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Title: Chaucer's Works, Volume 4 (of 7) — The Canterbury Tales
Author: Chaucer, Geoffrey, 1343?-1400
Language: 
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chaucer's Works, Volume 4 (of 7) — The Canterbury Tales" ***

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The symbol [gh] represents the Middle English letter "yogh". This occurs
only in the variant reading notes.

HENRY FROWDE, M.A.
PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


THE COMPLETE WORKS

OF

GEOFFREY CHAUCER

_EDITED, FROM NUMEROUS MANUSCRIPTS_

BY THE

REV. WALTER W. SKEAT, M.A.

LITT.D., LL.D., D.C.L., PH.D.
ELRINGTON AND BOSWORTH PROFESSOR OF ANGLO-SAXON
AND FELLOW OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

* * * *

THE CANTERBURY TALES: TEXT

 'Let every felawe telle his tale aboute,
   And lat see now who shal the soper winne.'
                  _The Knightes Tale;_ A890

SECOND EDITION

Oxford

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

M DCCCC

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Frontispiece_. CAMBRIDGE MS. (Gg. 4. 27). Prol. 326-342]

Oxford
PRINTED AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
BY HORACE HART, M.A.,
PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY

[v]

       *       *       *       *       *


CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION.--§ 1. The Present Text. § 2. The MSS.--I. In the British
Museum. II. In Oxford. III. In Cambridge. IV. In other Public Libraries. V.
In private hands. § 3. The Printed Editions. § 4. Plan of the present
Edition. § 5. Table of symbols denoting MSS. § 6. Table showing various
ways of numbering the lines. § 7. The four types of MSS.

  THE CANTERBURY TALES

  GROUP A.  THE PROLOGUE
            THE KNIGHTES TALE
            THE MILLER'S PROLOGUE
            THE MILLERES TALE
            THE REEVE'S PROLOGUE
            THE REVES TALE
            THE COOK'S PROLOGUE
            THE COKES TALE

  GROUP B.  INTRODUCTION TO THE MAN OF LAW'S PROLOGUE
            MAN OF LAW'S PROLOGUE
            THE TALE OF THE MAN OF LAWE
            THE SHIPMAN'S PROLOGUE
            THE SHIPMANNES TALE
            THE PRIORESS'S PROLOGUE
            THE PRIORESSES TALE
            PROLOGUE TO SIR THOPAS
            SIR THOPAS
            PROLOGUE TO MELIBEUS
            THE TALE OF MELIBEUS
            THE MONK'S PROLOGUE
            THE MONKES TALE:--Lucifer; Adam; Sampson; Hercules;
            Nabugodonosor; Balthasar; Cenobia; De Petro Rege Ispannie;
            De Petro Rege De Cipro; De Barnabo de Lumbardia;
            De Hugelino Comite de Pize; Nero; De Oloferno;
            De Rege Anthiocho; De Alexandro; De Iulio Cesare; Cresus
  [vi]
            THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PRESTES TALE
            THE NONNE PRESTES TALE
            EPILOGUE TO THE NONNE PRESTES TALE

  GROUP C.  THE PHISICIENS TALE
            WORDS OF THE HOST
            PROLOGUE OF THE PARDONERS TALE
            THE PARDONERS TALE

  GROUP D.  THE WIFE OF BATH'S PROLOGUE
            THE TALE OF THE WYF OF BATHE
            THE FRIAR'S PROLOGUE
            THE FRERES TALE
            THE SOMNOUR'S PROLOGUE
            THE SOMNOURS TALE

  GROUP E.  THE CLERK'S PROLOGUE
            THE CLERKES TALE
            THE MERCHANT'S PROLOGUE
            THE MARCHANTES TALE
            EPILOGUE TO THE MARCHANTES TALE

  GROUP F.  THE SQUIERES TALE
            WORDS OF THE FRANKLIN
            THE FRANKLIN'S PROLOGUE
            THE FRANKELEYNS TALE

  GROUP G.  THE SECONDE NONNES TALE
            THE CANON'S YEOMAN'S PROLOGUE
            THE CHANOUNS YEMANNES TALE

  GROUP H.  THE MANCIPLE'S PROLOGUE
            THE MAUNCIPLES TALE

  GROUP I.  THE PARSON'S PROLOGUE
            THE PERSONES TALE

  APPENDIX TO GROUP A. The Tale of Gamelyn

[vii]

       *       *       *       *       *


INTRODUCTION

§ 1. THE PRESENT TEXT.

The text of the 'Canterbury Tales,' as printed in the present volume, is an
entirely new one, owing nothing to the numerous printed editions which have
preceded it. The only exceptions to this statement are to be found in the
case of such portions as have been formerly edited, for the Clarendon
Press, by Dr. Morris and myself. The reasons for the necessity of a
formation of an absolutely new text will appear on a perusal of the text
itself, as compared with any of its predecessors.

On the other hand, it owes everything to the labours of Dr. Furnivall for
the Chaucer Society, but for which no satisfactory results could have been
obtained, except at the cost of more time and toil than I could well devote
to the subject. In other words, my work is entirely founded upon the
splendid 'Six-text' Edition published by that Society, supplemented by the
very valuable reprint of the celebrated 'Harleian' manuscript in the same
series. These Seven Texts are all exact reproductions of seven important
MSS., and are, in two respects, more important to the student than the MSS.
themselves; that is to say, they can be studied simultaneously instead of
separately, and they can be consulted and re-consulted at any moment, being
always accessible. The importance of such opportunities is obvious.

§ 2. THE MANUSCRIPTS.

The following list contains all the MSS. of the existence of which I am
aware. As to their types, see § 7. [viii]

I. MSS. IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.

1. Harl. 7334; denoted here by HL. By Tyrwhitt called 'C.' A MS of the
B-type (see below). Printed in full for the Chaucer Society, 1885. Collated
throughout.

    A MS. of great importance, but difficult to understand or describe. For
    the greater clearness, I shall roughly describe the MSS. as being of
    the A-type, the B-type, the C-type, and the D-type (really a second
    C-type). Of the A-type, the best example is the Ellesmere MS.; of the
    B-type, the best example is the Harleian MS. 7334; of the C-type, the
    Corpus and Lansdowne MSS.; the D-type is that exhibited by Caxton and
    Thynne in the early printed editions. They may be called the
    'Ellesmere,' 'Harleian,' 'Corpus,' and 'Caxton' types respectively.
    These types differ as to the arrangement of the Tales, and even MSS. of
    a similar type differ slightly, in this respect, among themselves. They
    also frequently differ as to certain characteristic readings, although
    many of the variations of reading are peculiar to one or two MSS. only.

    MS. Hl. contains the best copy of the Tale of Gamelyn, for which see p.
    645; this Tale is not found in MSS. of the A-type. Moreover, Group G
    here precedes Group C and a large part of Group B, whereas in the
    Ellesmere MS. it follows them. In the Monk's Tale, the lines numbered B
    3565-3652 (containing the Tales called the 'modern instances')
    immediately follow B 3564 (as in this edition), whereas in the
    Ellesmere MS. these lines come at the end of the Tale.

    The 'various readings' of this MS. are often peculiar, and it is
    difficult to appraise them. I take them to be of two kinds: (i)
    readings which are better than those of the Six-text, and should
    certainly be preferred, such as _halfe_ in A 8, _cloysterlees_ in A
    179, _a_ (not _a ful_) in A 196, and the like; and (2) readings due to
    a terrible blundering on the part of the scribe, such as _fleyng_ for
    _flikeringe_ in A 1962, _greene_ for _kene_ in A 1966, and the like. It
    is, in fact, a most dangerous MS. to trust to, unless constantly
    corrected by others, and is not at all fitted to be taken as the
    _basis_ of a text. For further remarks, see the description of Wright's
    printed edition at p. xvi.

    As regards age, this MS. is one of the oldest; and it is beautifully
    written. Its chief defect is the loss of eight leaves, so that ll.
    617-1223 in Group F are missing. It also misses several lines in
    various places; as A 2013-8, 2958, 3721-2, 4355, 4358, 4375-6, 4415-22;
    B 417, 1186-90, 1355, 1376-9, 1995, 3213-20, 4136-7, 4479-80; C 299,
    300, 305-6, 478-9; D 575-584, 605-612, 619-626, 717-720; E 2356-7; F
    1455-6, 1493-8; G 155, 210-216; besides some lines in Melibee and the
    Persones Tale. Moreover, it has nine spurious lines, D 2004 _b_, _c_,
    2012 _b_, _c_, 2037 _b_, _c_ 2048 _b_, _c_, F 592. These imperfections
    furnish an additional reason for not founding a text upon this MS.

2. Harl. 7335; by Tyrwhitt called 'A.' Of the B-type. Very imperfect,
especially at the end. A few lines are printed in the Six-text edition to
fill up gaps in various MSS., viz. E 1646-7, F 1-8, 1423-4, 1433-4, G 158,
213-4, 326-337, 432-3, 484. Collated so far.

[ix] 3. Harl. 7333; by Tyrwhitt called 'E.' Of the D-type. One of Shirley's
MSS. Some lines are printed in the Six-text edition, viz. B 4233-8, E
1213-44, F 1147-8, 1567-8, G 156-9, 213-4, 326-337, 432. It also contains
some of the Minor Poems; see the description of MS. 'Harl.' in the
Introduction to those poems in vol. i.[1]

4. Harl. 1758, denoted by HARL. at p. 645; by Tyrwhitt called 'F.' In
Urry's list, i. Of the D-type, but containing Gamelyn. Many lines are
printed in the Six-text, including the whole of 'Gamelyn.' It is freely
used to fill up gaps, as B 1-9, 2096-2108, 3049-78, 4112, 4114, 4581-4636,
&c.

5. Harl. 1239; in Tyrwhitt, 'I.' In Urry's list, ii. Imperfect both at
beginning and end.

6. Royal 18 C II; denoted by RL.; in Tyrwhitt, 'B.' In Urry, vii. Of the
D-type, but containing Gamelyn. Used to fill up gaps in the Six-text; e.g.
in B 1163-1190 (Shipman's Prologue, called in this MS. the Squire's
Prologue), 2109-73, 3961-80, E 65, 73, 81, 143, G 1337-40, I 472-511. The
whole of 'Gamelyn' is also printed from this MS. in the Six-text.

7. Royal 17 D xv; in Tyrwhitt, 'D.' In Urry, viii. Of the D-type, but
containing Gamelyn. Used to fill up gaps in the Six-text; e.g. in B
2328-61, 3961-80, 4112, 4114, 4233-8, 4637-51, D 609-612, 619-626, 717-720,
E 1213-44, F 1423-4, 1433-4, H 47-52; and in the Tale of Gamelyn.

8. Sloane 1685; denoted by SL. In Tyrwhitt, 'G.' In Urry, iii. Of the
D-type, but containing Gamelyn. In two handwritings, one later than the
other. Imperfect; has no Sir Thopas, Melibee, Manciple, or Parson. Very
frequently quoted in the Six-text, to fill up rather large gaps in the
Cambridge MS.; e.g. A 754-964, 3829-90, 4365-4422, &c. Gamelyn is printed
from this MS. in the Six-text, the gaps in it being filled up from MS. 7
(above).

9. Sloane 1686; in Tyrwhitt, 'H.' In Urry, iv. Of the C-type; containing
Gamelyn. A late MS., on paper. Imperfect; no Canon's Yeoman or Parson.

10. Lansdowne 851; denoted by LN. In Tyrwhitt, 'W,' because at that time in
the possession of P. C. Webb, Esq. Used by Mr. Wright to fill up the large
gap in Hl., viz. F 617-1223, and frequently consulted by him and others.
Printed in full as [x] the sixth MS. of the Six-text. Of the C-type;
containing Gamelyn. Not a good MS., being certainly the worst of the six;
but worth printing owing to the frequent use that has been made of it by
editors.

11. Additional 5140; in Tyrwhitt, 'Ask. _2_,' as being one of two MSS. lent
to him by Dr. Askew. It has in it the arms of H. Deane, Archbp. of
Canterbury, 1501-3. Of the A-type. Quoted in the Six-text to fill up gaps;
e.g. B 3961-80, 4233-8, 4637-52, D 2158-2294, E 1213-44, 1646-7, 2419-40, F
1-8, 673-708, G 103, I 887-944, 1044-92.

12. Additional 25718. A mere fragment. A short passage from it, C 409-427,
is quoted in the Six-text, to fill up a gap in Ln.

13. Egerton 2726; called the 'Haistwell MS.'; in Tyrwhitt denoted by 'HA,'
and formerly belonging to E. Haistwell, Esq. Of the A-type, but imperfect.
The Six-text quotes F 679, 680: also F 673-708 in the Preface.

II. MSS. IN OXFORD.

14. Bodley 686; no. 2527 in Bernard's list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B [alpha].' A
neat MS., with illuminations. Of the A-type; imperfect. The latter part of
the Cook's Tale is on an inserted leaf (leaf 55), and concludes the Tale in
a manner that is not Chaucer's. After the Canterbury Tales occur several
poems by Lydgate.

15. Bodley 414; not noticed by Tyrwhitt. Given to the library by B. Heath
in 1766. A late MS. of the D-type, and imperfect. No Cook, Gamelyn, Squire,
or Merchant.

16. Laud 739: no. 1234 in Bernard's list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B [beta].' A poor
and late MS. of the D-type, but containing Gamelyn; imperfect at the end;
ends with Sir Thopas, down to B 2056.

17. Laud 600; no. 1476 in Bernard's list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B [gamma].'
Imperfect; several leaves 'restored.' Apparently, of the B-type; but Group
D and the Clerk's Tale follow Gamelyn. Some extracts from it are given in
the Six-text, viz. B 2328-61, D 717-20 (no other Oxford MS. has these
scarce lines), F 673-708.

18. Arch. Selden B 14; no. 3360 in Bernard's list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B
[delta].' Perhaps the best and earliest of the Bodleian MSS., but not very
good. Sometimes here quoted as SELD. Apparently of the A-type, having no
copy of Gamelyn; but it practically [xi] represents a transition-state
between the A and B types, and has one correction of prime importance, as
it is the only MS. which links together all the Tales in Group B, making
the Shipman follow the Man of Law. Frequent extracts from it occur in the
Six-text; e.g. A 1-72, B 1163-1190, &c. In particular, a large portion of
the Parson's Tale, I 290-1086, is printed from this MS. in the same.

19. Barlow 20; no. 6420 in Bernard's list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B [zeta]' A
clearly written MS. of the D-type, including Gamelyn; imperfect after Sir
Thopas, but contains a portion of the Manciple's Tale. It contains the
somewhat rare lines F 679, 680, which are quoted from it in the Six-text.

20. Hatton, Donat. 1 (not the same MS. as Hatton 1); no. 4138 in Bernard's
list; in Tyrwhitt, 'B [epsilon].' The Tales are in great disorder, the Man
of Law being thrust in between the Reeve and the Cook, as in no other MS.
It contains Gamelyn. Lines F 679, 680 are quoted from it in the Six-text;
and a few lines are again quoted from it at the end of the Parson's Tale.

21. Rawlinson Poet. 149. Apparently of the D-type, but it is very
imperfect, having lost several leaves in various places. A late MS.

22. Rawlinson Poet. 141. Not a bad MS., but several Tales are omitted, and
the Shipman follows the Clerk. Groups C and G do not appear at all. The
Latin side-notes are numerous.

23. Rawlinson Poet. 223; the same as that called Rawl. Misc. 1133 in the
Six-text 'Trial-table.' No copy of Gamelyn. The Tales are strangely
misplaced. Slightly imperfect here and there.

24. Corpus Christi College (Oxford), no. 198; denoted by CP. The best of
the Oxford MSS., printed in full as the fourth MS. in the Six-text edition.
Of the C-type; collated throughout. It contains a copy of Gamelyn, which is
duly printed. It is rather imperfect from the loss of leaves in various
places; the gaps being usually supplied from the Selden MS. (no. 18 above).

25. Christ Church (Oxford), no. 152. Contains Gamelyn. The Tales are
extraordinarily arranged, but the MS. is nearly perfect, except at the end.
A large part of the Parson's Tale, after I 550, being lost from the Hengwrt
MS., the gap is supplied, in the Six-text, from this MS. and Addit. 5140.
The Second Nun follows the Shipman. Of the A-type.

[xii] 26. New College (Oxford), no. 314; called 'NC' in Tyrwhitt. Of the
D-type; imperfect at the beginning. No copy of Gamelyn.

27. Trinity College (Oxford), no. 49; containing 302 leaves; formerly in
the possession of John Leche, temp. Edw. IV. It contains Gamelyn. The Tales
are misplaced; the Pardoner and Man of Law being thrust into the middle of
Group B, after the Prioress.

III. MSS. AT CAMBRIDGE.

28. University Library, Gg. 4. 27, not noticed by Tyrwhitt; here denoted by
CM. Also denoted, in vol. iii., by C.; and in vol. i., by GG. A highly
valuable and important MS. of the A-type, printed as the third text in the
Six-text edition. The best copy in any public library. See the description
of 'Gg.' in vol. i.; and the full description in the Library Catalogue.

29. University Library, Dd. 4. 24; in Tyrwhitt, 'C 1.' Quoted as DD. A good
MS. of the A-type, much relied upon by Tyrwhitt, who made good use of it.
Has lost several leaves. The whole of the Clerk's Tale was printed from
this MS. by Mr. Aldis Wright. The passage in B 4637-52 occurs only in this
MS. and a few others, viz. Royal 17 D xv, Addit. 5140, and the Chr. Ch. MS.
It also contains the rare lines D 575-84, 609-12, 619-26, 717-20, all
printed from this MS. in the Six-text. Lines E 1213-44 are also quoted, to
fill a gap in Cm.

30. University Library, Ii. 3. 26; in Tyrwhitt, 'C 2.' Of the D-type,
including Gamelyn; but the Franklin's Tale is inserted after the Merchant.
Contains many corrupt readings.

31. University Library, Mm. 2. 5. The arrangement of the Tales is very
unusual, but resembles that in the Petworth MS., than which it is a little
more irregular. A complete MS. of the D-type, including Gamelyn.

32. Trinity College (Cambridge), R. 3. 15; in Tyrwhitt, 'Tt.' In quarto, on
paper. Some leaves are missing, so that the Canon's Yeoman, Prioress, and
Sir Thopas are lost. Of the D-type, without Gamelyn.

    N.B. This MS. also contains the three poems printed as Chaucer's
    (though not his) in the edition of 1687, and numbered 66, 67, and 68,
    in my Account of 'Speght's edition' in vol. i. It also contains the
    best MS. of Pierce the Ploughman's Crede, edited by me from this MS. in
    1867.

[xiii] 33. Trinity College (Cambridge), R. 3. 3; in Tyrwhitt, 'T.' A folio
MS., on vellum; of the D-type, without Gamelyn; but several Tales are
misplaced.

IV. IN OTHER PUBLIC LIBRARIES.

34. Sion College, London. A mere fragment, containing only the Clerk's Tale
and Group D.

35. Lichfield Cathedral Library; quoted as LICH. or LI. Of the D-type,
omitting Gamelyn. The Tale of Melibee is missing. As the Hengwrt MS. has no
Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines G 554-1481 are printed from this MS. in the
Six-text.

36. Lincoln Cathedral Library; begins with A 381. Resembles no. 42.

37. Glasgow; in the Hunterian Museum. Begins with A 353; dated 1476.

38. MS. at Paris, mentioned by Dr. Furnivall. Of the B-type.

39. MS. at Naples, mentioned by Dr. Furnivall.[2]

V. MSS. IN PRIVATE HANDS.

These include some of the very best.

40. The 'Ellesmere' MS., in the possession of the Earl of Ellesmere;
denoted by E. It formerly belonged to the Duke of Bridgewater, and
afterwards to the Marquis of Stafford. The finest and best of all the MSS.
now extant. Of the A-type; printed as the first of the MSS. in the
Six-text, and taken as the basis of the present edition.

    It contains the curious coloured drawings of 23 of the Canterbury
    Pilgrims which have been reproduced for the Chaucer Society. At the end
    of the MS. is a valuable copy of Chaucer's Balade of 'Truth'; see vol.
    i. At the beginning of the MS., in a later hand, are written two poems
    printed in Todd's Illustrations of Gower, &c., pp. 295-309, which Todd
    absurdly attributed to Chaucer! They are of slight value or interest.
    It may suffice to say that, at the beginning of the former poem, we
    find _revyved_ rimed with _meved_, and many of the lines in it are too
    long; e.g.--'I supposed yt to have been some noxiall fantasy.' In the
    latter poem, a compliment to the family of Vere, _by_ rimes with
    _auncestrye_, and _quarter_ with _hereafter_; and the lines are of
    similar over-length, e.g.--'Of whom prophesyes of antiquite makyth
    mencion.'

41. The 'Hengwrt' MS., no. 154, belonging to Mr. Wm. W. E. Wynne, of
Peniarth; denoted by HN. A valuable MS.; [xiv] it is really of the A-type,
though the Tales are strangely misplaced, and the Canon's Yeoman's Tale is
missing. The readings frequently agree so closely with those of E. (no. 40)
that it is, to some extent, almost a duplicate of it. Printed as the second
MS. in the Six-text. It also contains Chaucer's Boethius (imperfect).

42. The 'Petworth' MS., belonging to Lord Leconfield; denoted by PT. A
folio MS., on vellum, of high value. Formerly in the possession of the Earl
of Egremont (Todd's Illustrations, p. 118). Of the D-type, including
Gamelyn; but the Shipman and Prioress wrongly precede the Man of Law.
Printed as the fifth MS. in the Six-text.

43. The 'Holkham' MS., noted by Todd (Illustrations, p. 127) as then
belonging to Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, and now belonging to the Earl of
Leicester. The Tales are out of order; perhaps the leaves are misarranged.
Imperfect in various places; has no Parson's Tale.

44. The 'Helmingham' MS., at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk, belonging to Lord
Tollemache. On paper and vellum; about 1460 A.D. For a specimen, see the
Shipman's Prologue, printed in the Six-text, in the Preface, p. ix*. Either
of the C-type or the D-type.

45-48. Four MSS. in the collection of the late Sir Thos. Phillipps, at
Cheltenham, viz. nos. 6570, 8136, 8137, 8299.

    Two of these are mentioned in Todd's Illustrations, p. 127, as being
    'now [in 1810] in the collection of John P. Kemble, Esq., and in that
    belonging to the late Duke of Roxburghe; the latter is remarkably
    beautiful, and is believed to have been once the property of Sir Henry
    Spelman.' No. 8299 contains the Clerk's Tale only.

49-52. Four MSS. belonging to the Earl of Ashburnham; numbered 124-127 in
the Appendix. Of these, no. 124 wants the end of the Man of Law's Tale and
the beginning of the Squire's, and therefore belongs to either the C-type
or D-type. Nos. 125 and 126 are imperfect. No. 127 seems to be complete.

53. A MS. belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, at Chatsworth; and formerly
to Sir N. L'Estrange. (Of the A-type.)

54. A MS. belonging to Sir Henry Ingilby, of Ripley Castle, Yorkshire. (Of
the A-type.)

55. A MS. belonging to the Duke of Northumberland, at Alnwick; and formerly
to Mrs. Thynne. (Of the A-type.)

[xv] 56. A MS. now (in 1891) in the possession of Lady Cardigan.

57-59. Tyrwhitt uses the symbol 'Ask. 1' to denote a MS. lent to him by the
late Dr. Askew. He also uses the symbols 'Ch.' and 'N.' to denote 'two MSS.
described in the Preface to Urry's edition, the one as belonging to Chas.
Cholmondeley, Esq. of Vale Royal, in Cheshire, and the other to Mr. Norton,
of Southwick, in Hampshire.' Of these, 'Ch.' is now Lord Delamere's MS.,
described by Dr. Furnivall in Notes and Queries, 4 Ser. ix. 353. The others
I cannot trace.

§ 3. THE PRINTED EDITIONS.

In the first five editions, the Canterbury Tales were published separately.

1. Caxton; about 1477-8, from a poor MS. Copies are in the British Museum,
Merton College, and in the Pepysian Library (no. 2053).

2. Caxton; about 1483, from a better MS. A perfect copy exists in St.
John's College Library, Oxford. Caxton bravely issued this new edition
because he had found that his former one was faulty.

3. Pynson; about 1493. Copied from Caxton's 2nd edition.

4. Wynkyn de Worde; in 1498. In the British Museum.

5. Pynson; in 1526. Copied from Caxton's 2nd edition.

After this the Canterbury Tales were invariably issued with the rest of
Chaucer's Works, until after 1721. Some account of these editions is given
in the Preface to the Minor Poems, in vol. i.; which see. They are:
Thynne's three editions, in 1532, 1542, and 1550 (the last is undated);
Stowe's edition, 1561; Speght's editions, in 1598, 1602, and 1687; Urry's
edition, in 1721.

Two modernised editions of the Canterbury Tales were published in London in
1737 or 1740, and in 1741.

Next came: 'Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, to which is added, an Essay on his
Language and Versification; an introductory discourse; notes, and a
glossary. By Thomas Tyrwhitt, London, 1775-8, 8vo, 5 vols.' A work of high
literary value, to which I am greatly indebted for many necessary notes.
Reprinted in 1798 in 4to, 2 vols., by the University of Oxford; and again,
at London, in 1822, in post 8vo, 5 vols.; (by Pickering) in 1830, 8vo, 5
vols.; [xvi] and (by Moxon) in 1845, in 1 vol. imp. 8vo. The last of these
adds poor texts of the rest of Chaucer's Works, from old black-letter
editions, with which Tyrwhitt had nothing to do. In Tyrwhitt's text, the
number of grammatical errors is very large, and he frequently introduces
words into the text without authority. For some account of the later
editions of Chaucer's Works, see the Introduction to the Legend of Good
Women, in vol. iii. I may note, by the way, that the editions by Wright,
Bell, and Morris are all founded on MS. Harl. 7334, a very unsafe MS. in
some respects; see p. viii (above).

    It is necessary to add here a few words of warning. Wright's edition,
    though it has many merits, turns out, in practice, to be dangerously
    untrustworthy. He frequently inserts words, borrowed from Tyrwhitt's
    edition (which he heartily condemns as being full of errors in
    grammar), without the least indication that they are _not in the MS._
    This becomes the more serious when we find, upon examination, that
    Tyrwhitt had likewise no authority for some of such insertions, but
    simply introduced them, by guess, to fill up a line in a way that
    pleased him. For example, A 628 runs thus, in all the seven MSS.:--

    'Of his visage children were aferd.' It is quite correct; for 'viság-e'
    is trisyllabic. Tyrwhitt did not know this, and counted the syllables
    as _two_ only, neglecting the final e. The line seemed then too short;
    so he inserted _sore_ before _aferd_, thus ruining the scansion. Wright
    follows suit, and inserts _sore_, though it is not in his MS.; giving
    no notice at all of what he has done. Bell follows suit, and the word
    is even preserved in Morris; but the latter prints the word in italics,
    to shew that it is not in the MS. Nor is it in the Six-text.

    I shall not adduce more instances, but shall content myself with saying
    that, until the publications of the Chaucer Society appeared, no reader
    had the means of knowing what the best MS. texts were really like. All
    who have been accustomed to former (complete) editions have necessarily
    imbibed hundreds of false impressions, and have necessarily accepted
    numberless theories as to the scansion of lines which they will, in
    course of due time, be prepared to abandon. In the course of my work,
    it has been made clear to me that Chaucer's text has been manipulated
    and sophisticated, frequently in most cunning and plausible ways, to a
    far greater extent than I could have believed to be possible. This is
    not a pleasant subject, and I only mention it for the use of scholars.
    Such variations fortunately seldom affect the sense; but they vitiate
    the scansion, the grammar, and the etymology in many cases. Of course
    it will be understood that I am saying no more than I can fully
    substantiate.

    It is absolutely appalling to read such a statement as the following in
    Bell's edition, vol. i. p. 60. 'All deviations, either from Mr.
    Wright's edition, or from the original MS., are pointed out in the
    footnotes for the ultimate satisfaction of the reader.' For the
    instances in which this is really done are very rare indeed, in spite
    of the large number of such deviations.

    Of Tyrwhitt's text, it is sufficient to remark that it was hardly
    possible, at [xvii] that date, for a better text to have been produced.
    The rules of Middle English grammar had not been formulated, so that we
    are not surprised to find that he constantly makes the past tense of a
    weak verb monosyllabic, when it should be dissyllabic, and treats the
    past participle as dissyllabic, when it should be monosyllabic: which
    makes wild work with the scansion. It is also to be regretted that he
    based his text upon the faulty black-letter editions, though he took a
    great deal of pains in collating them with various MSS.

    On the other hand, his literary notes are full of learning and
    research; and the number of admirable illustrations by which he has
    efficiently elucidated the text is very great. His reputation as one of
    the foremost of our literary critics is thoroughly established, and
    needs no comment.

    Mr. Wright's notes are likewise excellent, and resulted from a wide
    reading. I have also found some most useful hints in the notes to
    Bell's edition. Of all such sources of information I have been only too
    glad to avail myself, as is more fully shewn in the succeeding volume.

§ 4. PLAN OF THE PRESENT EDITION.

The text of the present edition of the Canterbury Tales is founded upon
that of the Ellesmere MS. (E.) It has been collated throughout with that of
the other six MSS. published by the Chaucer Society. Of these seven MSS.,
the Harleian MS. 7334 (Hl.) was printed separately. The other six were
printed in the valuable 'Six-text' edition, to which I constantly have
occasion to refer, in parallel columns. The six MSS. are: E. (Ellesmere),
Hn. (Hengwrt), Cm. (Cambridge, Gg. 4. 27), Cp. (Corpus Coll., Oxford), Pt.
(Petworth), and Ln. (Lansdowne). MSS. E. Hn. Cm. represent the earliest
type (A) of the text; Hl., a transitional type (B); Cp. and Ln., a still
later type (C); and Pt., the latest of all (D), but hardly differing from
C.

In using these terms, 'earliest,' &c., I do not refer to the age of the
MSS., but to the type of text which they exhibit.

In the list of MSS. given above, Hl. is no. 1; E., Hn., Cm., are nos. 40,
41, and 28; and Cp., Pt., Ln., are nos. 24, 42, and 10 respectively.

Of all the MSS., E. is the best in nearly every respect. It not only gives
good lines and good sense, but is also (usually) grammatically accurate and
thoroughly well spelt. The publication of it has been a very great boon to
all Chaucer students, for which Dr. Furnivall will be ever gratefully
remembered. We must not omit, at the same time, to recognise the liberality
and generosity of the owner of the MS., who so freely permitted such full
use of it to be made; the same remark applies, equally, to the [xviii]
owners of the Hengwrt and the Petworth MSS. The names of the Earl of
Ellesmere, Mr. Wm. W. E. Wynne of Peniarth, and Lord Leconfield have
deservedly become as 'familiar as household words' to many a student of
Chaucer.

This splendid MS. has also the great merit of being complete, requiring no
supplement from any other source, except in the few cases where a line or
two has been missed. For example, it does not contain A 252 _b-c_ (found in
Hn. only); nor A 2681-2 (also not in Hn. or Cm.); nor B 1163-1190 (also not
in Hn. or Cm.); nor B 1995 (very rare indeed).

It is slightly imperfect in B 2510, 2514, 2525, 2526, 2623-4, 2746, 2967.
It drops B 3147-8, C 103-4, C 297-8 (not in Hn. Cm. Pt.), E 1358-61, G
564-5; and has a few defects in the Parson's Tale in I 190, 273, &c. In the
Tale of Melibeus, the French original shews that _all_ the MSS. have lost B
2252-3, 2623-4, which have to be supplied by translation.

None of the seven MSS. have B 4637-4652; these lines are genuine, but were
probably meant to be cancelled. They only occur, to my knowledge, in four
MSS., nos. 7, 11, 25, and 29; though found also in the old black-letter
editions.

On the other hand, E. preserves lines rarely found elsewhere. Such are A
3155-6, 3721-2, F 1455-6, 1493-9; twelve genuine lines, none of which are
in Tyrwhitt, and only the first two are in Wright. Observe also the stanza
in the footnote to p. 424; with which compare B 3083, on p. 241.

The text of the Ellesmere MS. has only been corrected in cases where
careful collation suggests a desirable improvement. Every instance of this
character is invariably recorded in the footnotes. Thus, in A 8, the
grammar and scansion require _half-e_, not _half_; though, curiously
enough, this correct form appears in Hl. only, among all the seven MSS. In
very difficult cases, other MSS. (besides the seven) have been collated,
but I have seldom gained much by it. The chief additional MSS. thus used
are Dd.= Cambridge, Dd. 4. 24 (no. 29 above); Slo. or Sl. = Sloane 1685
(no. 8); Roy. or Rl. = Royal 18 C 2 (no. 6); Harl. = Harleian 1758 (see p.
645); Li. or Lich. = Lichfield MS. (no. 35), for the Canon's Yeoman's Tale;
and others that are sufficiently indicated.

I have paid especial attention to the suffixes required by Middle-English
grammar, to the scansion, and to the pronunciation; and I suppose that this
is the first complete edition in which the [xix] spelling has been tested
by phonetic considerations. With a view to making the spelling a little
clearer and more consistent, I have ventured to adopt certain methods which
I here explain.

In certain words of variable spelling in E., such as _whan_ or _whanne,
than_ or _thanne_, I have adopted that form which the scansion requires;
but the MS. is usually right.

E. usually has _hise_ for _his_ with a plural sb., as in l. 1; I use _his_
always, except in prose. E. has _hir, here_, for her, their; I use _hir_
only, except at the end of a line.

E. uses the endings _-ight_ or _-yght_, _-inde_ or _-ynde_; I use _-ight_
_-inde_ only; and, in general, I use _i_ to represent short _i_, and _y_ to
represent long _i_, as in _king, wyf_. Such is the usual habit of the
scribe, but he often changes _i_ into _y_ before _m_ and _n_, to make his
writing clearer; such a precaution is needless in modern printing. Thus, in
l. 42, I replace the scribe's _bigynne_ by _biginne_; and in l. 78, I
replace his _pilgrymage_ by _pilgrimage_. This makes the text easier to
read.

For a like reason, where equivalent spellings occur, I select the simpler;
writing _couthe_ (as in Pt.) for _kowthe_, _sote_ for _soote_, _sege_ for
_seege_, and so on. In words such as _our_ or _oure_, _your_ or _youre_,
_hir_ or _hire_, _neuer_ or _neuere_, I usually give the simpler forms,
without the final _-e_, when the _-e_ is obviously silent.

For consonantal _u_, as in _neuer_, I write _v_, as in _never_. This is
usual in all editions. But I could not bring myself to use _j_ for _i_
consonant; the anachronism is too great. _Never_ for _neuer_ is common in
the fifteenth century, but _j_ does not occur even in the first folio of
Shakespeare. I therefore usually keep the capital _i_ of the MSS. and of
the Elizabethan printers, as in _Ioye_ (=_joye_) where initial, and the
small _i_, as in _enioinen_=_enjoinen_) elsewhere. Those who dislike such
conservatism may be comforted by the reflection that the sound rarely
occurs.

The word _eye_ has to be altered to _yë_ at the end of a line, to preserve
the rimes. The scribes usually write _eye_ in the middle of a line, but
when they come to it at the end of one, they are fairly puzzled. In l. 10,
the scribe of Hn. writes _Iye_, and that of Ln. writes _yhe_; and the
variations on this theme are most curious. The spelling _ye_ (=_yë_) is,
however, common; as in A 1096 (Cm., Pt.). I print it 'yë' to distinguish it
from _ye_, the pl. pronoun.

These minute variations are, I trust, legitimate, and I have not recorded
them. They cause trouble to the editor, but afford ease [xx] to the reader,
which seems a sufficient justification for adopting them. But the
scrupulous critic need not fear that the MS. has been departed from in any
case, where it could make any phonetic difference, without due notice.
Thus, in l. 9, where I have changed _foweles_ into _fowles_ as being a more
usual form, the fact that _foweles_ is the Ellesmere spelling is duly
recorded in the footnotes. And so in other cases.

The footnotes do not record various readings where E. is correct as it
stands; they have purposely been made as concise as possible. It would have
been easy to multiply them fourfold without giving much information of
value; this is not unfrequently done, but the gain is slight. With so good
a MS. as the basis of the text, it did not seem desirable.

    The following methods for shortening the footnotes have been adopted.

    1. Sometimes only the readings of _some_ of the MSS. are given. Thus at
    l. 9 (p. 1), I omit the readings of Cp. and of Cm. As a fact, neither
    of these MSS. contain the line; but it was not worth while to take up
    space by saying so. At l. 10 (p. 1), I again omit the readings of Cp.
    and of Cm., for the same reason; also of Ln., which is a poor MS.,
    though here it agrees with Hl. (having _yhe_); also of Pt., which has
    _eyghe_, a spelling not here to be thought of. At l. 12, I just note
    that E. has _pilgrimage_ (by mistake); of course this means that it
    should have had _pilgrimages_ in the plural, as in other MSS., and as
    required by the rime.

    2. At l. 23 (p. 2), the remark '_rest_ was' implies that all the rest
    of the seven MSS. specially collated have 'was.' The word '_rest_' is a
    convenient abbreviation.

    3. When, as at l. 53, I give _nacions_ as a rejected reading of E. in
    the footnote, it will be understood that _naciouns_ is a better
    spelling, justified by other MSS., and by other lines in E. itself.
    E.g., _naciouns_ occurs in Hl. and Pt., and Cm. has _naciounnys_.

    4. I often use '_om._' for '_omit_,' or '_omits_' as in the footnote to
    l. 188 (p. 6).

    5. At l. 335 (p. 11), I give the footnote:--'ever] Hl. al.' This means
    that MS. Hl. has _al_ instead of the word _ever_ of the other MSS. It
    seemed worth noting; but _ever_ is probably right.

    6. At l. 520 (p. 16), the note is:--'_All but_ Hl. this was.' That is,
    Hl. has _was_, as in the text; the rest have _this was_, where the
    addition of _this_ sadly clogs the line.

    With these hints, the footnotes present no difficulty.

As a rule, I have refrained from all emendation; but, in B 1189, I have
ventured to suggest _physices_[3], for reasons explained in the Notes.
Those who prefer the reading _Phislyas_ can adopt it.

For further details regarding particular passages, I beg leave to refer the
reader to the Notes in vol. v.

[xxi]

§ 5. TABLE OF SYMBOLS DENOTING MSS.

Cm.--Cambridge Univ. Lib. Gg. 4. 27 (Ellesmere type). No. 28 in list.

Cp.--Carpus Chr. Coll., Oxford, no. 198. No. 24.

Dd.--Cambridge Univ. Lib. Dd. 4. 24 (Ellesmere type). No. 29.

E.--Ellesmere MS. (basis of the text). No. 40.

Harl.--Harl. 1758; Brit. Mus.; see p. 645. No. 4.

Hl.--Harl. 7334; British Museum. No. 1.

Hn.--Hengwrt MS. no. 154. No. 41.

Li. _or_ Lich.--Lichfield MS.; see pp. 533-553. No. 35.

Ln.--Lansdowne 851; Brit. Mus. (Corpus type). No. 10.

Pt.--Petworth MS. No. 42.

Rl. _or_ Roy.--Royal 18 C. II; Brit. Mus.; see p. 645. No. 6.

Seld.--Arch. Selden, B. 14; Bodleian Library. No. 18.

Sl. _or_ Slo.--Sloane 1685: Brit. Mus.; see p. 645. No. 8.

§ 6. TABLE SHEWING THE VARIOUS WAYS OF NUMBERING THE LINES.

  SIX-TEXT (as here)   TYRWHITT.                WRIGHT.

  A--1-4422            1-4420[4]                1-4420[4]
  B--1-1162            4421-5582                4421-5582
  B--1163-2156         12903-13894[5]           14384-15374[6]
  B--2157-3078[7]      Prose; not counted[8].   Prose; not counted.
  B--3079-3564         13895-14380              15375-15860
  B--3565-3652         14685-14772              15861-15948
  [xxii]
  B--3653-3956         14381-14684              15949-16262
  B--3957-4652         14773-15468              16253-16932[9]
  _Spurious_; see p.   11929-11934              13410-13415
    289, note.
  C--1-968             11935-12902              13416-14383
  D (2294 lines); E    5583-11928[10]           5583-11928
    (2440); F(1624)
  G--1-1481            15469-16949              11929-13409
  H--(362); I 1-74     16950-17385              16933-17368

Hence, to obtain the order of the lines in Tyrwhitt, see A-B 1162; D, E, F;
p. 289, footnote; C; B 1163-2156, 3079-3564, 3653-3956, 3565-3652,
3957-4652; G, H, I.

Or (by pages), see pp. 1-164, 320-508, 289 (footnote), 290-319, 165-256
(which includes Melibeus), 259-268, 256-258, 269-289, 509-end.

To facilitate reference, the numbering of the lines in Tyrwhitt's text is
marked at the top of every page, preceded by the letter 'T.'; lines which
Tyrwhitt omits are marked '[T. _om._', as on p. 90; and his paragraphs (all
numbered in this edition) are carefully preserved in Melibeus and the
Parson's Tale, which are in prose. In the Prologue, after l. 250, his
numbering is given within marks of parenthesis.

The lines in every piece are also numbered _separately_, within marks of
parenthesis, as (10), (20), on p. 26. This numbering (borrowed from Dr.
Murray) agrees with the references given in the New English Dictionary. It
also gives, in most cases, either exactly or approximately, the references
to Dr. Morris's edition, who adopts a similar method, with a few variations
of detail. The lines in Bell's edition are not numbered at all.

To obtain the order in Wright's edition, see pp. 1-164, 320-554, 289
(footnote), 290-319, 165-289, 555-end. The variations are fewer.

Some may find it more convenient to observe the names of the Tales.

[xxiii] Tyrwhitt's order of the Tales is as follows[11]:--Prologue, Knight,
Miller, Reeve, Cook--Man of Lawe--Wife, Friar, Somnour--Clerk,
Merchant--Squire, Franklin--Doctor (Physician), Pardoner--Shipman,
Prioress, Sir Thopas, Melibeus, Monk[12], Nun's Priest--Second Nun, Canon's
Yeoman--Manciple--Parson.

§7. THE FOUR LEADING TYPES OF THE MSS.

The four leading types of MSS. usually exhibit a variation in the order of
the Tales, as well as many minor differences. I only note here the former
(omitting Gamelyn, which is absent from MSS. of the A-type, and from some
of the D-type).

  A.--1. Prologue, Knight, Miller, Reeve, Cook.
      2. Man of Lawe.
      3. Wife of Bath, Friar, Sompnour.
      4. Clerk, Merchant.
      5. Squire, Franklin.
      6. Doctor, Pardoner.
      7. Shipman, Prioress, Sir Thopas, Melibeus, Monk, Nun's Priest.
      8. Second Nun, Canon's Yeoman.
      9. Manciple, (_slightly linked to_) Parson.

  B.--Places 8 before 6. Order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 6, 7, 9.

  C.--Not only places 8 before 6 (as B), but splits 5 into 5 a
  (Squire) and 5 b (Franklin), and places 5 a before 3. Order: 1,
  2, 5 a, 3, 4, 5 b, 8, 6, 7, 9.

  D.--As C, but further splits 4 into 4 a (Clerk), and 4 b
  (Merchant), and places 4 b after 5 a. Order: 1, 2, 5 a, 4 b, 3, 4 a,
  5 b, 8, 6, 7, 9. (D. is really a mere variety of C., with an external
  difference.)

Observe the position of the Franklin. Thus: A. Squire, Franklin, Doctor. B.
Squire, Franklin, Second Nun. C. Merchant, Franklin, Second Nun. D. Clerk,
Franklin, Second Nun.

For further remarks on this subject, see vol. v.

[xxiv] ERRATA

    N.B. The following are all the Errata that I have observed. Those
    marked with an asterisk should be noticed. The rest are unimportant.

    P. 14. A 467. Perhaps the full stop at the end of the line should be a
    colon.

    P. 15. Footnote to A 503. For 'Hl. _alone_' _read_ 'Tyrwhitt.'

    P. 85. A 3016. _For_ eye _read_ yë

    *P. 110. A 3822. _For_ celle _read_ selle

    *P. 131. B 59, 60. _For_ eek _and_ seek _read_ eke _and_ seke

    P. 133. B 115. Insert marks of quotation at the beginning and end of
    the line.

    P. 133. B 120, 121. Insert marks of quotation at the beginning of l.
    120 and at the end of l. 121.

    P. 134. In the headline; _for_ T. 4454 _read_ T. 4554.

    P. 146. B 540, 541, 547. _For_ cristen _read_ Cristen

    P. 146. B 544 _For_ cristianitee _read_ Cristianitee. So also at p.
    525; G 535.

    P. 194. B 2043. _Dele_; _after_ spicerye

    P. 202. B 2222. _For_ yevynge _read_ yevinge

    P. 205. B 2253. _For_ owe _read_ ow

    P. 207. B 2303. _For_ se _read_ see

    P. 219, footnotes. _For_ 2251 and 2252 _read_ 2551 and 2552

    *P. 222. B 2624. _For_ Iurisdicctioun _read_ Iurisdiccioun

    P. 232, ll. 9, 10. _Dele the quotation-mark after_ certeyne, _and
    insert it after_ another.

    *P. 245. B 3230. _For_ my _read_ ny

    *P. 253. B 3490. _For_ warre _read_ werre

    P. 271. B 4011. _For_ stope _a better reading is_ stape

    P. 285. B 4510. _For_ charitee _perhaps read_ Charitee

    P. 285. B 4541. _For_ chide _read_ chyde

    P. 299. C 291. _Either read_ advocas, _or note that the_ t _in_
    advocats _is silent_.

    *P. 309. C 601. _For_ opinoun _read_ opinioun

    P. 318. C 955. _For_ Thay _read_ They

    P. 338. In the headline; _for_ 6225 _read_ 6235.

    P. 339. In the headline; for 6226 _read_ 6236.

    P. 344. D 846. _For_ But if _read_ But-if

    P. 345. D 859. _For_ All _read_ Al

    P. 354. Footnotes; last line. _For_ 1205 _read_ 1204

    P. 355. D 1219, 1227. _For_ Chese _and_ chese _read_ Chees _and_ chees.

    P. 363. D 1436. _For_ But if _read_ But-if

    P. 387. D 2242. _Perhaps insert a comma after_ himself

    P. 419. E 994. _For_ gouernance _read_ governance

    P. 428. E 1304, 1306. Insert quotation-mark at the end of l. 1304,
    instead of the end of l. 1306.

    P. 438. E 1635. _For_ Saue _read_ Save

    P. 444. E 1866. _Insert_ Auctor _opposite this line_.

    P. 449. E 2058. _For_ scorpion _read_ scorpioun; _as the last syllable
    is accented_.

    P. 459. E 2418. _For_ bless _read_ blesse

    P. 461. F 20. After all, the right reading probably is that given by E.
    Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl., but with the form _pietous_ for _pitous_ as in
    Troilus, iii. 1444, and v. 451. Read--And piëtous and Iust, alwey
    y-liche.

    P. 468. F 266. _For_ Cambynskan _read_ Cambinskan. So also at p. 480,
    first line.

    P. 474. F 462. _For_ sle _read_ slee

    P. 505, footnotes. _For_ 1527 _read_ 1526

    P. 527. G 558, footnote. _The real reading of_ E _is_--

      And vndernethe he wered a surplys

    P. 543. G 1107. _For_ shall _read_ shal

    *P. 545. G 1171. _For_ torned _read_ terved. [_The reading in_ E is
    _really_ terued=terved, i.e. stripped, flayed. The _reading_ torned _is
    a poor substitution_.]

    *P. 548. G 1274. _For_ torne, _read_ terve,

    *P. 560. H 144. _For_ hept _read_ kept

    P. 626. Footnotes; last line. _For_ E. Seld. Ln. beauteis; _read_ E.
    Seld. Ln. beautees;

    P. 634. I 955. _For_ Daniel, _read_ David. [N.B. MSS. E. Cm. Danyel;
    _the rest_, Dauid. Probably Chaucer wrote 'Daniel' at first, and
    afterwards corrected it (by the original) to 'David.' Nevertheless,
    'Daniel' is a good reading.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[xxv]

ADDITIONS

TO

'THE MINOR POEMS' IN VOL. I.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Further researches have brought to light some more of Chaucer's Minor
Poems. I first met with the excellent Balade on 'Womanly Noblesse' in MS.
Phillipps 9030 (now MS. Addit. 34360) on June 1, 1894; and on the following
day I noticed in MS. Harl. 7578 (partly described in vol. i. p. 58) two
Complaints that may perhaps be attributed to our author. As, from the
nature of the case, they could not be included in Vol. i, they are inserted
here.]

       *       *       *       *       *

XXIV. WOMANLY NOBLESSE.

       *       *       *       *       *

          BALADE THAT CHAUCIER MADE.

  So hath my herte caught in rémembraunce
  Your beautè hool, and stedfast governaunce,
    Your vertues allè, and your hy noblesse,
  That you to serve is set al my plesaunce;
  So wel me lykth your womanly contenaunce,                      5
  [xxvi]
    Your fresshe fetures and your comlinesse,
    That, whyl I live, my herte to his maistresse,
  You hath ful chose, in trew perséveraunce,
    Never to chaunge, for no maner distresse.

    From MS. Addit. 34360, fol. 21, back (with ascription by Shirley);
    hitherto unprinted. Rejected readings of the MS. are here given.

    1. hert.   2. Yowre (_throughout_); hoole; stidefast.   3. al; hie.
    4. yow; sette.   5. likith; _for_ womanly _perhaps read_ wyfly.   6:
    comlynesse.   7: whiles; myn hert; maystresse.   8: triev.

  And sith I [you] shal do this observaunce                     10
  Al my lyf, withouten displesaunce,
    You for to serve with al my besinesse,
  [Taketh me, lady, in your obeisaunce,]
  And have me somwhat in your souvenaunce.
    My woful herte suffreth greet duresse;                      15
    And [loke] how humbl[el]y, with al simplesse,
  My wil I cónforme to your ordenaunce,
    As you best list, my peynes to redresse.

    10: _I insert_ you.   11: (_Accent on_ Al); live.   12: besynesse.
    13. _Dr. Furnivall supplies this lost line_; cf. Complaint to Pity, l.
    84.   15. hert suffrith grete.   16: _I supply_ loke; humbly.   17:
    ordynaunce.   18: for to (_I omit_ for).

  Considring eek how I hange in balaunce
  In your servysè; swich, lo! is my chaunce,                    20
    Abyding grace, whan that your gentilnesse
  Of my gret wo list doon allegeaunce,
  And with your pitè me som wyse avaunce,
    In ful rebating of my hevinesse;
    And thinkth, by reson, wommanly noblesse                    25
  Shuld nat desyre for to doon outrance
    Ther-as she findeth noon unbuxumnesse.

    19: eke.   20: service suche loo.   21: (_Perhaps omit_ that).   22:
    grete woo; do.   23: wise.   24: rebatyng; myn hevynesse.   25: And
    thynkith be raison that (_too long_).   26: desire; for til do the (_I
    omit_ the).   27: fyndith non vn-.

                  _Lenvoye._

  Auctour of norture, lady of plesaunce,
    Soveraine of beautè, flour of wommanhede,
  Take ye non hede unto myn ignoraunce,                         30
    But this receyveth of your goodlihede,
  Thinking that I have caught in remembraunce
  Your beautè hool, your stedfast governaunce.

    29. Soueraigne; floure.   31. receyvith; goodelyhede.   32. Thynkyng.
    33. hole; stidefast.

[xxvii]

       *       *       *       *       *

XXV. COMPLAINT TO MY MORTAL FOE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Al hoolly youres, withouten otheres part!
    Wherefore? y-wis, that I ne can ne may
  My service chaungen; thus of al suche art
    The lerninge I desyre for ever and ay.
    And evermore, whyl that I live may,                          5
  In trouthe I wol your servant stille abyde,
    Although my wo encresè day by day,
  Til that to me be come the dethes tyde.

    From MS. Harl. 7578, fol. 15. At the bottom of fol. 14, back, is the
    last line of Chaucer's Complaint to Pity, beneath which is written
    'Balade.' But the present poem is really a Complaint, like the
    preceding one. Rejected readings of the MS. are here given. There is no
    title in the MS. except 'Balade.'

    1. holly; others parte.   2. I wisse.   3. By (_surely an error for_
    My); arte.   4. lernynge; desire; euer (_and_ u _for_ v _often_).   5.
    while; leue.   6. trought (_sic_); youre; abide.   7. be (_for_ by).

  Seint Valentyne! to you I rénovele
    My woful lyf, as I can, compleyninge;                       10
  But, as me thinketh, to you a quarele
    Right greet I have, whan I, rememberinge
    Bitwene, how kinde, ayeins the yeres springe,
  Upon your day, doth ech foul chese his make;
    And you list not in swich comfórt me bringe,                15
  That to her grace my lady shulde me take.

    9. valentine; Renouele.   10. compleynynge.   12. grete; whanne;
    remembringe.   13. Bytwene howe kende.   14. Vppon youre; doith eche
    foule.   15. lyste; suche comforte.

[xxviii]

  Wherfor unto you, Cupide, I beseche,
    Furth with Venús, noble lusty goddesse,
  Sith ye may best my sorowe lesse and eche;
    And I, your man, oppressed with distresse,                  20
    Can not crye 'help!' but to your gentilnesse:
  So voucheth sauf, sith I, your man, wol dye,
    My ladies herte in pitè folde and presse,
  That of my peyne I finde remedye.

    21. cry helpe; vnto (_for_ to); gentelnesse.   22. safe.   24. peine;
    fynde I may (_for_ I finde); remydie.

  To your conning, my hertes right princesse,                   25
    My mortal fo, whiche I best love and serve,
  I recommaunde my boistous lewednesse.
    And, for I can not altherbest deserve
    Your grace, I preye, as he that wol nat swerve,
  That I may fare the better for my trouthe;                    30
    Sith I am youres, til deth my herte kerve,
  On me, your man, now mercy have and routhe.

    25. konnyngge; princes.   26. foo.   27. leudenesse.   29. prey;
    swerue.   30. trouth.   31. herte wol kerue (_I omit_ wol).   32. haue;
    routh.

[xxix]

       *       *       *       *       *

XXVI. COMPLAINT TO MY LODE-STERRE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Of gretter cause may no wight him compleyne
    Than I; for love hath set me in swich caas
  That lasse Ioye and more encrees of peyne
    Ne hath no man; wherfore I crye 'allas!'
    A thousand tyme, whan I have tyme and space.                 5
  For she, that is my verray sorowes grounde,
  Wol with her grace no wyse my sorowes sounde.

    From MS. Harl. 7578, fol. 15, back. No title but 'Balade'; but it is
    really a Complaint. Rejected readings of the MS. are here given.

    2. y (_for_ I); hath me sette in swiche.   3. encrese.   5. whenne;
    haue.   6. sheo; werry (_for_ verray).   7. Wolle; wise; (sounde
    _means_ heal).

  And that, shulde be my sorowes hertes leche,
    Is me ageins, and maketh me swich werre,
  That shortly, [in] al maner thought and speche,               10
    Whether it be that I be nigh or ferre,
    I misse the grace of you, my lode-sterre,
  Which causeth me on you thus for to crye;
  And al is it for lakke of remedye.

    9. Ys; swide (_miswritten for_ swiche).   10. _I supply_ in; alle
    manere.   11. Whethre.   12. mys; loode-.   13. Whiche.   14. alle;
    remydie.

  My soverain Ioye thus is my mortal fo;                        15
    She that shulde causen al my lustinesse
  List in no wyse of my sorowes saye 'ho!'
  [xxx]
    But let me thus darraine, in hevinesse,
    With woful thoughtes and my grete distresse,
  The which she might right wele, [at] every tyde,              20
  If that her liste, out of my herte gyde.

    15. souu_er_aine; foo.   16. alle; lustynesse.   17. Liste; wise; say
    hoo.   18. lete; heuinesse.   19. wooful; grette.   20. sheo; _I
    supply_ at; eu_ery_.   21. oute; guyde.

  But it is so, that her list, in no wyse,
    Have pitè on my woful besinesse;
  And I ne can do no maner servyse
    That may me torne out of my hevinesse;                      25
    So woldè god, that she now wolde impresse
  Right in her herte my trouthe and eek good wille;
  And let me not, for lakke of mercy, spille.

    22. liste; wise.   23. Haue pitee.   24. kanne; manere seruice.   25.
    be (_for_ me); oute; heuynesse.   26. sheo nowe.   27. herre (_for_
    her); trough (_sic_); eke.   28. lette; lake.

  Now wele I woot why thus I smerte sore;
    For couthe I wele, as othere folkes, feyne,                 30
  Than neded me to live in peyne no more,
    But, whan I were from you, unteye my reyne,
    And, for the tyme, drawe in another cheyne.
  But woldè god that alle swich were y-knowe,
  And duely punisshed of hye and lowe.                          35

    29. woote; why that I thus smerte so sore (_two syllables too much_).
    30. couth; sayne (_for_ feyne).   31. Thanne nedes; lyue.   32. whenne;
    vnteye.   33. into (_for_ in); a-nothre.   35. punisshede both of high
    (_I omit_ both).

  Swich lyf defye I, bothe in thoughte and worde,
    For yet me were wel lever for to sterve
  Than in my herte for to make an horde
    Of any falshood; for, til deth to-kerve
    My herte and body, shal I never swerve                      40
  From you, that best may be my fynal cure,
  But, at your liste, abyde myn aventure;

    36. Swiche; defie.   37. yette; sterue.   38. Thanne; hoorde.   39.
    falshode; til deth the kerue (_but see note on_ p. xxxii).   40.
    neu_er_e swerue.   41. youre (_for_ my).   42. atte youre; abide.

  And preye to you, noble seint Valentyne,
    My ladies herte that ye wolde enbrace,
  [xxxi]
  And make her pitè to me more enclyne                          45
    That I may stonden in her noble grace
    In hasty tyme, whyl I have lyves space:
  For yit wiste I never noon, of my lyve,
  So litel hony in so fayre hyve.

    43. prey; sainte valentine.   45. pitee.   46. here.   47. whiles; haue
    lyues.   48. yitte; neuere none; lyfe.   49. hiue.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTES TO THE PRECEDING POEMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

    XXIV.--I take the title from l. 25; cf. Troil. i. 287.

    The metre exhibits the nine-line stanza, as in Anelida, 211-9; but the
    same rimes recur in all three stanzas. The six-line Envoy, with the
    rime-formula _a b a b a a_, is unique in Chaucer. There are nineteen
    lines ending in _-aunce_, twelve in _-esse_, and two in _-ede_.

    1. Note how ll. 1 and 2 are re-echoed in ll. 32, 33. For a similar
    effect, see Anelida, 211, 350.

    8. _ful chose_, fully chosen; parallel to _ful drive_ in C. T., F 1230.

    14. _souvenance_, remembrance; not found elswhere in Chaucer.

    16. _humblely_ is trisyllabic; see Leg. 156, Troil. ii. 1719, v. 1354.

    20. _lo_ emphasises _swich_; cf. _lo, this_, T. v. 54; _lo, which_, T.
    iv. 1231.

    22. _allegeaunce_, _alleviation_; the verb _allegge_ is in the
    Glossary.

    26. _outrance_, extreme violence, great hurt; see Godefroy.

    27. _unbuxumnesse_, unsubmissiveness; cf. _buxumnesse_, Truth, 15.

    XXV.--I take the title from l. 26; cf. Compl. to his Lady, 41, 64.

    1. Cf. Amorous Complaint, 87; Troil. v. 1318, i. 960.

    3. 'Love hath me taught no more of his art,' &c.; Compl. to his Lady,
    42-3.

    9. Cf. Compl. of Mars, 13, 14; p. xxx above, l. 43; Parl. Foules,
    386-9; Amorous Complaint, 85-6.

    19. _eche_, augment; 'hir sorwes _eche_,' T. i. 705.

    27. 'And to your trouthe ay I me recomaunde;' T. v. 1414. 'I am a
    _boistous_ man;' C. T., H 211.

    XXVI.--I take the title from l. 12; see T. v. 232, 638, 1392.

    7. _sounde_, heal, cure; as in Anelida, 242.

    8. Perhaps read _hertes sorwes leche_; see T. ii. 1066.

    10. Cf. 'as _in_ his speche;' T. ii. 1069.

    26. _impresse_; cf. T. ii. 1371.

    [xxxii] 28. _spille_; cf. Compl. to his Lady, 121.

    32. _reyne_, bridle. For this image, cf. Anelida, 184.

    39. MS. _deth the kerue_. As _e_ and _o_ are constantly confused, the
    prefix _to_ (written apart) may have looked like _te_, and would easily
    be altered to _the_. Cf. _forkerveth_ in the Manc. Tale, H 340.

    47. Here _spac-e_ rimes with _embrac-e_, but in l. 5 it rimes with
    _allas_. This variation is no worse than the riming of _embrace_ with
    _compas_ in Proverbs, 8 (vol. i. p. 407). Cf. _plac-e_ in C.T., B 1910,
    with its variant _plas_, B 1971.

    N.B. The Complaints numbered XXV and XXVI are obviously by the same
    author; compare XXV. 26 with XXVI. 15; XXV. 9 with XXVI. 43; and XXV.
    29-31 with XXVI. 39, 40. They were probably written nearly at the same
    time.

       *       *       *       *       *


[1: T. 1-22.]

THE CANTERBURY TALES.

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP A. THE PROLOGUE.

HERE BIGINNETH THE BOOK OF THE TALES OF CAUNTERBURY.

  Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
  The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
  And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
  Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
  Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth                        5
  Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
  The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
  Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
  And smale fowles maken melodye,
  That slepen al the night with open yë,                        10
  (So priketh hem nature in hir corages):
  Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
  (And palmers for to seken straunge strondes)
  To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
  And specially, from every shires ende                         15
  Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
  The holy blisful martir for to seke,
  That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

    HEADING. _From_ E.   1. E. hise; _rest_ his.   8. Hl. halfe; _rest_
    half.   9. Hl. fowles; Pt. Ln. foules; E. Hn. foweles.   10. Hl. yhe;
    Hn. Iye; E. eye.   12. Pt. Ln. Than; E. Thanne.   E. pilg_ri_mage (_by
    mistake_).   13. Pt. Hl. palmers; E. Palmeres.   16. Hn. Caunter-; E.
    Cauntur-.   18. E. seeke.

    Bifel that, in that seson on a day,
  In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay                           20
  Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
  To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
  [2: T. 23-58.]
  At night was come in-to that hostelrye
  Wel nyne and twenty in a companye,
  Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle                           25
  In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
  That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde;
  The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
  And wel we weren esed atte beste.
  And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,                     30
  So hadde I spoken with hem everichon,
  That I was of hir felawshipe anon,
  And made forward erly for to ryse,
  To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.

    19. Hn. Bifel; E. Bifil.   23. E. were; _rest_ was.   24. E. Hn.
    compaignye.   26, 32. E. felaweshipe.   Hl. pilgryms; E. pilgrimes.
    34. E. oure.

    But natheles, whyl I have tyme and space,                   35
  Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
  Me thinketh it acordaunt to resoun,
  To telle yow al the condicioun
  Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
  And whiche they weren, and of what degree;                    40
  And eek in what array that they were inne:
  And at a knight than wol I first biginne.

    35. E. Hn. nathelees.   40. Hl. weren; _rest_ were, weere.

    A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,              KNIGHT.
  That fro the tyme that he first bigan
  To ryden out, he loved chivalrye,                             45
  Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisye.
  Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
  And therto hadde he riden (no man ferre)
  As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse,
  And ever honoured for his worthinesse.                        50

    49. Hn. Hl. as; _rest_ as in.

    At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne;
  Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
  Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce.
  In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
  No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.                         55
  In Gernade at the sege eek hadde he be
  Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
  At Lyeys was he, and at Satalye,
  [3: T. 59-92.]
  Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete See
  At many a noble aryve hadde he be.                            60
  At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
  And foughten for our feith at Tramissene
  In listes thryes, and ay slayn his foo.
  This ilke worthy knight had been also
  Somtyme with the lord of Palatye,                             65
  Ageyn another hethen in Turkye:
  And evermore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
  And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
  And of his port as meke as is a mayde.
  He never yet no vileinye ne sayde                             70
  In al his lyf, un-to no maner wight.
  He was a verray parfit gentil knight.
  But for to tellen yow of his array,
  His hors were gode, but he was nat gay.
  Of fustian he wered a gipoun                                  75
  Al bismotered with his habergeoun;
  For he was late y-come from his viage,
  And wente for to doon his pilgrimage.

    53. E. nacions.   56. E. seege.   60. Hl. ariue; Cm. aryue; E. Hn.
    armee; Cp. Ln. arme.   62. E. oure.   64. Pt. had; _rest_ hadde.   67.
    E. -moore.   68. E. Hn. Cm. were; _rest_ was.   74. E. Pt. weren; Hl.
    Ln. was; _rest_ were.   Hl. Hn. he ne was.

    With him ther was his sone, a yong SQUYER,             SQUYER.
  A lovyere, and a lusty bacheler,                              80
  With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in presse.
  Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
  Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
  And wonderly deliver, and greet of strengthe.
  And he had been somtyme in chivachye,                         85
  In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Picardye,
  And born him wel, as of so litel space,
  In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
  Embrouded was he, as it were a mede
  Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and rede.                    90
  Singinge he was, or floytinge, al the day;
  He was as fresh as is the month of May.
  [4: T. 93-127.]
  Short was his goune, with sleves longe and wyde.
  Wel coude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde.
  He coude songes make and wel endyte,                          95
  Iuste and eek daunce, and wel purtreye and wryte,
  So hote he lovede, that by nightertale
  He sleep namore than dooth a nightingale.
  Curteys he was, lowly, and servisable,
  And carf biforn his fader at the table.                      100

    83. Ln. euen; _rest_ euene.   84. Hl. Ln. delyuer; _rest_ delyuere.
    E. Hn. of greet; Cm. of gret; _rest_ gret of.   85. Ln. had.   87. E.
    weel.   89, 90. E. meede, reede.   92. E. fressh. E. in; _rest_ is.
    E. Hn. Monthe; Cp. month; Hl. Pt. Ln. moneth; Cm. monyth.   96. E.
    weel.   98. Hl. Cp. sleep; _rest_ slepte.   E. -moore.   99. Hl. Cp.
    Ln. lowly; E. Hn. Pt. lowely.

    A YEMAN hadde he, and servaunts namo                    YEMAN.
  At that tyme, for him liste ryde so;
  And he was clad in cote and hood of grene;
  A sheef of pecok-arwes brighte and kene
  Under his belt he bar ful thriftily;                         105
  (Wel coude he dresse his takel yemanly:
  His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
  And in his hand he bar a mighty bowe.
  A not-heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
  Of wode-craft wel coude he al the usage.                     110
  Upon his arm he bar a gay bracer,
  And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
  And on that other syde a gay daggere,
  Harneised wel, and sharp as point of spere;
  A Cristofre on his brest of silver shene.                    115
  An horn he bar, the bawdrik was of grene;
  A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.

    101. E. seruantz.   102. E. soo.   104. Hl. Cp. Pt. Ln. pocok.   Cm.
    bryghte; _rest_ bright.   107. E. Hise.   108, 111. E. baar.   113. E.
    oother.   115. Hn. Cristofre; E. Cristophere.   E. sheene.

    Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,                 PRIORESSE.
  That of hir smyling was ful simple and coy;
  Hir gretteste ooth was but by sëynt Loy;                     120
  And she was cleped madame Eglentyne.
  Ful wel she song the service divyne,
  Entuned in hir nose ful semely;
  And Frensh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
  After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,                      125
  For Frensh of Paris was to hir unknowe.
  At mete wel y-taught was she with-alle;
  [5: T. 128-161.]
  She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
  Ne wette hir fingres in hir sauce depe.
  Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe,                  130
  That no drope ne fille up-on hir brest.
  In curteisye was set ful muche hir lest.
  Hir over lippe wyped she so clene,
  That in hir coppe was no ferthing sene
  Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.               135
  Ful semely after hir mete she raughte,
  And sikerly she was of greet disport,
  And ful plesaunt, and amiable of port,
  And peyned hir to countrefete chere
  Of court, and been estatlich of manere,                      140
  And to ben holden digne of reverence.
  But, for to speken of hir conscience,
  She was so charitable and so pitous,
  She wolde wepe, if that she sawe a mous
  Caught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.               145
  Of smale houndes had she, that she fedde
  With rosted flesh, or milk and wastel-breed.
  But sore weep she if oon of hem were deed,
  Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte:
  And al was conscience and tendre herte.                      150
  Ful semely hir wimpel pinched was;
  Hir nose tretys; hir eyen greye as glas;
  Hir mouth ful smal, and ther-to softe and reed;
  But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
  It was almost a spanne brood, I trowe;                       155
  For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
  Ful fetis was hir cloke, as I was war.
  Of smal coral aboute hir arm she bar
  A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene;
  And ther-on heng a broche of gold ful shene,                 160
  On which ther was first write a crowned A,
  [6: T. 162-195.]
  And after, _Amor vincit omnia._

    122. E. soong.   123. E. semeely.   131. Cm. brest; E. Hn. brist.
    132. Cp. moche; Cm. meche; E. Hn. muchel.   Hl. lest; E. Hn. Cm.
    list.   134. Hl. was; _rest_ ther was.   137. E. Hn. desport; _rest_
    disport.   140. E. to been; Hl. Hn. _omit_ to.   144. Hl. Hn. Cp. Ln.
    sawe; E. saugh; Cm. seye.   146. Pt. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.   148. Ln.
    wepped; _rest_ wepte; _read_ weep; _cf_. l. 2878.   E. any; _rest_ oon,
    on, one.   151. E. semyly. E. wympul; Hn. wympel.   160. E. Hn. brooch;
    _rest_ broche.

    Another NONNE with hir hadde she,                       NONNE.
  That was hir chapeleyne, and PREESTES three.         3 PREESTES.

    A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrye,                MONK.
  An out-rydere, that lovede venerye;                          166
  A manly man, to been an abbot able.
  Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable:
  And, whan he rood, men mighte his brydel here
  Ginglen in a whistling wind as clere,                        170
  And eek as loude as dooth the chapel-belle,
  Ther as this lord was keper of the celle.
  The reule of seint Maure or of seint Beneit,
  By-cause that it was old and som-del streit,
  This ilke monk leet olde thinges pace,                       175
  And held after the newe world the space.
  He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
  That seith, that hunters been nat holy men;
  Ne that a monk, whan he is cloisterlees,
  Is lykned til a fish that is waterlees;                      180
  This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloistre.
  But thilke text held he nat worth an oistre;
  And I seyde, his opinioun was good.
  What sholde he studie, and make him-selven wood,
  Upon a book in cloistre alwey to poure,                      185
  Or swinken with his handes, and laboure,
  As Austin bit? How shal the world be served?
  Lat Austin have his swink to him reserved.
  Therfore he was a pricasour aright;
  Grehoundes he hadde, as swifte as fowel in flight;           190
  Of priking and of hunting for the hare
  Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
  I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
  With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
  And, for to festne his hood under his chin,                  195
  [7: T. 196-231.]
  He hadde of gold y-wroght a curious pin:
  A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
  His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
  And eek his face, as he had been anoint.
  He was a lord ful fat and in good point;                     200
  His eyen stepe, and rollinge in his heed,
  That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
  His botes souple, his hors in greet estat.
  Now certeinly he was a fair prelat;
  He was nat pale as a for-pyned goost.                        205
  A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
  His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.

    170. Hl. Cp. whistlyng; E. whistlynge.   E. Cm. als; Ln. al-so; Hl. so;
    _rest_ as.   176. E. Hn. heeld; Cm. held.   178. Hn. Hl. been; E.
    beth.   179. Hl. cloysterles; E. Hn. recchelees; Cp. Pt. Ln. recheles;
    Cm. rekeles (Ten Brink _proposes_ recetlees).   182. E. Hn. heeld; Cm.
    held.   188. E. his owene; _rest om._ owene.   190. Hl. swifte; _rest_
    swift.   193. Hl. Hn. purfiled; Cm. purfilid; E. ypurfiled.   196. Hl.
    a; _rest_ a ful.   196, 218. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.   199. E. it;
    _rest_ he.   203, 4. E. estaat, prelaat.

    A FRERE ther was, a wantown and a merye,                FRERE.
  A limitour, a ful solempne man.
  In alle the ordres foure is noon that can                    210
  So muche of daliaunce and fair langage.
  He hadde maad ful many a mariage
  Of yonge wommen, at his owne cost.
  Un-to his ordre he was a noble post.
  Ful wel biloved and famulier was he                          215
  With frankeleyns over-al in his contree,
  And eek with worthy wommen of the toun:
  For he had power of confessioun,
  As seyde him-self, more than a curat,
  For of his ordre he was licentiat.                           220
  Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
  And plesaunt was his absolucioun;
  He was an esy man to yeve penaunce
  Ther as he wiste to han a good pitaunce;
  For unto a povre ordre for to yive                           225
  Is signe that a man is wel y-shrive.
  For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
  He wiste that a man was repentaunt.
  For many a man so hard is of his herte,
  He may nat wepe al-thogh him sore smerte.                    230
  Therfore, in stede of weping and preyeres,
  [8: T. 232-265.]
  Men moot yeve silver to the povre freres.
  His tipet was ay farsed ful of knyves
  And pinnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
  And certeinly he hadde a mery note;                          235
  Wel coude he singe and pleyen on a rote.
  Of yeddinges he bar utterly the prys.
  His nekke whyt was as the flour-de-lys;
  Ther-to he strong was as a champioun.
  He knew the tavernes wel in every toun,                      240
  And everich hostiler and tappestere
  Bet than a lazar or a beggestere;
  For un-to swich a worthy man as he
  Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
  To have with seke lazars aqueyntaunce.                       245
  It is nat honest, it may nat avaunce
  For to delen with no swich poraille,
  But al with riche and sellers of vitaille.
  And over-al, ther as profit sholde aryse,
  Curteys he was, and lowly of servyse.                        250
  Ther nas no man no-wher so vertuous.
  He was the beste beggere in his hous;
  [And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt;                   252 b
  Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;]              252 c
  For thogh a widwe hadde noght a sho,
  So plesaunt was his "_In principio_,"
  Yet wolde he have a ferthing, er he wente.                   255
  His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
  And rage he coude, as it were right a whelpe.
  In love-dayes ther coude he muchel helpe.                  (260)
  For there he was nat lyk a cloisterer,
  With a thredbar cope, as is a povre scoler,                  260
  But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
  Of double worsted was his semi-cope,
  That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
  [9: T. 266-300.]
  Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
  To make his English swete up-on his tonge;                   265
  And in his harping, whan that he had songe,
  His eyen twinkled in his heed aright,
  As doon the sterres in the frosty night.                   (270)
  This worthy limitour was cleped Huberd.

    208. E. wantowne.   211. Hn. muche; E. muchel.   213. Hl. owne; E.
    owene.   215. E. And; _rest_ Ful.   217. Hl. Hn. eek; _rest omit_.
    224. Hl. Cm. han; E. haue.   229. E. harde.   231. E. wepynge.   232.
    E. Hn. moote; _see note_.   234. E. yonge; _rest_ faire.   235. Hl.
    mery; E. murye.   237. E. baar.   Pt. vttirly; Hl. vtturly; E. Hn.
    outrely.   240. E. al the; _rest_ euery.   245. E. Hn. Cm. sike; Pt.
    Ln. seke; see l. 18.   246. Cm. honest; E. honeste.   248. E.
    selleres.   250. E. lowely. _After_ l. 252, Hn. _alone inserts_ ll. 252
    _b_ and 252 c.   259. Hl. Cm. cloysterer; E. Hn. Cloystrer.   260. _So
    all the_ MSS. (_but with_ -bare); _cf_. l. 290.   262. _All_ worstede
    (_badly_).   266. Pt. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.

    A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,              MARCHANT.
  In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat,                        271
  Up-on his heed a Flaundrish bever hat;
  His botes clasped faire and fetisly.
  His resons he spak ful solempnely,
  Souninge alway thencrees of his winning.                     275
  He wolde the see were kept for any thing
  Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle.
  Wel coude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.                  (280)
  This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette;
  Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,                    280
  So estatly was he of his governaunce,
  With his bargaynes, and with his chevisaunce.
  For sothe he was a worthy man with-alle,
  But sooth to seyn, I noot how men him calle.

    271. Ln. motteley; Hl. motteleye; E. Hn. motlee.   272. E. beu_er_e.
    273. Cp. Pt. clapsed; Hl. clapsud.   274. E. Hise.   281. Cp. statly.

    A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,                      CLERK.
  That un-to logik hadde longe y-go.                           286
  As lene was his hors as is a rake,
  And he nas nat right fat, I undertake;                     (290)
  But loked holwe, and ther-to soberly.
  Ful thredbar was his overest courtepy;                       290
  For he had geten him yet no benefyce,
  Ne was so worldly for to have offyce.
  For him was lever have at his beddes heed
  Twenty bokes, clad in blak or reed,
  Of Aristotle and his philosophye,                            295
  Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrye.
  But al be that he was a philosophre,
  Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;                      (300)
  [10: T. 301-336.]
  But al that he mighte of his freendes hente,
  On bokes and on lerninge he it spente,                       300
  And bisily gan for the soules preye
  Of hem that yaf him wher-with to scoleye.
  Of studie took he most cure and most hede.
  Noght o word spak he more than was nede,
  And that was seyd in forme and reverence,                    305
  And short and quik, and ful of hy sentence.
  Souninge in moral vertu was his speche,
  And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.               (310)

    287. E. And; Hl. Al so; _rest_ As.   289. E. Hn. sobrely; _rest_
    soburly.   290. _All_ -bare. Hl. ouerest; E. Hn. Cm. ouereste.   291.
    Cp. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.   293. Cp. Ln. Hl. leuer; _rest_ leuere.
    300. E. Hl. his; _rest_ on.

    A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,              MAN OF LAWE.
  That often hadde been at the parvys,                         310
  Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
  Discreet he was, and of greet reverence:
  He semed swich, his wordes weren so wyse.
  Iustyce he was ful often in assyse,
  By patente, and by pleyn commissioun;                        315
  For his science, and for his heigh renoun
  Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
  So greet a purchasour was no-wher noon.                    (320)
  Al was fee simple to him in effect,
  His purchasing mighte nat been infect.                       320
  No-wher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
  And yet he semed bisier than he was.
  In termes hadde he caas and domes alle,
  That from the tyme of king William were falle.
  Therto he coude endyte, and make a thing,                    325
  Ther coude no wight pinche at his wryting;
  And every statut coude he pleyn by rote.
  He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote                        (330)
  Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
  Of his array telle I no lenger tale.

    324. E. yfalle; _rest_ falle.   326. E. Hn. pynchen; _rest_ pynche,
    pinche.

    A FRANKELEYN was in his companye;                  FRANKELEYN.
  Whyt was his berd, as is the dayesye.
  Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
  Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn.
  [11: T. 337-370.]
  To liven in delyt was ever his wone,                         335
  For he was Epicurus owne sone,
  That heeld opinioun, that pleyn delyt
  Was verraily felicitee parfyt.
  An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;                  (340)
  Seint Iulian he was in his contree.
  His breed, his ale, was alwey after oon;
  A bettre envyned man was no-wher noon.
  With-oute bake mete was never his hous,
  Of fish and flesh, and that so plentevous,
  It snewed in his hous of mete and drinke,                    345
  Of alle deyntees that men coude thinke.
  After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
  So chaunged he his mete and his soper.                     (350)
  Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe,
  And many a breem and many a luce in stewe.                   350
  Wo was his cook, but-if his sauce were
  Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his gere.
  His table dormant in his halle alway
  Stood redy covered al the longe day.
  At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;                      355
  Ful ofte tyme he was knight of the shire.
  An anlas and a gipser al of silk
  Heng at his girdel, whyt as morne milk.                    (360)
  A shirreve hadde he been, and a countour;
  Was no-wher such a worthy vavasour.                          360

    332. E. heed; _ rest_ berd, berde.   E. a; _rest_ the.   335. ever] Hl.
    al.   336. E. Hn. Cm. owene; _rest_ owne.   338. Hl. verraily; _rest_
    verray, verrey, uery.   340. E. was he; _rest_ he was.   341. Cm. Ln.
    alwey; Hl. alway; E. Hn. Cp. alweys.   342. Hl. Pt. nowher; Cm. nower:
    _rest_ neuere; _cf_. l. 360.   349, 350. E. Hn. muwe, stuwe.   357. E.
    Hn. anlaas; Hl. Cm. anlas.   358. E. Hn. heeng.   359. E. Hn. Cm. _om._
    a.

    An HABERDASSHER and a CARPENTER,                HABAERDASSHER.
  A WEBBE, a DYERE, and a TAPICER,                      CARPENTER.
  Were with us eek, clothed in o liveree,            WEBBE. DYERE.
  Of a solempne and greet fraternitee.                    TAPICER.
  Ful fresh and newe hir gere apyked was;                      365
  Hir knyves were y-chaped noght with bras,
  But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
  Hir girdles and hir pouches every-deel.                    (370)
  [12: T. 371-406.]
  Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys,
  To sitten in a yeldhalle on a deys.                          370
  Everich, for the wisdom that he can,
  Was shaply for to been an alderman.
  For catel hadde they y-nogh and rente,
  And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
  And elles certein were they to blame.                        375
  It is ful fair to been y-clept "_ma dame_,"
  And goon to vigilyës al bifore,
  And have a mantel royalliche y-bore.                       (380)

    363. _So_ Hl.; _rest_ And they were clothed alle.   364. _All but_ Hl.
    and a.   366. Hl. I-chapud; Cm. chapid; _rest_ chaped.   370. E.
    yeldehalle.   376. E. Hn. ycleped; Hl. clept; _rest_ cleped, clepid.
    380. Hl. _om. 1st_ the.

    A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones,                COOK.
  To boille the chiknes with the mary-bones,                   380
  And poudre-marchant tart, and galingale.
  Wel coude he knowe a draughte of London ale.
  He coude roste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
  Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
  But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,                    385
  That on his shine a mormal hadde he;
  For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.              (389)

    383. E. Hl. boille; Cm. boyle; _rest_ broille, broile.   388. E.
    wonynge; Hn. wonyng.

    A SHIPMAN was ther, woning fer by weste:              SHIPMAN.
  For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
  He rood up-on a rouncy, as he couthe,                        390
  In a gowne of falding to the knee.
  A daggere hanging on a laas hadde he
  Aboute his nekke under his arm adoun.
  The hote somer had maad his hewe al broun;
  And, certeinly, he was a good felawe.                        395
  Ful many a draughte of wyn had he y-drawe
  From Burdeux-ward, whyl that the chapman sleep.
  Of nyce conscience took he no keep.                        (400)
  If that he faught, and hadde the hyer hond,
  By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.                    400
  But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
  His stremes and his daungers him bisydes,
  His herberwe and his mone, his lodemenage,
  Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
  [13: T. 407-441.]
  Hardy he was, and wys to undertake;                          405
  With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
  He knew wel alle the havenes, as they were,
  From Gootlond to the cape of Finistere,                    (410)
  And every cryke in Britayne and in Spayne;
  His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne.                       410

    396. Cm. I-drawe; _rest_ drawe.   407. Hl. _ins._ wel; _rest om._

    With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISYK,                 DOCTOUR.
  In al this world ne was ther noon him lyk
  To speke of phisik and of surgerye;
  For he was grounded in astronomye.
  He kepte his pacient a ful greet del                         415
  In houres, by his magik naturel.
  Wel coude he fortunen the ascendent
  Of his images for his pacient.                             (420)
  He knew the cause of everich maladye,
  Were it of hoot or cold, or moiste, or drye,                 420
  And where engendred, and of what humour;
  He was a verrey parfit practisour.
  The cause y-knowe, and of his harm the rote,
  Anon he yaf the seke man his bote.
  Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries,                          425
  To sende him drogges and his letuaries,
  For ech of hem made other for to winne;
  Hir frendschipe nas nat newe to biginne.                   (430)
  Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
  And Deiscorides, and eek Rufus,                              430
  Old Ypocras, Haly, and Galien;
  Serapion, Razis, and Avicen;
  Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn;
  Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
  Of his diete mesurable was he,                               435
  For it was of no superfluitee,
  But of greet norissing and digestible.
  His studie was but litel on the Bible.                     (440)
  In sangwin and in pers he clad was al,
  [14: T. 442-478.]
  Lyned with taffata and with sendal;                          440
  And yet he was but esy of dispence;
  He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
  For gold in phisik is a cordial,
  Therfore he lovede gold in special.

    415. Hl. wondurly wel; _rest_ a ful greet deel (del).   416. E. Hn.
    natureel.   418. E. Hn. hise; Cm. hese.   421. E. Cm. Hl. where they;
    Hn. where it.   424. Cm. Ln. seke; _rest_ sike.   425. E. hise.   426.
    E. Hn. Cm. drogges; Cp. Pt. Ln. drugges; Hl. dragges.   430. Pt. Rufus;
    Cm. Rufijs; Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. Rusus; E. Risus.   431. Hl. Pt. Old; _rest_
    Olde.

    A good WYF was ther of bisyde BATHE,             WYF OF BATHE.
  But she was som-del deef, and that was scathe.               446
  Of clooth-making she hadde swiche an haunt,
  She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.                      (450)
  In al the parisshe wyf ne was ther noon
  That to the offring bifore hir sholde goon;                  450
  And if ther dide, certeyn, so wrooth was she,
  That she was out of alle charitee.
  Hir coverchiefs ful fyne were of ground;
  I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
  That on a Sonday were upon hir heed.                         455
  Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
  Ful streite y-teyd, and shoos ful moiste and newe.
  Bold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.             (460)
  She was a worthy womman al hir lyve,
  Housbondes at chirche-dore she hadde fyve,                   460
  Withouten other companye in youthe;
  But therof nedeth nat to speke as nouthe.
  And thryes hadde she been at Ierusalem;
  She hadde passed many a straunge streem;
  At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,                     465
  In Galice at seint Iame, and at Coloigne.
  She coude muche of wandring by the weye.
  Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.                   (470)
  Up-on an amblere esily she sat,
  Y-wimpled wel, and on hir heed an hat                        470
  As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
  A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
  And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
  In felawschip wel coude she laughe and carpe.
  Of remedyes of love she knew per-chaunce,                    475
  For she coude of that art the olde daunce.

    452. Hl. was thanne out.   453, 455. E. weren.   457. Cp. Hl. schoos;
    E. Pt. Ln. shoes.   458. E. Hn. Boold.   463. Ln. had.   467. Ln.
    muche; Hl. Pt. Cp. moche; E. Hn. muchel.   474. E. Hn. felaweschip.
    476. Hl. For of that art sche knew.

[15: T. 479-513.]

    A good man was ther of religioun,                     PERSOUN.
  And was a povre PERSOUN of a toun;                         (480)
  But riche he was of holy thoght and werk.
  He was also a lerned man, a clerk,                           480
  That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
  His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
  Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
  And in adversitee ful pacient;
  And swich he was y-preved ofte sythes.                       485
  Ful looth were him to cursen for his tythes,
  But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
  Un-to his povre parisshens aboute                          (490)
  Of his offring, and eek of his substaunce.
  He coude in litel thing han suffisaunce.                     490
  Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer a-sonder,
  But he ne lafte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
  In siknes nor in meschief, to visyte
  The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lyte,
  Up-on his feet, and in his hand a staf.                      495
  This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
  That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte;
  Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte;                   (500)
  And this figure he added eek ther-to,
  That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?                       500
  For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
  No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
  And shame it is, if a preest take keep,
  A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
  Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,                     505
  By his clennesse, how that his sheep shold live.
  He sette nat his benefice to hyre,
  And leet his sheep encombred in the myre,                  (510)
  And ran to London, un-to sëynt Poules,
  To seken him a chaunterie for soules,                        510
  Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
  [16: T. 514-547.]
  But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
  So that the wolf ne made it nat miscarie;
  He was a shepherde and no mercenarie.
  And though he holy were, and vertuous,                       515
  He was to sinful man nat despitous,
  Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
  But in his teching discreet and benigne.                   (520)
  To drawen folk to heven by fairnesse
  By good ensample, was his bisinesse:                         520
  But it were any persone obstinat,
  What-so he were, of heigh or lowe estat,
  Him wolde he snibben sharply for the nones.
  A bettre preest, I trowe that nowher noon is.
  He wayted after no pompe and reverence,                      525
  Ne maked him a spyced conscience,
  But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
  He taughte, and first he folwed it him-selve.              (530)

    485. Hl. I-proued; E. Cp. Pt. preued.   486. E. hise.   490. Hl. Cm.
    Pt. han; E. Hn. Cp. Ln. haue.   493. E. siknesse.   497. E. firste.
    E. _ins._ that (_by mistake_) _before_ he.   503. Hl. _alone ins._ that
    _after_ if.   505. Hl. [gh]iue; E. yeue.   509. Hl. Cp. seynte.   510.
    Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. chaunterie; E. Hn. chauntrie.   512. E. dwelleth;
    _rest_ dwelte.   E. keepeth; Ln. keped; _rest_ kepte.   514. Hl. no;
    _rest_ not a.   516. Hl. to senful man nought; _rest_ nat to sinful
    man.   520. _All but_ Hl. this was.   522. Hn. lowe; E. lough.   523.
    E. nonys.   525. E. waiteth; _rest_ waited.   527. E. hise.   528. Hl.
    and; _rest_ but.

  With him ther was a PLOWMAN, was his brother,           PLOWMAN.
  That hadde y-lad of dong ful many a fother,                  530
  A trewe swinker and a good was he,
  Livinge in pees and parfit charitee.
  God loved he best with al his hole herte
  At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
  And thanne his neighebour right as him-selve.                535
  He wolde thresshe, and ther-to dyke and delve,
  For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
  Withouten hyre, if it lay in his might.                    (540)
  His tythes payed he ful faire and wel,
  Bothe of his propre swink and his catel.                     540
  In a tabard he rood upon a mere.

    534. E. Pt. Ln. he; _rest_ him.   537. for] Hn. Hl. with.   539. Cp.
    Pt. payed; Cm. Hl. payede; E. Hn. payde.   540. propre] Hl. owne.

    Ther was also a Reve and a Millere,
  A Somnour and a Pardoner also,
  A Maunciple, and my-self; ther were namo.

    The MILLER was a stout carl, for the nones,            MILLER.
  [17: T. 548-582.]
  Ful big he was of braun, and eek of bones;                   546
  That proved wel, for over-al ther he cam,
  At wrastling he wolde have alwey the ram.                  (550)
  He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre,
  Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre,                550
  Or breke it, at a renning, with his heed.
  His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
  And ther-to brood, as though it were a spade.
  Up-on the cop right of his nose he hade
  A werte, and ther-on stood a tuft of heres,                  555
  Reed as the bristles of a sowes eres;
  His nose-thirles blake were and wyde.
  A swerd and bokeler bar he by his syde;                    (560)
  His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
  He was a Ianglere and a goliardeys,                          560
  And that was most of sinne and harlotryes.
  Wel coude he stelen corn, and tollen thryes;
  And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
  A whyt cote and a blew hood wered he.
  A baggepype wel coude he blowe and sowne,                    565
  And ther-with-al he broghte us out of towne.

    550. Cp. Hl. nolde; Hn. noolde; E. ne wolde.   555. E. toft; Ln. tofte:
    _rest_ tuft. E. herys.   556. Hn. bristles; E. brustles; Pt. brysteles;
    Hl. Cp. berstles.   E. erys.   558. _All but_ Cp. and a.   559. Hl.
    wyde; _rest_ greet, gret.   565. Hl. _om._ wel.

    A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,            MAUNCIPLE.
  Of which achatours mighte take exemple                     (570)
  For to be wyse in bying of vitaille.
  For whether that he payde, or took by taille,                570
  Algate he wayted so in his achat,
  That he was ay biforn and in good stat.
  Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace,
  That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
  The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?                         575
  Of maistres hadde he mo than thryes ten,
  That were of lawe expert and curious;
  Of which ther were a doseyn in that hous,                  (580)
  Worthy to been stiwardes of rente and lond
  Of any lord that is in Engelond,                             580
  [18: T. 583-615.]
  To make him live by his propre good,
  In honour dettelees, but he were wood,
  Or live as scarsly as him list desire;
  And able for to helpen al a shire
  In any cas that mighte falle or happe;                       585
  And yit this maunciple sette hir aller cappe.

    570. E. Hn. wheither.   571. E. Achaat.   572. E. staat.   577. E.
    weren.   578. E. whiche. Cm. doseyn; E. duszeyne.   581. E. maken.
    582. Cm. but; Cp. Pt. but if that; _rest_ but if.   585. E. Hn. caas.

    The REVE was a sclendre colerik man,                     REVE.
  His berd was shave as ny as ever he can.                   (590)
  His heer was by his eres round y-shorn.
  His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.                      590
  Ful longe were his legges, and ful lene,
  Y-lyk a staf, ther was no calf y-sene.
  Wel coude he kepe a gerner and a binne;
  Ther was noon auditour coude on him winne.
  Wel wiste he, by the droghte, and by the reyn,               595
  The yelding of his seed, and of his greyn.
  His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
  His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye,            (600)
  Was hoolly in this reves governing,
  And by his covenaunt yaf the rekening,                       600
  Sin that his lord was twenty yeer of age;
  Ther coude no man bringe him in arrerage.
  Ther nas baillif, ne herde, ne other hyne,
  That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
  They were adrad of him, as of the deeth.                     605
  His woning was ful fair up-on an heeth,
  With grene treës shadwed was his place.
  He coude bettre than his lord purchace.                    (610)
  Ful riche he was astored prively,
  His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly,                       610
  To yeve and lene him of his owne good,
  And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
  In youthe he lerned hadde a good mister;
  [19: T. 616-652.]
  He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
  This reve sat up-on a ful good stot,                         615
  That was al pomely grey, and highte Scot.
  A long surcote of pers up-on he hade,
  And by his syde he bar a rusty blade.                      (620)
  Of Northfolk was this reve, of which I telle,
  Bisyde a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.                        620
  Tukked he was, as is a frere, aboute,
  And ever he rood the hindreste of our route.

    589. _All but_ Hl. Ln. _ins._ ful _after_ eres.   590. E. doked.   594.
    E. of; _rest_ on.   603. ne (2)] E. Hn. Cp. Pt. nor.   604. Hl. they
    (_for_ he). E. Cm. _om._ ne.   606. Hl. fair; E. faire.   607. E. Hn.
    shadwed; Hl. I-schadewed; Cm. I-schadewid; Cp. Pt. shadewed; Ln.
    schadowed.   611. Hl. owne; E. owene.   612. E. _om._ and. E. gowne;
    _rest_ cote.   613. _So_ Hn. Hl.; E. _and rest_ hadde lerned.   Cp. Hl.
    mester.   618. E. baar.

    A SOMNOUR was ther with us in that place,             SOMNOUR.
  That hadde a fyr-reed cherubinnes face,
  For sawcefleem he was, with eyen narwe.                      625
  As hoot he was, and lecherous, as a sparwe;
  With scalled browes blake, and piled berd;
  Of his visage children were aferd.                         (630)
  Ther nas quik-silver, litarge, ne brimstoon,
  Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,                      630
  Ne oynement that wolde dense and byte,
  That him mighte helpen of his whelkes whyte,
  Nor of the knobbes sittinge on his chekes.
  Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
  And for to drinken strong wyn, reed as blood.                635
  Thanne wolde he speke, and crye as he were wood.
  And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
  Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.                     (640)
  A fewe termes hadde he, two or three,
  That he had lerned out of som decree;                        640
  No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
  And eek ye knowen wel, how that a Iay
  Can clepen 'Watte,' as well as can the pope.
  But who-so coude in other thing him grope,
  Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophye;                    645
  Ay '_Questio quid iuris_' wolde he crye.
  He was a gentil harlot and a kinde;
  A bettre felawe sholde men noght finde.                    (650)
  He wolde suffre, for a quart of wyn,
  A good felawe to have his concubyn                           650
  [20: T. 653-687.]
  A twelf-month, and excuse him atte fulle:
  Ful prively a finch eek coude he pulle.
  And if he fond o-wher a good felawe,
  He wolde techen him to have non awe,
  In swich cas, of the erchedeknes curs,                       655
  But-if a mannes soule were in his purs;
  For in his purs he sholde y-punisshed be.
  'Purs is the erchedeknes helle,' seyde he.                 (660)
  But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
  Of cursing oghte ech gilty man him drede--                   660
  For curs wol slee, right as assoilling saveth--
  And also war him of a _significavit_.
  In daunger hadde he at his owne gyse
  The yonge girles of the diocyse,
  And knew hir counseil, and was al hir reed.                  665
  A gerland hadde he set up-on his heed,
  As greet as it were for an ale-stake;
  A bokeler hadde he maad him of a cake.                     (670)

    623. Cm. Pt. Somnour; Hl. sompnour; E. Hn. Somonour.   627. E. Hn. Cm.
    scaled.   629. Cp. Pt. Hl. bremston.   632. E. the; _rest_ his.   652.
    E. Ln. Hl. And; _rest_ Ful.   655. Cm. Cp. erche-; E. erce-; Hl.
    arche-.   660. Cp. Ln. him; Hl. Pt. to; _rest om._   661. Hl. Pt.
    saueth; E. sauith.   663. Hl. owne; E. owene.   668. E. bokeleer.

    With him ther rood a gentil PARDONER                 PARDONER.
  Of Rouncival, his freend and his compeer,                    670
  That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
  Ful loude he song, 'Com hider, love, to me.'
  This somnour bar to him a stif burdoun,
  Was never trompe of half so greet a soun.
  This pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,                    675
  But smothe it heng, as dooth a strike of flex;
  By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
  And ther-with he his shuldres overspradde;                 (680)
  But thinne it lay, by colpons oon and oon;
  But hood, for Iolitee, ne wered he noon,                     680
  For it was trussed up in his walet.
  Him thoughte, he rood al of the newe Iet;
  Dischevele, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
  Swiche glaringe eyen hadde he as an hare.
  A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cappe.                      685
  [21: T. 688-722.]
  His walet lay biforn him in his lappe,
  Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.
  A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.                    (690)
  No berd hadde he, ne never sholde have,
  As smothe it was as it were late y-shave;                    690
  I trowe he were a gelding or a mare.
  But of his craft, fro Berwik into Ware,
  Ne was ther swich another pardoner.
  For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
  Which that, he seyde, was our lady veyl:                     695
  He seyde, he hadde a gobet of the seyl
  That sëynt Peter hadde, whan that he wente
  Up-on the see, til Iesu Crist him hente.                   (700)
  He hadde a croys of latoun, ful of stones,
  And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.                         700
  But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
  A povre person dwelling up-on lond,
  Up-on a day he gat him more moneye
  Than that the person gat in monthes tweye.
  And thus, with feyned flaterye and Iapes,                    705
  He made the person and the peple his apes.
  But trewely to tellen, atte laste,
  He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.                     (710)
  Wel coude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
  But alderbest he song an offertorie;                         710
  For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
  He moste preche, and wel affyle his tonge,
  To winne silver, as he ful wel coude;
  Therefore he song so meriely and loude.

    669. E. was; _rest_ rood, rode.   670. E. Cm. Pt. Rounciuale.   672. E.
    soong.   676. E. heeng.   677, 678. E. hise.   680. But] Cm. Hl. And.
    Hl. ne; _rest omit_.   683. E. Discheuelee.   685. Hl. Cp. on; _rest_
    vp on.   686. Hl. lay; _which the rest omit._   687. Hl. Cm. come;
    _rest_ comen.   688. Hl. eny (_for_ hath a).   690. Hn. yshaue; E.
    shaue.   695. _All_ oure.   713. Hl. right (_for_ ful).   714. Cp. Pt.
    Ln. so meriely; E. Hn. Cm. the murierly.

    Now have I told you shortly, in a clause,                  715
  Thestat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the cause
  Why that assembled was this companye
  In Southwerk, at this gentil hostelrye,                    (720)
  That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
  But now is tyme to yow for to telle                          720
  [22: T. 723-758.]
  How that we baren us that ilke night,
  Whan we were in that hostelrye alight.
  And after wol I telle of our viage,
  And al the remenaunt of our pilgrimage.
  But first I pray yow, of your curteisye,                     725
  That ye narette it nat my vileinye,
  Thogh that I pleynly speke in this matere,
  To telle yow hir wordes and hir chere;                     (730)
  Ne thogh I speke hir wordes properly.
  For this ye knowen al-so wel as I,                           730
  Who-so shal telle a tale after a man,
  He moot reherce, as ny as ever he can,
  Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
  Al speke he never so rudeliche and large;
  Or elles he moot telle his tale untrewe,                     735
  Or feyne thing, or finde wordes newe.
  He may nat spare, al-thogh he were his brother;
  He moot as wel seye o word as another.                     (740)
  Crist spak him-self ful brode in holy writ,
  And wel ye woot, no vileinye is it.                          740
  Eek Plato seith, who-so that can him rede,
  The wordes mote be cosin to the dede.
  Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
  Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
  Here in this tale, as that they sholde stonde;               745
  My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.

    715. E. Hl. shortly; _rest_ soothly.   716. Hl. Thestat; Hn. Thestaat;
    E. The staat; Cm. Cp. The estat.   718. E. as; _rest_ at.   724. E.
    oure (_but_ our _in_ l. 723).   725. E. youre; Hl. [gh]our.   726. E.
    Hn. Cm. narette; Cp. Pt. Hl. ne rette.   734. E. or; Hl. ne; _rest_
    and.   741. _All but_ Hl. _om._ that.

    Greet chere made our hoste us everichon,
  And to the soper sette he us anon;                         (750)
  And served us with vitaille at the beste.
  Strong was the wyn, and wel to drinke us leste.              750
  A semely man our hoste was with-alle
  For to han been a marshal in an halle;
  A large man he was with eyen stepe,
  A fairer burgeys is ther noon in Chepe:
  Bold of his speche, and wys, and wel y-taught,               755
  And of manhod him lakkede right naught.
  [23: T. 759-793.]
  Eek therto he was right a mery man,
  And after soper pleyen he bigan,                           (760)
  And spak of mirthe amonges othere thinges,
  Whan that we hadde maad our rekeninges;                      760
  And seyde thus: 'Now, lordinges, trewely,
  Ye been to me right welcome hertely:
  For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
  I ne saugh this yeer so mery a companye
  At ones in this herberwe as is now.                          765
  Fayn wolde I doon yow mirthe, wiste I how.
  And of a mirthe I am right now bithoght,
  To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.                  (770)

    747. E. chiere. E. hoost (_see_ l. 751).   752. Hl. han; _rest om._
    754. E. Hn. was.   755. E. Hn. Boold.   756. Cm. Cp. lakkede; E.
    lakked.   761. now] Hl. lo.   764. Hl. ne saugh; _rest_ saugh nat
    (seigh not, &c.).   Hl. Cm. mery; E. myrie.

    Ye goon to Caunterbury; God yow spede,
  The blisful martir quyte yow your mede.                      770
  And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
  Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
  For trewely, confort ne mirthe is noon
  To ryde by the weye doumb as a stoon;
  And therfore wol I maken yow disport,                        775
  As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
  And if yow lyketh alle, by oon assent,
  Now for to stonden at my Iugement,                         (780)
  And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
  To-morwe, whan ye ryden by the weye,                         780
  Now, by my fader soule, that is deed,
  But ye be merye, I wol yeve yow myn heed.
  Hold up your hond, withouten more speche.'

    774. a] E. the; Hn. _om._   778. _All but_ Hl. _om._ Now.   782. E. But
    if; _rest_ But.   E. myrie. Hl. merye smyteth of.

    Our counseil was nat longe for to seche;
  Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,               785
  And graunted him withouten more avys,
  And bad him seye his verdit, as him leste.

    785. Hl. nas.   787. Cp. verdit; Pt. veredit; Hl. Ln. verdite; Cm.
    verdoit; E. Hn. voirdit.

    'Lordinges,' quod he, 'now herkneth for the beste;       (790)
  But tak it not, I prey yow, in desdeyn;
  This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,                790
  That ech of yow, to shorte with your weye,
  [24: T. 794-827.]
  In this viage, shal telle tales tweye,
  To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
  And hom-ward he shal tellen othere two,
  Of aventures that whylom han bifalle.                        795
  And which of yow that bereth him best of alle,
  That is to seyn, that telleth in this cas
  Tales of best sentence and most solas,                     (800)
  Shal have a soper at our aller cost
  Here in this place, sitting by this post,                    800
  Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
  And for to make yow the more mery,
  I wol my-selven gladly with yow ryde,
  Right at myn owne cost, and be your gyde.
  And who-so wol my Iugement withseye                          805
  Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
  And if ye vouche-sauf that it be so,
  Tel me anon, with-outen wordes mo,                         (810)
  And I wol erly shape me therfore.'

    789. E. taak; Ln. tak; Cp. Pt. take; Hl. Hn. taketh.   791. Cp. Hl.
    your; _rest_ our; _cf._ l. 803.   795. Hl. ther (_for_ whylom).   797,
    798. E. caas, solaas.   802. E. Hn. Cp. mury.   803. Hl. my seluen
    gladly; E. my self goodly.   805. E. wole (_but_ wol _in_ l. 809).

    This thing was graunted, and our othes swore               810
  With ful glad herte, and preyden him also
  That he wold vouche-sauf for to do so,
  And that he wolde been our governour,
  And of our tales Iuge and reportour,
  And sette a soper at a certeyn prys;                         815
  And we wold reuled been at his devys,
  In heigh and lowe; and thus, by oon assent,
  We been acorded to his Iugement.                           (820)
  And ther-up-on the wyn was fet anon;
  We dronken, and to reste wente echon,                        820
  With-outen any lenger taryinge.

    812. E. would.   816. Hl. wolde; Pt. wold; _rest_ wol, wolen, wiln,
    wil.   817. Hl. lowe; E. lough.

    A-morwe, whan that day bigan to springe,
  Up roos our host, and was our aller cok,
  And gadrede us togidre, alle in a flok,
  And forth we riden, a litel more than pas,                   825
  [25: T. 828-860.]
  Un-to the watering of seint Thomas.
  And there our host bigan his hors areste,
  And seyde; 'Lordinges, herkneth, if yow leste.             (830)
  Ye woot your forward, and I it yow recorde.
  If even-song and morwe-song acorde,                          830
  Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
  As ever mote I drinke wyn or ale,
  Who-so be rebel to my Iugement
  Shal paye for al that by the weye is spent.
  Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twinne;                   835
  He which that hath the shortest shal biginne.
  Sire knight,' quod he, 'my maister and my lord,
  Now draweth cut, for that is myn acord.                    (840)
  Cometh neer,' quod he, 'my lady prioresse;
  And ye, sir clerk, lat be your shamfastnesse,                840
  Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man.'

    822. E. Hn. that; Hl. that the; _rest_ the.   E. gan for; Hn. Cp. Hl.
    bigan.   823. E. Hn. aller; Hl. althur; Cp. alther; Pt. Ln. alder.
    825. E. paas.   829. E. foreward (_badly_).   E. Hn. _om._ I.   831.
    Hl. ferst a tale.   835. Cp. Pt. Ln. ferther; Hl. forther.   836. E.
    Hn. shorteste.   840. E. shamefastnesse.

    Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
  And shortly for to tellen, as it was,
  Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
  The sothe is this, the cut fil to the knight,                845
  Of which ful blythe and glad was every wight;
  And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
  By forward and by composicioun,                            (850)
  As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
  And whan this gode man saugh it was so,                      850
  As he that wys was and obedient
  To kepe his forward by his free assent,
  He seyde: 'Sin I shal biginne the game,
  What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
  Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye.'                  855

    848, 852. E. foreward (_badly_).   850. _All insert_ that _after_ saugh
    (_needlessly_).   854. Hl. thou (_for_ the).

    And with that word we riden forth our weye;
  And he bigan with right a mery chere
  His tale anon, and seyde in this manere.                   (860)

HERE ENDETH THE PROLOG OF THIS BOOK; AND HERE BIGINNETH THE FIRST TALE,
WHICH IS THE KNIGHTES TALE.

    857. Cm. mery; E. myrie.   858. _So_ E. Hl.; _rest_ as ye may here.
    COLOPHON: _from_ MS. Sloane 1685, _which has_ Heere endith, heere,
    knyghte (_sic_).

[26: T. 861-885.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE KNIGHTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Iamque domos patrias, Scithice post aspera gentis_
  _Prelia, laurigero, &c._
                          [Statius, _Theb._ xii. 519.]

  Whylom, as olde stories tellen us,
  Ther was a duk that highte Theseus;                          860
  Of Athenes he was lord and governour,
  And in his tyme swich a conquerour,
  That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
  Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
  What with his wisdom and his chivalrye,                      865
  He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
  That whylom was y-cleped Scithia;
  And weddede the quene Ipolita,                              (10)
  And broghte hir hoom with him in his contree
  With muchel glorie and greet solempnitee,                    870
  And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
  And thus with victorie and with melodye
  Lete I this noble duk to Athenes ryde,
  And al his hoost, in armes, him bisyde.

    QUOTATION; _so in_ E. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln.   865. E. Hl. That; _rest_
    What.   868. Cp. Hl. weddede; Slo. weddide; _rest_ wedded.   871. E.
    faire; Pt. yenge; _rest_ yonge.

    And certes, if it nere to long to here,                    875
  I wolde han told yow fully the manere,
  How wonnen was the regne of Femenye
  By Theseus, and by his chivalrye;                           (20)
  And of the grete bataille for the nones
  Bitwixen Athenës and Amazones;                               880
  And how asseged was Ipolita,
  The faire hardy quene of Scithia;
  And of the feste that was at hir weddinge,
  [27: T. 886-921.]
  And of the tempest at hir hoom-cominge;
  But al that thing I moot as now forbere.                     885
  I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
  And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
  The remenant of the tale is long y-nough.                   (30)
  I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
  Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,                      890
  And lat see now who shal the soper winne;
  And ther I lefte, I wol ageyn biginne.

    876. Hl. han told [gh]ow; E. yow haue toold; _rest_ haue toold
    (told).   880. Tyrwhitt _inserts_ the _after_ and; _but see_ 968, 973,
    1023, &c.   889. Hl. lette eek non of al; _rest_ letten, _and omit_
    al.   892. Hl. agayn; E. Hn. Cp. Pt. ayeyn.

    This duk, of whom I make mencioun,
  When he was come almost unto the toun,
  In al his wele and in his moste pryde,                       895
  He was war, as he caste his eye asyde,
  Wher that ther kneled in the hye weye
  A companye of ladies, tweye and tweye,                      (40)
  Ech after other, clad in clothes blake;
  But swich a cry and swich a wo they make,                    900
  That in this world nis creature livinge,
  That herde swich another weymentinge;
  And of this cry they nolde never stenten,
  Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.

    897. E. _om._ hye; _rest_ hye, heighe, hihe, highe, high.

    'What folk ben ye, that at myn hoom-cominge                905
  Perturben so my feste with cryinge?'
  Quod Theseus, 'have ye so greet envye
  Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?                (50)
  Or who hath yow misboden, or offended?
  And telleth me if it may been amended;                       910
  And why that ye ben clothed thus in blak?'

    The eldest lady of hem alle spak,
  When she hadde swowned with a deedly chere,
  That it was routhe for to seen and here,
  And seyde: 'Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven                 915
  Victorie, and as a conquerour to liven,
  Noght greveth us your glorie and your honour;
  But we biseken mercy and socour.                            (60)
  Have mercy on our wo and our distresse.
  [28: T. 922-957.]
  Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,                  920
  Up-on us wrecched wommen lat thou falle.
  For certes, lord, ther nis noon of us alle,
  That she nath been a duchesse or a quene;
  Now be we caitifs, as it is wel sene:
  Thanked be Fortune, and hir false wheel,                     925
  That noon estat assureth to be weel.
  And certes, lord, to abyden your presence,
  Here in the temple of the goddesse Clemence                 (70)
  We han ben waytinge al this fourtenight;
  Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy might.                  930

    912. Cm. eldest; E. eldeste.   914. E. routhe; Ln. rewthe; Slo.
    reuthe.   Hl. or; _rest_ and.   915. Hn. yiuen; E. yeuen.   916. Hn.
    conquerour; E. conqueror.   917. Hn. Hl. Noght; E. Pt. Ln. Nat.   Hl.
    _om. 2nd _ your.   922. Hl. nys; _rest_ is.   923. E. Hn. Pt. Ln. ne
    hath.   924. Cp. Hl. caytifs; E. Hn. Pt. caytyues.

    I wrecche, which that wepe and waille thus,
  Was whylom wyf to king Capaneus,
  That starf at Thebes, cursed be that day!
  And alle we, that been in this array,
  And maken al this lamentacioun,                              935
  We losten alle our housbondes at that toun,
  Whyl that the sege ther-aboute lay.
  And yet now the olde Creon, weylaway!                       (80)
  That lord is now of Thebes the citee,
  Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,                             940
  He, for despyt, and for his tirannye,
  To do the dede bodyes vileinye,
  Of alle our lordes, whiche that ben slawe,
  Hath alle the bodyes on an heep y-drawe,
  And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,                     945
  Neither to been y-buried nor y-brent,
  But maketh houndes ete hem in despyt.'
  And with that word, with-outen more respyt,                 (90)
  They fillen gruf, and cryden pitously,
  'Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,                       950
  And lat our sorwe sinken in thyn herte.'

    931. E. crie; Hn. Hl. waille; Cp. Pt. weile.   938. _Only_ Hl. _om._
    now.   943. Hl. i-slawe.   944. E. He hath; _rest_ Hath.

    This gentil duk doun from his courser sterte
  With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
  Him thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
  Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so mat,                      955
  [29: T. 958-995.]
  That whylom weren of so greet estat.
  And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
  And hem conforteth in ful good entente;                    (100)
  And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knight,
  He wolde doon so ferforthly his might                        960
  Up-on the tyraunt Creon hem to wreke,
  That al the peple of Grece sholde speke
  How Creon was of Theseus y-served,
  As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
  And right anoon, with-outen more abood,                      965
  His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
  To Thebes-ward, and al his host bisyde;
  No neer Athenës wolde he go ne ryde,                       (110)
  Ne take his ese fully half a day,
  But onward on his wey that night he lay;                     970
  And sente anoon Ipolita the quene,
  And Emelye hir yonge suster shene,
  Un-to the toun of Athenës to dwelle;
  And forth he rit; ther nis namore to telle.

    955. E. maat.   956. E. estaat.   974. Hn. Cp. nys; _rest_ is.

    The rede statue of Mars, with spere and targe,             975
  So shyneth in his whyte baner large,
  That alle the feeldes gliteren up and doun;
  And by his baner born is his penoun                        (120)
  Of gold ful riche, in which ther was y-bete
  The Minotaur, which that he slough in Crete.                 980
  Thus rit this duk, thus rit this conquerour,
  And in his host of chivalrye the flour,
  Til that he cam to Thebes, and alighte
  Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoghte fighte.
  But shortly for to speken of this thing,                     985
  With Creon, which that was of Thebes king,
  He faught, and slough him manly as a knight
  In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flight;           (130)
  And by assaut he wan the citee after,
  And rente adoun bothe wal, and sparre, and rafter;           990
  And to the ladyes he restored agayn
  The bones of hir housbondes that were slayn,
  To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
  [30: T. 996-1031.]
  But it were al to long for to devyse
  The grete clamour and the waymentinge                        995
  That the ladyes made at the brenninge
  Of the bodyes, and the grete honour
  That Theseus, the noble conquerour,                        (140)
  Doth to the ladyes, whan they from him wente;
  But shortly for to telle is myn entente.                    1000
  Whan that this worthy duk, this Theseus,
  Hath Creon slayn, and wonne Thebes thus,
  Stille in that feeld he took al night his reste,
  And dide with al the contree as him leste.

    984. Hn. thoghte; E. thoughte.   992. E. weren.   996. Hl. Which that.

    To ransake in the tas of bodyes dede,                     1005
  Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
  The pilours diden bisinesse and cure,
  After the bataille and disconfiture.                       (150)
  And so bifel, that in the tas they founde,
  Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,               1010
  Two yonge knightes ligging by and by,
  Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
  Of whiche two, Arcita hight that oon,
  And that other knight hight Palamon.
  Nat fully quike, ne fully dede they were,                   1015
  But by hir cote-armures, and by hir gere,
  The heraudes knewe hem best in special,
  As they that weren of the blood royal                      (160)
  Of Thebes, and of sustren two y-born.
  Out of the tas the pilours han hem torn,                    1020
  And han hem caried softe un-to the tente
  Of Theseus, and he ful sone hem sente
  To Athenës, to dwellen in prisoun
  Perpetuelly, he nolde no raunsoun.
  And whan this worthy duk hath thus y-don,                   1025
  He took his host, and hoom he rood anon
  With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
  And there he liveth, in Ioye and in honour,                (170)
  Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
  [31: T. 1032-1066.]
  And in a tour, in angwish and in wo,                        1030
  Dwellen this Palamoun and eek Arcite,
  For evermore, ther may no gold hem quyte.

    1005, 1009, 1020. E. Hn. Cm. taas; Hl. cas; Cp. Pt. Ln. caas; _read_
    tas.   1005. Hn. Cm. Hl. of; _rest_ of the.   1013, 1014. Hl. hight; E.
    highte.   1022. E. Hl. ful soone he.   1023. Hl. Tathenes for to.
    1029. E. Cm. _om._ his. E. lyue; _rest_ lyf, lif.   1031. E. Cm. Hl.
    This Palamon and his felawe Arcite.

    This passeth yeer by yeer, and day by day,
  Til it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
  That Emelye, that fairer was to sene                        1035
  Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene,
  And fressher than the May with floures newe--
  For with the rose colour stroof hir hewe,                  (180)
  I noot which was the fairer of hem two--
  Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,                      1040
  She was arisen, and al redy dight;
  For May wol have no slogardye a-night.
  The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
  And maketh him out of his sleep to sterte,
  And seith, 'Arys, and do thyn observaunce.'                 1045
  This maked Emelye have remembraunce
  To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
  Y-clothed was she fresh, for to devyse;                    (190)
  Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse,
  Bihinde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.                     1050
  And in the gardin, at the sonne up-riste,
  She walketh up and doun, and as hir liste
  She gadereth floures, party whyte and rede,
  To make a sotil gerland for hir hede,
  And as an aungel hevenly she song.                          1055
  The grete tour, that was so thikke and strong,
  Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun,
  (Ther-as the knightes weren in prisoun,                    (200)
  Of whiche I tolde yow, and tellen shal)
  Was evene Ioynant to the gardin-wal,                        1060
  Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyinge.
  Bright was the sonne, and cleer that morweninge,
  And Palamon, this woful prisoner,
  As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
  [32: T. 1067-1103.]
  Was risen, and romed in a chambre on heigh,                 1065
  In which he al the noble citee seigh,
  And eek the gardin, ful of braunches grene,
  Ther-as this fresshe Emelye the shene                      (210)
  Was in hir walk, and romed up and doun.
  This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,                      1070
  Goth in the chambre, roming to and fro,
  And to him-self compleyning of his wo;
  That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, 'alas!'
  And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
  That thurgh a window, thikke of many a barre                1075
  Of yren greet, and square as any sparre,
  He caste his eye upon Emelya,
  And ther-with-al he bleynte, and cryde 'a!'                (220)
  As though he stongen were un-to the herte.
  And with that cry Arcite anon up-sterte,                    1080
  And seyde, 'Cosin myn, what eyleth thee,
  That art so pale and deedly on to see?
  Why crydestow? who hath thee doon offence?
  For Goddes love, tak al in pacience
  Our prisoun, for it may non other be;                       1085
  Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
  Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
  Of Saturne, by sum constellacioun,                         (230)
  Hath yeven us this, al-though we hadde it sworn;
  So stood the heven whan that we were born;                  1090
  We moste endure it: this is the short and pleyn.'

    1036. Hl. on hire.   1039. E. Hl. fyner; Cm. fynere; Hn. Cp. Pt.
    fairer.   1042. E. slogardrie; _rest_ slogardye (sloggardye,
    sluggardie).   1049. E. Hn. Cm. Cp. broyded; Pt. breided; Ln. Hl.
    browded.   1054. Ln. sotil; Cp. sotyl; E. Hn. Cm. subtil; Pt. subtile;
    Hl. certeyn.   1055. Hl. Pt. heuenly; Cm. heueneliche; E. Hn. Cp. Ln.
    heuenysshly.   1063. E. And this Palamon.   1065. Hl. Cp. Pt. on;
    _rest_ an.   1091. _Only_ E. _om._ it.

    This Palamon answerde, and seyde ageyn,
  'Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
  Thou hast a veyn imaginacioun.
  This prison caused me nat for to crye.                      1095
  But I was hurt right now thurgh-out myn yë
  In-to myn herte, that wol my bane be.
  The fairnesse of that lady that I see                      (240)
  Yond in the gardin romen to and fro,
  Is cause of al my crying and my wo.                         1100
  I noot wher she be womman or goddesse;
  [33: T. 1104-1139.]
  But Venus is it, soothly, as I gesse.'
  And ther-with-al on kneës doun he fil,
  And seyde: 'Venus, if it be thy wil
  Yow in this gardin thus to transfigure                      1105
  Bifore me, sorweful wrecche creature,
  Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
  And if so be my destinee be shapen                         (250)
  By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
  Of our linage have som compassioun,                         1110
  That is so lowe y-broght by tirannye.'
  And with that word Arcite gan espye
  Wher-as this lady romed to and fro.
  And with that sighte hir beautee hurte him so,
  That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,                     1115
  Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or more.
  And with a sigh he seyde pitously:
  'The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly                    (260)
  Of hir that rometh in the yonder place;
  And, but I have hir mercy and hir grace,                    1120
  That I may seen hir atte leeste weye,
  I nam but deed; ther nis namore to seye.'

    1096. Cm. Pt. ye; Hn. Iye; Cp. Hl. yhe; E. eye.   1101. Cm. wheþer; Hl.
    wheþur.   1103. Hl. Cp. a doun.   1115. E. _wrongly om._ was.   1116.
    Hn. muche; E. moche.   1122. E. is; _rest_ nys.

    This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
  Dispitously he loked, and answerde:
  'Whether seistow this in ernest or in pley?'                1125

    1125 E. Wheither.

    'Nay,' quod Arcite, 'in ernest, by my fey!
  God help me so, me list ful yvele pleye.'

    This Palamon gan knitte his browes tweye:                (270)
  'It nere,' quod he, 'to thee no greet honour
  For to be fals, ne for to be traytour                       1130
  To me, that am thy cosin and thy brother
  Y-sworn ful depe, and ech of us til other,
  That never, for to dyen in the peyne,
  Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
  Neither of us in love to hindren other,                     1135
  Ne in non other cas, my leve brother;
  But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
  [34: T. 1140-1174.]
  In every cas, and I shal forthren thee.                    (280)
  This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
  I wot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.                1140
  Thus artow of my counseil, out of doute.
  And now thou woldest falsly been aboute
  To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
  And ever shal, til that myn herte sterve.
  Now certes, fals Arcite, thou shalt nat so.                 1145
  I loved hir first, and tolde thee my wo
  As to my counseil, and my brother sworn
  To forthre me, as I have told biforn.                      (290)
  For which thou art y-bounden as a knight
  To helpen me, if it lay in thy might,                       1150
  Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn.'

    1132. til] Cm. Pt. Ln. Hl. to.   1134. E. Ln. Hl. _om._ the.   1135. E.
    hyndre; Cm. hynderyn.   1138. E. as; _rest_ and.   1141, 1151. E. Hn.
    artow; _rest_ art thou.   1145. E. Nay; _rest_ Now.   1147. E. Cm. and
    to my.

