLT 376 And seyde hym that she wolde reneye hir lay,
MLT 377 And cristendom of preestes handes fonge,
MLT 378 Repentynge hire she hethen was so longe,
MLT 379 Bisechynge hym to doon hire that honour,
MLT 380 That she moste han the Cristen folk to feeste --
MLT 381 " To plesen hem I wol do my labour. "
MLT 382 The Sowdan seith, " I wol doon at youre heeste, "
MLT 383 And knelynge thanketh hire of that requeste.
MLT 384 So glad he was, he nyste what to seye.
MLT 385 She kiste hir sone, and hoom she gooth hir weye.
MLT 386 Arryved been this Cristen folk to londe
MLT 387 In Surrye, with a greet solempne route,
MLT 388 And hastifliche this Sowdan sente his sonde
MLT 389 First to his mooder, and al the regne aboute,
MLT 390 And seyde his wyf was comen, out of doute,
MLT 391 And preyde hire for to ryde agayn the queene,
MLT 392 The honour of his regne to susteene.
MLT 393 Greet was the prees, and riche was th' array
MLT 394 Of Surryens and Romayns met yfeere;
MLT 395 The mooder of the Sowdan, riche and gay,
MLT 396 Receyveth hire with also glad a cheere
MLT 397 As any mooder myghte hir doghter deere,
MLT 398 And to the nexte citee ther bisyde
MLT 399 A softe paas solempnely they ryde.
MLT 400 Noght trowe I the triumphe of Julius,
MLT 401 Of which that Lucan maketh swich a boost,
MLT 402 Was roialler ne moore curius
MLT 403 Than was th' assemblee of this blisful hoost.
MLT 404 But this scorpioun, this wikked goost,
MLT 405 The Sowdanesse, for al hire flaterynge,
MLT 406 Caste under this ful mortally to stynge.
MLT 407 The Sowdan comth hymself soone after this
MLT 408 So roially that wonder is to telle,
MLT 409 And welcometh hire with alle joye and blis.
MLT 410 And thus in murthe and joye I lete hem dwelle;
MLT 411 The fruyt of this matiere is that I telle.
MLT 412 Whan tyme cam, men thoughte it for the beste
MLT 413 That revel stynte, and men goon to hir reste.
MLT 414 The tyme cam, this olde Sowdanesse
MLT 415 Ordeyned hath this feeste of which I tolde,
MLT 416 And to the feeste Cristen folk hem dresse
MLT 417 In general, ye, bothe yonge and olde.
MLT 418 Heere may men feeste and roialtee biholde,
MLT 419 And deyntees mo than I kan yow devyse;
MLT 420 But al to deere they boghte it er they ryse.
MLT 421 O sodeyn wo, that evere art successour
MLT 422 To worldly blisse, spreynd with bitternesse,
MLT 423 The ende of the joye of oure worldly labour!
MLT 424 Wo occupieth the fyn of oure gladnesse.
MLT 425 Herke this conseil for thy sikernesse:
MLT 426 Upon thy glade day have in thy mynde
MLT 427 The unwar wo or harm that comth bihynde.
MLT 428 For shortly for to tellen, at o word,
MLT 429 The Sowdan and the Cristen everichone
MLT 430 Been al tohewe and stiked at the bord,
MLT 431 But it were oonly dame Custance allone.
MLT 432 This olde Sowdanesse, cursed krone,
MLT 433 Hath with hir freendes doon this cursed dede,
MLT 434 For she hirself wolde al the contree lede.
MLT 435 Ne ther was Surryen noon that was converted,
MLT 436 That of the conseil of the Sowdan woot,
MLT 437 That he nas al tohewe er he asterted.
MLT 438 And Custance han they take anon, foot-hoot,
MLT 439 And in a ship al steerelees, God woot,
MLT 440 They han hir set, and bidde hire lerne saille
MLT 441 Out of Surrye agaynward to Ytaille.
MLT 442 A certein tresor that she thider ladde,
MLT 443 And, sooth to seyn, vitaille greet plentee
MLT 444 They han hire yeven, and clothes eek she hadde,
MLT 445 And forth she sailleth in the salte see.
MLT 446 O my Custance, ful of benignytee,
MLT 447 O Emperoures yonge doghter deere,
MLT 448 He that is lord of Fortune be thy steere!
MLT 449 She blesseth hire, and with ful pitous voys
MLT 450 Unto the croys of Crist thus seyde she:
MLT 451 " O cleere, o welful auter, hooly croys,
MLT 452 Reed of the Lambes blood ful of pitee,
MLT 453 That wessh the world fro the olde iniquitee,
MLT 454 Me fro the feend and fro his clawes kepe,
MLT 455 That day that I shal drenchen in the depe.
MLT 456 " Victorious tree, proteccioun of trewe,
MLT 457 That oonly worthy were for to bere
MLT 458 The Kyng of Hevene with his woundes newe,
MLT 459 The white Lamb, that hurt was with a spere,
MLT 460 Flemere of feendes out of hym and here
MLT 461 On which thy lymes feithfully extenden,
MLT 462 Me kepe, and yif me myght my lyf t' amenden. "
MLT 463 Yeres and dayes fleet this creature
MLT 464 Thurghout the See of Grece unto the Strayte
MLT 465 Of Marrok, as it was hire aventure.
MLT 466 On many a sory meel now may she bayte;
MLT 467 After hir deeth ful often may she wayte,
MLT 468 Er that the wilde wawes wol hire dryve
MLT 469 Unto the place ther she shal arryve.
MLT 470 Men myghten asken why she was nat slayn
MLT 471 Eek at the feeste? Who myghte hir body save?
MLT 472 And I answere to that demande agayn,
MLT 473 Who saved Danyel in the horrible cave
MLT 474 Ther every wight save he, maister and knave,
MLT 475 Was with the leon frete er he asterte?
MLT 476 No wight but God that he bar in his herte.
MLT 477 God liste to shewe his wonderful myracle
MLT 478 In hire, for we sholde seen his myghty werkis;
MLT 479 Crist, which that is to every harm triacle,
MLT 480 By certeine meenes ofte, as knowen clerkis,
MLT 481 Dooth thyng for certein ende that ful derk is
MLT 482 To mannes wit, that for oure ignorance
MLT 483 Ne konne noght knowe his prudent purveiance.
MLT 484 Now sith she was nat at the feeste yslawe,
MLT 485 Who kepte hire fro the drenchyng in the see?
MLT 486 Who kepte Jonas in the fisshes mawe
MLT 487 Til he was spouted up at Nynyvee?
MLT 488 Wel may men knowe it was no wight but he
MLT 489 That kepte peple Ebrayk from hir drenchynge,
MLT 490 With drye feet thurghout the see passynge.
MLT 491 Who bad the foure spirites of tempest
MLT 492 That power han t' anoyen lond and see,
MLT 493 Bothe north and south, and also west and est,
MLT 494 " Anoyeth neither see, ne land, ne tree " ?
MLT 495 Soothly, the comandour of that was he
MLT 496 That fro the tempest ay this womman kepte
MLT 497 As wel whan she wook as whan she slepte.
MLT 498 Where myghte this womman mete and drynke have
MLT 499 Thre yeer and moore? How lasteth hire vitaille?
MLT 500 Who fedde the Egipcien Marie in the cave,
MLT 501 Or in desert? No wight but Crist, sanz faille.
MLT 502 Fyve thousand folk it was as greet mervaille
MLT 503 With loves fyve and fisshes two to feede.
MLT 504 God sente his foyson at hir grete neede.
MLT 505 She dryveth forth into oure occian
MLT 506 Thurghout oure wilde see, til atte laste
MLT 507 Under an hoold that nempnen I ne kan,
MLT 508 Fer in Northhumberlond the wawe hire caste,
MLT 509 And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste
MLT 510 That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde;
MLT 511 The wyl of Crist was that she sholde abyde.
MLT 512 The constable of the castel doun is fare
MLT 513 To seen this wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
MLT 514 And foond this wery womman ful of care;
MLT 515 He foond also the tresor that she broghte.
MLT 516 In hir langage mercy she bisoghte,
MLT 517 The lyf out of hir body for to twynne,
MLT 518 Hire to delivere of wo that she was inne.
MLT 519 A maner Latyn corrupt was hir speche,
MLT 520 But algates therby was she understonde.
MLT 521 The constable, whan hym lyst no longer seche,
MLT 522 This woful womman broghte he to the londe.
MLT 523 She kneleth doun and thanketh Goddes sonde;
MLT 524 But what she was she wolde no man seye,
MLT 525 For foul ne fair, thogh that she sholde deye.
MLT 526 She seyde she was so mazed in the see
MLT 527 That she forgat hir mynde, by hir trouthe.
MLT 528 The constable hath of hire so greet pitee,
MLT 529 And eek his wyf, that they wepen for routhe.
MLT 530 She was so diligent, withouten slouthe,
MLT 531 To serve and plesen everich in that place
MLT 532 That alle hir loven that looken in hir face.
MLT 533 This constable and dame Hermengyld, his wyf,
MLT 534 Were payens, and that contree everywhere;
MLT 535 But Hermengyld loved hire right as hir lyf,
MLT 536 And Custance hath so longe sojourned there,
MLT 537 In orisons, with many a bitter teere,
MLT 538 Til Jhesu hath converted thurgh his grace
MLT 539 Dame Hermengyld, constablesse of that place.
MLT 540 In al that lond no Cristen dorste route;
MLT 541 Alle Cristen folk been fled fro that contree
MLT 542 Thurgh payens, that conquereden al aboute
MLT 543 The plages of the north, by land and see.
MLT 544 To Walys fledde the Cristyanytee
MLT 545 Of olde Britons dwellynge in this ile;
MLT 546 Ther was hir refut for the meene while.
MLT 547 But yet nere Cristene Britons so exiled
MLT 548 That ther nere somme that in hir privetee
MLT 549 Honoured Crist and hethen folk bigiled,
MLT 550 And ny the castel swiche ther dwelten three.
MLT 551 That oon of hem was blynd and myghte nat see,
MLT 552 But it were with thilke eyen of his mynde
MLT 553 With whiche men seen, after that they ben blynde.
MLT 554 Bright was the sonne as in that someres day,
MLT 555 For which the constable and his wyf also
MLT 556 And Custance han ytake the righte way
MLT 557 Toward the see a furlong wey or two,
MLT 558 To pleyen and to romen to and fro,
MLT 559 And in hir walk this blynde man they mette,
MLT 560 Croked and oold, with eyen faste yshette.
MLT 561 " In name of Crist, " cride this blinde Britoun,
MLT 562 " Dame Hermengyld, yif me my sighte agayn! "
MLT 563 This lady weex affrayed of the soun,
MLT 564 Lest that hir housbonde, shortly for to sayn,
MLT 565 Wolde hire for Jhesu Cristes love han slayn,
MLT 566 Til Custance made hire boold, and bad hire wirche
MLT 567 The wyl of Crist, as doghter of his chirche.
MLT 568 The constable weex abasshed of that sight,
MLT 569 And seyde, " What amounteth al this fare? "
MLT 570 Custance answerde, " Sire, it is Cristes myght,
MLT 571 That helpeth folk out of the feendes snare. "
MLT 572 And so ferforth she gan oure lay declare
MLT 573 That she the constable, er that it was eve
MLT 574 Converteth, and on Crist made hym bileve.
MLT 575 This constable was nothyng lord of this place
MLT 576 Of which I speke, ther he Custance fond,
MLT 577 But kepte it strongly many a wyntres space
MLT 578 Under Alla, kyng of al Northhumbrelond,
MLT 579 That was ful wys, and worthy of his hond
MLT 580 Agayn the Scottes, as men may wel heere;
MLT 581 But turne I wole agayn to my mateere.
MLT 582 Sathan, that evere us waiteth to bigile,
MLT 583 Saugh of Custance al hire perfeccioun,
MLT 584 And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while,
MLT 585 And made a yong knyght that dwelte in that toun
MLT 586 Love hire so hoote, of foul affeccioun,
MLT 587 That verraily hym thoughte he sholde spille,
MLT 588 But he of hire myghte ones have his wille.
MLT 589 He woweth hire, but it availleth noght;
MLT 590 She wolde do no synne, by no weye.
MLT 591 And for despit he compassed in his thoght
MLT 592 To maken hire on shameful deeth to deye.
MLT 593 He wayteth whan the constable was aweye,
MLT 594 And pryvely upon a nyght he crepte
MLT 595 In Hermengyldes chambre, whil she slepte.
MLT 596 Wery, forwaked in hire orisouns,
MLT 597 Slepeth Custance, and Hermengyld also.
MLT 598 This knyght, thurgh Sathanas temptaciouns,
MLT 599 Al softely is to the bed ygo,
MLT 600 And kitte the throte of Hermengyld atwo,
MLT 601 And leyde the blody knyf by dame Custance,
MLT 602 And wente his wey, ther God yeve hym meschance!
MLT 603 Soone after cometh this constable hoom agayn,
MLT 604 And eek Alla, that kyng was of that lond,
MLT 605 And saugh his wyf despitously yslayn,
MLT 606 For which ful ofte he weep and wroong his hond,
MLT 607 And in the bed the blody knyf he fond
MLT 608 By Dame Custance. Allas, what myghte she seye?
MLT 609 For verray wo hir wit was al aweye.
MLT 610 To kyng Alla was toold al this meschance,
MLT 611 And eek the tyme, and where, and in what wise
MLT 612 That in a ship was founden this Custance,
MLT 613 As heer-biforn that ye han herd devyse.
MLT 614 The kynges herte of pitee gan agryse,
MLT 615 Whan he saugh so benigne a creature
MLT 616 Falle in disese and in mysaventure.
MLT 617 For as the lomb toward his deeth is broght,
MLT 618 So stant this innocent bifore the kyng.
MLT 619 This false knyght, that hath this tresoun wroght,
MLT 620 Berth hire on hond that she hath doon thys thyng.
MLT 621 But nathelees, ther was greet moornyng
MLT 622 Among the peple, and seyn they kan nat gesse
MLT 623 That she had doon so greet a wikkednesse,
MLT 624 For they han seyn hire evere so vertuous,
MLT 625 And lovynge Hermengyld right as hir lyf.
MLT 626 Of this baar witnesse everich in that hous,
MLT 627 Save he that Hermengyld slow with his knyf.
MLT 628 This gentil kyng hath caught a greet motyf
MLT 629 Of this witnesse, and thoghte he wolde enquere
MLT 630 Depper in this, a trouthe for to lere.
MLT 631 Allas! Custance, thou hast no champioun,
MLT 632 Ne fighte kanstow noght, so weylaway!
MLT 633 But he that starf for our redempcioun,
MLT 634 And boond Sathan (and yet lith ther he lay),
MLT 635 So be thy stronge champion this day!
MLT 636 For, but if Crist open myracle kithe,
MLT 637 Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swithe.
MLT 638 She sette hire doun on knees, and thus she sayde:
MLT 639 " Immortal God, that savedest Susanne
MLT 640 Fro false blame, and thou, merciful mayde,
MLT 641 Marie I meene, doghter to Seint Anne,
MLT 642 Bifore whos child angeles synge Osanne,
MLT 643 If I be giltlees of this felonye,
MLT 644 My socour be, for ellis shal I dye! "
MLT 645 Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face,
MLT 646 Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad
MLT 647 Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace,
MLT 648 And swich a colour in his face hath had
MLT 649 Men myghte knowe his face that was bistad
MLT 650 Amonges alle the faces in that route?
MLT 651 So stant Custance, and looketh hire aboute.
MLT 652 O queenes, lyvynge in prosperitee,
MLT 653 Duchesses, and ye ladyes everichone,
MLT 654 Haveth som routhe on hire adversitee!
MLT 655 An Emperoures doghter stant allone;
MLT 656 She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
MLT 657 O blood roial, that stondest in this drede,
MLT 658 Fer been thy freendes at thy grete nede!
MLT 659 This Alla kyng hath swich compassioun,
MLT 660 As gentil herte is fulfild of pitee,
MLT 661 That from his eyen ran the water doun.
MLT 662 " Now hastily do fecche a book, " quod he,
MLT 663 " And if this knyght wol sweren how that she
MLT 664 This womman slow, yet wol we us avyse
MLT 665 Whom that we wole that shal been oure justise. "
MLT 666 A Britoun book, written with Evaungiles,
MLT 667 Was fet, and on this book he swoor anoon
MLT 668 She gilty was, and in the meene whiles
MLT 669 An hand hym smoot upon the nekke-boon,
MLT 670 That doun he fil atones as a stoon,
MLT 671 And bothe his eyen broste out of his face
MLT 672 In sighte of every body in that place.
MLT 673 A voys was herd in general audience,
MLT 674 And seyde, " Thou hast desclaundred, giltelees,
MLT 675 The doghter of hooly chirche in heigh presence;
MLT 676 Thus hastou doon, and yet holde I my pees! "
MLT 677 Of this mervaille agast was al the prees;
MLT 678 As mazed folk they stoden everichone,
MLT 679 For drede of wreche, save Custance allone.
MLT 680 Greet was the drede and eek the repentance
MLT 681 Of hem that hadden wrong suspecioun
MLT 682 Upon this sely innocent, Custance;
MLT 683 And for this miracle, in conclusioun,
MLT 684 And by Custances mediacioun,
MLT 685 The kyng -- and many another in that place --
MLT 686 Converted was, thanked be Cristes grace!
MLT 687 This false knyght was slayn for his untrouthe
MLT 688 By juggement of Alla hastifly;
MLT 689 And yet Custance hadde of his deeth greet routhe.
MLT 690 And after this Jhesus, of his mercy,
MLT 691 Made Alla wedden ful solempnely
MLT 692 This hooly mayden, that is so bright and sheene;
MLT 693 And thus hath Crist ymaad Custance a queene.
MLT 694 But who was woful, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 695 Of this weddyng but Donegild, and namo,
MLT 696 The kynges mooder, ful of tirannye?
MLT 697 Hir thoughte hir cursed herte brast atwo.
MLT 698 She wolde noght hir sone had do so;
MLT 699 Hir thoughte a despit that he sholde take
MLT 700 So strange a creature unto his make.
MLT 701 Me list nat of the chaf, ne of the stree,
MLT 702 Maken so long a tale as of the corn.
MLT 703 What sholde I tellen of the roialtee
MLT 704 At mariage, or which cours goth biforn;
MLT 705 Who bloweth in a trumpe or in an horn?
MLT 706 The fruyt of every tale is for to seye:
MLT 707 They ete, and drynke, and daunce, and synge, and pleye.
MLT 708 They goon to bedde, as it was skile and right;
MLT 709 For thogh that wyves be ful hooly thynges,
MLT 710 They moste take in pacience at nyght
MLT 711 Swiche manere necessaries as been plesynges
MLT 712 To folk that han ywedded hem with rynges,
MLT 713 And leye a lite hir hoolynesse aside,
MLT 714 As for the tyme -- it may no bet bitide.
MLT 715 On hire he gat a knave child anon,
MLT 716 And to a bisshop, and his constable eke,
MLT 717 He took his wyf to kepe, whan he is gon
MLT 718 To Scotlond-ward, his foomen for to seke.
MLT 719 Now faire Custance, that is so humble and meke,
MLT 720 So longe is goon with childe, til that stille
MLT 721 She halt hire chambre, abidyng Cristes wille.
MLT 722 The tyme is come a knave child she beer;
MLT 723 Mauricius at the fontstoon they hym calle.
MLT 724 This constable dooth forth come a messageer,
MLT 725 And wroot unto his kyng, that cleped was Alle,
MLT 726 How that this blisful tidyng is bifalle,
MLT 727 And othere tidynges spedeful for to seye.
MLT 728 He taketh the lettre, and forth he gooth his weye.
MLT 729 This messager, to doon his avantage,
MLT 730 Unto the kynges mooder rideth swithe,
MLT 731 And salueth hire ful faire in his langage:
MLT 732 " Madame, " quod he, " ye may be glad and blithe,
MLT 733 And thanketh God an hundred thousand sithe!
MLT 734 My lady queene hath child, withouten doute,
MLT 735 To joye and blisse to al this regne aboute.
MLT 736 " Lo, heere the lettres seled of this thyng,
MLT 737 That I moot bere with al the haste I may.
MLT 738 If ye wol aught unto youre sone the kyng,
MLT 739 I am youre servant, bothe nyght and day. "
MLT 740 Donegild answerde, " As now at this tyme, nay;
MLT 741 But heere al nyght I wol thou take thy reste.
MLT 742 To-morwe wol I seye thee what me leste. "
MLT 743 This messager drank sadly ale and wyn,
MLT 744 And stolen were his lettres pryvely
MLT 745 Out of his box, whil he sleep as a swyn;
MLT 746 And countrefeted was ful subtilly
MLT 747 Another lettre, wroght ful synfully,
MLT 748 Unto the kyng direct of this mateere
MLT 749 Fro his constable, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 750 The lettre spak the queene delivered was
MLT 751 Of so horrible a feendly creature
MLT 752 That in the castel noon so hardy was
MLT 753 That any while dorste ther endure.
MLT 754 The mooder was an elf, by aventure
MLT 755 Ycomen, by charmes or by sorcerie,
MLT 756 And every wight hateth hir compaignye.
MLT 757 Wo was this kyng whan he this lettre had sayn,
MLT 758 But to no wight he tolde his sorwes soore,
MLT 759 But of his owene hand he wroot agayn,
MLT 760 " Welcome the sonde of Crist for everemoore
MLT 761 To me that am now lerned in his loore!
MLT 762 Lord, welcome be thy lust and thy plesaunce;
MLT 763 My lust I putte al in thyn ordinaunce.
MLT 764 " Kepeth this child, al be it foul or feir,
MLT 765 And eek my wyf, unto myn hoom-comynge.
MLT 766 Crist, whan hym list, may sende me an heir
MLT 767 Moore agreable than this to my likynge. "
MLT 768 This lettre he seleth, pryvely wepynge,
MLT 769 Which to the messager was take soone,
MLT 770 And forth he gooth; ther is na moore to doone.
MLT 771 O messager, fulfild of dronkenesse,
MLT 772 Strong is thy breeth, thy lymes faltren ay,
MLT 773 And thou biwreyest alle secreenesse.
MLT 774 Thy mynde is lorn, thou janglest as a jay,
MLT 775 Thy face is turned in a newe array.
MLT 776 Ther dronkenesse regneth in any route,
MLT 777 Ther is no conseil hyd, withouten doute.
MLT 778 O Donegild, I ne have noon Englissh digne
MLT 779 Unto thy malice and thy tirannye!
MLT 780 And therfore to the feend I thee resigne;
MLT 781 Lat hym enditen of thy traitorie!
MLT 782 Fy, mannysh, fy! -- o nay, by God, I lye --
MLT 783 Fy, feendlych spirit, for I dar wel telle,
MLT 784 Thogh thou heere walke, thy spirit is in helle!
MLT 785 This messager comth fro the kyng agayn,
MLT 786 And at the kynges moodres court he lighte,
MLT 787 And she was of this messager ful fayn,
MLT 788 And plesed hym in al that ever she myghte.
MLT 789 He drank, and wel his girdel underpighte;
MLT 790 He slepeth, and he fnorteth in his gyse
MLT 791 Al nyght, til the sonne gan aryse.
MLT 792 Eft were his lettres stolen everychon,
MLT 793 And countrefeted lettres in this wyse:
MLT 794 " The king comandeth his constable anon,
MLT 795 Up peyne of hangyng, and on heigh juyse,
MLT 796 That he ne sholde suffren in no wyse
MLT 797 Custance in-with his reawme for t' abyde
MLT 798 Thre dayes and o quarter of a tyde;
MLT 799 " But in the same ship as he hire fond,
MLT 800 Hire, and hir yonge sone, and al hir geere,
MLT 801 He sholde putte, and croude hire fro the lond,
MLT 802 And charge hire that she never eft coome theere. "
MLT 803 O my Custance, wel may thy goost have feere,
MLT 804 And, slepynge, in thy dreem been in penance,
MLT 805 Whan Donegild cast al this ordinance.
MLT 806 This messager on morwe, whan he wook,
MLT 807 Unto the castel halt the nexte way,
MLT 808 And to the constable he the lettre took;
MLT 809 And whan that he this pitous lettre say,
MLT 810 Ful ofte he seyde, " Allas and weylaway! "
MLT 811 " Lord Crist, " quod he, " how may this world endure,
MLT 812 So ful of synne is many a creature?
MLT 813 " O myghty God, if that it be thy wille,
MLT 814 Sith thou art rightful juge, how may it be
MLT 815 That thou wolt suffren innocentz to spille,
MLT 816 And wikked folk regne in prosperitee?
MLT 817 O goode Custance, allas, so wo is me
MLT 818 That I moot be thy tormentour, or deye
MLT 819 On shames deeth; ther is noon oother weye. "
MLT 820 Wepen bothe yonge and olde in al that place
MLT 821 Whan that the kyng this cursed lettre sente,
MLT 822 And Custance, with a deedly pale face,
MLT 823 The ferthe day toward hir ship she wente.
MLT 824 But nathelees she taketh in good entente
MLT 825 The wyl of Crist, and knelynge on the stronde,
MLT 826 She seyde, " Lord, ay welcome be thy sonde!
MLT 827 " He that me kepte fro the false blame
MLT 828 While I was on the lond amonges yow,
MLT 829 He kan me kepe from harm and eek fro shame
MLT 830 In salte see, althogh I se noght how.
MLT 831 As strong as evere he was, he is yet now.
MLT 832 In hym triste I, and in his mooder deere,
MLT 833 That is to me my seyl and eek my steere. "
MLT 834 Hir litel child lay wepyng in hir arm,
MLT 835 And knelynge, pitously to hym she seyde,
MLT 836 " Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee noon harm. "
MLT 837 With that hir coverchief of hir heed she breyde,
MLT 838 And over his litel eyen she it leyde,
MLT 839 And in hir arm she lulleth it ful faste,
MLT 840 And into hevene hire eyen up she caste.
MLT 841 " Mooder, " quod she, " and mayde bright, Marie,
MLT 842 Sooth is that thurgh wommanes eggement
MLT 843 Mankynde was lorn, and damned ay to dye,
MLT 844 For which thy child was on a croys yrent.
MLT 845 Thy blisful eyen sawe al his torment;
MLT 846 Thanne is ther no comparison bitwene
MLT 847 Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.
MLT 848 " Thow sawe thy child yslayn bifore thyne yen,
MLT 849 And yet now lyveth my litel child, parfay!
MLT 850 Now, lady bright, to whom alle woful cryen,
MLT 851 Thow glorie of wommanhede, thow faire may,
MLT 852 Thow haven of refut, brighte sterre of day,
MLT 853 Rewe on my child, that of thy gentillesse
MLT 854 Rewest on every reweful in distresse.
MLT 855 " O litel child, allas! What is thy gilt,
MLT 856 That nevere wroghtest synne as yet, pardee?
MLT 857 Why wil thyn harde fader han thee spilt?
MLT 858 O mercy, deere constable, " quod she,
MLT 859 " As lat my litel child dwelle heer with thee;
MLT 860 And if thou darst nat saven hym, for blame,
MLT 861 So kys hym ones in his fadres name! "
MLT 862 Therwith she looked bakward to the londe,
MLT 863 And seyde, " Farewel, housbonde routhelees! "
MLT 864 And up she rist, and walketh doun the stronde
MLT 865 Toward the ship -- hir folweth al the prees --
MLT 866 And evere she preyeth hire child to holde his pees;
MLT 867 And taketh hir leve, and with an hooly entente
MLT 868 She blisseth hire, and into ship she wente.
MLT 869 Vitailled was the ship, it is no drede,
MLT 870 Habundantly for hire ful longe space,
MLT 871 And othere necessaries that sholde nede
MLT 872 She hadde ynogh -- heryed be Goddes grace!
MLT 873 For wynd and weder almyghty God purchace,
MLT 874 And brynge hire hoom! I kan no bettre seye,
MLT 875 But in the see she dryveth forth hir weye.
MLT 876 Alla the kyng comth hoom soone after this
MLT 877 Unto his castel, of the which I tolde,
MLT 878 And asketh where his wyf and his child is.
MLT 879 The constable gan aboute his herte colde,
MLT 880 And pleynly al the manere he hym tolde
MLT 881 As ye han herd -- I kan telle it no bettre --
MLT 882 And sheweth the kyng his seel and eek his lettre,
MLT 883 And seyde, " Lord, as ye comanded me
MLT 884 Up peyne of deeth, so have I doon, certein. "
MLT 885 This messager tormented was til he
MLT 886 Moste biknowe and tellen, plat and pleyn,
MLT 887 Fro nyght to nyght, in what place he had leyn;
MLT 888 And thus, by wit and sotil enquerynge,
MLT 889 Ymagined was by whom this harm gan sprynge.
MLT 890 The hand was knowe that the lettre wroot,
MLT 891 And al the venym of this cursed dede,
MLT 892 But in what wise, certeinly, I noot.
MLT 893 Th' effect is this: that Alla, out of drede,
MLT 894 His mooder slow -- that may men pleynly rede --
MLT 895 For that she traitour was to hire ligeance.
MLT 896 Thus endeth olde Donegild, with meschance!
MLT 897 The sorwe that this Alla nyght and day
MLT 898 Maketh for his wyf, and for his child also,
MLT 899 Ther is no tonge that it telle may.
MLT 900 But now wol I unto Custance go,
MLT 901 That fleteth in the see, in peyne and wo,
MLT 902 Fyve yeer and moore, as liked Cristes sonde,
MLT 903 Er that hir ship approched unto londe.
MLT 904 Under an hethen castel, atte laste,
MLT 905 Of which the name in my text noght I fynde,
MLT 906 Custance, and eek hir child, the see up caste.
MLT 907 Almyghty God, that saveth al mankynde,
MLT 908 Have on Custance and on hir child som mynde,
MLT 909 That fallen is in hethen hand eft soone,
MLT 910 In point to spille, as I shal telle yow soone.
MLT 911 Doun fro the castel comth ther many a wight
MLT 912 To gauren on this ship and on Custance.
MLT 913 But shortly, from the castel, on a nyght,
MLT 914 The lordes styward -- God yeve hym meschance! --
MLT 915 A theef, that hadde reneyed oure creance,
MLT 916 Cam into ship allone, and seyde he sholde
MLT 917 Hir lemman be, wher-so she wolde or nolde.
MLT 918 Wo was this wrecched womman tho bigon;
MLT 919 Hir child cride, and she cride pitously.
MLT 920 But blisful Marie heelp hire right anon;
MLT 921 For with hir struglyng wel and myghtily
MLT 922 The theef fil over bord al sodeynly,
MLT 923 And in the see he dreynte for vengeance;
MLT 924 And thus hath Crist unwemmed kept Custance.
MLT 925 O foule lust of luxurie, lo, thyn ende!
MLT 926 Nat oonly that thou feyntest mannes mynde,
MLT 927 But verraily thou wolt his body shende.
MLT 928 Th' ende of thy werk, or of thy lustes blynde,
MLT 929 Is compleynyng. Hou many oon may men fynde
MLT 930 That noght for werk somtyme, but for th' entente
MLT 931 To doon this synne, been outher slayn or shente!
MLT 932 How may this wayke womman han this strengthe
MLT 933 Hire to defende agayn this renegat?
MLT 934 O Golias, unmesurable of lengthe,
MLT 935 Hou myghte David make thee so maat,
MLT 936 So yong and of armure so desolaat?
MLT 937 Hou dorste he looke upon thy dredful face?
MLT 938 Wel may men seen, it nas but Goddes grace.
MLT 939 Who yaf Judith corage or hardynesse
MLT 940 To sleen hym Olofernus in his tente,
MLT 941 And to deliveren out of wrecchednesse
MLT 942 The peple of God? I seye, for this entente,
MLT 943 That right as God spirit of vigour sente
MLT 944 To hem and saved hem out of meschance,
MLT 945 So sente he myght and vigour to Custance.
MLT 946 Forth gooth hir ship thurghout the narwe mouth
MLT 947 Of Jubaltare and Septe, dryvynge ay
MLT 948 Somtyme west, and somtyme north and south,
MLT 949 And somtyme est, ful many a wery day,
MLT 950 Til Cristes mooder -- blessed be she ay! --
MLT 951 Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse,
MLT 952 To make an ende of al hir hevynesse.
MLT 953 Now lat us stynte of Custance but a throwe,
MLT 954 And speke we of the Romayn Emperour,
MLT 955 That out of Surrye hath by lettres knowe
MLT 956 The slaughtre of cristen folk, and dishonour
MLT 957 Doon to his doghter by a fals traytour,
MLT 958 I mene the cursed wikked Sowdanesse
MLT 959 That at the feeste leet sleen bothe moore and lesse.
MLT 960 For which this Emperour hath sent anon
MLT 961 His senatour, with roial ordinance,
MLT 962 And othere lordes, God woot, many oon,
MLT 963 On Surryens to taken heigh vengeance.
MLT 964 They brennen, sleen, and brynge hem to meschance
MLT 965 Ful many a day; but shortly -- this is th' ende --
MLT 966 Homward to Rome they shapen hem to wende.
MLT 967 This senatour repaireth with victorie
MLT 968 To Rome-ward, saillynge ful roially,
MLT 969 And mette the ship dryvynge, as seith the storie,
MLT 970 In which Custance sit ful pitously.
MLT 971 Nothyng ne knew he what she was, ne why
MLT 972 She was in swich array, ne she nyl seye
MLT 973 Of hire estaat, althogh she sholde deye.
MLT 974 He bryngeth hire to Rome, and to his wyf
MLT 975 He yaf hire, and hir yonge sone also;
MLT 976 And with the senatour she ladde hir lyf.
MLT 977 Thus kan Oure Lady bryngen out of wo
MLT 978 Woful Custance, and many another mo.
MLT 979 And longe tyme dwelled she in that place,
MLT 980 In hooly werkes evere, as was hir grace.
MLT 981 The senatoures wyf hir aunte was,
MLT 982 But for al that she knew hire never the moore.
MLT 983 I wol no lenger tarien in this cas,
MLT 984 But to kyng Alla, which I spak of yoore,
MLT 985 That for his wyf wepeth and siketh soore,
MLT 986 I wol retourne, and lete I wol Custance
MLT 987 Under the senatoures governance.
MLT 988 Kyng Alla, which that hadde his mooder slayn,
MLT 989 Upon a day fil in swich repentance
MLT 990 That, if I shortly tellen shal and playn,
MLT 991 To Rome he comth to receyven his penance;
MLT 992 And putte hym in the Popes ordinance
MLT 993 In heigh and logh, and Jhesu Crist bisoghte
MLT 994 Foryeve his wikked werkes that he wroghte.
MLT 995 The fame anon thurgh Rome toun is born,
MLT 996 How Alla kyng shal comen in pilgrymage,
MLT 997 By herbergeours that wenten hym biforn;
MLT 998 For which the senatour, as was usage,
MLT 999 Rood hym agayns, and many of his lynage,
MLT 1000 As wel to shewen his heighe magnificence
MLT 1001 As to doon any kyng a reverence.
MLT 1002 Greet cheere dooth this noble senatour
MLT 1003 To kyng Alla, and he to hym also;
MLT 1004 Everich of hem dooth oother greet honour.
MLT 1005 And so bifel that in a day or two
MLT 1006 This senatour is to kyng Alla go
MLT 1007 To feste, and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 1008 Custances sone wente in his compaignye.
MLT 1009 Som men wolde seyn at requeste of Custance
MLT 1010 This senatour hath lad this child to feeste;
MLT 1011 I may nat tellen every circumstance --
MLT 1012 Be as be may, ther was he at the leeste.
MLT 1013 But sooth is this, that at his moodres heeste
MLT 1014 Biforn Alla, durynge the metes space,
MLT 1015 The child stood, lookynge in the kynges face.
MLT 1016 This Alla kyng hath of this child greet wonder,
MLT 1017 And to the senatour he seyde anon,
MLT 1018 " Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder? "
MLT 1019 " I noot, " quod he, " by God, and by Seint John!
MLT 1020 A mooder he hath, but fader hath he noon
MLT 1021 That I of woot " -- and shortly, in a stounde,
MLT 1022 He tolde Alla how that this child was founde.
MLT 1023 " But God woot, " quod this senatour also,
MLT 1024 " So vertuous a lyvere in my lyf
MLT 1025 Ne saugh I nevere as she, ne herde of mo,
MLT 1026 Of worldly wommen, mayde, ne of wyf.
MLT 1027 I dar wel seyn hir hadde levere a knyf
MLT 1028 Thurghout hir brest, than ben a womman wikke;
MLT 1029 There is no man koude brynge hire to that prikke. "
MLT 1030 Now was this child as lyk unto Custance
MLT 1031 As possible is a creature to be.
MLT 1032 This Alla hath the face in remembrance
MLT 1033 Of dame Custance, and ther on mused he
MLT 1034 If that the childes mooder were aught she
MLT 1035 That is his wyf, and pryvely he sighte,
MLT 1036 And spedde hym fro the table that he myghte.
MLT 1037 " Parfay, " thoghte he, " fantome is in myn heed!
MLT 1038 I oghte deme, of skilful juggement,
MLT 1039 That in the salte see my wyf is deed. "
MLT 1040 And afterward he made his argument:
MLT 1041 " What woot I if that Crist have hyder ysent
MLT 1042 My wyf by see, as wel as he hire sente
MLT 1043 To my contree fro thennes that she wente? "
MLT 1044 And after noon, hoom with the senatour
MLT 1045 Goth Alla, for to seen this wonder chaunce.
MLT 1046 This senatour dooth Alla greet honour,
MLT 1047 And hastifly he sente after Custaunce.
MLT 1048 But trusteth weel, hire liste nat to daunce
MLT 1049 Whan that she wiste wherfore was that sonde;
MLT 1050 Unnethe upon hir feet she myghte stonde.
MLT 1051 Whan Alla saugh his wyf, faire he hire grette,
MLT 1052 And weep that it was routhe for to see;
MLT 1053 For at the firste look he on hire sette
MLT 1054 He knew wel verraily that it was she.
MLT 1055 And she, for sorwe, as doumb stant as a tree,
MLT 1056 So was hir herte shet in hir distresse,
MLT 1057 Whan she remembred his unkyndenesse.
MLT 1058 Twyes she swowned in his owene sighte;
MLT 1059 He weep, and hym excuseth pitously.
MLT 1060 " Now God, " quod he, " and his halwes brighte
MLT 1061 So wisly on my soule as have mercy,
MLT 1062 That of youre harm as giltelees am I
MLT 1063 As is Maurice my sone, so lyk youre face;
MLT 1064 Elles the feend me fecche out of this place! "
MLT 1065 Long was the sobbyng and the bitter peyne,
MLT 1066 Er that hir woful hertes myghte cesse;
MLT 1067 Greet was the pitee for to heere hem pleyne,
MLT 1068 Thurgh whiche pleintes gan hir wo encresse.
MLT 1069 I pray yow alle my labour to relesse;
MLT 1070 I may nat telle hir wo until to-morwe,
MLT 1071 I am so wery for to speke of sorwe.
MLT 1072 But finally, whan that the sothe is wist
MLT 1073 That Alla giltelees was of hir wo,
MLT 1074 I trowe an hundred tymes been they kist,
MLT 1075 And swich a blisse is ther bitwix hem two
MLT 1076 That, save the joye that lasteth everemo,
MLT 1077 Ther is noon lyk that any creature
MLT 1078 Hath seyn or shal, whil that the world may dure.
MLT 1079 Tho preyde she hir housbonde mekely,
MLT 1080 In relief of hir longe, pitous pyne,
MLT 1081 That he wolde preye hir fader specially
MLT 1082 That of his magestee he wolde enclyne
MLT 1083 To vouche sauf som day with hym to dyne.
MLT 1084 She preyde hym eek he sholde by no weye
MLT 1085 Unto hir fader no word of hire seye.
MLT 1086 Som men wolde seyn how that the child Maurice
MLT 1087 Dooth this message unto this Emperour;
MLT 1088 But, as I gesse, Alla was nat so nyce
MLT 1089 To hym that was of so sovereyn honour
MLT 1090 As he that is of Cristen folk the flour,
MLT 1091 Sente any child, but it is bet to deeme
MLT 1092 He wente hymself, and so it may wel seeme.
MLT 1093 This Emperour hath graunted gentilly
MLT 1094 To come to dyner, as he hym bisoughte;
MLT 1095 And wel rede I he looked bisily
MLT 1096 Upon this child, and on his doghter thoghte.
MLT 1097 Alla goth to his in, and as hym oghte,
MLT 1098 Arrayed for this feste in every wise
MLT 1099 As ferforth as his konnyng may suffise.
MLT 1100 The morwe cam, and Alla gan hym dresse,
MLT 1101 And eek his wyf, this Emperour to meete;
MLT 1102 And forth they ryde in joye and in gladnesse.
MLT 1103 And whan she saugh hir fader in the strete,
MLT 1104 She lighte doun, and falleth hym to feete.
MLT 1105 " Fader, " quod she, " youre yonge child Custance
MLT 1106 Is now ful clene out of youre remembrance.
MLT 1107 " I am youre doghter Custance, " quod she,
MLT 1108 " That whilom ye han sent unto Surrye.
MLT 1109 It am I, fader, that in the salte see
MLT 1110 Was put allone and dampned for to dye.
MLT 1111 Now, goode fader, mercy I yow crye!
MLT 1112 Sende me namoore unto noon hethenesse,
MLT 1113 But thonketh my lord heere of his kyndenesse. "
MLT 1114 Who kan the pitous joye tellen al
MLT 1115 Bitwixe hem thre, syn they been thus ymette?
MLT 1116 But of my tale make an ende I shal;
MLT 1117 The day goth faste, I wol no lenger lette.
MLT 1118 This glade folk to dyner they hem sette;
MLT 1119 In joye and blisse at mete I lete hem dwelle
MLT 1120 A thousand foold wel moore than I kan telle.
MLT 1121 This child Maurice was sithen Emperour
MLT 1122 Maad by the Pope, and lyved cristenly;
MLT 1123 To Cristes chirche he dide greet honour.
MLT 1124 But I lete al his storie passen by;
MLT 1125 Of Custance is my tale specially.
MLT 1126 In the olde Romayn geestes may men fynde
MLT 1127 Maurices lyf; I bere it noght in mynde.
MLT 1128 This kyng Alla, whan he his tyme say,
MLT 1129 With his Custance, his hooly wyf so sweete,
MLT 1130 To Engelond been they come the righte way,
MLT 1131 Wher as they lyve in joye and in quiete.
MLT 1132 But litel while it lasteth, I yow heete,
MLT 1133 Joye of this world, for tyme wol nat abyde;
MLT 1134 Fro day to nyght it changeth as the tyde.
MLT 1135 Who lyved euere in swich delit o day
MLT 1136 That hym ne moeved outher conscience,
MLT 1137 Or ire, or talent, or som kynnes affray,
MLT 1138 Envye, or pride, or passion, or offence?
MLT 1139 I ne seye but for this ende this sentence,
MLT 1140 That litel while in joye or in plesance
MLT 1141 Lasteth the blisse of Alla with Custance.
MLT 1142 For Deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente,
MLT 1143 Whan passed was a yeer, evene as I gesse,
MLT 1144 Out of this world this kyng Alla he hente,
MLT 1145 For whom Custance hath ful greet hevynesse.
MLT 1146 Now lat us prayen God his soule blesse!
MLT 1147 And dame Custance, finally to seye,
MLT 1148 Toward the toun of Rome goth hir weye.
MLT 1149 To Rome is come this hooly creature,
MLT 1150 And fyndeth hire freendes hoole and sounde;
MLT 1151 Now is she scaped al hire aventure.
MLT 1152 And whan that she hir fader hath yfounde,
MLT 1153 Doun on hir knees falleth she to grounde;
MLT 1154 Wepynge for tendrenesse in herte blithe,
MLT 1155 She heryeth God an hundred thousand sithe.
MLT 1156 In vertu and in hooly almus-dede
MLT 1157 They lyven alle, and nevere asonder wende;
MLT 1158 Til deeth departeth hem, this lyf they lede.
MLT 1159 And fareth now weel! my tale is at an ende.
MLT 1160 Now Jhesu Crist, that of his myght may sende
MLT 1161 Joye after wo, governe us in his grace,
MLT 1162 And kepe us alle that been in this place! Amen
GP 1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
GP 2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
GP 3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
GP 4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
GP 5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
GP 6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
GP 7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
GP 8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
GP 9 And smale foweles maken melodye,
GP 10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
GP 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
GP 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
GP 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
GP 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
GP 15 And specially from every shires ende
GP 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
GP 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
GP 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
GP 19 Bifil that in that seson on a day,
GP 20 In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
GP 21 Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
GP 22 To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
GP 23 At nyght was come into that hostelrye
GP 24 Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
GP 25 Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
GP 26 In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
GP 27 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
GP 28 The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
GP 29 And wel we weren esed atte beste.
GP 30 And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
GP 31 So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
GP 32 That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
GP 33 And made forward erly for to ryse,
GP 34 To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
GP 35 But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
GP 36 Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
GP 37 Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
GP 38 To telle yow al the condicioun
GP 39 Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
GP 40 And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
GP 41 And eek in what array that they were inne;
GP 42 And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
GP 43 A KNYGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
GP 44 That fro the tyme that he first bigan
GP 45 To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
GP 46 Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
GP 47 Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
GP 48 And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
GP 49 As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
GP 50 And evere honoured for his worthynesse;
GP 51 At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
GP 52 Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
GP 53 Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;
GP 54 In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
GP 55 No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.
GP 56 In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
GP 57 Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
GP 58 At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,
GP 59 Whan they were wonne, and in the Grete See
GP 60 At many a noble armee hadde he be.
GP 61 At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
GP 62 And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene
GP 63 In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
GP 64 This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
GP 65 Somtyme with the lord of Palatye
GP 66 Agayn another hethen in Turkye;
GP 67 And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
GP 68 And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
GP 69 And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
GP 70 He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
GP 71 In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
GP 72 He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
GP 73 But for to tellen yow of his array,
GP 74 His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
GP 75 Of fustian he wered a gypon
GP 76 Al bismotered with his habergeon,
GP 77 For he was late ycome from his viage,
GP 78 And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
GP 79 With hym ther was his sone, a yong SQUIER,
GP 80 A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
GP 81 With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.
GP 82 Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
GP 83 Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
GP 84 And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.
GP 85 And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie
GP 86 In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,
GP 87 And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
GP 88 In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
GP 89 Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
GP 90 Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
GP 91 Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;
GP 92 He was as fressh as is the month of May.
GP 93 Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
GP 94 Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.
GP 95 He koude songes make and wel endite,
GP 96 Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.
GP 97 So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale
GP 98 He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
GP 99 Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,
GP 100 And carf biforn his fader at the table.
GP 101 A YEMAN hadde he and servantz namo
GP 102 At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,
GP 103 And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
GP 104 A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,
GP 105 Under his belt he bar ful thriftily
GP 106 (Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly;
GP 107 His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
GP 108 And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
GP 109 A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
GP 110 Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.
GP 111 Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,
GP 112 And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
GP 113 And on that oother syde a gay daggere
GP 114 Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;
GP 115 A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
GP 116 An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;
GP 117 A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
GP 118 Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
GP 119 That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
GP 120 Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
GP 121 And she was cleped madame Eglentyne.
GP 122 Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
GP 123 Entuned in hir nose ful semely;
GP 124 And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
GP 125 After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
GP 126 For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
GP 127 At mete wel ytaught was she with alle;
GP 128 She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
GP 129 Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
GP 130 Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
GP 131 That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
GP 132 In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
GP 133 Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
GP 134 That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
GP 135 Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
GP 136 Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
GP 137 And sikerly she was of greet desport,
GP 138 And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
GP 139 And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
GP 140 Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
GP 141 And to ben holden digne of reverence.
GP 142 But for to speken of hire conscience,
GP 143 She was so charitable and so pitous
GP 144 She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
GP 145 Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
GP 146 Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
GP 147 With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
GP 148 But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
GP 149 Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
GP 150 And al was conscience and tendre herte.
GP 151 Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
GP 152 Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
GP 153 Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed.
GP 154 But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
GP 155 It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
GP 156 For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
GP 157 Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
GP 158 Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
GP 159 A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,
GP 160 And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
GP 161 On which ther was first write a crowned A,
GP 162 And after Amor vincit omnia.
GP 163 Another NONNE with hire hadde she,
GP 164 That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
GP 165 A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
GP 166 An outridere, that lovede venerie,
GP 167 A manly man, to been an abbot able.
GP 168 Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
GP 169 And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
GP 170 Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
GP 171 And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle
GP 172 Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.
GP 173 The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit --
GP 174 By cause that it was old and somdel streit
GP 175 This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,
GP 176 And heeld after the newe world the space.
GP 177 He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
GP 178 That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
GP 179 Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
GP 180 Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees --
GP 181 This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
GP 182 But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
GP 183 And I seyde his opinion was good.
GP 184 What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
GP 185 Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
GP 186 Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
GP 187 As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?
GP 188 Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!
GP 189 Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
GP 190 Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
GP 191 Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
GP 192 Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
GP 193 I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
GP 194 With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
GP 195 And for to festne his hood under his chyn,
GP 196 He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
GP 197 A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
GP 198 His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
GP 199 And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
GP 200 He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
GP 201 His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
GP 202 That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
GP 203 His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
GP 204 Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
GP 205 He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
GP 206 A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
GP 207 His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
GP 208 A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
GP 209 A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
GP 210 In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
GP 211 So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
GP 212 He hadde maad ful many a mariage
GP 213 Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
GP 214 Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
GP 215 Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
GP 216 With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
GP 217 And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
GP 218 For he hadde power of confessioun,
GP 219 As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
GP 220 For of his ordre he was licenciat.
GP 221 Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
GP 222 And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
GP 223 He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
GP 224 Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
GP 225 For unto a povre ordre for to yive
GP 226 Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
GP 227 For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
GP 228 He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
GP 229 For many a man so hard is of his herte,
GP 230 He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
GP 231 Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
GP 232 Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
GP 233 His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
GP 234 And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
GP 235 And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
GP 236 Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
GP 237 Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
GP 238 His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
GP 239 Therto he strong was as a champioun.
GP 240 He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
GP 241 And everich hostiler and tappestere
GP 242 Bet than a lazar or a beggestere,
GP 243 For unto swich a worthy man as he
GP 244 Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
GP 245 To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
GP 246 It is nat honest; it may nat avaunce,
GP 247 For to deelen with no swich poraille,
GP 248 But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
GP 249 And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
GP 250 Curteis he was and lowely of servyse;
GP 251 Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
GP 252 He was the beste beggere in his hous;
GP 252a [And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt;
GP 252b Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;]
GP 253 For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
GP 254 So plesaunt was his " In principio, "
GP 255 Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
GP 256 His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
GP 257 And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
GP 258 In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
GP 259 For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
GP 260 With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
GP 261 But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
GP 262 Of double worstede was his semycope,
GP 263 That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
GP 264 Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
GP 265 To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;
GP 266 And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
GP 267 His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght
GP 268 As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
GP 269 This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.
GP 270 A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
GP 271 In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
GP 272 Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
GP 273 His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
GP 274 His resons he spak ful solempnely,
GP 275 Sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng.
GP 276 He wolde the see were kept for any thyng
GP 277 Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle.
GP 278 Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
GP 279 This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
GP 280 Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
GP 281 So estatly was he of his governaunce
GP 282 With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
GP 283 For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
GP 284 But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
GP 285 A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,
GP 286 That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
GP 287 As leene was his hors as is a rake,
GP 288 And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
GP 289 But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
GP 290 Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy,
GP 291 For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
GP 292 Ne was so worldly for to have office.
GP 293 For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
GP 294 Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
GP 295 Of Aristotle and his philosophie
GP 296 Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
GP 297 But al be that he was a philosophre,
GP 298 Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
GP 299 But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
GP 300 On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
GP 301 And bisily gan for the soules preye
GP 302 Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
GP 303 Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
GP 304 Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
GP 305 And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
GP 306 And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
GP 307 Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
GP 308 And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
GP 309 A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
GP 310 That often hadde been at the Parvys,
GP 311 Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
GP 312 Discreet he was and of greet reverence --
GP 313 He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
GP 314 Justice he was ful often in assise,
GP 315 By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
GP 316 For his science and for his heigh renoun,
GP 317 Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
GP 318 So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
GP 319 Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
GP 320 His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
GP 321 Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
GP 322 And yet he semed bisier than he was.
GP 323 In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
GP 324 That from the tyme of kyng William were falle.
GP 325 Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
GP 326 Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
GP 327 And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
GP 328 He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
GP 329 Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
GP 330 Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
GP 331 A FRANKELEYN was in his compaignye.
GP 332 Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
GP 333 Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
GP 334 Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
GP 335 To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
GP 336 For he was Epicurus owene sone,
GP 337 That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
GP 338 Was verray felicitee parfit.
GP 339 An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
GP 340 Seint Julian he was in his contree.
GP 341 His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
GP 342 A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
GP 343 Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous,
GP 344 Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous
GP 345 It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke;
GP 346 Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke,
GP 347 After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
GP 348 So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
GP 349 Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
GP 350 And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
GP 351 Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
GP 352 Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
GP 353 His table dormant in his halle alway
GP 354 Stood redy covered al the longe day.
GP 355 At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
GP 356 Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
GP 357 An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
GP 358 Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
GP 359 A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
GP 360 Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.
GP 361 AN HABERDASSHERE and a CARPENTER,
GP 362 A WEBBE, a DYERE, and a TAPYCER --
GP 363 And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
GP 364 Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
GP 365 Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
GP 366 Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
GP 367 But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
GP 368 Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
GP 369 Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
GP 370 To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
GP 371 Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
GP 372 Was shaply for to been an alderman.
GP 373 For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
GP 374 And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
GP 375 And elles certeyn were they to blame.
GP 376 It is ful fair to been ycleped " madame, "
GP 377 And goon to vigilies al bifore,
GP 378 And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
GP 379 A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones
GP 380 To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
GP 381 And poudre-marchant tart and galyngale.
GP 382 Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale.
GP 383 He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
GP 384 Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
GP 385 But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
GP 386 That on his shyne a mormal hadde he.
GP 387 For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
GP 388 A SHIPMAN was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
GP 389 For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
GP 390 He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
GP 391 In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
GP 392 A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
GP 393 Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
GP 394 The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
GP 395 And certeinly he was a good felawe.
GP 396 Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
GP 397 Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
GP 398 Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
GP 399 If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,
GP 400 By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
GP 401 But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
GP 402 His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
GP 403 His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
GP 404 Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
GP 405 Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
GP 406 With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
GP 407 He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
GP 408 Fro Gootlond to the cape of Fynystere,
GP 409 And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
GP 410 His barge ycleped was the Maudelayne.
GP 411 With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
GP 412 In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
GP 413 To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
GP 414 For he was grounded in astronomye.
GP 415 He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
GP 416 In houres by his magyk natureel.
GP 417 Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
GP 418 Of his ymages for his pacient.
GP 419 He knew the cause of everich maladye,
GP 420 Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
GP 421 And where they engendred, and of what humour.
GP 422 He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
GP 423 The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
GP 424 Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
GP 425 Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
GP 426 To sende hym drogges and his letuaries,
GP 427 For ech of hem made oother for to wynne --
GP 428 Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
GP 429 Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
GP 430 And Deyscorides, and eek Rufus,
GP 431 Olde Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
GP 432 Serapion, Razis, and Avycen,
GP 433 Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
GP 434 Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
GP 435 Of his diete mesurable was he,
GP 436 For it was of no superfluitee,
GP 437 But of greet norissyng and digestible.
GP 438 His studie was but litel on the Bible.
GP 439 In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
GP 440 Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
GP 441 And yet he was but esy of dispence;
GP 442 He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
GP 443 For gold in phisik is a cordial,
GP 444 Therefore he lovede gold in special.
GP 445 A good WIF was ther OF biside BATHE,
GP 446 But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.
GP 447 Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt
GP 448 She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.
GP 449 In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
GP 450 That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
GP 451 And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
GP 452 That she was out of alle charitee.
GP 453 Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
GP 454 I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
GP 455 That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
GP 456 Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
GP 457 Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
GP 458 Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
GP 459 She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:
GP 460 Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
GP 461 Withouten oother compaignye in youthe --
GP 462 But thereof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
GP 463 And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
GP 464 She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
GP 465 At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
GP 466 In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.
GP 467 She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
GP 468 Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
GP 469 Upon an amblere esily she sat,
GP 470 Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
GP 471 As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
GP 472 A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
GP 473 And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
GP 474 In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.
GP 475 Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,
GP 476 For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
GP 477 A good man was ther of religioun,
GP 478 And was a povre PERSOUN OF A TOUN,
GP 479 But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
GP 480 He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
GP 481 That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
GP 482 His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
GP 483 Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
GP 484 And in adversitee ful pacient,
GP 485 And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
GP 486 Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
GP 487 But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
GP 488 Unto his povre parisshens aboute
GP 489 Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
GP 490 He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
GP 491 Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
GP 492 But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
GP 493 In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
GP 494 The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
GP 495 Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
GP 496 This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
GP 497 That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
GP 498 Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte,
GP 499 And this figure he added eek therto,
GP 500 That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
GP 501 For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
GP 502 No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
GP 503 And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
GP 504 A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
GP 505 Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
GP 506 By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
GP 507 He sette nat his benefice to hyre
GP 508 And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
GP 509 And ran to Londoun unto Seinte Poules
GP 510 To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
GP 511 Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
GP 512 But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
GP 513 So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
GP 514 He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
GP 515 And though he hooly were and vertuous,
GP 516 He was to synful men nat despitous,
GP 517 Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
GP 518 But in his techyng discreet and benygne.
GP 519 To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
GP 520 By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
GP 521 But it were any persone obstinat,
GP 522 What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
GP 523 Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
GP 524 A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
GP 525 He waited after no pompe and reverence,
GP 526 Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
GP 527 But Cristes loore and his apostles twelve
GP 528 He taughte; but first he folwed it hymselve.
GP 529 With hym ther was a PLOWMAN, was his brother,
GP 530 That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother;
GP 531 A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
GP 532 Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
GP 533 God loved he best with al his hoole herte
GP 534 At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
GP 535 And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
GP 536 He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
GP 537 For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
GP 538 Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
GP 539 His tithes payde he ful faire and wel,
GP 540 Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
GP 541 In a tabard he rood upon a mere.
GP 542 Ther was also a REVE, and a MILLERE,
GP 543 A SOMNOUR, and a PARDONER also,
GP 544 A MAUNCIPLE, and myself -- ther were namo.
GP 545 The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones;
GP 546 Ful byg he was of brawn, and eek of bones.
GP 547 That proved wel, for over al ther he cam,
GP 548 At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
GP 549 He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
GP 550 Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
GP 551 Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
GP 552 His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
GP 553 And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
GP 554 Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
GP 555 A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys,
GP 556 Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
GP 557 His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
GP 558 A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
GP 559 His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
GP 560 He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
GP 561 And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
GP 562 Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
GP 563 And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
GP 564 A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
GP 565 A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
GP 566 And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
GP 567 A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
GP 568 Of which achatours myghte take exemple
GP 569 For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
GP 570 For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
GP 571 Algate he wayted so in his achaat
GP 572 That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
GP 573 Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace
GP 574 That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
GP 575 The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
GP 576 Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
GP 577 That weren of lawe expert and curious,
GP 578 Of which ther were a duszeyne in that hous
GP 579 Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
GP 580 Of any lord that is in Engelond,
GP 581 To make hym lyve by his propre good
GP 582 In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),
GP 583 Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
GP 584 And able for to helpen al a shire
GP 585 In any caas that myghte falle or happe.
GP 586 And yet this Manciple sette hir aller cappe.
GP 587 The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
GP 588 His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
GP 589 His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
GP 590 His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
GP 591 Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
GP 592 Ylyk a staf; ther was no calf ysene.
GP 593 Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
GP 594 Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
GP 595 Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
GP 596 The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
GP 597 His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
GP 598 His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
GP 599 Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
GP 600 And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
GP 601 Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
GP 602 Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
GP 603 Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
GP 604 That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
GP 605 They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
GP 606 His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
GP 607 With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
GP 608 He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
GP 609 Ful riche he was astored pryvely.
GP 610 His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
GP 611 To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
GP 612 And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
GP 613 In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster:
GP 614 He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
GP 615 This Reve sat upon a ful good stot
GP 616 That was al pomely grey and highte Scot.
GP 617 A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
GP 618 And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
GP 619 Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
GP 620 Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
GP 621 Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
GP 622 And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
GP 623 A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
GP 624 That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
GP 625 For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
GP 626 As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
GP 627 With scalled browes blake and piled berd.
GP 628 Of his visage children were aferd.
GP 629 Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
GP 630 Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
GP 631 Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
GP 632 That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
GP 633 Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
GP 634 Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
GP 635 And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
GP 636 Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
GP 637 And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
GP 638 Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
GP 639 A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
GP 640 That he had lerned out of som decree --
GP 641 No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
GP 642 And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
GP 643 Kan clepen " Watte " as wel as kan the pope.
GP 644 But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
GP 645 Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
GP 646 Ay " Questio quid iuris " wolde he crie.
GP 647 He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
GP 648 A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
GP 649 He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
GP 650 A good felawe to have his concubyn
GP 651 A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
GP 652 Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
GP 653 And if he foond owher a good felawe,
GP 654 He wolde techen him to have noon awe
GP 655 In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,
GP 656 But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
GP 657 For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
GP 658 " Purs is the ercedekenes helle, " seyde he.
GP 659 But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
GP 660 Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
GP 661 For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,
GP 662 And also war hym of a Significavit.
GP 663 In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
GP 664 The yonge girles of the diocise,
GP 665 And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
GP 666 A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
GP 667 As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
GP 668 A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake.
GP 669 With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER
GP 670 Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
GP 671 That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
GP 672 Ful loude he soong " Com hider, love, to me! "
GP 673 This Somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
GP 674 Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
GP 675 This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
GP 676 But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
GP 677 By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
GP 678 And therwith he his shuldres overspradde;
GP 679 But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.
GP 680 But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
GP 681 For it was trussed up in his walet.
GP 682 Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
GP 683 Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
GP 684 Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
GP 685 A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
GP 686 His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
GP 687 Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot.
GP 688 A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
GP 689 No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
GP 690 As smothe it was as it were late shave.
GP 691 I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
GP 692 But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware
GP 693 Ne was ther swich another pardoner.
GP 694 For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
GP 695 Which that he seyde was Oure Lady veyl;
GP 696 He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
GP 697 That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente
GP 698 Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
GP 699 He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
GP 700 And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
GP 701 But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
GP 702 A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
GP 703 Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
GP 704 Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
GP 705 And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
GP 706 He made the person and the peple his apes.
GP 707 But trewely to tellen atte laste,
GP 708 He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.
GP 709 Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
GP 710 But alderbest he song an offertorie;
GP 711 For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
GP 712 He moste preche and wel affile his tonge
GP 713 To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
GP 714 Therefore he song the murierly and loude.
GP 715 Now have I toold you soothly, in a clause,
GP 716 Th' estaat, th' array, the nombre, and eek the cause
GP 717 Why that assembled was this compaignye
GP 718 In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
GP 719 That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
GP 720 But now is tyme to yow for to telle
GP 721 How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
GP 722 Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
GP 723 And after wol I telle of our viage
GP 724 And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
GP 725 But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
GP 726 That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
GP 727 Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
GP 728 To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
GP 729 Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
GP 730 For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
GP 731 Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
GP 732 He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
GP 733 Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
GP 734 Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
GP 735 Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
GP 736 Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
GP 737 He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
GP 738 He moot as wel seye o word as another.
GP 739 Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
GP 740 And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
GP 741 Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
GP 742 The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.
GP 743 Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
GP 744 Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
GP 745 Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde.
GP 746 My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
GP 747 Greet chiere made oure Hoost us everichon,
GP 748 And to the soper sette he us anon.
GP 749 He served us with vitaille at the beste;
GP 750 Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
GP 751 A semely man OURE HOOSTE was withalle
GP 752 For to been a marchal in an halle.
GP 753 A large man he was with eyen stepe --
GP 754 A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe --
GP 755 Boold of his speche, and wys, and wel ytaught,
GP 756 And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
GP 757 Eek therto he was right a myrie man;
GP 758 And after soper pleyen he bigan,
GP 759 And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
GP 760 Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges,
GP 761 And seyde thus: " Now, lordynges, trewely,
GP 762 Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
GP 763 For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
GP 764 I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
GP 765 Atones in this herberwe as is now.
GP 766 Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.
GP 767 And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
GP 768 To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.
GP 769 " Ye goon to Caunterbury -- God yow speede,
GP 770 The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
GP 771 And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
GP 772 Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
GP 773 For trewely, confort ne myrthe is noon
GP 774 To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
GP 775 And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
GP 776 As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
GP 777 And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
GP 778 For to stonden at my juggement,
GP 779 And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
GP 780 Tomorwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
GP 781 Now, by my fader soule that is deed,
GP 782 But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
GP 783 Hoold up youre hondes, withouten moore speche. "
GP 784 Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
GP 785 Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
GP 786 And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
GP 787 And bad him seye his voirdit as hym leste.
GP 788 " Lordynges, " quod he, " now herkneth for the beste;
GP 789 But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
GP 790 This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
GP 791 That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
GP 792 In this viage shal telle tales tweye
GP 793 To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
GP 794 And homward he shal tellen othere two,
GP 795 Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
GP 796 And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle --
GP 797 That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
GP 798 Tales of best sentence and moost solaas --
GP 799 Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
GP 800 Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
GP 801 Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
GP 802 And for to make yow the moore mury,
GP 803 I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde,
GP 804 Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
GP 805 And whoso wole my juggement withseye
GP 806 Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
GP 807 And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
GP 808 Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
GP 809 And I wol erly shape me therfore. "
GP 810 This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
GP 811 With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
GP 812 That he wolde vouche sauf for to do so,
GP 813 And that he wolde been oure governour,
GP 814 And of oure tales juge and reportour,
GP 815 And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
GP 816 And we wol reuled been at his devys
GP 817 In heigh and lough; and thus by oon assent
GP 818 We been acorded to his juggement.
GP 819 And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
GP 820 We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
GP 821 Withouten any lenger taryynge.
GP 822 Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge,
GP 823 Up roos oure Hoost, and was oure aller cok,
GP 824 And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok,
GP 825 And forth we riden a litel moore than paas
GP 826 Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas;
GP 827 And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste
GP 828 And seyde, " Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste.
GP 829 Ye woot youre foreward, and I it yow recorde.
GP 830 If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
GP 831 Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
GP 832 As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
GP 833 Whoso be rebel to my juggement
GP 834 Shal paye for al that by the wey is spent.
GP 835 Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
GP 836 He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
GP 837 Sire Knyght, " quod he, " my mayster and my lord,
GP 838 Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
GP 839 Cometh neer, " quod he, " my lady Prioresse.
GP 840 And ye, sire Clerk, lat be youre shamefastnesse,
GP 841 Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man! "
GP 842 Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
GP 843 And shortly for to tellen as it was,
GP 844 Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
GP 845 The sothe is this: the cut fil to the Knyght,
GP 846 Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght,
GP 847 And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
GP 848 By foreward and by composicioun,
GP 849 As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
GP 850 And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
GP 851 As he that wys was and obedient
GP 852 To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
GP 853 He seyde, " Syn I shal bigynne the game,
GP 854 What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
GP 855 Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye. "
GP 856 And with that word we ryden forth oure weye,
GP 857 And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
GP 858 His tale anon, and seyde as ye may heere.
KnT 859 Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
KnT 860 Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
KnT 861 Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
KnT 862 And in his tyme swich a conquerour
KnT 863 That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
KnT 864 Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
KnT 865 What with his wysdom and his chivalrie,
KnT 866 He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
KnT 867 That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
KnT 868 And weddede the queene Ypolita,
KnT 869 And broghte hire hoom with hym in his contree
KnT 870 With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
KnT 871 And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
KnT 872 And thus with victorie and with melodye
KnT 873 Lete I this noble duc to Atthenes ryde,
KnT 874 And al his hoost in armes hym bisyde.
KnT 875 And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
KnT 876 I wolde have toold yow fully the manere
KnT 877 How wonnen was the regne of Femenye
KnT 878 By Theseus and by his chivalrye;
KnT 879 And of the grete bataille for the nones
KnT 880 Bitwixen Atthenes and Amazones;
KnT 881 And how asseged was Ypolita,
KnT 882 The faire, hardy queene of Scithia;
KnT 883 And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
KnT 884 And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
KnT 885 But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.
KnT 886 I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
KnT 887 And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
KnT 888 The remenant of the tale is long ynough.
KnT 889 I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
KnT 890 Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
KnT 891 And lat se now who shal the soper wynne;
KnT 892 And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
KnT 893 This duc, of whom I make mencioun,
KnT 894 Whan he was come almoost unto the toun,
KnT 895 In al his wele and in his mooste pride,
KnT 896 He was war, as he caste his eye aside,
KnT 897 Where that ther kneled in the heighe weye
KnT 898 A compaignye of ladyes, tweye and tweye,
KnT 899 Ech after oother clad in clothes blake;
KnT 900 But swich a cry and swich a wo they make
KnT 901 That in this world nys creature lyvynge
KnT 902 That herde swich another waymentynge;
KnT 903 And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten
KnT 904 Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.
KnT 905 " What folk been ye, that at myn hom-comynge
KnT 906 Perturben so my feste with criynge? "
KnT 907 Quod Theseus. " Have ye so greet envye
KnT 908 Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?
KnT 909 Or who hath yow mysboden or offended?
KnT 910 And telleth me if it may been amended,
KnT 911 And why that ye been clothed thus in blak. "
KnT 912 The eldeste lady of hem alle spak,
KnT 913 Whan she hadde swowned with a deedly cheere,
KnT 914 That it was routhe for to seen and heere;
KnT 915 She seyde, " Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven
KnT 916 Victorie, and as a conqueror to lyven,
KnT 917 Nat greveth us youre glorie and youre honour,
KnT 918 But we biseken mercy and socour.
KnT 919 Have mercy on oure wo and oure distresse!
KnT 920 Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,
KnT 921 Upon us wrecched wommen lat thou falle,
KnT 922 For, certes, lord, ther is noon of us alle
KnT 923 That she ne hath been a duchesse or a queene.
KnT 924 Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene,
KnT 925 Thanked be Fortune and hire false wheel,
KnT 926 That noon estaat assureth to be weel.
KnT 927 And certes, lord, to abyden youre presence,
KnT 928 Heere in this temple of the goddesse Clemence
KnT 929 We han ben waitynge al this fourtenyght.
KnT 930 Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy myght.
KnT 931 " I, wrecche, which that wepe and wayle thus,
KnT 932 Was whilom wyf to kyng Cappaneus,
KnT 933 That starf at Thebes -- cursed be that day! --
KnT 934 And alle we that been in this array
KnT 935 And maken al this lamentacioun,
KnT 936 We losten alle oure housbondes at that toun,
KnT 937 Whil that the seege theraboute lay.
KnT 938 And yet now the olde Creon -- weylaway! --
KnT 939 That lord is now of Thebes the citee,
KnT 940 Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,
KnT 941 He, for despit and for his tirannye,
KnT 942 To do the dede bodyes vileynye
KnT 943 Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe,
KnT 944 Hath alle the bodyes on an heep ydrawe,
KnT 945 And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,
KnT 946 Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,
KnT 947 But maketh houndes ete hem in despit. "
KnT 948 And with that word, withouten moore respit,
KnT 949 They fillen gruf and criden pitously,
KnT 950 " Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,
KnT 951 And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte. "
KnT 952 This gentil duc doun from his courser sterte
KnT 953 With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
KnT 954 Hym thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
KnT 955 Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so maat,
KnT 956 That whilom weren of so greet estaat;
KnT 957 And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
KnT 958 And hem conforteth in ful good entente,
KnT 959 And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
KnT 960 He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght
KnT 961 Upon the tiraunt Creon hem to wreke
KnT 962 That al the peple of Grece sholde speke
KnT 963 How Creon was of Theseus yserved
KnT 964 As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
KnT 965 And right anoon, withouten moore abood,
KnT 966 His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
KnT 967 To Thebes-ward, and al his hoost biside.
KnT 968 No neer Atthenes wolde he go ne ride,
KnT 969 Ne take his ese fully half a day,
KnT 970 But onward on his wey that nyght he lay,
KnT 971 And sente anon Ypolita the queene,
KnT 972 And Emelye, hir yonge suster sheene,
KnT 973 Unto the toun of Atthenes to dwelle,
KnT 974 And forth he rit; ther is namoore to telle.
KnT 975 The rede statue of Mars, with spere and targe,
KnT 976 So shyneth in his white baner large
KnT 977 That alle the feeldes glyteren up and doun;
KnT 978 And by his baner born is his penoun
KnT 979 Of gold ful riche, in which ther was ybete
KnT 980 The Mynotaur, which that he wan in Crete.
KnT 981 Thus rit this duc, thus rit this conquerour,
KnT 982 And in his hoost of chivalrie the flour,
KnT 983 Til that he cam to Thebes and alighte
KnT 984 Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoughte to fighte.
KnT 985 But shortly for to speken of this thyng,
KnT 986 With Creon, which that was of Thebes kyng,
KnT 987 He faught, and slough hym manly as a knyght
KnT 988 In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flyght;
KnT 989 And by assaut he wan the citee after,
KnT 990 And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;
KnT 991 And to the ladyes he restored agayn
KnT 992 The bones of hir freendes that were slayn,
KnT 993 To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
KnT 994 But it were al to longe for to devyse
KnT 995 The grete clamour and the waymentynge
KnT 996 That the ladyes made at the brennynge
KnT 997 Of the bodies, and the grete honour
KnT 998 That Theseus, the noble conquerour,
KnT 999 Dooth to the ladyes, whan they from hym wente;
KnT 1000 But shortly for to telle is myn entente.
KnT 1001 Whan that this worthy duc, this Theseus,
KnT 1002 Hath Creon slayn and wonne Thebes thus,
KnT 1003 Stille in that feeld he took al nyght his reste,
KnT 1004 And dide with al the contree as hym leste.
KnT 1005 To ransake in the taas of bodyes dede,
KnT 1006 Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
KnT 1007 The pilours diden bisynesse and cure
KnT 1008 After the bataille and disconfiture.
KnT 1009 And so bifel that in the taas they founde,
KnT 1010 Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,
KnT 1011 Two yonge knyghtes liggynge by and by,
KnT 1012 Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
KnT 1013 Of whiche two Arcita highte that oon,
KnT 1014 And that oother knyght highte Palamon.
KnT 1015 Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were,
KnT 1016 But by hir cote-armures and by hir gere
KnT 1017 The heraudes knewe hem best in special
KnT 1018 As they that weren of the blood roial
KnT 1019 Of Thebes, and of sustren two yborn.
KnT 1020 Out of the taas the pilours han hem torn,
KnT 1021 And han hem caried softe unto the tente
KnT 1022 Of Theseus; and he ful soone hem sente
KnT 1023 To Atthenes, to dwellen in prisoun
KnT 1024 Perpetuelly -- he nolde no raunsoun.
KnT 1025 And whan this worthy duc hath thus ydon,
KnT 1026 He took his hoost, and hoom he rit anon
KnT 1027 With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
KnT 1028 And ther he lyveth in joye and in honour
KnT 1029 Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1030 And in a tour, in angwissh and in wo,
KnT 1031 This Palamon and his felawe Arcite
KnT 1032 For everemoore; ther may no gold hem quite.
KnT 1033 This passeth yeer by yeer and day by day,
KnT 1034 Till it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
KnT 1035 That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
KnT 1036 Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
KnT 1037 And fressher than the May with floures newe --
KnT 1038 For with the rose colour stroof hire hewe,
KnT 1039 I noot which was the fyner of hem two --
KnT 1040 Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
KnT 1041 She was arisen and al redy dight,
KnT 1042 For May wole have no slogardie anyght.
KnT 1043 The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
KnT 1044 And maketh it out of his slep to sterte,
KnT 1045 And seith " Arys, and do thyn observaunce. "
KnT 1046 This maked Emelye have remembraunce
KnT 1047 To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
KnT 1048 Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse:
KnT 1049 Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse
KnT 1050 Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
KnT 1051 And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
KnT 1052 She walketh up and doun, and as hire liste
KnT 1053 She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
KnT 1054 To make a subtil gerland for hire hede;
KnT 1055 And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
KnT 1056 The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
KnT 1057 Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun
KnT 1058 (Ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun
KnT 1059 Of which I tolde yow and tellen shal),
KnT 1060 Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
KnT 1061 Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
KnT 1062 Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,
KnT 1063 And Palamoun, this woful prisoner,
KnT 1064 As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
KnT 1065 Was risen and romed in a chambre an heigh,
KnT 1066 In which he al the noble citee seigh,
KnT 1067 And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
KnT 1068 Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
KnT 1069 Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
KnT 1070 This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
KnT 1071 Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro
KnT 1072 And to hymself compleynynge of his wo.