    This Arcitë ful proudly spak ageyn,
  'Thou shalt,' quod he, 'be rather fals than I;
  But thou art fals, I telle thee utterly;
  For _par amour_ I loved hir first er thow.                  1155
  What wiltow seyn? thou wistest nat yet now
  Whether she be a womman or goddesse!
  Thyn is affeccioun of holinesse,                           (300)
  And myn is love, as to a creature;
  For which I tolde thee myn aventure                         1160
  As to my cosin, and my brother sworn.
  I pose, that thou lovedest hir biforn;
  Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
  That 'who shal yeve a lover any lawe?'
  Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,                          1165
  Than may be yeve to any erthly man.
  And therefore positif lawe and swich decree
  Is broke al-day for love, in ech degree.                   (310)
  A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed.
  He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,               1170
  Al be she mayde, or widwe, or elles wyf.
  And eek it is nat lykly, al thy lyf,
  [35: T. 1175-1210.]
  To stonden in hir grace; namore shal I;
  For wel thou woost thy-selven, verraily,
  That thou and I be dampned to prisoun                       1175
  Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
  We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon,
  They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon;            (320)
  Ther cam a kyte, whyl that they were wrothe,
  And bar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.                    1180
  And therfore, at the kinges court, my brother,
  Ech man for him-self, ther is non other.
  Love if thee list; for I love and ay shal;
  And soothly, leve brother, this is al.
  Here in this prisoun mote we endure,                        1185
  And everich of us take his aventure.'

    1154. E. Hn. And; _rest_ But. Hl. Cm. uttirly; Cp. Pt. Ln. witterly; E.
    Hn. outrely.   1156. Cp. Pt. wilt thou; Hl. wolt thou.   1157. E.
    Wheither.   1163. Cm. Wist thou; Hl. Ln. Wost thou; Pt. Woost thow.
    1166. E. of; _rest_ to.   1167. Hl. _om._ And.   1168. L. Cm. broken.
    1170. Hn. Cp. Pt. fleen; E. Hl. flee.   1177. Hn. Cm. Hl. stryue;
    _rest_ stryuen.   1179. E. _om._ that.   _All but_ Cm. Hl. _ins._ so
    _after_ were.

    Greet was the stryf and long bitwixe hem tweye,
  If that I hadde leyser for to seye;                        (330)
  But to theffect. It happed on a day,
  (To telle it yow as shortly as I may)                       1190
  A worthy duk that highte Perotheus,
  That felawe was un-to duk Theseus
  Sin thilke day that they were children lyte,
  Was come to Athenes, his felawe to visyte,
  And for to pleye, as he was wont to do,                     1195
  For in this world he loved no man so:
  And he loved him as tendrely ageyn.
  So wel they loved, as olde bokes seyn,                     (340)
  That whan that oon was deed, sothly to telle,
  His felawe wente and soghte him doun in helle;              1200
  But of that story list me nat to wryte.
  Duk Perotheus loved wel Arcite,
  And hadde him knowe at Thebes yeer by yere;
  And fynally, at requeste and preyere
  Of Perotheus, with-oute any raunsoun,                       1205
  Duk Theseus him leet out of prisoun,
  Freely to goon, wher that him liste over-al,
  In swich a gyse, as I you tellen shal.                     (350)
  [36: T. 1211-1247.]
  This was the forward, pleynly for tendyte,
  Bitwixen Theseus and him Arcite:                            1210
  That if so were, that Arcite were y-founde
  Ever in his lyf, by day or night or stounde
  In any contree of this Theseus,
  And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
  That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed;                  1215
  Ther nas non other remedye ne reed,
  But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde;
  Let him be war, his nekke lyth to wedde!                   (360)

    1192. E. to; Hl. to the; _rest_ un-to.   1195. E. won; Cm. wone; _rest_
    wont.   1197. E. Cp. als; Hn. Cm. Hl. as.   1198. E. louede.   1200.
    Hn. soghte; E. soughte.   1205. Hl. Cp. Pt. with-oute; _rest_
    with-outen.   1217. Hl. (_alone_) took.

    How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
  The deeth he feleth thurgh his herte smyte;                 1220
  He wepeth, wayleth, cryeth pitously;
  To sleen him-self he wayteth prively.
  He seyde, 'Allas that day that I was born!
  Now is my prison worse than biforn;
  Now is me shape eternally to dwelle                         1225
  Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
  Allas! that ever knew I Perotheus!
  For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus                     (370)
  Y-fetered in his prisoun ever-mo.
  Than hadde I been in blisse, and nat in wo.                 1230
  Only the sighte of hir, whom that I serve,
  Though that I never hir grace may deserve,
  Wolde han suffised right y-nough for me.
  O dere cosin Palamon,' quod he,
  'Thyn is the victorie of this aventure,                     1235
  Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure;
  In prison? certes nay, but in paradys!
  Wel hath fortune y-turned thee the dys,                    (380)
  That hast the sighte of hir, and I thabsence.
  For possible is, sin thou hast hir presence,                1240
  And art a knight, a worthy and an able,
  That by som cas, sin fortune is chaungeable,
  Thou mayst to thy desyr som-tyme atteyne.
  But I, that am exyled, and bareyne
  Of alle grace, and in so greet despeir,                     1245
  [37: T. 1248-1283.]
  That ther nis erthe, water, fyr, ne eir,
  Ne creature, that of hem maked is,
  That may me helpe or doon confort in this.                 (390)
  Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse;
  Farwel my lyf, my lust, and my gladnesse!                   1250

    1223. that (i)] Hn. Hl. the. E. he; _rest_ I.   1226. Hn. Noght; E.
    Nat; Cm. Not; _rest_ Nought.   E. _ins._ my _after_ in.   1228. Hl.
    dweld.   1237. Cp. Pt. Ln. _om._ in. 1242.   E. (_alone_) _om._ by.
    1248. E. heele; _rest_ helpe.

    Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
  Of purveyaunce of God, or of fortune,
  That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
  Wel bettre than they can hem-self devyse?
  Som man desyreth for to han richesse,                       1255
  That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse.
  And som man wolde out of his prison fayn,
  That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.                   (400)
  Infinite harmes been in this matere;
  We witen nat what thing we preyen here.                     1260
  We faren as he that dronke is as a mous;
  A dronke man wot wel he hath an hous,
  But he noot which the righte wey is thider;
  And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
  And certes, in this world so faren we;                      1265
  We seken faste after felicitee,
  But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
  Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,                      (410)
  That wende and hadde a greet opinioun,
  That, if I mighte escapen from prisoun,                     1270
  Than hadde I been in Ioye and perfit hele,
  Ther now I am exyled fro my wele.
  Sin that I may nat seen yow, Emelye,
  I nam but deed; ther nis no remedye.'

    1256. Cp. Ln. mordre; E. Hn. moerdre; Cm. Pt: mordere; Hl. morthre.
    1260. E. (_alone_) _om._ thing.   1262. E. Cm. wel that he.   1268. Hl.
    seyen; E. Hn. Cm. Cp. seyn.   1272. Ther] E. That.

    Up-on that other syde Palamon,                            1275
  Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
  Swich sorwe he maketh, that the grete tour
  Resouneth of his youling and clamour.                      (420)
  The pure fettres on his shines grete
  Weren of his bittre salte teres wete.                       1280
  'Allas!' quod he, 'Arcita, cosin myn,
  [38: T. 1284-1317.]
  Of al our stryf, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
  Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
  And of my wo thou yevest litel charge.
  Thou mayst, sin thou hast wisdom and manhede,               1285
  Assemblen alle the folk of our kinrede,
  And make a werre so sharp on this citee,
  That by som aventure, or som tretee,                       (430)
  Thou mayst have hir to lady and to wyf,
  For whom that I mot nedes lese my lyf.                      1290
  For, as by wey of possibilitee,
  Sith thou art at thy large, of prison free,
  And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage,
  More than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
  For I mot wepe and wayle, whyl I live,                      1295
  With al the wo that prison may me yive,
  And eek with peyne that love me yiveth also,
  That doubleth al my torment and my wo.'                    (440)
  Ther-with the fyr of Ielousye up-sterte
  With-inne his brest, and hente him by the herte             1300
  So woodly, that he lyk was to biholde
  The box-tree, or the asshen dede and colde.
  Tho seyde he; 'O cruel goddes, that governe
  This world with binding of your word eterne,
  And wryten in the table of athamaunt                        1305
  Your parlement, and your eterne graunt,
  What is mankinde more un-to yow holde
  Than is the sheep, that rouketh in the folde?              (450)
  For slayn is man right as another beste,
  And dwelleth eek in prison and areste,                      1310
  And hath siknesse, and greet adversitee,
  And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee!

    1278. E. Resouned; _rest_ Resouneth. Cp. Hl. yollyng; Pt. Ln.
    yellinge.   1290. _All_ moste, most, muste; _but read_ mot: _see_ l.
    1295.   1296. Hl. [gh]yue; E. yeue.   1297. E. yeueth.   1299. Hl.
    Ielousye; E. Ialousie.   1303. Hl. Tho; E. Thanne. E. crueel
    gooddes(!).   1305. Hl. Cm. athamaunte; E. Atthamaunt.   1309. Cm. Hl.
    beste; E. beest.   1310. Cm. areste; Hl. arreste; E. arreest.   1312,
    1314. Cm. Cp. Hl. gilteles; E. giltlees.

    What governaunce is in this prescience,
  That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
  And yet encreseth this al my penaunce,                      1315
  [39: T. 1318-1353.]
  That man is bounden to his observaunce,
  For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
  Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.                  (460)
  And whan a beest is deed, he hath no peyne;
  But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,               1320
  Though in this world he have care and wo:
  With-outen doute it may stonden so.
  The answere of this I lete to divynis,
  But wel I woot, that in this world gret pyne is.
  Allas! I see a serpent or a theef,                          1325
  That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
  Goon at his large, and wher him list may turne.
  But I mot been in prison thurgh Saturne,                   (470)
  And eek thurgh Iuno, Ialous and eek wood,
  That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood                     1330
  Of Thebes, with his waste walles wyde.
  And Venus sleeth me on that other syde
  For Ielousye, and fere of him Arcite.'

    1315. Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. encreseth; E. encresseth.   1320. _So_ Hn. Cm.
    Hl.; _rest_ after his deeth man.   1323. _So_ Hl.; _rest_ lete I.
    1331. E. hise.   1333. E. Ialousie.

    Now wol I stinte of Palamon a lyte,
  And lete him in his prison stille dwelle,                   1335
  And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.

    The somer passeth, and the nightes longe
  Encresen double wyse the peynes stronge                    (480)
  Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
  I noot which hath the wofullere mester.                     1340
  For shortly for to seyn, this Palamoun
  Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
  In cheynes and in fettres to ben deed;
  And Arcite is exyled upon his heed
  For ever-mo as out of that contree,                         1345
  Ne never-mo he shal his lady see.

    1337. E. (_alone_) sonne.   1338. E. Encressen.   1344. Cm. Cp. Pt. vp
    (_perhaps rightly_).

    Yow loveres axe I now this questioun,
  Who hath the worse, Arcite or Palamoun?                    (490)
  That oon may seen his lady day by day,
  But in prison he moot dwelle alway.                         1350
  That other wher him list may ryde or go,
  [40: T. 1354-1386.]
  But seen his lady shal he never-mo.
  Now demeth as yow liste, ye that can,
  For I wol telle forth as I bigan.

    1347. E. Now (_wrongly_); rest Yow.   1350. Hn. Cp. Pt. moot he.
    1353. Ln. liste; Cm. lyste; Hl. luste; _rest_ list.

      EXPLICIT PRIMA PARS.   SEQUITUR PARS SECUNDA.

    Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen was,                     1355
  Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde 'allas,'
  For seen his lady shal he never-mo.
  And shortly to concluden al his wo,                        (500)
  So muche sorwe had never creature
  That is, or shal, whyl that the world may dure.             1360
  His sleep, his mete, his drink is him biraft,
  That lene he wex, and drye as is a shaft.
  His eyen holwe, and grisly to biholde;
  His hewe falwe, and pale as asshen colde,
  And solitarie he was, and ever allone,                      1365
  And wailling al the night, making his mone.
  And if he herde song or instrument,
  Then wolde he wepe, he mighte nat be stent;                (510)
  So feble eek were his spirits, and so lowe,
  And chaunged so, that no man coude knowe                    1370
  His speche nor his vois, though men it herde.
  And in his gere, for al the world he ferde
  Nat oonly lyk the loveres maladye
  Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye
  Engendred of humour malencolyk,                             1375
  Biforen, in his celle fantastyk.
  And shortly, turned was al up-so-doun
  Bothe habit and eek disposicioun                           (520)
  Of him, this woful lovere daun Arcite.

    1359. Hl. Pt. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.   1362. E. Pt. wexeth.   1364. Hi.
    Cm. Cp. falwe; E. Hn. falow.   1369. E. spiritz.   1376. E. Biforn his
    owene; Cm. Be-forn hese owene; Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Biforn his; Hl. Beforne
    in his.

    What sholde I al-day of his wo endyte?                    1380
  Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
  This cruel torment, and this peyne and wo,
  At Thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
  Up-on a night, in sleep as he him leyde,
  [41: T. 1387-1424.]
  Him thoughte how that the winged god Mercurie               1385
  Biforn him stood, and bad him to be murye.
  His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
  An hat he werede up-on his heres brighte.                  (530)
  Arrayed was this god (as he took keep)
  As he was whan that Argus took his sleep;                   1390
  And seyde him thus: 'To Athenes shaltou wende;
  Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende.'
  And with that word Arcite wook and sterte.
  'Now trewely, how sore that me smerte,'
  Quod he, 'to Athenes right now wol I fare;                  1395
  Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
  To see my lady, that I love and serve;
  In hir presence I recche nat to sterve.'                   (540)

    1382. E. crueel.   1388. E. vp (_perhaps rightly_); _rest_ vp-on.
    1389. E. I; _rest_ he.

    And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
  And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,                  1400
  And saugh his visage al in another kinde.
  And right anoon it ran him in his minde,
  That, sith his face was so disfigured
  Of maladye, the which he hadde endured,
  He mighte wel, if that he bar him lowe,                     1405
  Live in Athenes ever-more unknowe,
  And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
  And right anon he chaunged his array,                      (550)
  And cladde him as a povre laborer,
  And al allone, save oonly a squyer,                         1410
  That knew his privetee and al his cas,
  Which was disgysed povrely, as he was,
  To Athenes is he goon the nexte way.
  And to the court he wente up-on a day,
  And at the gate he profreth his servyse,                    1415
  To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
  And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
  He fil in office with a chamberleyn,                       (560)
  The which that dwelling was with Emelye.
  For he was wys, and coude soon aspye                        1420
  Of every servaunt, which that serveth here.
  Wel coude he hewen wode, and water bere,
  [42: T. 1425-1461.]
  For he was yong and mighty for the nones,
  And ther-to be was strong and big of bones
  To doon that any wight can him devyse.                      1425
  A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
  Page of the chambre of Emelye the brighte;
  And 'Philostrate' he seide that he highte.                 (570)
  But half so wel biloved a man as he
  Ne was ther never in court, of his degree;                  1430
  He was so gentil of condicioun,
  That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
  They seyden, that it were a charitee
  That Theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
  And putten him in worshipful servyse,                       1435
  Ther as he mighte his vertu excercyse.
  And thus, with-inne a whyle, his name is spronge
  Bothe of his dedes, and his goode tonge,                   (580)
  That Theseus hath taken him so neer
  That of his chambre he made him a squyer,                   1440
  And yaf him gold to mayntene his degree;
  And eek men broghte him out of his contree
  From yeer to yeer, ful prively, his rente;
  But honestly and slyly he it spente,
  That no man wondred how that he it hadde.                   1445
  And three yeer in this wyse his lyf he ladde,
  And bar him so in pees and eek in werre,
  Ther nas no man that Theseus hath derre.                   (590)
  And in this blisse lete I now Arcite,
  And speke I wol of Palamon a lyte.                          1450

    1424. E. Cm. long; _rest_ strong.   1431. E. Hl. _ins._ his _after_
    of.   1441. E. Hn. Cp. gaf.

    In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
  This seven yeer hath seten Palamoun,
  Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse;
  Who feleth double soor and hevinesse
  But Palamon? that love destreyneth so,                      1455
  That wood out of his wit he gooth for wo;
  And eek therto he is a prisoner
  Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yeer.                       (600)
  Who coude ryme in English proprely
  [43: T. 1462-1497.]
  His martirdom? for sothe, it am nat I;                      1460
  Therefore I passe as lightly as I may.

    1454. E. Hn. Pt. soor; Cp. Ln. sore; Cm. Hl. sorwe.   E. _om._ and.

    It fel that in the seventhe yeer, in May,
  The thridde night, (as olde bokes seyn,
  That al this storie tellen more pleyn,)
  Were it by aventure or destinee,                            1465
  (As, whan a thing is shapen, it shal be,)
  That, sone after the midnight, Palamoun,
  By helping of a freend, brak his prisoun,                  (610)
  And fleeth the citee, faste as he may go;
  For he had yive his gayler drinke so                        1470
  Of a clarree, maad of a certeyn wyn,
  With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
  That al that night, thogh that men wolde him shake,
  The gayler sleep, he mighte nat awake;
  And thus he fleeth as faste as ever he may.                 1475
  The night was short, and faste by the day,
  That nedes-cost he moste him-selven hyde,
  And til a grove, faste ther besyde,                        (620)
  With dredful foot than stalketh Palamoun.
  For shortly, this was his opinioun,                         1480
  That in that grove he wolde him hyde al day,
  And in the night than wolde he take his way
  To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
  On Theseus to helpe him to werreye;
  And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lyf,                  1485
  Or winnen Emelye un-to his wyf;
  This is theffect and his entente pleyn.

    1470. Hl. [gh]iue; E. yeue.   1472. E. Of; _rest_ With.   1477. E.
    moot; _rest_ moste, most, muste.   1479. E. Hn. Cm. thanne; _rest_
    than.

    Now wol I torne un-to Arcite ageyn,                      (630)
  That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
  Til that fortune had broght him in the snare.               1490

    1488. E. Hn. Ln. to; _rest_ vn-to.

    The bisy larke, messager of day,
  Saluëth in hir song the morwe gray;
  And fyry Phebus ryseth up so brighte,
  That al the orient laugheth of the lighte,
  And with his stremes dryeth in the greves                   1495
  [44: T. 1498-1532.]
  The silver dropes, hanging on the leves.
  And Arcite, that is in the court royal
  With Theseus, his squyer principal,                        (640)
  Is risen, and loketh on the myrie day.
  And, for to doon his observaunce to May,                    1500
  Remembring on the poynt of his desyr,
  He on a courser, sterting as the fyr,
  Is riden in-to the feeldes, him to pleye,
  Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye;
  And to the grove, of which that I yow tolde,                1505
  By aventure, his wey he gan to holde,
  To maken him a gerland of the greves,
  Were it of wodebinde or hawethorn-leves,                   (650)
  And loude he song ageyn the sonne shene:
  'May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,                  1510
  Wel-come be thou, faire fresshe May,
  I hope that I som grene gete may.'
  And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
  In-to the grove ful hastily he sterte,
  And in a path he rometh up and doun,                        1515
  Ther-as, by aventure, this Palamoun
  Was in a bush, that no man mighte him see,
  For sore afered of his deeth was he.                       (660)
  No-thing ne knew he that it was Arcite:
  God wot he wolde have trowed it ful lyte.                   1520
  But sooth is seyd, gon sithen many yeres,
  That 'feeld hath eyen, and the wode hath eres.'
  It is ful fair a man to bere him evene,
  For al-day meteth men at unset stevene.
  Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,                        1525
  That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
  For in the bush he sitteth now ful stille.

    1491. day] Hl. May.   1495. E. hise.   1497. Hl. Arcite; _rest_
    Arcita.   1502. E. Hn. Cm. a; _rest_ his.   Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. stertyng;
    E. Hn. startlynge; Cm. stertelynge.   1511. Hl. wel faire; _rest om._
    wel.   1512. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. In; _rest_ I.   1514. E. a; _rest_ the.
    1518. Hn. Hl. afered; Cm. ofered; _rest_ aferd.   E. (_alone_) _ins._
    thanne _bef._ was.   1521. Hl. Pt. goon; Cm. Ln. gon; E. Hn. Cp. go.
    1526. E. Hn. al; _rest_ of.

    Whan that Arcite had romed al his fille,                 (670)
  And songen al the roundel lustily,
  In-to a studie he fil sodeynly,                             1530
  [45: T. 1533-1567.]
  As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
  Now in the croppe, now doun in the breres,
  Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
  Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,
  Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,                       1535
  Right so can gery Venus overcaste
  The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
  Is gerful, right so chaungeth she array.                   (680)
  Selde is the Friday al the wyke y-lyke.

    1530. E. fil al: _rest om._ al.   1532. E. Hn. Cm. crop; Cp. Hl. Pt.
    croppe.   1536. E. Hn. Cm. kan; _rest_ gan.   1538. E. gereful; Cp.
    geerful; Hl. grisful; _rest_ gerful.   1539. Hl. wyke; Hn. Cp. wike;
    Pt. Ln. weke; Cm. wouke; E. wowke.

    Whan that Arcite had songe, he gan to syke,               1540
  And sette him doun with-outen any more:
  'Alas!' quod he, 'that day that I was bore!
  How longe, Iuno, thurgh thy crueltee,
  Woltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
  Allas! y-broght is to confusioun                            1545
  The blood royal of Cadme and Amphioun;
  Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man
  That Thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,                  690
  And of the citee first was crouned king,
  Of his linage am I, and his of-spring                       1550
  By verray ligne, as of the stok royal:
  And now I am so caitif and so thral,
  That he, that is my mortal enemy,
  I serve him as his squyer povrely.
  And yet doth Iuno me wel more shame,                        1555
  For I dar noght biknowe myn owne name;
  But ther-as I was wont to highte Arcite,
  Now highte I Philostrate, noght worth a myte.                700
  Allas! thou felle Mars, allas! Iuno,
  Thus hath your ire our kinrede al fordo,                    1560
  Save only me, and wrecched Palamoun,
  That Theseus martyreth in prisoun.
  And over al this, to sleen me utterly,
  Love hath his fyry dart so brenningly
  Y-stiked thurgh my trewe careful herte,                     1565
  [46: T. 1568-1602.]
  That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
  Ye sleen me with your eyen, Emelye;
  Ye been the cause wherfor that I dye.                      (710)
  Of al the remenant of myn other care
  Ne sette I nat the mountaunce of a tare,                    1570
  So that I coude don aught to your plesaunce!'
  And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
  A longe tyme; and after he up-sterte.

    1551. Cm. Pt. Hl. lyne.   1556. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. owne; E. owene.   1557.
    highte] Hl. hote.   1560. E. kynrede; _rest_ lynage (lignage).   1563.
    Hl. vtterly; E. outrely.   1573. _So_ E.; _rest_ afterward (_for_
    after).   Hl. _om_ he.

    This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
  He felte a cold swerd sodeynliche glyde,                    1575
  For ire he quook, no lenger wolde he byde.
  And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
  As he were wood, with face deed and pale,                  (720)
  He sterte him up out of the buskes thikke,
  And seyde: 'Arcite, false traitour wikke,                   1580
  Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
  For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
  And art my blood, and to my counseil sworn,
  As I ful ofte have told thee heer-biforn,
  And hast by-iaped here duk Theseus,                         1585
  And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus;
  I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
  Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,                        (730)
  But I wol love hir only, and namo;
  For I am Palamoun, thy mortal fo.                           1590
  And though that I no wepne have in this place,
  But out of prison am astert by grace,
  I drede noght that outher thou shalt dye,
  Or thou ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
  Chees which thou wilt, for thou shalt nat asterte.'         1595

    1579. Hl. bussches; Cm. boschis; Ln. boskes.   1581. E. Hn. artow;
    _rest_ art thou.   1584. told] E. Cm. seyd.   1589. E. Hn. namo; Hl.
    Cm. no mo.   1595. E. Hn. wolt. Hl. for; _rest_ or.

    This Arcitë, with ful despitous herte,
  Whan he him knew, and hadde his tale herd,
  As fiers as leoun, pulled out a swerd,                     (740)
  And seyde thus: 'by God that sit above,
  Nere it that thou art sik, and wood for love,               1600
  [47: T. 1603-1639.]
  And eek that thou no wepne hast in this place,
  Thou sholdest never out of this grove pace,
  That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
  For I defye the seurtee and the bond
  Which that thou seyst that I have maad to thee.             1605
  What, verray fool, think wel that love is free,
  And I wol love hir, maugre al thy might!
  But, for as muche thou art a worthy knight,                (750)
  And wilnest to darreyne hir by batayle,
  Have heer my trouthe, to-morwe I wol nat fayle,             1610
  With-outen witing of any other wight,
  That here I wol be founden as a knight,
  And bringen harneys right y-nough for thee;
  And chees the beste, and leve the worste for me.
  And mete and drinke this night wol I bringe                 1615
  Y-nough for thee, and clothes for thy beddinge.
  And, if so be that thou my lady winne,
  And slee me in this wode ther I am inne,                   (760)
  Thou mayst wel have thy lady, as for me.'
  This Palamon answerde: 'I graunte it thee.'                 1620
  And thus they been departed til a-morwe,
  When ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.

    1598. E. Hn. his; _rest_ a.   1599. E. sit; Cm. set; _rest_ sitteth.
    1604. Hl. seurte; Cp. sewrte; E. seurete; Hn. seuretee.   1609. Cp.
    derreyne; Hl. dereyne.   1614. Hn. chees; Cm. Hl. ches; _rest_ chese.

    O Cupide, out of alle charitee!
  O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
  Ful sooth is seyd, that love ne lordshipe                   1625
  Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe;
  Wel finden that Arcite and Palamoun.
  Arcite is riden anon un-to the toun,                       (770)
  And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
  Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,                      1630
  Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
  The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne.
  And on his hors, allone as he was born,
  He carieth al this harneys him biforn;
  And in the grove, at tyme and place y-set,                  1635
  This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
  Tho chaungen gan the colour in hir face;
  [48: T. 1640-1675.]
  Right as the hunter in the regne of Trace,                 (780)
  That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
  Whan hunted is the leoun or the bere,                       1640
  And hereth him come russhing in the greves,
  And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
  And thinketh, 'heer cometh my mortel enemy,
  With-oute faile, he moot be deed, or I;
  For outher I mot sleen him at the gappe,                    1645
  Or he mot sleen me, if that me mishappe:'
  So ferden they, in chaunging of hir hewe,
  As fer as everich of hem other knewe.                      (790)
  Ther nas no good day, ne no saluing;
  But streight, with-outen word or rehersing,                 1650
  Everich of hem halp for to armen other,
  As freendly as he were his owne brother;
  And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
  They foynen ech at other wonder longe.
  Thou mightest wene that this Palamoun                       1655
  In his fighting were a wood leoun,
  And as a cruel tygre was Arcite:
  As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,                        (800)
  That frothen whyte as foom for ire wood.
  Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.                   1660
  And in this wyse I lete hem fighting dwelle;
  And forth I wol of Theseus yow telle.

    1626. E. hir; _rest_ his.   1634. E. the; Hn. Cm. Hl. this.   1637. Hl.
    Tho; _rest_ To.   1638. Hl. honter_us_; _rest_ hunters, hunterys; _ed._
    1542, hunter.   1640. E. and; _rest_ or.   1651. Cm. halp; Cp. hilp; E.
    Hn. heelp; Hl. Pt. helpeth; Ln. helpe.   Hl. Ln. _om._ for.   1652. E.
    owene.   1656. Tyrwhitt _ins._ as _bef._ a.   1659. E. Hn. whit.
    1660. E. anclee.   1662. E. wole.

    The destinee, ministre general,
  That executeth in the world over-al
  The purveyaunce, that God hath seyn biforn,                 1665
  So strong it is, that, though the world had sworn
  The contrarie of a thing, by ye or nay,
  Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day                        (810)
  That falleth nat eft with-inne a thousand yere.
  For certeinly, our appetytes here,                          1670
  Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
  Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
  This mene I now by mighty Theseus,
  [49: T. 1676-1712.]
  That for to honten is so desirous,
  And namely at the grete hert in May,                        1675
  That in his bed ther daweth him no day,
  That he nis clad, and redy for to ryde
  With hunte and horn, and houndes him bisyde.               (820)
  For in his hunting hath he swich delyt,
  That it is al his Ioye and appetyt                          1680
  To been him-self the grete hertes bane;
  For after Mars he serveth now Diane.

    1672. this] Hl. it.

    Cleer was the day, as I have told er this,
  And Theseus, with alle Ioye and blis,
  With his Ipolita, the fayre quene,                          1685
  And Emelye, clothed al in grene,
  On hunting be they riden royally.
  And to the grove, that stood ful faste by,                 (830)
  In which ther was an hert, as men him tolde,
  Duk Theseus the streighte wey hath holde.                   1690
  And to the launde he rydeth him ful right,
  For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
  And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
  This duk wol han a cours at him, or tweye,
  With houndes, swiche as that him list comaunde.             1695

    1693. E. Hl. in; _rest_ on.   1695. Hn. Cp. Pt. that; _rest om._

    And whan this duk was come un-to the launde,
  Under the sonne he loketh, and anon
  He was war of Arcite and Palamon,                          (840)
  That foughten breme, as it were bores two;
  The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro                       1700
  So hidously, that with the leeste strook
  It seemed as it wolde felle an ook;
  But what they were, no-thing he ne woot.
  This duk his courser with his spores smoot,
  And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,                       1705
  And pulled out a swerd and cryed, 'ho!
  Namore, up peyne of lesing of your heed.
  By mighty Mars, he shal anon be deed,                      (850)
  That smyteth any strook, that I may seen!
  But telleth me what mister men ye been,                     1710
  [50: T. 1713-1749.]
  That been so hardy for to fighten here
  With-outen Iuge or other officere,
  As it were in a listes royally?'

    1699. E. Cm. Hl. bores; _rest_ boles.   1702. E. fille.   1706. E.
    cride; Hn. Cp. Pt. cryed.   1707. E. Hn. Ln. vp-on; _rest_ vp.   1710.
    Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. myster; E. mystiers; Ln. mester; Hl. mestir.

    This Palamon answerde hastily,
  And seyde: 'sire, what nedeth wordes mo?                    1715
  We have the deeth deserved bothe two.
  Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
  That been encombred of our owne lyves;                     (860)
  And as thou art a rightful lord and Iuge,
  Ne yeve us neither mercy ne refuge,                         1720
  But slee me first, for seynte charitee;
  But slee my felawe eek as wel as me.
  Or slee him first; for, though thou knowe it lyte,
  This is thy mortal fo, this is Arcite,
  That fro thy lond is banished on his heed,                  1725
  For which he hath deserved to be deed.
  For this is he that cam un-to thy gate,
  And seyde, that he highte Philostrate.                     (870)
  Thus hath he Iaped thee ful many a yeer,
  And thou has maked him thy chief squyer;                    1730
  And this is he that loveth Emelye.
  For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
  I make pleynly my confessioun,
  That I am thilke woful Palamoun,
  That hath thy prison broken wikkedly.                       1735
  I am thy mortal fo, and it am I
  That loveth so hote Emelye the brighte,
  That I wol dye present in hir sighte.                      (880)
  Therfore I axe deeth and my Iuwyse;
  But slee my felawe in the same wyse,                        1740
  For bothe han we deserved to be slayn.'

    1716. E. Hn. disserued.   1718. E. Hn. Cm. owene.   1723. Hl. Hn.
    knowe; _rest_ knowest.   1741. Ln. Hl. we haue.

    This worthy duk answerde anon agayn,
  And seyde, 'This is a short conclusioun:
  Youre owne mouth, by your confessioun,
  Hath dampned you, and I wol it recorde,                     1745
  It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
  Ye shul be deed, by mighty Mars the rede!'
  [51: T. 1750-1787.]
  The quene anon, for verray wommanhede,                     (890)
  Gan for to wepe, and so dide Emelye,
  And alle the ladies in the companye.                        1750
  Gret pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
  That ever swich a chaunce sholde falle;
  For gentil men they were, of greet estat,
  And no-thing but for love was this debat;
  And sawe hir blody woundes wyde and sore;                   1755
  And alle cryden, bothe lasse and more,
  'Have mercy, lord, up-on us wommen alle!'
  And on hir bare knees adoun they falle,                    (900)
  And wolde have kist his feet ther-as he stood,
  Til at the laste aslaked was his mood;                      1760
  For pitee renneth sone in gentil herte.
  And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
  He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
  The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause:
  And al-though that his ire hir gilt accused,                1765
  Yet in his reson he hem bothe excused;
  As thus: he thoghte wel, that every man
  Wol helpe him-self in love, if that he can,                (910)
  And eek delivere him-self out of prisoun;
  And eek his herte had compassioun                           1770
  Of wommen, for they wepen ever in oon;
  And in his gentil herte he thoghte anoon,
  And softe un-to himself he seyde: 'fy
  Up-on a lord that wol have no mercy,
  But been a leoun, bothe in word and dede,                   1775
  To hem that been in repentaunce and drede
  As wel as to a proud despitous man
  That wol maynteyne that he first bigan!                    (920)
  That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
  That in swich cas can no divisioun,                         1780
  But weyeth pryde and humblesse after oon.'
  And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
  He gan to loken up with eyen lighte,
  And spak thise same wordes al on highte:--
  The god of love, a! _benedicite_,                           1785
  [52: T. 1788-1823.]
  How mighty and how greet a lord is he!
  Ayeins his might ther gayneth none obstacles,
  He may be cleped a god for his miracles;                   (930)
  For he can maken at his owne gyse
  Of everich herte, as that him list devyse.                  1790
  Lo heer, this Arcite and this Palamoun,
  That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
  And mighte han lived in Thebes royally,
  And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
  And that hir deeth lyth in my might also,                   1795
  And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
  Y-broght hem hider bothe for to dye!
  Now loketh, is nat that an heigh folye?                    (940)
  Who may been a fool, but-if he love?
  Bihold, for Goddes sake that sit above,                     1800
  Se how they blede! be they noght wel arrayed?
  Thus hath hir lord, the god of love, y-payed
  Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
  And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
  That serven love, for aught that may bifalle!               1805
  But this is yet the beste game of alle,
  That she, for whom they han this Iolitee,
  Can hem ther-for as muche thank as me;                     (950)
  She woot namore of al this hote fare,
  By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!                      1810
  But al mot been assayed, hoot and cold;
  A man mot been a fool, or yong or old;
  I woot it by my-self ful yore agoon:
  For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
  And therfore, sin I knowe of loves peyne,                   1815
  And woot how sore it can a man distreyne,
  As he that hath ben caught ofte in his las,
  I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespas,                      (960)
  At requeste of the quene that kneleth here,
  And eek of Emelye, my suster dere.                          1820
  And ye shul bothe anon un-to me swere,
  [53: T. 1824-1859.]
  That never-mo ye shul my contree dere,
  Ne make werre up-on me night ne day,
  But been my freendes in al that ye may;
  I yow foryeve this trespas every del.'                      1825
  And they him swore his axing fayre and wel,
  And him of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
  And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:             (970)

    1744. E. Hn. Cm. owene; Hl. Cp. Pt. owne.   1747. Hn. Pt. shul; Cm. Hl.
    schul; E. shal.   1753. E. estaat.   1754. E. debaat.   1767. Hn. Cm.
    Cp. As; _rest_ And.   1770. Hl. Pt. Ln. had; _rest_ hadde.   1771. Hn.
    wepten; _rest_ wepen.   1788. E. hise.   1789. E. Hn. Cm. owene; Cp.
    Pt. owne.   1790. E. diuyse.   1797. Hl. I-brought; _rest_ Broght,
    Brought.   1799. _See note._ Hl. if that; _rest_ but if.   1810. E. Hn.
    Cp. of; _rest_ or.   1811. and] Cm. Hl. or.   1817. E. Hn. Cp. Pt.
    laas; Cm. las; Hl. Ln. lace.   1818. E. Pt. trespaas.   1822. E. Hn.
    Cp. Ln. shal.   contree] Cp. Ln. Hl. coroune.   1825, 1826. E. deel,
    weel; Hn. Cm. Cp. del, wel.   Hl. Pt. swore; _rest_ sworen, sworne,
    sworyn.   1828. Hl. Cm. graunted.

    'To speke of royal linage and richesse,
  Though that she were a quene or a princesse,                1830
  Ech of yow bothe is worthy, doutelees,
  To wedden whan tyme is, but nathelees
  I speke as for my suster Emelye,
  For whom ye have this stryf and Ielousye;
  Ye woot your-self, she may not wedden two                   1835
  At ones, though ye fighten ever-mo:
  That oon of yow, al be him looth or leef,
  He moot go pypen in an ivy-leef;                           (980)
  This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
  Al be ye never so Ielous, ne so wrothe.                     1840
  And for-thy I yow putte in this degree,
  That ech of yow shal have his destinee
  As him is shape; and herkneth in what wyse;
  Lo, heer your ende of that I shal devyse.

    1832. E. _wrongly repeats_ doutelees.   1834. E. Hn. Cp. Ialousye.
    1837. E. Hn. Pt. lief.   1838. E. _om._ go.   1840. E. Hn. Cp. Ialouse.

    My wil is this, for plat conclusioun,                     1845
  With-outen any replicacioun,
  If that yow lyketh, tak it for the beste,
  That everich of yow shal gon wher him leste                (990)
  Frely, with-outen raunson or daunger;
  And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,                       1850
  Everich of yow shal bringe an hundred knightes,
  Armed for listes up at alle rightes,
  Al redy to darreyne hir by bataille.
  And this bihote I yow, with-outen faille,
  Up-on my trouthe, and as I am a knight,                     1855
  That whether of yow bothe that hath might,
  This is to seyn, that whether he or thou
  [54: T. 1860-1892.]
  May with his hundred, as I spak of now,                   (1000)
  Sleen his contrarie, or out of listes dryve,
  Him shal I yeve Emelya to wyve,                             1860
  To whom that fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
  The listes shal I maken in this place,
  And God so wisly on my soule rewe,
  As I shal even Iuge been and trewe.
  Ye shul non other ende with me maken,                       1865
  That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
  And if yow thinketh this is wel y-sayd,
  Seyeth your avys, and holdeth yow apayd.                  (1010)
  This is your ende and your conclusioun.'

    1856, 7. E. wheither.   1860. Hl. Him; Cp. Ln. That; E. Hn. Thanne; Cm.
    Pt. Than.   E. Cp. Ln. Emelya; Hl. Hn. Emelye.

    Who loketh lightly now but Palamoun?                      1870
  Who springeth up for Ioye but Arcite?
  Who couthe telle, or who couthe it endyte,
  The Ioye that is maked in the place
  Whan Theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
  But doun on knees wente every maner wight,                  1875
  And thanked him with al her herte and might,
  And namely the Thebans ofte sythe.
  And thus with good hope and with herte blythe             (1020)
  They take hir leve, and hom-ward gonne they ryde
  To Thebes, with his olde walles wyde.                       1880

    1872. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ it.   1876. Hl. thanked; Cm. thankede; Cp. Pt.
    Ln. thonked; E. Hn. thonken.   1877. E. often; Ln. oft; Pt. mony;
    _rest_ ofte.

      EXPLICIT SECUNDA PARS.   SEQUITUR PARS TERCIA.

    I trowe men wolde deme it necligence,
  If I foryete to tellen the dispence
  Of Theseus, that goth so bisily
  To maken up the listes royally;
  That swich a noble theatre as it was,                       1885
  I dar wel seyn that in this world ther nas.
  The circuit a myle was aboute,
  Walled of stoon, and diched al with-oute.                 (1030)
  Round was the shap, in maner of compas,
  Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,                   1890
  [55: T. 1893-1928.]
  That, whan a man was set on o degree,
  He letted nat his felawe for to see.

    1886. Hl. that; _rest om._   1889. E. compaas.   1892. E. lette; Cm.
    lettyth; _rest_ letted.

    Est-ward ther stood a gate of marbel whyt,
  West-ward, right swich another in the opposit.
  And shortly to concluden, swich a place                     1895
  Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
  For in the lond ther nas no crafty man,
  That geometrie or ars-metrik can,                         (1040)
  Ne purtreyour, ne kerver of images,
  That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages                      1900
  The theatre for to maken and devyse.
  And for to doon his ryte and sacrifyse,
  He est-ward hath, up-on the gate above,
  In worship of Venus, goddesse of love,
  Don make an auter and an oratorie;                          1905
  And west-ward, in the minde and in memorie
  Of Mars, he maked hath right swich another,
  That coste largely of gold a fother.                      (1050)
  And north-ward, in a touret on the wal,
  Of alabastre whyt and reed coral                            1910
  An oratorie riche for to see,
  In worship of Dyane of chastitee,
  Hath Theseus don wroght in noble wyse.

    1893. E. Hn. Hl. marbul.   1899. Hl. Hn. Cp. purtreyour; E.
    portreitour.   1900. Cp. Pt. Cm. him; Hl. hem; _rest om._   1906. _So_
    Hl.; E. Hn. Cm. (_wrongly_) And on the west-ward in memorie.

    But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
  The noble kerving, and the portreitures,                    1915
  The shap, the countenaunce, and the figures,
  That weren in thise oratories three.

    First in the temple of Venus maystow see                (1060)
  Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
  The broken slepes, and the sykes colde;                     1920
  The sacred teres, and the waymenting;
  The fyry strokes of the desiring,
  That loves servaunts in this lyf enduren;
  The othes, that hir covenants assuren;
  Plesaunce and hope, desyr, fool-hardinesse,                 1925
  Beautee and youthe, bauderie, richesse,
  [56: T. 1929-1963.]
  Charmes and force, lesinges, flaterye,
  Dispense, bisynesse, and Ielousye,                        (1070)
  That wered of yelwe goldes a gerland,
  And a cokkow sitting on hir hand;                           1930
  Festes, instruments, caroles, daunces,
  Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
  Of love, whiche that I rekne and rekne shal,
  By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
  And mo than I can make of mencioun.                         1935
  For soothly, al the mount of Citheroun,
  Ther Venus hath hir principal dwelling,
  Was shewed on the wal in portreying,                      (1080)
  With al the gardin, and the lustinesse.
  Nat was foryeten the porter Ydelnesse,                      1940
  Ne Narcisus the faire of yore agon,
  Ne yet the folye of king Salamon,
  Ne yet the grete strengthe of Hercules--
  Thenchauntements of Medea and Circes--
  Ne of Turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,                  1945
  The riche Cresus, caytif in servage.
  Thus may ye seen that wisdom ne richesse,
  Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe, ne hardinesse,            (1090)
  Ne may with Venus holde champartye;
  For as hir list the world than may she gye.                 1950
  Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
  Til they for wo ful ofte seyde 'allas!'
  Suffyceth heer ensamples oon or two,
  And though I coude rekne a thousand mo.

    1922. E. Hl. and; _rest_ of.   1928. E. Hn. Cp. Ialousye.   1929. Hl.
    guldes.   1930. Cp. Ln. Cm. his.   1933. Cm. I reken and rekne schal;
    Hn. Hl. I rekned and rekne shal; E. I rekned haue and rekne shal (_too
    long_).   1942. E. Cm. And; _rest_ Ne.   1943. E. Cm. And eek; Hn. Cp.
    Pt. Ln. Ne yet; Hl. Ne eek.   E. Hn. Cm. Ercules.   1948. E. Hn. Pt.
    _om._ ne.

    The statue of Venus, glorious for to see,                 1955
  Was naked fleting in the large see,
  And fro the navele doun all covered was
  With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.                (1100)
  A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
  And on hir heed, ful semely for to see,                     1960
  A rose gerland, fresh and wel smellinge;
  [57: T. 1964-1997.]
  Above hir heed hir dowves flikeringe.
  Biforn hir stood hir sone Cupido,
  Up-on his shuldres winges hadde he two;
  And blind he was, as it is ofte sene;                       1965
  A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.

    1965. E. it was; _rest_ it is.

    Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
  The portreiture, that was up-on the wal                   (1110)
  With-inne the temple of mighty Mars the rede?
  Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,               1970
  Lyk to the estres of the grisly place,
  That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
  In thilke colde frosty regioun,
  Ther-as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.

    First on the wal was peynted a foreste,                   1975
  In which ther dwelleth neither man ne beste,
  With knotty knarry bareyn treës olde
  Of stubbes sharpe and hidous to biholde;                  (1120)
  In which ther ran a rumbel and a swough,
  As though a storm sholde bresten every bough:               1980
  And downward from an hille, under a bente,
  Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotente,
  Wroght al of burned steel, of which thentree
  Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
  And ther-out cam a rage and such a vese,                    1985
  That it made al the gates for to rese.
  The northren light in at the dores shoon,
  For windowe on the wal ne was ther noon,                  (1130)
  Thurgh which men mighten any light discerne.
  The dores were alle of adamant eterne,                      1990
  Y-clenched overthwart and endelong
  With iren tough; and, for to make it strong,
  Every piler, the temple to sustene,
  Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.

    1975. Hl. foreste; E. forest.   1976. Hl. beste; E. best.   1977. E.
    Hn. Cm. Cp. bareyne.   1979. E. rumbel; Cm. ru_m_bil; Hn. rombul; Cp.
    Ln. rombel; Hl. swymbul.   E. Pt. and; _rest_ in.   1980. Ln. berste;
    Hl. berst.   1981. Hn. Hl. on (_for_ from).   1983. E. Hn. the
    entree.   1985. Cp. vese; Cm. wese; E. Hn. Ln. veze; Hl. prise.   1986.
    E. Hn. Cm. gate.   Hl. rise.   1990. E. Hn. Pt. dore was.

    Ther saugh I first the derke imagining                    1995
  [58: T. 1998-2033.]
  Of felonye, and al the compassing;
  The cruel ire, reed as any glede;
  The pykepurs, and eek the pale drede;                     (1140)
  The smyler with the knyf under the cloke;
  The shepne brenning with the blake smoke;                   2000
  The treson of the mordring in the bedde;
  The open werre, with woundes al bi-bledde;
  Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace;
  Al ful of chirking was that sory place.
  The sleere of him-self yet saugh I ther,                    2005
  His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer;
  The nayl y-driven in the shode a-night;
  The colde deeth, with mouth gaping up-right.              (1150)
  Amiddes of the temple sat meschaunce,
  With disconfort and sory contenaunce.                       2010
  Yet saugh I woodnesse laughing in his rage;
  Armed compleint, out-hees, and fiers outrage.
  The careyne in the bush, with throte y-corve:
  A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm y-storve;
  The tiraunt, with the prey by force y-raft;                 2015
  The toun destroyed, ther was no-thing laft.
  Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
  The hunte strangled with the wilde beres:                 (1160)
  The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
  The cook y-scalded, for al his longe ladel.                 2020
  Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte;
  The carter over-riden with his carte,
  Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
  Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
  The barbour, and the bocher, and the smith                  2025
  That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his stith.
  And al above, depeynted in a tour,
  Saw I conquest sittinge in greet honour,                  (1170)
  With the sharpe swerde over his heed
  Hanginge by a sotil twynes threed.                          2030
  Depeynted was the slaughtre of Iulius,
  [59: T. 2034-2069.]
  Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
  Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
  Yet was hir deeth depeynted ther-biforn,
  By manasinge of Mars, right by figure;                      2035
  So was it shewed in that portreiture
  As is depeynted in the sterres above,
  Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.                 (1180)
  Suffyceth oon ensample in stories olde,
  I may not rekne hem alle, thogh I wolde.                    2040

    1995. E. Hn. dirke.   1996. E. Cm. on. al.   1998. E. Cm. _om._ eek.
    2012. Cm. outes.   2013. E. Cp. Ln. busk; Cm. bosch; Hn. Pt. bussh.
    2014. E. _ins._ oon _after_ nat.   2021. Hl. _om._ by.   2025. E. Cm.
    laborer; _rest_ barbour.   2029. Pt. Ln. swerde; _rest_ swerd.   2030.
    E. soutil; Hn. Cp. Ln. subtil.   2037. Hl. sterres; E. Pt. certres;
    _rest_ sertres.

    The statue of Mars up-on a carte stood,
  Armed, and loked grim as he were wood;
  And over his he'ed ther shynen two figures
  Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
  That oon Puella, that other Rubeus.                         2045
  This god of armes was arrayed thus:--
  A wolf ther stood biforn him at his feet
  With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;                      (1190)
  With sotil pencel was depeynt this storie,
  In redoutinge of Mars and of his glorie.                    2050

    2049. Cm. sotyl; E. soutil.    _All_ depeynted (_badly_); _see_ C. 950.

    Now to the temple of Diane the chaste
  As shortly as I can I wol me haste,
  To telle yow al the descripcioun.
  Depeynted been the walles up and doun
  Of hunting and of shamfast chastitee.                       2055
  Ther saugh I how woful Calistopee,
  Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
  Was turned from a womman til a bere,                      (1200)
  And after was she maad the lode-sterre;
  Thus was it peynt, I can say yow no ferre;                  2060
  Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
  Ther saugh I Dane, y-turned til a tree,
  I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
  But Penneus doughter, which that highte Dane.
  Ther saugh I Attheon an hert y-maked,                       2065
  For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked;
  I saugh how that his houndes have him caught,
  [60: T. 2070-2106.]
  And freten him, for that they knewe him naught.           (1210)
  Yet peynted was a litel forther-moor,
  How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,                       2070
  And Meleagre, and many another mo,
  For which Diane wroghte him care and wo.
  Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
  The whiche me list nat drawen to memorie.
  This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,                      2075
  With smale houndes al aboute hir feet;
  And undernethe hir feet she hadde a mone,
  Wexing it was, and sholde wanie sone.                     (1220)
  In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
  With bowe in honde, and arwes in a cas.                     2080
  Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun,
  Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
  A womman travailinge was hir biforn,
  But, for hir child so longe was unborn,
  Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle,                          2085
  And seyde, 'help, for thou mayst best of alle.'
  Wel couthe he peynten lyfly that it wroghte,
  With many a florin he the hewes boghte.                   (1230)

    2058. E. Pt. Ln. Hl. to; _rest_ til; _see_ l. 2062.   2060. _All_
    peynted; _see_ l. 2049.   Hl. _om._ yow.   2062. Hl. Cp. Pt. Ln.
    turned.   2067. E. Hn. hise; Cm. hese.   2069. E. _om._ was.   2071. E.
    Hn. Meleagree.   2075. E. Cp. Pt. _ins._ wel _after_ ful.

    Now been thise listes maad, and Theseus,
  That at his grete cost arrayed thus                         2090
  The temples and the theatre every del,
  Whan it was doon, him lyked wonder wel.
  But stinte I wol of Theseus a lyte,
  And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

    2089. thise] E. the.

    The day approcheth of hir retourninge,                    2095
  That everich sholde an hundred knightes bringe,
  The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde;
  And til Athenes, hir covenant for to holde,               (1240)
  Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knightes
  Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.                    2100
  And sikerly, ther trowed many a man
  That never, sithen that the world bigan,
  As for to speke of knighthod of hir hond,
  As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
  [61: T. 2107-2143.]
  Nas, of so fewe, so noble a companye.                       2105
  For every wight that lovede chivalrye,
  And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
  Hath preyed that he mighte ben of that game;              (1250)
  And wel was him, that ther-to chosen was.
  For if ther fille to-morwe swich a cas,                     2110
  Ye knowen wel, that every lusty knight,
  That loveth paramours, and hath his might,
  Were it in Engelond, or elles-where,
  They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there.
  To fighte for a lady, _benedicite!_                         2115
  It were a lusty sighte for to see.

    2098. E. couenantz. Hl. _om._ for.   2108. E. preyd; Hn. prayd; Hl. Cm.
    preyed.   2110. E. Cp. Pt. Hl. caas.

    And right so ferden they with Palamon.
  With him ther wenten knightes many oon;                   (1260)
  Som wol ben armed in an habergeoun,
  In a brest-plat and in a light gipoun;                      2120
  And somme woln have a peyre plates large;
  And somme woln have a Pruce sheld, or a targe;
  Somme woln ben armed on hir legges weel,
  And have an ax, and somme a mace of steel.
  Ther nis no newe gyse, that it nas old.                     2125
  Armed were they, as I have you told,
  Everich after his opinioun.

    2120. Hl. In a; E. And in; Hn. Cm. Cp. Ln. And in a; Pt. And a.

    Ther maistow seen coming with Palamoun                  (1270)
  Ligurge him-self, the grete king of Trace;
  Blak was his berd, and manly was his face.                  2130
  The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
  They gloweden bitwixe yelow and reed;
  And lyk a griffon loked he aboute,
  With kempe heres on his browes stoute;
  His limes grete, his braunes harde and stronge,             2135
  His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe.
  And as the gyse was in his contree,
  Ful hye up-on a char of gold stood he,                    (1280)
  With foure whyte boles in the trays.
  In-stede of cote-armure over his harnays,                   2140
  With nayles yelwe and brighte as any gold,
  [62: T. 2144-2179.]
  He hadde a beres skin, col-blak, for-old.
  His longe heer was kembd bihinde his bak,
  As any ravenes fether it shoon for-blak:
  A wrethe of gold arm-greet, of huge wighte,                 2145
  Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
  Of fyne rubies and of dyamaunts.
  Aboute his char ther wenten whyte alaunts,                (1290)
  Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
  To hunten at the leoun or the deer,                         2150
  And folwed him, with mosel faste y-bounde,
  Colers of gold, and torets fyled rounde.
  An hundred lordes hadde he in his route
  Armed ful wel, with hertes sterne and stoute.

    2132. E. Hn. bitwyxen.   2134, 5, 6. E. hise.   2141. Hn. Cm. yelwe; E.
    yelewe; Hl. yolwe.   2148. E. chaar.   2152. Pt. Ln. Colers; Cp.
    Coleres; Hl. Colerd; E. Hn. Colered; Cm. Colerid.   E. to_u_rettes; Cp.
    Pt. torettes; Hl. torettz (_better_ torets); Ln. turettes.   2154. E.
    Hn. stierne.

    With Arcita, in stories as men finde,                     2155
  The grete Emetreus, the king of Inde,
  Up-on a stede bay, trapped in steel,
  Covered in cloth of gold diapred weel,                    (1300)
  Cam ryding lyk the god of armes, Mars.
  His cote-armure was of cloth of Tars,                       2160
  Couched with perles whyte and rounde and grete.
  His sadel was of brend gold newe y-bete;
  A mantelet upon his shuldre hanginge
  Bret-ful of rubies rede, as fyr sparklinge.
  His crispe heer lyk ringes was y-ronne,                     2165
  And that was yelow, and glitered as the sonne.
  His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
  His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn,                (1310)
  A fewe fraknes in his face y-spreynd,
  Betwixen yelow and somdel blak y-meynd,                     2170
  And as a leoun he his loking caste.
  Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
  His berd was wel bigonne for to springe;
  His voys was as a trompe thunderinge.
  Up-on his heed he wered of laurer grene                     2175
  A gerland fresh and lusty for to sene.
  Up-on his hand he bar, for his deduyt,
  [63: T. 2180-2215.]
  An egle tame, as eny lilie whyt.                          (1320)
  An hundred lordes hadde he with him there,
  Al armed, sauf hir heddes, in al hir gere,                  2180
  Ful richely in alle maner thinges.
  For trusteth wel, that dukes, erles, kinges,
  Were gadered in this noble companye,
  For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
  Aboute this king ther ran on every part                     2185
  Ful many a tame leoun and lepart.
  And in this wyse thise lordes, alle and some,
  Ben on the Sonday to the citee come                       (1330)
  Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.

    2155. E. Pt. Arcite; _rest_ Arcita.   2163. E. Cm. Pt. mantel.   2164.
    E. Brat-ful.   2180. Hl. _om._ al.   2186. Hl. Cp. Ln. lepart; E.
    leopard.

    This Theseus, this duk, this worthy knight,               2190
  Whan he had broght hem in-to his citee,
  And inned hem, everich in his degree,
  He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
  To esen hem, and doon hem al honour,
  That yet men weneth that no mannes wit                      2195
  Of noon estat ne coude amenden it.
  The minstralcye, the service at the feste,
  The grete yiftes to the moste and leste,                  (1340)
  The riche array of Theseus paleys,
  Ne who sat first ne last up-on the deys,                    2200
  What ladies fairest been or best daunsinge,
  Or which of hem can dauncen best and singe,
  Ne who most felingly speketh of love:
  What haukes sitten on the perche above,
  What houndes liggen on the floor adoun:                     2205
  Of al this make I now no mencioun;
  But al theffect, that thinketh me the beste;
  Now comth the poynt, and herkneth if yow leste.           (1350)

    2192. E. in; Pt. after; _rest_ at.   2195. E. maner.   2198. E. Hn.
    meeste; Cm. Cp. meste; _rest_ most.   2205. E. Cm. Hl. in; _rest_ on.
    2207. al] Hl. of.   2208. Hn. Hl. comth; _rest_ cometh.

    The Sonday night, er day bigan to springe,
  When Palamon the larke herde singe,                         2210
  Although it nere nat day by houres two,
  Yet song the larke, and Palamon also.
  With holy herte, and with an heigh corage
  [64: T. 2216-2251.]
  He roos, to wenden on his pilgrimage
  Un-to the blisful Citherea benigne,                         2215
  I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
  And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
  Un-to the listes, ther hir temple was,                    (1360)
  And doun he kneleth, and with humble chere
  And herte soor, he seyde as ye shul here.                   2220

    2212. also] Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. right tho.   2217. E. paas.   2219. E. with
    ful; _rest_ and with.   2220. E. and seyde in this manere.

    'Faireste of faire, o lady myn, Venus,
  Doughter to Iove and spouse of Vulcanus,
  Thou glader of the mount of Citheroun,
  For thilke love thou haddest to Adoun,
  Have pitee of my bittre teres smerte,                       2225
  And tak myn humble preyer at thyn herte.
  Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
  Theffectes ne the torments of myn helle;                  (1370)
  Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
  I am so confus, that I can noght seye.                      2230
  But mercy, lady bright, that knowest weel
  My thought, and seest what harmes that I feel,
  Considere al this, and rewe up-on my sore,
  As wisly as I shal for evermore,
  Emforth my might, thy trewe servant be,                     2235
  And holden werre alwey with chastitee;
  That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe.
  I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,                       (1380)
  Ne I ne axe nat to-morwe to have victorie,
  Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie                      2240
  Of pris of armes blowen up and doun,
  But I wolde have fully possessioun
  Of Emelye, and dye in thy servyse;
  Find thou the maner how, and in what wyse.
  I recche nat, but it may bettre be,                         2245
  To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
  So that I have my lady in myne armes.
  For though so be that Mars is god of armes,               (1390)
  Your vertu is so greet in hevene above,
  [65: T. 2252-2287.]
  That, if yow list, I shal wel have my love,                 2250
  Thy temple wol I worshipe evermo,
  And on thyn auter, wher I ryde or go,
  I wol don sacrifice, and fyres bete.
  And if ye wol nat so, my lady swete,
  Than preye I thee, to-morwe with a spere                    2255
  That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
  Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
  Though that Arcita winne hir to his wyf.                  (1400)
  This is theffect and ende of my preyere,
  Yif me my love, thou blisful lady dere.'                    2260

    2222. to] Hn. Hl. of.   of] _all but_ E. Cm. to.   2226. E. Cm.
    preyere; Hn. prayere. at] Hl. to.   2227. to] Hl. for to.   2231, 2.
    Cm. Hl. wel, fel; _rest_ wele, fele.   2239. Hl. aske.   Hl. Ln. to
    morn.

    Whan thorisoun was doon of Palamon,
  His sacrifice he dide, and that anon
  Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
  Al telle I noght as now his observaunces.
  But atte laste the statue of Venus shook,                   2265
  And made a signe, wher-by that he took
  That his preyere accepted was that day.
  For thogh the signe shewed a delay,                       (1410)
  Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his bone;
  And with glad herte he wente him hoom ful sone.             2270

    2261. Hl. thorisoun; _rest_ the orison (orisoun).   2263. E. Cm.
    circumstaunce.   2264. E. Cm. obseruaunce.

    The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
  Bigan to Venus temple for to goon,
  Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye,
  And to the temple of Diane gan hye.
  Hir maydens, that she thider with hir ladde,                2275
  Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
  Thencens, the clothes, and the remenant al
  That to the sacrifyce longen shal;                        (1420)
  The hornes fulle of meth, as was the gyse;
  Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifyse.                    2280
  Smoking the temple, ful of clothes faire,
  This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
  Hir body wessh with water of a welle;
  But how she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
  But it be any thing in general;                             2285
  [66: T. 2288-2324.]
  And yet it were a game to heren al;
  To him that meneth wel, it were no charge:
  But it is good a man ben at his large.                    (1430)
  Hir brighte heer was kempt, untressed al;
  A coroune of a grene ook cerial                             2290
  Up-on hir heed was set ful fair and mete.
  Two fyres on the auter gan she bete,
  And dide hir thinges, as men may biholde
  In Stace of Thebes, and thise bokes olde.
  Whan kindled was the fyr, with pitous chere                 2295
  Un-to Diane she spak, as ye may here.

    2274. Pt. Hl. _ins._ she _after_ gan.   2276. E. ladde; _rest_ hadde.
    2279. Cp. Pt. Ln. methe; Hl. meth; E. meeth; Hn. mede.   2287. were]
    Hn. Cp. Ln. nere.   2289. E. kempd.

    'O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
  To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,           (1440)
  Quene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
  Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe              2300
  Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
  As keep me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
  That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
  Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
  Desire to been a mayden al my lyf,                          2305
  Ne never wol I be no love ne wyf.
  I am, thou woost, yet of thy companye,
  A mayde, and love hunting and venerye,                    (1450)
  And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
  And noght to been a wyf, and be with childe.                2310
  Noght wol I knowe companye of man.
  Now help me, lady, sith ye may and can,
  For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
  And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
  And eek Arcite, that loveth me so sore,                     2315
  This grace I preye thee with-oute more,
  As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two;
  And fro me turne awey hir hertes so,                      (1460)
  That al hir hote love, and hir desyr,
  And al hir bisy torment, and hir fyr                        2320
  Be queynt, or turned in another place;
  And if so be thou wolt not do me grace,
  [67: T. 2325-2360.]
  Or if my destinee be shapen so,
  That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
  As sende me him that most desireth me.                      2325
  Bihold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
  The bittre teres that on my chekes falle.
  Sin thou are mayde, and keper of us alle,                 (1470)
  My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
  And whyl I live a mayde, I wol thee serve.'                 2330

    2303. Hl. Atheon.   cruelly] Hl. trewely.   2311. E. Hl. _ins._ the
    _after_ knowe.   2317. Hn. As; _rest_ And; _see_ l. 2325.   2322. not
    do me] E. Hl. Pt. do me no.   2323. E. And; _rest_ Or.   2328. E. Cm.
    Cp. kepere.

    The fyres brenne up-on the auter clere,
  Whyl Emelye was thus in hir preyere;
  But sodeinly she saugh a sighte queynte,
  For right anon oon of the fyres queynte,
  And quiked agayn, and after that anon                       2335
  That other fyr was queynt, and al agon;
  And as it queynte, it made a whistelinge,
  As doon thise wete brondes in hir brenninge,              (1480)
  And at the brondes ende out-ran anoon
  As it were blody dropes many oon;                           2340
  For which so sore agast was Emelye,
  That she was wel ny mad, and gan to crye,
  For she ne wiste what it signifyed;
  But only for the fere thus hath she cryed,
  And weep, that it was pitee for to here.                    2345
  And ther-with-al Diane gan appere,
  With bowe in hond, right as an hunteresse,
  And seyde: 'Doghter, stint thyn hevinesse.                (1490)
  Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
  And by eterne word write and confermed,                     2350
  Thou shalt ben wedded un-to oon of tho
  That han for thee so muchel care and wo;
  But un-to which of hem I may nat telle.
  Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
  The fyres which that on myn auter brenne                    2355
  Shul thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
  Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas.'
  And with that word, the arwes in the cas                  (1500)
  [68: T. 2361-2398.]
  Of the goddesse clateren faste and ringe,
  And forth she wente, and made a vanisshinge;                2360
  For which this Emelye astoned was,
  And seyde, 'What amounteth this, allas!
  I putte me in thy proteccioun,
  Diane, and in thy disposicioun.'
  And hoom she gooth anon the nexte weye.                     2365
  This is theffect, ther is namore to seye.

    2337. E. Hn. Cp. whistlynge.   2338. Hl. (_only_) As doth a wete brond
    in his.   2344. Pt Hl. _om._ hath.   2350. Hl. write; Pt. writt; _rest_
    writen.   2356. E. Cp. Hl. declare.   2358. E. caas.

    The nexte houre of Mars folwinge this,
  Arcite un-to the temple walked is                         (1510)
  Of fierse Mars, to doon his sacrifyse,
  With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.                      2370
  With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
  Right thus to Mars he seyde his orisoun:

    2369. E. Hn. fierse; Cm. ferse; Hl. fyry.

    'O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
  Of Trace honoured art, and lord y-holde,
  And hast in every regne and every lond                      2375
  Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
  And hem fortunest as thee list devyse,
  Accept of me my pitous sacrifyse.                         (1520)
  If so be that my youthe may deserve,
  And that my might be worthy for to serve                    2380
  Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
  Than preye I thee to rewe up-on my pyne.
  For thilke peyne, and thilke hote fyr,
  In which thou whylom brendest for desyr,
  Whan that thou usedest the grete beautee                    2385
  Of fayre yonge fresshe Venus free,
  And haddest hir in armes at thy wille,
  Al-though thee ones on a tyme misfille                    (1530)
  Whan Vulcanus had caught thee in his las,
  And fond thee ligging by his wyf, allas!                    2390
  For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
  Have routhe as wel up-on my peynes smerte.
  I am yong and unkonning, as thou wost,
  And, as I trowe, with love offended most,
  That ever was any lyves creature;                           2395
  For she, that dooth me al this wo endure,
  [69: T. 2399-2436.]
  Ne reccheth never wher I sinke or flete.
  And wel I woot, er she me mercy hete,                     (1540)
  I moot with strengthe winne hir in the place;
  And wel I woot, withouten help or grace                     2400
  Of thee, ne may my strengthe noght availle.
  Than help me, lord, to-morwe in my bataille,
  For thilke fyr that whylom brente thee,
  As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me;
  And do that I to-morwe have victorie.                       2405
  Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
  Thy soverein temple wol I most honouren
  Of any place, and alwey most labouren                     (1550)
  In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
  And in thy temple I wol my baner honge,                     2410
  And alle the armes of my companye;
  And evere-mo, un-to that day I dye,
  Eterne fyr I wol biforn thee finde.
  And eek to this avow I wol me binde:
  My berd, myn heer that hongeth long adoun,                  2415
  That never yet ne felte offensioun
  Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
  And ben thy trewe servant whyl I live.                    (1560)
  Now lord, have routhe up-on my sorwes sore,
  Yif me victorie, I aske thee namore.'                       2420

    2385. Hl. the gret; _rest om._ gret.   2402. E. Hn. Thanne.   2420.
    _All ins._ the (Hl. thy) _after_ me; (_read_ victórie).

    The preyere stinte of Arcita the stronge,
  The ringes on the temple-dore that honge,
  And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
  Of which Arcita som-what him agaste.
  The fyres brende up-on the auter brighte,                   2425
  That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
  And swete smel the ground anon up-yaf,
  And Arcita anon his hand up-haf,                          (1570)
  And more encens in-to the fyr he caste,
  With othere rytes mo; and atte laste                        2430
  The statue of Mars bigan his hauberk ringe.
  And with that soun he herde a murmuringe
  Ful lowe and dim, that sayde thus, 'Victorie:'
  For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie.
  [70: T. 2437-2473.]
  And thus with Ioye, and hope wel to fare,                   2435
  Arcite anon un-to his inne is fare,
  As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.

    2425. Hn. Cm. brende; E. Cp. Hl. brenden.   2433. E. Hn. Hl. and;
    _rest_ that.   2436. E. Hn. Cm. in.

    And right anon swich stryf ther is bigonne              (1580)
  For thilke graunting, in the hevene above,
  Bitwixe Venus, the goddesse of love,                        2440
  And Mars, the sterne god armipotente,
  That Iupiter was bisy it to stente;
  Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
  That knew so manye of aventures olde,
  Fond in his olde experience an art,                         2445
  That he ful sone hath plesed every part.
  As sooth is sayd, elde hath greet avantage;
  In elde is bothe wisdom and usage;                        (1590)
  Men may the olde at-renne, and noght at-rede.
  Saturne anon, to stinten stryf and drede,                   2450
  Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
  Of al this stryf he gan remedie fynde.

    2441. E. stierne.   2445. an] E. Pt. and.   2449. Hl. Pt. but; _rest_
    and.

    'My dere doghter Venus,' quod Saturne,
  'My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
  Hath more power than wot any man.                           2455
  Myn is the drenching in the see so wan;
  Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
  Myn is the strangling and hanging by the throte;          (1600)
  The murmure, and the cherles rebelling,
  The groyning, and the pryvee empoysoning:                   2460
  I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun
  Whyl I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
  Myn is the ruine of the hye halles,
  The falling of the toures and of the walles
  Up-on the mynour or the carpenter.                          2465
  I slow Sampsoun in shaking the piler;
  And myne be the maladyes colde,
  The derke tresons, and the castes olde;                   (1610)
  My loking is the fader of pestilence.
  Now weep namore, I shal doon diligence                      2470
  That Palamon, that is thyn owne knight,
  [71: T. 2474-2506.]
  Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
  Though Mars shal helpe his knight, yet nathelees
  Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
  Al be ye noght of o complexioun,                            2475
  That causeth al day swich divisioun.
  I am thin ayel, redy at thy wille;
  Weep thou namore, I wol thy lust fulfille.'               (1620)

    2462. E. _om. 1st_ the.   2466. Hl. in; _rest om._   2468. Hl. tresoun.

    Now wol I stinten of the goddes above,
  Of Mars, and of Venus, goddesse of love,                    2480
  And telle yow, as pleynly as I can,
  The grete effect, for which that I bigan.

      EXPLICIT TERCIA PARS.   SEQUITUR PARS QUARTA.

    Greet was the feste in Athenes that day,
  And eek the lusty seson of that May
  Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce,                2485
  That al that Monday Iusten they and daunce,
  And spenden it in Venus heigh servyse.
  But by the cause that they sholde ryse                    (1630)
  Erly, for to seen the grete fight,
  Unto hir reste wente they at night.                         2490
  And on the morwe, whan that day gan springe,
  Of hors and harneys, noyse and clateringe
  Ther was in hostelryes al aboute;
  And to the paleys rood ther many a route
  Of lordes, up-on stedes and palfreys.                       2495
  Ther maystow seen devysing of herneys
  So uncouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
  Of goldsmithrie, of browding, and of steel;               (1640)
  The sheeldes brighte, testers, and trappures;
  Gold-hewen helmes, hauberks, cote-armures;                  2500
  Lordes in paraments on hir courseres,
  Knightes of retenue, and eek squyeres
  Nailinge the speres, and helmes bokelinge,
  Gigginge of sheeldes, with layneres lacinge;
  [72: T. 2507-2543.]
  Ther as need is, they weren no-thing ydel;                  2505
  The fomy stedes on the golden brydel
  Gnawinge, and faste the armurers also
  With fyle and hamer prikinge to and fro;                  (1650)
  Yemen on fote, and communes many oon
  With shorte staves, thikke as they may goon;                2510
  Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
  That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
  The paleys ful of peples up and doun,
  Heer three, ther ten, holding hir questioun,
  Divyninge of thise Thebane knightes two.                    2515
  Somme seyden thus, somme seyde it shal be so;
  Somme helden with him with the blake berd,
  Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke-herd;        (1660)
  Somme sayde, he loked grim and he wolde fighte;
  He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte.                 2520
  Thus was the halle ful of divyninge,
  Longe after that the sonne gan to springe.

    2489. Hl. Erly a-morwe for to see that fight.   2493. E. _ins._ the
    _after_ in.   2500. Hl. Gold-beten.   2503. Nailinge] Hl. Rayhyng.
    2504. Hl. Girdyng.   2511. E. nakerers (_wrongly_).   2513. Hl. pepul;
    Pt. puple; Ln. peple.

    The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
  With minstralcye and noyse that was maked,
  Held yet the chambre of his paleys riche,                   2525
  Til that the Thebane knightes, bothe y-liche
  Honoured, were into the paleys fet.
  Duk Theseus was at a window set,                          (1670)
  Arrayed right as he were a god in trone.
  The peple preesseth thider-ward ful sone                    2530
  Him for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
  And eek to herkne his hest and his sentence.

    An heraud on a scaffold made an ho,
  Til al the noyse of the peple was y-do;
  And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,             2535
  Tho showed he the mighty dukes wille.

    2533. E. Hn. Pt. oo.   2534. E. _om. 2nd_ the.   2535. E. Cm. the noyse
    of peple.

    'The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
  Considered, that it were destruccioun                     (1680)
  To gentil blood, to fighten in the gyse
  Of mortal bataille now in this empryse;                     2540
  Wherfore, to shapen that they shul not dye,
  [73: T. 2544-2579.]
  He wol his firste purpos modifye.
  No man therfor, up peyne of los of lyf,
  No maner shot, ne pollax, ne short knyf
  Into the listes sende, or thider bringe;                    2545
  Ne short swerd for to stoke, with poynt bytinge,
  No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
  Ne no man shal un-to his felawe ryde                      (1690)
  But o cours, with a sharp y-grounde spere;
  Foyne, if him list, on fote, him-self to were.              2550
  And he that is at meschief, shal be take,
  And noght slayn, but be broght un-to the stake
  That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
  But thider he shal by force, and ther abyde.
  And if so falle, the chieftayn be take                      2555
  On either syde, or elles slee his make,
  No lenger shal the turneyinge laste.
  God spede yow; goth forth, and ley on faste.              (1700)
  With long swerd and with maces fight your fille.
  Goth now your wey; this is the lordes wille.'               2560

    2544. E. Cm. _om. 1st_ ne.   2545. or] E. Cm. Ln. ne.   2547. E. Hl.
    _om._ it.   2555. falle] E. be.   Cm. cheuynteyn; Cp. cheuentein; Hl.
    cheuenten.   2556. Hl. sle; _rest_ sleen (sclayn).   2559. Hl. fight;
    Ln. fihten; _rest_ fighteth.

    The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
  So loude cryden they with mery stevene:
  'God save swich a lord, that is so good,
  He wilneth no destruccioun of blood!'
  Up goon the trompes and the melodye.                        2565
  And to the listes rit the companye
  By ordinaunce, thurgh-out the citee large,
  Hanged with cloth of gold, and nat with sarge.            (1710)
  Ful lyk a lord this noble duk gan ryde,
  Thise two Thebanes up-on either syde;                       2570
  And after rood the quene, and Emelye,
  And after that another companye
  Of oon and other, after hir degree.
  And thus they passen thurgh-out the citee,
  And to the listes come they by tyme.                        2575
  It nas not of the day yet fully pryme,
  Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
  [74: T. 2580-2617.]
  Ipolita the quene and Emelye,                             (1720)
  And other ladies in degrees aboute.
  Un-to the seetes preesseth al the route.                    2580
  And west-ward, thurgh the gates under Marte,
  Arcite, and eek the hundred of his parte,
  With baner reed is entred right anon;
  And in that selve moment Palamon
  Is under Venus, est-ward in the place,                      2585
  With baner whyt, and hardy chere and face.
  In al the world, to seken up and doun,
  So even with-outen variacioun,                            (1730)
  Ther nere swiche companyes tweye.
  For ther nas noon so wys that coude seye,                   2590
  That any hadde of other avauntage
  Of worthinesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
  So even were they chosen, for to gesse.
  And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
  Whan that hir names rad were everichoon,                    2595
  That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
  Tho were the gates shet, and cryed was loude:
  'Do now your devoir, yonge knightes proude!'              (1740)

    2561. Cm. Cp. touchede; Hl. touchith; _rest_ touched.   2562. Cm.
    cryedyn; E. cride.   E. murie.   2570. E. Hn. Hl. Thebans; _see_ l.
    2623.   2593. E. _om._ they.   2598. Hl. Dooth.

    The heraudes lefte hir priking up and doun;
  Now ringen trompes loude and clarioun;                      2600
  Ther is namore to seyn, but west and est
  In goon the speres ful sadly in arest;
  In goth the sharpe spore in-to the syde.
  Ther seen men who can Iuste, and who can ryde;
  Ther shiveren shaftes up-on sheeldes thikke;                2605
  He feleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
  Up springen speres twenty foot on highte;
  Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte.               (1750)
  The helmes they to-hewen and to-shrede;
  Out brest the blood, with sterne stremes rede.              2610
  With mighty maces the bones they to-breste.
  He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste.
  Ther stomblen stedes stronge, and doun goth al.
  He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal.
  He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,                  2615
  [75: T. 2618-2655.]
  And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun.
  He thurgh the body is hurt, and sithen y-take,
  Maugree his heed, and broght un-to the stake,             (1760)
  As forward was, right ther he moste abyde;
  Another lad is on that other syde.                          2620
  And som tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
  Hem to refresshe, and drinken if hem leste.
  Ful ofte a-day han thise Thebanes two
  Togidre y-met, and wroght his felawe wo;
  Unhorsed hath ech other of hem tweye.                       2625
  Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
  Whan that hir whelp is stole, whan it is lyte,
  So cruel on the hunte, as is Arcite                       (1770)
  For Ielous herte upon this Palamoun:
  Ne in Belmarye ther nis so fel leoun,                       2630
  That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
  Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
  As Palamon to sleen his fo Arcite.
  The Ielous strokes on hir helmes byte;
  Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.                  2635

    2608. E. gooth; _rest_ goon.   2613. stomblen] E. Cm. semblen.   2622.
    E. fresshen.

    Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede;
  For er the sonne un-to the reste wente,
  The stronge king Emetreus gan hente                       (1780)
  This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
  And made his swerd depe in his flesh to byte;               2640
  And by the force of twenty is he take
  Unyolden, and y-drawe unto the stake.
  And in the rescous of this Palamoun
  The stronge king Ligurge is born adoun;
  And king Emetreus, for al his strengthe,                    2645
  Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
  So hitte him Palamon er he were take;
  But al for noght, he was broght to the stake.             (1790)
  His hardy herte mighte him helpe naught;
  He moste abyde, whan that he was caught                     2650
  By force, and eek by composicioun.

    2643. E. rescus; Pt. rescowe; _rest_ rescous.

    Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
  That moot namore goon agayn to fighte?
  [76: T. 2656-2691.]
  And whan that Theseus had seyn this sighte,
  Un-to the folk that foghten thus echoon                     2655
  He cryde, 'Ho! namore, for it is doon!
  I wol be trewe Iuge, and no partye.
  Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelye,                        (1800)
  That by his fortune hath hir faire y-wonne.'
  Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne                       2660
  For Ioye of this, so loude and heigh with-alle,
  It semed that the listes sholde falle.

    What can now faire Venus doon above?
  What seith she now? what dooth this quene of love?
  But wepeth so, for wanting of hir wille,                    2665
  Til that hir teres in the listes fille;
  She seyde: 'I am ashamed, doutelees.'
  Saturnus seyde: 'Doghter, hold thy pees.                  (1810)
  Mars hath his wille, his knight hath al his bone,
  And, by myn heed, thou shalt ben esed sone.'                2670

    The trompes, with the loude minstralcye,
  The heraudes, that ful loude yolle and crye,
  Been in hir wele for Ioye of daun Arcite.
  But herkneth me, and stinteth now a lyte,
  Which a miracle ther bifel anon.                            2675

    2671. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. trompours.

    This fierse Arcite hath of his helm y-don,
  And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
  He priketh endelong the large place,                      (1820)
  Loking upward up-on this Emelye;
  And she agayn him caste a freendlich yë,                    2680
  (For wommen, as to speken in comune,
  They folwen al the favour of fortune),
  And she was al his chere, as in his herte.
  Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
  From Pluto sent, at requeste of Saturne,                    2685
  For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
  And leep asyde, and foundred as he leep;
  And, er that Arcite may taken keep,                       (1830)
  He pighte him on the pomel of his heed,
  [77: T. 2692-2729.]
  That in the place he lay as he were deed,                   2690
  His brest to-brosten with his sadel-bowe.
  As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
  So was the blood y-ronnen in his face.
  Anon he was y-born out of the place
  With herte soor, to Theseus paleys.                         2695
  Tho was he corven out of his harneys,
  And in a bed y-brought ful faire and blyve,
  For he was yet in memorie and alyve,                      (1840)
  And alway crying after Emelye.

    2676. Cm. ferse; E. Hn. fierse.   2679. E. Pt. _om._ this.   2681. E.
    Hn. Cm. _omit_ ll. 2681, 2682.   2683. Hn. she; _rest om._   2684. E.
    furie; Hn. Cm. furye; _rest_ fyr, fir, fire, fyre; _see note_.   2698.
    Hl. Pt. on lyue.

    Duk Theseus, with al his companye,                        2700
  Is comen hoom to Athenes his citee,
  With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
  Al be it that this aventure was falle,
  He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
  Men seyde eek, that Arcite shal nat dye;                    2705
  He shal ben heled of his maladye.
  And of another thing they were as fayn,
  That of hem alle was ther noon y-slayn,                   (1850)
  Al were they sore y-hurt, and namely oon,
  That with a spere was thirled his brest-boon.               2710
  To othere woundes, and to broken armes,
  Some hadden salves, and some hadden charmes;
  Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
  They dronken, for they wolde hir limes have.
  For which this noble duk, as he wel can,                    2715
  Conforteth and honoureth every man,
  And made revel al the longe night,
  Un-to the straunge lordes, as was right.                  (1860)
  Ne ther was holden no disconfitinge,
  But as a Iustes or a tourneyinge;                           2720
  For soothly ther was no disconfiture,
  For falling nis nat but an aventure;
  Ne to be lad with fors un-to the stake
  Unyolden, and with twenty knightes take,
  O persone allone, with-outen mo,                            2725
  And haried forth by arme, foot, and to,
  And eek his stede driven forth with staves,
  [78: T. 2730-2767.]
  With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves,                 (1870)
  It nas aretted him no vileinye,
  Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.                         2730

    2714. limes] Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. lyues.   2726. E. Hn. Cm. arm.

    For which anon duk Theseus leet crye,
  To stinten alle rancour and envye,
  The gree as wel of o syde as of other,
  And either syde y-lyk, as otheres brother;
  And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,                        2735
  And fully heeld a feste dayes three;
  And conveyed the kinges worthily
  Out of his toun a Iournee largely.                        (1880)
  And hoom wente every man the righte way.
  Ther was namore, but 'far wel, have good day!'              2740
  Of this bataille I wol namore endyte,
  But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

    2737. E. conuoyed.   2740. E. fare; Cm. Hl. far.

    Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the sore
  Encreesseth at his herte more and more.
  The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,                    2745
  Corrupteth, and is in his bouk y-laft,
  That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusinge,
  Ne drinke of herbes may ben his helpinge.                 (1890)
  The vertu expulsif, or animal,
  Fro thilke vertu cleped natural                             2750
  Ne may the venim voyden, ne expelle.
  The pypes of his longes gonne to swelle,
  And every lacerte in his brest adoun
  Is shent with venim and corrupcioun.
  Him gayneth neither, for to gete his lyf,                   2755
  Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif;
  Al is to-brosten thilke regioun,
  Nature hath now no dominacioun.                           (1900)
  And certeinly, ther nature wol nat wirche,
  Far-wel, phisyk! go ber the man to chirche!                 2760
  This al and som, that Arcita mot dye,
  For which he sendeth after Emelye,
  And Palamon, that was his cosin dere;
  Than seyde he thus, as ye shul after here.

    2746. Hl. Pt. Corrumpith.   2760. E. fare; Cm. Hl. far.

    'Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte                 2765
  [79: T. 2768-2803.]
  Declare o poynt of alle my sorwes smerte
  To yow, my lady, that I love most;
  But I biquethe the service of my gost                     (1910)
  To yow aboven every creature,
  Sin that my lyf may no lenger dure.                         2770
  Allas, the wo! allas, the peynes stronge,
  That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
  Allas, the deeth! allas, myn Emelye!
  Allas, departing of our companye!
  Allas, myn hertes quene! allas, my wyf!                     2775
  Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
  What is this world? what asketh men to have?
  Now with his love, now in his colde grave                 (1920)
  Allone, with-outen any companye.
  Far-wel, my swete fo! myn Emelye!                           2780
  And softe tak me in your armes tweye,
  For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.

    2770. Tyrwhitt _has_ ne may; ne _is not in the_ MSS.   2781. E. taak.

    I have heer with my cosin Palamon
  Had stryf and rancour, many a day a-gon,
  For love of yow, and for my Ielousye.                       2785
  And Iupiter so wis my soule gye,
  To speken of a servant proprely,
  With alle circumstaunces trewely,                         (1930)
  That is to seyn, trouthe, honour, and knighthede,
  Wisdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kinrede,               2790
  Fredom, and al that longeth to that art,
  So Iupiter have of my soule part,
  As in this world right now ne knowe I non
  So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
  That serveth yow, and wol don al his lyf.                   2795
  And if that ever ye shul been a wyf,
  Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man.'
  And with that word his speche faille gan,                 (1940)
  For from his feet up to his brest was come
  The cold of deeth, that hadde him overcome.                 2800
  And yet more-over, in his armes two
  [80: T. 2804-2840.]
  The vital strengthe is lost, and al ago.
  Only the intellect, with-outen more,
  That dwelled in his herte syk and sore,
  Gan faillen, when the herte felte deeth,                    2805
  Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth.
  But on his lady yet caste he his yë;
  His laste word was, 'mercy, Emelye!'                      (1950)
  His spirit chaunged hous, and wente ther,
  As I cam never, I can nat tellen wher.                      2810
  Therfor I stinte, I nam no divinistre;
  Of soules finde I nat in this registre,
  Ne me ne list thilke opiniouns to telle
  Of hem, though that they wryten wher they dwelle.
  Arcite is cold, ther Mars his soule gye;                    2815
  Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.

    2785. E. Hn. Cp. Ialousye.   2789. Cp. Pt. Hl. and; rest _om._   2799.
    For] E. And.   feet] E. Hl. Cm. herte.   2801. _All but_ Hl. _ins._ for
    _before_ in.

    Shrighte Emelye, and howleth Palamon,
  And Theseus his suster took anon                          (1960)
  Swowninge, and bar hir fro the corps away.
  What helpeth it to tarien forth the day,                    2820
  To tellen how she weep, bothe eve and morwe?
  For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
  Whan that hir housbonds been from hem ago,
  That for the more part they sorwen so,
  Or elles fallen in swich maladye,                           2825
  That at the laste certeinly they dye.

    2819. E. Hn. baar.   2822. Hl. can haue; _rest om._ can.   2823. E.
    housbond is.

    Infinite been the sorwes and the teres
  Of olde folk, and folk of tendre yeres,                   (1970)
  In al the toun, for deeth of this Theban;
  For him ther wepeth bothe child and man;                    2830
  So greet a weping was ther noon, certayn,
  Whan Ector was y-broght, al fresh y-slayn,
  To Troye; allas! the pitee that was ther,
  Cracching of chekes, rending eek of heer.
  'Why woldestow be deed,' thise wommen crye,                 2835
  'And haddest gold y-nough, and Emelye?'
  No man mighte gladen Theseus,
  Savinge his olde fader Egeus,                             (1980)
  [81: T. 2841-2876.]
  That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
  As he had seyn it chaungen up and doun,                     2840
  Ioye after wo, and wo after gladnesse:
  And shewed hem ensamples and lyknesse.

    2828. E. eek; _for 2nd_ folk.   2834. E. Hn. Cm. Pt. rentynge.   2840.
    Hn. chaungen; Hl. torne; _rest om._

    'Right as ther deyed never man,' quod he,
  'That he ne livede in erthe in som degree,
  Right so ther livede never man,' he seyde,                  2845
  'In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
  This world nis but a thurghfare ful of wo,
  And we ben pilgrimes, passinge to and fro;                (1990)
  Deeth is an ende of every worldly sore.'
  And over al this yet seyde he muchel more                   2850
  To this effect, ful wysly to enhorte
  The peple, that they sholde hem reconforte.

    2843. Hn. deyed; E. dyed.   2849. E. worldes.

    Duk Theseus, with al his bisy cure,
  Caste now wher that the sepulture
  Of good Arcite may best y-maked be,                         2855
  And eek most honurable in his degree.
  And at the laste he took conclusioun,
  That ther as first Arcite and Palamoun                    (2000)
  Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
  That in that selve grove, swote and grene,                  2860
  Ther as he hadde his amorous desires,
  His compleynt, and for love his hote fires,
  He wolde make a fyr, in which thoffice
  Funeral he mighte al accomplice;
  And leet comaunde anon to hakke and hewe                    2865
  The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
  In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne;
  His officers with swifte feet they renne                  (2010)
  And ryde anon at his comaundement.
  And after this, Theseus hath y-sent                         2870
  After a bere, and it al over-spradde
  With cloth of gold, the richest that he hadde.
  And of the same suyte he cladde Arcite;
  Upon his hondes hadde he gloves whyte;
  [82: T. 2877-2913.]
  Eek on his heed a croune of laurer grene,                   2875
  And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
  He leyde him bare the visage on the bere,
  Therwith he weep that pitee was to here.                  (2020)
  And for the peple sholde seen him alle,
  Whan it was day, he broghte him to the halle,               2880
  That roreth of the crying and the soun.

    2854. Hn. Caste; E. Hl. Cast.   now] Hl. busyly.   2861. E. amorouse.
    2863. E. the office; Hl. thoffice.   2869. E. ryden.   2875. Cp. Pt.
    Hl. croune; _rest_ coroune.

    Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
  With flotery berd, and ruggy asshy heres,
  In clothes blake, y-dropped al with teres;
  And, passing othere of weping, Emelye,                      2885
  The rewfulleste of al the companye.
  In as muche as the service sholde be
  The more noble and riche in his degree,                   (2030)
  Duk Theseus leet forth three stedes bringe,
  That trapped were in steel al gliteringe,                   2890
  And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
  Up-on thise stedes, that weren grete and whyte,
  Ther seten folk, of which oon bar his sheeld,
  Another his spere up in his hondes heeld;
  The thridde bar with him his bowe Turkeys,                  2895
  Of brend gold was the cas, and eek the harneys;
  And riden forth a pas with sorweful chere
  Toward the grove, as ye shul after here.                  (2040)
  The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
  Upon hir shuldres carieden the bere,                        2900
  With slakke pas, and eyen rede and wete,
  Thurgh-out the citee, by the maister-strete,
  That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
  Right of the same is al the strete y-wrye.
  Up-on the right hond wente old Egeus,                       2905
  And on that other syde duk Theseus,
  With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
  Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;                 (2050)
  Eek Palamon, with ful greet companye;
  And after that cam woful Emelye,                            2910
  With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
  [83: T. 2914-2949.]
  To do thoffice of funeral servyse.

    2883. E. rugged.   2892. Hl. that weren; _rest om._   2893. E. Ln.
    sitten.   2894. E. _om._ up.   2901. Ln. slake (_for_ slakke); _rest_
    slak.   2904. Hl. al; _rest om._   2912. _So_ Hl. Cp.; _rest_ the
    office.

    Heigh labour, and ful greet apparaillinge
  Was at the service and the fyr-makinge,
  That with his grene top the heven raughte,                  2915
  And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte;
  This is to seyn, the bowes were so brode.
  Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.             (2060)
  But how the fyr was maked up on highte,
  And eek the names how the treës highte,                     2920
  As ook, firre, birch, asp, alder, holm, popler,
  Wilow, elm, plane, ash, box, chasteyn, lind, laurer,
  Mapul, thorn, beech, hasel, ew, whippeltree,
  How they weren feld, shal nat be told for me;
  Ne how the goddes ronnen up and doun,                       2925
  Disherited of hir habitacioun,
  In which they woneden in reste and pees,
  Nymphes, Faunes, and Amadrides;                           (2070)
  Ne how the bestes and the briddes alle
  Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;                  2930
  Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
  That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
  Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
  And than with drye stokkes cloven a three,
  And than with grene wode and spycerye,                      2935
  And than with cloth of gold and with perrye,
  And gerlandes hanging with ful many a flour,
  The mirre, thencens, with al so greet odour;              (2080)
  Ne how Arcite lay among al this,
  Ne what richesse aboute his body is;                        2940
  Ne how that Emelye, as was the gyse,
  Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
  Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
  Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desyr;
  Ne what Ieweles men in the fyr tho caste,                   2945
  Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
  Ne how som caste hir sheeld, and som hir spere,
  [84: T. 2950-2986.]
  And of hir vestiments, whiche that they were,             (2090)
  And cuppes ful of wyn, and milk, and blood,
  Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;                  2950
  Ne how the Grekes with an huge route
  Thryës riden al the fyr aboute
  Up-on the left hand, with a loud shoutinge,
  And thryës with hir speres clateringe;
  And thryës how the ladies gonne crye;                       2955
  Ne how that lad was hom-ward Emelye;
  Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;
  Ne how that liche-wake was y-holde                        (2100)
  Al thilke night, ne how the Grekes pleye
  The wake-pleyes, ne kepe I nat to seye;                     2960
  Who wrastleth best naked, with oille enoynt,
  Ne who that bar him best, in no disioynt.
  I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
  Hoom til Athenes, whan the pley is doon;
  But shortly to the poynt than wol I wende,                  2965
  And maken of my longe tale an ende.

    2916. Hl. tharme.   2920. how] E. that.   2921. Hn. Hl. popler; _rest_
    popelere.   2924. E. fild.   2926. Hl. Disheryt.   2928. E. Cm.
    Nymphus.   2934, 5, 6. Pt. Ln. than; _rest_ thanne.   2934. E. Cp.
    stokkes; _rest_ stikkes.   2943. E. _om._ the.   2945. Hl. tho; _rest
    om._   2952. _So all but_ Hl., _which has_ Thre tymes; _see_ l. 2954.
    E. place (_for_ fyr).   2956. E. Hn. And (_for_ Ne).   2958. E. Hn.
    lych; _rest_ liche.

    By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres
  Al stinted is the moorning and the teres                  (2110)
  Of Grekes, by oon general assent.
  Than semed me ther was a parlement                          2970
  At Athenes, up-on certeyn poynts and cas;
  Among the whiche poynts y-spoken was
  To have with certeyn contrees alliaunce,
  And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce.
  For which this noble Theseus anon                           2975
  Leet senden after gentil Palamon,
  Unwist of him what was the cause and why;
  But in his blake clothes sorwefully                       (2120)
  He cam at his comaundement in hye.
  Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.                               2980
  Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
  And Theseus abiden hadde a space
  Er any word cam from his wyse brest,
  His eyen sette he ther as was his lest,
  [85: T. 2987-3020.]
  And with a sad visage he syked stille,                      2985
  And after that right thus he seyde his wille.

    'The firste moevere of the cause above,
  Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,              (2130)
  Greet was theffect, and heigh was his entente;
  Wel wiste he why, and what ther-of he mente;                2990
  For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
  The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
  In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee;
  That same prince and that moevere,' quod he,
  'Hath stablissed, in this wrecched world adoun,             2995
  Certeyne dayes and duracioun
  To al that is engendred in this place,
  Over the whiche day they may nat pace,                    (2140)
  Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge;
  Ther needeth non auctoritee allegge,                        3000
  For it is preved by experience,
  But that me list declaren my sentence.
  Than may men by this ordre wel discerne,
  That thilke moevere stable is and eterne.
  Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,                        3005
  That every part deryveth from his hool.
  For nature hath nat take his beginning
  Of no partye ne cantel of a thing,                        (2150)
  But of a thing that parfit is and stable,
  Descending so, til it be corrumpable.                       3010
  And therfore, of his wyse purveyaunce,
  He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce,
  That speces of thinges and progressiouns
  Shullen enduren by successiouns,
  And nat eterne be, with-oute lye:                           3015
  This maistow understonde and seen at eye.

    2994. Hn. Ln. that; _rest_ (_except_ Hl.) that same. Hl. and moeuere
    eek.   2995. Hl. Ln. stabled.   2997. Hl. alle that er; Cp. alle that
    beth.   3000. E. Cp. _ins._ noght _bef._ noon.   Hl. tallegge; Hn. to
    allegge; Cm. Cp. Pt. to legge.   3006. E. dirryueth.   3007. Hl. Ln.
    take; _rest_ taken; E. Cm. _om._ nat.   3008. Hl. ne; E. Hn. Pt. or of;
    Cm. or of a.   3015. _So_ Hl.; _rest_ eterne with-outen any lye.
    3016. at] E. it.

    'Lo the ook, that hath so long a norisshinge
  From tyme that it first biginneth springe,                (2160)
  [86: T. 3021-3058.]
  And hath so long a lyf, as we may see,
  Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.                        3020

    'Considereth eek, how that the harde stoon
  Under our feet, on which we trede and goon,
  Yit wasteth it, as it lyth by the weye.
  The brode river somtyme wexeth dreye.
  The grete tounes see we wane and wende.                     3025
  Than may ye see that al this thing hath ende.

    3025. E. toures.

    'Of man and womman seen we wel also,
  That nedeth, in oon of thise termes two,                  (2170)
  This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age,
  He moot ben deed, the king as shal a page;                  3030
  Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
  Som in the large feeld, as men may se;
  Ther helpeth noght, al goth that ilke weye.
  Thanne may I seyn that al this thing moot deye.
  What maketh this but Iupiter the king?                      3035
  The which is prince and cause of alle thing,
  Converting al un-to his propre welle,
  From which it is deryved, sooth to telle.                 (2180)
  And here-agayns no creature on lyve
  Of no degree availleth for to stryve.                       3040

    3034. E. Cm. _om._ that.   3036. _So_ Hl.; _rest_ That is.

    'Thanne is it wisdom, as it thinketh me,
  To maken vertu of necessitee,
  And take it wel, that we may nat eschue,
  And namely that to us alle is due.
  And who-so gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,                 3045
  And rebel is to him that al may gye.
  And certeinly a man hath most honour
  To dyen in his excellence and flour,                      (2190)
  Whan he is siker of his gode name;
  Than hath he doon his freend, ne him, no shame.             3050
  And gladder oghte his freend ben of his deeth,
  Whan with honour up-yolden is his breeth,
  Than whan his name apalled is for age;
  For al forgeten is his vasselage.
  Than is it best, as for a worthy fame,                      3055
  To dyen whan that he is best of name.
  [87: T. 3059-3095.]
  The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
  Why grucchen we? why have we hevinesse,                   (2200)
  That good Arcite, of chivalrye flour
  Departed is, with duetee and honour,                        3060
  Out of this foule prison of this lyf?
  Why grucchen heer his cosin and his wyf
  Of his wel-fare that loved hem so weel?
  Can he hem thank? nay, God wot, never a deel,
  That bothe his soule and eek hem-self offende,              3065
  And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.

    3056. Hl. whan a man.   3059. Hl. Cp. Pt. Ln. _ins._ the _bef._ flour.

    'What may I conclude of this longe serie,
  But, after wo, I rede us to be merie,                     (2210)
  And thanken Iupiter of al his grace?
  And, er that we departen from this place,                   3070
  I rede that we make, of sorwes two,
  O parfyt Ioye, lasting ever-mo;
  And loketh now, wher most sorwe is her-inne,
  Ther wol we first amenden and biginne.

    3071. Hl. that; _rest om._

    'Suster,' quod he, 'this is my fulle assent,              3075
  With al thavys heer of my parlement,
  That gentil Palamon, your owne knight,
  That serveth yow with wille, herte, and might,            (2220)
  And ever hath doon, sin that ye first him knewe,
  That ye shul, of your grace, up-on him rewe,                3080
  And taken him for housbonde and for lord:
  Leen me your hond, for this is our acord.
  Lat see now of your wommanly pitee.
  He is a kinges brother sone, pardee;
  And, though he were a povre bacheler,                       3085
  Sin he hath served yow so many a yeer,
  And had for yow so greet adversitee,
  It moste been considered, leveth me;                      (2230)
  For gentil mercy oghte to passen right.'

    3077. your] E. thyn.   3082. Hn. Leen; _rest_ Lene.

    Than seyde he thus to Palamon ful right;                  3090
  'I trowe ther nedeth litel sermoning
  To make yow assente to this thing.
  Com neer, and tak your lady by the hond.'
  [88: T. 3096-3110.]
  Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond,
  That highte matrimoine or mariage,                          3095
  By al the counseil and the baronage.
  And thus with alle blisse and melodye
  Hath Palamon y-wedded Emelye.                             (2240)
  And God, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
  Sende him his love, that hath it dere a-boght.              3100
  For now is Palamon in alle wele,
  Living in blisse, in richesse, and in hele;
  And Emelye him loveth so tendrely,
  And he hir serveth al-so gentilly,
  That never was ther no word hem bitwene                     3105
  Of Ielousye, or any other tene.
  Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye;
  And God save al this faire companye!--Amen.               (2250)

      HERE IS ENDED THE KNIGHTES TALE.

    3095. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. matrimoigne; Pt. matrimoyne; Hl. matrimoyn.
    3100. E. _om._ hath.   3104. Hl. also; _rest_ so.   3106. E. Hn. Cp.
    Ialousye.   Hl. ne of non othir teene.   COLOPHON; _so_ E. Hn.; Pt. Hl.
    endeth.

[89: T. 3111-3133.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MILLER'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE FOLWEN THE WORDES BITWENE THE HOST AND THE MILLERE.

  Whan that the Knight had thus his tale y-told,
  In al the route nas ther yong ne old                        3110
  That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,
  And worthy for to drawen to memorie;
  And namely the gentils everichoon.
  Our Hoste lough and swoor, 'so moot I goon,
  This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male;                   3115
  Lat see now who shal telle another tale:
  For trewely, the game is wel bigonne.
  Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye conne,                 (10)
  Sumwhat, to quyte with the Knightes tale.'
  The Miller, that for-dronken was al pale,                   3120
  So that unnethe up-on his hors he sat,
  He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
  Ne abyde no man for his curteisye,
  But in Pilates vois he gan to crye,
  And swoor by armes and by blood and bones,                  3125
  'I can a noble tale for the nones,
  With which I wol now quyte the Knightes tale.'

    HEADING. _From_ E. Heere; hoost.   3118. E. on; _rest_ ye.

    Our Hoste saugh that he was dronke of ale,                (20)
  And seyde: 'abyd, Robin, my leve brother,
  Som bettre man shal telle us first another:                 3130
  Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.'

    3128. Ln. oste; E. hoost; Hl. _has_--Oure hoost saugh wel how.

[90: T. 3134-3166.]

    'By goddes soul,' quod he, 'that wol nat I;
  For I wol speke, or elles go my wey.'
  Our Hoste answerde: 'tel on, a devel wey!
  Thou art a fool, thy wit is overcome.'                      3135

    3134. Pt. hooste; Ln. oste; E. hoost.

    'Now herkneth,' quod the Miller, 'alle and some!
  But first I make a protestacioun
  That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;                    (30)
  And therfore, if that I misspeke or seye,
  Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I yow preye;                  3140
  For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
  Bothe of a Carpenter, and of his wyf,
  How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.'

    3140. E. Hn. Cm. _om._ yow.

    The Reve answerde and seyde, 'stint thy clappe,
  Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.                         3145
  It is a sinne and eek a greet folye
  To apeiren any man, or him diffame,
  And eek to bringen wyves in swich fame.                     (40)
  Thou mayst y-nogh of othere thinges seyn.'

    3147. E. Ln. Hl. defame; _rest_ diffame.

    This dronken Miller spak ful sone ageyn,                  3150
  And seyde, 'leve brother Osewold,
  Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
  But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
  Ther been ful gode wyves many oon,                          3154
  And ever a thousand gode ayeyns oon badde,             [T. _om._
  That knowestow wel thy-self, but-if thou madde.        [T. _om._
  Why artow angry with my tale now?
  I have a wyf, pardee, as well as thou,                      (50)
  Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
  Taken up-on me more than y-nogh,                            3160
  As demen of my-self that I were oon;
  I wol beleve wel that I am noon.
  An housbond shal nat been inquisitif
  Of goddes privetee, nor of his wyf.
  So he may finde goddes foyson there,                        3165
  Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere.'

    3150. E. dronke; Cm. dronkyn; _rest_ dronken.   3155, 6. _These two
    lines are in_ E. Cm. Hl. only.   3160. Cm. Takyn; _rest_ Take, Tak.
    3166. enquere] Cp. Pt. Ln. to enquere.

[91: T. 3167-3186.]

    What sholde I more seyn, but this Millere
  He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,                     (60)
  But tolde his cherles tale in his manere;
  Me thinketh that I shal reherce it here.                    3170
  And ther-fore every gentil wight I preye,
  For goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
  Of evel entente, but that I moot reherce
  Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
  Or elles falsen som of my matere.                           3175
  And therfore, who-so list it nat y-here,
  Turne over the leef, and chese another tale;
  For he shal finde y-nowe, grete and smale,                  (70)
  Of storial thing that toucheth gentillesse,
  And eek moralitee and holinesse;                            3180
  Blameth nat me if that ye chese amis.
  The Miller is a cherl, ye knowe wel this;
  So was the Reve, and othere many mo,
  And harlotrye they tolden bothe two.
  Avyseth yow and putte me out of blame;                      3185
  And eek men shal nat make ernest of game.

      HERE ENDETH THE PROLOGE.

    3170. E. Mathynketh; Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. Me athynketh; Cm. Me thynkyth.
    3172. demeth] Hl. as deme.   3173. E. yuel; Cm. euyl.   3177. Cp.
    chees; Cm. ches; _rest_ chese.   3185. E. Cm. _om._ and.   E. Cp.
    putteth; _rest_ putte, put.   3186. E. Hn. Cm. maken; _rest_ make.
    COLOPHON. _From_ Cm.; Pt. Thus endeth the prologe; Ln. Explicit
    prologus; Hl. Here endeth the prologe of the Miller.

[92: T. 3187-3214.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MILLERES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

      HERE BIGINNETH THE MILLERE HIS TALE.

  Whylom ther was dwellinge at Oxenford
  A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
  And of his craft he was a Carpenter.
  With him ther was dwellinge a povre scoler,                 3190
  Had lerned art, but al his fantasye
  Was turned for to lerne astrologye,
  And coude a certeyn of conclusiouns
  To demen by interrogaciouns,
  If that men axed him in certein houres,                     3195
  Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles shoures,         (10)
  Or if men axed him what sholde bifalle
  Of every thing, I may nat rekene hem alle.

    3187. Cm. Pt. in (_for_ at).   3190. Cm. Pt. Hl. pore; E. Hn. poure (=
    povre); Cp. Ln. pouer (= pover).   3195, 7. E. asked; _rest_ axed.

    This clerk was cleped hende Nicholas;
  Of derne love he coude and of solas;                        3200
  And ther-to be was sleigh and ful privee,
  And lyk a mayden meke for to see.
  A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye
  Allone, with-outen any companye,
  Ful fetisly y-dight with herbes swote;                      3205
  And he him-self as swete as is the rote                     (20)
  Of licorys, or any cetewale.
  His Almageste and bokes grete and smale,
  His astrelabie, longinge for his art,
  His augrim-stones layen faire a-part                        3210
  On shelves couched at his beddes heed:
  His presse y-covered with a falding reed.
  And al above ther lay a gay sautrye,
  On which he made a nightes melodye
  [93: T. 3215-3250.]
  So swetely, that al the chambre rong;                       3215
  And _Angelus ad virginem_ he song;                          (30)
  And after that he song the kinges note;
  Ful often blessed was his mery throte.
  And thus this swete clerk his tyme spente
  After his freendes finding and his rente.                   3220

    3218. Cm. Pt. Ln. Hl. mery; E. myrie.

    This Carpenter had wedded newe a wyf
  Which that he lovede more than his lyf;
  Of eightetene yeer she was of age.
  Ialous he was, and heeld hir narwe in cage,
  For she was wilde and yong, and he was old                  3225
  And demed him-self ben lyk a cokewold.                      (40)
  He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude,
  That bad man sholde wedde his similitude.
  Men sholde wedden after hir estaat,
  For youthe and elde is often at debaat.                     3230
  But sith that he was fallen in the snare,
  He moste endure, as other folk, his care.

    3223. Hl. eyghteteene; _rest_ xviij.   3225. E. yong and wylde.   3230.
    Cm. Hl. ben; _rest_ is.

    Fair was this yonge wyf, and ther-with-al
  As any wesele hir body gent and smal.
  A ceynt she werede barred al of silk,                       3235
  A barmclooth eek as whyt as morne milk                      (50)
  Up-on hir lendes, ful of many a gore.
  Whyt was hir smok, and brouded al bifore
  And eek bihinde, on hir coler aboute,
  Of col-blak silk, with-inne and eek with-oute.              3240
  The tapes of hir whyte voluper
  Were of the same suyte of hir coler;
  Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye:
  And sikerly she hadde a likerous yë.
  Ful smale y-pulled were hir browes two,                     3245
  And tho were bent, and blake as any sloo.                   (60)
  She was ful more blisful on to see
  Than is the newe pere-ionette tree;
  And softer than the wolle is of a wether.
  And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether                    3250
  [94: T. 3251-3285.]
  Tasseld with silk, and perled with latoun.
  In al this world, to seken up and doun,
  There nis no man so wys, that coude thenche
  So gay a popelote, or swich a wenche.
  Ful brighter was the shyning of hir hewe                    3255
  Than in the tour the noble y-forged newe.                   (70)
  But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne
  As any swalwe sittinge on a berne.
  Ther-to she coude skippe and make game,
  As any kide or calf folwinge his dame.                      3260
  Hir mouth was swete as bragot or the meeth,
  Or hord of apples leyd in hey or heeth.
  Winsinge she was, as is a Ioly colt,
  Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt.
  A brooch she baar up-on hir lowe coler,                     3265
  As brood as is the bos of a bocler.                         (80)
  Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye;
  She was a prymerole, a pigges-nye
  For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
  Or yet for any good yeman to wedde.                         3270

    3235. E. y-barred; _rest_ barred.   3236. Hl. eek; _rest om._   3238.
    Cp. brouded; Hl. browdid; Cm. I-brouded; E. Hn. broyden.   3251. E. Hn.
    Tasseled; Ln. Tassilde; Hl. Cp. Tassid.    E. grene; _rest_ silk.
    3253. E. nas; Hn. Pt. Hl. nys; Cm. Cp. Ln. is.   3261. Cm. Pt. Cp. Ln.
    braket.   3265. Cm. lowe; _rest_ loue.   3266. Cp. bocler; Hl. bocleer;
    _rest_ bokeler.

    Now sire, and eft sire, so bifel the cas,
  That on a day this hende Nicholas
  Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
  Whyl that hir housbond was at Oseneye,
  As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;                 3275
  And prively he caughte hir by the queynte,                  (90)
  And seyde, 'y-wis, but if ich have my wille,
  For derne love of thee, lemman, I spille.'
  And heeld hir harde by the haunche-bones,
  And seyde, 'lemman, love me al at-ones,                     3280
  Or I wol dyen, also god me save!'
  And she sprong as a colt doth in the trave,
  And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,
  And seyde, 'I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey,
  Why, lat be,' quod she, 'lat be, Nicholas,                  3285
  [95: T. 3286-3322.]
  Or I wol crye out "harrow" and "allas."                    (100)
  Do wey your handes for your curteisye!'

    3283. Cm. wrythed.   3285. Pt. she; Cm. Hl. sche; Ln. iche; _rest_ ich.

    This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
  And spak so faire, and profred hir so faste,
  That she hir love him graunted atte laste,                  3290
  And swoor hir ooth, by seint Thomas of Kent,
  That she wol been at his comandement,
  Whan that she may hir leyser wel espye.
  'Myn housbond is so ful of Ialousye,
  That but ye wayte wel and been privee,                      3295
  I woot right wel I nam but deed,' quod she.                (110)
  'Ye moste been ful derne, as in this cas.'

    'Nay ther-of care thee noght,' quod Nicholas,
  'A clerk had litherly biset his whyle,
  But-if he coude a Carpenter bigyle.'                        3300
  And thus they been acorded and y-sworn
  To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn.
  Whan Nicholas had doon thus everydeel,
  And thakked hir aboute the lendes weel,
  He kist hir swete, and taketh his sautrye,                  3305
  And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodye.                     (120)

    3289. E. hir; _rest_ him.

    Than fil it thus, that to the parish-chirche,
  Cristes owne werkes for to wirche,
  This gode wyf wente on an haliday;
  Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,                     3310
  So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.

    Now was ther of that chirche a parish-clerk,
  The which that was y-cleped Absolon.
  Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,
  And strouted as a fanne large and brode;                    3315
  Ful streight and even lay his Ioly shode.                  (130)
  His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos;
  With Powles window corven on his shoos,
  In hoses rede he wente fetisly.
  Y-clad he was ful smal and proprely,                        3320
  Al in a kirtel of a light wachet;
  Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.
  [96: T. 3323-3358.]
  And ther-up-on he hadde a gay surplys
  As whyt as is the blosme up-on the rys.
  A mery child he was, so god me save,                        3325
  Wel coude he laten blood and clippe and shave,             (140)
  And make a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.
  In twenty manere coude he trippe and daunce
  After the scole of Oxenforde tho,
  And with his legges casten to and fro,                      3330
  And pleyen songes on a small rubible;
  Ther-to he song som-tyme a loud quinible;
  And as wel coude he pleye on his giterne.
  In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne
  That he ne visited with his solas,                          3335
  Ther any gaylard tappestere was.                           (150)
  But sooth to seyn, he was somdel squaymous
  Of farting, and of speche daungerous.

    3319. Cm. hosyn; Pt. hosen; _rest_ hoses.   3321. Hl. fyn (_for_
    light).    Hl. Ln. wachet; Cm. vachet; _rest_ waget.   3325. E. myrie;
    Hn. murye.   3327. E. Hn. maken.   3329. E. Hn. Oxenford; Cm.
    Oxenforthe; _rest_ Oxenforde.   3333. E. his; _rest_ a.

    This Absolon, that Iolif was and gay,
  Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,                         3340
  Sensinge the wyves of the parish faste;
  And many a lovely look on hem he caste,
  And namely on this carpenteres wyf.
  To loke on hir him thoughte a mery lyf,
  She was so propre and swete and likerous.                   3345
  I dar wel seyn, if she had been a mous,                    (160)
  And he a cat, he wolde hir hente anon.

    3344. E. myrie; Hn. murye.   3347. E. Hl. wold; _rest_ wolde.

    This parish-clerk, this Ioly Absolon,
  Hath in his herte swich a love-longinge,
  That of no wyf ne took he noon offringe;                    3350
  For curteisye, he seyde, he wolde noon.
  The mone, whan it was night, ful brighte shoon,
  And Absolon his giterne hath y-take,
  For paramours, he thoghte for to wake.
  And forth he gooth, Iolif and amorous,                      3353
  Til he cam to the carpenteres hous                         (170)
  A litel after cokkes hadde y-crowe;
  And dressed him up by a shot-windowe
  [97: T. 3359-3392.]
  That was up-on the carpenteres wal.
  He singeth in his vois gentil and smal,                     3360
  'Now, dere lady, if thy wille be,
  I preye yow that ye wol rewe on me,'
  Ful wel acordaunt to his giterninge.
  This carpenter awook, and herde him singe,
  And spak un-to his wyf, and seyde anon,                     3365
  'What! Alison! herestow nat Absolon                        (180)
  That chaunteth thus under our boures wal?'
  And she answerde hir housbond ther-with-al,
  'Yis, god wot, Iohn, I here it every-del.'

    3350. Hn. Hl. ne; _rest om._   3362. Cm. preye; Hl. praye; Ln. preie;
    E. Hn. Cp. Pt. pray.   E. wole; Cm. wele; Hn. Hl. wol; _rest_ wil.   E.
    thynke; _rest_ rewe.   3364. E. _om._ him.

    This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than wel?             3370
  Fro day to day this Ioly Absolon
  So woweth hir, that him is wo bigon.
  He waketh al the night and al the day;
  He kempte hise lokkes brode, and made him gay;
  He woweth hir by menes and brocage,                         3375
  And swoor he wolde been hir owne page;                     (190)
  He singeth, brokkinge as a nightingale;
  He sente hir piment, meeth, and spyced ale,
  And wafres, pyping hote out of the glede;
  And for she was of toune, he profred mede.                  3380
  For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
  And som for strokes, and som for gentillesse.

    3371. E. _repeats_ to day.   3374. Cm. kempte; Hn. Ln. kembed; Cp.
    kembede; E. Pt. kembeth.   3379. Cm. Pt. Ln. hote; E. Hn. Cp. hoot.
    3380. E. profreth.

    Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
  He pleyeth Herodes on a scaffold hye.
  But what availleth him as in this cas?                      3385
  She loveth so this hende Nicholas,                         (200)
  That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
  He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn;
  And thus she maketh Absolon hir ape,
  And al his ernest turneth til a Iape.                       3390
  Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
  Men seyn right thus, 'alwey the nye slye
  [98: T. 3393-3429.]
  Maketh the ferre leve to be looth.'
  For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,
  By-cause that he fer was from hir sighte,                   3395
  This nye Nicholas stood in his lighte.                     (210)

    3384. Hl. Herodz; Ln. Heraude; _rest_ Herodes, Heraudes.   Hl. on;
    _rest_ vp on.   3390. Hl. Pt. to; _rest_ til.

    Now bere thee wel, thou hende Nicholas!
  For Absolon may waille and singe 'allas.'
  And so bifel it on a Saterday,
  This carpenter was goon til Osenay;                         3400
  And hende Nicholas and Alisoun
  Acorded been to this conclusioun,
  That Nicholas shal shapen him a wyle
  This sely Ialous housbond to bigyle;
  And if so be the game wente aright,                         3405
  She sholde slepen in his arm al night,                     (220)
  For this was his desyr and hir also.
  And right anon, with-outen wordes mo,
  This Nicholas no lenger wolde tarie,
  But doth ful softe un-to his chambre carie                  3410
  Bothe mete and drinke for a day or tweye,
  And to hir housbonde bad hir for to seye,
  If that he axed after Nicholas,
  She sholde seye she niste where he was,
  Of al that day she saugh him nat with yë;                   3415
  She trowed that he was in maladye,                         (230)
  For, for no cry, hir mayde coude him calle;
  He nolde answere, for no-thing that mighte falle.

    3415. Cm. Pt. ye; Hl. Iye; _rest_ eye.   3418. Hn. Cm. Cp. Ln. no
    thyng; Pt. Hl. nought; E. thyng.   Pt. Hl. may bifalle. (_Read_ mighte
    _as_ might').

    This passeth forth al thilke Saterday,
  That Nicholas stille in his chambre lay,                    3420
  And eet and sleep, or dide what him leste,
  Til Sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste.

    This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle
  Of Nicholas, or what thing mighte him eyle,
  And seyde, 'I am adrad, by seint Thomas,                    3425
  It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas.                      (240)
  God shilde that he deyde sodeynly!
  This world is now ful tikel, sikerly;
  I saugh to-day a cors y-born to chirche
  [99: T. 3430-3465.]
  That now, on Monday last, I saugh him wirche.               3430

    Go up,' quod he un-to his knave anoon,
  'Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon,
  Loke how it is, and tel me boldely.'

    This knave gooth him up ful sturdily,
  And at the chambre-dore, whyl that he stood,                3435
  He cryde and knokked as that he were wood:--               (250)
  'What! how! what do ye, maister Nicholay?
  How may ye slepen al the longe day?'

    But al for noght, he herde nat a word;
  An hole he fond, ful lowe up-on a bord,                     3440
  Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe;
  And at that hole he looked in ful depe,
  And at the laste he hadde of him a sighte.
  This Nicholas sat gaping ever up-righte,
  As he had kyked on the newe mone.                           3445
  Adoun he gooth, and tolde his maister sone                 (260)
  In what array he saugh this ilke man.

    3440. E. Hn. foond; Pt. foonde.   3444. E. Hn. Cp. capyng.   3445. Cp.
    Ln. keked; Hl. loked.   3447. E. Pt. that; _rest_ this.

    This carpenter to blessen him bigan,
  And seyde, 'help us, seinte Frideswyde!
  A man woot litel what him shal bityde.                      3450
  This man is falle, with his astromye,
  In som woodnesse or in som agonye;
  I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
  Men sholde nat knowe of goddes privetee.
  Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man,                           3455
  That noght but oonly his bileve can!                       (270)
  So ferde another clerk with astromye;
  He walked in the feeldes for to prye
  Up-on the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
  Til he was in a marle-pit y-falle;                          3460
  He saugh nat that. But yet, by seint Thomas,
  Me reweth sore of hende Nicholas.
  He shal be rated of his studying,
  If that I may, by Iesus, hevene king!

    3451. E. Hn. Astromye; Ln. Arstromye; _rest_ astronomye; _but_ Astromye
    _is meant; see_ l. 3457.   3457. _So_ E. Hn.; _rest_ astronomye.
    3460. E. -put.

    Get me a staf, that I may underspore,                     3465
  [100: T. 3466-3498.]
  Whyl that thou, Robin, hevest up the dore.                 (280)
  He shal out of his studying, as I gesse'--
  And to the chambre-dore he gan him dresse.
  His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
  And by the haspe he haf it up atones;                       3470
  In-to the floor the dore fil anon.
  This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
  And ever gaped upward in-to the eir.
  This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
  And hente him by the sholdres mightily,                     3475
  And shook him harde, and cryde spitously,                  (290)
  'What! Nicholay! what, how! what! loke adoun!
  Awake, and thenk on Cristes passioun;
  I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes!'
  Ther-with the night-spel seyde he anon-rightes              3480
  On foure halves of the hous aboute,
  And on the threshfold of the dore with-oute:--
  'Iesu Crist, and seynt Benedight,
  Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
  For nightes verye, the white _pater-noster_!                3485
  Where wentestow, seynt Petres soster?'                     (300)

    3466. E. of; _rest_ vp, vpe.   3470. Cm. Hl. haf; E. Hn. haaf; Cp.
    heef.   Hn. Pt. Ln. Hl. vp; _rest_ of.   3473. E. Hn. caped; Hl. capyd;
    Cp. capede; _rest_ gaped, gapede.   3477. Hl. man (_for 3rd_ what);
    _rest om._   3485. _All but_ E. Hl. For the nyghtes.   E. Hn. uerye;
    Cm. verie; Cp. Pt. verye; Ln. very; Hl. verray.   3486. Cm. wonyst
    þ_o_u; Hl. wonestow; _after which_ Cm. Hl. _ins._ now.

    And atte laste this hende Nicholas
  Gan for to syke sore, and seyde, 'allas!
  Shal al the world be lost eftsones now?'

    3487. Hl. _om._ this.   3489. E. this; _rest_ the.

    This carpenter answerde, 'what seystow?                   3490
  What! thenk on god, as we don, men that swinke.'

    3491. Hn. Pt. Hl. thenk; _rest_ thynk; _see_ 3478. Cm. as men don whan
    they swinke.

    This Nicholas answerde, 'fecche me drinke;
  And after wol I speke in privetee
  Of certeyn thing that toucheth me and thee;
  I wol telle it non other man, certeyn.'                     3495

    This carpenter goth doun, and comth ageyn,               (310)
  And broghte of mighty ale a large quart;
  And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,
  [101: T. 3499-3534.]
  This Nicholas his dore faste shette,
  And doun the carpenter by him he sette.                     3500

    He seyde, 'Iohn, myn hoste lief and dere,
  Thou shall up-on thy trouthe swere me here,
  That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye;
  For it is Cristes conseil that I seye,
  And if thou telle it man, thou are forlore;                 3505
  For this vengaunce thou shalt han therfore,                (320)
  That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood!'
  'Nay, Crist forbede it, for his holy blood!'
  Quod tho this sely man, 'I nam no labbe,
  Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.                 3510
  Sey what thou wolt, I shal it never telle
  To child ne wyf, by him that harwed helle!'

    3501. Cp. Pt. hooste; Ln. ostee; Hl. host ful; E. Hn. hoost; Cm. ost.
    3505. E. _om._ it.   3510. E. Hl. am; _rest_ nam, ne am.