KnT 1073 That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, " allas! "
KnT 1074 And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
KnT 1075 That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
KnT 1076 Of iren greet and square as any sparre,
KnT 1077 He cast his eye upon Emelya,
KnT 1078 And therwithal he bleynte and cride, " A! "
KnT 1079 As though he stongen were unto the herte.
KnT 1080 And with that cry Arcite anon up sterte
KnT 1081 And seyde, " Cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
KnT 1082 That art so pale and deedly on to see?
KnT 1083 Why cridestow? Who hath thee doon offence?
KnT 1084 For Goddes love, taak al in pacience
KnT 1085 Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be.
KnT 1086 Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
KnT 1087 Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
KnT 1088 Of Saturne, by som constellacioun,
KnT 1089 Hath yeven us this, although we hadde it sworn;
KnT 1090 So stood the hevene whan that we were born.
KnT 1091 We moste endure it; this is the short and playn. "
KnT 1092 This Palamon answerde and seyde agayn,
KnT 1093 " Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
KnT 1094 Thow hast a veyn ymaginacioun.
KnT 1095 This prison caused me nat for to crye,
KnT 1096 But I was hurt right now thurghout myn ye
KnT 1097 Into myn herte, that wol my bane be.
KnT 1098 The fairnesse of that lady that I see
KnT 1099 Yond in the gardyn romen to and fro
KnT 1100 Is cause of al my criyng and my wo.
KnT 1101 I noot wher she be womman or goddesse,
KnT 1102 But Venus is it soothly, as I gesse. "
KnT 1103 And therwithal on knees doun he fil,
KnT 1104 And seyde, " Venus, if it be thy wil
KnT 1105 Yow in this gardyn thus to transfigure
KnT 1106 Bifore me, sorweful, wrecched creature,
KnT 1107 Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
KnT 1108 And if so be my destynee be shapen
KnT 1109 By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
KnT 1110 Of oure lynage have som compassioun,
KnT 1111 That is so lowe ybroght by tirannye. "
KnT 1112 And with that word Arcite gan espye
KnT 1113 Wher as this lady romed to and fro,
KnT 1114 And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
KnT 1115 That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,
KnT 1116 Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or moore.
KnT 1117 And with a sigh he seyde pitously,
KnT 1118 " The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
KnT 1119 Of hire that rometh in the yonder place;
KnT 1120 And but I have hir mercy and hir grace,
KnT 1121 That I may seen hire atte leeste weye,
KnT 1122 I nam but deed; ther nis namoore to seye. "
KnT 1123 This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
KnT 1124 Dispitously he looked and answerde,
KnT 1125 " Wheither seistow this in ernest or in pley? "
KnT 1126 " Nay, " quod Arcite, " in ernest, by my fey!
KnT 1127 God helpe me so, me list ful yvele pleye. "
KnT 1128 This Palamon gan knytte his browes tweye.
KnT 1129 " It nere, " quod he, " to thee no greet honour
KnT 1130 For to be fals, ne for to be traitour
KnT 1131 To me, that am thy cosyn and thy brother
KnT 1132 Ysworn ful depe, and ech of us til oother,
KnT 1133 That nevere, for to dyen in the peyne,
KnT 1134 Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
KnT 1135 Neither of us in love to hyndre oother,
KnT 1136 Ne in noon oother cas, my leeve brother,
KnT 1137 But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
KnT 1138 In every cas, as I shal forthren thee --
KnT 1139 This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
KnT 1140 I woot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
KnT 1141 Thus artow of my conseil, out of doute,
KnT 1142 And now thow woldest falsly been aboute
KnT 1143 To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
KnT 1144 And evere shal til that myn herte sterve.
KnT 1145 Nay, certes, false Arcite, thow shalt nat so.
KnT 1146 I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo
KnT 1147 As to my conseil and my brother sworn
KnT 1148 To forthre me, as I have toold biforn.
KnT 1149 For which thou art ybounden as a knyght
KnT 1150 To helpen me, if it lay in thy myght,
KnT 1151 Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn. "
KnT 1152 This Arcite ful proudly spak ageyn:
KnT 1153 " Thow shalt, " quod he, " be rather fals than I;
KnT 1154 And thou art fals, I telle thee outrely,
KnT 1155 For paramour I loved hire first er thow.
KnT 1156 What wiltow seyen? Thou woost nat yet now
KnT 1157 Wheither she be a womman or goddesse!
KnT 1158 Thyn is affeccioun of hoolynesse,
KnT 1159 And myn is love as to a creature;
KnT 1160 For which I tolde thee myn aventure
KnT 1161 As to my cosyn and my brother sworn.
KnT 1162 I pose that thow lovedest hire biforn;
KnT 1163 Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
KnT 1164 That `who shal yeve a lovere any lawe?'
KnT 1165 Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,
KnT 1166 Than may be yeve to any erthely man;
KnT 1167 And therfore positif lawe and swich decree
KnT 1168 Is broken al day for love in ech degree.
KnT 1169 A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed;
KnT 1170 He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,
KnT 1171 Al be she mayde, or wydwe, or elles wyf.
KnT 1172 And eek it is nat likly al thy lyf
KnT 1173 To stonden in hir grace; namoore shal I;
KnT 1174 For wel thou woost thyselven, verraily,
KnT 1175 That thou and I be dampned to prisoun
KnT 1176 Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
KnT 1177 We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon;
KnT 1178 They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon.
KnT 1179 Ther cam a kyte, whil that they were so wrothe,
KnT 1180 And baar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.
KnT 1181 And therfore, at the kynges court, my brother,
KnT 1182 Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.
KnT 1183 Love, if thee list, for I love and ay shal;
KnT 1184 And soothly, leeve brother, this is al.
KnT 1185 Heere in this prisoun moote we endure,
KnT 1186 And everich of us take his aventure. "
KnT 1187 Greet was the strif and long bitwix hem tweye,
KnT 1188 If that I hadde leyser for to seye;
KnT 1189 But to th' effect. It happed on a day,
KnT 1190 To telle it yow as shortly as I may,
KnT 1191 A worthy duc that highte Perotheus,
KnT 1192 That felawe was unto duc Theseus
KnT 1193 Syn thilke day that they were children lite,
KnT 1194 Was come to Atthenes his felawe to visite,
KnT 1195 And for to pleye as he was wont to do;
KnT 1196 For in this world he loved no man so,
KnT 1197 And he loved hym als tendrely agayn.
KnT 1198 So wel they lovede, as olde bookes sayn,
KnT 1199 That whan that oon was deed, soothly to telle,
KnT 1200 His felawe wente and soughte hym doun in helle --
KnT 1201 But of that storie list me nat to write.
KnT 1202 Duc Perotheus loved wel Arcite,
KnT 1203 And hadde hym knowe at Thebes yeer by yere,
KnT 1204 And finally at requeste and preyere
KnT 1205 Of Perotheus, withouten any raunsoun,
KnT 1206 Duc Theseus hym leet out of prisoun
KnT 1207 Frely to goon wher that hym liste over al,
KnT 1208 In swich a gyse as I you tellen shal.
KnT 1209 This was the forward, pleynly for t' endite,
KnT 1210 Bitwixen Theseus and hym Arcite:
KnT 1211 That if so were that Arcite were yfounde
KnT 1212 Evere in his lif, by day or nyght, oo stounde
KnT 1213 In any contree of this Theseus,
KnT 1214 And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
KnT 1215 That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed.
KnT 1216 Ther nas noon oother remedie ne reed;
KnT 1217 But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde.
KnT 1218 Lat hym be war! His nekke lith to wedde.
KnT 1219 How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
KnT 1220 The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte;
KnT 1221 He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously;
KnT 1222 To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
KnT 1223 He seyde, " Allas that day that I was born!
KnT 1224 Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
KnT 1225 Now is me shape eternally to dwelle
KnT 1226 Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
KnT 1227 Allas, that evere knew I Perotheus!
KnT 1228 For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus,
KnT 1229 Yfetered in his prisoun everemo.
KnT 1230 Thanne hadde I been in blisse and nat in wo.
KnT 1231 Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
KnT 1232 Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
KnT 1233 Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
KnT 1234 O deere cosyn Palamon, " quod he,
KnT 1235 " Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
KnT 1236 Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure --
KnT 1237 In prison? Certes nay, but in paradys!
KnT 1238 Wel hath Fortune yturned thee the dys,
KnT 1239 That hast the sighte of hire, and I th' absence.
KnT 1240 For possible is, syn thou hast hire presence,
KnT 1241 And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
KnT 1242 That by som cas, syn Fortune is chaungeable,
KnT 1243 Thow maist to thy desir somtyme atteyne.
KnT 1244 But I, that am exiled and bareyne
KnT 1245 Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir
KnT 1246 That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
KnT 1247 Ne creature that of hem maked is,
KnT 1248 That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
KnT 1249 Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse.
KnT 1250 Farwel my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
KnT 1251 " Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
KnT 1252 On purveiaunce of God, or of Fortune,
KnT 1253 That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
KnT 1254 Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
KnT 1255 Som man desireth for to han richesse,
KnT 1256 That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse;
KnT 1257 And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
KnT 1258 That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
KnT 1259 Infinite harmes been in this mateere.
KnT 1260 We witen nat what thing we preyen heere;
KnT 1261 We faren as he that dronke is as a mous.
KnT 1262 A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
KnT 1263 But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
KnT 1264 And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
KnT 1265 And certes, in this world so faren we;
KnT 1266 We seken faste after felicitee,
KnT 1267 But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
KnT 1268 Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
KnT 1269 That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
KnT 1270 That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
KnT 1271 Thanne hadde I been in joye and parfit heele,
KnT 1272 Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
KnT 1273 Syn that I may nat seen you, Emelye,
KnT 1274 I nam but deed; ther nys no remedye. "
KnT 1275 Upon that oother syde Palamon,
KnT 1276 Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
KnT 1277 Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
KnT 1278 Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
KnT 1279 The pure fettres on his shynes grete
KnT 1280 Weren of his bittre, salte teeres wete.
KnT 1281 " Allas, " quod he, " Arcita, cosyn myn,
KnT 1282 Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
KnT 1283 Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
KnT 1284 And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
KnT 1285 Thou mayst, syn thou hast wisdom and manhede,
KnT 1286 Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
KnT 1287 And make a werre so sharp on this citee
KnT 1288 That by som aventure or some tretee
KnT 1289 Thow mayst have hire to lady and to wyf
KnT 1290 For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
KnT 1291 For, as by wey of possibilitee,
KnT 1292 Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
KnT 1293 And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
KnT 1294 Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
KnT 1295 For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
KnT 1296 With al the wo that prison may me yive,
KnT 1297 And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
KnT 1298 That doubleth al my torment and my wo. "
KnT 1299 Therwith the fyr of jalousie up sterte
KnT 1300 Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
KnT 1301 So woodly that he lyk was to biholde
KnT 1302 The boxtree or the asshen dede and colde.
KnT 1303 Thanne seyde he, " O crueel goddes that governe
KnT 1304 This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
KnT 1305 And writen in the table of atthamaunt
KnT 1306 Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
KnT 1307 What is mankynde moore unto you holde
KnT 1308 Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
KnT 1309 For slayn is man right as another beest,
KnT 1310 And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
KnT 1311 And hath siknesse and greet adversitee,
KnT 1312 And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
KnT 1313 " What governance is in this prescience,
KnT 1314 That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
KnT 1315 And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
KnT 1316 That man is bounden to his observaunce,
KnT 1317 For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
KnT 1318 Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
KnT 1319 And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;
KnT 1320 But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
KnT 1321 Though in this world he have care and wo.
KnT 1322 Withouten doute it may stonden so.
KnT 1323 The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
KnT 1324 But wel I woot that in this world greet pyne ys.
KnT 1325 Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
KnT 1326 That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
KnT 1327 Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne.
KnT 1328 But I moot been in prisoun thurgh Saturne,
KnT 1329 And eek thurgh Juno, jalous and eek wood,
KnT 1330 That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
KnT 1331 Of Thebes with his waste walles wyde;
KnT 1332 And Venus sleeth me on that oother syde
KnT 1333 For jalousie and fere of hym Arcite. "
KnT 1334 Now wol I stynte of Palamon a lite,
KnT 1335 And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
KnT 1336 And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.
KnT 1337 The somer passeth, and the nyghtes longe
KnT 1338 Encressen double wise the peynes stronge
KnT 1339 Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
KnT 1340 I noot which hath the wofuller mester.
KnT 1341 For, shortly for to seyn, this Palamoun
KnT 1342 Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
KnT 1343 In cheynes and in fettres to been deed;
KnT 1344 And Arcite is exiled upon his heed
KnT 1345 For everemo, as out of that contree,
KnT 1346 Ne nevere mo ne shal his lady see.
KnT 1347 Yow loveres axe I now this questioun:
KnT 1348 Who hath the worse, Arcite or Palamoun?
KnT 1349 That oon may seen his lady day by day,
KnT 1350 But in prison he moot dwelle alway;
KnT 1351 That oother wher hym list may ride or go,
KnT 1352 But seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1353 Now demeth as yow liste, ye that kan,
KnT 1354 For I wol telle forth as I bigan.
KnT 1355 Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen was,
KnT 1356 Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde " Allas! "
KnT 1357 For seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1358 And shortly to concluden al his wo,
KnT 1359 So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature
KnT 1360 That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.
KnT 1361 His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,
KnT 1362 That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;
KnT 1363 His eyen holwe and grisly to biholde,
KnT 1364 His hewe falow and pale as asshen colde,
KnT 1365 And solitarie he was and evere allone,
KnT 1366 And waillynge al the nyght, makynge his mone;
KnT 1367 And if he herde song or instrument,
KnT 1368 Thanne wolde he wepe, he myghte nat be stent.
KnT 1369 So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe,
KnT 1370 And chaunged so, that no man koude knowe
KnT 1371 His speche nor his voys, though men it herde.
KnT 1372 And in his geere for al the world he ferde
KnT 1373 Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
KnT 1374 Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye,
KnT 1375 Engendred of humour malencolik
KnT 1376 Biforen, in his celle fantastik.
KnT 1377 And shortly, turned was al up so doun
KnT 1378 Bothe habit and eek disposicioun
KnT 1379 Of hym, this woful lovere daun Arcite.
KnT 1380 What sholde I al day of his wo endite?
KnT 1381 Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
KnT 1382 This crueel torment and this peyne and wo,
KnT 1383 At Thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
KnT 1384 Upon a nyght in sleep as he hym leyde,
KnT 1385 Hym thoughte how that the wynged god Mercurie
KnT 1386 Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.
KnT 1387 His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
KnT 1388 An hat he werede upon his heris brighte.
KnT 1389 Arrayed was this god, as he took keep,
KnT 1390 As he was whan that Argus took his sleep;
KnT 1391 And seyde hym thus: " To Atthenes shaltou wende,
KnT 1392 Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende. "
KnT 1393 And with that word Arcite wook and sterte.
KnT 1394 " Now trewely, hou soore that me smerte, "
KnT 1395 Quod he, " to Atthenes right now wol I fare,
KnT 1396 Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
KnT 1397 To se my lady, that I love and serve.
KnT 1398 In hire presence I recche nat to sterve. "
KnT 1399 And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
KnT 1400 And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,
KnT 1401 And saugh his visage al in another kynde.
KnT 1402 And right anon it ran hym in his mynde,
KnT 1403 That, sith his face was so disfigured
KnT 1404 Of maladye the which he hadde endured,
KnT 1405 He myghte wel, if that he bar hym lowe,
KnT 1406 Lyve in Atthenes everemoore unknowe,
KnT 1407 And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
KnT 1408 And right anon he chaunged his array,
KnT 1409 And cladde hym as a povre laborer,
KnT 1410 And al allone, save oonly a squier
KnT 1411 That knew his privetee and al his cas,
KnT 1412 Which was disgised povrely as he was,
KnT 1413 To Atthenes is he goon the nexte way.
KnT 1414 And to the court he wente upon a day,
KnT 1415 And at the gate he profreth his servyse
KnT 1416 To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
KnT 1417 And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
KnT 1418 He fil in office with a chamberleyn
KnT 1419 The which that dwellynge was with Emelye,
KnT 1420 For he was wys and koude soone espye,
KnT 1421 Of every servaunt, which that serveth here.
KnT 1422 Wel koude he hewen wode, and water bere,
KnT 1423 For he was yong and myghty for the nones,
KnT 1424 And therto he was long and big of bones
KnT 1425 To doon that any wight kan hym devyse.
KnT 1426 A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
KnT 1427 Page of the chambre of Emelye the brighte,
KnT 1428 And Philostrate he seyde that he highte.
KnT 1429 But half so wel biloved a man as he
KnT 1430 Ne was ther nevere in court of his degree;
KnT 1431 He was so gentil of condicioun
KnT 1432 That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
KnT 1433 They seyden that it were a charitee
KnT 1434 That Theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
KnT 1435 And putten hym in worshipful servyse,
KnT 1436 Ther as he myghte his vertu excercise.
KnT 1437 And thus withinne a while his name is spronge,
KnT 1438 Bothe of his dedes and his goode tonge,
KnT 1439 That Theseus hath taken hym so neer
KnT 1440 That of his chambre he made hym a squier,
KnT 1441 And gaf hym gold to mayntene his degree.
KnT 1442 And eek men broghte hym out of his contree,
KnT 1443 From yeer to yeer, ful pryvely his rente;
KnT 1444 But honestly and slyly he it spente,
KnT 1445 That no man wondred how that he it hadde.
KnT 1446 And thre yeer in this wise his lif he ladde,
KnT 1447 And bar hym so, in pees and eek in werre,
KnT 1448 Ther was no man that Theseus hath derre.
KnT 1449 And in this blisse lete I now Arcite,
KnT 1450 And speke I wole of Palamon a lite.
KnT 1451 In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
KnT 1452 Thise seven yeer hath seten Palamoun
KnT 1453 Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
KnT 1454 Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
KnT 1455 But Palamon, that love destreyneth so
KnT 1456 That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
KnT 1457 And eek therto he is a prisoner
KnT 1458 Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
KnT 1459 Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely
KnT 1460 His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I;
KnT 1461 Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
KnT 1462 It fel that in the seventhe yer, of May
KnT 1463 The thridde nyght (as olde bookes seyn,
KnT 1464 That al this storie tellen moore pleyn),
KnT 1465 Were it by aventure or destynee --
KnT 1466 As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be --
KnT 1467 That soone after the mydnyght Palamoun,
KnT 1468 By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
KnT 1469 And fleeth the citee faste as he may go.
KnT 1470 For he hadde yeve his gayler drynke so
KnT 1471 Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
KnT 1472 With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
KnT 1473 That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
KnT 1474 The gayler sleep; he myghte nat awake.
KnT 1475 And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may.
KnT 1476 The nyght was short and faste by the day
KnT 1477 That nedes cost he moot hymselven hyde,
KnT 1478 And til a grove faste ther bisyde
KnT 1479 With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamon.
KnT 1480 For, shortly, this was his opinion:
KnT 1481 That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
KnT 1482 And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
KnT 1483 To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
KnT 1484 On Theseus to helpe him to werreye;
KnT 1485 And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif
KnT 1486 Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf.
KnT 1487 This is th' effect and his entente pleyn.
KnT 1488 Now wol I turne to Arcite ageyn,
KnT 1489 That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
KnT 1490 Til that Fortune had broght him in the snare.
KnT 1491 The bisy larke, messager of day,
KnT 1492 Salueth in hir song the morwe gray,
KnT 1493 And firy Phebus riseth up so bright
KnT 1494 That al the orient laugheth of the light,
KnT 1495 And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
KnT 1496 The silver dropes hangynge on the leves.
KnT 1497 And Arcita, that in the court roial
KnT 1498 With Theseus is squier principal,
KnT 1499 Is risen and looketh on the myrie day.
KnT 1500 And for to doon his observaunce to May,
KnT 1501 Remembrynge on the poynt of his desir,
KnT 1502 He on a courser, startlynge as the fir,
KnT 1503 Is riden into the feeldes hym to pleye,
KnT 1504 Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
KnT 1505 And to the grove of which that I yow tolde
KnT 1506 By aventure his wey he gan to holde
KnT 1507 To maken hym a gerland of the greves,
KnT 1508 Were it of wodebynde or hawethorn leves,
KnT 1509 And loude he song ayeyn the sonne shene:
KnT 1510 " May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
KnT 1511 Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May,
KnT 1512 In hope that I som grene gete may. "
KnT 1513 And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
KnT 1514 Into the grove ful hastily he sterte,
KnT 1515 And in a path he rometh up and doun,
KnT 1516 Ther as by aventure this Palamoun
KnT 1517 Was in a bussh, that no man myghte hym se,
KnT 1518 For soore afered of his deeth was he.
KnT 1519 No thyng ne knew he that it was Arcite;
KnT 1520 God woot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
KnT 1521 But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,
KnT 1522 That " feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres. "
KnT 1523 It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
KnT 1524 For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.
KnT 1525 Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,
KnT 1526 That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
KnT 1527 For in the bussh he sitteth now ful stille.
KnT 1528 Whan that Arcite hadde romed al his fille,
KnT 1529 And songen al the roundel lustily,
KnT 1530 Into a studie he fil sodeynly,
KnT 1531 As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
KnT 1532 Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,
KnT 1533 Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
KnT 1534 Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,
KnT 1535 Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
KnT 1536 Right so kan geery Venus overcaste
KnT 1537 The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
KnT 1538 Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.
KnT 1539 Selde is the Friday al the wowke ylike.
KnT 1540 Whan that Arcite had songe, he gan to sike
KnT 1541 And sette hym doun withouten any moore.
KnT 1542 " Allas, " quod he, " that day that I was bore!
KnT 1543 How longe, Juno, thurgh thy crueltee,
KnT 1544 Woltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
KnT 1545 Allas, ybroght is to confusioun
KnT 1546 The blood roial of Cadme and Amphioun --
KnT 1547 Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man
KnT 1548 That Thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,
KnT 1549 And of the citee first was crouned kyng.
KnT 1550 Of his lynage am I and his ofspryng
KnT 1551 By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
KnT 1552 And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
KnT 1553 That he that is my mortal enemy,
KnT 1554 I serve hym as his squier povrely.
KnT 1555 And yet dooth Juno me wel moore shame,
KnT 1556 For I dar noght biknowe myn owene name;
KnT 1557 But ther as I was wont to highte Arcite,
KnT 1558 Now highte I Philostrate, noght worth a myte.
KnT 1559 Allas, thou felle Mars! Allas, Juno!
KnT 1560 Thus hath youre ire oure lynage al fordo,
KnT 1561 Save oonly me and wrecched Palamoun,
KnT 1562 That Theseus martireth in prisoun.
KnT 1563 And over al this, to sleen me outrely
KnT 1564 Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly
KnT 1565 Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte
KnT 1566 That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
KnT 1567 Ye sleen me with youre eyen, Emelye!
KnT 1568 Ye been the cause wherfore that I dye.
KnT 1569 Of al the remenant of myn oother care
KnT 1570 Ne sette I nat the montance of a tare,
KnT 1571 So that I koude doon aught to youre plesaunce. "
KnT 1572 And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
KnT 1573 A longe tyme, and after he up sterte.
KnT 1574 This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
KnT 1575 He felte a coold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
KnT 1576 For ire he quook; no lenger wolde he byde.
KnT 1577 And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
KnT 1578 As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
KnT 1579 He stirte hym up out of the buskes thikke
KnT 1580 And seide: " Arcite, false traytour wikke,
KnT 1581 Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
KnT 1582 For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
KnT 1583 And art my blood, and to my conseil sworn,
KnT 1584 As I ful ofte have told thee heerbiforn,
KnT 1585 And hast byjaped heere duc Theseus,
KnT 1586 And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus!
KnT 1587 I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
KnT 1588 Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,
KnT 1589 But I wol love hire oonly and namo;
KnT 1590 For I am Palamon, thy mortal foo.
KnT 1591 And though that I no wepene have in this place,
KnT 1592 But out of prison am astert by grace,
KnT 1593 I drede noght that outher thow shalt dye,
KnT 1594 Or thow ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
KnT 1595 Chees which thou wolt, or thou shalt nat asterte! "
KnT 1596 This Arcite, with ful despitous herte,
KnT 1597 Whan he hym knew, and hadde his tale herd,
KnT 1598 As fiers as leon pulled out his swerd,
KnT 1599 And seyde thus: " By God that sit above,
KnT 1600 Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,
KnT 1601 And eek that thow no wepne hast in this place,
KnT 1602 Thou sholdest nevere out of this grove pace,
KnT 1603 That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
KnT 1604 For I defye the seurete and the bond
KnT 1605 Which that thou seist that I have maad to thee.
KnT 1606 What! Verray fool, thynk wel that love is free,
KnT 1607 And I wol love hire maugree al thy myght!
KnT 1608 But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght
KnT 1609 And wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille,
KnT 1610 Have heer my trouthe; tomorwe I wol nat faille,
KnT 1611 Withoute wityng of any oother wight,
KnT 1612 That heere I wol be founden as a knyght,
KnT 1613 And bryngen harneys right ynough for thee;
KnT 1614 And ches the beste, and leef the worste for me.
KnT 1615 And mete and drynke this nyght wol I brynge
KnT 1616 Ynough for thee, and clothes for thy beddynge.
KnT 1617 And if so be that thou my lady wynne,
KnT 1618 And sle me in this wode ther I am inne,
KnT 1619 Thow mayst wel have thy lady as for me. "
KnT 1620 This Palamon answerde, " I graunte it thee. "
KnT 1621 And thus they been departed til amorwe,
KnT 1622 Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
KnT 1623 O Cupide, out of alle charitee!
KnT 1624 O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
KnT 1625 Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe
KnT 1626 Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.
KnT 1627 Wel fynden that Arcite and Palamoun.
KnT 1628 Arcite is riden anon unto the toun,
KnT 1629 And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
KnT 1630 Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,
KnT 1631 Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
KnT 1632 The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne;
KnT 1633 And on his hors, allone as he was born,
KnT 1634 He carieth al the harneys hym biforn.
KnT 1635 And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
KnT 1636 This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
KnT 1637 To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;
KnT 1638 Right as the hunters in the regne of Trace,
KnT 1639 That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
KnT 1640 Whan hunted is the leon or the bere,
KnT 1641 And hereth hym come russhyng in the greves,
KnT 1642 And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
KnT 1643 And thynketh, " Heere cometh my mortal enemy!
KnT 1644 Withoute faille, he moot be deed, or I,
KnT 1645 For outher I moot sleen hym at the gappe,
KnT 1646 Or he moot sleen me, if that me myshappe. "
KnT 1647 So ferden they in chaungyng of hir hewe,
KnT 1648 As fer as everich of hem oother knewe.
KnT 1649 Ther nas no good day, ne no saluyng,
KnT 1650 But streight, withouten word or rehersyng,
KnT 1651 Everich of hem heelp for to armen oother
KnT 1652 As freendly as he were his owene brother;
KnT 1653 And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
KnT 1654 They foynen ech at oother wonder longe.
KnT 1655 Thou myghtest wene that this Palamon
KnT 1656 In his fightyng were a wood leon,
KnT 1657 And as a crueel tigre was Arcite;
KnT 1658 As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,
KnT 1659 That frothen whit as foom for ire wood.
KnT 1660 Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.
KnT 1661 And in this wise I lete hem fightyng dwelle,
KnT 1662 And forth I wole of Theseus yow telle.
KnT 1663 The destinee, ministre general,
KnT 1664 That executeth in the world over al
KnT 1665 The purveiaunce that God hath seyn biforn,
KnT 1666 So strong it is that, though the world had sworn
KnT 1667 The contrarie of a thyng by ye or nay,
KnT 1668 Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day
KnT 1669 That falleth nat eft withinne a thousand yeer.
KnT 1670 For certeinly, oure appetites heer,
KnT 1671 Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
KnT 1672 Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
KnT 1673 This mene I now by myghty Theseus,
KnT 1674 That for to hunten is so desirus,
KnT 1675 And namely at the grete hert in May,
KnT 1676 That in his bed ther daweth hym no day
KnT 1677 That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde
KnT 1678 With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde.
KnT 1679 For in his huntyng hath he swich delit
KnT 1680 That it is al his joye and appetit
KnT 1681 To been hymself the grete hertes bane,
KnT 1682 For after Mars he serveth now Dyane.
KnT 1683 Cleer was the day, as I have toold er this,
KnT 1684 And Theseus with alle joye and blis,
KnT 1685 With his Ypolita, the faire queene,
KnT 1686 And Emelye, clothed al in grene,
KnT 1687 On huntyng be they riden roially.
KnT 1688 And to the grove that stood ful faste by,
KnT 1689 In which ther was an hert, as men hym tolde,
KnT 1690 Duc Theseus the streighte wey hath holde.
KnT 1691 And to the launde he rideth hym ful right,
KnT 1692 For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
KnT 1693 And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
KnT 1694 This duc wol han a cours at hym or tweye
KnT 1695 With houndes swiche as that hym list comaunde.
KnT 1696 And whan this duc was come unto the launde,
KnT 1697 Under the sonne he looketh, and anon
KnT 1698 He was war of Arcite and Palamon,
KnT 1699 That foughten breme as it were bores two.
KnT 1700 The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro
KnT 1701 So hidously that with the leeste strook
KnT 1702 It semed as it wolde felle an ook.
KnT 1703 But what they were, no thyng he ne woot.
KnT 1704 This duc his courser with his spores smoot,
KnT 1705 And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,
KnT 1706 And pulled out a swerd and cride, " Hoo!
KnT 1707 Namoore, up peyne of lesynge of youre heed!
KnT 1708 By myghty Mars, he shal anon be deed
KnT 1709 That smyteth any strook that I may seen.
KnT 1710 But telleth me what myster men ye been,
KnT 1711 That been so hardy for to fighten heere
KnT 1712 Withouten juge or oother officere,
KnT 1713 As it were in a lystes roially. "
KnT 1714 This Palamon answerde hastily
KnT 1715 And seyde, " Sire, what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1716 We have the deeth disserved bothe two.
KnT 1717 Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
KnT 1718 That been encombred of oure owene lyves;
KnT 1719 And as thou art a rightful lord and juge,
KnT 1720 Ne yif us neither mercy ne refuge,
KnT 1721 But sle me first, for seinte charitee!
KnT 1722 But sle my felawe eek as wel as me;
KnT 1723 Or sle hym first, for though thow knowest it lite,
KnT 1724 This is thy mortal foo, this is Arcite,
KnT 1725 That fro thy lond is banysshed on his heed,
KnT 1726 For which he hath deserved to be deed.
KnT 1727 For this is he that cam unto thy gate
KnT 1728 And seyde that he highte Philostrate.
KnT 1729 Thus hath he japed thee ful many a yer,
KnT 1730 And thou hast maked hym thy chief squier;
KnT 1731 And this is he that loveth Emelye.
KnT 1732 For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
KnT 1733 I make pleynly my confessioun
KnT 1734 That I am thilke woful Palamoun
KnT 1735 That hath thy prisoun broken wikkedly.
KnT 1736 I am thy mortal foo, and it am I
KnT 1737 That loveth so hoote Emelye the brighte
KnT 1738 That I wol dye present in hir sighte.
KnT 1739 Wherfore I axe deeth and my juwise;
KnT 1740 But sle my felawe in the same wise,
KnT 1741 For bothe han we deserved to be slayn. "
KnT 1742 This worthy duc answerde anon agayn,
KnT 1743 And seyde, " This is a short conclusioun.
KnT 1744 Youre owene mouth, by youre confessioun,
KnT 1745 Hath dampned yow, and I wol it recorde;
KnT 1746 It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
KnT 1747 Ye shal be deed, by myghty Mars the rede! "
KnT 1748 The queene anon, for verray wommanhede,
KnT 1749 Gan for to wepe, and so dide Emelye,
KnT 1750 And alle the ladyes in the compaignye.
KnT 1751 Greet pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
KnT 1752 That evere swich a chaunce sholde falle,
KnT 1753 For gentil men they were of greet estaat,
KnT 1754 And no thyng but for love was this debaat;
KnT 1755 And saugh hir blody woundes wyde and soore,
KnT 1756 And alle crieden, bothe lasse and moore,
KnT 1757 " Have mercy, Lord, upon us wommen alle! "
KnT 1758 And on hir bare knees adoun they falle
KnT 1759 And wolde have kist his feet ther as he stood;
KnT 1760 Til at the laste aslaked was his mood,
KnT 1761 For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
KnT 1762 And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
KnT 1763 He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
KnT 1764 The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
KnT 1765 And although that his ire hir gilt accused,
KnT 1766 Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
KnT 1767 As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
KnT 1768 Wol helpe hymself in love, if that he kan,
KnT 1769 And eek delivere hymself out of prisoun.
KnT 1770 And eek his herte hadde compassioun
KnT 1771 Of wommen, for they wepen evere in oon,
KnT 1772 And in his gentil herte he thoughte anon,
KnT 1773 And softe unto hymself he seyde, " Fy
KnT 1774 Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,
KnT 1775 But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,
KnT 1776 To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,
KnT 1777 As wel as to a proud despitous man
KnT 1778 That wol mayntene that he first bigan.
KnT 1779 That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
KnT 1780 That in swich cas kan no divisioun
KnT 1781 But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon. "
KnT 1782 And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
KnT 1783 He gan to looken up with eyen lighte
KnT 1784 And spak thise same wordes al on highte:
KnT 1785 " The god of love, a benedicite!
KnT 1786 How myghty and how greet a lord is he!
KnT 1787 Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles.
KnT 1788 He may be cleped a god for his myracles,
KnT 1789 For he kan maken, at his owene gyse,
KnT 1790 Of everich herte as that hym list divyse.
KnT 1791 Lo heere this Arcite and this Palamoun,
KnT 1792 That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
KnT 1793 And myghte han lyved in Thebes roially,
KnT 1794 And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
KnT 1795 And that hir deth lith in my myght also,
KnT 1796 And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
KnT 1797 Broght hem hyder bothe for to dye.
KnT 1798 Now looketh, is nat that an heigh folye?
KnT 1799 Who may been a fool but if he love?
KnT 1800 Bihoold, for Goddes sake that sit above,
KnT 1801 Se how they blede! Be they noght wel arrayed?
KnT 1802 Thus hath hir lord, the god of love, ypayed
KnT 1803 Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
KnT 1804 And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
KnT 1805 That serven love, for aught that may bifalle.
KnT 1806 But this is yet the beste game of alle,
KnT 1807 That she for whom they han this jolitee
KnT 1808 Kan hem therfore as muche thank as me.
KnT 1809 She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,
KnT 1810 By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!
KnT 1811 But all moot ben assayed, hoot and coold;
KnT 1812 A man moot ben a fool, or yong or oold --
KnT 1813 I woot it by myself ful yore agon,
KnT 1814 For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
KnT 1815 And therfore, syn I knowe of loves peyne
KnT 1816 And woot hou soore it kan a man distreyne,
KnT 1817 As he that hath ben caught ofte in his laas,
KnT 1818 I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespaas,
KnT 1819 At requeste of the queene, that kneleth heere,
KnT 1820 And eek of Emelye, my suster deere.
KnT 1821 And ye shul bothe anon unto me swere
KnT 1822 That nevere mo ye shal my contree dere,
KnT 1823 Ne make werre upon me nyght ne day,
KnT 1824 But been my freendes in all that ye may.
KnT 1825 I yow foryeve this trespas every deel. "
KnT 1826 And they hym sworen his axyng faire and weel,
KnT 1827 And hym of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
KnT 1828 And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:
KnT 1829 " To speke of roial lynage and richesse,
KnT 1830 Though that she were a queene or a princesse,
KnT 1831 Ech of you bothe is worthy, doutelees,
KnT 1832 To wedden whan tyme is; but nathelees --
KnT 1833 I speke as for my suster Emelye,
KnT 1834 For whom ye have this strif and jalousye --
KnT 1835 Ye woot yourself she may nat wedden two
KnT 1836 Atones, though ye fighten everemo,
KnT 1837 That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,
KnT 1838 He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;
KnT 1839 This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
KnT 1840 Al be ye never so jalouse ne so wrothe.
KnT 1841 And forthy I yow putte in this degree,
KnT 1842 That ech of yow shal have his destynee
KnT 1843 As hym is shape, and herkneth in what wyse;
KnT 1844 Lo, heere youre ende of that I shal devyse.
KnT 1845 My wyl is this, for plat conclusioun,
KnT 1846 Withouten any repplicacioun --
KnT 1847 If that you liketh, take it for the beste:
KnT 1848 That everich of you shal goon where hym leste
KnT 1849 Frely, withouten raunson or daunger,
KnT 1850 And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,
KnT 1851 Everich of you shal brynge an hundred knyghtes
KnT 1852 Armed for lystes up at alle rightes,
KnT 1853 Al redy to darreyne hire by bataille.
KnT 1854 And this bihote I yow withouten faille,
KnT 1855 Upon my trouthe, and as I am a knyght,
KnT 1856 That wheither of yow bothe that hath myght --
KnT 1857 This is to seyn, that wheither he or thow
KnT 1858 May with his hundred, as I spak of now,
KnT 1859 Sleen his contrarie, or out of lystes dryve,
KnT 1860 Thanne shal I yeve Emelya to wyve
KnT 1861 To whom that Fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
KnT 1862 The lystes shal I maken in this place,
KnT 1863 And God so wisly on my soule rewe
KnT 1864 As I shal evene juge been and trewe.
KnT 1865 Ye shul noon oother ende with me maken,
KnT 1866 That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
KnT 1867 And if yow thynketh this is weel ysayd,
KnT 1868 Seyeth youre avys, and holdeth you apayd.
KnT 1869 This is youre ende and youre conclusioun. "
KnT 1870 Who looketh lightly now but Palamoun?
KnT 1871 Who spryngeth up for joye but Arcite?
KnT 1872 Who kouthe telle, or who kouthe it endite,
KnT 1873 The joye that is maked in the place
KnT 1874 Whan Theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
KnT 1875 But doun on knees wente every maner wight,
KnT 1876 And thonked hym with al hir herte and myght,
KnT 1877 And namely the Thebans often sithe.
KnT 1878 And thus with good hope and with herte blithe
KnT 1879 They taken hir leve, and homward gonne they ride
KnT 1880 To Thebes with his olde walles wyde.
KnT 1881 I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
KnT 1882 If I foryete to tellen the dispence
KnT 1883 Of Theseus, that gooth so bisily
KnT 1884 To maken up the lystes roially,
KnT 1885 That swich a noble theatre as it was
KnT 1886 I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
KnT 1887 The circuit a myle was aboute,
KnT 1888 Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
KnT 1889 Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
KnT 1890 Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
KnT 1891 That whan a man was set on o degree,
KnT 1892 He letted nat his felawe for to see.