    'Now John,' quod Nicholas, 'I wol nat lye;
  I have y-founde in myn astrologye,
  As I have loked in the mone bright,                         3515
  That now, a Monday next, at quarter-night,                 (330)
  Shal falle a reyn and that so wilde and wood,
  That half so greet was never Noës flood.
  This world,' he seyde, 'in lasse than in an hour
  Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour;                  3520
  Thus shal mankynde drenche and lese hir lyf.'

    3516. a] Hl. on.   3519. Cm. Hl. _om. 2nd_ in.

    This carpenter answerde, 'allas, my wyf!
  And shal she drenche? allas! myn Alisoun!'
  For sorwe of this he fil almost adoun,
  And seyde, 'is ther no remedie in this cas?'                3525

    3525. Pt. Ln. _om._ ther.

    'Why, yis, for gode,' quod hende Nicholas,               (340)
  'If thou wolt werken after lore and reed;
  Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed.
  For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe,
  "Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe."              3530
  And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,
  I undertake, with-outen mast and seyl,
  Yet shal I saven hir and thee and me
  Hastow nat herd how saved was Noë,
  [102: T. 3535-3570.]
  Whan that our lord had warned him biforn                    3535
  That al the world with water sholde be lorn?'              (350)

    3527. E. aftir.   3534. E. hou.   3535. Hl. had; E. Hn. Cm. hadde.

    'Yis,' quod this carpenter, 'ful yore ago.'

    'Hastow nat herd,' quod Nicholas, 'also
  The sorwe of Noë with his felawshipe,
  Er that he mighte gete his wyf to shipe?                    3540
  Him had be lever, I dar wel undertake,
  At thilke tyme, than alle hise wetheres blake,
  That she hadde had a ship hir-self allone.
  And ther-fore, wostou what is best to done?
  This asketh haste, and of an hastif thing                   3545
  Men may nat preche or maken tarying.                       (360)

    3539. E. felaweshipe.   3540. E. brynge; _rest_ gete.   3541. E. hadde;
    leuere.   3544. E. woostou; doone.

    Anon go gete us faste in-to this in
  A kneding-trogh, or elles a kimelin,
  For ech of us, but loke that they be large,
  In whiche we mowe swimme as in a barge,                     3550
  And han ther-inne vitaille suffisant
  But for a day; fy on the remenant!
  The water shal aslake and goon away
  Aboute pryme up-on the nexte day.
  But Robin may nat wite of this, thy knave,                  3555
  Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;                     (370)
  Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,
  I wol nat tellen goddes privetee.
  Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,
  To han as greet a grace as Noë hadde.                       3560
  Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute,
  Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.

    3548. E. ellis.   E. kymelyn; Hl. kemelyn.

    But whan thou hast, for hir and thee and me,
  Y-geten us thise kneding-tubbes three,
  Than shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,                 3565
  That no man of our purveyaunce spye.                       (380)
  And whan thou thus hast doon as I have seyd,
  And hast our vitaille faire in hem y-leyd,
  And eek an ax, to smyte the corde atwo
  When that the water comth, that we may go,                  3570
  [103: T. 3571-3606.]
  And broke an hole an heigh, up-on the gable,
  Unto the gardin-ward, over the stable,
  That we may frely passen forth our way
  Whan that the grete shour is goon away--
  Than shaltow swimme as myrie, I undertake,                  3575
  As doth the whyte doke after hir drake.                    (390)
  Than wol I clepe, "how! Alison! how! John!
  Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon."
  And thou wolt seyn, "hayl, maister Nicholay!
  Good morwe, I se thee wel, for it is day."                  3580
  And than shul we be lordes al our lyf
  Of al the world, as Noë and his wyf.

    3565: E. Thanne.   3571. E. Pt. Ln. broke; _rest_ breke.   3575. E.
    Thanne.    E. shal I; _rest_ shaltow, shalt thou.   3577. E. Thanne.

    But of o thyng I warne thee ful right,
  Be wel avysed, on that ilke night
  That we ben entred in-to shippes bord,                      3585
  That noon of us ne speke nat a word,                       (400)
  Ne clepe, ne crye, but been in his preyere;
  For it is goddes owne heste dere.

    3588. E. heeste.

    Thy wyf and thou mote hange fer a-twinne,
  For that bitwixe yow shal be no sinne                       3590
  No more in looking than ther shal in dede;
  This ordinance is seyd, go, god thee spede!
  Tomorwe at night, whan men ben alle aslepe,
  In-to our kneding-tubbes wol we crepe,
  And sitten ther, abyding goddes grace.                      3595
  Go now thy wey, I have no lenger space                     (410)
  To make of this no lenger sermoning.
  Men seyn thus, "send the wyse, and sey no-thing;"
  Thou art so wys, it nedeth thee nat teche;
  Go, save our lyf, and that I thee biseche.'                 3600

    3591. E. Hn. Na.   3592. E. Pt. Hl. so; _rest_ go.   3593. E. folk; Cm.
    we; _rest_ men.   3598. E. sende.   3599. E. to preche; Cp. to teche;
    _rest_ teche.

    This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.
  Ful ofte he seith 'allas' and 'weylawey,'
  And to his wyf he tolde his privetee;
  And she was war, and knew it bet than he,
  What al this queynte cast was for to seye.                  3605
  But nathelees she ferde as she wolde deye,                 (420)
  [104: T. 3607-3641.]
  And seyde, 'allas! go forth thy wey anon,
  Help us to scape, or we ben lost echon;
  I am thy trewe verray wedded wyf;
  Go, dere spouse, and help to save our lyf.'                 3610

    3608. Cm. er (_for_ or).   E. lost; _rest_ dede, deede, ded.   3609.
    Cm. Hl. verray trewe.

    Lo! which a greet thyng is affeccioun!
  Men may dye of imaginacioun,
  So depe may impressioun be take.
  This sely carpenter biginneth quake;
  Him thinketh verraily that he may see                       3615
  Noës flood come walwing as the see                         (430)
  To drenchen Alisoun, his hony dere.
  He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory chere,
  He syketh with ful many a sory swogh.
  He gooth and geteth him a kneding-trogh,                    3620
  And after that a tubbe and a kimelin,
  And prively he sente hem to his in,
  And heng hem in the roof in privetee.
  His owne hand he made laddres three,
  To climben by the ronges and the stalkes                    3625
  Un-to the tubbes hanginge in the balkes,                   (440)
  And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe,
  With breed and chese, and good ale in a Iubbe,
  Suffysinge right y-nogh as for a day.
  But er that he had maad al this array,                      3630
  He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also,
  Up-on his nede to London for to go.
  And on the Monday, whan it drow to night,
  He shette his dore with-oute candel-light,
  And dressed al thing as it sholde be.                       3635
  And shortly, up they clomben alle three;                   (450)
  They sitten stille wel a furlong-way.

    3611. E. Auctor (_in margin_).   3612. Hl. A man.   E. Hn. dyen. Pt.
    Hl. for;    Cm. thour; _rest_ of.   3624. E. _om._ he; Hl. _has_ þan.
    3626. E. In-to; Cm. Onto; _rest_ Vnto.   3627. E. vitailleth.   3630.
    E. hadde.   3635. E. dresseth; _rest_ dressed.    E. Hn. Cm. alle.
    Hn. Cp. scholde; E. shal.

    'Now, _Pater-noster_, clom!' seyde Nicholay,
  And 'clom,' quod John, and 'clom,' seyde Alisoun.
  This carpenter seyde his devocioun,                         3640
  And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,
  [105: T. 3642-3677.]
  Awaytinge on the reyn, if he it here.

    The dede sleep, for wery bisinesse,
  Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse,
  Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel more;                          3645
  For travail of his goost he groneth sore,                  (460)
  And eft he routeth, for his heed mislay.
  Doun of the laddre stalketh Nicholay,
  And Alisoun, ful softe adoun she spedde;
  With-outen wordes mo, they goon to bedde                    3650
  Ther-as the carpenter is wont to lye.
  Ther was the revel and the melodye;
  And thus lyth Alison and Nicholas,
  In bisinesse of mirthe and of solas,
  Til that the belle of laudes gan to ringe,                  3655
  And freres in the chauncel gonne singe.                    (470)

    3643. Cm. Hl. verray; _rest_ wery.

    This parish-clerk, this amorous Absolon,
  That is for love alwey so wo bigon,
  Up-on the Monday was at Oseneye
  With companye, him to disporte and pleye,                   3660
  And axed up-on cas a cloisterer
  Ful prively after Iohn the carpenter;
  And he drough him a-part out of the chirche,
  And seyde, 'I noot, I saugh him here nat wirche
  Sin Saterday; I trow that he be went                        3665
  For timber, ther our abbot hath him sent;                  (480)
  For he is wont for timber for to go,
  And dwellen at the grange a day or two;
  Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn;
  Wher that he be, I can nat sothly seyn.'                    3670

    3660. E. With a compaignye.   3661. E. Cloistrer; Pt. Ln. Cloystrere.

    This Absolon ful Ioly was and light,
  And thoghte, 'now is tyme wake al night;
  For sikirly I saugh him nat stiringe
  Aboute his dore sin day bigan to springe.
  So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,                  3675
  Ful prively knokken at his windowe                         (490)
  That stant ful lowe up-on his boures wal.
  [106: T. 3678-3712.]
  To Alison now wol I tellen al
  My love-longing, for yet I shal nat misse
  That at the leste wey I shal hir kisse.                     3680
  Som maner confort shal I have, parfay,
  My mouth hath icched al this longe day;
  That is a signe of kissing atte leste.
  Al night me mette eek, I was at a feste.
  Therfor I wol gon slepe an houre or tweye,                  3685
  And al the night than wol I wake and pleye.'               (500)

    3672. E. Hl. wake; Cm. to waky_n_; _rest_ to wake.   3676. Hn. Cp. Pt.
    Ln. knokken; E. Cm. knokke; Hl. go knokke.

    Whan that the firste cok hath crowe, anon
  Up rist this Ioly lover Absolon,
  And him arrayeth gay, at point-devys.
  But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,                     3690
  To smellen swete, er he had kembd his heer.
  Under his tonge a trewe love he beer,
  For ther-by wende he to ben gracious.
  He rometh to the carpenteres hous,
  And stille he stant under the shot-windowe;                 3695
  Un-to his brest it raughte, it was so lowe;                (510)
  And softe he cogheth with a semi-soun--
  'What do ye, hony-comb, swete Alisoun?
  My faire brid, my swete cinamome,
  Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!                     3700
  Wel litel thenken ye up-on my wo,
  That for your love I swete ther I go.
  No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;
  I moorne as doth a lamb after the tete.
  Y-wis, lemman, I have swich love-longinge,                  3705
  That lyk a turtel trewe is my moorninge;                   (520)
  I may nat ete na more than a mayde.'

    3690. E. of; _rest_ and.   3696. E. brist.   3697. Hn. cogheth; Cp.
    coughed; Hl. cowhith; Pt. kougheþ; Cm. coude; E. knokketh.   3701. Cp.
    Pt. thenken; _rest_ thynken, thynke.

    'Go fro the window, Iakke fool,' she sayde,
  'As help me god, it wol nat be "com ba me,"
  I love another, and elles I were to blame,                  3710
  Wel bet than thee, by Iesu, Absolon!
  Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston,
  [107: T. 3713-3745.]
  And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey!'

    3709. E. Hn. com pa me; Cp. com pame; Cm. cu_m_pame; Pt. compame; Hl.
    Ln. compaine; _several_ MSS. come bame, combame; _see note_.

    'Allas,' quod Absolon, 'and weylawey!
  That trewe love was ever so yvel biset!                     3715
  Than kisse me, sin it may be no bet,                       (530)
  For Iesus love and for the love of me.'

    3716. Cp. Pt. Ln. kisse; Hl. kisseth; _rest_ kys.

    'Wiltow than go thy wey ther-with?' quod she.

    3718. E. _om._ ther-with.

    'Ye, certes, lemman,' quod this Absolon.

    'Thanne make thee redy,' quod she, 'I come anon;'         3720
  And un-to Nicholas she seyde stille,                   [T. _om._
  'Now hust, and thou shall laughen al thy fille.'       [T. _om._

    3721, 2. _These 2 lines in_ E. _only._

    This Absolon doun sette him on his knees,
  And seyde, 'I am a lord at alle degrees;
  For after this I hope ther cometh more!                     3725
  Lemman, thy grace, and swete brid, thyn ore!'              (540)

    3724. E. _om._ a.

    The window she undoth, and that in haste,
  'Have do,' quod she, 'com of, and speed thee faste,
  Lest that our neighebores thee espye.'

    3728. Cm. don; Hl. doon; Pt. doo; _rest_ do.   Hn. thee; _rest_ the.

    This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drye;                 3730
  Derk was the night as pich, or as the cole,
  And at the window out she putte hir hole,
  And Absolon, him fil no bet ne wers,
  But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
  Ful savourly, er he was war of this.                        3735

    3731. E. Dirk.   3732. E. pitte.

    Abak he sterte, and thoghte it was amis,                 (550)
  For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd;
  He felte a thing al rough and long y-herd,
  And seyde, 'fy! allas! what have I do?'

    3736. E. Cm. stirte.

    'Tehee!' quod she, and clapte the window to;              3740
  And Absolon goth forth a sory pas.

    'A berd, a berd!' quod hende Nicholas,
  'By goddes _corpus_, this goth faire and weel!'

    This sely Absolon herde every deel,
  And on his lippe he gan for anger byte;                     3745
  And to him-self he seyde, 'I shal thee quyte!'             (560)

    3743, 4. E. weel, deel; Ln. wele, dele; _rest_ wel, del.

    Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes
  [108: T. 3746-3780.]
  With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes,
  But Absolon, that seith ful ofte, 'allas!
  My soule bitake I un-to Sathanas,                           3750
  But me wer lever than al this toun,' quod he,
  'Of this despyt awroken for to be!
  Allas!' quod he, 'allas! I ne hadde y-bleynt!'
  His hote love was cold and al y-queynt;
  For fro that tyme that he had kiste hir ers,                3755
  Of paramours he sette nat a kers,                          (570)
  For he was heled of his maladye;
  Ful ofte paramours he gan deffye,
  And weep as dooth a child that is y-bete.
  A softe paas he wente over the strete                       3760
  Un-til a smith men cleped daun Gerveys,
  That in his forge smithed plough-harneys;
  He sharpeth shaar and culter bisily.
  This Absolon knokketh al esily,
  And seyde, 'undo, Gerveys, and that anon.'                  3765

    3753. Hl. nadde bleynt.   3759. Cm. wepte; Hl. wept.   3763. E. Hn.
    kultour; Cp. Pt. Ln. culter.

    'What, who artow?' 'It am I, Absolon.'                   (580)
  'What, Absolon! for Cristes swete tree,
  Why ryse ye so rathe, ey, _benedicite!_
  What eyleth yow? som gay gerl, god it woot,
  Hath broght yow thus up-on the viritoot;                    3770
  By sëynt Note, ye woot wel what I mene.'

    3766. E. I am heere; _rest_ it am I.   3770. E. Hn. Cp. viritoot; Pt.
    Vyritote; Ln. veritote; Cm. merytot; Hl. verytrot.   3771. Pt. Ln.
    seynt; _rest_ seinte.    Pt. Hl. Noet.

    This Absolon ne roghte nat a bene
  Of al his pley, no word agayn he yaf;
  He hadde more tow on his distaf
  Than Gerveys knew, and seyde, 'freend so dere,              3775
  That hote culter in the chimenee here,                     (590)
  As lene it me, I have ther-with to done,
  And I wol bringe it thee agayn ful sone.'

    3776. E. kultour.

    Gerveys answerde, 'certes, were it gold,
  Or in a poke nobles alle untold,                            3780
  Thou sholdest have, as I am trewe smith;
  Ey, Cristes foo! what wol ye do ther-with?'
  [109: T. 3781-3815.]

    3781. Hl. Ye schul him haue.   3782. Hl. fo; _rest_ foo; ed. 1561,
    fote.

    'Ther-of,' quod Absolon, 'be as be may;
  I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day'--
  And caughte the culter by the colde stele.                  3785
  Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,                 (600)
  And wente un-to the carpenteres wal.
  He cogheth first, and knokketh ther-with-al
  Upon the windowe, right as he dide er.

    3785. E. kultour.

    This Alison answerde, 'Who is ther                        3790
  That knokketh so? I warante it a theef.'

    'Why, nay,' quod he, 'god woot, my swete leef,
  I am thyn Absolon, my dereling!
  Of gold,' quod he, 'I have thee broght a ring;
  My moder yaf it me, so god me save,                         3795
  Ful fyn it is, and ther-to wel y-grave;                    (610)
  This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse!'

    3793. E. Hn. my; Cm. myn; Hl. O my; Cp. thi; Pt. thine; Ln. þin.   E.
    deerelyng; Hn. Cm. Cp. derelyng.

    This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,
  And thoghte he wolde amenden al the Iape,
  He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.                   3800
  And up the windowe dide he hastily,
  And out his ers he putteth prively
  Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;
  And ther-with spak this clerk, this Absolon,
  'Spek, swete brid, I noot nat wher thou art.'               3805

    3800. E. _om._ ers.

    This Nicholas anon leet flee a fart,                     (620)
  As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
  That with the strook he was almost y-blent;
  And he was redy with his iren hoot,
  And Nicholas amidde the ers he smoot.                       3810

    3810. E. _om._ the.

    Of gooth the skin an hande-brede aboute,
  The hole culter brende so his toute,
  And for the smert he wende for to dye.
  As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye--
  Help! water! water! help, for goddes herte!'                3815

    3812. E. kultour.   3813. And] Hn. That.

    This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,                (630)
  And herde oon cryen 'water' as he were wood,
  [110: T. 3816-3848.]
  And thoghte, 'Allas! now comth Nowelis flood!'
  He sit him up with-outen wordes mo,
  And with his ax he smoot the corde a-two,                   3820
  And doun goth al; he fond neither to selle,
  Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle
  Up-on the floor; and ther aswowne he lay.

    3818. E. Hn. Nowelis; Cp. Noweles (_intentionally_); Cm. Newel_is_; Pt.
    Ln. Hl. noes.   3821. Hl. he goth (_for_ goth al).   E. Hn. foond.

    Up sterte hir Alison, and Nicholay,
  And cryden 'out' and 'harrow' in the strete.                3835
  The neighebores, bothe smale and grete,                    (640)
  In ronnen, for to gauren on this man,
  That yet aswowne he lay, bothe pale and wan;
  For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm;
  But stonde he moste un-to his owne harm.                    3830
  For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
  With hende Nicholas and Alisoun.
  They tolden every man that he was wood,
  He was agast so of 'Nowelis flood'
  Thurgh fantasye, that of his vanitee                        3835
  He hadde y-boght him kneding-tubbes three,                 (650)
  And hadde hem hanged in the roof above;
  And that he preyed hem, for goddes love,
  To sitten in the roof, _par companye_.

    3828. E. Hn. he; _rest om._   3831. Pt. Ln. Hl. born.   3834. E. Hn.
    Nowelis; Cp. Ln. the Nowels; Pt. þe Noes; Hl. Noes.   3837. E. roue;
    _see_ l. 3839.   3838. E. Hn. Ln. preyde.

    The folk gan laughen at his fantasye;                     3840
  In-to the roof they kyken and they gape,
  And turned al his harm un-to a Iape.
  For what so that this carpenter answerde,
  It was for noght, no man his reson herde;
  With othes grete he was so sworn adoun,                     3845
  That he was holden wood in al the toun;                    (660)
  For every clerk anon-right heeld with other.
  They seyde, 'the man is wood, my leve brother;'
  And every wight gan laughen of this stryf.

    3841. E. Hn. Cp. cape.   3846. E. holde.   3848. E. Hn. Hl. was; _rest_
    is.   3849. E. of this; Hn. at this; _rest_ at his.

    Thus swyved was the carpenteres wyf,                      3850
  [111: T. 3849-3852.]
  For al his keping and his Ialousye;
  And Absolon hath kist hir nether yë;
  And Nicholas is scalded in the toute.                      (667)
  This tale is doon, and god save al the route!               3854

  HERE ENDETH THE MILLERE HIS TALE.

    3850. E. this; _rest_ the.   3852. Pt. Hl. ye; Hn. Iye; E. Ln. eye.
    3853. E. Hn. the; _rest_ his.   COLOPHON. _So_ E. (_with_ Heere); Hl.
    Pn. Here endeth the Millers tale; Hn. Here is ended the Millerys tale;
    Cp. Ln. Explicit fabula Molendinarii.

[112: T. 3853-3882.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REEVE'S PROLOGUE

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE REVES TALE.

  Whan folk had laughen at this nyce cas                      3855
  Of Absolon and hende Nicholas,
  Diverse folk diversely they seyde;
  But, for the more part, they loughe and pleyde,
  Ne at this tale I saugh no man him greve,
  But it were only Osewold the Reve,                          3860
  By-cause he was of carpenteres craft.
  A litel ire is in his herte y-laft,
  He gan to grucche and blamed it a lyte.

    3862. E. Pt. _om._ is.

    'So theek,' quod he, 'ful wel coude I yow quyte           (10)
  With blering of a proud milleres yë,                        3865
  If that me liste speke of ribaudye.
  But ik am old, me list not pley for age;
  Gras-tyme is doon, my fodder is now forage,
  This whyte top wryteth myne olde yeres,
  Myn herte is al-so mowled as myne heres,                    3870
  But-if I fare as dooth an open-ers;
  That ilke fruit is ever leng the wers,
  Til it be roten in mullok or in stree.
  We olde men, I drede, so fare we;                           (20)
  Til we be roten, can we nat be rype;                        3875
  We hoppen ay, whyl that the world wol pype.
  For in oure wil ther stiketh ever a nayl,
  To have an hoor heed and a grene tayl,
  As hath a leek; for thogh our might be goon,
  Our wil desireth folie ever in oon.                         3880
  For whan we may nat doon, than wol we speke;
  Yet in our asshen olde is fyr y-reke.

    3865. E. Ln. eye.   3867. E. Hn. no (_for_ not).   3869. Hl. My (_for_
    This).   3870. E. mowled also.   3872. E. leng; Ln. longe: _rest_
    lenger.   3876. E. ay whil that; Hn. alwey whil þat; _rest_ alwey
    while.

    Foure gledes han we, whiche I shal devyse,
  Avaunting, lying, anger, coveityse;                         (30)
  [113: T. 3883-3918.]
  Thise foure sparkles longen un-to elde.                     3885
  Our olde lemes mowe wel been unwelde,
  But wil ne shal nat faillen, that is sooth.
  And yet ik have alwey a coltes tooth,
  As many a yeer as it is passed henne
  Sin that my tappe of lyf bigan to renne.                    3890
  For sikerly, whan I was bore, anon
  Deeth drogh the tappe of lyf and leet it gon;
  And ever sith hath so the tappe y-ronne,
  Til that almost al empty is the tonne.                      (40)
  The streem of lyf now droppeth on the chimbe;               3895
  The sely tonge may wel ringe and chimbe
  Of wrecchednesse that passed is ful yore;
  With olde folk, save dotage, is namore.'

    3885. E. eelde.   3886. E. vnweelde.   3893. Hn. sith; E. sithe.

    Whan that our host hadde herd this sermoning,
  He gan to speke as lordly as a king;                        3900
  He seide, 'what amounteth al this wit?
  What shul we speke alday of holy writ?
  The devel made a reve for to preche,
  And of a souter a shipman or a leche.                       (50)
  Sey forth thy tale, and tarie nat the tyme,                 3905
  Lo, Depeford! and it is half-way pryme.
  Lo, Grenewich, ther many a shrewe is inne;
  It were al tyme thy tale to biginne.'

    3904. E. Cm. And; _rest_ Or.   _All but_ Hn. _om. 2nd_ a.   3907. Cp.
    Pt. Ln. that (_for_ ther).   3908. Pt. hie (_for_ al).

    'Now, sires,' quod this Osewold the Reve,
  'I pray yow alle that ye nat yow greve,                     3910
  Thogh I answere and somdel sette his howve;
  For leveful is with force force of-showve.

    3912. _In margin of_ E.--vim vi repellere.

    This dronke millere hath y-told us heer,
  How that bigyled was a carpenteer,                          (60)
  Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon.                         3915
  And, by your leve, I shal him quyte anoon;
  Right in his cherles termes wol I speke.
  I pray to god his nekke mote breke;
  He can wel in myn yë seen a stalke,
  But in his owne he can nat seen a balke.                    3920

    3918. Hl. tobreke; Pt. alto-breke.   3919. Pt. ye; Cp. [gh]e; rest eye.

[114: T. 3919-3943.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REVES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE REVES TALE.

  At Trumpington, nat fer fro Cantebrigge,
  Ther goth a brook and over that a brigge,
  Up-on the whiche brook ther stant a melle;
  And this is verray soth that I yow telle.
  A Miller was ther dwelling many a day;                      3925
  As eny pecok he was proud and gay.
  Pypen he coude and fisshe, and nettes bete,
  And turne coppes, and wel wrastle and shete;
  And by his belt he baar a long panade,
  And of a swerd ful trenchant was the blade.                 3930
  A Ioly popper baar he in his pouche;                        (11)
  Ther was no man for peril dorste him touche.
  A Sheffeld thwitel baar he in his hose;
  Round was his face, and camuse was his nose.
  As piled as an ape was his skulle.                          3935
  He was a market-beter atte fulle.
  Ther dorste no wight hand up-on him legge,
  That he ne swoor he sholde anon abegge.
  A theef he was for sothe of corn and mele,
  And that a sly, and usaunt for to stele.                    3940
  His name was hoten dëynous Simkin.                          (21)
  A wyf he hadde, y-comen of noble kin;
  The person of the toun hir fader was.
  With hir he yaf ful many a panne of bras,
  For that Simkin sholde in his blood allye.                  3945
  [115: T. 3944-3976.]
  She was y-fostred in a nonnerye;
  For Simkin wolde no wyf, as he sayde,
  But she were wel y-norissed and a mayde,
  To saven his estaat of yomanrye.
  And she was proud, and pert as is a pye.                    3950
  A ful fair sighte was it on hem two;                        (31)
  On haly-dayes biforn hir wolde he go
  With his tipet bounden about his heed,
  And she cam after in a gyte of reed;
  And Simkin hadde hosen of the same.                         3955
  Ther dorste no wight clepen hir but 'dame.'
  Was noon so hardy that wente by the weye
  That with hir dorste rage or ones pleye,
  But-if he wolde be slayn of Simkin
  With panade, or with knyf, or boydekin.                     3960
  For Ialous folk ben perilous evermo,                        (41)
  Algate they wolde hir wyves wenden so.
  And eek, for she was somdel smoterlich,
  She was as digne as water in a dich;
  And ful of hoker and of bisemare.                           3965
  Hir thoughte that a lady sholde hir spare,
  What for hir kinrede and hir nortelrye
  That she had lerned in the nonnerye.

    3923. E. Hn. Cm. which; _rest_ whiche.   3928. Hl. wrastle wel (_om._
    and).   3934. Hl. camois; Pt. camoyse.   3939. E. was of corn and eek
    of Mele.   3941. E. Cp. Hl. hoote; Cm. hotyn; _rest_ hoten.   Pt.
    deyne[gh]ouse.   3944. panne] Cm. peny.   3948. E. But if; _rest_
    But.   3949. Hn. Cm. Pt. yemanrye.   3950. E. Hn. Pt. peert.   3951.
    Cm. Hl. on; _rest_ vp-on.   3953. Cm. boundyn; Pt. bounden; Hn. Cp. Ln.
    wounden; Hl. ybounde.   3956. Hl. ma dame.   3958. Hl. elles (_for_
    ones).   3959. Hl. Symekyn.   3965. Hn. Cm. And; _rest_ As.   Hl.
    bissemare; Cp. bisemare; E. Hn. Pt. Ln. bismare.

    A doghter hadde they bitwixe hem two
  Of twenty yeer, with-outen any mo,                          3970
  Savinge a child that was of half-yeer age;                  (51)
  In cradel it lay and was a propre page.
  This wenche thikke and wel y-growen was,
  With camuse nose and yën greye as glas;
  With buttokes brode and brestes rounde and hye,             3975
  But right fair was hir heer, I wol nat lye.

    3974. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. camoys.   MSS. eyen, ey[gh]en.   3975. E. Cm.
    _om._ With.

    The person of the toun, for she was feir,
  In purpos was to maken hir his heir
  [116: T. 3977-4012.]
  Bothe of his catel and his messuage,
  And straunge he made it of hir mariage.                     3980
  His purpos was for to bistowe hir hye                       (61)
  In-to som worthy blood of auncetrye;
  For holy chirches good moot been despended
  On holy chirches blood, that is descended.
  Therfore he wolde his holy blood honoure,                   3985
  Though that he holy chirche sholde devoure.

    3977. E. Cm. This; _rest_ The.

    Gret soken hath this miller, out of doute,
  With whete and malt of al the land aboute;
  And nameliche ther was a greet collegge,
  Men clepen the Soler-halle at Cantebregge,                  3990
  Ther was hir whete and eek hir malt y-grounde.              (71)
  And on a day it happed, in a stounde,
  Sik lay the maunciple on a maladye;
  Men wenden wisly that he sholde dye.
  For which this miller stal bothe mele and corn              3995
  An hundred tyme more than biforn;
  For ther-biforn he stal but curteisly,
  But now he was a theef outrageously,
  For which the wardeyn chidde and made fare.
  But ther-of sette the miller nat a tare;                    4000
  He craketh boost, and swoor it was nat so.                  (81)

    3987. E. Cm. sokene.

    Than were ther yonge povre clerkes two,
  That dwelten in this halle, of which I seye.
  Testif they were, and lusty for to pleye,
  And, only for hir mirthe and revelrye,                      4005
  Up-on the wardeyn bisily they crye,
  To yeve hem leve but a litel stounde
  To goon to mille and seen hir corn y-grounde;
  And hardily, they dorste leye hir nekke,
  The miller shold nat stele hem half a pekke                 4010
  Of corn by sleighte, ne by force hem reve;                  (91)
  And at the laste the wardeyn yaf hem leve.
  Iohn hight that oon, and Aleyn hight that other;
  Of o toun were they born, that highte Strother,
  [117: T. 4013-4045.]
  Fer in the north, I can nat telle where.                    4015

    4002. Pt. Ln. Than; _rest_ Thanne.   4004. Pt. Teestif.   4005. Ln.
    revelrie; _rest_ reuerye; ed. 1561, reuelry.   4013. E. highte (_1st_);
    heet (_2nd_). Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. hight.

    This Aleyn maketh redy al his gere,
  And on an hors the sak he caste anon.
  Forth goth Aleyn the clerk, and also Iohn,
  With good swerd and with bokeler by hir syde.
  Iohn knew the wey, hem nedede no gyde,                      4020
  And at the mille the sak adoun he layth.                   (101)
  Aleyn spak first, 'al hayl, Symond, y-fayth;
  How fares thy faire doghter and thy wyf?'

    4019. E. Cm. Pt. _om._ with.   4020. Cp. needede (_see_ l. 4161); E.
    Hn. Pt. neded; Cm. Hl. nedyth; Ln. nedeþ.   4022. Hn. Symkyn; _rest_
    Symond, Symon; _see_ l. 4026.

    'Aleyn! welcome,' quod Simkin, 'by my lyf,
  And Iohn also, how now, what do ye heer?'                   4025

    'Symond,' quod Iohn, 'by god, nede has na peer;
  Him boës serve him-selve that has na swayn,
  Or elles he is a fool, as clerkes sayn.
  Our manciple, I hope he wil be deed,
  Swa werkes ay the wanges in his heed.                       4030
  And forthy is I come, and eek Alayn,                       (111)
  To grinde our corn and carie it ham agayn;
  I pray yow spede us hethen that ye may.'

    4027. E. boes (= North. E. _bus_); Hn. Cp. bihoues; Pt. Ln. byhoueþ;
    Cm. muste; Hl. falles.   4033. E. Hn. Cp. heythen; Ln. hethen (_the
    right form_); Cm. hene; Pt. hepen (_for_ heþen).

    'It shal be doon,' quod Simkin, 'by my fay;
  What wol ye doon whyl that it is in hande?'                 4035

    'By god, right by the hoper wil I stande,'
  Quod Iohn, 'and se how that the corn gas in;
  Yet saugh I never, by my fader kin,
  How that the hoper wagges til and fra.'

    4036. E. hopur.

    Aleyn answerde, 'Iohn, and wiltow swa,                    4040
  Than wil I be bynethe, by my croun,                        (121)
  And se how that the mele falles doun
  In-to the trough; that sal be my disport.
  For Iohn, in faith, I may been of your sort;
  I is as ille a miller as are ye.'                           4045

    4040. Cp. Hl. and; _rest om._   4044. E. Cm. yfayth.   4045. Cm. Pt. is
    (_for_ are); Ln. es.

    This miller smyled of hir nycetee,
  And thoghte, 'al this nis doon but for a wyle;
  [118: T. 4046-4079.]
  They wene that no man may hem bigyle;
  But, by my thrift, yet shal I blere hir yë
  For al the sleighte in hir philosophye.                     4050
  The more queynte crekes that they make,                    (131)
  The more wol I stele whan I take.
  In stede of flour, yet wol I yeve hem bren.
  "The gretteste clerkes been noght the wysest men,"
  As whylom to the wolf thus spak the mare;                   4055
  Of al hir art I counte noght a tare.'

    4049. E. Ln. eye.   4051. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. crekes; Hl. knakkes.   4053.
    E. stide.   4054. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ the.   4056. Cm. I counte; Hl. ne
    counte I; _rest_ counte I.

    Out at the dore he gooth ful prively,
  Whan that he saugh his tyme, softely;
  He loketh up and doun til he hath founde
  The clerkes hors, ther as it stood y-bounde                 4060
  Bihinde the mille, under a levesel;                        (141)
  And to the hors he gooth him faire and wel;
  He strepeth of the brydel right anon.
  And whan the hors was loos, he ginneth gon
  Toward the fen, ther wilde mares renne,                     4065
  Forth with wehee, thurgh thikke and thurgh thenne.

    4061. Cm. Cp. Ln. Hl. leuesel; E. lefsel; Hn. leefsel.   4064. E. Hn.
    Cp. Ln. laus; Hl. loos; Cm. los; Pt. louse; _see_ l. 4138.

    This miller gooth agayn, no word he seyde,
  But dooth his note, and with the clerkes pleyde,
  Til that hir corn was faire and wel y-grounde.
  And whan the mele is sakked and y-bounde,                   4070
  This Iohn goth out and fynt his hors away,                 (151)
  And gan to crye 'harrow' and 'weylaway!
  Our hors is lorn! Alayn, for goddes banes,
  Step on thy feet, com out, man, al at anes!
  Allas, our wardeyn has his palfrey lorn.'                   4075
  This Aleyn al forgat, bothe mele and corn,
  Al was out of his mynde his housbondrye.
  'What? whilk way is he geen?' he gan to crye.

    4069. E. weel.   4074. E. out; Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. of; Hl. on.   4078.
    E. geen; Hn. Ln. gane; Hl. gan; Cm. Cp. Pt. gon.

    The wyf cam leping inward with a ren,
  She seyde, 'allas! your hors goth to the fen                4080
  With wilde mares, as faste as he may go.                   (161)
  [119: T. 4080-4114.]
  Unthank come on his hand that bond him so,
  And he that bettre sholde han knit the reyne.'

    4082. E. Hn. boond.

    'Allas,' quod Iohn, 'Aleyn, for Cristes peyne,
  Lay doun thy swerd, and I wil myn alswa;                    4085
  I is ful wight, god waat, as is a raa;
  By goddes herte he sal nat scape us bathe.
  Why nadstow pit the capul in the lathe?
  Il-hayl, by god, Aleyn, thou is a fonne!'

    4084. E. Cm. _om._ Iohn.   4087. E. Hn. god; _rest_ goddes, goddis.
    4088. E. Hn. Cm. pit; _rest_ put (putte).

    This sely clerkes han ful faste y-ronne                   4090
  To-ward the fen, bothe Aleyn and eek Iohn.                 (171)

    And whan the miller saugh that they were gon,
  He half a busshel of hir flour hath take,
  And bad his wyf go knede it in a cake.
  He seyde, 'I trowe the clerkes were aferd;                  4095
  Yet can a miller make a clerkes berd
  For al his art; now lat hem goon hir weye.
  Lo wher they goon, ye, lat the children pleye;
  They gete him nat so lightly, by my croun!'

    4094. E. _om._ a.

    Thise sely clerkes rennen up and doun                     4100
  With 'keep, keep, stand, stand, Iossa, warderere,          (181)
  Ga whistle thou, and I shal kepe him here!'
  But shortly, til that it was verray night,
  They coude nat, though they do al hir might,
  Hir capul cacche, he ran alwey so faste,                    4105
  Til in a dich they caughte him atte laste.

    4101. Cm. ware þe rere; Hl. ware derere; _rest_ warderere; ed. 1561,
    wartherere.   4104. E. do; Cm. don; _rest_ dide (did).

    Wery and weet, as beste is in the reyn,
  Comth sely Iohn, and with him comth Aleyn.
  'Allas,' quod Iohn, 'the day that I was born!
  Now are we drive til hething and til scorn.                 4110
  Our corn is stole, men wil us foles calle,                 (191)
  Bathe the wardeyn and our felawes alle,
  And namely the miller; weylaway!'

    4107. Cm. beste; E. Hn. beest.   4110. E. Hl. dryue; _rest_ dryuen
    (dreven).   4111. E. stoln me.

    Thus pleyneth Iohn as he goth by the way
  Toward the mille, and Bayard in his hond.                   4115
  The miller sitting by the fyr he fond,
  [120: T. 4115-4147.]
  For it was night, and forther mighte they noght;
  But, for the love of god, they him bisoght
  Of herberwe and of ese, as for hir peny.

    The miller seyde agayn, 'if ther be eny,                  4120
  Swich as it is, yet shal ye have your part.                (201)
  Myn hous is streit, but ye han lerned art;
  Ye conne by argumentes make a place
  A myle brood of twenty foot of space.
  Lat see now if this place may suffyse,                      4125
  Or make it roum with speche, as is youre gyse.'

    4123. E. Hn. Argumentz; Cm. argumentis; Cp. Hl. argumentes.   4126. E.
    in (_for_ is).

    'Now, Symond,' seyde Iohn, 'by seint Cutberd,
  Ay is thou mery, and this is faire answerd.
  I have herd seyd, man sal taa of twa thinges
  Slyk as he fyndes, or taa slyk as he bringes.               4130
  But specially, I pray thee, hoste dere,                    (211)
  Get us som mete and drinke, and make us chere,
  And we wil payen trewely atte fulle.
  With empty hand men may na haukes tulle;
  Lo here our silver, redy for to spende.'                    4135

    4128. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. mery; E. Hn. myrie.   4129. E. taa; Cm. tan; Pt.
    taken; Hn. tak; Cp. take.   4131. E. Hn. hoost; Hl. host ful; Pt.
    hooste; Cp. Ln. ooste.   4134. Hl. na; Cp. naan; E. Hn. Cm. none; Pt.
    not.

    This miller in-to toun his doghter sende
  For ale and breed, and rosted hem a goos,
  And bond hir hors, it sholde nat gon loos;
  And in his owne chambre hem made a bed
  With shetes and with chalons faire y-spred,                 4140
  Noght from his owne bed ten foot or twelve.                (221)
  His doghter hadde a bed, al by hir-selve,
  Right in the same chambre, by and by;
  It mighte be no bet, and cause why,
  Ther was no roumer herberwe in the place.                   4145
  They soupen and they speke, hem to solace,
  And drinken ever strong ale atte beste.
  Aboute midnight wente they to reste.

    4138. E. Hn. Cp. boond.   E. nat; Cm. not; Hn. namoore; Cp. namore; Pt.
    Ln. Hl. no more.   4147. E. drynke; Hn. Cp. Pt. drynken; Hl. Cm.
    dronken.

    Wel hath this miller vernisshed his heed;
  [121: T. 4148-4180.]
  Ful pale he was for-dronken, and nat reed.                  4150
  He yexeth, and he speketh thurgh the nose                  (231)
  As he were on the quakke, or on the pose.
  To bedde he gooth, and with him goth his wyf.
  As any Iay she light was and Iolyf,
  So was hir Ioly whistle wel y-wet.                          4155
  The cradel at hir beddes feet is set,
  To rokken, and to yeve the child to souke.
  And whan that dronken al was in the crouke,
  To bedde went the doghter right anon;
  To bedde gooth Aleyn and also Iohn;                         4160
  Ther nas na more, hem nedede no dwale.                     (241)
  This miller hath so wisly bibbed ale,
  That as an hors he snorteth in his sleep,
  Ne of his tayl bihinde he took no keep.
  His wyf bar him a burdon, a ful strong,                     4165
  Men mighte hir routing here two furlong;
  The wenche routeth eek _par companye_.

    4151. Hl. yoxeth.   4160. E. wente; _rest_ gooth (goth).   4161. Cp.
    needede (_see_ l. 4020); _rest_ neded.   4162. Hl. wysly; Cm. wysely;
    E. wisely; _rest_ wisly.   4166. Hl. Cp. a (_for_ two).

    Aleyn the clerk, that herd this melodye,
  He poked Iohn, and seyde, 'slepestow?
  Herdestow ever slyk a sang er now?                          4170
  Lo, whilk a compline is y-mel hem alle!                    (251)
  A wilde fyr up-on thair bodyes falle!
  Wha herkned ever slyk a ferly thing?
  Ye, they sal have the flour of il ending.
  This lange night ther tydes me na reste;                    4175
  But yet, na fors; al sal be for the beste.
  For Iohn,' seyde he, 'als ever moot I thryve,
  If that I may, yon wenche wil I swyve.
  Som esement has lawe y-shapen us;
  For Iohn, ther is a lawe that says thus,                    4180
  That gif a man in a point be y-greved,                     (261)
  That in another he sal be releved.
  [122: T. 4181-4216.]
  Our corn is stoln, shortly, it is na nay,
  And we han had an il fit al this day.
  And sin I sal have neen amendement,                         4185
  Agayn my los I wil have esement.
  By goddes saule, it sal neen other be!'

    4170. Cp. Herdestow; Cm. Ln. Herdist thou; Hl. Herdistow; E. Herdtow;
    Hn. Herd thow.   4171. E. whilk; Hn. Cp. Ln. swilke; Cm. swich; Pt.
    sclike; Hl. slik.   4171. Ln. compline; Hn. conplyng; Pt. conplinge;
    Hl. couplyng (_wrongly_); E. cowplyng; Cm. copil.   4181. Hl.
    (_margin_) Qui in vno grauatur in alio debet releuari.   4183. E. Cm.
    shortly; _rest_ sothly.    E. is; _rest_ it is.    Hn. Hl. na; E. ne;
    _rest_ no (non).   4185. E. neen; Hn. naan; Hl. nan; _rest_ non (noon);
    _so in_ 4187.

    This Iohn answerde, 'Alayn, avyse thee,
  The miller is a perilous man,' he seyde,
  'And gif that he out of his sleep abreyde,                  4190
  He mighte doon us bathe a vileinye.'                       (271)

    Aleyn answerde, 'I count him nat a flye;'
  And up he rist, and by the wenche he crepte.
  This wenche lay upright, and faste slepte,
  Til he so ny was, er she mighte espye,                      4195
  That it had been to late for to crye,
  And shortly for to seyn, they were at on;
  Now pley, Aleyn! for I wol speke of Iohn.

    This Iohn lyth stille a furlong-wey or two,
  And to him-self he maketh routhe and wo:                    4200
  'Allas!' quod he, 'this is a wikked Iape;                  (281)
  Now may I seyn that I is but an ape.
  Yet has my felawe som-what for his harm;
  He has the milleris doghter in his arm.
  He auntred him, and has his nedes sped,                     4205
  And I lye as a draf-sek in my bed;
  And when this Iape is tald another day,
  I sal been halde a daf, a cokenay!
  I wil aryse, and auntre it, by my fayth!
  "Unhardy is unsely," thus men sayth.'                       4210
  And up he roos and softely he wente                        (291)
  Un-to the cradel, and in his hand it hente,
  And baar it softe un-to his beddes feet.

    4206. E. Cm. sek; _rest_ sak.   4213. E. the; _rest_ his.

    Sone after this the wyf hir routing leet,
  And gan awake, and wente hir out to pisse,                  4215
  And cam agayn, and gan hir cradel misse,
  And groped heer and ther, but she fond noon.
  'Allas!' quod she, 'I hadde almost misgoon;
  [123: T. 4217-4252.]
  I hadde almost gon to the clerkes bed.
  By, _benedicite!_ thanne hadde I foule y-sped:'             4220
  And forth she gooth til she the cradel fond.               (301)
  She gropeth alwey forther with hir hond,
  And fond the bed, and thoghte noght but good,
  By-cause that the cradel by it stood,
  And niste wher she was, for it was derk;                   4225,
  But faire and wel she creep in to the clerk,
  And lyth ful stille, and wolde han caught a sleep.
  With-inne a whyl this Iohn the clerk up leep,
  And on this gode wyf he leyth on sore.
  So mery a fit ne hadde she nat ful yore;                    4230
  He priketh harde and depe as he were mad.                  (311)
  This Ioly lyf han thise two clerkes lad
  Til that the thridde cok bigan to singe.

    4217. E. Hn. Pt. foond.   4223. E. Hn. foond.   4226. to] Cm. bi.
    4230. E. myrie; _om._ ne.   4231. E. soore; Cm. sore; _rest_ depe
    (deepe).

    Aleyn wex wery in the daweninge,
  For he had swonken al the longe night;                      4235
  And seyde, 'far wel, Malin, swete wight!
  The day is come, I may no lenger byde;
  But evermo, wher so I go or ryde,
  I is thyn awen clerk, swa have I seel!'

    4234. Cm. Ln. Pt. wex; _rest_ wax.   4236. Cm. Cp. Hl. far; _rest_
    fare; _see note._

    'Now dere lemman,' quod she, 'go, far weel!               4240
  But er thou go, o thing I wol thee telle,                  (321)
  Whan that thou wendest homward by the melle,
  Right at the entree of the dore bihinde,
  Thou shalt a cake of half a busshel finde
  That was y-maked of thyn owne mele,                         4245
  Which that I heelp my fader for to stele.
  And, gode lemman, god thee save and kepe!'
  And with that word almost she gan to wepe.

    4246. Cm. halp; E. Hn. heelp.

    Aleyn up-rist, and thoughte, 'er that it dawe,
  I wol go crepen in by my felawe;                            4250
  And fond the cradel with his hand anon,                    (331)
  'By god,' thoghte he, 'al wrang I have misgon;
  Myn heed is toty of my swink to-night,
  That maketh me that I go nat aright.
  [124: T. 4253-4288.]
  I woot wel by the cradel, I have misgo,                     4255
  Heer lyth the miller and his wyf also.'
  And forth he goth, a twenty devel way,
  Un-to the bed ther-as the miller lay.
  He wende have cropen by his felawe Iohn;
  And by the miller in he creep anon,                         4260
  And caughte hym by the nekke, and softe he spak:           (341)
  He seyde, 'thou, Iohn, thou swynes-heed, awak
  For Cristes saule, and heer a noble game.
  For by that lord that called is seint Iame,
  As I have thryes, in this shorte night,                     4265
  Swyved the milleres doghter bolt-upright,
  Whyl thow hast as a coward been agast.'

    'Ye, false harlot,' quod the miller, 'hast?
  A! false traitour! false clerk!' quod he,
  'Thou shalt be deed, by goddes dignitee!                    4270
  Who dorste be so bold to disparage                         (351)
  My doghter, that is come of swich linage?'
  And by the throte-bolle he caughte Alayn.
  And he hente hym despitously agayn,
  And on the nose he smoot him with his fest.                 4275
  Doun ran the blody streem up-on his brest;
  And in the floor, with nose and mouth to-broke,
  They walwe as doon two pigges in a poke.
  And up they goon, and doun agayn anon,
  Til that the miller sporned at a stoon,                     4280
  And doun he fil bakward up-on his wyf,                     (361)
  That wiste no-thing of this nyce stryf;
  For she was falle aslepe a lyte wight
  With Iohn the clerk, that waked hadde al night.
  And with the fal, out of hir sleep she breyde--             4285
  'Help, holy croys of Bromeholm,' she seyde,
  _In manus tuas!_ lord, to thee I calle!
  Awak, Symond! the feend is on us falle,
  Myn herte is broken, help, I nam but deed;
  There lyth oon up my wombe and up myn heed;                 4290
  [125: T. 4289-4322.]
  Help, Simkin, for the false clerkes fighte.'               (371)

    4277. in] Hn. on.   4278. Hl. walweden as pigges.   4280. Hn. on; Cm.
    a[gh]en; _rest_ at.   4283. E. lite; Cm. lyte; _rest_ litel.   4286.
    Cm. Pt. Ln. Bromeholm; _rest_ Bromholm.   4290. Cp. Ln. vp (_twice_).
    E. Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. vp on (_for 1st_ up).   E. Cm. Pt. Hl. on (Hn. vp);
    _for 2nd_ vp.

    This Iohn sterte up as faste as ever he mighte,
  And graspeth by the walles to and fro,
  To finde a staf; and she sterte up also,
  And knew the estres bet than dide this Iohn,                4295
  And by the wal a staf she fond, anon,
  And saugh a litel shimering of a light,
  For at an hole in shoon the mone bright;
  And by that light she saugh hem bothe two,
  But sikerly she niste who was who,                          4300
  But as she saugh a whyt thing in hir yë.                   (38l)
  And whan she gan the whyte thing espye,
  She wende the clerk hadde wered a volupeer.
  And with the staf she drough ay neer and neer,
  And wende han hit this Aleyn at the fulle,                  4305
  And smoot the miller on the pyled skulle,
  That doun he gooth and cryde, 'harrow! I dye!'
  Thise clerkes bete him weel and lete him lye;
  And greythen hem, and toke hir hors anon,
  And eek hir mele, and on hir wey they gon.                  4310
  And at the mille yet they toke hir cake                    (391)
  Of half a busshel flour, ful wel y-bake.

    4292. E. Cm. stirte.   E. soone (_for_ faste).   4296. E. Hn. foond;
    Hl. took.   4301. Hl. ye; Hn. Iye; _rest_ eye.   4307. E. Cm. Hl. And;
    _rest_ That.   4309. Hl. greyth; Cm. hastede.

    Thus is the proude miller wel y-bete,
  And hath y-lost the grinding of the whete,
  And payed for the soper every-deel                          4315
  Of Aleyn and of Iohn, that bette him weel.
  His wyf is swyved, and his doghter als;
  Lo, swich it is a miller to be fals!
  And therfore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
  'Him thar nat wene wel that yvel dooth;                     4320
  A gylour shal him-self bigyled be.'                        (401)
  And God, that sitteth heighe in magestee,
  Save al this companye grete and smale!
  Thus have I quit the miller in my tale.

  HERE IS ENDED THE REVES TALE.

    4320. E. Hn. yuele; Cm. euele.   4322. E. Trinitee; _rest_ magestee
    (mageste).   COLOPHON. Hn. Hl. Here endeth the Reves tale.

[126: T. 4323-4347.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COOK'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE COKES TALE.

  The Cook of London, whyl the Reve spak,                     4325
  For Ioye, him thoughte, he clawed him on the bak,
  'Ha! ha!' quod he, 'for Cristes passioun,
  This miller hadde a sharp conclusioun
  Upon his argument of herbergage!
  Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,                           4330
  "Ne bringe nat every man in-to thyn hous;"
  For herberwing by nighte is perilous.
  Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
  Whom that he broghte in-to his privetee.                    (10)
  I pray to god, so yeve me sorwe and care,                   4335
  If ever, sith I highte Hogge of Ware,
  Herde I a miller bettre y-set a-werk.
  He hadde a Iape of malice in the derk.
  But god forbede that we stinten here;
  And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to here                     4340
  A tale of me, that am a povre man,
  I wol yow telle as wel as ever I can
  A litel Iape that fil in our citee.'

    4325. E. whil that the.   4332. Hl. herburgage.   4336. Hn. sith; E.
    sitthe; Hl. siþþe; Cp. Pt. Ln. sithen.   4339. Hn. Hl. stynten; E.
    stynte.   4339, 4340. _Last two words glossed_ hic _and_ audire _in_ E.
    Hn.

    Our host answerde, and seide, 'I graunte it thee;         (20)
  Now telle on, Roger, loke that it be good;                  4345
  For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
  And many a Iakke of Dover hastow sold
  That hath been twyes hoot and twyes cold.
  Of many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,
  [127: T. 4348-4362.]
  For of thy persly yet they fare the wors,                   4350
  That they han eten with thy stubbel-goos;
  For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
  Now telle on, gentil Roger, by thy name.
  But yet I pray thee, be nat wrooth for game,                (30)
  A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.'                 4355

    4347. E. Hn. Cm. Ln. Douere.   E. Hn. soold.   4348. E. Hn. coold.
    4350. Hl. persly; Hn. p_er_sle; E. p_er_cely.   4355. Hl. _omits_.

    'Thou seist ful sooth,' quod Roger, 'by my fey,
  But "sooth pley, quaad pley," as the Fleming seith;
  And ther-fore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
  Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
  Though that my tale be of an hostileer.                     4360
  But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit,
  But er we parte, y-wis, thou shalt be quit.'
  And ther-with-al he lough and made chere,
  And seyde his tale, as ye shul after here.                  (40)

  THUS ENDETH THE PROLOGE OF THE COKES TALE.

    4357. E. Cm. quaad; Cp. Hl. quad; _rest_ quade.   4359. E. na (_for_
    nat).   COLOPHON. _In_ Pt.; Ln. Explicit prologus.

[128: T. 4363-4390.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COKES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HEER BIGYNNETH THE COKES TALE.

  A prentis whylom dwelled in our citee,                      4365
  And of a craft of vitaillers was he;
  Gaillard he was as goldfinch in the shawe,
  Broun as a berie, a propre short felawe,
  With lokkes blake, y-kempt ful fetisly.
  Dauncen he coude so wel and Iolily,                         4370
  That he was cleped Perkin Revelour.
  He was as ful of love and paramour
  As is the hyve ful of hony swete;
  Wel was the wenche with him mighte mete.                    (10)
  At every brydale wolde he singe and hoppe,                  4375
  He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.

    4366. E. vitailliers.   4369. E. ykempd; Hn. ykembd; _rest_ ykempt.

    For whan ther any ryding was in Chepe,
  Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe.
  Til that he hadde al the sighte y-seyn,
  And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ageyn.                   4380
  And gadered him a meinee of his sort
  To hoppe and singe, and maken swich disport.
  And ther they setten Steven for to mete
  To pleyen at the dys in swich a strete.                     (20)
  For in the toune nas ther no prentys,                       4385
  That fairer coude caste a paire of dys
  Than Perkin coude, and ther-to he was free
  Of his dispense, in place of privetee.
  That fond his maister wel in his chaffare;
  For often tyme he fond his box ful bare.                    4390
  For sikerly a prentis revelour,
  That haunteth dys, riot, or paramour,
  [129: T. 4391-4420.]
  His maister shal it in his shoppe abye,
  Al have he no part of the minstralcye;                      (30)
  For thefte and riot, they ben convertible,                  4395
  Al conne he pleye on giterne or ribible.
  Revel and trouthe, as in a low degree,
  They been ful wrothe al day, as men may see.

    4380. E. ayeyn.   4383. Pt. Ln. steuen; _rest_ steuene.   4385. Pt. Ln.
    toune; _rest_ toun.   4396. E. Ln. ribible; _rest_ rubible.   4397. E.
    lowe.

    This Ioly prentis with his maister bood,
  Til he were ny out of his prentishood,                      4400
  Al were he snibbed bothe erly and late,
  And somtyme lad with revel to Newgate;
  But atte laste his maister him bithoghte,
  Up-on a day, whan he his paper soghte,                      (40)
  Of a proverbe that seith this same word,                    4405
  'Wel bet is roten appel out of hord
  Than that it rotie al the remenaunt.'
  So fareth it by a riotous servaunt;
  It is wel lasse harm to lete him pace,
  Than he shende alle the servants in the place.              4410
  Therfore his maister yaf him acquitance,
  And bad him go with sorwe and with meschance;
  And thus this Ioly prentis hadde his leve.
  Now lat him riote al the night or leve.                     (50)

    4402. E. Newegate.   4404. E. Hn. Hl. papir.   4406. E. Hn. Cp. Hl.
    Appul.   4410. E. seruantz.

    And for ther is no theef with-oute a louke,               4415
  That helpeth him to wasten and to souke
  Of that he brybe can or borwe may,
  Anon he sente his bed and his array
  Un-to a compeer of his owne sort,
  That lovede dys and revel and disport,                      4420
  And hadde a wyf that heeld for countenance
  A shoppe, and swyved for hir sustenance.                    4422

  OF THIS COKES TALE MAKED CHAUCER NA MORE.

      [_For_ The Tale of Gamelin, _see the_ Appendix.]

    4415-22. Hl. _omits._   4415. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. lowke; Pt. louke; Cm.
    loke.   4416. Pt. souke; _rest_ sowke.   4419. E. compier; Hn. compeer;
    Cp. Pt. Ln. conpere.   COLOPHON. _In_ Hn. _only. Blank space in_ E.

[130: T. 4421-4446.]

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP B.

INTRODUCTION TO THE MAN OF LAW'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE WORDES OF THE HOOST TO THE COMPANYE.

  Our Hoste sey wel that the brighte sonne
  The ark of his artificial day had ronne
  The fourthe part, and half an houre, and more;
  And though he were not depe expert in lore,
  He wiste it was the eightetethe day                            5
  Of April, that is messager to May;
  And sey wel that the shadwe of every tree
  Was as in lengthe the same quantitee
  That was the body erect that caused it.
  And therfor by the shadwe he took his wit                     10
  That Phebus, which that shoon so clere and brighte,
  Degrees was fyve and fourty clombe on highte;
  And for that day, as in that latitude,
  It was ten of the clokke, he gan conclude,
  And sodeynly he plighte his hors aboute.                      15

    1. Hl. Hoste; Ln. oste; _rest_ hoost (oost).   _On_ sey, see note.   2.
    E. Hn. Hl. hath; _rest_ had.   4. Cm. _wanting_; Cp. Pt. Ln. expert; E.
    Hn. ystert; Hl. _om._   5. Hn. xviijthe; Cp. xviije; Pt. Ln. xviij; E.
    eighte and twentithe; Hl. threttenthe.   14. Cm. Pt. Hl. of the; E. Hn.
    at the; Cp. atte; Ln. att.

    'Lordinges,' quod he, 'I warne yow, al this route,
  The fourthe party of this day is goon;
  Now, for the love of god and of seint Iohn,
  Leseth no tyme, as ferforth as ye may;
  Lordinges, the tyme wasteth night and day,                    20
  And steleth from us, what prively slepinge,
  And what thurgh necligence in our wakinge,
  As dooth the streem, that turneth never agayn,
  Descending fro the montaigne in-to playn.
  Wel can Senek, and many a philosophre                         25
  Biwailen tyme, more than gold in cofre.
  [131: T. 4447-4483.]
  "For los of catel may recovered be,
  But los of tyme shendeth us," quod he.
  It wol nat come agayn, with-outen drede,
  Na more than wol Malkins maydenhede,                          30
  Whan she hath lost it in hir wantownesse;
  Lat us nat moulen thus in ydelnesse.
  Sir man of lawe,' quod he, 'so have ye blis,
  Tel us a tale anon, as forward is;
  Ye been submitted thurgh your free assent                     35
  To stonde in this cas at my Iugement.
  Acquiteth yow, and holdeth your biheste,
  Than have ye doon your devoir atte leste.'

    37. Hl. and holdeth; _rest_ now of (_badly_).   38. E. do.

    'Hoste,' quod he, '_depardieux_ ich assente,
  To breke forward is not myn entente.                          40
  Biheste is dette, and I wol holde fayn
  Al my biheste; I can no better seyn.
  For swich lawe as man yeveth another wight,
  He sholde him-selven usen it by right;
  Thus wol our text; but natheles certeyn                       45
  I can right now no thrifty tale seyn,
  But Chaucer, though he can but lewedly
  On metres and on ryming craftily,
  Hath seyd hem in swich English as he can
  Of olde tyme, as knoweth many a man.                          50
  And if he have not seyd hem, leve brother,
  In o book, he hath seyd hem in another.
  For he hath told of loveres up and doun
  Mo than Ovyde made of mencioun
  In his Epistelles, that been ful olde.                        55
  What sholde I tellen hem, sin they ben tolde?
  In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcion,
  And sithen hath he spoke of everichon,
  Thise noble wyves and thise loveres eek.
  Who-so that wol his large volume seek                         60
  Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupyde,
  Ther may he seen the large woundes wyde
  Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tisbee;
  [132: T. 4484-4518.]
  The swerd of Dido for the false Enee;
  The tree of Phillis for hir Demophon;                         65
  The pleinte of Dianire and Hermion,
  Of Adriane and of Isiphilee;
  The bareyne yle stonding in the see;
  The dreynte Leander for his Erro;
  The teres of Eleyne, and eek the wo                           70
  Of Brixseyde, and of thee, Ladomëa;
  The crueltee of thee, queen Medëa,
  Thy litel children hanging by the hals
  For thy Iason, that was of love so fals!
  O Ypermistra, Penelopee, Alceste,                             75
  Your wyfhod he comendeth with the beste!

    43. Cm. man; _rest_ a man.   45. E. wole; Hn. wol.   47. MS. Camb. Dd.
    4. 24 _has_ But; _rest_ That; _see note_.   55. Hl. Cm. Epistelles; E.
    Hn. Cp. Epistles.   56. E. Hn. telle; _rest_ tellen.   64. Hl. sorwe;
    _rest_ swerd.   66. E. Cm. Hl. Diane; Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Dianire, _or_
    Dyanyre.   69. E. Hn. Ln. Leandre.   70. E. _omits_ eek.   71. E.
    _omits_ of.   72. Cp. Hl. queen; _rest_ quene.   74. E. Cm. in; _rest_
    of.   75. E. Hn. Cm. Penolopee.   76. E. wifhede.

    But certeinly no word ne wryteth he
  Of thilke wikke ensample of Canacee,
  That lovede hir owne brother sinfully;
  Of swiche cursed stories I sey 'fy';                          80
  Or elles of Tyro Apollonius,
  How that the cursed king Antiochus
  Birafte his doghter of hir maydenhede,
  That is so horrible a tale for to rede,
  Whan he hir threw up-on the pavement.                         85
  And therfor he, of ful avysement,
  Nolde never wryte in none of his sermouns
  Of swiche unkinde abhominaciouns,
  Ne I wol noon reherse, if that I may.

    But of my tale how shal I doon this day?                    90
  Me were looth be lykned, doutelees,
  To Muses that men clepe Pierides--
  _Metamorphoseos_ wot what I mene:--
  But nathelees, I recche noght a bene
  Though I come after him with hawe-bake;                       95
  I speke in prose, and lat him rymes make.'
  And with that word he, with a sobre chere,
  Bigan his tale, as ye shal after here.

    95. Hn. Cp. Pt. Hl. hawe bake; E. hawebake; Cm. aw bake; Ln. halve
    bake.

[133: T. 4519-4553.]

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE MANNES TALE OF LAWE.

  O hateful harm! condicion of poverte!
  With thurst, with cold, with hunger so confounded!           100
  To asken help thee shameth in thyn herte;
  If thou noon aske, with nede artow so wounded,
  That verray nede unwrappeth al thy wounde hid!
  Maugree thyn heed, thou most for indigence
  Or stele, or begge, or borwe thy despence!                   105
  Thou blamest Crist, and seyst ful bitterly,
  He misdeparteth richesse temporal;
  Thy neighebour thou wytest sinfully,                        (10)
  And seyst thou hast to lyte, and he hath al.
  'Parfay,' seistow, 'somtyme he rekne shal,                   110
  Whan that his tayl shal brennen in the glede,
  For he noght helpeth needfulle in hir nede.'
  Herkne what is the sentence of the wyse:--
  'Bet is to dyën than have indigence;'
  Thy selve neighebour wol thee despyse;                       115
  If thou be povre, farwel thy reverence!
  Yet of the wyse man tak this sentence:--
  'Alle the dayes of povre men ben wikke;'                    (20)
  Be war therfor, er thou come in that prikke!
  If thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee,                   120
  And alle thy freendes fleen fro thee, alas!
  O riche marchaunts, ful of wele ben ye,
  O noble, o prudent folk, as in this cas!
  Your bagges been nat filled with _ambes as_,
  But with _sis cink_, than renneth for your chaunce;          125
  At Cristemasse merie may ye daunce!
  Ye seken lond and see for your winninges,
  As wyse folk ye knowen al thestaat                          (30)
  Of regnes; ye ben fadres of tydinges
  And tales, bothe of pees and of debat.                       130
  I were right now of tales desolat,
  Nere that a marchaunt, goon is many a yere,
  Me taughte a tale, which that ye shal here.

    102. _So_ Hn.; Cp. Pt. art þou so; Ln. þou art so; Hl. so art thou;
    _but_ E. so soore artow ywoundid.   109. E. Hn. lite; _rest_ litel.
    118. E. _om._ the.   119. E. Hn. Hl. to; Cp. Pt. Ln. in.   124. E.
    fild.

[134: T. 4554-4579.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TALE OF THE MAN OF LAWE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BEGINNETH THE MAN OF LAWE HIS TALE.

  In Surrie whylom dwelte a companye
  Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,                135
  That wyde-wher senten her spycerye,
  Clothes of gold, and satins riche of hewe;
  Her chaffar was so thrifty and so newe,                     (40)
  That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
  With hem, and eek to sellen hem hir ware.                    140

  Now fel it, that the maistres of that sort
  Han shapen hem to Rome for to wende;
  Were it for chapmanhode or for disport,
  Nan other message wolde they thider sende,
  But comen hem-self to Rome, this is the ende;                145
  And in swich place, as thoughte hem avantage
  For her entente, they take her herbergage.

  Soiourned han thise marchants in that toun                  (50)
  A certein tyme, as fel to hir plesance.
  And so bifel, that thexcellent renoun                        150
  Of themperoures doghter, dame Custance,
  Reported was, with every circumstance,
  Un-to thise Surrien marchants in swich wyse,
  Fro day to day, as I shal yow devyse.

    150. E. And; _rest_ But.   153. E. swich a wyse; _the rest omit_ a.

  This was the commune vois of every man--                     155
  'Our Emperour of Rome, god him see,
  A doghter hath that, sin the world bigan,
  To rekne as wel hir goodnesse as beautee,                   (60)
  Nas never swich another as is she;
  [135: T. 4580-4616.]
  I prey to god in honour hir sustene,                         160
  And wolde she were of al Europe the quene.

  In hir is heigh beautee, with-oute pryde,
  Yowthe, with-oute grenehede or folye;
  To alle hir werkes vertu is hir gyde,
  Humblesse hath slayn in hir al tirannye.                     165
  She is mirour of alle curteisye;
  Hir herte is verray chambre of holinesse,
  Hir hand, ministre of fredom for almesse.'                  (70)

  And al this vois was soth, as god is trewe,
  But now to purpos lat us turne agayn;                        170
  Thise marchants han doon fraught hir shippes newe,
  And, whan they han this blisful mayden seyn,
  Hoom to Surryë been they went ful fayn,
  And doon her nedes as they han don yore,
  And liven in wele; I can sey yow no more.                    175

  Now fel it, that thise marchants stode in grace
  Of him, that was the sowdan of Surrye;
  For whan they came from any strange place,                  (80)
  He wolde, of his benigne curteisye,
  Make hem good chere, and bisily espye                        180
  Tydings of sondry regnes, for to lere
  The wondres that they mighte seen or here.

  Amonges othere thinges, specially
  Thise marchants han him told of dame Custance,
  So gret noblesse in ernest, ceriously,                       185
  That this sowdan hath caught so gret plesance
  To han hir figure in his remembrance,
  That al his lust and al his bisy cure                       (90)
  Was for to love hir whyl his lyf may dure.

  Paraventure in thilke large book                             190
  Which that men clepe the heven, y-writen was
  With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
  That he for love shulde han his deeth, allas!
  For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
  Is writen, god wot, who-so coude it rede,                    195
  The deeth of every man, withouten drede.

  [136: T. 4617-4651.]
  In sterres, many a winter ther-biforn,
  Was writen the deeth of Ector, Achilles,                   (100)
  Of Pompey, Iulius, er they were born;
  The stryf of Thebes; and of Ercules,                         200
  Of Sampson, Turnus, and of Socrates
  The deeth; but mennes wittes been so dulle,
  That no wight can wel rede it atte fulle.

  This sowdan for his privee conseil sente,
  And, shortly of this mater for to pace,                      205
  He hath to hem declared his entente,
  And seyde hem certein, 'but he mighte have grace
  To han Custance with-inne a litel space,                   (110)
  He nas but deed;' and charged hem, in hye,
  To shapen for his lyf som remedye.                           210

  Diverse men diverse thinges seyden;
  They argumenten, casten up and doun;
  Many a subtil resoun forth they leyden,
  They speken of magik and abusioun;
  But finally, as in conclusioun,                              215
  They can not seen in that non avantage,
  Ne in non other wey, save mariage.

    212. Hl. Cp. argumentes.

  Than sawe they ther-in swich difficultee                   (120)
  By wey of resoun, for to speke al playn,
  By-cause that ther was swich diversitee                      220
  Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn,
  They trowe 'that no cristen prince wolde fayn
  Wedden his child under oure lawes swete
  That us were taught by Mahoun our prophete.'

    220. Cm. _om._ that.

  And he answerde, 'rather than I lese                         225
  Custance, I wol be cristned doutelees;
  I mot ben hires, I may non other chese.
  I prey yow holde your arguments in pees;                   (130)
  Saveth my lyf, and beeth noght recchelees
  To geten hir that hath my lyf in cure;                       230
  For in this wo I may not longe endure.'

  [137: T. 4652-4686.]
  What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
  I seye, by tretis and embassadrye,
  And by the popes mediacioun,
  And al the chirche, and al the chivalrye,                    235
  That, in destruccioun of Maumetrye,
  And in encrees of Cristes lawe dere,
  They ben acorded, so as ye shal here;                      (140)

  How that the sowdan and his baronage
  And alle his liges shulde y-cristned be,                     240
  And he shal han Custance in mariage,
  And certein gold, I noot what quantitee,
  And her-to founden suffisant seurtee;
  This same acord was sworn on eyther syde;
  Now, faire Custance, almighty god thee gyde!                 245

  Now wolde som men waiten, as I gesse,
  That I shulde tellen al the purveyance
  That themperour, of his grete noblesse,                    (150)
  Hath shapen for his doghter dame Custance.
  Wel may men knowe that so gret ordinance                     250
  May no man tellen in a litel clause
  As was arrayed for so heigh a cause.

    255. E. ynough; Hn. Cp. Hl. ynowe; Cm. Ln. Inowe.

  Bisshopes ben shapen with hir for to wende,
  Lordes, ladyes, knightes of renoun,
  And other folk y-nowe, this is the ende;                     255
  And notifyed is thurgh-out the toun
  That every wight, with gret devocioun,
  Shulde preyen Crist that he this mariage                   (160)
  Receyve in gree, and spede this viage.

  The day is comen of hir departinge,                          260
  I sey, the woful day fatal is come,
  That ther may be no lenger taryinge,
  But forthward they hem dressen, alle and some;
  Custance, that was with sorwe al overcome,
  Ful pale arist, and dresseth hir to wende;                   265
  For wel she seeth ther is non other ende.

  [138: T. 4687-4721.]
  Allas! what wonder is it though she wepte,
  That shal be sent to strange nacioun                       (170)
  Fro freendes, that so tendrely hir kepte,
  And to be bounden under subieccioun                          270
  Of oon, she knoweth not his condicioun.
  Housbondes been alle gode, and han ben yore,
  That knowen wyves, I dar say yow no more.

  'Fader,' she sayde, 'thy wrecched child Custance,
  Thy yonge doghter, fostred up so softe,                      275
  And ye, my moder, my soverayn plesance
  Over alle thing, out-taken Crist on-lofte,
  Custance, your child, hir recomandeth ofte                 (180)
  Un-to your grace, for I shal to Surryë,
  Ne shal I never seen yow more with yë.                       280

  Allas! un-to the Barbre nacioun
  I moste anon, sin that it is your wille;
  But Crist, that starf for our redempcioun,
  So yeve me grace, his hestes to fulfille;
  I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille.                  285
  Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
  And to ben under mannes governance.'

    282. E. goon; _rest_ anon.   283. E. sauacioun; _rest_ redempcioun.

  I trowe, at Troye, whan Pirrus brak the wal                (190)
  Or Ylion brende, at Thebes the citee,
  Nat Rome, for the harm thurgh Hanibal                        290
  That Romayns hath venquisshed tymes thre,
  Nas herd swich tendre weping for pitee
  As in the chambre was for hir departinge;
  Bot forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or singe.

    289. Cm. at; _rest om._ (Or _means_ ere, _and_ brende _is
    intransitive_.)   290. E. Hn. Cm. Nat (_for_ Ne at); Hl. Ne at.

  O firste moevyng cruel firmament,                            295
  With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay
  And hurlest al from Est til Occident,
  That naturelly wolde holde another way,                    (200)
  Thy crowding set the heven in swich array
  At the beginning of this fiers viage,                        300
  That cruel Mars hath slayn this mariage.

  [139: T. 4722-4756.]
  Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
  Of which the lord is helples falle, allas!
  Out of his angle in-to the derkest hous.
  O Mars, O Atazir, as in this cas!                            305
  O feble mone, unhappy been thy pas!
  Thou knittest thee ther thou art nat receyved,
  Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.             (210)

    306. E. Hn. Cp. fieble.

  Imprudent emperour of Rome, allas!
  Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?                      310
  Is no tyme bet than other in swich cas?
  Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
  Namely to folk of heigh condicioun,
  Nat whan a rote is of a birthe y-knowe?
  Allas! we ben to lewed or to slowe.                          315

  To shippe is brought this woful faire mayde
  Solempnely, with every circumstance.
  'Now Iesu Crist be with yow alle,' she sayde;              (220)
  Ther nis namore but 'farewel! faire Custance!'
  She peyneth hir to make good countenance,                    320
  And forth I lete hir sayle in this manere,
  And turne I wol agayn to my matere.

    316. E. come; _rest_ brought.

  The moder of the sowdan, welle of vyces,
  Espyëd hath hir sones pleyn entente,
  How he wol lete his olde sacrifyces,                         325
  And right anon she for hir conseil sente;
  And they ben come, to knowe what she mente.
  And when assembled was this folk in-fere,                  (230)
  She sette hir doun, and sayde as ye shal here.

  'Lordes,' quod she, 'ye knowen everichon,                    330
  How that my sone in point is for to lete
  The holy lawes of our Alkaron,
  Yeven by goddes message Makomete.
  But oon avow to grete god I hete,
  The lyf shal rather out of my body sterte                    335
  Than Makometes lawe out of myn herte!

    330. E. she seyde; _rest_ quod she.   333. Cp. Pt. Ln. messager; Hl.
    messanger; _see note._

[140: T. 4757-4791.]

  What shulde us tyden of this newe lawe
  But thraldom to our bodies and penance?                    (240)
  And afterward in helle to be drawe
  For we reneyed Mahoun our creance?                           340
  But, lordes, wol ye maken assurance,
  As I shal seyn, assenting to my lore,
  And I shall make us sauf for evermore?'

  They sworen and assenten, every man,
  To live with hir and dye, and by hir stonde;                 345
  And everich, in the beste wyse he can,
  To strengthen hir shal alle his freendes fonde;
  And she hath this empryse y-take on honde,                 (250)
  Which ye shal heren that I shal devyse,
  And to hem alle she spak right in this wyse.                 350

  'We shul first feyne us cristendom to take,
  Cold water shal not greve us but a lyte;
  And I shal swich a feste and revel make,
  That, as I trowe, I shal the sowdan quyte.
  For though his wyf be cristned never so whyte,               355
  She shal have nede to wasshe awey the rede,
  Thogh she a font-ful water with hir lede.'

  O sowdanesse, rote of iniquitee,                           (260)
  Virago, thou Semyram the secounde,
  O serpent under femininitee,                                 360
  Lyk to the serpent depe in helle y-bounde,
  O feyned womman, al that may confounde
  Vertu and innocence, thurgh thy malyce,
  Is bred in thee, as nest of every vyce!

  O Satan, envious sin thilke day                              365
  That thou were chased from our heritage,
  Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way!
  Thou madest Eva bringe us in servage.                      (270)
  Thou wolt fordoon this cristen mariage.
  Thyn instrument so, weylawey the whyle!                      370
  Makestow of wommen, whan thou wolt begyle.

  [141: T. 4792-4824.]
  This sowdanesse, whom I thus blame and warie,
  Leet prively hir conseil goon hir way.
  What sholde I in this tale lenger tarie?
  She rydeth to the sowdan on a day,                           375
  And seyde him, that she wolde reneye hir lay,
  And cristendom of preestes handes fonge,
  Repenting hir she hethen was so longe,                     (280)

  Biseching him to doon hir that honour,
  That she moste han the cristen men to feste;                 380
  'To plesen hem I wol do my labour.'
  The sowdan seith, 'I wol don at your heste,'
  And kneling thanketh hir of that requeste.
  So glad he was, he niste what to seye;
  She kiste hir sone, and hoom she gooth hir weye.             385

    385. E. hoome; Hn. Cm. hom.

  EXPLICIT PRIMA PARS.  SEQUITUR PARS SECUNDA.

  Arryved ben this cristen folk to londe,
  In Surrie, with a greet solempne route,
  And hastily this sowdan sente his sonde,                   (290)
  First to his moder, and al the regne aboute,
  And seyde, his wyf was comen, out of doute,                  390
  And preyde hir for to ryde agayn the quene,
  The honour of his regne to sustene.

  Gret was the prees, and riche was tharray
  Of Surriens and Romayns met y-fere;
  The moder of the sowdan, riche and gay,                      395
  Receyveth hir with al-so glad a chere
  As any moder mighte hir doghter dere,
  And to the nexte citee ther bisyde                         (300)
  A softe pas solempnely they ryde.

  Noght trowe I the triumphe of Iulius,                        400
  Of which that Lucan maketh swich a bost,
  Was royaller, ne more curious
  Than was thassemblee of this blisful host.
  But this scorpioun, this wikked gost,
  [142: T. 4825-4859.]
  The sowdanesse, for al hir flateringe,                       405
  Caste under this ful mortally to stinge.

    402. E. or; _rest_ ne.   E. curius.

  The sowdan comth him-self sone after this
  So royally, that wonder is to telle,                       (310)
  And welcometh hir with alle Ioye and blis.
  And thus in merthe and Ioye I lete hem dwelle.               410
  The fruyt of this matere is that I telle.
  Whan tyme cam, men thoughte it for the beste
  That revel stinte, and men goon to hir reste.

    411. E. Cm. Cp. matiere; Hn. Pt. matere.   413. E. The; _rest_ That.

  The tyme cam, this olde sowdanesse
  Ordeyned hath this feste of which I tolde,                   415
  And to the feste cristen folk hem dresse
  In general, ye! bothe yonge and olde.
  Here may men feste and royaltee biholde,                   (320)
  And deyntees mo than I can yow devyse,
  But al to dere they boughte it er they ryse.                 420

    418. E. bihold.

  O sodeyn wo! that ever art successour
  To worldly blisse, spreynd with bitternesse;
  Thende of the Ioye of our worldly labour;
  Wo occupieth the fyn of our gladnesse.
  Herke this conseil for thy sikernesse,                       425
  Up-on thy glade day have in thy minde
  The unwar wo or harm that comth bihinde.

    423. _So_ Cm.; _rest_ The ende.

  For shortly for to tellen at o word,                       (330)
  The sowdan and the cristen everichone
  Ben al to-hewe and stiked at the bord,                       430
  But it were only dame Custance allone.
  This olde sowdanesse, cursed crone,
  Hath with hir frendes doon this cursed dede,
  For she hir-self wolde al the contree lede.

    428. E. soothly; _rest_ shortly.   432. Pt. Hl. this cursed; _rest
    omit_ this.

  Ne ther was Surrien noon that was converted                  435
  That of the conseil of the sowdan woot,
  That he nas al to-hewe er he asterted.
  And Custance han they take anon, foot-hoot,                (340)
  And in a shippe al sterelees, god woot,
  [143: T. 4860-4889.]
  They han hir set, and bidde hir lerne sayle                  440
  Out of Surrye agaynward to Itayle.

    435. E. _omits_ ther.   440. Hn. Cm. bidde; Cp. Pt. bidden; Ln. beden;
    E. biddeth; Hl. bad.

  A certein tresor that she thider ladde,
  And, sooth to sayn, vitaille gret plentee
  They han hir yeven, and clothes eek she hadde,
  And forth she sayleth in the salte see.                      445
  O my Custance, ful of benignitee,
  O emperoures yonge doghter dere,
  He that is lord of fortune be thy stere!                   (350)

    442. E. with hir_e_; _rest_ thider.

  She blesseth hir, and with ful pitous voys
  Un-to the croys of Crist thus seyde she,                     450
  'O clere, o welful auter, holy croys,
  Reed of the lambes blood full of pitee,
  That wesh the world fro the olde iniquitee,
  Me fro the feend, and fro his clawes kepe,
  That day that I shal drenchen in the depe.                   455

    451. E. woful; _rest_ welful, wilful, weleful.   453. E. wesshe; Cm.
    wesch; Pt. wessh.

  Victorious tree, proteccioun of trewe,
  That only worthy were for to bere
  The king of heven with his woundes newe,                   (360)
  The whyte lamb, that hurt was with the spere,
  Flemer of feendes out of him and here                        460
  On which thy limes feithfully extenden,
  Me keep, and yif me might my lyf tamenden.'

    462. Cm. Ln. kep; Hn. Pt. Hl. kepe; Cp. keepe; E. helpe.

  Yeres and dayes fleet this creature
  Thurghout the see of Grece un-to the strayte
  Of Marrok, as it was hir aventure;                           465
  On many a sory meel now may she bayte;
  After her deeth ful often may she wayte,
  Er that the wilde wawes wole hir dryve                     (370)
  Un-to the place, ther she shal arryve.

    463. E. fleteth; but Hn. Cp. Pt. fleet.   469. _Read_ placë; Hl. _alone
    inserts_ as _after_ ther.

[144: T. 4890-4924.]

  Men mighten asken why she was not slayn?                     470
  Eek at the feste who mighte hir body save?
  And I answere to that demaunde agayn,
  Who saved Daniel in the horrible cave,
  Ther every wight save he, maister and knave,
  Was with the leoun frete er he asterte?                      475
  No wight but god, that he bar in his herte.

    473. Hl. thorrible.

  God liste to shewe his wonderful miracle
  In hir, for we sholde seen his mighty werkes;              (380)
  Crist, which that is to every harm triacle,
  By certein menes ofte, as knowen clerkes,                    480
  Doth thing for certein ende that ful derk is
  To mannes wit, that for our ignorance
  Ne conne not knowe his prudent purveyance.

  Now, sith she was not at the feste y-slawe,
  Who kepte hir fro the drenching in the see?                  485
  Who kepte Ionas in the fisshes mawe
  Til he was spouted up at Ninivee?
  Wel may men knowe it was no wight but he                   (390)
  That kepte peple Ebraik fro hir drenchinge,
  With drye feet thurgh-out the see passinge.                  490

    489. Pt. Ln. _om._ hir.

  Who bad the foure spirits of tempest,
  That power han tanoyen land and see,
  'Bothe north and south, and also west and est,
  Anoyeth neither see, ne land, ne tree?'
  Sothly, the comaundour of that was he,                       495
  That fro the tempest ay this womman kepte
  As wel whan [that] she wook as whan she slepte.

    497. _I insert_ that; Hl. awok.

  Wher mighte this womman mete and drinke have?              (400)
  Three yeer and more how lasteth hir vitaille?
  Who fedde the Egipcien Marie in the cave,                    500
  Or in desert? no wight but Crist, sans faille.
  Fyve thousand folk it was as gret mervaille
  With loves fyve and fisshes two to fede.
  God sente his foison at hir grete nede.

  [145: T. 4925-4959.]
  She dryveth forth in-to our occean                           505
  Thurgh-out our wilde see, til, atte laste,
  Under an hold that nempnen I ne can,
  Fer in Northumberlond the wawe hir caste,                  (410)
  And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste,
  That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde,                    510
  The wille of Crist was that she shulde abyde.

  The constable of the castel doun is fare
  To seen this wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
  And fond this wery womman ful of care;
  He fond also the tresor that she broghte.                    515
  In hir langage mercy she bisoghte
  The lyf out of hir body for to twinne,
  Hir to delivere of wo that she was inne.                   (420)

  A maner Latin corrupt was hir speche,
  But algates ther-by was she understonde;                     520
  The constable, whan him list no lenger seche,
  This woful womman broghte he to the londe;
  She kneleth doun, and thanketh goddes sonde.
  But what she was, she wolde no man seye,
  For foul ne fair, thogh that she shulde deye.                525

  She seyde, she was so mased in the see
  That she forgat hir minde, by hir trouthe;
  The constable hath of hir so greet pitee,                  (430)
  And eek his wyf, that they wepen for routhe,
  She was so diligent, with-outen slouthe,                     530
  To serve and plesen everich in that place,
  That alle hir loven that loken on hir face.

    531. MSS. plese.   532. E. Cm. in; _rest_ on.

  This constable and dame Hermengild his wyf
  Were payens, and that contree every-where;
  But Hermengild lovede hir right as hir lyf,                  535
  And Custance hath so longe soiourned there,
  In orisons, with many a bitter tere,
  Til Iesu hath converted thurgh his grace                   (440)
  Dame Hermengild, constablesse of that place.

    536. soiourned] Hl. herberwed.

[146: T. 4960-4994.]

  In al that lond no cristen durste route,                     540
  Alle cristen folk ben fled fro that contree
  Thurgh payens, that conquereden al aboute
  The plages of the North, by land and see;
  To Walis fled the cristianitee
  Of olde Britons, dwellinge in this yle;                      545
  Ther was hir refut for the mene whyle.

  But yet nere cristen Britons so exyled
  That ther nere somme that in hir privetee                  (450)
  Honoured Crist, and hethen folk bigyled;
  And ny the castel swiche ther dwelten three.                 550
  That oon of hem was blind, and mighte nat see
  But it were with thilke yën of his minde,
  With whiche men seen, after that they ben blinde.

    553. E. whan; _rest_ after.

  Bright was the sonne as in that someres day,
  For which the constable and his wyf also                     555
  And Custance han y-take the righte way
  Toward the see, a furlong wey or two,
  To pleyen and to romen to and fro;                         (460)
  And in hir walk this blinde man they mette
  Croked and old, with yën faste y-shette.                     560

    561. E. olde; Hl. old; _rest_ blynde, blynd.

  'In name of Crist,' cryde this blinde Britoun,
  'Dame Hermengild, yif me my sighte agayn.'
  This lady wex affrayed of the soun,
  Lest that hir housbond, shortly for to sayn,
  Wolde hir for Iesu Cristes love han slayn,                   565
  Til Custance made hir bold, and bad hir werche
  The wil of Crist, as doghter of his chirche.

  The constable wex abasshed of that sight,                  (470)
  And seyde, 'what amounteth al this fare?'
  Custance answerde, 'sire, it is Cristes might,               570
  That helpeth folk out of the feendes snare.'
  And so ferforth she gan our lay declare,
  That she the constable, er that it were eve,
  Converted, and on Crist made him bileve.

    574. Hl. Cm. Conuerted; _rest_ Conuerteth.    E. maketh; Ln. maad;
    _rest_ made.

[147: T. 4995-5029.]

  This constable was no-thing lord of this place               575
  Of which I speke, ther he Custance fond,
  But kepte it strongly, many wintres space,
  Under Alla, king of al Northumberlond,                     (480)
  That was ful wys, and worthy of his hond
  Agayn the Scottes, as men may wel here,                      580
  But turne I wol agayn to my matere.

  Sathan, that ever us waiteth to bigyle,
  Saugh of Custance al hir perfeccioun,
  And caste anon how he mighte quyte hir whyle,
  And made a yong knight, that dwelte in that toun             585
  Love hir so hote, of foul affeccioun,
  That verraily him thoughte he shulde spille
  But he of hir mighte ones have his wille.                  (490)

  He woweth hir, but it availleth noght,
  She wolde do no sinne, by no weye;                           590
  And, for despyt, he compassed in his thoght
  To maken hir on shamful deth to deye.
  He wayteth whan the constable was aweye,
  And prively, up-on a night, he crepte
  In Hermengildes chambre whyl she slepte.                     595

  Wery, for-waked in her orisouns,
  Slepeth Custance, and Hermengild also.
  This knight, thurgh Sathanas temptaciouns,                 (500)
  Al softely is to the bed y-go,
  And kitte the throte of Hermengild a-two,                    600
  And leyde the blody knyf by dame Custance,
  And wente his wey, ther god yeve him meschance!

    598. E. Hn. Sathans; Hl. Satanas; _but_ Sathanas _in_ Cp. Pt. Ln.

  Sone after comth this constable hoom agayn,
  And eek Alla, that king was of that lond,
  And saugh his wyf despitously y-slayn,                       605
  For which ful ofte he weep and wrong his hond,
  And in the bed the blody knyf he fond
  By dame Custance; allas! what mighte she seye?             (510)
  For verray wo hir wit was al aweye.

    606. E. Hn. weep; Cm. Cp. Pt. wepte; Hl. wept.   E. wroong.

[148: T. 5030-5064.]

  To king Alla was told al this meschance,                     610
  And eek the tyme, and where, and in what wyse
  That in a ship was founden dame Custance,
  As heer-biforn that ye han herd devyse.
  The kinges herte of pitee gan agryse,
  Whan he saugh so benigne a creature                          615
  Falle in disese and in misaventure.

  For as the lomb toward his deeth is broght,
  So stant this innocent bifore the king;                    (520)
  This false knight that hath this tresoun wroght
  Berth hir on hond that she hath doon this thing.             620
  But nathelees, ther was greet moorning
  Among the peple, and seyn, 'they can not gesse
  That she hath doon so greet a wikkednesse.

    620. _So in_ E.; _rest_ Bereth.   621. _All_ moorning (mornyng);
    Tyrwhitt _has_ murmuring; _see note_.

  For they han seyn hir ever so vertuous,
  And loving Hermengild right as her lyf.'                     625
  Of this bar witnesse everich in that hous
  Save he that Hermengild slow with his knyf.
  This gentil king hath caught a gret motyf                  (530)
  Of this witnesse, and thoghte he wolde enquere
  Depper in this, a trouthe for to lere.                       630

    626. E. baar.

  Allas! Custance! thou hast no champioun,
  Ne fighte canstow nought, so weylawey!
  But he, that starf for our redempcioun
  And bond Sathan (and yit lyth ther he lay)
  So be thy stronge champioun this day!                        635
  For, but-if Crist open miracle kythe,
  Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swythe.

  She sette her doun on knees, and thus she sayde,           (540)
  'Immortal god, that savedest Susanne
  Fro false blame, and thou, merciful mayde,                   640
  Mary I mene, doghter to Seint Anne,
  Bifore whos child aungeles singe Osanne,
  If I be giltlees of this felonye,
  My socour be, for elles I shal dye!'

    638. E. sit; Hn. Cm. Pt. sette; Hl. set.   644. E. or; _rest_ for.

[149: T. 5065-5099.]

  Have ye nat seyn som tyme a pale face,                       645
  Among a prees, of him that hath be lad
  Toward his deeth, wher-as him gat no grace,
  And swich a colour in his face hath had,                   (550)
  Men mighte knowe his face, that was bistad,
  Amonges alle the faces in that route:                        650
  So stant Custance, and loketh hir aboute.

    647. gat] Cp. get; Pt. gete; Hl. geyneth.

  O quenes, livinge in prosperitee,
  Duchesses, and ye ladies everichone,
  Haveth som routhe on hir adversitee;
  An emperoures doghter stant allone;                          655
  She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
  O blood royal, that stondest in this drede,
  Fer ben thy freendes at thy grete nede!                    (560)

    654. E. Ln. _om._ ye.

  This Alla king hath swich compassioun,
  As gentil herte is fulfild of pitee,                         660
  That from his yën ran the water doun.
  'Now hastily do fecche a book,' quod he,
  'And if this knight wol sweren how that she
  This womman slow, yet wole we us avyse
  Whom that we wole that shal ben our Iustyse.'                665

  A Briton book, writen with Evangyles,
  Was fet, and on this book he swoor anoon
  She gilty was, and in the mene whyles                      (570)
  A hand him smoot upon the nekke-boon,
  That doun he fil atones as a stoon,                          670
  And bothe his yën broste out of his face
  In sight of every body in that place.

  A vois was herd in general audience,
  And seyde, 'thou hast desclaundred giltelees
  The doghter of holy chirche in hey presence;                 675
  Thus hastou doon, and yet holde I my pees.'
  Of this mervaille agast was al the prees;
  As mased folk they stoden everichone,                      (580)
  For drede of wreche, save Custance allone.

  [150: T. 5100-5134.]
  Greet was the drede and eek the repentance                   680
  Of hem that hadden wrong suspeccioun
  Upon this sely innocent Custance;
  And, for this miracle, in conclusioun,
  And by Custances mediacioun,
  The king, and many another in that place,                    685
  Converted was, thanked be Cristes grace!

  This false knight was slayn for his untrouthe
  By Iugement of Alla hastifly;                              (590)
  And yet Custance hadde of his deeth gret routhe.
  And after this Iesus, of his mercy,                          690
  Made Alla wedden ful solempnely
  This holy mayden, that is so bright and shene,
  And thus hath Crist y-maad Custance a quene.

  But who was woful, if I shal nat lye,
  Of this wedding but Donegild, and na mo,                     695
  The kinges moder, ful of tirannye?
  Hir thoughte hir cursed herte brast a-two;
  She wolde noght hir sone had do so;                        (600)
  Hir thoughte a despit, that he sholde take
  So strange a creature un-to his make.                        700

  Me list nat of the chaf nor of the stree
  Maken so long a tale, as of the corn.
  What sholde I tellen of the royaltee
  At mariage, or which cours gooth biforn,
  Who bloweth in a trompe or in an horn?                       705
  The fruit of every tale is for to seye;
  They ete, and drinke, and daunce, and singe, and pleye.

    701. Cm. nor; E. or; _rest_ ne.   704. E. Hn. mariages; Ln. þe mariage;
    _rest_ mariage; Hl. Of mariage.   705. a] E. the; Hn. Pt. _omit_.

  They goon to bedde, as it was skile and right;             (610)
  For, thogh that wyves been ful holy thinges,
  They moste take in pacience at night                         710
  Swich maner necessaries as been plesinges
  To folk that han y-wedded hem with ringes,
  And leye a lyte hir holinesse asyde
  As for the tyme; it may no bet bityde.

  [151: T. 5135-5169.]
  On hir he gat a knave-child anoon,                           715
  And to a bishop and his constable eke
  He took his wyf to kepe, whan he is goon
  To Scotland-ward, his fo-men for to seke;                  (620)
  Now faire Custance, that is so humble and meke,
  So longe is goon with childe, til that stille                720
  She halt hir chambre, abyding Cristes wille.

  The tyme is come, a knave-child she ber;
  Mauricius at the font-stoon they him calle;
  This Constable dooth forth come a messager,
  And wroot un-to his king, that cleped was Alle,              725
  How that this blisful tyding is bifalle,
  And othere tydings speedful for to seye;
  He takth the lettre, and forth he gooth his weye.          (630)

    728. Hn. tath; Cm. taath; _rest_ taketh.

  This messager, to doon his avantage,
  Un-to the kinges moder rydeth swythe,                        730
  And salueth hir ful faire in his langage,
  'Madame,' quod he, 'ye may be glad and blythe,
  And thanke god an hundred thousand sythe;
  My lady quene hath child, with-outen doute,
  To Ioye and blisse of al this regne aboute.                  735

    733. Cp. Hl. thanke; E. Hn. thanketh; Cm. thankede; Pt. Ln. thonketh.
    735. E. Cm. to; _rest_ of.

  Lo, heer the lettres seled of this thing,
  That I mot bere with al the haste I may;
  If ye wol aught un-to your sone the king,                  (640)
  I am your servant, bothe night and day.'
  Donegild answerde, 'as now at this tyme, nay;                740
  But heer al night I wol thou take thy reste,
  Tomorwe wol I seye thee what me leste.'

    740. Hl. _om._ at.

  This messager drank sadly ale and wyn,
  And stolen were his lettres prively
  Out of his box, whyl he sleep as a swyn;                     745
  And countrefeted was ful subtilly
  Another lettre, wroght ful sinfully,
  Un-to the king direct of this matere                       (650)
  Fro his constable, as ye shul after here.

  [152: T. 5170-5204.]
  The lettre spak, 'the queen delivered was                    750
  Of so horrible a feendly creature,
  That in the castel noon so hardy was
  That any whyle dorste ther endure.
  The moder was an elf, by aventure
  Y-come, by charmes or by sorcerye,                           755
  And every wight hateth hir companye.'

    750. MSS. queene, queen.   755. E. Hn. Cm. Y-comen.   756. E. Hn. _om._
    wight; Hl. man.

  Wo was this king whan he this lettre had seyn,
  But to no wighte he tolde his sorwes sore,                 (660)
  But of his owene honde he wroot ageyn,
  'Welcome the sonde of Crist for evermore                     760
  To me, that am now lerned in his lore;
  Lord, welcome be thy lust and thy plesaunce,
  My lust I putte al in thyn ordinaunce!

  Kepeth this child, al be it foul or fair,
  And eek my wyf, un-to myn hoom-cominge;                      765
  Crist, whan him list, may sende me an heir
  More agreable than this to my lykinge.'
  This lettre he seleth, prively wepinge,                    (670)
  Which to the messager was take sone,
  And forth he gooth; ther is na more to done.                 770

  O messager, fulfild of dronkenesse,
  Strong is thy breeth, thy limes faltren ay,
  And thou biwreyest alle secreenesse.
  Thy mind is lorn, thou Ianglest as a Iay,
  Thy face is turned in a newe array!                          775
  Ther dronkenesse regneth in any route,
  Ther is no conseil hid, with-outen doute.

  O Donegild, I ne have noon English digne                   (680)
  Un-to thy malice and thy tirannye!
  And therfor to the feend I thee resigne,                     780
  Let him endyten of thy traitorye!
  Fy, mannish, fy! o nay, by god, I lye,
  Fy, _feendly_ spirit, for I dar wel telle,
  Though thou heer walke, thy spirit is in helle!

  [153: T. 5205-5239.]
  This messager comth fro the king agayn,                      785
  And at the kinges modres court he lighte,
  And she was of this messager ful fayn,
  And plesed him in al that ever she mighte.                 (690)
  He drank, and wel his girdel underpighte.
  He slepeth, and he snoreth in his gyse                       790
  Al night, un-til the sonne gan aryse.

    791. Hl. vn-to; Pt. to; _rest_ til; _but_ vn-til (_as in_ Tyrwhitt)
    _seems better_.

  Eft were his lettres stolen everichon
  And countrefeted lettres in this wyse;
  'The king comandeth his constable anon,
  Up peyne of hanging, and on heigh Iuÿse,                     795
  That he ne sholde suffren in no wyse
  Custance in-with his regne for tabyde
  Thre dayes and a quarter of a tyde;                        (700)

    795. _So_ E. Hn.; Cm. and heigh; Cp. on a heih; Pt. on an high; Hl. of
    an heigh; Ln. or an hihe.   797. regne] E. Reawme.

  But in the same ship as he hir fond,
  Hir and hir yonge sone, and al hir gere,                     800
  He sholde putte, and croude hir fro the lond,
  And charge hir that she never eft come there.'
  O my Custance, wel may thy goost have fere
  And sleping in thy dreem been in penance,
  When Donegild caste al this ordinance!                       805

  This messager on morwe, whan he wook,
  Un-to the castel halt the nexte wey,
  And to the constable he the lettre took;                   (710)
  And whan that he this pitous lettre sey,
  Ful ofte he seyde 'allas!' and 'weylawey!'                   810
  'Lord Crist,' quod he, 'how may this world endure?
  So ful of sinne is many a creature!

  O mighty god, if that it be thy wille,
  Sith thou art rightful Iuge, how may it be
  That thou wolt suffren innocents to spille,                  815
  And wikked folk regne in prosperitee?
  O good Custance, allas! so wo is me
  That I mot be thy tormentour, or deye                      (720)
  On shames deeth; ther is noon other weye!'

    819. shames] Hl. schamful.

[154: T. 5240-5274.]

  Wepen bothe yonge and olde in al that place,                 820
  Whan that the king this cursed lettre sente,
  And Custance, with a deedly pale face,
  The ferthe day toward hir ship she wente.
  But natheles she taketh in good entente
  The wille of Crist, and, kneling on the stronde,             825
  She seyde, 'lord! ay wel-com be thy sonde!

    823. E. Ln. the; _rest_ hir.

  He that me kepte fro the false blame
  Whyl I was on the londe amonges yow,                       (730)
  He can me kepe from harme and eek fro shame
  In salte see, al-thogh I se nat how.                         830
  As strong as ever he was, he is yet now.
  In him triste I, and in his moder dere,
  That is to me my seyl and eek my stere.'

  Hir litel child lay weping in hir arm,
  And kneling, pitously to him she seyde,                      835
  'Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee non harm.'
  With that hir kerchef of hir heed she breyde,
  And over his litel yën she it leyde;                       (740)
  And in hir arm she lulleth it ful faste,
  And in-to heven hir yën up she caste.                        840

    837. Ln. Hl. kerchef; Pt. keerchef; E. Hn. couerchief; Cm. couerchif;
    Cp. couerchef.   E. Hn. Cm. ouer (_wrongly_); _rest_ of.

  'Moder,' quod she, 'and mayde bright, Marye,
  Sooth is that thurgh wommannes eggement
  Mankind was lorn and damned ay to dye,
  For which thy child was on a croys y-rent;
  Thy blisful yën sawe al his torment;                         845
  Than is ther no comparisoun bitwene
  Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.

  Thou sawe thy child y-slayn bifor thyn yën,                (750)
  And yet now liveth my litel child, parfay!
  Now, lady bright, to whom alle woful cryën,                  850
  Thou glorie of wommanhede, thou faire may,
  Thou haven of refut, brighte sterre of day,
  Rewe on my child, that of thy gentillesse
  Rewest on every rewful in distresse!

    849. E. Ln. _om._ litel; _rest have it_.

[155: T. 5275-5302.]

  O litel child, allas! what is thy gilt,                      855
  That never wroughtest sinne as yet, pardee,
  Why wil thyn harde fader han thee spilt?
  O mercy, dere Constable!' quod she;                        (760)
  'As lat my litel child dwelle heer with thee;
  And if thou darst not saven him, for blame,                  860
  So kis him ones in his fadres name!'

    861. E. Yet; _rest_ So.

  Ther-with she loketh bakward to the londe,
  And seyde, 'far-wel, housbond routhelees!'
  And up she rist, and walketh doun the stronde
  Toward the ship; hir folweth al the prees,                   865
  And ever she preyeth hir child to holde his pees;
  And taketh hir leve, and with an holy entente
  She blesseth hir; and in-to ship she wente.                (770)

    862. E. Ln. Hl. looked; rest looketh, loketh.   868. Hn. Pt. Hl.
    blesseth; Cm. Cp. Ln. blisseth; E. blissed.

  Vitailled was the ship, it is no drede,
  Habundantly for hir, ful longe space,                        870
  And other necessaries that sholde nede
  She hadde y-nogh, heried be goddes grace!
  For wind and weder almighty god purchace,
  And bringe hir hoom! I can no bettre seye;
  But in the see she dryveth forth hir weye.                   875

  EXPLICIT SECUNDA PARS.  SEQUITUR PARS TERCIA.

  Alla the king comth hoom, sone after this,
  Unto his castel of the which I tolde,
  And axeth wher his wyf and his child is.                   (780)
  The constable gan aboute his herte colde,
  And pleynly al the maner he him tolde                        880
  As ye han herd, I can telle it no bettre,
  And sheweth the king his seel and [eek] his lettre,

    882. _The word_ eek _seems wanted; but is not in the MSS_.

[156: T. 5303-5337.]

  And seyde, 'lord, as ye comaunded me
  Up peyne of deeth, so have I doon, certein.'
  This messager tormented was til he                           885
  Moste biknowe and tellen, plat and plein,
  Fro night to night, in what place he had leyn.
  And thus, by wit and subtil enqueringe,                    (790)
  Ymagined was by whom this harm gan springe.

  The hand was knowe that the lettre wroot,                    890
  And al the venim of this cursed dede,
  But in what wyse, certeinly I noot.
  Theffect is this, that Alla, out of drede,
  His moder slow, that men may pleinly rede,
  For that she traitour was to hir ligeaunce.                  895
  Thus endeth olde Donegild with meschaunce.

  The sorwe that this Alla, night and day,
  Maketh for his wyf and for his child also,                 (800)
  Ther is no tonge that it telle may.
  But now wol I un-to Custance go,                             900
  That fleteth in the see, in peyne and wo,
  Fyve yeer and more, as lyked Cristes sonde,
  Er that hir ship approched un-to londe.

    903. _So_ Hn. Cp. Pt. Hl.; E. Ln. vn-to the; Cm. to the.

  Under an hethen castel, atte laste,
  Of which the name in my text noght I finde,                  905
  Custance and eek hir child the see up-caste.
  Almighty god, that saveth al mankinde,
  Have on Custance and on hir child som minde,               (810)
  That fallen is in hethen land eft-sone,
  In point to spille, as I shal telle yow sone.                910

    907. E. saued; _rest_ saueth.

  Doun from the castel comth ther many a wight
  To gauren on this ship and on Custance.
  But shortly, from the castel, on a night,
  The lordes styward--god yeve him meschaunce!--
  A theef, that had reneyed our creaunce,                      915
  Com in-to ship allone, and seyde he sholde
  Hir lemman be, wher-so she wolde or nolde.

    916. E. Cm. in-to the; _rest omit_ the.

[157: T. 5338-5370.]

  Wo was this wrecched womman tho bigon,                     (820)
  Hir child cryde, and she cryde pitously;
  But blisful Marie heelp hir right anon;                      920
  For with hir strugling wel and mightily
  The theef fil over bord al sodeinly,
  And in the see he dreynte for vengeance;
  And thus hath Crist unwemmed kept Custance.

    920. E. Hn. heelp; Hl. hilp; Cm. Cp. halp; Pt. halpe; Ln. helped.

  O foule lust of luxurie! lo, thyn ende!                AUCTOR.
  925
  Nat only that thou feyntest mannes minde,
  But verraily thou wolt his body shende;
  Thende of thy werk or of thy lustes blinde                 (830)
  Is compleyning, how many-oon may men finde
  That noght for werk som-tyme, but for thentente              930
  To doon this sinne, ben outher sleyn or shente!

  How may this wayke womman han this strengthe
  Hir to defende agayn this renegat?
  O Golias, unmesurable of lengthe,
  How mighte David make thee so mat,                           935
  So yong and of armure so desolat?
  How dorste he loke up-on thy dredful face?
  Wel may men seen, it nas but goddes grace!                 (840)

    938. E. Hl. nas; Ln. is; _the rest_ was.

  Who yaf Iudith corage or hardinesse
  To sleen him, Olofernus, in his tente,                       940
  And to deliveren out of wrecchednesse
  The peple of god? I seye, for this entente,
  That, right as god spirit of vigour sente
  To hem, and saved hem out of meschance,
  So sente he might and vigour to Custance.                    945

    940. E. Oloferne; Hl. Olefernes; _the rest_ Olofernus, Olefernus, _or_
    Olesphernus; _see note_.

  Forth goth hir ship thurgh-out the narwe mouth
  Of Iubaltar and Septe, dryving ay,
  Som-tyme West, som-tyme North and South,                   (850)
  And som-tyme Est, ful many a wery day,
  Til Cristes moder (blessed be she ay!)                       950
  [158: T. 5371-5400.]
  Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse,
  To make an ende of al hir hevinesse.

    947. E. alway; _rest_ ay. (_The latter is better, but recurs in_ l.
    950.)   948. _All but_ Hl. _ins._ and _after_ West.

  Now lat us stinte of Custance but a throwe,
  And speke we of the Romain Emperour,
  That out of Surrie hath by lettres knowe                     955
  The slaughtre of cristen folk, and dishonour
  Don to his doghter by a fals traitour,
  I mene the cursed wikked sowdanesse,                       (860)
  That at the feste leet sleen both more and lesse.

  For which this emperour hath sent anoon                      960
  His senatour, with royal ordinance,
  And othere lordes, got wot, many oon,
  On Surriens to taken heigh vengeance.
  They brennen, sleen, and bringe hem to meschance
  Ful many a day; but shortly, this is thende,                 965
  Homward to Rome they shapen hem to wende.

  This senatour repaireth with victorie
  To Rome-ward, sayling ful royally,                         (870)
  And mette the ship dryving, as seith the storie,
  In which Custance sit ful pitously.                          970
  No-thing ne knew he what she was, ne why
  She was in swich array; ne she nil seye
  Of hir estaat, althogh she sholde deye.

    971. E. Cm. _om._ ne _before_ knew; _the rest have it_.   973. Hl.
    although; Pt. though that; _rest_ thogh, though, thow.

  He bringeth hir to Rome, and to his wyf
  He yaf hir, and hir yonge sone also;                         975
  And with the senatour she ladde her lyf.
  Thus can our lady bringen out of wo
  Woful Custance, and many another mo.                       (880)
  And longe tyme dwelled she in that place,
  In holy werkes ever, as was hir grace.                       980

  [159: T. 5401-5435.]
  The senatoures wyf hir aunte was,
  But for al that she knew hir never the more;
  I wol no lenger tarien in this cas,
  But to king Alla, which I spak of yore,
  That for his wyf wepeth and syketh sore,                     985
  I wol retourne, and lete I wol Custance
  Under the senatoures governance.

    985. E. _puts_ wepeth _after_ That.

  King Alla, which that hadde his moder slayn,               (890)
  Upon a day fil in swich repentance,
  That, if I shortly tellen shal and plain,                    990
  To Rome he comth, to receyven his penance;
  And putte him in the popes ordinance
  In heigh and low, and Iesu Crist bisoghte
  Foryeve his wikked werkes that he wroghte.

  The fame anon thurgh Rome toun is born,                      995
  How Alla king shal come in pilgrimage,
  By herbergeours that wenten him biforn;
  For which the senatour, as was usage,                      (900)
  Rood him ageyn, and many of his linage,
  As wel to shewen his heighe magnificence                    1000
  As to don any king a reverence.

    995. E. thurgh out the toun; _rest_ thurgh Rome toun.   996. E. Hn. Cp.
    Pt. comen.   999. E. Hn. agayns.

  Greet chere dooth this noble senatour
  To king Alla, and he to him also;
  Everich of hem doth other greet honour;
  And so bifel that, in a day or two,                         1005
  This senatour is to king Alla go
  To feste, and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
  Custances sone wente in his companye.                      (910)

  Som men wolde seyn, at requeste of Custance,
  This senatour hath lad this child to feste;                 1010
  I may nat tellen every circumstance,
  Be as be may, ther was he at the leste.
  But soth is this, that, at his modres heste,
  Biforn Alla, during the metes space,
  The child stood, loking in the kinges face.                 1015

  [160: T. 5436-5470.]
  This Alla king hath of this child greet wonder,
  And to the senatour he seyde anon,
  'Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder?'           (920)
  'I noot,' quod he, 'by god, and by seint Iohn!
  A moder he hath, but fader hath he non                      1020
  That I of woot'--but shortly, in a stounde,
  He tolde Alla how that this child was founde.

  'But god wot,' quod this senatour also,
  'So vertuous a livere in my lyf,
  Ne saugh I never as she, ne herde of mo                     1025
  Of worldly wommen, mayden, nor of wyf;
  I dar wel seyn hir hadde lever a knyf
  Thurgh-out her breste, than been a womman wikke;           (930)
  Ther is no man coude bringe hir to that prikke.'

    1026. Hl. Cm. Ln. mayden; _rest_ mayde. Cm. nor; Hl. Ln. or; _rest_ ne.

  Now was this child as lyk un-to Custance                    1030
  As possible is a creature to be.
  This Alla hath the face in remembrance
  Of dame Custance, and ther-on mused he
  If that the childes moder were aught she
  That was his wyf, and prively he sighte,                    1035
  And spedde him fro the table that he mighte.

  'Parfay,' thoghte he, 'fantome is in myn heed!
  I oghte deme, of skilful Iugement,                         (940)
  That in the salte see my wyf is deed.'
  And afterward he made his argument--                        1040
  'What woot I, if that Crist have hider y-sent
  My wyf by see, as wel as he hir sente
  To my contree fro thennes that she wente?'

    1041. E. haue; _rest_ hath.   E. ysent; Cm. I-sent; _rest_ sent.

  And, after noon, hoom with the senatour
  Goth Alla, for to seen this wonder chaunce.                 1045
  This senatour dooth Alla greet honour,
  And hastifly he sente after Custaunce.
  But trusteth weel, hir liste nat to daunce                 (950)
  Whan that she wiste wherefor was that sonde.
  Unnethe up-on hir feet she mighte stonde.                   1050

    1047. E. Pt. hastifly; _rest_ hastily, hastely.

[161: T. 5471-5505.]

  When Alla saugh his wyf, faire he hir grette,
  And weep, that it was routhe for to see.
  For at the firste look he on hir sette
  He knew wel verraily that it was she.
  And she for sorwe as domb stant as a tree;                  1055
  So was hir herte shet in hir distresse
  Whan she remembred his unkindenesse.

  Twyës she swowned in his owne sighte;                      (960)
  He weep, and him excuseth pitously:--
  'Now god,' quod he, 'and alle his halwes brighte            1060
  So wisly on my soule as have mercy,
  That of your harm as giltelees am I
  As is Maurice my sone so lyk your face;
  Elles the feend me fecche out of this place!'

    1060. Hl. alle; _which the rest omit_.

  Long was the sobbing and the bitter peyne                   1065
  Er that hir woful hertes mighte cesse;
  Greet was the pitee for to here hem pleyne,
  Thurgh whiche pleintes gan hir wo encresse.                (970)
  I prey yow al my labour to relesse;
  I may nat telle hir wo un-til tomorwe,                      1070
  I am so wery for to speke of sorwe.

  But fynally, when that the sooth is wist
  That Alla giltelees was of hir wo,
  I trowe an hundred tymes been they kist,
  And swich a blisse is ther bitwix hem two                   1075
  That, save the Ioye that lasteth evermo,
  Ther is non lyk, that any creature
  Hath seyn or shal, whyl that the world may dure.           (980)

    1074. Hl. they ben.

  Tho preyde she hir housbond mekely,
  In relief of hir longe pitous pyne,                         1080
  That he wold preye hir fader specially
  That, of his magestee, he wolde enclyne
  To vouche-sauf som day with him to dyne;
  She preyde him eek, he sholde by no weye
  Un-to hir fader no word of hir seye.                        1085

    1084. E. wolde; _rest_ sholde.

[162: T. 5506-5540.]

  Som men wold seyn, how that the child Maurice
  Doth this message un-to this emperour;
  But, as I gesse, Alla was nat so nyce                      (990)
  To him, that was of so sovereyn honour
  As he that is of cristen folk the flour,                    1090
  Sente any child, but it is bet to deme
  He wente him-self, and so it may wel seme.

  This emperour hath graunted gentilly
  To come to diner, as he him bisoghte;
  And wel rede I, he loked bisily                             1095
  Up-on this child, and on his doghter thoghte.
  Alla goth to his in, and, as him oghte,
  Arrayed for this feste in every wyse                      (1000)
  As ferforth as his conning may suffyse.

  The morwe cam, and Alla gan him dresse,                     1100
  And eek his wyf, this emperour to mete;
  And forth they ryde in Ioye and in gladnesse.
  And whan she saugh hir fader in the strete,
  She lighte doun, and falleth him to fete.
  'Fader,' quod she, 'your yonge child Custance               1105
  Is now ful clene out of your remembrance.

  I am your doghter Custance,' quod she,
  'That whylom ye han sent un-to Surrye.                    (1010)
  It am I, fader, that in the salte see
  Was put allone and dampned for to dye.                      1110
  Now, gode fader, mercy I yow crye,
  Send me namore un-to non hethenesse,
  But thonketh my lord heer of his kindenesse.'

    1107. _So in all the MSS.; to be read as_ Cústancë (_three syllables_).

  Who can the pitous Ioye tellen al
  Bitwix hem three, sin they ben thus y-mette?                1115
  But of my tale make an ende I shal;
  The day goth faste, I wol no lenger lette.
  This glade folk to diner they hem sette;                  (1020)
  In Ioye and blisse at mete I lete hem dwelle
  A thousand fold wel more than I can telle.                  1120

  [163: T. 5541-5573.]
  This child Maurice was sithen emperour
  Maad by the pope, and lived cristenly.
  To Cristes chirche he dide greet honour;
  But I lete al his storie passen by,
  Of Custance is my tale specially.                           1125
  In olde Romayn gestes may men finde
  Maurices lyf; I bere it noght in minde.

    1126. E. Hn. Cm. In the; _rest om._ the.

  This king Alla, whan he his tyme sey,                     (1030)
  With his Custance, his holy wyf so swete,
  To Engelond been they come the righte wey,                  1130
  Wher-as they live in Ioye and in quiete.
  But litel whyl it lasteth, I yow hete,
  Ioye of this world, for tyme wol nat abyde;
  Fro day to night it changeth as the tyde.

  Who lived ever in swich delyt o day                         1135
  That him ne moeved outher conscience,
  Or ire, or talent, or som kin affray,
  Envye, or pryde, or passion, or offence?                  (1040)
  I ne seye but for this ende this sentence,
  That litel whyl in Ioye or in plesance                      1140
  Lasteth the blisse of Alla with Custance.

    1137. E. som kynnes; Cm. su_m_kenys; Hl. som maner; Hn. Cp. Pt. som
    kyn; Ln. sumkin.

  For deeth, that taketh of heigh and low his rente,
  When passed was a yeer, even as I gesse,
  Out of this world this king Alla he hente,
  For whom Custance hath ful gret hevinesse.                  1145
  Now lat us preyen god his soule blesse!
  And dame Custance; fynally to seye,
  Towards the toun of Rome gooth hir weye.                  (1050)

    1146. E. praye to; Hl. pray that; _rest_ preyen, prayen, preien, _or_
    preyne.

  To Rome is come this holy creature,
  And fyndeth ther hir frendes hole and sounde:               1150
  Now is she scaped al hir aventure;
  And whan that she hir fader hath y-founde,
  Doun on hir kneës falleth she to grounde;
  [164: T. 5574-5582.]
  Weping for tendrenesse in herte blythe,
  She herieth god an hundred thousand sythe.                  1155

    1150. Hl. And fynt hir freendes ther bothe hool and sound. _The rest
    omit_ ther.

  In vertu and in holy almes-dede
  They liven alle, and never a-sonder wende;
  Til deeth departed hem, this lyf they lede.               (1060)
  And fareth now weel, my tale is at an ende.
  Now Iesu Crist, that of his might may sende                 1160
  Ioye after wo, governe us in his grace,
  And kepe us alle that ben in this place! Amen.

HERE ENDETH THE TALE OF THE MAN OF LAWE; AND NEXT FOLWETH THE SHIPMANNES
PROLOG.

    *** For l. 5583 _in_ Tyrwhitt's Text, _see_ Group D, l. 1.

    COLOPHON. _The latter part is from_ MS. Arch. Selden B. 14. _Many MSS.
    have_ The prolog of the squyers tale, _or_ the prolog of the Squier.
    _The_ Petworth MS. _and some others have here an ill-written and
    spurious_ Prologue to the Shipman's Tale, _which is here subjoined:_

      'Now freendes,' seide our Hoost so dere,
      'How lyketh you by Iohn the Pardonere?
      For he hath unbokeled wel the male;
      He hath us told right a thrifty tale
      As touching of misgovernaunce--
      I preye to God, yeve him good chaunce!--
      As ye han herd of thise riotoures three.
      Now, gentil Mariner, hertely I preye thee,
      Telle us a good tale, and that right anon.'
      'It shall be doon, by god and by seint Iohn,'
      Seyde this Mariner, 'as wel as ever I can,'
      And right anon his tale he bigan.

[165: T. 12903-12924.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SHIPMAN'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE SHIPMANNES PROLOG.

  Our hoste up-on his stiropes stood anon,
  And seyde, 'good men, herkneth everich on;
  This was a thrifty tale for the nones!                      1165
  Sir parish prest,' quod he, 'for goddes bones,
  Tel us a tale, as was thy forward yore.
  I see wel that ye lerned men in lore
  Can moche good, by goddes dignitee!'

    1163-1190. _From_ Cp., _collated with_ Hl. Pt. Ln. Seld. Royal, _and_
    Sloane; E. Hn. Cm. _omit_.   1164. Cp. herkeneth; Hl. herkneth.

    The Persone him answerde, '_benedicite_!                  1170
  What eyleth the man, so sinfully to swere?'

    Our hoste answerde, 'O Iankin, be ye there?               (10)
  I smelle a loller in the wind,' quod he.
  'How! good men,' quod our hoste, 'herkneth me;
  Abydeth, for goddes digne passioun,                         1175
  For we shal han a predicacioun;
  This loller heer wil prechen us som-what.'

    1174. Cp. herkeneth; Hl. herkneth.   1174. Hl. Now; _rest_ How
    (Howe).   1175. Hl. _omits_.

    'Nay, by my fader soule! that shal be nat,'
  Seyde the Shipman; 'heer he shal nat preche,
  He shal no gospel glosen heer ne teche.                     1180
  We leve alle in the grete god,' quod he,
  'He wolde sowen som difficultee,                            (20)
  Or springen cokkel in our clene corn;
  And therfor, hoste, I warne thee biforn,
  [166: T. 12925-12930.]
  My Ioly body shal a tale telle,                             1185
  And I shal clinken yow so mery a belle,
  That I shal waken al this companye;
  But it shal nat ben of philosophye,
  Ne _physices_, ne termes queinte of lawe;                   (27)
  Ther is but litel Latin in my mawe.'                        1190

  HERE ENDETH THE SHIPMAN HIS PROLOG.

    1179. Seld. _has_ Shipman; Roy. Slo. Cp. Pt. Ln. squier; Hl.
    sompnour.   1181. Seld. Hl. We leuen; Roy. Cp. Pt. Ln. He leueth.
    1182. Seld. Hl. quod, _which_ Cp. Pt. Ln. Roy. Slo. _omit_.   1186-90.
    Hl. omits.   1189. Tyrwhitt _has_ of physike; _the_ MSS. _have the
    unmeaning word_ phislyas (Sloane phillyas; Ln. fisleas); _read_
    physices; see note.   COLOPHON. _From_ Seld.

[167: T. 12931-12957.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SHIPMANNES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE SHIPMANNES TALE.

  A marchant whylom dwelled at Seint Denys,
  That riche was, for which men helde him wys;
  A wyf he hadde of excellent beautee,
  And compaignable and revelous was she,
  Which is a thing that causeth more dispence                 1195
  Than worth is al the chere and reverence
  That men hem doon at festes and at daunces;
  Swiche salutaciouns and contenaunces
  Passen as dooth a shadwe up-on the wal.
  But wo is him that payen moot for al;                       1200
  The sely housbond, algate he mot paye;                      (11)
  He moot us clothe, and he moot us arraye,
  Al for his owene worship richely,
  In which array we daunce Iolily.
  And if that he noght may, par-aventure,                     1205
  Or elles, list no swich dispence endure,
  But thinketh it is wasted and y-lost,
  Than moot another payen for our cost,
  Or lene us gold, and that is perilous.