KnT 1893 Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
KnT 1894 Westward right swich another in the opposit.
KnT 1895 And shortly to concluden, swich a place
KnT 1896 Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
KnT 1897 For in the lond ther was no crafty man
KnT 1898 That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
KnT 1899 Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
KnT 1900 That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages
KnT 1901 The theatre for to maken and devyse.
KnT 1902 And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
KnT 1903 He estward hath, upon the gate above,
KnT 1904 In worshipe of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 1905 Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
KnT 1906 And on the gate westward, in memorie
KnT 1907 Of Mars, he maked hath right swich another,
KnT 1908 That coste largely of gold a fother.
KnT 1909 And northward, in a touret on the wal,
KnT 1910 Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
KnT 1911 An oratorie, riche for to see,
KnT 1912 In worshipe of Dyane of chastitee,
KnT 1913 Hath Theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
KnT 1914 But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
KnT 1915 The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
KnT 1916 The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures
KnT 1917 That weren in thise oratories thre.
KnT 1918 First in the temple of Venus maystow se
KnT 1919 Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
KnT 1920 The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
KnT 1921 The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
KnT 1922 The firy strokes of the desirynge
KnT 1923 That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
KnT 1924 The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
KnT 1925 Plesaunce and Hope, Desir, Foolhardynesse,
KnT 1926 Beautee and Youthe, Bauderie, Richesse,
KnT 1927 Charmes and Force, Lesynges, Flaterye,
KnT 1928 Despense, Bisynesse, and Jalousye,
KnT 1929 That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
KnT 1930 And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
KnT 1931 Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
KnT 1932 Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
KnT 1933 Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
KnT 1934 By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
KnT 1935 And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
KnT 1936 For soothly al the mount of Citheroun,
KnT 1937 Ther Venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
KnT 1938 Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
KnT 1939 With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
KnT 1940 Nat was foryeten the porter, Ydelnesse,
KnT 1941 Ne Narcisus the faire of yore agon,
KnT 1942 Ne yet the folye of kyng Salomon,
KnT 1943 Ne yet the grete strengthe of Ercules --
KnT 1944 Th' enchauntementz of Medea and Circes --
KnT 1945 Ne of Turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
KnT 1946 The riche Cresus, kaytyf in servage.
KnT 1947 Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
KnT 1948 Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
KnT 1949 Ne may with Venus holde champartie,
KnT 1950 For as hir list the world than may she gye.
KnT 1951 Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
KnT 1952 Til they for wo ful ofte seyde " allas! "
KnT 1953 Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
KnT 1954 And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
KnT 1955 The statue of Venus, glorious for to se,
KnT 1956 Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
KnT 1957 And fro the navele doun al covered was
KnT 1958 With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
KnT 1959 A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
KnT 1960 And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
KnT 1961 A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
KnT 1962 Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
KnT 1963 Biforn hire stood hir sone Cupido;
KnT 1964 Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
KnT 1965 And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
KnT 1966 A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
KnT 1967 Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
KnT 1968 The portreiture that was upon the wal
KnT 1969 Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
KnT 1970 Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
KnT 1971 Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
KnT 1972 That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
KnT 1973 In thilke colde, frosty regioun
KnT 1974 Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
KnT 1975 First on the wal was peynted a forest,
KnT 1976 In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
KnT 1977 With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
KnT 1978 Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
KnT 1979 In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
KnT 1980 As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
KnT 1981 And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
KnT 1982 Ther stood the temple of Mars armypotente,
KnT 1983 Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
KnT 1984 Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
KnT 1985 And therout came a rage and swich a veze
KnT 1986 That it made al the gate for to rese.
KnT 1987 The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
KnT 1988 For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
KnT 1989 Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
KnT 1990 The dore was al of adamant eterne,
KnT 1991 Yclenched overthwart and endelong
KnT 1992 With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
KnT 1993 Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
KnT 1994 Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
KnT 1995 Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
KnT 1996 Of Felonye, and al the compassyng;
KnT 1997 The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede;
KnT 1998 The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede;
KnT 1999 The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
KnT 2000 The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
KnT 2001 The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
KnT 2002 The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
KnT 2003 Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
KnT 2004 Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
KnT 2005 The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther --
KnT 2006 His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer --
KnT 2007 The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght;
KnT 2008 The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
KnT 2009 Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
KnT 2010 With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
KnT 2011 Yet saugh I Woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
KnT 2012 Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
KnT 2013 The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
KnT 2014 A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
KnT 2015 The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
KnT 2016 The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
KnT 2017 Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
KnT 2018 The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
KnT 2019 The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
KnT 2020 The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
KnT 2021 Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte.
KnT 2022 The cartere overryden with his carte --
KnT 2023 Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
KnT 2024 Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
KnT 2025 The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
KnT 2026 That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
KnT 2027 And al above, depeynted in a tour,
KnT 2028 Saugh I Conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
KnT 2029 With the sharpe swerd over his heed
KnT 2030 Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
KnT 2031 Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
KnT 2032 Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
KnT 2033 Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
KnT 2034 Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
KnT 2035 By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
KnT 2036 So was it shewed in that portreiture,
KnT 2037 As is depeynted in the sterres above
KnT 2038 Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
KnT 2039 Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
KnT 2040 I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
KnT 2041 The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
KnT 2042 Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
KnT 2043 And over his heed ther shynen two figures
KnT 2044 Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
KnT 2045 That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus --
KnT 2046 This god of armes was arrayed thus.
KnT 2047 A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
KnT 2048 With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
KnT 2049 With soutil pencel was depeynted this storie
KnT 2050 In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
KnT 2051 Now to the temple of Dyane the chaste,
KnT 2052 As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
KnT 2053 To telle yow al the descripsioun.
KnT 2054 Depeynted been the walles up and doun
KnT 2055 Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
KnT 2056 Ther saugh I how woful Calistopee,
KnT 2057 Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
KnT 2058 Was turned from a womman til a bere,
KnT 2059 And after was she maad the loode-sterre.
KnT 2060 Thus was it peynted; I kan sey yow no ferre.
KnT 2061 Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
KnT 2062 Ther saugh I Dane, yturned til a tree --
KnT 2063 I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
KnT 2064 But Penneus doghter, which that highte Dane.
KnT 2065 Ther saugh I Attheon an hert ymaked,
KnT 2066 For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked;
KnT 2067 I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
KnT 2068 And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
KnT 2069 Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
KnT 2070 How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
KnT 2071 And Meleagre, and many another mo,
KnT 2072 For which Dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
KnT 2073 Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
KnT 2074 The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
KnT 2075 This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
KnT 2076 With smale houndes al aboute hir feet,
KnT 2077 And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone --
KnT 2078 Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
KnT 2079 In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
KnT 2080 With bowe in honde and arwes in a cas.
KnT 2081 Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun
KnT 2082 Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
KnT 2083 A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
KnT 2084 But for hir child so longe was unborn,
KnT 2085 Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle
KnT 2086 And seyde, " Help, for thou mayst best of alle! "
KnT 2087 Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
KnT 2088 With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
KnT 2089 Now been thise lystes maad, and Theseus,
KnT 2090 That at his grete cost arrayed thus
KnT 2091 The temples and the theatre every deel,
KnT 2092 Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
KnT 2093 But stynte I wole of Theseus a lite,
KnT 2094 And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2095 The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
KnT 2096 That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
KnT 2097 The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
KnT 2098 And til Atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
KnT 2099 Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
KnT 2100 Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
KnT 2101 And sikerly ther trowed many a man
KnT 2102 That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
KnT 2103 As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
KnT 2104 As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
KnT 2105 Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
KnT 2106 For every wight that lovede chivalrye
KnT 2107 And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
KnT 2108 Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
KnT 2109 And wel was hym that therto chosen was,
KnT 2110 For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
KnT 2111 Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
KnT 2112 That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
KnT 2113 Were it in Engelond or elleswhere,
KnT 2114 They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there --
KnT 2115 To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
KnT 2116 It were a lusty sighte for to see.
KnT 2117 And right so ferden they with Palamon.
KnT 2118 With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
KnT 2119 Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
KnT 2120 And in a brestplate and a light gypoun;
KnT 2121 And som wol have a paire plates large;
KnT 2122 And som wol have a Pruce sheeld or a targe;
KnT 2123 Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
KnT 2124 And have an ax, and som a mace of steel --
KnT 2125 Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
KnT 2126 Armed were they, as I have yow told,
KnT 2127 Everych after his opinioun.
KnT 2128 Ther maistow seen, comynge with Palamoun,
KnT 2129 Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of Trace.
KnT 2130 Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
KnT 2131 The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
KnT 2132 They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
KnT 2133 And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
KnT 2134 With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
KnT 2135 His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
KnT 2136 His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
KnT 2137 And as the gyse was in his contree,
KnT 2138 Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
KnT 2139 With foure white boles in the trays.
KnT 2140 In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
KnT 2141 With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
KnT 2142 He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
KnT 2143 His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
KnT 2144 As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
KnT 2145 A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
KnT 2146 Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
KnT 2147 Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
KnT 2148 Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
KnT 2149 Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
KnT 2150 To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
KnT 2151 And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
KnT 2152 Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
KnT 2153 An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
KnT 2154 Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
KnT 2155 With Arcita, in stories as men fynde,
KnT 2156 The grete Emetreus, the kyng of Inde,
KnT 2157 Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
KnT 2158 Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
KnT 2159 Cam ridynge lyk the god of armes, Mars.
KnT 2160 His cote-armure was of clooth of Tars
KnT 2161 Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
KnT 2162 His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
KnT 2163 A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
KnT 2164 Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
KnT 2165 His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
KnT 2166 And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
KnT 2167 His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
KnT 2168 His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
KnT 2169 A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
KnT 2170 Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
KnT 2171 And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
KnT 2172 Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
KnT 2173 His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
KnT 2174 His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
KnT 2175 Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
KnT 2176 A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
KnT 2177 Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
KnT 2178 An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
KnT 2179 An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
KnT 2180 Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
KnT 2181 Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
KnT 2182 For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
KnT 2183 Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
KnT 2184 For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
KnT 2185 Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
KnT 2186 Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
KnT 2187 And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
KnT 2188 Been on the Sonday to the citee come
KnT 2189 Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
KnT 2190 This Theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
KnT 2191 Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
KnT 2192 And inned hem, everich at his degree,
KnT 2193 He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
KnT 2194 To esen hem and doon hem al honour
KnT 2195 That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
KnT 2196 Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
KnT 2197 The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
KnT 2198 The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
KnT 2199 The riche array of Theseus paleys,
KnT 2200 Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
KnT 2201 What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
KnT 2202 Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
KnT 2203 Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
KnT 2204 What haukes sitten on the perche above,
KnT 2205 What houndes liggen on the floor adoun --
KnT 2206 Of al this make I now no mencioun,
KnT 2207 But al th' effect; that thynketh me the beste.
KnT 2208 Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
KnT 2209 The Sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
KnT 2210 Whan Palamon the larke herde synge
KnT 2211 (Although it nere nat day by houres two,
KnT 2212 Yet song the larke) and Palamon right tho
KnT 2213 With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
KnT 2214 He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
KnT 2215 Unto the blisful Citherea benigne --
KnT 2216 I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
KnT 2217 And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
KnT 2218 Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
KnT 2219 And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
KnT 2220 And herte soor he seyde as ye shal heere:
KnT 2221 " Faireste of faire, O lady myn, Venus,
KnT 2222 Doughter to Jove and spouse of Vulcanus,
KnT 2223 Thow gladere of the mount of Citheron,
KnT 2224 For thilke love thow haddest to Adoon,
KnT 2225 Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
KnT 2226 And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
KnT 2227 Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
KnT 2228 Th' effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
KnT 2229 Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
KnT 2230 I am so confus that I kan noght seye
KnT 2231 But `Mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
KnT 2232 My thought and seest what harmes that I feele!'
KnT 2233 Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
KnT 2234 As wisly as I shal for everemoore,
KnT 2235 Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
KnT 2236 And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
KnT 2237 That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
KnT 2238 I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
KnT 2239 Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
KnT 2240 Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
KnT 2241 Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
KnT 2242 But I wolde have fully possessioun
KnT 2243 Of Emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
KnT 2244 Fynd thow the manere hou and in what wyse:
KnT 2245 I recche nat but it may bettre be
KnT 2246 To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
KnT 2247 So that I have my lady in myne armes.
KnT 2248 For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
KnT 2249 Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
KnT 2250 That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
KnT 2251 Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
KnT 2252 And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
KnT 2253 I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
KnT 2254 And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
KnT 2255 Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
KnT 2256 That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
KnT 2257 Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
KnT 2258 Though that Arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
KnT 2259 This is th' effect and ende of my preyere:
KnT 2260 Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere. "
KnT 2261 Whan the orison was doon of Palamon,
KnT 2262 His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
KnT 2263 Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
KnT 2264 Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
KnT 2265 But atte laste the statue of Venus shook,
KnT 2266 And made a signe, wherby that he took
KnT 2267 That his preyere accepted was that day.
KnT 2268 For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
KnT 2269 Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone,
KnT 2270 And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
KnT 2271 The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
KnT 2272 Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
KnT 2273 Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye
KnT 2274 And to the temple of Dyane gan hye.
KnT 2275 Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
KnT 2276 Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
KnT 2277 Th' encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
KnT 2278 That to the sacrifice longen shal;
KnT 2279 The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse --
KnT 2280 Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
KnT 2281 Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
KnT 2282 This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
KnT 2283 Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
KnT 2284 But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
KnT 2285 But it be any thing in general;
KnT 2286 And yet it were a game to heeren al.
KnT 2287 To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
KnT 2288 But it is good a man been at his large.
KnT 2289 Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
KnT 2290 A coroune of a grene ook cerial
KnT 2291 Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
KnT 2292 Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
KnT 2293 And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
KnT 2294 In Stace of Thebes and thise bookes olde.
KnT 2295 Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
KnT 2296 Unto Dyane she spak as ye may heere:
KnT 2297 " O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
KnT 2298 To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
KnT 2299 Queene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
KnT 2300 Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
KnT 2301 Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
KnT 2302 As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
KnT 2303 That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
KnT 2304 Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
KnT 2305 Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
KnT 2306 Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
KnT 2307 I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
KnT 2308 A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
KnT 2309 And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
KnT 2310 And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
KnT 2311 Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
KnT 2312 Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
KnT 2313 For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
KnT 2314 And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
KnT 2315 And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore,
KnT 2316 This grace I preye thee withoute moore,
KnT 2317 As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
KnT 2318 And fro me turne awey hir hertes so
KnT 2319 That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
KnT 2320 And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
KnT 2321 Be queynt, or turned in another place.
KnT 2322 And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
KnT 2323 Or if my destynee be shapen so
KnT 2324 That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
KnT 2325 As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
KnT 2326 Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
KnT 2327 The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
KnT 2328 Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
KnT 2329 My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
KnT 2330 And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve. "
KnT 2331 The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
KnT 2332 Whil Emelye was thus in hir preyere.
KnT 2333 But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
KnT 2334 For right anon oon of the fyres queynte
KnT 2335 And quyked agayn, and after that anon
KnT 2336 That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
KnT 2337 And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
KnT 2338 As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
KnT 2339 And at the brondes ende out ran anon
KnT 2340 As it were blody dropes many oon;
KnT 2341 For which so soore agast was Emelye
KnT 2342 That she was wel ny mad and gan to crye,
KnT 2343 For she ne wiste what it signyfied,
KnT 2344 But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
KnT 2345 And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
KnT 2346 And therwithal Dyane gan appeere,
KnT 2347 With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
KnT 2348 And seyde, " Doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
KnT 2349 Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
KnT 2350 And by eterne word writen and confermed,
KnT 2351 Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
KnT 2352 That han for thee so muchel care and wo,
KnT 2353 But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
KnT 2354 Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
KnT 2355 The fires which that on myn auter brenne
KnT 2356 Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
KnT 2357 Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas. "
KnT 2358 And with that word, the arwes in the caas
KnT 2359 Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
KnT 2360 And forth she wente and made a vanysshynge;
KnT 2361 For which this Emelye astoned was,
KnT 2362 And seyde, " What amounteth this, allas?
KnT 2363 I putte me in thy proteccioun,
KnT 2364 Dyane, and in thy disposicioun. "
KnT 2365 And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
KnT 2366 This is th' effect; ther is namoore to seye.
KnT 2367 The nexte houre of Mars folwynge this,
KnT 2368 Arcite unto the temple walked is
KnT 2369 Of fierse Mars to doon his sacrifise,
KnT 2370 With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
KnT 2371 With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
KnT 2372 Right thus to Mars he seyde his orisoun:
KnT 2373 " O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
KnT 2374 Of Trace honoured art and lord yholde,
KnT 2375 And hast in every regne and every lond
KnT 2376 Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
KnT 2377 And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
KnT 2378 Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
KnT 2379 If so be that my youthe may deserve,
KnT 2380 And that my myght be worthy for to serve
KnT 2381 Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
KnT 2382 Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
KnT 2383 For thilke peyne and thilke hoote fir
KnT 2384 In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
KnT 2385 Whan that thow usedest the beautee
KnT 2386 Of faire, yonge, fresshe Venus free,
KnT 2387 And haddest hire in armes at thy wille --
KnT 2388 Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
KnT 2389 Whan Vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las
KnT 2390 And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! --
KnT 2391 For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
KnT 2392 Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
KnT 2393 I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
KnT 2394 And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
KnT 2395 That evere was any lyves creature,
KnT 2396 For she that dooth me al this wo endure
KnT 2397 Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
KnT 2398 And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
KnT 2399 I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
KnT 2400 And wel I woot, withouten help or grace
KnT 2401 Of thee ne may my strengthe noght availle.
KnT 2402 Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
KnT 2403 For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
KnT 2404 As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
KnT 2405 And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
KnT 2406 Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
KnT 2407 Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
KnT 2408 Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
KnT 2409 In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
KnT 2410 And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
KnT 2411 And alle the armes of my compaignye,
KnT 2412 And everemo, unto that day I dye,
KnT 2413 Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
KnT 2414 And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
KnT 2415 My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
KnT 2416 That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
KnT 2417 Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
KnT 2418 And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
KnT 2419 Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
KnT 2420 Yif me [victorie]; I aske thee namoore. "
KnT 2421 The preyere stynt of Arcita the stronge,
KnT 2422 The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
KnT 2423 And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
KnT 2424 Of which Arcita somwhat hym agaste.
KnT 2425 The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte
KnT 2426 That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
KnT 2427 A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
KnT 2428 And Arcita anon his hand up haf,
KnT 2429 And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
KnT 2430 With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
KnT 2431 The statue of Mars bigan his hauberk rynge,
KnT 2432 And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
KnT 2433 Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, " Victorie! "
KnT 2434 For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie.
KnT 2435 And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
KnT 2436 Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
KnT 2437 As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
KnT 2438 And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
KnT 2439 For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
KnT 2440 Bitwixe Venus, the goddesse of love,
KnT 2441 And Mars, the stierne god armypotente,
KnT 2442 That Juppiter was bisy it to stente,
KnT 2443 Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
KnT 2444 That knew so manye of aventures olde,
KnT 2445 Foond in his olde experience an art
KnT 2446 That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
KnT 2447 As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage;
KnT 2448 In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
KnT 2449 Men may the olde atrenne and noght atrede.
KnT 2450 Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
KnT 2451 Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
KnT 2452 Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
KnT 2453 " My deere doghter Venus, " quod Saturne,
KnT 2454 " My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
KnT 2455 Hath moore power than woot any man.
KnT 2456 Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
KnT 2457 Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
KnT 2458 Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
KnT 2459 The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
KnT 2460 The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
KnT 2461 I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
KnT 2462 Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
KnT 2463 Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
KnT 2464 The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
KnT 2465 Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
KnT 2466 I slow Sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
KnT 2467 And myne be the maladyes colde,
KnT 2468 The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
KnT 2469 My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
KnT 2470 Now weep namoore; I shal doon diligence
KnT 2471 That Palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
KnT 2472 Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
KnT 2473 Though Mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
KnT 2474 Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
KnT 2475 Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
KnT 2476 That causeth al day swich divisioun.
KnT 2477 I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
KnT 2478 Weep now namoore; I wol thy lust fulfille. "
KnT 2479 Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
KnT 2480 Of Mars, and of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 2481 And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
KnT 2482 The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
KnT 2483 Greet was the feeste in Atthenes that day,
KnT 2484 And eek the lusty seson of that May
KnT 2485 Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
KnT 2486 That al that Monday justen they and daunce,
KnT 2487 And spenden it in Venus heigh servyse.
KnT 2488 But by the cause that they sholde ryse
KnT 2489 Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
KnT 2490 Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
KnT 2491 And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
KnT 2492 Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
KnT 2493 Ther was in hostelryes al aboute,
KnT 2494 And to the paleys rood ther many a route
KnT 2495 Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
KnT 2496 Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
KnT 2497 So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
KnT 2498 Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
KnT 2499 The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
KnT 2500 Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
KnT 2501 Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
KnT 2502 Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
KnT 2503 Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
KnT 2504 Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge --
KnT 2505 There as nede is they weren no thyng ydel;
KnT 2506 The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
KnT 2507 Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
KnT 2508 With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
KnT 2509 Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
KnT 2510 With shorte staves, thikke as they may goon;
KnT 2511 Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
KnT 2512 That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
KnT 2513 The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
KnT 2514 Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
KnT 2515 Dyvynynge of thise Thebane knyghtes two.
KnT 2516 Somme seyden thus, somme seyde " it shal be so " ;
KnT 2517 Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
KnT 2518 Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
KnT 2519 Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte:
KnT 2520 " He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte. "
KnT 2521 Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
KnT 2522 Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
KnT 2523 The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
KnT 2524 With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
KnT 2525 Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche
KnT 2526 Til that the Thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
KnT 2527 Honured, were into the paleys fet.
KnT 2528 Duc Theseus was at a wyndow set,
KnT 2529 Arrayed right as he were a god in trone.
KnT 2530 The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
KnT 2531 Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
KnT 2532 And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
KnT 2533 An heraud on a scaffold made an " Oo! "
KnT 2534 Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
KnT 2535 And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
KnT 2536 Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille:
KnT 2537 " The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
KnT 2538 Considered that it were destruccioun
KnT 2539 To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
KnT 2540 Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
KnT 2541 Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
KnT 2542 He wol his firste purpos modifye.
KnT 2543 No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
KnT 2544 No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf
KnT 2545 Into the lystes sende or thider brynge;
KnT 2546 Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
KnT 2547 No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
KnT 2548 Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
KnT 2549 But o cours with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
KnT 2550 Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
KnT 2551 And he that is at meschief shal be take
KnT 2552 And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
KnT 2553 That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
KnT 2554 But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
KnT 2555 And if so falle the chieftayn be take
KnT 2556 On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
KnT 2557 No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
KnT 2558 God spede you! Gooth forth and ley on faste!
KnT 2559 With long swerd and with mace fighteth youre fille.
KnT 2560 Gooth now youre wey; this is the lordes wille. "
KnT 2561 The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
KnT 2562 So loude cride they with murie stevene,
KnT 2563 " God save swich a lord, that is so good
KnT 2564 He wilneth no destruccion of blood! "
KnT 2565 Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
KnT 2566 And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
KnT 2567 By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
KnT 2568 Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
KnT 2569 Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
KnT 2570 Thise two Thebans upon either syde,
KnT 2571 And after rood the queene and Emelye,
KnT 2572 And after that another compaignye
KnT 2573 Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
KnT 2574 And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
KnT 2575 And to the lystes come they by tyme.
KnT 2576 It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
KnT 2577 Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
KnT 2578 Ypolita the queene, and Emelye,
KnT 2579 And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
KnT 2580 Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
KnT 2581 And westward, thurgh the gates under Marte,
KnT 2582 Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
KnT 2583 With baner reed is entred right anon;
KnT 2584 And in that selve moment Palamon
KnT 2585 Is under Venus, estward in the place,
KnT 2586 With baner whyt and hardy chiere and face.
KnT 2587 In al the world, to seken up and doun,
KnT 2588 So evene, withouten variacioun,
KnT 2589 Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye,
KnT 2590 For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
KnT 2591 That any hadde of oother avauntage
KnT 2592 Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
KnT 2593 So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
KnT 2594 And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
KnT 2595 Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
KnT 2596 That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
KnT 2597 Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
KnT 2598 " Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude! "
KnT 2599 The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
KnT 2600 Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
KnT 2601 Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
KnT 2602 In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
KnT 2603 In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
KnT 2604 Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
KnT 2605 Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
KnT 2606 He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
KnT 2607 Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
KnT 2608 Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
KnT 2609 The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
KnT 2610 Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
KnT 2611 With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
KnT 2612 He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
KnT 2613 Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al,
KnT 2614 He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
KnT 2615 He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
KnT 2616 And he hym hurtleth with his hors adoun;
KnT 2617 He thurgh the body is hurt and sithen ytake,
KnT 2618 Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake;
KnT 2619 As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
KnT 2620 Another lad is on that oother syde.
KnT 2621 And some tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
KnT 2622 Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
KnT 2623 Ful ofte a day han thise Thebanes two
KnT 2624 Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
KnT 2625 Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
KnT 2626 Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
KnT 2627 Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
KnT 2628 So crueel on the hunte as is Arcite
KnT 2629 For jelous herte upon this Palamon.
KnT 2630 Ne in Belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
KnT 2631 That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
KnT 2632 Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
KnT 2633 As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite.
KnT 2634 The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
KnT 2635 Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
KnT 2636 Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
KnT 2637 For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
KnT 2638 The stronge kyng Emetreus gan hente
KnT 2639 This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
KnT 2640 And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte,
KnT 2641 And by the force of twenty is he take
KnT 2642 Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake.
KnT 2643 And in the rescus of this Palamoun
KnT 2644 The stronge kyng Lygurge is born adoun,
KnT 2645 And kyng Emetreus, for al his strengthe,
KnT 2646 Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
KnT 2647 So hitte him Palamoun er he were take.
KnT 2648 But al for noght; he was broght to the stake.
KnT 2649 His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
KnT 2650 He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
KnT 2651 By force and eek by composicioun.
KnT 2652 Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
KnT 2653 That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
KnT 2654 And whan that Theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
KnT 2655 Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
KnT 2656 He cryde, " Hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
KnT 2657 I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
KnT 2658 Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie,
KnT 2659 That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne. "
KnT 2660 Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
KnT 2661 For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle
KnT 2662 It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
KnT 2663 What kan now faire Venus doon above?
KnT 2664 What seith she now? What dooth this queene of love,
KnT 2665 But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
KnT 2666 Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
KnT 2667 She seyde, " I am ashamed, doutelees. "
KnT 2668 Saturnus seyde, " Doghter, hoold thy pees!
KnT 2669 Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
KnT 2670 And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone. "
KnT 2671 The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
KnT 2672 The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
KnT 2673 Been in hire wele for joye of daun Arcite.
KnT 2674 But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
KnT 2675 Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
KnT 2676 This fierse Arcite hath of his helm ydon,
KnT 2677 And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
KnT 2678 He priketh endelong the large place
KnT 2679 Lokynge upward upon this Emelye;
KnT 2680 And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
KnT 2681 (For wommen, as to speken in comune,
KnT 2682 Thei folwen alle the favour of Fortune)
KnT 2683 And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
KnT 2684 Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
KnT 2685 From Pluto sent at requeste of Saturne,
KnT 2686 For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
KnT 2687 And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
KnT 2688 And er that Arcite may taken keep,
KnT 2689 He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
KnT 2690 That in the place he lay as he were deed,
KnT 2691 His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
KnT 2692 As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
KnT 2693 So was the blood yronnen in his face.
KnT 2694 Anon he was yborn out of the place,
KnT 2695 With herte soor, to Theseus paleys.
KnT 2696 Tho was he korven out of his harneys
KnT 2697 And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve,
KnT 2698 For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
KnT 2699 And alwey criynge after Emelye.
KnT 2700 Duc Theseus, with al his compaignye,
KnT 2701 Is comen hoom to Atthenes his citee,
KnT 2702 With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
KnT 2703 Al be it that this aventure was falle,
KnT 2704 He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
KnT 2705 Men seyde eek that Arcite shal nat dye;
KnT 2706 He shal been heeled of his maladye.
KnT 2707 And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
KnT 2708 That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
KnT 2709 Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
KnT 2710 That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
KnT 2711 To othere woundes and to broken armes
KnT 2712 Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
KnT 2713 Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
KnT 2714 They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
KnT 2715 For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
KnT 2716 Conforteth and honoureth every man,
KnT 2717 And made revel al the longe nyght
KnT 2718 Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
KnT 2719 Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
KnT 2720 But as a justes or a tourneiynge;
KnT 2721 For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
KnT 2722 For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
KnT 2723 Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
KnT 2724 Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
KnT 2725 O persone allone, withouten mo,
KnT 2726 And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
KnT 2727 And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
KnT 2728 With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves --
KnT 2729 It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
KnT 2730 Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
KnT 2731 For which anon duc Theseus leet crye,
KnT 2732 To stynten alle rancour and envye,
KnT 2733 The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
KnT 2734 And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
KnT 2735 And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
KnT 2736 And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
KnT 2737 And conveyed the kynges worthily
KnT 2738 Out of his toun a journee largely.
KnT 2739 And hoom wente every man the righte way.
KnT 2740 Ther was namoore but " Fare wel, have good day! "
KnT 2741 Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
KnT 2742 But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2743 Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore
KnT 2744 Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
KnT 2745 The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
KnT 2746 Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
KnT 2747 That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
KnT 2748 Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
KnT 2749 The vertu expulsif, or animal,
KnT 2750 Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
KnT 2751 Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
KnT 2752 The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
KnT 2753 And every lacerte in his brest adoun
KnT 2754 Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
KnT 2755 Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
KnT 2756 Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
KnT 2757 Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
KnT 2758 Nature hath now no dominacioun.
KnT 2759 And certeinly, ther Nature wol nat wirche,
KnT 2760 Fare wel phisik! Go ber the man to chirche!
KnT 2761 This al and som, that Arcita moot dye;
KnT 2762 For which he sendeth after Emelye,
KnT 2763 And Palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
KnT 2764 Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
KnT 2765 " Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
KnT 2766 Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
KnT 2767 To yow, my lady, that I love moost,
KnT 2768 But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
KnT 2769 To yow aboven every creature,
KnT 2770 Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
KnT 2771 Allas, the wo! Allas, the peynes stronge,
KnT 2772 That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
KnT 2773 Allas, the deeth! Allas, myn Emelye!
KnT 2774 Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
KnT 2775 Allas, myn hertes queene! Allas, my wyf,
KnT 2776 Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
KnT 2777 What is this world? What asketh men to have?
KnT 2778 Now with his love, now in his colde grave
KnT 2779 Allone, withouten any compaignye.
KnT 2780 Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn Emelye!
KnT 2781 And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
KnT 2782 For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
KnT 2783 " I have heer with my cosyn Palamon
KnT 2784 Had strif and rancour many a day agon
KnT 2785 For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
KnT 2786 And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,
KnT 2787 To speken of a servaunt proprely,
KnT 2788 With alle circumstances trewely --
KnT 2789 That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
KnT 2790 Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
KnT 2791 Fredom, and al that longeth to that art --
KnT 2792 So Juppiter have of my soule part,
KnT 2793 As in this world right now ne knowe I non
KnT 2794 So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
KnT 2795 That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
KnT 2796 And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
KnT 2797 Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man. "
KnT 2798 And with that word his speche faille gan,
KnT 2799 For from his feet up to his brest was come
KnT 2800 The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
KnT 2801 And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
KnT 2802 The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
KnT 2803 Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
KnT 2804 That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
KnT 2805 Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
KnT 2806 Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
KnT 2807 But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
KnT 2808 His laste word was, " Mercy, Emelye! "
KnT 2809 His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
KnT 2810 As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
KnT 2811 Therfore I stynte; I nam no divinistre;
KnT 2812 Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
KnT 2813 Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
KnT 2814 Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
KnT 2815 Arcite is coold, ther Mars his soule gye!
KnT 2816 Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.
KnT 2817 Shrighte Emelye, and howleth Palamon,
KnT 2818 And Theseus his suster took anon
KnT 2819 Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
KnT 2820 What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
KnT 2821 To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
KnT 2822 For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
KnT 2823 Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
KnT 2824 That for the moore part they sorwen so,
KnT 2825 Or ellis fallen in swich maladye
KnT 2826 That at the laste certeinly they dye.
KnT 2827 Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
KnT 2828 Of olde folk and folk of tendre yeeres
KnT 2829 In al the toun for deeth of this Theban.
KnT 2830 For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
KnT 2831 So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
KnT 2832 Whan Ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
KnT 2833 To Troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
KnT 2834 Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
KnT 2835 " Why woldestow be deed, " thise wommen crye,
KnT 2836 " And haddest gold ynough, and Emelye? "
KnT 2837 No man myghte gladen Theseus,
KnT 2838 Savynge his olde fader Egeus,
KnT 2839 That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
KnT 2840 As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
KnT 2841 Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
KnT 2842 And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
KnT 2843 " Right as ther dyed nevere man, " quod he,
KnT 2844 " That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
KnT 2845 Right so ther lyvede never man, " he seyde,
KnT 2846 " In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
KnT 2847 This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
KnT 2848 And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
KnT 2849 Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore. "
KnT 2850 And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
KnT 2851 To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
KnT 2852 The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
KnT 2853 Duc Theseus, with al his bisy cure,
KnT 2854 Caste now wher that the sepulture
KnT 2855 Of goode Arcite may best ymaked be,
KnT 2856 And eek moost honurable in his degree.
KnT 2857 And at the laste he took conclusioun
KnT 2858 That ther as first Arcite and Palamoun
KnT 2859 Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
KnT 2860 That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
KnT 2861 Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
KnT 2862 His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
KnT 2863 He wolde make a fyr in which the office
KnT 2864 Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
KnT 2865 And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
KnT 2866 The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
KnT 2867 In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
KnT 2868 His officers with swifte feet they renne
KnT 2869 And ryde anon at his comandement.
KnT 2870 And after this, Theseus hath ysent
KnT 2871 After a beere, and it al overspradde
KnT 2872 With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
KnT 2873 And of the same suyte he cladde Arcite;
KnT 2874 Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
KnT 2875 Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
KnT 2876 And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
KnT 2877 He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
KnT 2878 Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
KnT 2879 And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
KnT 2880 Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
KnT 2881 That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
KnT 2882 Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
KnT 2883 With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
KnT 2884 In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
KnT 2885 And, passynge othere of wepynge, Emelye,
KnT 2886 The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
KnT 2887 In as muche as the servyce sholde be
KnT 2888 The moore noble and riche in his degree,
KnT 2889 Duc Theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
KnT 2890 That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
KnT 2891 And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
KnT 2892 Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
KnT 2893 Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
KnT 2894 Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
KnT 2895 The thridde baar with hym his bowe Turkeys
KnT 2896 (Of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
KnT 2897 And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
KnT 2898 Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
KnT 2899 The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
KnT 2900 Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
KnT 2901 With slakke paas and eyen rede and wete,
KnT 2902 Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
KnT 2903 That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
KnT 2904 Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
KnT 2905 Upon the right hond wente olde Egeus,
KnT 2906 And on that oother syde duc Theseus,
KnT 2907 With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
KnT 2908 Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
KnT 2909 Eek Palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
KnT 2910 And after that cam woful Emelye,
KnT 2911 With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
KnT 2912 To do the office of funeral servyse.
KnT 2913 Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
KnT 2914 Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
KnT 2915 That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
KnT 2916 And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte --
KnT 2917 This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
KnT 2918 Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
KnT 2919 But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
KnT 2920 Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
KnT 2921 As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
KnT 2922 Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
KnT 2923 Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree --
KnT 2924 How they weren feld shal nat be toold for me;
KnT 2925 Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
KnT 2926 Disherited of hire habitacioun,
KnT 2927 In which they woneden in reste and pees,
KnT 2928 Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
KnT 2929 Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
KnT 2930 Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
KnT 2931 Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
KnT 2932 That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
KnT 2933 Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
KnT 2934 And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
KnT 2935 And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
KnT 2936 And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
KnT 2937 And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
KnT 2938 The mirre, th' encens, with al so greet odour;
KnT 2939 Ne how Arcite lay among al this,
KnT 2940 Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
KnT 2941 Ne how that Emelye, as was the gyse,
KnT 2942 Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
KnT 2943 Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
KnT 2944 Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
KnT 2945 Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
KnT 2946 Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
KnT 2947 Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
KnT 2948 And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
KnT 2949 And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
KnT 2950 Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
KnT 2951 Ne how the Grekes, with an huge route,
KnT 2952 Thries riden al the fyr aboute
KnT 2953 Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
KnT 2954 And thries with hir speres claterynge;
KnT 2955 And thries how the ladyes gonne crye;
KnT 2956 And how that lad was homward Emelye;
KnT 2957 Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;
KnT 2958 Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
KnT 2959 Al thilke nyght; ne how the Grekes pleye
KnT 2960 The wake-pleyes; ne kepe I nat to seye
KnT 2961 Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
KnT 2962 Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
KnT 2963 I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
KnT 2964 Hoom til Atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
KnT 2965 But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende
KnT 2966 And maken of my longe tale an ende.
KnT 2967 By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
KnT 2968 Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
KnT 2969 Of Grekes, by oon general assent.
KnT 2970 Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
KnT 2971 At Atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
KnT 2972 Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
KnT 2973 To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
KnT 2974 And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce.
KnT 2975 For which this noble Theseus anon
KnT 2976 Leet senden after gentil Palamon,
KnT 2977 Unwist of hym what was the cause and why,
KnT 2978 But in his blake clothes sorwefully
KnT 2979 He cam at his comandement in hye.
KnT 2980 Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.
KnT 2981 Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
KnT 2982 And Theseus abiden hadde a space
KnT 2983 Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
KnT 2984 His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
KnT 2985 And with a sad visage he siked stille,
KnT 2986 And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
KnT 2987 " The Firste Moevere of the cause above,
KnT 2988 Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
KnT 2989 Greet was th' effect, and heigh was his entente.
KnT 2990 Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente,
KnT 2991 For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
KnT 2992 The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
KnT 2993 In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
KnT 2994 That same Prince and that Moevere, " quod he,
KnT 2995 " Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
KnT 2996 Certeyne dayes and duracioun
KnT 2997 To al that is engendred in this place,
KnT 2998 Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
KnT 2999 Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
KnT 3000 Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t' allegge,
KnT 3001 For it is preeved by experience,
KnT 3002 But that me list declaren my sentence.
KnT 3003 Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
KnT 3004 That thilke Moevere stable is and eterne.
KnT 3005 Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
KnT 3006 That every part dirryveth from his hool,
KnT 3007 For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
KnT 3008 Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
KnT 3009 But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
KnT 3010 Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
KnT 3011 And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
KnT 3012 He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce
KnT 3013 That speces of thynges and progressiouns
KnT 3014 Shullen enduren by successiouns,
KnT 3015 And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
KnT 3016 This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
KnT 3017 " Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
KnT 3018 From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
KnT 3019 And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
KnT 3020 Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
KnT 3021 " Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
KnT 3022 Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
KnT 3023 Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
KnT 3024 The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
KnT 3025 The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
KnT 3026 Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
KnT 3027 " Of man and womman seen we wel also
KnT 3028 That nedes, in oon of thise termes two --
KnT 3029 This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age --
KnT 3030 He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
KnT 3031 Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
KnT 3032 Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
KnT 3033 Ther helpeth noght; al goth that ilke weye.