    1191. Hl. hild.   1196. E. chiere.   1201. E. honsbonde.   Hn. moot;
    Pt. mot; rest moste.   1205. Pt. Hl. may not.   1206. E. ellis.   1208.
    E. Thanne.

    This noble Marchant heeld a worthy hous,                  1210
  For which he hadde alday so greet repair                    (21)
  For his largesse, and for his wyf was fair,
  That wonder is; but herkneth to my tale.
  Amonges alle his gestes, grete and smale,
  Ther was a monk, a fair man and a bold,                     1215
  I trowe of thritty winter he was old,
  That ever in oon was drawing to that place.
  [168: T. 12958-12994.]
  This yonge monk, that was so fair of face,
  Aqueinted was so with the gode man,
  Sith that hir firste knoweliche bigan,                      1220
  That in his hous as famulier was he                         (31)
  As it possible is any freend to be.

    1214. E. Hn. hise; Hl. these; _rest_ his.   1216. E. of; Hn. Cp. Ln. a;
    _rest om._   1217. E. comynge; rest drawyng.   1220-3. Pt. _omits._

    And for as muchel as this gode man
  And eek this monk, of which that I bigan,
  Were bothe two y-born in o village,                         1225
  The monk him claimeth as for cosinage;
  And he again, he seith nat ones nay,
  But was as glad ther-of as fowel of day;
  For to his herte it was a greet plesaunce.
  Thus been they knit with eterne alliaunce,                  1230
  And ech of hem gan other for tassure                        (41)
  Of bretherhede, whyl that hir lyf may dure.

    1222. E. _om._ is; Hl. possibil is; _rest_ is possible.   1231. E. Hn.
    Pt. ech; Hl. ilk; _rest_ ilke.    Cp. for to assure; Hl. Ln. to assure
    (_om._ for).

    Free was daun Iohn, and namely of dispence,
  As in that hous; and ful of diligence
  To doon plesaunce, and also greet costage.                  1235
  He noght forgat to yeve the leeste page
  In al that hous; but, after hir degree,
  He yaf the lord, and sitthe al his meynee,
  When that he cam, som maner honest thing;
  For which they were as glad of his coming                   1240
  As fowel is fayn, whan that the sonne up-ryseth.            (51)
  Na more of this as now, for it suffyseth.

    1237. E. the; _rest_ that.

    But so bifel, this marchant on a day
  Shoop him to make redy his array
  Toward the toun of Brugges for to fare,                     1245
  To byën ther a porcioun of ware;
  For which he hath to Paris sent anon
  A messager, and preyed hath daun Iohn
  That he sholde come to Seint Denys to pleye
  With him and with his wyf a day or tweye,                   1250
  Er he to Brugges wente, in alle wyse.                       (61)

    This noble monk, of which I yow devyse,
  Hath of his abbot, as him list, licence,
  By-cause he was a man of heigh prudence,
  [169: T. 12995-13031.]
  And eek an officer, out for to ryde,                        1255
  To seen hir graunges and hir bernes wyde;
  And un-to Seint Denys he comth anon.
  Who was so welcome as my lord daun Iohn,
  Our dere cosin, ful of curteisye?
  With him broghte he a Iubbe of Malvesye,                    1260
  And eek another, ful of fyn Vernage,                        (71)
  And volatyl, as ay was his usage.
  And thus I lete hem ete and drinke and pleye,
  This marchant and this monk, a day or tweye.

    1261. Cp. Ln. good (_for_ fyn); Hl. wyn.   1262. Hl. volantyn (!)
    1263. E. _om._ ete and.

    The thridde day, this marchant up aryseth,                1265
  And on his nedes sadly him avyseth,
  And up in-to his countour-hous goth he
  To rekene with him-self, as wel may be,
  Of thilke yeer, how that it with him stood,
  And how that he despended hadde his good;                   1270
  And if that he encressed were or noon.                      (81)
  His bokes and his bagges many oon
  He leith biforn him on his counting-bord;
  Ful riche was his tresor and his hord,
  For which ful faste his countour-dore he shette;            1275
  And eek he nolde that no man sholde him lette
  Of his accountes, for the mene tyme;
  And thus he sit til it was passed pryme.

    1266, 1272, 1277. E. hise.   1268. Pt. Hl. as; _rest om._

    Daun Iohn was risen in the morwe also,
  And in the gardin walketh to and fro,                       1280
  And hath his thinges seyd ful curteisly.                    (91)

    This gode wyf cam walking prively
  In-to the gardin, ther he walketh softe,
  And him saleweth, as she hath don ofte.
  A mayde child cam in hir companye,                          1285
  Which as hir list she may governe and gye,
  For yet under the yerde was the mayde.
  'O dere cosin myn, daun Iohn,' she sayde,
  'What eyleth yow so rathe for to ryse?'
  'Nece,' quod he, 'it oghte y-nough suffyse                  1290
  Fyve houres for to slepe up-on a night,                    (101)
  [170: T. 13032-13066.]
  But it were for an old appalled wight,
  As been thise wedded men, that lye and dare
  As in a forme sit a wery hare,
  Were al for-straught with houndes grete and smale.          1295
  But dere nece, why be ye so pale?
  I trowe certes that our gode man
  Hath yow laboured sith the night bigan,
  That yow were nede to resten hastily?'
  And with that word he lough ful merily,                     1300
  And of his owene thought he wex al reed.                   (111)

    1294. E. fourme; _rest_ forme.   1300. E. murily.   1301. E. Cp. wax.

    This faire wyf gan for to shake hir heed,
  And seyde thus, 'ye, god wot al,' quod she;
  'Nay, cosin myn, it stant nat so with me.
  For, by that god that yaf me soule and lyf,                 1305
  In al the reme of France is ther no wyf
  That lasse lust hath to that sory pley.
  For I may singe "allas" and "weylawey,
  That I was born," but to no wight,' quod she,
  'Dar I nat telle how that it stant with me.                 1310
  Wherfore I thinke out of this land to wende,               (121)
  Or elles of my-self to make an ende,
  So ful am I of drede and eek of care.'

    1304. E. _repeats_ nay.   1306. Cp. Pt. rewme; Hl. Ln. reme; E. Hn.
    Reawme; _see_ B. 4326.

    This monk bigan up-on this wyf to stare,
  And seyde, 'allas, my nece, god forbede                     1315
  That ye, for any sorwe or any drede,
  Fordo your-self; but telleth me your grief;
  Paraventure I may, in your meschief,
  Conseille or helpe, and therfore telleth me
  Al your anoy, for it shal been secree;                      1320
  For on my porthors here I make an ooth,                    (131)
  That never in my lyf, for lief ne looth,
  Ne shal I of no conseil yow biwreye.'

    1317. Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. telleth;    E. tel.    E. me of; Cp. Ln.
    forth; _rest_ me.   1318. E. I yow may; _rest om._ yow.   1321. Cm.
    here; _rest_ om.

    'The same agayn to yow,' quod she, 'I seye;
  By god and by this porthors, I yow swere,                   1325
  Though men me wolde al in-to peces tere,
  [171: T. 13067-13103.]
  Ne shal I never, for to goon to helle,
  Biwreye a word of thing that ye me telle,
  Nat for no cosinage ne alliance,
  But verraily, for love and affiance.'                       1330
  Thus been they sworn, and heer-upon they kiste,            (141)
  And ech of hem tolde other what hem liste.

    1326. E. pieces; _rest_ peces, peeces.

    'Cosin,' quod she, 'if that I hadde a space,
  As I have noon, and namely in this place,
  Than wolde I telle a legende of my lyf,                     1335
  What I have suffred sith I was a wyf
  With myn housbonde, al be he your cosyn.'

    1335. E. Thanne.   1337. your cosyn] E. of youre kyn.

    'Nay,' quod this monk, 'by god and seint Martyn,
  He is na more cosin un-to me
  Than is this leef that hangeth on the tree!                 1340
  I clepe him so, by Seint Denys of Fraunce,                 (151)
  To have the more cause of aqueintaunce
  Of yow, which I have loved specially
  Aboven alle wommen sikerly;
  This swere I yow on my professioun.                         1345
  Telleth your grief, lest that he come adoun,
  And hasteth yow, and gooth your wey anon.'

    1338. and] E. Cp. Pt. Ln. and by.   1340. E. lief.

    'My dere love,' quod she, 'o my daun Iohn,
  Ful lief were me this conseil for to hyde,
  But out it moot, I may namore abyde.                        1350
  Myn housbond is to me the worste man                       (161)
  That ever was, sith that the world bigan.
  But sith I am a wyf, it sit nat me
  To tellen no wight of our privetee,
  Neither a bedde, ne in non other place;                     1355
  God shilde I sholde it tellen, for his grace!
  A wyf ne shal nat seyn of hir housbonde
  But al honour, as I can understonde;
  Save un-to yow thus muche I tellen shal;
  As help me god, he is noght worth at al                     1360
  In no degree the value of a flye.                          (171)
  But yet me greveth most his nigardye;
  And wel ye woot that wommen naturelly
  [172: T. 13104-13140.]
  Desyren thinges sixe, as wel as I.
  They wolde that hir housbondes sholde be                    1365
  Hardy, and wyse, and riche, and ther-to free,
  And buxom to his wyf, and fresh a-bedde.
  But, by that ilke lord that for us bledde,
  For his honour, my-self for to arraye,
  A Sonday next, I moste nedes paye                           1370
  An hundred frankes, or elles am I lorn.                    (181)
  Yet were me lever that I were unborn
  Than me were doon a sclaundre or vileinye;
  And if myn housbond eek it mighte espye,
  I nere but lost, and therfore I yow preye                   1375
  Lene me this somme, or elles moot I deye.
  Daun Iohn, I seye, lene me thise hundred frankes;
  Pardee, I wol nat faille yow my thankes,
  If that yow list to doon that I yow praye.
  For at a certein day I wol yow paye,                        1380
  And doon to yow what plesance and servyce                  (191)
  That I may doon, right as yow list devyse.
  And but I do, god take on me vengeance
  As foul as ever had Geniloun of France!'

    1351. E. housbonde.   1355. Hl. _om._   1367. to] E. Hn. Cm. unto.
    1371, 1376. E. ellis.   1371. E. Ln. Hl. I am; _rest_ am I.   1374. E.
    housbonde.   1376-9. Hl. _omits_.   1384. E. hadde.

    This gentil monk answerde in this manere;                 1385
  'Now, trewely, myn owene lady dere,
  I have,' quod he, 'on yow so greet a routhe,
  That I yow swere and plighte yow my trouthe,
  That whan your housbond is to Flaundres fare,
  I wol delivere yow out of this care;                        1390
  For I wol bringe yow an hundred frankes.'                  (201)
  And with that word he caughte hir by the flankes,
  And hir embraceth harde, and kiste hir ofte.
  'Goth now your wey,' quod he, 'al stille and softe,
  And lat us dyne as sone as that ye may;                     1395
  For by my chilindre it is pryme of day.
  Goth now, and beeth as trewe as I shal be.'

    1389. E. housbonde.

    'Now, elles god forbede, sire,' quod she,
  And forth she gooth, as Iolif as a pye,
  And bad the cokes that they sholde hem hye,                 1400
  [173: T. 13141-13176.]
  So that men mighte dyne, and that anon.                    (211)
  Up to hir housbonde is this wyf y-gon,
  And knokketh at his countour boldely.

    '_Qui la_?' quod he. 'Peter! it am I,'
  Quod she, 'what, sire, how longe wol ye faste?              1405
  How longe tyme wol ye rekene and caste
  Your sommes, and your bokes, and your thinges?
  The devel have part of alle swiche rekeninges!
  Ye have y-nough, pardee, of goddes sonde;
  Come doun to-day, and lat your bagges stonde.               1410
  Ne be ye nat ashamed that daun Iohn                        (221)
  Shal fasting al this day elenge goon?
  What! lat us here a messe, and go we dyne.'

    1404. E. Hn. Who ther (_with_ Qi la _in margin_); Hl. Qy la; Cp. Pt.
    Quy la; Ln. Que la.   1408. Hl. Cm. of; _rest_ on.   1412. E. Cm.
    alenge; _rest_ elenge.   1413. E. _om._ What.

    'Wyf,' quod this man, 'litel canstow devyne
  The curious bisinesse that we have.                         1415
  For of us chapmen, al-so god me save,
  And by that lord that cleped is Seint Yve,
  Scarsly amonges twelve ten shul thryve,
  Continuelly, lastinge un-to our age.
  We may wel make chere and good visage,                      1420
  And dryve forth the world as it may be,                    (231)
  And kepen our estaat in privetee,
  Til we be deed, or elles that we pleye
  A pilgrimage, or goon out of the weye.
  And therfor have I greet necessitee                         1425
  Up-on this queinte world tavyse me;
  For evermore we mote stonde in drede
  Of hap and fortune in our chapmanhede.

    1417. E. clepid.   1418. E. xij.   1420. E. chiere.   1426. E. Hn. Cm.
    tauyse; _rest_ to auyse.

    To Flaundres wol I go to-morwe at day,
  And come agayn, as sone as ever I may.                      1430
  For which, my dere wyf, I thee biseke,                     (241)
  As be to every wight buxom and meke,
  And for to kepe our good be curious,
  And honestly governe wel our hous.
  Thou hast y-nough, in every maner wyse,                     1435
  That to a thrifty houshold may suffyse.
  [174: T. 13177-13214.]
  Thee lakketh noon array ne no vitaille,
  Of silver in thy purs shaltow nat faille.'
  And with that word his countour-dore he shette,
  And doun he gooth, no lenger wolde he lette,                1440
  But hastily a messe was ther seyd,                         (251)
  And spedily the tables were y-leyd,
  And to the diner faste they hem spedde;
  And richely this monk the chapman fedde.

    1441. E. Hn. But; _rest_ And.

    At-after diner daun Iohn sobrely                          1445
  This chapman took a-part, and prively
  He seyde him thus, 'cosyn, it standeth so,
  That wel I see to Brugges wol ye go.
  God and seint Austin spede yow and gyde!
  I prey yow, cosin, wysly that ye ryde;                      1450
  Governeth yow also of your diete                           (261)
  Atemprely, and namely in this hete.
  Bitwix us two nedeth no strange fare;
  Fare-wel, cosyn; god shilde yow fro care.
  If any thing ther be by day or night,                       1455
  If it lye in my power and my might,
  That ye me wol comande in any wyse,
  It shal be doon, right as ye wol devyse.

    1445. E. Hn. Cm. At; _rest_ And.   1455. E. Hn. And if that any thyng
    by day or night.

    O thing, er that ye goon, if it may be,
  I wolde prey yow; for to lene me                            1460
  An hundred frankes, for a wyke or tweye,                   (271)
  For certein beestes that I moste beye,
  To store with a place that is oures.
  God help me so, I wolde it were youres!
  I shal nat faille surely of my day,                         1465
  Nat for a thousand frankes, a myle-way.
  But lat this thing be secree, I yow preye,
  For yet to-night thise beestes moot I beye;
  And fare-now wel, myn owene cosin dere,
  Graunt mercy of your cost and of your chere.'               1470

    1465. E. at; _rest_ of.

    This noble marchant gentilly anon                        (281)
  Answerde, and seyde, 'o cosin myn, daun Iohn,
  Now sikerly this is a smal requeste;
  My gold is youres, whan that it yow leste.
  [175: T. 13215-13250.]
  And nat only my gold, but my chaffare;                      1475
  Take what yow list, god shilde that ye spare.

    But o thing is, ye knowe it wel y-nogh,
  Of chapmen, that hir moneye is hir plogh.
  We may creaunce whyl we have a name,
  But goldlees for to be, it is no game.                      1480
  Paye it agayn whan it lyth in your ese;                    (291)
  After my might ful fayn wolde I yow plese.'

    1479. Cm. encrece (_for_ creaunce).

    Thise hundred frankes he fette forth anon,
  And prively he took hem to daun Iohn.
  No wight in al this world wiste of this lone,               1485
  Savinge this marchant and daun Iohn allone.
  They drinke, and speke, and rome a whyle and pleye,
  Til that daun Iohn rydeth to his abbeye.

    1483. E. fette hyrn forth; _rest om._ hym.

    The morwe cam, and forth this marchant rydeth
  To Flaundres-ward; his prentis wel him gydeth,              1490
  Til he cam in-to Brugges merily.                           (301)
  Now gooth this marchant faste and bisily
  Aboute his nede, and byeth and creaunceth.
  He neither pleyeth at the dees ne daunceth;
  But as a marchant, shortly for to telle,                    1495
  He let his lyf, and there I lete him dwelle.

    1491. E. Hn. murily.   1494. E. Cm. _om._ the.   1496. E. Hn. let; Cm.
    lat; Hl. Pt. lad; Cp. leet; Ln. leteþ (let = ledeth).

    The Sonday next this Marchant was agon,
  To Seint Denys y-comen is daun Iohn,
  With crowne and berd all fresh and newe y-shave.
  In al the hous ther nas so litel a knave,                   1500
  Ne no wight elles, that he nas ful fayn,                   (311)
  For that my lord daun Iohn was come agayn.
  And shortly to the point right for to gon,
  This faire wyf accorded with daun Iohn,
  That for thise hundred frankes he sholde al night           1505
  Have hir in his armes bolt-upright;
  And this acord parfourned was in dede.
  In mirthe al night a bisy lyf they lede
  Til it was day, that daun Iohn wente his way,
  And bad the meynee 'fare-wel, have good day!'               1510
  [176: T. 13251-13287.]
  For noon of hem, ne no wight in the toun,                  (321)
  Hath of daun Iohn right no suspecioun.
  And forth he rydeth hoom to his abbeye,
  Or where him list; namore of him I seye.

    1502. E. Hn. Cm. _om._ For.   1503. E. right to the point.   1506. E.
    hise.

    This marchant, whan that ended was the faire,             1515
  To Seint Denys he gan for to repaire,
  And with his wyf he maketh feste and chere,
  And telleth hir that chaffare is so dere,
  That nedes moste he make a chevisaunce.
  For he was bounde in a reconissaunce                        1520
  To paye twenty thousand sheeld anon.                       (331)
  For which this marchant is to Paris gon,
  To borwe of certein frendes that he hadde
  A certein frankes; and somme with him he ladde.
  And whan that he was come in-to the toun,                   1525
  For greet chertee and greet affeccioun,
  Un-to daun Iohn he gooth him first, to pleye;
  Nat for to axe or borwe of him moneye,
  But for to wite and seen of his welfare,
  And for to tellen him of his chaffare,                      1530
  As freendes doon whan they ben met y-fere.                 (341)
  Daun Iohn him maketh feste and mery chere;
  And he him tolde agayn ful specially,
  How he hadde wel y-boght and graciously,
  Thanked be god, al hool his marchandyse.                    1535
  Save that he moste, in alle maner wyse,
  Maken a chevisaunce, as for his beste,
  And thanne he sholde been in Ioye and reste.

    1517, 1532. E. feeste.   1519, 1537. E. cheuyssau_n_ce.   1520. Hl.
    bounde; _rest_ bounden.   1526. Pt. cheertee; Ln. chere; _rest_
    chiertee.   1532. E. murye.

    Daun Iohn answerde, 'certes, I am fayn
  That ye in hele ar comen hoom agayn.                        1540
  And if that I were riche, as have I blisse,                (351)
  Of twenty thousand sheeld shold ye nat misse,
  For ye so kindely this other day
  Lente me gold; and as I can and may,
  I thanke yow, by god and by seint Iame!                     1545
  But nathelees I took un-to our dame,
  Your wyf at hoom, the same gold ageyn
  [177: T. 13288-13323.]
  Upon your bench; she woot it wel, certeyn,
  By certein tokenes that I can hir telle.
  Now, by your leve, I may no lenger dwelle,                  1550
  Our abbot wol out of this toun anon;                       (361)
  And in his companye moot I gon.
  Grete wel our dame, myn owene nece swete,
  And fare-wel, dere cosin, til we mete!'

    1540. ar] Cp. Pt. Ln. be.   1549. E. Hn. Cm. yow; _rest_ hir.

    This Marchant, which that was ful war and wys,            1555
  Creaunced hath, and payd eek in Parys,
  To certeyn Lumbardes, redy in hir hond,
  The somme of gold, and gat of hem his bond;
  And hoom he gooth, mery as a papeiay.
  For wel he knew he stood in swich array,                    1560
  That nedes moste he winne in that viage                    (371)
  A thousand frankes above al his costage.

    1558. E. hadde; Hl. took; _rest_ gat.   _Over_ bond _is the
    gloss_--obligacionem.   1559. E. murie.   E. papeiay; _rest_ papyniay,
    popiniay.   1562. E. Hn. Cm. Cp. abouen; _rest_ aboue.

    His wyf ful redy mette him atte gate,
  As she was wont of old usage algate,
  And al that night in mirthe they bisette;                   1565
  For he was riche and cleerly out of dette.
  Whan it was day, this marchant gan embrace
  His wyf al newe, and kiste hir on hir face,
  And up he gooth and maketh it ful tough.

    'Namore,' quod she, 'by god, ye have y-nough!'            1570
  And wantounly agayn with him she pleyde;                   (381)
  Til, atte laste, that this Marchant seyde,
  'By god,' quod he, 'I am a litel wrooth
  With yow, my wyf, al-thogh it be me looth.
  And woot ye why? by god, as that I gesse,                   1575
  That ye han maad a maner straungenesse
  Bitwixen me and my cosyn daun Iohn.
  Ye sholde han warned me, er I had gon,
  That he yow hadde an hundred frankes payed
  By redy tokene; and heeld him yvel apayed,                  1580
  For that I to him spak of chevisaunce,                     (391)
  Me semed so, as by his contenaunce.
  But nathelees, by god our hevene king,
  [178: T. 13324-13359.]
  I thoghte nat to axe of him no-thing.
  I prey thee, wyf, ne do namore so;                          1585
  Tel me alwey, er that I fro thee go,
  If any dettour hath in myn absence
  Y-payëd thee; lest, thurgh thy necligence,
  I mighte him axe a thing that he hath payed.'

    1571. E. wantownely.   1572. Cp. Pt. þat; Hl. þus; _rest om._   1574.
    E. were; _rest_ be.   1584. E. axen; _rest_ axe.   E. Hl. _om._ of.
    1585. E. as; Hl. _om._; _rest_ ne.   1586. Hn. Hl. Tel; Ln. Til; _rest_
    Telle.

    This wyf was nat afered nor affrayed,                     1590
  But boldely she seyde, and that anon:                      (401)
  'Marie, I defye the false monk, daun Iohn!
  I kepe nat of hise tokenes never a deel;
  He took me certein gold, that woot I weel!
  What! yvel thedom on his monkes snoute!                     1595
  For, god it woot, I wende, withouten doute,
  That he had yeve it me bycause of yow,
  To doon ther-with myn honour and my prow,
  For cosinage, and eek for bele chere
  That he hath had ful ofte tymes here.                       1600
  But sith I see I stonde in this disioint,                  (411)
  I wol answere yow shortly, to the point.
  Ye han mo slakker dettours than am I!
  For I wol paye yow wel and redily
  Fro day to day; and, if so be I faille,                     1605
  I am your wyf; score it up-on my taille,
  And I shal paye, as sone as ever I may.
  For, by my trouthe, I have on myn array,
  And nat on wast, bistowed every deel.
  And for I have bistowed it so weel                          1610
  For your honour, for goddes sake, I seye,                  (421)
  As be nat wrooth, but lat us laughe and pleye.
  Ye shal my Ioly body have to wedde;
  By god, I wol nat paye yow but a-bedde.
  Forgive it me, myn owene spouse dere;                       1615
  Turne hiderward and maketh bettre chere.'

    1592. Cm. defye; _rest_ deffie.   1595. E. Hn. Cp. thedam.   1597. E.
    hadde.   1599. E. beele; Cm. beel; _rest_ bele.   1601. E. Hn. Hl.
    this; _rest_ suche, such.   1611. E. Hn. For; _rest_ To.

    This marchant saugh ther was no remedye,
  And, for to chyde, it nere but greet folye,
  Sith that the thing may nat amended be.
  [179: T. 13360-13364.]
  'Now, wyf,' he seyde, 'and I foryeve it thee;               1620
  But, by thy lyf, ne be namore so large;                    (431)
  Keep bet our good, this yeve I thee in charge.'
  Thus endeth now my tale, and god us sende
  Taling y-nough un-to our lyves ende. Amen.

  HERE ENDETH THE SHIPMANNES TALE.

    1622. E. that; _rest_ this.   1623. E. Hn. _om._ now.   1624. Cm.
    Talynge; Hl. Talyng; E. Hn. Pt. Taillynge; Cp. Ln. Toylyng(!).
    COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn. Cp. Pt.

[180: T. 13365-13382.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRIORESS'S PROLOGUE

       *       *       *       *       *

  BIHOLD THE MERY WORDES OF THE HOST TO THE SHIPMAN
  AND TO THE LADY PRIORESSE.

  'Wel seyd, by _corpus dominus_,' quod our hoste,            1625
  'Now longe moot thou sayle by the coste,
  Sir gentil maister, gentil marineer!
  God yeve this monk a thousand last quad yeer!
  A ha! felawes! beth ware of swiche a Iape!
  The monk putte in the mannes hood an ape,                   1630
  And in his wyves eek, by seint Austin!
  Draweth no monkes more un-to your in.

    HEADING. _So_ E. (_with_ Bihoold, murie, Hoost); Hn. Herke the myrie
    Wordes of the Worthy Hoost; Pt. And here bygynneth the prologe of the
    priores; Ln. Incipit prologus Priorisse.   1625. E. Hn. Hoost.   1626.
    E. Hn. moote; Ln. Hl. mot; _rest_ mote.   E. saille; cost.   1628. E.
    this; _rest_ the.   Hn. quaad; _rest_ quade.

    But now passe over, and lat us seke aboute,
  Who shal now telle first, of al this route,                 (10)
  Another tale;' and with that word he sayde,                 1635
  As curteisly as it had been a mayde,
  'My lady Prioresse, by your leve,
  So that I wiste I sholde yow nat greve,
  I wolde demen that ye tellen sholde
  A tale next, if so were that ye wolde.                      1640
  Now wol ye vouche-sauf, my lady dere?'

    'Gladly,' quod she, and seyde as ye shal here.            (18)

                  _Explicit_.

    1642. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. sayde in this manere.

[181: T. 13383-13403.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRIORESSES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE PRIORESSES TALE.

  _Domine, dominus noster_.

  O Lord our lord, thy name how merveillous
  Is in this large worlde y-sprad--quod she:--
  For noght only thy laude precious                           1645
  Parfourned is by men of dignitee,
  But by the mouth of children thy bountee
  Parfourned is, for on the brest soukinge
  Som tyme shewen they thyn heryinge.

    HEADING. _From_ E. Hn. (Hn. proheme, _for_ prologe). Cp. _has_--Here
    begynneth the tale of Alma redemptoris, the prioresses Tale. Prolog.
    _Domine Dominus noster_.

  Wherfor in laude, as I best can or may,                     1650
  Of thee, and of the whyte lily flour
  Which that thee bar, and is a mayde alway,                  (10)
  To telle a storie I wol do my labour;
  Not that I may encresen hir honour;
  For she hir-self is honour, and the rote                    1655
  Of bountee, next hir sone, and soules bote.--

    1651. E. _om._ whyte.

  O moder mayde! o mayde moder free!
  O bush unbrent, brenninge in Moyses sighte,
  That ravisedest doun fro the deitee,
  Thurgh thyn humblesse, the goost that in thalighte,         1660
  Of whos vertu, whan he thyn herte lighte,
  Conceived was the fadres sapience,                          (20)
  Help me to telle it in thy reverence!

    1660. Hl. Cp. the alight.

[182: T. 13404-13431.]

  Lady! thy bountee, thy magnificence,
  Thy vertu, and thy grete humilitee                          1665
  Ther may no tonge expresse in no science;
  For som-tyme, lady, er men praye to thee,
  Thou goost biforn of thy benignitee,
  And getest us the light, thurgh thy preyere,
  To gyden us un-to thy sone so dere.                         1670

    1669. Hn. Slo. Ln. Hl. the] E. thurgh; Cp. Pt. to.   E. Hn. of; _but
    the rest_ thurgh.

  My conning is so wayk, o blisful quene,
  For to declare thy grete worthinesse,                       (30)
  That I ne may the weighte nat sustene,
  But as a child of twelf monthe old, or lesse,
  That can unnethes any word expresse,                        1675
  Right so fare I, and therfor I yow preye,
  Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye.

                  _Explicit_.

    1675. Cp. Pt. Hl. vnnethes. E. Hn. vnnethe.

  HERE BIGINNETH THE PRIORESSES TALE.

  Ther was in Asie, in a greet citee,
  Amonges cristen folk, a Iewerye,
  Sustened by a lord of that contree                          1680
  For foule usure and lucre of vilanye,
  Hateful to Crist and to his companye;                       (40)
  And thurgh the strete men mighte ryde or wende,
  For it was free, and open at either ende.

    HEADING. _From_ E. Hn. _has_--Here biggynneth the Prioresse tale of
    Alma redemptoris mater.

  A litel scole of cristen folk ther stood                    1685
  Doun at the ferther ende, in which ther were
  Children an heep, y-comen of cristen blood,
  That lerned in that scole yeer by yere
  Swich maner doctrine as men used there,
  This is to seyn, to singen and to rede,                     1690
  As smale children doon in hir childhede.

  [183: T. 13432-13466.]
  Among thise children was a widwes sone,                     (50)
  A litel clergeon, seven yeer of age,
  That day by day to scole was his wone,
  And eek also, wher-as he saugh thimage                      1695
  Of Cristes moder, hadde he in usage,
  As him was taught, to knele adoun and seye
  His _Ave Marie_, as he goth by the weye.

    1695. Cp. Pt. Ln. the ymage.   1696. E. he hadde.

  Thus hath this widwe hir litel sone y-taught
  Our blisful lady, Cristes moder dere,                       1700
  To worshipe ay, and he forgat it naught,
  For sely child wol alday sone lere;                         (60)
  But ay, whan I remembre on this matere,
  Seint Nicholas stant ever in my presence,
  For he so yong to Crist did reverence.                      1705

    1701. E. Pt. forgate.   1702. Hn. Hl. alwey.

  This litel child, his litel book lerninge,
  As he sat in the scole at his prymer,
  He _Alma redemptoris_ herde singe,
  As children lerned hir antiphoner;
  And, as he dorste, he drough him ner and ner,               1710
  And herkned ay the wordes and the note,
  Til he the firste vers coude al by rote.                    (70)

  Noght wiste he what this Latin was to seye,
  For he so yong and tendre was of age;
  But on a day his felaw gan he preye                         1715
  Texpounden him this song in his langage,
  Or telle him why this song was in usage;
  This preyde he him to construe and declare
  Ful ofte tyme upon his knowes bare.

    1719. E. Hl. often.

  His felaw, which that elder was than he,                    1720
  Answerde him thus: 'this song, I have herd seye,
  Was maked of our blisful lady free,                         (80)
  Hir to salue, and eek hir for to preye
  To been our help and socour whan we deye.
  I can no more expounde in this matere;                      1725
  I lerne song, I can but smal grammere.'

    1725. E. Hn. na.

[184: T. 13467-13501.]

  'And is this song maked in reverence
  Of Cristes moder?' seyde this innocent;
  'Now certes, I wol do my diligence
  To conne it al, er Cristemasse is went;                     1730
  Though that I for my prymer shal be shent,
  And shal be beten thryës in an houre,                       (90)
  I wol it conne, our lady for to honoure.'

    1733. Cp. Pt. Hl. _omit_ for.

  His felaw taughte him homward prively,
  Fro day to day, til he coude it by rote,                    1735
  And than he song it wel and boldely
  Fro word to word, acording with the note;
  Twyës a day it passed thurgh his throte,
  To scoleward and homward whan he wente;
  On Cristes moder set was his entente.                       1740

  As I have seyd, thurgh-out the Iewerye
  This litel child, as he cam to and fro,                    (100)
  Ful merily than wolde he singe, and crye
  _O Alma redemptoris_ ever-mo.
  The swetnes hath his herte perced so                        1745
  Of Cristes moder, that, to hir to preye,
  He can nat stinte of singing by the weye.

    1741. E. Iuerie.   1743. Slo. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. than; E. Hn. _omit_.
    1745. Slo. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. hath; E. Hn. _omit_.

  Our firste fo, the serpent Sathanas,
  That hath in Iewes herte his waspes nest,
  Up swal, and seide, 'o Hebraik peple, allas!                1750
  Is this to yow a thing that is honest,
  That swich a boy shal walken as him lest                   (110)
  In your despyt, and singe of swich sentence,
  Which is agayn your lawes reverence?'

    1754. Hl. your; Pt. Ln. [gh]oure; E. Hn. Cm. Cp. oure.

  Fro thennes forth the Iewes han conspyred                   1755
  This innocent out of this world to chace;
  An homicyde ther-to han they hyred,
  That in an aley hadde a privee place;
  And as the child gan for-by for to pace,
  This cursed Iew him hente and heeld him faste,              1760
  And kitte his throte, and in a pit him caste.

  [185: T. 13502-13536.]
  I seye that in a wardrobe they him threwe                  (120)
  Wher-as these Iewes purgen hir entraille.
  O cursed folk of Herodes al newe,
  What may your yvel entente yow availle?                     1765
  Mordre wol out, certein, it wol nat faille,
  And namely ther thonour of god shal sprede,
  The blood out cryeth on your cursed dede.

    1767. thonour] Cp. Pt. Ln. honour.

  'O martir, souded to virginitee,
  Now maystou singen, folwing ever in oon                     1770
  The whyte lamb celestial,' quod she,
  'Of which the grete evangelist, seint Iohn,                (130)
  In Pathmos wroot, which seith that they that goon
  Biforn this lamb, and singe a song al newe,
  That never, fleshly, wommen they ne knewe.'                 1775

  This povre widwe awaiteth al that night
  After hir litel child, but he cam noght;
  For which, as sone as it was dayes light,
  With face pale of drede and bisy thoght,
  She hath at scole and elles-wher him soght,                 1780
  Til finally she gan so fer espye
  That he last seyn was in the Iewerye.                      (140)

  With modres pitee in hir brest enclosed,
  She gooth, as she were half out of hir minde,
  To every place wher she hath supposed                       1785
  By lyklihede hir litel child to finde;
  And ever on Cristes moder meke and kinde
  She cryde, and atte laste thus she wroghte,
  Among the cursed Iewes she him soghte.

  She frayneth and she preyeth pitously                       1790
  To every Iew that dwelte in thilke place,
  To telle hir, if hir child wente oght for-by.              (150)
  They seyde, 'nay'; but Iesu, of his grace,
  Yaf in hir thought, inwith a litel space,
  That in that place after hir sone she cryde,                1795
  Wher he was casten in a pit bisyde.

    1794. inwith] Cm. Cp. Hl. withinne.

[186: T. 13537-13569.]

  O grete god, that parfournest thy laude
  By mouth of innocents, lo heer thy might!
  This gemme of chastitee, this emeraude,
  And eek of martirdom the ruby bright,                       1800
  Ther he with throte y-corven lay upright,
  He '_Alma redemptoris_' gan to singe                       (160)
  So loude, that al the place gan to ringe.

  The Cristen folk, that thurgh the strete wente,
  In coomen, for to wondre up-on this thing,                  1805
  And hastily they for the provost sente;
  He cam anon with-outen tarying,
  And herieth Crist that is of heven king,
  And eek his moder, honour of mankinde,
  And after that, the Iewes leet he binde,                    1810

    1805. Cp. Pt. wondren on; Ln. wonderne of; E. Hn. wondre vpon; Hl.
    wonder vpon; Cm. wonderyn vp-on.

  This child with pitous lamentacioun
  Up-taken was, singing his song alway;                      (170)
  And with honour of greet processioun
  They carien him un-to the nexte abbay.
  His moder swowning by the bere lay;                         1815
  Unnethe might the peple that was there
  This newe Rachel bringe fro his bere.

    1815. E. Hn. his; _rest_ the; see l. 1817.   1817. Cm. Hl. the; _rest_
    his.

  With torment and with shamful deth echon
  This provost dooth thise Iewes for to sterve
  That of this mordre wiste, and that anon;                   1820
  He nolde no swich cursednesse observe.
  Yvel shal have, that yvel wol deserve.                     (180)
  Therfor with wilde hors he dide hem drawe,
  And after that he heng hem by the lawe.

    1819. E. the; _rest_ thise, these.   1822. E. Cm. shal he; Pt. he shal;
    _rest omit_ he.

  Up-on his here ay lyth this innocent                        1825
  Biforn the chief auter, whyl masse laste,
  And after that, the abbot with his covent
  Han sped hem for to burien him ful faste;
  And whan they holy water on him caste,
  [187: T. 13570-13604.]
  Yet spak this child, whan spreynd was holy water,           1830
  And song--'_O Alma redemptoris mater_!'

    1825. Hn. Hl. his; _the rest_ this.   1826. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. the masse;
    Cp. Pt. Ln. _omit_ the.   1827. Hl. thabbot.

  This abbot, which that was an holy man                     (190)
  As monkes been, or elles oghten be,
  This yonge child to coniure he bigan,
  And seyde, 'o dere child, I halse thee,                     1835
  In vertu of the holy Trinitee,
  Tel me what is thy cause for to singe,
  Sith that thy throte is cut, to my seminge?'

  'My throte is cut un-to my nekke-boon,'
  Seyde this child, 'and, as by wey of kinde,                 1840
  I sholde have deyed, ye, longe tyme agoon,
  But Iesu Crist, as ye in bokes finde,                      (200)
  Wil that his glorie laste and be in minde,
  And, for the worship of his moder dere,
  Yet may I singe "_O Alma_" loude and clere.                 1845

  This welle of mercy, Cristes moder swete,
  I lovede alwey, as after my conninge;
  And whan that I my lyf sholde forlete,
  To me she cam, and bad me for to singe
  This antem verraily in my deyinge,                          1850
  As ye han herd, and, whan that I had songe,
  Me thoughte, she leyde a greyn up-on my tonge.             (210)

    1850. Cm. Cp. Pt. anteme; Ln. antime; Hl. antym; Hn. antheme; E.
    Anthephen.

  Wherfor I singe, and singe I moot certeyn
  In honour of that blisful mayden free,
  Til fro my tonge of-taken is the greyn;                     1855
  And afterward thus seyde she to me,
  "My litel child, now wol I fecche thee
  Whan that the greyn is fro thy tonge y-take;
  Be nat agast, I wol thee nat forsake."'

  This holy monk, this abbot, him mene I,                     1860
  His tonge out-caughte, and took a-wey the greyn,
  And he yaf up the goost ful softely.                       (220)
  And whan this abbot had this wonder seyn,
  His salte teres trikled doun as reyn,
  [188: T. 13605-13620.]
  And gruf he fil al plat up-on the grounde,                  1865
  And stille he lay as he had been y-bounde.

    1864. E. Hn. Cm. trikled; Cp. Pt. stryked; Ln. strikled; Hl. striken.
    1866. Cp. Hl. ben; Pt. Ln. bene; E. Hn. Cm. Ieyn.

  The covent eek lay on the pavement
  Weping, and herien Cristes moder dere,
  And after that they ryse, and forth ben went,
  And toke awey this martir fro his bere,                     1870
  And in a tombe of marbul-stones clere
  Enclosen they his litel body swete;                        (230)
  Ther he is now, god leve us for to mete.

    1869. Hl. thay went; _rest_ been, ben, bene went.   1870. E. tooken;
    Hl. took; _rest_ toke.   1871. E. temple; _rest_ tombe, toumbe.   1873.
    E. alle for; _rest omit_ alle.

  O yonge Hugh of Lincoln, slayn also
  With cursed Iewes, as it is notable,                        1875
  For it nis but a litel whyle ago;
  Preye eek for us, we sinful folk unstable,
  That, of his mercy, god so merciable
  On us his grete mercy multiplye,                           (237)
  For reverence of his moder Marye. Amen.                     1880

  HERE IS ENDED THE PRIORESSES TALE.

    1876. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. nys; E. Hn. Cm. is.   COLOPHON. _From_ E.

[189: T. 13621-13641.]

       *       *       *       *       *

PROLOGUE TO SIR THOPAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

  BIHOLD THE MURYE WORDES OF THE HOST TO CHAUCER.

  Whan seyd was al this miracle, every man
  As sobre was, that wonder was to se,
  Til that our hoste Iapen tho bigan,
  And than at erst he loked up-on me,
  And seyde thus, 'what man artow?' quod he;                  1885
  'Thou lokest as thou woldest finde an hare,
  For ever up-on the ground I see thee stare.

    HEADING.   _From_ E. E. Bihoold; Hoost.   1883. _Only_ Hl. _inserts_ to
    _before_ Iapen.   Cm. Cp. tho; E. to; Hn. he; Pt. Ln. Hl. _omit_.

  Approche neer, and loke up merily.
  Now war yow, sirs, and lat this man have place;
  He in the waast is shape as wel as I;                       1890
  This were a popet in an arm tenbrace                        (11)
  For any womman, smal and fair of face.
  He semeth elvish by his contenaunce,
  For un-to no wight dooth he daliaunce.

    1888. E. murily; Hl. merily.

  Sey now somwhat, sin other folk han sayd;                   1895
  Tel us a tale of mirthe, and that anoon;'--
  'Hoste,' quod I, 'ne beth nat yvel apayd,
  For other tale certes can I noon,
  But of a ryme I lerned longe agoon.'
  'Ye, that is good,' quod he; 'now shul we here              1900
  Som deyntee thing, me thinketh by his chere.'               (21)

                  _Explicit._

    1897. Cp. Ln. Oste; E. Hn. Cm. Hoost.   1900. E. ye; _rest_ we.

[190: T. 13642-13665.]

       *       *       *       *       *

SIR THOPAS.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH CHAUCERS TALE OF THOPAS.

  Listeth, lordes, in good entent,
  And I wol telle verrayment
    Of mirthe and of solas;
  Al of a knyght was fair and gent                            1905
  In bataille and in tourneyment,
    His name was sir Thopas.

    HEADING. _From_ E. (E. Heere).

  Y-born he was in fer contree,
  In Flaundres, al biyonde the see,
    At Popering, in the place;                                1910
  His fader was a man ful free,                               (10)
  And lord he was of that contree,
    As it was goddes grace.

  Sir Thopas wex a doghty swayn,
  Whyt was his face as payndemayn,                            1915
    His lippes rede as rose;
  His rode is lyk scarlet in grayn,
  And I yow telle in good certayn,
    He hadde a semely nose.

  His heer, his berd was lyk saffroun,                        1920
  That to his girdel raughte adoun;                           (20)
    His shoon of Cordewane.
  Of Brugges were his hosen broun,
  His robe was of ciclatoun,
    That coste many a Iane.                                   1925

    1922. E. shoos; Hn. Pt. shoon; _rest_ schoon, schon, schone.

[191: T. 13666-13695.]

  He coude hunte at wilde deer,
  And ryde an hauking for riveer,
    With grey goshauk on honde;
  Ther-to be was a good archeer,
  Of wrastling was ther noon his peer,                        1930
    Ther any ram shal stonde.                                 (30)

    1927. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. for; Cp. by þe; Pt. Ln. for þe.   1931. E. Hn. Cm.
    Hl. shal; Cp. schulde; Pt. shulde; Ln. scholde.

  Ful many a mayde, bright in bour,
  They moorne for him, paramour,
    Whan hem were bet to slepe;
  But he was chast and no lechour,                            1935
  And sweet as is the bremble-flour
    That bereth the rede hepe.

  And so bifel up-on a day,
  For sothe, as I yow telle may,
    Sir Thopas wolde out ryde;                                1940
  He worth upon his stede gray,                               (40)
  And in his honde a launcegay,
    A long swerd by his syde.

    1938. Hn. Hl. it fel; Cm. it fil.

  He priketh thurgh a fair forest,
  Ther-inne is many a wilde best,                             1945
    Ye, bothe bukke and hare;
  And, as he priketh north and est,
  I telle it yow, him hadde almest
    Bitid a sory care.

    1949. Cm. Hl. Bytid; _rest_ Bitidde, Betydde (!).

  Ther springen herbes grete and smale,                       1950
  The lycorys and cetewale,                                   (50)
    And many a clowe-gilofre;
  And notemuge to putte in ale,
  Whether it be moyste or stale,
    Or for to leye in cofre.                                  1955

  [192: T. 13696-13725.]
  The briddes singe, it is no nay,
  The sparhauk and the papeiay,
    That Ioye it was to here;
  The thrustelcok made eek his lay,
  The wodedowve upon the spray                                1960
    She sang ful loude and clere.                             (60)

    1959. E. hir; _rest_ his.   1960. E. a; _rest_ the.

  Sir Thopas fil in love-longinge
  Al whan he herde the thrustel singe,
    And priked as he were wood:
  His faire stede in his prikinge                             1965
  So swatte that men mighte him wringe,
    His sydes were al blood.

  Sir Thopas eek so wery was
  For prikinge on the softe gras,
    So fiers was his corage,                                  1970
  That doun he leyde him in that plas                         (70)
  To make his stede som solas,
    And yaf him good forage.

  'O seinte Marie, _benedicite!_
  What eyleth this love at me                                 1975
    To binde me so sore?
  Me dremed al this night, pardee,
  An elf-queen shal my lemman be,
    And slepe under my gore.

  An elf-queen wol I love, y-wis,                             1980
  For in this world no womman is                              (80)
    Worthy to be my make                                 [T. 13722
                  In toune;                              [T. 13722
  Alle othere wommen I forsake,                          [T. 13723
  And to an elf-queen I me take                               1985
    By dale and eek by doune!'

    1980. Hn. Cm. Hl. haue; _rest_ loue.

[193: T. 13726-13755.]

  In-to his sadel he clamb anoon,
  And priketh over style and stoon
    An elf-queen for tespye,
  Til he so longe had riden and goon                          1990
  That he fond, in a privee woon,                             (90)
    The contree of Fairye                                [T. 13731
                  So wilde;                              [T. 13734
  For in that contree was ther noon
  That to him dorste ryde or goon,                            1995
    Neither wyf ne childe.

    1989. _So_ E. Hn. Cm.; Cp. Pt. Ln. to aspie; Hl. to spye.   1995. _Not
    in the best_ MSS.; _supplied from_ MS. Reg. 17 D. 15 (Tyrwhitt).

  Til that ther cam a greet geaunt,
  His name was sir Olifaunt,
    A perilous man of dede;
  He seyde, 'child, by Termagaunt,                            2000
  But-if thou prike out of myn haunt,                        (100)
    Anon I slee thy stede                                [T. 13743
                  With mace.                             [T. 13743
  Heer is the queen of Fayërye,
  With harpe and pype and simphonye                           2005
    Dwelling in this place.'

    2000. Hl. swar; _rest_ seyde.   2004. Cp. Hl. fayerye; E. Hn. Cm.
    Fairye.   2005. Hl. lute; _rest_ pype _or_ pipe.

  The child seyde, 'al-so mote I thee,
  Tomorwe wol I mete thee
    Whan I have myn armoure;
  And yet I hope, _par ma fay_,                               2010
  That thou shalt with this launcegay                        (110)
    Abyen it ful soure;                                  [T. 13752
                  Thy mawe                               [T. 13752
  Shal I percen, if I may,
  Er it be fully pryme of day,                                2015
    For heer thou shalt be slawe.'

    2008. E. Hl. meete with; _rest omit_ with.   2012. E. Hn. sowre; Cm.
    soure; _rest_ sore.   2014. E. Cm. Thyn hauberk shal I percen, if I
    may; _but the rest rightly omit_ Thyn hauberk.

[194: T. 13756-13785.]

  Sir Thopas drow abak ful faste;
  This geaunt at him stones caste
    Out of a fel staf-slinge;
  But faire escapeth child Thopas,                            2020
  And al it was thurgh goddes gras,                          (120)
    And thurgh his fair beringe.

    2020. E. Cm. sire; _rest_ child.

  Yet listeth, lordes, to my tale
  Merier than the nightingale,
    For now I wol yow roune                                   2025
  How sir Thopas with sydes smale,
  Priking over hil and dale,
    Is come agayn to toune.

    2025. Cp. Pt. Ln. _insert_ For now, _which the rest omit_.   2027. hil]
    Hl. hul; Cp. Pt. Ln. downe.   2028. E. Cm. comen.

  His merie men comanded he
  To make him bothe game and glee,                            2030
    For nedes moste he fighte                                (130)
  With a geaunt with hevedes three,
  For paramour and Iolitee
    Of oon that shoon ful brighte.

    2032. E. Hn. heuedes; Hl. heedes; Cm. hedis; Cp. Pt. Ln. hedes.

  'Do come,' he seyde, 'my minstrales,                        2035
  And gestours, for to tellen tales
    Anon in myn arminge;
  Of romances that been royales,
  Of popes and of cardinales,
    And eek of love-lykinge.'                                 2040

    2038. Hn. Pt. Hl. reales.

  They fette him first the swete wyn,                        (140)
  And mede eek in a maselyn,
    And royal spicerye;
  Of gingebreed that was ful fyn,
  And lycorys, and eek comyn,                                 2045
    With sugre that is so trye.

    2041. E. sette; _rest_ fette _or_ fet.   E. Hn. Cm. _omit_ the.   2044.
    E. And; Hn. Cm. Hl. Of.   Cp. Pt. Ln. _omit_ ll. 2042-4.   2046. E.
    _alone retains_ so.

[195: T. 13786-13818.]

  He dide next his whyte lere
  Of clooth of lake fyn and clere
    A breech and eek a sherte;
  And next his sherte an aketoun,                             2050
  And over that an habergeoun                                (150)
    For percinge of his herte;

  And over that a fyn hauberk,
  Was al y-wroght of Iewes werk,
    Ful strong it was of plate;                               2055
  And over that his cote-armour
  As whyt as is a lily-flour,
    In which he wol debate.

    2058. Cm. wolde; Hl. wold; _rest_ wol, wole, wil.

  His sheeld was al of gold so reed,
  And ther-in was a bores heed,                               2060
    A charbocle bisyde;                                      (160)
  And there he swoor, on ale and breed,
  How that 'the geaunt shal be deed,
    Bityde what bityde!'

    2061. Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. by his syde; Cp. him besyde.   2063. Cm. Cp. Ln.
    schulde.

  His Iambeux were of quirboilly,                             2065
  His swerdes shethe of yvory,
    His helm of laton bright;
  His sadel was of rewel-boon,
  His brydel as the sonne shoon,
    Or as the mone light.                                     2070

    2068. Pt. Hl. rowel; Cp. Ln. ruel.

  His spere was of fyn ciprees,                              (170)
  That bodeth werre, and no-thing pees,
    The heed ful sharpe y-grounde;
  His stede was al dappel-gray,
  It gooth an ambel in the way                                2075
    Ful softely and rounde                               [T. 13815
                  In londe.                              [T. 13815
  Lo, lordes myne, heer is a fit!
  If ye wol any more of it,
    To telle it wol I fonde.                                  2080

    2071. E. it was; _rest omit_ it.

[196: T. 13819-13846.]

          [_The Second Fit_.]

  Now hold your mouth, _par charitee_,                       (180)
  Bothe knight and lady free,
    And herkneth to my spelle;
  Of bataille and of chivalry,
  And of ladyes love-drury                                    2085
    Anon I wol yow telle.

    2084. E. batailles; Hn. bataille; _rest_ bataile, batail, batell.

  Men speke of romances of prys,
  Of Horn child and of Ypotys,
    Of Bevis and sir Gy,
  Of sir Libeux and Pleyn-damour;                             2090
  But sir Thopas, he bereth the flour                        (190)
    Of royal chivalry.

    2089. E. Pt. and of; _rest omit_ of.

  His gode stede al he bistrood,
  And forth upon his wey he glood
    As sparkle out of the bronde;                             2095
  Up-on his crest he bar a tour,
  And ther-in stiked a lily-flour,
    God shilde his cors fro shonde!

    2094. E. rood; _rest_ glood, glod, glode.   2095. Hl. Pt. spark; Cp.
    Ln. sparcles.

  And for he was a knight auntrous,
  He nolde slepen in non hous,                                2100
    But liggen in his hode;                                  (200)
  His brighte helm was his wonger,
  And by him baiteth his dextrer
    Of herbes fyne and gode.

  Him-self drank water of the wel,                            2105
  As did the knight sir Percivel,
    So worthy under wede,
  Til on a day----                                           (207)

  HERE THE HOST STINTETH CHAUCER OF HIS TALE OF THOPAS.

    2107. Hl. worthy; E. Hn. worly; Pt. worthely; Cm. Cp. Ln. _omit_ ll.
    2105-8.   COLOPHON. _From_ E. (E. Heere; Hoost).

[197: T. 13847-13875.]

       *       *       *       *       *

PROLOGUE TO MELIBEUS.

       *       *       *       *       *

  'No more of this, for goddes dignitee,'
  Quod oure hoste, 'for thou makest me                        2110
  So wery of thy verray lewednesse
  That, also wisly god my soule blesse,
  Myn eres aken of thy drasty speche;
  Now swiche a rym the devel I biteche!
  This may wel be rym dogerel,' quod he.                      2115

    'Why so?' quod I, 'why wiltow lette me
  More of my tale than another man,
  Sin that it is the beste rym I can?'                        (10)

    2118. E. tale; _rest_ rym, ryme.

    'By god,' quod he, 'for pleynly, at a word,
  Thy drasty ryming is nat worth a tord;                      2120
  Thou doost nought elles but despendest tyme,
  Sir, at o word, thou shall no lenger ryme.
  Lat see wher thou canst tellen aught in geste,
  Or telle in prose somwhat at the leste
  In which ther be som mirthe or som doctryne.'               2125

    'Gladly,' quod I, 'by goddes swete pyne,
  I wol yow telle a litel thing in prose,
  That oghte lyken yow, as I suppose,                         (20)
  Or elles, certes, ye been to daungerous.
  It is a moral tale vertuous,                                2130
  Al be it told som-tyme in sondry wyse
  Of sondry folk, as I shal yow devyse.
  As thus; ye woot that every evangelist,
  That telleth us the peyne of Iesu Crist,
  Ne saith nat al thing as his felaw dooth,                   2135
  But natheles, hir sentence is al sooth,
  And alle acorden as in hir sentence,
  [198: T. 13876-13894.]
  Al be ther in hir telling difference.                       (30)
  For somme of hem seyn more, and somme lesse,
  Whan they his pitous passioun expresse;                     2140
  I mene of Marke, Mathew, Luk and Iohn;
  But doutelees hir sentence is al oon.
  Therfor, lordinges alle, I yow biseche,
  If that ye thinke I varie as in my speche,
  As thus, thogh that I telle som-what more                   2145
  Of proverbes, than ye han herd bifore,
  Comprehended in this litel tretis here,
  To enforce with the theffect of my matere,                  (40)
  And thogh I nat the same wordes seye
  As ye han herd, yet to yow alle I preye,                    2150
  Blameth me nat; for, as in my sentence,
  Ye shul not fynden moche difference
  Fro the sentence of this tretis lyte
  After the which this mery tale I wryte.
  And therfor herkneth what that I shal seye,                 2155
  And lat me tellen al my tale, I preye.'                     (48)

                  _Explicit_.

    2131. E. take; _rest_ told, tolde, toold.   2139. E. Hn. Ln. somme
    seyn; _but_ Cp. Pt. Hl. _omit 2nd_ seyn.   2141. Ed. 1561, Marke; E.
    Cp. Pt. Hl. Marke (?); Hn. Ln. Mark.   2144. E. Hl. yow; _rest_ ye.
    Cp. Ln. _om._ as.   2146. Cp. prouerbis.   2152. Cm. Cp. Ln. Ye schal
    not fynden moche; E. Hn. Pt. Hl. Shul ye nowher fynden.   2154. E.
    murye; Hn. myry; Hl. litil; _rest_ mery.

[199]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TALE OF MELIBEUS.

       *       *       *       *       *

HERE BIGINNETH CHAUCERS TALE OF MELIBEE.

§ 1. A yong man called Melibeus, mighty and riche, bigat up-on his wyf that
called was Prudence, a doghter which that called was Sophie. /

    HEADING. _From_ E.

§ 2. Upon a day bifel, that he for his desport is went in-to the feeldes
him to pleye. / His wyf and eek his doghter hath he left inwith his hous,
of which the dores weren fast y-shette. / Thre of his olde foos han it
espyed, and setten laddres to the walles of his hous, and by the windowes
been entred, /2160 and betten his wyf, and wounded his doghter with fyve
mortal woundes in fyve sondry places; / this is to seyn, in hir feet, in
hir handes, in hir eres, in hir nose, and in hir mouth; and leften hir for
deed, and wenten awey. /

    2159. inwith] Ln. Cp. within.   2160. Thre] Cp. Ln. Foure.   E. hise.
    E. foes; Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. foos.   by the] E. Hn. _om._ the.   2162. E.
    erys.

§ 3. Whan Melibeus retourned was in-to his hous, and saugh al this
meschief, he, lyk a mad man, rendinge his clothes, gan to wepe and crye. /

    2163. E. Hn. Ln. rentynge; _rest_ rendyng.

§ 4. Prudence his wyf, as ferforth as she dorste, bisoghte him of his
weping for to stinte; / but nat for-thy he gan to crye and wepen ever
lenger the more. /2165

§ 5. This noble wyf Prudence remembered hir upon the sentence of Ovide, in
his book that cleped is The Remedie of Love, wher-as he seith; / 'he is a
fool that destourbeth the moder to wepen in the deeth of hir child, til she
have wept hir fille, as for a certain tyme; / and thanne shal man doon his
diligence with amiable wordes hir to reconforte, and preyen hir of hir
weping for to stinte.' / For which resoun this noble wyf Prudence suffred
hir housbond for to wepe and crye as for a certein space; / and whan she
saugh hir tyme, she seyde him in this wyse. 'Allas, my lord,' quod she,'
why make ye your-self for to be lyk a fool? /2170 For [200] sothe, it
aperteneth nat to a wys man, to maken swiche a sorwe. / Your doghter, with
the grace of god, shal warisshe and escape. / And al were it so that she
right now were deed, ye ne oghte nat as for hir deeth your-self to
destroye. / Senek seith: "the wise man shal nat take to greet disconfort
for the deeth of his children, / but certes he sholde suffren it in
pacience, as wel as he abydeth the deeth of his owene propre persone."'
/2175

    2172. Cp. Ln. be warisshed; Hl. warischt be.   2173. _Only_ E. Cp. Ln.
    _insert_ to _before_ destroye.

§ 6. This Melibeus answerde anon and seyde, 'What man,' quod he, 'sholde of
his weping stinte, that hath so greet a cause for to wepe? / Iesu Crist,
our lord, him-self wepte for the deeth of Lazarus his freend.' / Prudence
answerde, 'Certes, wel I woot, attempree weping is no-thing defended to him
that sorweful is, amonges folk in sorwe, but it is rather graunted him to
wepe. / The Apostle Paul un-to the Romayns wryteth, "man shal reioyse with
hem that maken Ioye, and wepen with swich folk as wepen." / But thogh
attempree weping be y-graunted, outrageous weping certes is defended. /2180
Mesure of weping sholde be considered, after the lore that techeth us
Senek. / "Whan that thy freend is deed," quod he, "lat nat thyne eyen to
moyste been of teres, ne to muche drye; althogh the teres come to thyne
eyen, lat hem nat falle." / And whan thou hast for-goon thy freend, do
diligence to gete another freend; and this is more wysdom than for to wepe
for thy freend which that thou hast lorn; for ther-inne is no bote. / And
therfore, if ye governe yow by sapience, put awey sorwe out of your herte.
/ Remembre yow that Iesus Syrak seith: "a man that is Ioyous and glad in
herte, it him conserveth florisshing in his age; but soothly sorweful herte
maketh his bones drye." /2185 He seith eek thus: "that sorwe in herte
sleeth ful many a man." / Salomon seith: "that, right as motthes in the
shepes flees anoyeth to the clothes, and the smale wormes to the tree,
right so anoyeth sorwe to the herte." / Wherfore us oghte, as wel in the
deeth of our children as in the losse of our goodes temporels, have
pacience. /

    2176. E. Pt. stente.   2178, 2180. E. deffended.   2182. E. teeris.
    2185. E. florissynge.   2187. E. Hl. Motthes; Pt. Cm. mothes; Hn.
    moththes; Cp. moughtes.   2188. E. othere (_for_ our _before_ goodes);
    _rest_ oure, our.

§ 7. Remembre yow up-on the pacient Iob, whan he hadde lost his children
and his temporel substance, and in his body [201] endured and receyved ful
many a grevous tribulacioun; yet seyde he thus: / "our lord hath yeven it
me, our lord hath biraft it me; right as our lord hath wold, right so it is
doon; blessed be the name of our lord."' /2190 To thise foreseide thinges
answerde Melibeus un-to his wyf Prudence: 'Alle thy wordes,' quod he, 'been
sothe, and ther-to profitable; but trewely myn herte is troubled with this
sorwe so grevously, that I noot what to done.' / 'Lat calle,' quod
Prudence, 'thy trewe freendes alle, and thy linage whiche that been wyse;
telleth your cas, and herkneth what they seye in conseiling, and yow
governe after hir sentence. / Salomon seith: "werk alle thy thinges by
conseil, and thou shalt never repente."' /

    2189. E. temporeel.   2190. Cp. haþ [gh]oue [_read_ yeuen] it me; Ln.
    yaue it me; Hl. it sent vnto me; _rest omit_; _only_ Cp. Ln. Hl.
    _repeat_ our lord.   2191. E. therwith; _rest_ ther-to.

§ 8. Thanne, by the conseil of his wyf Prudence, this Melibeus leet callen
a greet congregacioun of folk; / as surgiens, phisiciens, olde folk and
yonge, and somme of hise olde enemys reconsiled as by hir semblaunt to his
love and in-to his grace; /2195 and ther-with-al ther comen somme of hise
neighebores that diden him reverence more for drede than for love, as it
happeth ofte. / Ther comen also ful many subtile flatereres, and wyse
advocats lerned in the lawe. /

    2196, 7. E. coomen.

§ 9. And whan this folk togidre assembled weren, this Melibeus in sorweful
wyse shewed hem his cas; / and by the manere of his speche it semed that in
herte he bar a cruel ire, redy to doon vengeaunce up-on hise foos, and
sodeynly desired that the werre sholde biginne; / but nathelees yet axed he
hir conseil upon this matere. /2200 A surgien, by licence and assent of
swiche as weren wyse, up roos and un-to Melibeus seyde as ye may here. /

    2199. E. _only ins._ wel _after_ semed.   E. baar a crueel; foes.
    2200. E. Cm. matiere; Hl. matier.   2201. E. Hl. to (_for_ un-to).

§ 10. 'Sir,' quod he, 'as to us surgiens aperteneth, that we do to every
wight the beste that we can, wher-as we been with-holde, and to our
pacients that we do no damage; / wherfore it happeth, many tyme and ofte,
that whan twey men han everich wounded other, oon same surgien heleth hem
bothe; / wherefore un-to our art it is nat pertinent to norice werre, ne
parties to supporte. / But certes, as to the warisshinge of your doghter,
al-be-it so that she perilously be wounded, we shullen do so ententif
bisinesse fro day to night, that with the grace of god she shal be hool and
[202] sound as sone as is possible.' /2205 Almost right in the same wyse
the phisiciens answerden, save that they seyden a fewe wordes more: /
'That, right as maladyes been cured by hir contraries, right so shul men
warisshe werre by vengeaunce.' / His neighebores, ful of envye, his feyned
freendes that semeden reconsiled, and his flatereres, / maden semblant of
weping, and empeireden and agreggeden muchel of this matere, in preising
greetly Melibee of might, of power, of richesse, and of freendes,
despysinge the power of his adversaries, / and seiden outrely that he anon
sholde wreken him on his foos and biginne werre. /2210

    2209. E. matiere.   2210. E. foes.

§ 11. Up roos thanne an advocat that was wys, by leve and by conseil of
othere that were wyse, and seyde: / 'Lordinges, the nede for which we been
assembled in this place is a ful hevy thing and an heigh matere, / by-cause
of the wrong and of the wikkednesse that hath be doon, and eek by resoun of
the grete damages that in tyme cominge been possible to fallen for this
same cause; / and eek by resoun of the grete richesse and power of the
parties bothe; / for the whiche resouns it were a ful greet peril to erren
in this matere. /2215 Wherfore, Melibeus, this is our sentence: we
conseille yow aboven alle thing, that right anon thou do thy diligence in
kepinge of thy propre persone, in swich a wyse that thou ne wante noon
espye ne wacche, thy body for to save. / And after that we conseille, that
in thyn hous thou sette suffisant garnisoun, so that they may as wel thy
body as thyn hous defende. / But certes, for to moeve werre, or sodeynly
for to doon vengeaunce, we may nat demen in so litel tyme that it were
profitable. / Wherfore we axen leyser and espace to have deliberacioun in
this cas to deme. / For the commune proverbe seith thus: "he that sone
demeth, sone shal repente." /2220 And eek men seyn that thilke Iuge is wys,
that sone understondeth a matere and Iuggeth by leyser. / For al-be-it so
that alle tarying be anoyful, algates it is nat to repreve in yevynge of
Iugement, ne in vengeance-taking, whan it is suffisant and resonable. / And
that shewed our lord Iesu Crist by ensample; for whan that the womman that
was taken in avoutrie was broght in his presence, to knowen what sholde be
doon with hir persone, al-be-it so that he wiste wel him-self what that he
[203] wolde answere, yet ne wolde he nat answere sodeynly, but he wolde
have deliberacioun, and in the ground he wroot twyes. / And by thise causes
we axen deliberacioun, and we shal thanne, by the grace of god, conseille
thee thing that shal be profitable.' /

    2212, 2215. E. matiere.   2216. E. _om. 1st._ ne.   E. p_er_sone (_for_
    body).   2217. E. sufficeant; Cp. suffisaunt; Hn. Pt. suffisant.
    2218. or] _so_ E. Pt; _rest_ ne.   2221. E. matiere.   2222. E.
    sufficeant; Cp. Pt. suffisaunt; Hn. Ln. suffisant.   2223. Cm. Pt. Hl.
    of (_for_ with).

§ 12. Up stirten thanne the yonge folk at-ones, and the moste partie of
that companye han scorned the olde wyse men, and bigonnen to make noyse,
and seyden: that, /2225 right so as whyl that iren is hoot, men sholden
smyte, right so, men sholde wreken hir wronges whyle that they been fresshe
and newe; and with loud voys they cryden, 'werre! werre!' /

    2225. E. _om._ han.

Up roos tho oon of thise olde wyse, and with his hand made contenaunce that
men sholde holden hem stille and yeven him audience. / 'Lordinges,' quod
he, 'ther is ful many a man that cryeth "werre! werre!" that woot ful litel
what werre amounteth. / Werre at his biginning hath so greet an entree and
so large, that every wight may entre whan him lyketh, and lightly finde
werre. / But, certes, what ende that shal ther-of bifalle, it is nat light
to knowe. /2230 For sothly, whan that werre is ones bigonne, ther is ful
many a child unborn of his moder, that shal sterve yong by-cause of that
ilke werre, or elles live in sorwe and dye in wrecchednesse. / And
ther-fore, er that any werre biginne, men moste have greet conseil and
greet deliberacioun.' / And whan this olde man wende to enforcen his tale
by resons, wel ny alle at-ones bigonne they to ryse for to breken his tale,
and beden him ful ofte his wordes for to abregge. / For soothly, he that
precheth to hem that listen nat heren his wordes, his sermon hem anoyeth. /
For Iesus Syrak seith: that "musik in wepinge is anoyous thing;" this is to
seyn: as muche availleth to speken bifore folk to whiche his speche
anoyeth, as dooth to singe biforn him that wepeth. /2235 And whan this wyse
man saugh that him wanted audience, al shamefast he sette him doun agayn. /
For Salomon seith: "ther-as thou ne mayst have noon audience, enforce thee
nat to speke." / 'I see wel,' quod this wyse man, 'that the commune
proverbe is sooth; that "good conseil wanteth whan it is most nede."' /

    2229. Hn. entree; Cm. Pt. Hl. entre; E. Cp. Ln. entryng.   2235. Hn.
    Cm. Hl. a noyous; E. anoyous; Cp. annoyous; Pt. noyous.   Cm. doth;
    _rest_ it is (_badly_).   2236. E. _om._ whan. E. and al (_for_ al).
    2238. E. _om._ nede.

§ 13. Yet hadde this Melibeus in his conseil many folk, that [204] prively
in his ere conseilled him certeyn thing, and conseilled him the contrarie
in general audience. /

Whan Melibeus hadde herd that the gretteste partie of his conseil weren
accorded that he sholde maken werre, anoon he consented to hir conseilling,
and fully affermed hir sentence. /2240 Thanne dame Prudence, whan that she
saugh how that hir housbonde shoop him for to wreken him on his foos, and
to biginne werre, she in ful humble wyse, when she saugh hir tyme, seide
him thise wordes: / 'My lord,' quod she, 'I yow biseche as hertely as I dar
and can, ne haste yow nat to faste, and for alle guerdons as yeveth me
audience. / For Piers Alfonce seith: "who-so that dooth to that other good
or harm, haste thee nat to quyten it; for in this wyse thy freend wol
abyde, and thyn enemy shal the lenger live in drede." / The proverbe seith:
"he hasteth wel that wysely can abyde;" and in wikked haste is no profit.'
/

    2241. E. foes; to him (_rest om._ to).   2242. Pt. guerdons; Cp. Ln.
    Hl. guerdouns; E. Hn. gerdons.

§ 14. This Melibee answerde un-to his wyf Prudence: 'I purpose nat,' quod
he, 'to werke by thy conseil, for many causes and resouns. For certes every
wight wolde holde me thanne a fool; /2245 this is to seyn, if I, for thy
conseilling, wolde chaungen thinges that been ordeyned and affermed by so
manye wyse. / Secoundly I seye, that alle wommen been wikke and noon good
of hem alle. For "of a thousand men," seith Salomon, "I fond a good man:
but certes, of alle wommen, good womman fond I never." / And also certes,
if I governed me by thy conseil, it sholde seme that I hadde yeve to thee
over me the maistrie; and god forbede that it so were. / For Iesus Syrak
seith; "that if the wyf have maistrie, she is contrarious to hir
housbonde." / And Salomon seith: "never in thy lyf, to thy wyf, ne to thy
child, ne to thy freend, ne yeve no power over thy-self. For bettre it were
that thy children aske of thy persone thinges that hem nedeth, than thou
see thy-self in the handes of thy children." /2250 And also, if I wolde
werke by thy conseilling, certes my conseilling moste som tyme be secree,
til it were tyme that it moste be knowe; and this ne may noght be. / [For
it is writen, that "the Ianglerie of wommen can hyden thinges that they
witen noght." / [205] Furthermore, the philosophre seith, "in wikked
conseil wommen venquisshe men;" and for thise resouns I ne owe nat usen thy
conseil.'] /

    2247. E. Hn. foond; Cm. fond.   2248. E. weere.   2250. see] E. be; Pt.
    sese.   2251. E. _om._ also.   2252, 3. _Not in the_ MSS., _but
    necessary; see_ ll. 2274, 2280, _and see_ Note.

§ 15. Whanne dame Prudence, ful debonairly and with greet pacience, hadde
herd al that hir housbonde lyked for to seye, thanne axed she of him
licence for to speke, and seyde in this wyse. / 'My lord,' quod she, 'as to
your firste resoun, certes it may lightly been answered. For I seye, that
it is no folie to chaunge conseil whan the thing is chaunged; or elles whan
the thing semeth otherweyes than it was biforn. /2255 And more-over I seye,
that though ye han sworn and bihight to perfourne your emprise, and
nathelees ye weyve to perfourne thilke same emprise by Iuste cause, men
sholde nat seyn therefore that ye were a lyer ne forsworn. / For the book
seith, that "the wyse man maketh no lesing whan he turneth his corage to
the bettre." / And al-be-it so that your emprise be establissed and
ordeyned by greet multitude of folk, yet thar ye nat accomplice thilke same
ordinaunce but yow lyke. / For the trouthe of thinges and the profit been
rather founden in fewe folk that been wyse and ful of resoun, than by greet
multitude of folk, ther every man cryeth and clatereth what that him
lyketh. Soothly swich multitude is nat honeste. / As to the seconde resoun,
where-as ye seyn that "alle wommen been wikke," save your grace, certes ye
despysen alle wommen in this wyse; and "he that alle despyseth alle
displeseth," as seith the book. /2260 And Senek seith that "who-so wole
have sapience, shal no man dispreise; but he shal gladly techen the science
that he can, with-outen presumpcioun or pryde. / And swiche thinges as he
nought ne can, he shal nat been ashamed to lerne hem and enquere of lasse
folk than him-self." / And sir, that ther hath been many a good womman, may
lightly be preved. / For certes, sir, our lord Iesu Crist wolde never have
descended to be born of a womman, if alle wommen hadden ben wikke. / And
after that, for the grete bountee that is in wommen, our lord Iesu Crist,
whan he was risen fro deeth to lyve, appeered rather to a womman than to
his apostles. /2265 And though that Salomon seith, that "he ne fond never
womman good," it folweth nat therfore that alle wommen ben wikke. / For
though that he ne fond no good [206] womman, certes, ful many another man
hath founden many a womman ful good and trewe. / Or elles per-aventure the
entente of Salomon was this; that, as in sovereyn bountee, he fond no
womman; / this is to seyn, that ther is no wight that hath sovereyn bountee
save god allone; as he him-self recordeth in his Evaungelie. / For ther nis
no creature so good that him ne wanteth somwhat of the perfeccioun of god,
that is his maker. /2270 Your thridde resoun is this: ye seyn that "if ye
governe yow by my conseil, it sholde seme that ye hadde yeve me the
maistrie and the lordshipe over your persone." / Sir, save your grace, it
is nat so. For if it were so, that no man sholde be conseilled but only of
hem that hadden lordshipe and maistrie of his persone, men wolden nat be
conseilled so ofte. / For soothly, thilke man that asketh conseil of a
purpos, yet hath he free chois, wheither he wole werke by that conseil or
noon. / And as to your fourthe resoun, ther ye seyn that "the Ianglerie of
wommen hath hid thinges that they woot noght," as who seith, that "a womman
can nat hyde that she woot;" / sir, thise wordes been understonde of wommen
that been Iangleresses and wikked; /2275 of whiche wommen, men seyn that
"three thinges dryven a man out of his hous; that is to seyn, smoke,
dropping of reyn, and wikked wyves;" / and of swiche wommen seith Salomon,
that "it were bettre dwelle in desert, than with a womman that is riotous."
/ And sir, by your leve, that am nat I; / for ye han ful ofte assayed my
grete silence and my gret pacience; and eek how wel that I can hyde and
hele thinges that men oghte secreely to hyde. / And soothly, as to your
fifthe resoun, wher-as ye seyn, that "in wikked conseil wommen venquisshe
men;" god woot, thilke resoun stant here in no stede. /2280 For understand
now, ye asken conseil to do wikkednesse; / and if ye wole werken
wikkednesse, and your wyf restreyneth thilke wikked purpos, and overcometh
yow by resoun and by good conseil; / certes, your wyf oghte rather to be
preised than y-blamed. / Thus sholde ye understonde the philosophre that
seith, "in wikked conseil wommen venquisshen hir housbondes." / And ther-as
ye blamen alle wommen and hir resouns, I shal shewe yow by manye ensamples
that many a womman hath ben ful good, and yet been; and hir conseils ful
hoolsome and profitable. /2285 Eek som men han seyd, that "the [207]
conseillinge of wommen is outher to dere, or elles to litel of prys." / But
al-be-it so, that ful many a womman is badde, and hir conseil vile and
noght worth, yet han men founde ful many a good womman, and ful discrete
and wise in conseillinge. / Lo, Iacob, by good conseil of his moder
Rebekka, wan the benisoun of Ysaak his fader, and the lordshipe over alle
his bretheren. / Iudith, by hir good conseil, delivered the citee of
Bethulie, in which she dwelled, out of the handes of Olofernus, that hadde
it biseged and wolde have al destroyed it. / Abigail delivered Nabal hir
housbonde fro David the king, that wolde have slayn him, and apaysed the
ire of the king by hir wit and by hir good conseilling. /2290 Hester by hir
good conseil enhaunced greetly the peple of god in the regne of Assuerus
the king. / And the same bountee in good conseilling of many a good womman
may men telle. / And moreover, whan our lord hadde creat Adam our
forme-fader, he seyde in this wyse: / "it is nat good to been a man allone;
make we to him an help semblable to himself." / Here may ye se that, if
that wommen were nat goode, and hir conseils goode and profitable, /2295
our lord god of hevene wolde never han wroght hem, ne called hem help of
man, but rather confusioun of man. / And ther seyde ones a clerk in two
vers: "what is bettre than gold? Iaspre. What is bettre than Iaspre?
Wisdom. / And what is bettre than wisdom? Womman. And what is bettre than a
good womman? No-thing." / And sir, by manye of othre resons may ye seen,
that manye wommen been goode, and hir conseils goode and profitable. / And
therfore sir, if ye wol triste to my conseil, I shal restore yow your
doghter hool and sound. /2300 And eek I wol do to yow so muche, that ye
shul have honour in this cause.' /

    2258. E. Cp. Ln. _om._ same.   2260. E. (_only_) _om._ and he that _to_
    book.   2261. E. Ln. despise; _rest_ dispreise.   2266, 7. E. Hn.
    foond; Cm. fond.   2271. E. _om._ that.   2274. E. wiste noght.   2277.
    E. Cp. Pt. _om._ of.   2291. E. (_only_) _puts_ by ... conseil after
    greetly.   2297, 8. E. wisedom.

§ 16. Whan Melibee hadde herd the wordes of his wyf Prudence, he seyde
thus: / 'I se wel that the word of Salomon is sooth; he seith, that "wordes
that been spoken discreetly by ordinaunce, been honycombes; for they yeven
swetnesse to the soule, and hoolsomnesse to the body." / And wyf, by-cause
of thy swete wordes, and eek for I have assayed and preved thy grete
sapience and thy grete trouthe, I wol governe me by thy conseil in alle
thing.' /

§ 17. 'Now sir,' quod dame Prudence, 'and sin ye vouche-sauf [208] to been
governed by my conseil, I wol enforme yow how ye shul governe your-self in
chesinge of your conseillours. /2305 Ye shul first, in alle your werkes,
mekely biseken to the heighe god that he wol be your conseillour; / and
shapeth yow to swich entente, that he yeve yow conseil and confort, as
taughte Thobie his sone. / "At alle tymes thou shalt blesse god, and praye
him to dresse thy weyes"; and looke that alle thy conseils been in him for
evermore. / Seint Iame eek seith: "if any of yow have nede of sapience, axe
it of god." / And afterward thanne shul ye taken conseil in your-self, and
examine wel your thoghtes, of swich thing as yow thinketh that is best for
your profit. /2310 And thanne shul ye dryve fro your herte three thinges
that been contrariouse to good conseil, / that is to seyn, ire, coveitise,
and hastifnesse. /

    2310. in] E. of.   E. _om._ self.

§ 18. First, he that axeth conseil of him-self, certes he moste been
with-outen ire, for manye causes. / The firste is this: he that hath greet
ire and wratthe in him-self, he weneth alwey that he may do thing that he
may nat do. / And secoundely, he that is irous and wroth, he ne may nat wel
deme; /2315 and he that may nat wel deme, may nat wel conseille. / The
thridde is this; that "he that is irous and wrooth," as seith Senek, "ne
may nat speke but he blame thinges;" / and with his viciouse wordes he
stireth other folk to angre and to ire. / And eek sir, ye moste dryve
coveitise out of your herte. / For the apostle seith, that "coveitise is
rote of alle harmes." /2320 And trust wel that a coveitous man ne can noght
deme ne thinke, but only to fulfille the ende of his coveitise; / and
certes, that ne may never been accompliced; for ever the more habundaunce
that he hath of richesse, the more he desyreth. / And sir, ye moste also
dryve out of your herte hastifnesse; for certes, / ye ne may nat deme for
the beste a sodeyn thought that falleth in youre herte, but ye moste avyse
yow on it ful ofte. / For as ye herde biforn, the commune proverbe is this,
that "he that sone demeth, sone repenteth." /2325

§ 19. Sir, ye ne be nat alwey in lyke disposicioun; / for certes, som thing
that somtyme semeth to yow that it is good for to do, another tyme it
semeth to yow the contrarie. /

§ 20. Whan ye han taken conseil in your-self, and han demed by good
deliberacion swich thing as you semeth best, / thanne rede I yow, that ye
kepe it secree. / Biwrey nat your conseil to no persone, [209] but-if so be
that ye wenen sikerly that, thurgh your biwreying, your condicioun shal be
to yow the more profitable. /2330 For Iesus Syrak seith: "neither to thy
foo ne to thy freend discovere nat thy secree ne thy folie; / for they wol
yeve yow audience and loking and supportacioun in thy presence, and scorne
thee in thyn absence." / Another clerk seith, that "scarsly shaltou finden
any persone that may kepe conseil secreely." / The book seith: "whyl that
thou kepest thy conseil in thyn herte, thou kepest it in thy prisoun: / and
whan thou biwreyest thy conseil to any wight, he holdeth thee in his
snare." /2335 And therefore yow is bettre to hyde your conseil in your
herte, than praye him, to whom ye han biwreyed your conseil, that he wole
kepen it cloos and stille. / For Seneca seith: "if so be that thou ne mayst
nat thyn owene conseil hyde, how darstou prayen any other wight thy conseil
secreely to kepe?" / But nathelees, if thou wene sikerly that the biwreying
of thy conseil to a persone wol make thy condicioun to stonden in the
bettre plyt, thanne shaltou tellen him thy conseil in this wyse. / First,
thou shalt make no semblant whether thee were lever pees or werre, or this
or that, ne shewe him nat thy wille and thyn entente; / for trust wel, that
comunly thise conseillours been flatereres, /2340 namely the conseillours
of grete lordes; / for they enforcen hem alwey rather to speken plesante
wordes, enclyninge to the lordes lust, than wordes that been trewe or
profitable. / And therfore men seyn, that "the riche man hath seld good
conseil but-if he have it of him-self." / And after that, thou shalt
considere thy freendes and thyne enemys. / And as touchinge thy freendes,
thou shalt considere whiche of hem been most feithful and most wyse, and
eldest and most approved in conseilling. /2345 And of hem shalt thou aske
thy conseil, as the caas requireth. /

    2328. in] E. of; Ln. vnto.   semeth] E. list.   2332. E. to (_after_
    loking); _rest_ and.   2333, 7. E. sikerly; _rest_ secreely.   2336. E.
    hem; _rest_ him.   2339. E. wheither.   2340. E. co_m_e_n_li.   2343.
    E. seeld.   2345. E. wiche.   been] E. Hn. that been.

§ 21. I seye that first ye shul clepe to your conseil your freendes that
been trewe. / For Salomon seith: that "right as the herte of a man delyteth
in savour that is sote, right so the conseil of trewe freendes yeveth
swetenesse to the soule." / He seith also: "ther may no-thing be lykned to
the trewe freend." / For certes, gold ne silver beth nat so muche worth as
the gode wil of a trewe freend. /2350 And eek he seith, that "a trewe
freend is a strong deffense; who-so that it findeth, certes he findeth a
greet tresour." / Thanne [210] shul ye eek considere, if that your trewe
freendes been discrete and wyse. For the book seith: "axe alwey thy conseil
of hem that been wyse." / And by this same resoun shul ye clepen to your
conseil, of your freendes that been of age, swiche as han seyn and been
expert in manye thinges, and been approved in conseillinges. / For the book
seith, that "in olde men is the sapience and in longe tyme the prudence." /
And Tullius seith: that "grete thinges ne been nat ay accompliced by
strengthe, ne by delivernesse of body, but by good conseil, by auctoritee
of persones, and by science; the whiche three thinges ne been nat feble by
age, but certes they enforcen and encreesen day by day." /2355 And thanne
shul ye kepe this for a general reule. First shul ye clepen to your conseil
a fewe of your freendes that been especiale; / for Salomon seith: "manye
freendes have thou; but among a thousand chese thee oon to be thy
conseillour." / For al-be-it so that thou first ne telle thy conseil but to
a fewe, thou mayst afterward telle it to mo folk, if it be nede. / But loke
alwey that thy conseillours have thilke three condiciouns that I have seyd
bifore; that is to seyn, that they be trewe, wyse, and of old experience. /
And werke nat alwey in every nede by oon counseillour allone; for somtyme
bihoveth it to been conseilled by manye. /2360 For Salomon seith:
"salvacioun of thinges is wher-as ther been manye conseillours." /

    2355. E. Hn. fieble; Cp. Pt. Hl. feble; Cm. feblid; Ln. fiebled.   E.
    encreescen.

§ 22. Now sith that I have told yow of which folk ye sholde been
counseilled, now wol I teche yow which conseil ye oghte to eschewe. / First
ye shul eschewe the conseilling of foles; for Salomon seith: "taak no
conseil of a fool, for he ne can noght conseille but after his owene lust
and his affeccioun." / The book seith: that "the propretee of a fool is
this; he troweth lightly harm of every wight, and lightly troweth alle
bountee in him-self." / Thou shalt eek eschewe the conseilling of alle
flatereres, swiche as enforcen hem rather to preise your persone by
flaterye than for to telle yow the sothfastnesse of thinges. /2365

    2362. Hn. Cm. Hl. that; Pt. what; _rest om._   2365. E. _om._ alle.

§ 23. 'Wherfore Tullius seith: "amonges alle the pestilences that been in
freendshipe, the gretteste is flaterye." And therfore is it more nede that
thou eschewe and drede flatereres than any other peple. / The book seith:
"thou shalt rather drede and flee fro the swete wordes of flateringe
preiseres, than fro the egre [211] wordes of thy freend that seith thee thy
sothes." / Salomon seith, that "the wordes of a flaterere is a snare to
cacche with innocents." / He seith also, that "he that speketh to his
freend wordes of swetnesse and of plesaunce, setteth a net biforn his feet
to cacche him." / And therfore seith Tullius: "enclyne nat thyne eres to
flatereres, ne taketh no conseil of wordes of flaterye." /2370 And Caton
seith: "avyse thee wel, and eschewe the wordes of swetnesse and of
plesaunce." / And eek thou shalt eschewe the conseilling of thyne olde
enemys that been reconsiled. / The book seith: that "no wight retourneth
saufly in-to the grace of his olde enemy." / And Isope seith: "ne trust nat
to hem to whiche thou hast had som-tyme werre or enmitee, ne telle hem nat
thy conseil." / And Seneca telleth the cause why. "It may nat be," seith
he, "that, where greet fyr hath longe tyme endured, that ther ne dwelleth
som vapour of warmnesse." /2375 And therfore seith Salomon: "in thyn olde
foo trust never." / For sikerly, though thyn enemy be reconsiled and maketh
thee chere of humilitee, and louteth to thee with his heed, ne trust him
never. / For certes, he maketh thilke feyned humilitee more for his profit
than for any love of thy persone; by-cause that he demeth to have victorie
over thy persone by swich feyned contenance, the which victorie he mighte
nat have by stryf or werre. / And Peter Alfonce seith: "make no felawshipe
with thyne olde enemys; for if thou do hem bountee, they wol perverten it
in-to wikkednesse." / And eek thou most eschewe the conseilling of hem that
been thy servants, and beren thee greet reverence; for peraventure they
seyn it more for drede than for love. /2380 And therfore seith a
philosophre in this wyse: "ther is no wight parfitly trewe to him that he
to sore dredeth." / And Tullius seith: "ther nis no might so greet of any
emperour, that longe may endure, but-if he have more love of the peple than
drede." / Thou shalt also eschewe the conseiling of folk that been
dronkelewe; for they ne can no conseil hyde. / For Salomon seith: "ther is
no privetee ther-as regneth dronkenesse." / Ye shul also han in suspect the
conseilling of swich folk as conseille yow a thing prively, and conseille
yow the contrarie openly. /2385 For [212] Cassidorie seith: that "it is a
maner sleighte to hindre, whan he sheweth to doon a thing openly and
werketh prively the contrarie." / Thou shalt also have in suspect the
conseilling of wikked folk. For the book seith: "the conseilling of wikked
folk is alwey ful of fraude:" / And David seith: "blisful is that man that
hath nat folwed the conseilling of shrewes." / Thou shalt also eschewe the
conseilling of yong folk; for hir conseil is nat rype. /

    2368. E. chacche (_for_ cacche).    Pt. to cacchen innocentes withe;
    _rest_ (_except_ E.) _om._ with.   2370. E. Cp. Ln. the wordes; _rest
    om._ the.   2374. E. Hn. enemytee.   2377. E. chiere.   2378. E. nat
    winne; _rest_ nat haue.   2380. E. doon; _rest_ seyn.   2382. E. for
    drede; _rest om._ for.   2383. E. _om._ ne.   2388. E. sherewes.

§ 24. Now sir, sith I have shewed yow of which folk ye shul take your
conseil, and of which folk ye shul folwe the conseil, /2390 now wol I teche
yow how ye shal examine your conseil, after the doctrine of Tullius. / In
the examininge thanne of your conseillour, ye shul considere manye thinges.
/ Alderfirst thou shalt considere, that in thilke thing that thou
purposest, and upon what thing thou wolt have conseil, that verray trouthe
be seyd and conserved; this is to seyn, telle trewely thy tale. / For he
that seith fals may nat wel be conseilled, in that cas of which he lyeth. /
And after this, thou shalt considere the thinges that acorden to that thou
purposest for to do by thy conseillours, if resoun accorde therto; /2395
and eek, if thy might may atteine ther-to; and if the more part and the
bettre part of thy conseillours acorde ther-to, or no. / Thanne shaltou
considere what thing shal folwe of that conseilling; as hate, pees, werre,
grace, profit, or damage; and manye othere thinges. / And in alle thise
thinges thou shalt chese the beste, and weyve alle othere thinges. / Thanne
shaltow considere of what rote is engendred the matere of thy conseil, and
what fruit it may conceyve and engendre. / Thou shalt eek considere alle
thise causes, fro whennes they been sprongen. /2400 And whan ye han
examined your conseil as I have seyd, and which partie is the bettre and
more profitable, and hast approved it by manye wyse folk and olde; / thanne
shaltou considere, if thou mayst parfourne it and maken of it a good ende.
/ For certes, resoun wol nat that any man sholde biginne a thing, but-if he
mighte parfourne it as him oghte. / Ne no wight sholde take up-on hym so
hevy a charge that he mighte nat bere it. / For the proverbe seith: "he
that to muche embraceth, distreyneth litel." /2405 And Catoun seith: "assay
to do swich thing as thou hast power to doon, lest that the charge [213]
oppresse thee so sore, that thee bihoveth to weyve thing that thou hast
bigonne." / And if so be that thou be in doute, whether thou mayst
parfourne a thing or noon, chese rather to suffre than biginne. / And Piers
Alphonce seith: "if thou hast might to doon a thing of which thou most
repente thee, it is bettre 'nay' than 'ye';" / this is to seyn, that thee
is bettre holde thy tonge stille, than for to speke. / Thanne may ye
understonde by strenger resons, that if thou hast power to parfourne a werk
of which thou shalt repente, thanne is it bettre that thou suffre than
biginne. /2410 Wel seyn they, that defenden every wight to assaye any thing
of which he is in doute, whether he may parfourne it or no. / And after,
whan ye han examined your conseil as I have seyd biforn, and knowen wel
that ye may parfourne youre emprise, conferme it thanne sadly til it be at
an ende. /

    2396. or no] E. or noon; Pt. anoon.   2397. of that] E. after hir.
    2398. E. Thanne of; _rest_ And in.   2399. E. matiere.   conceyve] E.
    Hl. conserue.   2407, 2411. E. wheither.   2411. Hn. Cm. no; _rest_
    noon (non).

§ 25. Now is it resoun and tyme that I shewe yow, whanne, and wherfore,
that ye may chaunge your conseil with-outen your repreve. / Soothly, a man
may chaungen his purpos and his conseil if the cause cesseth, or whan a
newe caas bitydeth. / For the lawe seith: that "upon thinges that newely
bityden bihoveth newe conseil." /2415 And Senek seith: "if thy conseil is
comen to the eres of thyn enemy, chaunge thy conseil." / Thou mayst also
chaunge thy conseil if so be that thou finde that, by errour or by other
cause, harm or damage may bityde. / Also, if thy conseil be dishonest, or
elles cometh of dishoneste cause, chaunge thy conseil. / For the lawes
seyn: that "alle bihestes that been dishoneste been of no value." / And
eek, if it so be that it be inpossible, or may nat goodly be parfourned or
kept. /2420

    2413. Hl. conseil; _rest_ conseillors.   2416. E. eeris.   2417. finde]
    E. mayst finde.   2420. E. Cp. if; _rest_ if it.

§ 26. And take this for a general reule, that every conseil that is
affermed so strongly that it may nat be chaunged, for no condicioun that
may bityde, I seye that thilke conseil is wikked.' /

§ 27. This Melibeus, whanne he hadde herd the doctrine of his wyf dame
Prudence, answerde in this wyse. / 'Dame,' quod he, 'as yet in-to this tyme
ye han wel and covenably taught me as in general, how I shal governe me in
the chesinge and in the withholdinge of my conseillours. / But now wolde I
fayn that ye wolde condescende in especial, / and telle me how lyketh yow,
[214] or what semeth yow, by our conseillours that we han chosen in our
present nede.' /2425

    2423. in-to] Cp. Ln. vnto.   E. couenablely.

§ 28. 'My lord,' quod she, 'I biseke yow in al humblesse, that ye wol nat
wilfully replye agayn my resouns, ne distempre your herte thogh I speke
thing that yow displese. / For god wot that, as in myn entente, I speke it
for your beste, for your honour and for your profite eke. / And soothly, I
hope that your benignitee wol taken it in pacience. / Trusteth me wel,'
quod she, 'that your conseil as in this caas ne sholde nat, as to speke
properly, be called a conseilling, but a mocioun or a moevyng of folye; /
in which conseil ye han erred in many a sondry wyse. /2430

    2428. E. benyngnytee.

§ 29. First and forward, ye han erred in thassemblinge of your
conseillours. / For ye sholde first have cleped a fewe folk to your
conseil, and after ye mighte han shewed it to mo folk, if it hadde been
nede. / But certes, ye han sodeynly cleped to your conseil a greet
multitude of peple, ful chargeant and ful anoyous for to here. / Also ye
han erred, for there-as ye sholden only have cleped to your conseil your
trewe freendes olde and wyse, / ye han y-cleped straunge folk, and yong
folk, false flatereres, and enemys reconsiled, and folk that doon yow
reverence withouten love. /2435 And eek also ye have erred, for ye han
broght with yow to your conseil ire, covetise, and hastifnesse; / the
whiche three thinges been contrariouse to every conseil honeste and
profitable; / the whiche three thinges ye han nat anientissed or destroyed
hem, neither in your-self ne in your conseillours, as yow oghte. / Ye han
erred also, for ye han shewed to your conseillours your talent, and your
affeccioun to make werre anon and for to do vengeance; / they han espyed by
your wordes to what thing ye been enclyned. /2440 And therfore han they
rather conseilled yow to your talent than to your profit. / Ye han erred
also, for it semeth that yow suffyseth to han been conseilled by thise
conseillours only, and with litel avys; / wher-as, in so greet and so heigh
a nede, it hadde been necessarie mo conseillours, and more deliberacioun to
parfourne your emprise. / Ye han erred also, for ye han nat examined your
conseil in the forseyde manere, ne in due manere as the caas requireth. /
Ye han erred also, for ye han maked no divisioun bitwixe your conseillours;
this is to [215] seyn, bitwixen your trewe freendes and your feyned
conseillours; /2445 ne ye han nat knowe the wil of your trewe freendes olde
and wyse; / but ye han cast alle hir wordes in an hochepot, and enclyned
your herte to the more part and to the gretter nombre; and ther been ye
condescended. / And sith ye wot wel that men shal alwey finde a gretter
nombre of foles than of wyse men, / and therfore the conseils that been at
congregaciouns and multitudes of folk, ther-as men take more reward to the
nombre than to the sapience of persones, / ye see wel that in swiche
conseillinges foles han the maistrie.' /2450 Melibeus answerde agayn, and
seyde: 'I graunte wel that I have erred; / but ther-as thou hast told me
heer-biforn, that he nis nat to blame that chaungeth hise conseillours in
certein caas, and for certeine Iuste causes, / I am al redy to chaunge my
conseillours, right as thow wolt devyse. / The proverbe seith: that "for to
do sinne is mannish, but certes for to persevere longe in sinne is werk of
the devel."' /

    2438. E. _om._ thinges.   Hl. _om._ hem.   2442. Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. yow;
    E. it.   2445. E. nat maked; _rest om._ nat.   2447. E. partie; _rest_
    part.

§ 30. To this sentence answerde anon dame Prudence, and seyde: /2455
'Examineth,' quod she, 'your conseil, and lat us see the whiche of hem han
spoken most resonably, and taught yow best conseil. / And for-as-muche as
that the examinacioun is necessarie, lat us biginne at the surgiens and at
the phisiciens, that first speken in this matere. / I sey yow, that the
surgiens and phisiciens han seyd yow in your conseil discreetly, as hem
oughte; / and in hir speche seyden ful wysly, that to the office of hem
aperteneth to doon to every wight honour and profit, and no wight for to
anoye; / and, after hir craft, to doon greet diligence un-to the cure of
hem whiche that they han in hir governaunce. /2460 And sir, right as they
han answered wysly and discreetly, / right so rede I that they been heighly
and sovereynly guerdoned for hir noble speche; / and eek for they sholde do
the more ententif bisinesse in the curacioun of your doghter dere. / For
al-be-it so that they been your freendes, therfore shal ye nat suffren that
they serve yow for noght; / but ye oghte the rather guerdone hem and shewe
hem your largesse. /2465 And as touchinge the proposicioun [216] which that
the phisiciens entreteden in this caas, this is to seyn, / that, in
maladyes, that oon contrarie is warisshed by another contrarie, / I wolde
fayn knowe how ye understonde thilke text, and what is your sentence.' /
'Certes,' quod Melibeus, 'I understonde it in this wyse: / that, right as
they han doon me a contrarie, right so sholde I doon hem another. /2470 For
right as they han venged hem on me and doon me wrong, right so shal I venge
me upon hem and doon hem wrong; / and thanne have I cured oon contrarie by
another.' /

    2455. E. answereth; _rest_ answerde (andswered).   2456. E.
    resonablely.   2457. E. matiere.   2459. E. seyd; Hn. Cm. Hl. seyden.
    2460. E. in; _rest_ after.   2462. E. Hn. gerdoned; _rest_ guerdoned.
    2465. E. Hn. Pt. gerdone.   2466. E. encreesceden; Hn. Ln. encresceden;
    Cp. Cm. encreseden; Pt. encresden; Hl. han schewed; ed. 1561,
    entreteden.   2468. thilke] E. this.

§ 31. 'Lo, lo!' quod dame Prudence, 'how lightly is every man enclyned to
his owene desyr and to his owene plesaunce! / Certes,' quod she, 'the
wordes of the phisiciens ne sholde nat han been understonden in this wyse.
/ For certes, wikkednesse is nat contrarie to wikkednesse, ne vengeaunce to
vengeaunce, ne wrong to wrong; but they been semblable. /2475 And therfore,
o vengeaunce is nat warisshed by another vengeaunce, ne o wrong by another
wrong; / but everich of hem encreesceth and aggreggeth other. / But certes,
the wordes of the phisiciens sholde been understonden in this wyse: / for
good and wikkednesse been two contraries, and pees and werre, vengeaunce
and suffraunce, discord and accord, and manye othere thinges. / But certes,
wikkednesse shal be warisshed by goodnesse, discord by accord, werre by
pees, and so forth of othere thinges. /2480 And heer-to accordeth Seint
Paul the apostle in manye places. / He seith: "ne yeldeth nat harm for
harm, ne wikked speche for wikked speche; / but do wel to him that dooth
thee harm, and blesse him that seith to thee harm." / And in manye othere
places he amonesteth pees and accord. / But now wol I speke to yow of the
conseil which that was yeven to yow by the men of lawe and the wyse folk,
/2485 that seyden alle by oon accord as ye han herd bifore; / that, over
alle thynges, ye sholde doon your diligence to kepen your persone and to
warnestore your hous. / And seyden also, that in this caas ye oghten for to
werken ful avysely and with greet deliberacioun. / And sir, as to the
firste point, that toucheth to the keping of your persone; / ye shul
understonde that he that hath werre shal evermore mekely and devoutly
preyen biforn alle thinges, /2490 that Iesus Crist of his grete [217] mercy
wol han him in his proteccioun, and been his sovereyn helping at his nede.
/ For certes, in this world ther is no wight that may be conseilled ne kept
suffisantly withouten the keping of our lord Iesu Crist. / To this sentence
accordeth the prophete David, that seith: / "if god ne kepe the citee, in
ydel waketh he that it kepeth." / Now sir, thanne shul ye committe the
keping of your persone to your trewe freendes that been approved and
y-knowe; /2495 and of hem shul ye axen help your persone for to kepe. For
Catoun seith: "if thou hast nede of help, axe it of thy freendes; / for
ther nis noon so good a phisicien as thy trewe freend." / And after this,
thanne shul ye kepe yow fro alle straunge folk, and fro lyeres, and have
alwey in suspect hir companye. / For Piers Alfonce seith: "ne tak no
companye by the weye of a straunge man, but-if so be that thou have knowe
him of a lenger tyme. / And if so be that he falle in-to thy companye
paraventure withouten thyn assent, /2500 enquere thanne, as subtilly as
thou mayst, of his conversacioun and of his lyf bifore, and feyne thy wey;
seye that thou goost thider as thou wolt nat go; / and if he bereth a
spere, hold thee on the right syde, and if he bere a swerd, hold thee on
the lift syde." / And after this, thanne shul ye kepe yow wysely from alle
swich manere peple as I have seyd bifore, and hem and hir conseil eschewe.
/ And after this, thanne shul ye kepe yow in swich manere, / that for any
presumpcioun of your strengthe, that ye ne dispyse nat ne acounte nat the
might of your adversarie so litel, that ye lete the keping of your persone
for your presumpcioun; /2505 for every wys man dredeth his enemy. / And
Salomon seith: "weleful is he that of alle hath drede; / for certes, he
that thurgh the hardinesse of his herte and thurgh the hardinesse of
him-self hath to greet presumpcioun, him shal yvel bityde." / Thanne shul
ye evermore countrewayte embusshements and alle espiaille. / For Senek
seith: that "the wyse man that dredeth harmes escheweth harmes; /2510 ne he
ne falleth in-to perils, that perils escheweth." / And al-be-it so that it
seme that thou art in siker place, yet shaltow alwey do thy diligence in
kepinge of thy persone; / this is to seyn, ne be nat necligent to kepe thy
persone, nat only fro [218] thy gretteste enemys but fro thy leeste enemy.
/ Senek seith: "a man that is wel avysed, he dredeth his leste enemy." /
Ovide seith: that "the litel wesele wol slee the grete bole and the wilde
hert." /2515 And the book seith: "a litel thorn may prikke a greet king ful
sore; and an hound wol holde the wilde boor." / But nathelees, I sey nat
thou shall be so coward that thou doute ther wher-as is no drede. / The
book seith: that "somme folk han greet lust to deceyve, but yet they dreden
hem to be deceyved." / Yet shaltou drede to been empoisoned, and kepe yow
from the companye of scorneres. / For the book seith: "with scorneres make
no companye, but flee hir wordes as venim." /2520

    2488. E. Ln. Hl. yow; _rest_ ye.   2491. E grete; _rest om._   2492. E.
    sufficeantly; Hn. suffisantly.   2495. y-knowe] E. knowe.   2499. E.
    taak; compaignye.   E. straunge men; Cp. straunge man; _rest_ a
    straunge man.   2500. he] E. he be.   2502. E. his lift; _rest_ the
    lift.   2510. E. he dredeth; _rest_ that dredeth.   Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl.
    escheweth harmes; _rest om._   2513. fro] E. Hl. for.   2514. E.
    _omits_ Senek ... enemy; _the rest have it_.   2517. E. _om._ so.

§ 32. Now as to the seconde point, wher-as your wyse conseillours
conseilled yow to warnestore your hous with gret diligence, / I wolde fayn
knowe, how that ye understonde thilke wordes, and what is your sentence.' /

§ 33. Melibeus answerde and seyde, 'Certes I understande it in this wise;
that I shal warnestore myn hous with toures, swiche as han castelles and
othere manere edifices, and armure and artelleries, / by whiche thinges I
may my persone and myn hous so kepen and defenden, that myne enemys shul
been in drede myn hous for to approche.' /

    2523. Cm. artelleryes; E. Hn. artelries; Hl. artilries; Cp. Ln.
    archers.

§ 34. To this sentence answerde anon Prudence; 'warnestoring,' quod she,
'of heighe toures and of grete edifices apperteneth som-tyme to pryde;
/2525 and eek men make heighe toures and grete edifices with grete costages
and with greet travaille; and whan that they been accompliced, yet be they
nat worth a stree, but-if they be defended by trewe freendes that been olde
and wyse. / And understond wel, that the gretteste and strongeste garnison
that a riche man may have, as wel to kepen his persone as hise goodes, is /
that he be biloved amonges his subgets and with hise neighebores. / For
thus seith Tullius: that "ther is a maner garnison that no man may
venquisse ne disconfite, and that is, / a lord to be biloved of hise
citezeins and of his peple." /2530

    2525, 6. E. Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. _omit_ apperteneth ... edifices; Cp. Ln.
    _have it_; _see note_.

§ 35. Now sir, as to the thridde point; wher-as your olde and wise
conseillours seyden, that yow ne oghte nat sodeynly ne hastily proceden in
this nede, / but that yow oghte purveyen and [219] apparaillen yow in this
caas with greet diligence and greet deliberacioun; / trewely, I trowe that
they seyden right wysly and right sooth. / For Tullius seith, "in every
nede, er thou biginne it, apparaille thee with greet diligence." / Thanne
seye I, that in vengeance-taking, in werre, in bataille, and in
warnestoring, /2535 er thow biginne, I rede that thou apparaille thee
ther-to, and do it with greet deliberacioun. / For Tullius seith: that
"long apparailling biforn the bataille maketh short victorie." / And
Cassidorus seith: "the garnison is stronger whan it is longe tyme avysed."
/

    2537. E. Ln. The longe; _rest_ that long.

§ 36. But now lat us speken of the conseil that was accorded by your
neighebores, swiche as doon yow reverence withouten love, / your olde
enemys reconsiled, your flatereres, /2540 that conseilled yow certeyne
thinges prively, and openly conseilleden yow the contrarie; / the yonge
folk also, that conseilleden yow to venge yow and make werre anon. / And
certes, sir, as I have seyd biforn, ye han greetly erred to han cleped
swich maner folk to your conseil; / which conseillours been y-nogh repreved
by the resouns afore-seyd. / But nathelees, lat us now descende to the
special. Ye shuln first procede after the doctrine of Tullius. /2545
Certes, the trouthe of this matere or of this conseil nedeth nat diligently
enquere; / for it is wel wist whiche they been that han doon to yow this
trespas and vileinye, / and how manye trespassours, and in what manere they
han to yow doon al this wrong and al this vileinye. / And after this,
thanne shul ye examine the seconde condicioun, which that the same Tullius
addeth in this matere. / For Tullius put a thing, which that he clepeth
"consentinge," this is to seyn; /2550 who been they and how manye, and
whiche been they, that consenteden to thy conseil, in thy wilfulnesse to
doon hastif vengeance. / And lat us considere also who been they, and how
manye been they, and whiche been they, that consenteden to your
adversaries. / And certes, as to the firste poynt, it is wel knowen whiche
folk been they that consenteden to your hastif wilfulnesse; / for trewely,
alle tho that conseilleden yow to maken sodeyn werre ne been nat your
freendes. / Lat us now considere whiche been they, that ye holde so greetly
your freendes as to your persone. /2555 For al-be-it so that ye be mighty
[220] and riche, certes ye ne been nat but allone. / For certes, ye ne han
no child but a doghter; / ne ye ne han bretheren ne cosins germayns, ne
noon other neigh kinrede, / wherfore that your enemys, for drede, sholde
stinte to plede with yow or to destroye your persone. / Ye knowen also,
that your richesses moten been dispended in diverse parties; /2560 and whan
that every wight hath his part, they ne wollen taken but litel reward to
venge thy deeth. / But thyne enemys been three, and they han manie
children, bretheren, cosins, and other ny kinrede; / and, though so were
that thou haddest slayn of hem two or three, yet dwellen ther y-nowe to
wreken hir deeth and to slee thy persone. / And though so be that your
kinrede be more siker and stedefast than the kin of your adversarie, / yet
nathelees your kinrede nis but a fer kinrede; they been but litel sib to
yow, /2565 and the kin of your enemys been ny sib to hem. And certes, as in
that, hir condicioun is bet than youres. / Thanne lat us considere also if
the conseilling of hem that conseilleden yow to taken sodeyn vengeaunce,
whether it accorde to resoun? / And certes, ye knowe wel "nay." / For as by
right and resoun, ther may no man taken vengeance on no wight, but the Iuge
that hath the Iurisdiccioun of it, / whan it is graunted him to take thilke
vengeance, hastily or attemprely, as the lawe requireth. /2570 And yet
more-over, of thilke word that Tullius clepeth "consentinge," / thou shalt
considere if thy might and thy power may consenten and suffyse to thy
wilfulnesse and to thy conseillours. / And certes, thou mayst wel seyn that
"nay." / For sikerly, as for to speke proprely, we may do no-thing but only
swich thing as we may doon rightfully. / And certes, rightfully ne mowe ye
take no vengeance as of your propre auctoritee. /2575 Thanne mowe ye seen,
that your power ne consenteth nat ne accordeth nat with your wilfulnesse. /
Lat us now examine the thridde point that Tullius clepeth "consequent." /
Thou shalt understonde that the vengeance that thou purposest for to take
is the consequent. / And ther-of folweth another vengeaunce, peril, and
werre; and othere damages with-oute nombre, of whiche we be nat war as at
this tyme. / And as touchinge the fourthe point, that Tullius clepeth
"engendringe," /2580 thou shalt considere, that this wrong which that is
doon to thee is engendred of the hate of thyne enemys; / and of the
vengeance-takinge upon that wolde engendre another vengeance, and muchel
sorwe and wastinge of richesses, as I seyde. /

    2551. E. _om._ and whiche been they; _see_ 2552.   Hk. consentid;
    _rest_ consenten (_for_ consenteden); _see_ 2552.

[221] § 37. Now sir, as to the point that Tullius clepeth "causes," which
that is the laste point, / thou shall understonde that the wrong that thou
hast receyved hath certeine causes, / whiche that clerkes clepen _Oriens_
and _Efficiens_, and _Causa longinqua_ and _Causa propinqua_; this is to
seyn, the fer cause and the ny cause. /2585 The fer cause is almighty god,
that is cause of alle thinges. / The neer cause is thy three enemys. / The
cause accidental was hate. / The cause material been the fyve woundes of
thy doghter. / The cause formal is the manere of hir werkinge, that
broghten laddres and cloumben in at thy windowes. /2590 The cause final was
for to slee thy doghter; it letted nat in as muche as in hem was. / But for
to speken of the fer cause, as to what ende they shul come, or what shal
finally bityde of hem in this caas, ne can I nat deme but by coniectinge
and by supposinge. / For we shul suppose that they shul come to a wikked
ende, / by-cause that the Book of Decrees seith: "selden or with greet
peyne been causes y-broght to good ende whanne they been baddely bigonne."
/

    2594. E. seelden.

§ 38. Now sir, if men wolde axe me, why that god suffred men to do yow this
vileinye, certes, I can nat wel answere as for no sothfastnesse. /2595 For
thapostle seith, that "the sciences and the Iuggementz of our lord god
almighty been ful depe; / ther may no man comprehende ne serchen hem
suffisantly." / Nathelees, by certeyne presumpcions and coniectinges, I
holde and bileve / that god, which that is ful of Iustice and of
rightwisnesse, hath suffred this bityde by Iuste cause resonable. /

§ 39. Thy name is Melibee, this is to seyn, "a man that drinketh hony."
/2600 Thou hast y-dronke so muchel hony of swete temporel richesses and
delices and honours of this world, / that thou art dronken; and hast
forgeten Iesu Crist thy creatour; / thou ne hast nat doon to him swich
honour and reverence as thee oughte. / Ne thou ne hast nat wel y-taken kepe
to the wordes of Ovide, that seith: / "under the hony of the godes of the
body is hid the venim that sleeth the soule." /2605 And Salomon seith, "if
thou hast founden hony, ete of it that suffyseth; / for if thou ete of it
out of mesure, thou shalt spewe," and be nedy and povre. / And peraventure
Crist hath thee in despit, and hath turned awey fro thee his face and hise
eres of misericorde; / and also he hath suffred that thou hast been
punisshed in the manere that thow [222] hast y-trespassed. / Thou hast doon
sinne agayn our lord Crist; /2610 for certes, the three enemys of mankinde,
that is to seyn, the flessh, the feend, and the world, / thou hast suffred
hem entre in-to thyn herte wilfully by the windowes of thy body, / and hast
nat defended thy-self suffisantly agayns hir assautes and hir temptaciouns,
so that they han wounded thy soule in fyve places; / this is to seyn, the
deedly sinnes that been entred in-to thyn herte by thy fyve wittes. / And
in the same manere our lord Crist hath wold and suffred, that thy three
enemys been entred in-to thyn hous by the windowes, /2615 and han y-wounded
thy doghter in the fore-seyde manere.' /

    2601. E. sweete temporeel.   2608. E. eeris.

§ 40. 'Certes,' quod Melibee, 'I see wel that ye enforce yow muchel by
wordes to overcome me in swich manere, that I shal nat venge me of myne
enemys; / shewinge me the perils and the yveles that mighten falle of this
vengeance. / But who-so wolde considere in alle vengeances the perils and
yveles that mighte sewe of vengeance-takinge, / a man wolde never take
vengeance, and that were harm; /2620 for by the vengeance-takinge been the
wikked men dissevered fro the gode men. / And they that han wil to do
wikkednesse restreyne hir wikked purpos, whan they seen the punissinge and
chastysinge of the trespassours.' / [And to this answerde dame Prudence:
'Certes,' seyde she, 'I graunte wel that of vengeaunce cometh muchel yvel
and muchel good; / but vengeaunce-taking aperteneth nat unto everichoon,
but only unto Iuges and unto hem that han Iurisdicctioun upon the
trespassours.] / And yet seye I more, that right as a singuler persone
sinneth in takinge vengeance of another man, /2625 right so sinneth the
Iuge if he do no vengeance of hem that it han deserved. / For Senek seith
thus: "that maister," he seith, "is good that proveth shrewes." / And as
Cassidore seith: "A man dredeth to do outrages, whan he woot and knoweth
that it displeseth to the Iuges and sovereyns." / And another seith: "the
Iuge that dredeth to do right, maketh men shrewes." / And Seint Paule the
apostle seith in his epistle, whan he wryteth un-to the Romayns: that "the
Iuges beren nat the spere with-outen cause;" /2630 but they beren it to
punisse the shrewes and misdoeres, and for to defende the gode men. / If ye
wol thanne take vengeance of [223] your enemys, ye shul retourne or have
your recours to the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion up-on hem; / and he
shal punisse hem as the lawe axeth and requyreth.' /

    2623, 2624. _Not in the_ MSS. _Supplied by translating the French
    text_.   2626. E. Hn. disserued.   2629. E. _om._ And.   2631. E. Ln.
    _om._ for.

§ 41. 'A!' quod Melibee, 'this vengeance lyketh me no-thing. / I bithenke
me now and take hede, how fortune hath norissed me fro my childhede, and
hath holpen me to passe many a strong pas. /2635 Now wol I assayen hir,
trowinge, with goddes help, that she shal helpe me my shame for to venge.'
/

§ 42. 'Certes,' quod Prudence, 'if ye wol werke by my conseil, ye shul nat
assaye fortune by no wey; / ne ye shul nat lene or bowe unto hir, after the
word of Senek: / for "thinges that been folily doon, and that been in hope
of fortune, shullen never come to good ende." / And as the same Senek
seith: "the more cleer and the more shyning that fortune is, the more
brotil and the sonner broken she is." /2640 Trusteth nat in hir, for she
nis nat stidefast ne stable; / for whan thow trowest to be most seur or
siker of hir help, she wol faille thee and deceyve thee. / And wher-as ye
seyn that fortune hath norissed yow fro your childhede, / I seye, that in
so muchel shul ye the lasse truste in hir and in hir wit. / For Senek
seith: "what man that is norissed by fortune, she maketh him a greet fool."
/2645 Now thanne, sin ye desyre and axe vengeance, and the vengeance that
is doon after the lawe and bifore the Iuge ne lyketh yow nat, / and the
vengeance that is doon in hope of fortune is perilous and uncertein, /
thanne have ye noon other remedie but for to have your recours unto the
sovereyn Iuge that vengeth alle vileinyes and wronges; / and he shal venge
yow after that him-self witnesseth, wher-as he seith: / "leveth the
vengeance to me, and I shal do it."' /2650

    2642. E. and (_before_ siker); _rest_ or; Hl. _om._ or siker.

§ 43. Melibee answerde, 'if I ne venge me nat of the vileinye that men han
doon to me, / I sompne or warne hem that han doon to me that vileinye and
alle othere, to do me another vileinye. / For it is writen: "if thou take
no vengeance of an old vileinye, thou sompnest thyne adversaries to do thee
a newe vileinye." / And also, for my suffrance, men wolden do to me so
muchel vileinye, that I mighte neither here it ne sustene; / and so sholde
I been put and holden over lowe. /2655 For men seyn: "in muchel suffringe
shul manye thinges falle un-to thee whiche thou shalt nat mowe suffre."' /

[224] § 44. 'Certes,' quod Prudence, 'I graunte yow that over muchel
suffraunce nis nat good; / but yet ne folweth it nat ther-of, that every
persone to whom men doon vileinye take of it vengeance; / for that
aperteneth and longeth al only to the Iuges, for they shul venge the
vileinyes and iniuries. / And ther-fore tho two auctoritees that ye han
seyd above, been only understonden in the Iuges; /2660 for whan they
suffren over muchel the wronges and the vileinyes to be doon withouten
punisshinge, / they sompne nat a man al only for to do newe wronges, but
they comanden it. / Also a wys man seith: that "the Iuge that correcteth
nat the sinnere comandeth and biddeth him do sinne." / And the Iuges and
sovereyns mighten in hir land so muchel suffre of the shrewes and
misdoeres, / that they sholden by swich suffrance, by proces of tyme, wexen
of swich power and might, that they sholden putte out the Iuges and the
sovereyns from hir places, /2665 and atte laste maken hem lesen hir
lordshipes. /

§ 45. But lat us now putte, that ye have leve to venge yow. / I seye ye
been nat of might and power as now to venge yow. / For if ye wole maken
comparisoun un-to the might of your adversaries, ye shul finde in manye
thinges, that I have shewed yow er this, that hir condicioun is bettre than
youres. / And therfore seye I, that it is good as now that ye suffre and be
pacient. /2670

§ 46. Forther-more, ye knowen wel that, after the comune sawe, "it is a
woodnesse a man to stryve with a strenger or a more mighty man than he is
him-self; / and for to stryve with a man of evene strengthe, that is to
seyn, with as strong a man as he, it is peril; / and for to stryve with a
weyker man, it is folie." / And therfore sholde a man flee stryvinge as
muchel as he mighte. / For Salomon seith: "it is a greet worship to a man
to kepen him fro noyse and stryf." /2675 And if it so bifalle or happe that
a man of gretter might and strengthe than thou art do thee grevaunce, /
studie and bisie thee rather to stille the same grevaunce, than for to
venge thee. / For Senek seith: that "he putteth him in greet peril that
stryveth with a gretter man than he is him-self." / And Catoun seith: "if a
man of hyer estaat or degree, or more mighty than thou, do thee anoy or
grevaunce, suffre him; / for he that ones hath greved thee may another tyme
releve thee and helpe." /2680 Yet sette I caas, ye have bothe might and
licence for to [225] venge yow. / I seye, that ther be ful manye thinges
that shul restreyne yow of vengeance-takinge, / and make yow for to enclyne
to suffre, and for to han pacience in the thinges that han been doon to
yow. / First and foreward, if ye wole considere the defautes that been in
your owene persone, / for whiche defautes god hath suffred yow have this
tribulacioun, as I have seyd yow heer-biforn. /2685 For the poete seith,
that "we oghte paciently taken the tribulacions that comen to us, whan we
thinken and consideren that we han deserved to have hem." / And Seint
Gregorie seith: that "whan a man considereth wel the nombre of hise
defautes and of his sinnes, / the peynes and the tribulaciouns that he
suffreth semen the lesse un-to hym; / and in-as-muche as him thinketh hise
sinnes more hevy and grevous, / in-so-muche semeth his peyne the lighter
and the esier un-to him." /2690 Also ye owen to enclyne and bowe your herte
to take the pacience of our lord Iesu Crist, as seith seint Peter in hise
epistles: / "Iesu Crist," he seith, "hath suffred for us, and yeven
ensample to every man to folwe and sewe him; / for he dide never sinne, ne
never cam ther a vileinous word out of his mouth: / whan men cursed him, he
cursed hem noght; and whan men betten him, he manaced hem noght." / Also
the grete pacience, which the seintes that been in paradys han had in
tribulaciouns that they han y-suffred, with-outen hir desert or gilt, /2695
oghte muchel stiren yow to pacience. / Forthermore, ye sholde enforce yow
to have pacience, / consideringe that the tribulaciouns of this world but
litel whyle endure, and sone passed been and goon. / And the Ioye that a
man seketh to have by pacience in tribulaciouns is perdurable, after that
the apostle seith in his epistle: / "the Ioye of god," he seith, "is
perdurable," that is to seyn, everlastinge. /2700 Also troweth and bileveth
stedefastly, that he nis nat wel y-norissed ne wel y-taught, that can nat
have pacience or wol nat receyve pacience. / For Salomon seith: that "the
doctrine and the wit of a man is knowen by pacience." / And in another
place he seith: that "he that is pacient governeth him by greet prudence."
/ And the same Salomon seith: "the angry and wrathful man maketh noyses,
and the pacient man atempreth hem and stilleth." / He seith also: "it is
more worth to be pacient than for to be right strong; /2705 and he that may
have the lordshipe of his owene herte is more to preyse, than [226] he that
by his force or strengthe taketh grete citees." / And therfore seith seint
Iame in his epistle: that "pacience is a greet vertu of perfeccioun."' /

    2680. E. (_only_) _puts_ may _after_ tyme.   2686. E. Hn. Cp.
    disserued.   2698. E. Cm. goone.

§ 47. 'Certes,' quod Melibee, 'I graunte yow, dame Prudence, that pacience
is a greet vertu of perfeccioun; / but every man may nat have the
perfeccioun that ye seken; / ne I nam nat of the nombre of right parfite
men, /2710 for myn herte may never been in pees un-to the tyme it be
venged. / And al-be-it so that it was greet peril to myne enemys, to do me
a vileinye in takinge vengeance up-on me, / yet token they noon hede of the
peril, but fulfilleden hir wikked wil and hir corage. / And therfore, me
thinketh men oghten nat repreve me, though I putte me in a litel peril for
to venge me, / and though I do a greet excesse, that is to seyn, that I
venge oon outrage by another.' /2715

§ 48. 'A!' quod dame Prudence, 'ye seyn your wil and as yow lyketh; / but
in no caas of the world a man sholde nat doon outrage ne excesse for to
vengen him. / For Cassidore seith: that "as yvel doth he that vengeth him
by outrage, as he that doth the outrage." / And therfore ye shul venge yow
after the ordre of right, that is to seyn by the lawe, and noght by excesse
ne by outrage. / And also, if ye wol venge yow of the outrage of your
adversaries in other maner than right comandeth, ye sinnen; /2720 and
therfore seith Senek: that "a man shal never vengen shrewednesse by
shrewednesse." / And if ye seye, that right axeth a man to defenden
violence by violence, and fighting by fighting, / certes ye seye sooth,
whan the defense is doon anon with-outen intervalle or with-outen tarying
or delay, / for to defenden him and nat for to vengen him. / And it
bihoveth that a man putte swich attemperance in his defence, /2725 that men
have no cause ne matere to repreven him that defendeth him of excesse and
outrage; for elles were it agayn resoun. / Pardee, ye knowen wel, that ye
maken no defence as now for to defende yow, but for to venge yow; / and so
seweth it that ye han no wil to do your dede attemprely. / And therfore, me
thinketh that pacience is good. For Salomon seith: that "he that is nat
pacient shal have greet harm."' /

    2724-7. E. deffenden, deffense.   2728. E. sheweth; Hl. semeth; _rest_
    seweth.