KnT 3034 Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
KnT 3035 " What maketh this but Juppiter, the kyng,
KnT 3036 That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
KnT 3037 Convertynge al unto his propre welle
KnT 3038 From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
KnT 3039 And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
KnT 3040 Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
KnT 3041 " Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
KnT 3042 To maken vertu of necessitee,
KnT 3043 And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
KnT 3044 And namely that to us alle is due.
KnT 3045 And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
KnT 3046 And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
KnT 3047 And certeinly a man hath moost honour
KnT 3048 To dyen in his excellence and flour,
KnT 3049 Whan he is siker of his goode name;
KnT 3050 Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
KnT 3051 And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
KnT 3052 Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
KnT 3053 Than whan his name apalled is for age,
KnT 3054 For al forgeten is his vassellage.
KnT 3055 Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
KnT 3056 To dyen whan that he is best of name.
KnT 3057 " The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
KnT 3058 Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
KnT 3059 That goode Arcite, of chivalrie flour,
KnT 3060 Departed is with duetee and honour
KnT 3061 Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf?
KnT 3062 Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
KnT 3063 Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
KnT 3064 Kan he hem thank? Nay, God woot, never a deel,
KnT 3065 That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
KnT 3066 And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
KnT 3067 " What may I conclude of this longe serye,
KnT 3068 But after wo I rede us to be merye
KnT 3069 And thanken Juppiter of al his grace?
KnT 3070 And er that we departen from this place
KnT 3071 I rede that we make of sorwes two
KnT 3072 O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
KnT 3073 And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
KnT 3074 Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
KnT 3075 " Suster, " quod he, " this is my fulle assent,
KnT 3076 With al th' avys heere of my parlement,
KnT 3077 That gentil Palamon, youre owene knyght,
KnT 3078 That serveth yow with wille, herte, and myght,
KnT 3079 And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
KnT 3080 That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
KnT 3081 And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
KnT 3082 Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
KnT 3083 Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
KnT 3084 He is a kynges brother sone, pardee;
KnT 3085 And though he were a povre bacheler,
KnT 3086 Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
KnT 3087 And had for yow so greet adversitee,
KnT 3088 It moste been considered, leeveth me,
KnT 3089 For gentil mercy oghte to passen right. "
KnT 3090 Thanne seyde he thus to Palamon the knight:
KnT 3091 " I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
KnT 3092 To make yow assente to this thyng.
KnT 3093 Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond. "
KnT 3094 Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
KnT 3095 That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
KnT 3096 By al the conseil and the baronage.
KnT 3097 And thus with alle blisse and melodye
KnT 3098 Hath Palamon ywedded Emelye.
KnT 3099 And God, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
KnT 3100 Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
KnT 3101 For now is Palamon in alle wele,
KnT 3102 Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
KnT 3103 And Emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
KnT 3104 And he hire serveth so gentilly,
KnT 3105 That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
KnT 3106 Of jalousie or any oother teene.
KnT 3107 Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye;
KnT 3108 And God save al this faire compaignye! Amen.
MilT 3109 Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
MilT 3110 In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
MilT 3111 That he ne seyde it was a noble storie
MilT 3112 And worthy for to drawen to memorie,
MilT 3113 And namely the gentils everichon.
MilT 3114 Oure Hooste lough and swoor, " So moot I gon,
MilT 3115 This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
MilT 3116 Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
MilT 3117 For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
MilT 3118 Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye konne,
MilT 3119 Somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3120 The Millere, that for dronken was al pale,
MilT 3121 So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
MilT 3122 He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
MilT 3123 Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
MilT 3124 But in Pilates voys he gan to crie,
MilT 3125 And swoor, " By armes, and by blood and bones,
MilT 3126 I kan a noble tale for the nones,
MilT 3127 With which I wol now quite the Knyghtes tale. "
MilT 3128 Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
MilT 3129 And seyde, " Abyd, Robyn, my leeve brother;
MilT 3130 Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
MilT 3131 Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily. "
MilT 3132 " By Goddes soule, " quod he, " that wol nat I;
MilT 3133 For I wol speke or elles go my wey. "
MilT 3134 Oure Hoost answerde, " Tel on, a devel wey!
MilT 3135 Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome. "
MilT 3136 " Now herkneth, " quod the Millere, " alle and some!
MilT 3137 But first I make a protestacioun
MilT 3138 That I am dronke; I knowe it by my soun.
MilT 3139 And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye,
MilT 3140 Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I you preye.
MilT 3141 For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
MilT 3142 Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
MilT 3143 How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe. "
MilT 3144 The Reve answerde and seyde, " Stynt thy clappe!
MilT 3145 Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
MilT 3146 It is a synne and eek a greet folye
MilT 3147 To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
MilT 3148 And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
MilT 3149 Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn. "
MilT 3150 This dronke Millere spak ful soone ageyn
MilT 3151 And seyde, " Leve brother Osewold,
MilT 3152 Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
MilT 3153 But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
MilT 3154 Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
MilT 3155 And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
MilT 3156 That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
MilT 3157 Why artow angry with my tale now?
MilT 3158 I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
MilT 3159 Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
MilT 3160 Take upon me moore than ynogh,
MilT 3161 As demen of myself that I were oon;
MilT 3162 I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
MilT 3163 An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
MilT 3164 Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
MilT 3165 So he may fynde Goddes foyson there,
MilT 3166 Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere. "
MilT 3167 What sholde I moore seyn, but this Millere
MilT 3168 He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
MilT 3169 But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
MilT 3170 M' athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
MilT 3171 And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
MilT 3172 For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
MilT 3173 Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
MilT 3174 Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
MilT 3175 Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
MilT 3176 And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
MilT 3177 Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
MilT 3178 For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
MilT 3179 Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
MilT 3180 And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
MilT 3181 Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
MilT 3182 The Millere is a cherl; ye knowe wel this.
MilT 3183 So was the Reve eek and othere mo,
MilT 3184 And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
MilT 3185 Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
MilT 3186 And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.
MilT 3187 Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford
MilT 3188 A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
MilT 3189 And of his craft he was a carpenter.
MilT 3190 With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,
MilT 3191 Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye
MilT 3192 Was turned for to lerne astrologye,
MilT 3193 And koude a certeyn of conclusiouns,
MilT 3194 To demen by interrogaciouns,
MilT 3195 If that men asked hym, in certein houres
MilT 3196 Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles shoures,
MilT 3197 Or if men asked hym what sholde bifalle
MilT 3198 Of every thyng; I may nat rekene hem alle.
MilT 3199 This clerk was cleped hende Nicholas.
MilT 3200 Of deerne love he koude and of solas;
MilT 3201 And therto he was sleigh and ful privee,
MilT 3202 And lyk a mayden meke for to see.
MilT 3203 A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye
MilT 3204 Allone, withouten any compaignye,
MilT 3205 Ful fetisly ydight with herbes swoote;
MilT 3206 And he hymself as sweete as is the roote
MilT 3207 Of lycorys or any cetewale.
MilT 3208 His Almageste, and bookes grete and smale,
MilT 3209 His astrelabie, longynge for his art,
MilT 3210 His augrym stones layen faire apart,
MilT 3211 On shelves couched at his beddes heed;
MilT 3212 His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed;
MilT 3213 And al above ther lay a gay sautrie,
MilT 3214 On which he made a-nyghtes melodie
MilT 3215 So swetely that all the chambre rong;
MilT 3216 And Angelus ad virginem he song;
MilT 3217 And after that he song the Kynges Noote.
MilT 3218 Ful often blessed was his myrie throte.
MilT 3219 And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente
MilT 3220 After his freendes fyndyng and his rente.
MilT 3221 This carpenter hadde wedded newe a wyf,
MilT 3222 Which that he lovede moore than his lyf;
MilT 3223 Of eighteteene yeer she was of age.
MilT 3224 Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage,
MilT 3225 For she was wylde and yong, and he was old
MilT 3226 And demed hymself been lik a cokewold.
MilT 3227 He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude,
MilT 3228 That bad man sholde wedde his simylitude.
MilT 3229 Men sholde wedden after hire estaat,
MilT 3230 For youthe and elde is often at debaat.
MilT 3231 But sith that he was fallen in the snare,
MilT 3232 He moste endure, as oother folk, his care.
MilT 3233 Fair was this yonge wyf, and therwithal
MilT 3234 As any wezele hir body gent and smal.
MilT 3235 A ceynt she werede, barred al of silk,
MilT 3236 A barmclooth as whit as morne milk
MilT 3237 Upon hir lendes, ful of many a goore.
MilT 3238 Whit was hir smok, and broyden al bifoore
MilT 3239 And eek bihynde, on hir coler aboute,
MilT 3240 Of col-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute.
MilT 3241 The tapes of hir white voluper
MilT 3242 Were of the same suyte of hir coler;
MilT 3243 Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye.
MilT 3244 And sikerly she hadde a likerous ye;
MilT 3245 Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two,
MilT 3246 And tho were bent and blake as any sloo.
MilT 3247 She was ful moore blisful on to see
MilT 3248 Than is the newe pere-jonette tree,
MilT 3249 And softer than the wolle is of a wether.
MilT 3250 And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether,
MilT 3251 Tasseled with silk and perled with latoun.
MilT 3252 In al this world, to seken up and doun,
MilT 3253 There nys no man so wys that koude thenche
MilT 3254 So gay a popelote or swich a wenche.
MilT 3255 Ful brighter was the shynyng of hir hewe
MilT 3256 Than in the Tour the noble yforged newe.
MilT 3257 But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne
MilT 3258 As any swalwe sittynge on a berne.
MilT 3259 Therto she koude skippe and make game,
MilT 3260 As any kyde or calf folwynge his dame.
MilT 3261 Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth,
MilT 3262 Or hoord of apples leyd in hey or heeth.
MilT 3263 Wynsynge she was, as is a joly colt,
MilT 3264 Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt.
MilT 3265 A brooch she baar upon hir lowe coler,
MilT 3266 As brood as is the boos of a bokeler.
MilT 3267 Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye.
MilT 3268 She was a prymerole, a piggesnye,
MilT 3269 For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
MilT 3270 Or yet for any good yeman to wedde.
MilT 3271 Now, sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas
MilT 3272 That on a day this hende Nicholas
MilT 3273 Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
MilT 3274 Whil that hir housbonde was at Oseneye,
MilT 3275 As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;
MilT 3276 And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,
MilT 3277 And seyde, " Ywis, but if ich have my wille,
MilT 3278 For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille. "
MilT 3279 And heeld hire harde by the haunchebones,
MilT 3280 And seyde, " Lemman, love me al atones,
MilT 3281 Or I wol dyen, also God me save! "
MilT 3282 And she sproong as a colt dooth in the trave,
MilT 3283 And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,
MilT 3284 And seyde, " I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey!
MilT 3285 Why, lat be! " quod she. " Lat be, Nicholas,
MilT 3286 Or I wol crie `out, harrow' and `allas'!
MilT 3287 Do wey youre handes, for youre curteisye! "
MilT 3288 This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
MilT 3289 And spak so faire, and profred him so faste,
MilT 3290 That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,
MilT 3291 And swoor hir ooth, by Seint Thomas of Kent,
MilT 3292 That she wol been at his comandement,
MilT 3293 Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie.
MilT 3294 " Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie
MilT 3295 That but ye wayte wel and been privee,
MilT 3296 I woot right wel I nam but deed, " quod she.
MilT 3297 " Ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas. "
MilT 3298 " Nay, therof care thee noght, " quod Nicholas.
MilT 3299 " A clerk hadde litherly biset his whyle,
MilT 3300 But if he koude a carpenter bigyle. "
MilT 3301 And thus they been accorded and ysworn
MilT 3302 To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn.
MilT 3303 Whan Nicholas had doon thus everideel
MilT 3304 And thakked hire aboute the lendes weel,
MilT 3305 He kiste hire sweete and taketh his sawtrie,
MilT 3306 And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodie.
MilT 3307 Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,
MilT 3308 Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,
MilT 3309 This goode wyf went on an haliday.
MilT 3310 Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,
MilT 3311 So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.
MilT 3312 Now was ther of that chirche a parissh clerk,
MilT 3313 The which that was ycleped Absolon.
MilT 3314 Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,
MilT 3315 And strouted as a fanne large and brode;
MilT 3316 Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode.
MilT 3317 His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos.
MilT 3318 With Poules wyndow corven on his shoos,
MilT 3319 In hoses rede he wente fetisly.
MilT 3320 Yclad he was ful smal and proprely
MilT 3321 Al in a kirtel of a lyght waget;
MilT 3322 Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.
MilT 3323 And therupon he hadde a gay surplys
MilT 3324 As whit as is the blosme upon the rys.
MilT 3325 A myrie child he was, so God me save.
MilT 3326 Wel koude he laten blood, and clippe and shave,
MilT 3327 And maken a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.
MilT 3328 In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce
MilT 3329 After the scole of Oxenforde tho,
MilT 3330 And with his legges casten to and fro,
MilT 3331 And pleyen songes on a smal rubible;
MilT 3332 Therto he song som tyme a loud quynyble;
MilT 3333 And as wel koude he pleye on a giterne.
MilT 3334 In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne
MilT 3335 That he ne visited with his solas,
MilT 3336 Ther any gaylard tappestere was.
MilT 3337 But sooth to seyn, he was somdeel squaymous
MilT 3338 Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous.
MilT 3339 This Absolon, that jolif was and gay,
MilT 3340 Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,
MilT 3341 Sensynge the wyves of the parisshe faste;
MilT 3342 And many a lovely look on hem he caste,
MilT 3343 And namely on this carpenteris wyf.
MilT 3344 To looke on hire hym thoughte a myrie lyf,
MilT 3345 She was so propre and sweete and likerous.
MilT 3346 I dar wel seyn, if she hadde been a mous,
MilT 3347 And he a cat, he wolde hire hente anon.
MilT 3348 This parissh clerk, this joly Absolon,
MilT 3349 Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge
MilT 3350 That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;
MilT 3351 For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.
MilT 3352 The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,
MilT 3353 And Absolon his gyterne hath ytake;
MilT 3354 For paramours he thoghte for to wake.
MilT 3355 And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,
MilT 3356 Til he cam to the carpenteres hous
MilT 3357 A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,
MilT 3358 And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe
MilT 3359 That was upon the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3360 He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,
MilT 3361 " Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,
MilT 3362 I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me, "
MilT 3363 Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge.
MilT 3364 This carpenter awook, and herde him synge,
MilT 3365 And spak unto his wyf, and seyde anon,
MilT 3366 " What! Alison! Herestow nat Absolon,
MilT 3367 That chaunteth thus under oure boures wal? "
MilT 3368 And she answerde hir housbonde therwithal,
MilT 3369 " Yis, God woot, John, I heere it every deel. "
MilT 3370 This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than weel?
MilT 3371 Fro day to day this joly Absolon
MilT 3372 So woweth hire that hym is wo bigon.
MilT 3373 He waketh al the nyght and al the day;
MilT 3374 He kembeth his lokkes brode, and made hym gay;
MilT 3375 He woweth hire by meenes and brocage,
MilT 3376 And swoor he wolde been hir owene page;
MilT 3377 He syngeth, brokkynge as a nyghtyngale;
MilT 3378 He sente hire pyment, meeth, and spiced ale,
MilT 3379 And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede;
MilT 3380 And, for she was of town, he profred meede;
MilT 3381 For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
MilT 3382 And somme for strokes, and somme for gentillesse.
MilT 3383 Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
MilT 3384 He pleyeth Herodes upon a scaffold hye.
MilT 3385 But what availleth hym as in this cas?
MilT 3386 She loveth so this hende Nicholas
MilT 3387 That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
MilT 3388 He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn.
MilT 3389 And thus she maketh Absolon hire ape,
MilT 3390 And al his ernest turneth til a jape.
MilT 3391 Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
MilT 3392 Men seyn right thus: " Alwey the nye slye
MilT 3393 Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth. "
MilT 3394 For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,
MilT 3395 By cause that he fer was from hire sight,
MilT 3396 This nye Nicholas stood in his light.
MilT 3397 Now ber thee wel, thou hende Nicholas,
MilT 3398 For Absolon may waille and synge " allas. "
MilT 3399 And so bifel it on a Saterday,
MilT 3400 This carpenter was goon til Osenay;
MilT 3401 And hende Nicholas and Alisoun
MilT 3402 Acorded been to this conclusioun,
MilT 3403 That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle
MilT 3404 This sely jalous housbonde to bigyle;
MilT 3405 And if so be the game wente aright,
MilT 3406 She sholde slepen in his arm al nyght,
MilT 3407 For this was his desir and hire also.
MilT 3408 And right anon, withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3409 This Nicholas no lenger wolde tarie,
MilT 3410 But dooth ful softe unto his chambre carie
MilT 3411 Bothe mete and drynke for a day or tweye,
MilT 3412 And to hire housbonde bad hire for to seye,
MilT 3413 If that he axed after Nicholas,
MilT 3414 She sholde seye she nyste where he was;
MilT 3415 Of al that day she saugh hym nat with ye;
MilT 3416 She trowed that he was in maladye,
MilT 3417 For, for no cry hir mayde koude hym calle,
MilT 3418 He nolde answere for thyng that myghte falle.
MilT 3419 This passeth forth al thilke Saterday,
MilT 3420 That Nicholas stille in his chambre lay,
MilT 3421 And eet and sleep, or dide what hym leste,
MilT 3422 Til Sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste.
MilT 3423 This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle
MilT 3424 Of Nicholas, or what thyng myghte hym eyle,
MilT 3425 And seyde, " I am adrad, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3426 It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas.
MilT 3427 God shilde that he deyde sodeynly!
MilT 3428 This world is now ful tikel, sikerly.
MilT 3429 I saugh today a cors yborn to chirche
MilT 3430 That now, on Monday last, I saugh hym wirche.
MilT 3431 " Go up, " quod he unto his knave anoon,
MilT 3432 " Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon.
MilT 3433 Looke how it is, and tel me boldely. "
MilT 3434 This knave gooth hym up ful sturdily,
MilT 3435 And at the chambre dore whil that he stood,
MilT 3436 He cride and knokked as that he were wood,
MilT 3437 " What, how! What do ye, maister Nicholay?
MilT 3438 How may ye slepen al the longe day? "
MilT 3439 But al for noght; he herde nat a word.
MilT 3440 An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord,
MilT 3441 Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe,
MilT 3442 And at that hole he looked in ful depe,
MilT 3443 And at the laste he hadde of hym a sight.
MilT 3444 This Nicholas sat evere capyng upright,
MilT 3445 As he had kiked on the newe moone.
MilT 3446 Adoun he gooth, and tolde his maister soone
MilT 3447 In what array he saugh this ilke man.
MilT 3448 This carpenter to blessen hym bigan,
MilT 3449 And seyde, " Help us, Seinte Frydeswyde!
MilT 3450 A man woot litel what hym shal bityde.
MilT 3451 This man is falle, with his astromye,
MilT 3452 In some woodnesse or in som agonye.
MilT 3453 I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
MilT 3454 Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3455 Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man
MilT 3456 That noght but oonly his bileve kan!
MilT 3457 So ferde another clerk with astromye;
MilT 3458 He walked in the feeldes for to prye
MilT 3459 Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
MilT 3460 Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle;
MilT 3461 He saugh nat that. But yet, by Seint Thomas,
MilT 3462 Me reweth soore of hende Nicholas.
MilT 3463 He shal be rated of his studiyng,
MilT 3464 If that I may, by Jhesus, hevene kyng!
MilT 3465 Get me a staf, that I may underspore,
MilT 3466 Whil that thou, Robyn, hevest up the dore.
MilT 3467 He shal out of his studiyng, as I gesse. "
MilT 3468 And to the chambre dore he gan hym dresse.
MilT 3469 His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
MilT 3470 And by the haspe he haaf it of atones;
MilT 3471 Into the floor the dore fil anon.
MilT 3472 This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
MilT 3473 And evere caped upward into the eir.
MilT 3474 This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
MilT 3475 And hente hym by the sholdres myghtily,
MilT 3476 And shook hym harde, and cride spitously,
MilT 3477 " What! Nicholay! What, how! What, looke adoun!
MilT 3478 Awak, and thenk on Cristes passioun!
MilT 3479 I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes. "
MilT 3480 Therwith the nyght-spel seyde he anon-rightes
MilT 3481 On foure halves of the hous aboute,
MilT 3482 And on the thresshfold of the dore withoute:
MilT 3483 " Jhesu Crist and Seinte Benedight,
MilT 3484 Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
MilT 3485 For nyghtes verye, the white pater-noster!
MilT 3486 Where wentestow, Seinte Petres soster? "
MilT 3487 And atte laste this hende Nicholas
MilT 3488 Gan for to sik soore, and seyde, " Allas!
MilT 3489 Shal al the world be lost eftsoones now? "
MilT 3490 This carpenter answerde, " What seystow?
MilT 3491 What! Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynke. "
MilT 3492 This Nicholas answerde, " Fecche me drynke,
MilT 3493 And after wol I speke in pryvetee
MilT 3494 Of certeyn thyng that toucheth me and thee.
MilT 3495 I wol telle it noon oother man, certeyn. "
MilT 3496 This carpenter goth doun, and comth ageyn,
MilT 3497 And broghte of myghty ale a large quart;
MilT 3498 And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,
MilT 3499 This Nicholas his dore faste shette,
MilT 3500 And doun the carpenter by hym he sette.
MilT 3501 He seyde, " John, myn hooste, lief and deere,
MilT 3502 Thou shalt upon thy trouthe swere me heere
MilT 3503 That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye,
MilT 3504 For it is Cristes conseil that I seye,
MilT 3505 And if thou telle it man, thou art forlore;
MilT 3506 For this vengeaunce thou shalt han therfore,
MilT 3507 That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood. "
MilT 3508 " Nay, Crist forbede it, for his hooly blood! "
MilT 3509 Quod tho this sely man, " I nam no labbe,
MilT 3510 Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.
MilT 3511 Sey what thou wolt, I shal it nevere telle
MilT 3512 To child ne wyf, by hym that harwed helle! "
MilT 3513 " Now John, " quod Nicholas, " I wol nat lye;
MilT 3514 I have yfounde in myn astrologye,
MilT 3515 As I have looked in the moone bright,
MilT 3516 That now a Monday next, at quarter nyght,
MilT 3517 Shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood
MilT 3518 That half so greet was nevere Noes flood.
MilT 3519 This world, " he seyde, " in lasse than an hour
MilT 3520 Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour.
MilT 3521 Thus shal mankynde drenche, and lese hir lyf. "
MilT 3522 This carpenter answerde, " Allas, my wyf!
MilT 3523 And shal she drenche? Allas, myn Alisoun! "
MilT 3524 For sorwe of this he fil almoost adoun,
MilT 3525 And seyde, " Is ther no remedie in this cas? "
MilT 3526 " Why, yis, for Gode, " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3527 " If thou wolt werken after loore and reed.
MilT 3528 Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;
MilT 3529 For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe:
MilT 3530 `Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe.'
MilT 3531 And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
MilT 3532 I undertake, withouten mast and seyl,
MilT 3533 Yet shal I saven hire and thee and me.
MilT 3534 Hastow nat herd hou saved was Noe,
MilT 3535 Whan that oure Lord hadde warned hym biforn
MilT 3536 That al the world with water sholde be lorn? "
MilT 3537 " Yis, " quod this Carpenter, " ful yoore ago. "
MilT 3538 " Hastou nat herd, " quod Nicholas, " also
MilT 3539 The sorwe of Noe with his felaweshipe,
MilT 3540 Er that he myghte gete his wyf to shipe?
MilT 3541 Hym hadde be levere, I dar wel undertake,
MilT 3542 At thilke tyme, than alle his wetheres blake
MilT 3543 That she hadde had a ship hirself allone.
MilT 3544 And therfore, woostou what is best to doone?
MilT 3545 This asketh haste, and of an hastif thyng
MilT 3546 Men may nat preche or maken tariyng.
MilT 3547 " Anon go gete us faste into this in
MilT 3548 A knedyng trogh, or ellis a kymelyn,
MilT 3549 For ech of us, but looke that they be large,
MilT 3550 In which we mowe swymme as in a barge,
MilT 3551 And han therinne vitaille suffisant
MilT 3552 But for a day -- fy on the remenant!
MilT 3553 The water shal aslake and goon away
MilT 3554 Aboute pryme upon the nexte day.
MilT 3555 But Robyn may nat wite of this, thy knave,
MilT 3556 Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;
MilT 3557 Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
MilT 3558 I wol nat tellen Goddes pryvetee.
MilT 3559 Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
MilT 3560 To han as greet a grace as Noe hadde.
MilT 3561 Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute.
MilT 3562 Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.
MilT 3563 " But whan thou hast, for hire and thee and me,
MilT 3564 Ygeten us thise knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3565 Thanne shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,
MilT 3566 That no man of oure purveiaunce espye.
MilT 3567 And whan thou thus hast doon as I have seyd,
MilT 3568 And hast oure vitaille faire in hem yleyd,
MilT 3569 And eek an ax to smyte the corde atwo,
MilT 3570 Whan that the water comth, that we may go
MilT 3571 And breke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,
MilT 3572 Unto the gardyn-ward, over the stable,
MilT 3573 That we may frely passen forth oure way,
MilT 3574 Whan that the grete shour is goon away.
MilT 3575 Thanne shaltou swymme as myrie, I undertake,
MilT 3576 As dooth the white doke after hire drake.
MilT 3577 Thanne wol I clepe, `How, Alison! How, John!
MilT 3578 Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon.'
MilT 3579 And thou wolt seyn, `Hayl, maister Nicholay!
MilT 3580 Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day.'
MilT 3581 And thanne shul we be lordes al oure lyf
MilT 3582 Of al the world, as Noe and his wyf.
MilT 3583 " But of o thyng I warne thee ful right:
MilT 3584 Be wel avysed on that ilke nyght
MilT 3585 That we ben entred into shippes bord,
MilT 3586 That noon of us ne speke nat a word,
MilT 3587 Ne clepe, ne crie, but be in his preyere;
MilT 3588 For it is Goddes owene heeste deere.
MilT 3589 " Thy wyf and thou moote hange fer atwynne,
MilT 3590 For that bitwixe yow shal be no synne,
MilT 3591 Namoore in lookyng than ther shal in deede.
MilT 3592 This ordinance is seyd. Go, God thee speede!
MilT 3593 Tomorwe at nyght, whan men ben alle aslepe,
MilT 3594 Into oure knedyng-tubbes wol we crepe,
MilT 3595 And sitten there, abidyng Goddes grace.
MilT 3596 Go now thy wey; I have no lenger space
MilT 3597 To make of this no lenger sermonyng.
MilT 3598 Men seyn thus, `sende the wise, and sey no thyng.'
MilT 3599 Thou art so wys, it needeth thee nat teche.
MilT 3600 Go, save oure lyf, and that I the biseche. "
MilT 3601 This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.
MilT 3602 Ful ofte he seide " Allas and weylawey, "
MilT 3603 And to his wyf he tolde his pryvetee,
MilT 3604 And she was war, and knew it bet than he,
MilT 3605 What al this queynte cast was for to seye.
MilT 3606 But nathelees she ferde as she wolde deye,
MilT 3607 And seyde, " Allas! go forth thy wey anon,
MilT 3608 Help us to scape, or we been dede echon!
MilT 3609 I am thy trewe, verray wedded wyf;
MilT 3610 Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf. "
MilT 3611 Lo, which a greet thyng is affeccioun!
MilT 3612 Men may dyen of ymaginacioun,
MilT 3613 So depe may impressioun be take.
MilT 3614 This sely carpenter bigynneth quake;
MilT 3615 Hym thynketh verraily that he may see
MilT 3616 Noees flood come walwynge as the see
MilT 3617 To drenchen Alisoun, his hony deere.
MilT 3618 He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory cheere;
MilT 3619 He siketh with ful many a sory swogh;
MilT 3620 He gooth and geteth hym a knedyng trogh,
MilT 3621 And after that a tubbe and a kymelyn,
MilT 3622 And pryvely he sente hem to his in,
MilT 3623 And heng hem in the roof in pryvetee.
MilT 3624 His owene hand he made laddres thre,
MilT 3625 To clymben by the ronges and the stalkes
MilT 3626 Unto the tubbes hangynge in the balkes,
MilT 3627 And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe,
MilT 3628 With breed, and chese, and good ale in a jubbe,
MilT 3629 Suffisynge right ynogh as for a day.
MilT 3630 But er that he hadde maad al this array,
MilT 3631 He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also,
MilT 3632 Upon his nede to London for to go.
MilT 3633 And on the Monday, whan it drow to nyght,
MilT 3634 He shette his dore withoute candel-lyght,
MilT 3635 And dressed alle thyng as it sholde be.
MilT 3636 And shortly, up they clomben alle thre;
MilT 3637 They seten stille wel a furlong way.
MilT 3638 " Now, Pater-noster, clom! " seyde Nicholay,
MilT 3639 And " Clom! " quod John, and " Clom! " seyde Alisoun.
MilT 3640 This carpenter seyde his devocioun,
MilT 3641 And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,
MilT 3642 Awaitynge on the reyn, if he it heere.
MilT 3643 The dede sleep, for wery bisynesse,
MilT 3644 Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse,
MilT 3645 Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel moore;
MilT 3646 For travaille of his goost he groneth soore,
MilT 3647 And eft he routeth, for his heed myslay.
MilT 3648 Doun of the laddre stalketh Nicholay,
MilT 3649 And Alisoun ful softe adoun she spedde;
MilT 3650 Withouten wordes mo they goon to bedde,
MilT 3651 Ther as the carpenter is wont to lye.
MilT 3652 Ther was the revel and the melodye;
MilT 3653 And thus lith Alison and Nicholas,
MilT 3654 In bisynesse of myrthe and of solas,
MilT 3655 Til that the belle of laudes gan to rynge,
MilT 3656 And freres in the chauncel gonne synge.
MilT 3657 This parissh clerk, this amorous Absolon,
MilT 3658 That is for love alwey so wo bigon,
MilT 3659 Upon the Monday was at Oseneye
MilT 3660 With compaignye, hym to disporte and pleye,
MilT 3661 And axed upon cas a cloisterer
MilT 3662 Ful prively after John the carpenter;
MilT 3663 And he drough hym apart out of the chirche,
MilT 3664 And seyde, " I noot; I saugh hym heere nat wirche
MilT 3665 Syn Saterday; I trowe that he be went
MilT 3666 For tymber, ther oure abbot hath hym sent;
MilT 3667 For he is wont for tymber for to go
MilT 3668 And dwellen at the grange a day or two;
MilT 3669 Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn.
MilT 3670 Where that he be, I kan nat soothly seyn. "
MilT 3671 This Absolon ful joly was and light,
MilT 3672 And thoghte, " Now is tyme to wake al nyght,
MilT 3673 For sikirly I saugh hym nat stirynge
MilT 3674 Aboute his dore, syn day bigan to sprynge.
MilT 3675 " So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,
MilT 3676 Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe
MilT 3677 That stant ful lowe upon his boures wal.
MilT 3678 To Alison now wol I tellen al
MilT 3679 My love-longynge, for yet I shal nat mysse
MilT 3680 That at the leeste wey I shal hire kisse.
MilT 3681 Som maner confort shal I have, parfay.
MilT 3682 My mouth hath icched al this longe day;
MilT 3683 That is a signe of kissyng atte leeste.
MilT 3684 Al nyght me mette eek I was at a feeste.
MilT 3685 Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or tweye,
MilT 3686 And al the nyght thanne wol I wake and pleye. "
MilT 3687 Whan that the firste cok hath crowe, anon
MilT 3688 Up rist this joly lovere Absolon,
MilT 3689 And hym arraieth gay, at poynt-devys.
MilT 3690 But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,
MilT 3691 To smellen sweete, er he hadde kembd his heer.
MilT 3692 Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer,
MilT 3693 For therby wende he to ben gracious.
MilT 3694 He rometh to the carpenteres hous,
MilT 3695 And stille he stant under the shot-wyndowe --
MilT 3696 Unto his brest it raughte, it was so lowe --
MilT 3697 And softe he cougheth with a semy soun:
MilT 3698 " What do ye, hony-comb, sweete Alisoun,
MilT 3699 My faire bryd, my sweete cynamome?
MilT 3700 Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!
MilT 3701 Wel litel thynken ye upon my wo,
MilT 3702 That for youre love I swete ther I go.
MilT 3703 No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;
MilT 3704 I moorne as dooth a lamb after the tete.
MilT 3705 Ywis, lemman, I have swich love-longynge
MilT 3706 That lik a turtel trewe is my moornynge.
MilT 3707 I may nat ete na moore than a mayde. "
MilT 3708 " Go fro the wyndow, Jakke fool, " she sayde;
MilT 3709 " As help me God, it wol nat be `com pa me.'
MilT 3710 I love another -- and elles I were to blame --
MilT 3711 Wel bet than thee, by Jhesu, Absolon.
MilT 3712 Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston,
MilT 3713 And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey! "
MilT 3714 " Allas, " quod Absolon, " and weylawey,
MilT 3715 That trewe love was evere so yvel biset!
MilT 3716 Thanne kysse me, syn it may be no bet,
MilT 3717 For Jhesus love, and for the love of me. "
MilT 3718 " Wiltow thanne go thy wey therwith? " quod she.
MilT 3719 " Ye, certes, lemman, " quod this Absolon.
MilT 3720 " Thanne make thee redy, " quod she, " I come anon. "
MilT 3721 And unto Nicholas she seyde stille,
MilT 3722 " Now hust, and thou shalt laughen al thy fille. "
MilT 3723 This Absolon doun sette hym on his knees
MilT 3724 And seyde, " I am a lord at alle degrees;
MilT 3725 For after this I hope ther cometh moore.
MilT 3726 Lemman, thy grace, and sweete bryd, thyn oore! "
MilT 3727 The wyndow she undoth, and that in haste.
MilT 3728 " Have do, " quod she, " com of, and speed the faste,
MilT 3729 Lest that oure neighebores thee espie. "
MilT 3730 This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie.
MilT 3731 Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
MilT 3732 And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
MilT 3733 And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
MilT 3734 But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
MilT 3735 Ful savourly, er he were war of this.
MilT 3736 Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
MilT 3737 For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
MilT 3738 He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
MilT 3739 And seyde, " Fy! allas! what have I do? "
MilT 3740 " Tehee! " quod she, and clapte the wyndow to,
MilT 3741 And Absolon gooth forth a sory pas.
MilT 3742 " A berd! A berd! " quod hende Nicholas,
MilT 3743 " By Goddes corpus, this goth faire and weel. "
MilT 3744 This sely Absolon herde every deel,
MilT 3745 And on his lippe he gan for anger byte,
MilT 3746 And to hymself he seyde, " I shal thee quyte. "
MilT 3747 Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes
MilT 3748 With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes,
MilT 3749 But Absolon, that seith ful ofte, " Allas! "
MilT 3750 " My soule bitake I unto Sathanas,
MilT 3751 But me were levere than al this toun, " quod he,
MilT 3752 " Of this despit awroken for to be.
MilT 3753 Allas, " quod he, " allas, I ne hadde ybleynt! "
MilT 3754 His hoote love was coold and al yqueynt;
MilT 3755 For fro that tyme that he hadde kist hir ers,
MilT 3756 Of paramours he sette nat a kers,
MilT 3757 For he was heeled of his maladie.
MilT 3758 Ful ofte paramours he gan deffie,
MilT 3759 And weep as dooth a child that is ybete.
MilT 3760 A softe paas he wente over the strete
MilT 3761 Until a smyth men cleped daun Gerveys,
MilT 3762 That in his forge smythed plough harneys;
MilT 3763 He sharpeth shaar and kultour bisily.
MilT 3764 This Absolon knokketh al esily,
MilT 3765 And seyde, " Undo, Gerveys, and that anon. "
MilT 3766 " What, who artow? " " It am I, Absolon. "
MilT 3767 " What, Absolon! for Cristes sweete tree,
MilT 3768 Why rise ye so rathe? Ey, benedicitee!
MilT 3769 What eyleth yow? Som gay gerl, God it woot,
MilT 3770 Hath broght yow thus upon the viritoot.
MilT 3771 By Seinte Note, ye woot wel what I mene. "
MilT 3772 This Absolon ne roghte nat a bene
MilT 3773 Of al his pley; no word agayn he yaf;
MilT 3774 He hadde moore tow on his distaf
MilT 3775 Than Gerveys knew, and seyde, " Freend so deere,
MilT 3776 That hoote kultour in the chymenee heere,
MilT 3777 As lene it me; I have therwith to doone,
MilT 3778 And I wol brynge it thee agayn ful soone. "
MilT 3779 Gerveys answerde, " Certes, were it gold,
MilT 3780 Or in a poke nobles alle untold,
MilT 3781 Thou sholdest have, as I am trewe smyth.
MilT 3782 Ey, Cristes foo! What wol ye do therwith? "
MilT 3783 " Therof, " quod Absolon, " be as be may.
MilT 3784 I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day " --
MilT 3785 And caughte the kultour by the colde stele.
MilT 3786 Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,
MilT 3787 And wente unto the carpenteris wal.
MilT 3788 He cogheth first, and knokketh therwithal
MilT 3789 Upon the wyndowe, right as he dide er.
MilT 3790 This Alison answerde, " Who is ther
MilT 3791 That knokketh so? I warante it a theef. "
MilT 3792 " Why, nay, " quod he, " God woot, my sweete leef,
MilT 3793 I am thyn Absolon, my deerelyng.
MilT 3794 Of gold, " quod he, " I have thee broght a ryng.
MilT 3795 My mooder yaf it me, so God me save;
MilT 3796 Ful fyn it is, and therto wel ygrave.
MilT 3797 This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse. "
MilT 3798 This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,
MilT 3799 And thoughte he wolde amenden al the jape;
MilT 3800 He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.
MilT 3801 And up the wyndowe dide he hastily,
MilT 3802 And out his ers he putteth pryvely
MilT 3803 Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;
MilT 3804 And therwith spak this clerk, this Absolon,
MilT 3805 " Spek, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art. "
MilT 3806 This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart
MilT 3807 As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
MilT 3808 That with the strook he was almoost yblent;
MilT 3809 And he was redy with his iren hoot,
MilT 3810 And Nicholas amydde the ers he smoot.