§ 49. 'Certes,' quod Melibee, 'I graunte yow, that whan [227] a man is
inpacient and wroth, of that that toucheth him noght and that aperteneth
nat un-to him, though it harme him, it is no wonder. /2730 For the lawe
seith: that "he is coupable that entremetteth or medleth with swich thyng
as aperteneth nat un-to him." / And Salomon seith: that "he that
entremetteth him of the noyse or stryf of another man, is lyk to him that
taketh an hound by the eres." / For right as he that taketh a straunge
hound by the eres is outherwhyle biten with the hound, / right in the same
wyse is it resoun that he have harm, that by his inpacience medleth him of
the noyse of another man, wher-as it aperteneth nat un-to him. / But ye
knowen wel that this dede, that is to seyn, my grief and my disese,
toucheth me right ny. /2735 And therfore, though I be wroth and inpacient,
it is no merveille. / And savinge your grace, I can nat seen that it mighte
greetly harme me though I toke vengeaunce; / for I am richer and more
mighty than myne enemys been. / And wel knowen ye, that by moneye and by
havinge grete possessions been all the thinges of this world governed. /
And Salomon seith: that "alle thinges obeyen to moneye."' /2740

§ 50. Whan Prudence hadde herd hir housbonde avanten him of his richesse
and of his moneye, dispreisinge the power of hise adversaries, she spak,
and seyde in this wyse: / 'certes, dere sir, I graunte yow that ye been
rich and mighty, / and that the richesses been goode to hem that han wel
y-geten hem and wel conne usen hem. / For right as the body of a man may
nat liven with-oute the soule, namore may it live with-outen temporel
goodes. / And by richesses may a man gete him grete freendes. /2745 And
therfore seith Pamphilles: "if a net-herdes doghter," seith he, "be riche,
she may chesen of a thousand men which she wol take to hir housbonde; /
for, of a thousand men, oon wol nat forsaken hir ne refusen hir." / And
this Pamphilles seith also: "if thou be right happy, that is to seyn, if
thou be right riche, thou shalt find a greet nombre of felawes and
freendes. / And if thy fortune change that thou wexe povre, farewel
freendshipe and felaweshipe; / for thou shalt be allone with-outen any
companye, but-if it be the companye of povre folk." /2750 And yet seith
this Pamphilles moreover: that "they that been thralle and bonde of [228]
linage shullen been maad worthy and noble by the richesses." / And right so
as by richesses ther comen manye goodes, right so by poverte come ther
manye harmes and yveles. / For greet poverte constreyneth a man to do manye
yveles. / And therfore clepeth Cassidore poverte "the moder of ruine," /
that is to seyn, the moder of overthrowinge or fallinge doun. /2755 And
therfore seith Piers Alfonce: "oon of the gretteste adversitees of this
world is / whan a free man, by kinde or by burthe, is constreyned by
poverte to eten the almesse of his enemy." / And the same seith Innocent in
oon of hise bokes; he seith: that "sorweful and mishappy is the condicioun
of a povre begger; / for if he axe nat his mete, he dyeth for hunger; / and
if he axe, he dyeth for shame; and algates necessitee constreyneth him to
axe." /2760 And therfore seith Salomon: that "bet it is to dye than for to
have swich poverte." / And as the same Salomon seith: "bettre it is to dye
of bitter deeth than for to liven in swich wyse." / By thise resons that I
have seid un-to yow, and by manye othere resons that I coude seye, / I
graunte yow that richesses been goode to hem that geten hem wel, and to hem
that wel usen tho richesses. / And therfore wol I shewe yow how ye shul
have yow, and how ye shul here yow in gaderinge of richesses, and in what
manere ye shul usen hem. /2765

    2744. E. tempered.   2745. by] E. for.   2746. _All_ Pamphilles.   Hn.
    Hl. which she ... housbonde; _rest om._   2750. E. Hn. al alloone;
    _rest omit_ al.

§ 51. First, ye shul geten hem with-outen greet desyr, by good leyser
sokingly, and nat over hastily. / For a man that is to desyringe to gete
richesses abaundoneth him first to thefte and to alle other yveles. / And
therfore seith Salomon: "he that hasteth him to bisily to wexe riche shal
be noon innocent." / He seith also: that "the richesse that hastily cometh
to a man, sone and lightly gooth and passeth fro a man; / but that richesse
that cometh litel and litel wexeth alwey and multiplyeth." /2770 And sir,
ye shul geten richesses by your wit and by your travaille un-to your
profit; / and that with-outen wrong or harm-doinge to any other persone. /
For the lawe seith: that "ther maketh no man himselven riche, if he do harm
to another wight;" / this is to seyn, that nature defendeth and forbedeth
by right, that no man make him-self riche un-to the harm of another
persone. / And Tullius seith: that "no sorwe ne no drede of deeth, ne
no-thing that may falle un-to a man /2775 is so muchel agayns nature, as a
man to [229] encressen his owene profit to the harm of another man. / And
though the grete men and the mighty men geten richesses more lightly than
thou, / yet shaltou nat been ydel ne slow to do thy profit; for thou shalt
in alle wyse flee ydelnesse." / For Salomon seith: that "ydelnesse techeth
a man to do manye yveles." / And the same Salomon seith: that "he that
travailleth and bisieth him to tilien his land, shal eten breed; /2780 but
he that is ydel and casteth him to no bisinesse ne occupacioun, shal falle
in-to poverte, and dye for hunger." / And he that is ydel and slow can
never finde covenable tyme for to doon his profit. / For ther is a
versifiour seith: that "the ydel man excuseth hym in winter, by cause of
the grete cold; and in somer, by enchesoun of the hete." / For thise causes
seith Caton: "waketh and enclyneth nat yow over muchel for to slepe; for
over muchel reste norisseth and causeth manye vices." / And therfore seith
seint Ierome: "doth somme gode dedes, that the devel which is our enemy ne
finde yow nat unoccupied." /2785 For the devel ne taketh nat lightly un-to
his werkinge swiche as he findeth occupied in gode werkes. /

    2766. E. Hn. sekyngly; _rest_ sokyngly.   2785. E. goodes; _rest_ goode
    dedes.

§ 52. Thanne thus, in getinge richesses, ye mosten flee ydelnesse. / And
afterward, ye shul use the richesses, whiche ye have geten by your wit and
by your travaille, / in swich a manere, that men holde nat yow to scars, ne
to sparinge, ne to fool-large, that is to seyn, over-large a spender. / For
right as men blamen an avaricious man by-cause of his scarsetee and
chincherye, /2790 in the same wyse is he to blame that spendeth over
largely. / And therfore seith Caton: "use," he seith, "thy richesses that
thou hast geten / in swich a manere, that men have no matere ne cause to
calle thee neither wrecche ne chinche; / for it is a greet shame to a man
to have a povere herte and a riche purs." / He seith also: "the goodes that
thou hast y-geten, use hem by mesure," that is to seyn, spende hem
mesurably; /2795 for they that folily wasten and despenden the goodes that
they han, / whan they han namore propre of hir owene, they shapen hem to
take the goodes of another man. / I seye thanne, that ye shul fleen
avarice; / usinge your richesses in swich manere, that men seye nat that
your richesses been y-buried, / but that ye have hem in [230] your might
and in your weeldinge. /2800 For a wys man repreveth the avaricious man,
and seith thus, in two vers: / "wherto and why burieth a man hise goodes by
his grete avarice, and knoweth wel that nedes moste he dye; / for deeth is
the ende of every man as in this present lyf." / And for what cause or
enchesoun Ioyneth he him or knitteth he him so faste un-to hise goodes, /
that alle his wittes mowen nat disseveren him or departen him from hise
goodes; /2805 and knoweth wel, or oghte knowe, that whan he is deed, he
shal no-thing bere with him out of this world. / And ther-fore seith seint
Augustin: that "the avaricious man is likned un-to helle; / that the more
it swelweth, the more desyr it hath to swelwe and devoure." / And as wel as
ye wolde eschewe to be called an avaricious man or chinche, / as wel sholde
ye kepe yow and governe yow in swich a wyse that men calle yow nat
fool-large. /2810 Therfore seith Tullius: "the goodes," he seith, "of thyn
hous ne sholde nat been hid, ne kept so cloos but that they mighte been
opened by pitee and debonairetee;" / that is to seyn, to yeven part to hem
that han greet nede; / "ne thy goodes shullen nat been so opene, to been
every mannes goodes." / Afterward, in getinge of your richesses and in
usinge hem, ye shul alwey have three thinges in your herte; / that is to
seyn, our lord god, conscience, and good name. /2815 First, ye shul have
god in your herte; / and for no richesse ye shullen do nothing, which may
in any manere displese god, that is your creatour and maker. / For after
the word of Salomon: "it is bettre to have a litel good with the love of
god, / than to have muchel good and tresour, and lese the love of his lord
god." / And the prophete seith: that "bettre it is to been a good man and
have litel good and tresour, /2820 than to been holden a shrewe and have
grete richesses." / And yet seye I ferthermore, that ye sholde alwey doon
your bisinesse to gete yow richesses, / so that ye gete hem with good
conscience. / And thapostle seith: that "ther nis thing in this world, of
which we sholden have so greet Ioye as whan our conscience bereth us good
witnesse." / And the wyse man seith: "the substance of a man is ful good,
whan sinne is nat in mannes conscience." /2825 Afterward, in getinge of
your richesses, and in usinge of hem, / yow moste have greet bisinesse and
greet diligence, that your goode name be alwey kept and conserved. / For
Salomon seith: that "bettre it is and more it availleth a man to have a
good name, than for to have grete richesses." / [231] And therfore he seith
in another place: "do greet diligence," seith Salomon, "in keping of thy
freend and of thy gode name; / for it shal lenger abide with thee than any
tresour, be it never so precious." /2830 And certes he sholde nat be called
a gentil man, that after god and good conscience, alle thinges left, ne
dooth his diligence and bisinesse to kepen his good name. / And Cassidore
seith: that "it is signe of a gentil herte, whan a man loveth and desyreth
to han a good name." / And therfore seith seint Augustin: that "ther been
two thinges that arn necessarie and nedefulle, / and that is good
conscience and good loos; / that is to seyn, good conscience to thyn owene
persone inward, and good loos for thy neighebore outward." /2835 And he
that trusteth him so muchel in his gode conscience, / that he displeseth
and setteth at noght his gode name or loos, and rekketh noght though he
kepe nat his gode name, nis but a cruel cherl. /

    2790. E. chyngerie; Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. chyncherye.   2837. E. crueel.

§ 53. Sire, now have I shewed yow how ye shul do in getinge richesses, and
how ye shullen usen hem; / and I se wel, that for the trust that ye han in
youre richesses, ye wole moeve werre and bataille. / I conseille yow, that
ye biginne no werre in trust of your richesses; for they ne suffysen noght
werres to mayntene. /2840 And therfore seith a philosophre: "that man that
desyreth and wole algates han werre, shal never have suffisaunce; / for the
richer that he is, the gretter despenses moste he make, if he wole have
worship and victorie." / And Salomon seith: that "the gretter richesses
that a man hath, the mo despendours he hath." / And dere sire, al-be-it so
that for your richesses ye mowe have muchel folk, / yet bihoveth it nat, ne
it is nat good, to biginne werre, where-as ye mowe in other manere have
pees, un-to your worship and profit. /2845 For the victories of batailles
that been in this world, lyen nat in greet nombre or multitude of the peple
ne in the vertu of man; / but it lyth in the wil and in the hand of our
lord god almighty. / And therfore Iudas Machabeus, which was goddes knight,
/ whan he sholde fighte agayn his adversarie that hadde a greet nombre, and
a gretter multitude of folk and strenger than was this peple of Machabee, /
yet he reconforted his litel companye, and seyde right in this wyse: /2850
"als lightly," quod he, "may our lord god almighty yeve victorie to a fewe
folk as to many folk; / for the victorie of bataile cometh nat by the grete
[232] nombre of peple, / but it cometh from our lord god of hevene." / And
dere sir, for as muchel as there is no man certein, if he be worthy that
god yeve him victorie, [namore than he is certein whether he be worthy of
the love of god] or naught, after that Salomon seith, / therfore every man
sholde greetly drede werres to biginne. /2855 And by-cause that in
batailles fallen manye perils, / and happeth outher-while, that as sone is
the grete man sleyn as the litel man; / and, as it is written in the
seconde book of Kinges, "the dedes of batailles been aventurouse and
nothing certeyne;" / for as lightly is oon hurt with a spere as another. /
And for ther is gret peril in werre, therfore sholde a man flee and eschewe
werre, in as muchel as a man may goodly. /2860 For Salomon seith: "he that
loveth peril shal falle in peril."' /

    2852. E. Hn. a bataile; _rest om._ a.   E. comth.   2853. E. come;
    _rest_ cometh.   2854. E. he be; _rest_ it be.   _I supply from_ namore
    _to_ god; _see_ Note.

§ 54. After that Dame Prudence hadde spoken in this manere, Melibee
answerde and seyde, / 'I see wel, dame Prudence, that by your faire wordes
and by your resons that ye han shewed me, that the werre lyketh yow
no-thing; / but I have nat yet herd your conseil, how I shal do in this
nede.' /

§ 55. 'Certes,' quod she, 'I conseille yow that ye accorde with youre
adversaries, and that ye haue pees with hem. /2865 For seint Iame seith in
hise epistles: that "by concord and pees the smale richesses wexen grete, /
and by debaat and discord the grete richesses fallen doun." / And ye knowen
wel that oon of the gretteste and most sovereyn thing, that is in this
world, is unitee and pees. / And therfore seyde oure lord Iesu Crist to
hise apostles in this wyse: / "wel happy and blessed been they that loven
and purchacen pees; for they been called children of god."' /2870 'A!' quod
Melibee, 'now se I wel that ye loven nat myn honour ne my worshipe. / Ye
knowen wel that myne adversaries han bigonnen this debaat and brige by hir
outrage; / and ye see wel that they ne requeren ne preyen me nat of pees,
ne they asken nat to be reconsiled. / Wol ye thanne that I go and meke me
and obeye me to hem, and crye hem mercy? / For sothe, that were nat my
worship. /2875 For right as men seyn, that "over-greet homlinesse
engendreth dispreysinge," so fareth it by to greet humylitee or mekenesse.'
/

    2866. seint Iame] F. text, Seneques.   2872. E. bryge; Hn. Cm. Hl.
    brige; Cp. Pt. brigge (F. text, _brigue_).

[233] § 56. Thanne bigan dame Prudence to maken semblant of wratthe, and
seyde, / 'certes, sir, sauf your grace, I love your honour and your profit
as I do myn owene, and ever have doon; / ne ye ne noon other syen never the
contrarie. / And yit, if I hadde seyd that ye sholde han purchaced the pees
and the reconsiliacioun, I ne hadde nat muchel mistaken me, ne seyd amis.
/2880 For the wyse man seith: "the dissensioun biginneth by another man,
and the reconsiling bi-ginneth by thy-self." / And the prophete seith:
"flee shrewednesse and do goodnesse; / seke pees and folwe it, as muchel as
in thee is." / Yet seye I nat that ye shul rather pursue to your
adversaries for pees than they shuln to yow; / for I knowe wel that ye been
so hard-herted, that ye wol do no-thing for me. /2885 And Salomon seith:
"he that hath over-hard an herte, atte laste he shal mishappe and
mistyde."' /

§ 57. Whanne Melibee hadde herd dame Prudence maken semblant of wratthe, he
seyde in this wyse, / 'dame, I prey yow that ye be nat displesed of thinges
that I seye; / for ye knowe wel that I am angry and wrooth, and that is no
wonder; / and they that been wrothe witen nat wel what they doon, ne what
they seyn. /2890 Therfore the prophete seith: that "troubled eyen han no
cleer sighte." / But seyeth and conseileth me as yow lyketh; for I am redy
to do right as ye wol desyre; / and if ye repreve me of my folye, I am the
more holden to love yow and to preyse yow. / For Salomon seith: that "he
that repreveth him that doth folye, / he shal finde gretter grace than he
that deceyveth him by swete wordes."' /2895

    2893. to preyse] E. _om._ to.

§ 58. Thanne seide dame Prudence, 'I make no semblant of wratthe ne anger
but for your grete profit. / For Salomon seith: "he is more worth, that
repreveth or chydeth a fool for his folye, shewinge him semblant of
wratthe, / than he that supporteth him and preyseth him in his misdoinge,
and laugheth at his folye." / And this same Salomon seith afterward: that
"by the sorweful visage of a man," that is to seyn, by the sory and hevy
countenaunce of a man, / "the fool correcteth and amendeth him-self."'
/2900

    2898. E. peyseth (_for_ preyseth).

§ 59. Thanne seyde Melibee, 'I shal nat conne answere to so manye faire
resouns as ye putten to me and shewen. / Seyeth shortly your wil and your
conseil, and I am al ready to fulfille and parfourne it.' /

[234] § 60. Thanne dame Prudence discovered al hir wil to him, and seyde, /
'I conseille yow,' quod she, 'aboven alle thinges, that ye make pees
bitwene god and yow; / and beth reconsiled un-to him and to his grace.
/2905 For as I have seyd yow heer-biforn, god hath suffred yow to have this
tribulacioun and disese for your sinnes. / And if ye do as I sey yow, god
wol sende your adversaries un-to yow, / and maken hem fallen at your feet,
redy to do your wil and your comandements. / For Salomon seith: "whan the
condicioun of man is plesaunt and likinge to god, / he chaungeth the hertes
of the mannes adversaries, and constreyneth hem to biseken him of pees and
of grace." /2910 And I prey yow, lat me speke with your adversaries in
privee place; / for they shul nat knowe that it be of your wil or your
assent. / And thanne, whan I knowe hir wil and hir entente, I may conseille
yow the more seurly.' /

    2913. E. seurely; Hn. Cp. Hl. seurly.

§ 61. 'Dame,' quod Melibee, 'dooth your wil and your lykinge, / for I putte
me hoolly in your disposicioun and ordinaunce.' /2915

§ 62. Thanne Dame Prudence, whan she saugh the gode wil of her housbonde,
delibered and took avys in hir-self, / thinkinge how she mighte bringe this
nede un-to a good conclusioun and to a good ende. / And whan she saugh hir
tyme, she sente for thise adversaries to come un-to hir in-to a privee
place, / and shewed wysly un-to hem the grete goodes that comen of pees, /
and the grete harmes and perils that been in werre; /2920 and seyde to hem
in a goodly manere, how that hem oughte have greet repentaunce / of the
iniurie and wrong that they hadden doon to Melibee hir lord, and to hir,
and to hir doghter. /

    2921. Cm. oughte; Cp. Hl. aughte; _rest_ oughten.

§ 63. And whan they herden the goodliche wordes of dame Prudence, / they
weren so surprised and ravisshed, and hadden so greet Ioye of hir, that
wonder was to telle. / 'A! lady!' quod they, 'ye han shewed un-to us "the
blessinge of swetnesse," after the sawe of David the prophete; /2925 for
the reconsilinge which we been nat worthy to have in no manere, / but we
oghte requeren it with greet contricioun and humilitee, / ye of your grete
goodnesse have presented unto us. / Now see we wel that the science and the
conninge of Salomon is ful trewe; / for he seith: that "swete wordes
multiplyen and encresen freendes, and maken shrewes to be debonaire and
meke." /2930

    2924. Hl. surprised; Cm. suppreysed; _rest_ supprised.

[235] § 64. 'Certes,' quod they, 'we putten our dede and al our matere and
cause al hoolly in your goode wil; / and been redy to obeye to the speche
and comandement of my lord Melibee. / And therfore, dere and benigne lady,
we preyen yow and biseke yow as mekely as we conne and mowen, / that it
lyke un-to your grete goodnesse to fulfillen in dede your goodliche wordes;
/ for we consideren and knowlichen that we han offended and greved my lord
Melibee out of mesure; /2935 so ferforth, that we be nat of power to maken
hise amendes. / And therfore we oblige and binden us and our freendes to
doon al his wil and hise comandements. / But peraventure he hath swich
hevinesse and swich wratthe to us-ward, by-cause of our offence, / that he
wole enioyne us swich a peyne as we mowe nat here ne sustene. / And
therfore, noble lady, we biseke to your wommanly pitee, /2940 to taken
swich avysement in this nede, that we, ne our freendes, be nat desherited
ne destroyed thurgh our folye.' /

§ 65. 'Certes,' quod Prudence, 'it is an hard thing and right perilous, /
that a man putte him al outrely in the arbitracioun and Iuggement, and in
the might and power of hise enemys. / For Salomon seith: "leveth me, and
yeveth credence to that I shal seyn; I seye," quod he, "ye peple, folk, and
governours of holy chirche, / to thy sone, to thy wyf, to thy freend, ne to
thy brother /2945 ne yeve thou never might ne maistrie of thy body, whyl
thou livest." / Now sithen he defendeth, that man shal nat yeven to his
brother ne to his freend the might of his body, / by a strenger resoun he
defendeth and forbedeth a man to yeven him-self to his enemy. / And
nathelees I conseille you, that ye mistruste nat my lord. / For I wool wel
and knowe verraily, that he is debonaire and meke, large, curteys, /2950
and nothing desyrous ne coveitous of good ne richesse. / For ther nis
no-thing in this world that he desyreth, save only worship and honour. /
Forther-more I knowe wel, and am right seur, that he shal no-thing doon in
this nede with-outen my conseil. / And I shal so werken in this cause,
that, by grace of our lord god, ye shul been reconsiled un-to us.' /

§ 66. Thanne seyden they with o vois, 'worshipful lady, we putten us and
our goodes al fully in your wil and disposicioun; /2955 and been redy to
comen, what day that it lyke un-to your noblesse to limite us or assigne
us, / for to maken our obligacioun and bond as strong as it lyketh un-to
your goodnesse; / that we mowe fulfille the wille of yow and of my lord
Melibee.' /

[236] § 67. Whan dame Prudence hadde herd the answeres of thise men, she
bad hem goon agayn prively; / and she retourned to hir lord Melibee, and
tolde him how she fond hise adversaries ful repentant, /2960 knowlechinge
ful lowely hir sinnes and trespas, and how they were redy to suffren al
peyne, / requiringe and preyinge him of mercy and pitee. /

§ 68. Thanne seyde Melibee, 'he is wel worthy to have pardoun and
foryifnesse of his sinne, that excuseth nat his sinne, / but knowlecheth it
and repenteth him, axinge indulgence. / For Senek seith: "ther is the
remissioun and foryifnesse, where-as confessioun is;" /2965 for confession
is neighebore to innocence. / And he seith in another place: "he that hath
shame for his sinne and knowlecheth it, is worthy remissioun." And therfore
I assente and conferme me to have pees; / but it is good that we do it nat
with-outen the assent and wil of our freendes.' /

    2967. E. Cm. _omit from_ And he _to_ remissioun; Hn. Cp. Hl. _om. only_
    is worthy remissioun, _which occurs in_ Pt., _where_ Ln. _has_ is
    worthi haue mercy.   E. corforme (_sic_); _rest_ conferme.

§ 69. Thanne was Prudence right glad and loyeful, and seyde, / 'Certes,
sir,' quod she, 'ye han wel and goodly answered. /2970 For right as by the
conseil, assent, and help of your freendes, ye han been stired to venge yow
and maken werre, / right so with-outen hir conseil shul ye nat accorden
yow, ne have pees with your adversaries. / For the lawe seith: "ther nis
no-thing so good by wey of kinde, as a thing to been unbounde by him that
it was y-bounde."' /

§ 70. And thanne dame Prudence, with-outen delay or taryinge, sente anon
hir messages for hir kin, and for hir olde freendes whiche that were trewe
and wyse, / and tolde hem by ordre, in the presence of Melibee, al this
matere as it is aboven expressed and declared; /2975 and preyden hem that
they wolde yeven hir avys and conseil, what best were to doon in this nede.
/ And whan Melibees freendes hadde taken hir avys and deliberacioun of the
forseide matere, / and hadden examined it by greet bisinesse and greet
diligence, / they yave ful conseil for to have pees and reste; / and that
Melibee sholde receyve with good herte hise adversaries to foryifnesse and
mercy. /2980

    2976. E. _om._ hem.

§ 71. And whan dame Prudence hadde herd the assent of hir lord Melibee, and
the conseil of hise freendes, / accorde with hir wille and hir entencioun,
/ she was wonderly glad in hir herte, and [237] seyde: / 'ther is an old
proverbe,' quod she, 'seith: that "the goodnesse that thou mayst do this
day, do it; / and abyde nat ne delaye it nat til to-morwe." /2985 And
therfore I conseille that ye sende your messages, swiche as been discrete
and wyse, / un-to your adversaries; tellinge hem, on your bihalve, / that
if they wole trete of pees and of accord, / that they shape hem, with-outen
delay or tarying, to comen un-to us.' / Which thing parfourned was in dede.
/2990 And whanne thise trespassours and repentinge folk of hir folies, that
is to seyn, the adversaries of Melibee, / hadden herd what thise messagers
seyden un-to hem, / they weren right glad and Ioyeful, and answereden ful
mekely and benignely, / yeldinge graces and thankinges to hir lord Melibee
and to al his companye; / and shopen hem, with-outen delay, to go with the
messagers, and obeye to the comandement of hir lord Melibee. /2995

§ 72. And right anon they token hir wey to the court of Melibee, / and
token with hem somme of hir trewe freendes, to maken feith for hem and for
to been hir borwes. / And whan they were comen to the presence of Melibee,
he seyde hem thise wordes: / 'it standeth thus,' quod Melibee, 'and sooth
it is, that ye, / causeless, and with-outen skile and resoun, /3000 han
doon grete iniuries and wronges to me and to my wyf Prudence, and to my
doghter also. / For ye han entred in-to myn hous by violence, / and have
doon swich outrage, that alle men knowen wel that ye have deserved the
deeth; / and therfore wol I knowe and wite of yow, / whether ye wol putte
the punissement and the chastysinge and the vengeance of this outrage in
the wil of me and of my wyf Prudence; or ye wol nat?' /3005

    3003. E. disserued.

§ 73. Thanne the wyseste of hem three answerde for hem alle, and seyde: /
'sire,' quod he, 'we knowen wel, that we been unworthy to comen un-to the
court of so greet a lord and so worthy as ye been. / For we han so greetly
mistaken us, and han offended and agilt in swich a wyse agayn your heigh
lordshipe, / that trewely we han deserved the deeth. / But yet, for the
grete goodnesse and debonairetee that all the world witnesseth of your
persone, /3010 we submitten us to the excellence and benignitee of your
gracious lordshipe, / and been redy to obeie to alle your comandements; /
bisekinge yow, that of your merciable pitee ye wol [238] considere our
grete repentaunce and lowe submissioun, / and graunten us foryevenesse of
our outrageous trespas and offence. / For wel we knowe, that your liberal
grace and mercy strecchen hem ferther in-to goodnesse, than doon our
outrageouse giltes and trespas in-to wikkednesse; /3015 al-be-it that
cursedly and dampnably we han agilt agayn your heigh lordshipe.' /

    3005. E. wheither.   3009. E. disserued.   3010. of] E. in.   3013. E.
    lough; _rest_ lowe.   3016. E. Hn. dampnablely.

§ 74. Thanne Melibee took hem up fro the ground ful benignely, / and
receyved hir obligaciouns and hir bondes by hir othes up-on hir plegges and
borwes, / and assigned hem a certeyn day to retourne un-to his court, / for
to accepte and receyve the sentence and Iugement that Melibee wolde comande
to be doon on hem by the causes afore-seyd; /3020 whiche thinges ordeyned,
every man retourned to his hous. /

§ 75. And whan that dame Prudence saugh hir tyme, she freyned and axed hir
lord Melibee, / what vengeance he thoughte to taken of hise adversaries? /

§ 76. To which Melibee answerde and seyde, 'certes,' quod he, 'I thinke and
purpose me fully / to desherite hem of al that ever they han, and for to
putte hem in exil for ever.' /3025

§ 77. 'Certes,' quod dame Prudence, 'this were a cruel sentence, and muchel
agayn resoun. / For ye been riche y-nough, and han no nede of other mennes
good; / and ye mighte lightly in this wyse gete yow a coveitous name, /
which is a vicious thing, and oghte been eschewed of every good man. / For
after the sawe of the word of the apostle: "coveitise is rote of alle
harmes." /3030 And therfore, it were bettre for yow to lese so muchel good
of your owene, than for to taken of hir good in this manere. / For bettre
it is to lesen good with worshipe, than it is to winne good with vileinye
and shame. / And every man oghte to doon his diligence and his bisinesse to
geten him a good name. / And yet shal he nat only bisie him in kepinge of
his good name, / but he shal also enforcen him alwey to do som-thing by
which he may renovelle his good name; /3035 for it is writen, that "the
olde good loos or good name of a man is sone goon and passed, whan it is
nat newed ne renovelled." / And as touchinge that ye seyn, ye wole exile
your adversaries, / that thinketh me muchel agayn resoun and out of mesure,
/ considered the power that they han yeve yow [239] up-on hem-self. / And
it is writen, that "he is worthy to lesen his privilege that misuseth the
might and the power that is yeven him." /3040 And I sette cas ye mighte
enioyne hem that peyne by right and by lawe, / which I trowe ye mowe nat
do, / I seye, ye mighte nat putten it to execucioun per-aventure, / and
thanne were it lykly to retourne to the werre as it was biforn. / And
therfore, if ye wole that men do yow obeisance, ye moste demen more
curteisly; /3045 this is to seyn, ye moste yeven more esy sentences and
Iugements. / For it is writen, that "he that most curteisly comandeth, to
him men most obeyen." / And therfore, I prey yow that in this necessitee
and in this nede, ye caste yow to overcome your herte. / For Senek seith:
that "he that overcometh his herte, overcometh twyes." / And Tullius seith:
"ther is nothing so comendable in a greet lord /3050 as whan he is
debonaire and meke, and appeseth him lightly." / And I prey yow that ye
wole forbere now to do vengeance, / in swich a manere, that your goode name
may be kept and conserved; / and that men mowe have cause and matere to
preyse yow of pitee and of mercy; / and that ye have no cause to repente
yow of thing that ye doon. /3055 For Senek seith: "he overcometh in an yvel
manere, that repenteth him of his victorie." / Wherfore I pray yow, lat
mercy been in your minde and in your herte, / to theffect and entente that
god almighty have mercy on yow in his laste Iugement. / For seint Iame
seith in his epistle: "Iugement withouten mercy shal be doon to him, that
hath no mercy of another wight."' /

    3026. E. crueel.   3032. E. _om._ good (_twice_).   3036. or] E. and.
    3051. E. _om._ him.   3057. E. in youre mynde and; _rest om._

§ 78. Whanne Melibee hadde herd the grete skiles and resouns of dame
Prudence, and hir wise informaciouns and techinges, /3060 his herte gan
enclyne to the wil of his wyf, consideringe hir trewe entente; / and
conformed him anon, and assented fully to werken after hir conseil; / and
thonked god, of whom procedeth al vertu and alle goodnesse, that him sente
a wyf of so greet discrecioun. / And whan the day cam that hise adversaries
sholde apperen in his presence, / he spak unto hem ful goodly, and seyde in
this wyse: /3065 'al-be-it so that of your pryde and presumpcioun and
folie, and of your necligence and unconninge, / ye have misborn yow and
trespassed un-to me; / yet, for as much as I see and biholde your grete
humilitee, / and that ye [240] been sory and repentant of your giltes, / it
constreyneth me to doon yow grace and mercy. /3070 Therfore I receyve yow
to my grace, / and foryeve yow outrely alle the offences, iniuries, and
wronges, that ye have doon agayn me and myne; / to this effect and to this
ende, that god of his endelees mercy / wole at the tyme of our dyinge
foryeven us our giltes that we han trespassed to him in this wrecched
world. / For doutelees, if we be sory and repentant of the sinnes and
giltes whiche we han trespassed in the sighte of our lord god, /3075 he is
so free and so merciable, / that he wole foryeven us our giltes, / and
bringen us to his blisse that never hath ende. Amen.' /3078

HERE IS ENDED CHAUCERS TALE OF MELIBEE AND OF DAME PRUDENCE.

    3064 E. Hn., appieren.   3078. E. his; Hn. Pt. Hl. the; Cp. Ln.
    thilke.   _After_ ende, Cp. Ln. _have this spurious couplet_:--

      To whiche blisse he us bringe
      That blood on crosse for us gan springe,

    followed by--_Qui cum patre_, &c.

    COLOPHON. _From_ E.; Hn. _has_--Here is endid Chaucers tale of Melibe;
    Hl. _has_--Here endith Chaucer his tale of Melibe.

[241: T. 13895-13924.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MONK'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE MERY WORDES OF THE HOST TO THE MONK.

  Whan ended was my tale of Melibee,
  And of Prudence and hir benignitee,                         3080
  Our hoste seyde, 'as I am faithful man,
  And by the precious _corpus Madrian_,
  I hadde lever than a barel ale
  That goode lief my wyf hadde herd this tale!
  For she nis no-thing of swich pacience                      3085
  As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence.
  By goddes bones! whan I bete my knaves,
  She bringth me forth the grete clobbed staves,              (10)
  And cryeth, "slee the dogges everichoon,
  And brek hem, bothe bak and every boon."                    3090
  And if that any neighebor of myne
  Wol nat in chirche to my wyf enclyne,
  Or be so hardy to hir to trespace,
  Whan she comth hoom, she rampeth in my face,
  And cryeth, "false coward, wreek thy wyf,                   3095
  By _corpus_ bones! I wol have thy knyf,
  And thou shalt have my distaf and go spinne!"
  Fro day to night right thus she wol biginne;--              (20)
  "Allas!" she seith, "that ever I was shape
  To wedde a milksop or a coward ape,                         3100
  That wol be overlad with every wight!
  Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyves right!"
  This is my lyf, but-if that I wol fighte;
  And out at dore anon I moot me dighte,
  Or elles I am but lost, but-if that I                       3105
  Be lyk a wilde leoun fool-hardy.
  I woot wel she wol do me slee som day
  Som neighebor, and thanne go my wey.                        (30)
  [242: T. 13925-13962.]
  For I am perilous with knyf in honde,
  Al be it that I dar nat hir withstonde,                     3110
  For she is big in armes, by my feith,
  That shal he finde, that hir misdooth or seith.
  But lat us passe awey fro this matere.

    HEADING. _From_ E.; Hn. Here bigynneth The Prologe of the Monkes
    tale.   E. murye.   3082. the] E. Hn. that.   3085. E. Hn. _omit_
    For.   3094. Pt. hoom; Hl. hom; Cp. Ln. home; E. Hn. _omit._   3099. E.
    Hn. euere that I.   3110. E. Cp. Ln. hire nat; Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. nat
    hire.

    My lord the Monk,' quod he, 'be mery of chere;
  For ye shul telle a tale trewely.                           3115
  Lo! Rouchestre stant heer faste by!
  Ryd forth, myn owene lord, brek nat our game,
  But, by my trouthe, I knowe nat your name,                  (40)
  Wher shal I calle yow my lord dan Iohn,
  Or dan Thomas, or elles dan Albon?                          3120
  Of what hous be ye, by your fader kin?
  I vow to god, thou, hast a ful fair skin,
  It is a gentil pasture ther thou goost;
  Thou art nat lyk a penaunt or a goost.
  Upon my feith, thou art som officer,                        3125
  Som worthy sexteyn, or som celerer,
  For by my fader soule, as to my doom,
  Thou art a maister whan thou art at hoom;                   (50)
  No povre cloisterer, ne no novys,
  But a governour, wyly and wys.                              3130
  And therwithal of brawnes and of bones
  A wel-faring persone for the nones.
  I pray to god, yeve him confusioun
  That first thee broghte un-to religioun;
  Thou woldest han been a trede-foul aright.                  3135
  Haddestow as greet a leve, as thou hast might
  To parfourne al thy lust in engendrure,
  Thou haddest bigeten many a creature.                       (60)
  Alas! why werestow so wyd a cope?
  God yeve me sorwe! but, and I were a pope,                  3140
  Not only thou, but every mighty man,
  Thogh he were shorn ful hye upon his pan,
  Sholde have a wyf; for al the world is lorn!
  Religioun hath take up al the corn
  Of treding, and we borel men ben shrimpes!                  3145
  Of feble trees ther comen wrecched impes.
  [243: T. 13963-13996.]
  This maketh that our heires been so sclendre
  And feble, that they may nat wel engendre.                  (70)
  This maketh that our wyves wol assaye
  Religious folk, for ye may bettre paye                      3150
  Of Venus payements than mowe we;
  God woot, no lussheburghes payen ye!
  But be nat wrooth, my lord, for that I pleye;
  Ful ofte in game a sooth I have herd seye.'

    3114. E. Hn. myrie.   3119, 20. E. daun.   3129. E. Hn. Pt. Ln.
    cloistrer.   3138. E. Hn. ful many.   3147, 8. E. _om. these lines;
    from_ Hn.; Hn. Cm. sklendre; Cp. Pt. sclendre (sclender_e_).   3151. E.
    paiementz.   3152. E. Hn. lussheburgh; Cp. lussheburghes; Hl.
    lusscheburghes.

    This worthy monk took al in pacience,                     3155
  And seyde, 'I wol doon al my diligence,
  As fer as souneth in-to honestee,
  To telle yow a tale, or two, or three.                      (80)
  And if yow list to herkne hiderward,
  I wol yow seyn the lyf of seint Edward;                     3160
  Or elles first Tragedies wol I telle
  Of whiche I have an hundred in my celle.
  Tragedie is to seyn a certeyn storie,
  As olde bokes maken us memorie,
  Of him that stood in greet prosperitee                      3165
  And is y-fallen out of heigh degree
  Into miserie, and endeth wrecchedly.
  And they ben versifyed comunly                              (90)
  Of six feet, which men clepe _exametron_.
  In prose eek been endyted many oon,                         3170
  And eek in metre, in many a sondry wyse.
  Lo! this declaring oughte y-nough suffise.

    3160. E. _omits_ yow.   3163. Cp. Pt. Ln. for to; _rest omit_ for.
    3168. E. communely; Cm. comounly; Hn. Hl. comunly.

    Now herkneth, if yow lyketh for to here;
  But first I yow biseke in this matere,
  Though I by ordre telle nat thise thinges,                  3175
  Be it of popes, emperours, or kinges,
  After hir ages, as men writen finde,
  But telle hem som bifore and som bihinde,                  (100)
  As it now comth un-to my remembraunce;
  Have me excused of myn ignoraunce.'                         3180

                  _Explicit_.

[244: T. 13997-14016.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MONKES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE MONKES TALE, DE CASIBUS VIRORUM ILLUSTRIUM.

  I wol biwayle in maner of Tragedie
  The harm of hem that stode in heigh degree,
  And fillen so that ther nas no remedie
  To bringe hem out of hir adversitee;
  For certein, whan that fortune list to flee,                3185
  Ther may no man the cours of hir withholde;
  Lat no man truste on blind prosperitee;
  Be war by thise ensamples trewe and olde.

    HEADING. _From_ E. (E. Heere).   3188. E. Pt. of; _rest_ by.

              LUCIFER.

  At Lucifer, though he an angel were,
  And nat a man, at him I wol biginne;                        3190
  For, thogh fortune may non angel dere,                      (11)
  From heigh degree yet fel he for his sinne
  Doun in-to helle, wher he yet is inne.
  O Lucifer! brightest of angels alle,
  Now artow Sathanas, that maist nat twinne                   3195
  Out of miserie, in which that thou art falle.

    3191. E. though; Hn. thogh.

              ADAM.

  Lo Adam, in the feld of Damassene,
  With goddes owene finger wroght was he,
  And nat bigeten of mannes sperme unclene,
  And welte al Paradys, saving o tree.                        3200
  [245: T. 14017-14048.]
  Had never worldly man so heigh degree                       (21)
  As Adam, til he for misgovernaunce
  Was drive out of his hye prosperitee
  To labour, and to helle, and to meschaunce.

    3197. Cm. Hl. Damassene; E. Hn. Damyssene.

              SAMPSON.

  Lo Sampson, which that was annunciat                        3205
  By thangel, longe er his nativitee,
  And was to god almighty consecrat,
  And stood in noblesse, whyl he mighte see.
  Was never swich another as was he,
  To speke of strengthe, and therwith hardinesse;             3210
  But to his wyves tolde he his secree,                       (31)
  Through which he slow him-self, for wrecchednesse.

    3206. Hl. Cp. thangel; Hn. Pt. Ln. the aungel; E. Cm. angel.

  Sampson, this noble almighty champioun,
  Withouten wepen save his hondes tweye,
  He slow and al to-rente the leoun,                          3215
  Toward his wedding walking by the weye.
  His false wyf coude him so plese and preye
  Til she his conseil knew, and she untrewe
  Un-to his foos his conseil gan biwreye,
  And him forsook, and took another newe.                     3220

  Three hundred foxes took Sampson for ire,                   (41)
  And alle hir tayles he togider bond,
  And sette the foxes tayles alle on fire,
  For he on every tayl had knit a brond;
  And they brende alle the cornes in that lond,               3225
  And alle hir oliveres and vynes eek.
  A thousand men he slow eek with his hond,
  And had no wepen but an asses cheek.

  Whan they were slayn, so thursted him that he
  Was wel my lorn, for which he gan to preye                  3230
  That god wolde on his peyne han som pitee,                  (51)
  And sende him drinke, or elles moste he deye;
  [246: T. 14049-14080.]
  And of this asses cheke, that was dreye,
  Out of a wang-tooth sprang anon a welle,
  Of which he drank y-nogh, shortly to seye,                  3235
  Thus heelp him god, as _Iudicum_ can telle.

    3235. E. anon; _rest_ ynogh, ynough, ynouhe, &c.

  By verray force, at Gazan, on a night,
  Maugree Philistiens of that citee,
  The gates of the toun he hath up-plight,
  And on his bak y-caried hem hath he                         3240
  Hye on an hille, that men mighte hem see.                   (61)
  O noble almighty Sampson, leef and dere,
  Had thou nat told to wommen thy secree,
  In al this worlde ne hadde been thy pere!

  This Sampson never sicer drank ne wyn,                      3245
  Ne on his heed cam rasour noon ne shere,
  By precept of the messager divyn,
  For alle his strengthes in his heres were;
  And fully twenty winter, yeer by yere,
  He hadde of Israel the governaunce.                         3250
  But sone shal he wepen many a tere,                         (71)
  For wommen shal him bringen to meschaunce!

    3245. E. Hn. ciser (_for_ sicer); Hl. siser; Cm. Pt. Ln. sythir; Cp.
    cyder.

  Un-to his lemman Dalida he tolde
  That in his heres al his strengthe lay,
  And falsly to his fo-men she him solde.                     3255
  And sleping in hir barme up-on a day
  She made to clippe or shere his heer awey,
  And made his fo-men al his craft espyen;
  And whan that they him fonde in this array,
  They bounde him faste, and putten out his yën.              3260

    3257. E. Hl. heres; _rest_ heer, here.   3258. E. Hn. this craft;
    _rest_ his craft.

  But er his heer were clipped or y-shave,                    (81)
  Ther was no bond with which men might him binde;
  But now is he in prisoun in a cave,
  Wher-as they made him at the querne grinde.
  [247: T. 14081-14112.]
  O noble Sampson, strongest of mankinde,                     3265
  O whylom Iuge in glorie and in richesse,
  Now maystow wepen with thyn yën blinde,
  Sith thou fro wele art falle in wrecchednesse.

    3261. E. were; _rest_ was; _see l._ 3328.

  Thende of this caytif was as I shal seye;
  His fo-men made a feste upon a day,                         3270
  And made him as hir fool bifore hem pleye,                  (91)
  And this was in a temple of greet array.
  But atte laste he made a foul affray;
  For he two pilers shook, and made hem falle,
  And doun fil temple and al, and ther it lay,                3275
  And slow him-self, and eek his fo-men alle.

    3271. E. Cm. a; _rest_ hire, here.   3274. E. the; _rest_ two.

  This is to seyn, the princes everichoon,
  And eek three thousand bodies wer ther slayn
  With falling of the grete temple of stoon.
  Of Sampson now wol I na-more seyn.                          3280
  Beth war by this ensample old and playn                    (101)
  That no men telle hir conseil til hir wyves
  Of swich thing as they wolde han secree fayn,
  If that it touche hir limmes or hir lyves.

              HERCULES.

  Of Hercules the sovereyn conquerour                         3285
  Singen his workes laude and heigh renoun;
  For in his tyme of strengthe he was the flour.
  He slow, and rafte the skin of the leoun;
  He of Centauros leyde the boost adoun;
  He Arpies slow, the cruel briddes felle;                    3290
  He golden apples rafte of the dragoun;                     (111)
  He drow out Cerberus, the hound of helle:

  He slow the cruel tyrant Busirus,
  And made his hors to frete him, flesh and boon;
  He slow the firy serpent venimous;                          3295
  Of Achelois two hornes, he brak oon;
  [248: T. 14113-14148.]
  And he slow Cacus in a cave of stoon;
  He slow the geaunt Antheus the stronge;
  He slow the grisly boor, and that anoon,
  And bar the heven on his nekke longe.                       3300

    3294. E. flessh.   3296. E. Cm. hornes two; _rest_ two hornes.

  Was never wight, sith that the world bigan,                (121)
  That slow so many monstres as dide he.
  Thurgh-out this wyde world his name ran,
  What for his strengthe, and for his heigh bountee,
  And every reaume wente he for to see.                       3305
  He was so strong that no man mighte him lette;
  At bothe the worldes endes, seith Trophee,
  In stede of boundes, he a piler sette.

    3308. E. stide; pileer.

  A lemman hadde this noble champioun,
  That highte Dianira, fresh as May;                          3310
  And, as thise clerkes maken mencioun,                      (131)
  She hath him sent a sherte fresh and gay.
  Allas! this sherte, allas and weylaway!
  Envenimed was so subtilly with-alle,
  That, er that he had wered it half a day,                   3315
  It made his flesh al from his bones falle.

    3310, 2. E. fressh.   3316. E. flessh.

  But nathelees somme clerkes hir excusen
  By oon that highte Nessus, that it maked;
  Be as be may, I wol hir noght accusen;
  But on his bak this sherte he wered al naked,               3320
  Til that his flesh was for the venim blaked.               (141)
  And whan he sey noon other remedye,
  In hote coles he hath him-selven raked,
  For with no venim deyned him to dye.

  Thus starf this worthy mighty Hercules;                     3325
  Lo, who may truste on fortune any throwe?
  For him that folweth al this world of prees,
  Er he be war, is ofte y-leyd ful lowe.
  Ful wys is he that can him-selven knowe.
  Beth war, for whan that fortune list to glose,              3330
  Than wayteth she hir man to overthrowe                     (151)
  By swich a wey as he wolde leest suppose.

[249: T. 14149-14180.]

      NABUGODONOSOR (NEBUCHADNEZZAR).

  The mighty trone, the precious tresor,
  The glorious ceptre and royal magestee
  That hadde the king Nabugodonosor,                          3335
  With tonge unnethe may discryved be.
  He twyes wan Ierusalem the citee;
  The vessel of the temple he with him ladde.
  At Babiloyne was his sovereyn see,
  In which his glorie and his delyt he hadde.                 3340

    3336. Hl. vnnethes.

  The fairest children of the blood royal                    (161)
  Of Israel he leet do gelde anoon,
  And maked ech of hem to been his thral.
  Amonges othere Daniel was oon,
  That was the wysest child of everichoon;                    3345
  For he the dremes of the king expouned,
  Wher-as in Chaldey clerk ne was ther noon
  That wiste to what fyn his dremes souned.

  This proude king leet make a statue of golde,
  Sixty cubytes long, and seven in brede,                     3350
  To which image bothe yonge and olde                        (171)
  Comaunded he to loute, and have in drede;
  Or in a fourneys ful of flambes rede
  He shal be brent, that wolde noght obeye.
  But never wolde assente to that dede                        3355
  Daniel, ne his yonge felawes tweye.

    3351. E. The; _rest_ To.   E. Hn. Cm. he bothe; _rest omit_ he.   3352.
    E. Hn. Cm. _omit_ he.

  This king of kinges proud was and elaat,
  He wende that god, that sit in magestee,
  Ne mighte him nat bireve of his estaat:
  But sodeynly he loste his dignitee,                         3360
  And lyk a beste him semed for to be,                       (181)
  And eet hay as an oxe, and lay ther-oute;
  In reyn with wilde bestes walked he,
  Til certein tyme was y-come aboute.

  [250: T. 14181-14212.]
  And lyk an egles fetheres wexe his heres,                   3365
  His nayles lyk a briddes clawes were;
  Til god relessed him a certein yeres,
  And yaf him wit; and than with many a tere
  He thanked god, and ever his lyf in fere
  Was he to doon amis, or more trespace;                      3370
  And, til that tyme he leyd was on his bere,                (191)
  He knew that god was ful of might and grace.

    3365. Wexe _is the right reading, whence_ Cm. wexsyn, _and_ Hl. Cp.
    were (_for_ wexe); E. Hn. wax; Pt. Ln. was (_for_ wax).

      BALTHASAR (BELSHAZZAR).

  His sone, which that highte Balthasar,
  That heeld the regne after his fader day,
  He by his fader coude nought be war,                        3375
  For proud he was of herte and of array;
  And eek an ydolastre was he ay.
  His hye estaat assured him in pryde.
  But fortune caste him doun, and ther he lay,
  And sodeynly his regne gan divyde.                          3380

    3377. E. he was; _rest_ was he.

  A feste he made un-to his lordes alle                      (201)
  Up-on a tyme, and bad hem blythe be,
  And than his officeres gan he calle--
  'Goth, bringeth forth the vessels,' [tho] quod he,
  'Which that my fader, in his prosperitee,                   3385
  Out of the temple of Ierusalem birafte,
  And to our hye goddes thanke we
  Of honour, that our eldres with us lafte.'

    3384. _I supply_ tho.   _For_ vessels, _see_ 3391, 3416, 3418.

  His wyf, his lordes, and his concubynes
  Ay dronken, whyl hir appetytes laste,                       3390
  Out of thise noble vessels sundry wynes;                   (211)
  And on a wal this king his yën caste,
  And sey an hond armlees, that wroot ful faste,
  For fere of which he quook and syked sore.
  This hond, that Balthasar so sore agaste,                   3395
  Wroot _Mane, techel, phares_, and na-more.

  [251: T. 14213-14244.]
  In al that lond magicien was noon
  That coude expoune what this lettre mente;
  But Daniel expouned it anoon,
  And seyde, 'king, god to thy fader lente                    3400
  Glorie and honour, regne, tresour, rente:                  (221)
  And he was proud, and no-thing god ne dradde,
  And therfor god gret wreche up-on him sente,
  And him birafte the regne that he hadde.

    3400. Hn. lente; _rest_ sente (_but see_ l. 3403).

  He was out cast of mannes companye,                         3405
  With asses was his habitacioun,
  And eet hey as a beste in weet and drye,
  Til that he knew, by grace and by resoun,
  That god of heven hath dominacioun
  Over every regne and every creature;                        3410
  And thanne had god of him compassioun,                     (231)
  And him restored his regne and his figure.

  Eek thou, that art his sone, art proud also,
  And knowest alle thise thinges verraily,
  And art rebel to god, and art his fo.                       3415
  Thou drank eek of his vessels boldely;
  Thy wyf eek and thy wenches sinfully
  Dronke of the same vessels sondry wynes,
  And heriest false goddes cursedly;
  Therfor to thee y-shapen ful gret pyne is.                  3420

  This hand was sent from god, that on the walle             (241)
  Wroot _mane, techel, phares_, truste me;
  Thy regne is doon, thou weyest noght at alle;
  Divyded is thy regne, and it shal be
  To Medes and to Perses yeven,' quod he.                     3425
  And thilke same night this king was slawe,
  And Darius occupyeth his degree,
  Thogh he therto had neither right ne lawe.

    3422. E. Hn. Cp. Hl. truste; Pt. trest; Ln. trust; Cm. trust to.   See
    B. 4214.   3425. E. _om._ yeven.

[252: T. 14245-14276.]

  Lordinges, ensample heer-by may ye take
  How that in lordshipe is no sikernesse;                     3430
  For whan fortune wol a man forsake,                        (251)
  She bereth awey his regne and his richesse,
  And eek his freendes, bothe more and lesse;
  For what man that hath freendes thurgh fortune,
  Mishap wol make hem enemys, I gesse:                        3435
  This proverbe is ful sooth and ful commune.

    3435. E. as I; _the rest omit_ as.

      CENOBIA (ZENOBIA).

  Cenobia, of Palimerie quene,
  As writen Persiens of hir noblesse,
  So worthy was in armes and so kene,
  That no wight passed hir in hardinesse,                     3440
  Ne in linage, ne in other gentillesse.                     (261)
  Of kinges blode of Perse is she descended;
  I seye nat that she hadde most fairnesse,
  But of hir shape she mighte nat been amended.

    3437. _So_ E. Hn. Cm.; _and_ Cp. _has the heading_--De Cenobia
    Palymerie regina.   3441. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. ne in; E. nor in; Hn. ne; Cm.
    nor; (ne in = n'in).

  From hir childhede I finde that she fledde                  3445
  Office of wommen, and to wode she wente;
  And many a wilde hertes blood she shedde
  With arwes brode that she to hem sente.
  She was so swift that she anon hem hente,
  And whan that she was elder, she wolde kille                3450
  Leouns, lepardes, and beres al to-rente,                   (271)
  And in hir armes welde hem at hir wille.

  She dorste wilde beestes dennes seke,
  And rennen in the montaignes al the night,
  And slepen under a bush, and she coude eke                  3455
  Wrastlen by verray force and verray might
  With any yong man, were he never so wight;
  Ther mighte no-thing in hir armes stonde.
  She kepte hir maydenhod from every wight,
  To no man deigned hir for to be bonde.                      3460

    3455. E. Hn. Cm. the; _rest_ a. E. bussh.

[253: T. 14277-14308.]

  But atte laste hir frendes han hir maried                  (281)
  To Odenake, a prince of that contree,
  Al were it so that she hem longe taried;
  And ye shul understonde how that he
  Hadde swiche fantasyes as hadde she.                        3465
  But nathelees, whan they were knit in-fere,
  They lived in Ioye and in felicitee;
  For ech of hem hadde other leef and dere.

    3462. E. Hn. Cm. Onedake; Cp. Ln. Hl. Odenake; Pt. Odonak.   3468. E.
    oother lief.

  Save o thing, that she never wolde assente
  By no wey, that he sholde by hir lye                        3470
  But ones, for it was hir pleyn entente                     (291)
  To have a child, the world to multiplye;
  And al-so sone as that she mighte espye
  That she was nat with childe with that dede,
  Than wolde she suffre him doon his fantasye                 3475
  Eft-sone, and nat but ones, out of drede.

  And if she were with childe at thilke cast,
  Na-more sholde he pleyen thilke game
  Til fully fourty dayes weren past;
  Than wolde she ones suffre him do the same.                 3480
  Al were this Odenake wilde or tame,                        (301)
  He gat na-more of hir, for thus she seyde,
  'It was to wyves lecherye and shame
  In other cas, if that men with hem pleyde.'

    3481. E. Hn. Cm. Onedake; _rest_ Odenake.

  Two sones by this Odenake hadde she,                        3485
  The whiche she kepte in vertu and lettrure;
  But now un-to our tale turne we.
  I seye, so worshipful a creature,
  And wys therwith, and large with mesure,
  So penible in the warre, and curteis eke,                   3490
  Ne more labour mighte in werre endure,                     (311)
  Was noon, thogh al this world men sholde seke.

    3485. E. _om._ this.   E. Hn. Cm. Onedake; _rest_ Odenake.   3492. E.
    though; Hn. thogh.   E. wolde; _rest_ sholde (schulde).

[254: T. 14309-14340.]

  Hir riche array ne mighte nat be told
  As wel in vessel as in hir clothing;
  She was al clad in perree and in gold,                      3495
  And eek she lafte noght, for noon hunting,
  To have of sondry tonges ful knowing,
  Whan that she leyser hadde, and for to entende
  To lernen bokes was al hir lyking,
  How she in vertu mighte hir lyf dispende.                   3500

  And, shortly of this storie for to trete,                  (321)
  So doughty was hir housbonde and eek she,
  That they conquered many regnes grete
  In the orient, with many a fair citee,
  Apertenaunt un-to the magestee                              3505
  Of Rome, and with strong hond helde hem ful faste;
  Ne never mighte hir fo-men doon hem flee,
  Ay whyl that Odenakes dayes laste.

    3501. E. proces; _rest_ storie.   3508. Hl. Odenakes; _rest_ Onedakes,
    Odenake.

  Hir batailes, who-so list hem for to rede,
  Agayn Sapor the king and othere mo,                         3510
  And how that al this proces fil in dede,                   (331)
  Why she conquered and what title had therto,
  And after of hir meschief and hir wo,
  How that she was biseged and y-take,
  Let him un-to my maister Petrark go,                        3515
  That writ y-nough of this, I undertake.

    3511. E. _omits_ that.   3512. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. had; _which_ E. Hn. Cm.
    _omit._

  When Odenake was deed, she mightily
  The regnes heeld, and with hir propre honde
  Agayn hir foos she faught so cruelly,
  That ther nas king ne prince in al that londe               3520
  That he nas glad, if that he grace fonde,                  (341)
  That she ne wolde up-on his lond werreye;
  With hir they made alliaunce by bonde
  To been in pees, and lete hir ryde and pleye.

    3517. _So_ Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl.; E. Hn. Cm. Onedake.   3518. E. hond_e_; Pt.
    honde; Ln. hande; _rest_ hond.   3523. _MSS._ made; _read_ maden?

[255: T. 14341-14372.]

  The emperour of Rome, Claudius,                             3525
  Ne him bifore, the Romayn Galien,
  Ne dorste never been so corageous,
  Ne noon Ermyn, ne noon Egipcien,
  Ne Surrien, ne noon Arabien,
  Within the feld that dorste with hir fighte                 3530
  Lest that she wolde hem with hir hondes slen,              (351)
  Or with hir meynee putten hem to flighte.

    3530. Cp. feeld; Hl. feld; Ln. felde; Pt. feelde; E. Hn. Cm. feeldes.

  In kinges habit wente hir sones two,
  As heires of hir fadres regnes alle,
  And Hermanno, and Thymalaö                                  3535
  Her names were, as Persiens hem calle.
  But ay fortune hath in hir hony galle;
  This mighty quene may no whyl endure.
  Fortune out of hir regne made hir falle
  To wrecchednesse and to misaventure.                        3540

  Aurelian, whan that the governaunce                        (361)
  Of Rome cam in-to his hondes tweye,
  He shoop up-on this queen to do vengeaunce,
  And with his legiouns he took his weye
  Toward Cenobie, and, shortly for to seye,                   3545
  He made hir flee, and atte laste hir hente,
  And fettred hir, and eek hir children tweye,
  And wan the lond, and hoom to Rome he wente.

  Amonges othere thinges that he wan,
  Hir char, that was with gold wrought and perree,            3550
  This grete Romayn, this Aurelian,                          (371)
  Hath with him lad, for that men sholde it see.
  Biforen his triumphe walketh she
  With gilte cheynes on hir nekke hanging;
  Corouned was she, as after hir degree,                      3555
  And ful of perree charged hir clothing.

    3553. _MSS._ Biforn, Bifore (Hl. Bifore this).   3555. E. _omits_ as.

[256: T. 14373-14708.]

  Allas, fortune! she that whylom was
  Dredful to kinges and to emperoures,
  Now gaureth al the peple on hir, allas!
  And she that helmed was in starke stoures,                  3560
  And wan by force tounes stronge and toures,                (381)
  Shal on hir heed now were a vitremyte;
  And she that bar the ceptre ful of floures
  Shal bere a distaf, hir cost for to quyte.            [T. 14380.

    3560. E. shoures.   3562. Hl. wyntermyte.   3564. Hn. Cm. Ln. cost; Pt.
    coste; E. Cp. costes; Hl. self.

  (NERO _follows in_ T.; _see_ p. 259.)

      DE PETRO REGE ISPANNIE.

  O noble, o worthy Petro, glorie of Spayne,            [T. 14685.
  Whom fortune heeld so hy in magestee,                       3566
  Wel oughten men thy pitous deeth complayne!
  Out of thy lond thy brother made thee flee;
  And after, at a sege, by subtiltee,
  Thou were bitrayed, and lad un-to his tente,                3570
  Wher-as he with his owene hond slow thee,                  (391)
  Succeding in thy regne and in thy rente.

    3570. E. Hn. Cm. bitraysed.

  The feeld of snow, with thegle of blak ther-inne,     [T. 14693.
  Caught with the lymrod, coloured as the glede,
  He brew this cursednes and al this sinne.                   3575
  The 'wikked nest' was werker of this nede;
  Noght Charles Oliver, that ay took hede
  Of trouthe and honour, but of Armorike
  Genilon Oliver, corrupt for mede,
  Broghte this worthy king in swich a brike.                  3580

    3577. E. Hn. Cm. took ay; _rest_ ay took.

      DE PETRO REGE DE CIPRO.

  O worthy Petro, king of Cypre, also,                       (401)
  That Alisaundre wan by heigh maistrye,
  Ful many a hethen wroghtestow ful wo,
  Of which thyn owene liges hadde envye,
  And, for no thing but for thy chivalrye,                    3585
  They in thy bedde han slayn thee by the morwe.
  Thus can fortune hir wheel governe and gye,
  And out of Ioye bringe men to sorwe.                  [T. 14708.

[257: T. 14709-14740.]

      DE BARNABO DE LUMBARDIA.

  Of Melan grete Barnabo Viscounte,
  God of delyt, and scourge of Lumbardye,                     3590
  Why sholde I nat thyn infortune acounte,                   (411)
  Sith in estaat thou clombe were so hye?
  Thy brother sone, that was thy double allye,
  For he thy nevew was, and sone-in-lawe,
  With-inne his prisoun made thee to dye;                     3595
  But why, ne how, noot I that thou were slawe.

      DE HUGELINO, COMITE DE PIZE.

  Of the erl Hugelyn of Pyse the langour
  Ther may no tonge telle for pitee;
  But litel out of Pyse stant a tour,
  In whiche tour in prisoun put was he,                       3600
  And with him been his litel children three.                (421)
  The eldeste scarsly fyf yeer was of age.
  Allas, fortune! it was greet crueltee
  Swiche briddes for to putte in swiche a cage!

    3597. E. Pyze; Hn. Pize; Cp. Pyse; Pt. Ln. Hl. Pise.   3599. E. Hn. Cm.
    Pize; Cp. Pyse; Pt. Ln. Hl. Pise.

  Dampned was he to deye in that prisoun,                     3605
  For Roger, which that bisshop was of Pyse,
  Hadde on him maad a fals suggestioun,
  Thurgh which the peple gan upon him ryse,
  And putten him to prisoun in swich wyse
  As ye han herd, and mete and drink he hadde                 3610
  So smal, that wel unnethe it may suffyse,                  (431)
  And therwith-al it was ful povre and badde.

    3606. E. Hn. Pize; Cm. Pyze; Cp. Pyse; Pt. Ln. Hl. Pise.   3611. E. Pt.
    _omit_ wel.

  And on a day bifil that, in that hour,
  Whan that his mete wont was to be broght,
  The gayler shette the dores of the tour.                    3615
  He herde it wel,--but he spak right noght,
  And in his herte anon ther fil a thoght,
  That they for hunger wolde doon him dyen.
  'Allas!' quod he, 'allas! that I was wroght!'
  Therwith the teres fillen from his yën.                     3620

    3616. E. Hn. spak right; Cp. Hl. saugh it; Pt. seegh it; Ln. sawe it.

[258: T. 14741-14772.]

  His yonge sone, that three yeer was of age,                (441)
  Un-to him seyde, 'fader, why do ye wepe?
  Whan wol the gayler bringen our potage,
  Is ther no morsel breed that ye do kepe?
  I am so hungry that I may nat slepe,                        3625
  Now wolde god that I mighte slepen ever!
  Than sholde nat hunger in my wombe crepe;
  Ther is no thing, save breed, that me were lever.'

    3622. E. Hn. _repeat_ fader.   3628. Ln. Hl. saue; Cp. Pt. sauf; E. Hn.
    but.

  Thus day by day this child bigan to crye,
  Til in his fadres barme adoun it lay,                       3630
  And seyde, 'far-wel, fader, I moot dye,'                   (451)
  And kiste his fader, and deyde the same day.
  And whan the woful fader deed it sey,
  For wo his armes two he gan to byte,
  And seyde, 'allas, fortune! and weylaway!                   3635
  Thy false wheel my wo al may I wyte!'

    3632. E. Hl. dyde; Hn. Cp. deyde; _see_ l. 3644.

  His children wende that it for hunger was
  That he his armes gnow, and nat for wo,
  And seyde, 'fader, do nat so, allas!
  But rather eet the flesh upon us two;                       3640
  Our flesh thou yaf us, tak our flesh us fro                (461)
  And eet y-nough:' right thus they to him seyde,
  And after that, with-in a day or two,
  They leyde hem in his lappe adoun, and deyde.

    3640. E. flessh.   3641. E. flessh.   E. Hn. _omit_ vs _after_ yaf.

  Him-self, despeired, eek for hunger starf;                  3645
  Thus ended is this mighty Erl of Pyse;
  From heigh estaat fortune awey him carf.
  Of this Tragedie it oghte y-nough suffyse.
  Who-so wol here it in a lenger wyse,
  Redeth the grete poete of Itaille,                          3650
  That highte Dant, for he can al devyse                     (471)
  Fro point to point, nat o word wol he faille.         [T. 14772.

    3646. _See note to _ l. 3597.

[259: T. 14381-14412.] (_For_ T. 14773, _see_ p. 269; _for_ T. 14380, _see_
p. 256.)

              NERO.

  Al-though that Nero were as vicious                   [T. 14381.
  As any feend that lyth ful lowe adoun,
  Yet he, as telleth us Swetonius,                            3655
  This wyde world hadde in subieccioun,
  Both Est and West, South and Septemtrioun;
  Of rubies, saphires, and of perles whyte
  Were alle his clothes brouded up and doun;
  For he in gemmes greetly gan delyte.                        3660

    3653. E. Hn. Cm. _omit_ as.   3654. E. in helle; _rest_ full lowe.
    3657. E. Hn. Cm. North (_but read_ South); Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl _omit_!

  More delicat, more pompous of array,                       (481)
  More proud was never emperour than he;
  That ilke cloth, that he had wered o day,
  After that tyme he nolde it never see.
  Nettes of gold-thred hadde he gret plentee                  3665
  To fisshe in Tybre, whan him liste pleye.
  His lustes were al lawe in his decree,
  For fortune as his freend him wolde obeye.

  He Rome brende for his delicacye;
  The senatours he slow up-on a day.                          3670
  To here how men wolde wepe and crye;                       (491)
  And slow his brother, and by his sister lay.
  His moder made he in pitous array;
  For he hir wombe slitte, to biholde
  Wher he conceyved was; so weilawey!                         3675
  That he so litel of his moder tolde!

    3673, 6. E. mooder.

  No tere out of his yën for that sighte
  Ne cam, but seyde, 'a fair womman was she.'
  Gret wonder is, how that he coude or mighte
  Be domesman of hir dede beautee.                            3680
  The wyn to bringen him comaunded he,                       (501)
  And drank anon; non other wo he made.
  Whan might is Ioyned un-to crueltee,
  Allas! to depe wol the venim wade!

    3682. E. noon oother.

[260: T. 14413-14444.]

  In youthe a maister hadde this emperour,                    3685
  To teche him letterure and curteisye,
  For of moralitee he was the flour,
  As in his tyme, but-if bokes lye;
  And whyl this maister hadde of him maistrye,
  He maked him so conning and so souple                       3690
  That longe tyme it was er tirannye                         (511)
  Or any vyce dorste on him uncouple.

  This Seneca, of which that I devyse,
  By-cause Nero hadde of him swich drede,
  For he fro vyces wolde him ay chastyse                      3695
  Discreetly as by worde and nat by dede;--
  'Sir,' wolde he seyn, 'an emperour moot nede
  Be vertuous, and hate tirannye'--
  For which he in a bath made him to blede
  On bothe his armes, til he moste dye.                       3700

    3694. Cm. Bycause that.   3695. Hn. Cm. ay; _rest omit._   [3699.
    _Misnumbered_ 520 _in the_ Aldine Edition; _but corrected further on._]

  This Nero hadde eek of acustumaunce                        (521)
  In youthe ageyn his maister for to ryse,
  Which afterward him thoughte a greet grevaunce;
  Therfor he made him deyen in this wyse.
  But natheles this Seneca the wyse                           3705
  Chees in a bath to deye in this manere
  Rather than han another tormentyse;
  And thus hath Nero slayn his maister dere.

    3703. E. (_only_) _omits_ a.   3707. E. any oother.

  Now fil it so that fortune list no lenger
  The hye pryde of Nero to cheryce;                           3710
  For though that he were strong, yet was she strenger;      (531)
  She thoughte thus, 'by god, I am to nyce
  To sette a man that is fulfild of vyce
  In heigh degree, and emperour him calle.
  By god, out of his sete I wol him tryce;                    3715
  When he leest weneth, sonest shal he falle.'

    3711. E. Hn. was; _the rest_ were.

[261: T. 14445-14476.]

  The peple roos up-on him on a night
  For his defaute, and whan he it espyed,
  Out of his dores anon he hath him dight
  Alone, and, ther he wende han ben allyed,                   3720
  He knokked faste, and ay, the more he cryed,               (541)
  The faster shette they the dores alle;
  Tho wiste he wel he hadde him-self misgyed,
  And wente his wey, no lenger dorste he calle.

    3723. E. Hn. _wrongly repeat_ l. 3731 _here._

  The peple cryde and rombled up and doun,                    3725
  That with his eres herde he how they seyde,
  'Wher is this false tyraunt, this Neroun?'
  For fere almost out of his wit he breyde,
  And to his goddes pitously he preyde
  For socour, but it mighte nat bityde.                       3730
  For drede of this, him thoughte that he deyde,             (551)
  And ran in-to a gardin, him to hyde.

  And in this gardin fond he cherles tweye
  That seten by a fyr ful greet and reed,
  And to thise cherles two he gan to preye                    3735
  To sleen him, and to girden of his heed,
  That to his body, whan that he were deed,
  Were no despyt y-doon, for his defame.
  Him-self he slow, he coude no better reed,
  Of which fortune lough, and hadde a game.                   3740

    3733. E. Hn. foond.   3734. E. Hn. Cm. _omit_ ful.

      DE OLOFERNO (HOLOFERNES).

  Was never capitayn under a king                            (561)
  That regnes mo putte in subieccioun,
  Ne strenger was in feeld of alle thing,
  As in his tyme, ne gretter of renoun,
  Ne more pompous in heigh presumpcioun                       3745
  Than Oloferne, which fortune ay kiste
  So likerously, and ladde him up and doun
  Til that his heed was of, er that he wiste.

  [262: T. 14477-14508.]
  Nat only that this world hadde him in awe
  For lesinge of richesse or libertee,                        3750
  But he made every man reneye his lawe.                     (571)
  'Nabugodonosor was god,' seyde he,
  'Noon other god sholde adoured be.'
  Ageyns his heste no wight dar trespace
  Save in Bethulia, a strong citee,                           3755
  Wher Eliachim a prest was of that place.

    3751. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _omit_ he.   3753. E. Hn. Cm. adoured; Cp. Pt. Ln.
    Hl. honoured.   3754. E. Hn. dorste; _rest_ dar.

  But tak kepe of the deeth of Olofern;
  Amidde his host he dronke lay a night,
  With-inne his tente, large as is a bern,
  And yit, for al his pompe and al his might,                 3760
  Iudith, a womman, as he lay upright,                       (581)
  Sleping, his heed of smoot, and from his tente
  Ful prively she stal from every wight,
  And with his heed unto hir toun she wente.

      DE REGE ANTHIOCHO ILLUSTRI.

  What nedeth it of King Anthiochus                           3765
  To telle his hye royal magestee,
  His hye pryde, his werkes venimous?
  For swich another was ther noon as he.
  Rede which that he was in Machabee,
  And rede the proude wordes that he seyde,                   3770
  And why he fil fro heigh prosperitee,                      (591)
  And in an hil how wrechedly he deyde.

  Fortune him hadde enhaunced so in pryde
  That verraily he wende he mighte attayne
  Unto the sterres, upon every syde,                          3775
  And in balance weyen ech montayne,
  And alle the flodes of the see restrayne.
  And goddes peple hadde he most in hate,
  Hem wolde he sleen in torment and in payne,
  Wening that god ne mighte his pryde abate.                  3780

    3777. Cm. flodys; _rest_ floodes.   3778. E. Hn. moost.

[263: T. 14509-14540.]

  And for that Nichanor and Thimothee                        (601)
  Of Iewes weren venquisshed mightily,
  Unto the Iewes swich an hate hadde he
  That he bad greithe his char ful hastily,
  And swoor, and seyde, ful despitously,                      3785
  Unto Ierusalem he wolde eft-sone,
  To wreken his ire on it ful cruelly;
  But of his purpos he was let ful sone.

    3784. E. greithen; Hn. greithe; Cm. ordeyne.   E. Hn. chaar; Cm. char.

  God for his manace him so sore smoot
  With invisible wounde, ay incurable,                        3790
  That in his guttes carf it so and boot                     (611)
  That his peynes weren importable.
  And certeinly, the wreche was resonable,
  For many a mannes guttes dide he peyne;
  But from his purpos cursed and dampnable                    3795
  For al his smert he wolde him nat restreyne;

  But bad anon apparaillen his host,
  And sodeynly, er he of it was war,
  God daunted al his pryde and al his bost.
  For he so sore fil out of his char,                         3800
  That it his limes and his skin to-tar,                     (621)
  So that he neither mighte go ne ryde,
  But in a chayer men aboute him bar,
  Al for-brused, bothe bak and syde.

    3797, 9. E. hoost, boost.   3801. E. lemes; Hn. Cp. Hl. lymes; Cm.
    lymys; Ln. limes.

  The wreche of god him smoot so cruelly                      3805
  That thurgh his body wikked wormes crepte;
  And ther-with-al he stank so horribly,
  That noon of al his meynee that him kepte,
  Whether so he wook or elles slepte,
  Ne mighte noght for stink of him endure.                    3810
  In this meschief he wayled and eek wepte,                  (631)
  And knew god lord of every creature.

    3807. E. _om._ so; E. horriblely.   3809. E. Hn. Cm. so; Pt. Hl. that;
    Cp. Ln. so that.   3810. E. Hn. for; _rest_ the.

[264: T. 14541-14572.]

  To al his host and to him-self also
  Ful wlatsom was the stink of his careyne;
  No man ne mighte him bere to ne fro.                        3815
  And in this stink and this horrible peyne
  He starf ful wrecchedly in a monteyne.
  Thus hath this robbour and this homicyde,
  That many a man made to wepe and pleyne,
  Swich guerdon as bilongeth unto pryde.                      3820

              DE ALEXANDRO.

  The storie of Alisaundre is so comune,                     (641)
  That every wight that hath discrecioun
  Hath herd somwhat or al of his fortune.
  This wyde world, as in conclusioun,
  He wan by strengthe, or for his hye renoun                  3825
  They weren glad for pees un-to him sende.
  The pryde of man and beste he leyde adoun,
  Wher-so he cam, un-to the worldes ende.

    3827. beste] Hl. bost.

  Comparisoun might never yit be maked
  Bitwixe him and another conquerour;                         3830
  For al this world for drede of him hath quaked,            (651)
  He was of knighthode and of fredom flour;
  Fortune him made the heir of hir honour;
  Save wyn and wommen, no-thing mighte aswage
  His hye entente in armes and labour;                        3835
  So was he ful of leonyn corage.

    3830. E. Hn. Bitwixen.   3832. E. Hn. Cm. _omit_ was.   3834. E. man:
    _rest_ thing.

  What preys were it to him, though I yow tolde
  Of Darius, and an hundred thousand mo,
  Of kinges, princes, erles, dukes bolde,
  Whiche he conquered, and broghte hem in-to wo?              3840
  I seye, as fer as man may ryde or go,                      (661)
  The world was his, what sholde I more devyse?
  For though I write or tolde you evermo
  Of his knighthode, it mighte nat suffyse.

    3837. Cm. preys; E. Hn. pris: Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. pite.   3843. Hl.
    _omits._

[265: T. 14573-14604.]

  Twelf yeer he regned, as seith Machabee;                    3845
  Philippes sone of Macedoyne he was,
  That first was king in Grece the contree.
  O worthy gentil Alisaundre, allas!
  That ever sholde fallen swich a cas!
  Empoisoned of thyn owene folk thou were;                    3850
  Thy _sys_ fortune hath turned into _as;_                   (671)
  And yit for thee ne weep she never a tere!

    3851. E. Hn. Cm. aas; Cp. Pt. Hl. an aas; Ln. an as.   3852. E. Hn. Cm.
    _omit_ yit; Hl. _has_ right.

  Who shal me yeven teres to compleyne
  The deeth of gentillesse and of fraunchyse,
  That al the world welded in his demeyne,                    3855
  And yit him thoughte it mighte nat suffyse?
  So ful was his corage of heigh empryse.
  Allas! who shal me helpe to endyte
  False fortune, and poison to despyse,
  The whiche two of al this wo I wyte?                        3860

          DE IULIO CESARE.

  By wisdom, manhede, and by greet labour                    (681)
  Fro humble bed to royal magestee,
  Up roos he, Iulius the conquerour,
  That wan al thoccident by lond and see,
  By strengthe of hond, or elles by tretee,                   3865
  And un-to Rome made hem tributarie;
  And sitthe of Rome the emperour was he,
  Til that fortune wex his adversarie.

    3861. E. Cp. Pt. Ln. _omit_ greet.   3862. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. humble bed;
    Pt. Cp. Ln. humblehede.

  O mighty Cesar, that in Thessalye
  Ageyn Pompeius, fader thyn in lawe,                         3870
  That of thorient hadde al the chivalrye                    (691)
  As fer as that the day biginneth dawe,
  Thou thurgh thy knighthode hast hem take and slawe,
  Save fewe folk that with Pompeius fledde,
  Thurgh which thou puttest al thorient in awe.               3875
  Thanke fortune, that so wel thee spedde!

    3870. _MSS._ Pompeus, Pompius.

[266: T. 14605-14636.]

  But now a litel whyl I wol biwaille
  This Pompeius, this noble governour
  Of Rome, which that fleigh at this bataille;
  I seye, oon of his men, a fals traitour,                    3880
  His heed of smoot, to winnen him favour                    (701)
  Of Iulius, and him the heed he broghte.
  Allas, Pompey, of thorient conquerour,
  That fortune unto swich a fyn thee broghte!

    [3881. _Misnumbered_ 700 _in the_ Aldine edition.]

  To Rome ageyn repaireth Iulius                              3885
  With his triumphe, laureat ful hye,
  But on a tyme Brutus Cassius,
  That ever hadde of his hye estaat envye,
  Ful prively hath maad conspiracye
  Ageins this Iulius, in subtil wyse,                         3890
  And cast the place, in whiche he sholde dye                (711)
  With boydekins, as I shal yow devyse.

    3887. _So in the MSS.; observe_ hath _in l._ 3889.

  This Iulius to the Capitolie wente
  Upon a day, as he was wont to goon,
  And in the Capitolie anon him hente                         3895
  This false Brutus, and his othere foon,
  And stikede him with boydekins anoon
  With many a wounde, and thus they lete him lye;
  But never gronte he at no strook but oon,
  Or elles at two, but-if his storie lye.                     3900

  So manly was this Iulius at herte                          (721)
  And so wel lovede estaatly honestee,
  That, though his deedly woundes sore smerte,
  His mantel over his hippes casteth he,
  For no man sholde seen his privitee.                        3905
  And, as he lay on deying in a traunce,
  And wiste verraily that deed was he,
  Of honestee yit hadde he remembraunce.

    3904. Cm. castyth; _rest_ caste, cast.   3906. Cm. on deyinge; Pt. on
    dyinge; Ln. in deynge; E. Hn. of dyyng.

[267: T. 14637-14668.]

  Lucan, to thee this storie I recomende,
  And to Sweton, and to Valerie also,                         3910
  That of this storie wryten word and ende,                  (731)
  How that to thise grete conqueroures two
  Fortune was first freend, and sithen fo.
  No man ne truste up-on hir favour longe,
  But have hir in awayt for ever-mo.                          3915
  Witnesse on alle thise conqueroures stronge.

    3910. Hl. Valirien; _rest_ Valerius; ed. 1561, Valerie.   3911. _The
    MSS. have_ word (_for_ ord); _see the note._   3913. E. sitthe; Hl.
    siththen; Hn. Cm. siththe a.

              CRESUS.

  This riche Cresus, whylom king of Lyde,
  Of whiche Cresus Cyrus sore him dradde,
  Yit was he caught amiddes al his pryde,
  And to be brent men to the fyr him ladde.                   3920
  But swich a reyn doun fro the welkne shadde                (741)
  That slow the fyr, and made him to escape;
  But to be war no grace yet he hadde,
  Til fortune on the galwes made him gape.

  Whan he escaped was, he can nat stente                      3925
  For to biginne a newe werre agayn.
  He wende wel, for that fortune him sente
  Swich hap, that he escaped thurgh the rayn,
  That of his foos he mighte nat be slayn;
  And eek a sweven up-on a night he mette,                    3930
  Of which he was so proud and eek so fayn,                  (751)
  That in vengeaunce he al his herte sette.

  Up-on a tree he was, as that him thoughte,
  Ther Iuppiter him wesh, bothe bak and syde,
  And Phebus eek a fair towaille him broughte                 3935
  To drye him with, and ther-for wex his pryde;
  And to his doghter, that stood him bisyde,
  Which that he knew in heigh science habounde,
  He bad hir telle him what it signifyde,
  And she his dreem bigan right thus expounde.                3940

    3936. Cm. Pt. Ln. wex; _rest_ wax.

[268: T. 14669-14684.]

  'The tree,' quod she, 'the galwes is to mene,              (761)
  And Iuppiter bitokneth snow and reyn,
  And Phebus, with his towaille so clene,
  Tho ben the sonne stremes for to seyn;
  Thou shalt anhanged be, fader, certeyn;                     3945
  Reyn shal thee wasshe, and sonne shal thee drye;'
  Thus warned she him ful plat and ful pleyn,
  His doughter, which that called was Phanye.

    3944. E. bemes; _rest_ stremes.   3947. Pt. Ln. Hl. she; _rest omit_.

  Anhanged was Cresus, the proude king,
  His royal trone mighte him nat availle.--                   3950
  Tragedie is noon other maner thing,                        (771)
  Ne can in singing crye ne biwaille,
  But for that fortune alwey wol assaille
  With unwar strook the regnes that ben proude;
  For when men trusteth hir, than wol she faille,             3955
  And covere hir brighte face with a cloude.          [See p. 256.

          _Explicit Tragedia_.

  HERE STINTETH THE KNIGHT THE MONK OF HIS TALE.

    3951. Cm. Tragedy is; _so_ Cp. Pt.; Ln. Tregedrye in; E. Hn. Tragedies;
    Hl. Tegredis(!).   3953. Cm. Hl. for; _rest omit_.   [3956. _Reckoned
    as 775 in the_ Aldine edition; _but really_ 776.]   _After l._ 3956, E.
    Hn. Cm. _have_ ll. 3565-3652.   COLOPHON. _From_ E. Hn. Here is ended
    the Monkes tale.

[269: T. 14773-14798.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PRESTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PREESTES TALE.

  'Ho!' quod the knight, 'good sir, na-more of this,
  That ye han seyd is right y-nough, y-wis,
  And mochel more; for litel hevinesse
  Is right y-nough to mochel folk, I gesse.                   3960
  I seye for me, it is a greet disese
  Wher-as men han ben in greet welthe and ese,
  To heren of hir sodeyn fal, allas!
  And the contrarie is Ioie and greet solas,
  As whan a man hath been in povre estaat,                    3965
  And clymbeth up, and wexeth fortunat,                       (10)
  And ther abydeth in prosperitee,
  Swich thing is gladsom, as it thinketh me,
  And of swich thing were goodly for to telle.'
  'Ye,' quod our hoste, 'by seint Poules belle,               3970
  Ye seye right sooth; this monk, he clappeth loude,
  He spak how "fortune covered with a cloude"
  I noot never what, and als of a "Tragedie"
  Right now ye herde, and parde! no remedie
  It is for to biwaille, ne compleyne                         3975
  That that is doon, and als it is a peyne,                   (20)
  As ye han seyd, to here of hevinesse.
  Sir monk, na-more of this, so god yow blesse!
  Your tale anoyeth al this companye;
  Swich talking is nat worth a boterflye;                     3980
  For ther-in is ther no desport ne game.
  Wherfor, sir Monk, or dan Piers by your name,
  [270: T. 14799-14826.]
  I preye yow hertely, telle us somwhat elles,
  For sikerly, nere clinking of your belles,
  That on your brydel hange on every syde,                    3985
  By heven king, that for us alle dyde,                       (30)
  I sholde er this han fallen doun for slepe,
  Although the slough had never been so depe;
  Than had your tale al be told in vayn.
  For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,                  3990
  "Wher-as a man may have noon audience,
  Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence."
  And wel I woot the substance is in me,
  If any thing shal wel reported be.
  Sir, sey somwhat of hunting, I yow preye.'                  3995
  'Nay,' quod this monk, 'I have no lust to pleye;            (40)
  Now let another telle, as I have told.'
  Than spak our host, with rude speche and bold,
  And seyde un-to the Nonnes Preest anon,
  'Com neer, thou preest, com hider, thou sir Iohn,           4000
  Tel us swich thing as may our hertes glade,
  Be blythe, though thou ryde up-on a Iade.
  What though thyn hors be bothe foule and lene,
  If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene;
  Look that thyn herte be mery evermo.'                       4005
  'Yis, sir,' quod he, 'yis, host, so mote I go,              (50)
  But I be mery, y-wis, I wol be blamed:'--
  And right anon his tale he hath attamed,
  And thus he seyde un-to us everichon,
  This swete preest, this goodly man, sir Iohn.               4010

              _Explicit._

    3982. Pt. or; Hn. o; _rest omit._   4002. though] Hl. al-though.
    4004. Pt. Hl. rek.   4005. E. Hn. murie; _rest_ mery.   4006. Cp. Ln.
    Yis, ost, quod he, so mote I ryde or go.

[271: T. 14827-14852.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NONNE PREESTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE NONNE PREESTES TALE OF THE COK
        AND HEN, CHAUNTECLEER AND PERTELOTE.

  A povre widwe, somdel stope in age,
  Was whylom dwelling in a narwe cotage,
  Bisyde a grove, stonding in a dale.
  This widwe, of which I telle yow my tale,
  Sin thilke day that she was last a wyf,                     4015
  In pacience ladde a ful simple lyf,
  For litel was hir catel and hir rente;
  By housbondrye, of such as God hir sente,
  She fond hir-self, and eek hir doghtren two.
  Three large sowes hadde she, and namo,                      4020
  Three kyn, and eek a sheep that highte Malle.               (11)
  Ful sooty was hir bour, and eek hir halle,
  In which she eet ful many a sclendre meel.
  Of poynaunt sauce hir neded never a deel.
  No deyntee morsel passed thurgh hir throte;                 4025
  Hir dyete was accordant to hir cote.
  Repleccioun ne made hir never syk;
  Attempree dyete was al hir phisyk,
  And exercyse, and hertes suffisaunce.
  The goute lette hir no-thing for to daunce,                 4030
  Napoplexye shente nat hir heed;                             (21)
  No wyn ne drank she, neither whyt ne reed;
  Hir bord was served most with whyt and blak,
  Milk and broun breed, in which she fond no lak,
  Seynd bacoun, and somtyme an ey or tweye,                   4035
  For she was as it were a maner deye.

    4011. E. Hn. stape; Ln. stoupe; _rest_ stope.   4013. E. grene.   4021.
    E. keen; Hn. Hl. Cp. kyn.   4031. E. Hn. Napoplexie; _rest_ Ne
    poplexie.

[272: T. 14853-14887.]

    A yerd she hadde, enclosed al aboute
  With stikkes, and a drye dich with-oute,
  In which she hadde a cok, hight Chauntecleer,
  In al the land of crowing nas his peer.                     4040
  His vois was merier than the mery orgon                     (31)
  On messe-dayes that in the chirche gon;
  Wel sikerer was his crowing in his logge,
  Than is a clokke, or an abbey orlogge.
  By nature knew he ech ascencioun                            4045
  Of equinoxial in thilke toun;
  For whan degrees fiftene were ascended,
  Thanne crew he, that it mighte nat ben amended.
  His comb was redder than the fyn coral,
  And batailed, as it were a castel-wal.                      4050
  His bile was blak, and as the Ieet it shoon;                (41)
  Lyk asur were his legges, and his toon;
  His nayles whytter than the lilie flour,
  And lyk the burned gold was his colour.
  This gentil cok hadde in his governaunce                    4055
  Sevene hennes, for to doon al his plesaunce,
  Whiche were his sustres and his paramours,
  And wonder lyk to him, as of colours.
  Of whiche the faireste hewed on hir throte
  Was cleped faire damoysele Pertelote.                       4060
  Curteys she was, discreet, and debonaire,                   (51)
  And compaignable, and bar hir-self so faire,
  Sin thilke day that she was seven night old,
  That trewely she hath the herte in hold
  Of Chauntecleer loken in every lith;                        4065
  He loved hir so, that wel was him therwith.
  But such a Ioye was it to here hem singe,
  Whan that the brighte sonne gan to springe,
  In swete accord, 'my lief is faren in londe.'
  For thilke tyme, as I have understonde,                     4070
  Bestes and briddes coude speke and singe.                   (61)

    4039. E. Hn. heet; Cp. that highte; _rest_ that hight.   4041. E. Hn.
    Cm. murier.   E. Cm. murie.   4045. Hl. knew he; E. Pt. he crew; _rest_
    he knew.   4046. E. Ln. _ins._ the _after_ Of.   4051. Hl. geet; Pt.
    Ln. gete.   4054. Hl. Cp. Pt. Ln. burnischt.   4062. Hl. ful (_for_
    so).   4068. E. Cm. Ln. bigan.

[273: T. 14888-14924.]

    And so bifel, that in a daweninge,
  As Chauntecleer among his wyves alle
  Sat on his perche, that was in the halle,
  And next him sat this faire Pertelote,                      4075
  This Chauntecleer gan gronen in his throte,
  As man that in his dreem is drecched sore.
  And whan that Pertelote thus herde him rore,
  She was agast, and seyde, 'O herte dere,
  What eyleth yow, to grone in this manere?                   4080
  Ye been a verray sleper, fy for shame!'                     (71)
  And he answerde and seyde thus, 'madame,
  I pray yow, that ye take it nat a-grief:
  By god, me mette I was in swich meschief
  Right now, that yet myn herte is sore afright.              4085
  Now god,' quod he, 'my swevene recche aright,
  And keep my body out of foul prisoun!
  Me mette, how that I romed up and doun
  Withinne our yerde, wher-as I saugh a beste,
  Was lyk an hound, and wolde han maad areste                 4090
  Upon my body, and wolde han had me deed.                    (81)
  His colour was bitwixe yelwe and reed;
  And tipped was his tail, and bothe his eres,
  With blak, unlyk the remenant of his heres;
  His snowte smal, with glowinge eyen tweye.                  4095
  Yet of his look for fere almost I deye;
  This caused me my groning, doutelees.'

    4072. a] E. Pt. the.   4079. E. o; _rest om._   4084. mette] E.
    thoughte.   4086. E. Hn. recche; Cm. reche; _rest_ rede, reed.   4091.
    E. Hn. Cm. _om._ wolde.

    'Avoy!' quod she, 'fy on yow, hertelees!
  Allas!' quod she, 'for, by that god above,
  Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love;                   4100
  I can nat love a coward, by my feith.                       (91)
  For certes, what so any womman seith,
  We alle desyren, if it mighte be,
  To han housbondes hardy, wyse, and free,
  And secree, and no nigard, ne no fool,                      4105
  Ne him that is agast of every tool,
  Ne noon avauntour, by that god above!
  How dorste ye seyn for shame unto your love,
  [274: T. 14925-14960.]
  That any thing mighte make yow aferd?
  Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd?                    4110
  Allas! and conne ye been agast of swevenis?                (101)
  No-thing, god wot, but vanitee, in sweven is.
  Swevenes engendren of replecciouns,
  And ofte of fume, and of complecciouns,
  Whan humours been to habundant in a wight.                  4115
  Certes this dreem, which ye han met to-night,
  Cometh of the grete superfluitee
  Of youre rede _colera_, pardee,
  Which causeth folk to dreden in here dremes
  Of arwes, and of fyr with rede lemes,                       4120
  Of grete bestes, that they wol hem byte,                   (111)
  Of contek, and of whelpes grete and lyte;
  Right as the humour of malencolye
  Causeth ful many a man, in sleep, to crye,
  For fere of blake beres, or boles blake,                    4125
  Or elles, blake develes wole hem take.
  Of othere humours coude I telle also,
  That werken many a man in sleep ful wo;
  But I wol passe as lightly as I can.

    4117. E. _om._ the, _and has_ greet.   4119. E. Hn. Cm. dreden; _rest_
    dremen; _see_ 4159.   4121. E. grete; _rest_ rede.   4125. _So_ E. Hn.
    Cm.; Cp. of beres and of boles; Ln. Pt. of beres and boles; Hl. of
    beres or of boles.

    Lo Catoun, which that was so wys a man,                   4130
  Seyde he nat thus, ne do no fors of dremes?                (121)
  Now, sire,' quod she, 'whan we flee fro the bemes,
  For Goddes love, as tak som laxatyf;
  Up peril of my soule, and of my lyf,
  I counseille yow the beste, I wol nat lye,                  4135
  That bothe of colere and of malencolye
  Ye purge yow; and for ye shul nat tarie,
  Though in this toun is noon apotecarie,
  I shal my-self to herbes techen yow,
  That shul ben for your hele, and for your prow;             4140
  And in our yerd tho herbes shal I finde,                   (131)
  The whiche han of hir propretee, by kinde,
  To purgen yow binethe, and eek above.
  Forget not this, for goddes owene love!
  [275: T. 14961-14996.]
  Ye been ful colerik of compleccioun.                        4145
  Ware the sonne in his ascencioun
  Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hote;
  And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote,
  That ye shul have a fevere terciane,
  Or an agu, that may be youre bane.                          4150
  A day or two ye shul have digestyves                       (141)
  Of wormes, er ye take your laxatyves,
  Of lauriol, centaure, and fumetere,
  Or elles of ellebor, that groweth there,
  Of catapuce, or of gaytres beryis,                          4155
  Of erbe yve, growing in our yerd, that mery is;
  Pekke hem up right as they growe, and ete hem in.
  Be mery, housbond, for your fader kin!
  Dredeth no dreem; I can say yow na-more.'

    4132. E. ye; _rest_ we.   4136, 7. Hl. _om._   4155. Cp. Ln. gaytres;
    E. gaitrys; Hn. gaytrys; Hl. gaytre; Cm. gattris; Pt. gatys.   4156.
    Ln. that; Hn. they; _rest_ ther.

    'Madame,' quod he, '_graunt mercy_ of your lore.          4160
  But nathelees, as touching daun Catoun,                    (151)
  That hath of wisdom such a greet renoun,
  Though that he bad no dremes for to drede,
  By god, men may in olde bokes rede
  Of many a man, more of auctoritee                           4165
  Than ever Catoun was, so mote I thee,
  Than al the revers seyn of his sentence,
  And han wel founden by experience,
  That dremes ben significaciouns,
  As wel of Ioye as tribulaciouns                             4170
  That folk enduren in this lyf present.                     (161)
  Ther nedeth make of this noon argument;
  The verray preve sheweth it in dede.

    4166. Hn. Cm. Cp. mote; E. moot.   4167. his] E. Pt. this.   4170. E.
    Cm. Cp. Ln. Hl. _ins._ of _after_ as.

    Oon of the gretteste auctours that men rede
  Seith thus, that whylom two felawes wente                   4175
  On pilgrimage, in a ful good entente;
  And happed so, thay come into a toun,
  Wher-as ther was swich congregacioun
  Of peple, and eek so streit of herbergage,
  That they ne founde as muche as o cotage,                   4180
  [276: T. 14997-15033.]
  In which they bothe mighte y-logged be.                    (171)
  Wherfor thay mosten, of necessitee,
  As for that night, departen compaignye;
  And ech of hem goth to his hostelrye,
  And took his logging as it wolde falle.                     4185
  That oon of hem was logged in a stalle,
  Fer in a yerd, with oxen of the plough;
  That other man was logged wel y-nough,
  As was his aventure, or his fortune,
  That us governeth alle as in commune.                       4190

    4174. Cm. autourys; Hl. auctorite; _rest_ auctour (_sic_).   4177. E.
    Hn. coomen in; Cm. comyn in.   4181. E. logged.

    And so bifel, that, longe er it were day,                (181)
  This man mette in his bed, ther-as he lay,
  How that his felawe gan up-on him calle,
  And seyde, 'allas! for in an oxes stalle
  This night I shal be mordred ther I lye.                    4195
  Now help me, dere brother, er I dye;
  In alle haste com to me,' he sayde.
  This man out of his sleep for fere abrayde;
  But whan that he was wakned of his sleep,
  He turned him, and took of this no keep;                    4200
  Him thoughte his dreem nas but a vanitee.                  (191)
  Thus twyës in his sleping dremed he.
  And atte thridde tyme yet his felawe
  Cam, as him thoughte, and seide, 'I am now slawe;
  Bihold my blody woundes, depe and wyde!                     4205
  Arys up erly in the morwe-tyde,
  And at the west gate of the toun,' quod he,
  'A carte ful of donge ther shaltow see,
  In which my body is hid ful prively;
  Do thilke carte aresten boldely.                            4210
  My gold caused my mordre, sooth to sayn;'                  (201)
  And tolde him every poynt how he was slayn,
  With a ful pitous face, pale of hewe.
  And truste wel, his dreem he fond ful trewe;
  For on the morwe, as sone as it was day,                    4215
  To his felawes in he took the way;
  And whan that he cam to this oxes stalle,
  [277: T. 15034-15069.]
  After his felawe he bigan to calle.

    4194. Hl. Cp. Ln. oxe.   4196. er] Ln. ar; E. Hn. Hl. or.   4200. E.
    it; _rest_ this.   4210. E. arresten.   4217. Hl. Cp. Ln. oxe.

    The hostiler answered him anon,
  And seyde, 'sire, your felawe is agon,                      4220
  As sone as day he wente out of the toun.'                  (211)
  This man gan fallen in suspecioun,
  Remembring on his dremes that he mette,
  And forth he goth, no lenger wolde he lette,
  Unto the west gate of the toun, and fond                    4225
  A dong-carte, as it were to donge lond,
  That was arrayed in the same wyse
  As ye han herd the dede man devyse;
  And with an hardy herte he gan to crye
  Vengeaunce and Iustice of this felonye:--                   4230
  'My felawe mordred is this same night,                     (221)
  And in this carte he lyth gapinge upright.
  I crye out on the ministres,' quod he,
  'That sholden kepe and reulen this citee;
  Harrow! allas! her lyth my felawe slayn!'                   4235
  What sholde I more un-to this tale sayn?
  The peple out-sterte, and caste the cart to grounde,
  And in the middel of the dong they founde
  The dede man, that mordred was al newe.

    4219. Cp. Hl. answered; E. Hn. answerde.   4222. Hl. _ins._ a _after_
    in; Cp. Pt. Ln. _ins._ gret (grete).   4226. Hn. Cm. Hl. wente as it
    were; Cp. Pt. Ln. as he wente.   4232. E. Hn. Cm. _ins._ heere _after_
    carte.

    O blisful god, that art so Iust and trewe!                4240
  Lo, how that thou biwreyest mordre alway!                  (231)
  Mordre wol out, that see we day by day.
  Mordre is so wlatsom and abhominable
  To god, that is so Iust and resonable,
  That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be;                      4245
  Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or three,
  Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.
  And right anoon, ministres of that toun
  Han hent the carter, and so sore him pyned,
  And eek the hostiler so sore engyned,                       4250
  That thay biknewe hir wikkednesse anoon,                   (241)
  And were an-hanged by the nekke-boon.

    4247. E. Hn. Cm. this (this is _being pronounced_ this); _rest_ this
    is.   4248. Hl. _ins._ the _after_ anoon.

    Here may men seen that dremes been to drede.
  [278: T. 15070-15105.]
  And certes, in the same book I rede,
  Right in the nexte chapitre after this,                     4255
  (I gabbe nat, so have I Ioye or blis,)
  Two men that wolde han passed over see,
  For certeyn cause, in-to a fer contree,
  If that the wind ne hadde been contrarie,
  That made hem in a citee for to tarie,                      4260
  That stood ful mery upon an haven-syde.                    (251)
  But on a day, agayn the even-tyde,
  The wind gan chaunge, and blew right as hem leste.
  Iolif and glad they wente un-to hir reste,
  And casten hem ful erly for to saille;                      4265
  But to that oo man fil a greet mervaille.
  That oon of hem, in sleping as he lay,
  Him mette a wonder dreem, agayn the day;
  Him thoughte a man stood by his beddes syde,
  And him comaunded, that he sholde abyde,                    4270
  And seyde him thus, 'if thou to-morwe wende,               (261)
  Thou shalt be dreynt; my tale is at an ende.'
  He wook, and tolde his felawe what he mette,
  And preyde him his viage for to lette;
  As for that day, he preyde him to abyde.                    4275
  His felawe, that lay by his beddes syde,
  Gan for to laughe, and scorned him ful faste.
  'No dreem,' quod he, 'may so myn herte agaste,
  That I wol lette for to do my thinges.
  I sette not a straw by thy dreminges,                       4280
  For swevenes been but vanitees and Iapes.                  (271)
  Men dreme al-day of owles or of apes,
  And eke of many a mase therwithal;
  Men dreme of thing that nevere was ne shal.
  But sith I see that thou wolt heer abyde,                   4285
  And thus for-sleuthen wilfully thy tyde,
  God wot it reweth me; and have good day.'
  And thus he took his leve, and wente his way.
  But er that he hadde halfe his cours y-seyled,
  [279: T. 15106-15141.]
  Noot I nat why, ne what mischaunce it eyled,                4290
  But casuelly the shippes botme rente,                      (281)
  And ship and man under the water wente
  In sighte of othere shippes it byside,
  That with hem seyled at the same tyde.
  And therfor, faire Pertelote so dere,                       4295
  By swiche ensamples olde maistow lere,
  That no man sholde been to recchelees
  Of dremes, for I sey thee, doutelees,
  That many a dreem ful sore is for to drede.

    4256. Cp. Ln. and (_for_ or).   4266. _All ins._ herkneth (herken)
    _after_ But.   4274. E. Hn. Hl. _om._ for; _cf._ l. 4265.   4275. E.
    Hn. byde.   4282. E. Hn. or; _rest_ and.   4283. Hl. eke; _rest om._
    4293. it] Cp. Pt. him; Ln. hem; Hl. ther.   4296. E. _ins._ yet _after_
    olde.

    Lo, in the lyf of seint Kenelm, I rede,                   4300
  That was Kenulphus sone, the noble king                    (291)
  Of Mercenrike, how Kenelm mette a thing;
  A lyte er he was mordred, on a day,
  His mordre in his avisioun he say.
  His norice him expouned every del                           4305
  His sweven, and bad him for to kepe him wel
  For traisoun; but he nas but seven yeer old,
  And therfore litel tale hath he told
  Of any dreem, so holy was his herte.
  By god, I hadde lever than my sherte                        4310
  That ye had rad his legende, as have I.                    (301)
  Dame Pertelote, I sey yow trewely,
  Macrobeus, that writ the avisioun
  In Affrike of the worthy Cipioun,
  Affermeth dremes, and seith that they been                  4315
  Warning of thinges that men after seen.

    4309. E. is; _rest_ was.   4313. Cm. thauysioun.

    And forther-more, I pray yow loketh wel
  In the olde testament, of Daniel,
  If he held dremes any vanitee.
  Reed eek of Ioseph, and ther shul ye see                    4320
  Wher dremes ben somtyme (I sey nat alle)                   (311)
  Warning of thinges that shul after falle.
  Loke of Egipt the king, daun Pharao,
  His bakere and his boteler also,
  Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes.                   4325
  [280: T. 15142-15177.]
  Who-so wol seken actes of sondry remes,
  May rede of dremes many a wonder thing.

    4319. E. Hn. Cp. heeld.   4324. Cm. Ln. boteler: Pt. botelere; E. Hn.
    butiller.

    Lo Cresus, which that was of Lyde king,
  Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree,
  Which signified he sholde anhanged be?                      4330
  Lo heer Andromacha, Ectores wyf,                           (321)
  That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf,
  She dremed on the same night biforn,
  How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn,
  If thilke day he wente in-to bataille;                      4335
  She warned him, but it mighte nat availle;
  He wente for to fighte nathelees,
  But he was slayn anoon of Achilles.
  But thilke tale is al to long to telle,
  And eek it is ny day, I may nat dwelle.                     4340
  Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,                        (331)
  That I shal han of this avisioun
  Adversitee; and I seye forther-more,
  That I ne telle of laxatyves no store,
  For they ben venimous, I woot it wel;                       4345
  I hem defye, I love hem never a del.

    4331. E. Cp. Pt. Ln. Adromacha.   4338. Hn. And (_for_ But).   4345.
    Hn. Cm. venymes.   it] Cp. Pt. Ln. right.   4346. E. Cp. diffye.

    Now let us speke of mirthe, and stinte al this;
  Madame Pertelote, so have I blis,
  Of o thing god hath sent me large grace;
  For whan I see the beautee of your face,                    4350
  Ye ben so scarlet-reed about your yën,                     (341)
  It maketh al my drede for to dyen;
  For, also siker as _In principio_,
  _Mulier est hominis confusio_;
  Madame, the sentence of this Latin is--                     4355
  Womman is mannes Ioye and al his blis.
  For whan I fele a-night your softe syde,
  Al-be-it that I may nat on you ryde,
  For that our perche is maad so narwe, alas!
  I am so ful of Ioye and of solas                            4360
  That I defye bothe sweven and dreem.'                      (351)
  [281: T. 15178-15211.]
  And with that word he fley doun fro the beem,
  For it was day, and eek his hennes alle;
  And with a chuk he gan hem for to calle,
  For he had founde a corn, lay in the yerd.                  4365
  Royal he was, he was namore aferd;
  He fethered Pertelote twenty tyme,
  And trad as ofte, er that it was pryme.
  He loketh as it were a grim leoun;
  And on his toos he rometh up and doun,                      4370
  Him deyned not to sette his foot to grounde.               (361)
  He chukketh, whan he hath a corn y-founde,
  And to him rennen thanne his wyves alle.
  Thus royal, as a prince is in his halle,
  Leve I this Chauntecleer in his pasture;                    4375
  And after wol I telle his aventure.

    4361. E. Cp. diffye.   4362. Hn. Cm. fley; E. fly; Hl. Cp. fleigh.
    4365. E. Hn. Cm. hadde.   4366. Cm. Ln. Royal; _rest_ Real; _but see_
    l. 4374.   4367. He] E. And.   4368. Hl. that; _rest om._   Cp. Pt. Ln.
    were.   Hl. er that it was prime.   4370. Hl. toon.   4371. Cm.
    deynyth.   4374. his] E. Cm. an.

    Whan that the month in which the world bigan,
  That highte March, whan god first maked man,
  Was complet, and [y]-passed were also,
  Sin March bigan, thritty dayes and two,                     4380
  Bifel that Chauntecleer, in al his pryde,                  (371)
  His seven wyves walking by his syde,
  Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne,
  That in the signe of Taurus hadde y-ronne
  Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat more;                   4385
  And knew by kynde, and by noon other lore,
  That it was pryme, and crew with blisful stevene.
  'The sonne,' he sayde, 'is clomben up on hevene
  Fourty degrees and oon, and more, y-wis.
  Madame Pertelote, my worldes blis,                          4390
  Herkneth thise blisful briddes how they singe,             (381)
  And see the fresshe floures how they springe;
  Ful is myn herte of revel and solas.'
  But sodeinly him fil a sorweful cas;
  For ever the latter ende of Ioye is wo.                     4395
  [282: T. 15212-15248.]
  God woot that worldly Ioye is sone ago;
  And if a rethor coude faire endyte,
  He in a cronique saufly mighte it wryte,
  As for a sovereyn notabilitee.
  Now every wys man, lat him herkne me;                       4400
  This storie is al-so trewe, I undertake,                   (391)
  As is the book of Launcelot de Lake,
  That wommen holde in ful gret reverence.
  Now wol I torne agayn to my sentence.

    4379. _All_ passed.   4380. Hl. tway monthes and dayes tuo.   4386.
    And] Cp. Pt. Ln. He.   4398. Hl. Cp. cronique; _rest_ cronicle.   4404.
    torne] E. come.

    A col-fox, ful of sly iniquitee,                          4405
  That in the grove hadde woned yeres three,
  By heigh imaginacioun forn-cast,
  The same night thurgh-out the hegges brast
  Into the yerd, ther Chauntecleer the faire
  Was wont, and eek his wyves, to repaire;                    4410
  And in a bed of wortes stille he lay,                      (401)
  Til it was passed undern of the day,
  Wayting his tyme on Chauntecleer to falle,
  As gladly doon thise homicydes alle,
  That in awayt liggen to mordre men.                         4415
  O false mordrer, lurking in thy den!
  O newe Scariot, newe Genilon!
  False dissimilour, O Greek Sinon,
  That broghtest Troye al outrely to sorwe!
  O Chauntecleer, acursed be that morwe,                      4420
  That thou into that yerd flough fro the bemes!             (411)
  Thou were ful wel y-warned by thy dremes,
  That thilke day was perilous to thee.
  But what that god forwoot mot nedes be,
  After the opinioun of certeyn clerkis.                      4425
  Witnesse on him, that any perfit clerk is,
  That in scole is gret altercacioun
  In this matere, and greet disputisoun,
  And hath ben of an hundred thousand men.
  But I ne can not bulte it to the bren,                      4430
  As can the holy doctour Augustyn,                          (421)
  Or Boece, or the bishop Bradwardyn,
  [283: T. 15249-15284.]
  Whether that goddes worthy forwiting
  Streyneth me nedely for to doon a thing,
  (Nedely clepe I simple necessitee);                         4435
  Or elles, if free choys be graunted me
  To do that same thing, or do it noght,
  Though god forwoot it, er that it was wroght;
  Or if his witing streyneth nevere a del
  But by necessitee condicionel.                              4440
  I wol not han to do of swich matere;                       (431)
  My tale is of a cok, as ye may here,
  That took his counseil of his wyf, with sorwe,
  To walken in the yerd upon that morwe
  That he had met the dreem, that I yow tolde.                4445
  Wommennes counseils been ful ofte colde;
  Wommannes counseil broghte us first to wo,
  And made Adam fro paradys to go,
  Ther-as he was ful mery, and wel at ese.
  But for I noot, to whom it mighte displese,                 4450
  If I counseil of wommen wolde blame,                       (441)
  Passe over, for I seyde it in my game.
  Rede auctours, wher they trete of swich matere,
  And what thay seyn of wommen ye may here.
  Thise been the cokkes wordes, and nat myne;                 4455
  I can noon harm of no womman divyne.

    4412. E. Hn. Pt. vndren.   4421. E. Hn. flaugh; Cm. flaw; Cp.
    fley[gh]e; Hl. flough.   4433. E. Wheither.   4434. E. nedefully to
    doon.   4442. may] Hl. Cp. Pt. schal (schuln).   4445. yow] E. of.
    4448. E. out of (_for_ fro).   4452. seyde] E. seye.

    Faire in the sond, to bathe hir merily,
  Lyth Pertelote, and alle hir sustres by,
  Agayn the sonne; and Chauntecleer so free
  Song merier than the mermayde in the see;                   4460
  For Phisiologus seith sikerly,                             (451)
  How that they singen wel and merily.
  And so bifel that, as he caste his yë,
  Among the wortes, on a boterflye,
  He was war of this fox that lay ful lowe.                   4465
  No-thing ne liste him thanne for to crowe,
  But cryde anon, 'cok, cok,' and up he sterte,
  As man that was affrayed in his herte.
  [284: T. 15285-15322.]
  For naturelly a beest desyreth flee
  Fro his contrarie, if he may it see,                        4470
  Though he never erst had seyn it with his yë.              (461)

    4460. E murier.   4462. E. myrily.

    This Chauntecleer, whan he gan him espye,
  He wolde han fled, but that the fox anon
  Seyde, 'Gentil sire, allas! wher wol ye gon?
  Be ye affrayed of me that am your freend?                   4475
  Now certes, I were worse than a feend,
  If I to yow wolde harm or vileinye.
  I am nat come your counseil for tespye;
  But trewely, the cause of my cominge
  Was only for to herkne how that ye singe.                   4480
  For trewely ye have as mery a stevene                      (471)
  As eny aungel hath, that is in hevene;
  Therwith ye han in musik more felinge
  Than hadde Boece, or any that can singe.
  My lord your fader (god his soule blesse!)                  4485
  And eek your moder, of hir gentilesse,
  Han in myn hous y-been, to my gret ese;
  And certes, sire, ful fayn wolde I yow plese.
  But for men speke of singing, I wol saye,
  So mote I brouke wel myn eyen tweye,                        4490
  Save yow, I herde never man so singe,                      (48l)
  As dide your fader in the morweninge;
  Certes, it was of herte, al that he song.
  And for to make his voys the more strong,
  He wolde so peyne him, that with bothe his yën              4495
  He moste winke, so loude he wolde cryen,
  And stonden on his tiptoon ther-with-al,
  And strecche forth his nekke long and smal.
  And eek he was of swich discrecioun,
  That ther nas no man in no regioun                          4500
  That him in song or wisdom mighte passe.                   (491)
  I have wel rad in daun Burnel the Asse,
  Among his vers, how that ther was a cok,
  For that a preestes sone yaf him a knok
  Upon his leg, whyl he was yong and nyce,                    4505
  He made him for to lese his benefyce.
  [285: T. 15323-15359.]
  But certeyn, ther nis no comparisoun
  Bitwix the wisdom and discrecioun
  Of youre fader, and of his subtiltee.
  Now singeth, sire, for seinte charitee,                     4510
  Let see, conne ye your fader countrefete?'                 (501)
  This Chauntecleer his winges gan to bete,
  As man that coude his tresoun nat espye,
  So was he ravisshed with his flaterye.

    4482. E. _om._ hath.   4484. Hl. Pt. had.   4489. E. _ins._ yow _after_
    wol.   4491. E. herde I; yet (_for_ so).   4508. E. Cm. Cp. Bitwixe.

    Allas! ye lordes, many a fals flatour                     4515
  Is in your courtes, and many a losengeour,
  That plesen yow wel more, by my feith,
  Than he that soothfastnesse unto yow seith.
  Redeth Ecclesiaste of flaterye;
  Beth war, ye lordes, of hir trecherye.                      4520

    This Chauntecleer stood hye up-on his toos,              (511)
  Strecching his nekke, and heeld his eyen cloos,
  And gan to crowe loude for the nones;
  And daun Russel the fox sterte up at ones,
  And by the gargat hente Chauntecleer,                       4525
  And on his bak toward the wode him beer,
  For yet ne was ther no man that him sewed.
  O destinee, that mayst nat been eschewed!
  Allas, that Chauntecleer fleigh fro the bemes!
  Allas, his wyf ne roghte nat of dremes!                     4530
  And on a Friday fil al this meschaunce.                    (521)
  O Venus, that art goddesse of plesaunce,
  Sin that thy servant was this Chauntecleer,
  And in thy service dide al his poweer,
  More for delyt, than world to multiplye,                    4535
  Why woldestow suffre him on thy day to dye?
  O Gaufred, dere mayster soverayn,
  That, whan thy worthy king Richard was slayn
  With shot, compleynedest his deth so sore,
  Why ne hadde I now thy sentence and thy lore,               4540
  The Friday for to chide, as diden ye?                      (531)
  (For on a Friday soothly slayn was he.)
  Than wolde I shewe yow how that I coude pleyne
  [286: T. 15360-15395.]
  For Chauntecleres drede, and for his peyne.

    4524. E. Hn. Cm. stirte.   4525. E. Hn. gargat; Cm. Hl. garget; Ln.
    gorge.   4531. E. Hn. Cm. fil; _rest_ fel.

    Certes, swich cry ne lamentacioun                         4545
  Was never of ladies maad, whan Ilioun
  Was wonne, and Pirrus with his streite swerd,
  Whan he hadde hent king Priam by the berd,
  And slayn him (as saith us _Eneydos_),
  As maden alle the hennes in the clos,                       4550
  Whan they had seyn of Chauntecleer the sighte.             (541)
  But sovereynly dame Pertelote shrighte,
  Ful louder than dide Hasdrubales wyf,
  Whan that hir housbond hadde lost his lyf,
  And that the Romayns hadde brend Cartage;                   4555
  She was so ful of torment and of rage,
  That wilfully into the fyr she sterte,
  And brende hir-selven with a stedfast herte.
  O woful hennes, right so cryden ye,
  As, whan that Nero brende the citee                         4560
  Of Rome, cryden senatoures wyves,                          (551)
  For that hir housbondes losten alle hir lyves;
  Withouten gilt this Nero hath hem slayn.
  Now wol I torne to my tale agayn:--

    4552. E. sodeynly (_for_ sovereynly).   4554. Hn. Cm. y-lost.   4564.
    E. Now turne I wole.

    This sely widwe, and eek hir doghtres two,                4565
  Herden thise hennes crye and maken wo,
  And out at dores sterten they anoon,
  And syen the fox toward the grove goon,
  And bar upon his bak the cok away;
  And cryden, 'Out! harrow! and weylaway!                     4570
  Ha, ha, the fox!' and after him they ran,                  (561)
  And eek with staves many another man;
  Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Gerland,
  And Malkin, with a distaf in hir hand;
  Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray hogges                 4575
  So were they fered for berking of the dogges
  And shouting of the men and wimmen eke,
  They ronne so, hem thoughte hir herte breke.
  They yelleden as feendes doon in helle;
  [287: T. 15396-15431.]
  The dokes cryden as men wolde hem quelle;                   4580
  The gees for fere flowen over the trees;                   (571)
  Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees;
  So hidous was the noyse, a! _benedicite_!
  Certes, he Iakke Straw, and his meynee,
  Ne made never shoutes half so shrille,                      4585
  Whan that they wolden any Fleming kille,
  As thilke day was maad upon the fox.
  Of bras thay broghten bemes, and of box,
  Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and pouped,
  And therwithal thay shryked and they houped;                4590
  It semed as that heven sholde falle.                       (581)
  Now, gode men, I pray yow herkneth alle!

    4567. E. Hn. Cm. stirten.   4570. Pt. They.   4575. E. Hl. _om._ eek.
    4576. Hl. were they; _rest om._   4579. E. yolleden.   4585. E. Ln.
    shille.   4590. E. Hn. skriked.

    Lo, how fortune turneth sodeinly
  The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy!
  This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak,                      4595
  In al his drede, un-to the fox he spak,
  And seyde, 'sire, if that I were as ye,
  Yet sholde I seyn (as wis god helpe me),
  Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle!
  A verray pestilence up-on yow falle!                        4600
  Now am I come un-to this wodes syde,                       (591)
  Maugree your heed, the cok shal heer abyde;
  I wol him ete in feith, and that anon.'--
  The fox answerde, 'in feith, it shal be don,'--
  And as he spak that word, al sodeinly                       4605
  This cok brak from his mouth deliverly,
  And heighe up-on a tree he fleigh anon.
  And whan the fox saugh that he was y-gon,
  'Allas!' quod he, 'O Chauntecleer, allas!
  I have to yow,' quod he, 'y-doon trespas,                   4610
  In-as-muche as I maked yow aferd,                          (601)
  Whan I yow hente, and broghte out of the yerd;
  But, sire, I dide it in no wikke entente;
  Com doun, and I shal telle yow what I mente.
  I shal seye sooth to yow, god help me so.'                  4615
  [288: T. 15432-15452.]
  'Nay than,' quod he, 'I shrewe us bothe two,
  And first I shrewe my-self, bothe blood and bones,
  If thou bigyle me ofter than ones.
  Thou shalt na-more, thurgh thy flaterye,
  Do me to singe and winke with myn yë.                       4620
  For he that winketh, whan he sholde see,                   (611)
  Al wilfully, god lat him never thee!'
  'Nay,' quod the fox, 'but god yeve him meschaunce,
  That is so undiscreet of governaunce,
  That Iangleth whan he sholde holde his pees.'               4625

    4594. E. _om._ eek.   4598. E. wolde (_for_ sholde).   4601. E. the
    (_for_ this).   4608. Hl. i-goon; _rest_ gon, goon.   4612. E. Hn. into
    this (_for_ out of the).   4613. E. of (_for_ in).   4618. E. Hn. Hl.
    _ins._ any _before_ ofter.

    Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees,
  And necligent, and truste on flaterye.
  But ye that holden this tale a folye,
  As of a fox, or of a cok and hen,
  Taketh the moralitee, good men.                             4630
  For seint Paul seith, that al that writen is,              (621)
  To our doctryne it is y-write, y-wis.
  Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille.

    4630. Pt. good; _rest_ goode.

    Now, gode god, if that it be thy wille,
  As seith my lord, so make us alle good men;                 4635
  And bringe us to his heighe blisse. Amen.

  HERE IS ENDED THE NONNE PREESTES TALE.

    4635. Hl. Pt. Ln. good; _rest_ goode.   COLOPHON. Cp. Nonne; E. Hn.
    Nonnes. Hl. Here endeth the tale of Chaunteclere and p_er_telote.

[289: T. 15453-15468.]

       *       *       *       *       *

EPILOGUE TO THE NONNE PREESTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  'Sir Nonnes Preest,' our hoste seyde anoon,
  'Y-blessed be thy breche, and every stoon!
  This was a mery tale of Chauntecleer.
  But, by my trouthe, if thou were seculer,                   4640
  Thou woldest been a trede-foul a-right.
  For, if thou have corage as thou hast might,
  Thee were nede of hennes, as I wene,
  Ya, mo than seven tymes seventene.
  See, whiche braunes hath this gentil Preest,                4645
  So greet a nekke, and swich a large breest!                 (10)
  He loketh as a sperhauk with his yën;
  Him nedeth nat his colour for to dyen
  With brasil, ne with greyn of Portingale.
  Now sire, faire falle yow for youre tale!'                  4650

    And after that he, with ful mery chere,
  Seide to another, as ye shullen here.