MilT 3811 Of gooth the skyn an hande-brede aboute,
MilT 3812 The hoote kultour brende so his toute,
MilT 3813 And for the smert he wende for to dye.
MilT 3814 As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,
MilT 3815 " Help! Water! Water! Help, for Goddes herte! "
MilT 3816 This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,
MilT 3817 And herde oon crien " water! " as he were wood,
MilT 3818 And thoughte, " Allas, now comth Nowelis flood! "
MilT 3819 He sit hym up withouten wordes mo,
MilT 3820 And with his ax he smoot the corde atwo,
MilT 3821 And doun gooth al; he foond neither to selle,
MilT 3822 Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle
MilT 3823 Upon the floor, and ther aswowne he lay.
MilT 3824 Up stirte hire Alison and Nicholay,
MilT 3825 And criden " Out " and " Harrow " in the strete.
MilT 3826 The neighebores, bothe smale and grete,
MilT 3827 In ronnen for to gauren on this man,
MilT 3828 That yet aswowne lay, bothe pale and wan,
MilT 3829 For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm.
MilT 3830 But stonde he moste unto his owene harm;
MilT 3831 For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
MilT 3832 With hende Nicholas and Alisoun.
MilT 3833 They tolden every man that he was wood;
MilT 3834 He was agast so of Nowelis flood
MilT 3835 Thurgh fantasie that of his vanytee
MilT 3836 He hadde yboght hym knedyng tubbes thre,
MilT 3837 And hadde hem hanged in the roof above;
MilT 3838 And that he preyed hem, for Goddes love,
MilT 3839 To sitten in the roof, par compaignye.
MilT 3840 The folk gan laughen at his fantasye;
MilT 3841 Into the roof they kiken and they cape,
MilT 3842 And turned al his harm unto a jape.
MilT 3843 For what so that this carpenter answerde,
MilT 3844 It was for noght; no man his reson herde.
MilT 3845 With othes grete he was so sworn adoun
MilT 3846 That he was holde wood in al the toun;
MilT 3847 For every clerk anonright heeld with oother.
MilT 3848 They seyde, " The man is wood, my leeve brother " ;
MilT 3849 And every wight gan laughen at this stryf.
MilT 3850 Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf,
MilT 3851 For al his kepyng and his jalousye,
MilT 3852 And Absolon hath kist hir nether ye,
MilT 3853 And Nicholas is scalded in the towte.
MilT 3854 This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!
RvT 3855 Whan folk hadde laughen at this nyce cas
RvT 3856 Of Absolon and hende Nicholas,
RvT 3857 Diverse folk diversely they seyde,
RvT 3858 But for the moore part they loughe and pleyde.
RvT 3859 Ne at this tale I saugh no man hym greve,
RvT 3860 But it were oonly Osewold the Reve.
RvT 3861 By cause he was of carpenteris craft,
RvT 3862 A litel ire is in his herte ylaft;
RvT 3863 He gan to grucche, and blamed it a lite.
RvT 3864 " So theek, " quod he, " ful wel koude I thee quite
RvT 3865 With bleryng of a proud milleres ye,
RvT 3866 If that me liste speke of ribaudye.
RvT 3867 But ik am oold; me list not pley for age;
RvT 3868 Gras tyme is doon; my fodder is now forage;
RvT 3869 This white top writeth myne olde yeris;
RvT 3870 Myn herte is also mowled as myne heris,
RvT 3871 But if I fare as dooth an open-ers --
RvT 3872 That ilke fruyt is ever lenger the wers,
RvT 3873 Til it be roten in mullok or in stree.
RvT 3874 We olde men, I drede, so fare we:
RvT 3875 Til we be roten, kan we nat be rype;
RvT 3876 We hoppen alwey whil that the world wol pype.
RvT 3877 For in oure wyl ther stiketh evere a nayl,
RvT 3878 To have an hoor heed and a grene tayl,
RvT 3879 As hath a leek; for thogh oure myght be goon,
RvT 3880 Oure wyl desireth folie evere in oon.
RvT 3881 For whan we may nat doon, than wol we speke;
RvT 3882 Yet in oure asshen olde is fyr yreke.
RvT 3883 " Foure gleedes han we, which I shal devyse --
RvT 3884 Avauntyng, liyng, anger, coveitise;
RvT 3885 Thise foure sparkles longen unto eelde.
RvT 3886 Oure olde lemes mowe wel been unweelde,
RvT 3887 But wyl ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth.
RvT 3888 And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth,
RvT 3889 As many a yeer as it is passed henne
RvT 3890 Syn that my tappe of lif bigan to renne.
RvT 3891 For sikerly, whan I was bore, anon
RvT 3892 Deeth drough the tappe of lyf and leet it gon,
RvT 3893 And ever sithe hath so the tappe yronne
RvT 3894 Til that almoost al empty is the tonne.
RvT 3895 The streem of lyf now droppeth on the chymbe.
RvT 3896 The sely tonge may wel rynge and chymbe
RvT 3897 Of wrecchednesse that passed is ful yoore;
RvT 3898 With olde folk, save dotage, is namoore! "
RvT 3899 Whan that oure Hoost hadde herd this sermonyng,
RvT 3900 He gan to speke as lordly as a kyng.
RvT 3901 He seide, " What amounteth al this wit?
RvT 3902 What shul we speke alday of hooly writ?
RvT 3903 The devel made a reve for to preche,
RvT 3904 Or of a soutere a shipman or a leche.
RvT 3905 Sey forth thy tale, and tarie nat the tyme.
RvT 3906 Lo Depeford, and it is half-wey pryme!
RvT 3907 Lo Grenewych, ther many a shrewe is inne!
RvT 3908 It were al tyme thy tale to bigynne. "
RvT 3909 " Now, sires, " quod this Osewold the Reve,
RvT 3910 " I pray yow alle that ye nat yow greve,
RvT 3911 Thogh I answere, and somdeel sette his howve;
RvT 3912 For leveful is with force force of-showve.
RvT 3913 " This dronke Millere hath ytoold us heer
RvT 3914 How that bigyled was a carpenteer,
RvT 3915 Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon.
RvT 3916 And, by youre leve, I shal hym quite anoon;
RvT 3917 Right in his cherles termes wol I speke.
RvT 3918 I pray to God his nekke mote to-breke;
RvT 3919 He kan wel in myn eye seen a stalke,
RvT 3920 But in his owene he kan nat seen a balke. "
MLT 1 Oure Hooste saugh wel that the brighte sonne
MLT 2 The ark of his artificial day hath ronne
MLT 3 The ferthe part, and half an houre and moore,
MLT 4 And though he were not depe ystert in loore,
MLT 5 He wiste it was the eightetethe day
MLT 6 Of Aprill, that is messager to May;
MLT 7 And saugh wel that the shadwe of every tree
MLT 8 Was in lengthe the same quantitee
MLT 9 That was the body erect that caused it.
MLT 10 And therefore by the shadwe he took his wit
MLT 11 That Phebus, which that shoon so clere and brighte,
MLT 12 Degrees was fyve and fourty clombe on highte,
MLT 13 And for that day, as in that latitude,
MLT 14 It was ten of the clokke, he gan conclude,
MLT 15 And sodeynly he plighte his horse aboute.
MLT 16 " Lordynges, " quod he, " I warne yow, al this route,
MLT 17 The fourthe party of this day is gon.
MLT 18 Now for the love of God and of Seint John,
MLT 19 Leseth no tyme, as ferforth as ye may.
MLT 20 Lordynges, the tyme wasteth nyght and day,
MLT 21 And steleth from us, what pryvely slepynge,
MLT 22 And what thurgh necligence in oure wakynge,
MLT 23 As dooth the streem that turneth nevere agayn,
MLT 24 Descendynge from the mountaigne into playn.
MLT 25 Wel kan Senec and many a philosophre
MLT 26 Biwaillen tyme moore than gold in cofre;
MLT 27 For `Los of catel may recovered be,
MLT 28 But los of tyme shendeth us,' quod he.
MLT 29 It wol nat come agayn, withouten drede,
MLT 30 Nomoore than wole Malkynes maydenhede,
MLT 31 Whan she hath lost it in hir wantownesse.
MLT 32 Lat us nat mowlen thus in ydelnesse.
MLT 33 " Sire Man of Lawe, " quod he, " so have ye blis,
MLT 34 Telle us a tale anon, as forward is.
MLT 35 Ye been submytted, thurgh youre free assent,
MLT 36 To stonden in this cas at my juggement.
MLT 37 Acquiteth yow now of youre biheeste;
MLT 38 Thanne have ye do youre devoir atte leeste. "
MLT 39 " Hooste, " quod he, " depardieux, ich assente;
MLT 40 To breke forward is nat myn entente.
MLT 41 Biheste is dette, and I wole holde fayn
MLT 42 Al my biheste, I kan no bettre sayn.
MLT 43 For swich lawe as a man yeveth another wight,
MLT 44 He sholde hymselven usen it, by right;
MLT 45 Thus wole oure text. But nathelees, certeyn,
MLT 46 I kan right now no thrifty tale seyn
MLT 47 That Chaucer, thogh he kan but lewedly
MLT 48 On metres and on rymyng craftily,
MLT 49 Hath seyd hem in swich Englissh as he kan
MLT 50 Of olde tyme, as knoweth many a man;
MLT 51 And if he have noght seyd hem, leve brother,
MLT 52 In o book, he hath seyd hem in another.
MLT 53 For he hath toold of loveris up and doun
MLT 54 Mo than Ovide made of mencioun
MLT 55 In his Episteles, that been ful olde.
MLT 56 What sholde I tellen hem, syn they been tolde?
MLT 57 " In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcione,
MLT 58 And sitthen hath he spoken of everichone,
MLT 59 Thise noble wyves and thise loveris eke.
MLT 60 Whoso that wole his large volume seke,
MLT 61 Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupide,
MLT 62 Ther may he seen the large woundes wyde
MLT 63 Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tesbee;
MLT 64 The swerd of Dido for the false Enee;
MLT 65 The tree of Phillis for hire Demophon;
MLT 66 The pleinte of Dianire and of Hermyon,
MLT 67 Of Adriane, and of Isiphilee --
MLT 68 The bareyne yle stondynge in the see --
MLT 69 The dreynte Leandre for his Erro;
MLT 70 The teeris of Eleyne, and eek the wo
MLT 71 Of Brixseyde, and of the, Ladomya;
MLT 72 The crueltee of the, queene Medea,
MLT 73 Thy litel children hangynge by the hals,
MLT 74 For thy Jason, that was of love so fals!
MLT 75 O Ypermystra, Penelopee, Alceste,
MLT 76 Youre wifhod he comendeth with the beste!
MLT 77 " But certeinly no word ne writeth he
MLT 78 Of thilke wikke ensample of Canacee,
MLT 79 That loved hir owene brother synfully --
MLT 80 Of swiche cursed stories I sey fy! --
MLT 81 Or ellis of Tyro Appollonius,
MLT 82 How that the cursed kyng Antiochus
MLT 83 Birafte his doghter of hir maydenhede,
MLT 84 That is so horrible a tale for to rede,
MLT 85 Whan he hir threw upon the pavement.
MLT 86 And therfore he, of ful avysement,
MLT 87 Nolde nevere write in none of his sermons
MLT 88 Of swiche unkynde abhomynacions,
MLT 89 Ne I wol noon reherce, if that I may.
MLT 90 " But of my tale how shal I doon this day?
MLT 91 Me were looth be likned, doutelees,
MLT 92 To Muses that men clepe Pierides --
MLT 93 Methamorphosios woot what I mene;
MLT 94 But nathelees, I recche noght a bene
MLT 95 Though I come after hym with hawebake.
MLT 96 I speke in prose, and lat him rymes make. "
MLT 97 And with that word he, with a sobre cheere,
MLT 98 Bigan his tale, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 99 O hateful harm, condicion of poverte!
MLT 100 With thurst, with coold, with hunger so confoundid!
MLT 101 To asken help thee shameth in thyn herte;
MLT 102 If thou noon aske, with nede artow so woundid
MLT 103 That verray nede unwrappeth al thy wounde hid!
MLT 104 Maugree thyn heed, thou most for indigence
MLT 105 Or stele, or begge, or borwe thy despence!
MLT 106 Thow blamest Crist and seist ful bitterly
MLT 107 He mysdeparteth richesse temporal;
MLT 108 Thy neighebor thou wytest synfully,
MLT 109 And seist thou hast to lite and he hath al.
MLT 110 " Parfay, " seistow, " somtyme he rekene shal,
MLT 111 Whan that his tayl shal brennen in the gleede,
MLT 112 For he noght helpeth needfulle in hir neede. "
MLT 113 Herkne what is the sentence of the wise:
MLT 114 " Bet is to dyen than have indigence " ;
MLT 115 " Thy selve neighebor wol thee despise. "
MLT 116 If thou be povre, farwel thy reverence!
MLT 117 Yet of the wise man take this sentence:
MLT 118 " Alle the dayes of povre men been wikke. "
MLT 119 Be war, therfore, er thou come to that prikke!
MLT 120 If thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee,
MLT 121 And alle thy freendes fleen from thee, allas!
MLT 122 O riche marchauntz, ful of wele been yee,
MLT 123 O noble, o prudent folk, as in this cas!
MLT 124 Youre bagges been nat fild with ambes as,
MLT 125 But with sys cynk, that renneth for youre chaunce;
MLT 126 At Cristemasse myrie may ye daunce!
MLT 127 Ye seken lond and see for yowre wynnynges;
MLT 128 As wise folk ye knowen al th' estaat
MLT 129 Of regnes; ye been fadres of tidynges
MLT 130 And tales, bothe of pees and of debaat.
MLT 131 I were right now of tales desolaat,
MLT 132 Nere that a marchant, goon is many a yeere,
MLT 133 Me taughte a tale, which that ye shal heere.
MLT 134 In Surrye whilom dwelte a compaignye
MLT 135 Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,
MLT 136 That wyde-where senten hir spicerye,
MLT 137 Clothes of gold, and satyns riche of hewe.
MLT 138 Hir chaffare was so thrifty and so newe
MLT 139 That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
MLT 140 With hem, and eek to sellen hem hire ware.
MLT 141 Now fil it that the maistres of that sort
MLT 142 Han shapen hem to Rome for to wende;
MLT 143 Were it for chapmanhod or for disport,
MLT 144 Noon oother message wolde they thider sende,
MLT 145 But comen hemself to Rome; this is the ende.
MLT 146 And in swich place as thoughte hem avantage
MLT 147 For hire entente, they take hir herbergage.
MLT 148 Sojourned han thise merchantz in that toun
MLT 149 A certein tyme, as fil to hire plesance.
MLT 150 And so bifel that th' excellent renoun
MLT 151 Of the Emperoures doghter, dame Custance,
MLT 152 Reported was, with every circumstance,
MLT 153 Unto thise Surryen marchantz in swich wyse,
MLT 154 Fro day to day, as I shal yow devyse.
MLT 155 This was the commune voys of every man:
MLT 156 " Oure Emperour of Rome -- God hym see! --
MLT 157 A doghter hath that, syn the world bigan,
MLT 158 To rekene as wel hir goodnesse as beautee,
MLT 159 Nas nevere swich another as is shee.
MLT 160 I prey to God in honour hire susteene,
MLT 161 And wolde she were of al Europe the queene.
MLT 162 " In hire is heigh beautee, withoute pride,
MLT 163 Yowthe, withoute grenehede or folye;
MLT 164 To alle hire werkes vertu is hir gyde;
MLT 165 Humblesse hath slayn in hire al tirannye.
MLT 166 She is mirour of alle curteisye;
MLT 167 Hir herte is verray chambre of hoolynesse,
MLT 168 Hir hand, ministre of fredam for almesse. "
MLT 169 And al this voys was sooth, as God is trewe.
MLT 170 But now to purpos lat us turne agayn.
MLT 171 Thise marchantz han doon fraught hir shippes newe,
MLT 172 And whan they han this blisful mayden sayn,
MLT 173 Hoom to Surrye been they went ful fayn,
MLT 174 And doon hir nedes as they han doon yoore,
MLT 175 And lyven in wele; I kan sey yow namoore.
MLT 176 Now fil it that thise marchantz stode in grace
MLT 177 Of hym that was the Sowdan of Surrye;
MLT 178 For whan they cam from any strange place,
MLT 179 He wolde, of his benigne curteisye,
MLT 180 Make hem good chiere, and bisily espye
MLT 181 Tidynges of sondry regnes, for to leere
MLT 182 The wondres that they myghte seen or heere.
MLT 183 Amonges othere thynges, specially,
MLT 184 Thise marchantz han hym toold of dame Custance
MLT 185 So greet noblesse in ernest, ceriously,
MLT 186 That this Sowdan hath caught so greet plesance
MLT 187 To han hir figure in his remembrance,
MLT 188 That al his lust and al his bisy cure
MLT 189 Was for to love hire while his lyf may dure.
MLT 190 Paraventure in thilke large book
MLT 191 Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was
MLT 192 With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
MLT 193 That he for love sholde han his deeth, allas!
MLT 194 For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
MLT 195 Is writen, God woot, whoso koude it rede,
MLT 196 The deeth of every man, withouten drede.
MLT 197 In sterres, many a wynter therbiforn,
MLT 198 Was writen the deeth of Ector, Achilles,
MLT 199 Of Pompei, Julius, er they were born;
MLT 200 The strif of Thebes; and of Ercules,
MLT 201 Of Sampson, Turnus, and of Socrates
MLT 202 The deeth; but mennes wittes ben so dulle
MLT 203 That no wight kan wel rede it atte fulle.
MLT 204 This Sowdan for his privee conseil sente,
MLT 205 And, shortly of this matiere for to pace,
MLT 206 He hath to hem declared his entente,
MLT 207 And seyde hem, certein, but he myghte have grace
MLT 208 To han Custance withinne a litel space,
MLT 209 He nas but deed; and charged hem in hye
MLT 210 To shapen for his lyf som remedye.
MLT 211 Diverse men diverse thynges seyden;
MLT 212 They argumenten, casten up and doun;
MLT 213 Many a subtil resoun forth they leyden;
MLT 214 They speken of magyk and abusioun.
MLT 215 But finally, as in conclusioun,
MLT 216 They kan nat seen in that noon avantage,
MLT 217 Ne in noon oother wey, save mariage.
MLT 218 Thanne sawe they therinne swich difficultee
MLT 219 By wey of reson, for to speke al playn,
MLT 220 By cause that ther was swich diversitee
MLT 221 Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn
MLT 222 They trowe that no " Cristen prince wolde fayn
MLT 223 Wedden his child under oure lawe sweete
MLT 224 That us was taught by Mahoun, oure prophete. "
MLT 225 And he answerde, " Rather than I lese
MLT 226 Custance, I wol be cristned, doutelees.
MLT 227 I moot been hires; I may noon oother chese.
MLT 228 I prey yow hoold youre argumentz in pees;
MLT 229 Saveth my lyf, and beth noght recchelees
MLT 230 To geten hire that hath my lyf in cure,
MLT 231 For in this wo I may nat longe endure. "
MLT 232 What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
MLT 233 I seye, by tretys and embassadrie,
MLT 234 And by the popes mediacioun,
MLT 235 And al the chirche, and al the chivalrie,
MLT 236 That in destruccioun of mawmettrie,
MLT 237 And in encrees of Cristes lawe deere,
MLT 238 They been acorded, so as ye shal heere:
MLT 239 How that the Sowdan and his baronage
MLT 240 And alle his liges sholde ycristned be,
MLT 241 And he shal han Custance in mariage,
MLT 242 And certein gold, I noot what quantitee;
MLT 243 And heer-to founden sufficient suretee.
MLT 244 This same accord was sworn on eyther syde;
MLT 245 Now, faire Custance, almyghty God thee gyde!
MLT 246 Now wolde som men waiten, as I gesse,
MLT 247 That I sholde tellen al the purveiance
MLT 248 That th' Emperour, of his grete noblesse,
MLT 249 Hath shapen for his doghter, dame Custance.
MLT 250 Wel may men knowen that so greet ordinance
MLT 251 May no man tellen in a litel clause
MLT 252 As was arrayed for so heigh a cause.
MLT 253 Bisshopes been shapen with hire for to wende,
MLT 254 Lordes, ladies, knyghtes of renoun,
MLT 255 And oother folk ynowe; this is th' ende;
MLT 256 And notified is thurghout the toun
MLT 257 That every wight, with greet devocioun,
MLT 258 Sholde preyen Crist that he this mariage
MLT 259 Receyve in gree and spede this viage.
MLT 260 The day is comen of hir departynge;
MLT 261 I seye, the woful day fatal is come,
MLT 262 That ther may be no lenger tariynge,
MLT 263 But forthward they hem dressen, alle and some.
MLT 264 Custance, that was with sorwe al overcome,
MLT 265 Ful pale arist, and dresseth hire to wende;
MLT 266 For wel she seeth ther is noon oother ende.
MLT 267 Allas, what wonder is it thogh she wepte,
MLT 268 That shal be sent to strange nacioun
MLT 269 Fro freendes that so tendrely hire kepte,
MLT 270 And to be bounden under subjeccioun
MLT 271 Of oon, she knoweth nat his condicioun?
MLT 272 Housbondes been alle goode, and han ben yoore;
MLT 273 That knowen wyves; I dar sey yow na moore.
MLT 274 " Fader, " she seyde, " thy wrecched child Custance,
MLT 275 Thy yonge doghter fostred up so softe,
MLT 276 And ye, my mooder, my soverayn plesance
MLT 277 Over alle thyng, out-taken Crist on-lofte,
MLT 278 Custance youre child hire recomandeth ofte
MLT 279 Unto youre grace, for I shal to Surrye,
MLT 280 Ne shal I nevere seen yow moore with ye.
MLT 281 " Allas, unto the Barbre nacioun
MLT 282 I moste anoon, syn that it is youre wille;
MLT 283 But Crist, that starf for our redempcioun
MLT 284 So yeve me grace his heestes to fulfille!
MLT 285 I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille!
MLT 286 Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
MLT 287 And to been under mannes governance. "
MLT 288 I trowe at Troye, whan Pirrus brak the wal
MLT 289 Or Ilion brende, at Thebes the citee,
MLT 290 N' at Rome, for the harm thurgh Hanybal
MLT 291 That Romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre,
MLT 292 Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee
MLT 293 As in the chambre was for hire departynge;
MLT 294 But forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or synge.
MLT 295 O firste moevyng! Crueel firmament,
MLT 296 With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay
MLT 297 And hurlest al from est til occident
MLT 298 That naturelly wolde holde another way,
MLT 299 Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array
MLT 300 At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage,
MLT 301 That crueel Mars hath slayn this mariage.
MLT 302 Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
MLT 303 Of which the lord is helplees falle, allas,
MLT 304 Out of his angle into the derkeste hous!
MLT 305 O Mars, o atazir, as in this cas!
MLT 306 O fieble moone, unhappy been thy paas!
MLT 307 Thou knyttest thee ther thou art nat receyved;
MLT 308 Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.
MLT 309 Imprudent Emperour of Rome, allas!
MLT 310 Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?
MLT 311 Is no tyme bet than oother in swich cas?
MLT 312 Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
MLT 313 Namely to folk of heigh condicioun?
MLT 314 Noght whan a roote is of a burthe yknowe?
MLT 315 Allas, we been to lewed or to slowe!
MLT 316 To shippe is brought this woful faire mayde
MLT 317 Solempnely, with every circumstance.
MLT 318 " Now Jhesu Crist be with yow alle! " she sayde;
MLT 319 Ther nys namoore, but " Farewel, faire Custance! "
MLT 320 She peyneth hire to make good contenance;
MLT 321 And forth I lete hire saille in this manere,
MLT 322 And turne I wole agayn to my matere.
MLT 323 The mooder of the Sowdan, welle of vices,
MLT 324 Espied hath hir sones pleyn entente,
MLT 325 How he wol lete his olde sacrifices;
MLT 326 And right anon she for hir conseil sente,
MLT 327 And they been come to knowe what she mente.
MLT 328 And whan assembled was this folk in-feere,
MLT 329 She sette hire doun, and seyde as ye shal heere.
MLT 330 " Lordes, " quod she, " ye knowen everichon,
MLT 331 How that my sone in point is for to lete
MLT 332 The hooly lawes of our Alkaron,
MLT 333 Yeven by Goddes message Makomete.
MLT 334 But oon avow to grete God I heete,
MLT 335 The lyf shal rather out of my body sterte
MLT 336 Or Makometes lawe out of myn herte!
MLT 337 " What sholde us tyden of this newe lawe
MLT 338 But thraldom to oure bodies and penance,
MLT 339 And afterward in helle to be drawe,
MLT 340 For we reneyed Mahoun oure creance?
MLT 341 But, lordes, wol ye maken assurance,
MLT 342 As I shal seyn, assentynge to my loore,
MLT 343 And I shal make us sauf for everemoore? "
MLT 344 They sworen and assenten, every man,
MLT 345 To lyve with hire and dye, and by hire stonde,
MLT 346 And everich, in the beste wise he kan,
MLT 347 To strengthen hire shal alle his frendes fonde;
MLT 348 And she hath this emprise ytake on honde,
MLT 349 Which ye shal heren that I shal devyse,
MLT 350 And to hem alle she spak right in this wyse:
MLT 351 " We shul first feyne us cristendom to take --
MLT 352 Coold water shal nat greve us but a lite! --
MLT 353 And I shal swich a feeste and revel make
MLT 354 That, as I trowe, I shal the Sowdan quite.
MLT 355 For thogh his wyf be cristned never so white,
MLT 356 She shal have nede to wasshe awey the rede,
MLT 357 Thogh she a font-ful water with hire lede. "
MLT 358 O Sowdanesse, roote of iniquitee!
MLT 359 Virago, thou Semyrame the secounde!
MLT 360 O serpent under femynynytee,
MLT 361 Lik to the serpent depe in helle ybounde!
MLT 362 O feyned womman, al that may confounde
MLT 363 Vertu and innocence, thurgh thy malice,
MLT 364 Is bred in thee, as nest of every vice!
MLT 365 O Sathan, envious syn thilke day
MLT 366 That thou were chaced from oure heritage,
MLT 367 Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way!
MLT 368 Thou madest Eva brynge us in servage;
MLT 369 Thou wolt fordoon this Cristen mariage.
MLT 370 Thyn instrument so -- weylawey the while! --
MLT 371 Makestow of wommen, whan thou wolt bigile.
MLT 372 This Sowdanesse, whom I thus blame and warye,
MLT 373 Leet prively hire conseil goon hire way.
MLT 374 What sholde I in this tale lenger tarye?
MLT 375 She rydeth to the Sowdan on a day,
MLT 376 And seyde hym that she wolde reneye hir lay,
MLT 377 And cristendom of preestes handes fonge,
MLT 378 Repentynge hire she hethen was so longe,
MLT 379 Bisechynge hym to doon hire that honour,
MLT 380 That she moste han the Cristen folk to feeste --
MLT 381 " To plesen hem I wol do my labour. "
MLT 382 The Sowdan seith, " I wol doon at youre heeste, "
MLT 383 And knelynge thanketh hire of that requeste.
MLT 384 So glad he was, he nyste what to seye.
MLT 385 She kiste hir sone, and hoom she gooth hir weye.
MLT 386 Arryved been this Cristen folk to londe
MLT 387 In Surrye, with a greet solempne route,
MLT 388 And hastifliche this Sowdan sente his sonde
MLT 389 First to his mooder, and al the regne aboute,
MLT 390 And seyde his wyf was comen, out of doute,
MLT 391 And preyde hire for to ryde agayn the queene,
MLT 392 The honour of his regne to susteene.
MLT 393 Greet was the prees, and riche was th' array
MLT 394 Of Surryens and Romayns met yfeere;
MLT 395 The mooder of the Sowdan, riche and gay,
MLT 396 Receyveth hire with also glad a cheere
MLT 397 As any mooder myghte hir doghter deere,
MLT 398 And to the nexte citee ther bisyde
MLT 399 A softe paas solempnely they ryde.
MLT 400 Noght trowe I the triumphe of Julius,
MLT 401 Of which that Lucan maketh swich a boost,
MLT 402 Was roialler ne moore curius
MLT 403 Than was th' assemblee of this blisful hoost.
MLT 404 But this scorpioun, this wikked goost,
MLT 405 The Sowdanesse, for al hire flaterynge,
MLT 406 Caste under this ful mortally to stynge.
MLT 407 The Sowdan comth hymself soone after this
MLT 408 So roially that wonder is to telle,
MLT 409 And welcometh hire with alle joye and blis.
MLT 410 And thus in murthe and joye I lete hem dwelle;
MLT 411 The fruyt of this matiere is that I telle.
MLT 412 Whan tyme cam, men thoughte it for the beste
MLT 413 That revel stynte, and men goon to hir reste.
MLT 414 The tyme cam, this olde Sowdanesse
MLT 415 Ordeyned hath this feeste of which I tolde,
MLT 416 And to the feeste Cristen folk hem dresse
MLT 417 In general, ye, bothe yonge and olde.
MLT 418 Heere may men feeste and roialtee biholde,
MLT 419 And deyntees mo than I kan yow devyse;
MLT 420 But al to deere they boghte it er they ryse.
MLT 421 O sodeyn wo, that evere art successour
MLT 422 To worldly blisse, spreynd with bitternesse,
MLT 423 The ende of the joye of oure worldly labour!
MLT 424 Wo occupieth the fyn of oure gladnesse.
MLT 425 Herke this conseil for thy sikernesse:
MLT 426 Upon thy glade day have in thy mynde
MLT 427 The unwar wo or harm that comth bihynde.
MLT 428 For shortly for to tellen, at o word,
MLT 429 The Sowdan and the Cristen everichone
MLT 430 Been al tohewe and stiked at the bord,
MLT 431 But it were oonly dame Custance allone.
MLT 432 This olde Sowdanesse, cursed krone,
MLT 433 Hath with hir freendes doon this cursed dede,
MLT 434 For she hirself wolde al the contree lede.
MLT 435 Ne ther was Surryen noon that was converted,
MLT 436 That of the conseil of the Sowdan woot,
MLT 437 That he nas al tohewe er he asterted.
MLT 438 And Custance han they take anon, foot-hoot,
MLT 439 And in a ship al steerelees, God woot,
MLT 440 They han hir set, and bidde hire lerne saille
MLT 441 Out of Surrye agaynward to Ytaille.
MLT 442 A certein tresor that she thider ladde,
MLT 443 And, sooth to seyn, vitaille greet plentee
MLT 444 They han hire yeven, and clothes eek she hadde,
MLT 445 And forth she sailleth in the salte see.
MLT 446 O my Custance, ful of benignytee,
MLT 447 O Emperoures yonge doghter deere,
MLT 448 He that is lord of Fortune be thy steere!
MLT 449 She blesseth hire, and with ful pitous voys
MLT 450 Unto the croys of Crist thus seyde she:
MLT 451 " O cleere, o welful auter, hooly croys,
MLT 452 Reed of the Lambes blood ful of pitee,
MLT 453 That wessh the world fro the olde iniquitee,
MLT 454 Me fro the feend and fro his clawes kepe,
MLT 455 That day that I shal drenchen in the depe.
MLT 456 " Victorious tree, proteccioun of trewe,
MLT 457 That oonly worthy were for to bere
MLT 458 The Kyng of Hevene with his woundes newe,
MLT 459 The white Lamb, that hurt was with a spere,
MLT 460 Flemere of feendes out of hym and here
MLT 461 On which thy lymes feithfully extenden,
MLT 462 Me kepe, and yif me myght my lyf t' amenden. "
MLT 463 Yeres and dayes fleet this creature
MLT 464 Thurghout the See of Grece unto the Strayte
MLT 465 Of Marrok, as it was hire aventure.
MLT 466 On many a sory meel now may she bayte;
MLT 467 After hir deeth ful often may she wayte,
MLT 468 Er that the wilde wawes wol hire dryve
MLT 469 Unto the place ther she shal arryve.
MLT 470 Men myghten asken why she was nat slayn
MLT 471 Eek at the feeste? Who myghte hir body save?
MLT 472 And I answere to that demande agayn,
MLT 473 Who saved Danyel in the horrible cave
MLT 474 Ther every wight save he, maister and knave,
MLT 475 Was with the leon frete er he asterte?
MLT 476 No wight but God that he bar in his herte.
MLT 477 God liste to shewe his wonderful myracle
MLT 478 In hire, for we sholde seen his myghty werkis;
MLT 479 Crist, which that is to every harm triacle,
MLT 480 By certeine meenes ofte, as knowen clerkis,
MLT 481 Dooth thyng for certein ende that ful derk is
MLT 482 To mannes wit, that for oure ignorance
MLT 483 Ne konne noght knowe his prudent purveiance.
MLT 484 Now sith she was nat at the feeste yslawe,
MLT 485 Who kepte hire fro the drenchyng in the see?
MLT 486 Who kepte Jonas in the fisshes mawe
MLT 487 Til he was spouted up at Nynyvee?
MLT 488 Wel may men knowe it was no wight but he
MLT 489 That kepte peple Ebrayk from hir drenchynge,
MLT 490 With drye feet thurghout the see passynge.
MLT 491 Who bad the foure spirites of tempest
MLT 492 That power han t' anoyen lond and see,
MLT 493 Bothe north and south, and also west and est,
MLT 494 " Anoyeth neither see, ne land, ne tree " ?
MLT 495 Soothly, the comandour of that was he
MLT 496 That fro the tempest ay this womman kepte
MLT 497 As wel whan she wook as whan she slepte.
MLT 498 Where myghte this womman mete and drynke have
MLT 499 Thre yeer and moore? How lasteth hire vitaille?
MLT 500 Who fedde the Egipcien Marie in the cave,
MLT 501 Or in desert? No wight but Crist, sanz faille.
MLT 502 Fyve thousand folk it was as greet mervaille
MLT 503 With loves fyve and fisshes two to feede.
MLT 504 God sente his foyson at hir grete neede.
MLT 505 She dryveth forth into oure occian
MLT 506 Thurghout oure wilde see, til atte laste
MLT 507 Under an hoold that nempnen I ne kan,
MLT 508 Fer in Northhumberlond the wawe hire caste,
MLT 509 And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste
MLT 510 That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde;
MLT 511 The wyl of Crist was that she sholde abyde.
MLT 512 The constable of the castel doun is fare
MLT 513 To seen this wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
MLT 514 And foond this wery womman ful of care;
MLT 515 He foond also the tresor that she broghte.
MLT 516 In hir langage mercy she bisoghte,
MLT 517 The lyf out of hir body for to twynne,
MLT 518 Hire to delivere of wo that she was inne.
MLT 519 A maner Latyn corrupt was hir speche,
MLT 520 But algates therby was she understonde.
MLT 521 The constable, whan hym lyst no longer seche,
MLT 522 This woful womman broghte he to the londe.
MLT 523 She kneleth doun and thanketh Goddes sonde;
MLT 524 But what she was she wolde no man seye,
MLT 525 For foul ne fair, thogh that she sholde deye.
MLT 526 She seyde she was so mazed in the see
MLT 527 That she forgat hir mynde, by hir trouthe.
MLT 528 The constable hath of hire so greet pitee,
MLT 529 And eek his wyf, that they wepen for routhe.
MLT 530 She was so diligent, withouten slouthe,
MLT 531 To serve and plesen everich in that place
MLT 532 That alle hir loven that looken in hir face.
MLT 533 This constable and dame Hermengyld, his wyf,
MLT 534 Were payens, and that contree everywhere;
MLT 535 But Hermengyld loved hire right as hir lyf,
MLT 536 And Custance hath so longe sojourned there,
MLT 537 In orisons, with many a bitter teere,
MLT 538 Til Jhesu hath converted thurgh his grace
MLT 539 Dame Hermengyld, constablesse of that place.
MLT 540 In al that lond no Cristen dorste route;
MLT 541 Alle Cristen folk been fled fro that contree
MLT 542 Thurgh payens, that conquereden al aboute
MLT 543 The plages of the north, by land and see.
MLT 544 To Walys fledde the Cristyanytee
MLT 545 Of olde Britons dwellynge in this ile;
MLT 546 Ther was hir refut for the meene while.
MLT 547 But yet nere Cristene Britons so exiled
MLT 548 That ther nere somme that in hir privetee
MLT 549 Honoured Crist and hethen folk bigiled,
MLT 550 And ny the castel swiche ther dwelten three.
MLT 551 That oon of hem was blynd and myghte nat see,
MLT 552 But it were with thilke eyen of his mynde
MLT 553 With whiche men seen, after that they ben blynde.
MLT 554 Bright was the sonne as in that someres day,
MLT 555 For which the constable and his wyf also
MLT 556 And Custance han ytake the righte way
MLT 557 Toward the see a furlong wey or two,
MLT 558 To pleyen and to romen to and fro,
MLT 559 And in hir walk this blynde man they mette,
MLT 560 Croked and oold, with eyen faste yshette.
MLT 561 " In name of Crist, " cride this blinde Britoun,
MLT 562 " Dame Hermengyld, yif me my sighte agayn! "
MLT 563 This lady weex affrayed of the soun,
MLT 564 Lest that hir housbonde, shortly for to sayn,
MLT 565 Wolde hire for Jhesu Cristes love han slayn,
MLT 566 Til Custance made hire boold, and bad hire wirche
MLT 567 The wyl of Crist, as doghter of his chirche.
MLT 568 The constable weex abasshed of that sight,
MLT 569 And seyde, " What amounteth al this fare? "
MLT 570 Custance answerde, " Sire, it is Cristes myght,
MLT 571 That helpeth folk out of the feendes snare. "
MLT 572 And so ferforth she gan oure lay declare
MLT 573 That she the constable, er that it was eve
MLT 574 Converteth, and on Crist made hym bileve.
MLT 575 This constable was nothyng lord of this place
MLT 576 Of which I speke, ther he Custance fond,
MLT 577 But kepte it strongly many a wyntres space
MLT 578 Under Alla, kyng of al Northhumbrelond,
MLT 579 That was ful wys, and worthy of his hond
MLT 580 Agayn the Scottes, as men may wel heere;
MLT 581 But turne I wole agayn to my mateere.