    _These genuine lines only occur in_ Dd., _in_ MS. Reg. 17 D. xv, _and
    in_ MS. Addit. 5140 (B. M.). _The text is founded on_ Dd.

    4637. Dd. oure hoost.   4639. Dd. murie; Reg. Add. mery.   4641. Dd.
    ben.   Dd. tredfoul; Reg. Add. trede foule.   4645. Dd. which; Reg.
    whiche; Add. suche.   4646. Dd. gret.   4647. Dd. sp_er_hauke; eyen.
    4648. Dd. dyghen; Reg. Add. dyen.   4650-2. _I suspect these three
    lines to be spurious._   4650. Reg. youre mery tale.   4652. to] _all_
    un-to.   another] Add. the Nonne.

    NOTE. _Three varieties of a_ Doctour's Prologue _are given,
    respectively, by_ Tyrwhitt, Wright, _and_ Morris; _but are all
    spurious. Perhaps the best is the very short one in_ Tyrwhitt, _as
    follows:--_

      'Ye, let that passen,' quod our Hoste, 'as now.
      Sire Doctour of Phisyk, I preye yow,
      Telle us a tale of som honest matere.'
        'It shal be doon, if that ye wol it here,'
      Seyde this Doctour, and his tale bigan anon.
      'Now, good men,' quod he, 'herkneth everichon.'

[290: T. 11935-11957.]

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP C.

THE PHISICIENS TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  *** _For a spurious_ Prologue, _see p._ 289.

  HERE FOLWETH THE PHISICIENS TALE.

  Ther was, as telleth Titus Livius,
  A knight that called was Virginius,
  Fulfild of honour and of worthinesse,
  And strong of freendes and of greet richesse.

    2. Hn. called was; E. was called; _rest_ cleped was.

    This knight a doghter hadde by his wyf,                      5
  No children hadde he mo in al his lyf.
  Fair was this mayde in excellent beautee
  Aboven every wight that man may see;
  For nature hath with sovereyn diligence
  Y-formed hir in so greet excellence,                          10
  As though she wolde seyn, 'lo! I, Nature,
  Thus can I forme and peynte a creature,
  Whan that me list; who can me countrefete?
  Pigmalion noght, though he ay forge and bete,
  Or grave, or peynte; for I dar wel seyn,                      15
  Apelles, Zanzis, sholde werche in veyn,
  Outher to grave or peynte or forge or bete,
  If they presumed me to countrefete.
  For he that is the former principal
  Hath maked me his vicaire general,                            20
  To forme and peynten erthely creaturis
  Right as me list, and ech thing in my cure is
  Under the mone, that may wane and waxe,
  [291: T. 11958-11993.]
  And for my werk right no-thing wol I axe;
  My lord and I ben ful of oon accord;                          25
  I made hir to the worship of my lord.
  So do I alle myne othere creatures,
  What colour that they han, or what figures.'--
  Thus semeth me that Nature wolde seye.

    16. E. Hn. Apelles; Hl. Appollus; rest Apollus.   E. Hn. Zanzis; rest
    zephirus (!).   25. E. Hn. ful of oon; _rest_ fully at.

    This mayde of age twelf yeer was and tweye,                 30
  In which that Nature hadde swich delyt.
  For right as she can peynte a lilie whyt
  And reed a rose, right with swich peynture
  She peynted hath this noble creature
  Er she were born, up-on hir limes free,                       35
  Wher-as by right swiche colours sholde be;
  And Phebus dyed hath hir tresses grete
  Lyk to the stremes of his burned hete.
  And if that excellent was hir beautee,
  A thousand-fold more vertuous was she.                        40
  In hir ne lakked no condicioun,
  That is to preyse, as by discrecioun.
  As wel in goost as body chast was she;
  For which she floured in virginitee
  With alle humilitee and abstinence,                           45
  With alle attemperaunce and pacience,
  With mesure eek of bering and array.
  Discreet she was in answering alway;
  Though she were wys as Pallas, dar I seyn,
  Hir facound eek ful wommanly and pleyn,                       50
  No countrefeted termes hadde she
  To seme wys; but after hir degree
  She spak, and alle hir wordes more and lesse
  Souninge in vertu and in gentillesse.
  Shamfast she was in maydens shamfastnesse,                    55
  Constant in herte, and ever in bisinesse
  To dryve hir out of ydel slogardye.
  Bacus hadde of hir mouth right no maistrye;
  For wyn and youthe doon Venus encrece,
  [292: T. 11994-12028.]
  As men in fyr wol casten oile or grece.                       60
  And of hir owene vertu, unconstreyned,
  She hath ful ofte tyme syk hir feyned,
  For that she wolde fleen the companye
  Wher lykly was to treten of folye,
  As is at festes, revels, and at daunces,                      65
  That been occasions of daliaunces.
  Swich thinges maken children for to be
  To sone rype and bold, as men may see,
  Which is ful perilous, and hath ben yore.
  For al to sone may she lerne lore                             70
  Of boldnesse, whan she woxen is a wyf.

    49. Cp. Pt. Ln. as; _rest om._   50. E. a (_for_ and).   55. E.
    Shamefast.   E. _om._ in.   59. E. Hn. dooth; _rest_ doon.   E. Hn.
    encresse.   60. E. man; _rest_ men. E. wasten; _rest_ casten.   E.
    oille; greesse.   67. E. Hn. thyng; _rest_ thinges.   70. E. Hn. they;
    _rest_ she.

    And ye maistresses in your olde lyf,
  That lordes doghtres han in governaunce,
  Ne taketh of my wordes no displesaunce;
  Thenketh that ye ben set in governinges                       75
  Of lordes doghtres, only for two thinges;
  Outher for ye han kept your honestee,
  Or elles ye han falle in freletee,
  And knowen wel y-nough the olde daunce,
  And han forsaken fully swich meschaunce                       80
  For evermo; therfore, for Cristes sake,
  To teche hem vertu loke that ye ne slake.
  A theef of venisoun, that hath forlaft
  His likerousnesse, and al his olde craft,
  Can kepe a forest best of any man.                            85
  Now kepeth hem wel, for if ye wol, ye can;
  Loke wel that ye un-to no vice assente,
  Lest ye be dampned for your wikke entente;
  For who-so doth, a traitour is certeyn.
  And taketh kepe of that that I shal seyn;                     90
  Of alle tresons sovereyn pestilence
  Is whan a wight bitrayseth innocence.

    80. E. Hn. han; _rest_ conne.   82. _So_ E. Hn.; _rest_ Kepeth wel tho
    that ye undertake.   84. E. Hn. olde; _rest_ theves.   86. _Read_
    kep'th; E. Hn. _om._ hem; Hl. hir(!).   E. wolde; _rest_ wole (wil).
    92. E. Hn. bitrayseth; _rest_ betrayeth.

    Ye fadres and ye modres eek also,
  Though ye han children, be it oon or two,
  [293: T. 12029-12063.]
  Your is the charge of al hir surveyaunce,                     95
  Whyl that they been under your governaunce.
  Beth war that by ensample of your livinge,
  Or by your necligence in chastisinge,
  That they ne perisse; for I dar wel seye,
  If that they doon, ye shul it dere abeye.                    100
  Under a shepherde softe and necligent
  The wolf hath many a sheep and lamb to-rent.
  Suffyseth oon ensample now as here,
  For I mot turne agayn to my matere.

    95. E. Hn. surveiaunce; _rest_ sufferaunce (suffraunce).   97. E. Hn.
    if; _rest_ that.   99. E. Hn. _om._ ne.   103, 4. E. _om. both lines; I
    follow_ Hn. _and the rest_.

    This mayde, of which I wol this tale expresse,             105
  So kepte hir-self, hir neded no maistresse;
  For in hir living maydens mighten rede,
  As in a book, every good word or dede,
  That longeth to a mayden vertuous;
  She was so prudent and so bountevous.                        110
  For which the fame out-sprong on every syde
  Bothe of hir beautee and hir bountee wyde;
  That thurgh that land they preysed hir echone,
  That loved vertu, save envye allone,
  That sory is of other mennes wele,                           115
  And glad is of his sorwe and his unhele;
  (The doctour maketh this descripcioun).
  This mayde up-on a day wente in the toun
  Toward a temple, with hir moder dere,
  As is of yonge maydens the manere.                           120

    105. E. Hn. I wol this; _rest_ I telle my.   119. E. Hn. a; _rest_ the.

    Now was ther thanne a Iustice in that toun,
  That governour was of that regioun.
  And so bifel, this Iuge his eyen caste
  Up-on this mayde, avysinge him ful faste,
  As she cam forby ther this Iuge stood.                       125
  Anon his herte chaunged and his mood,
  So was he caught with beautee of this mayde;
  And to him-self ful prively he sayde,
  'This mayde shal be myn, for any man.'

    125. E. Hn. ther as; _rest om._ as.

[294: T. 12064-12100.]

    Anon the feend in-to his herte ran,                        130
  And taughte him sodeynly, that he by slighte
  The mayden to his purpos winne mighte.
  For certes, by no force, ne by no mede,
  Him thoughte, he was nat able for to spede;
  For she was strong of freendes, and eek she                  135
  Confermed was in swich soverayn bountee,
  That wel he wiste he mighte hir never winne
  As for to make hir with hir body sinne.
  For which, by greet deliberacioun,
  He sente after a cherl, was in the toun,                     140
  Which that he knew for subtil and for bold.
  This Iuge un-to this cherl his tale hath told
  In secree wyse, and made him to ensure,
  He sholde telle it to no creature,
  And if he dide, he sholde lese his heed.                     145
  Whan that assented was this cursed reed,
  Glad was this Iuge and maked him greet chere,
  And yaf hym yiftes preciouse and dere.

    138. E. maken; _rest_ make.   140, 142. E. Hn. cherl; _rest_ clerk.
    147. E. Hn. this; _rest_ the.

    Whan shapen was al hir conspiracye
  Fro point to point, how that his lecherye                    150
  Parfourned sholde been ful subtilly,
  As ye shul here it after openly,
  Hoom gooth the cherl, that highte Claudius.
  This false Iuge that highte Apius,
  So was his name, (for this is no fable,                      155
  But knowen for historial thing notable,
  The sentence of it sooth is, out of doute),
  This false Iuge gooth now faste aboute
  To hasten his delyt al that he may.
  And so bifel sone after, on a day,                           160
  This false Iuge, as telleth us the storie,
  As he was wont, sat in his consistorie,
  And yaf his domes up-on sondry cas.
  This false cherl cam forth a ful greet pas,
  And seyde, 'lord, if that it be your wille,                  165
  As dooth me right up-on this pitous bille,
  [295: T. 12101-12136.]
  In which I pleyne up-on Virginius.
  And if that he wol seyn it is nat thus,
  I wol it preve, and finde good witnesse,
  That sooth is that my bille wol expresse.'                   170

    149. E. Hn. hir; _rest_ this.   153, 164. E. Hn. cherl; _rest_ clerk.
    155. E. Hn. this; _rest_ it.

    The Iuge answerde, 'of this, in his absence,
  I may nat yeve diffinitif sentence.
  Lat do him calle, and I wol gladly here;
  Thou shall have al right, and no wrong here.'

    172. E. diffynyue; rest diffinitif.   173, 174. E. heere, glossed
    audire; and heere, glossed hie.

    Virginius cam, to wite the Iuges wille,                    175
  And right anon was rad this cursed bille;
  The sentence of it was as ye shul here.

    'To yow, my lord, sire Apius so dere,
  Sheweth your povre servant Claudius,
  How that a knight, called Virginius,                         180
  Agayns the lawe, agayn al equitee,
  Holdeth, expres agayn the wil of me,
  My servant, which that is my thral by right,
  Which fro myn hous was stole up-on a night,
  Whyl that she was ful yong; this wol I preve                 185
  By witnesse, lord, so that it nat yow greve.
  She nis his doghter nat, what so he seye;
  Wherfore to yow, my lord the Iuge, I preye,
  Yeld me my thral, if that it be your wille.'
  Lo! this was al the sentence of his bille.                   190

    Virginius gan up-on the cherl biholde,
  But hastily, er he his tale tolde,
  And wolde have preved it, as sholde a knight,
  And eek by witnessing of many a wight,
  That it was fals that seyde his adversarie,                  195
  This cursed Iuge wolde no-thing tarie,
  Ne here a word more of Virginius,
  But yaf his Iugement, and seyde thus:--

    191. E. Hn. Cm. cherl; rest clerk.

    'I deme anon this cherl his servant have;
  Thou shalt no lenger in thyn hous hir save.                  200
  Go bring hir forth, and put hir in our warde,
  The cherl shal have his thral, this I awarde.'

    199, 202. E. Hn. Cm. cherl; rest clerk.

[296: T. 12137-12173.]

    And whan this worthy knight Virginius,
  Thurgh sentence of this Iustice Apius,
  Moste by force his dere doghter yiven                        205
  Un-to the Iuge, in lecherye to liven,
  He gooth him hoom, and sette him in his halle,
  And leet anon his dere doghter calle,
  And, with a face deed as asshen colde,
  Upon hir humble face he gan biholde,                         210
  With fadres pitee stiking thurgh his herte,
  Al wolde he from his purpos nat converte.

    202. E. Hn. Cm. this; rest thus.   205. Hl. Cp. yiuen; rest yeuen.

    'Doghter,' quod he, 'Virginia, by thy name,
  Ther been two weyes, outher deeth or shame,
  That thou most suffre; allas! that I was bore!               215
  For never thou deservedest wherfore
  To dyen with a swerd or with a knyf.
  O dere doghter, ender of my lyf,
  Which I have fostred up with swich plesaunce,
  That thou were never out of my remembraunce!                 220
  O doghter, which that art my laste wo,
  And in my lyf my laste Ioye also,
  O gemme of chastitee, in pacience
  Take thou thy deeth, for this is my sentence.
  For love and nat for hate, thou most be deed;                225
  My pitous hand mot smyten of thyn heed.
  Allas! that ever Apius thee say!
  Thus hath he falsly Iuged thee to-day'--
  And tolde hir al the cas, as ye bifore
  Han herd; nat nedeth for to telle it more.                   230

    223. E. o; rest of.

    'O mercy, dere fader,' quod this mayde,
  And with that word she both hir armes layde
  About his nekke, as she was wont to do:
  The teres broste out of hir eyen two,
  And seyde, 'gode fader, shal I dye?                          235
  Is ther no grace? is ther no remedye?'

    234. E. Hn. teeris.   E. bruste; Cm. broste; Pt. brosten; Hn. borste;
    Cp. Ln. barsten; Hl. brast.

    'No, certes, dere doghter myn,' quod he.

    'Thanne yif me leyser, fader myn,' quod she,
  'My deeth for to compleyne a litel space;
  [297: T. 12174-12208.]
  For pardee, Iepte yaf his doghter grace                      240
  For to compleyne, er he hir slow, allas!
  And god it woot, no-thing was hir trespas,
  But for she ran hir fader first to see,
  To welcome him with greet solempnitee.'
  And with that word she fil aswowne anon,                     245
  And after, whan hir swowning is agon,
  She ryseth up, and to hir fader sayde,
  'Blessed be god, that I shal dye a mayde.
  Yif me my deeth, er that I have a shame;
  Doth with your child your wil, a goddes name!'               250

    243. E. Hn. for; _rest_ first.   248. E. Ln. Blissed; _rest_ Blessed.

    And with that word she preyed him ful ofte,
  That with his swerd he wolde smyte softe,
  And with that word aswowne doun she fil.
  Hir fader, with ful sorweful herte and wil,
  Hir heed of smoot, and by the top it hente,                  255
  And to the Iuge he gan it to presente,
  As he sat yet in doom in consistorie.
  And whan the Iuge it saugh, as seith the storie,
  He bad to take him and anhange him faste.
  But right anon a thousand peple in thraste,                  260
  To save the knight, for routhe and for pitee,
  For knowen was the false iniquitee.
  The peple anon hath suspect of this thing,
  By manere of the cherles chalanging,
  That it was by the assent of Apius;                          265
  They wisten wel that he was lecherous.
  For which un-to this Apius they gon,
  And caste him in a prison right anon,
  Wher-as he slow him-self; and Claudius,
  That servant was un-to this Apius,                           270
  Was demed for to hange upon a tree;
  But that Virginius, of his pitee,
  So preyde for him that he was exyled;
  And elles, certes, he had been bigyled.
  [298: T. 12209-12220.]
  The remenant were anhanged, more and lesse,                  275
  That were consentant of this cursednesse.--

    252. _All but_ E. Hn. _ins._ hir _before_ softe.   259. E. Hn. anhange;
    _rest_ honge.   260. E. Hn. a thousand; _rest_ al the.   263. E. of;
    _rest_ in.   264. E. Hn. the cherles; _rest_ this clerkes.   269. E.
    Hn. Ther; _rest_ Wher.   271. E. And; _rest_ Was.   275. E. Hn. Hl.
    anhanged; _rest_ honged.

    Heer men may seen how sinne hath his meryte!
  Beth war, for no man woot whom god wol smyte
  In no degree, ne in which maner wyse
  The worm of conscience may agryse                            280
  Of wikked lyf, though it so privee be,
  That no man woot ther-of but god and he.
  For be he lewed man, or elles lered,
  He noot how sone that he shal been afered.
  Therfore I rede yow this conseil take,                       285
  Forsaketh sinne, er sinne yow forsake.

  HERE ENDETH THE PHISICIENS TALE.

    278. E. Hn. whom; _rest_ how.   280. E. Hn. may agryse; _rest_ wol
    (wil) arise.   283. E. ellis.   Cp. Ln. Whether he be lewed man or
    lered; _so_ Pt. (_with_ Where _for_ Whether); so Hl. (_with_ Wher that
    _for_ Whether).   COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn.; Sloane _has_ Here endethe the
    tale of the Mayster of phisyk; Hl. Here endeth the Doctor of phisique
    his tale.

[299: T. 12221-12239.]

       *       *       *       *       *

WORDS OF THE HOST.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE WORDES OF THE HOST TO THE PHISICIEN AND THE PARDONER.

  Our Hoste gan to swere as he were wood,
  'Harrow!' quod he, 'by nayles and by blood!.
  This was a fals cherl and a fals Iustyse!
  As shamful deeth as herte may devyse                         290
  Come to thise Iuges and hir advocats!
  Algate this sely mayde is slayn, allas!
  Allas! to dere boghte she beautee!
  Wherfore I seye al day, as men may see,
  That yiftes of fortune or of nature                          295
  Ben cause of deeth to many a creature.                      (10)
  Hir beautee was hir deeth, I dar wel sayn;
  Allas! so pitously as she was slayn!
  Of bothe yiftes that I speke of now
  Men han ful ofte more harm than prow.                        300
  But trewely, myn owene mayster dere,
  This is a pitous tale for to here.
  But natheles, passe over, is no fors;
  I prey to god, so save thy gentil cors,
  And eek thyne urinals and thy Iordanes,                      305
  [300: T. 12240-12262.]
  Thyn Ypocras, and eek thy Galianes,                         (20)
  And every boist ful of thy letuarie;
  God blesse hem, and our lady seinte Marie!
  So mot I theen, thou art a propre man,
  And lyk a prelat, by seint Ronyan!                           310
  Seyde I nat wel? I can nat speke in terme;
  But wel I woot, thou doost my herte to erme,
  That I almost have caught a cardiacle.
  By corpus bones! but I have triacle,
  Or elles a draught of moyste and corny ale,                  315
  Or but I here anon a mery tale,                             (30)
  Myn herte is lost for pitee of this mayde.
  Thou bel amy, thou Pardoner,' he seyde,
  'Tel us som mirthe or Iapes right anon.'
  'It shall be doon,' quod he, 'by seint Ronyon!               320
  But first,' quod he, 'heer at this ale-stake
  I wol both drinke, and eten of a cake.'

    HEADING. _So_ E.   E. Hoost.   287. Ln. oste; _rest_ hoost, ost.   290.
    E. shameful.   291, 292. _So_ E. Hn. Pt.; _but_ Cp. _has_--So falle
    vpon his body and his bones The deuyl I bekenne him al at ones; _so
    also_ Ln. Hl.   291. E. (_alone_) _ins._ false _before_ Iuges.   E. Hn.
    Aduocatz; Pt. aduocas.   295. E. Hn. and; _rest_ or.   296. E. Hn. to;
    _rest_ of.   297, 298. _So_ Cp. Ln. Hl.; _rest omit these lines._
    300. E. Hn. for harm; _rest om._ for.   303. Hl. this is; _the rest
    omit_ this.   305. Ln. Iordanes; Cp. Iurdanes; E. Hn. Iurdones.   306.
    Cp. Galianes; E. Hn. Galiones.   307. Hl. boist; E. Hn. boyste; Cp. Pt.
    Ln. box.   313. E. Hn. cardynacle(!).   322. eten of] Hl. byt on.

    But right anon thise gentils gonne to crye,
  'Nay! lat him telle us of no ribaudye;
  Tel us som moral thing, that we may lere                     325
  Som wit, and thanne wol we gladly here.'                    (40)
  'I graunte, y-wis,' quod he, 'but I mot thinke
  Up-on som honest thing, whyl that I drinke.

    323. E. Hn. And; _the rest_ But.   324. E. Hn. Cp. Hl. ribaudye; Ln.
    rebaudie; Pt. rybaudrye.   327. _For ll._ 326, 327, Hl. _has_--Gladly,
    quod he, and sayde as ye schal heere: But in the cuppe wil I me
    bethinke.

[301: T. 12263-12288.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PROLOGUE OF THE PARDONERS TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE FOLWETH THE PROLOGE OF THE PARDONERS TALE.

  _Radix malorum est Cupiditas: Ad Thimotheum, sexto._

  'Lordings,' quod he, 'in chirches whan I preche,
  I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche,                         330
  And ringe it out as round as gooth a belle,
  For I can al by rote that I telle.
  My theme is alwey oon, and ever was--
  "_Radix malorum est Cupiditas_."

    First I pronounce whennes that I come,                     335
  And than my bulles shewe I, alle and somme.
  Our lige lordes seel on my patente,
  That shewe I first, my body to warente,                     (10)
  That no man be so bold, ne preest ne clerk,
  Me to destourbe of Cristes holy werk;                        340
  And after that than telle I forth my tales,
  Bulles of popes and of cardinales,
  Of patriarkes, and bishoppes I shewe;
  And in Latyn I speke a wordes fewe,
  To saffron with my predicacioun,                             345
  And for to stire men to devocioun.
  Than shewe I forth my longe cristal stones,
  Y-crammed ful of cloutes and of bones;                      (20)
  Reliks been they, as wenen they echoon.
  Than have I in latoun a sholder-boon                         350
  Which that was of an holy Iewes shepe.
  "Good men," seye I, "tak of my wordes kepe;
  If that this boon be wasshe in any welle,
  If cow, or calf, or sheep, or oxe swelle
  [302: T. 12289-12324.]
  That any worm hath ete, or worm y-stonge,                    355
  Tak water of that welle, and wash his tonge,
  And it is hool anon; and forthermore,
  Of pokkes and of scabbe, and every sore                     (30)
  Shal every sheep be hool, that of this welle
  Drinketh a draughte; tak kepe eek what I telle.              360
  If that the good-man, that the bestes oweth,
  Wol every wike, er that the cok him croweth,
  Fastinge, drinken of this welle a draughte,
  As thilke holy Iewe our eldres taughte,
  His bestes and his stoor shal multiplye.                     565
  And, sirs, also it heleth Ialousye;
  For, though a man be falle in Ialous rage,
  Let maken with this water his potage,                       (40)
  And never shal he more his wyf mistriste,
  Though he the sooth of hir defaute wiste;                    370
  Al had she taken preestes two or three.

    346. E. Hn. Hl. hem; _rest_ men.   350. E. _omits_ I _by accident._
    352. E. Hl. Pt. Ln. Good; E. Hn. Cp. Goode.   Hn. I seye; _rest_ say I,
    saie I.   366. E. Hn. sire; _rest_ sires, sirs.

    Heer is a miteyn eek, that ye may see.
  He that his hond wol putte in this miteyn,
  He shal have multiplying of his greyn,
  Whan he hath sowen, be it whete or otes,                     375
  So that he offre pens, or elles grotes.

    Good men and wommen, o thing warne I yow,
  If any wight be in this chirche now,                        (50)
  That hath doon sinne horrible, that he
  Dar nat, for shame, of it y-shriven be,                      380
  Or any womman, be she yong or old,
  That hath y-maad hir housbond cokewold,
  Swich folk shul have no power ne no grace
  To offren to my reliks in this place.
  And who-so findeth him out of swich blame,                   385
  He wol com up and offre in goddes name,
  And I assoille him by the auctoritee
  Which that by bulle y-graunted was to me."                  (60)

    377. E. Hn. Goode; _rest_ And.   382. Cp. Ln. Hl. ymaad; Pt. made; E.
    Hn. ymaked.   385. E. fame; _rest_ blame.   386. Hn. He; _rest_ They.
    E. on; Hn. a; _rest_ in.   387. E. Hl. hem; _rest_ him or hym.

    By this gaude have I wonne, yeer by yeer,
  An hundred mark sith I was Pardoner.                         390
  [303: T. 12325-12361.]
  I stonde lyk a clerk in my pulpet,
  And whan the lewed peple is doun y-set,
  I preche, so as ye han herd bifore,
  And telle an hundred false Iapes more.
  Than peyne I me to strecche forth the nekke,                 395
  And est and west upon the peple I bekke,
  As doth a dowve sitting on a berne.
  Myn hondes and my tonge goon so yerne,                      (70)
  That it is Ioye to see my bisinesse.
  Of avaryce and of swich cursednesse                          400
  Is al my preching, for to make hem free
  To yeve her pens, and namely un-to me.
  For my entente is nat but for to winne,
  And no-thing for correccioun of sinne.
  I rekke never, whan that they ben beried,                    405
  Though that her soules goon a-blakeberied!
  For certes, many a predicacioun
  Comth ofte tyme of yvel entencioun;                         (80)
  Som for plesaunce of folk and flaterye,
  To been avaunced by ipocrisye,                               410
  And som for veyne glorie, and som for hate.
  For, whan I dar non other weyes debate,
  Than wol I stinge him with my tonge smerte
  In preching, so that he shal nat asterte
  To been defamed falsly, if that he                           415
  Hath trespased to my brethren or to me.
  For, though I telle noght his propre name,
  Men shal wel knowe that it is the same                      (90)
  By signes and by othere circumstances.
  Thus quyte I folk that doon us displesances;                 420
  Thus spitte I out my venim under hewe
  Of holynesse, to seme holy and trewe.

    395. the] Cm. myn; Cp. Ln. Hl. my.   405. E. Hl. _omit_ that.

    But shortly myn entente I wol devyse;
  I preche of no-thing but for coveityse.
  Therfor my theme is yet, and ever was--                      425
  "_Radix malorum est cupiditas_."
  Thus can I preche agayn that same vyce
  [304: T. 12362-12396.]
  Which that I use, and that is avaryce.                     (100)
  But, though my-self be gilty in that sinne,
  Yet can I maken other folk to twinne                         430
  From avaryce, and sore to repente.
  But that is nat my principal entente.
  I preche no-thing but for coveityse;
  Of this matere it oughte y-nogh suffyse.

    425. E. Hn. theme; _rest_ teme (teem).

    Than telle I hem ensamples many oon                        435
  Of olde stories, longe tyme agoon:
  For lewed peple loven tales olde;
  Swich thinges can they wel reporte and holde.              (110)
  What? trowe ye, the whyles I may preche,
  And winne gold and silver for I teche,                       440
  That I wol live in povert wilfully?
  Nay, nay, I thoghte it never trewely!
  For I wol preche and begge in sondry londes;
  I wol not do no labour with myn hondes,
  Ne make baskettes, and live therby,                          445
  Because I wol nat beggen ydelly.
  I wol non of the apostles counterfete;
  I wol have money, wolle, chese, and whete,                 (120)
  Al were it yeven of the povrest page,
  Or of the povrest widwe in a village,                        450
  Al sholde hir children sterve for famyne.
  Nay! I wol drinke licour of the vyne,
  And have a Ioly wenche in every toun.
  But herkneth, lordings, in conclusioun;
  Your lyking is that I shal telle a tale.                     455
  Now, have I dronke a draughte of corny ale,
  By god, I hope I shal yow telle a thing
  That shal, by resoun, been at your lyking.                 (130)
  For, though myself be a ful vicious man,
  A moral tale yet I yow telle can,                            460
  Which I am wont to preche, for to winne.
  Now holde your pees, my tale I wol beginne.

    439. E. Pt. the whiles; Cm. that whilis that; Cp. Ln. whiles that; Hl.
    whiles; Hn. that whiles.   449. Hl. prestes (_for_ povrest).

[305: T. 12397-12422.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PARDONERS TALE.

(_Numbered in continuation of the preceding_.)

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE PARDONERS TALE.

  In Flaundres whylom was a companye
  Of yonge folk, that haunteden folye,
  As ryot, hasard, stewes, and tavernes,                       465
  Wher-as, with harpes, lutes, and giternes,
  They daunce and pleye at dees bothe day and night,
  And ete also and drinken over hir might,                   (140)
  Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifyse
  With-in that develes temple, in cursed wyse,                 470
  By superfluitee abhominable;
  Hir othes been so grete and so dampnable,
  That it is grisly for to here hem swere;
  Our blissed lordes body they to-tere;
  Hem thoughte Iewes rente him noght y-nough;                  475
  And ech of hem at otheres sinne lough.
  And right anon than comen tombesteres
  Fetys and smale, and yonge fruytesteres,                   (150)
  Singers with harpes, baudes, wafereres,
  Whiche been the verray develes officeres                     480
  To kindle and blowe the fyr of lecherye,
  That is annexed un-to glotonye;
  The holy writ take I to my witnesse,
  That luxurie is in wyn and dronkenesse.

    HEADING; _from_ E. Hn.   465. E. Hl. stywes.   475. _So_ Cp. Ln. Hl.;
    E. Hn. Cm. that Iewes; Pt. þe Iwes.   478, 479. Hl. _omits._

    Lo, how that dronken Loth, unkindely,                      485
  Lay by his doghtres two, unwitingly;
  So dronke he was, he niste what he wroghte.

    Herodes, (who-so wel the stories soghte),                (160)
  [306: T. 12423-12459.]
  Whan he of wyn was replet at his feste,
  Right at his owene table he yaf his heste                    490
  To sleen the Baptist Iohn ful giltelees.

    488. E. Hn. Cm. P. Hl. _agree here_; Cp. Ln. _have two additional
    (spurious) lines; see_ note.

    Senek seith eek a good word doutelees;
  He seith, he can no difference finde
  Bitwix a man that is out of his minde
  And a man which that is dronkelewe,                          495
  But that woodnesse, y-fallen in a shrewe,
  Persevereth lenger than doth dronkenesse.
  O glotonye, ful of cursednesse,                            (170)
  O cause first of our confusioun,
  O original of our dampnacioun,                               500
  Til Crist had boght us with his blood agayn!
  Lo, how dere, shortly for to sayn,
  Aboght was thilke cursed vileinye;
  Corrupt was al this world for glotonye!

    492. Hl. Seneca (_for_ Senek).   Cp. Ln. eek; _rest omit._   495. which
    that] Hl. the which; Cp. Pt. Ln. _om._ which.   496. E. Hl. fallen; Hn.
    Cm. y-fallen.

    Adam our fader, and his wyf also,                          505
  Fro Paradys to labour and to wo
  Were driven for that vyce, it is no drede;
  For whyl that Adam fasted, as I rede,                      (180)
  He was in Paradys; and whan that he
  Eet of the fruyt defended on the tree,                       510
  Anon he was out-cast to wo and peyne.
  O glotonye, on thee wel oghte us pleyne!
  O, wiste a man how many maladyes
  Folwen of excesse and of glotonyes,
  He wolde been the more mesurable                             515
  Of his diete, sittinge at his table.
  Allas! the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
  Maketh that, Est and West, and North and South,            (190)
  In erthe, in eir, in water men to-swinke
  To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and drinke!                   520
  Of this matere, o Paul, wel canstow trete,
  'Mete un-to wombe, and wombe eek un-to mete,
  Shal god destroyen bothe,' as Paulus seith.
  Allas! a foul thing is it, by my feith,
  To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,                   525
  [307: T. 12460-12496.]
  Whan man so drinketh of the whyte and rede,
  That of his throte he maketh his privee,
  Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.                         (200)

    519. E. Hl. man; _rest_ men.

    The apostel weping seith ful pitously,
  'Ther walken many of whiche yow told have I,                 530
  I seye it now weping with pitous voys,
  That they been enemys of Cristes croys,
  Of whiche the ende is deeth, wombe is her god.'
  O wombe! O bely! O stinking cod,
  Fulfild of donge and of corrupcioun!                         535
  At either ende of thee foul is the soun.
  How greet labour and cost is thee to finde!
  Thise cokes, how they stampe, and streyne, and grinde,     (210)
  And turnen substaunce in-to accident,
  To fulfille al thy likerous talent!                          540
  Out of the harde bones knokke they
  The mary, for they caste noght a-wey
  That may go thurgh the golet softe and swote;
  Of spicerye, of leef, and bark, and rote
  Shal been his sauce y-maked by delyt,                        545
  To make him yet a newer appetyt.
  But certes, he that haunteth swich delyces
  Is deed, whyl that he liveth in tho vyces.                 (220)

    532. That they _is_ Tyrwhitt's _reading_; Hl. Thay; _but the rest have_
    Ther, _probably repeated by mistake from_ l. 530.   534. Hl. o stynking
    is thi cod.

    A lecherous thing is wyn, and dronkenesse
  Is ful of stryving and of wrecchednesse.                     550
  O dronke man, disfigured is thy face,
  Sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,
  And thurgh thy dronke nose semeth the soun
  As though thou seydest ay 'Sampsoun, Sampsoun';
  And yet, god wot, Sampsoun drank never no wyn.               555
  Thou fallest, as it were a stiked swyn;
  Thy tonge is lost, and al thyn honest cure;
  For dronkenesse is verray sepulture                        (230)
  Of mannes wit and his discrecioun.
  In whom that drinke hath dominacioun,                        560
  He can no conseil kepe, it is no drede.
  Now kepe yow fro the whyte and fro the rede,
  [308: T. 12497-12533.]
  And namely fro the whyte wyn of Lepe,
  That is to selle in Fish-strete or in Chepe.
  This wyn of Spayne crepeth subtilly                          565
  In othere wynes, growing faste by,
  Of which ther ryseth swich fumositee,
  That whan a man hath dronken draughtes three,              (240)
  And weneth that he be at hoom in Chepe,
  He is in Spayne, right at the toune of Lepe,                 570
  Nat at the Rochel, ne at Burdeux toun;
  And thanne wol he seye, 'Sampsoun, Sampsoun.'

    But herkneth, lordings, o word, I yow preye,
  That alle the sovereyn actes, dar I seye,
  Of victories in the olde testament,                          575
  Thurgh verray god, that is omnipotent,
  Were doon in abstinence and in preyere;
  Loketh the Bible, and ther ye may it lere.                 (250)

    573. E. lordes; _rest_ lordinges, lordynges, lordyngs.

    Loke, Attila, the grete conquerour,
  Deyde in his sleep, with shame and dishonour,                580
  Bledinge ay at his nose in dronkenesse;
  A capitayn shoulde live in sobrenesse.
  And over al this, avyseth yow right wel
  What was comaunded un-to Lamuel--
  Nat Samuel, but Lamuel, seye I---                            585
  Redeth the Bible, and finde it expresly
  Of wyn-yeving to hem that han Iustyse.
  Na-more of this, for it may wel suffyse.                   (260)

    And now that I have spoke of glotonye,
  Now wol I yow defenden hasardrye.                            590
  Hasard is verray moder of lesinges,
  And of deceite, and cursed forsweringes,
  Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughtre, and wast also
  Of catel and of tyme; and forthermo,
  It is repreve and contrarie of honour                        595
  For to ben holde a commune hasardour.
  And ever the hyër he is of estaat,
  The more is he holden desolaat.                            (270)
  If that a prince useth hasardrye,
  [309: T. 12534-12569.]
  In alle governaunce and policye                              600
  He is, as by commune opinoun,
  Y-holde the lasse in reputacioun.

    589. E. Hl. _omit_ that.   593. E. Blasphemyng; _rest_ Blaspheme.

    Stilbon, that was a wys embassadour,
  Was sent to Corinthe, in ful greet honour,
  Fro Lacidomie, to make hir alliaunce.                        605
  And whan he cam, him happede, par chaunce,
  That alle the grettest that were of that lond,
  Pleyinge atte hasard he hem fond.                          (280)
  For which, as sone as it mighte be,
  He stal him hoom agayn to his contree,                       610
  And seyde, 'ther wol I nat lese my name;
  Ne I wol nat take on me so greet defame,
  Yow for to allye un-to none hasardours.
  Sendeth othere wyse embassadours;
  For, by my trouthe, me were lever dye,                       615
  Than I yow sholde to hasardours allye.
  For ye that been so glorious in honours
  Shul nat allyen yow with hasardours                        (290)
  As by my wil, ne as by my tretee.'
  This wyse philosophre thus seyde he.                         620

    606. Cm. Cp. Hl. happede; _rest_ happed.   612. Hn. Ny; Cm. Nay (_both
    put for_ Ne I) _which shews the scansion._   Hl. I nyl not.   614. _So
    all_.

    Loke eek that, to the king Demetrius
  The king of Parthes, as the book seith us,
  Sente him a paire of dees of gold in scorn,
  For he hadde used hasard ther-biforn;
  For which he heeld his glorie or his renoun                  625
  At no value or reputacioun.
  Lordes may finden other maner pley
  Honeste y-nough to dryve the day awey.                     (300)

    621. E. Ln. Hl. _omit_ to.

    Now wol I speke of othes false and grete
  A word or two, as olde bokes trete.                          630
  Gret swering is a thing abhominable,
  And false swering is yet more reprevable.
  The heighe god forbad swering at al,
  Witnesse on Mathew; but in special
  Of swering seith the holy Ieremye,                           635
  [310: T. 12570-12605.]
  'Thou shalt seye sooth thyn othes, and nat lye,
  And swere in dome, and eek in rightwisnesse;'
  But ydel swering is a cursednesse.                         (310)
  Bihold and see, that in the firste table
  Of heighe goddes hestes honurable,                           640
  How that the seconde heste of him is this--
  'Tak nat my name in ydel or amis.'
  Lo, rather he forbedeth swich swering
  Than homicyde or many a cursed thing;
  I seye that, as by ordre, thus it stondeth;                  645
  This knowen, that his hestes understondeth,
  How that the second heste of god is that.
  And forther over, I wol thee telle al plat,                (320)
  That vengeance shal nat parten from his hous,
  That of his othes is to outrageous.                          650
  'By goddes precious herte, and by his nayles,
  And by the blode of Crist, that it is in Hayles,
  Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is cink and treye;
  By goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye,
  This dagger shal thurgh-out thyn herte go'--                 655
  This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two,
  Forswering, ire, falsnesse, homicyde.
  Now, for the love of Crist that for us dyde,               (330)
  Leveth your othes, bothe grete and smale;
  But, sirs, now wol I telle forth my tale.                    660

    632. Cp. Ln. Hl. _om._ yet.   644. Hn. Cm. Hl. many a.; E. any; Cp. Pt.
    Ln. eny other.   656. Hl. bicchid; Ln. becched; Hn. Cm. bicche; Pt.
    thilk.   659. E. Hn. Lete; _rest_ Leueth.

    Thise ryotoures three, of whiche I telle,
  Longe erst er pryme rong of any belle,
  Were set hem in a taverne for to drinke;
  And as they satte, they herde a belle clinke
  Biforn a cors, was caried to his grave;                      665
  That oon of hem gan callen to his knave,
  'Go bet,' quod he, 'and axe redily,
  What cors is this that passeth heer forby;                 (340)
  And look that thou reporte his name wel.'

    661. E. Hn. Pt. Hl. riotours.   663. Cp. Pt. Hl. for; _rest om._

    'Sir,' quod this boy, 'it nedeth never-a-del.              670
  It was me told, er ye cam heer, two houres;
  [311: T. 12606-12642.]
  He was, pardee, an old felawe of youres;
  And sodeynly he was y-slayn to-night,
  For-dronke, as he sat on his bench upright;
  Ther cam a privee theef, men clepeth Deeth,                  675
  That in this contree al the peple sleeth,
  And with his spere he smoot his herte a-two,
  And wente his wey with-outen wordes mo.                    (350)
  He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence:
  And, maister, er ye come in his presence,                    680
  Me thinketh that it were necessarie
  For to be war of swich an adversarie:
  Beth redy for to mete him evermore.
  Thus taughte me my dame, I sey na-more.'
  'By seinte Marie,' seyde this taverner,                      685
  'The child seith sooth, for he hath slayn this yeer,
  Henne over a myle, with-in a greet village,
  Both man and womman, child and hyne, and page.             (360)
  I trowe his habitacioun be there;
  To been avysed greet wisdom it were,                         690
  Er that he dide a man a dishonour.'
  'Ye, goddes armes,' quod this ryotour,
  'Is it swich peril with him for to mete?
  I shal him seke by wey and eek by strete,
  I make avow to goddes digne bones!                           695
  Herkneth, felawes, we three been al ones;
  Lat ech of us holde up his hond til other,                 (370)
  And ech of us bicomen otheres brother,
  And we wol sleen this false traytour Deeth;
  He shal be slayn, which that so many sleeth,                 700
  By goddes dignitee, er it be night.'

    Togidres han thise three her trouthes plight,
  To live and dyen ech of hem for other,
  As though he were his owene y-boren brother.
  And up they sterte al dronken, in this rage,                 705
  And forth they goon towardes that village,
  Of which the taverner had spoke biforn,
  And many a grisly ooth than han they sworn,                (380)
  [312: T. 12643-12680.]
  And Cristes blessed body they to-rente--
  'Deeth shal be deed, if that they may him hente.'            710

    704. E. yborn; Hn. ybore; Cm. bore; Pt. born; Cp. Ln. Hl. sworne.
    705. E. Hn. stirte.   Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. al; E. Cm. Pt. and.   710. they]
    Cp. Pt. Ln. we.

    Whan they han goon nat fully half a myle,
  Right as they wolde han troden over a style,
  An old man and a povre with hem mette.
  This olde man ful mekely hem grette,
  And seyde thus, 'now, lordes, god yow see!'                  715

    The proudest of thise ryotoures three
  Answerde agayn, 'what? carl, with sory grace,
  Why artow al forwrapped save thy face?                     (390)
  Why livestow so longe in so greet age?'

    This olde man gan loke in his visage,                      720
  And seyde thus, 'for I ne can nat finde
  A man, though that I walked in-to Inde,
  Neither in citee nor in no village,
  That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
  And therfore moot I han myn age stille,                      725
  As longe time as it is goddes wille.

    Ne deeth, allas! ne wol nat han my lyf;
  Thus walke I, lyk a restelees caityf,                      (400)
  And on the ground, which is my modres gate,
  I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late,                  730
  And seye, "leve moder, leet me in!
  Lo, how I vanish, flesh, and blood, and skin!
  Allas! whan shul my bones been at reste?
  Moder, with yow wolde I chaunge my cheste,
  That in my chambre longe tyme hath be,                       735
  Ye! for an heyre clout to wrappe me!"
  But yet to me she wol nat do that grace,
  For which ful pale and welked is my face.                  (410)

    But, sirs, to yow it is no curteisye
  To speken to an old man vileinye,                            740
  But he trespasse in worde, or elles in dede.
  In holy writ ye may your-self wel rede,
  "Agayns an old man, hoor upon his heed,
  Ye sholde aryse;" wherfor I yeve yow reed,
  Ne dooth un-to an old man noon harm now,                     745
  Na-more than ye wolde men dide to yow
  [313: T. 12681-12718.]
  In age, if that ye so longe abyde;
  And god be with yow, wher ye go or ryde.                   (420)
  I moot go thider as I have to go.'

    746. E. Hn. than that; _rest omit_ that.

    'Nay, olde cherl, by god, thou shall nat so,'              750
  Seyde this other hasardour anon;
  'Thou partest nat so lightly, by seint Iohn!
  Thou spak right now of thilke traitour Deeth,
  That in this contree alle our frendes sleeth.
  Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his aspye,                 755
  Tel wher he is, or thou shalt it abye,
  By god, and by the holy sacrament!
  For soothly thou art oon of his assent,                    (430)
  To sleen us yonge folk, thou false theef!'

    'Now, sirs,' quod he, 'if that yow be so leef              760
  To finde Deeth, turne up this croked wey,
  For in that grove I lafte him, by my fey,
  Under a tree, and ther he wol abyde;
  Nat for your boost he wol him no-thing hyde.
  See ye that ook? right ther ye shul him finde.               765
  God save yow, that boghte agayn mankinde,
  And yow amende!'--thus seyde this olde man.
  And everich of thise ryotoures ran,                        (440)
  Til he cam to that tree, and ther they founde
  Of florins fyne of golde y-coyned rounde                     770
  Wel ny an eighte busshels, as hem thoughte.
  No lenger thanne after Deeth they soughte,
  But ech of hem so glad was of that sighte,
  For that the florins been so faire and brighte,
  That doun they sette hem by this precious hord.              775
  The worste of hem he spake the firste word.

    760. E. Cm. ye; Hn. Hl. yow.

    'Brethren,' quod he, 'tak kepe what I seye;
  My wit is greet, though that I bourde and pleye.           (450)
  This tresor hath fortune un-to us yiven,
  In mirthe and Iolitee our lyf to liven,                      780
  And lightly as it comth, so wol we spende.
  Ey! goddes precious dignitee! who wende
  To-day, that we sholde han so fair a grace?
  But mighte this gold be caried fro this place
  [314: T. 12719-12754.]
  Hoom to myn hous, or elles un-to youres--                    785
  For wel ye woot that al this gold is oures--
  Than were we in heigh felicitee.
  But trewely, by daye it may nat be;                        (460)
  Men wolde seyn that we were theves stronge,
  And for our owene tresor doon us honge.                      790
  This tresor moste y-caried be by nighte
  As wysly and as slyly as it mighte.
  Wherfore I rede that cut among us alle
  Be drawe, and lat se wher the cut wol falle;
  And he that hath the cut with herte blythe                   795
  Shal renne to the toune, and that ful swythe,
  And bringe us breed and wyn ful prively.
  And two of us shul kepen subtilly                          (470)
  This tresor wel; and, if he wol nat tarie,
  Whan it is night, we wol this tresor carie                   800
  By oon assent, wher-as us thinketh best.'
  That oon of hem the cut broughte in his fest,
  And bad hem drawe, and loke wher it wol falle;
  And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle;
  And forth toward the toun he wente anon.                     805
  And al-so sone as that he was gon,
  That oon of hem spak thus un-to that other,
  'Thou knowest wel thou art my sworne brother,              (480)
  Thy profit wol I telle thee anon.
  Thou woost wel that our felawe is agon;                      810
  And heer is gold, and that ful greet plentee,
  That shal departed been among us three.
  But natheles, if I can shape it so
  That it departed were among us two,
  Hadde I nat doon a freendes torn to thee?'                   815

    779. E. Hn. Pt. Ln. yeuen.   780. E. Ioliftee.   796. Hl. Ln. the;
    _rest omit._   803. E. hym; _rest_ hem.   E. Hn. Cp. wol; Hl. wil; Cm.
    Pt. Ln. wolde.   807. E. _omits_ of hem.   808. E. Hn. Pt. sworn; Cm.
    swore: Cp. Ln. Hl. sworne.

    That other answerde, 'I noot how that may be;
  He woot how that the gold is with us tweye,
  What shal we doon, what shal we to him seye?'              (490)

    'Shal it be conseil?' seyde the firste shrewe,
  'And I shal tellen thee, in wordes fewe,                     820
  [315: T. 12755-12790.]
  What we shal doon, and bringe it wel aboute.'

    820. Hl. the (=thee); _rest omit._   E. Hn. Cm. in a; _rest omit_ a.

    'I graunte,' quod that other, 'out of doute,
  That, by my trouthe, I wol thee nat biwreye.'

    823. E. shal; _rest_ wol (wil, wyl).

    'Now,' quod the firste, 'thou woost wel we be tweye,
  And two of us shul strenger be than oon.                     825
  Look whan that he is set, and right anoon
  Arys, as though thou woldest with him pleye;
  And I shal ryve him thurgh the sydes tweye                 (500)
  Whyl that thou strogelest with him as in game,
  And with thy dagger look thou do the same;                   830
  And than shal al this gold departed be,
  My dere freend, bitwixen me and thee;
  Than may we bothe our lustes al fulfille,
  And pleye at dees right at our owene wille.'
  And thus acorded been thise shrewes tweye                    835
  To sleen the thridde, as ye han herd me seye.

    826. E. Hn. Cm. that right; Cp. and thanne; Pt. Ln. Hl. and that. _I
    take_ and _from_ Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl., _and_ right _from_ E. Hn. Cm.

    This yongest, which that wente un-to the toun,
  Ful ofte in herte he rolleth up and doun                   (510)
  The beautee of thise florins newe and brighte.
  'O lord!' quod he, 'if so were that I mighte                 840
  Have al this tresor to my-self allone,
  Ther is no man that liveth under the trone
  Of god, that sholde live so mery as I!'
  And atte laste the feend, our enemy,
  Putte in his thought that he shold poyson beye,              845
  With which he mighte sleen his felawes tweye;
  For-why the feend fond him in swich lyvinge,
  That he had leve him to sorwe bringe,                      (520)
  For this was outrely his fulle entente
  To sleen hem bothe, and never to repente.                    850
  And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he tarie,
  Into the toun, un-to a pothecarie,
  And preyed him, that he him wolde selle
  Som poyson, that he mighte his rattes quelle;
  And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe,                       855
  That, as he seyde, his capouns hadde y-slawe,
  [316: T. 12791-12826.]
  And fayn he wolde wreke him, if he mighte,
  On vermin, that destroyed him by nighte.                   (530)

    847. E. Hn. foond.   848. E. Cm. hem; _rest_ hym _or_ him.   853. Hn.
    preyed; Cm. preyede; _rest_ preyde.

    The pothecarie answerde, 'and thou shalt have
  A thing that, al-so god my soule save,                       860
  In al this world ther nis no creature,
  That ete or dronke hath of this confiture
  Noght but the mountance of a corn of whete,
  That he ne shal his lyf anon forlete;
  Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lasse whyle                  865
  Than thou wolt goon a paas nat but a myle;
  This poyson is so strong and violent.'

    861. E. Hn. Cm. is; _rest_ nys _or_ nis.

    This cursed man hath in his hond y-hent                  (540)
  This poyson in a box, and sith he ran
  In-to the nexte strete, un-to a man,                         870
  And borwed [of] him large botels three;
  And in the two his poyson poured he;
  The thridde he kepte clene for his drinke.
  For al the night he shoop him for to swinke
  In caryinge of the gold out of that place.                   875
  And whan this ryotour, with sory grace,
  Had filled with wyn his grete botels three,
  To his felawes agayn repaireth he.                         (550)

    871. _All_ omit of.   873. E. his owene; _rest omit_ owene.

    What nedeth it to sermone of it more?
  For right as they had cast his deeth bifore,                 880
  Right so they han him slayn, and that anon.
  And whan that this was doon, thus spak that oon,
  'Now lat us sitte and drinke, and make us merie,
  And afterward we wol his body berie.'
  And with that word it happed him, par cas,                   885
  To take the botel ther the poyson was,
  And drank, and yaf his felawe drinke also,
  For which anon they storven bothe two.                     (560)

    880. E. so as; _rest omit_ so.

    But, certes, I suppose that Avicen
  Wroot never in no canon, ne in no fen,                       890
  Mo wonder signes of empoisoning
  Than hadde thise wrecches two, er hir ending.
  [317: T. 12827-12861.]
  Thus ended been thise homicydes two,
  And eek the false empoysoner also.

    891. E. Hn. Cm. signes; Cp. Ln. Hl. sorwes; Pt. sorowes.

    O cursed sinne, ful of cursednesse!                        895
  O traytours homicyde, o wikkednesse!
  O glotonye, luxurie, and hasardrye!
  Thou blasphemour of Crist with vileinye                    (570)
  And othes grete, of usage and of pryde!
  Allas! mankinde, how may it bityde,                          900
  That to thy creatour which that thee wroghte,
  And with his precious herte-blood thee boghte,
  Thou art so fals and so unkinde, allas!

    895. E. Hn. Cm. of alle; Cp. Ln. Hl. ful of; Pt. ful of al.

    Now, goode men, god forgeve yow your trespas,
  And ware yow fro the sinne of avaryce.                       905
  Myn holy pardoun may yow alle waryce,
  So that ye offre nobles or sterlinges,
  Or elles silver broches, spones, ringes.                   (580)
  Boweth your heed under this holy bulle!
  Cometh up, ye wyves, offreth of your wolle!                  910
  Your name I entre heer in my rolle anon;
  In-to the blisse of hevene shul ye gon;
  I yow assoile, by myn heigh power,
  Yow that wol offre, as clene and eek as cleer
  As ye were born; and, lo, sirs, thus I preche.               915
  And Iesu Crist, that is our soules leche,
  So graunte yow his pardon to receyve;
  For that is best; I wol yow nat deceyve.                   (590)

    910. E. Com; _rest_ Cometh, Comyth.   911. E. Hl. names; _rest_ name.

    But sirs, o word forgat I in my tale,
  I have relikes and pardon in my male,                        920
  As faire as any man in Engelond,
  Whiche were me yeven by the popes hond.
  If any of yow wol, of devocioun,
  Offren, and han myn absolucioun,
  Cometh forth anon, and kneleth heer adoun,                   925
  And mekely receyveth my pardoun:
  Or elles, taketh pardon as ye wende,
  [318: T. 12862-12897.]
  Al newe and fresh, at every tounes ende,                   (600)
  So that ye offren alwey newe and newe
  Nobles and pens, which that be gode and trewe.               930
  It is an honour to everich that is heer,
  That ye mowe have a suffisant pardoneer
  Tassoille yow, in contree as ye ryde,
  For aventures which that may bityde.
  Peraventure ther may falle oon or two                        935
  Doun of his hors, and breke his nekke atwo.
  Look which a seuretee is it to yow alle
  That I am in your felaweship y-falle,                      (610)
  That may assoille yow, bothe more and lasse,
  Whan that the soule shal fro the body passe,                 940
  I rede that our hoste heer shal biginne,
  For he is most envoluped in sinne.
  Com forth, sir hoste, and offre first anon,
  And thou shalt kisse the reliks everichon,
  Ye, for a grote! unbokel anon thy purs.'                     945

    925. E. Hn. Com; _rest_ Cometh, Comyth.   928. E. Hn. Cm. myles; _rest_
    tounes.   930. E. Hn. or; _rest_ and.   935. E. fallen.   941. E. Cm.
    heere; _rest om._   944. E. my; Cm. myne; _rest_ the.

    'Nay, nay,' quod he, 'than have I Cristes curs!
  Lat be,' quod he, 'it shal nat be, so theech!
  Thou woldest make me kisse thyn old breech,                (620)
  And swere it were a relik of a seint,
  Thogh it were with thy fundement depeint!                    950
  But by the croys which that seint Eleyne fond,
  I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
  In stede of relikes or of seintuarie;
  Lat cutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
  Thay shul be shryned in an hogges tord.'                     955

    947. Hn. thee ich; _rest_ theech.   954. Cp. Ln. the helpe; Pt. Hl.
    helpe; E. with thee; Cm. from the; Hn. thee.

    This pardoner answerde nat a word;
  So wrooth he was, no word ne wolde he seye.

    'Now,' quod our host, 'I wol no lenger pleye             (630)
  With thee, ne with noon other angry man.'
  But right anon the worthy knight bigan,                      960
  Whan that he saugh that al the peple lough,
  'Na-more of this, for it is right y-nough;
  Sir pardoner, be glad and mery of chere;
  [319: T. 12898-12902.]
  And ye, sir host, that been to me so dere,
  I prey yow that ye kisse the pardoner.                       965
  And pardoner, I prey thee, drawe thee neer,
  And, as we diden, lat us laughe and pleye.'                (639)
  Anon they kiste, and riden forth hir weye.            [T. 12902.

  HERE IS ENDED THE PARDONERS TALE.

  (_For_ T. 12903, _see_ p. 165).

    COLOPHON. _From_ E. Hn.; Hl. Here endeth the pardoneres tale.

[320: T. 5583-5602.]

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP D.

THE WIFE OF BATH'S PROLOGUE.

T. 5583 sqq.; _for_ T. 5582, _see_ p. 164.)

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE WYVES TALE OF BATHE.

  'Experience, though noon auctoritee
  Were in this world, were right y-nough to me
  To speke of wo that is in mariage;
  For, lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age,
  Thonked be god that is eterne on lyve,                         5
  Housbondes at chirche-dore I have had fyve;
  For I so ofte have y-wedded be;
  And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
  But me was told certeyn, nat longe agon is,
  That sith that Crist ne wente never but onis                  10
  To wedding in the Cane of Galilee,
  That by the same ensample taughte he me
  That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
  Herke eek, lo! which a sharp word for the nones
  Besyde a welle Iesus, god and man,                            15
  Spak in repreve of the Samaritan:
  "Thou hast y-had fyve housbondes," quod he,
  "And thilke man, the which that hath now thee,
  Is noght thyn housbond;" thus seyde he certeyn;
  What that he mente ther-by, I can nat seyn;                   20
  [321: T. 5603-5636.]
  But that I axe, why that the fifthe man
  Was noon housbond to the Samaritan?
  How manye mighte she have in mariage?
  Yet herde I never tellen in myn age
  Upon this nombre diffinicioun;                                25
  Men may devyne and glosen up and doun.
  But wel I woot expres, with-oute lye,
  God bad us for to wexe and multiplye;
  That gentil text can I wel understonde.
  Eek wel I woot he seyde, myn housbonde                        30
  Sholde lete fader and moder, and take me;
  But of no nombre mencioun made he,
  Of bigamye or of octogamye;
  Why sholde men speke of it vileinye?

    HEADING. _So_ E.; Hn. Here bigynneth the prologe of the tale of the Wyf
    of Bathe; Hl. Here bygynneth the prologe of the wyf of Bathe.   5. Hn.
    Pt. Ln. Thonked; E. Ythonked.   7. _So_ E.; _rest_ If (Hl. For) I so
    ofte myghte haue wedded be.   12. E. _om._ That.   E. thoughte; _rest_
    taughte he.   14. E. Herkne; Hl. Herken; _rest_ Herke (Herk).   E. Hl.
    _om._ lo.   18. E. And that; _rest_ And that ilke (_read_ thilke).
    29. E. _om._ wel.   31. E. take; Hl. folwe; _rest_ take to.

  Lo, here the wyse king, dan Salomon;                          35
  I trowe he hadde wyves mo than oon;
  As, wolde god, it leveful were to me
  To be refresshed half so ofte as he!
  Which yifte of god hadde he for alle his wyvis!
  No man hath swich, that in this world alyve is.               40
  God woot, this noble king, as to my wit,
  The firste night had many a mery fit
  With ech of hem, so wel was him on lyve!
  Blessed be god that I have wedded fyve!
  Welcome the sixte, whan that ever he shal.                    45
  For sothe, I wol nat kepe me chast in al;
  Whan myn housbond is fro the world y-gon,
  Som Cristen man shal wedde me anon;
  For thanne thapostle seith, that I am free
  To wedde, a goddes half, wher it lyketh me.                   50
  He seith that to be wedded is no sinne;
  Bet is to be wedded than to brinne.
  What rekketh me, thogh folk seye vileinye
  Of shrewed Lameth and his bigamye?
  [322: T. 5637-5672.]
  I woot wel Abraham was an holy man,                           55
  And Iacob eek, as ferforth as I can;
  And ech of hem hadde wyves mo than two;
  And many another holy man also.
  Whan saugh ye ever, in any maner age,
  That hye god defended mariage                                 60
  By expres word? I pray you, telleth me;
  Or wher comanded he virginitee?
  I woot as wel as ye, it is no drede,
  Thapostel, whan he speketh of maydenhede;
  He seyde, that precept ther-of hadde he noon.                 65
  Men may conseille a womman to been oon,
  But conseilling is no comandement;
  He putte it in our owene Iugement.
  For hadde god comanded maydenhede,
  Thanne hadde he dampned wedding with the dede;                70
  And certes, if ther were no seed y-sowe,
  Virginitee, wher-of than sholde it growe?
  Poul dorste nat comanden atte leste
  A thing of which his maister yaf noon heste.
  The dart is set up for virginitee;                            75
  Cacche who so may, who renneth best lat see.

    37. _So all but_ E., _which has_ it were leueful vn-to me.   42. E.
    myrie; Hn. murye.   44. E. Hl. Yblessed; _rest_ Blessed (Blissed).
    46. E. chaast.   49. E. _om._ that.   50. Hl. wher so it be; _rest_
    wher it liketh me (_correctly; for_ a goddes half = a god's half).
    51. E. _om._ that.   52. E. Hn. Hl. Bet; _rest_ Better.   54. E. Hl.
    of; _rest_ his.   58. E. _om._ holy.   59. Hl. Whan; E. Whanne; _rest_
    Where (Wher).   E. _om._ any.   64. E. Whan thapostel speketh.   67. E.
    nat; _rest_ no (non).   71. E. certein.   73. E. Hl. _ins._ ne _after_
    Poul.   75. E. of; Cp. fro; Hl. on; _rest_ for.

    But this word is nat take of every wight,
  But ther as god list give it of his might.
  I woot wel, that thapostel was a mayde;
  But natheless, thogh that he wroot and sayde,                 80
  He wolde that every wight were swich as he,
  Al nis but conseil to virginitee;
  And for to been a wyf, he yaf me leve
  Of indulgence; so it is no repreve
  To wedde me, if that my make dye,                             85
  With-oute excepcioun of bigamye.
  Al were it good no womman for to touche,
  He mente as in his bed or in his couche;
  For peril is bothe fyr and tow tassemble;
  Ye knowe what this ensample may resemble.                     90
  [323: T. 5673-5706.]
  This is al and som, he heeld virginitee
  More parfit than wedding in freletee.
  Freeltee clepe I, but-if that he and she
  Wolde leden al hir lyf in chastitee.

    77. E. Hl. taken.   78. E. Cm. lust; Hn. Hl. list.   79. E. _om._
    that.   85. E. Cm. _om._ that.   89. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. to assemble.   91.
    E. Cm that; Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. he heeld; Hl. he holdith.   92. E. Cm.
    profiteth; _rest_ parfit.   94. Hn. Hl. leden; _rest_ lede.

    I graunte it wel, I have noon envye,                        95
  Thogh maydenhede preferre bigamye;
  Hem lyketh to be clene, body and goost,
  Of myn estaat I nil nat make no boost.
  For wel ye knowe, a lord in his houshold,
  He hath nat every vessel al of gold;                         100
  Somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servyse.
  God clepeth folk to him in sondry wyse,
  And everich hath of god a propre yifte,
  Som this, som that,--as him lyketh shifte.

    104. _So all but_ Hl. Ln. _which have_ to schifte. _Perhaps read_ right
    as him.

    Virginitee is greet perfeccioun,                           105
  And continence eek with devocioun.
  But Crist, that of perfeccioun is welle,
  Bad nat every wight he shold go selle
  All that he hadde, and give it to the pore,
  And in swich wyse folwe hime and his fore.                   110
  He spak to hem that wolde live parfitly;
  And lordinges, by your leve, that am nat I.
  I wol bistowe the flour of al myn age
  In the actes and in fruit of mariage.

    108. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ he.   109, 110. E poore, foore; _and_ foore _is
    glossed by_ steppes.   113. E Hl. _om._ al.

    Telle me also, to what conclusioun                         115
  Were membres maad of generacioun,
  And for what profit was a wight y-wroght?
  Trusteth right wel, they wer nat maad for noght.
  Glose who-so wole, and seye bothe up and doun,
  That they were maked for purgacioun
  Of urine, and our bothe thinges smale
  Were eek to knowe a femele from a male,
  And for noone other cause: sey ye no?
  The experience woot wel it is noght so;
  [324: T. 5707-5741.]
  So that the clerkes be nat with me wrothe,                   125
  I sey this, that they maked been for bothe,
  This is to seye, for office, and for ese
  Of engendrure, ther we nat god displese.
  Why sholde men elles in hir bokes sette,
  That man shal yelde to his wyf hir dette?                    130
  Now wher-with sholde he make his payement,
  If he ne used his sely instrument?
  Than were they maad up-on a creature,
  To purge uryne, and eek for engendrure.

    116 E. ymaad.   120. Cm. makyd; _rest_ maad; _see_ l. 126.   121. _So_
    Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln.; E. vryne bothe and thynges.   122. E. Cm. And; Hn. Hl.
    Was; _rest_ Were.   126. this] E. yis.   E. Cm. beth maked.   130. E.
    Cm. a man.   133. E. Thanne.   134. E. Cm. _om._ eek.

    But I seye noght that every wight is holde,                135
  That hath swich harneys as I to yow tolde,
  To goon and usen hem in engendrure;
  Than sholde men take of chastitee no cure.
  Crist was a mayde, and shapen as a man,
  And many a seint, sith that the world bigan,                 140
  Yet lived they ever in parfit chastitee.
  I nil envye no virginitee;
  Lat hem be breed of pured whete-seed,
  And lat us wyves hoten barly-breed;
  And yet with barly-breed, Mark telle can,                    145
  Our lord Iesu refresshed many a man.
  In swich estaat as god hath cleped us
  I wol persevere, I nam nat precious.
  In wyfhode I wol use myn instrument
  As frely as my maker hath it sent.                           150
  If I be daungerous, god yeve me sorwe!
  Myn housbond shal it have bothe eve and morwe,
  Whan that him list com forth and paye his dette.
  An housbonde I wol have, I nil nat lette,
  Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral,                 155
  And have his tribulacioun with-al
  Up-on his flessh, whyl that I am his wyf.
  I have the power duringe al my lyf
  Up-on his propre body, and noght he.
  [325: T. 5742-5776.]
  Right thus the apostel tolde it un-to me;                    160
  And bad our housbondes for to love us weel.
  Al this sentence me lyketh every-deel'--

    136. Hn. Hl. to yow; E. Cm. of.   138. E. Cm. They shul nat; _rest_
    Than sholde men.   140. E. Cm. _om._ that (_perhaps read_ së-int).
    142. E. Cm. nil nat.   144. E. hoten; Hn. Cm. hote; Cp. Pt. Ln. ete(!);
    Hl. eten(!).   146. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ Iesu.   148. E. Hn. precius.

  Up sterte the Pardoner, and that anon,
  'Now dame,' quod he, 'by god and by seint Iohn,
  Ye been a noble prechour in this cas!                        165
  I was aboute to wedde a wyf; allas!
  What sholde I bye it on my flesh so dere?
  Yet hadde I lever wedde no wyf to-yere!'

    163. E. Hn. stirte.

    'Abyde!' quod she, 'my tale is nat bigonne;
  Nay, thou shalt drinken of another tonne                     170
  Er that I go, shal savoure wors than ale.
  And whan that I have told thee forth my tale
  Of tribulacioun in mariage,
  Of which I am expert in al myn age,
  This to seyn, my-self have been the whippe;--                175
  Than maystow chese whether thou wolt sippe
  Of thilke tonne that I shal abroche.
  Be war of it, er thou to ny approche;
  For I shal telle ensamples mo than ten.
  Who-so that nil be war by othere men,                        180
  By him shul othere men corrected be.
  The same wordes wryteth Ptholomee;
  Rede in his Almageste, and take it there.'

    172. Hn. Hl. thee; _rest om._   173. E. Cm. that is in (_for_ in).
    176. E. wheither.   177. E. Cm. that; _rest_ thilke.   180. Hn. nyle;
    Hl. nyl; _rest_ wol nat.   182. Ln. tholome; Pt. ptholome; Hl.
    p_ro_tholome; E. Hn. Cm. Cp. Protholome(!).   183. E. Cm. Rede it in.

    'Dame, I wolde praye yow, if your wil it were,'
  Seyde this Pardoner, 'as ye bigan,                           185
  Telle forth your tale, spareth for no man,
  And teche us yonge men of your praktike.'

    184. E. Cm. _om._ yow.

    'Gladly,' quod she, 'sith it may yow lyke.
  But yet I praye to al this companye,
  If that I speke after my fantasye,                           190
  As taketh not a-grief of that I seye;
  For myn entente nis but for to pleye.

    188. E. sires; Cm. sire; _rest_ quod she.   191. E. Cm. _om._ of.
    192. Hn. nis; E. Cm. is; _rest_ is not.

    Now sires, now wol I telle forth my tale.--
  As ever mote I drinken wyn or ale,
  [326: T. 5777-5811.]
  I shal seye sooth, tho housbondes that I hadde,              195
  As three of hem were gode and two were badde.
  The three men were gode, and riche, and olde;
  Unnethe mighte they the statut holde
  In which that they were bounden un-to me.
  Ye woot wel what I mene of this, pardee!                     200
  As help me god, I laughe whan I thinke
  How pitously a-night I made hem swinke;
  And by my fey, I tolde of it no stoor.
  They had me yeven hir gold and hir tresoor;
  Me neded nat do lenger diligence                             205
  To winne hir love, or doon hem reverence.
  They loved me so wel, by god above,
  That I ne tolde no deyntee of hir love!
  A wys womman wol sette hir ever in oon
  To gete hir love, ther as she hath noon.                     210
  But sith I hadde hem hoolly in myn hond,
  And sith they hadde me yeven all hir lond,
  What sholde I taken hede hem for to plese,
  But it were for my profit and myn ese?
  I sette hem so a-werke, by my fey,                           215
  That many a night they songen "weilawey!"
  The bacoun was nat fet for hem, I trowe,
  That som men han in Essex at Dunmowe.
  I governed hem so wel, after my lawe,
  That ech of hem ful blisful was and fawe                     220
  To bringe me gaye thinges fro the fayre.
  They were ful glad whan I spak to hem fayre;
  For god it woot, I chidde hem spitously.

    193. E. Hn. Cm. sire.   195. E. of tho; Hl. Cm. of; Hn. Cp. Pt. tho;
    Ln. the.   197. Cp. Pt. Ln. men; _rest om._   210. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. ye
    ther; _but read_ lov-ë.   215. E. Hn. a-werk; _rest_ a-werke.   220. E.
    was ful blisful; Cm. was blysful and ful.

    Now herkneth, how I bar me proprely,
  Ye wyse wyves, that can understonde.                         225

    224. E. baar.

    Thus shul ye speke and bere hem wrong on honde;
  For half so boldely can ther no man
  Swere and lyen as a womman can.
  I sey nat this by wyves that ben wyse,
  [327: T. 5812-5845.]
  But-if it be whan they hem misavyse.                         230
  A wys wyf, if that she can hir good,
  Shal beren him on hond the cow is wood,
  And take witnesse of hir owene mayde
  Of hir assent; but herkneth how I sayde.

    226. E. beren: _om._ wrong.   228. MSS. lye; _read_ lyen.   Hn. Ln. a
    womman kan; Pt. womman can; _rest_ kan a womman.   231. E. Hn. Cm. A
    wys; Hl. I-wis a; _rest_ wise. _Read_ wys-e?   232. Hl. beren; _rest_
    bere.   Cm. cou; Pt. Ln. cowe.

    'Sir olde kaynard, is this thyn array?                     235
  Why is my neighebores wyf so gay?
  She is honoured over-al ther she goth;
  I sitte at hoom, I have no thrifty cloth.
  What dostow at my neighebores hous?
  Is she so fair? artow so amorous?                            240
  What rowne ye with our mayde? _benedicite_!
  Sir olde lechour, lat thy Iapes be!
  And if I have a gossib or a freend,
  With-outen gilt, thou chydest as a feend,
  If that I walke or pleye un-to his hous!                     245
  Thou comest hoom as dronken as a mous,
  And prechest on thy bench, with yvel preef!
  Thou seist to me, it is a greet meschief
  To wedde a povre womman, for costage;
  And if that she be riche, of heigh parage,                   250
  Than seistow that it is a tormentrye
  To suffre hir pryde and hir malencolye.
  And if that she be fair, thou verray knave,
  Thou seyst that every holour wol hir have;
  She may no whyle in chastitee abyde,                         255
  That is assailled up-on ech a syde.

    242. E. Pt. Hl. lecchour.   250. E. Cm. _om._ that.   E. Cm. Hl. and
    of; _rest_ of.   251. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ that.   252. E. soffren.

    Thou seyst, som folk desyre us for richesse,
  Somme for our shap, and somme for our fairnesse;
  And som, for she can outher singe or daunce,
  And som, for gentillesse and daliaunce;                      260
  Som, for hir handes and hir armes smale;
  Thus goth al to the devel by thy tale.
  Thou seyst, men may nat kepe a castel-wal;
  [328: T. 5846-5880.]
  It may so longe assailled been over-al.

    257. E. Cm. that som.   E. Hn. Cm. desiren.   258. E. Cm. _om._ and.
    259. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ outher.   E. Cm. Hl. and (_for_ or).   260. and]
    E. Cm. and som for; Hl. or.

    And if that she be foul, thou seist that she               265
  Coveiteth every man that she may se;
  For as a spaynel she wol on him lepe,
  Til that she finde som man hir to chepe;
  Ne noon so grey goos goth ther in the lake,
  As, seistow, that wol been with-oute make.                   270
  And seyst, it is an hard thing for to welde
  A thing that no man wol, his thankes, helde.
  Thus seistow, lorel, whan thow goost to bedde;
  And that no wys man nedeth for to wedde,
  Ne no man that entendeth un-to hevene.                       275
  With wilde thonder-dint and firy levene
  Mote thy welked nekke be to-broke!

    269. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. ther; _rest om._   270. Cp. Pt. Ln. that; _rest
    om._   271, 272. Hn. Hl. wolde, holde.   277. E. Hn. Pt. Ln. welked;
    Cm. wekede; Cp. Hl. wicked.

    Thow seyst that dropping houses, and eek smoke,
  And chyding wyves, maken men to flee
  Out of hir owene hous; a! _benedicite_!                      280
  What eyleth swich an old man for to chyde?

    280. E. Hn. Cp. houses.

    Thow seyst, we wyves wol our vyces hyde
  Til we be fast, and than we wol hem shewe;
  Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe!

    282. E. Cm. that we.

    Thou seist, that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,           285
  They been assayed at diverse stoundes;
  Bacins, lavours, er that men hem bye,
  Spones and stoles, and al swich housbondrye,
  And so been pottes, clothes, and array;
  But folk of wyves maken noon assay                           290
  Til they be wedded; olde dotard shrewe!
  And than, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.

    286. E. assayd; Pt. Ln. assaide; _rest_ assayed.   292. Hn. Hl.
    _supply_ And.

    Thou seist also, that it displeseth me
  But-if that thou wolt preyse my beautee,
  And but thou poure alwey up-on my face,                      295
  And clepe me "faire dame" in every place;
  And but thou make a feste on thilke day
  That I was born, and make me fresh and gay,
  [329: T. 5881-5913.]
  And but thou do to my norice honour,
  And to my chamberere with-inne my bour,                      300
  And to my fadres folk and his allyes;--
  Thus seistow, olde barel ful of lyes!

    295. Hl. pore; _rest_ poure.   300. Cm. chaumberere; Hl. chamberer; E.
    Hn. chambrere.

    And yet of our apprentice Ianekyn,
  For his crisp heer, shyninge as gold so fyn,
  And for he squiereth me bothe up and doun,                   305
  Yet hastow caught a fals suspecioun;
  I wol hym noght, thogh thou were deed to-morwe.

    303. E. Ianekyn; _rest_ Iankyn.

    But tel me this, why hydestow, with sorwe,
  The keyes of thy cheste awey fro me?
  It is my good as wel as thyn, pardee.                        310
  What wenestow make an idiot of our dame?
  Now by that lord, that called is seint Iame,
  Thou shalt nat bothe, thogh that thou were wood,
  Be maister of my body and of my good;
  That oon thou shalt forgo, maugree thyne yën;                315
  What nedeth thee of me to enquere or spyën?
  I trowe, thou woldest loke me in thy chiste!
  Thou sholdest seye, "wyf, go wher thee liste,
  Tak your disport, I wol nat leve no talis;
  I knowe yow for a trewe wyf, dame Alis."                     320
  We love no man that taketh kepe or charge
  Wher that we goon, we wol ben at our large.

    308. E. Cm. Hl. _om._ this.   309. thy] E. Cm. my.   311. E. Cm. to
    make; _rest om._ to.   313. Hn. Ln. that; _rest om._   315. Hl. yen; E.
    eyen.   316. E. nedeth thee; _rest_ helpeth it.   Hn. Cp. Ln. _om._
    to.   Hl. tenqueren; _read_ t'enquere.   319. _All but_ Cp. Ln. _om._
    not (nat).   320. E. Pt. Alys; Ln. Ales.

    Of alle men y-blessed moot he be,
  The wyse astrologien Dan Ptholome,
  That seith this proverbe in his Almageste,                   325
  "Of alle men his wisdom is the hyeste,
  That rekketh never who hath the world in honde."
  By this proverbe thou shalt understonde,
  Have thou y-nogh, what thar thee recche or care
  How merily that othere folkes fare?                          330
  For certeyn, olde dotard, by your leve,
  [330: T. 5914-5949.]
  Ye shul have queynte right y-nough at eve.
  He is to greet a nigard that wol werne
  A man to lighte his candle at his lanterne;
  He shal have never the lasse light, pardee;                  335
  Have thou y-nough, thee thar nat pleyne thee.

    323. Hn. Hl. yblessed; _rest_ blessed.   324. MSS. Daun.   E.
    Protholome; Hn. Cm. Hl. P_ro_tholome.   326. E. Cm. _ins._ the _before_
    hyeste; (_read_ th' hy-est-e).   328. Cp. Pt. Ln. shal wel.   330. E.
    myrily.   333. E. Cm. wolde.

    Thou seyst also, that if we make us gay
  With clothing and with precious array,
  That it is peril of our chastitee;
  And yet, with sorwe, thou most enforce thee,                 340
  And seye thise wordes in the apostles name,
  "In habit, maad with chastitee and shame,
  Ye wommen shul apparaille yow," quod he,
  "And noght in tressed heer and gay perree,
  As perles, ne with gold, ne clothes riche;"                  345
  After thy text, ne after thy rubriche
  I wol nat wirche as muchel as a gnat.
  Thou seydest this, that I was lyk a cat;
  For who-so wolde senge a cattes skin,
  Thanne wolde the cat wel dwellen in his in;                  350
  And if the cattes skin be slyk and gay,
  She wol nat dwelle in house half a day,
  But forth she wole, er any day be dawed,
  To shewe hir skin, and goon a-caterwawed;
  This is to seye, if I be gay, sir shrewe,                    355
  I wol renne out, my borel for to shewe.

    348. Hl. thus; Cp. Pt. Ln. als; _rest_ this.   350. _All_ his.

    Sire olde fool, what eyleth thee to spyën?
  Thogh thou preye Argus, with his hundred yën,
  To be my warde-cors, as he can best,
  In feith, he shal nat kepe me but me lest;                   360
  Yet coude I make his berd, so moot I thee.

    358. Hl. yen; E. eyen.   359. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. -corps.   360. E.
    _om. 2nd_ me.

    Thou seydest eek, that ther ben thinges three,
  The whiche thinges troublen al this erthe,
  And that no wight ne may endure the ferthe;
  O leve sir shrewe, Iesu shorte thy lyf!                      365
  Yet prechestow, and seyst, an hateful wyf
  Y-rekened is for oon of thise meschances.
  [331: T. 5950-5982.]
  Been ther none othere maner resemblances
  That ye may lykne your parables to,
  But-if a sely wyf be oon of tho?                             370

    364. _All but_ Pt. Ln. _om._ ne.   366. E. and (_for_ an).   368. Cp.
    Pt. Ln. maner; Cm. of these; Hl. of thy; E. _om._

    Thou lykenest wommanes love to helle,
  To bareyne lond, ther water may not dwelle.
  Thou lyknest it also to wilde fyr;
  The more it brenneth, the more it hath desyr
  To consume every thing that brent wol be.                    375
  Thou seyst, that right as wormes shende a tree,
  Right so a wyf destroyeth hir housbonde;
  This knowe they that been to wyves bonde.'

    371. Cp. Ln. Hl. likenest; Cm. likkenyst; E. Hn. Pt. liknest.   E.
    wommennes.   375. E. Hn. consumen.   376. Cp. Pt. that; _rest om._
    Hn. Cp. Pt. shende; E. Pt. shendeth.

    Lordinges, right thus, as ye have understonde,
  Bar I stifly myne olde housbondes on honde,                  380
  That thus they seyden in hir dronkenesse;
  And al was fals, but that I took witnesse
  On Ianekin and on my nece also.
  O lord, the peyne I dide hem and the wo,
  Ful giltelees, by goddes swete pyne!                         385
  For as an hors I coude byte and whyne.
  I coude pleyne, thogh I were in the gilt,
  Or elles often tyme hadde I ben spilt.
  Who-so that first to mille comth, first grint;
  I pleyned first, so was our werre y-stint.                   390
  They were ful glad to excusen hem ful blyve
  Of thing of which they never agilte hir lyve.

    383. Hl. vpon.   385. E. Hn. giltlees.   389. _So_ Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln.; E.
    Who so comth first to mille; Hl. Who-so first cometh to the mylle.
    391. E. Cm. _om. 2nd_ ful.

    Of wenches wolde I beren him on honde,
  Whan that for syk unnethes mighte he stonde.
  Yet tikled it his herte, for that he                         395
  Wende that I hadde of him so greet chiertee.
  I swoor that al my walkinge out by nighte
  Was for tespye wenches that he dighte;
  Under that colour hadde I many a mirthe.
  For al swich wit is yeven us in our birthe;                  400
  [332: T. 5983-6019.]
  Deceite, weping, spinning god hath yive
  To wommen kindely, whyl they may live.
  And thus of o thing I avaunte me,
  Atte ende I hadde the bettre in ech degree,
  By sleighte, or force, or by som maner thing,                405
  As by continuel murmur or grucching;
  Namely a bedde hadden they meschaunce,
  Ther wolde I chyde and do hem no plesaunce;
  I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde,
  If that I felte his arm over my syde,                        410
  Til he had maad his raunson un-to me;
  Than wolde I suffre him do his nycetee.
  And ther-fore every man this tale I telle,
  Winne who-so may, for al is for to selle.
  With empty hand men may none haukes lure;                    415
  For winning wolde I al his lust endure,
  And make me a feyned appetyt;
  And yet in bacon hadde I never delyt;
  That made me that ever I wolde hem chyde.
  For thogh the pope had seten hem biside,                     420
  I wolde nat spare hem at hir owene bord.
  For by my trouthe, I quitte hem word for word.
  As help me verray god omnipotent,
  Thogh I right now sholde make my testament,
  I ne owe hem nat a word that it nis quit.                    425
  I broghte it so aboute by my wit,
  That they moste yeve it up, as for the beste;
  Or elles hadde we never been in reste.
  For thogh he loked as a wood leoun,
  Yet sholde he faille of his conclusioun.                     430

    393. E. hym; _rest_ hem; _but see_ 394.   395. E. it; _rest_ I.   400.
    E. thyng was; _rest_ wit is.   401. E. yeue.   402. _All but_ Hn. Hl.
    _ins._ that _before_ they.   406. E. continueel.   428. E. rest.

    Thanne wolde I seye, 'gode lief, tak keep
  How mekely loketh Wilkin oure sheep;
  Com neer, my spouse, lat me ba thy cheke!
  Ye sholde been al pacient and meke,
  And han a swete spyced conscience,                           435
  Sith ye so preche of Iobes pacience.
  Suffreth alwey, sin ye so wel can preche;
  [333: T. 6020-6056.]
  And but ye do, certain we shal yow teche
  That it is fair to have a wyf in pees.
  Oon of us two moste bowen, doutelees;                        440
  And sith a man is more resonable
  Than womman is, ye moste been suffrable.
  What eyleth yow to grucche thus and grone?
  Is it for ye wolde have my queynte allone?
  Why taak it al, lo, have it every-deel;                      445
  Peter! I shrewe yow but ye love it weel!
  For if I wolde selle my _bele chose,_
  I coude walke as fresh as is a rose;
  But I wol kepe it for your owene tooth.
  Ye be to blame, by god, I sey yow sooth.'                    450

    431. Cp. Pt. Hl. _ins._ now _before_ goode.   445. E. Hn. Pt. Wy.

    Swiche maner wordes hadde we on honde.
  Now wol I speken of my fourthe housbonde.

    My fourthe housbonde was a revelour,
  This is to seyn, he hadde a paramour;
  And I was yong and ful of ragerye,                           455
  Stiborn and strong, and Ioly as a pye.
  Wel coude I daunce to an harpe smale,
  And singe, y-wis, as any nightingale,
  Whan I had dronke a draughte of swete wyn.
  Metellius, the foule cherl, the swyn,                        460
  That with a staf birafte his wyf hir lyf,
  For she drank wyn, thogh I hadde been his wyf,
  He sholde nat han daunted me fro drinke;
  And, after wyn, on Venus moste I thinke:
  For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl,                     465
  A likerous mouth moste han a likerous tayl.
  In womman vinolent is no defence,
  This knowen lechours by experience.

    456. Cm. Cp. Ln. Styborne; Pt. Hl. Stiborn; E. Hn. Stibourne.   464.
    Cm. muste; Ln. must.   467. E. Hl. wommen.

    But, lord Crist! whan that it remembreth me
  Up-on my yowthe, and on my Iolitee,                          470
  It tikleth me aboute myn herte rote.
  Unto this day it dooth myn herte bote
  That I have had my world as in my tyme.
  But age, allas! that al wol envenyme,
  [334: T. 6057-6093.]
  Hath me biraft my beautee and my pith;                       475
  Lat go, fare-wel, the devel go therwith!
  The flour is goon, ther is na-more to telle,
  The bren, as I best can, now moste I selle;
  But yet to be right mery wol I fonde.
  Now wol I tellen of my fourthe housbonde.                    480

    479. E. myrie; Hn. murye.

    I seye, I hadde in herte greet despyt
  That he of any other had delyt.
  But he was quit, by god and by seint Ioce!
  I made him of the same wode a croce;
  Nat of my body in no foul manere,                            485
  But certeinly, I made folk swich chere,
  That in his owene grece I made him frye
  For angre, and for verray Ialousye.
  By god, in erthe I was his purgatorie,
  For which I hope his soule be in glorie.                     490
  For god it woot, he sat ful ofte and song
  Whan that his shoo ful bitterly him wrong.
  Ther was no wight, save god and he, that wiste,
  In many wyse, how sore I him twiste.
  He deyde whan I cam fro Ierusalem,                           495
  And lyth y-grave under the rode-beem,
  Al is his tombe noght so curious
  As was the sepulcre of him, Darius,
  Which that Appelles wroghte subtilly;
  It nis but wast to burie him preciously.                     500
  Lat him fare-wel, god yeve his soule reste,
  He is now in the grave and in his cheste.

    486. E. c_er_tein.   497. E. Hn. curyus.

    Now of my fifthe housbond wol I telle.
  God lete his soule never come in helle!
  And yet was he to me the moste shrewe;                       505
  That fele I on my ribbes al by rewe,
  And ever shal, un-to myn ending-day.
  But in our bed he was so fresh and gay,
  And ther-with-al so wel coude he me glose,
  Whan that he wolde han my _bele chose,_                      510
  That thogh he hadde me bet on every boon,
  [335: T. 6094-6129.]
  He coude winne agayn my love anoon.
  I trowe I loved him beste, for that he
  Was of his love daungerous to me.
  We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye,                       515
  In this matere a queynte fantasye;
  Wayte what thing we may nat lightly have,
  Ther-after wol we crye al-day and crave.
  Forbede us thing, and that desyren we;
  Prees on us faste, and thanne wol we flee.                   520
  With daunger oute we al our chaffare;
  Greet prees at market maketh dere ware,
  And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys;
  This knoweth every womman that is wys.

    508. E. ful; _rest_ so.   511. Cp. Hl. boon; _rest_ bon.   513. Cm. Hl.
    beste; E. Hn. best; Cp. Pt. the bet; Ln. bette.   520. E. Hn. Preesse;
    Cm Presse.   521. E. Hn. Cm. oute; Cp. Ln. Hl. outen; Pt. outer.

    My fifthe housbonde, god his soule blesse!                 525
  Which that I took for love and no richesse,
  He som-tyme was a clerk of Oxenford,
  And had left scole, and wente at hoom to bord
  With my gossib, dwellinge in oure toun,
  God have hir soule! hir name was Alisoun.                    530
  She knew myn herte and eek my privetee
  Bet than our parisshe-preest, so moot I thee!
  To hir biwreyed I my conseil al.
  For had myn housbonde pissed on a wal,
  Or doon a thing that sholde han cost his lyf,                535
  To hir, and to another worthy wyf,
  And to my nece, which that I loved weel,
  I wolde han told his conseil every-deel.
  And so I dide ful often, god it woot,
  That made his face ful often reed and hoot                   540
  For verray shame, and blamed him-self for he
  Had told to me so greet a privetee.

    528. E. hadde; hom.   532. E. Hn. as; _rest_ so.   534. E. Hn. Cm. Cp.
    hadde.

    And so bifel that ones, in a Lente,
  (So often tymes I to my gossib wente,
  For ever yet I lovede to be gay,                             545
  And for to walke, in March, Averille, and May,
  Fro hous to hous, to here sondry talis),
  [336: T. 6130-6164.]
  That Iankin clerk, and my gossib dame Alis,
  And I my-self, in-to the feldes wente.
  Myn housbond was at London al that Lente;                    550
  I hadde the bettre leyser for to pleye,
  And for to see, and eek for to be seye
  Of lusty folk; what wiste I wher my grace
  Was shapen for to be, or in what place?
  Therefore I made my visitaciouns,                            555
  To vigilies and to processiouns,
  To preching eek and to thise pilgrimages,
  To pleyes of miracles and mariages,
  And wered upon my gaye scarlet gytes.
  Thise wormes, ne thise motthes, ne thise mytes,              560
  Upon my peril, frete hem never a deel;
  And wostow why? for they were used weel.

    545. Hn. Cm. louede; E. Hl. loued.   550. E. the; _rest_ that.   558.
    E. Hn. and to; Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. and of; Hl. _om._ to (_or_ of).   561.
    E. Hn. Cm. Cp. peril (_correctly_); Pt. perile; Ln. Hl. perel.

    Now wol I tellen forth what happed me.
  I seye, that in the feeldes walked we,
  Til trewely we hadde swich daliance,                         565
  This clerk and I, that of my purveyance
  I spak to him, and seyde him, how that he,
  If I were widwe, sholde wedde me.
  For certeinly, I sey for no bobance,
  Yet was I never with-outen purveyance                        570
  Of mariage, nof othere thinges eek.
  I holde a mouses herte nat worth a leek,
  That hath but oon hole for to sterte to,
  And if that faille, thanne is al y-do.

    571. E. Hn. nof; Cm. and more; _rest_ ne of.   572. herte] Cp. Pt. Ln.
    witte.

    I bar him on honde, he hadde enchanted me;                 575
  My dame taughte me that soutiltee.
  And eek I seyde, I mette of him al night;
  He wolde han slayn me as I lay up-right,
  And al my bed was ful of verray blood,
  But yet I hope that he shal do me good;                      580
  For blood bitokeneth gold, as me was taught.
  And al was fals, I dremed of it right naught,
  [337: T. 6165-6199.]
  But as I folwed ay my dames lore,
  As wel of this as of other thinges more.

    575-584. _All but_ E. Cm. _omit these lines;_ (Dd. _has them_).   583.
    E. Cm. _om._ as; _but it occurs in_ MSS. Camb. Dd. 4. 24, Ii. I. 36,
    &c.

    But now sir, lat me see, what I shal seyn?                 585
  A! ha! by god, I have my tale ageyn.

    Whan that my fourthe housbond was on bere,
  I weep algate, and made sory chere,
  As wyves moten, for it is usage,
  And with my coverchief covered my visage;                    590
  But for that I was purveyed of a make,
  I weep but smal, and that I undertake.

    592. E. wepte; _but see_ 588.

    To chirche was myn housbond born a-morwe
  With neighebores, that for him maden sorwe;
  And Iankin oure clerk was oon of tho.                        595
  As help me god, whan that I saugh him go
  After the bere, me thoughte he hadde a paire
  Of legges and of feet so clene and faire,
  That al myn herte I yaf un-to his hold.
  He was, I trowe, a twenty winter old,                        600
  And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
  But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth.
  Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel;
  I hadde the prente of sëynt Venus seel.
  As help me god, I was a lusty oon,                           605
  And faire and riche, and yong, and wel bigoon;
  And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
  I had the beste _quoniam_ mighte be.
  For certes, I am al Venerien
  In felinge, and myn herte is Marcien.                        610
  Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse,
  And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardinesse.
  Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars ther-inne.
  Allas! allas! that ever love was sinne!
  I folwed ay myn inclinacioun                                 615
  By vertu of my constellacioun;
  That made me I coude noght withdrawe
  [338: T. 6200-6225.]
  My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.
  Yet have I Martes mark up-on my face,
  And also in another privee place.                            620
  For, god so wis be my savacioun,
  I ne loved never by no discrecioun,
  But ever folwede myn appetyt,
  Al were he short or long, or blak or whyt;
  I took no kepe, so that he lyked me,                         625
  How pore he was, ne eek of what degree.

    595. _Or_ Ianekin, _see_ 383; MSS. Iankyn.   603. Ln. Gate-toþede.
    605-612. Hl. _omits._   608. E. hadde.   E. Hn. quonyam; Cm. Pt. Ln.
    quoniam; Cp. queynte.   609-612. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. _omit._   619-626. Hn.
    Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. _omit._   623. Cm. folwede; E. folwed.   626. Cm. pore;
    E. poore.

    What sholde I seye, but, at the monthes ende,
  This Ioly clerk Iankin, that was so hende,
  Hath wedded me with greet solempnitee,
  And to him yaf I al the lond and fee                         630
  That ever was me yeven ther-bifore;
  But afterward repented me ful sore.
  He nolde suffre nothing of my list.
  By god, he smoot me ones on the list,
  For that I rente out of his book a leef,                     635
  That of the strook myn ere wex al deef.
  Stiborn I was as is a leonesse,
  And of my tonge a verray Iangleresse,
  And walke I wolde, as I had doon biforn,
  From hous to hous, al-though he had it sworn.                640
  For which he often tymes wolde preche,
  And me of olde Romayn gestes teche,
  How he, Simplicius Gallus, lefte his wyf,
  And hir forsook for terme of al his lyf,
  Noght but for open-heeded he hir say                         645
  Lokinge out at his dore upon a day.

    634. E. Hn. on the lyst; (Ln. luste; Cp. Pt. lest); Hl. Cm. with his
    fist.   636. E. Hl. wax.   637. E. Hn. Stibourne.   645. E. Hn.
    -heueded; Hl. heedid.

    Another Romayn tolde he me by name,
  That, for his wyf was at a someres game
  With-oute his witing, he forsook hir eke.
  And than wolde he up-on his Bible seke                       650
  That ilke proverbe of Ecclesiaste,
  Wher he comandeth and forbedeth faste,
  Man shal nat suffre his wyf go roule aboute;
  [339: T. 6226-6271.]
  Than wolde he seye right thus, with-outen doute,
    "Who-so that buildeth his hous al of salwes,               655
    And priketh his blinde hors over the falwes,
    And suffreth his wyf to go seken halwes,
    Is worthy to been hanged on the galwes!"
  But al for noght, I sette noght an hawe
  Of his proverbes nof his olde sawe,                          660
  Ne I wolde nat of him corrected be.
  I hate him that my vices telleth me,
  And so do mo, god woot! of us than I.
  This made him with me wood al outrely;
  I nolde noght forbere him in no cas.                         665

    649. E. Hn. Cm. With-outen.   650. E. thanne.   654. E. Thanne.   660.
    E. Hn. nof; _rest_ ne of.   E. awe; Hn. Cm. Hl. sawe; Cp. Pt. Ln. lawe.

    Now wol I seye yow sooth, by seint Thomas,
  Why that I rente out of his book a leef,
  For which he smoot me so that I was deef.

    He hadde a book that gladly, night and day,
  For his desport he wolde rede alway.                         670
  He cleped it Valerie and Theofraste,
  At whiche book he lough alwey ful faste.
  And eek ther was som-tyme a clerk at Rome,
  A cardinal, that highte Seint Ierome,
  That made a book agayn Iovinian;                             675
  In whiche book eek ther was Tertulan,
  Crisippus, Trotula, and Helowys,
  That was abbesse nat fer fro Parys;
  And eek the Parables of Salomon,
  Ovydes Art, and bokes many on,                               680
  And alle thise wer bounden in o volume.
  And every night and day was his custume,
  Whan he had leyser and vacacioun
  From other worldly occupacioun,
  To reden on this book of wikked wyves.                       685
  He knew of hem mo legendes and lyves
  Than been of gode wyves in the Bible.
  For trusteth wel, it is an impossible
  That any clerk wol speke good of wyves,
  [340: T. 6272-6305.]
  But-if it be of holy seintes lyves,                          690
  Ne of noon other womman never the mo.
  Who peyntede the leoun, tel me who?
  By god, if wommen hadde writen stories,
  As clerkes han with-inne hir oratories,
  They wolde han writen of men more wikkednesse                695
  Than all the mark of Adam may redresse.
  The children of Mercurie and of Venus
  Been in hir wirking ful contrarious;
  Mercurie loveth wisdom and science,
  And Venus loveth ryot and dispence.                          700
  And, for hir diverse disposicioun,
  Ech falleth in otheres exaltacioun;
  And thus, god woot! Mercurie is desolat
  In Pisces, wher Venus is exaltat;
  And Venus falleth ther Mercurie is reysed;                   705
  Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed.
  The clerk, whan he is old, and may noght do
  Of Venus werkes worth his olde sho,
  Than sit he doun, and writ in his dotage
  That wommen can nat kepe hir mariage!                        710

    676. Cm. Ln. whiche; _rest_ which.   Cp. Pt. Hl. Terculan.   680. Hl.
    bourdes; _rest_ bookes (bokes).   683. E. hadde.   691. E. Ne; Hn. Nof;
    _rest_ Ne of.   692. Cm. peyntede; _rest_ peynted.   697. Cm. Hl. and
    of; _rest om._ of.   698. E. Hn. Ln. Hl. contrarius.   699. E.
    wysdam.   705. _Over_ is reysed E. _has_ i. in Virgine.   709. E.
    Thanne.

    But now to purpos, why I tolde thee
  That I was beten for a book, pardee.
  Up-on a night Iankin, that was our syre,
  Redde on his book, as he sat by the fyre,
  Of Eva first, that, for hir wikkednesse,                     715
  Was al mankinde broght to wrecchednesse,
  For which that Iesu Crist him-self was slayn,
  That boghte us with his herte-blood agayn.
  Lo, here expres of womman may ye finde,
  That womman was the los of al mankinde.                      720

    717-720. Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. _omit._   717. E. _om._ that Iesu;
    _which occurs in_ MS. Bibl. Reg. 17. D. xv. _and in_ Dd.

    Tho redde he me how Sampson loste his heres,
  Slepinge, his lemman kitte hem with hir sheres;
  Thurgh whiche tresoun loste he bothe his yën.

    721, 723. E. hise.   722. Cm. hem; _rest_ it (_badly_).   723. Pt. Ln.
    whiche; _rest_ which (_badly_).   E. eyen.

[341: T. 6306-6340.]

    Tho redde he me, if that I shal nat lyen,
  Of Hercules and of his Dianyre,                              725
  That caused him to sette himself a-fyre.

    No-thing forgat he the penaunce and wo
  That Socrates had with hise wyves two;
  How Xantippa caste pisse up-on his heed;
  This sely man sat stille, as he were deed;                   730
  He wyped his heed, namore dorste he seyn
  But "er that thonder stinte, comth a reyn."

    727. Cp. Pt. Ln. penaunce; E. Hn. sorwe; Cm. Hl. care.   728. E. hadde.

    Of Phasipha, that was the quene of Crete,
  For shrewednesse, him thoughte the tale swete;
  Fy! spek na-more--it is a grisly thing--                     735
  Of hir horrible lust and hir lyking.

    733. E. Hn. Phasifpha; Cm. Phasippa; _rest_ Phasipha.   735. E. speke;
    Hn. Cm. Cp. Hl. spek.

    Of Clitemistra, for hir lecherye,
  That falsly made hir housbond for to dye,
  He redde it with ful good devocioun.

    737. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Clitermystra; Cm. Clitemysta; Hl. Clydemystra.

    He tolde me eek for what occasioun                         740
  Amphiorax at Thebes loste his lyf;
  Myn housbond hadde a legende of his wyf,
  Eriphilem, that for an ouche of gold
  Hath prively un-to the Grekes told
  Wher that hir housbonde hidde him in a place,                745
  For which he hadde at Thebes sory grace.

    Of Lyma tolde he me, and of Lucye,
  They bothe made hir housbondes for to dye;
  That oon for love, that other was for hate;
  Lyma hir housbond, on an even late,                          750
  Empoysoned hath, for that she was his fo.
  Lucya, likerous, loved hir housbond so,
  That, for he sholde alwey up-on hir thinke,
  She yaf him swich a maner love-drinke,
  That he was deed, er it were by the morwe;                   755
  And thus algates housbondes han sorwe.

    750. E. vpon; _rest_ on.

    Than tolde he me, how oon Latumius
  Compleyned to his felawe Arrius,
  [342: T. 6341-6376.]
  That in his gardin growed swich a tree,
  On which, he seyde, how that his wyves three                 760
  Hanged hem-self for herte despitous.
  "O leve brother," quod this Arrius,
  "Yif me a plante of thilke blissed tree,
  And in my gardin planted shal it be!"

    757. E. Thanne. E. Hn. how that oon. Cm. Latymyus; _rest_ Latumyus.
    758. E. Hn. Hl. vnto; _rest_ to.   764. E. Ln. it shal; Pt. shal he;
    _rest_ shal it.

    Of latter date, of wyves hath he red,                      765
  That somme han slayn hir housbondes in hir bed,
  And lete hir lechour dighte hir al the night
  Whyl that the corps lay in the floor up-right.
  And somme han drive nayles in hir brayn
  Whyl that they slepte, and thus they han hem slayn.          770
  Somme han hem yeve poysoun in hir drinke.
  He spak more harm than herte may bithinke.
  And ther-with-al, he knew of mo proverbes
  Than in this world ther growen gras or herbes.
  "Bet is," quod he, "thyn habitacioun                         775
  Be with a leoun or a foul dragoun,
  Than with a womman usinge for to chyde.
  Bet is," quod he, "hye in the roof abyde
  Than with an angry wyf doun in the hous;
  They been so wikked and contrarious;                         780
  They haten that hir housbondes loveth ay."
  He seyde, "a womman cast hir shame away,
  Whan she cast of hir smok;" and forther-mo,
  "A fair womman, but she be chaast also,
  Is lyk a gold ring in a sowes nose."                         785
  Who wolde wenen, or who wolde suppose
  The wo that in myn herte was, and pyne?

    767. E. lecchour.   768. Cm. Whils; Hl. Whil; _rest_ Whan; _see_ 770.
    786. E. leeue; _rest_ wene; _but read_ wenen.

    And whan I saugh he wolde never fyne
  To reden on this cursed book al night,
  Al sodeynly three leves have I plight                        790
  Out of his book, right as he radde, and eke,
  I with my fist so took him on the cheke,
  That in our fyr he fil bakward adoun.
  And he up-stirte as dooth a wood leoun,
  [343: T. 6377-6410.]
  And with his fist he smoot me on the heed,                   795
  That in the floor I lay as I were deed.
  And when he saugh how stille that I lay,
  He was agast, and wolde han fled his way,
  Til atte laste out of my swogh I breyde:
  "O! hastow slayn me, false theef?" I seyde,                  800
  "And for my land thus hastow mordred me?
  Er I be deed, yet wol I kisse thee."

    792. E. Cp. fest; _rest_ fist.   795. E. Hn. Cp. fest; _rest_ fist.

    And neer he cam, and kneled faire adoun,
  And seyde, "dere suster Alisoun,
  As help me god, I shal thee never smyte;                     805
  That I have doon, it is thy-self to wyte.
  Foryeve it me, and that I thee biseke"--
  And yet eft-sones I hitte him on the cheke,
  And seyde, "theef, thus muchel am I wreke;
  Now wol I dye, I may no lenger speke."                       810
  But atte laste, with muchel care and wo,
  We fille acorded, by us selven two.
  He yaf me al the brydel in myn hond
  To han the governance of hous and lond,
  And of his tonge and of his hond also,                       815
  And made him brenne his book anon right tho.
  And whan that I hadde geten un-to me,
  By maistrie, al the soveraynetee,
  And that he seyde, "myn owene trewe wyf,
  Do as thee lust the terme of al thy lyf,                     820
  Keep thyn honour, and keep eek myn estaat"--
  After that day we hadden never debaat.
  God help me so, I was to him as kinde
  As any wyf from Denmark un-to Inde,
  And also trewe, and so was he to me.                         825
  I prey to god that sit in magestee,
  So blesse his soule, for his mercy dere!
  Now wol I seye my tale, if ye wol here.'

    812. E. Hn. Cp. Pt. vs; Cm. Ln. Hl. oure.   815. E. Hn. Pt. _om. 2nd_
    of.   820. E. to; Cm. for; Hl. in; _rest_ the (_before_ terme).   822.
    Hl. neuer had.

[344: T. 6411-6438.]

  BIHOLDE THE WORDES BITWEEN THE SOMONOUR AND THE FRERE.

  The Frere lough, whan he hadde herd al this,
  'Now, dame,' quod he, 'so have I Ioye or blis,               830
  This is a long preamble of a tale!'
  And whan the Somnour herde the Frere gale,
  'Lo!' quod the Somnour, 'goddes armes two!
  A frere wol entremette him ever-mo.
  Lo, gode men, a flye and eek a frere                         835
  Wol falle in every dish and eek matere.
  What spekestow of preambulacioun?
  What! amble, or trotte, or pees, or go sit doun;
  Thou lettest our disport in this manere.'

    832. E. Somonour; Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. somnour.   836. Cp. Pt. Ln. eek;
    _rest om._

    'Ye, woltow so, sir Somnour?' quod the Frere,              840
  'Now, by my feith, I shal, er that I go,
  Telle of a Somnour swich a tale or two,
  That alle the folk shal laughen in this place.'

    'Now elles, Frere, I bishrewe thy face,'
  Quod this Somnour, 'and I bishrewe me,                       845
  But if I telle tales two or thre
  Of freres er I come to Sidingborne,
  That I shal make thyn herte for to morne;
  For wel I wool thy patience is goon.'

    Our hoste cryde 'pees! and that anoon!'                    850
  And seyde, 'lat the womman telle hir tale.
  Ye fare as folk that dronken been of ale.
  Do, dame, tel forth your tale, and that is best.'

    850. Cp. Hl. hoste; Ln. oste; E. Hn. hoost.   852. E. Cm. were; _rest_
    ben.   853. E. telle (_but_ tel _in_ 856).

    'Al redy, sir,' quod she, 'right as yow lest,
  If I have licence of this worthy Frere.'                     855

    'Yis, dame,' quod he, 'tel forth, and I wol here.'

  HERE ENDETH THE WYF OF BATHE HIR PROLOGE.

    COLOPHON. Hn. Here endeth the prologe of the Wyf of Bathe. E. _adds_
    and bigynneth hir tale.

[345: T. 6439-6463.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TALE OF THE WYF OF BATHE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE TALE OF THE WYF OF BATHE.

  In tholde dayes of the king Arthour,
  Of which that Britons speken greet honour,
  All was this land fulfild of fayerye.
  The elf-queen, with hir Ioly companye,                       860
  Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede;
  This was the olde opinion, as I rede,
  I speke of manye hundred yeres ago;
  But now can no man see none elves mo.
  For now the grete charitee and prayeres                      865
  Of limitours and othere holy freres,                        (10)
  That serchen every lond and every streem,
  As thikke as motes in the sonne-beem,
  Blessinge halles, chambres, kichenes, boures,
  Citees, burghes, castels, hye toures,                        870
  Thropes, bernes, shipnes, dayeryes,
  This maketh that ther been no fayeryes.
  For ther as wont to walken was an elf,
  Ther walketh now the limitour him-self
  In undermeles and in morweninges,                            875
  And seyth his matins and his holy thinges                   (20)
  As he goth in his limitacioun.
  Wommen may go saufly up and doun,
  In every bush, or under every tree;
  Ther is noon other incubus but he,                           880
  And he ne wol doon hem but dishonour.

    HEADING. _From_ Hn.   857. E. Cm. _om._ the.   859. Cp. fayerie; _rest_
    fairye.   872. Cp. fayeries; E. Hn. fairyes.   880. Hl. incumbent
    (!).   881. Cm. non; _rest_ but.   Hl. ne wol but doon hem.

[346: T. 6464-6498.]

    And so bifel it, that this king Arthour
  Hadde in his hous a lusty bacheler,
  That on a day cam rydinge fro river;
  And happed that, allone as she was born,                     885
  He saugh a mayde walkinge him biforn,                       (30)
  Of whiche mayde anon, maugree hir heed,
  By verray force he rafte hir maydenheed;
  For which oppressioun was swich clamour
  And swich pursute un-to the king Arthour,                    890
  That dampned was this knight for to be deed
  By cours of lawe, and sholde han lost his heed
  Paraventure, swich was the statut tho;
  But that the quene and othere ladies mo
  So longe preyeden the king of grace,                         895
  Til he his lyf him graunted in the place,                   (40)
  And yaf him to the quene al at hir wille,
  To chese, whether she wolde him save or spille.

    882. E. Hn. Cm. _om._ it.   883. E. _om._ his.   885. E. Hn. he(!).
    887. Cm. Ln. whiche; _rest_ which.   888. E. Cm. Hl. birafte; _rest_ he
    rafte (refte).   895. Hl. Cm. preyeden; E. Hn. preyden.   898. E.
    wheither.

    The quene thanketh the king with al hir might,
  And after this thus spak she to the knight,                  900
  Whan that she saugh hir tyme, up-on a day:
  'Thou standest yet,' quod she, 'in swich array,
  That of thy lyf yet hastow no suretee.
  I grante thee lyf, if thou canst tellen me
  What thing is it that wommen most desyren?                   905
  Be war, and keep thy nekke-boon from yren.                  (50)
  And if thou canst nat tellen it anon,
  Yet wol I yeve thee leve for to gon
  A twelf-month and a day, to seche and lere
  An answere suffisant in this matere.                         910
  And suretee wol I han, er that thou pace,
  Thy body for to yelden in this place.'

    907. E. Hl. tellen it; Hn. tellen me; Cm. telle me; _rest_ telle it
    me.   908. E. shal (_for_ wol).

    Wo was this knight and sorwefully he syketh;
  But what! he may nat do al as him lyketh.
  And at the laste, he chees him for to wende,                 915
  And come agayn, right at the yeres ende,                    (60)
  [347: T. 6499-6536.]
  With swich answere as god wolde him purveye;
  And taketh his leve, and wendeth forth his weye.

    914. Cm. [gh]it (_for_ what); E. _om._

    He seketh every hous and every place,
  Wher-as he hopeth for to finde grace,                        920
  To lerne, what thing wommen loven most;
  But he ne coude arryven in no cost,
  Wher-as he mighte finde in this matere
  Two creatures accordinge in-fere.

    Somme seyde, wommen loven best richesse,                   925
  Somme seyde, honour, somme seyde, Iolynesse;                (70)
  Somme, riche array, somme seyden, lust abedde,
  And ofte tyme to be widwe and wedde.

    Somme seyde, that our hertes been most esed,
  Whan that we been y-flatered and y-plesed.                   930
  He gooth ful ny the sothe, I wol nat lye;
  A man shal winne us best with flaterye;
  And with attendance, and with bisinesse,
  Been we y-lymed, bothe more and lesse.

    And somme seyn, how that we loven best                     935
  For to be free, and do right as us lest,                    (80)
  And that no man repreve us of our vyce,
  But seye that we be wyse, and no-thing nyce.
  For trewely, ther is noon of us alle,
  If any wight wol clawe us on the galle,                      940
  That we nil kike, for he seith us sooth;
  Assay, and he shal finde it that so dooth.
  For be we never so vicious with-inne,
  We wol been holden wyse, and clene of sinne.

    935. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _om._ how.   941. nil] E. nel; Cm. nolde.

    And somme seyn, that greet delyt han we                    945
  For to ben holden stable and eek secree,                    (90)
  And in o purpos stedefastly to dwelle,
  And nat biwreye thing that men us telle.
  But that tale is nat worth a rake-stele;
  Pardee, we wommen conne no-thing hele;                       950
  Witnesse on Myda; wol ye here the tale?

    Ovyde, amonges othere thinges smale,
  Seyde, Myda hadde, under his longe heres,
  Growinge up-on his heed two asses eres,
  [348: T. 6537-6572.]
  The which vyce he hidde, as he best mighte,                  955
  Ful subtilly from every mannes sighte,                     (100)
  That, save his wyf, ther wiste of it na-mo.
  He loved hir most, and trusted hir also;
  He preyede hir, that to no creature
  She sholde tellen of his disfigure.                          960

    958. Hn. Cp. Hl. trusted; Cm. trostid; E. triste.   959. Cm. preyede;
    Hl. prayed; Hn. preyed; E. preyde.

    She swoor him 'nay, for al this world to winne,
  She nolde do that vileinye or sinne,
  To make hir housbond han so foul a name;
  She nolde nat telle it for hir owene shame.'
  But nathelees, hir thoughte that she dyde,                   965
  That she so longe sholde a conseil hyde;                   (110)
  Hir thoughte it swal so sore aboute hir herte,
  That nedely som word hir moste asterte;
  And sith she dorste telle it to no man,
  Doun to a mareys faste by she ran;                           970
  Til she came there, hir herte was a-fyre,
  And, as a bitore bombleth in the myre,
  She leyde hir mouth un-to the water doun:
  'Biwreye me nat, thou water, with thy soun,'
  Quod she, 'to thee I telle it, and namo;                     975
  Myn housbond hath longe asses eres two!                    (120)
  Now is myn herte all hool, now is it oute;
  I mighte no lenger kepe it, out of doute,'
  Heer may ye se, thogh we a tyme abyde,
  Yet out it moot, we can no conseil hyde;                     980
  The remenant of the tale if ye wol here,
  Redeth Ovyde, and ther ye may it lere.

    972. Cm. bumbith; Cp. Pt. bumlith; Hl. bumblith.

    This knight, of which my tale is specially,
  Whan that he saugh he mighte nat come therby,
  This is to seye, what wommen loven moost,                    985
  With-inne his brest ful sorweful was the goost;            (130)
  But hoom he gooth, he mighte nat soiourne.
  The day was come, that hoomward moste he tourne,
  And in his wey it happed him to ryde,
  In al this care, under a forest-syde,                        990
  [349: T. 6573-6609.]
  Wher-as he saugh up-on a daunce go
  Of ladies foure and twenty, and yet mo;
  Toward the whiche daunce he drow ful yerne,
  In hope that som wisdom sholde he lerne.
  But certeinly, er he came fully there,                       995
  Vanisshed was this daunce, he niste where.                 (140)
  No creature saugh he that bar lyf,
  Save on the grene he saugh sittinge a wyf;
  A fouler wight ther may no man devyse.
  Agayn the knight this olde wyf gan ryse,                    1000
  And seyde, 'sir knight, heer-forth ne lyth no wey.
  Tel me, what that ye seken, by your fey?
  Paraventure it may the bettre be;
  Thise olde folk can muchel thing,' quod she.

    985. E. loue.   990. E. Hn. this; _rest_ his.   993. Hn. whiche; E.
    which; _rest vary_.

    'My leve mooder,' quod this knight certeyn,               1005
  'I nam but deed, but-if that I can seyn                    (150)
  What thing it is that wommen most desyre;
  Coude ye me wisse, I wolde wel quyte your hyre.'

    'Plighte me thy trouthe, heer in myn hand,' quod she,
  'The nexte thing that I requere thee,                       1010
  Thou shalt it do, if it lye in thy might;
  And I wol telle it yow er it be night.'
  'Have heer my trouthe,' quod the knight, 'I grante.'

    'Thanne,' quod she, 'I dar me wel avante,
  Thy lyf is sauf, for I wol stonde therby,                   1015
  Up-on my lyf, the queen wol seye as I.                     (160)
  Lat see which is the proudeste of hem alle,
  That wereth on a coverchief or a calle,
  That dar seye nay, of that I shal thee teche;
  Lat us go forth with-outen lenger speche.'                  1020
  Tho rouned she a pistel in his ere,
  And bad him to be glad, and have no fere.

    1016. E. queene.

    Whan they be comen to the court, this knight
  Seyde, 'he had holde his day, as he hadde hight,
  And redy was his answere,' as he sayde.                     1025
  Ful many a noble wyf, and many a mayde,                    (170)
  And many a widwe, for that they ben wyse,
  [350: T. 6610-6645.]
  The quene hir-self sittinge as a Iustyse,
  Assembled been, his answere for to here;
  And afterward this knight was bode appere.                  1030

    1028. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. _om._ a.

    To every wight comanded was silence,
  And that the knight sholde telle in audience,
  What thing that worldly wommen loven best.
  This knight ne stood nat stille as doth a best,
  But to his questioun anon answerde                          1035
  With manly voys, that al the court it herde:               (180)

    'My lige lady, generally,' quod he,
  'Wommen desyren to have sovereyntee
  As wel over hir housbond as hir love,
  And for to been in maistrie him above;                      1040
  This is your moste desyr, thogh ye me kille,
  Doth as yow list, I am heer at your wille.'

    1038. E. _om._ to.   1042. E. _om._ heer; Cm. al.

    In al the court ne was ther wyf ne mayde,
  Ne widwe, that contraried that he sayde,
  But seyden, 'he was worthy han his lyf.'                    1045

    And with that word up stirte the olde wyf,               (190)
  Which that the knight saugh sittinge in the grene:
  'Mercy,' quod she, 'my sovereyn lady quene!
  Er that your court departe, do me right.
  I taughte this answere un-to the knight;                    1050
  For which he plighte me his trouthe there,
  The firste thing I wolde of him requere,
  He wolde it do, if it lay in his might.
  Bifore the court than preye I thee, sir knight,'
  Quod she, 'that thou me take un-to thy wyf;                 1055
  For wel thou wost that I have kept thy lyf.                (200)
  If I sey fals, sey nay, up-on thy fey!'

    1052. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _om._ of.   1054. E. thanne.

    This knight answerde, 'allas! and weylawey!
  I woot right wel that swich was my biheste.
  For goddes love, as chees a newe requeste;                  1060
  Tak al my good, and lat my body go.'

    1061. E. Hn. Taak.

    'Nay than,' quod she, 'I shrewe us bothe two!
  For thogh that I be foul, and old, and pore,
  [351: T. 6646-6682.]
  I nolde for al the metal, ne for ore,
  That under erthe is grave, or lyth above,                   1065
  But-if thy wyf I were, and eek thy love.'                  (210)

    1062. E. thanne.   1063. _All but_ Cp. Pt. _om. 1st_ and.   E. oold,
    poore.   1064. Hl. the oure; E. Hn. oore; Cm. Pt. ore; Cp. oure; Ln.
    oer.

    'My love?' quod he; 'nay, my dampnacioun!
  Allas! that any of my nacioun
  Sholde ever so foule disparaged be!'
  But al for noght, the ende is this, that he                 1070
  Constreyned was, he nedes moste hir wedde;
  And taketh his olde wyf, and gooth to bedde.

    1070. E. Hn. thende.

    Now wolden som men seye, paraventure,
  That, for my necligence, I do no cure
  To tellen yow the Ioye and al tharray                       1075
  That at the feste was that ilke day.                       (220)
  To whiche thing shortly answere I shal;
  I seye, ther nas no Ioye ne feste at al,
  Ther nas but hevinesse and muche sorwe;
  For prively he wedded hir on a morwe,                       1080
  And al day after hidde him as an oule;
  So wo was him, his wyf looked so foule.

    Greet was the wo the knight hadde in his thoght,
  Whan he was with his wyf a-bedde y-broght;
  He walweth, and he turneth to and fro.                      1085
  His olde wyf lay smylinge evermo,                          (230)
  And seyde, 'o dere housbond, _benedicite_!
  Fareth every knight thus with his wyf as ye?
  Is this the lawe of king Arthures hous?
  Is every knight of his so dangerous?                        1090
  I am your owene love and eek your wyf;
  I am she, which that saved hath your lyf;
  And certes, yet dide I yow never unright;
  Why fare ye thus with me this firste night?
  Ye faren lyk a man had lost his wit;                        1095
  What is my gilt? for goddes love, tel me it,               (240)
  And it shal been amended, if I may.'

    1091. Cp. Pt. Ln. eek; _rest om._   1093. E. Hn. yet ne dide.   1096.
    Cm. Hl. me; _rest om._ (_Read_ goddes _as_ god's).

    'Amended?' quod this knight, 'allas! nay, nay!
  It wol nat been amended never mo!
  Thou art so loothly, and so old also,                       1100
  [352: T. 6683-6718.]
  And ther-to comen of so lowe a kinde,
  That litel wonder is, thogh I walwe and winde.
  So wolde god myn herte wolde breste!'

    1101. E. lough.   1102. Pt. no (_for_ litel). _Read_ wonder's.

    'Is this,' quod she, 'the cause of your unreste?'

    'Ye, certainly,' quod he, 'no wonder is.'                 1105

    'Now, sire,' quod she, 'I coude amende al this,          (250)
  If that me liste, er it were dayes three,
  So wel ye mighte here yow un-to me.

    But for ye speken of swich gentillesse
  As is descended out of old richesse,                        1110
  That therfore sholden ye be gentil men,
  Swich arrogance is nat worth an hen.
  Loke who that is most vertuous alway,
  Privee and apert, and most entendeth ay
  To do the gentil dedes that he can,                         1115
  And tak him for the grettest gentil man.                   (260)
  Crist wol, we clayme of him our gentillesse,
  Nat of our eldres for hir old richesse.
  For thogh they yeve us al hir heritage,
  For which we clayme to been of heigh parage,                1120
  Yet may they nat biquethe, for no-thing,
  To noon of us hir vertuous living,
  That made hem gentil men y-called be;
  And bad us folwen hem in swich degree.

    1112. Cp. Pt. nys (_for_ is).   1116. Cp. Pt. Ln. And take; _rest om._
    And.

    Wel can the wyse poete of Florence,                       1125
  That highte Dant, speken in this sentence;                 (270)
  Lo in swich maner rym is Dantes tale:
  "Ful selde up ryseth by his branches smale
  Prowesse of man, for god, of his goodnesse,
  Wol that of him we clayme our gentillesse;"                 1130
  For of our eldres may we no-thing clayme
  But temporel thing, that man may hurte and mayme.

    1126. Hl. of (_for_ in).   Cm. declare (_for_ speken in).   1129. E.
    goodnesse; _rest_ prowesse.

    Eek every wight wot this as wel as I,
  If gentillesse were planted naturelly
  Un-to a certeyn linage, doun the lyne,                      1135
  Privee ne apert, than wolde they never fyne                (280)
  [353: T. 6719-6753.]
  To doon of gentillesse the faire offyce;
  They mighte do no vileinye or vyce.

    1134. E. natureelly.   1136. E. Cm. nor; Hl. ne; _rest_ and. E. thanne.

    Tak fyr, and ber it in the derkeste hous
  Bitwix this and the mount of Caucasus,                      1140
  And lat men shette the dores and go thenne;
  Yet wol the fyr as faire lye and brenne,
  As twenty thousand men mighte it biholde;
  His office naturel ay wol it holde,
  Up peril of my lyf, til that it dye.                        1145

    1139. E. Taak.   1140. E. Kaukasous.   1144. E. natureel.

    Heer may ye see wel, how that genterye                   (290)
  Is nat annexed to possessioun,
  Sith folk ne doon hir operacioun
  Alwey, as dooth the fyr, lo! in his kinde.
  For, god it woot, men may wel often finde                   1150
  A lordes sone do shame and vileinye;
  And he that wol han prys of his gentrye
  For he was boren of a gentil hous,
  And hadde hise eldres noble and vertuous,
  And nil him-selven do no gentil dedis,                      1155
  Ne folwe his gentil auncestre that deed is,                (300)
  He nis nat gentil, be he duk or erl;
  For vileyns sinful dedes make a cherl.
  For gentillesse nis but renomee
  Of thyne auncestres, for hir heigh bountee,                 1160
  Which is a strange thing to thy persone.
  Thy gentillesse cometh fro god allone;
  Than comth our verray gentillesse of grace,
  It was no-thing biquethe us with our place.

    1153. Cp. Hl. boren; Cm. bore; _rest_ born.   1155. E. nel; _rest_
    nyl.   1156. E. Hn. folwen.   1162. _Read_ comth; _see_ 1163.   1163.
    E. Thanne.

    Thenketh how noble, as seith Valerius,                    1165
  Was thilke Tullius Hostilius,                              (310)
  That out of povert roos to heigh noblesse.
  Redeth Senek, and redeth eek Boëce,
  Ther shul ye seen expres that it no drede is,
  That he is gentil that doth gentil dedis;                   1170
  And therfore, leve housbond, I thus conclude,
  [354: T. 6754-6788.]
  Al were it that myne auncestres were rude,
  Yet may the hye god, and so hope I,
  Grante me grace to liven vertuously.
  Thanne am I gentil, whan that I biginne                     1175
  To liven vertuously and weyve sinne.                       (320)

    1166. E. Hn. Hostillius.   1167. Cm. Cp. Ln. Hl. pouert; _rest_
    pouerte.   1168. E. Reed; _rest_ Redeth.   1169. Cp. Pt. Ln. it; _rest
    om._   1172. E. Hn. weren (_2nd_).   1176. Cm. leuyn; Pt. leuen; _rest_
    weyue (weyuen).

    And ther-as ye of povert me repreve,
  The hye god, on whom that we bileve,
  In wilful povert chees to live his lyf.
  And certes every man, mayden, or wyf,                       1180
  May understonde that Iesus, hevene king,
  Ne wolde nat chese a vicious living.
  Glad povert is an honest thing, certeyn;
  This wol Senek and othere clerkes seyn.
  Who-so that halt him payd of his poverte,                   1185
  I holde him riche, al hadde he nat a sherte.               (330)
  He that coveyteth is a povre wight,
  For he wolde han that is nat in his might.
  But he that noght hath, ne coveyteth have,
  Is riche, al-though ye holde him but a knave.               1190

    1177. E. Hn. pouerte; _rest_ pouert.   1179. E. Hn. Pt. pouerte; _rest_
    pouert; _so in_ 1183, 1191.   1182. E. chesen; E. _om._ a.   1183. E.
    Hn. honeste; Cm. oneste.

    Verray povert, it singeth proprely;
  Iuvenal seith of povert merily:
  "The povre man, whan he goth by the weye,
  Bifore the theves he may singe and pleye."
  Povert is hateful good, and, as I gesse,                    1195
  A ful greet bringer out of bisinesse;                      (340)
  A greet amender eek of sapience
  To him that taketh it in pacience.
  Povert is this, al-though it seme elenge:
  Possessioun, that no wight wol chalenge.                    1200
  Povert ful ofte, whan a man is lowe,
  Maketh his god and eek him-self to knowe.
  Povert a spectacle is, as thinketh me,
  Thurgh which he may his verray frendes see.
  And therfore, sire, sin that I noght yow greve,             1205
  Of my povert na-more ye me repreve.                        (350)

    1191. E. Cm. it syngeth; _rest_ is sinne (!).   1192. E. Hn. Cp.
    myrily.   1195. Cp. Pt. Ln. hatel.   1199. Hn. Hl. elenge; Ln. alinge;
    _rest_ alenge.   1205. E. hise.

[355: T. 6789-6826.]

    Now, sire, of elde ye repreve me;
  And certes, sire, thogh noon auctoritee
  Were in no book, ye gentils of honour
  Seyn that men sholde an old wight doon favour,              1210
  And clepe him fader, for your gentillesse;
  And auctours shal I finden, as I gesse.

    Now ther ye seye, that I am foul and old,
  Than drede you noght to been a cokewold;
  For filthe and elde, al-so moot I thee,                     1215
  Been grete wardeyns up-on chastitee.                       (360)
  But nathelees, sin I knowe your delyt,
  I shal fulfille your worldly appetyt.

    Chese now,' quod she, 'oon of thise thinges tweye,
  To han me foul and old til that I deye,                     1220
  And be to yow a trewe humble wyf,
  And never yow displese in al my lyf,
  Or elles ye wol han me yong and fair,
  And take your aventure of the repair
  That shal be to your hous, by-cause of me,                  1225
  Or in som other place, may wel be.                         (370)
  Now chese your-selven, whether that yow lyketh.'

    1227. E. wheither.

    This knight avyseth him and sore syketh,
  But atte laste he seyde in this manere,
  'My lady and my love, and wyf so dere,                      1230
  I put me in your wyse governance;
  Cheseth your-self, which may be most plesance,
  And most honour to yow and me also.
  I do no fors the whether of the two;
  For as yow lyketh, it suffiseth me.'                        1235

    'Thanne have I gete of yow maistrye,' quod she,          (380)
  'Sin I may chese, and governe as me lest?'

    1234. E. wheither.   1236. of--maistrye] Cm. the maysterye.

    'Ye, certes, wyf,' quod he, 'I holde it best.'

    'Kis me,' quod she, 'we be no lenger wrothe;
  For, by my trouthe, I wol be to yow bothe,                  1240
  This is to seyn, ye, bothe fair and good.
  I prey to god that I mot sterven wood,
  But I to yow be al-so good and trewe
  As ever was wyf, sin that the world was newe.
  [356: T. 6827-6846.]
  And, but I be to-morn as fair to sene                       1245
  As any lady, emperyce, or quene,                           (390)
  That is bitwixe the est and eke the west,
  Doth with my lyf and deeth right as yow lest.
  Cast up the curtin, loke how that it is.'

    And whan the knight saugh verraily al this,               1250
  That she so fair was, and so yong ther-to,
  For Ioye he hente hir in his armes two,
  His herte bathed in a bath of blisse;
  A thousand tyme a-rewe he gan hir kisse.
  And she obeyed him in every thing                           1255
  That mighte doon him plesance or lyking.                   (400)

    1254. E. Hn. Ln. a rewe; Hl. on rowe; _rest_ a rowe.

    And thus they live, un-to hir lyves ende,
  In parfit Ioye; and Iesu Crist us sende
  Housbondes meke, yonge, and fresshe a-bedde,
  And grace toverbyde hem that we wedde.                      1260
  And eek I preye Iesu shorte hir lyves
  That wol nat be governed by hir wyves;
  And olde and angry nigardes of dispence,
  God sende hem sone verray pestilence.

  HERE ENDETH THE WYVES TALE OF BATHE.

    1259. E. _om._ and Ln. fresshe; E. fressh.   1260. E. Hn. touerbyde;
    Cm. Hl. to ouerbyde; Cp. Pt. Ln. to ouerlede (!).   1261. Cm. preye;
    Hn. praye; E. pray.   1262. E. Hn. nat wol; _rest transpose_.
    COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn.

[357: T. 6847-6868.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FRIAR'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE FRERES TALE.

  This worthy limitour, this noble Frere,                     1265
  He made alwey a maner louring chere
  Upon the Somnour, but for honestee
  No vileyns word as yet to him spak he.
  But atte laste he seyde un-to the Wyf,
  'Dame,' quod he, 'god yeve yow right good lyf!              1270
  Ye han heer touched, al-so moot I thee,
  In scole-matere greet difficultee;
  Ye han seyd muchel thing right wel, I seye;
  But dame, here as we ryden by the weye,                     (10)
  Us nedeth nat to speken but of game,                        1275
  And lete auctoritees, on goddes name,
  To preching and to scole eek of clergye.
  But if it lyke to this companye,
  I wol yow of a somnour telle a game.
  Pardee, ye may wel knowe by the name,                       1280
  That of a somnour may no good be sayd;
  I praye that noon of you be yvel apayd.
  A somnour is a renner up and doun
  With mandements for fornicacioun,                           (20)
  And is y-bet at every tounes ende.'                         1285

    HEADING. _So_ E. Hn.   1266. E. chiere.   1267. E. Somonour; Hn.
    Somnour.   1273. E. Hn. muche; Ln. muchel; _rest_ mochel.   1274. E.
    ryde; _rest_ ryden.   1277. Hl. scoles.   E. Hn. Hl. _om._ eek.   1278.
    K. And; _rest_ But.   1284. E. Hn. mandementz.

    Our host tho spak, 'a! sire, ye sholde be hende
  [358: T. 6869-6882.]
  And curteys, as a man of your estaat;
  In companye we wol have no debaat.
  Telleth your tale, and lat the Somnour be.'

    1286. Hl. oste (_om._ tho).

    'Nay,' quod the Somnour, 'lat him seye to me              1290
  What so him list; whan it comth to my lot,
  By god, I shal him quyten every grot.
  I shal him tellen which a greet honour                      (29)
  It is to be a flateringe limitour;                      [T. 6876
  And his offyce I shal him telle, y-wis.'                [T. 6879

    _After_ l. 1294 _all but_ Hl. _wrongly insert_ ll. 1307 _and_ 1308;
    _which see_. Tyrwhitt _also inserts them._

    Our host answerde, 'pees, na-more of this.'               1296
  And after this he seyde un-to the Frere,
  'Tel forth your tale, leve maister deere.'

  HERE ENDETH THE PROLOGE OF THE FRERE.

    1298. E. Hn. leeue; Hl. my; Cp. Ln. my leue; Pt. my owen.   COLOPHON.
    _From_ Hn.; _so_ Pt.(_with_ Thus _for_ Here).

[359: T. 6883-6902.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FRERES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE FRERES TALE.

  Whilom ther was dwellinge in my contree
  An erchedeken, a man of heigh degree,                       1300
  That boldely dide execucioun
  In punisshinge of fornicacioun,
  Of wicchecraft, and eek of bauderye,
  Of diffamacioun, and avoutrye,
  Of chirche-reves, and of testaments,                        1305
  Of contractes, and of lakke of sacraments,
  And eek of many another maner cryme                    [T. _om._
  Which nedeth nat rehercen at this tyme;                [T. _om._
  Of usure, and of symonye also.                              (11)
  But certes, lechours dide he grettest wo;                   1310
  They sholde singen, if that they were hent;
  And smale tytheres weren foule y-shent.
  If any persone wolde up-on hem pleyne,
  Ther mighte asterte him no pecunial peyne.
  For smale tythes and for smal offringe,                     1315
  He made the peple pitously to singe.
  For er the bisshop caughte hem with his hook,
  They weren in the erchedeknes book.                         (20)
  Thanne hadde he, thurgh his Iurisdiccioun,
  Power to doon on hem correccioun.                           1320
  [360: T. 6903-6937.]
  He hadde a Somnour redy to his hond,
  A slyer boy was noon in Engelond;
  For subtilly he hadde his espiaille,
  That taughte him, wher that him mighte availle.
  He coude spare of lechours oon or two,                      1325
  To techen him to foure and twenty mo.
  For thogh this Somnour wood were as an hare,
  To telle his harlotrye I wol nat spare;                     (30)
  For we been out of his correccioun;
  They han of us no Iurisdiccioun,                            1330
  Ne never shullen, terme of alle hir lyves.

    HEADING. _So_ E. Pt.   1306. E. Hn. and eek; _rest_ and.   1307, 1308.
    _Wrongly inserted after_ l. 1294 _in all but_ Hl.   1307. E. Hn. Ln.
    _om._ eek.   1308. E. Hn. for; _rest_ at.   1310. Ln. lychoures; _rest_
    lecchours.   1315. Hn. Hl. for; Cp. eek for; Pt. Ln. eek; E. _om._
    1317. E. Hl. him.   1318. Cp. Pt. Hl. weren; _rest_ were.   1319. Hl.
    And; _rest_ And thanne; _read_ Thanne.   1321. E. Somonour; Hl.
    Sompnour; _rest_ Somnour.   1322. E. Pt. Ln. boye.   1324. _Read_
    taughten(?), _or_ taught-e.   Cp. Pt. that; _rest om._   1325. E.
    lecchours.   1327. E. was; _rest_ were.   1331. E. Hn. _om._ alle.

    'Peter! so been the wommen of the styves,'
  Quod the Somnour, 'y-put out of my cure!'

    1332. E. Cm. _om. 1st_ the.

    'Pees, with mischance and with misaventure,'
  Thus seyde our host, 'and lat him telle his tale.           1335
  Now telleth forth, thogh that the Somnour gale,
  Ne spareth nat, myn owene maister dere.'

    This false theef, this Somnour, quod the Frere,           (40)
  Hadde alwey baudes redy to his hond,
  As any hauk to lure in Engelond,                            1340
  That tolde him al the secree that they knewe;
  For hir acqueyntance was nat come of-newe.
  They weren hise approwours prively;
  He took him-self a greet profit therby;
  His maister knew nat alwey what he wan.                     1345
  With-outen mandement, a lewed man
  He coude somne, on peyne of Cristes curs,
  And they were gladde for to fille his purs,                 (50)
  And make him grete festes atte nale.
  And right as Iudas hadde purses smale,                      1350
  And was a theef, right swich a theef was he;
  His maister hadde but half his duëtee.
  He was, if I shal yeven him his laude,
  A theef, and eek a Somnour, and a baude.
  He hadde eek wenches at his retenue,                        1355
  [361: T. 6938-6971.]
  That, whether that sir Robert or sir Huwe,
  Or Iakke, or Rauf, or who-so that it were,
  That lay by hem, they tolde it in his ere;                  (60)
  Thus was the wenche and he of oon assent.
  And he wolde fecche a feyned mandement,                     1360
  And somne hem to the chapitre bothe two,
  And pile the man, and lete the wenche go.
  Thanne wolde he seye, 'frend, I shal for thy sake
  Do stryken hir out of our lettres blake;
  Thee thar na-more as in this cas travaille;                 1365
  I am thy freend, ther I thee may availle.'
  Certeyn he knew of bryberyes mo
  Than possible is to telle in yeres two.                     (70)
  For in this world nis dogge for the bowe,
  That can an hurt deer from an hool y-knowe,                 1370
  Bet than this Somnour knew a sly lechour,
  Or an avouter, or a paramour.
  And, for that was the fruit of al his rente,
  Therfore on it he sette al his entente.

    1343. Ln. approwers; Cm. apprououris; Pt. aprouers; _rest_
    approuwours.   1348. Cp. gladde; E. Hn. glade.   1349. Cm. at the nale;
    (atte nale = atten ale).   1352. Hl. not (_for_ but).   Cp. dewete.
    1356. E. wheither.   1364. E. Hn. hir; _rest_ þe.   1367. E.
    bribryes.   1370. Hl. y-knowe; _rest_ knowe [_perhaps read_ hole
    knowe).   1371. Cm. lechour; E. Hn. lecchour.   1372. Hn. Cp. Pt.
    auouter; E. Hl. auowtier.

    And so bifel, that ones on a day                          1375
  This Somnour, ever waiting on his pray,
  Rood for to somne a widwe, an old ribybe,
  Feynynge a cause, for he wolde brybe.                       (80)
  And happed that he saugh bifore him ryde
  A gay yeman, under a forest-syde.                           1380
  A bowe he bar, and arwes brighte and kene;
  He hadde up-on a courtepy of grene;
  An hat up-on his heed with frenges blake.

    1377. Hl. Rod; Cp. Pt. Ln. Rode; Cm. Wente; E. Hn. _om._   Cm. a wedewe
    an old; Hl. a widew and(!) old; E. Hn. an old wydwe a.   1379. E.
    Hn._om._ And

    'Sir,' quod this Somnour, 'hayl! and wel a-take!'
  'Wel-come,' quod he, 'and every good felawe!                1385
  Wher rydestow under this grene shawe?'
  Seyde this yeman, 'wiltow fer to day?'

    1386. E. Cm. Pt. Ln. grene wode shawe (_too long_).

    This Somnour him answerde, and seyde, 'nay;               (90)
  Heer faste by,' quod he, 'is myn entente
  [362: T. 6972-7007.]
  To ryden, for to reysen up a rente                          1390
  That longeth to my lordes duëtee.

    1391. Cp. dewete.

    'Artow thanne a bailly?' 'Ye!' quod he.
  He dorste nat, for verray filthe and shame,
  Seye that he was a somnour, for the name.

    '_Depardieux_,' quod this yeman, 'dere brother,           1395
  Thou art a bailly, and I am another.
  I am unknowen as in this contree;
  Of thyn aqueyntance I wolde praye thee,                    (100)
  And eek of brotherhede, if that yow leste.
  I have gold and silver in my cheste;                        1400
  If that thee happe to comen in our shyre,
  Al shal be thyn, right as thou wolt desyre.'

    1395. Cm. leue; Hl. lieue; _rest_ dere (deere).   1399. Cm.
    brotherhode; Hl. brotherheed; _rest_ brether-.

    'Grantmercy,' quod this Somnour, 'by my feith!'
  Everich in otheres hand his trouthe leith,
  For to be sworne bretheren til they deye.                   1405
  In daliance they ryden forth hir weye.

    1405. Hl. sworne; E. Hn. sworn; _rest_ swore.

    This Somnour, which that was as ful of Iangles,
  As ful of venim been thise wariangles,                      (no)
  And ever enquering up-on every thing,
  'Brother,' quod he, 'where is now your dwelling,            1410
  Another day if that I sholde yow seche?'

    1407. E. Cm. _om._ which.

    This yeman him answerde in softe speche,
  'Brother,' quod he, 'fer in the north contree,
  Wher, as I hope, som-tyme I shal thee see.
  Er we departe, I shal thee so wel wisse,                    1415
  That of myn hous ne shaltow never misse.'

    'Now, brother,' quod this Somnour, 'I yow preye,
  Teche me, whyl that we ryden by the weye,                  (120)
  Sin that ye been a baillif as am I,
  Som subtiltee, and tel me feithfully                        1420
  In myn offyce how I may most winne;
  And spareth nat for conscience ne sinne,
  But as my brother tel me, how do ye?'

    1421. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. how that I.

    'Now, by my trouthe, brother dere,' seyde he,
  'As I shal tellen thee a feithful tale,                     1425
  [363: T. 7008-7043.]
  My wages been ful streite and ful smale.
  My lord is hard to me and daungerous,
  And myn offyce is ful laborous;                            (130)
  And therfore by extorcions I live.
  For sothe, I take al that men wol me yive;                  1430
  Algate, by sleyghte or by violence,
  Fro yeer to yeer I winne al my dispence.
  I can no bettre telle feithfully.'

    1426. Hl. and eek (_but read_ streit-e).   1428. Cp. laborious; _rest_
    laborous.   1430. E. yeue.

    'Now, certes,' quod this Somnour, 'so fare I;
  I spare nat to taken, god it woot,                          1435
  But if it be to hevy or to hoot.
  What I may gete in conseil prively,
  No maner conscience of that have I;                        (140)
  Nere myn extorcioun, I mighte nat liven,
  Ne of swiche Iapes wol I nat be shriven.                    1440
  Stomak ne conscience ne knowe I noon;
  I shrewe thise shrifte-fadres everichoon.
  Wel be we met, by god and by seint Iame!
  But, leve brother, tel me than thy name,'
  Quod this Somnour; and in this mene-whyle,                  1445
  This yeman gan a litel for to smyle.

    1440. E. Nor; Hn. Cm. Hl. Ne.   1444. E. thanne.   1445. Cm. and; _rest
    om._

    'Brother,' quod he, 'wiltow that I thee telle?
  I am a feend, my dwelling is in helle.                     (150)
  And here I ryde about my purchasing,
  To wite wher men wolde yeve me any thing.                   1450
  My purchas is theffect of al my rente.
  Loke how thou rydest for the same entente,
  To winne good, thou rekkest never how;
  Right so fare I, for ryde wolde I now
  Un-to the worldes ende for a preye.'                        1455

    1450. E. me yeuen; _rest_ yeue (yiue) me.   1454. E. I wolde right; Hl.
    I wolde; _rest_ wolde I.

    'A,' quod this Somnour, '_benedicite_, what sey ye?
  I wende ye were a yeman trewely.
  Ye han a mannes shap as wel as I;                          (160)
  Han ye figure than determinat
  In helle, ther ye been in your estat?'                      1460

    1459. E. thanne.

    'Nay, certeinly,' quod he, 'ther have we noon;
  [364: T. 7044-7080.]
  But whan us lyketh, we can take us oon,
  Or elles make yow seme we ben shape
  Som-tyme lyk a man, or lyk an ape;
  Or lyk an angel can I ryde or go.                           1465
  It is no wonder thing thogh it be so;
  A lousy Iogelour can deceyve thee,
  And pardee, yet can I more craft than he.'                 (170)

    'Why,' quod the Somnour, 'ryde ye thanne or goon
  In sondry shap, and nat alwey in oon?'                      1470

    'For we,' quod he, 'wol us swich formes make
  As most able is our preyes for to take.'

    1471. E. Hn. swiche; Cm. Cp. swich.

    'What maketh yow to han al this labour?'

    'Ful many a cause, leve sir Somnour,'
  Seyde this feend, 'but alle thing hath tyme.                1475
  The day is short, and it is passed pryme,
  And yet ne wan I no-thing in this day.
  I wol entende to winnen, if I may,                         (180)
  And nat entende our wittes to declare.
  For, brother myn, thy wit is al to bare                     1480
  To understonde, al-thogh I tolde hem thee.
  But, for thou axest why labouren we;
  For, som-tyme, we ben goddes instruments,
  And menes to don his comandements,
  Whan that him list, up-on his creatures,                    1485
  In divers art and in divers figures.
  With-outen him we have no might, certayn,
  If that him list to stonden ther-agayn.                    (190)
  And som-tyme, at our prayere, han we leve
  Only the body and nat the soule greve;                      1490
  Witnesse on Iob, whom that we diden wo.
  And som-tyme han we might of bothe two,
  This is to seyn, of soule and body eke.
  And somtyme be we suffred for to seke
  Up-on a man, and doon his soule unreste,                    1495
  And nat his body, and al is for the beste.
  Whan he withstandeth our temptacioun,
  It is a cause of his savacioun;                            (200)
  [365: T. 7081-7118.]
  Al-be-it that it was nat our entente
  He sholde be sauf, but that we wolde him hente.             1500
  And som-tyme be we servant un-to man,
  As to the erchebisshop Seint Dunstan,
  And to the apostles servant eek was I.'

    1479. E. hir; _rest_ oure.   Cm. wordis; Hl. thinges; _rest_ wittes.
    1486. E. Hn. Cm. diuerse (_2nd time_).   1496. body] E. soule(!).
    1498. E. _om._ a; Cm. the.   1502. E. bisshop(!).

    'Yet tel me,' quod the Somnour, 'feithfully,
  Make ye yow newe bodies thus alway                          1505
  Of elements?' the feend answerde, 'nay;
  Som-tyme we feyne, and som-tyme we aryse
  With dede bodies in ful sondry wyse,                       (210)
  And speke as renably and faire and wel
  As to the Phitonissa dide Samuel.                           1510
  And yet wol som men seye it was nat he;
  I do no fors of your divinitee.
  But o thing warne I thee, I wol nat Iape,
  Thou wolt algates wite how we ben shape;
  Thou shalt her-afterward, my brother dere,                  1515
  Com ther thee nedeth nat of me to lere.
  For thou shalt by thyn owene experience
  Conne in a chayer rede of this sentence                    (220)
  Bet than Virgyle, whyl he was on lyve,
  Or Dant also; now lat us ryde blyve.                        1520
  For I wol holde companye with thee
  Til it be so, that thou forsake me.'

    1515. E Hn. -wardes; _rest_ -ward.

    'Nay,' quod this Somnour, 'that shal nat bityde;
  I am a yeman, knowen is ful wyde;
  My trouthe wol I holde as in this cas.                      1525
  For though thou were the devel Sathanas,
  My trouthe wol I holde to my brother,
  As I am sworn, and ech of us til other                     (230)
  For to be trewe brother in this cas;
  And bothe we goon abouten our purchas.                      1530
  Tak thou thy part, what that men wol thee yive,
  And I shal myn; thus may we bothe live.
  And if that any of us have more than other,
  Lat him be trewe, and parte it with his brother.'

    1528, 1533. E. oother.   1531. E. Taak; yeue.

    'I graunte,' quod the devel, 'by my fey.'                 1535
  And with that word they ryden forth hir wey.
  [366: T. 7119-7153.]
  And right at the entring of the tounes ende,
  To which this Somnour shoop him for to wende,              (240)
  They saugh a cart, that charged was with hey,
  Which that a carter droof forth in his wey.                 1540
  Deep was the wey, for which the carte stood.
  The carter smoot, and cryde, as he were wood,
  'Hayt, Brok! hayt, Scot! what spare ye for the stones?
  The feend,' quod he, 'yow fecche body and bones,
  As ferforthly as ever were ye foled!                        1545
  So muche wo as I have with yow tholed!
  The devel have al, bothe hors and cart and hey!'

    This Somnour seyde, 'heer shal we have a pley;'          (250)
  And neer the feend he drough, as noght ne were,
  Ful prively, and rouned in his ere:                         1550
  'Herkne, my brother, herkne, by thy feith;
  Herestow nat how that the carter seith?
  Hent it anon, for he hath yeve it thee,
  Bothe hey and cart, and eek hise caples three.'

    'Nay,' quod the devel, 'god wot, never a deel;            1555
  It is nat his entente, trust me weel.
  Axe him thy-self, if thou nat trowest me,
  Or elles stint a while, and thou shall see.'               (260)

    1556. E. Hn. trust thou; _rest om._ thou.

    This carter thakketh his hors upon the croupe,
  And they bigonne drawen and to-stoupe;                      1560
  'Heyt, now!' quod he, 'ther Iesu Crist yow blesse,
  And al his handwerk, bothe more and lesse!
  That was wel twight, myn owene lyard boy!
  I pray god save thee and sëynt Loy!
  Now is my cart out of the slow, pardee!'                    1565

    1559. Cm. thakkyth; Hl. thakketh; Ln. thakkes; Cp. Pt. thakked; E. Hn.
    taketh.   Hn. Cm. Hl. upon; _rest om._   1562. Cp. hondywerk; Hn.
    handes werk.   1564. E. to god; _rest om._ to.   1565. Cp. slough; Pt.
    schlough; Ln. slouhe; Hl. sloo.

    'Lo! brother,' quod the feend, 'what tolde I thee?
  Heer may ye see, myn owene dere brother,
  The carl spak oo thing, but he thoghte another.            (270)
  Lat us go forth abouten our viage;
  Heer winne I no-thing up-on cariage.'                       1570

    1568. E. Hl. oon; Cm. on; _rest_ o (oo). E. _om._ thing.

    Whan that they comen som-what out of toune,
  [367: T. 7154-7187.]
  This Somnour to his brother gan to roune,
  'Brother,' quod he, 'heer woneth an old rebekke,
  That hadde almost as lief to lese hir nekke
  As for to yeve a peny of hir good.                          1575
  I wol han twelf pens, though that she be wood,
  Or I wol sompne hir un-to our offyce;
  And yet, god woot, of hir knowe I no vyce.                 (280)
  But for thou canst nat, as in this contree,
  Winne thy cost, tak heer ensample of me.'                   1580

    1571. E. coomen.

    This Somnour clappeth at the widwes gate.
  'Com out,' quod he, 'thou olde viritrate!
  I trowe thou hast som frere or preest with thee!'

    1582. Hn. Cp. Hl. viritrate; E. virytrate; Cm. verye crate; Pt.
    viritate; Ln. veritate.

    'Who clappeth?' seyde this widwe, '_benedicite_!
  God save you, sire, what is your swete wille?'              1585

    1584. Cm. widew; Hl. widow; _rest_ wyf (_but read_ ben'cite).

    'I have,' quod he, 'of somonce here a bille;
  Up peyne of cursing, loke that thou be
  To-morn bifore the erchedeknes knee                        (290)
  Tanswere to the court of certeyn thinges.'

    1586. Cp. Pt. Ln. here; _rest om._   1587. E. Vp-on; _rest_ Vp.   1589.
    E. Hn. Tanswere; _rest_ To answere (answer).

    'Now, lord,' quod she, 'Crist Iesu, king of kinges,       1590
  So wisly helpe me, as I ne may.
  I have been syk, and that ful many a day.
  I may nat go so fer,' quod she, 'ne ryde,
  But I be deed, so priketh it in my syde.
  May I nat axe a libel, sir Somnour,                         1595
  And answere there, by my procutour,
  To swich thing as men wol opposen me?'

    1596. Hl. ther; Ln. the; _rest_ there.   Hl. procuratour; Cm. Ln.
    procatour; _rest_ procutour.

    'Yis,' quod this Somnour, 'pay anon, lat se,             (300)
  Twelf pens to me, and I wol thee acquyte.
  I shall no profit han ther-by but lyte;                     1600
  My maister hath the profit, and nat I.
  Com of, and lat me ryden hastily;
  Yif me twelf pens, I may no lenger tarie.'

    'Twelf pens,' quod she, 'now lady Seinte Marie
  So wisly help me out of care and sinne,                     1605
  [368: T. 7188-7225.]
  This wyde world thogh that I sholde winne,
  Ne have I nat twelf pens with-inne myn hold.
  Ye knowen wel that I am povre and old;                     (310)
  Kythe your almesse on me povre wrecche.'

    1605. E. Hn. me god; _rest om._ god.

    'Nay than,' quod he, 'the foule feend me fecche           1610
  If I thexcuse, though them shul be spilt!'

    1610. E. thanne.

    'Alas,' quod she, 'god woot, I have no gilt.'

    'Pay me,' quod he, 'or by the swete seinte Anne,
  As I wol bere awey thy newe panne
  For dette, which that thou owest me of old,                 1615
  Whan that thou madest thyn housbond cokewold,
  I payde at hoom for thy correccioun.'

    'Thou lixt,' quod she, 'by my savacioun!                 (320)
  Ne was I never er now, widwe ne wyf,
  Somoned un-to your court in al my lyf;                      1620
  Ne never I nas but of my body trewe!
  Un-to the devel blak and rough of hewe
  Yeve I thy body and my panne also!'

    And whan the devel herde hir cursen so
  Up-on hir knees, he seyde in this manere,                   1625
  'Now Mabely, myn owene moder dere,
  Is this your wil in ernest, that ye seye?'

    1626. Cm. Mabelyn.

    'The devel,' quod she, 'so fecche him er he deye,        (330)
  And panne and al, but he wol him repente!'

    'Nay, olde stot, that is nat myn entente,'                1630
  Quod this Somnour, 'for to repente me,
  For any thing that I have had of thee;
  I wolde I hadde thy smok and every clooth!'

    'Now, brother,' quod the devel, 'be nat wrooth;
  Thy body and this panne ben myne by right.                  1635
  Thou shalt with me to helle yet to-night,
  Where thou shalt knowen of our privetee
  More than a maister of divinitee:'                         (340)
  And with that word this foule feend him hente;
  Body and soule, he with the devel wente                     1640
  Wher-as that somnours han hir heritage.
  And god, that maked after his image
  Mankinde, save and gyde us alle and some;
  [369: T. 7226-7246.]
  And leve this Somnour good man to bicome!

    1642. Hl. maked; _rest_ made.   1644. E. Hn. this Somonours goode men
    bicome.

    Lordinges, I coude han told yow, quod this Frere,         1645
  Hadde I had leyser for this Somnour here,
  After the text of Crist [and] Poul and Iohn
  And of our othere doctours many oon,                       (350)
  Swiche peynes, that your hertes mighte agryse,
  Al-be-it so, no tonge may devyse,                           1650
  Thogh that I mighte a thousand winter telle,
  The peyne of thilke cursed hous of helle.
  But, for to kepe us fro that cursed place,
  Waketh, and preyeth Iesu for his grace
  So kepe us fro the temptour Sathanas.                       1655
  Herketh this word, beth war as in this cas;
  The leoun sit in his await alway
  To slee the innocent, if that he may.                      (360)
  Disposeth ay your hertes to withstonde
  The feend, that yow wolde make thral and bonde.             1660
  He may nat tempten yow over your might;
  For Crist wol be your champion and knight.
  And prayeth that thise Somnours hem repente
  Of hir misdedes, er that the feend hem hente.

  HERE ENDETH THE FRERES TALE.

    1647. _I supply_ and.   1649. E. Ln. Hl. herte (_see_ l. 1659).   1650.
    E. Hn. may it; _rest om._ it.   1652. E. Hn. Pt. peynes; _rest_
    peyne.   1661. E. Hn. Hl. tempte; _rest_ tempten.   1663. _So_ E. Hn.;
    Cp. Pt. Ln. this somnour him; Hl. oure sompnour him.   1664. _So_ E.
    Hn.; _rest_ his mysdede ... him.   Cm. _om._ that (_perhaps
    rightly_).   COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn. Cm.; Cp. Hl. Her endeth the Frere
    his tale.

[370: T. 7247-7270.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SOMNOUR'S PROLOGUE

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE SOMNOURS TALE.

  This Somnour in his stiropes hye stood;                     1665
  Up-on this Frere his herte was so wood,
  That lyk an aspen leef he quook for yre.

    HEADING. _So_ E. Hn.; E. Somonours.   1665. E. Somonour; Hl. sompnour;
    _rest_ Somnour.

    'Lordinges,' quod he, 'but o thing I desyre;
  I yow biseke that, of your curteisye,
  Sin ye han herd this false Frere lye,                       1670
  As suffereth me I may my tale telle!
  This Frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
  And god it woot, that it is litel wonder;
  Freres and feendes been but lyte a-sonder.                  (10)
  For pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle,                    1675
  How that a frere ravisshed was to helle
  In spirit ones by a visioun;
  And as an angel ladde him up and doun,
  To shewen him the peynes that ther were,
  In al the place saugh he nat a frere;                       1680
  Of other folk he saugh y-nowe in wo.
  Un-to this angel spak the frere tho:

    1676. E. vanysshed(!); _rest_ rauysshed.

    "Now, sir," quod he, "han freres swich a grace
  That noon of hem shal come to this place?"                  (20)

    "Yis," quod this angel, "many a millioun!"                1685
  And un-to Sathanas he ladde him doun.
  "And now hath Sathanas," seith he, "a tayl
  Brodder than of a carrik is the sayl.
  [371: T. 7271-7290.]
  Hold up thy tayl, thou Sathanas!" quod he,
  "Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere see                1690
  Wher is the nest of freres in this place!"
  And, er that half a furlong-wey of space,
  Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
  Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve                     (30)
  Twenty thousand freres in a route,                          1695
  And thurgh-out helle swarmeden aboute;
  And comen agayn, as faste as they may gon,
  And in his ers they crepten everichon.
  He clapte his tayl agayn, and lay ful stille.
  This frere, whan he loked hadde his fille                   1700
  Upon the torments of this sory place,
  His spirit god restored of his grace
  Un-to his body agayn, and he awook;
  But natheles, for fere yet he quook,                        (40)
  So was the develes ers ay in his minde,                     1705
  That is his heritage of verray kinde.
  God save yow alle, save this cursed Frere;
  My prologe wol I ende in this manere.'

  HERE ENDETH THE PROLOGE OF THE SOMNOURS TALE.

    1692. Pt. Hl. than; _rest_ that.   1693. E. Hn. swarmeden; Hl. swarmed
    al.   1700. Cp. Hn. loked hadde; Pt. Ln. Hl. loked had; E. hadde looke
    al (_sic_).   COLOPHON. _From_ Hn.

[372: T. 7291-7314.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SOMNOURS TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE SOMONOUR HIS TALE.

  Lordinges, ther is in Yorkshire, as I gesse,
  A mersshy contree called Holdernesse,                       1710
  In which ther wente a limitour aboute,
  To preche, and eek to begge, it is no doute.
  And so bifel, that on a day this frere
  Had preched at a chirche in his manere,
  And specially, aboven every thing,                          1715
  Excited he the peple in his preching,
  To trentals, and to yeve, for goddes sake,
  Wher-with men mighten holy houses make,                     (10)
  Ther as divyne service is honoured,
  Nat ther as it is wasted and devoured,                      1720
  Ne ther it nedeth nat for to be yive,
  As to possessioners, that mowen live,
  Thanked be god, in wele and habundaunce.
  'Trentals,' seyde he, 'deliveren fro penaunce
  Hir freendes soules, as wel olde as yonge,                  1725
  Ye, whan that they been hastily y-songe;
  Nat for to holde a preest Ioly and gay,
  He singeth nat but o masse in a day;                        (20)
  Delivereth out,' quod he, 'anon the soules;
  Ful hard it is with fleshhook or with oules                 1730
  To been y-clawed, or to brenne or bake;
  Now spede yow hastily, for Cristes sake.'
  [373: T. 7315-7349.]
  And whan this frere had seyd al his entente,
  With _qui cum patre_ forth his wey he wente.

    HEADING. _So_ E.; Hn. Somnours (_for_ Somonour his).   1710. Cp. Pt.
    Ln. mersshy; Hl. mersschly; E. Hn. merssh.   1718. Cp. Hl. mighten; E.
    Hn. myghte.   1721. Cp. Hl. yiue; _rest_ yeue.

    Whan folk in chirche had yeve him what hem leste,         1735
  He wente his wey, no lenger wolde he reste,
  With scrippe and tipped staf, y-tukked hye;
  In every hous he gan to poure and prye,                     (30)
  And beggeth mele, and chese, or elles corn.
  His felawe hadde a staf tipped with horn,                   1740
  A peyre of tables al of yvory,
  And a poyntel polisshed fetisly,
  And wroot the names alwey, as he stood,
  Of alle folk that yaf him any good,
  Ascaunces that he wolde for hem preye.                      1745
  'Yeve us a busshel whete, malt, or reye,
  A goddes kechil, or a trip of chese,
  Or elles what yow list, we may nat chese;                   (40)
  A goddes halfpeny or a masse-peny,
  Or yeve us of your brawn, if ye have eny;                   1750
  A dagon of your blanket, leve dame,
  Our suster dere, lo! here I write your name;
  Bacon or beef, or swich thing as ye finde.'

    1735. E. lest.   1736. E. Pt. Ln. Hl. went.   1738. E. Hn. Ln. poure;
    _rest_ pore.   1743. E. wroote.   1745. Hn. Ascaunces; E. Asaunces; Hl.
    Pt. Ln. Ascaunce; Cp. Ascance.   E. prey.   1746. Ln. Yeue; Cp. Yiue;
    _rest_ Yif (_see_ 1750).   E. him; _rest_ vs.   1747. Ln. kechel; Hl.
    kichil.   Cp. Pt. trippe; Ln. trep.   1750. E. Hn. Hl. yif; _rest_ yeue
    (yiue).   1751. Cm. Cp. Hl. dagoun.

    A sturdy harlot wente ay hem bihinde,
  That was hir hostes man, and bar a sak,                     1755
  And what men yaf hem, leyde it on his bak.
  And whan that he was out at dore anon,
  He planed awey the names everichon                          (50)
  That he biforn had writen in his tables;
  He served hem with nyfles and with fables.                  1760

    'Nay, ther thou lixt, thou Somnour,' quod the Frere.
    'Pees,' quod our Host, 'for Cristes moder dere;
  Tel forth thy tale and spare it nat at al.'
  So thryve I, quod this Somnour, so I shal.--

    So longe he wente hous by hous, til he                    1765
  Cam til an hous ther he was wont to be
  Refresshed more than in an hundred placis.
  [374: T. 7350-7385.]
  Sik lay the gode man, whos that the place is;               (60)
  Bedrede up-on a couche lowe he lay.
  '_Deus hic_,' quod he, 'O Thomas, freend, good day,'        1770
  Seyde this frere curteisly and softe.
  'Thomas,' quod he, 'god yelde yow! ful ofte
  Have I up-on this bench faren ful weel.
  Here have I eten many a mery meel';
  And fro the bench he droof awey the cat,                    1775
  And leyde adoun his potente and his hat,
  And eek his scrippe, and sette him softe adoun.
  His felawe was go walked in-to toun,                        (70)
  Forth with his knave, in-to that hostelrye
  Wher-as he shoop him thilke night to lye.                   1780

    1768. Hl. that; _rest om._   1769. Pt. Hl. Bedred.   1772. Hl. yeld
    it.   1774. E. myrie; Hn. Cm. murye; _rest_ mery.

    'O dere maister,' quod this syke man,
  'How han ye fare sith that March bigan?
  I saugh yow noght this fourtenight or more.'
  'God woot,' quod he, 'laboured have I ful sore;
  And specially, for thy savacioun                            1785
  Have I seyd many a precious orisoun,
  And for our othere frendes, god hem blesse!
  I have to-day been at your chirche at messe,                (80)
  And seyd a sermon after my simple wit,
  Nat al after the text of holy writ;                         1790
  For it is hard to yow, as I suppose,
  And therfore wol I teche yow al the glose.
  Glosinge is a glorious thing, certeyn,
  For lettre sleeth, so as we clerkes seyn.
  Ther have I taught hem to be charitable,                    1795
  And spende hir good ther it is resonable,
  And ther I saugh our dame; a! wher is she?'

    1783. E. Hn. fourtnyght; _rest_ fourtenight.   1784. E. Hn. I haue;
    _rest_ haue I.   1792. Hl. ay (_for_ al).   1793. Hl. a ful glorious.
    1794. E. thise; Hn. Cm. Pt. Hl. we.

    'Yond in the yerd I trowe that she be,'                   (90)
  Seyde this man, 'and she wol come anon.'

    'Ey, maister! wel-come be ye, by seint Iohn!'             1800
  Seyde this wyf, 'how fare ye hertely?'

    The frere aryseth up ful curteisly,
  And hir embraceth in his armes narwe,
  [375: T. 7386-7422.]
  And kiste hir swete, and chirketh as a sparwe
  With his lippes: 'dame,' quod he, 'right weel,              1805
  As he that is your servant every deel.
  Thanked be god, that yow yaf soule and lyf,
  Yet saugh I nat this day so fair a wyf                     (100)
  In al the chirche, god so save me!'

    1804. E. Hn. chirteth.

    'Ye, god amende defautes, sir,' quod she,                 1810
  'Algates wel-come be ye, by my fey!'
  'Graunt mercy, dame, this have I founde alwey.
  But of your grete goodnesse, by your leve,
  I wolde prey yow that ye nat yow greve,
  I wol with Thomas speke a litel throwe.                     1815
  Thise curats been ful necligent and slowe
  To grope tendrely a conscience.
  In shrift, in preching is my diligence,                    (110)
  And studie in Petres wordes, and in Poules.
  I walke, and fisshe Cristen mennes soules,                  1820
  To yelden Iesu Crist his propre rente;
  To sprede his word is set al myn entente.'

    'Now, by your leve, o dere sir,' quod she,
  'Chydeth him weel, for seinte Trinitee.
  He is as angry as a pissemyre,                              1825
  Though that he have al that he can desyre.
  Though I him wrye a-night and make him warm,
  And on hym leye my leg outher myn arm,                     (120)
  He groneth lyk our boor, lyth in our sty.
  Other desport right noon of him have I;                     1830
  I may nat plese him in no maner cas.'

    1830. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. of him right non.

    'O Thomas! _Ie vous dy_, Thomas! Thomas!
  This maketh the feend, this moste ben amended.
  Ire is a thing that hye god defended,
  And ther-of wol I speke a word or two.'                     1835

    1832. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. _Ieo_.

    'Now maister,' quod the wyf, 'er that I go,
  What wol ye dyne? I wol go ther-aboute.'

    'Now dame,' quod he, '_Ie vous dy sanz doute_,           (130)
  Have I nat of a capon but the livere,
  And of your softe breed nat but a shivere,                  1840
  [376: T. 7423-7459.]
  And after that a rosted pigges heed,
  (But that I nolde no beest for me were deed),
  Thanne hadde I with yow hoomly suffisaunce.
  I am a man of litel sustenaunce.
  My spirit hath his fostring in the Bible.                   1845
  The body is ay so redy and penyble
  To wake, that my stomak is destroyed.
  I prey yow, dame, ye be nat anoyed,                        (140)
  Though I so freendly yow my conseil shewe;
  By god, I wolde nat telle it but a fewe.'                   1850

    1838. Cp. Pt. Hl. _Ieo_.

    'Now, sir,' quod she, 'but o word er I go;
  My child is deed with-inne thise wykes two,
  Sone after that ye wente out of this toun.'

    'His deeth saugh I by revelacioun,'
  Seith this frere, 'at hoom in our dortour.                  1855
  I dar wel seyn that, er that half an hour
  After his deeth, I saugh him born to blisse
  In myn avisioun, so god me wisse!                          (150)
  So dide our sexteyn and our fermerer,
  That han been trewe freres fifty yeer;                      1860
  They may now, god be thanked of his lone,
  Maken hir Iubilee and walke allone.
  And up I roos, and al our covent eke,
  With many a tere trikling on my cheke,
  Withouten noyse or clateringe of belles;                    1865
  _Te deum_ was our song and no-thing elles,
  Save that to Crist I seyde an orisoun,
  Thankinge him of his revelacioun.                          (160)
  For sir and dame, trusteth me right weel,
  Our orisons been more effectueel,                           1870
  And more we seen of Cristes secree thinges
  Than burel folk, al-though they weren kinges.
  We live in povert and in abstinence,
  And burel folk in richesse and despence
  Of mete and drinke, and in hir foul delyt.                  1875
  We han this worldes lust al in despyt.
  Lazar and Dives liveden diversly,
  [377: T. 7460-7496.]
  And diverse guerdon hadden they ther-by.                   (170)
  Who-so wol preye, he moot faste and be clene,
  And fatte his soule and make his body lene.                 1880
  We fare as seith thapostle; cloth and fode
  Suffysen us, though they be nat ful gode.
  The clennesse and the fastinge of us freres
  Maketh that Crist accepteth our preyeres.

    1856. Ln. than; _rest_ that.   1870. E. Hn. wel moore; _rest om._
    wel.   1872. Hl. borel.   1873. Cm. Hl. pouert; _rest_ pouerte.   1874.
    Hl. borel.   1878. E. Hn. gerdon; Cm. gerdoun; Pt. guardon.

    Lo, Moyses fourty dayes and fourty night                  1885
  Fasted, er that the heighe god of might
  Spak with him in the mountain of Sinay.
  With empty wombe, fastinge many a day,                     (180)
  Receyved he the lawe that was writen
  With goddes finger; and Elie, wel ye witen,                 1890
  In mount Oreb, er he hadde any speche
  With hye god, that is our lyves leche,
  He fasted longe and was in contemplaunce.

    1887. Hn. mountayne; Ln. Dd. mounte; _rest_ mount.

    Aaron, that hadde the temple in governaunce,
  And eek the othere preestes everichon,                      1895
  In-to the temple whan they sholde gon
  To preye for the peple, and do servyse,
  They nolden drinken, in no maner wyse,                     (190)
  No drinke, which that mighte hem dronke make,
  But there in abstinence preye and wake,                     1900
  Lest that they deyden; tak heed what I seye.
  But they be sobre that for the peple preye,
  War that I seye,--namore! for it suffyseth.
  Our lord Iesu, as holy writ devyseth,
  Yaf us ensample of fastinge and preyeres.                   1905
  Therfor we mendinants, we sely freres,
  Been wedded to poverte and continence,
  To charitee, humblesse, and abstinence,                    (200)
  To persecucion for rightwisnesse,
  To wepinge, misericorde, and clennesse.                     1910
  And therfor may ye see that our preyeres--
  I speke of us, we mendinants, we freres--
  Ben to the hye god more acceptable
  Than youres, with your festes at the table.
  [378: T. 7497-7530.]
  Fro Paradys first, if I shal nat lye,                       1915
  Was man out chaced for his glotonye;
  And chaast was man in Paradys, certeyn.

    1895. E. Hn. Cp. Ln. that; Cm. Hl. Pt. the.   1901. E. taak heede.
    1906, 12. E. mendynantz.

    But herkne now, Thomas, what I shal seyn.                (210)
  I ne have no text of it, as I suppose,
  But I shall finde it in a maner glose,                      1930
  That specially our swete lord Iesus
  Spak this by freres, whan he seyde thus:
  "Blessed be they that povre in spirit been."
  And so forth al the gospel may ye seen,
  Wher it be lyker our professioun,                           1925
  Or hirs that swimmen in possessioun.
  Fy on hir pompe and on hir glotonye!
  And for hir lewednesse I hem diffye.                       (220)

    1918. Cm. Pt. Hl. now; _rest om._   1923. E. pouere; Hn. poure; Ln. Hl.
    pouer; Cm. poore; Cp. pore.   1925. E. Hn. likker; Cm. lykere.   1927.
    E. Hn. _om. 2nd_ on.

    Me thinketh they ben lyk Iovinian,
  Fat as a whale, and walkinge as a swan;                     1930
  Al vinolent as botel in the spence.
  Hir preyer is of ful gret reverence;
  Whan they for soules seye the psalm of Davit,
  Lo, "buf!" they seye, "_cor meum eructavit_!"
  Who folweth Cristes gospel and his fore,                    1935
  But we that humble been and chast and pore,
  Werkers of goddes word, not auditours?
  Therfore, right as an hauk up, at a sours,                 (230)
  Up springeth in-to their, right so prayeres
  Of charitable and chaste bisy freres                        1940
  Maken hir sours to goddes eres two.
  Thomas! Thomas! so mote I ryde or go,
  And by that lord that clepid is seint Yve,
  Nere thou our brother, sholdestou nat thryve!
  In our chapitre praye we day and night                      1945
  To Crist, that he thee sende hele and might,
  Thy body for to welden hastily.'

    1934. buf] E. but; Hl. boef.   1935. E. Hn. foore; Cm. Hl. fore; _rest_
    lore.   1937. E. Cm. Werkeris.   1938. up at] Hl. vpon.   1939. Hl.
    thaer; Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. the eyre (ayre).   1947. E. weelden.

    'God woot,' quod he, 'no-thing ther-of fele I;           (240)
  [379: T. 7531-7565.]
  As help me Crist, as I, in fewe yeres,
  Han spended, up-on dyvers maner freres,                     1950
  Ful many a pound; yet fare I never the bet.
  Certeyn, my good have I almost biset.
  Farwel, my gold! for it is al ago!'

    1949. Hn. Hl. I in; E. Cm. in a; Pt. I haue in.   1950. Hn. Hl. Haue
    spended; E. I han spent.   1952. E. I haue.

    The frere answerde, 'O Thomas, dostow so?
  What nedeth yow diverse freres seche?                       1955
  What nedeth him that hath a parfit leche
  To sechen othere leches in the toun?
  Your inconstance is your confusioun.                       (250)
  Holde ye than me, or elles our covent,
  To praye for yow ben insufficient?                          1960
  Thomas, that Iape nis nat worth a myte;
  Your maladye is for we han to lyte.
  "A! yif that covent half a quarter otes!"
  "A! yif that covent four and twenty grotes!"
  "A! yif that frere a peny, and lat him go!"                 1965
  Nay, nay, Thomas! it may no-thing be so.
  What is a ferthing worth parted in twelve?
  Lo, ech thing that is oned in him-selve                    (260)
  Is more strong than whan it is to-scatered.
  Thomas, of me thou shalt nat been y-flatered;               1970
  Thou woldest han our labour al for noght.
  The hye god, that al this world hath wroght,
  Seith that the werkman worthy is his hyre.
  Thomas! noght of your tresor I desyre
  As for my-self, but that al our covent                      1975
  To preye for yow is ay so diligent,
  And for to builden Cristes owene chirche.
  Thomas! if ye wol lernen for to wirche,                    (270)
  Of buildinge up of chirches may ye finde
  If it be good, in Thomas lyf of Inde.                       1980
  Ye lye heer, ful of anger and of yre,
  With which the devel set your herte a-fyre,
  And chyden heer this sely innocent,
  [380: T. 7566-7597.]
  Your wyf, that is so meke and pacient.
  And therfor, Thomas, trowe me if thee leste,                1985
  Ne stryve nat with thy wyf, as for thy beste;
  And ber this word awey now, by thy feith,
  Touchinge this thing, lo, what the wyse seith:             (280)
  "With-in thyn hous ne be thou no leoun;
  To thy subgits do noon oppressioun;                         1990
  Ne make thyne aqueyntances nat to flee."
  And Thomas, yet eft-sones I charge thee,
  Be war from hir that in thy bosom slepeth;
  War fro the serpent that so slyly crepeth
  Under the gras, and stingeth subtilly.                      1995
  Be war, my sone, and herkne paciently,
  That twenty thousand men han lost hir lyves,
  For stryving with hir lemmans and hir wyves.               (290)
  Now sith ye han so holy and meke a wyf,
  What nedeth yow, Thomas, to maken stryf?                    2000
  Ther nis, y-wis, no serpent so cruel,
  Whan man tret on his tayl, ne half so fel,
  As womman is, whan she hath caught an ire;
  Vengeance is thanne al that they desyre.
  Ire is a sinne, oon of the grete of sevene,                 2005
  Abhominable un-to the god of hevene;
  And to him-self it is destruccion.
  This every lewed viker or person                           (300)
  Can seye, how Ire engendreth homicyde.
  Ire is, in sooth, executour of pryde.                       2010
  I coude of Ire seye so muche sorwe,
  My tale sholde laste til to-morwe.
  And therfor preye I god bothe day and night,
  An irous man, god sende him litel might!
  It is greet harm and, certes, gret pitee,                   2015
  [381: T. 7598-7632.]
  To sette an irous man in heigh degree.

    1959. E. thanne.   1968. E. it-; _rest_ him-.   1977. E. Hn. Hl.
    buylden; Cm. bildyn; Cp. bulden; Pt. beelden; Ln. bilden.   1981. E.
    _om._ and.   1983. E. Hn. Hl. the; _rest_ this.   1988. E. this; _rest_
    swich (such).   1989. _All_ With-inne.   1991. E. Hn. Cm. aqueyntances;
    Hl. acqueyntis; _rest_ aqueintance.   Cm. not to; Pt. for to; Hl. fro
    thee; _rest_ nat for to.   1993. Pt. yre (_for_ hir).   1994. Hn. War
    fro; Hl. War for; Pt. Ware the for; Cm. By-war from; E. Be war fro; Cp.
    Ln. Be war of.   1999. Hl. and meke; Cp. Ln. and so meke; _rest_
    meke.   2002. E. What (_for_ Whan).   E. Hn. man tret; Cm. man trat;
    _rest_ men trede.   After 2004 Hl. _ins. 2 spurious lines_: Schortly
    may no man by rym and vers Tellen her thoughtes, thay ben so diuers.
    _After_ 2012 Hl. _ins. 2 spurious lines_: Ire is the grate of synne as
    saith the wise To fle ther-fro ech man schuld him deuyse.   2015. Hn.
    Cp. Ln. certes; Hl. also; _rest_ eke (eek).

    Whilom ther was an irous potestat,
  As seith Senek, that, duringe his estaat,                  (310)
  Up-on a day out riden knightes two,
  And as fortune wolde that it were so,                       2020
  That oon of hem cam hoom, that other noght.
  Anon the knight bifore the Iuge is broght,
  That seyde thus, 'thou hast thy felawe slayn,
  For which I deme thee to the deeth, certayn.'
  And to another knight comanded he,                          2025
  'Go lede him to the deeth, I charge thee.'
  And happed, as they wente by the weye
  Toward the place ther he sholde deye,                      (320)
  The knight cam, which men wenden had be deed.
  Thanne thoughte they, it was the beste reed,                2030
  To lede hem bothe to the Iuge agayn.
  They seiden, 'lord, the knight ne hath nat slayn
  His felawe; here he standeth hool alyve.'
  'Ye shul be deed,' quod he, 'so moot I thryve!
  That is to seyn, bothe oon, and two, and three!'            2035
  And to the firste knight right thus spak he,
  'I dampned thee, thou most algate be deed.
  And thou also most nedes lese thyn heed,                   (330)
  For thou art cause why thy felawe deyth.'
  And to the thridde knight right thus he seyth,              2040
  'Thou hast nat doon that I comanded thee.'
  And thus he dide don sleen hem alle three.

    2037. _Here_ Hl. _adds two spurious lines_: Than thoughte thay it were
    the beste rede To lede him forth into a fair mede.

    Irous Cambyses was eek dronkelewe,
  And ay delyted him to been a shrewe.
  And so bifel, a lord of his meynee,                         2045
  That lovede vertuous moralitee,
  Seyde on a day bitwix hem two right thus:
  'A lord is lost, if he be vicious;                         (340)
  And dronkenesse is eek a foul record
  Of any man, and namely in a lord.                           2050
  [382: T. 7633-7669.]
  Ther is ful many an eye and many an ere
  Awaiting on a lord, and he noot where.
  For goddes love, drink more attemprely;
  Wyn maketh man to lesen wrecchedly
  His minde, and eek his limes everichon.'                    2055

    2046. Hn. Cm. louede (= lov'de); E. loued.   2047. E. bitwene.   2048.
    _Here_ Hl. _adds two spurious lines_: An irous man is lik a frentik
    best In which ther is of wisdom noon arrest.   2048. E. Pt. vicius.
    2050. Hl. of (_for_ in).   2055. Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. eek; _rest om._

    'The revers shaltou se,' quod he, 'anon;
  And preve it, by thyn owene experience,
  That wyn ne dooth to folk no swich offence.                (350)
  Ther is no wyn bireveth me my might
  Of hand ne foot, ne of myn eyen sight'--                    2060
  And, for despyt, he drank ful muchel more
  An hondred part than he had doon bifore;
  And right anon, this irous cursed wrecche
  Leet this knightes sone bifore him fecche,
  Comandinge him he sholde bifore him stonde.                 2065
  And sodeynly he took his bowe in honde,
  And up the streng he pulled to his ere,
  And with an arwe he slow the child right there:            (360)
  'Now whether have I a siker hand or noon?'
  Quod he, 'is al my might and minde agoon?                   2070
  Hath wyn bireved me myn eyen sight?'

    2062. E. _om._ doon.   2064. Hl. sone anoon; _rest_ sone.   2069. E.
    wheither.   2071. E. bireft; _rest_ byreued.

    What sholde I telle thanswere of the knight?
  His sone was slayn, ther is na-more to seye.
  Beth war therfor with lordes how ye pleye.
  Singeth _Placebo_, and I shal, if I can,                    2075
  But if it be un-to a povre man.
  To a povre man men sholde hise vyces telle,
  But nat to a lord, thogh he sholde go to helle.            (370)

    Lo irous Cirus, thilke Percien,
  How he destroyed the river of Gysen,                        2080
  For that an hors of his was dreynt ther-inne,
  Whan that he wente Babiloigne to winne.
  He made that the river was so smal,
  That wommen mighte wade it over al.
  Lo, what seyde he, that so wel teche can?                   2085
  "Ne be no felawe to an irous man,
  Ne with no wood man walke by the weye,
  [383: T. 7670-7704.]
  Lest thee repente;" ther is na-more to seye.               (380)

    Now Thomas, leve brother, lef thyn ire;
  Thou shall me finde as Iust as is a squire.                 2090
  Hold nat the develes knyf ay at thyn herte;
  Thyn angre dooth thee al to sore smerte;
  But shewe to me al thy confessioun.'

    2091, 2. Hl. _transposes these lines._

    'Nay,' quod the syke man, 'by Seint Simoun!
  I have be shriven this day at my curat;                     2095
  I have him told al hoolly myn estat;
  Nedeth na-more to speke of it,' seith he,
  'But if me list of myn humilitee.'                         (390)

    2095. Hl. of (_for_ at).   2096. E. Hn. Hl. hoolly al; _rest_ al holly
    (holy).   2097. E. Hl. speken.

    'Yif me thanne of thy gold, to make our cloistre,'
  Quod he, 'for many a muscle and many an oistre,             2100
  Whan other men han ben ful wel at eyse,
  Hath been our fode, our cloistre for to reyse.
  And yet, god woot, unnethe the fundement
  Parfourned is, ne of our pavement
  Nis nat a tyle yet with-inne our wones;                     2105
  By god, we owen fourty pound for stones!
  Now help, Thomas, for him that harwed helle!
  For elles moste we our bokes selle.                        (400)
  And if ye lakke our predicacioun,
  Than gooth the world al to destruccioun.                    2110
  For who-so wolde us fro this world bireve,
  So god me save, Thomas, by your leve,
  He wolde bireve out of this world the sonne.
  For who can teche and werchen as we conne?
  And that is nat of litel tyme,' quod he;                    2115
  'But sith that Elie was, or Elisee,
  Han freres been, that finde I of record,
  In charitee, y-thanked be our lord.                        (410)
  Now Thomas, help, for seinte charitee!'
  And doun anon he sette him on his knee.                     2120

    2101, 2. Hl. _transposes these lines_.   2105. E. Cm. tyl; _rest_
    tyle.   2110. E. Thanne.   2116. Hl. siththen; Cp. Ln. sethyns; Cm.
    sithe that; E. syn; Hn. Ln. sith.   E. Ennok; _rest_ Elie (Elye).

    This syke man wex wel ny wood for ire;
  He wolde that the frere had been on-fire
  [384: T. 7705-7738.]
  With his false dissimulacioun.
  'Swich thing as is in my possessioun,'
  Quod he, 'that may I yeven, and non other.                  2125
  Ye sey me thus, how that I am your brother?'

    2121. E. wax; Hn. weex; _rest_ wex.   2125. Hl. yeue yow; _rest om._
    yow.   2126. E. Cp. Ln. _om._ how.

    'Ye, certes,' quod the frere, 'trusteth weel;
  I took our dame our lettre with our seel.'                 (420)

    2128. Hn. Cm. Cp. Ln. with; E. and; Pt. of; Hl. vnder.

    'Now wel,' quod he, 'and som-what shal I yive
  Un-to your holy covent whyl I live,                         2130
  And in thyn hand thou shalt it have anoon;
  On this condicioun, and other noon,
  That thou departe it so, my dere brother,
  That every frere have also muche as other.
  This shaltou swere on thy professioun,                      2135
  With-outen fraude or cavillacioun.'

    2129. Cp. Hl. yiue; _rest_ yeue.   2133. E. leeue; _rest_ dere (deere).

    'I swere it,' quod this frere, 'upon my feith!'
  And ther-with-al his hand in his he leith:                 (430)
  'Lo, heer my feith! in me shal be no lak.'

    2137. E. Pt. by; _rest_ vpon.

    'Now thanne, put thyn hand doun by my bak,'               2140
  Seyde this man, 'and grope wel bihinde;
  Bynethe my buttok ther shaltow finde
  A thing that I have hid in privetee.'

    2140. E. Now thanne put in; Hn. Hl. Now thanne put; Pt. Now than put;
    Cp. Ln. Than putte (put).

    'A!' thoghte this frere, 'this shal go with me!'
  And doun his hand he launcheth to the clifte,               2145
  In hope for to finde ther a yifte.
  And whan this syke man felte this frere
  Aboute his tuwel grope there and here,                     (440)
  Amidde his hand he leet the frere a fart.
  Ther nis no capul, drawinge in a cart,                      2150
  That mighte have lete a fart of swich a soun.

    2145. Hl. launched; Cp. Pt. Ln. launceth.   2148. Cm. tewel; Hl. tuel;
    Ln. touele.

    'The frere up stirte as doth a wood leoun:
  'A! false cherl,' quod he, 'for goddes bones,
  This hastow for despyt doon, for the nones!
  Thou shalt abye this fart, if that I may!'                  2155

    2153. E. Pt. Ln. fals.

    His meynee, whiche that herden this affray,
  [385: T. 7739-7773.]
  Cam lepinge in, and chaced out the frere;
  And forth he gooth, with a ful angry chere,                (450)
  And fette his felawe, ther-as lay his stoor.
  He looked as it were a wilde boor;                          2160
  He grinte with his teeth, so was he wrooth.
  A sturdy pas doun to the court he gooth,
  Wher-as ther woned a man of greet honour,
  To whom that he was alwey confessour;
  This worthy man was lord of that village.                   2165
  This frere cam, as he were in a rage,
  Wher-as this lord sat eting at his bord.
  Unnethes mighte the frere speke a word,                    (460)
  Til atte laste he seyde: 'god yow see!'

    2161. Hn. Cm. Pt. grynt; Cp. grynded; Ln. grenteth.   2162. E. Hn. Cp.
    Hl. paas. E. lordes court; _rest om._ lordes.   2163. E. _om._ ther.

    This lord gan loke, and seide, '_benedicite!_             2170
  What, frere Iohn, what maner world is this?
  I see wel that som thing ther is amis.
  Ye loken as the wode were ful of thevis,
  Sit doun anon, and tel me what your greef is,
  And it shal been amended, if I may.'                        2175

    2170. E. bigan to; Cm. gan to; _rest_ gan.   2172. _So_ Hn. Cm.; E. I
    trowe som manerthing.   2174. Cp. greef; Cm. Hl. gref; E. Hn. grief.
    2175. E. Cp. Ln. Hl. if that; _rest om._ that.

    'I have,' quod he, 'had a despyt this day,
  God yelde yow! adoun in your village,
  That in this world is noon so povre a page,                (470)
  That he nolde have abhominacioun
  Of that I have receyved in your toun.                       2180
  And yet ne greveth me no-thing so sore,
  As that this olde cherl, with lokkes hore,
  Blasphemed hath our holy covent eke.'

    2181. E. Cp. Ln. _om._ ne.

    'Now, maister,' quod this lord, 'I yow biseke.'

    'No maister, sire,' quod he, 'but servitour,              2185
  Thogh I have had in scole swich honour.
  God lyketh nat that "Raby" men us calle,
  Neither in market ne in your large halle.'                 (480)

    2185. E. Cp. Pt. Ln. _om._ sire.   2186. E. swich; Hl. such; _rest_
    that.

    'No fors,' quod he, 'but tel me al your grief.'

    'Sire,' quod this frere, 'an odious meschief              2190
  This day bitid is to myn ordre and me,
  [386: T. 7774-7808.]
  And so _per consequens_ to ech degree
  Of holy chirche, god amende it sone!'

    2190. E. he (_for_ this frere).   2192. E. Pt. in; _rest_ to.

    'Sir,' quod the lord, 'ye woot what is to done.
  Distempre yow noght, ye be my confessour;                   2195
  Ye been the salt of the erthe and the savour.
  For goddes love your pacience ye holde;
  Tel me your grief:' and he anon him tolde,                 (490)
  As ye han herd biforn, ye woot wel what.

    The lady of the hous ay stille sat,                       2200
  Til she had herd al what the frere sayde:
  'Ey, goddes moder,' quod she, 'blisful mayde!
  Is ther oght elles? telle me faithfully.'

    2200. E. al; _rest_ ay.   2201. MS. Add. 5140. all; _rest om._

    'Madame,' quod he, 'how thinketh yow her-by?'

    2204. Hn. thynketh yow; Cp. thenke you; Hl. Ln. thynke yow; E. thynke
    ye.   Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. ther-by.

    'How that me thinketh?' quod she; 'so god me speede,
  I seye, a cherl hath doon a cherles dede.
  What shold I seye? god lat him never thee!
  His syke heed is ful of vanitee,                           (500)
  I hold him in a maner frenesye.'

    2205. thinketh = think'th.

    'Madame,' quod he, 'by god I shal nat lye;                2210
  But I on other weyes may be wreke,
  I shal diffame him over-al ther I speke,
  This false blasphemour, that charged me
  To parte that wol nat departed be,
  To every man y-liche, with meschaunce!'                     2215

    2211. E. _ins._ hym _after_ on (_wrongly_).   E. _om._ may.   2212. Hn.
    Cp. diffame; Cm. Hl. defame; E. disclaundre.

    The lord sat stille as he were in a traunce,
  And in his herte he rolled up and doun,
  'How hadde this cherl imaginacioun                         (510)
  To shewe swich a probleme to the frere?
  Never erst er now herde I of swich matere;                  2220
  I trowe the devel putte it in his minde.
  In ars-metryke shal ther no man finde,
  Biforn this day, of swich a questioun.
  Who sholde make a demonstracioun,
  That every man sholde have y-liche his part                 2225
  As of the soun or savour of a fart?
  [387: T. 7809-7843.]
  O nyce proude cherl, I shrewe his face!
  Lo, sires,' quod the lord, with harde grace,               (520)
  'Who ever herde of swich a thing er now?
  To every man y-lyke? tel me how?                            2230
  It is an inpossible, it may nat be!
  Ey, nyce cherl, god lete him never thee!
  The rumblinge of a fart, and every soun,
  Nis but of eir reverberacioun,
  And ever it wasteth lyte and lyte awey.                     2235
  Ther is no man can demen, by my fey,
  If that it were departed equally.
  What, lo, my cherl, lo, yet how shrewedly                  (530)
  Un-to my confessour to-day he spak!
  I holde him certeyn a demoniak!                             2240
  Now ete your mete, and lat the cherl go pleye,
  Lat him go honge himself a devel weye!'

    2218. E. the (_for_ this).   E. Cm. _insert_ this _after_ cherl.
    2222. Ln. metrike; _rest_ metrik.   2224. _So the rest_; E. Certes it
    was a shrewed conclusion.   2227. E. vile; _rest_ nyce.   2229. E.
    herd; _rest_ herde.   E. Cm. Cp. herd euere.   2232. him] E. thee.
    2235. E. Cp. Pt. Hl. litel and litel.

    Now stood the lordes squyer at the bord,
  That carf his mete, and herde, word by word,
  Of alle thinges of which I have yow sayd.                   2245
  'My lord,' quod he, 'be ye nat yvel apayd;
  I coude telle, for a goune-clooth,
  To yow, sir frere, so ye be nat wrooth,                    (540)
  How that this fart sholde even deled be
  Among your covent, if it lyked me.'                         2250

    2245. _So_ Hn. Cp. Ln.; E. which that I haue.   2246. E. Cp. beth; Ln.
    be; _rest_ be ye.   2249. E. euene delt shal; Hl. euen departed schuld;
    _rest as above_.

    'Tel,' quod the lord, 'and thou shall have anon
  A goune-cloth, by god and by Seint Iohn!'

    'My lord,' quod he, 'whan that the weder is fair,
  With-outen wind or perturbinge of air,
  Lat bringe a cartwheel here in-to this halle,               2255
  But loke that it have his spokes alle.
  Twelf spokes hath a cartwheel comunly.
  And bring me than twelf freres, woot ye why?               (550)
  For thrittene is a covent, as I gesse.
  The confessour heer, for his worthinesse,                   2260
  Shal parfourne up the nombre of his covent.
  [388: T. 7844-7876.]
  Than shal they knele doun, by oon assent,
  And to every spokes ende, in this manere,
  Ful sadly leye his nose shal a frere.
  Your noble confessour, ther god him save,                   2265
  Shal holde his nose upright, under the nave.
  Than shal this cherl, with bely stif and toght
  As any tabour, hider been y-broght;                        (560)
  And sette him on the wheel right of this cart,
  Upon the nave, and make him lete a fart.                    2270
  And ye shul seen, up peril of my lyf,
  By preve which that is demonstratif,
  That equally the soun of it wol wende,
  And eek the stink, un-to the spokes ende;
  Save that this worthy man, your confessour,                 2275
  By-cause he is a man of greet honour,
  Shal have the firste fruit, as reson is;
  The noble usage of freres yet is this,                     (570)
  The worthy men of hem shul first be served;
  And certeinly, he hath it weel deserved.                    2280
  He hath to-day taught us so muchel good
  With preching in the pulpit ther he stood,
  That I may vouche-sauf, I sey for me,
  He hadde the firste smel of fartes three,
  And so wolde al his covent hardily;                         2285
  He bereth him so faire and holily.'

    2255. E. Hl. _om._ here. Hl. a large wheel.   2257. Hn. Hl. Twelf; E.
    Cm. Twelue.   2258. E. thanne. xij.   2259. E. Ln. twelue (_for_
    thrittene).   2262, 7. E. Thanne.   2268. E. Cm. been hyder.   2272.
    Hl. By verray proef.   2274. E. eke; Hn. eek.   2278. _So_ Hn. Cp. Ln.;
    Pt. it (_for_ yet); Hl. _om._ yet; E. As yet the noble vsage of freres
    is.   2280. E. Hn. Cp. disserued.   2281. Hn. muchel; Hl. Cp. mochil;
    E. Ln. muche. 2285. E. the (_for_ his).

    The lord, the lady, and ech man, save the frere,
  Seyde that Iankin spak, in this matere,                    (580)
  As wel as Euclide or [as] Ptholomee.
  Touchinge this cherl, they seyde, subtiltee                 2290
  And heigh wit made him speken as he spak;
  He nis no fool, ne no demoniak.
  And Iankin hath y-wonne a newe goune.--
  My tale is doon; we been almost at toune.                   2294

  HERE ENDETH THE SOMNOURS TALE.

    2287. E. alle men.   2289. E. Euclude.   _I supply 2nd_ as (Hl.
    _supplies_ elles); Ln. _has_ ptholome; E. Hn. Protholomee; Cp. Hl.
    p_ro_tholome.   2291. Hl. speken; _rest_ speke.   COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn.
    Cp. Hl.; E. Somonours.

[389: T. 7877-7898.]

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP E

THE CLERK'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE FOLWETH THE PROLOGE OF THE CLERKES TALE OF OXENFORD.

  'Sir clerk of Oxenford,' our hoste sayde,
  'Ye ryde as coy and stille as dooth a mayde,
  Were newe spoused, sitting at the bord;
  This day ne herde I of your tonge a word.
  I trowe ye studie aboute som sophyme,                          5
  But Salomon seith, "every thing hath tyme."

    1. Hl. hoste; Cp. Ln. oste; E. Hn. hoost.

    For goddes sake, as beth of bettre chere,
  It is no tyme for to studien here.
  Telle us som mery tale, by your fey;
  For what man that is entred in a pley,                        10
  He nedes moot unto the pley assente.
  But precheth nat, as freres doon in Lente,
  To make us for our olde sinnes wepe,
  Ne that thy tale make us nat to slepe.

    Telle us som mery thing of aventures;--                     15
  Your termes, your colours, and your figures,
  Kepe hem in stoor til so be ye endyte
  Heigh style, as whan that men to kinges wryte.
  Speketh so pleyn at this tyme, I yow preye,
  That we may understonde what ye seye.'                        20

    17. E. Hl. that ye; _rest omit_ that.   19. E. Hn. we; _rest_ I.

    This worthy clerk benignely answerde,
  'Hoste,' quod he, 'I am under your yerde;
  [390: T. 7899-7932.]
  Ye han of us as now the governaunce,
  And therfor wol I do yow obeisaunce,
  As fer as reson axeth, hardily.                               25
  I wol yow telle a tale which that I
  Lerned at Padowe of a worthy clerk,
  As preved by his wordes and his werk.
  He is now deed and nayled in his cheste,
  I prey to god so yeve his soule reste!                        30

    22. Ln. Oste; E. Hn. Pt. Hoost; Hl. Sir host.

    Fraunceys Petrark, the laureat poete,
  Highte this clerk, whos rethoryke sweete
  Enlumined al Itaille of poetrye,
  As Linian dide of philosophye
  Or lawe, or other art particuler;                             35
  But deeth, that wol nat suffre us dwellen heer
  But as it were a twinkling of an yë,
  Hem bothe hath slayn, and alle shul we dyë.

    32. Hl. rethorique; Cp. retorique; Pt. retorike; E. Hn. Ln. rethorik.
    36. E. _omits_ suffre us.

    But forth to tellen of this worthy man,
  That taughte me this tale, as I bigan,                        40
  I seye that first with heigh style he endyteth,
  Er he the body of his tale wryteth,
  A proheme, in the which discryveth he
  Pemond, and of Saluces the contree,
  And speketh of Apennyn, the hilles hye,                       45
  That been the boundes of West Lumbardye,
  And of Mount Vesulus in special,
  Where as the Poo, out of a welle smal,
  Taketh his firste springing and his sours,
  That estward ay encresseth in his cours                       50
  To Emelward, to Ferrare, and Venyse:
  The which a long thing were to devyse.
  And trewely, as to my Iugement,
  Me thinketh it a thing impertinent,
  Save that he wol convey en his matere:                        55
  But this his tale, which that ye may here.'

    51. E. Hn. Emele; Hl. Emyl; Cp. Pt. Ln. Emel.   55. E. Hn. conuoyen;
    _rest_ conueyen (-eye).   56. E. Hn. this his tale (_where_ this _is a
    contraction for_ this is; _cf. mod._ E. 'tis); Hl. Pt. this is the
    tale; Ln. this is tale.

[391: T. 7933-7957.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CLERKES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE TALE OF THE CLERK OF OXENFORD.

  Ther is, at the west syde of Itaille,
  Doun at the rote of Vesulus the colde,
  A lusty playne, habundant of vitaille,
  Wher many a tour and toun thou mayst biholde,                 60
  That founded were in tyme of fadres olde,
  And many another delitable sighte,
  And Saluces this noble contree highte.

  A markis whylom lord was of that londe,
  As were his worthy eldres him bifore;                         65
  And obeisant and redy to his honde                          (10)
  Were alle his liges, bothe lasse and more.
  Thus in delyt he liveth, and hath don yore,
  Biloved and drad, thurgh favour of fortune,
  Bothe of his lordes and of his commune.                       70

  Therwith he was, to speke as of linage,
  The gentilleste y-born of Lumbardye,
  A fair persone, and strong, and yong of age,
  And ful of honour and of curteisye;
  Discreet y-nogh his contree for to gye,                       75
  Save in somme thinges that he was to blame,                 (20)
  And Walter was this yonge lordes name.

    76. E. Saue that; _rest omit_ that.

  I blame him thus, that he considereth noght
  In tyme cominge what mighte him bityde,
  But on his lust present was al his thoght,                    80
  As for to hauke and hunte on every syde;
  [392: T. 7958-7988.]
  Wel ny alle othere cures leet he slyde,
  And eek he nolde, and that was worst of alle,
  Wedde no wyf, for noght that may bifalle.

    79. _So_ Hn. Ln.; E. hym myghte; Pt. my[gh]t; Hl. mighte.   84. Pt. Ln.
    ou[gh]t; E. Hn. noght; Hl. no thing.

  Only that point his peple bar so sore,                        85
  That flokmele on a day they to him wente,                   (30)
  And oon of hem, that wysest was of lore,
  Or elles that the lord best wolde assente
  That he sholde telle him what his peple mente,
  Or elles coude he shewe wel swich matere,                     90
  He to the markis seyde as ye shul here.

  'O noble markis, your humanitee
  Assureth us and yeveth us hardinesse,
  As ofte as tyme is of necessitee
  That we to yow mowe telle our hevinesse;                      95
  Accepteth, lord, now for your gentillesse,                  (40)
  That we with pitous herte un-to yow pleyne,
  And lete your eres nat my voys disdeyne.

    93. Hn. Pt. and yeueth; Hl. and yiueth; E. to yeue; Ln. and whisse.

  Al have I noght to done in this matere
  More than another man hath in this place,                    100
  Yet for as muche as ye, my lord so dere,
  Han alwey shewed me favour and grace,
  I dar the better aske of yow a space
  Of audience, to shewen our requeste,
  And ye, my lord, to doon right as yow leste.                 105

    103. E. Hn. bettre; _rest_ better.

  For certes, lord, so wel us lyketh yow                      (50)
  And al your werk and ever han doon, that we
  Ne coude nat us self devysen how
  We mighte liven in more felicitee,
  Save o thing, lord, if it your wille be,                     110
  That for to been a wedded man yow leste,
  Than were your peple in sovereyn hertes reste.

    108. Pt. Ln. oure; E. Hn. Cp. vs.   110. E. Ln. _omit_ it.

[393: T. 7989-8023.]

  Boweth your nekke under that blisful yok
  Of soveraynetee, noght of servyse,
  Which that men clepeth spousaille or wedlok;                 115
  And thenketh, lord, among your thoghtes wyse,               (60)
  How that our dayes passe in sondry wyse;
  For though we slepe or wake, or rome, or ryde,
  Ay fleeth the tyme, it nil no man abyde.

  And though your grene youthe floure as yit,                  120
  In crepeth age alwey, as stille as stoon,
  And deeth manaceth every age, and smit
  In ech estaat, for ther escapeth noon:
  And al so certein as we knowe echoon
  That we shul deye, as uncerteyn we alle                      125
  Been of that day whan deeth shal on us falle.               (70)

  Accepteth than of us the trewe entente,
  That never yet refuseden your heste,
  And we wol, lord, if that ye wol assente,
  Chese yow a wyf in short tyme, atte leste,                   130
  Born of the gentilleste and of the meste
  Of al this lond, so that it oghte seme
  Honour to god and yow, as we can deme.

    128. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. your; E. Hn. Cm. thyn.   128, 130, 131. E. heeste,
    leeste, meeste; Cm. heste, leste, meste.

  Deliver us out of al this bisy drede,
  And tak a wyf, for hye goddes sake;                          135
  For if it so bifelle, as god forbede,                       (80)
  That thurgh your deeth your linage sholde slake,
  And that a straunge successour sholde take
  Your heritage, o! wo were us alyve!
  Wherfor we pray you hastily to wyve.'                        140

    137. Cp. Pt. lynage; Ln. Hl. lignage; E. lyne; Hn. ligne; Cm. lyf.

  Hir meke preyere and hir pitous chere
  Made the markis herte han pitee.
  'Ye wol,' quod he, 'myn owene peple dere,
  To that I never erst thoghte streyne me.
  I me reioysed of my libertee,                                145
  That selde tyme is founde in mariage;                       (90)
  Ther I was free, I moot been in servage.

    144. E. thoughte; Hn. thoghte.

[394: T. 8024-8058.]

  But nathelees I see your trewe entente,
  And truste upon your wit, and have don ay;
  Wherfor of my free wil I wol assente                         150
  To wedde me, as sone as ever I may.
  But ther-as ye han profred me to-day
  To chese me a wyf, I yow relesse
  That choys, and prey yow of that profre cesse.

    152. to-] E. this.   154. E. (_only_) _omits_ yow.

  For god it woot, that children ofte been                     155
  Unlyk her worthy eldres hem bifore;                        (100)
  Bountee comth al of god, nat of the streen
  Of which they been engendred and y-bore;
  I truste in goddes bountee, and therfore
  My mariage and myn estaat and reste                          160
  I him bitake; he may don as him leste.

  Lat me alone in chesinge of my wyf,
  That charge up-on my bak I wol endure;
  But I yow preye, and charge up-on your lyf,
  That what wyf that I take, ye me assure                      165
  To worshipe hir, whyl that hir lyf may dure,               (110)
  In word and werk, bothe here and everywhere,
  As she an emperoures doghter were.

    165. So Hn. Cp. Ln.; E. Cm. _omit_ That; Pt. _om._ what.

  And forthermore, this shal ye swere, that ye
  Agayn my choys shul neither grucche ne stryve;               170
  For sith I shal forgoon my libertee
  At your requeste, as ever moot I thryve,
  Ther as myn herte is set, ther wol I wyve;
  And but ye wole assente in swich manere,
  I prey yow, speketh na-more of this matere.'                 175

    174. E. this; _rest_ swich, such.

  With hertly wil they sworen, and assenten                  (120)
  To al this thing, ther seyde no wight nay;
  Bisekinge him of grace, er that they wenten,
  That he wolde graunten hem a certein day
  Of his spousaille, as sone as ever he may;                   180
  For yet alwey the peple som-what dredde
  Lest that this markis no wyf wolde wedde.

  [395: T. 8059-8089.]
  He graunted hem a day, swich as him leste,
  On which he wolde be wedded sikerly,
  And seyde, he dide al this at hir requeste;                  185
  And they, with humble entente, buxomly,                    (130)
  Knelinge up-on her knees ful reverently
  Him thanken alle, and thus they han an ende
  Of hir entente, and hoom agayn they wende.

  And heer-up-on he to his officeres                           190
  Comaundeth for the feste to purveye,
  And to his privee knightes and squyeres
  Swich charge yaf, as him liste on hem leye;
  And they to his comandement obeye,
  And ech of hem doth al his diligence                         195
  To doon un-to the feste reverence.                         (140)

  EXPLICIT PRIMA PARS.  INCIPIT SECUNDA PARS.

  Noght fer fro thilke paleys honurable
  Ther-as this markis shoop his mariage,
  Ther stood a throp, of site delitable,
  In which that povre folk of that village                     200
  Hadden hir bestes and hir herbergage,
  And of hir labour took hir sustenance
  After that the erthe yaf hem habundance.

    199. Hl. throp; E. Hn. Cp. throop.

  Amonges thise povre folk ther dwelte a man
  Which that was holden povrest of hem alle;                   205
  But hye god som tyme senden can                            (150)
  His grace in-to a litel oxes stalle:
  Ianicula men of that throp him calle.
  A doghter hadde he, fair y-nogh to sighte,
  And Grisildis this yonge mayden highte.                      210

    208. Pt. throp; E. Hn. Cp. throop; Cm. thorp; Ln. thorpe.

  But for to speke of vertuous beautee,
  Than was she oon the faireste under sonne;
  For povreliche y-fostred up was she,
  [396: T. 8090-8121.]
  No likerous lust was thurgh hir herte y-ronne;
  Wel ofter of the welle than of the tonne                     215
  She drank, and for she wolde vertu plese,                  (160)
  She knew wel labour, but non ydel ese.

    211. E. bountee; _rest_ beautee, beute.

  But thogh this mayde tendre were of age,
  Yet in the brest of hir virginitee
  Ther was enclosed rype and sad corage;                       220
  And in greet reverence and charitee
  Hir olde povre fader fostred she;
  A fewe sheep spinning on feeld she kepte,
  She wolde noght been ydel til she slepte.

  And whan she hoomward cam, she wolde bringe                  225
  Wortes or othere herbes tymes ofte,                        (170)
  The whiche she shredde and seeth for hir livinge,
  And made hir bed ful harde and no-thing softe;
  And ay she kepte hir fadres lyf on-lofte
  With everich obeisaunce and diligence                        230
  That child may doon to fadres reverence.

  Up-on Grisilde, this povre creature,
  Ful ofte sythe this markis sette his yë
  As he on hunting rood paraventure;
  And whan it fil that he mighte hir espye,                    235
  He noght with wantoun loking of folye                      (180)
  His yën caste on hir, but in sad wyse
  Up-on hir chere he wolde him ofte avyse,

    233. E. caste; _rest_ sette (set).   235. E. that it; _rest omit_
    that.   238. E. gan; _rest_ wolde.   238. E. chiere.

  Commending in his herte hir wommanhede,
  And eek hir vertu, passing any wight                         240
  Of so yong age, as wel in chere as dede.
  For thogh the peple have no greet insight
  In vertu, he considered ful right
  Hir bountee, and disposed that he wolde
  Wedde hir only, if ever he wedde sholde.                     245

    241. E. chiere.   242. E. hadde; Hn. Cm. hath; Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. haue.

[397: T. 8122-8156.]

  The day of wedding cam, but no wight can                   (190)
  Telle what womman that it sholde be;
  For which merveille wondred many a man,
  And seyden, whan they were in privetee,
  'Wol nat our lord yet leve his vanitee?                      250
  Wol he nat wedde? allas, allas the whyle!
  Why wol he thus him-self and us bigyle?'

    249. E. Cm. that they; _rest omit_ that.

  But natheles this markis hath don make
  Of gemmes, set in gold and in asure,
  Broches and ringes, for Grisildis sake,                      255
  And of hir clothing took he the mesure                     (200)
  By a mayde, lyk to hir stature,
  And eek of othere ornamentes alle
  That un-to swich a wedding sholde falle.

    257. Hl. y-lik to hir of stature.

  The tyme of undern of the same day                           360
  Approcheth, that this wedding sholde be;
  And al the paleys put was in array,
  Bothe halle and chambres, ech in his degree;
  Houses of office stuffed with plentee
  Ther maystow seen of deyntevous vitaille,                    265
  That may be founde, as fer as last Itaille.                (210)

  This royal markis, richely arrayed,
  Lordes and ladyes in his companye,
  The whiche unto the feste were y-prayed,
  And of his retenue the bachelrye,                            270
  With many a soun of sondry melodye,
  Un-to the village, of the which I tolde,
  In this array the righte wey han holde.

    269. Cp. Ln. Hl. vnto; Cm. Pt. to; E. Hn. that to. E. weren.

  Grisilde of this, god woot, ful innocent,
  That for hir shapen was al this array,                       275
  To fecchen water at a welle is went,                       (220)
  And cometh hoom as sone as ever she may.
  For wel she hadde herd seyd, that thilke day
  The markis sholde wedde, and, if she mighte,
  She wolde fayn han seyn som of that sighte.                  280

  [398: T. 8157-8191.]
  She thoghte, 'I wol with othere maydens stonde,
  That been my felawes, in our dore, and see
  The markisesse, and therfor wol I fonde
  To doon at hoom, as sone as it may be,
  The labour which that longeth un-to me;                      285
  And than I may at leyser hir biholde,                      (230)
  If she this wey un-to the castel holde.'

  And as she wolde over hir threshfold goon,
  The markis cam and gan hir for to calle;
  And she sette doun hir water-pot anoon                       290
  Bisyde the threshfold, in an oxes stalle,
  And doun up-on hir knees she gan to falle,
  And with sad contenance kneleth stille
  Til she had herd what was the lordes wille.

  This thoghtful markis spak un-to this mayde                  295
  Ful sobrely, and seyde in this manere,                     (240)
  'Wher is your fader, Grisildis?' he sayde,
  And she with reverence, in humble chere,
  Answerde, 'lord, he is al redy here.'
  And in she gooth with-outen lenger lette,                    300
  And to the markis she hir fader fette.

    297. E. Hn. Cm. _insert_ o _after_ fader.

  He by the hond than took this olde man,
  And seyde thus, whan he him hadde asyde,
  'Ianicula, I neither may ne can
  Lenger the plesance of myn herte hyde.                       305
  If that thou vouche-sauf, what-so bityde,                  (250)
  Thy doghter wol I take, er that I wende,
  As for my wyf, un-to hir lyves ende.

    302. E. thanne; Hn, than.

  Thou lovest me, I woot it wel, certeyn,
  And art my feithful lige man y-bore;                         310
  And al that lyketh me, I dar wel seyn
  It lyketh thee, and specially therfore
  Tel me that poynt that I have seyd bifore,
  If that thou wolt un-to that purpos drawe,
  To take me as for thy sone-in-lawe?'                         315

  [399: T. 8192-8226.]
  This sodeyn cas this man astoned so,                       (260)
  That reed he wex, abayst, and al quaking
  He stood unnethes seyde he wordes mo,
  But only thus: 'lord,' quod he, 'my willing
  Is as ye wole, ne ayeines your lyking                        320
  I wol no-thing; ye be my lord so dere;
  Right as yow lust governeth this matere.'

    317. E. Cp. Hl. wax; Hn. weex; _rest_ wex.   320. E. ayeins; Ln.
    a-yeines; see l. 2325 _below_ (Group E).

  'Yet wol I,' quod this markis softely,
  'That in thy chambre I and thou and she
  Have a collacion, and wostow why?                            325
  For I wol axe if it hir wille be                           (270)
  To be my wyf, and reule hir after me;
  And al this shal be doon in thy presence,
  I wol noght speke out of thyn audience.'

  And in the chambre whyl they were aboute                     330
  Hir tretis, which as ye shal after here,
  The peple cam un-to the hous with-oute,
  And wondred hem in how honest manere
  And tentifly she kepte hir fader dere.
  But outerly Grisildis wondre mighte,                         335
  For never erst ne saugh she swich a sighte.                (280)

  No wonder is thogh that she were astoned
  To seen so greet a gest come in that place;
  She never was to swiche gestes woned,
  For which she loked with ful pale face.                      340
  But shortly forth this tale for to chace,
  Thise arn the wordes that the markis sayde
  To this benigne verray feithful mayde.

    337. E. Pt. _omit_ that.

  'Grisilde,' he seyde, 'ye shul wel understonde
  It lyketh to your fader and to me                            345
  That I yow wedde, and eek it may so stonde,                (290)
  As I suppose, ye wol that it so be.
  But thise demandes axe I first,' quod he,
  'That, sith it shal be doon in hastif wyse,
  Wol ye assente, or elles yow avyse?                          350

  [400: T. 8227-8261.]
  I seye this, be ye redy with good herte
  To al my lust, and that I frely may,
  As me best thinketh, do yow laughe or smerte,
  And never ye to grucche it, night ne day?
  And eek whan I sey "ye," ne sey nat "nay,"                   355
  Neither by word ne frowning contenance;                    (300)
  Swer this, and here I swere our alliance.'

    357. E. yow; _rest_ oure.

  Wondring upon this word, quaking for drede,
  She seyde, 'lord, undigne and unworthy
  Am I to thilke honour that ye me bede;                       360
  But as ye wol your-self, right so wol I.
  And heer I swere that never willingly
  In werk ne thoght I nil yow disobeye,
  For to be deed, though me were looth to deye.'

  'This is y-nogh, Grisilde myn!' quod he.                     365
  And forth he gooth with a ful sobre chere                  (310)
  Out at the dore, and after that cam she,
  And to the peple he seyde in this manere,
  'This is my wyf,' quod he, 'that standeth here.
  Honoureth hir, and loveth hir, I preye,                      370
  Who-so me loveth; ther is na-more to seye.'

  And for that no-thing of hir olde gere
  She sholde bringe in-to his hous, he bad
  That wommen sholde dispoilen hir right there;
  Of which thise ladyes were nat right glad                    375
  To handle hir clothes wher-in she was clad.                (320)
  But natheles this mayde bright of hewe
  Fro foot to heed they clothed han al newe.

  Hir heres han they kembd, that lay untressed
  Ful rudely, and with hir fingres smale                       380
  A corone on hir heed they han y-dressed,
  And sette hir ful of nowches grete and smale;
  Of hir array what sholde I make a tale?
  Unnethe the peple hir knew for hir fairnesse,
  Whan she translated was in swich richesse.                   385

    385. translated] Cp. transmewed; Pt. transformed.

[401: T. 8262-8296.]

  This markis hath hir spoused with a ring                   (330)
  Broght for the same cause, and than hir sette
  Up-on an hors, snow-whyt and wel ambling,
  And to his paleys, er he lenger lette,
  With Ioyful peple that hir ladde and mette,                  390
  Conveyed hir, and thus the day they spende
  In revel, til the sonne gan descende.

  And shortly forth this tale for to chace,
  I seye that to this newe markisesse
  God hath swich favour sent hir of his grace,                 395
  That it ne semed nat by lyklinesse                         (340)
  That she was born and fed in rudenesse,
  As in a cote or in an oxe-stalle,
  But norished in an emperoures halle.

  To every wight she woxen is so dere                          400
  And worshipful, that folk ther she was bore
  And from hir birthe knewe hir yeer by yere,
  Unnethe trowed they, but dorste han swore
  That to Ianicle, of which I spak bifore,
  She doghter nas, for, as by coniecture,                      405
  Hem thoughte she was another creature.                     (350)

    404. E. That she; _rest omit_ she.   405. Cp. Ln. nas; E. Hn. Cm. Hl.
    were; Pt. ne were.

  For thogh that ever vertuous was she,
  She was encressed in swich excellence
  Of thewes gode, y-set in heigh bountee,
  And so discreet and fair of eloquence,                       410
  So benigne and so digne of reverence,
  And coude so the peples herte embrace,
  That ech hir lovede that loked on hir face.

  Noght only of Saluces in the toun
  Publiced was the bountee of hir name,                        415
  But eek bisyde in many a regioun,                          (360)
  If oon seyde wel, another seyde the same;
  So spradde of hir heigh bountee the fame,
  That men and wommen, as wel yonge as olde,
  Gon to Saluce, upon hir to biholde.                          420

    415. E. Publiced; Pt. Publisshed; Hn. Publissed.   E. beautee; _rest_
    bountee.   418. E. heighe.   E. name; _rest_ fame.

[402: T. 8297-8324.]

  Thus Walter lowly, nay but royally,
  Wedded with fortunat honestetee,
  In goddes pees liveth ful esily
  At hoom, and outward grace y-nogh had he;
  And for he saugh that under low degree                       425
  Was ofte vertu hid, the peple him helde                    (370)
  A prudent man, and that is seyn ful selde.

    425. E. saugh; _see_ B. 810.   E. heigh; _the rest_ lowe, low.   426. E
    _omits_ ofte.

  Nat only this Grisildis thurgh hir wit
  Coude al the feet of wyfly hoomlinesse,
  But eek, whan that the cas requyred it,                      430
  The commune profit coude she redresse.
  Ther nas discord, rancour, ne hevinesse
  In al that lond, that she ne coude apese,
  And wysly bringe hem alle in reste and ese.

    429. _So_ Cp. Ln.; Hl. humblesse; _rest_ humblenesse.

  Though that hir housbonde absent were anoon,                 435
  If gentil men, or othere of hir contree                    (380)
  Were wrothe, she wolde bringen hem atoon;
  So wyse and rype wordes hadde she,
  And Iugements of so greet equitee,
  That she from heven sent was, as men wende,                  440
  Peple to save and every wrong tamende.

    439. E. Iuggementz.

  Nat longe tyme after that this Grisild
  Was wedded, she a doughter hath y-bore,
  Al had hir lever have born a knave child.
  Glad was this markis and the folk therfore;                  445
  For though a mayde child come al bifore,                   (390)
  She may unto a knave child atteyne
  By lyklihed, sin she nis nat bareyne.

  EXPLICIT SECUNDA PARS.  INCIPIT TERCIA PARS.

    444. E. man; _rest_ knaue.   447. E. man; _the rest_ knaue.   448. Cm.
    liklyhed; E. Hn. liklihede.

[403: T. 8325-8359.]

  Ther fil, as it bifalleth tymes mo,
  Whan that this child had souked but a throwe,                450
  This markis in his herte longeth so
  To tempte his wyf, hir sadnesse for to knowe,
  That he ne mighte out of his herte throwe
  This merveillous desyr, his wyf tassaye,
  Needless, god woot, he thoughte hir for taffraye.            455

  He hadde assayed hir y-nogh bifore,                        (400)
  And fond hir ever good; what neded it
  Hir for to tempte and alwey more and more?
  Though som men preise it for a subtil wit,
  But as for me, I seye that yvel it sit                       460
  Tassaye a wyf whan that it is no nede,
  And putten her in anguish and in drede.

    457. E. foond; Hn. Cm. fond.

  For which this markis wroghte in this manere;
  He cam alone a-night, ther as she lay,
  With sterne face and with ful trouble chere,                 465
  And seyde thus, 'Grisild,' quod he, 'that day              (410)
  That I yow took out of your povre array,
  And putte yow in estaat of heigh noblesse,
  Ye have nat that forgeten, as I gesse.

    465. Cm. sterne; E. stierne.   466, 470. Hl. Grisild; E. Hn. Cm.
    Grisilde.

  I seye, Grisild, this present dignitee,                      470
  In which that I have put yow, as I trowe,
  Maketh yow nat foryetful for to be
  That I yow took in povre estaat ful lowe
  For any wele ye moot your-selven knowe.
  Tak hede of every word that I yow seye,                      475
  Ther is no wight that hereth it but we tweye.              (420)

  Ye woot your-self wel, how that ye cam here
  In-to this hous, it is nat longe ago,
  And though to me that ye be lief and dere,
  Un-to my gentils ye be no-thing so;                          480
  They seyn, to hem it is greet shame and wo
  For to be subgets and ben in servage
  To thee, that born art of a smal village.

    477. E. Hn. Cm. cam; Cp. Pt. come; Ln. com; Hl. comen.   482. E.
    subgetz and to; _rest omit_ to.

[404: T. 8360-8394.]

  And namely, sith thy doghter was y-bore,
  Thise wordes han they spoken doutelees;                      485
  But I desyre, as I have doon bifore,                       (430)
  To live my lyf with hem in reste and pees;
  I may nat in this caas be recchelees.
  I moot don with thy doghter for the beste,
  Nat as I wolde, but as my peple leste.                       490

  And yet, god wot, this is ful looth to me;
  But nathelees with-oute your witing
  I wol nat doon, but this wol I,' quod he,
  'That ye to me assente as in this thing.
  Shewe now your pacience in your werking                      495
  That ye me highte and swore in your village                (440)
  That day that maked was our mariage.'

  Whan she had herd al this, she noght ameved
  Neither in word, or chere, or countenaunce;
  For, as it semed, she was nat agreved:                       500
  She seyde, 'lord, al lyth in your plesaunce,
  My child and I with hertly obeisaunce
  Ben youres al, and ye mowe save or spille
  Your owene thing; werketh after your wille.

    499. E. chiere.   503. E. Cp. Pt. Ln. and; _rest_ or.

  Ther may no-thing, god so my soule save,                     505
  Lyken to yow that may displese me;                         (450)
  Ne I desyre no-thing for to have,
  Ne drede for to lese, save only ye;
  This wil is in myn herte and ay shal be.
  No lengthe of tyme or deeth may this deface,                 510
  Ne chaunge my corage to another place.'

    507. E. Hn. Ne I ne; _rest omit_ ne.   508. E. Hn. thee _vel_ yee; Pt.
    Hl. [gh]e; Cm. Cp. Ln. thee.

  Glad was this markis of hir answering,
  But yet he feyned as he were nat so;
  Al drery was his chere and his loking
  Whan that he sholde out of the chambre go.                   515
  Sone after this, a furlong wey or two,                     (460)
  He prively hath told al his entente
  Un-to a man, and to his wyf him sente.

  [405: T. 8395-8429.]
  A maner sergeant was this privee man,
  The which that feithful ofte he founden hadde                520
  In thinges grete, and eek swich folk wel can
  Don execucioun on thinges badde.
  The lord knew wel that he him loved and dradde;
  And whan this sergeant wiste his lordes wille,
  In-to the chambre he stalked him ful stille.                 525

    524. his] E. the; Cm. this.

  'Madame,' he seyde, 'ye mote foryeve it me,                (470)
  Thogh I do thing to which I am constreyned;
  Ye ben so wys that ful wel knowe ye
  That lordes hestes mowe nat been y-feyned;
  They mowe wel been biwailled or compleyned,                  530
  But men mot nede un-to her lust obeye,
  And so wol I; ther is na-more to seye.

    530. E. Cm. and; _rest_ or.

  This child I am comanded for to take'--
  And spak na-more, but out the child he hente
  Despitously, and gan a chere make                            535
  As though he wolde han slayn it er he wente.               (480)
  Grisildis mot al suffren and consente;
  And as a lamb she sitteth meke and stille,
  And leet this cruel sergeant doon his wille.

  Suspecious was the diffame of this man,                      540
  Suspect his face, suspect his word also;
  Suspect the tyme in which he this bigan.
  Allas! hir doghter that she lovede so
  She wende he wolde han slawen it right tho.
  But natheles she neither weep ne syked,                      545
  Consenting hir to that the markis lyked.                   (490)

  But atte laste speken she bigan,
  And mekely she to the sergeant preyde,
  So as he was a worthy gentil man,
  That she moste kisse hir child er that it deyde;             550
  And in her barm this litel child she leyde
  With ful sad face, and gan the child to kisse
  And lulled it, and after gan it blisse.

    547. E. to speken; _rest omit_ to.   552, 3. E. kisse, blisse; _rest_
    blisse, kisse; _see_ 678.

[406: T. 8430-8462.]

  And thus she seyde in hir benigne voys,
  'Far weel, my child; I shal thee never see;                  555
  But, sith I thee have marked with the croys,               (500)
  Of thilke fader blessed mote thou be,
  That for us deyde up-on a croys of tree.
  Thy soule, litel child, I him bitake,
  For this night shaltow dyen for my sake.'                    560

    557. E. Hn. Cm. he; _rest_ thou.

  I trowe that to a norice in this cas
  It had ben hard this rewthe for to se;
  Wel mighte a mooder than han cryed 'allas!'
  But nathelees so sad stedfast was she,
  That she endured all adversitee,                             565
  And to the sergeant mekely she sayde,                      (510)
  'Have heer agayn your litel yonge mayde.

    564. E. Cm. Pt. sad and; _rest omit_ and.   E. stide-; Pt. Ln. sted-;
    _rest_ stede-.

  Goth now,' quod she, 'and dooth my lordes heste,
  But o thing wol I preye yow of your grace,
  That, but my lord forbad yow, atte leste                     570
  Burieth this litel body in som place
  That bestes ne no briddes it to-race.'
  But he no word wol to that purpos seye,
  But took the child and wente upon his weye.

    569. E. Pt. And; _rest_ But.

  This sergeant cam un-to his lord ageyn,                      575
  And of Grisildis wordes and hir chere                      (520)
  He tolde him point for point, in short and playn,
  And him presenteth with his doghter dere.
  Somwhat this lord hath rewthe in his manere;
  But nathelees his purpos heeld he stille,                    580
  As lordes doon, whan they wol han hir wille;

  And bad his sergeant that he prively
  Sholde this child ful softe winde and wrappe
  With alle circumstances tendrely,
  And carie it in a cofre or in a lappe;                       585
  But, up-on peyne his heed of for to swappe,                (530)
  [407: T. 8463-8492.]
  That no man sholde knowe of his entente,
  Ne whenne he cam, ne whider that he wente;

    583. Cp. Pt. Ln. ful; _rest omit._   588. Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. Hl. he cam
    (com); E. Ln. _omit._

  But at Boloigne to his suster dere,
  That thilke tyme of Panik was countesse,                     590
  He sholde it take, and shewe hir this matere,
  Bisekinge hir to don hir bisinesse
  This child to fostre in alle gentilesse;
  And whos child that it was he bad hir hyde
  From every wight, for oght that may bityde.                  595

    590. Hl. panik; Cp. Panyke; _rest_ Pavik, Pauyk, Pavie.   594. E. him;
    _rest_ hire, hir.

  The sergeant gooth, and hath fulfild this thing;           (540)
  But to this markis now retourne we;
  For now goth he ful faste imagining
  If by his wyves chere he mighte see,
  Or by hir word aperceyve that she                            600
  Were chaunged; but he never hir coude finde
  But ever in oon y-lyke sad and kinde.

  As glad, as humble, as bisy in servyse,
  And eek in love as she was wont to be,
  Was she to him in every maner wyse;                          605
  Ne of hir doghter noght a word spak she.                   (550)
  Non accident for noon adversitee
  Was seyn in hir, ne never hir doghter name
  Ne nempned she, in ernest nor in game.

  EXPLICIT TERCIA PARS. SEQUITUR PARS QUARTA.

  In this estaat ther passed been foure yeer                   610
  Er she with childe was; but, as god wolde,
  A knave child she bar by this Walter,
  Ful gracious and fair for to biholde.
  And whan that folk it to his fader tolde,
  Nat only he, but al his contree, merie                       615
  Was for this child, and god they thanke and herie.         (560)

    612. E. man; _rest_ knaue.

[408: T. 8493-8527.]

  Whan it was two yeer old, and fro the brest
  Departed of his norice, on a day
  This markis caughte yet another lest
  To tempte his wyf yet ofter, if he may.                      620
  O needles was she tempted in assay!
  But wedded men ne knowe no mesure,
  Whan that they finde a pacient creature.

  'Wyf,' quod this markis, 'ye han herd er this,
  My peple sikly berth our mariage,                            625
  And namely, sith my sone y-boren is,                       (570)
  Now is it worse than ever in al our age.
  The murmur sleeth myn herte and my corage;
  For to myne eres comth the voys so smerte,
  That it wel ny destroyed hath myn herte.                     630

    626. Hl. y-boren; E. Hn. Cm. yborn.

  Now sey they thus, "whan Walter is agoon,
  Then shal the blood of Ianicle succede
  And been our lord, for other have we noon;"
  Swiche wordes seith my peple, out of drede.
  Wel oughte I of swich murmur taken hede;                     635
  For certeinly I drede swich sentence,                      (580)
  Though they nat pleyn speke in myn audience.

  I wolde live in pees, if that I mighte;
  Wherfor I am disposed outerly,
  As I his suster servede by nighte,                           640
  Right so thenke I to serve him prively;
  This warne I yow, that ye nat sodeynly
  Out of your-self for no wo sholde outraye;
  Beth pacient, and ther-of I yow preye.'

    640. Cm. Cp. Hl. seruede; _rest_ serued.   643. E. outreye.

  'I have,' quod she, 'seyd thus, and ever shal,               645
  I wol no thing, ne nil no thing, certayn,                  (590)
  But as yow list; noght greveth me at al,
  Thogh that my doghter and my sone be slayn,
  At your comandement, this is to sayn.
  I have noght had no part of children tweyne                  650
  But first siknesse, and after wo and peyne.

  [409: T. 8528-8562.]
  Ye been our lord, doth with your owene thing
  Right as yow list; axeth no reed at me.
  For, as I lefte at hoom al my clothing,
  Whan I first cam to yow, right so,' quod she,                655
  'Left I my wil and al my libertee,                         (600)
  And took your clothing; wherfor I yow preye,
  Doth your plesaunce, I wol your lust obeye.

  And certes, if I hadde prescience
  Your wil to knowe er ye your lust me tolde,                  660
  I wolde it doon with-outen necligence;
  But now I woot your lust and what ye wolde,
  Al your plesaunce ferme and stable I holde;
  For wiste I that my deeth wolde do yow ese,
  Right gladly wolde I dyen, yow to plese.                     665

  Deth may noght make no comparisoun                         (610)
  Un-to your love:' and, whan this markis sey
  The constance of his wyf, he caste adoun
  His yën two, and wondreth that she may
  In pacience suffre al this array.                            670
  And forth he gooth with drery contenaunce,
  But to his herte it was ful greet plesaunce.

    667. MSS. say.

  This ugly sergeant, in the same wyse
  That he hir doghter caughte, right so he,
  Or worse, if men worse can devyse,                           675
  Hath hent hir sone, that ful was of beautee.               (620)
  And ever in oon so pacient was she,
  That she no chere made of hevinesse,
  But kiste hir sone, and after gan it blesse;

  Save this; she preyed him that, if he mighte,                680
  Hir litel sone he wolde in erthe grave,
  His tendre limes, delicat to sighte,
  Fro foules and fro bestes for to save.
  But she non answer of him mighte have.
  He wente his wey, as him no-thing ne roghte;                 685
  But to Boloigne he tendrely it broghte.                    (630)

    680. Cm. preyede; Hl. prayed; E. Hn. preyde.

[410: T. 8563-8597.]

  This markis wondreth ever lenger the more
  Up-on hir pacience, and if that he
  Ne hadde soothly knowen ther-bifore,
  That parfitly hir children lovede she,                       690
  He wolde have wend that of som subtiltee,
  And of malice or for cruel corage,
  That she had suffred this with sad visage.

    687. E. wondred; _rest_ wondreth.   692. E. crueel.

  But wel he knew that next him-self, certayn,
  She loved hir children best in every wyse.                   695
  But now of wommen wolde I axen fayn,                       (640)
  If thise assayes mighte nat suffyse?
  What coude a sturdy housbond more devyse
  To preve hir wyfhod and hir stedfastnesse,
  And he continuing ever in sturdinesse?                       700

    699. E. or; _rest_ and.   E. stede-.

  But ther ben folk of swich condicioun,
  That, whan they have a certein purpos take,
  They can nat stinte of hir entencioun,
  But, right as they were bounden to a stake,
  They wol nat of that firste purpos slake.                    705
  Right so this markis fulliche hath purposed                (650)
  To tempte his wyf, as he was first disposed.

    704. E. Hn. Cm. that; _the rest_ a.

  He waiteth, if by word or contenance
  That she to him was changed of corage;
  But never coude he finde variance;                           710
  She was ay oon in herte and in visage;
  And ay the forther that she was in age,
  The more trewe, if that it were possible,
  She was to him in love, and more penible.

  For which it semed thus, that of hem two                     715
  Ther nas but o wil; for, as Walter leste,                  (660)
  The same lust was hir plesance also,
  And, god be thanked, al fil for the beste.
  She shewed wel, for no worldly unreste
  A wyf, as of hir-self, no-thing ne sholde                    720
  Wille in effect, but as hir housbond wolde.

  [411: T. 8598-8630.]
  The sclaundre of Walter ofte and wyde spradde,
  That of a cruel herte he wikkedly,
  For he a povre womman wedded hadde,
  Hath mordred bothe his children prively.                     725
  Swich murmur was among hem comunly.                        (670)
  No wonder is, for to the peples ere
  Ther cam no word but that they mordred were.

  For which, wher-as his peple ther-bifore
  Had loved him wel, the sclaundre of his diffame              730
  Made hem that they him hatede therfore;
  To been a mordrer is an hateful name.
  But natheles, for ernest ne for game
  He of his cruel purpos nolde stente;
  To tempte his wyf was set al his entente.                    735

    731. Cp. Hl. hatede; _rest_ hated.   734. E. crueel.

  Whan that his doghter twelf yeer was of age,               (680)
  He to the court of Rome, in subtil wyse
  Enformed of his wil, sente his message,
  Comaunding hem swiche bulles to devyse
  As to his cruel purpos may suffyse,                          740
  How that the pope, as for his peples reste,
  Bad him to wedde another, if him leste.

    740. E. crueel.

  I seye, he bad they sholde countrefete
  The popes bulles, making mencioun
  That he hath leve his firste wyf to lete,                    745
  As by the popes dispensacioun,                             (690)
  To stinte rancour and dissencioun
  Bitwixe his peple and him; thus seyde the bulle,
  The which they han publiced atte fulle.

    749. E. publiced; Cp. publisshed; Hn. publissed.

  The rude peple, as it no wonder is,                          750
  Wenden ful wel that it had been right so;
  But whan thise tydinges cam to Grisildis,
  I deme that hir herte was ful wo.
  But she, y-lyke sad for evermo,
  [412: T. 8631-8660.]
  Disposed was, this humble creature,                          755
  Thadversitee of fortune al tendure.                        (700)

    751. Cm. been; Hn. ben; _rest_ be.

  Abyding ever his lust and his plesaunce,
  To whom that she was yeven, herte and al,
  As to hir verray worldly suffisaunce;
  But shortly if this storie I tellen shal,                    760
  This markis writen hath in special
  A lettre in which he sheweth his entente,
  And secrely he to Boloigne it sente.

  To the erl of Panik, which that hadde tho
  Wedded his suster, preyde he specially                       765
  To bringen boom agayn his children two                     (710)
  In honurable estaat al openly.
  But o thing he him preyede outerly,
  That he to no wight, though men wolde enquere,
  Sholde nat telle, whos children that they were,              770

    764. Hl. panyk; Cp. Panyke; _rest_ Pavyk, Pauyke, Pavie.   770. E. Hn.
    Cp. Ln. that they; _the rest omit_ that.

  But seye, the mayden sholde y-wedded be
  Un-to the markis of Saluce anon.
  And as this erl was preyed, so dide he;
  For at day set he on his wey is goon
  Toward Saluce, and lordes many oon,                          775
  In riche array, this mayden for to gyde;                   (720)
  Hir yonge brother ryding hir bisyde.

    773. Cp. Cm. preyed; E. preyd; Hn. Hl. prayd.

  Arrayed was toward hir mariage
  This fresshe mayde, ful of gemmes clere;
  Hir brother, which that seven yeer was of age,               780
  Arrayed eek ful fresh in his manere.
  And thus in greet noblesse and with glad chere,
  Toward Saluces shaping hir Iourney,
  Fro day to day they ryden in hir wey.

  EXPLICIT QUARTA PARS. SEQUITUR QUINTA PARS.

  [413: T. 8661-8695.]
  Among al this, after his wikke usage,                        785
  This markis, yet his wyf to tempte more                    (730)
  To the uttereste preve of hir corage,
  Fully to han experience and lore
  If that she were as stedfast as bifore,
  He on a day in open audience                                 790
  Ful boistously hath seyd hir this sentence:

    787. Cm. vttyreste; E. outtreste.   789. E. Cp. stide-; Pt. Ln. sted-;
    _rest_ stede-.

  'Certes, Grisilde, I hadde y-nough plesaunce
  To han yow to my wyf for your goodnesse,
  As for your trouthe and for your obeisaunce,
  Nought for your linage ne for your richesse;                 795
  But now knowe I in verray soothfastnesse                   (740)
  That in gret lordshipe, if I wel avyse,
  Ther is gret servitute in sondry wyse.

  I may nat don as every plowman may;
  My peple me constreyneth for to take                         800
  Another wyf, and cryen day by day;
  And eek the pope, rancour for to slake,
  Consenteth it, that dar I undertake;
  And treweliche thus muche I wol yow seye,
  My newe wyf is coming by the weye.                           805

  Be strong of herte, and voyde anon hir place,              (750)
  And thilke dower that ye broghten me
  Tak it agayn, I graunte it of my grace;
  Retourneth to your fadres hous,' quod he;
  'No man may alwey han prosperitee;                           810
  With evene herte I rede yow tendure
  The strook of fortune or of aventure.'

    812. E. This; _the rest_ The.

  And she answerde agayn in pacience,
  'My lord,' quod she, 'I woot, and wiste alway
  How that bitwixen your magnificence                          815
  And my poverte no wight can ne may                         (760)
  Maken comparison; it is no nay.
  I ne heeld me never digne in no manere
  To be your wyf, no, ne your chamberere.

  [414: T. 8696-8730.]
  And in this hous, ther ye me lady made--                     820
  The heighe god take I for my witnesse,
  And also wisly he my soule glade--
  I never heeld me lady ne maistresse,
  But humble servant to your worthinesse,
  And ever shal, whyl that my lyf may dure,                    825
  Aboven every worldly creature.                             (770)

  That ye so longe of your benignitee
  Han holden me in honour and nobleye,
  Wher-as I was noght worthy for to be,
  That thonke I god and yow, to whom I preye                   830
  Foryelde it yow; there is na-more to seye.
  Un-to my fader gladly wol I wende,
  And with him dwelle un-to my lyves ende.

    829. E. _omits_ for to.

  Ther I was fostred of a child ful smal,
  Til I be deed, my lyf ther wol I lede                        835
  A widwe clene, in body, herte, and al.                     (780)
  For sith I yaf to yow my maydenhede,
  And am your trewe wyf, it is no drede,
  God shilde swich a lordes wyf to take
  Another man to housbonde or to make.                         840

  And of your newe wyf, god of his grace
  So graunte yow wele and prosperitee:
  For I wol gladly yelden hir my place,
  In which that I was blisful wont to be,
  For sith it lyketh yow, my lord,' quod she,                  845
  'That whylom weren al myn hertes reste,                    (790)
  That I shal goon, I wol gon whan yow leste.

  But ther-as ye me profre swich dowaire
  As I first broghte, it is wel in my minde
  It were my wrecched clothes, no-thing faire,                 850
  The which to me were hard now for to finde.
  O gode god! how gentil and how kinde
  Ye semed by your speche and your visage
  The day that maked was our mariage!

  [415: T. 8731-8765.]
  But sooth is seyd, algate I finde it trewe--                 855
  For in effect it preved is on me--                         (800)
  Love is noght old as whan that it is newe.
  But certes, lord, for noon adversitee,
  To dyen in the cas, it shal nat be
  That ever in word or werk I shal repente                     860
  That I yow yaf myn herte in hool entente.

  My lord, ye woot that, in my fadres place,
  Ye dede me strepe out of my povre wede,
  And richely me cladden, of your grace.
  To yow broghte I noght elles, out of drede,                  865
  But feyth and nakednesse and maydenhede.                   (810)
  And here agayn my clothing I restore,
  And eek my wedding-ring, for evermore.

    867, 868. my] Cp. Pt. Ln. your.

  The remenant of your Iewels redy be
  In-with your chambre, dar I saufly sayn;                     870
  Naked out of my fadres hous,' quod she,
  'I cam, and naked moot I turne agayn.
  Al your plesaunce wol I folwen fayn;
  But yet I hope it be nat your entente
  That I smoklees out of your paleys wente.                    875

    869. Hn. Hl. Ln. Iewels; E. Iueles.

  Ye coude nat doon so dishoneste a thing,                   (820)
  That thilke wombe in which your children leye
  Sholde, biforn the peple, in my walking,
  Be seyn al bare; wherfor I yow preye,
  Lat me nat lyk a worm go by the weye.                        880
  Remembre yow, myn owene lord so dere,
  I was your wyf, thogh I unworthy were.

  Wherfor, in guerdon of my maydenhede,
  Which that I broghte, and noght agayn I bere,
  As voucheth sauf to yeve me, to my mede,                     885
  But swich a smok as I was wont to were,                    (830)
  That I therwith may wrye the wombe of here
  That was your wyf; and heer take I my leve
  Of yow, myn owene lord, lest I yow greve.'

    883. E. Hn. gerdon; _rest_ guerdon, guerdo_u_n.

[416: T. 8766-8798.]

  'The smok,' quod he, 'that thou hast on thy bak,             890
  Lat it be stille, and ber it forth with thee.'
  But wel unnethes thilke word he spak,
  But wente his wey for rewthe and for pitee.
  Biforn the folk hir-selven strepeth she,
  And in hir smok, with heed and foot al bare,                 895
  Toward hir fader hous forth is she fare.                   (840)

  The folk hir folwe wepinge in hir weye,
  And fortune ay they cursen as they goon;
  But she fro weping kepte hir yën dreye,
  Ne in this tyme word ne spak she noon.                       900
  Hir fader, that this tyding herde anoon,
  Curseth the day and tyme that nature
  Shoop him to been a lyves creature.

  For out of doute this olde povre man
  Was ever in suspect of hir mariage;                          905
  For ever he demed, sith that it bigan,                     (850)
  That whan the lord fulfild had his corage,
  Him wolde thinke it were a disparage
  To his estaat so lowe for talighte,
  And voyden hir as sone as ever he mighte.                    910

  Agayns his doghter hastilich goth he,
  For he by noyse of folk knew hir cominge,
  And with hir olde cote, as it mighte be,
  He covered hir, ful sorwefully wepinge;
  But on hir body mighte he it nat bringe.                     915
  For rude was the cloth, and more of age                    (860)
  By dayes fele than at hir mariage.

    916. E. Hn. Cm. and she moore; _rest omit_ she.

  Thus with hir fader, for a certeyn space,
  Dwelleth this flour of wyfly pacience,
  That neither by hir wordes ne hir face                       920
  Biforn the folk, ne eek in hir absence,
  Ne shewed she that hir was doon offence;
  [417: T. 8799-8828.]
  Ne of hir heigh estaat no remembraunce
  Ne hadde she, as by hir countenaunce.

  No wonder is, for in hir grete estaat                        925
  Hir goost was ever in pleyn humylitee;                     (870)
  No tendre mouth, non herte delicaat,
  No pompe, no semblant of royaltee,
  But ful of pacient benignitee,
  Discreet and prydeles, ay honurable,                         930
  And to hir housbonde ever meke and stable.

  Men speke of Iob and most for his humblesse,
  As clerkes, whan hem list, can wel endyte,
  Namely of men, but as in soothfastnesse,
  Thogh clerkes preyse wommen but a lyte,                      935
  Ther can no man in humblesse him acquyte                   (880)
  As womman can, ne can ben half so trewe
  As wommen been, but it be falle of-newe.