MLT 582 Sathan, that evere us waiteth to bigile,
MLT 583 Saugh of Custance al hire perfeccioun,
MLT 584 And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while,
MLT 585 And made a yong knyght that dwelte in that toun
MLT 586 Love hire so hoote, of foul affeccioun,
MLT 587 That verraily hym thoughte he sholde spille,
MLT 588 But he of hire myghte ones have his wille.
MLT 589 He woweth hire, but it availleth noght;
MLT 590 She wolde do no synne, by no weye.
MLT 591 And for despit he compassed in his thoght
MLT 592 To maken hire on shameful deeth to deye.
MLT 593 He wayteth whan the constable was aweye,
MLT 594 And pryvely upon a nyght he crepte
MLT 595 In Hermengyldes chambre, whil she slepte.
MLT 596 Wery, forwaked in hire orisouns,
MLT 597 Slepeth Custance, and Hermengyld also.
MLT 598 This knyght, thurgh Sathanas temptaciouns,
MLT 599 Al softely is to the bed ygo,
MLT 600 And kitte the throte of Hermengyld atwo,
MLT 601 And leyde the blody knyf by dame Custance,
MLT 602 And wente his wey, ther God yeve hym meschance!
MLT 603 Soone after cometh this constable hoom agayn,
MLT 604 And eek Alla, that kyng was of that lond,
MLT 605 And saugh his wyf despitously yslayn,
MLT 606 For which ful ofte he weep and wroong his hond,
MLT 607 And in the bed the blody knyf he fond
MLT 608 By Dame Custance. Allas, what myghte she seye?
MLT 609 For verray wo hir wit was al aweye.
MLT 610 To kyng Alla was toold al this meschance,
MLT 611 And eek the tyme, and where, and in what wise
MLT 612 That in a ship was founden this Custance,
MLT 613 As heer-biforn that ye han herd devyse.
MLT 614 The kynges herte of pitee gan agryse,
MLT 615 Whan he saugh so benigne a creature
MLT 616 Falle in disese and in mysaventure.
MLT 617 For as the lomb toward his deeth is broght,
MLT 618 So stant this innocent bifore the kyng.
MLT 619 This false knyght, that hath this tresoun wroght,
MLT 620 Berth hire on hond that she hath doon thys thyng.
MLT 621 But nathelees, ther was greet moornyng
MLT 622 Among the peple, and seyn they kan nat gesse
MLT 623 That she had doon so greet a wikkednesse,
MLT 624 For they han seyn hire evere so vertuous,
MLT 625 And lovynge Hermengyld right as hir lyf.
MLT 626 Of this baar witnesse everich in that hous,
MLT 627 Save he that Hermengyld slow with his knyf.
MLT 628 This gentil kyng hath caught a greet motyf
MLT 629 Of this witnesse, and thoghte he wolde enquere
MLT 630 Depper in this, a trouthe for to lere.
MLT 631 Allas! Custance, thou hast no champioun,
MLT 632 Ne fighte kanstow noght, so weylaway!
MLT 633 But he that starf for our redempcioun,
MLT 634 And boond Sathan (and yet lith ther he lay),
MLT 635 So be thy stronge champion this day!
MLT 636 For, but if Crist open myracle kithe,
MLT 637 Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swithe.
MLT 638 She sette hire doun on knees, and thus she sayde:
MLT 639 " Immortal God, that savedest Susanne
MLT 640 Fro false blame, and thou, merciful mayde,
MLT 641 Marie I meene, doghter to Seint Anne,
MLT 642 Bifore whos child angeles synge Osanne,
MLT 643 If I be giltlees of this felonye,
MLT 644 My socour be, for ellis shal I dye! "
MLT 645 Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face,
MLT 646 Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad
MLT 647 Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace,
MLT 648 And swich a colour in his face hath had
MLT 649 Men myghte knowe his face that was bistad
MLT 650 Amonges alle the faces in that route?
MLT 651 So stant Custance, and looketh hire aboute.
MLT 652 O queenes, lyvynge in prosperitee,
MLT 653 Duchesses, and ye ladyes everichone,
MLT 654 Haveth som routhe on hire adversitee!
MLT 655 An Emperoures doghter stant allone;
MLT 656 She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
MLT 657 O blood roial, that stondest in this drede,
MLT 658 Fer been thy freendes at thy grete nede!
MLT 659 This Alla kyng hath swich compassioun,
MLT 660 As gentil herte is fulfild of pitee,
MLT 661 That from his eyen ran the water doun.
MLT 662 " Now hastily do fecche a book, " quod he,
MLT 663 " And if this knyght wol sweren how that she
MLT 664 This womman slow, yet wol we us avyse
MLT 665 Whom that we wole that shal been oure justise. "
MLT 666 A Britoun book, written with Evaungiles,
MLT 667 Was fet, and on this book he swoor anoon
MLT 668 She gilty was, and in the meene whiles
MLT 669 An hand hym smoot upon the nekke-boon,
MLT 670 That doun he fil atones as a stoon,
MLT 671 And bothe his eyen broste out of his face
MLT 672 In sighte of every body in that place.
MLT 673 A voys was herd in general audience,
MLT 674 And seyde, " Thou hast desclaundred, giltelees,
MLT 675 The doghter of hooly chirche in heigh presence;
MLT 676 Thus hastou doon, and yet holde I my pees! "
MLT 677 Of this mervaille agast was al the prees;
MLT 678 As mazed folk they stoden everichone,
MLT 679 For drede of wreche, save Custance allone.
MLT 680 Greet was the drede and eek the repentance
MLT 681 Of hem that hadden wrong suspecioun
MLT 682 Upon this sely innocent, Custance;
MLT 683 And for this miracle, in conclusioun,
MLT 684 And by Custances mediacioun,
MLT 685 The kyng -- and many another in that place --
MLT 686 Converted was, thanked be Cristes grace!
MLT 687 This false knyght was slayn for his untrouthe
MLT 688 By juggement of Alla hastifly;
MLT 689 And yet Custance hadde of his deeth greet routhe.
MLT 690 And after this Jhesus, of his mercy,
MLT 691 Made Alla wedden ful solempnely
MLT 692 This hooly mayden, that is so bright and sheene;
MLT 693 And thus hath Crist ymaad Custance a queene.
MLT 694 But who was woful, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 695 Of this weddyng but Donegild, and namo,
MLT 696 The kynges mooder, ful of tirannye?
MLT 697 Hir thoughte hir cursed herte brast atwo.
MLT 698 She wolde noght hir sone had do so;
MLT 699 Hir thoughte a despit that he sholde take
MLT 700 So strange a creature unto his make.
MLT 701 Me list nat of the chaf, ne of the stree,
MLT 702 Maken so long a tale as of the corn.
MLT 703 What sholde I tellen of the roialtee
MLT 704 At mariage, or which cours goth biforn;
MLT 705 Who bloweth in a trumpe or in an horn?
MLT 706 The fruyt of every tale is for to seye:
MLT 707 They ete, and drynke, and daunce, and synge, and pleye.
MLT 708 They goon to bedde, as it was skile and right;
MLT 709 For thogh that wyves be ful hooly thynges,
MLT 710 They moste take in pacience at nyght
MLT 711 Swiche manere necessaries as been plesynges
MLT 712 To folk that han ywedded hem with rynges,
MLT 713 And leye a lite hir hoolynesse aside,
MLT 714 As for the tyme -- it may no bet bitide.
MLT 715 On hire he gat a knave child anon,
MLT 716 And to a bisshop, and his constable eke,
MLT 717 He took his wyf to kepe, whan he is gon
MLT 718 To Scotlond-ward, his foomen for to seke.
MLT 719 Now faire Custance, that is so humble and meke,
MLT 720 So longe is goon with childe, til that stille
MLT 721 She halt hire chambre, abidyng Cristes wille.
MLT 722 The tyme is come a knave child she beer;
MLT 723 Mauricius at the fontstoon they hym calle.
MLT 724 This constable dooth forth come a messageer,
MLT 725 And wroot unto his kyng, that cleped was Alle,
MLT 726 How that this blisful tidyng is bifalle,
MLT 727 And othere tidynges spedeful for to seye.
MLT 728 He taketh the lettre, and forth he gooth his weye.
MLT 729 This messager, to doon his avantage,
MLT 730 Unto the kynges mooder rideth swithe,
MLT 731 And salueth hire ful faire in his langage:
MLT 732 " Madame, " quod he, " ye may be glad and blithe,
MLT 733 And thanketh God an hundred thousand sithe!
MLT 734 My lady queene hath child, withouten doute,
MLT 735 To joye and blisse to al this regne aboute.
MLT 736 " Lo, heere the lettres seled of this thyng,
MLT 737 That I moot bere with al the haste I may.
MLT 738 If ye wol aught unto youre sone the kyng,
MLT 739 I am youre servant, bothe nyght and day. "
MLT 740 Donegild answerde, " As now at this tyme, nay;
MLT 741 But heere al nyght I wol thou take thy reste.
MLT 742 To-morwe wol I seye thee what me leste. "
MLT 743 This messager drank sadly ale and wyn,
MLT 744 And stolen were his lettres pryvely
MLT 745 Out of his box, whil he sleep as a swyn;
MLT 746 And countrefeted was ful subtilly
MLT 747 Another lettre, wroght ful synfully,
MLT 748 Unto the kyng direct of this mateere
MLT 749 Fro his constable, as ye shal after heere.
MLT 750 The lettre spak the queene delivered was
MLT 751 Of so horrible a feendly creature
MLT 752 That in the castel noon so hardy was
MLT 753 That any while dorste ther endure.
MLT 754 The mooder was an elf, by aventure
MLT 755 Ycomen, by charmes or by sorcerie,
MLT 756 And every wight hateth hir compaignye.
MLT 757 Wo was this kyng whan he this lettre had sayn,
MLT 758 But to no wight he tolde his sorwes soore,
MLT 759 But of his owene hand he wroot agayn,
MLT 760 " Welcome the sonde of Crist for everemoore
MLT 761 To me that am now lerned in his loore!
MLT 762 Lord, welcome be thy lust and thy plesaunce;
MLT 763 My lust I putte al in thyn ordinaunce.
MLT 764 " Kepeth this child, al be it foul or feir,
MLT 765 And eek my wyf, unto myn hoom-comynge.
MLT 766 Crist, whan hym list, may sende me an heir
MLT 767 Moore agreable than this to my likynge. "
MLT 768 This lettre he seleth, pryvely wepynge,
MLT 769 Which to the messager was take soone,
MLT 770 And forth he gooth; ther is na moore to doone.
MLT 771 O messager, fulfild of dronkenesse,
MLT 772 Strong is thy breeth, thy lymes faltren ay,
MLT 773 And thou biwreyest alle secreenesse.
MLT 774 Thy mynde is lorn, thou janglest as a jay,
MLT 775 Thy face is turned in a newe array.
MLT 776 Ther dronkenesse regneth in any route,
MLT 777 Ther is no conseil hyd, withouten doute.
MLT 778 O Donegild, I ne have noon Englissh digne
MLT 779 Unto thy malice and thy tirannye!
MLT 780 And therfore to the feend I thee resigne;
MLT 781 Lat hym enditen of thy traitorie!
MLT 782 Fy, mannysh, fy! -- o nay, by God, I lye --
MLT 783 Fy, feendlych spirit, for I dar wel telle,
MLT 784 Thogh thou heere walke, thy spirit is in helle!
MLT 785 This messager comth fro the kyng agayn,
MLT 786 And at the kynges moodres court he lighte,
MLT 787 And she was of this messager ful fayn,
MLT 788 And plesed hym in al that ever she myghte.
MLT 789 He drank, and wel his girdel underpighte;
MLT 790 He slepeth, and he fnorteth in his gyse
MLT 791 Al nyght, til the sonne gan aryse.
MLT 792 Eft were his lettres stolen everychon,
MLT 793 And countrefeted lettres in this wyse:
MLT 794 " The king comandeth his constable anon,
MLT 795 Up peyne of hangyng, and on heigh juyse,
MLT 796 That he ne sholde suffren in no wyse
MLT 797 Custance in-with his reawme for t' abyde
MLT 798 Thre dayes and o quarter of a tyde;
MLT 799 " But in the same ship as he hire fond,
MLT 800 Hire, and hir yonge sone, and al hir geere,
MLT 801 He sholde putte, and croude hire fro the lond,
MLT 802 And charge hire that she never eft coome theere. "
MLT 803 O my Custance, wel may thy goost have feere,
MLT 804 And, slepynge, in thy dreem been in penance,
MLT 805 Whan Donegild cast al this ordinance.
MLT 806 This messager on morwe, whan he wook,
MLT 807 Unto the castel halt the nexte way,
MLT 808 And to the constable he the lettre took;
MLT 809 And whan that he this pitous lettre say,
MLT 810 Ful ofte he seyde, " Allas and weylaway! "
MLT 811 " Lord Crist, " quod he, " how may this world endure,
MLT 812 So ful of synne is many a creature?
MLT 813 " O myghty God, if that it be thy wille,
MLT 814 Sith thou art rightful juge, how may it be
MLT 815 That thou wolt suffren innocentz to spille,
MLT 816 And wikked folk regne in prosperitee?
MLT 817 O goode Custance, allas, so wo is me
MLT 818 That I moot be thy tormentour, or deye
MLT 819 On shames deeth; ther is noon oother weye. "
MLT 820 Wepen bothe yonge and olde in al that place
MLT 821 Whan that the kyng this cursed lettre sente,
MLT 822 And Custance, with a deedly pale face,
MLT 823 The ferthe day toward hir ship she wente.
MLT 824 But nathelees she taketh in good entente
MLT 825 The wyl of Crist, and knelynge on the stronde,
MLT 826 She seyde, " Lord, ay welcome be thy sonde!
MLT 827 " He that me kepte fro the false blame
MLT 828 While I was on the lond amonges yow,
MLT 829 He kan me kepe from harm and eek fro shame
MLT 830 In salte see, althogh I se noght how.
MLT 831 As strong as evere he was, he is yet now.
MLT 832 In hym triste I, and in his mooder deere,
MLT 833 That is to me my seyl and eek my steere. "
MLT 834 Hir litel child lay wepyng in hir arm,
MLT 835 And knelynge, pitously to hym she seyde,
MLT 836 " Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee noon harm. "
MLT 837 With that hir coverchief of hir heed she breyde,
MLT 838 And over his litel eyen she it leyde,
MLT 839 And in hir arm she lulleth it ful faste,
MLT 840 And into hevene hire eyen up she caste.
MLT 841 " Mooder, " quod she, " and mayde bright, Marie,
MLT 842 Sooth is that thurgh wommanes eggement
MLT 843 Mankynde was lorn, and damned ay to dye,
MLT 844 For which thy child was on a croys yrent.
MLT 845 Thy blisful eyen sawe al his torment;
MLT 846 Thanne is ther no comparison bitwene
MLT 847 Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.
MLT 848 " Thow sawe thy child yslayn bifore thyne yen,
MLT 849 And yet now lyveth my litel child, parfay!
MLT 850 Now, lady bright, to whom alle woful cryen,
MLT 851 Thow glorie of wommanhede, thow faire may,
MLT 852 Thow haven of refut, brighte sterre of day,
MLT 853 Rewe on my child, that of thy gentillesse
MLT 854 Rewest on every reweful in distresse.
MLT 855 " O litel child, allas! What is thy gilt,
MLT 856 That nevere wroghtest synne as yet, pardee?
MLT 857 Why wil thyn harde fader han thee spilt?
MLT 858 O mercy, deere constable, " quod she,
MLT 859 " As lat my litel child dwelle heer with thee;
MLT 860 And if thou darst nat saven hym, for blame,
MLT 861 So kys hym ones in his fadres name! "
MLT 862 Therwith she looked bakward to the londe,
MLT 863 And seyde, " Farewel, housbonde routhelees! "
MLT 864 And up she rist, and walketh doun the stronde
MLT 865 Toward the ship -- hir folweth al the prees --
MLT 866 And evere she preyeth hire child to holde his pees;
MLT 867 And taketh hir leve, and with an hooly entente
MLT 868 She blisseth hire, and into ship she wente.
MLT 869 Vitailled was the ship, it is no drede,
MLT 870 Habundantly for hire ful longe space,
MLT 871 And othere necessaries that sholde nede
MLT 872 She hadde ynogh -- heryed be Goddes grace!
MLT 873 For wynd and weder almyghty God purchace,
MLT 874 And brynge hire hoom! I kan no bettre seye,
MLT 875 But in the see she dryveth forth hir weye.
MLT 876 Alla the kyng comth hoom soone after this
MLT 877 Unto his castel, of the which I tolde,
MLT 878 And asketh where his wyf and his child is.
MLT 879 The constable gan aboute his herte colde,
MLT 880 And pleynly al the manere he hym tolde
MLT 881 As ye han herd -- I kan telle it no bettre --
MLT 882 And sheweth the kyng his seel and eek his lettre,
MLT 883 And seyde, " Lord, as ye comanded me
MLT 884 Up peyne of deeth, so have I doon, certein. "
MLT 885 This messager tormented was til he
MLT 886 Moste biknowe and tellen, plat and pleyn,
MLT 887 Fro nyght to nyght, in what place he had leyn;
MLT 888 And thus, by wit and sotil enquerynge,
MLT 889 Ymagined was by whom this harm gan sprynge.
MLT 890 The hand was knowe that the lettre wroot,
MLT 891 And al the venym of this cursed dede,
MLT 892 But in what wise, certeinly, I noot.
MLT 893 Th' effect is this: that Alla, out of drede,
MLT 894 His mooder slow -- that may men pleynly rede --
MLT 895 For that she traitour was to hire ligeance.
MLT 896 Thus endeth olde Donegild, with meschance!
MLT 897 The sorwe that this Alla nyght and day
MLT 898 Maketh for his wyf, and for his child also,
MLT 899 Ther is no tonge that it telle may.
MLT 900 But now wol I unto Custance go,
MLT 901 That fleteth in the see, in peyne and wo,
MLT 902 Fyve yeer and moore, as liked Cristes sonde,
MLT 903 Er that hir ship approched unto londe.
MLT 904 Under an hethen castel, atte laste,
MLT 905 Of which the name in my text noght I fynde,
MLT 906 Custance, and eek hir child, the see up caste.
MLT 907 Almyghty God, that saveth al mankynde,
MLT 908 Have on Custance and on hir child som mynde,
MLT 909 That fallen is in hethen hand eft soone,
MLT 910 In point to spille, as I shal telle yow soone.
MLT 911 Doun fro the castel comth ther many a wight
MLT 912 To gauren on this ship and on Custance.
MLT 913 But shortly, from the castel, on a nyght,
MLT 914 The lordes styward -- God yeve hym meschance! --
MLT 915 A theef, that hadde reneyed oure creance,
MLT 916 Cam into ship allone, and seyde he sholde
MLT 917 Hir lemman be, wher-so she wolde or nolde.
MLT 918 Wo was this wrecched womman tho bigon;
MLT 919 Hir child cride, and she cride pitously.
MLT 920 But blisful Marie heelp hire right anon;
MLT 921 For with hir struglyng wel and myghtily
MLT 922 The theef fil over bord al sodeynly,
MLT 923 And in the see he dreynte for vengeance;
MLT 924 And thus hath Crist unwemmed kept Custance.
MLT 925 O foule lust of luxurie, lo, thyn ende!
MLT 926 Nat oonly that thou feyntest mannes mynde,
MLT 927 But verraily thou wolt his body shende.
MLT 928 Th' ende of thy werk, or of thy lustes blynde,
MLT 929 Is compleynyng. Hou many oon may men fynde
MLT 930 That noght for werk somtyme, but for th' entente
MLT 931 To doon this synne, been outher slayn or shente!
MLT 932 How may this wayke womman han this strengthe
MLT 933 Hire to defende agayn this renegat?
MLT 934 O Golias, unmesurable of lengthe,
MLT 935 Hou myghte David make thee so maat,
MLT 936 So yong and of armure so desolaat?
MLT 937 Hou dorste he looke upon thy dredful face?
MLT 938 Wel may men seen, it nas but Goddes grace.
MLT 939 Who yaf Judith corage or hardynesse
MLT 940 To sleen hym Olofernus in his tente,
MLT 941 And to deliveren out of wrecchednesse
MLT 942 The peple of God? I seye, for this entente,
MLT 943 That right as God spirit of vigour sente
MLT 944 To hem and saved hem out of meschance,
MLT 945 So sente he myght and vigour to Custance.
MLT 946 Forth gooth hir ship thurghout the narwe mouth
MLT 947 Of Jubaltare and Septe, dryvynge ay
MLT 948 Somtyme west, and somtyme north and south,
MLT 949 And somtyme est, ful many a wery day,
MLT 950 Til Cristes mooder -- blessed be she ay! --
MLT 951 Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse,
MLT 952 To make an ende of al hir hevynesse.
MLT 953 Now lat us stynte of Custance but a throwe,
MLT 954 And speke we of the Romayn Emperour,
MLT 955 That out of Surrye hath by lettres knowe
MLT 956 The slaughtre of cristen folk, and dishonour
MLT 957 Doon to his doghter by a fals traytour,
MLT 958 I mene the cursed wikked Sowdanesse
MLT 959 That at the feeste leet sleen bothe moore and lesse.
MLT 960 For which this Emperour hath sent anon
MLT 961 His senatour, with roial ordinance,
MLT 962 And othere lordes, God woot, many oon,
MLT 963 On Surryens to taken heigh vengeance.
MLT 964 They brennen, sleen, and brynge hem to meschance
MLT 965 Ful many a day; but shortly -- this is th' ende --
MLT 966 Homward to Rome they shapen hem to wende.
MLT 967 This senatour repaireth with victorie
MLT 968 To Rome-ward, saillynge ful roially,
MLT 969 And mette the ship dryvynge, as seith the storie,
MLT 970 In which Custance sit ful pitously.
MLT 971 Nothyng ne knew he what she was, ne why
MLT 972 She was in swich array, ne she nyl seye
MLT 973 Of hire estaat, althogh she sholde deye.
MLT 974 He bryngeth hire to Rome, and to his wyf
MLT 975 He yaf hire, and hir yonge sone also;
MLT 976 And with the senatour she ladde hir lyf.
MLT 977 Thus kan Oure Lady bryngen out of wo
MLT 978 Woful Custance, and many another mo.
MLT 979 And longe tyme dwelled she in that place,
MLT 980 In hooly werkes evere, as was hir grace.
MLT 981 The senatoures wyf hir aunte was,
MLT 982 But for al that she knew hire never the moore.
MLT 983 I wol no lenger tarien in this cas,
MLT 984 But to kyng Alla, which I spak of yoore,
MLT 985 That for his wyf wepeth and siketh soore,
MLT 986 I wol retourne, and lete I wol Custance
MLT 987 Under the senatoures governance.
MLT 988 Kyng Alla, which that hadde his mooder slayn,
MLT 989 Upon a day fil in swich repentance
MLT 990 That, if I shortly tellen shal and playn,
MLT 991 To Rome he comth to receyven his penance;
MLT 992 And putte hym in the Popes ordinance
MLT 993 In heigh and logh, and Jhesu Crist bisoghte
MLT 994 Foryeve his wikked werkes that he wroghte.
MLT 995 The fame anon thurgh Rome toun is born,
MLT 996 How Alla kyng shal comen in pilgrymage,
MLT 997 By herbergeours that wenten hym biforn;
MLT 998 For which the senatour, as was usage,
MLT 999 Rood hym agayns, and many of his lynage,
MLT 1000 As wel to shewen his heighe magnificence
MLT 1001 As to doon any kyng a reverence.
MLT 1002 Greet cheere dooth this noble senatour
MLT 1003 To kyng Alla, and he to hym also;
MLT 1004 Everich of hem dooth oother greet honour.
MLT 1005 And so bifel that in a day or two
MLT 1006 This senatour is to kyng Alla go
MLT 1007 To feste, and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
MLT 1008 Custances sone wente in his compaignye.
MLT 1009 Som men wolde seyn at requeste of Custance
MLT 1010 This senatour hath lad this child to feeste;
MLT 1011 I may nat tellen every circumstance --
MLT 1012 Be as be may, ther was he at the leeste.
MLT 1013 But sooth is this, that at his moodres heeste
MLT 1014 Biforn Alla, durynge the metes space,
MLT 1015 The child stood, lookynge in the kynges face.
MLT 1016 This Alla kyng hath of this child greet wonder,
MLT 1017 And to the senatour he seyde anon,
MLT 1018 " Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder? "
MLT 1019 " I noot, " quod he, " by God, and by Seint John!
MLT 1020 A mooder he hath, but fader hath he noon
MLT 1021 That I of woot " -- and shortly, in a stounde,
MLT 1022 He tolde Alla how that this child was founde.
MLT 1023 " But God woot, " quod this senatour also,
MLT 1024 " So vertuous a lyvere in my lyf
MLT 1025 Ne saugh I nevere as she, ne herde of mo,
MLT 1026 Of worldly wommen, mayde, ne of wyf.
MLT 1027 I dar wel seyn hir hadde levere a knyf
MLT 1028 Thurghout hir brest, than ben a womman wikke;
MLT 1029 There is no man koude brynge hire to that prikke. "
MLT 1030 Now was this child as lyk unto Custance
MLT 1031 As possible is a creature to be.
MLT 1032 This Alla hath the face in remembrance
MLT 1033 Of dame Custance, and ther on mused he
MLT 1034 If that the childes mooder were aught she
MLT 1035 That is his wyf, and pryvely he sighte,
MLT 1036 And spedde hym fro the table that he myghte.
MLT 1037 " Parfay, " thoghte he, " fantome is in myn heed!
MLT 1038 I oghte deme, of skilful juggement,
MLT 1039 That in the salte see my wyf is deed. "
MLT 1040 And afterward he made his argument:
MLT 1041 " What woot I if that Crist have hyder ysent
MLT 1042 My wyf by see, as wel as he hire sente
MLT 1043 To my contree fro thennes that she wente? "
MLT 1044 And after noon, hoom with the senatour
MLT 1045 Goth Alla, for to seen this wonder chaunce.
MLT 1046 This senatour dooth Alla greet honour,
MLT 1047 And hastifly he sente after Custaunce.
MLT 1048 But trusteth weel, hire liste nat to daunce
MLT 1049 Whan that she wiste wherfore was that sonde;
MLT 1050 Unnethe upon hir feet she myghte stonde.
MLT 1051 Whan Alla saugh his wyf, faire he hire grette,
MLT 1052 And weep that it was routhe for to see;
MLT 1053 For at the firste look he on hire sette
MLT 1054 He knew wel verraily that it was she.
MLT 1055 And she, for sorwe, as doumb stant as a tree,
MLT 1056 So was hir herte shet in hir distresse,
MLT 1057 Whan she remembred his unkyndenesse.
MLT 1058 Twyes she swowned in his owene sighte;
MLT 1059 He weep, and hym excuseth pitously.
MLT 1060 " Now God, " quod he, " and his halwes brighte
MLT 1061 So wisly on my soule as have mercy,
MLT 1062 That of youre harm as giltelees am I
MLT 1063 As is Maurice my sone, so lyk youre face;
MLT 1064 Elles the feend me fecche out of this place! "
MLT 1065 Long was the sobbyng and the bitter peyne,
MLT 1066 Er that hir woful hertes myghte cesse;
MLT 1067 Greet was the pitee for to heere hem pleyne,
MLT 1068 Thurgh whiche pleintes gan hir wo encresse.
MLT 1069 I pray yow alle my labour to relesse;
MLT 1070 I may nat telle hir wo until to-morwe,
MLT 1071 I am so wery for to speke of sorwe.
MLT 1072 But finally, whan that the sothe is wist
MLT 1073 That Alla giltelees was of hir wo,
MLT 1074 I trowe an hundred tymes been they kist,
MLT 1075 And swich a blisse is ther bitwix hem two
MLT 1076 That, save the joye that lasteth everemo,
MLT 1077 Ther is noon lyk that any creature
MLT 1078 Hath seyn or shal, whil that the world may dure.
MLT 1079 Tho preyde she hir housbonde mekely,
MLT 1080 In relief of hir longe, pitous pyne,
MLT 1081 That he wolde preye hir fader specially
MLT 1082 That of his magestee he wolde enclyne
MLT 1083 To vouche sauf som day with hym to dyne.
MLT 1084 She preyde hym eek he sholde by no weye
MLT 1085 Unto hir fader no word of hire seye.
MLT 1086 Som men wolde seyn how that the child Maurice
MLT 1087 Dooth this message unto this Emperour;
MLT 1088 But, as I gesse, Alla was nat so nyce
MLT 1089 To hym that was of so sovereyn honour
MLT 1090 As he that is of Cristen folk the flour,
MLT 1091 Sente any child, but it is bet to deeme
MLT 1092 He wente hymself, and so it may wel seeme.
MLT 1093 This Emperour hath graunted gentilly
MLT 1094 To come to dyner, as he hym bisoughte;
MLT 1095 And wel rede I he looked bisily
MLT 1096 Upon this child, and on his doghter thoghte.
MLT 1097 Alla goth to his in, and as hym oghte,
MLT 1098 Arrayed for this feste in every wise
MLT 1099 As ferforth as his konnyng may suffise.
MLT 1100 The morwe cam, and Alla gan hym dresse,
MLT 1101 And eek his wyf, this Emperour to meete;
MLT 1102 And forth they ryde in joye and in gladnesse.
MLT 1103 And whan she saugh hir fader in the strete,
MLT 1104 She lighte doun, and falleth hym to feete.
MLT 1105 " Fader, " quod she, " youre yonge child Custance
MLT 1106 Is now ful clene out of youre remembrance.
MLT 1107 " I am youre doghter Custance, " quod she,
MLT 1108 " That whilom ye han sent unto Surrye.
MLT 1109 It am I, fader, that in the salte see
MLT 1110 Was put allone and dampned for to dye.
MLT 1111 Now, goode fader, mercy I yow crye!
MLT 1112 Sende me namoore unto noon hethenesse,
MLT 1113 But thonketh my lord heere of his kyndenesse. "
MLT 1114 Who kan the pitous joye tellen al
MLT 1115 Bitwixe hem thre, syn they been thus ymette?
MLT 1116 But of my tale make an ende I shal;
MLT 1117 The day goth faste, I wol no lenger lette.
MLT 1118 This glade folk to dyner they hem sette;
MLT 1119 In joye and blisse at mete I lete hem dwelle
MLT 1120 A thousand foold wel moore than I kan telle.
MLT 1121 This child Maurice was sithen Emperour
MLT 1122 Maad by the Pope, and lyved cristenly;
MLT 1123 To Cristes chirche he dide greet honour.
MLT 1124 But I lete al his storie passen by;
MLT 1125 Of Custance is my tale specially.
MLT 1126 In the olde Romayn geestes may men fynde
MLT 1127 Maurices lyf; I bere it noght in mynde.
MLT 1128 This kyng Alla, whan he his tyme say,
MLT 1129 With his Custance, his hooly wyf so sweete,
MLT 1130 To Engelond been they come the righte way,
MLT 1131 Wher as they lyve in joye and in quiete.
MLT 1132 But litel while it lasteth, I yow heete,
MLT 1133 Joye of this world, for tyme wol nat abyde;
MLT 1134 Fro day to nyght it changeth as the tyde.
MLT 1135 Who lyved euere in swich delit o day
MLT 1136 That hym ne moeved outher conscience,
MLT 1137 Or ire, or talent, or som kynnes affray,
MLT 1138 Envye, or pride, or passion, or offence?
MLT 1139 I ne seye but for this ende this sentence,
MLT 1140 That litel while in joye or in plesance
MLT 1141 Lasteth the blisse of Alla with Custance.
MLT 1142 For Deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente,
MLT 1143 Whan passed was a yeer, evene as I gesse,
MLT 1144 Out of this world this kyng Alla he hente,
MLT 1145 For whom Custance hath ful greet hevynesse.
MLT 1146 Now lat us prayen God his soule blesse!
MLT 1147 And dame Custance, finally to seye,
MLT 1148 Toward the toun of Rome goth hir weye.
MLT 1149 To Rome is come this hooly creature,
MLT 1150 And fyndeth hire freendes hoole and sounde;
MLT 1151 Now is she scaped al hire aventure.
MLT 1152 And whan that she hir fader hath yfounde,
MLT 1153 Doun on hir knees falleth she to grounde;
MLT 1154 Wepynge for tendrenesse in herte blithe,
MLT 1155 She heryeth God an hundred thousand sithe.
MLT 1156 In vertu and in hooly almus-dede
MLT 1157 They lyven alle, and nevere asonder wende;
MLT 1158 Til deeth departeth hem, this lyf they lede.
MLT 1159 And fareth now weel! my tale is at an ende.
MLT 1160 Now Jhesu Crist, that of his myght may sende
MLT 1161 Joye after wo, governe us in his grace,
MLT 1162 And kepe us alle that been in this place! Amen
MLT 1163 [Owre Hoost upon his stiropes stood anon,
MLT 1164 And seyde, " Goode men, herkeneth everych on!
MLT 1165 This was a thrifty tale for the nones!
MLT 1166 Sir Parisshe Prest, " quod he, " for Goddes bones,
MLT 1167 Telle us a tale, as was thi forward yore.
MLT 1168 I se wel that ye lerned men in lore
MLT 1169 Can moche good, by Goddes dignitee! "
MLT 1170 The Parson him answerde, " Benedicite!
MLT 1171 What eyleth the man, so synfully to swere? "
MLT 1172 Oure Host answerde, " O Jankin, be ye there?
MLT 1173 I smelle a Lollere in the wynd, " quod he.
MLT 1174 " Now! goode men, " quod oure Hoste, " herkeneth me;
MLT 1175 Abydeth, for Goddes digne passioun,
MLT 1176 For we schal han a predicacioun;
MLT 1177 This Lollere heer wil prechen us somwhat. "
MLT 1178 " Nay, by my fader soule, that schal he nat! "
MLT 1179 Seyde the Shipman, " Heer schal he nat preche;
MLT 1180 He schal no gospel glosen here ne teche.
MLT 1181 We leven alle in the grete God, " quod he;
MLT 1182 " He wolde sowen som difficulte,
MLT 1183 Or springen cokkel in our clene corn.
MLT 1184 And therfore, Hoost, I warne thee biforn,
MLT 1185 My joly body schal a tale telle,
MLT 1186 And I schal clynken you so mery a belle,
MLT 1187 That I schal waken al this compaignie.
MLT 1188 But it schal not ben of philosophie,
MLT 1189 Ne phislyas, ne termes queinte of lawe.
MLT 1190 Ther is but litel Latyn in my mawe! " ]
WBT 1 " Experience, though noon auctoritee
WBT 2 Were in this world, is right ynogh for me
WBT 3 To speke of wo that is in mariage;
WBT 4 For, lordynges, sith I twelve yeer was of age,
WBT 5 Thonked be God that is eterne on lyve,
WBT 6 Housbondes at chirche dore I have had fyve --
WBT 7 If I so ofte myghte have ywedded bee --
WBT 8 And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
WBT 9 But me was toold, certeyn, nat longe agoon is,
WBT 10 That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but onis
WBT 11 To weddyng, in the Cane of Galilee,
WBT 12 That by the same ensample taughte he me
WBT 13 That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
WBT 14 Herkne eek, lo, which a sharp word for the nones,
WBT 15 Biside a welle, Jhesus, God and man,
WBT 16 Spak in repreeve of the Samaritan:
WBT 17 `Thou hast yhad fyve housbondes,' quod he,
WBT 18 `And that ilke man that now hath thee
WBT 19 Is noght thyn housbonde,' thus seyde he certeyn.
WBT 20 What that he mente therby, I kan nat seyn;
WBT 21 But that I axe, why that the fifthe man
WBT 22 Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?
WBT 23 How manye myghte she have in mariage?
WBT 24 Yet herde I nevere tellen in myn age
WBT 25 Upon this nombre diffinicioun.
WBT 26 Men may devyne and glosen, up and doun,
WBT 27 But wel I woot, expres, withoute lye,
WBT 28 God bad us for to wexe and multiplye;
WBT 29 That gentil text kan I wel understonde.
WBT 30 Eek wel I woot, he seyde myn housbonde
WBT 31 Sholde lete fader and mooder and take to me.
WBT 32 But of no nombre mencion made he,
WBT 33 Of bigamye, or of octogamye;
WBT 34 Why sholde men thanne speke of it vileynye?
WBT 35 Lo, heere the wise kyng, daun Salomon;
WBT 36 I trowe he hadde wyves mo than oon.
WBT 37 As wolde God it leveful were unto me
WBT 38 To be refresshed half so ofte as he!
WBT 39 Which yifte of God hadde he for alle his wyvys!
WBT 40 No man hath swich that in this world alyve is.
WBT 41 God woot, this noble kyng, as to my wit,
WBT 42 The firste nyght had many a myrie fit
WBT 43 With ech of hem, so wel was hym on lyve.
WBT 44 Yblessed be God that I have wedded fyve!
WBT 44a [Of whiche I have pyked out the beste,
WBT 44b Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste.
WBT 44c Diverse scoles maken parfyt clerkes,
WBT 44d And diverse practyk in many sondry werkes
WBT 44e Maketh the werkman parfyt sekirly;
WBT 44f Of fyve husbondes scoleiyng am I.]
WBT 45 Welcome the sixte, whan that evere he shal.
WBT 46 For sothe, I wol nat kepe me chaast in al.
WBT 47 Whan myn housbonde is fro the world ygon,
WBT 48 Som Cristen man shal wedde me anon,
WBT 49 For thanne th' apostle seith that I am free
WBT 50 To wedde, a Goddes half, where it liketh me.
WBT 51 He seith that to be wedded is no synne;
WBT 52 Bet is to be wedded than to brynne.
WBT 53 What rekketh me, thogh folk seye vileynye
WBT 54 Of shrewed Lameth and his bigamye?
WBT 55 I woot wel Abraham was an hooly man,
WBT 56 And Jacob eek, as ferforth as I kan;
WBT 57 And ech of hem hadde wyves mo than two,
WBT 58 And many another holy man also.
WBT 59 Wher can ye seye, in any manere age,
WBT 60 That hye God defended mariage
WBT 61 By expres word? I pray yow, telleth me.
WBT 62 Or where comanded he virginitee?
WBT 63 I woot as wel as ye, it is no drede,
WBT 64 Th' apostel, whan he speketh of maydenhede,
WBT 65 He seyde that precept therof hadde he noon.
WBT 66 Men may conseille a womman to been oon,
WBT 67 But conseillyng is no comandement.
WBT 68 He putte it in oure owene juggement;
WBT 69 For hadde God comanded maydenhede,
WBT 70 Thanne hadde he dampned weddyng with the dede.