    933. E. Hn. conne; _rest_ can.   937. Hn. kan; Cp. Ln. Hl. can; _rest
    omit (2nd time)_.

          [_Pars Sexta._]

  Fro Boloigne is this erl of Panik come,
  Of which the fame up-sprang to more and lesse,               940
  And in the peples eres alle and some
  Was couth eek, that a newe markisesse
  He with him broghte, in swich pompe and richesse,
  That never was ther seyn with mannes yë
  So noble array in al West Lumbardye.                         945

    939. Hl. panik; Cp. Panyke; Pt. Pavie; _rest_ Pavyk, Pauyk.   944. Hl.
    ye; _rest_ eye.

  The markis, which that shoop and knew al this,             (890)
  Er that this erl was come, sente his message
  For thilke sely povre Grisildis;
  And she with humble herte and glad visage,
  Nat with no swollen thoght in hir corage,                    950
  Cam at his heste, and on hir knees hir sette,
  And reverently and wysly she him grette.

  [418: T. 8829-8863.]
  'Grisild,' quod he, 'my wille is outerly,
  This mayden, that shal wedded been to me,
  Receyved be to-morwe as royally                              955
  As it possible is in myn hous to be.                       (900)
  And eek that every wight in his degree
  Have his estaat in sitting and servyse
  And heigh plesaunce, as I can best devyse.

    953. Cp. Pt. wille; _rest_ wil.

  I have no wommen suffisaunt certayn                          960
  The chambres for tarraye in ordinaunce
  After my lust, and therfor wolde I fayn
  That thyn were al swich maner governaunce;
  Thou knowest eek of old al my plesaunce;
  Though thyn array be badde and yvel biseye,                  965
  Do thou thy devoir at the leeste weye.'                    (910)

  'Nat only, lord, that I am glad,' quod she,
  'To doon your lust, but I desyre also
  Yow for to serve and plese in my degree
  With-outen feynting, and shal evermo.                        970
  Ne never, for no wele ne no wo,
  Ne shal the gost with-in myn herte stente
  To love yow best with al my trewe entente.'

  And with that word she gan the hous to dighte,
  And tables for to sette and beddes make;                     975
  And peyned hir to doon al that she mighte,                 (920)
  Preying the chambereres, for goddes sake,
  To hasten hem, and faste swepe and shake;
  And she, the moste servisable of alle,
  Hath every chambre arrayed and his halle.                    980

    977. Cp. Hl. Cm. chambereres; E. Hn. Pt. Ln. chambreres.

  Abouten undern gan this erl alighte,
  That with him broghte thise noble children tweye,
  For which the peple ran to seen the sighte
  Of hir array, so richely biseye;
  And than at erst amonges hem they seye,                      985
  That Walter was no fool, thogh that him leste              (930)
  To chaunge his wyf, for it was for the beste.

    981. Hl. Pt. Ln. vndern; E. Hn. Cp. vndren; Cm. vndryn.

[419: T. 8864-8898.]

  For she is fairer, as they demen alle,
  Than is Grisild, and more tendre of age,
  And fairer fruit bitwene hem sholde falle,                   990
  And more plesant, for hir heigh linage;
  Hir brother eek so fair was of visage,
  That hem to seen the peple hath caught plesaunce,
  Commending now the markis gouernaunce.--

  _Auctor_. 'O stormy peple! unsad and ever untrewe!           995
  Ay undiscreet and chaunging as a vane,                     (940)
  Delyting ever in rumbel that is newe,
  For lyk the mone ay wexe ye and wane;
  Ay ful of clapping, dere y-nogh a Iane;
  Your doom is fals, your constance yvel preveth,             1000
  A ful greet fool is he that on yow leveth!'

    997. E. Cm. rumbul; Hn. rumbel; Hl. rombel.   1000. Hl. yuel; Cm. euel;
    E. Hn. yuele.

  Thus seyden sadde folk in that citee,
  Whan that the peple gazed up and doun,
  For they were glad, right for the noveltee,
  To han a newe lady of hir toun.                             1005
  Na-more of this make I now mencioun;                       (950)
  But to Grisilde agayn wol I me dresse,
  And telle hir constance and hir bisinesse.--

  Ful bisy was Grisilde in every thing
  That to the feste was apertinent;                           1010
  Right noght was she abayst of hir clothing,
  Though it were rude and somdel eek to-rent.
  But with glad chere to the yate is went,
  With other folk, to grete the markisesse,
  And after that doth forth hir bisinesse.                    1015

    1013. E. Hn. Hl. is she; _rest omit_ she.   E. Hn. Ln. chiere; Hl.
    chier.

  With so glad chere his gestes she receyveth,               (960)
  And conningly, everich in his degree,
  That no defaute no man aperceyveth;
  But ay they wondren what she mighte be
  That in so povre array was for to see,                      1020
  And coude swich honour and reverence;
  And worthily they preisen hir prudence.

    1017. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. And so; Cp. Pt. Ln. _omit_ so.

[420: T. 8899-8933.]

  In al this mene whyle she ne stente
  This mayde and eek hir brother to commende
  With al hir herte, in ful benigne entente,                  1025
  So wel, that no man coude hir prys amende.                 (970)
  But atte laste, whan that thise lordes wende
  To sitten doun to mete, he gan to calle
  Grisilde, as she was bisy in his halle.

  'Grisilde,' quod he, as it were in his pley,                1030
  'How lyketh thee my wyf and hir beautee?'
  'Right wel,' quod she, 'my lord; for, in good fey,
  A fairer say I never noon than she.
  I prey to god yeve hir prosperitee;
  And so hope I that he wol to yow sende                      1035
  Plesance y-nogh un-to your lyves ende.                     (980)

    1033. E. saugh; see l. 1114.

  O thing biseke I yow and warne also,
  That ye ne prikke with no tormentinge
  This tendre mayden, as ye han don mo;
  For she is fostred in hir norishinge                        1040
  More tendrely, and, to my supposinge,
  She coude nat adversitee endure
  As coude a povre fostred creature.'

    1040. E. Hn. norissynge.

  And whan this Walter say hir pacience,
  Hir glade chere and no malice at al,                        1045
  And he so ofte had doon to hir offence,                    (990)
  And she ay sad and constant as a wal,
  Continuing ever hir innocence overal,
  This sturdy markis gan his herte dresse
  To rewen up-on hir wyfly stedfastnesse.                     1050

    1044. E. saugh; see l. 1114.   1045. E. Ln. chiere.

  'This is y-nogh, Grisilde myn,' quod he,
  'Be now na-more agast ne yvel apayed;
  I have thy feith and thy benignitee,
  As wel as ever womman was, assayed,
  In greet estaat, and povreliche arrayed.                    1055
  Now knowe I, dere wyf, thy stedfastnesse,'--              (1000)
  And hir in armes took and gan hir kesse.

    1056. E. goode; _rest_ dere.

[421: T. 8934-8968.]

  And she for wonder took of it no keep;
  She herde nat what thing he to hir seyde;
  She ferde as she had stert out of a sleep,                  1060
  Til she out of hir masednesse abreyde.
  'Grisilde,' quod he, 'by god that for us deyde,
  Thou art my wyf, ne noon other I have,
  Ne never hadde, as god my soule save!

    1063. Cm. Cp. Ln. Hl. ne; Pt. and; E. Hn. _omit_ ne.

  This is thy doghter which thou hast supposed                1065
  To be my wyf; that other feithfully                       (1010)
  Shal be myn heir, as I have ay purposed;
  Thou bare him in thy body trewely.
  At Boloigne have I kept hem prively;
  Tak hem agayn, for now maystow nat seye                     1070
  That thou hast lorn non of thy children tweye.

    1067. Cp. Ln. Hl. purposed; E. Hn. Cm. supposed (_wrongly_); Pt.
    disposed.   1070. E. Taak.

  And folk that otherweyes han seyd of me,
  I warne hem wel that I have doon this dede
  For no malice ne for no crueltee,
  But for tassaye in thee thy wommanhede,                     1075
  And nat to sleen my children, god forbede!                (1020)
  But for to kepe hem prively and stille,
  Til I thy purpos knewe and al thy wille.'

  Whan she this herde, aswowne doun she falleth
  For pitous Ioye, and after hir swowninge                    1080
  She bothe hir yonge children un-to hir calleth,
  And in hir armes, pitously wepinge,
  Embraceth hem, and tendrely kissinge
  Ful lyk a mooder, with hir salte teres
  She batheth bothe hir visage and hir heres.                 1085

  O, which a pitous thing it was to see                     (1030)
  Hir swowning, and hir humble voys to here!
  'Grauntmercy, lord, that thanke I yow,' quod she,
  'That ye han saved me my children dere!
  Now rekke I never to ben deed right here;                   1090
  Sith I stonde in your love and in your grace,
  No fors of deeth, ne whan my spirit pace!

  [422: T. 8969-9003.]
  O tendre, o dere, o yonge children myne,
  Your woful mooder wende stedfastly
  That cruel houndes or som foul vermyne                      1095
  Hadde eten yow; but god, of his mercy,                    (1040)
  And your benigne fader tendrely
  Hath doon yow kept;' and in that same stounde
  Al sodeynly she swapte adoun to grounde.

    1095. E. crueel.

  And in her swough so sadly holdeth she                      1100
  Hir children two, whan she gan hem tembrace,
  That with greet sleighte and greet difficultee
  The children from hir arm they gonne arace.
  O many a teer on many a pitous face
  Doun ran of hem that stoden hir bisyde;                     1105
  Unnethe abouten hir mighte they abyde.                    (1050)

  Walter hir gladeth, and hir sorwe slaketh;
  She ryseth up, abaysed, from hir traunce,
  And every wight hir Ioye and feste maketh,
  Til she hath caught agayn hir contenaunce.                  1110
  Walter hir dooth so feithfully plesaunce,
  That it was deyntee for to seen the chere
  Bitwixe hem two, now they ben met y-fere.

  Thise ladyes, whan that they hir tyme say,
  Han taken hir, and in-to chambre goon,                      1115
  And strepen hir out of hir rude array,                    (1060)
  And in a cloth of gold that brighte shoon,
  With a coroune of many a riche stoon
  Up-on hir heed, they in-to halle hir broghte,
  And ther she was honoured as hir oghte.                     1120

    1117. Cm. cloth; E. Hn. clooth.

  Thus hath this pitous day a blisful ende,
  For every man and womman dooth his might
  This day in murthe and revel to dispende
  Til on the welkne shoon the sterres light.
  For more solempne in every mannes sight                     1125
  This feste was, and gretter of costage,                   (1070)
  Than was the revel of hir mariage.

  [423: T. 9004-9036.]
  Ful many a yeer in heigh prosperitee
  Liven thise two in concord and in reste,
  And richely his doghter maried he                           1130
  Un-to a lord, oon of the worthieste
  Of al Itaille; and than in pees and reste
  His wyves fader in his court he kepeth,
  Til that the soule out of his body crepeth.

  His sone succedeth in his heritage                          1135
  In reste and pees, after his fader day;                   (1080)
  And fortunat was eek in mariage,
  Al putte he nat his wyf in greet assay.
  This world is nat so strong, it is no nay,
  As it hath been in olde tymes yore,                         1140
  And herkneth what this auctour seith therfore.

    1140. in] E. of.

  This storie is seyd, nat for that wyves sholde
  Folwen Grisilde as in humilitee,
  For it were importable, though they wolde;
  But for that every wight, in his degree,                    1145
  Sholde be constant in adversitee                          (1090)
  As was Grisilde; therfor Petrark wryteth
  This storie, which with heigh style he endyteth.

    1147. Cm. this Petrak; _rest omit_ this.   Hl. Petrark; E. Hn. Cm.
    Petrak.

  For, sith a womman was so pacient
  Un-to a mortal man, wel more us oghte                       1150
  Receyven al in gree that god us sent;
  For greet skile is, he preve that he wroghte.
  But he ne tempteth no man that he boghte,
  As seith seint Iame, if ye his pistel rede;
  He preveth folk al day, it is no drede,                     1155

  And suffreth us, as for our excercyse,                    (1100)
  With sharpe scourges of adversitee
  Ful ofte to be bete in sondry wyse;
  Nat for to knowe our wil, for certes he,
  Er we were bom, knew al our freletee;                       1160
  [424: T. 9037-9055.]
  And for our beste is al his governaunce;
  Lat us than live in vertuous suffraunce.

    1160. E. _omits_ al; _the rest have it_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _It seems to have been Chaucer's intention, in the first instance, to
    end this_ Tale _here. Hence, we find, in_ MSS. E. Hn. Cm. Dd., _the
    following genuine, but rejected stanza, suitable for insertion at this
    point_:--

      BIHOLD THE MERYE WORDES OF THE HOSTE.

      This worthy Clerk, whan ended was his tale,
      Our hoste seyde, and swoor by goddes bones,
      'Me were lever than a barel ale
      My wyf at hoom had herd this legende ones;
      This is a gentil tale for the nones,                       5
      As to my purpos, wiste ye my wille;
      But thing that wol nat be, lat it be stille.'

      HERE ENDETH THE TALE OF THE CLERK OF OXENFORD.

    HEADING. E. Bihoold; murye; Hoost.   2. E. Oure hoost.   3. E. leuere.
    Dd. barel of ale.   5. E. Hn. Dd. is; Cm. was.   6. E. Hn. wiste; Dd.
    wyst; Cm. woste. N.B. _With_ 1. 3, _compare_ B. 3083.

       *       *       *       *       *

  But o word, lordinges, herkneth er I go:--
  It were ful hard to finde now a dayes
  In al a toun Grisildes three or two;                        1165
  For, if that they were put to swiche assayes,             (1110)
  The gold of hem hath now so badde alayes
  With bras, that thogh the coyne be fair at yë,
  It wolde rather breste a-two than plye.

  For which heer, for the wyves love of Bathe,                1170
  Whos lyf and al hir secte god mayntene
  In heigh maistrye, and elles were it scathe,
  I wol with lusty herte fresshe and grene
  Seyn yow a song to glade yow, I wene,
  And lat us stinte of ernestful matere:--                    1175
  Herkneth my song, that seith in this manere.              (1120)

          LENVOY DE CHAUCER.

  Grisilde is deed, and eek hir pacience,
  And bothe atones buried in Itaille;
  For which I crye in open audience,
  [425: T. 9056-9088.]
  No wedded man so hardy be tassaille                         1180
  His wyves pacience, in hope to finde
  Grisildes, for in certein he shall faille!

  O noble wyves, ful of heigh prudence,
  Lat noon humilitee your tonge naille,
  Ne lat no clerk have cause or diligence                     1185
  To wryte of yow a storie of swich mervaille               (1130)
  As of Grisildis pacient and kinde;
  Lest Chichevache yow swelwe in hir entraille!

  Folweth Ekko, that holdeth no silence,
  But evere answereth at the countretaille;                   1190
  Beth nat bidaffed for your innocence,
  But sharply tak on yow the governaille.
  Emprinteth wel this lesson in your minde
  For commune profit, sith it may availle.

  Ye archewyves, stondeth at defence,                         1195
  Sin ye be stronge as is a greet camaille;                 (1140)
  Ne suffreth nat that men yow doon offence.
  And sclendre wyves, feble as in bataille,
  Beth egre as is a tygre yond in Inde;
  Ay clappeth as a mille, I yow consaille.                    1200

  Ne dreed hem nat, do hem no reverence;
  For though thyn housbonde armed be in maille,
  The arwes of thy crabbed eloquence
  Shal perce his brest, and eek his aventaille;
  In Ialousye I rede eek thou him binde,                      1205
  And thou shalt make him couche as dooth a quaille.

    1201. Cm. Ln. Hl. do; rest doth.

  If thou be fair, ther folk ben in presence
  Shew thou thy visage and thyn apparaille;
  If thou be foul, be free of thy dispence,
  To gete thee freendes ay do thy travaille;                  1210
  Be ay of chere as light as leef on linde,
  And lat him care, and wepe, and wringe, and waille!

  HERE ENDETH THE CLERK OF OXONFORD HIS TALE.

    1211. E. chiere; Hn. cheere.   COLOPHON. _From_ Cp.

[426: T. 9089-9120.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MERCHANT'S PROLOGUE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  THE PROLOGE OF THE MARCHANTES TALE.

  'Weping and wayling, care, and other sorwe
  I know y-nogh, on even and a-morwe,'
  Quod the Marchaunt, 'and so don othere mo                   1215
  That wedded been, I trowe that it be so.
  For, wel I woot, it fareth so with me.
  I have a wyf, the worste that may be;
  For thogh the feend to hir y-coupled were,
  She wolde him overmacche, I dar wel swere.                  1220
  What sholde I yow reherce in special
  Hir hye malice? she is a shrewe at al.                      (10)
  Ther is a long and large difference
  Bitwix Grisildis grete pacience
  And of my wyf the passing crueltee.                         1225
  Were I unbounden, al-so moot I thee!
  I wolde never eft comen in the snare.
  We wedded men live in sorwe and care;
  Assaye who-so wol, and he shal finde
  I seye sooth, by seint Thomas of Inde,                      1230
  As for the more part, I sey nat alle.
  God shilde that it sholde so bifalle!                       (20)

    A! good sir hoost! I have y-wedded be
  Thise monthes two, and more nat, pardee;
  And yet, I trowe, he that all his lyve                      1235
  Wyflees hath been, though that men wolde him ryve
  Un-to the herte, ne coude in no manere
  Tellen so muchel sorwe, as I now here
  Coude tellen of my wyves cursednesse!'

    'Now,' quod our hoost, 'Marchaunt, so god yow blesse,     1240
  Sin ye so muchel knowen of that art,
  Ful hertely I pray yow telle us part.'                      (30)

    'Gladly,' quod he, 'but of myn owene sore,
  For sory herte, I telle may na-more.'

[427: T. 9121-9147.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MARCHANTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HERE BIGINNETH THE MARCHANTES TALE.

  Whylom ther was dwellinge in Lumbardye                      1245
  A worthy knight, that born was of Pavye,
  In which he lived in greet prosperitee;
  And sixty yeer a wyflees man was he,
  And folwed ay his bodily delyt
  On wommen, ther-as was his appetyt,                         1250
  As doon thise foles that ben seculeer.
  And whan that he was passed sixty yeer,
  Were it for holinesse or for dotage,
  I can nat seye, but swich a greet corage                    (10)
  Hadde this knight to been a wedded man,                     1255
  That day and night he dooth al that he can
  Tespyen where he mighte wedded be;
  Preyinge our lord to granten him, that he
  Mighte ones knowe of thilke blisful lyf
  That is bitwixe an housbond and his wyf;                    1260
  And for to live under that holy bond
  With which that first god man and womman bond,
  'Non other lyf,' seyde he, 'is worth a bene;
  For wedlok is so esy and so clene,                          (20)
  That in this world it is a paradys.'                        1265
  Thus seyde this olde knight, that was so wys.

    HEADING. _So_ E. Hn. Pt.   1246. Pt. at; Ln. in (_for_ of).

    And certeinly, as sooth as god is king,
  To take a wyf, it is a glorious thing,
  And namely whan a man is old and hoor;
  Thanne is a wyf the fruit of his tresor.                    1270
  Than sholde he take a yong wyf and a feir,
  [428: T. 9148-9180.]
  On which he mighte engendren him an heir,
  And lede his lyf in Ioye and in solas,
  Wher-as thise bacheleres singe 'allas,'                     (30)
  Whan that they finden any adversitee                        1275
  In love, which nis but childish vanitee.
  And trewely it sit wel to be so,
  That bacheleres have often peyne and wo;
  On brotel ground they builde, and brotelnesse
  They finde, whan they wene sikernesse.                      1280
  They live but as a brid or as a beste,
  In libertee, and under non areste,
  Ther-as a wedded man in his estaat
  Liveth a lyf blisful and ordinaat,                          (40)
  Under the yok of mariage y-bounde;                          1285
  Wel may his herte in Ioye and blisse habounde.
  For who can be so buxom as a wyf?
  Who is so trewe, and eek so ententyf
  To kepe him, syk and hool, as is his make?
  For wele or wo, she wol him nat forsake.                    1290
  She nis nat wery him to love and serve,
  Thogh that he lye bedrede til he sterve.
  And yet somme clerkes seyn, it nis nat so,
  Of whiche he, Theofraste, is oon of tho.                    (50)
  What force though Theofraste liste lye?                     1295
  'Ne take no wyf,' quod he, 'for housbondrye,
  As for to spare in houshold thy dispence;
  A trewe servant dooth more diligence,
  Thy good to kepe, than thyn owene wyf.
  For she wol clayme half part al hir lyf;                    1300
  And if that thou be syk, so god me save,
  Thy verray frendes or a trewe knave
  Wol kepe thee bet than she that waiteth ay
  After thy good, and hath don many a day.                    (60)
  And if thou take a wyf un-to thyn hold,                [T. _om._
  Ful lightly maystow been a cokewold.'                  [T. _om._
  [429: T. 9181-9216.]
  This sentence, and an hundred thinges worse,
  Wryteth this man, ther god his bones corse!
  But take no kepe of al swich vanitee;
  Deffye Theofraste and herke me.                             1310

    1271. E. Thanne.   1274, 1278. E. bacheleris.   1281, 2. E. Pt. beest,
    arreest; Cm. Ln. beste, areste.   1285. E. Hn. this; _rest_ the.
    1293. E. Cp. nis; _rest_ is.   1301. E. Hn. Cm. _om._ that.   1305, 6.
    _Not in_ Cp. Ln.; _in a spurious form in _Hn. Pt. Hl.   1310. Cp. Hl.
    herkne; Pt. Ln. herkeneth.

    A wyf is goddes yifte verraily;
  Alle other maner yiftes hardily,
  As londes, rentes, pasture, or commune,
  Or moebles, alle ben yiftes of fortune,                     (70)
  That passen as a shadwe upon a wal.                         1315
  But dredelees, if pleynly speke I shal,
  A wyf wol laste, and in thyn hous endure,
  Wel lenger than thee list, paraventure.

    1316. Cm. dredles; Hn. Hl. dreed nat; Cp. Ln. drede nought; Pt. drede
    it nou[gh]t.

    Mariage is a ful gret sacrement;
  He which that hath no wyf, I holde him shent;               1320
  He liveth helplees and al desolat,
  I speke of folk in seculer estaat.
  And herke why, I sey nat this for noght,
  That womman is for mannes help y-wroght.                    (80)
  The hye god, whan he hadde Adam maked,                      1325
  And saugh him al allone, bely-naked,
  God of his grete goodnesse seyde than,
  'Lat us now make an help un-to this man
  Lyk to him-self;' and thanne he made him Eve.
  Heer may ye se, and heer-by may ye preve,                   1330
  That wyf is mannes help and his confort,
  His paradys terrestre and his disport.
  So buxom and so vertuous is she,
  They moste nedes live in unitee.                            (90)
  O flesh they been, and o flesh, as I gesse,                 1335
  Hath but on herte, in wele and in distresse.

    1323. Cp. herkne; Pt. Ln. Hl. herken.

    A wyf! a! Seinte Marie, _benedicite!_
  How mighte a man han any adversitee
  That hath a wyf? certes, I can nat seye.
  The blisse which that is bitwixe hem tweye                  1340
  Ther may no tonge telle, or herte thinke.
  If he be povre, she helpeth him to swinke;
  [430: T. 9217-9252.]
  She kepeth his good, and wasteth never a deel;
  Al that hir housbonde lust, hir lyketh weel;               (100)
  She seith not ones 'nay,' whan he seith 'ye.'               1345
  'Do this,' seith he; 'al redy, sir,' seith she.
  O blisful ordre of wedlok precious,
  Thou art so mery, and eek so vertuous,
  And so commended and appreved eek,
  That every man that halt him worth a leek,                  1350
  Up-on his bare knees oghte al his lyf
  Thanken his god that him hath sent a wyf;
  Or elles preye to god him for to sende
  A wyf, to laste un-to his lyves ende.                      (110)
  For thanne his lyf is set in sikernesse;                    1355
  He may nat be deceyved, as I gesse,
  So that he werke after his wyves reed;
  Than may he boldly beren up his heed,
  They been so trewe and ther-with-al so wyse;
  For which, if thou wolt werken as the wyse,                 1360
  Do alwey so as wommen wol thee rede.

    1340. Hl. ioye (_for_ blisse).   1348. E. Hn. murye.   1350. Hl. holt;
    Ln. holdeth.   1351. E. oughte; Hn. Cm. oghte.   1357. E. reede; Hn.
    Cm. Cp. reed.   _The scribe of_ E. _misses 1358-61, by confusing this_
    reed _with_ rede (1361).   1358-61. _From_ Hn.; _so_ Cm.; _so the rest
    (nearly)_.   1358. Hn. kepen; _rest_ beren, bere.

    Lo, how that Iacob, as thise clerkes rede,
  By good conseil of his moder Rebekke,
  Bond the kides skin aboute his nekke;                      (120)
  Thurgh which his fadres benisoun he wan.                    1365

    Lo, Iudith, as the storie eek telle can,
  By wys conseil she goddes peple kepte,
  And slow him, Olofernus, whyl he slepte.

    Lo Abigayl, by good conseil how she
  Saved hir housbond Nabal, whan that he                      1370
  Sholde han be slayn; and loke, Ester also
  By good conseil delivered out of wo
  The peple of god, and made him, Mardochee,
  Of Assuere enhaunced for to be.                            (130)

    Ther nis no-thing in gree superlatyf,                     1375
  As seith Senek, above an humble wyf.

    Suffre thy wyves tonge, as Caton bit;
  She shal comande, and thou shalt suffren it;
  [431: T. 9253-9289.]
  And yet she wol obeye of curteisye.
  A wyf is keper of thyn housbondrye;                         1380
  Wel may the syke man biwaille and wepe,
  Ther-as ther nis no wyf the hous to kepe.
  I warne thee, if wysly thou wolt wirche,
  Love wel thy wyf, as Crist loveth his chirche.             (140)
  If thou lovest thy-self, thou lovest thy wyf;               1385
  No man hateth his flesh, but in his lyf
  He fostreth it, and therfore bidde I thee,
  Cherisse thy wyf, or thou shalt never thee.
  Housbond and wyf, what so men Iape or pleye,
  Of worldly folk holden the siker weye;                      1390
  They been so knit, ther may noon harm bityde;
  And namely, up-on the wyves syde.
  For which this Ianuarie, of whom I tolde,
  Considered hath, in with his dayes olde,                   (150)
  The lusty lyf, the vertuous quiete,                         1395
  That is in mariage hony-swete;
  And for his freendes on a day he sente,
  To tellen hem theffect of his entente.

    1384. E. Hn. loued; Cm. louede; Cp. Pt. Ln. loueth; Hl. doth.

    With face sad, his tale he hath hem told;
  He seyde, 'freendes, I am hoor and old,                     1400
  And almost, god wot, on my pittes brinke;
  Up-on my soule somwhat moste I thinke.
  I have my body folily despended;
  Blessed be god, that it shal been amended!                 (160)
  For I wol be, certeyn, a wedded man,                        1405
  And that anoon in al the haste I can,
  Un-to som mayde fair and tendre of age.
  I prey yow, shapeth for my mariage
  Al sodeynly, for I wol nat abyde;
  And I wol fonde tespyen, on my syde,                        1410
  To whom I may be wedded hastily.
  But for-as-muche as ye ben mo than I,
  Ye shullen rather swich a thing espyen
  Than I, and wher me best were to allyen.                   (170)

    1402. E. Cm. the; _rest_ my.   1410. Cp. Ln. aspye.

    But o thing warne I yow, my freendes dere,                1415
  [432: T. 9290-9324.]
  I wol non old wyf han in no manere.
  She shal nat passe twenty yeer, certayn;
  Old fish and yong flesh wolde I have ful fayn.
  Bet is,' quod he, 'a pyk than a pikerel;
  And bet than old boef is the tendre veel.                   1420
  I wol no womman thritty yeer of age,
  It is but bene-straw and greet forage.
  And eek thise olde widwes, god it woot,
  They conne so muchel craft on Wades boot,                  (180)
  So muchel broken harm, whan that hem leste,                 1425
  That with hem sholde I never live in reste.
  For sondry scoles maken sotil clerkis;
  Womman of manye scoles half a clerk is.
  But certeynly, a yong thing may men gye,
  Right as men may warm wex with handes plye.                 1430
  Wherfore I sey yow pleynly, in a clause,
  I wol non old wyf han right for this cause.
  For if so were, I hadde swich mischaunce,
  That I in hir ne coude han no plesaunce,                   (190)
  Thanne sholde I lede my lyf in avoutrye,                    1435
  And go streight to the devel, whan I dye.
  Ne children sholde I none up-on hir geten;
  Yet were me lever houndes had me eten,
  Than that myn heritage sholde falle
  In straunge hand, and this I tell yow alle.                 1440
  I dote nat, I woot the cause why
  Men sholde wedde, and forthermore wot I,
  Ther speketh many a man of mariage,
  That woot na-more of it than woot my page,                 (200)
  For whiche causes man sholde take a wyf.                    1445
  If he ne may nat liven chast his lyf,
  Take him a wyf with greet devocioun,
  By-cause of leveful procreacioun
  Of children, to thonour of god above,
  And nat only for paramour or love;                          1450
  [433: T. 9325-9360.]
  And for they sholde lecherye eschue,
  And yelde hir dettes whan that they ben due;
  Or for that ech of hem sholde helpen other
  In meschief, as a suster shal the brother;                 (210)
  And live in chastitee ful holily.                           1455
  But sires, by your leve, that am nat I.
  For god be thanked, I dar make avaunt,
  I fele my limes stark and suffisaunt
  To do al that a man bilongeth to;
  I woot my-selven best what I may do.                        1460
  Though I be hoor, I fare as dooth a tree
  That blosmeth er that fruyt y-woxen be;
  A blosmy tree nis neither drye ne deed.
  I fele me nowher hoor but on myn heed;                     (220)
  Myn herte and alle my limes been as grene                   1465
  As laurer thurgh the yeer is for to sene.
  And sin that ye han herd al myn entente,
  I prey yow to my wil ye wole assente.'

    1418. E. Hn. Pt. _om._ ful.   1420. Cm. bef; Cp. Pt. beef.   Hl. Ln.
    _om._ the.   1427. E. sotile.   1432. E. Cm. Cp. Ln. _om._ right.
    1433. E. were that I.   1436. Hl. Hn. go; Cp. Pt. Ln. so; E. Cm.
    _om._   E. vnto (_for_ to).   1438. E. Pt. leuere that houndes.   1446.
    E. Siththe; Cm. Sith (_for_ If).   Hn. Cm. Hl. ne; _rest om._   1451.
    E. Hl. Cp. Pt. leccherye.   1456. Cm. siris.   1462. E. Cp. that; Ln.
    Hl. that the; Cm. than; Hn. Pt. the.   1463. E. Hn. And; Pt. That;
    _rest_ A.

    Diverse men diversely him tolde
  Of mariage manye ensamples olde.                            1470
  Somme blamed it, somme preysed it, certeyn;
  But atte laste, shortly for to seyn,
  As al day falleth altercacioun
  Bitwixen freendes in disputisoun,                          (230)
  Ther fil a stryf bitwixe his bretheren two,                 1475
  Of whiche that oon was cleped Placebo,
  Iustinus soothly called was that other.

    Placebo seyde, 'o Ianuarie, brother,
  Ful litel nede had ye, my lord so dere,
  Conseil to axe of any that is here;                         1480
  But that ye been so ful of sapience,
  That yow ne lyketh, for your heighe prudence,
  To weyven fro the word of Salomon.
  This word seyde he un-to us everichon:                     (240)
  "Wirk alle thing by conseil," thus seyde he,                1485
  "And thanne shaltow nat repente thee."
  [434: T. 9361-9394.]
  But though that Salomon spak swich a word,
  Myn owene dere brother and my lord,
  So wisly god my soule bringe at reste,
  I hold your owene conseil is the beste.                     1490
  For brother myn, of me tak this motyf,
  I have now been a court-man al my lyf.
  And god it woot, though I unworthy be,
  I have stonden in ful greet degree                         (250)
  Abouten lordes of ful heigh estaat;                         1495
  Yet hadde I never with noon of hem debaat.
  I never hem contraried, trewely;
  I woot wel that my lord can more than I.
  What that he seith, I holde it ferme and stable;
  I seye the same, or elles thing semblable.                  1500
  A ful gret fool is any conseillour,
  That serveth any lord of heigh honour,
  That dar presume, or elles thenken it,
  That his conseil sholde passe his lordes wit.              (260)
  Nay, lordes been no foles, by my fay;                       1505
  Ye han your-selven shewed heer to-day
  So heigh sentence, so holily and weel,
  That I consente and conferme every-deel
  Your wordes alle, and your opinioun.
  By god, ther nis no man in al this toun                     1510
  Nin al Itaille, that coude bet han sayd;
  Crist halt him of this conseil wel apayd.
  And trewely, it is an heigh corage
  Of any man, that stopen is in age,                         (270)
  To take a yong wyf; by my fader kin,                        1515
  Your herte hangeth on a Ioly pin.
  Doth now in this matere right as yow leste,
  For finally I holde it for the beste.'

    1479. E. hadde.   1490. MSS. holde.   1491. E. taak.   1503. E. Hn. Cm.
    elles; _rest_ ones.   1506. Hn. Cm. shewed; E. seyd; Hl. y-spoken;
    _rest_ spoken.   1511. E. Nyn; _rest_ Ne in.   Cm. al; _rest om._
    1512. E. Hn. _ins._ ful (Cm. wol) _before_ wel; _rest_ Crist holdeth
    him of this ful wel apayd.   1514. Cp. Hl. stopen; Ln. stoupin; E. Hn.
    stapen; Cm. schapyn.   1517. E. matiere.

    Iustinus, that ay stille sat and herde,
  Right in this wyse to Placebo answerde:                     1520
  [435: T. 9395-9430.]
  'Now brother myn, be pacient, I preye,
  Sin ye han seyd, and herkneth what I seye.
  Senek among his othere wordes wyse
  Seith, that a man oghte him right wel avyse,               (280)
  To whom he yeveth his lond or his catel.                    1525
  And sin I oghte avyse me right wel
  To whom I yeve my good awey fro me,
  Wel muchel more I oghte avysed be
  To whom I yeve my body; for alwey
  I warne yow wel, it is no childes pley                      1530
  To take a wyf with-oute avysement.
  Men moste enquere, this is myn assent,
  Wher she be wys, or sobre, or dronkelewe,
  Or proud, or elles other-weys a shrewe;                    (290)
  A chydester, or wastour of thy good,                        1535
  Or riche, or poore, or elles mannish wood.
  Al-be-it so that no man finden shal
  Noon in this world that trotteth hool in al,
  Ne man ne beest, swich as men coude devyse;
  But nathelees, it oghte y-nough suffise                     1540
  With any wyf, if so were that she hadde
  Mo gode thewes than hir vyces badde;
  And al this axeth leyser for tenquere.
  For god it woot, I have wept many a tere                   (300)
  Ful prively, sin I have had a wyf.                          1545
  Preyse who-so wole a wedded mannes lyf,
  Certein, I finde in it but cost and care,
  And observances, of alle blisses bare.
  And yet, god woot, my neighebores aboute,
  And namely of wommen many a route,                          1550
  Seyn that I have the moste stedefast wyf,
  And eek the mekeste oon that bereth lyf.
  But I wot best wher wringeth me my sho.
  Ye mowe, for me, right as yow lyketh do;                   (300)
  Avyseth yow, ye been a man of age,                          1555
  How that ye entren in-to mariage,
  [436: T. 9431-9465.]
  And namely with a yong wyf and a fair.
  By him that made water, erthe, and air,
  The yongest man that is in al this route
  Is bisy y-nogh to bringen it aboute                         1560
  To han his wyf allone, trusteth me.
  Ye shul nat plese hir fully yeres three,
  This is to seyn, to doon hir ful plesaunce.
  A wyf axeth ful many an observaunce.                       (320)
  I prey yow that ye be nat yvel apayd.'                      1565

    1520. _All but_ Cm. _insert_ he _before_ Right, _or_ to, _or_
    answerde.   1531. E. Hn. Ln. withouten.   1539. E. Cm. which.   Hl. man
    can; Cp. Pt. men conne; E. Hn. Cm. men koude.   1543. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl.
    to enquere.   1545. Hn. Cm. Cp. Pt. Ln. sin that I hadde.   1551. Ln.
    stedfast.   1559. E. yongeste.   1560. E. ynough; Cm. I-nogh.   1562.
    Cm. Hl. plese; _rest_ plesen.

    'Wel,' quod this Ianuarie, 'and hastow sayd?
  Straw for thy Senek, and for thy proverbes,
  I counte nat a panier ful of herbes
  Of scole-termes; wyser men than thow,
  As thou hast herd, assenteden right now                     1570
  To my purpos; Placebo, what sey ye?'

    1566. E. Hn. ysayd; Cm. Hl. sayd; Cp. Pt. Ln. al said.

    'I seye, it is a cursed man,' quod he,
  'That letteth matrimoine, sikerly.'
  And with that word they rysen sodeynly,                    (330)
  And been assented fully, that he sholde                     1575
  Be wedded whanne him list and wher he wolde.

    1573. E. Hn. Hl. matrimoigne; Pt. matrimoyne; _rest_ matrimonye.

    Heigh fantasye and curious bisinesse
  Fro day to day gan in the soule impresse
  Of Ianuarie aboute his mariage.
  Many fair shap, and many a fair visage                      1580
  Ther passeth thurgh his herte, night by night.
  As who-so toke a mirour polished bright,
  And sette it in a commune market-place,
  Than sholde he see many a figure pace                      (340)
  By his mirour; and, in the same wyse,                       1585
  Gan Ianuarie inwith his thoght devyse
  Of maydens, whiche that dwelten him bisyde.
  He wiste nat wher that he mighte abyde.
  For if that oon have beaute in hir face,
  Another stant so in the peples grace                        1590
  For hir sadnesse, and hir benignitee,
  [437: T. 9466-9503.]
  That of the peple grettest voys hath she.
  And somme were riche, and hadden badde name.
  But nathelees, bitwixe ernest and game,                    (350)
  He atte laste apoynted him on oon,                          1595
  And leet alle othere from his herte goon,
  And chees hir of his owene auctoritee;
  For love is blind al day, and may nat see.
  And whan that he was in his bed y-broght,
  He purtreyed, in his herte and in his thoght,               1600
  Hir fresshe beautee and hir age tendre,
  Hir myddel smal, hir armes longe and sclendre,
  Hir wyse governaunce, hir gentillesse,
  Hir wommanly beringe and hir sadnesse.                     (360)
  And whan that he on hir was condescended,                   1605
  Him thoughte his chois mighte nat ben amended.
  For whan that he him-self concluded hadde,
  Him thoughte ech other mannes wit so badde,
  That inpossible it were to replye
  Agayn his chois, this was his fantasye.                     1610
  His freendes sente he to at his instaunce,
  And preyed hem to doon him that plesaunce,
  That hastily they wolden to him come;
  He wolde abregge hir labour, alle and some.                (370)
  Nedeth na-more for him to go ne ryde,                       1615
  He was apoynted ther he wolde abyde.

    1582. E. And; _rest_ As.   E. polisshed.   1584. E. Thanne.   E. Hn. se
    ful many.   1587. E. Cm. Pt. dwellen.   1591. E. Cm. benyngnytee.
    1602. E. sklendre.   1609. E. repplye.   1611. E. Cm. Hise.   1615. Ln.
    hem.

    Placebo cam, and eek his freendes sone,
  And alderfirst he bad hem alle a bone,
  That noon of hem none argumentes make
  Agayn the purpos which that he hath take;                   1620
  'Which purpos was plesant to god,' seyde he,
  'And verray ground of his prosperitee.'

    1617. E. Cm. Hise.

    He seyde, ther was a mayden in the toun,
  Which that of beautee hadde greet renoun,                  (380)
  Al were it so she were of smal degree;                      1625
  Suffyseth him hir youthe and hir beautee.
  Which mayde, he seyde, he wolde han to his wyf,
  To lede in ese and holinesse his lyf.
  And thanked god, that he mighte han hire al,
  [438: T. 9504-9539.]
  That no wight of his blisse parten shal.                    1630
  And preyde hem to labouren in this nede,
  And shapen that he faille nat to spede;
  For thanne, he seyde, his spirit was at ese.
  'Thanne is,' quod he, 'no-thing may me displese,           (390)
  Saue o thing priketh in my conscience,                      1635
  The which I wol reherce in your presence.

    1630. Cm. of; Cp. Ln. with; _rest om._   1631. Hn. labouren; _rest_
    laboure.

    I have,' quod he, 'herd seyd, ful yore ago,
  Ther may no man han parfite blisses two,
  This is to seye, in erthe and eek in hevene.
  For though he kepe him fro the sinnes sevene,               1640
  And eek from every branche of thilke tree,
  Yet is ther so parfit felicitee,
  And so greet ese and lust in mariage,
  That ever I am agast, now in myn age,                      (400)
  That I shal lede now so mery a lyf,                         1645
  So delicat, with-outen wo and stryf,
  That I shal have myn hevene in erthe here.
  For sith that verray hevene is boght so dere,
  With tribulacioun and greet penaunce,
  How sholde I thanne, that live in swich plesaunce           1650
  As alle wedded men don with hir wyvis,
  Come to the blisse ther Crist eterne on lyve is?
  This is my drede, and ye, my bretheren tweye,
  Assoilleth me this questioun, I preye.'                    (410)

    1645. E. myrie; Hn. murye.

    Iustinus, which that hated his folye,                     1655
  Answerde anon, right in his Iaperye;
  And for he wolde his longe tale abregge,
  He wolde noon auctoritee allegge,
  But seyde, 'sire, so ther be noon obstacle
  Other than this, god of his hye miracle                     1660
  And of his mercy may so for yow wirche,
  That, er ye have your right of holy chirche,
  Ye may repente of wedded mannes lyf,
  In which ye seyn ther is no wo ne stryf.                   (420)
  And elles, god forbede but he sente                         1665
  [439: T. 9540-9576.]
  A wedded man him grace to repente
  Wel ofte rather than a sengle man!
  And therfore, sire, the beste reed I can,
  Dispeire yow noght, but have in your memorie,
  Paraunter she may be your purgatorie!                       1670
  She may be goddes mene, and goddes whippe;
  Than shal your soule up to hevene skippe
  Swifter than dooth an arwe out of the bowe!
  I hope to god, her-after shul ye knowe,                    (430)
  That their nis no so greet felicitee                        1675
  In mariage, ne never-mo shal be,
  That yow shal lette of your savacioun,
  So that ye use, as skile is and resoun,
  The lustes of your wyf attemprely,
  And that ye plese hir nat to amorously,                     1680
  And that ye kepe yow eek from other sinne.
  My tale is doon:--for my wit is thinne.
  Beth nat agast her-of, my brother dere.'--
  (But lat us waden out of this matere.                      (440)
  The Wyf of Bathe, if ye han understonde,                    1685
  Of mariage, which we have on honde,
  Declared hath ful wel in litel space).--
  'Fareth now wel, god have yow in his grace.'

    1660. Hn. Pt. hye; E. hygh.   1661. E. his hygh mercy; _rest om._
    hygh.   1665. Cp. Pt. Ln. but if.   1672. E. Thanne.   1682.
    _Incomplete_.   1686. Hn. we; _rest_ ye.

    And with this word this Justin and his brother
  Han take hir leve, and ech of hem of other.                 1690
  For whan they sawe it moste nedes be,
  They wroghten so, by sly and wys tretee,
  That she, this mayden, which that Maius highte,
  As hastily as ever that she mighte,                        (450)
  Shal wedded be un-to this Ianuarie.                         1695
  I trowe it were to longe yow to tarie,
  If I yow tolde of every scrit and bond,
  By which that she was feffed in his lond;
  Or for to herknen of hir riche array.
  But finally y-comen is the day                              1700
  That to the chirche bothe be they went
  For to receyve the holy sacrement.
  [440: T. 9577-9612.]
  Forth comth the preest, with stole aboute his nekke,
  And bad hir be lyk Sarra and Rebekke,                      (460)
  In wisdom and in trouthe of mariage;                        1705
  And seyde his orisons, as is usage,
  And crouched hem, and bad god sholde hem blesse,
  And made al siker y-nogh with holinesse.

    1691. Hn. Cp. sawe; E. Hl. saugh.   E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _ins._ that _bef_.
    it.   E. _om._ nedes.   1692. sly] Hl. sleighte.   1693. MSS. Mayus.
    1698. Hl. feoffed.   1704. E. lyk to; _rest om._ to.   1706. his] E.
    hir.   1707. E. Hn. Cm. croucheth.

    Thus been they wedded with solempnitee,
  And at the feste sitteth he and she                         1710
  With other worthy folk up-on the deys.
  Al ful of Ioye and blisse is the paleys,
  And ful of instruments and of vitaille,
  The moste deyntevous of al Itaille.                        (470)
  Biforn hem stoode swiche instruments of soun,               1715
  That Orpheus, ne of Thebes Amphioun,
  Ne maden never swich a melodye.

    1715. _So_ Cm. Hl.; E. _puts_ swich _before_ soun; Hn. _repeats_ swich
    _before_ soun.

    At every cours than cam loud minstraleye,
  That never tromped Ioab, for to here,
  Nor he, Theodomas, yet half so clere,                       1720
  At Thebes, whan the citee was in doute.
  Bacus the wyn hem skinketh al aboute,
  And Venus laugheth up-on every wight.
  For Ianuarie was bicome hir knight,                        (480)
  And wolde bothe assayen his corage                          1725
  In libertee, and eek in mariage;
  And with hir fyrbrond in hir hand aboute
  Daunceth biforn the bryde and al the route.
  And certeinly, I dar right wel seyn this,
  Ymenëus, that god of wedding is,                            1730
  Saugh never his lyf so mery a wedded man.
  Hold thou thy pees, thou poete Marcian,
  That wrytest us that ilke wedding murie
  Of hir, Philologye, and him, Mercurie                      (490)
  And of the songes that the Muses songe.                     1735
  To smal is bothe thy penne, and eek thy tonge,
  For to descryven of this mariage.
  Whan tendre youthe hath wedded stouping age,
  [441: T. 9613-9648.]
  Ther is swich mirthe that it may nat be writen;
  Assayeth it your-self, than may ye witen                    1740
  If that I lye or noon in this matere.

    1718. E. Hn. thanne; Hl. ther.   1731. E. myrie; Hn. murye.   1740. E.
    thanne.   1741. E. matiere.

    Maius, that sit with so benigne a chere,
  Hir to biholde it semed fayëryë;
  Quene Ester loked never with swich an yë                   (500)
  On Assuer, so meke a look hath she.                         1745
  I may yow nat devyse al hir beautee;
  But thus muche of hir beautee telle I may,
  That she was lyk the brighte morwe of May,
  Fulfild of alle beautee and plesaunce.

    1742. E. benyngne; chiere.   1743. Cp. Pt. Hl. fayerye: _rest_
    fairye.   1744. Pt. Hl. ye; Cp. yhe; _rest_ eye.

    This Ianuarie is ravisshed in a traunce                   1750
  At every time he loked on hir face;
  But in his herte he gan hir to manace,
  That he that night in armes wolde hir streyne
  Harder than ever Paris dide Eleyne.                        (510)
  But nathelees, yet hadde he greet pitee,                    1755
  That thilke night offenden hir moste he;
  And thoughte, 'allas! o tendre creature!
  Now wolde god ye mighte wel endure
  Al my corage, it is so sharp and kene;
  I am agast ye shul it nat sustene.                          1760
  But god forbede that I dide al my might!
  Now wolde god that it were woxen night,
  And that the night wolde lasten evermo.
  I wolde that al this peple were ago.'                      (520)
  And finally, he doth al his labour,                         1765
  As he best mighte, savinge his honour,
  To haste hem fro the mete in subtil wyse.

    1751. Hl. lokith.

    The tyme cam that reson was to ryse;
  And after that, men daunce and drinken faste,
  And spyces al aboute the hous they caste;                   1770
  And ful of Ioye and blisse is every man;
  All but a squyer, highte Damian,
  Which carf biforn the knight ful many a day.
  He was so ravisshed on his lady May,                       (530)
  [442: T. 9649-9683.]
  That for the verray peyne he was ny wood;                   1775
  Almost he swelte and swowned ther he stood.
  So sore hath Venus hurt him with hir brond,
  As that she bar it daunsinge in hir hond.
  And to his bed he wente him hastily;
  Na-more of him as at this tyme speke I.                     1780
  But ther I lete him wepe y-nough and pleyne,
  Til fresshe May wol rewen on his peyne.

    1772. E. Hn. Cm. highte; _rest_ that highte (hight).   1780. Hl. as;
    _rest om._ E. _om._ I.

    O perilous fyr, that in the bedstraw bredeth!          AUCTOR.
  O famulier foo, that his servyce bedeth!                   (540)
  O servant traitour, false hoomly hewe,                      1785
  Lyk to the naddre in bosom sly untrewe,
  God shilde us alle from your aqueyntaunce!
  O Ianuarie, dronken in plesaunce
  Of mariage, see how thy Damian,
  Thyn owene squyer and thy borne man,                        1790
  Entendeth for to do thee vileinye.
  God graunte thee thyn hoomly fo tespye.
  For in this world nis worse pestilence
  Than hoomly foo al day in thy presence.                    (550)

    1784. Cp. Hl. famuler; Pt. famulere; Ln. famylere.   1786. Hn. Cp.
    neddre; Cm. neddere; Hl. nedder; Pt. adder.   1789. Pt. Hl. Of; Cp. Ln.
    O(!); _rest_ In.   1790. Cm. bore; Cp. Ln. Hl. borne; _rest_ born.
    1792. Cp. Ln. to espye; Hn. Hl. espye.

    Parfourned hath the sonne his ark diurne,                 1795
  No lenger may the body of him soiurne
  On thorisonte, as in that latitude.
  Night with his mantel, that is derk and rude,
  Gan oversprede the hemisperie aboute;
  For which departed is this lusty route                      1800
  Fro Ianuarie, with thank on every syde.
  Hom to hir houses lustily they ryde,
  Wher-as they doon hir thinges as hem leste,
  And whan they sye hir tyme, goon to reste.                 (560)
  Sone after that, this hastif Ianuarie                       1805
  Wolde go to bedde, he wolde no lenger tarie.
  He drinketh ipocras, clarree, and vernage
  Of spyces hote, tencresen his corage;
  And many a letuarie hadde he ful fyn,
  [443: T. 9684-9719.]
  Swiche as the cursed monk dan Constantyn                    1810
  Hath writen in his book _de Coitu_;
  To eten hem alle, he nas no-thing eschu.
  And to his privee freendes thus seyde he:
  'For goddes love, as sone as it may be,                    (570)
  Lat voyden al this hous in curteys wyse.'                   1815
  And they han doon right as he wol devyse.
  Men drinken, and the travers drawe anon;
  The bryde was broght a-bedde as stille as stoon;
  And whan the bed was with the preest y-blessed,
  Out of the chambre hath every wight him dressed.            1820
  And Ianuarie hath faste in armes take
  His fresshe May, his paradys, his make.
  He lulleth hir, he kisseth hir ful ofte
  With thikke bristles of his berd unsofte,                  (580)
  Lyk to the skin of houndfish, sharp as brere,               1825
  For he was shave al newe in his manere.
  He rubbeth hir aboute hir tendre face,
  And seyde thus, 'allas! I moot trespace
  To yow, my spouse, and yow gretly offende,
  Er tyme come that I wil doun descende.                      1830
  But nathelees, considereth this,' quod he,
  'Ther nis no werkman, what-so-ever he be,
  That may bothe werke wel and hastily;
  This wol be doon at leyser parfitly.                       (590)
  It is no fors how longe that we pleye;                      1835
  In trewe wedlok wedded be we tweye;
  And blessed be the yok that we been inne,
  For in our actes we mowe do no sinne.
  A man may do no sinne with his wyf,
  Ne hurte him-selven with his owene knyf;                    1840
  For we han leve to pleye us by the lawe.'
  Thus laboureth he til that the day gan dawe;
  And than he taketh a sop in fyn clarree,
  And upright in his bed than sitteth he,                    (600)
  And after that he sang ful loude and clere,                 1845
  [444: T. 9720-9755.]
  And kiste his wyf, and made wantoun chere.
  He was al coltish, ful of ragerye,
  And ful of Iargon as a flekked pye.
  The slakke skin aboute his nekke shaketh,
  Whyl that he sang; so chaunteth he and craketh.             1850
  But god wot what that May thoughte in hir herte,
  Whan she him saugh up sittinge in his sherte,
  In his night-cappe, and with his nekke lene;
  She preyseth nat his pleying worth a bene.                 (610)
  Than seide he thus, 'my reste wol I take;                   1855
  Now day is come, I may no lenger wake.'
  And doun he leyde his heed, and sleep til pryme.
  And afterward, whan that he saugh his tyme,
  Up ryseth Ianuarie; but fresshe May
  Holdeth hir chambre un-to the fourthe day,                  1860
  As usage is of wyves for the beste.
  For every labour som-tyme moot han reste,
  Or elles longe may he nat endure;
  This is to seyn, no lyves creature,                        (620)
  Be it of fish, or brid, or beest, or man.                   1865

    1802. E. Hl. hous; _rest_ houses.   1808. Cp. Pt. Hl. to encresen.
    1809. E. hath.   1810. E. _om._ cursed.   1812. Cm. Ln. was; _rest_
    nas.   1824. Cp. HL. thikke; _rest_ thilke (_with_ lk = kk).   E. Cm.
    brustles.   1838. E. Hn. Cm. _om._ our.   1843. E. thanne; fyne.
    1844. E. thanne.   1846. E. wantowne.   1847. E. coltissh.   1848. Cp.
    Pt. Girgoun; Ln. Girgun.   1851. Hn. thoghte.   1855. E. Thanne.
    1860. Pt. Ln. Hl. Holdeth; Cp. Holt; E. Hn. Heeld; Cm. Held.

    Now wol I speke of woful Damian,
  That languissheth for love, as ye shul here;
  Therfore I speke to him in this manere:
  I seye, 'O sely Damian, allas!
  Answere to my demaunde, as in this cas,                     1870
  How shaltow to thy lady fresshe May
  Telle thy wo? She wole alwey seye "nay";
  Eek if thou speke, she wol thy wo biwreye;
  God be thyn help, I can no bettre seye.'                   (630)

    1867. Cp. langureth; Pt. languowreth; Ln. longurith.   1870. E.
    Andswere.

    This syke Damian in Venus fyr                             1875
  So brenneth, that he dyeth for desyr;
  For which he putte his lyf in aventure,
  No lenger mighte he in this wyse endure;
  But prively a penner gan he borwe,
  And in a lettre wroot he al his sorwe,                      1880
  In manere of a compleynt or a lay,
  [445: T. 9756-9792.]
  Un-to his faire fresshe lady May.
  And in a purs of silk, heng on his sherte,
  He hath it put, and leyde it at his herte.                 (640)

    The mone that, at noon, was, thilke day                   1885
  That Ianuarie hath wedded fresshe May,
  In two of Taur, was in-to Cancre gliden;
  So longe hath Maius in hir chambre biden,
  As custume is un-to thise nobles alle.
  A bryde shal nat eten in the halle,                         1890
  Til dayes foure or three dayes atte leste
  Y-passed been; than lat hir go to feste.
  The fourthe day compleet fro noon to noon,
  Whan that the heighe masse was y-doon,                     (650)
  In halle sit this Ianuarie, and May                         1895
  As fresh as is the brighte someres day.
  And so bifel, how that this gode man
  Remembred him upon this Damian,
  And seyde, 'Seinte Marie! how may this be,
  That Damian entendeth nat to me?                            1900
  Is he ay syk, or how may this bityde?'
  His squyeres, whiche that stoden ther bisyde,
  Excused him by-cause of his siknesse,
  Which letted him to doon his bisinesse;                    (660)
  Noon other cause mighte make him tarie.                     1905

    1888. Hl. Hn. Cp. abiden.   1892. E. thanne.   1896. E. fressh.   1902.
    E. Hise.

    'That me forthinketh,' quod this Ianuarie,
  'He is a gentil squyer, by my trouthe!
  If that he deyde, it were harm and routhe;
  He is as wys, discreet, and as secree
  As any man I woot of his degree;                            1910
  And ther-to manly and eek servisable,
  And for to been a thrifty man right able.
  But after mete, as sone as ever I may,
  I wol my-self visyte him and eek May,                      (670)
  To doon him al the confort that I can.'                     1915
  And for that word him blessed every man,
  That, of his bountee and his gentillesse,
  He wolde so conforten in siknesse
  [446: T. 9793-9830.]
  His squyer, for it was a gentil dede.
  'Dame,' quod this Ianuarie, 'tak good hede,                 1920
  At-after mete ye, with your wommen alle,
  Whan ye han been in chambre out of this halle,
  That alle ye go see this Damian;
  Doth him disport, he is a gentil man;                      (680)
  And telleth him that I wol him visyte,                      1925
  Have I no-thing but rested me a lyte;
  And spede yow faste, for I wole abyde
  Til that ye slepe faste by my syde.'
  And with that word he gan to him to calle
  A squyer, that was marchal of his halle,                    1930
  And tolde him certeyn thinges, what he wolde.

    1920. E. taak.   1921. E. noon; _rest_ mete.

    This fresshe May hath streight hir wey y-holde,
  With alle hir wommen, un-to Damian.
  Doun by his beddes syde sit she than,                      (690)
  Confortinge him as goodly as she may.                       1935
  This Damian, whan that his tyme he say,
  In secree wise his purs, and eek his bille,
  In which that he y-writen hadde his wille,
  Hath put in-to hir hand, with-outen more,
  Save that he syketh wonder depe and sore,                   1940
  And softely to hir right thus seyde he:
  'Mercy! and that ye nat discovere me;
  For I am deed, if that this thing be kid.'
  This purs hath she inwith hir bosom hid,                   (700)
  And wente hir wey; ye gete namore of me.                    1945
  But un-to Ianuarie y-comen is she,
  That on his beddes syde sit ful softe.
  He taketh hir, and kisseth hir ful ofte,
  And leyde him doun to slepe, and that anon.
  She feyned hir as that she moste gon                        1950
  Ther-as ye woot that every wight mot nede.
  And whan she of this bille hath taken hede,
  She rente it al to cloutes atte laste,
  And in the privee softely it caste.                        (710)

    Who studieth now but faire fresshe May?                   1955
  Adoun by olde Ianuarie she lay,
  [447: T. 9831-9866.]
  That sleep, til that the coughe hath him awaked;
  Anon he preyde hir strepen hir al naked;
  He wolde of hir, he seyde, han som plesaunce,
  And seyde, hir clothes dide him encombraunce,               1960
  And she obeyeth, be hir lief or looth.
  But lest that precious folk be with me wrooth,
  How that he wroghte, I dar nat to yow telle;
  Or whether hir thoughte it paradys or helle;               (720)
  But here I lete hem werken in hir wyse                      1965
  Til evensong rong, and that they moste aryse.

    1957. Hn. Cm. coghe; Ln. couhe.   1962. E. ye; Cm. the; _rest_ that.
    1964. E. wheither that; Hn. Cm. Hl. _om._ that.   1966. Cp. Ln.
    euesong.

    Were it by destinee or aventure,
  Were it by influence or by nature,
  Or constellacion, that in swich estat
  The hevene stood, that tyme fortunat                        1970
  Was for to putte a bille of Venus werkes
  (For alle thing hath tyme, as seyn thise clerkes)
  To any womman, for to gete hir love,
  I can nat seye; but grete god above,                       (730)
  That knoweth that non act is causelees,                     1975
  He deme of al, for I wol holde my pees.
  But sooth is this, how that this fresshe May
  Hath take swich impression that day,
  For pitee of this syke Damian,
  That from hir herte she ne dryve can                        1980
  The remembraunce for to doon him ese.
  'Certeyn,' thoghte she, 'whom that this thing displese,
  I rekke noght, for here I him assure,
  To love him best of any creature,                          (740)
  Though he na-more hadde than his sherte.'                   1985
  Lo, pitee renneth sone in gentil herte.

    1967. _All but_ Ln. Hl. _ins._ by _after_ or.   1969, 70. E. estaat,
    fortunaat.   1971. Hn. Hl. As; E. Cp. Pt. Ln. Was.

    Heer may ye se how excellent franchyse
  In wommen is, whan they hem narwe avyse.
  Som tyrant is, as ther be many oon,
  That hath an herte as hard as any stoon,                    1990
  Which wolde han lete him sterven in the place
  Wel rather than han graunted him hir grace;
  [448: T. 9867-9902.]
  And hem reioysen in hir cruel pryde,
  And rekke nat to been an homicyde.                         (750)

    1991. E. Cm. lat.   E. storuen.   1993. E. crueel.

    This gentil May, fulfilled of pitee,                      1995
  Right of hir hande a lettre made she,
  In which she graunteth him hir verray grace;
  Ther lakketh noght but only day and place,
  Wher that she mighte un-to his lust suffyse:
  For it shal be right as he wol devyse.                      2000
  And whan she saugh hir time, up-on a day,
  To visite this Damian goth May,
  And sotilly this lettre doun she threste
  Under his pilwe, rede it if him leste.                     (760)
  She taketh him by the hand, and harde him twiste            2005
  So secrely, that no wight of it wiste,
  And bad him been al hool, and forth she wente
  To Ianuarie, whan that he for hir sente.

    1996. Hn. Hl. maked; Cm. makede.   1998. Cm. Hl. but only; _rest_ only
    but.   2002. _All_ visite; _perhaps read_ visiten.   2007. she] E.
    he.   2008. hir] E. him.

    Up ryseth Damian the nexte morwe,
  Al passed was his siknesse and his sorwe.                   2010
  He kembeth him, he proyneth him and pyketh,
  He dooth al that his lady lust and lyketh;
  And eek to Ianuarie he gooth as lowe
  As ever dide a dogge for the bowe.                         (770)
  He is so plesant un-to every man,                           2015
  (For craft is al, who-so that do it can)
  That every wight is fayn to speke him good;
  And fully in his lady grace he stood.
  Thus lete I Damian aboute his nede,
  And in my tale forth I wol procede.                         2020

    2011. E. preyneth; Hn. prayneth; Hl. pruneth.   2018. Hn. Cm. ladyes;
    _rest_ lady.

    Somme clerkes holden that felicitee
  Stant in delyt, and therefor certeyn he,
  This noble Ianuarie, with al his might,
  In honest wyse, as longeth to a knight,                    (780)
  Shoop him to live ful deliciously.                          2025
  His housinge, his array, as honestly
  To his degree was maked as a kinges.
  Amonges othere of his honest thinges,
  [449: T. 9903-9938.]
  He made a gardin, walled al with stoon;
  So fair a gardin woot I nowher noon.                        2030
  For out of doute, I verraily suppose,
  That he that wroot the Romance of the Rose
  Ne coude of it the beautee wel devyse;
  Ne Priapus ne mighte nat suffyse,                          (790)
  Though he be god of gardins, for to telle                   2035
  The beautee of the gardin and the welle,
  That stood under a laurer alwey grene.
  Ful ofte tyme he, Pluto, and his quene,
  Proserpina, and al hir fayërye
  Disporten hem and maken melodye
  Aboute that welle, and daunced, as men tolde.

    2024, 2028. E. Hn. Cm. Cp. honeste.   2032. Cm. Hl. romanus; Ln.
    romans.   2039. Cp. Hl. fayerie; _rest_ fairye.

    This noble knight, this Ianuarie the olde,
  Swich deintee hath in it to walke and pleye,
  That he wol no wight suffren bere the keye                 (800)
  Save he him-self; for of the smale wiket                    2045
  He bar alwey of silver a smal cliket,
  With which, whan that him leste, he it unshette.
  And whan he wolde paye his wyf hir dette
  In somer seson, thider wolde he go,
  And May his wyf, and no wight but they two;
  And thinges whiche that were nat doon a-bedde,
  He in the gardin parfourned hem and spedde.
  And in this wyse, many a mery day,
  Lived this Ianuarie and fresshe May.                       (810)
  But worldly Ioye may nat alwey dure                         2055
  To Ianuarie, ne to no creature.

    2046. E. baar.   Hl. smal; _rest om._   2053. E. Hn. murye.

    O sodeyn hap, o thou fortune instable,                 AUCTOR.
  Lyk to the scorpion so deceivable,
  That flaterest with thyn heed when thou wolt stinge;
  Thy tayl is deeth, thurgh thyn enveniminge.                 2060
  O brotil Ioye! o swete venim queynte!
  O monstre, that so subtilly canst peynte
  Thy yiftes, under hewe of stedfastnesse,
  That thou deceyvest bothe more and lesse!                  (820)
  [450: T. 9939-9974.]
  Why hastow Ianuarie thus deceyved,                          2065
  That haddest him for thy ful frend receyved?
  And now thou hast biraft him bothe hise yën,
  For sorwe of which desyreth he to dyen.

    2059. E. synge; _rest_ stinge.   2061. venim] Cp. Pt. Ln. poyson.
    2063. E. stidefastnesse.   2067. Hl. yen; Cm. Iyen; _rest_ eyen.

    Allas! this noble Ianuarie free,
  Amidde his lust and his prosperitee,                        2070
  Is woxen blind, and that al sodeynly.
  He wepeth and he wayleth pitously;
  And ther-with-al the fyr of Ialousye,
  Lest that his wyf sholde falle in som folye,               (830)
  So brente his herte, that he wolde fayn                     2075
  That som man bothe him and hir had slayn.
  For neither after his deeth, nor in his lyf,
  Ne wolde he that she were love ne wyf,
  But ever live as widwe in clothes blake,
  Soul as the turtle that lost hath hir make.                 2080
  But atte laste, after a monthe or tweye,
  His sorwe gan aswage, sooth to seye;
  For whan he wiste it may noon other be,
  He paciently took his adversitee;                          (840)
  Save, out of doute, he may nat forgoon                      2085
  That he nas Ialous evermore in oon;
  Which Ialousye it was so outrageous,
  That neither in halle, nin noon other hous,
  Ne in noon other place, never-the-mo,
  He nolde suffre hir for to ryde or go,                      2090
  But-if that he had hand on hir alway;
  For which ful ofte wepeth fresshe May,
  That loveth Damian so benignely,
  That she mot outher dyen sodeynly,                         (850)
  Or elles she mot han him as hir leste;                      2095
  She wayteth whan hir herte wolde breste.

    2074. E. swich; _rest_ som (sum).   2080. Cp. Ln. Soule; Pt. Sool;
    _rest_ Soul.   2089. E. Nyn; _rest_ Ne in.   2091. E. hond (_but_ hand
    _in_ l. 2103).   2093. E. benyngnely.

    Up-on that other syde Damian
  Bicomen is the sorwefulleste man
  That ever was; for neither night ne day
  Ne mighte he speke a word to fresshe May,                   2100
  [451: T. 9975-10010.]
  As to his purpos, of no swich matere,
  But-if that Ianuarie moste it here,
  That hadde an hand up-on hir evermo.
  But nathelees, by wryting to and fro                       (860)
  And privee signes, wiste he what she mente;                 2105
  And she knew eek the fyn of his entente.

    O Ianuarie, what mighte it thee availle,               AUCTOR.
  Thou mightest see as fer as shippes saille?
  For also good is blind deceyved be,
  As be deceyved whan a man may se.                           2110
  Lo, Argus, which that hadde an hondred yën,
  For al that ever he coude poure or pryen,
  Yet was he blent; and, god wot, so ben mo,
  That wenen wisly that it be nat so.                        (870)
  Passe over is an ese, I sey na-more.                        2115

    2108. E. Ln. Thogh thou; Hl. If thou; _rest_ Thou.   2109. Cm. Ln.
    also; _rest_ as.   2110. _All_ As to be.   2111. Ln. yene; _rest_ eyen.

    This fresshe May, that I spak of so yore,
  In warme wex hath emprented the cliket,
  That Ianuarie bar of the smale wiket,
  By which in-to his gardin ofte he wente.
  And Damian, that knew al hir entente,                       2120
  The cliket countrefeted prively;
  Ther nis na-more to seye, but hastily
  Som wonder by this cliket shal bityde,
  Which ye shul heren, if ye wole abyde.                     (880)

    2117. Pt. Ln. warme; _rest_ warm.   _Perhaps read_ emprented hath.
    2118. Pt. smal; _rest_ smale.

    O noble Ovyde, ful sooth seystou, god woot!            AUCTOR.
  What sleighte is it, thogh it be long and hoot,             2126
  That he nil finde it out in som manere?
  By Piramus and Tesbee may men lere;
  Thogh they were kept ful longe streite overal,
  They been accorded, rouninge thurgh a wal,                  2130
  Ther no wight coude han founde out swich a sleighte.

    But now to purpos; er that dayes eighte
  Were passed, er the monthe of Iuil, bifil
  That Ianuarie hath caught so greet a wil,                  (890)
  Thurgh egging of his wyf, him for to pleye                  2135
  In his gardin, and no wight but they tweye,
  [452: T. 10011-10046.]
  That in a morwe un-to this May seith he:
  'Rys up, my wyf, my love, my lady free;
  The turtles vois is herd, my douve swete;
  The winter is goon, with alle his reynes wete;              2140
  Com forth now, with thyn eyën columbyn!
  How fairer been thy brestes than is wyn!
  The gardin is enclosed al aboute;
  Com forth, my whyte spouse; out of doute,                  (900)
  Thou hast me wounded in myn herte, o wyf!                   2145
  No spot of thee ne knew I al my lyf.
  Com forth, and lat us taken our disport;
  I chees thee for my wyf and my confort.'

    2133, 4. Cm. befel, wyl; _rest_ bifille, wille; _see note._   2139. E.
    turtle.   2140. Cp. Pt. Ln. alle (al); _rest om._   2146. Cp. Pt. Ln.
    in (_for_ of).   2147. E. som; _rest_ our (oure).

    Swiche olde lewed wordes used he;
  On Damian a signe made she,                                 2150
  That he sholde go biforen with his cliket:
  This Damian thanne hath opened the wiket,
  And in he stirte, and that in swich manere,
  That no wight mighte it see neither y-here;                (910)
  And stille he sit under a bush anoon.                       2155

    2151. Ln. beforne; _rest_ biforn; _read_ biforen.

    This Ianuarie, as blind as is a stoon,
  With Maius in his hand, and no wight mo,
  In-to his fresshe gardin is ago,
  And clapte to the wiket sodeynly.

    'Now, wyf,' quod he, 'heer nis but thou and I,            2160
  That art the creature that I best love.
  For, by that lord that sit in heven above,
  Lever ich hadde dyen on a knyf,
  Than thee offende, trewe dere wyf!                         (920)
  For goddes sake, thenk how I thee chees,                    2165
  Noght for no coveityse, doutelees,
  But only for the love I had to thee.
  And though that I be old, and may nat see,
  Beth to me trewe, and I shal telle yow why.
  Three thinges, certes, shul ye winne ther-by;               2170
  First, love of Crist, and to your-self honour,
  And al myn heritage, toun and tour;
  [453: T. 10047-10082.]
  I yeve it yow, maketh chartres as yow leste;
  This shal be doon to-morwe er sonne reste.                 (930)
  So wisly god my soule bringe in blisse,                     2175
  I prey yow first, in covenant ye me kisse.
  And thogh that I be Ialous, wyte me noght.
  Ye been so depe enprented in my thoght,
  That, whan that I considere your beautee,
  And ther-with-al the unlykly elde of me,                    2180
  I may nat, certes, thogh I sholde dye,
  Forbere to been out of your companye
  For verray love; this is with-outen doute.
  Now kis me, wyf, and lat us rome aboute.'                  (940)

    2163. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. to dyen; Cp. Pt. Ln. _om._ to.   2170. E. Hn.
    shal; Pt. Cm. Hl. shul.   2177, 2181. E. though.   2179. E. Pt. _om._
    that.

    This fresshe May, whan she thise wordes herde,            2185
  Benignely to Ianuarie answerde,
  But first and forward she bigan to wepe,
  'I have,' quod she, 'a soule for to kepe
  As wel as ye, and also myn honour,
  And of my wyfhod thilke tendre flour,                       2190
  Which that I have assured in your hond,
  Whan that the preest to yow my body bond;
  Wherfore I wole answere in this manere
  By the leve of yow, my lord so dere:                       (950)
  I prey to god, that never dawe the day                      2195
  That I ne sterve, as foule as womman may,
  If ever I do un-to my kin that shame,
  Or elles I empeyre so my name,
  That I be fals; and if I do that lakke,
  Do strepe me and put me in a sakke,                         2200
  And in the nexte river do me drenche.
  I am a gentil womman and no wenche.
  Why speke ye thus? but men ben ever untrewe,
  And wommen have repreve of yow ay newe.                    (960)
  Ye han non other contenance, I leve,                        2205
  But speke to us of untrust and repreve.'

    2186. E. Benyngnely.   2194. Cp. Pt. Ln. With (_for_ By).   2205. Cm.
    Cp. Pt. Ln. can (_for_ han).

    And with that word she saugh wher Damian
  Sat in the bush, and coughen she bigan,
  [454: T. 10083-10114.]
  And with hir finger signes made she,
  That Damian sholde climbe up-on a tree,                     2210
  That charged was with fruit, and up he wente;
  For verraily he knew al hir entente,
  And every signe that she coude make
  Wel bet than Ianuarie, hir owene make.                     (970)
  For in a lettre she had told him al                         2215
  Of this matere, how he werchen shal.
  And thus I lete him sitte up-on the pyrie,
  And Ianuarie and May rominge myrie.

    2208. E. Hl. coughen; Hn. coghen; Cm. coghe.   2215. E. hadde toold.
    2217. Pt. pirry; Hn. purye; _rest_ pyrie (pirie, pyry).   2218. Hn.
    murye; Cp. myry; Hl. mirye; Cm. Pt. Ln. merie (mery).

    Bright was the day, and blew the firmament,
  Phebus of gold his stremes doun hath sent,                  2220
  To gladen every flour with his warmnesse.
  He was that tyme _in Geminis_, as I gesse,
  But litel fro his declinacioun
  Of Cancer, Iovis exaltacioun.                              (980)
  And so bifel, that brighte morwe-tyde,                      2225
  That in that gardin, in the ferther syde,
  Pluto, that is the king of fayërye,
  And many a lady in his companye,
  Folwinge his wyf, the quene Proserpyne,
  Ech after other, right as any lyne--                        2230
  Whil that she gadered floures in the mede,
  In Claudian ye may the story rede,
  How in his grisly carte he hir fette:--
  This king of fairye thanne adoun him sette                 (990)
  Up-on a bench of turves, fresh and grene,                   2235
  And right anon thus seyde he to his quene.

    2220. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _put_ hath _before_ of gold; Cp. Pt. Ln. doun hath
    his stremes sent.   E. Hn. Hl. ysent; _rest_ sent.   2227. Cp. Pt. Ln.
    the; _rest_ on. Cp. Hl. fayerye; _rest_ fairye.   2230. Cm. ony; E. Hl.
    a (_for_ any). Cp. Pt. Ln. _have_ Which that he rauysshed out of
    Proserpyna(!).   2232. Hl. story; _rest_ stories.   2233. E. And;
    _rest_ How.   E. grisely.   E. Hn. Cm. sette; _rest_ fette.   2234. Cp.
    Pt. Ln. _om._ thanne.

    'My wyf,' quod he, 'ther may no wight sey nay;
  Thexperience so preveth every day
  The treson whiche that wommen doon to man.
  Ten hondred thousand [stories] telle I can                  2240
  [455: T. 10115-10149.]
  Notable of your untrouthe and brotilnesse.
  O Salomon, wys, richest of richesse,
  Fulfild of sapience and of worldly glorie,
  Ful worthy been thy wordes to memorie                     (1000)
  To every wight that wit and reson can.                      2245
  Thus preiseth he yet the bountee of man:
  "Amonges a thousand men yet fond I oon,
  But of wommen alle fond I noon."

    2237. E. seye.   2239. E. tresons.   2240. _I supply_ stories.   Pt.
    Ln. telle; _rest_ tellen.   2242. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. wys and; Cp. Pt. Ln.
    _om. both_ wys _and_ and.   2247, 8. E. foond.

    Thus seith the king that knoweth your wikkednesse;
  And Iesus _filius Syrak_, as I gesse,                       2250
  Ne speketh of yow but selde reverence.
  A wilde fyr and corrupt pestilence
  So falle up-on your bodies yet to-night!
  Ne see ye nat this honurable knight,                      (1010)
  By-cause, allas! that he is blind and old,                  2255
  His owene man shal make him cokewold;
  Lo heer he sit, the lechour, in the tree.
  Now wol I graunten, of my magestee,
  Un-to this olde blinde worthy knight
  That he shal have ayeyn his eyen sight,                     2260
  Whan that his wyf wold doon him vileinye;
  Than shal he knowen al hir harlotrye
  Both in repreve of hir and othere mo.'

    2262. E. Thanne.

    'Ye shal,' quod Proserpyne, 'wol ye so;                 (1020)
  Now, by my modres sires soule I swere,                      2265
  That I shal yeven hir suffisant answere,
  And alle wommen after, for hir sake;
  That, though they be in any gilt y-take,
  With face bold they shulle hem-self excuse,
  And bere hem doun that wolden hem accuse.                   2270
  For lakke of answer, noon of hem shal dyen.
  Al hadde man seyn a thing with bothe his yën,
  Yit shul we wommen visage it hardily,
  And wepe, and swere, and chyde subtilly,                  (1030)
  So that ye men shul been as lewed as gees.
  [456: T. 10150-10184.]
  What rekketh me of your auctoritees?

    2264. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. and wol (_for_ wol).   2272. Pt. Hl. yen; _rest_
    eyen (ey[gh]en).   2273. Cp. Pt. Ln. so (_for_ wommen).   2274. E.
    visage it (_for_ chyde, _by mistake_).

    I woot wel that this Iew, this Salomon,
  Fond of us wommen foles many oon.
  But though that he ne fond no good womman,
  Yet hath ther founde many another man                       2280
  Wommen ful trewe, ful gode, and vertuous.
  Witnesse on hem that dwelle in Cristes hous,
  With martirdom they preved hir constance.
  The Romayn gestes maken remembrance                       (1040)
  Of many a verray trewe wyf also.                            2285
  But sire, ne be nat wrooth, al-be-it so,
  Though that he seyde he fond no good womman,
  I prey yow take the sentence of the man;
  He mente thus, that in sovereyn bontee
  Nis noon but god, that sit in Trinitee.                     2290

    2278. E. Foond; fooles.   2279. E. foond.   2284. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. eek
    maken; _rest om._ eek.   2287. E. foond.   2290. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. but
    neither he ne she (_for_ that ... Trinitee).

    Ey! for verray god, that nis but oon,
  What make ye so muche of Salomon?
  What though he made a temple, goddes hous?
  What though he were riche and glorious?                   (1050)
  So made he eek a temple of false goddis,                    2295
  How mighte he do a thing that more forbode is?
  Pardee, as faire as ye his name emplastre,
  He was a lechour and an ydolastre;
  And in his elde he verray god forsook.
  And if that god ne hadde, as seith the book,                2300
  Y-spared him for his fadres sake, he sholde
  Have lost his regne rather than he wolde.
  I sette noght of al the vileinye,
  That ye of wommen wryte, a boterflye.                     (1060)
  I am a womman, nedes moot I speke,                          2305
  Or elles swelle til myn herte breke.
  For sithen he seyde that we ben Iangleresses,
  As ever hool I mote brouke my tresses,
  I shal nat spare, for no curteisye,
  To speke him harm that wolde us vileinye.'                  2310
  [457: T. 10185-10221.]
  'Dame,' quod this Pluto, 'be no lenger wrooth;
  I yeve it up; but sith I swoor myn ooth
  That I wolde graunten him his sighte ageyn,
  My word shal stonde, I warne yow, certeyn.                (1070)
  I am a king, it sit me noght to lye.'                       2315

    2291. _So all_.   2298. E. lecchour.   2300. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. _om._
    that.   2301. E. Cm. _om._ him.   2303. E. Hn. Cm. Hl. sette right
    noght.

    'And I,' quod she, 'a queene of fayërye.
  Hir answere shal she have, I undertake;
  Lat us na-more wordes heer-of make.
  For sothe, I wol no lenger yow contrarie.'

    2316. Cp. Hl. fayerye; _rest_ fairye (fayre).

    Now lat us turne agayn to Ianuarie,                       2320
  That in the gardin with his faire May
  Singeth, ful merier than the papeiay,
  'Yow love I best, and shal, and other noon.'
  So longe aboute the aleyes is he goon,                    (1080)
  Til he was come agaynes thilke pyrie,                       2325
  Wher-as this Damian sitteth fill myrie
  An heigh, among the fresshe leves grene.

    2322. E. Hn. Cm. murier.   2325. Hl. agaynes; _rest_ agayns.   2327.
    Pt. Ln. Hl. On (_for_ An).

    This fresshe May, that is so bright and shene,
  Gan for to syke, and seyde, 'allas, my syde!
  Now sir,' quod she, 'for aught that may bityde,             2330
  I moste han of the peres that I see,
  Or I mot dye, so sore longeth me
  To eten of the smale peres grene.
  Help, for hir love that is of hevene quene!               (1090)
  I telle yow wel, a womman in my plyt                        2335
  May han to fruit so greet an appetyt,
  That she may dyen, but she of it have.'

    'Allas!' quod he, 'that I ne had heer a knave
  That coude climbe; allas! allas!' quod he,
  'That I am blind.' 'Ye, sir, no fors,' quod she:            2340
  'But wolde ye vouche-sauf, for goddes sake,
  The pyrie inwith your armes for to take,
  (For wel I woot that ye mistruste me)
  Thanne sholde I climbe wel y-nogh,' quod she,             (1100)
  'So I my foot mighte sette upon your bak.'                  2345

    'Certes,' quod he, 'ther-on shal be no lak,
  Mighte I yow helpen with myn herte blood.'
  [458: T. 10222-10257.]
  He stoupeth doun, and on his bak she stood,
  And caughte hir by a twiste, and up she gooth.
  Ladies, I prey yow that ye be nat wrooth;                   2350
  I can nat glose, I am a rude man.
  And sodeynly anon this Damian
  Gan pullen up the smok, and in he throng.

    And whan that Pluto saugh this grete wrong,             (1110)
  To Ianuarie he gaf agayn his sighte,                        2355
  And made him see, as wel as ever he mighte.
  And whan that he hadde caught his sighte agayn,
  Ne was ther never man of thing so fayn.
  But on his wyf his thoght was evermo;
  Up to the tree he caste his eyen two,                       2360
  And saugh that Damian his wyf had dressed
  In swich manere, it may nat ben expressed
  But if I wolde speke uncurteisly:
  And up he yaf a roring and a cry                          (1120)
  As doth the moder whan the child shal dye:                  2365
  'Out! help! allas! harrow!' he gan to crye,
  'O stronge lady store, what dostow?'

    2355. Pt. Ln. Hl. his sight ageyn (_and miss_ ll. 2356, 2357, _by
    confusion with_ agayn _in_ 2357).   2367. E. Hn. Cm. stoore; Pt. stoor;
    Cp. Ln. Hl. stoure.

    And she answerde, 'sir, what eyleth yow?
  Have pacience, and reson in your minde,
  I have yow holpe on bothe your eyen blinde.                 2370
  Up peril of my soule, I shal nat lyen,
  As me was taught, to hele with your yën,
  Was no-thing bet to make yow to see
  Than strugle with a man up-on a tree.                     (1130)
  God woot, I dide it in ful good entente.'                   2375

    2372. Ln. Hl. yen; _rest_ eyen (ey[gh]en).

    'Strugle!' quod he, 'ye, algate in it wente!
  God yeve yow bothe on shames deeth to dyen!
  He swyved thee, I saugh it with myne yën,
  And elles be I hanged by the hals!'

    2378. Ln. Hl. yen; _rest_ eyen (ey[gh]en).

    'Thanne is,' quod she, 'my medicyne al fals;              2380
  For certeinly, if that ye mighte see,
  Ye wolde nat seyn thise wordes un-to me;
  Ye han som glimsing and no parfit sighte.'

    2380. E. Pt. Ln. Hl. _om._ al.

[459: T. 10258-10292.]

    'I see,' quod he, 'as wel as ever I mighte,             (1140)
  Thonked be god! with bothe myne eyen two,                   2385
  And by my trouthe, me thoughte he dide thee so.'

    'Ye maze, maze, gode sire,' quod she,
  'This thank have I for I have maad yow see;
  Allas!' quod she, 'that ever I was so kinde!'

    'Now, dame,' quod he, 'lat al passe out of minde.         2390
  Com doun, my lief, and if I have missayd,
  God help me so, as I am yvel apayd.
  But, by my fader soule, I wende han seyn,
  How that this Damian had by thee leyn,                    (1150)
  And that thy smok had leyn up-on his brest.'                2395

    2394, 5. E. hadde.

    'Ye, sire,' quod she, 'ye may wene as yow lest;
  But, sire, a man that waketh out of his sleep,
  He may nat sodeynly wel taken keep
  Up-on a thing, ne seen it parfitly,
  Til that he be adawed verraily;                             2400
  Right so a man, that longe hath blind y-be,
  Ne may nat sodeynly so wel y-see,
  First whan his sighte is newe come ageyn,
  As he that hath a day or two y-seyn.                      (1160)
  Til that your sighte y-satled be a whyle,                   2405
  Ther may ful many a sighte yow bigyle.
  Beth war, I prey yow; for, by hevene king,
  Ful many a man weneth to seen a thing,
  And it is al another than it semeth.
  He that misconceyveth, he misdemeth.'                       2410
  And with that word she leep doun fro the tree.

    2397. Cm. Pt. _om._ his.   2405. Cp. Pt. Hl. I-stabled; Ln. stablid.

    This Ianuarie, who is glad but he?
  He kisseth hir, and clippeth hir ful ofte,
  And on hir wombe he stroketh hir ful softe,               (1170)
  And to his palays hoom he hath hir lad.                     2415
  Now, gode men, I pray yow to be glad.
  Thus endeth heer my tale of Ianuarie;
  God bless us and his moder Seinte Marie!

  HERE IS ENDED THE MARCHANTES TALE OF IANUARIE.

    2416. E. _om._ to.   2418. Hn. Hl. _add_ Amen.   COLOPHON. _So_ E. Hn.;
    Hl. Here endith the marchauntes tale.

[460: T. 10293-10314.]

       *       *       *       *       *

EPILOGUE TO THE MARCHANTES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  'Ey! goddes mercy!' seyde our Hoste tho,
  'Now swich a wyf I pray god kepe me fro!                    2420
  Lo, whiche sleightes and subtilitees
  In wommen been! for ay as bisy as bees
  Ben they, us sely men for to deceyve,
  And from a sothe ever wol they weyve;
  By this Marchauntes Tale it preveth weel.                   2425
  But doutelees, as trewe as any steel
  I have a wyf, though that she povre be;
  But of hir tonge a labbing shrewe is she,                   (10)
  And yet she hath an heep of vyces mo;
  Ther-of no fors, lat alle swiche thinges go.                2430
  But, wite ye what? in conseil be it seyd,
  Me reweth sore I am un-to hir teyd.
  For, and I sholde rekenen every vyce
  Which that she hath, y-wis, I were to nyce,
  And cause why; it sholde reported be                        2435
  And told to hir of somme of this meynee;
  Of whom, it nedeth nat for to declare,
  Sin wommen connen outen swich chaffare;                     (20)
  And eek my wit suffyseth nat ther-to
  To tellen al; wherfor my tale is do.'                       2440

    HEADING. E. The Prologe of the Squieres Tale; Hn. Here folwen the
    Wordes of the Worthy Hoost to the Frankeleyn; Pt. The prologe of the
    Fraunkeleyn.   2419. E. oure Hoost; Hl. our hoste.   2421. Hl.
    subtilitees; E. Hn. subtiltees.   2424. E. Hn. sooth; Pt. Hl. soth
    (_not_ sothe); _see_ G. 167, 662.

[461: T. 10315-10334.]

       *       *       *       *       *

GROUP F.

THE SQUIERES TALE.

       *       *       *       *       *

      [THE SQUIRE'S PROLOGUE.]

  'Squier, com neer, if it your wille be,
  And sey somwhat of love; for, certes, ye
  Connen ther-on as muche as any man.'
  'Nay, sir,' quod he, 'but I wol seye as I can
  With hertly wille; for I wol nat rebelle                       5
  Agayn your lust; a tale wol I telle.
  Have me excused if I speke amis,
  My wil is good; and lo, my tale is this.

  HERE BIGINNETH THE SQUIERES TALE.

  At Sarray, in the land of Tartarye,                          (1)
  Ther dwelte a king, that werreyed Russye,                     10
  Thurgh which ther deyde many a doughty man.
  This noble king was cleped Cambinskan,
  Which in his tyme was of so greet renoun
  That ther nas no-wher in no regioun
  So excellent a lord in alle thing;                            15
  Him lakked noght that longeth to a king.
  As of the secte of which that he was born
  He kepte his lay, to which that he was sworn;               (10)
  And ther-to be was hardy, wys, and riche,
  Pitous and Iust, and ever-more y-liche                        20
  [462: T. 10335-10371.]
  Sooth of his word, benigne and honurable,
  Of his corage as any centre stable;
  Yong, fresh, and strong, in armes desirous
  As any bacheler of al his hous.
  A fair persone he was and fortunat,                           25
  And kepte alwey so wel royal estat,
  That ther was nowher swich another man.
  This noble king, this Tartre Cambinskan                     (20)
  Hadde two sones on Elpheta his wyf,
  Of whiche the eldeste highte Algarsyf,                        30
  That other sone was cleped Cambalo.
  A doghter hadde this worthy king also,
  That yongest was, and highte Canacee.
  But for to telle yow al hir beautee,
  It lyth nat in my tonge, nin my conning;                      35
  I dar nat undertake so heigh a thing.
  Myn English eek is insufficient;
  It moste been a rethor excellent,                           (30)
  That coude his colours longing for that art,
  If he sholde hir discryven every part.                        40
  I am non swich, I moot speke as I can.

    HEADING (_after_ l. 8). _So_ E. Hn. Pt. Hl.   20. Hn. Pietous and Iust
    and euere moore yliche; E. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. And pitous and Iust alwey
    yliche (_with first syllable deficient_).   23. and strong] E. strong
    and.   35. nin] Cp. Pt. Ln. ne in; Hl. ne.   38. E. I moste,
    _miswritten_; Hl. He moste; _rest_ It moste.

    And so bifel that, whan this Cambinskan
  Hath twenty winter born his diademe,
  As he was wont fro yeer to yeer, I deme,
  He leet the feste of his nativitee                            45
  Don cryen thurghout Sarray his citee,
  The last Idus of March, after the yeer.
  Phebus the sonne ful Iory was and cleer;                    (40)
  For he was neigh his exaltacioun
  In Martes face, and in his mansioun                           50
  In Aries, the colerik hote signe.
  Ful lusty was the weder and benigne,
  For which the foules, agayn the sonne shene,
  What for the seson and the yonge grene,
  Ful loude songen hir affecciouns;                             55
  Him semed han geten hem protecciouns
  Agayn the swerd of winter kene and cold.

    46. Hn. thurghout; _rest_ thurgh.   53. E. Hn. foweles.

[463: T. 10372-10408.]

    This Cambinskan, of which I have yow told,                (50)
  In royal vestiment sit on his deys,
  With diademe, ful heighe in his paleys,                       60
  And halt his feste, so solempne and so riche
  That in this world ne was ther noon it liche.
  Of which if I shal tellen al tharray,
  Than wolde it occupye a someres day;
  And eek it nedeth nat for to devyse                           65
  At every cours the ordre of hir servyse.
  I wol nat tellen of hir strange sewes,
  Ne of hir swannes, ne of hir heronsewes.                    (60)
  Eek in that lond, as tellen knightes olde,
  Ther is som mete that is ful deyntee holde,                   70
  That in this lond men recche of it but smal;
  Ther nis no man that may reporten al.
  I wol nat tarien yow, for it is pryme,
  And for it is no fruit but los of tyme;
  Un-to my firste I wol have my recours.                        75

    62. E. Hl. _om._ ne.   68. E. nor; _rest_ ne.

    And so bifel that, after the thridde cours,
  Whyl that this king sit thus in his nobleye,
  Herkninge his minstralles hir thinges pleye                 (70)
  Biforn him at the bord deliciously,
  In at the halle-dore al sodeynly                              80
  Ther cam a knight up-on a stede of bras,
  And in his hand a brood mirour of glas.
  Upon his thombe he hadde of gold a ring,
  And by his syde a naked swerd hanging;
  And up he rydeth to the heighe bord.                          85
  In al the halle ne was ther spoke a word
  For merveille of this knight; him to biholde
  Ful bisily ther wayten yonge and olde.                      (80)

    78. E. Hn. mynstrals.   86. E. spoken; Cm. spokyn; _rest_ spoke.

    This strange knight, that cam thus sodeynly,
  Al armed save his heed ful richely,                           90
  Saluëth king and queen, and lordes alle,
  By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
  With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce
  As wel in speche as in contenaunce,
  [464: T. 10409-10444.]
  That Gawain, with his olde curteisye,                         95
  Though he were come ageyn out of Fairye,
  Ne coude him nat amende with a word.
  And after this, biforn the heighe bord,                     (90)
  He with a manly voys seith his message,
  After the forme used in his langage,                         100
  With-outen vyce of sillable or of lettre;
  And, for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
  Accordant to his wordes was his chere,
  As techeth art of speche hem that it lere;
  Al-be-it that I can nat soune his style,                     105
  Ne can nat climben over so heigh a style,
  Yet seye I this, as to commune entente,
  Thus muche amounteth al that ever he mente,                (100)
  If it so be that I have it in minde.

    91. E. Saleweth; Hn. Cm. Salueth; _rest_ salued.   96. E. Cm. comen.
    105. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. it; E. Hn. Cm. _omit_.

    He seyde, 'the king of Arabie and of Inde,                 110
  My lige lord, on this solempne day
  Saluëth yow as he best can and may,
  And sendeth yow, in honour of your feste,
  By me, that am al redy at your heste,
  This stede of bras, that esily and wel                       115
  Can, in the space of o day naturel,
  This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres,
  Wher-so yow list, in droghte or elles shoures,             (110)
  Beren your body in-to every place
  To which your herte wilneth for to pace                      120
  With-outen wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair;
  Or, if yow list to fleen as hye in the air
  As doth an egle, whan him list to sore,
  This same stede shal bere yow ever-more
  With-outen harm, til ye be ther yow leste,                   125
  Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste;
  And turne ayeyn, with wrything of a pin.
  He that it wroghte coude ful many a gin;                   (120)
  He wayted many a constellacioun
  Er he had doon this operacioun;                              130
  [465: T. 10445-10480.]
  And knew ful many a seel and many a bond.

    110. E. Hn. Arabe.   113, 114. E. feeste, heeste.   115. E. Hn. weel.
    116. E. natureel.   123. E. whan þat; _rest omit_ þat.

    This mirour eek, that I have in myn hond,
  Hath swich a might, that men may in it see
  Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee
  Un-to your regne or to your-self also;                       135
  And openly who is your freend or foo.
  And over al this, if any lady bright
  Hath set hir herte on any maner wight,                     (130)
  If he be fals, she shal his treson see,
  His newe love and al his subtiltee                           140
  So openly, that ther shal no-thing hyde.
  Wherfor, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
  This mirour and this ring, that ye may see,
  He hath sent to my lady Canacee,
  Your excellente doghter that is here.                        145

    138. E. Pt. in; _rest_ on. 144. E. vn-to; Cm. on-to; _rest_ to.

    The vertu of the ring, if ye wol here,
  Is this; that, if hir lust it for to were
  Up-on hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,                  (140)
  Ther is no foul that fleeth under the hevene
  That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,                150
  And knowe his mening openly and pleyn,
  And answere him in his langage ageyn.
  And every gras that groweth up-on rote
  She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do bote,
  Al be his woundes never so depe and wyde.                    155

    This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde,
  Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte,
  Thurgh-out his armure it wol kerve and byte,               (150)
  Were it as thikke as is a branched ook;
  And what man that is wounded with the strook                 160
  Shal never be hool til that yow list, of grace,
  To stroke him with the platte in thilke place
  Ther he is hurt: this is as muche to seyn,
  Ye mote with the platte swerd ageyn
  Stroke him in the wounde, and it wol close;                  165
  This is a verray sooth, with-outen glose,
  [466: T. 10481-10516.]
  It failleth nat whyl it is in your hold.'

    158. E. wol hym; _rest omit_ hym.   160. E. a; Cm. that; _rest_ the.
    162. Hn. platte; _rest_ plat (see 164).   E. Cm. that; _rest_ thilke.
    164. E. Cm. Pt. plat; _rest_ platte.   165. E. Cm. Strike; _rest_
    Stroke.

    And whan this knight hath thus his tale told,            (160)
  He rydeth out of halle, and doun he lighte.
  His stede, which that shoon as sonne brighte,                170
  Stant in the court, as stille as any stoon.
  This knight is to his chambre lad anon,
  And is unarmed and to mete y-set.

    171. Hl. as stille; _rest om._ as.   173. E. vn-to; _the rest_ to.

    The presentes ben ful royally y-fet,
  This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirour,                   175
  And born anon in-to the heighe tour
  With certeine officers ordeyned therfore;
  And un-to Canacee this ring was bore                       (170)
  Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
  But sikerly, with-outen any fable,                           180
  The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
  It stant as it were to the ground y-glewed.
  Ther may no man out of the place it dryve
  For noon engyn of windas or polyve;
  And cause why, for they can nat the craft.                   185
  And therefore in the place they han it laft
  Til that the knight hath taught hem the manere
  To voyden him, as ye shal after here.                      (180)

    178. E. Cm. this; _rest_ the.   184. E. ne; _rest_ or.

    Greet was the prees, that swarmeth to and fro,
  To gauren on this hors that stondeth so;                     190
  For it so heigh was, and so brood and long,
  So wel proporcioned for to ben strong,
  Right as it were a stede of Lumbardye;
  Ther-with so horsly, and so quik of yë
  As it a gentil Poileys courser were.                         195
  For certes, fro his tayl un-to his ere,
  Nature ne art ne coude him nat amende
  In no degree, as al the peple wende.                       (190)
  But evermore hir moste wonder was,
  How that it coude goon, and was of bras;                     200
  It was of Fairye, as the peple semed.
  Diverse folk diversely they demed;
  [467: T. 10517-10552.]
  As many hedes, as many wittes ther been.
  They murmureden as dooth a swarm of been,
  And maden skiles after hir fantasyes,                        205
  Rehersinge of thise olde poetryes,
  And seyden, it was lyk the Pegasee,
  The hors that hadde winges for to flee;                    (200)
  Or elles it was the Grekes hors Synon,
  That broghte Troye to destruccion,                           210
  As men may in thise olde gestes rede,
  'Myn herte,' quod oon, 'is evermore in drede;
  I trowe som men of armes been ther-inne,
  That shapen hem this citee for to winne.
  It were right good that al swich thing were knowe.'          215
  Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
  And seyde, 'he lyeth, it is rather lyk
  An apparence y-maad by som magyk,                          (210)
  As Iogelours pleyen at thise festes grete.'
  Of sondry doutes thus they Iangle and trete,                 220
  As lewed peple demeth comunly
  Of thinges that ben maad more subtilly
  Than they can in her lewednes comprehende;
  They demen gladly to the badder ende.

    189. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. swarmed.   195. E. Poilleys.   200. E. go.   201.
    E. Hn. a; Cm. as; _rest_ of.    E. Cm. al the; _rest omit_ al.   202.
    they] Hn. Cp. Pt. han; Ln. haue.   203. E. heddes; Hn. heuedes; Cp.
    heedes; _rest_ hedes (hedis).   Hl. _om._ ther.   206. thise] Cp. Pt.
    Ln. Hl. the.   207. E. that it; _rest omit_ that.   211. Hl. may; _rest
    omit_.   217. E. Cm. it; _rest_ for it.   223. E. lewednesse; Hl.
    lewednes.

    And somme of hem wondred on the mirour,                    225
  That born was up in-to the maister-tour,
  How men mighte in it swiche thinges see.
  Another answerde, and seyde it mighte wel be               (220)
  Naturelly, by composiciouns
  Of angles and of slye reflexiouns,                           230
  And seyden, that in Rome was swich oon.
  They speken of Alocen and Vitulon,
  And Aristotle, that writen in hir lyves
  Of queynte mirours and of prospectyves,
  As knowen they that han hir bokes herd.                      235

    226. E. hye; Cm. hyghe; _rest_ maister.

    And othere folk han wondred on the swerd
  That wolde percen thurgh-out every-thing;
  And fille in speche of Thelophus the king,                 (230)
  [468: T. 10553-10587.]
  And of Achilles with his queynte spere,
  For he coude with it bothe hele and dere,                    240
  Right in swich wyse as men may with the swerd
  Of which right now ye han your-selven herd.
  They speken of sondry harding of metal,
  And speke of medicynes ther-with-al,
  And how, and whanne, it sholde y-harded be;                  245
  Which is unknowe algates unto me.

    239. E. Cm. with; _rest_ for.

    Tho speke they of Canaceës ring,
  And seyden alle, that swich a wonder thing                 (240)
  Of craft of ringes herde they never non,
  Save that he, Moyses, and king Salomon                       250
  Hadde a name of konning in swich art.
  Thus seyn the peple, and drawen hem apart.
  But nathelees, somme seyden that it was
  Wonder to maken of fern-asshen glas,
  And yet nis glas nat lyk asshen of fern;                     255
  But for they han y-knowen it so fern,
  Therfore cesseth her Iangling and her wonder.
  As sore wondren somme on cause of thonder,                 (250)
  On ebbe, on flood, on gossomer, and on mist,
  And alle thing, til that the cause is wist.                  260
  Thus Iangle they and demen and devyse,
  Til that the king gan fro the bord aryse.

    251. _All_ Hadde (Had).   256. Hl. i-knowen; _rest_ knowen.   260. E.
    Hl. on alle; _rest om._ on.   262. E. Hn. the bord; _rest_ his bord.

    Phebus hath laft the angle meridional,
  And yet ascending was the beest royal,
  The gentil Leon, with his Aldiran,                           265
  Whan that this Tartre king, this Cambynskan,
  Roos fro his bord, ther that he sat ful hye.
  Toforn him gooth the loude minstralcye,                    (260)
  Til he cam to his chambre of parements,
  Ther as they sownen diverse instruments,                     270
  That it is lyk an heven for to here.
  Now dauncen lusty Venus children dere,
  For in the Fish hir lady sat ful hye,
  [469: T. 10588-10623.]
  And loketh on hem with a freendly yë.

    265. Hn. Aldiran; Hl. adryan; _rest_ Aldrian.   266. Hl. _repeats_
    this; _rest omit 2nd_ this.   269, 270. E. parementz, Instrumentz.
    271. Hl. Ln. heuen; _rest_ heuene.

    This noble king is set up in his trone.                    275
  This strange knight is fet to him ful sone,
  And on the daunce he gooth with Canacee.
  Heer is the revel and the Iolitee                          (270)
  That is nat able a dul man to devyse.
  He moste han knowen love and his servyse,                    280
  And been a festlich man as fresh as May,
  That sholde yow devysen swich array.

    275. E. Cm. vp in; _rest_ vp on.

    Who coude telle yow the forme of daunces,
  So uncouthe and so fresshe contenaunces,
  Swich subtil loking and dissimulinges                        285
  For drede of Ialouse mennes aperceyvinges?
  No man but Launcelot, and he is deed.
  Therefor I passe of al this lustiheed;                     (280)
  I seye na-more, but in this Iolynesse
  I lete hem, til men to the soper dresse.                     290

    288. E. Hn. of; _rest_ ouer.

    The styward bit the spyces for to hye,
  And eek the wyn, in al this melodye.
  The usshers and the squyers ben y-goon;
  The spyces and the wyn is come anoon.
  They ete and drinke; and whan this hadde an ende,            295
  Un-to the temple, as reson was, they wende.

    291. Hl. the; _rest omit._

    The service doon, they soupen al by day.
  What nedeth yow rehercen hir array?                        (290)
  Ech man wot wel, that at a kinges feeste
  Hath plentee, to the moste and to the leeste,                300
  And deyntees mo than been in my knowing.
  At-after soper gooth this noble king
  To seen this hors of bras, with al the route
  Of lordes and of ladyes him aboute.

    298. E. me; _the rest_ yow.   299. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. that at; E. Cm. Hl.
    _om._ at.   300. Hath (_so; for_ Is; _cf. French _il y a.)   303. E.
    Cm. the; Hl. his; _rest_ a.

    Swich wondring was ther on this hors of bras               305
  That, sin the grete sege of Troye was,
  Ther-as men wondreden on an hors also,
  Ne was ther swich a wondring as was tho.                   (300)
  But fynally the king axeth this knight
  [470: T. 10624-10657.]
  The vertu of this courser and the might,                     310
  And preyede him to telle his governaunce.

    311. Cm. preyede; Hn. preyed; E. preyde.

    This hors anoon bigan to trippe and daunce,
  Whan that this knight leyde hand up-on his reyne,
  And seyde, 'sir, ther is na-more to seyne,
  But, whan yow list to ryden any-where,                       315
  Ye moten trille a pin, stant in his ere,
  Which I shall telle yow bitwix vs two.
  Ye mote nempne him to what place also                      (310)
  Or to what contree that yow list to ryde.
  And whan ye come ther as yow list abyde,                     320
  Bidde him descende, and trille another pin,
  For ther-in lyth the effect of al the gin,
  And he wol doun descende and doon your wille;
  And in that place he wol abyde stille,
  Though al the world the contrarie hadde y-swore;             325
  He shal nat thennes ben y-drawe ne y-bore.
  Or, if yow liste bidde him thennes goon,
  Trille this pin, and he wol vanishe anoon                  (320)
  Out of the sighte of every maner wight,
  And come agayn, be it by day or night,                       330
  When that yow list to clepen him ageyn
  In swich a gyse as I shal to yow seyn
  Bitwixe yow and me, and that ful sone.
  Ryde whan yow list, ther is na-more to done.'

    317. E. Hn. Cm. yow telle; _rest_ telle yow.   322. E. ther; Cm.
    theere; _rest_ ther-inne, ther-in.   324. Cp. Hl. abyde; Hn. abiden;
    Pt. Ln. abide; E. Cm. stonde; _see l._ 320.   326. E. Hn. nor; _the
    rest_ ne.   327. Cp. liste; Ln. luste; Hl. lust to; Cm. wit; E. Hn. Pt.
    list.   330. Hl. by; _rest omit._

    Enformed whan the king was of that knight,                 335
  And hath conceyved in his wit aright
  The maner and the forme of al this thing,
  Thus glad and blythe, this noble doughty king              (330)
  Repeireth to his revel as biforn.
  The brydel is un-to the tour y-born,                         340
  And kept among his Iewels leve and dere.
  The hors vanisshed, I noot in what manere,
  Out of hir sighte; ye gete na-more of me.
  [471: T. 10658-10692.]
  But thus I lete in lust and Iolitee
  This Cambynskan his lordes festeyinge,                       345
  Til wel ny the day bigan to springe.

    338. E. Cm. Thus; _rest_ Ful.   E. Cm. _omit_ doughty.   341. E.
    Iueles.

  EXPLICIT PRIMA PARS.  SEQUITUR PARS SECUNDA.

  The norice of digestioun, the slepe,
  Gan on hem winke, and bad hem taken kepe,                  (340)
  That muchel drink and labour wolde han reste;
  And with a galping mouth hem alle he keste,                  350
  And seyde, 'it was tyme to lye adoun,
  For blood was in his dominacioun;
  Cherissheth blood, natures freend,' quod he.
  They thanken him galpinge, by two, by three,
  And every wight gan drawe him to his reste,                  355
  As slepe hem bad; they toke it for the beste.
  Hir dremes shul nat been y-told for me;
  Ful were hir hedes of fumositee,                           (350)
  That causeth dreem, of which ther nis no charge.
  They slepen til that it was pryme large,                     360
  The moste part, but it were Canacee;
  She was ful mesurable, as wommen be.
  For of hir fader hadde she take leve
  To gon to reste, sone after it was eve;
  Hir liste nat appalled for to be,                            365
  Nor on the morwe unfestlich for to see;
  And slepte hir firste sleep, and thanne awook.
  For swich a Ioye she in hir herte took                     (360)
  Both of hir queynte ring and hir mirour,
  That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;                     370
  And in hir slepe, right for impressioun
  Of hir mirour, she hadde a visioun.
  Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,
  She cleped on hir maistresse hir bisyde,
  And seyde, that hir liste for to ryse.                       375

    358. E. heddes; Cm. heedys.   366. Hn. Cm. Nor; E. Hl. Ne; Cp. Pt. Ln.
    For [_for_ Nor].   372. E. Avisioun; _rest_ a visioun.

    Thise olde wommen that been gladly wyse,
  As is hir maistresse, answerde hir anoon,
  And seyde, 'madame, whider wil ye goon                     (370)
  [472: T. 10693-10728.]
  Thus erly? for the folk ben alle on reste.'
  'I wol,' quod she, 'aryse, for me leste                      380
  No lenger for to slepe, and walke aboute.'

    377. E. _omits_ is.   379. E. Hn. on; Cm. at; _rest_ in.

    Hir maistresse clepeth wommen a gret route,
  And up they rysen, wel a ten or twelve;
  Up ryseth fresshe Canacee hir-selve,
  As rody and bright as dooth the yonge sonne,                 385
  That in the Ram is four degrees up-ronne;
  Noon hyer was he, whan she redy was;
  And forth she walketh esily a pas,                         (380)
  Arrayed after the lusty seson sote
  Lightly, for to pleye and walke on fote;                     390
  Nat but with fyve or six of hir meynee;
  And in a trench, forth in the park, goth she.
  The vapour, which that fro the erthe glood,
  Made the sonne to seme rody and brood;
  But nathelees, it was so fair a sighte                       395
  That it made alle hir hertes for to lighte,
  What for the seson and the morweninge,
  And for the foules that she herde singe;                   (390)
  For right anon she wiste what they mente
  Right by hir song, and knew al hir entente.                  400

    382. E. Hn. an; Cm. Hl. a.   386. E. Cm. foure (_rightly_); Hn. 4;
    _rest_ ten.

    The knotte, why that every tale is told,
  If it be taried til that lust be cold
  Of hem that han it after herkned yore,
  The savour passeth ever lenger the more,
  For fulsomnesse of his prolixitee.                           405
  And by the same reson thinketh me,
  I sholde to the knotte condescende,
  And maken of hir walking sone an ende.                     (400)

    Amidde a tree fordrye, as whyt as chalk,
  As Canacee was pleying in hir walk,                          410
  Ther sat a faucon over hir heed ful hye,
  That with a pitous voys so gan to crye
  That all the wode resouned of hir cry.
  Y-beten hath she hir-self so pitously
  [473: T. 10729-10763.]
  With bothe hir winges, til the rede blood                    415
  Ran endelong the tree ther-as she stood.
  And ever in oon she cryde alwey and shrighte,
  And with hir beek hir-selven so she prighte,               (410)
  That ther nis tygre, ne noon so cruel beste,
  That dwelleth either in wode or in foreste                   420
  That nolde han wept, if that he wepe coude,
  For sorwe of hir, she shrighte alwey so loude.
  For ther nas never yet no man on lyve--
  If that I coude a faucon wel discryve--
  That herde of swich another of fairnesse,                    425
  As wel of plumage as of gentillesse
  Of shap, and al that mighte y-rekened be.
  A faucon peregryn than semed she                           (420)
  Of fremde land; and evermore, as she stood,
  She swowneth now and now for lakke of blood,                 430
  Til wel neigh is she fallen fro the tree.

    409. E. fordryed; Cm. fordreyed; _but_ Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. for-drye; Hl.
    for-druye.   414. E. Cm. hath; _rest_ hadde (had).   416. E. Cm. omit
    as.   419, 420. E. Hn. Pt. beest, forest; rest beste, foreste.   420.
    E. Hn. outher; rest eyther.   421. E. Pt. she; the rest he.   423. So
    Cp. Hl.; E. Hn. Cm. neuere man yet; Pt. Ln. neuere yit man.

    This faire kinges doghter, Canacee,
  That on hir finger bar the queynte ring,
  Thurgh which she understood wel every thing
  That any foul may in his ledene seyn,                        435
  And coude answere him in his ledene ageyn,
  Hath understonde what this faucon seyde,
  And wel neigh for the rewthe almost she deyde.             (430)
  And to the tree she gooth ful hastily,
  And on this faucon loketh pitously,                          440
  And heeld hir lappe abrood, for wel she wiste
  The faucon moste fallen fro the twiste,
  When that it swowned next, for lakke of blood.
  A longe while to wayten hir she stood
  Till atte laste she spak in this manere                      445
  Un-to the hauk, as ye shul after here.

    433. E. Hn. baar.   435. E. fowel.   438. Hl. rewthe; Ln. reuthe; rest
    routhe.

    'What is the cause, if it be for to telle,
  That ye be in this furial pyne of helle?'                  (440)
  Quod Canacee un-to this hauk above.
  [474: T. 10764-10798.]
  'Is this for sorwe of deeth or los of love?                  450
  For, as I trowe, thise ben causes two
  That causen moost a gentil herte wo;
  Of other harm it nedeth nat to speke.
  For ye your-self upon your-self yow wreke,
  Which proveth wel, that either love or drede                 455
  Mot been encheson of your cruel dede,
  Sin that I see non other wight yow chace.
  For love of god, as dooth your-selven grace                (450)
  Or what may ben your help; for west nor eest
  Ne sey I never er now no brid ne beest                       460
  That ferde with him-self so pitously.
  Ye sle me with your sorwe, verraily;
  I have of yow so gret compassioun.
  For goddes love, com fro the tree adoun;
  And, as I am a kinges doghter trewe,                         465
  If that I verraily the cause knewe
  Of your disese, if it lay in my might,
  I wolde amende it, er that it were night,                  (460)
  As wisly helpe me gret god of kinde!
  And herbes shal I right y-nowe y-finde                       470
  To hele with your hurtes hastily.'

    448. E. Hn. pyne; rest peyne.   449. E. the; rest this.   452. E.
    causeth; _rest_ causen.   455. E. Hn. outher; _rest_ either.   459,
    460. E. Hn. Est, beest; Cp. est, best; Cm. est, beste; _rest_ este,
    beste.   463. E. passioun; _rest_ compassioun.   469. E. the grete;
    _rest omit_ the.

    Tho shrighte this faucon more pitously
  Than ever she dide, and fil to grounde anoon,
  And lyth aswowne, deed, and lyk a stoon,
  Til Canacee hath in hir lappe hir take                       475
  Un-to the tyme she gan of swough awake.
  And, after that she of hir swough gan breyde,
  Right in hir haukes ledene thus she seyde:--               (470)
  'That pitee renneth sone in gentil herte,
  Feling his similitude in peynes smerte,                      480
  Is preved al-day, as men may it see,
  As wel by werk as by auctoritee;
  For gentil herte kytheth gentillesse.
  I see wel, that ye han of my distresse
  [475: T. 10799-10833.]
  Compassioun, my faire Canacee,                               485
  Of verray wommanly benignitee
  That nature in your principles hath set.
  But for non hope for to fare the bet,                      (480)
  But for to obeye un-to your herte free,
  And for to maken other be war by me,                         490
  As by the whelp chasted is the leoun,
  Right for that cause and that conclusioun,
  Whyl that I have a leyser and a space,
  Myn harm I wol confessen, er I pace.'
  And ever, whyl that oon hir sorwe tolde,                     495
  That other weep, as she to water wolde,
  Til that the faucon bad hir to be stille;
  And, with a syk, right thus she seyde hir wille.           (490)

    472. Hn. Cp. Pt. yet moore; E. Cm. moore yet; Hl. Ln. more.   477. Cm.
    swow a-breyde.   481. E. Hl. _omit_ it.   484. E. Cm. _omit_ that.
    487. E. yset; Cm. I-set; the _rest_ set, sette.   489. E. _omits_ to.
    491. E. Hn. chasted; _rest_ chastysed; _I should propose to read_ is
    chasted; _but authority is lacking._   492. _So_ Hl.; _rest_ and for
    that.   498. E. Hn. wille; _rest_ tille (!)

    'Ther I was bred (allas! that harde day!)
  And fostred in a roche of marbul gray                        500
  So tendrely, that nothing eyled me,
  I niste nat what was adversitee,
  Til I coude flee ful hye under the sky.
  Tho dwelte a tercelet me faste by,
  That semed welle of alle gentillesse;                        505
  Al were he ful of treson and falsnesse,
  It was so wrapped under humble chere,
  And under hewe of trouthe in swich manere,                 (500)
  Under plesance, and under bisy peyne,
  That no wight coude han wend he coude feyne,                 510
  So depe in greyn he dyed his coloures.
  Right as a serpent hit him under floures
  Til he may seen his tyme for to byte,
  Right so this god of love, this ypocryte,
  Doth so his cerimonies and obeisaunces,                      515
  And kepeth in semblant alle his observances
  That sowneth in-to gentillesse of love.
  As in a toumbe is al the faire above,                      (510)
  And under is the corps, swich as ye woot,
  [476: T. 10834-10868.]
  Swich was this ypocryte, bothe cold and hoot,                520
  And in this wyse he served his entente,
  That (save the feend) non wiste what he mente.
  Til he so longe had wopen and compleyned,
  And many a yeer his service to me feyned,
  Til that myn herte, to pitous and to nyce,                   525
  Al innocent of his crouned malice,
  For-fered of his deeth, as thoughte me,
  Upon his othes and his seuretee,                           (520)
  Graunted him love, on this condicioun,
  That evermore myn honour and renoun                          530
  Were saved, bothe privee and apert;
  This is to seyn, that, after his desert,
  I yaf him al myn herte and al my thoght--
  God woot and he, that otherwyse noght--
  And took his herte in chaunge for myn for ay.                535
  But sooth is seyd, gon sithen many a day,
  "A trew wight and a theef thenken nat oon."
  And, whan he saugh the thing so fer y-goon,                (530)
  That I had graunted him fully my love,
  In swich a gyse as I have seyd above,                        540
  And yeven him my trewe herte, as free
  As he swoor he his herte yaf to me;
  Anon this tygre, ful of doublenesse,
  Fil on his knees with so devout humblesse,
  With so heigh reverence, and, as by his chere,               545
  So lyk a gentil lovere of manere,
  So ravisshed, as it semed, for the Ioye,
  That never Iason, ne Parys of Troye,                       (540)
  Iason? certes, ne non other man,
  Sin Lameth was, that alderfirst bigan                        550
  To loven two, as writen folk biforn,
  Ne never, sin the firste man was born,
  Ne coude man, by twenty thousand part,
  Countrefete the sophimes of his art;
  [477: T. 10869-10905.]
  Ne were worthy unbokele his galoche,                         555
  Ther doublenesse or feyning sholde approche,
  Ne so coude thanke a wight as he did me!
  His maner was an heven for to see                          (550)
  Til any womman, were she never so wys;
  So peynted he and kembde at point-devys                      560
  As wel his wordes as his contenaunce.
  And I so lovede him for his obeisaunce,
  And for the trouthe I demed in his herte,
  That, if so were that any thing him smerte,
  Al were it never so lyte, and I it wiste,                    565
  Me thoughte, I felte deeth myn herte twiste.
  And shortly, so ferforth this thing is went,
  That my wil was his willes instrument;                     (560)
  This is to seyn, my wil obeyed his wil
  In alle thing, as fer as reson fil,                          570
  Keping the boundes of my worship ever.
  Ne never hadde I thing so leef, ne lever,
  As him, god woot! ne never shal na-mo.

    499. E. Cm. That; _rest_ Ther.   508. MSS. trouthe, trowthe.   510. E.
    I ne; Cm. I not; _rest_ no wight.   511. E. Hn. Cp. Hl. colours.   512.
    hit] Hl. hut; Ln. hideth.   516. _Pronounced_ kep'th.   520. E. the;
    _the rest_ this.   526. Hl. crouned; Hn. Cp. Pt. crowned; E.
    coronned.   529. MSS. vp-on (_for_ on).   533. Cm. Ln. Hl. and al;
    _rest omit_ al.   535. E. for myn; _rest_ of myn.   537. Hl. Pt. trew;
    _rest_ trewe.   542. _All_ yaf his herte.   545. _Only_ Cm. _om._
    and.   548. E. Cm. Troilus; _rest_ Iason.   551. Cm. wrytyn; _rest_
    writen.   555. E. vnbokelen.   557. E. Cp. dide; Cm. dede; _rest_
    did.   562. E. Cm. _omit_ so.   572. E. Hn. lief; Ln. lefe; _rest_
    leef.

    This lasteth lenger than a yeer or two,
  That I supposed of him noght but good.                       575
  But fynally, thus atte laste it stood,
  That fortune wolde that he moste twinne
  Out of that place which that I was inne.                   (570)
  Wher me was wo, that is no questioun;
  I can nat make of it discripcioun;                           580
  For o thing dar I tellen boldely,
  I knowe what is the peyne of deth ther-by;
  Swich harm I felte for he ne mighte bileve.
  So on a day of me he took his leve,
  So sorwefully eek, that I wende verraily                     585
  That he had felt as muche harm as I,
  Whan that I herde him speke, and saugh his hewe.
  But nathelees, I thoughte he was so trewe,                 (580)
  And eek that he repaire sholde ageyn
  With-inne a litel whyle, sooth to seyn;                      590
  And reson wolde eek that he moste go
  [478: T. 10906-10940.]
  For his honour, as ofte it happeth so,
  That I made vertu of necessitee,
  And took it wel, sin that it moste be.
  As I best mighte, I hidde fro him my sorwe,                  595
  And took him by the hond, seint Iohn to borwe,
  And seyde him thus: "lo, I am youres al;
  Beth swich as I to yow have been, and shal."               (590)
  What he answerde, it nedeth noght reherce,
  Who can sey bet than he, who can do werse?                   600
  Whan he hath al wel seyd, thanne hath he doon.
  "Therfor bihoveth him a ful long spoon
  That shal ete with a feend," thus herde I seye.
  So atte laste he moste forth his weye,
  And forth he fleeth, til he cam ther him leste.              605
  Whan it cam him to purpos for to reste,
  I trowe he hadde thilke text in minde,
  That "alle thing, repairing to his kinde,                  (600)
  Gladeth him-self"; thus seyn men, as I gesse;
  Men loven of propre kinde newfangelnesse,                    610
  As briddes doon that men in cages fede.
  For though thou night and day take of hem hede,
  And strawe hir cage faire and softe as silk,
  And yeve hem sugre, hony, breed and milk,
  Yet right anon, as that his dore is uppe,                    615
  He with his feet wol spurne adoun his cuppe,
  And to the wode he wol and wormes ete;
  So newefangel been they of hir mete,                       (610)
  And loven novelryes of propre kinde;
  No gentillesse of blood [ne] may hem binde.                  620
  So ferde this tercelet, allas the day!
  Though he were gentil born, and fresh and gay,
  And goodly for to seen, and humble and free,
  He saugh up-on a tyme a kyte flee,
  And sodeynly he loved this kyte so,                          625
  That al his love is clene fro me ago,
  [479: T. 10941-10974.]
  And hath his trouthe falsed in this wyse;
  Thus hath the kyte my love in hir servyse,                 (620)
  And I am lorn with-outen remedye!'
  And with that word this faucon gan to crye,                  630
  And swowned eft in Canaceës barme.

    585. Cp. _om._ that.   601. Hn. Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl. wel seyd; Cm. I-seyd;
    E. seyd.   602. E. Hn. Cm. hire; _rest_ him.   616. Hl. _has here lost
    8 leaves, to_ 1. 1223.   619. E. nouelrie; _the rest have the plural,
    except_ Ln. none leueres, _a corruption of