WBT 71 And certes, if ther were no seed ysowe,
WBT 72 Virginitee, thanne wherof sholde it growe?
WBT 73 Poul dorste nat comanden, atte leeste,
WBT 74 A thyng of which his maister yaf noon heeste.
WBT 75 The dart is set up for virginitee;
WBT 76 Cacche whoso may, who renneth best lat see.
WBT 77 But this word is nat taken of every wight,
WBT 78 But ther as God lust gyve it of his myght.
WBT 79 I woot wel that th' apostel was a mayde;
WBT 80 But nathelees, thogh that he wroot and sayde
WBT 81 He wolde that every wight were swich as he,
WBT 82 Al nys but conseil to virginitee.
WBT 83 And for to been a wyf he yaf me leve
WBT 84 Of indulgence; so nys it no repreve
WBT 85 To wedde me, if that my make dye,
WBT 86 Withouten excepcion of bigamye.
WBT 87 Al were it good no womman for to touche --
WBT 88 He mente as in his bed or in his couche,
WBT 89 For peril is bothe fyr and tow t' assemble;
WBT 90 Ye knowe what this ensample may resemble.
WBT 91 This is al and som: he heeld virginitee
WBT 92 Moore parfit than weddyng in freletee.
WBT 93 Freletee clepe I, but if that he and she
WBT 94 Wolde leden al hir lyf in chastitee.
WBT 95 I graunte it wel; I have noon envie,
WBT 96 Thogh maydenhede preferre bigamye.
WBT 97 It liketh hem to be clene, body and goost;
WBT 98 Of myn estaat I nyl nat make no boost,
WBT 99 For wel ye knowe, a lord in his houshold,
WBT 100 He nath nat every vessel al of gold;
WBT 101 Somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servyse.
WBT 102 God clepeth folk to hym in sondry wyse,
WBT 103 And everich hath of God a propre yifte --
WBT 104 Som this, som that, as hym liketh shifte.
WBT 105 Virginitee is greet perfeccion,
WBT 106 And continence eek with devocion,
WBT 107 But Crist, that of perfeccion is welle,
WBT 108 Bad nat every wight he sholde go selle
WBT 109 Al that he hadde, and gyve it to the poore,
WBT 110 And in swich wise folwe hym and his foore.
WBT 111 He spak to hem that wolde lyve parfitly;
WBT 112 And lordynges, by youre leve, that am nat I.
WBT 113 I wol bistowe the flour of al myn age
WBT 114 In the actes and in fruyt of mariage.
WBT 115 Telle me also, to what conclusion
WBT 116 Were membres maad of generacion,
WBT 117 And of so parfit wys a [wright] ywroght?
WBT 118 Trusteth right wel, they were nat maad for noght.
WBT 119 Glose whoso wole, and seye bothe up and doun
WBT 120 That they were maked for purgacioun
WBT 121 Of uryne, and oure bothe thynges smale
WBT 122 Were eek to knowe a femele from a male,
WBT 123 And for noon oother cause -- say ye no?
WBT 124 The experience woot wel it is noght so.
WBT 125 So that the clerkes be nat with me wrothe,
WBT 126 I sey this: that they maked ben for bothe;
WBT 127 That is to seye, for office and for ese
WBT 128 Of engendrure, ther we nat God displese.
WBT 129 Why sholde men elles in hir bookes sette
WBT 130 That man shal yelde to his wyf hire dette?
WBT 131 Now wherwith sholde he make his paiement,
WBT 132 If he ne used his sely instrument?
WBT 133 Thanne were they maad upon a creature
WBT 134 To purge uryne, and eek for engendrure.
WBT 135 But I seye noght that every wight is holde,
WBT 136 That hath swich harneys as I to yow tolde,
WBT 137 To goon and usen hem in engendrure.
WBT 138 Thanne sholde men take of chastitee no cure.
WBT 139 Crist was a mayde and shapen as a man,
WBT 140 And many a seint, sith that the world bigan;
WBT 141 Yet lyved they evere in parfit chastitee.
WBT 142 I nyl envye no virginitee.
WBT 143 Lat hem be breed of pured whete-seed,
WBT 144 And lat us wyves hoten barly-breed;
WBT 145 And yet with barly-breed, Mark telle kan,
WBT 146 Oure Lord Jhesu refresshed many a man.
WBT 147 In swich estaat as God hath cleped us
WBT 148 I wol persevere; I nam nat precius.
WBT 149 In wyfhod I wol use myn instrument
WBT 150 As frely as my Makere hath it sent.
WBT 151 If I be daungerous, God yeve me sorwe!
WBT 152 Myn housbonde shal it have bothe eve and morwe,
WBT 153 Whan that hym list come forth and paye his dette.
WBT 154 An housbonde I wol have -- I wol nat lette --
WBT 155 Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral,
WBT 156 And have his tribulacion withal
WBT 157 Upon his flessh, whil that I am his wyf.
WBT 158 I have the power durynge al my lyf
WBT 159 Upon his propre body, and noght he.
WBT 160 Right thus the Apostel tolde it unto me,
WBT 161 And bad oure housbondes for to love us weel.
WBT 162 Al this sentence me liketh every deel " --
WBT 163 Up stirte the Pardoner, and that anon;
WBT 164 " Now, dame, " quod he, " by God and by Seint John!
WBT 165 Ye been a noble prechour in this cas.
WBT 166 I was aboute to wedde a wyf; allas!
WBT 167 What sholde I bye it on my flessh so deere?
WBT 168 Yet hadde I levere wedde no wyf to-yeere! "
WBT 169 " Abyde! " quod she, " my tale is nat bigonne.
WBT 170 Nay, thou shalt drynken of another tonne,
WBT 171 Er that I go, shal savoure wors than ale.
WBT 172 And whan that I have toold thee forth my tale
WBT 173 Of tribulacion in mariage,
WBT 174 Of which I am expert in al myn age --
WBT 175 This is to seyn, myself have been the whippe --
WBT 176 Than maystow chese wheither thou wolt sippe
WBT 177 Of thilke tonne that I shal abroche.
WBT 178 Be war of it, er thou to ny approche;
WBT 179 For I shal telle ensamples mo than ten.
WBT 180 `Whoso that nyl be war by othere men,
WBT 181 By hym shul othere men corrected be.'
WBT 182 The same wordes writeth Ptholomee;
WBT 183 Rede in his Almageste, and take it there. "
WBT 184 " Dame, I wolde praye yow, if youre wyl it were, "
WBT 185 Seyde this Pardoner, " as ye bigan,
WBT 186 Telle forth youre tale, spareth for no man,
WBT 187 And teche us yonge men of youre praktike. "
WBT 188 " Gladly, " quod she, " sith it may yow like;
WBT 189 But yet I praye to al this compaignye,
WBT 190 If that I speke after my fantasye,
WBT 191 As taketh not agrief of that I seye,
WBT 192 For myn entente nys but for to pleye.
WBT 193 Now, sire, now wol I telle forth my tale.
WBT 194 As evere moote I drynken wyn or ale,
WBT 195 I shal seye sooth; tho housbondes that I hadde,
WBT 196 As thre of hem were goode, and two were badde.
WBT 197 The thre were goode men, and riche, and olde;
WBT 198 Unnethe myghte they the statut holde
WBT 199 In which that they were bounden unto me.
WBT 200 Ye woot wel what I meene of this, pardee!
WBT 201 As help me God, I laughe whan I thynke
WBT 202 How pitously a-nyght I made hem swynke!
WBT 203 And, by my fey, I tolde of it no stoor.
WBT 204 They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresoor;
WBT 205 Me neded nat do lenger diligence
WBT 206 To wynne hir love, or doon hem reverence.
WBT 207 They loved me so wel, by God above,
WBT 208 That I ne tolde no deyntee of hir love!
WBT 209 A wys womman wol bisye hire evere in oon
WBT 210 To gete hire love, ye, ther as she hath noon.
WBT 211 But sith I hadde hem hoolly in myn hond,
WBT 212 And sith they hadde me yeven al hir lond,
WBT 213 What sholde I taken keep hem for to plese,
WBT 214 But it were for my profit and myn ese?
WBT 215 I sette hem so a-werke, by my fey,
WBT 216 That many a nyght they songen `Weilawey!'
WBT 217 The bacon was nat fet for hem, I trowe,
WBT 218 That som men han in Essex at Dunmowe.
WBT 219 I governed hem so wel, after my lawe,
WBT 220 That ech of hem ful blisful was and fawe
WBT 221 To brynge me gaye thynges fro the fayre.
WBT 222 They were ful glad whan I spak to hem faire,
WBT 223 For, God it woot, I chidde hem spitously.
WBT 224 Now herkneth hou I baar me proprely,
WBT 225 Ye wise wyves, that kan understonde.
WBT 226 Thus shulde ye speke and bere hem wrong on honde,
WBT 227 For half so boldely kan ther no man
WBT 228 Swere and lyen, as a womman kan.
WBT 229 I sey nat this by wyves that been wyse,
WBT 230 But if it be whan they hem mysavyse.
WBT 231 A wys wyf, if that she kan hir good,
WBT 232 Shal beren hym on honde the cow is wood,
WBT 233 And take witnesse of hir owene mayde
WBT 234 Of hir assent. But herkneth how I sayde:
WBT 235 `Sire olde kaynard, is this thyn array?
WBT 236 Why is my neighebores wyf so gay?
WBT 237 She is honoured overal ther she gooth;
WBT 238 I sitte at hoom; I have no thrifty clooth.
WBT 239 What dostow at my neighebores hous?
WBT 240 Is she so fair? Artow so amorous?
WBT 241 What rowne ye with oure mayde? Benedicite!
WBT 242 Sire olde lecchour, lat thy japes be!
WBT 243 And if I have a gossib or a freend,
WBT 244 Withouten gilt, thou chidest as a feend,
WBT 245 If that I walke or pleye unto his hous!
WBT 246 Thou comest hoom as dronken as a mous,
WBT 247 And prechest on thy bench, with yvel preef!
WBT 248 Thou seist to me it is a greet meschief
WBT 249 To wedde a povre womman, for costage;
WBT 250 And if that she be riche, of heigh parage,
WBT 251 Thanne seistow that it is a tormentrie
WBT 252 To soffre hire pride and hire malencolie.
WBT 253 And if that she be fair, thou verray knave,
WBT 254 Thou seyst that every holour wol hire have;
WBT 255 She may no while in chastitee abyde,
WBT 256 That is assailled upon ech a syde.
WBT 257 Thou seyst som folk desiren us for richesse,
WBT 258 Somme for oure shap, and somme for oure fairnesse,
WBT 259 And som for she kan outher synge or daunce,
WBT 260 And som for gentillesse and daliaunce;
WBT 261 Som for hir handes and hir armes smale;
WBT 262 Thus goth al to the devel, by thy tale.
WBT 263 Thou seyst men may nat kepe a castel wal,
WBT 264 It may so longe assailled been overal.
WBT 265 And if that she be foul, thou seist that she
WBT 266 Coveiteth every man that she may se,
WBT 267 For as a spanyel she wol on hym lepe,
WBT 268 Til that she fynde som man hire to chepe.
WBT 269 Ne noon so grey goos gooth ther in the lake
WBT 270 As, seistow, wol been withoute make.
WBT 271 And seyst it is an hard thyng for to welde
WBT 272 A thyng that no man wole, his thankes, helde.
WBT 273 Thus seistow, lorel, whan thow goost to bedde,
WBT 274 And that no wys man nedeth for to wedde,
WBT 275 Ne no man that entendeth unto hevene.
WBT 276 With wilde thonder-dynt and firy levene
WBT 277 Moote thy welked nekke be tobroke!
WBT 278 Thow seyst that droppyng houses, and eek smoke,
WBT 279 And chidyng wyves maken men to flee
WBT 280 Out of hir owene houses; a, benedicitee!
WBT 281 What eyleth swich an old man for to chide?
WBT 282 Thow seyst we wyves wol oure vices hide
WBT 283 Til we be fast, and thanne we wol hem shewe --
WBT 284 Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe!
WBT 285 Thou seist that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,
WBT 286 They been assayed at diverse stoundes;
WBT 287 Bacyns, lavours, er that men hem bye,
WBT 288 Spoones and stooles, and al swich housbondrye,
WBT 289 And so been pottes, clothes, and array;
WBT 290 But folk of wyves maken noon assay,
WBT 291 Til they be wedded -- olde dotard shrewe! --
WBT 292 And thanne, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.
WBT 293 Thou seist also that it displeseth me
WBT 294 But if that thou wolt preyse my beautee,
WBT 295 And but thou poure alwey upon my face,
WBT 296 And clepe me " faire dame " in every place.
WBT 297 And but thou make a feeste on thilke day
WBT 298 That I was born, and make me fressh and gay;
WBT 299 And but thou do to my norice honour,
WBT 300 And to my chamberere withinne my bour,
WBT 301 And to my fadres folk and his allyes --
WBT 302 Thus seistow, olde barel-ful of lyes!
WBT 303 And yet of oure apprentice Janekyn,
WBT 304 For his crispe heer, shynynge as gold so fyn,
WBT 305 And for he squiereth me bothe up and doun,
WBT 306 Yet hastow caught a fals suspecioun.
WBT 307 I wol hym noght, thogh thou were deed tomorwe!
WBT 308 But tel me this: why hydestow, with sorwe,
WBT 309 The keyes of thy cheste awey fro me?
WBT 310 It is my good as wel as thyn, pardee!
WBT 311 What, wenestow make an ydiot of oure dame?
WBT 312 Now by that lord that called is Seint Jame,
WBT 313 Thou shalt nat bothe, thogh that thou were wood,
WBT 314 Be maister of my body and of my good;
WBT 315 That oon thou shalt forgo, maugree thyne yen.
WBT 316 What helpith it of me to enquere or spyen?
WBT 317 I trowe thou woldest loke me in thy chiste!
WBT 318 Thou sholdest seye, " Wyf, go wher thee liste;
WBT 319 Taak youre disport; I wol nat leve no talys.
WBT 320 I knowe yow for a trewe wyf, dame Alys. "
WBT 321 We love no man that taketh kep or charge
WBT 322 Wher that we goon; we wol ben at oure large.
WBT 323 Of alle men yblessed moot he be,
WBT 324 The wise astrologien, Daun Ptholome,
WBT 325 That seith this proverbe in his Almageste:
WBT 326 " Of alle men his wysdom is the hyeste
WBT 327 That rekketh nevere who hath the world in honde. "
WBT 328 By this proverbe thou shalt understonde,
WBT 329 Have thou ynogh, what thar thee recche or care
WBT 330 How myrily that othere folkes fare?
WBT 331 For, certeyn, olde dotard, by youre leve,
WBT 332 Ye shul have queynte right ynogh at eve.
WBT 333 He is to greet a nygard that wolde werne
WBT 334 A man to lighte a candle at his lanterne;
WBT 335 He shal have never the lasse light, pardee.
WBT 336 Have thou ynogh, thee thar nat pleyne thee.
WBT 337 Thou seyst also, that if we make us gay
WBT 338 With clothyng, and with precious array,
WBT 339 That it is peril of oure chastitee;
WBT 340 And yet -- with sorwe! -- thou most enforce thee,
WBT 341 And seye thise wordes in the Apostles name:
WBT 342 " In habit maad with chastitee and shame
WBT 343 Ye wommen shul apparaille yow, " quod he,
WBT 344 " And noght in tressed heer and gay perree,
WBT 345 As perles, ne with gold, ne clothes riche. "
WBT 346 After thy text, ne after thy rubriche,
WBT 347 I wol nat wirche as muchel as a gnat.
WBT 348 Thou seydest this, that I was lyk a cat;
WBT 349 For whoso wolde senge a cattes skyn,
WBT 350 Thanne wolde the cat wel dwellen in his in;
WBT 351 And if the cattes skyn be slyk and gay,
WBT 352 She wol nat dwelle in house half a day,
WBT 353 But forth she wole, er any day be dawed,
WBT 354 To shewe hir skyn and goon a-caterwawed.
WBT 355 This is to seye, if I be gay, sire shrewe,
WBT 356 I wol renne out my borel for to shewe.
WBT 357 Sire olde fool, what helpeth thee to spyen?
WBT 358 Thogh thou preye Argus with his hundred yen
WBT 359 To be my warde-cors, as he kan best,
WBT 360 In feith, he shal nat kepe me but me lest;
WBT 361 Yet koude I make his berd, so moot I thee!
WBT 362 Thou seydest eek that ther been thynges thre,
WBT 363 The whiche thynges troublen al this erthe,
WBT 364 And that no wight may endure the ferthe.
WBT 365 O leeve sire shrewe, Jhesu shorte thy lyf!
WBT 366 Yet prechestow and seyst an hateful wyf
WBT 367 Yrekened is for oon of thise meschances.
WBT 368 Been ther none othere maner resemblances
WBT 369 That ye may likne youre parables to,
WBT 370 But if a sely wyf be oon of tho?
WBT 371 Thou liknest eek wommenes love to helle,
WBT 372 To bareyne lond, ther water may nat dwelle.
WBT 373 Thou liknest it also to wilde fyr;
WBT 374 The moore it brenneth, the moore it hath desir
WBT 375 To consume every thyng that brent wole be.
WBT 376 Thou seyest, right as wormes shende a tree,
WBT 377 Right so a wyf destroyeth hire housbonde;
WBT 378 This knowe they that been to wyves bonde.'
WBT 379 Lordynges, right thus, as ye have understonde,
WBT 380 Baar I stifly myne olde housbondes on honde
WBT 381 That thus they seyden in hir dronkenesse;
WBT 382 And al was fals, but that I took witnesse
WBT 383 On Janekyn, and on my nece also.
WBT 384 O Lord! The peyne I dide hem and the wo,
WBT 385 Ful giltelees, by Goddes sweete pyne!
WBT 386 For as an hors I koude byte and whyne.
WBT 387 I koude pleyne, and yit was in the gilt,
WBT 388 Or elles often tyme hadde I been spilt.
WBT 389 Whoso that first to mille comth, first grynt;
WBT 390 I pleyned first, so was oure werre ystynt.
WBT 391 They were ful glade to excuse hem blyve
WBT 392 Of thyng of which they nevere agilte hir lyve.
WBT 393 Of wenches wolde I beren hem on honde,
WBT 394 Whan that for syk unnethes myghte they stonde.
WBT 395 Yet tikled I his herte, for that he
WBT 396 Wende that I hadde of hym so greet chiertee!
WBT 397 I swoor that al my walkynge out by nyghte
WBT 398 Was for t' espye wenches that he dighte;
WBT 399 Under that colour hadde I many a myrthe.
WBT 400 For al swich wit is yeven us in oure byrthe;
WBT 401 Deceite, wepyng, spynnyng God hath yive
WBT 402 To wommen kyndely, whil that they may lyve.
WBT 403 And thus of o thyng I avaunte me:
WBT 404 Atte ende I hadde the bettre in ech degree,
WBT 405 By sleighte, or force, or by som maner thyng,
WBT 406 As by continueel murmur or grucchyng.
WBT 407 Namely abedde hadden they meschaunce:
WBT 408 Ther wolde I chide and do hem no plesaunce;
WBT 409 I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde,
WBT 410 If that I felte his arm over my syde,
WBT 411 Til he had maad his raunson unto me;
WBT 412 Thanne wolde I suffre hym do his nycetee.
WBT 413 And therfore every man this tale I telle,
WBT 414 Wynne whoso may, for al is for to selle;
WBT 415 With empty hand men may none haukes lure.
WBT 416 For wynnyng wolde I al his lust endure,
WBT 417 And make me a feyned appetit;
WBT 418 And yet in bacon hadde I nevere delit.
WBT 419 That made me that evere I wolde hem chide,
WBT 420 For thogh the pope hadde seten hem biside,
WBT 421 I wolde nat spare hem at hir owene bord,
WBT 422 For, by my trouthe, I quitte hem word for word.
WBT 423 As helpe me verray God omnipotent,
WBT 424 Though I right now sholde make my testament,
WBT 425 I ne owe hem nat a word that it nys quit.
WBT 426 I broghte it so aboute by my wit
WBT 427 That they moste yeve it up, as for the beste,
WBT 428 Or elles hadde we nevere been in reste;
WBT 429 For thogh he looked as a wood leon,
WBT 430 Yet sholde he faille of his conclusion.
WBT 431 Thanne wolde I seye, `Goode lief, taak keep
WBT 432 How mekely looketh Wilkyn, oure sheep!
WBT 433 Com neer, my spouse, lat me ba thy cheke!
WBT 434 Ye sholde been al pacient and meke,
WBT 435 And han a sweete spiced conscience,
WBT 436 Sith ye so preche of Jobes pacience.
WBT 437 Suffreth alwey, syn ye so wel kan preche;
WBT 438 And but ye do, certein we shal yow teche
WBT 439 That it is fair to have a wyf in pees.
WBT 440 Oon of us two moste bowen, doutelees,
WBT 441 And sith a man is moore resonable
WBT 442 Than womman is, ye moste been suffrable.
WBT 443 What eyleth yow to grucche thus and grone?
WBT 444 Is it for ye wolde have my queynte allone?
WBT 445 Wy, taak it al! Lo, have it every deel!
WBT 446 Peter! I shrewe yow, but ye love it weel;
WBT 447 For if I wolde selle my bele chose,
WBT 448 I koude walke as fressh as is a rose;
WBT 449 But I wol kepe it for youre owene tooth.
WBT 450 Ye be to blame, by God! I sey yow sooth.'
WBT 451 Swiche manere wordes hadde we on honde.
WBT 452 Now wol I speken of my fourthe housbonde.
WBT 453 My fourthe housbonde was a revelour --
WBT 454 This is to seyn, he hadde a paramour --
WBT 455 And I was yong and ful of ragerye,
WBT 456 Stibourn and strong, and joly as a pye.
WBT 457 How koude I daunce to an harpe smale,
WBT 458 And synge, ywis, as any nyghtyngale,
WBT 459 Whan I had dronke a draughte of sweete wyn!
WBT 460 Metellius, the foule cherl, the swyn,
WBT 461 That with a staf birafte his wyf hir lyf,
WBT 462 For she drank wyn, thogh I hadde been his wyf,
WBT 463 He sholde nat han daunted me fro drynke!
WBT 464 And after wyn on Venus moste I thynke,
WBT 465 For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl,
WBT 466 A likerous mouth moste han a likerous tayl.
WBT 467 In wommen vinolent is no defence --
WBT 468 This knowen lecchours by experience.
WBT 469 But -- Lord Crist! -- whan that it remembreth me
WBT 470 Upon my yowthe, and on my jolitee,
WBT 471 It tikleth me aboute myn herte roote.
WBT 472 Unto this day it dooth myn herte boote
WBT 473 That I have had my world as in my tyme.
WBT 474 But age, allas, that al wole envenyme,
WBT 475 Hath me biraft my beautee and my pith.
WBT 476 Lat go. Farewel! The devel go therwith!
WBT 477 The flour is goon; ther is namoore to telle;
WBT 478 The bren, as I best kan, now moste I selle;
WBT 479 But yet to be right myrie wol I fonde.
WBT 480 Now wol I tellen of my fourthe housbonde.
WBT 481 I seye, I hadde in herte greet despit
WBT 482 That he of any oother had delit.
WBT 483 But he was quit, by God and by Seint Joce!
WBT 484 I made hym of the same wode a croce;
WBT 485 Nat of my body, in no foul manere,
WBT 486 But certeinly, I made folk swich cheere
WBT 487 That in his owene grece I made hym frye
WBT 488 For angre, and for verray jalousye.
WBT 489 By God, in erthe I was his purgatorie,
WBT 490 For which I hope his soule be in glorie.
WBT 491 For, God it woot, he sat ful ofte and song,
WBT 492 Whan that his shoo ful bitterly hym wrong.
WBT 493 Ther was no wight, save God and he, that wiste,
WBT 494 In many wise, how soore I hym twiste.
WBT 495 He deyde whan I cam fro Jerusalem,
WBT 496 And lith ygrave under the roode beem,
WBT 497 Al is his tombe noght so curyus
WBT 498 As was the sepulcre of hym Daryus,
WBT 499 Which that Appelles wroghte subtilly;
WBT 500 It nys but wast to burye hym preciously.
WBT 501 Lat hym fare wel; God yeve his soule reste!
WBT 502 He is now in his grave and in his cheste.
WBT 503 Now of my fifthe housbonde wol I telle.
WBT 504 God lete his soule nevere come in helle!
WBT 505 And yet was he to me the mooste shrewe;
WBT 506 That feele I on my ribbes al by rewe,
WBT 507 And evere shal unto myn endyng day.
WBT 508 But in oure bed he was so fressh and gay,
WBT 509 And therwithal so wel koude he me glose,
WBT 510 Whan that he wolde han my bele chose;
WBT 511 That thogh he hadde me bete on every bon,
WBT 512 He koude wynne agayn my love anon.
WBT 513 I trowe I loved hym best, for that he
WBT 514 Was of his love daungerous to me.
WBT 515 We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye,
WBT 516 In this matere a queynte fantasye:
WBT 517 Wayte what thyng we may nat lightly have,
WBT 518 Therafter wol we crie al day and crave.
WBT 519 Forbede us thyng, and that desiren we;
WBT 520 Preesse on us faste, and thanne wol we fle.
WBT 521 With daunger oute we al oure chaffare;
WBT 522 Greet prees at market maketh deere ware,
WBT 523 And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys:
WBT 524 This knoweth every womman that is wys.
WBT 525 My fifthe housbonde -- God his soule blesse! --
WBT 526 Which that I took for love, and no richesse,
WBT 527 He som tyme was a clerk of Oxenford,
WBT 528 And hadde left scole, and wente at hom to bord
WBT 529 With my gossib, dwellynge in oure toun;
WBT 530 God have hir soule! Hir name was Alisoun.
WBT 531 She knew myn herte, and eek my privetee,
WBT 532 Bet than oure parisshe preest, so moot I thee!
WBT 533 To hire biwreyed I my conseil al.
WBT 534 For hadde myn housbonde pissed on a wal,
WBT 535 Or doon a thyng that sholde han cost his lyf,
WBT 536 To hire, and to another worthy wyf,
WBT 537 And to my nece, which that I loved weel,
WBT 538 I wolde han toold his conseil every deel.
WBT 539 And so I dide ful often, God it woot,
WBT 540 That made his face often reed and hoot
WBT 541 For verray shame, and blamed hymself for he
WBT 542 Had toold to me so greet a pryvetee.
WBT 543 And so bifel that ones in a Lente --
WBT 544 So often tymes I to my gossyb wente,
WBT 545 For evere yet I loved to be gay,
WBT 546 And for to walke in March, Averill, and May,
WBT 547 Fro hous to hous, to heere sondry talys --
WBT 548 That Jankyn clerk, and my gossyb dame Alys,
WBT 549 And I myself, into the feeldes wente.
WBT 550 Myn housbonde was at Londoun al that Lente;
WBT 551 I hadde the bettre leyser for to pleye,
WBT 552 And for to se, and eek for to be seye
WBT 553 Of lusty folk. What wiste I wher my grace
WBT 554 Was shapen for to be, or in what place?
WBT 555 Therfore I made my visitaciouns
WBT 556 To vigilies and to processiouns,
WBT 557 To prechyng eek, and to thise pilgrimages,
WBT 558 To pleyes of myracles, and to mariages,
WBT 559 And wered upon my gaye scarlet gytes.
WBT 560 Thise wormes, ne thise motthes, ne thise mytes,
WBT 561 Upon my peril, frete hem never a deel;
WBT 562 And wostow why? For they were used weel.
WBT 563 Now wol I tellen forth what happed me.
WBT 564 I seye that in the feeldes walked we,
WBT 565 Til trewely we hadde swich daliance,
WBT 566 This clerk and I, that of my purveiance
WBT 567 I spak to hym and seyde hym how that he,
WBT 568 If I were wydwe, sholde wedde me.
WBT 569 For certeinly -- I sey for no bobance --
WBT 570 Yet was I nevere withouten purveiance
WBT 571 Of mariage, n' of othere thynges eek.
WBT 572 I holde a mouses herte nat worth a leek
WBT 573 That hath but oon hole for to sterte to,
WBT 574 And if that faille, thanne is al ydo.
WBT 575 I bar hym on honde he hadde enchanted me --
WBT 576 My dame taughte me that soutiltee --
WBT 577 And eek I seyde I mette of hym al nyght,
WBT 578 He wolde han slayn me as I lay upright,
WBT 579 And al my bed was ful of verray blood;
WBT 580 `But yet I hope that ye shal do me good,
WBT 581 For blood bitokeneth gold, as me was taught.'
WBT 582 And al was fals; I dremed of it right naught,
WBT 583 But as I folwed ay my dames loore,
WBT 584 As wel of this as of othere thynges moore.
WBT 585 But now, sire, lat me se what I shal seyn.
WBT 586 A ha! By God, I have my tale ageyn.
WBT 587 Whan that my fourthe housbonde was on beere,
WBT 588 I weep algate, and made sory cheere,
WBT 589 As wyves mooten, for it is usage,
WBT 590 And with my coverchief covered my visage,
WBT 591 But for that I was purveyed of a make,
WBT 592 I wepte but smal, and that I undertake.
WBT 593 To chirche was myn housbonde born a-morwe
WBT 594 With neighebores, that for hym maden sorwe;
WBT 595 And Jankyn, oure clerk, was oon of tho.
WBT 596 As help me God, whan that I saugh hym go
WBT 597 After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire
WBT 598 Of legges and of feet so clene and faire
WBT 599 That al myn herte I yaf unto his hoold.
WBT 600 He was, I trowe, twenty wynter oold,
WBT 601 And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
WBT 602 But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth.
WBT 603 Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel;
WBT 604 I hadde the prente of seinte Venus seel.
WBT 605 As help me God, I was a lusty oon,
WBT 606 And faire, and riche, and yong, and wel bigon,
WBT 607 And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
WBT 608 I hadde the beste quoniam myghte be.
WBT 609 For certes, I am al Venerien
WBT 610 In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcien.
WBT 611 Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse,
WBT 612 And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardynesse;
WBT 613 Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars therinne.
WBT 614 Allas, allas! That evere love was synne!
WBT 615 I folwed ay myn inclinacioun
WBT 616 By vertu of my constellacioun;
WBT 617 That made me I koude noght withdrawe
WBT 618 My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.
WBT 619 Yet have I Martes mark upon my face,
WBT 620 And also in another privee place.
WBT 621 For God so wys be my savacioun,
WBT 622 I ne loved nevere by no discrecioun,
WBT 623 But evere folwede myn appetit,
WBT 624 Al were he short, or long, or blak, or whit;
WBT 625 I took no kep, so that he liked me,
WBT 626 How poore he was, ne eek of what degree.
WBT 627 What sholde I seye but, at the monthes ende,
WBT 628 This joly clerk, Jankyn, that was so hende,
WBT 629 Hath wedded me with greet solempnytee,
WBT 630 And to hym yaf I al the lond and fee
WBT 631 That evere was me yeven therbifoore.
WBT 632 But afterward repented me ful soore;
WBT 633 He nolde suffre nothyng of my list.
WBT 634 By God, he smoot me ones on the lyst,
WBT 635 For that I rente out of his book a leef,
WBT 636 That of the strook myn ere wax al deef.
WBT 637 Stibourn I was as is a leonesse,
WBT 638 And of my tonge a verray jangleresse,
WBT 639 And walke I wolde, as I had doon biforn,
WBT 640 From hous to hous, although he had it sworn;
WBT 641 For which he often tymes wolde preche,
WBT 642 And me of olde Romayn geestes teche;
WBT 643 How he Symplicius Gallus lefte his wyf,
WBT 644 And hire forsook for terme of al his lyf,
WBT 645 Noght but for open-heveded he hir say
WBT 646 Lookynge out at his dore upon a day.
WBT 647 Another Romayn tolde he me by name,
WBT 648 That, for his wyf was at a someres game
WBT 649 Withouten his wityng, he forsook hire eke.
WBT 650 And thanne wolde he upon his Bible seke
WBT 651 That ilke proverbe of Ecclesiaste
WBT 652 Where he comandeth and forbedeth faste
WBT 653 Man shal nat suffre his wyf go roule aboute.
WBT 654 Thanne wolde he seye right thus, withouten doute:
WBT 655 `Whoso that buyldeth his hous al of salwes,
WBT 656 And priketh his blynde hors over the falwes,
WBT 657 And suffreth his wyf to go seken halwes,
WBT 658 Is worthy to been hanged on the galwes!'
WBT 659 But al for noght, I sette noght an hawe
WBT 660 Of his proverbes n' of his olde sawe,
WBT 661 Ne I wolde nat of hym corrected be.
WBT 662 I hate hym that my vices telleth me,
WBT 663 And so doo mo, God woot, of us than I.
WBT 664 This made hym with me wood al outrely;
WBT 665 I nolde noght forbere hym in no cas.
WBT 666 Now wol I seye yow sooth, by Seint Thomas,
WBT 667 Why that I rente out of his book a leef,
WBT 668 For which he smoot me so that I was deef.
WBT 669 He hadde a book that gladly, nyght and day,
WBT 670 For his desport he wolde rede alway;
WBT 671 He cleped it Valerie and Theofraste,
WBT 672 At which book he lough alwey ful faste.
WBT 673 And eek ther was somtyme a clerk at Rome,
WBT 674 A cardinal, that highte Seint Jerome,
WBT 675 That made a book agayn Jovinian;
WBT 676 In which book eek ther was Tertulan,
WBT 677 Crisippus, Trotula, and Helowys,
WBT 678 That was abbesse nat fer fro Parys,
WBT 679 And eek the Parables of Salomon,
WBT 680 Ovides Art, and bookes many on,
WBT 681 And alle thise were bounden in o volume.
WBT 682 And every nyght and day was his custume,
WBT 683 Whan he hadde leyser and vacacioun
WBT 684 From oother worldly occupacioun,
WBT 685 To reden on this book of wikked wyves.
WBT 686 He knew of hem mo legendes and lyves
WBT 687 Than been of goode wyves in the Bible.
WBT 688 For trusteth wel, it is an impossible
WBT 689 That any clerk wol speke good of wyves,
WBT 690 But if it be of hooly seintes lyves,
WBT 691 Ne of noon oother womman never the mo.
WBT 692 Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?
WBT 693 By God, if wommen hadde writen stories,
WBT 694 As clerkes han withinne hire oratories,
WBT 695 They wolde han writen of men moore wikkednesse
WBT 696 Than al the mark of Adam may redresse.
WBT 697 The children of Mercurie and of Venus
WBT 698 Been in hir wirkyng ful contrarius;
WBT 699 Mercurie loveth wysdam and science,
WBT 700 And Venus loveth ryot and dispence.
WBT 701 And, for hire diverse disposicioun,
WBT 702 Ech falleth in otheres exaltacioun.
WBT 703 And thus, God woot, Mercurie is desolat
WBT 704 In Pisces, wher Venus is exaltat,
WBT 705 And Venus falleth ther Mercurie is reysed.
WBT 706 Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed.
WBT 707 The clerk, whan he is oold, and may noght do
WBT 708 Of Venus werkes worth his olde sho,
WBT 709 Thanne sit he doun, and writ in his dotage
WBT 710 That wommen kan nat kepe hir mariage!
WBT 711 But now to purpos, why I tolde thee
WBT 712 That I was beten for a book, pardee!
WBT 713 Upon a nyght Jankyn, that was oure sire,
WBT 714 Redde on his book, as he sat by the fire,
WBT 715 Of Eva first, that for hir wikkednesse
WBT 716 Was al mankynde broght to wrecchednesse,
WBT 717 For which that Jhesu Crist hymself was slayn,
WBT 718 That boghte us with his herte blood agayn.
WBT 719 Lo, heere expres of womman may ye fynde
WBT 720 That womman was the los of al mankynde.
WBT 721 Tho redde he me how Sampson loste his heres:
WBT 722 Slepynge, his lemman kitte it with hir sheres;
WBT 723 Thurgh which treson loste he bothe his yen.
WBT 724 Tho redde he me, if that I shal nat lyen,
WBT 725 Of Hercules and of his Dianyre,
WBT 726 That caused hym to sette hymself afyre.
WBT 727 No thyng forgat he the care and the wo
WBT 728 That Socrates hadde with his wyves two,
WBT 729 How Xantippa caste pisse upon his heed.
WBT 730 This sely man sat stille as he were deed;
WBT 731 He wiped his heed, namoore dorste he seyn,
WBT 732 But `Er that thonder stynte, comth a reyn!'
WBT 733 Of Phasipha, that was the queene of Crete,
WBT 734 For shrewednesse, hym thoughte the tale swete;
WBT 735 Fy! Spek namoore -- it is a grisly thyng --
WBT 736 Of hire horrible lust and hir likyng.
WBT 737 Of Clitermystra, for hire lecherye,
WBT 738 That falsly made hire housbonde for to dye,
WBT 739 He redde it with ful good devocioun.
WBT 740 He tolde me eek for what occasioun
WBT 741 Amphiorax at Thebes loste his lyf.
WBT 742 Myn housbonde hadde a legende of his wyf,
WBT 743 Eriphilem, that for an ouche of gold
WBT 744 Hath prively unto the Grekes told
WBT 745 Wher that hir housbonde hidde hym in a place,
WBT 746 For which he hadde at Thebes sory grace.
WBT 747 Of Lyvia tolde he me, and of Lucye:
WBT 748 They bothe made hir housbondes for to dye,
WBT 749 That oon for love, that oother was for hate.
WBT 750 Lyvia hir housbonde, on an even late,
WBT 751 Empoysoned hath, for that she was his fo;
WBT 752 Lucia, likerous, loved hire housbonde so
WBT 753 That, for he sholde alwey upon hire thynke,
WBT 754 She yaf hym swich a manere love-drynke
WBT 755 That he was deed er it were by the morwe;
WBT 756 And thus algates housbondes han sorwe.
WBT 757 Thanne tolde he me how oon Latumyus
WBT 758 Compleyned unto his felawe Arrius
WBT 759 That in his gardyn growed swich a tree
WBT 760 On which he seyde how that his wyves thre
WBT 761 Hanged hemself for herte despitus.
WBT 762 `O leeve brother,' quod this Arrius,
WBT 763 `Yif me a plante of thilke blissed tree,
WBT 764 And in my gardyn planted shal it bee.'
WBT 765 Of latter date, of w